Chica’s Nashville Hot Chicken is the new Toronto chicken champion!

Better put on yer boots and go honky tonkin’, cuz Nashville hot chicken is taking over Toronto, bro! A couple weeks back, we hit up Five Points Hot Chicken, this little takeout window inside a funky dive bar at Bloor and Dufferin, and that place was pretty legit. (I would know, cuz I’ve been to Nashville…) But now this new funky chicken joint just opened in The Junction, and it’s 2 Legit 2 Quit. Chica’s Nashville Hot Chicken is run by the former head pitmaster at Adamson Barbecue, the best BBQ joint in the city, and this place definitely knows what’s up!!!

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Now, some hot chicken joints use the heat to hide the meat, but that’s definitely not the case at this place. This chicken is tender, juicy, deep-fried to order so that it explodes all over your face, bro! And yeah, it just might be a little spicy. I went with the medium, which went down pretty easy, but came back to bite me the next day. The taste of love is sweet, Bro-nny Cash!!!

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Real-deal Tex Mex @ HotMess

Don’t get me wrong–I loves me a super-authentic Mexican taco joint just as much as the next Guy (Fieri). But I can also dig it when a joint says “No, we’re not Mexican, we’re Tex-Mex.” And HotMess, this funky little joint in Little Italy, is definitely not ashamed to say they serve Tex-Mex food. Dude, this place has everything: hard-shell tacos, chimichangas, chili con queso, hotdogueros…and of course, you can’t have Texas food without Frito pie:

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Now, I have had Frito pie in Toronto before. Heck, I’ve even had it in Texas. But this is the closest I’ve come to the real-deal, down-home Frito pie experience, where they open up a bag of Fritos, and pour some chili and cheese in the name of love. OK, so they fancy it up a bit with onions, tomatoes and holla-atcha-penos, and they use shredded cheese instead of queso, but I double-dog dare ya to find me anything closer to a Friday Night Lights Frito pie this far north of the border, hombre!!!

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But you KNOW that’s just a light snack in Flavourtown, Texas, bro! So we’re following it up with a green chile patty melt. You’ve got poblanos, serranos and roasted onions on top of a ground-chuck burger with Monterey Jack and even some bacon jam–and it’s all swimming in a green big glob of greasy, grimy donkey sauce! I’d put that on a flip-flop!!!!

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Now, the one spot where they come up short of the full Texas experience is on the beer list. You won’t be able to slam some Lone Stars or Shiners here–hell, I don’t think you can even buy those brews in Ontario, bro! But they do have a pretty decent selection of local craft beer cans, like this light, crisp, Huron County Lager. One thing’s for sure, this joint doesn’t need too much more cowbell!!!

Kiro dreams of spicy scallop sushi…

So, we’re hanging out at Kiro Sushi, this funky Japanese joint just offa Yonge Street, a sushi’s roll from the Toronto Reference Library. And speaking of sushi rolls, this place has no less than 16 different makis on their lunch menu, including this mac-daddy maki, the spicy scallop:

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These scallops are super creamy, with just a bit of cucumber, a nice crunch from the flakes and a tiny little kick from the Japanese donkey sauce. But because one good maki six-packy deserves another, you KNOW we’re not done here, bro!!!

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This eel avocado roll is so outta bounds, it’s swimming backwards into a wall of fire, Matthew Good Bro! You’ve got these frickin yuuuge chucks of avocado, a nice, flaky piece of eel, and just a dollop of teriyaki sauce. And did I mention that six pieces of these, the six spicy scallops, plus a fistful of fresh fish is just 18 bucks after tax!? For a few dollars more, you can get extra sushi, or even some sashimi, son! And boom goes the dynamite!!!

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Hot N Cold Portuguese tapas @ Chiado

Now, when you think tapas, you’re probably thinking Spain, or maybe Japan, but did you know they’ve also got small plates in Portugal? Well, at least they do in Little Portugal, bro! We’re hanging out at Chiado, this fancy Portuguese place on College, just west of Ossington. They’ve actually got a full-fledged tapas menu here, but if you wanna classy it up, you can make a reservation in the dining room, and order a lot of the same stuff as appetizers. You will hafta leave your trucker hat at home though, bro!!!!

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Dude, these clams are clam-tastic! You’ve got a bowlful of steamed babies, with garlic, coriander and a white wine/olive oil broth that goes great with the bread basket, bro!

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This was some of the fanciest smoked salmon I’ve seen, served up pinwheel-style with onions, capers and a hard-boiled quail egg!!!

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Now, I don’t always go for goat cheese, but since they insisted, I couldn’t resist it. This toasty goatsy is served on a bed of eggplant and portabellas, with a champagne supernova vinaigrette!

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Now, I’m a sucker for some great grilled squid, whether it’s battered and fried Greek style, or done up all Japaneezy. At this place, they cook it with coriander, lemon, garlic and a little extra virgin olive oil, for that extra kick!

