Poutine: It’s not just for breakfast anymore… except when it is!

(Originally written August 8, 2014)

poutine_matinale

Meet la poutine matinale, a before-lunchtime version of the Quebec tradition, as served at popular Outremont brunch spot Faberge.  This place packs peppers, onions, cheese curds and an egg on top of hash browns smothered in hollandaise.  I even paid extra to add bacon–because face it, everything’s better with bacon!

La poutine matinale, $12 (add $2 for bacon) @ Faberge, 25 avenue Fairmount Ouest, Montreal, PQ

banquise_poutine

OK, so this wasn’t my first meal of the day.  (I had, like, a bagel or something beforehand.)  But you almost don’t need dinner after chomping down on La T-Rex at legendary diner La Banquise.  With ground beef, pepperoni, bacon and hot dog atop a bed of poutiney goodness, you actually hafta chew through a couple layers of meat just to get to the fries, gravy and curds.  And yes, that is their signature La Banquise beer in the background. 😉

La T-Rex, $9.75 (regular), $14.95 (large) @ La Banquise, 994 rue Rachel Est, Montreal, PQ.

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Food Truck Feeding Frenzy Friday: Hmm, wonder if I could eat 10 of these…

(Originally written January 16, 2014)

Now this is the kind of food-truck experience I’d been expecting after seeing several episodes of Eat St.  Quirky characters, friendly service and food that someone surely cooked up in their college dorm—in this case, a grilled-cheese sandwich.

gorilla_cheese

Let’s just say this wasn’t your grand-dad’s grilled cheese, with both Doritos and jalapenos inside.  The crunch of the chips hit me right away, with the processed cheese double-teaming my mouth alongside real cheddar.  The jalapeno peppers added a nice sweet kick, making this the equivalent of a nacho sandwich.  Could use more than one napkin though, as things get quite greasy!

Throwback Thursday: That time I ate 10 Doritos Locos Tacos

(Originally written September 4, 2013)

doritos_locos

I had been waiting for this moment to arrive for eons, if not millennia.  Every time I’d see an ad for Doritos Locos Tacos within a commercial break during a football game, or another entertaining episode of Duck Dynasty, I’d immediately drop everything and run down to my nearest Taco Bell (which, incidentally, is three long blocks away).  But even if they weren’t closed at the time, they did not have any Doritos Locos Tacos; twas but an American-only offer… until now.  When I first heard the news that they were finally coming to Canada, I did not jump off the couch, because it was pretty late, and I am well aware of their hours of operation.  That said, I made sure to make my way down there this evening for a most delectable, gut-busting feast.

doritos_locos_receipt

As you can see, the 10 tacos only came to $15.90 plus tax, which is less than you’d pay for a martini at Suits Lobby Lounge.  They did try to upsell me to “Doritos Locos Tacos Supremos,” but it really wasn’t worth paying extra for a little salsa and sour cream, not when I’ve invited my friends Tabasco and Salsa Con Queso to the the party:

side_sauces

What doesn’t taste better with processed cheese sauce? I’d put that stuff on a flip-flop!

locos_with_cheese

Man, this taco was like a one-way ticket to Flavourtown.  Make that 10 one-way tickets.  The shell was hard and crunchy up top, but soft and mushy on the bottom, which is less unappetizing than it sounds.  The beef was lightly seasoned, with the crispness of the lettuce, a little kick from the hot sauce…  But what makes this dish is the salsa con queso.  You’ve got the creaminess of the cheese sauce, some heat from the peppers–I put that shit on everything (or at least on macaroni).

Of course, 10 tacos in one sitting is not for the weak of cholesterol.  By the fifth one, I was already counting how many I had left; by the seventh, I could start to feel it in my chest.  When I bit into the ninth, the aftertaste kicked in, and I broke into a violent coughing fit about halfway through.  But nobody wants to be the guy who buys 10 Doritos Locos Tacos and only eats nine of them, so I soldiered on, leaving a whole mess of wrappers–and some orange Dorito fingers–in my wake:

taco_aftermath

(See those pill bottles on the left?  I’m gonna be needing some of all of them in a bit…)

All Hail Cheese Seitan!

