Fried chicken ‘n fried calamari @ Eastside Social

So, we’re hanging out at Eastside Social, this funky little joint on Queen St E that’s kickin’ it East Coast style with all kinds of seafood. You’ve got octopus, ceviche, crab cakes, poke…and these crunchy onion rings of the sea, fried calamari:

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Not gonna lie, this was some of the best calamari I’ve ever had. The squid just melts in your mouth like buttah! Batter is crispy, but not too heavy, you’ve got some zest from the lemon, and a nice chimichurri aioli. I would put that on a flip-flop!!!

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Of course, because one fried thing deserves another, we’re going with the fried chicken. These weren’t the biggest pieces of bird I’ve ever had, but throw in a chipotle hot sauce and a nice potater salad, and I definitely can’t complain…

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These ain’t yer grandpappy’s Buffalo wings, bro!

So we’re hanging out at Big Ditch Brewing Company, this funky craft brewpub in the city that put the Buffalo in Buffalo wings. But at this joint, they don’t just toss ‘em in Frank’s Red Hot and butter – they’ve got a secret ingredient, their Hayburner IPA.

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Now, these wings are super-crispy, straight outta fryer and very lightly sauced, with a side of blue cheese – dude, this is body by blue cheese! I went with mine medium, after the server said the only guy who likes ‘em hot is a fireman who burned off all the nerves in his tongue. I gotta say, there was not a whole lotta heat here…but I still hosed ‘em down with a couple beers, bro!

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This is a pint of Lemon-Lime Pineapple Breeze, a seasonal special from their not-quite-winter menu. You’ve got a light, fruity, crushable wheat ale with pineapple juice, lemon zest and dry hops, for that little extra kick.

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Now, after pounding that plate of wings, I still had room for some liquid dessert! This Cinnamon Apple Amber Ale is brewed with apple cider, cinnamon, allspice, oatmeal and brown sugar, and tastes pretty much the way it sounds. Still better than last year’s Mill St. Christmas beer, though!

This double cheeseburger isn’t quite a slam dunk…

So, we’re hanging out at Dunk Burgers & Chocolate, this funky little joint that just opened up on Queen St, a couple blocks west of Bathurst. Dude, this body is 50% burgers and 50% chocolate, so you KNOW I had to come check it out — and everything on the menu was 50% off for the first two weeks!!!!!!!!!

Now, this place has got 10 different burgers and chicken sammies to choose from — not even counting the Beyond Meat burger. This was the hardest decision I had to make all week, but I ended up going with the Got Cheddar, with its deep-fried pickles, over The O, which is topped with onion rings. I just don’t think I can get a better onion ring than the ones I had in Buffalo a couple weeks ago, bro!!!

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Now, they definitely don’t shortchange ya on the cheese — and they also go pretty heavy on the BBQ sauce. But I was expecting some crispy, crunchy, pickle spears…and instead I got a couple pickle chips, which did not seem to have come Straight Outta Fryer. And hey, I get that they’re new, but they broke the First Rule of Flavourtown — when I asked to add (beef) bacon, they told me they were all out!!! 😮 😮 😮

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Also, it’s probably worth mentioning that you can’t order any regular French-fried potaters here — they either had sweet potato waffle fries or home fries, which were described to me as “potato wedges” but are clearly more like your friendly neighbourhood hash browns. Don’t get me wrong, I would eat hash browns for breakfast, brunch, and post-Van-Halen-concert snack…but this might be the first time I’ve ever had ’em for dinner?

