Monthly Archives: February 2021

TORONTO’S TOP TAKEOUT: Beef short rib wellington with duck fat fries!

So, lockdown’s been extended in Toronto for (at least) a couple more weeks, which eats donkey dick. But the delivery apps have helped to make things a little less painful. Last week, DoorDash gave me two codes for 25% off, which I used at Hungary Thai and Torteria San Cosme. And Uber offered me $20 off a $30 “essentials” order, which happened to include Blood Brothers Brewing, one of my favourite local breweries. Hey, craft beer is essential to me, bro! Now, Uber is giving me three codes for 40% off, which is the biggest discount I’ve ever seen…

But there is a bit of a catch, though. The most money you can save is $30, a rule they put in place after Uber paid $50 of my $200 steak dinner from Jacob’s (RIP) last summer. So, if my math’s correct, I can’t spend more than $70 this time. Good thing I’ve found three meals that cost right at or just under that price, starting with this decadent dinner from BlueBlood Steakhouse!

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Now, I had definitely seen the beef short rib wellington on the menu before, but I wasn’t prepared to pay 55 bucks for some puff pastry. That’s why it’s the perfect 40% dinner, though! Dude, this thing practically takes up a whole takeout container, and it’s only meat beneath that crust — no veggies or nothing. The crust is nice ‘n flaky, but a bit crusty on the bottom, and the meat is super-tender. Throw in some of that au jus on the side, which was still warm when it arrived, and I would soooo order this again, even at full price, son!!!

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Now, there was only two sides that would keep this order under $70 — garlic whipped potatoes or these hand-cut, duck fat fries. I already had these fries two years ago when I slaughtered their Wagyu cheeseburger, so I knew they were some of the thickest in the business. Some of ’em were even four-biters, bro! And for 14 bucks, they give you enough for at least two people…if one of those people ain’t me. 😉

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Of course, if there’s one beer that goes great with this upscale take on a British pub classic, It’s a Stout. Yeah, that’s actually the name of the beer! This blackened brew from Kensington Brewing Co. has all the rich, chocolately flavour you’re looking for — and at 5.8%, it punches harder than a Guinness. So maybe don’t drink it for breakfast, bro?

TORONTO’S TOP TAKEOUT: Killer chilaquiles from San Cosme

Now, I was pretty bummed out when Torteria San Cosme, a local Mexican sandwich institution in Kensington Market, shut down during the pandemic. But when I heard that they stopped, dropped and opened up a pop-up shop in the Entertainment District, I was all over that like salsa on a tortilla, hermana! And when I saw that they were serving up chilaquiles, a Guy Fieri favourite, you KNOW I had to get me some!!!

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These chilaquiles rojos were fuera del campo, bro! You’ve got tortilla chips covered in roasted chicken, topped with a tomato-chipotle salsa, crumbled cheese and two scoops of crema. Now, like any dish involving nachos, this didn’t hold up well to delivery — most of the chips were pretty soggy by the time they arrived at my piehole. But while the soggy chips were still tasty, the best bites were the ones that still had a bit of crunch to ’em.

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Of course, you can’t order from a Torteria and not get a torta, cabron! This here’s their torta de cochinita, with tangy pulled pork, refried beans and pickled onions on a well-toasted roll. The chilaquiles were a pretty decent-sized meal on their own…but throw in this killer sammy, and it’s a Flavourtown double down, bro!!!!!!!!!

TORONTO’S TOP TAKEOUT: Hungarian and Thai food, at the same time, dude!!!

The great thing about Toronto is that you can find pretty much any kind of food on earth, and it’s all right here, right now in T-Dot-O. There’s even some pretty crazy mash-ups, like Rasta Pasta, this funky Jamaican/Italian joint in Kensington Market. But just a couple blocks away, in the same damn hood, there’s another joint serving up an even crazier cuisine combination — Hungary Thai Bar & Eatery. Who knew that you’d even want Hungarian and Thai food at the same time, dude???