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Now here’s a funky dish you definitely don’t see every day! You may have had beef carpaccio before, but do you even know fish carpaccio, bro? This thinly sliced raw grouper is served up with white asparagus, pine nuts and a little preserved citrus adding just a touch of zestiness.

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And now we’re getting into the funky portion of this evening’s performance, with some grilled piri piri quail served on top of a shiitake mushroom risotto. Tastes just like chicken!

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Now, I’m not sure if this shot gives you any sense of just how massive these tiger shrimp are, but I gotta tell ya, they’re pretty freakin’ yuuuge. They’ve also gotta be some of the plumpest, tenderest, tastiest crustaceans I’ve ever stuffed my face in. I could probably slam seven or eight of these…if they weren’t 38 bucks an order!

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And finally, you’ve got the special du jour, a creamy tuna tartar with chunks of avocado, onion and I forget what that yellow stuff is. Dude, this is like a culinary hockey puck of awesomeness in Flavourtown. He shoots, he scores, bro!!!

Now, in case you were wondering, I did NOT eat all eight of these amazing apps alone…I might have had just a little help from my friends. But, on the plus side, at least I saved some room for dessert:

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Dude, this chocolate mousse is totally scattered, smothered and covered with tons of tasty toppings! You’ve got walls of milk and white chocolate, three kinds of berries, a couple different sauces for swiping…and then there’s these little lemon meringue kisses on top. And you know this plate ain’t clean until I lick it up, lick it up, whoa-oh-oh!!!!

 

 

I’m about to smash some bangers and mash!!!

Now, when the weather’s tip-top, there’s nothing I like more than nipping out for a cheeky pint…or at least, that’s what my British cousin might say. But when it comes to real-deal, authentic English pubs in Toronto, the Elephant & Castle is where it’s at! They’ve got a couple in this city, one on Yonge, and one on King, where there’s serving up a whole buncha British pub classics, like these smashing beauties, bangers and mash:

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Dude, this sausage party is heading straight down my piehole, bro! You’ve got some hot ‘n juicy sausage that’s equal parts Polish and breakfast, with garlic mashed potaters and a rich beef gravy. This dish is so dope, Russell Brand even wrote a song about it:

Of course, you can’t slam some Bomb.co.uk bangers without a pint of Guinness, innit? This one’s poured pretty much perfectly:

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Mussels from Brussels @ Wallace Gastropub

So, we’re hanging out at The Wallace Gastropub, this funky craft beer joint on Yonge St, just a flying roundhouse kick away from Davisville. Now, you KNOW I’m always down to check out a joint with good food and good brews, even if it means I gotta park the Camaro and get on the subway. (Rush hour’s a bitch, bro!!!!) And this place’s menu looks pretty legit, with bison chili nachos, a house-smoked-bacon burger, and both kinds of schnitzel–pork AND chicken!

But what brought me here tonight are the three kinds of mussels. These babies will normally set ya back 14 bucks, but on Tuesdays, they’re just $9.99–and that’s with a side of fries, son!

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OK, so maybe a few of the mussels didn’t open, the tomato sauce was a little spicier than I expected, and they were all out of bitchin’ mussel pots, so they had to bring mine in a bowl…but for $9.99, I am definitely not complaining! Especially when I can wash it down with an ice cold Beau’s, bro!

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Not only did we get some dirty mussels, done dirt cheap, but from 4 till 7, Canadian craft beers are just five bucks–which is another reason to avoid rush hour, son! And when it comes to their crisp, golden larger of deliciousness, I definitely think this tractor’s sexy, Brony Chesney!!!!

 

Cinco de mayo tacos @ Seven Lives

Happy cinco de mayo, hermanos!!!! With a high of 25 in the city today, it’s the perfect weather to head down to Kensington Market for some real-deal Mexican tacos, bro! Seven Lives is serving it up Tijuana style with eight different tacos packed so full of meat and/or seafood that you need at least two tortillas to even try to contain them:

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I wish I was in Tijuana, eating barbecue cabeza! This super-tender beef cheek just melts in your mouth, and there’s so much meat here, it’s spilling out the back!

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Now here’s one you definitely don’t see every day. This pulpo taco was tastier than fiction, with some crisp celery to balance out the thin, chewy chunks of grilled octopus. There was so much food here that the double shell even started to break!!!

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But you KNOW we gotta save room for the in-house special, El Gobernador. This Governor of Flavourtown pumps you up with smoked blue marlin, juicy shrimp, and, just when you thought it couldn’t get any better, a hidden layer of melty cheese. You know I’ll be back for this one, bro!!!!

Now, I can normally eat five tacos for breakfast, but after scarfing down these three, I think I might only have room for one more…and by the time I get back in line, I might even change my mind! For six bucks a taco, you totally get your money’s worth, bro!!!!