Monthly Archives: May 2021

TORONTO’S TOP TAKEOUT: Smoked brisket and smoked salmon Mother’s Day brunch

A few days back, I got an email from Tock saying it’s your last chance to order your Mother’s Day specials. Up until that point, I wasn’t planning on doing anything for Mother’s Day, since we’re still in Lockdown Number 3, and I can’t eat dinner for four by myself. But as I scrolled down the list of Mother’s Day meals, I came across this funky little joint in Parkdale called Noble House that was offering up a Mother’s Day brunch for two with a few of my favourite things — beef brisket, pickles and cake. Oh, and smoked salmon, fruit and veggies, too. Here’s what it looks like with everything unpacked and put together:

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Werd to ya mutha! This smorgasbord board of flavour was meant to feed two comfortably, but it’s more like a light lunch in Flavourtown. We’ve got two beef brisket sammies, with plenty of mustard, four giant pickle spears, a fruit tray, container of coleslaw, apple cinnamon coffee cake and some fully loaded lox. You KNOW I think they’re jiggy, bro!!!!

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But first, we’re getting frisky with the brisky. Seeing the smoked brisket on the menu is what made me buy this brunch to begin with. They give you two handfuls of brisket, four slices of bread and more than enough mustard — along with the super-thick pickles and slaw — to make this a decent deli meal by itself. The instructions were to heat the brisket on a low simmer, and while I eventually figured out what a low simmer was, I probably didn’t leave the meat in the pot long enough. Plus, by the time I put everything else together, it wasn’t really warm anymore…but that didn’t make it any less delicious!

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This brunch kit also came with everything you needed for some fully loaded lox. You’ve got two sesame seed bagels, plenty of cream cheese, smoked salmon, cucumbers, tomatoes, onions, dill sprigs and capers. And I used up pretty much everything, except for some of the cream cheese and dill. Only thing I’d say is that the Montreal-style bagels with the bigger hole in the middle made it harder to put everything together without a bunch of it falling off. Maybe I shouldda tried to make a sandwich? And I still dunno what I’m gonna do with all that extra dill, dough…

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Around here, it wouldn’t be brunch without ice cold beer. This Live Transmission milkshake IPA from the righteous bros at Flying Monkeys is brewed with orange peel, grapefruit and coconut tea, so it’s practically fruit juice…although a lot hoppier, and heavier, at 6.3%.

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Now the beer I had for breakfast wasn’t bad, so I had coffee cake for dessert. This rich, dense cake tastes like apples and cinnamon, with some icing on top. It was probably enough for two people, but you KNOW calories don’t count on Sundays, bro!!!

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And while that was probably the most fruit I’ve ever ate in my life, and I barely even had room for dessert, I gotta say, it wasn’t a bad way to spend Mother’s Day. Mama, I’m Coming Home, Ozzy Os-bro-ne!!!

TORONTO’S TOP TAKEOUT: Cinco de Mayo Tacos from Pico de Gallo

Now we’re getting to that weird part of the year where, thanks to COVID, we’ve started celebrating holidays under lockdown for the second time. Not that we really celebrate Cinco de Mayo in Toronto — kinda like how St. Patrick’s Day isn’t much more than an excuse to day drink, Cinco de Mayo is pretty much just a reason to eat tacos. Lots and lots of tacos, bro! So when I saw this funky little joint called Pico de Gallo all over Instagram with their Combo for 2, you KNOW I had to check it out…even if there’s only one of me.

What we’ve got here is your choice of five tacos, either a burrito or a torta, and chips with guacamole, all for 40 bucks. Or, what we call a light lunch in Flavourtown. Now, let’s break it down…

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La fiesta empieza with a chicken adobo taco. I know this looks like it’s about 50% lettuce, but once you get down to the meat, it’s pretty tasty.