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OK, so that burger might not have been as baller as Kawhi throwing down on Giannis, but they’re definitely kicking it up a notch for dessert. This here’s the Cookie Monster, and it’s yummy, yummy, yummy in my tummy, son! You’ve got cookies, you’ve got brownies, you’ve got ice cream topped with not one, not two, but three kinds of Belgian chocolate drizzle!? Shut the front, back AND side doors, bro! Next time I’m coming here, I think I might skip right to dessert…

Cutting down a pound of ribs @ Woodlot

So, we’re hanging out at Woodlot, this funky little joint on Palmerston, just offa College Street. This place specializes in honest, simple, handmade food, with both a meat eater and a vegetarian menu. Yeah, so I didn’t even look at the second one…

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Man, these ribs are fall-off-the-bone tender, with a Memphis-style dry rub and a side of crunchy slaw — so I guess I did get one serving of veggies. But you know I’m all about that meat, bro! Normally, I like sauce on my ribs, but that little dusting of dry rub really gave the swine a chance to shine!!!

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Washed ’em all down with a Janky IPA, a slightly hoppy beer from Matron Brewing. Dude, this brewski is like Fred Van Vleet’s defence on Steph Curry in the Finals, bro!!!

Ethiopian lamb ribs @ Lalibela Restaurant

So, we’re hanging out at Lalibela, this funky Ethiopian joint at Bloor and Ossington. Now, I’ve been to other Ethiopian joints before, but this one was named best in the city, and they’ve definitely got the most massive menu — with 69 dishes, not counting salad and desserts!!!

Now, I’ve done Ethiopian beef before, and I even went with a combo platter, but when I saw six different lamb dishes to choose from, I knew I had to pick one. So I went with the goden tibs, a mixture of cubed lamb and lamb ribs:

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Now, this dish actually comes to the table fajita-style on a sizzling skillet, but then they dump it all out on the injera bread for you. The meat itself isn’t spicy, but when you get a bite of the raw jalapeno, that’ll poke a hole in yer taste buds, bro! And while I ate the bony bits with my bare mitts, I did go all Ethiopian style with the injera on the rest — just grip it and rip it, Bro Daly!!!

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Thanksgiving turkey dinner… @ STK steakhouse???

Now, I don’t always celebrate Thanksgiving — I’m thankful for bacon every day, bro! But when I heard that STK, this fancy steakhouse in Yorkville, was serving up turkey and all the trimmings, I figured I would come and check it out:

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Now, they actually sous-vide the turkey, so it comes out nice and tender, with three equally sized slices. Then they smother it in gravy, with some green beans, mashed potaters, stuffing and a sweet potato puree. This was all pretty tasty, even though it only took up like a quarter of the plate — at my place, that plate is always full, bro!!!

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While I stuck to beer the last time I was here, this joint does have some pretty funky cocktails (and also a pretty boring beer list). This here’s the Strawberry Cobbler, a festive special in Flavourtown with Belvedere vodka, muddled strawberries and a Graham cracker crust. It tastes kinda like a strawberry daiquiri, but with more cookies!!!

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Of course, it’s safe to say that after such small servings, I’ve still got room for dessert. We’re talking apple pie, pumpkin pie, sticky toffee pudding and a whole bagga mini donuts… Good thing I wear stretchy pants every day of the week!!!

 

Taming the Beast Burger @ Northern Maverick

So, we’re hanging out at Northern Maverick, this funky microbrewery on Bathurst, just a short stumbling distance from Queen Street. Last time I was here, I slayed not one, but two Gosezillas… but this time, I’ve got an even bigger monster in my sights: the Beast Burger!

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OK, now let’s break it down. What you’ve got is a dry-aged, ground chuck burger topped with braised beef brisket — dude, this is body by braised beef brisket! — a nice smoked cheese, some chipotle BBQ…and a couple pieces of kale, for that one serving of veggies. Man, this burger is so baller, you can get it medium rare and it won’t even give you Mad Cow Disease, bro!!!!

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Of course, if we’re hanging out at a craft brewery, then you KNOW I ain’t drinkin’ hard seltzer, bro! This here’s their Festbier, an easy-drinking German Oktoberfest lager that’ll rock you like a hurricane. All that’s missing is Klaus Meine singing “Still Loving You,” son!!!