Taco bout March Madness—AYCE tacos in Waterloo!

So, we’re hanging out at Taco Farm, this funky, family-owned joint in Uptown Waterloo, where they’re serving up all-you-can-eat tacos once a week for Waddle Out Wednesdays. And this ain’t some shitty, mystery-meat in a yellow shell type deal, either—this is a real-deal multicourse meal, dude! They make the tortillas right in front of your face, and you can top them with seven different kinds of proteins—well, make that six different kinds. They were all sold out of calamari by the time the Triple B crew rolled up. Hey man, the traffic on the 401 was far beyond driven!

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So we’re kicking it off with the crispy fried chicken—cuz I didn’t get enough fried chicken tacos last weekend. And we’re topping it off with pickled cabbage, salsa verde, Mexican corn and queso fresco! Yo quiero about seven more of these, bro!

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Next up, we’ve got the cornmeal crusted whitefish. Dude, cornmeal crusted whitefish was my nickname at swim camp! This one is super crunchy, with the breading adding a nice texture to the light, crisp fish.

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Now, this beef and potato ragu was so far outta bounds, it snuck into the locker room and stole Tom Brady’s jersey, bro! Picture a rich, hearty beef and potato stew…but in a taco. There’s nothing wrong with that at all!

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And then we’ve got the garlic pulled chicken. You could really taste the grill marks on this one, with a nice BBQ-style texture. This one goes great with corn and cabbage…and surprisingly well with pineapple!

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Now this one was a personal Flavourtown favourite: Say hello to my little friend pork hominy stew! You’ve got rich, meaty chunks of pork, some hominy grains, a couple carrots, maybe a potato or two… Bro, I would eat this off a flip-flop!

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It must suck to be vegan at a place like this. All these tasty taco toppings to choose from, and the only one you can eat is the black bean frijoles. Now, don’t get me wrong, I loves me some frijoles, but they’re best served as a side dish, not the star of the show. But hey, now if you pile some of that pulled chicken on top, it’s a whole ‘nother ballgame, bro!!!!

Now, if you think I only ate six tacos for $19.99, you must be loco en la cabeza, hermano! You know me and the crew, we went back for seconds, thirds, fourths, fifths and sixths…but after that, we totally still had room for dessert! And when we heard that they had not one kind, but two kinds of churros, it was totally time to go all Charles Barkley on that shit!

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Now, I gotta say, I was a little disappointed that they put the Mexican chocolate and the dolce de leche on the plate, and not inside the churro itself. But if you’re gonna serve me some deep-fried, battered dough with chocolate on the side, I won’t ever say no to that one, bro!!!!!!!!!

Imma chugga-chugga choo choo this classic cocktail, dude!

So, we’re hanging out at York Station, this cozy little bar on the second floor of the Royal York Hotel. This place is so small, and hidden around a corner, that most people don’t even know it’s there. But they’ve been serving up classic cocktails and cheap eats since the 70’s–and when I say they, I mean Alina, the bartender, who’s been pouring drinks for 40 years!!!!!

Now, don’t get me wrong, I still slammed a couple Steamwhistles, but in a place like this, you want to get a classic, old-school drink, so I went all Don Draper and ordered an old fashioned, with bourbon:

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This drink was TheBomb.ca, bro! You’ve got a nice boozy kick from the bourbon, a couple dashes of bitters, a splash of club soda and a cherry on top! I’m pretty sure I could pound three of these and still deliver the winning pitch to Lucky Strike!

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Now, if you’re not just having a liquid lunch, they’ve got all sorts of homestyle deli sandwiches for just two bucks a pop. You’ve got roast beef, salami and cheese, thickly sliced chicken and smoked salmon, plus a few more not seen here. They definitely don’t short-change ya on the meat though, bro–and the pickle is free!

But hey, if you wanna stop by after work, you gotta get here early–they’re only open from 12 to 7, Mondays through Fridays. Then again, you can always hit up the Library Bar downstairs for a pint or seven of the home-brewed Apiary Ale, son!!!!!

Four fried chicken tacos and a Coke, bro!

Now, I don’t always eat at Taco Bell, but when I do, it’s go big, or go home, bro! So, when I heard they were rollin’ out the Naked Chicken Chalupa–a totally tubular take on a taco with a fricken’ fried-chicken shell–you KNOW I was all over that like Guy Fieri on fajitas, friend-o! Now, when it comes to such a crazy culinary creation, there’s no way Jose that I could eat just one…so I asked myself, what would John Belushi do?

