Monthly Archives: July 2016

Y’all can kiss my shrimp and grits!

So, we’re hanging out at Electric Mud, this funky BBQ joint in Parkdale. Man, this place has everything—pork rinds, buffalo cauliflower, crack bread… What’s crack bread, you say? Well, it’s when you go over to Rob Ford’s house, and… OH WAIT, TOO SOON!!!???

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Anyhoo, these buns were super fluffy and tasty, and the smoked butter really kicked it up a notch! But of course, that was only an amuse-bouche, cuz we’re coming in hot with a southern brunch classic. Man, I haven’t had grits since that one time on spring break in South Carolina, when we stumbled into Waffle House at 3 am after doing tequila shots with Luke Bryan at the NASCAR Racing Experience… Now, THAT was my kinda night, son!

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Hey, these might not be country-girl grits, but they were still shakin’. Nice creaminess, kind of a risotto-y texture to ‘em. And the shrimp was outta bounds. Hot ‘n juicy, with a nice kick from that red-eyed gravy… I could probably eat three of these, with another round of crack bread for dessert!

FRONT STREET FOODS: This pulled pork is straight outta Sigsig!

It’s my last day at Front Street Foods, and we’re saving the best for last. Today, we’re going way outta bounds to try some cuisine that you don’t see every day. No, I’m not talking Croatian, Uzbekistani, or even East Timorian—but Ecuadorian food. That’s right, the country that’s keeping my brother from another mother Julian Assange holed up in its embassy… This is La Fiesta Catering!

Now, this funky little open-air kitchen is serving up some serious fusion food, like on-point paella, kickin’ chicken kebobs and plantains covered in cheese. You’ve got your empanadas, your hornados, and this piece of pulled pork perfection, right here:

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OK, let’s break it down. The pork is super-succulent, smooth as Chris Stapleton; you’ve got a nice kick from the onions, a tangy dressing on the salad, and a heavy helping of yellow rice. And then we get to the llapingacho. This potato patty is no laughing matter, bro—they mash up some Yukon golds and grill ‘em up golden brown on both sides. It’s like Mashed Potatoes Gone Wild, a real fiesta in mi boca!

And, believe it or not, but this delicious dish will only set you back 760 centavos, son! That would be 10 bucks Canadian, but hey, they actually use U.S. dollars in Ecuador, in case you’ve got any greenbacks at home…

FRONT STREET FOODS: Chowdah fries are wicked awesome!

Now, you know I loves me some poutine, so when I saw this funky New England take on a Canadian classic, I had to shove it down my piehole. Man, this dish is, dude!

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OK, let’s break it down. You’ve got a nice, rich, creamy chowder with little chunks of clam and potato—that’s right, it’s potato on potato—P squared, son! And the fries are super-crispy, straight from the fryer… But what makes it is the bacon bits on top. They give it just a little extra crunch that really takes everything to the next level.

I dunno bro, but I honestly think these fries belong in my Poutine Hall of Fame. Werd to ya mutha!

FRONT STREET FOODS: We’re racking up some righteous raclette!

Now, this has gotta be one of the funkiest things you’ll find at a food fair. We’re talking charbroiled cheese from Switzerland, roasted garlic potatoes—and, now this is where it gets super-crazy—a kale side salad with a chili vinaigrette. Is your mind blown yet? Well, it’s about to be:

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Now, I dunno if you ever had raclette, but it was a staple in the Catucci casa when I was a kid. We had this great big burner, and we’d take some cheese, put it on these little trays, and stick ‘em on top until it was all gooey, melty goodness. Well, this place does it a bit differently; they take a big block of cheese, put it in a broiler, and then scrape off a nice, melty chunk of it on top of yer taters. I’m not sure if that’s the traditional way, but it’s sure pretty tasty!

So, you’ve got a nice, rich sharpness from the cheese, which is just ooey-gooey-yabba-dabba-dooey. The potatoes are cooked perfectly; nice and warm, but not too mushy. And there is definitely a hint of garlic in there—I’ve still got garlic breath as I type this!


Now, on to the salad. I’m really not a kale freak, but hey, it comes with the meal, so I’ll take it. And hey, as far as veggies go, this is pretty good stuff. You’ve got a nice crunch, with some dried apricots and beets, and just a little kick from the vinaigrette. But the Gerkin pickles are what makes it. You gotta have Gerkins with raclette, bro. All that’s missing are the pickled onions!

Now, you can actually kick this dish up another notch by adding a honey-smoked sausage for like three bucks. I don’t normally say no to sausage, but this time, my piehole’s completely stuffed already, dude!

FRONT STREET FOODS: Ice cold coffee and donuts, bro!

Now, I don’t always drink coffee, but when I do, I make it cold as ice. This is normally a nitro-brewed beverage, but apparently they were all outta nitro today:

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Either way, they poured it nice ‘n slow from the tap like a Guinness, and served it over ice. You could still see the cold steam coming off the cup, son! And hey, it was smart of Front Street Foods to stick this place right next to a mini donut stand. Dude, this is body by mini donuts!

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They make these cake holes fresh to order right in front of you, so I got to watch the batter go through the automated frying process, which was pretty awesome. If I had one of those in my kitchen, I’d probably weigh, like, 400 pounds or something. And at the end of the line, they toss ‘em in cinnamon sugar, which is sweet, but not too heavy. Normally, these things are just loaded with sugar, but this place doesn’t go overboard—actually, if anything, I probably couldda used a little more sweetness.

