Monthly Archives: July 2022

SOUTH BY SOUTH AUSTIN: Pour some queso on me, in the name of Bob!!!

So, we’re hanging out at Matt’s El Rancho, one of the OG Tex-Mex joints in Austin, since 1952. This place has everything from tacos to burritos to fajitas, but the main reason to come here is for the Bob Armstrong Dip:

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OK, let’s break it down. Basically, you’ve got a great big bowl of queso, with ground beef and avocado, which goes great with the big and crunchy house chips. Nothing wrong with that at all!

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But now it’s time for the main event. This place has a whole lotta lunch specials for just $11.95, but this here’s the Mac daddy. This fajita plate comes with enough filling for three fully loaded fajitas, with your choice of beef or chicken — you KNOW we went with beef, bro!!!

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For the last one, I even put some Bob Armstrong Dip on top, which really kicked it up a notch!!!

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And if there’s one beer that screams Austin, it’s gotta be this McConauhaze IPA from local brewer Twisted X. Let’s just say it’s alright, alright, alright…

SOUTH BY SOUTH AUSTIN: Texas BBQ meets Japanese izakaya @ Loro

Now, we’re no strangers to Franklin Barbecue on Triple B, having lined up there for six hours last time I was in town. So when I heard that Aaron Franklin had opened this new funky joint with Tyson Cole of Uchi, the most popular Japanese restaurant in town, you KNOW I had to check it out, bro!

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Of course, it’s still all about the brisket, which is so tender they don’t even give you a knife, and is served daily AFTER 4 pm. This beef comes topped with chili gastrique and Thai herbs for a little extra kick!

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But they aren’t just doing BBQ here, bro! They’ve also got Asian food, like these tender and juicy chicken karaage, which are great on their own or with the chili aioli. I’d put that on a flip-flop!!!!

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Washed it all down with a couple pints of Swifty IPA, which happens to be just 5 bucks during Happy Hour, from 2 to 5 on weekdays — now that’s what I call perfect timing, bro!!!!

SOUTH BY SOUTH AUSTIN: The biggest, baddest brisket breakfast tacos in Texas!!!!

Dude, Austin is one of my all-time favourite food cities, bro! We’ve been here a couple times already, but there are so many funky joints in this town that you just can’t visit ’em all in one trip. And hey, I’ve already lined up at Franklin’s and thrown down on Sixth Street, so this time, we’re only going to places that are south of the river. Cuz you don’t need to go downtown to get some of the best food in this town, son!! 
 
Now, I’ve had a few breakfast tacos in Austin before, but I heard that Valentina’s Tex-Mex BBQ, this funky little joint waaaaay down south in South Austin is serving up some of the best in town, so you KNOW we gotta check it out! This place is dishing out BBQ and Mexican food throughout the day, but if you wanna get your hands on one of these bad boys, you gotta get there before 11…
 
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As you can see, the brisket is the star of this show. It costs $3 to add brisket to one of their breakfast tacos, but let’s just say it’s money well spent. Dude, this is some of the most melt-in-mouthy brisket I’ve ever had, bro! I’d almost go back and order 3 more pounds of brisket…except the lineup is kinda long.
 
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So we’re starting off with the Ultimate Bean and Cheese, which adds a fried egg on top of beans and cheese — and then of course they put the brisket on top. Brisket is the main flavour here, but the other elements add to it quite nicely.
 
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But now we’re kicking it up a notch with The Real Deal Holyfield. You’ve got a fried egg, bacon and home fries, plus brisket, topped with salsa. Forget breakfast — this is one of the best tacos I’ve had any time of day, bro!!!
 
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And yeah, these were some of the biggest tacos I’ve ever had, too. Normally, there’s no way I’d be full after eating two tacos… But I honestly don’t think I have room for a third (at least not for breakfast, anyways.)

This lamb breakfast stew is like a Persian dip sandwich, bro!!!

So, we’re hanging out at Takht-e Tavoos, this funky little Persian joint at College and Dufferin. Now, this place is only open on the weekends, and only from 10 to 3, so you’re not coming here for lunch or dinner — they serve breakfast and brunch only.

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Now, one of the most popular Persian brunch dishes is this lamb stew called Abgoosht, or Dizi (named after the stone pots they cook it in), and there is some assembly required. What you do is pour the broth into a bowl, and then take this metal masher, and mash up the rest of the ingredients like so. It’s actually kinda therapeutic — take that, chickpeas!!!

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And here’s where it gets really funky. The proper way to eat this dish is to put the remaining meat mixture between two pieces of bread, and then dip it into the broth. So it’s kinda like a French dip sandwich…except it’s Persian. And man, if you love lamb as much as I do, it’s definitely worth the extra effort to put it all together, bro!!!!!!!!

Eating all the meats at Benny’s Barbecue

Now, one thing I was missing during all the lockdowns was some real-deal BBQ. I mean, I did order some BBQ takeout a couple times, but it’s just not the same when it’s sitting in a container for half an hour before you get to eat it. So when I heard about Benny’s Barbecue, this funky new BBQ joint that just opened in a little shack down an alley just north of Yonge & Eglinton, then you KNOW I had to check it out, bro!!!