Now, when I saw this place, I knew I had to try a bit of both. And it turns out they’ve got a Thai & Hungarian Combo for 2 that comes with everything you see above — schnitzel, spring rolls, cabbage rolls and enough pad thai to feed at least two people on its own. Of course, since we’re still in Second Lockdown, there was no second person to share this with…but when has that ever stopped me, bro!!!!!!!!!!??????????

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Now, I’ll admit I’m kinda glad this combo only came with one massive chicken schnitzel instead of two. Don’t get me wrong, I have done two schnitz at the same time before, but let’s just say I didn’t feel like a million bucks afterwards. Plus, this schnitzel platter also comes with soft, roasted potatoes and a pile of bitter, peppery coleslaw, so it’s not like there isn’t enough food here…

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Cabbage rolls almost never look pretty in a picture, and these ones were no exception. The combo comes with one roll per hypothetical person, topped with sour cream and paprika and served with a side of hot sauerkraut, in case you didn’t get your monthly serving of cabbage from the coleslaw already.

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Spring rolls are four to an order, and they’re pretty much what you’d expect, although the shell was a little softer and not as crunchy as your typical Chinese takeout. After polishing off these bad boys, I actually dropped the bean sprouts on top of my pad thai to make sure there was no food left behind, bro!

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Now, this almost seemed like a bottomless bowl of pad thai, bro. I mean, even after I ate everything else, it felt like I had barely put a dent in this dish. But the noodles were nice ‘n chewy, with that tangy tamarind taste. They give you the choice of chicken, shrimp or tofu… but I asked for shrimp and still got chicken. Maybe there were all outta shrimp, Bro Supply???

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Of course, you know this had to happen — when I ordered this combo, I had to get some schnitzel and pad thai in the same bite, bro! And actually, this combo kinda works, with the crunchy, breaded chicken offsetting the soft, chewy noodles. I mean, if schnitzel with noodles is one of Kelly Clarkson’s favorite things, then I guess that’s good enough for me…

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Now, what beer goes with both Hungarian and Thai food, you might ask? Well, this Cuvée 800 from the Belgian monks at Val-Dieu would probably do the trick. This banana-y Belgian ale meshes well with both the lemon juice squeezed on the schnitzel and the citrusy notes of pad thai noodles, without being too heavy at 5.5%. Hey bro, I don’t want no heavy beer when I kinda need to save room for food…

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And yes, I did devour every last bite, bro! I was feeling a little uncomfortable after all those oodles of noodles, but it’s still just another dinner for one in Flavourtown, son!!!!!!

TORONTO’S TOP TAKEOUT: Katsu sandos with black chicken wings…

Now, over in Tokyo, katsu sandos are everywhere — you can even get ’em at 7/11, son! But they’re not so popular in Toronto… Me, I’ve only ever had one, and that was a couple years ago. So when I heard that Tokyo Sando & Chicken was serving ’em up outta Kinka Izakaya on Church Street, I couldn’t have just one, so I ordered two. Oh, and some chicken wings, too. Hey, it’s right there in the name, so it’s gotta be good, right?

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This here’s the classic pork katsu sando, a big, thick piece of breaded pork served between two slices of plain white toast with cabbage, truffle butter and a Dijon donkey sauce. Dude, this sandwich eats like a meal…and that’s only half of it!

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But you KNOW I’m not gonna eat just one sando, bro! This here’s the ebi katsu, with deep-fried shrimp, more cabbage, some Japanese tartar sauce and teriyaki. The shrimp’s a little lighter than the pork, but you do get four to a sando, so I can’t really complain, though…

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But now we’re gonna kick it up a notch! These Kurogoma wings are smothered in a black sesame sauce for a flavour that’s just nuts, bro! Let’s just say I killed a few napkins downing these bad boys…

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TORONTO’S TOP TAKEOUT: Valentine’s Day dinner to go…

I don’t usually go out for dinner on Valentine’s Day — gimme a heart-shaped pizza any day, bro! But since we’re in the middle of Second Lockdown, nobody in Toronto is going out tonight, which means restaurants from all over this city are serving up specials for takeout and delivery instead.