Scaddabush has a nice snapper, son!

So, I haven’t really done Summerlicious this year, cuz I’ve been eating at Front Street Foods pretty much every day. But I had never been to Scaddabush before, and they were offering up a three-course meal for 28 bucks, which is a lot less than I spent that one time at that funky Japanese joint with the sushi boats. Now, I was gonna spend my Friday night cranking Gary Numan and watching the Jays on TV…and it turns out, you can do that at Scaddabush, and eat Italian food, too!

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Now, I loves me some bruschetta, and here they kick it up a notch with avocado and goat cheese. You’ve got a lotta crunch from the focaccia bread, a nice zesty tomato, creamy avocado and some richness from the chèvre. I could probably eat, like, six of these…

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Now, I don’t normally put cheese on fish, but when they’ve got fresh-grated parm, I can’t resist. This snapper had a nice pan-seared crust, the fish was flaky, but what really makes it was the fresh squeezed lemon. They can squeeze my lemon any time!

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And finally, for dessert, was this too-legit-to-quit tiramisu. These ladyfingers were nice and creamy, with a whole lotta espresso and a nice kick of cocoa. Somebody call Nic Cage, cuz this dessert was gone in 60 seconds, son!

FRONT STREET FOODS: These fish ‘n chips are totally off the hook!

Now, I dunno about you, but I loves me some fish ‘n chips. You’ve got some flaky fish in a crunchy beer batter, some crispy fries on the side… Dude, this is body by fish ‘n chips! So when I found a funky little food stand serving up fish ‘n chips for only 10 bucks, you know I had to check it out, bro:

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Now, they sure don’t shortchange ya at this place. You’ve got a nicely fried piece of fish, a whole pile of hot, seasoned, spicy fries and a great big slab of crunchy coleslaw. They give you so much sides, I could almost use another piece of fish, or three, or seven…and just barely have room for dessert!

FRONT STREET FOODS: Bison + Lobster = Best Friends Forever!!!

Now, I know I already ate here a few weeks ago, but I just can’t get enough HotBunzz. This real-deal,, Asian steamed-bun invasion is even more funkalicious than a Duran Duran bassline, bro! So today, I kicked it up a notch with some insane braised bison and sexy surf ‘n turf:

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Let’s begin with bison. This Canadian cowboy is home, home on the range after being braised in Korean kalbi marinade for almost as long as a Triple D marathon on the Food Network. Then they stick it in a bun, and top it with even more bison, an Asian pear puree and a few fried onions, for that extra crunch. The bison is super tender, the bun is nice and crunchy, and I didn’t even use that fork cuz I ended up stuffing this straight down my piehole! But stick around, cuz you know we ain’t done, son…

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Now, for the box-office-smash sequel, they took a braised bison bun and stuck a whole lotta lobster on top. This chicken of the sea is seasoned with a dry jerk spice, some nice brown butter and garlic lemon aioli, to boot! The lobster is super chunky, with a nice hit of jerk, and the bison on the inside is melt-in-your-mouth tender. I’m pretty sure I could eat 17 of these, but they’re two for 15 bucks, and I gotta put gas in the Camaro, so, y’know…

FRONT STREET FOODS: There’s something hokey about this salmon poke

OK, so check it out bro. I’ve always wanted to try poke, the classic Hawaiian fish salad, ever since that episode of Triple D where Guy’s hanging out at Fresh Catch in Oahu with his brother from another mother Reno Henriques. But Toronto’s a long way from Hawaii, dude. It’s not like I can just hop on my longboard and catch the next wave or something…

That’s why I was super-stoked to find Fish’D, a real-deal seafood joint serving up sushi burritos and poke so fresh, you’ll wanna take a nude selfie with it (link NSFW). You gotta catch all of this, son:

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OK, let’s break it down. You’ve got kind of a pico de gallo effect with the zesty tomato and onion, a bit of avocado for creaminess, and some freshness from the parsley. But the spicy salmon is the star of this show, bro. It’s not too hot, but it’s got a nice tang. Oh, and they put it all on top of a whole buncha rice. They asked me if I wanted quinoa instead, but c’mon man! I wish they could serve it up on top of duck fat fries or something…

Here’s a bit of a bummer, though. This dish’ll set ya back almost 16 bucks after tax, and that’s without a drink. And it’s not like it’s super-filling, either—I’m pretty sure I could eat six of these. Maybe next time, I’ll go for the sushi burrito instead.

FRONT STREET FOODS: This vegan taco salad (almost) makes me wanna eat more salad

Now, I don’t usually eat salad—and when I do, I load it up with bacon. But after stuffing my piehole full of bacon grilled cheese burgers this weekend, I opted for something a little lighter today. And hey, I almost didn’t notice there wasn’t meat in this dish. OK, so I kinda wanted to run over to Tacos 101 and ask them to top me up with some carnitas…but I figured that after putting pulled pork on top of fries, I didn’t need more pulled pork on top of salad.

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OK, let’s break it down. You’ve got the creaminess of the avocado, a nice crunch from the corn, some acid from the tomatoes, a nice chew from the pumpkin seeds(!) and zesty red peppers. Oh, and the jalapeno lime dressing was super-creamy. Not too spicy, just the right amount of heat. I kinda hate to say this, but I was actually full after eating this salad…at least temporarily.

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Winner, winner, salad dinner!