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Exactamundo, bro! So I ordered up four of these deep-fried lifeboats in Flavourtown…and a Pepsi, cuz you can’t get Coke at Taco Bell or something.

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Now, this dish was so far outta bounds, it went straight down to Flavourtown like the Round Mound of Rebound going to town on a churro, bro! The chicken shell was hot and crispy, straight from the deep-fryer, with a hit of Mexican spices. Then you’ve got lettuce, tomato, cheese and border ranch sauce, for that finger-licking goodness.

Dude, this might just be the best thing since the Double Down–and I loves me some Double Downs, son! Pretty sure I could slam another five or six of these…and still have room for Fries Supreme!

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This weekend, I’m throwing down some ‘stones, son!

Now, for me, March Madness means nothing but basketball all weekend every weekend, bro! And you know I’ve got Gonzaga going all the way this year. I’ve been a big Gonzaga fan ever since Adam Morrison cried like a real man on national TV. (I might even have shed a few tears myself.)

Now, here’s the deal. When I fill out my bracket, I don’t always get everything right. So I like to play a little drinking game–whenever I cross a team off my bracket, I crack a cold one. Which means, sometimes, I’m Stone Cold Steve Austin sober by the Sweet 16, and other years I’m puking like Gerardo eating good ol’ fashioned Spanish cooking. (You KNOW I’m Rico Suave, bro!)

So, if I’m cracking a beer each time one of my teams bites the dust, I ain’t gonna be pounding Forgotten Lake Blueberry Ale–that stuff’s got 7.5% alcohol, son! Instead, I go with a cheap, light, shitty brew. Keystone Light: It Tastes Awful, But It Works!TM

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TMBuckley’s Cough Mixture

This is northern style barbecue, bro!

Now, I thought I’d had every kind of barbecue I could find in this city, but have you ever had Scandinavian smoked meat, bro? Cuz that’s what’s on the menu at Karelia Kitchen, this funky, homestyle joint on Bloor Street, just a couple blocks west of Dufferin. Their Smokehouse Platter has got smoked salmon, it’s got smoked trout, pork loin, chicken and all kinds of pickled veggies—dude, I even ate some pickled pumpkin!

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(Pickled pumpkin FTW!)

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Now, when you’ve having Scandinavian BBQ, you can’t just wash it down with a Coors Light. This here is Kissmeyer Nordic Pale Ale, from Beau’s Brewing. So, this funky Danish brewmaster is hanging out with the Beau’s boys in Eastern Ontario, and they create this crazy, hoppy, fruity brew that’s goes perfect with smoked trout, son!

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Of course, even after polishing off a plateful of food from the fjords, you know I still had room for dessert! And at this place, that means a massive slice of Kvæfjordkake, the national cake of Norway. You’ve got all kinds of crazy flavours going on here, bro! They take a sponge cake, put some meringue on top, then dress it with almonds, and a side of fresh berries and vanilla cream. This will fix your Transilvanian Hunger, Fenriz!

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TEXAS STYLE BBQ SHOWDOWN: Franklin (Austin, TX) vs. Adamson (Toronto, ON)

Now, there’s no doot aboot it, Adamson Barbecue is my favourite BBQ joint in The Big Smoke. I’ve eaten every single kind of meat on the menu, and they’re all honky-tonk redonkadonk, son! I always used to say Adamson had the best beef brisket I’ve ever tried, but then I went down to Franklin Barbecue in Austin, and now I’m not so sure anymore. Their brisket is so outta bounds, people line up all around the block, bro!

So now, while the taste of sweet, sweet Texas brisket is still fresh in my memory, I had to hit up Adamson again so I could figure out which was the best BBQ joint I’ve ever been to in my lifetime. We’re looking at everything from the food, to the line, to the music on the stereo. So who’s got the most bodacious, beefalicious barbecue, bro? Let’s take a look at the tale of the tape!

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COMFORT FACTOR

Location: Adamson is sorta in the middle of nowhere. If you don’t live in South Leaside, and you don’t drive, it’s about a 30-minute bus ride from the closest subway station. Now, East 11th Street in Austin isn’t Sixth Street…but it is only five streets away.

