Kamayan III: Kamayan with a Vengeance

Now, it’s been a couple years since I last had Kamayan, the Filipino feast you eat with your hands. But when I heard about this new funky joint called Bagnet Bros, I knew I had to come check it out! This place is serving up stuff like milkfish, tilapia, mussels, shrimp and crispy pork belly, all for just 16 bucks. They’ve even got both kinds of calamari — grilled AND fried!!!

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Now, the pork skewers were outrageous, the milkfish was creamy and delicious, and the peel ‘n eat shrimp were the most fun you can have with plastic gloves on…but what makes it is the bagnet:

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Dude, this deep-fried crispy pork belly is sooo outta bounds, bro! It’s kinda like a chicharron, but with the meat still attached! Man, I could pound these all day…but then I might not have room for dessert.

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They call this a turon, and they tu-ron-ron, son! Picture a sweet ‘n sticky spring roll, stuffed with deep-fried platanos — this dish is bananas, and bananas is good! The 16-dollar dinner comes with your choice of ice cream or turon, but for just a dollar more, you can have both…

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No way Jose, that’s ube!!!

This Japanese joint is Guu Guu guuud!

So, we’re hanging out at Guu Izakaya, this funky Japanese joint just east of Vegandale. But you KNOW we didn’t come here to eat veggies, bro! This place has a whole lotta tapas, served up Japanese style, so we’re diving right in with some Angus beef sashimi:

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Now, I don’t always eat steak cold, but when I do, I prefer beef sashimi. I could easily slay several servings of this dish…but then I wouldn’t have room for takoyaki!

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Dude, these deep-fried octopus balls are one of my go-to Japanese dishes. It’s all about the bonito flakes, bro!!!

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Speaking of bonito, I see your takoyaki and raise you okonomiyaki! This crunchy squid pancake is slathered in Japanese donkey sauce with even more flakes on top!

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And when it comes to classics, you can’t go wrong with chicken karaage. These great balls of fryer explode in my mouth with their juicy, crunchy goodness. I could probably pound, like, 22 of these!!!

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Now here’s one you definitely don’t see every day. These baked oysters are stuffed with cheese, mushrooms and a spinach/garlic mayo — I would put that on a flip-flop!!!!

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Now, since we’re switching to seafood, it’s time for some shrimp tempura. These babies are smothered in so much donkey sauce that the donkey won’t be making babies anytime soon, son!!!!

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Holy fuck, it’s Japanese duck!!! This aigamo tataki is sous vided and served cold with scallions, onions and a sauce that’s equal parts ponzu AND yuzu!

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And now we’re taking a little detour to Flavourtown Koreatown, where the bibimbap don’t stop!!!!

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We’re washing it all down with a Far Yeast Tokyo White, a beer that’s actually brewed in Tokyo, bro! This dry, unpasteurized saison is equal parts fruity and wheaty, for a taste that’s killa like Godzilla!!!

Now, after all that commotion back there, you KNOW we still have some room for dessert — but this banana tempura oughtta do’er!

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Bro, these deep-fried bananas are bananas — and bananas is good! It even comes with a scoop of green matcha ice cream… How do you say “Shut the back door!” in Japanese???

I’m about to go all Asterix and Obelix on this wild boar, bro!!!!

Man, the last time I had wild boar, I think I got it on sale at Loblaws. And while that sanglier was super-legit, I knew I could probably do better if I didn’t have to cook it. So when I heard that Reign, this new funky joint in the Royal York Hotel, had a wild boar chop on the menu, I was all over that like Getafix on a pot of magic potion, son!!!!

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Man, this was probably the best pork chop I’ve had since that one at Hogtown Smoke that’s not even on the menu anymore! This lil’ piggy is cooked to a perfect medium, and it’s going wee wee wee all the way straight down my piehole! You’ve also got some fingerling potaters and green onions, nothing too fancy. There are not enough veggies here to steal the show from the meat, which is just the way it should be!

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Washed it all down with a Royal York Apiary Ale, this beer brewed with honey from the roof of the hotel — it don’t get more locavore than that, bro!!!

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Of course, you KNOW we still had room for dessert! This chocolate coffee tart was like Pies Gone Wild — you’ve got all kinds of chocolately goodness, with espresso, a white chocolate ganache and some crunchy toffee — I would put that on a flip-flop!!!!