And when it comes to BBQ, I usually can’t just eat one meat, or two or three… so I went with a Sampler platter, which has a little bit of everything — pulled pork, beef brisket, back ribs, side ribs, turkey and sausage. And since it was Saturday, and they only serve beef ribs on Saturdays, I had to get one of those, too.

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Pulled pork was nice and tender, tastes good with a pickle and a bit of BBQ sauce on top.

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Brisket was more on the fatty side, which is just the way I like it. (Friends don’t let friends eat lean brisket, bro!) This meat didn’t need no sauce — nice and tender and you can cut it with a fork.

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Sausage was hot n juicy with a nice snap. Nothing wrong with that at all!

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Now, it’s been a little while since I’ve had BBQ turkey, and this wasn’t as tender as the last place I remember — that place is closed now though, bro! And it feels like I got five slices of turkey, compared to just two slices of brisket. Kinda wish it was the other way around…

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And now, ribs. These side ribs weren’t bad, but I’d take the bigger, meatier back ribs any day:

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Of course, since we’re talking bout ribs, now it’s time for the main event…

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These beef ribs were just as good, as not better as that place where the owner didn’t have a permit. While I did have a few inedible fatty/gristly bits, the meat on here just melted in my mouth, bro!!!!

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And while this would probably be enough food for three people, it’s just another light snack in Flavourtown. I will say that I did NOT have room for dessert, though…

Trippin’ out over this triple mushroom pizza!!!

You KNOW this is body by pizza, bro! We’re hanging out at Get Well, this funky little dive at Dundas and Ossington that not only has a great craft beer selection, but they’re also making pizza in the back — shut the back door! Last time we were here, in 2018, they had North of Brooklyn supplying the pies, but now they’re going all DIY. Get in the van, Henry Bro-llins!!!!

Now, I had my eye on the al pastor pizza, but it was all sold out when we got there, so instead I set my sights on this festival of funk in Flavourtown, the mushroom pizza:

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Now, I like mushrooms almost as much as I like pineapple on pizza, so this right here is the ticket. You’ve got three kinds of shrooms — cremini, maitake AND honey mushrooms, topped with goat cheese and a little garlic oil for that extra kick. You could make this pizza out of a flip-flop, and it would still taste good!!!!

But you KNOW I’m not going to a funky joint like this and ordering an iced tea, bro…

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Up first, we’ve got this funky Cherry Banana Lime Sour from Merit. Dude, this beer is bananas — and bananas are good! This liquid fruit salad combines the tartness of cherries with a hit of sour lime. I don’t really taste the bananas in there though, bro…

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And because I’ve only had one serving of liquid fruit today, I’m about to double down with a Dream Pop pineapple peach sour from Fairweather. You definitely get some citrus here, but it’s also kinda hoppy, like an IPA. I can dig it!

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And because it takes more than two beers to polish off a whole pizza, I also went with this Prairie Coast Wheat beer from Indie Ale House. Now, compared to its predecessors, this beer isn’t particularly fruity and has little aftertaste — which is just fine when the last couple slices of mushroom pizza start to not go down so easy.

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Now, they do sell pizza by the slice here — for about 6 or 7 bucks a pop. But I figured I’d get more bang for my buck ordering a whole pie for $29. It was quite a bit bigger than I expected, but you know what we say… Just another light snack in Flavourtown, son!!!!!!!!!

Pai Northern Thai’s taking it to Midtown Flavourtown!!!

Now, Pai Northern Thai Kitchen is already known as one of the best Thai restaurants in Toronto. I’ve had green curry beef here that was too legit to quit, and ordered some takeout where they probably got the spice level wrong. So when I heard they opened a second location in Midtown, just a coconut’s throw from Yonge & Eglinton, you KNOW I had to check it out, bro!!!!

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The Uptown menu looks to be about the same as the OG location, so I figured I’d order a couple things I haven’t tried before, starting with these kung tawt garlic shrimp. These super-crispy bad boys go down smooth with a little spicy-sour tamarind sauce on the side. Man, if these shrimp were endless, Red Lobster would be outta business, bro!!!!

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But now it’s time for a different type of beef curry — we be jammin’ this oxtail down me piehole, mon! Meat is super-tender, sauce adds a nice little kick, but you gotta watch out for all them little bones, bro…

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Now, they don’t have as much craft beer here as their downtown joint (from what I remember), but man, whenever I see Blood Brothers on a beer list, I pretty much have to order it. This is the latest installment in their Autopop series, a session sour with cherries. Not gonna lie, I thought I was ordering the Autopop Cherry Cola sour, which I’ve had a couple times before, but this light ‘n tangy fruit punch does go pretty good with Thai food, though.

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But now we’re kicking it up a couple notches with a Black Hand Stout. This rich, dark beer is sorta like Guinness on steroids, coming in strong at 7%…which means instead of slamming six beers, I might only have five.