(Originally written August 21, 2014)

So I had vegan food today, and hey, it’s actually not bad!  It’s not something I’d do every day, but I figure that if I’m gonna eat something with no meat, it better resemble meat as closely as possible.  Hence, the Philly cheese seitan at Hogtown Vegan:

hogtown_vegan (1)

To their credit, it actually looked like meat.  Not the thinly-shaved ribeye you’d find in a cheesesteak, mind you; more like gyro meat, which I’m pretty sure still has some beef in it.  Of course, this dish was completely beef-free.  I’d say it also had the texture of a gyro, and a nice dash of seasoning…but it certainly didn’t taste like steak.  And I’m not sure the cheese sauce really reminded me of cheese, though it certainly was messy!  On the other hand, the fries were pretty much your standard fries, cuz hey, you can’t vegan those up, eh?

Alas, while I came away satisfied with the overall edibleness of the meal, I will say that the tatooed-hipster service at the Bloor St. W eatery left a little to be desired–which is to say, it was rudimentary at best.  The place wasn’t even all that busy, but I did not see a server between the time we received our food and the time we finished eating.  Hey, I mighta had another beer or two (Mill St Organic, natch) there, instead of hitting up some hipster bar down the street, had they been a bit more attentive.  (Said server also would’ve received a more respectable tip to go towards her latest performance-art piece.)

I will say this: I’ve got a bit of an unpleasant aftertaste right now, and I don’t think it’s from the Mill St. Organic…

Hogtown Vegan, 1056 Bloor St. W (East of Dufferin). Philly Cheese Seitan, $13.

How to make a better cheesesteak than the Air Canada Centre

Now, I’ve been to the ACC a buncha times, and I gotta say, some of their food options are OK. I would totally recommend the roast beef sandwich at the Real Sports stand—if you’re sitting in the lower bowl, they can even bring it to your seat! But I would definitely advise against ordering their sorry excuse for cheesesteak from one of the other places. Not unless you like eating subway shoe leather served on a crappy hotdog bun with some sorry-ass cheese sauce. Let’s just say that if the ACC’s cheesesteak was a Spinal Tap album, it would be Shark Sandwich. (Love those guys, by the way!)

In fact, I was so infuriated after paying $10.50 for this garbage that I set out to make my own, using only a frying pan and a cutting board. Cuz hey, you don’t hafta be fancy to make a steak sandwich!

homemade_cheesteak (1)

OK, so here’s what I did. I took some steak, some onions and some peppers, slapped ‘em up with a Slap Chop, and threw ‘em in a goddamn pan on medium for five freakin’ minutes. The end result was delicious. Tell me you wouldn’t pay $10.50 for this:

homemade_cheesteak (3)

So hey, if you happen to see me hanging out at the upcoming Motley Crue reunion tour, then no, that isn’t a cheesesteak in my pants—I’m just happy to see Tommy Lee! 😉

No trip to Ottawa would be complete without a visit to Fake Real Sports

(Originally written August 27, 2014)

ottawa_real_sports

Now, I’ve been to the real Real Sports Bar & Grill a handful of times, mostly to watch football–whether it was the Super Bowl, a post-Seahawks-shitstomping-Buffalo celebration, or, more recently, when I had basketball tickets on the evening of the Hawks’ Wild Card playoff game.  The one time I went there for the Stanley Cup Finals, I couldn’t get a seat.  But the Ottawa edition certainly wasn’t packed for an afternoon CFL contest and some NFL preseason action–not even at 7:30 on a Saturday.  (Then again, isn’t that when most Ottawans hit the hay, anyways?)

That said, ownership has done a pretty good job of making the George St. location seem like Real Sports on steroids–if steroids made your junk smaller.  (Oh, wait!)  It’s almost like a miniature version of the real thing, what with its frosted glass bar, back wall of beer taps, and a centrepiece TV that you can see from the scaled-down second floor.  Of course, while the real Real Sports boasts a giant screen the size of a Toronto townhouse, the Ottawa edition is roughly as large as your MP’s office.  Which is to say, you still gotta crane your neck to watch the action when seated at the bar.

I will say this, though:  While I wasn’t impressed with the food in Toronto the one time I ate there, I’d say my capital-city meal was a major improvement.  Although I can’t say it was an Ottawa thing–the two menus are virtually identical; in fact, the sandwich I ordered features prominently on the Toronto Real Sports’ website.  That said, the Triple Threat puts three good things between two pieces of bread: namely, pulled pork, beef brisket and peameal bacon.  The first two blend together quite nicely, while the latter adds another texture to the dish.  And the best thing about this sammy?  No veggies in sight!

real_sports_sandwich

UPDATE: It would appear that the Triple Threat is no longer on the menu…but they do offer something called “Winner Winner Chicken Dinner,” which is most likely trademarked by Guy Fieri. 😉