WINTERLICIOUS 2017: Be vewry vewry quiet…we’re eating wrabbit!

So, we’re hanging out at Bodega on Baldwin St, this funky French joint with a Spanish name. Now, if you’re from Noo Yawk, you’d know that a bodega is a corner store with lotsa cats—but it’s a totally different vibe here. You definitely won’t find a shelf full of Funyuns at this place, son!

bodega_crab_cakes-5

What they do have at Bodega are some righteous, real-deal, funky eats. So, we started out with the blue crab cakes, served nice ‘n hot in a crunchy panko breading with a whole lotta ancho mayo on top for a nice added kick. Of course, they only put the mayo on the top cake, so, y’know, I had to distribute it more evenly. No biggie!

rabbit_au_vin-4

But the real reason we’re here is for the rabbit leg served coq au vin style, with scalloped potatoes, pearl onions, mushrooms, carrots and green beans. Now, I hate to say it tastes like chicken, but with the way they prepared it, you definitely get that feeling—it’s like lapin au vin, Jacques Martin! But at the same time, it also kinda has the texture of roast pork. The scalloped ‘taters are super crispy, and you get a nice little bite of mushroom here, a little onion there… This is probably the first time in my life I’ve eaten green beans two days in a row though, bro!

bodega_pudding-1

But here’s the real pièce de résistance—unemployment pudding for dessert! This Quebec tradition is served up with maple syrup sauce, a side of ice cream, and a couple blueberries for just a bit of tartness. This dish is so tasty, I’ve got the Unemployment Pudding Blues, bro!!!

WINTERLICIOUS 2017: Turkey sausage party in my mouth, bro!

So, we’re hanging out at Biff’s Bistro, this funky French joint on Front St. E. Normally, this place is pretty fancy-schmancy, but for Winterlicious, they’re serving up three course for just 38 bucks—about the same price as an entrée on their regular menu.

yukon_veloute-5

Now, I gotta say, I did not know that velouté was a soup when I saw it on the menu. But hey, when you throw in some Yukon gold potatoes, raclette cheese and a baby gerkin on top, I could eat that off a flip-flop!

turkey_boudin-5

On the other hand, I was pretty sure I knew what boudin is—a blood sausage stuffed with rice. But this here is boudin blanc, and they make it with turkey instead. You’ve got a nice, crispy char on the meat, a tasty potato mash, some sauerkraut, green beans and a couple caramelized apples, for a little sugar. Shut the back door!

biffs_chocolate_cake-2

Of course I still had room for dessert, and I know you’re thinking this is probably the smallest slice of chocolate cake you’ve ever seen. But man, this thing is richer than some of the guys in Trump’s cabinet, with a thick layer of caramel, some toasted oats, and a couple buckthorn berries, for that extra kick. I still couldda eaten a bigger piece though, bro!!!

I dunno bro, but I don’t think we’re in Little India anymore…

So, we’re hanging out at Lake Inez, this brand-new craft-beer Asian-fusion sharing-plates place on Gerrard St, over by Coxwell. Now most joints in this part of town are Lahore Tikka This, Chicken Masala That, Hanging Out Second Avenue Eating Chicken Vindaloo…but this place, this place is totally different. You almost wouldn’t know it’s there—they’ve only got a small sign on the door—and you definitely don’t see it coming, but they’ve really some funky dishes, dude!

sunchoke_skewers-2

Now, I don’t always eat sunchokes, but when I do, I load ‘em up with bacon, green onions and sour cream—baked potato style, bro! The texture is sorta like a potato skin, but they’ve got a nice smokiness, grilled up over Japanese charcoal ‘n all. Pretty sure I could slam 16 of these…but then I wouldn’t have room for the main course!

lake_inez_chop-3

Now, they call this a Large Sharing Plate, but it’s really just a light snack in Flavourtown. This Vietnamese-style pork chop comes in about 17 pieces, and it’s topped with a caramelized fish sauce, crunchy cashews, and a pineapple/cucumber salsa. It’s pretty different from any pork dish I’ve ever eaten—that flavour profile is honky tonk redonkadonk—but you know I’d eat it off a flip-flop if we weren’t in the middle of January!

lake_effect_ipa-2

Of course, you can’t go to a place that has 18 local craft beers on tap and drink only water, so when visiting Lake Inez, I drink Lake Effect IPA from Great Lakes Brewery. This one packs a punch, at 7%, but it actually wasn’t very bitter, especially for an IPA. Lemme tell ya, it sure tastes nice with a pile of pork and a side of sunchokes, son!

WBK brings back the Double Down for brunch, bro!

Now, one of my all-time favourite fast-food feasts was the KFC Double Down. Those cats took two pieces of the Colonel’s original recipe, put a buncha bacon and cheese in the middle, and served it up sandwich style for maximum crunchaliciousness. But it was only for a limited time, dude!!!