Holding out for a gyro @ Messini Authentic Gyros

Now, we’ve already been all up and down Greektown, chowing down on octopus at Soulas, licking up lamb chops at Mezes, and destroying some quail — with a side of Greek fries — at Astoria, not to mention slaughtering several souvlaki sticks at Taste of the Danforth. But when it comes to gyros, the classic shaved meat off a spit, we were holding out for the real-deal, three-course meal at Messini Authentic Gyros.

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Now, when you order a gyros plate at Messini, it comes with a starter Greek salad, which is about 50% feta, with pieces of onions, tomatoes and green peppers underneath — we don’t need no stinkin’ lettuce, son! But the cheesiness does not stop here…

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Now, if I had known I was getting a salad to start, I might not have ordered the cheese balls. Nah, just kidding — this is body by cheese balls, bro! These tirokroketes are deep-fried and crunchy, with hot, cheesy goodness oozing out into my mouth — shut the front, back and side doors!!!!

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But now it’s time for the main event. This plate comes with your choice of pork, chicken, or the traditional lamb/beef blend, which is where it’s at. You also get slices of tomato, onions, a pile of beefy french fries and some freaky tzatziki. For a dollar more, you can get the “open faced” plate, which comes with pita bread, so you can make your own personal pan pitas, like so:

messini_gyros_pita (9)Man, all that’s missing is some more of that feta!!!

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Now, after destroying that lineup of Greek deliciousness, I actually did NOT have room for dessert! But I did wash it down with a coupla Eza Premium Pilseners, straight from the old country…

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Killin’ it ‘n grillin’ it @ Gyubee Japanese Grill

So, we’re hanging out at Gyubee Japanese Grill, this funky Japanese BBQ joint that just opened on Dundas a few weeks back. Man, this place has got all the meats — short rib, brisket, pork belly, sausage…even beef tongue, son! But what makes it are the shrimp:

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Dude, it’s not every day that I get to literally throw shrimp on the barbie — and I didn’t even hafta drink a Foster’s, Australian for beer, to do it! The all-you-can-eat dinner menu is just $35.99 on weekends (a bit less during the week), and with all that food, you KNOW I’m gonna need an extra large Sapporo, bro!!!!

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Funky French/German sausage feast @ Le Sélect Bistro!

Dude, we’re hanging out at Le Sélect Bistro, this funky French joint just south of downtown Chinatown that’s been cranking it out and dishing it up since 1977 — it’s like the Plastic Bertrand of Flavourtown! And with a brunch menu serving all kinds of French comfort-food classics, you KNOW Ça plane pour moi, bro!!!!

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This here’s their choucroute garnie a l’Alsacienne, a quadruple pork party from the German border. You’ve got chunks of bacon, pork hock, and not one, but two kinds of sausages — Strasbourg and Montbeliard, served up on a bed of sauerkraut. But the housemade dijon mustard is what makes it!!!!!!!

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Bro, I would sooo put that on a flip-flop! And of course, because it’s 5 o’clock in France, we’re washing it down with a Belgian beer:

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Now, any beer with both “Grim” and “Bergen” in its name and you know it’s gonna be evil! I first had this double amber at Bodega, and it actually went down a bit smoother this time… A couple more of these and I’d be on my way to kill Euronymous!!!

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Of course, even after scarfing down four kinds of pork and practically a pound of sauerkraut, you KNOW I still had room for dessert. This mini dark chocolate mousse was topped with fresh berries and served with a passionfruit cookie — so at least I got one serving of fruit today.

Real-deal ricotta gnocchi @ The Eaton Centre, bro!!!!

So, the other day I’m at the Eaton Centre, stocking up on warm socks for winter, when I walked past the Samsung Experience Store and saw a sign for the Samsung Chef Experience. Turns out that Chef Craig Harding from La Palma, home of the 100-layer lasagna, was whipping up some ricotta gnocchi with sausage and chilies…so you KNOW I had to come check it out!!!

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These tasty cheese nuggets in Flavourtown were hand-rolled and cut, brought to a boil and then finished in a pan with some dandelion greens — shut the back door!!!

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OK, now let’s break it down…

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Dude, this gnocchi was gn-yummy in my gn-tummy! You had the perfect spongy texture of the cheesy dumplings, with a bit of bitterness from the greens, nice crispy bites of sausage and a whole lotta fresh parma on top… You KNOW I went back for seconds, son!!!!!!!!!!!