Now, most of the Valentine’s Day dinners I came across were the type  you had to order in advance, pick it up at a certain time and heat it up yourself. I would do anything for love, but I won’t do that, Meat Broaf! So when I heard that Reign Restaurant, this classy joint in the Royal York Hotel, was doing a three-course V-Day prix fixe that comes to order fully cooked on all the delivery apps, well, that sounds like paradise by the dashboard light to me!!!

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So, we’re starting off with some Oysters Rockefeller. These heroes in a half-shell are topped with spinach, garlic breadcrumbs and little bits of bacon. I don’t always eat oysters, but if you bake ’em with bacon, I can do that all night long!!!!

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It’s the time of the season for steak, bro! This 6 oz Canadian tenderloin was served Oscar-style with king crab and Bearnaise sauce, along with a fistful of veggies. Now, the presentation of this dish didn’t survive the delivery — everything was scattered about and the Bearnaise was all over the bottom of the tray — but that didn’t take away from the taste. This was the tenderest, juiciest, mouth-melting steak I’ve had all year! OK, so it’s only February, but still…

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Perhaps the biggest challenge of this Valentine’s Day takeaway was dessert. Would the molten chocolate cake still be warm after dinner? Once again, the delivery didn’t do the presentation any favours, but when I finally bit into it, the cake was still a bit warm, if not molten. A lot of the lava leaked out onto the tin, which means I had to lick it up, lick it up like Gene Simmons, son!!!

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To me, drinking champagne is insane in the membrane, so instead I cracked open a Belgian quadrupel beer from Straffe Hendrik. This strong sipper is 11% alcohol, which can give you a pretty decent buzz when drinking on a hungry stomach. And the last couple sips sure tasted good with that molten chocolate cake!

Now, it’s time for me to settle in for a nice romantic movie. I’m thinking Inglourious Basterds — nothing gets my heart going like killin’ Nazis, Quentin Taranti-bro!!!!

 

 

 

TORONTO’S TOP TAKEOUT: Greek burger with Greek poutine

Before the pandemic, I’d sometimes head down to Alexandros on Queen’s Quay for some quick and easy Greek food. It was mostly a takeout spot, although they did have a small front patio that was right on the lake, which wasn’t a bad place to sit in the summertime. So when I found out they had another location downtown on Church Street, you know I had to check it out. Only, instead of ordering a Greek classic like gyros or souvlaki, I went with more of a mashup with this Greek burger and a side of Greek poutine.

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Now, the burger patty had the taste and texture of a frozen burger from like M&M Meat Shop, but then they added Greek toppings like tomatoes, onions, tzatziki and feta cheese, and served it all in a really big bun. I gotta say, the flavour combo works. I mean, it’s like having a gyro, but instead it’s a burger. So I can go for that…

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Now, I have had Greek fries before on the Danforth, and maybe somewhere else, like W Burger Bar or something. But Alexandros is kicking it up a notch with this Greek poutine. You’ve got fries, a classic poutine-style gravy… but with feta instead of cheese curds. Now this gravy was actually more authentic than a lot of the poutines I’ve had in Toronto, and the saltiness of the feta didn’t seem outta place, but the problem was with the fries. They either didn’t cook ’em long enough or hot enough, cuz they were soft, and not crispy. A nice, crispy fry couldda tied this thing together, but now they’re making me wish I ordered a Greek salad — and that’s a crying shame in Flavourtown, bro!!!!!

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TORONTO’S TOP TAKEOUT: Super Bowl party for one!

One of my last memories from before Coronavirus was going out to a Super Bowl party, where they were serving up a buffet spread of game-day eats, showing the game on the big screen, and I even won the grand prize in the raffle. Of course, this year, there was no going out, no big screen and no grand prize — but I did chow down on a pretty solid Super Bowl spread, thanks to Firkin on Harbour and the Kensington Brewing Company!

