I missed people during quarantine. I really, really did. I’m a people person. I get my energy from being with others, and I like doing cool shit with people I like. But, I really fucking missed Kensington Market. For as long as I could remember I always thought of it as mini Toronto. Like if you’ve never been to the city and you just got dropped straight into Kensington you could absorb what Toronto is in those few blocks. From the crazy variety of cultures being represented in their food and design to seeing every kind of person doing pretty much anything it’s always felt like the most organized chaos, and I needed to breathe that air again; hear those sounds.
When I felt comfortable to go out, and brother trust me that took a long time, I knew I had to feel Kensington again. I had to hit them streets right and properly re-acquaint myself with my surroundings, and my first stop was Rasta Pasta.
Again, how much more Toronto can this spot be. It’s half rasta (Jamaican) and half pasta (Italian). A fusion of two cultures, I don’t think you really get how insane the two of these put together can be. It’s like Bob Marley and Mario. I fuck with that heavy.
This is where I want to eat. I swear there are like three seats, so you're probably not meant to sit there. Only two people can be inside to order, giving an idea of how small it actually is. This is what I like to call a ‘no bullshit’ spot; you go in, you get hit in the face with smells that I so quickly want, you order, pay, and leave. No bullshit.
I will try more of the menu this time. I keep hearing how good the pasta is, give me some of that. All lies. Lies I tell myself when I walk in. I only want the jerk chicken, and when you bless me with a $12 plate that looks like THAT how do I not?
When you’re looking at the spot from the outside I bet you can see the jerk drum cooking, bro. The drum has one purpose, and it’s to turn boring ass chicken into gold.That’s it. It’s smoky and crispy and seared and tender and juicy. The sauce hits me in my jaw quick, blessing me with that spicy. I don't know how to rank spice because what I think is nothing makes others uncomfortable, so you see for yourself. It’s spicy. The skin is blackened by the spices and the work of the drum, and oh mama is the meat juicy.
What I love so much about this dish is that it’s unapologetic in its flavor. You will feel something when you eat this, and I swear it can range from the spice hitting you to the fact that it’s just so fucking good. The rice and peas and the steamed veggies are the sidekicks that you can always rely on and that allow the jerk chicken to put on a show. I want this right now man.
I’m not going to say that this is the best jerk chicken spot in the city. There are so many incredible places that I can hit up whenever that can stand toe to toe with Rasta Pasta. But I just keep on coming back here. Of course, the food is from another world. Maybe it’s the fact that I’ve seen the owners for years come outside and take orders and talk to the people. Maybe it’s because it’s nestled in the market itself and that makes this place more special. Maybe because it’s such a beautiful marriage of two cultures that you’ll probably only find in Toronto, my city. Whatever it may be, just try the chicken kids.