Back for Round 2 @ Score on King

Two years ago, we headed out to Score on King, this funky little sports bar serving up some ridiculous caesars, where I polished off The Checkmate, a caesar topped with so much stuff, it could feed a family of four (small, not very hungry people). But that was just one of two massively overstuffed caesars on the menu… so now it’s time to say hello to ma lil’ friend, Caesar Grande:

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Do not adjust your settings, son — this drink is topped with nachos, mac ‘n cheese balls, corn dogs (on the other side), a fried chicken sandwich, Nutella pie and a 14 oz burger. So it’s like every part of a balanced breakfast in Flavourtown!!!!

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We gotta start with the nachos, cuz you don’t want those to go soggy, bros. Tri-coloured chips topped with cheese, tomatoes, diced onions, black olives and jalapenos — nothing wrong with that at all. They even come in an edible taco bowl, although some of the edges were extra crispy.

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The two “scorn dogs” (as they call them) are a nice little snack that really takes you back to your childhood — if you spent your childhood in sports bars drinking overloaded caesars, that is.

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Now, deep fried mac ‘n cheese balls are one of the greatest culinary creations of all time…and their version definitely didn’t disappoint.

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On the other hand, the fried chicken sandwich was kinda meh. Not overly saucy or crispy, it was just there. Oh, and they also put cheese on it, for some reason?

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But now it’s time for the piece de beef-sistance: the 14 oz Score Burger. When I checked off The Checkmate, I ate a regular-sized cheeseburger in the process that was pretty tasty, but this one might be too much of a good thing. Sure, you’ve got some lettuce, tomato and donkey sauce here, but what you really taste is meat, meat, meat, Damned Bros!!!!

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Of course, this multi-course meal also comes with dessert, and we’re talking Nutella pie, son. It maybe melted a bit in the early evening sun, but still hit the spot.

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Now, unlike The Checkmate, The Caesar Grande is completely boneless, so there is no sexy aftermath shot…but let’s just say I didn’t let a drop go to waste. 😉

Winner, Winner, Chicken Dinner @ Taverne Bernhardt’s

Now, we don’t always eat chicken on Triple B — gimme steak any day of the week, son! — but when I heard about Taverne Bernhardt’s, this cozy little joint on Dovercourt serving up chicken so legit it landed in the Top 30 of Canada’s 100 Best Restaurants, then you KNOW I’m there with a beret on, bro!!!!

They do have some sides and starters, and maybe another main dish or two, but the star of the show is definitely the rotisserie chicken. You can either get a half chicken or full chicken dinner, which comes with pickles, slaw, a dinner roll and your choice of fries or potatoes. I guess a full chicken could probably feed up to 4 people (maybe more if you order some starters), but the half chicken dinner is a nice meal for one in Flavourtown:

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Dude, this chicken is like Swiss Chalet on steroids, bro! Moist, tender, juicy, it goes great smothered in gravy. And the band’s all here — breast, leg, drumstick, wing — I just can’t stop eating this, son!!!!

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Oh, and while I’m told the potatoes are pretty good, I still say you gotta get the fries. Some of the crispiest, beefiest french-fried potaters I’ve ever had. You don’t even need ketchup, and I always eat ketchup with fries, son!!!!

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Now, there may be a handful of beers on the menu (which isn’t available online), but last night, they only had two.

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We’re starting off with a Matron Summery Landbier, which I believe might be brewed exclusively for Bernie’s (as the cool kids call it). This beer is so light, it’s actually under 4%, and while it does have more flavour than Molson Canadian…I’m pretty sure the dishwater at Taverne Bernhardt’s tastes better than Canadian, too. 😛

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The other beer they weren’t sold out of was True History’s Just a Pils, which is pretty much exactly what it says on the can. It doesn’t go too bad with some rotisserie chicken, though…

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And when it comes to dessert, there are only two options — cake OR ice cream. Since you can’t combine em, I gotta go with the chocolate cake, topped with hazelnuts and cherries. This is so rich ‘n decadent that I wouldn’t even know it was flourless if it didn’t say so on the menu. Man, this might be the best gluten-free thing I’ve ever eaten, bro!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Allez les Duck le Bleu!!!!

Now, we’re pretty big fans of French food here on Triple B, and one of the most classic French dishes is duck confit. So when I heard Joy on Avenue, this funky little joint in Yorkville, was serving up this dish called Duck le Bleu, you KNOW I had to check it out, bro!

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But before we get to the duck, first let’s have some pork. Dude, this pork belly is super-tender, with cauliflower puree on the bottom and wild figs on top. I could crush at least four of these, son!

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Speaking of things that come in fours, these seared scallops are super-legit! Man, after that disappointing Crouching Melon, Hidden Scallop dish I had at Chica, I was hungry like the wolf for some real-deal bivalves, and these babies definitely didn’t disappoint!

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Now, usually when I see duck confit, it would be duck leg, not duck breast. But the meat here is cooked perfectly, nice ‘n juicy. And it’s served with a side of blueberry risotto, which puts the bleu in Duck le Bleu. Man, this would really go great with a Blanche de Chambly Bluet…but they don’t serve any beer at this place at all, bro. 😦 😦 😦