ADVANTAGE: FRANKLIN

Lineup: Adamson opens at 11. I got there just after 11, and waited in line for over an hour. Franklin also opens at 11. I got there just after 9, and waited in line for over five hours!

HUGE ADVANTAGE: ADAMSON

Music: When you go to Franklin, you get proper Texas BBQ music–five hours of fiddle-driven classic country from the greats like Willie, Merle and Johnny. Now, the thing I always hated about Adamson’s was that they used to play really loud rap music when you were there. But today, we were greeted by tunes like “Wild Horses,” “Man in Black” and other country music classics. Sounds like somebody finally got the memo!

THIS ONE IS NOW A DRAW.

Seating: The seating at Adamson is mostly wooden chairs and picnic tables. The only picnic tables you’ll find at Franklin are outside–their indoor seating is a little more comfortable.

ADVANTAGE: FRANKLIN

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FOOD

Beef brisket: Now, it turns out that Adamson actually uses the exact same brisket from the same cows as Franklin. As their pitmaster says, if they cook it right, it should be just as good as down south. And I gotta say, it’s really, really close. These were far and away the two best briskets I’ve ever had. Maybe the only way to truly compare them would be to eat them both at the exact same time. They’re both super-tender, juicy lucy, melt-in-your mouth… Of course, you gotta order it fatty. Fatty brisket was my nickname in high school, bro! So, whose brisket is better? I might just hafta give it to Franklin, by a nose. Cuz hey, I’m pretty sure anything tastes better after lining up five hours for it!

ADVANTAGE: FRANKLIN

Pulled pork: The pulled pork at Franklin tastes how you expect pulled pork to be. Tender, succulent, and goes great with BBQ sauce. But at Adamson, their pulled pork has a nice, peppery taste so you don’t even need no sauce, bro!

ADVANTAGE: ADAMSON

Sausage: At Franklin, it seems the sausage is sort of an afterthought. It’s like “Well, you’re all sold out of ribs ‘n turkey, so I guess I’ll get some sausage?” But at Adamson, you definitely want to add a jalapeno cheddar smokie to your order–even if you’re already getting a three-meat plate!

ADVANTAGE: ADAMSON

Drinks: Franklin serves local Texas craft beer, and they’ll even sell it to you when you’re waiting in line, as long as you remain on the property. Adamson only has a soda fountain…but to their credit, you can get Big Red from it.

ADVANTAGE: FRANKLIN

Dessert: Although I didn’t take it out of the package before taking that photo, the Lemon Chess pie at Franklin is pretty darn tasty. I’d say it’s fairly comparable to Adamson’s coconut cream pie, which you see above. But this one time at Adamson, I had this sweet potato pie that was shut-the-back-door bananas. So I gotta give the edge to Adamson.

ADVANTAGE: ADAMSON

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Now, even after all that deliberation, I’m not sure there’s a clear winner here. The fact is, both of these places are really, really good. If you only visit one BBQ joint in Toronto, it’s gotta be Adamson. There are a couple other places I’d recommend, but only if you’re down for dinner. (Adamson, not unlike most BBQ joints in Texas, only serves food until they sell out–which is usually before 3 pm.)

On the other hand, if you’re ever in Austin, you’ll have to get up really, really early to eat at Franklin. I was one of the last ones through, and I didn’t eat until 2:30. Plus, they were sold out of pork ribs, beef ribs and turkey already. Clearly, I needed to be there before 8. Now, Franklin is a total tailgate experience, like a culinary Heavy Metal Parking Lot in Flavourtown. I think it’s worth checking out at least once–just don’t be like the brosephs who got so wastey-faced that they were kicked out once they got to the front of the line and didn’t even get any brisket!!!!!!!

This might be the best burger I ever ate at a country music concert

So, I’m at the ACC, to see my man The Chief, Eric Fuckin’ Church in concert, bro! Last summer, when he was supposed to play Kitchener, the gig got rained out, and I dived face first into a bacon cheeseburger. Looks like I’m about to do the same thing here…

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They call this the Maple Bacon Burger, and it’s got cheddar cheese, bacon and a maple aioli! As far as concession food goes, this is pretty decent. Burger is nice and thick, bacon is a little on the chewy side, nice crunch from the onions and tomatoes. Fries are super thin, and kinda taste like Swiss Chalet. Now that was a cold 17 dollars I never will get back, son…and that doesn’t even include the beer!