Most of us currently suffer from cabin fever. Unfortunately, taking a walk with all that grey stuff melting on the ground is not really appealing. (To add insult to injury, it's giving way to the garbage which wasn't picked up before the first snow fall.) This is the time of the year when the destination is more important than the journey. And the Mexican restaurant El Catrin is whimsical enough to tempt me to stroll around The Distillery.
Walking into El Catrin for the first time is quite a visual experience. You go from the austerity of the Victorian red brick wrapping the whole Distillery to the explosive reinvention of a Dia de Los Muertos, with adorned skulls and skeletons.
During the Christmas Market, the patio was heated and equipped with a wonderful central fire pit. On summer nights, the exotic terrace is bathed in yellow lights. The alley leading to the entrance is covered with dozens of lanterns and iron panels along the fence reproduce the chiseled scenes one normally sees on papel picado banners.
El Catrin has replaced the Boiler Room but it has retained the mezzanine and two-storey high wall which is now completely covered with the best kitsch mural in Toronto. (I'll let my pictures do the work.)
Me and my good friend Pascale (another of my partners in crime) had delicious margaritas, guacamole made before our eyes, and an amazing trio of fish tacos. It's not cheap but there are many affordable options on the menu. The place is open daily for lunch and dinner, as well as for brunch on the weekends, and they have a kids menu. (You'll need to make reservation for dinner and brunch.)
I can tell you one thing: Life seems more colourful when seen through glasses of margaritas. ;-)