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Now, I was gonna get one taco of every different animal on the menu, except that they messed up my order a bit. More on that later. For now, feast your eyes on one of the Top Five fish tacos I’ve ever had, bro! Fish was light and flaky, with a nice crunchy batter, and the pour-your-own donkey sauce really kicked it up a notch!!!

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We’re staying under the sea with a grilled shrimp taco, topped with coriander, peppers and a spicy, smoky salsa. Now, they put four sauce containers on the platter, each one next to a taco, so I figured those were the sauces they were supposed to go with. But man, I probably shouldda tasted this one before pouring the whole thing onto the shrimp. This sauce was so hot, I needed several sips of Honey Habanero beer to cool it down!!!

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Picked this bad boy up from The Beer Store especially for this occasion. Now, I’ve already had a couple habanero beers south of the border in 2019, and one of them was like the spiciest thing I’ve ever drank. So I was expecting at least a little heat from this beer…and I didn’t get any. I didn’t really taste the honey, either. I mean, it was still a nice, light, crushable brew, but if you don’t taste the two things on the label, then I dunno, bro. Maybe I’ll try another can without any spicy Mexican food to see if it tastes any different.

UPDATE: OK, there is definitely more habanero heat when you don’t drink this with spicy Mexican food. Still not as overpowering as the Mango Habanero Oberon, but I am definitely feeling the bern right now…

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But now we’re back on the taco attack, with the best beef tongue taco I’ve ever had, bro! For me, good lengua should taste like the well-done beef at the edge of a prime rib roast, and this tongue was totally on point. Plus, the salsa I dumped on top wasn’t nearly as spicy as the last one…

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Now, here’s where Pico de Gallo dun goofed. I asked for a Taco Al Pastor in my order, but instead of sweet ‘n spicy pork with pineapple, I got a beef brisket taco instead. I dunno if they were sold out, or if they got mixed up cuz I had also ordered a beef brisket burrito, but that’s the breaks, little man.

Adding to my disappointment, this taco was not very good. The brisket was really dry, and all bunched up in a great big clump. Did it help that I had already eaten four tacos, all the chips with guac, and half a burrito before I even bit into this one? Probably not. But if there’s one taco from this combo that I would avoid ordering next time — even by accident — it would definitely be the brisket.

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Speaking of brisket, this burrito suffered from the same predicament as its taco bro. Meat was really dry, but at least the rice, cheese and chipotle donkey sauce made for a bit of a better bite. Of course, I still ate it all…but I kinda wished I had gone for a Burrito Al Pastor instead!!!!

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TORONTO’S TOP TAKEOUT: Korean fried chicken on Detroit-style pizza

I’ve been a big fan of Detroit-style pizza, ever since we visited the OG, Buddy’s, in the Big D a couple years back. Since then, it’s totally become a trend, with funky joints popping up all over Toronto like 8mile Pizza and Gianna’s Patties and Pies. But when this joint called Ace’s Pizza opened up earlier this year, you KNOW I had to check it out, cuz they’re serving up this pie in the sky that you won’t find anywhere in the Motor City — we’re talkin’ Korean fried chicken pizza, son!!!!

Now this ain’t your typical KFC — not even the kind you’d find at Yonge & Finch. It actually tastes more like General Tso’s, or at the least the cheap ‘n cheerful version I used to get at the food court. It’s a little sweet, not too crispy, with just a touch of heat. But I kinda wished they’d chopped it up a bit more — those big ol’ chunks of chicken don’t really stay on top of the pizza, especially after you bite into it. The corner pieces weren’t too bad, but the middle pieces were especially messy:

And yes, there is kimchi on that pizza too, which has gotta be a first for me. But even in the bites that didn’t have any chicken, the cheese and sauce was pretty tasty. I feel like I could order a pepperoni, supreme or even Hawaiian next time, and it would be TheBomb.ca. As for the Korean Fried Chicken, though, it’s kinda like when you’re really baked, and ya put chicken nuggets on top of a takeout pizza. I mean, these are both good things on their own, but they just don’t really go together, if ya smell what I’m cookin’…