They’ve brought it back once or twice, and I’ve even tried a funky Jamaican-style double down in the meantime, but I was still jonesin’ for my fried chicken fix. So when I heard that White Brick Kitchen in The Annex is serving up its own twisted take on this delicious chicken classic, you know I was all over this one, son! Say hello to my crispy little friend:

wbk_double_down-3

Duuuude, there is so much bacon and Swiss cheese on this thing that you can barely see the bottom chicken-bun! And putting a fried egg on top practically guarantees that you can’t eat it with your hands, but this dish is so yuuuge that it’s pretty much impossible to pick up, anyhoo.

And man, this chicken is totally on point. It’s super crispy, with a great seasoning in the breading. Bacon is the perfect texture–not too chewy or too crunchy–and then you’ve got the cheese, which starts melting into the chicken, and the egg yolk running back to Saskatoon like Burton Cummings on a three-day bender… This dish is so money, I dunno how the KFC across the street is even still in business, bro!

wbk_double_down-5

Now, at 21 bucks, it’s also by far the most expensive thing on the brunch menu, and I’m pretty sure I couldda gotten two KFC Double Downs for that price–but after eating WBK’s version, I honestly don’t think I could go back to Kentucky. Unless they bring back the Zinger Double Down though, cuz that shit’s too legit to quit, yo!

We’ve got both kinds of duck here: confit AND breastern!

So, we’re hanging out at Le Batifole, this cozy neighbourhood French joint just a couple blocks from East Chinatown, and they’ve definitely got some funkalicious dishes. Escargot, cassoulet, steak béarnaise…but when I heard that they’re serving up both kinds of duck, well, cue up the theme from Rawhide, cuz we’re countin’ em out and ridin’ em in, Elwood!

batifole_duck_breast-1

OK, now let’s break it down. The duck breast was fatty, chewy, rich and zesty, thanks to the creamy apple brandy sauce. You’ve also got some confit apples on the side for the extra sweetness. The confit was juicy, moist and chicken-leg tender, although it didn’t quite have that crispy skin. But they made up for it with the extra-crispness of these big fat fries, bro!

batifole_frites-4

Now dude, these have gotta be some of the best fries I’ve had in a while. Super-thick and crunchy, nicely seasoned, with a solid terragon aioli—and they definitely don’t short-change ya! I’m not sure I really needed to eat all these French-fried potaters…but I definitely don’t regret it, either!

boule_de_neige-2

But you know I still had room for dessert…and their gourmandises are totally Instagram-worthy. They call this one the boule de neige, and it’s like a creamy snowball right in the kisser in Flavourtown. You’ve got a light, fluffy meringue swimming in English cream, and then some craisins and a gooseberry on top. I almost felt bad about eating this little guy’s face off…but it was totally worth every bite, bro!!!!

Buffalo-style Thanksgiving with Fieri sauce, son!

Now, for me, a pound of Buffalo wings is just a light snack, but when I came across these turkey wings at the grocery store, I figured I wouldn’t hafta pound as many to be fully in my belly. And dude, Longo’s was selling these in pairs for less than two bucks a pop, so you know I had to go all Eddie Money and take some home tonight!

turkey_wings-1

Now, this picture isn’t as zoomed in as you think–these wings are like chicken wings on steroids, son! I was wondering how long to cook ’em; some sites said a couple hours at 350, but I wouldn’t even spend a couple hours watching Metallica in concert, so I turned the heat up to 425 and put ’em in for 20 minutes a side:

turkey_wings-5

But of course, it isn’t Buffalo without the wing sauce. And there’s only one wing sauce this side of the Anchor Bar that’s heading straight down my piehole, dude. I could literally eat this stuff off a flip-flop…but hey, it’s winter boot season, bro!

fieri sauce (1)

After tossing the wings in the sauce in a metal bowl, I threw ’em down with some jalapeno pita chips and an ice-cold Landshark Lager, the really-just-a-dolphin of beers:

buffalo_turkey_wings-7

Now, this meal was so outta bounds, it was wider right than Scott Norwood! The wings were super-tender, nice kick from the sauce, and the chips were crunchalicious…although even less spicy than a Wendy’s chicken sandwich. But who needs spicy chips with spicy wings, anyways?

Well OK, this guy does. Next time, I’ll hafta get Miss Vicky’s instead!

It’s like Jimmy Buffet in a can, bro!

So, last time I was in Vegas, I walked by Jimmy Buffet’s Margaritaville at the Flamingo casino…but I did not go inside, cuz I was on my way to Guy Fieri’s funkalicious Vegas kitchen. (I did go to the Flamingo for the brunch buffet though, bro!)

But a couple weeks back, I was hitting up the beer section of my local LCBO for a case of Coors Light, when I spotted a big ol’ display of Jimmy Buffet brand Landshark Lager…so, you KNOW I had to try it:

landshark_lager-8

Now, they only sell this stuff in tallboy cans, which is optimal for a little stab ‘n chug action, son! It says it’s an “Island Style Lager”—but to me, it tastes kinda Mexican, like Sol or Tecate. And at just 4.6%, I could probably chug about seven or eight of these before I’m wasted away again in Margaritaville!!!!

Hey, I’m pretty sure it’s five o’clock somewhere, dude!