It’s been a few years since I’ve been to the Firkin, but when I saw that they were serving up a Super Bowl 55 Super Package with two pounds of wings, cheeseburger spring rolls, Buffalo chicken potato skins, fries, tater tots AND deep-fried pickles, I was all over that like the Tampa Bay D-line on Patrick Mahomes, bro!!!

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Now, with such a big box of food, the only decision I had to make was what kinda sauce to put on the wings. I went with 40 Creek BBQ, which didn’t taste much like whiskey — or BBQ — but added a little bit of tang to these crispy, meaty wings!

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Now, I guess there was a piece of Buffalo chicken on top of this potato skin, but it didn’t really add much flavour. Did that stop me from scarfing it down, though, bro? No way Jose!!!!

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These cheeseburger spring rolls were my Super Bowl MVP. They were the only thing that was still really hot when my food arrived — and it was only a seven-minute drive, bro! And while I didn’t really taste the cheese, if you stuff a spring roll wrapper with ground beef and fry it, I’m gonna be all over that like Tom Brady in the red zone!!!!

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Now, Kensington Brewing Company, from right in the heart of Kensington Market, was offering up a pretty sweet Super Bowl special of their own — a six-pack of tallboys, with two different beers, for 17 bucks… with free game-day shipping! Mine arrived in plenty of time before kickoff, so they were nice ‘n cold to crack open. This Market Pils was the lighter of the two, at 4.7%, but I gotta say it had to be the hoppiest, fruitiest pilsner I ever had. Clocking in at 23 IBUs, it was almost like a Jr. IPA — albeit without that bitter beer aftertaste.

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The other beer in the Super Bowl six-pack was Nasch Vienna Lager, named after a big market in Austria. This one’s a little richer and heavier, at 5.3%, and kinda reminded me of a beer I had at the Steam Whistle Biergarten, Von Bugle Munich Lager. Anyhoo, I only slammed a couple of these bad boys with dinner, but polished off the rest of them before the game was over. Dude, I destroyed that spread like the Tampa Bay defence — can you say Chompa Bay, bro???

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TORONTO’S TOP TAKEOUT: This smoked meat pizza is making me swear in French…

Now, we’re definitely no strangers to pizza on Triple B — whether it’s thin crust, Neapolitan or Detroit-style. Dude, I’ve had everything on pizza from duck breast to spam and pineapple, but when I saw that Church of Pizza, this funky joint inside Storm Crow Manor, was piling smoked meat, pickles and mustard onto pizza, I only had one word… Tabarnac!

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Now, this is definitely not your average pizza, bro. You’ve got a strong smell and taste from the mustard, and they put the pickles on before cooking — cooked pickle really has an atypical texture. But if you get a good bite of that smoked meat, a piece of pickle and just a little hit of moutarde, it’s actually quite tasty. There’s only one thing that could make this better…

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Molson Dry, bro! This Montreal special helps the medicine go down, son! The crisp, not-too-light taste is just the thing to help you house a whole pizza in the middle of a pandemic, and still live to fight another day. Porte-le au sexibus!!!

TORONTO’S TOP TAKEOUT: Holy hell-a, that’s a lotta paella!

Now, you don’t often see a lotta seafood for takeout (although I did order a whole lobster a couple weeks back), so when I heard that Patria, this funky Spanish joint at King and Spadina, was serving up not one, not two, but three kinds of paella, I was all over that like saffron on rice, bro! This dish comes in two sizes, small and large, and you know I’ve never ordered a small in my life, so I went with the large…which is basically just two separate containers of paella.

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Now, if I had known that, I mighta switched things up with one order of Paella de Vieira, but instead, I doubled down on their classic Paella Patria. You’ve got mussels, clams, flaky white fish and some of the tastiest, juiciest, jumbo shrimp I’ve ever seen, son!

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Now, I gotta say, their clams were pretty big… but the mussels were a little undersized. Hey, shrinkage happens to the best of us when it’s cold out, bro!!!

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But yeah, let’s just say I slaughtered a lotta sea creatures — leaving nothing but the shells. Spongebob don’t live here no more, son!!!!!!!!