Well, I’ll be a blackened Cajun chicken liver!

Now, you know I like my chicken fried, cold beer on a Friday night, and all that other southern stuff. We may not be from the South, but we’re in Southern Ontario, son, hanging out at Southern Accent, this real-deal funky neighbourhood joint serving up Cajun food since 1984–that’s 10 years before Joe Diffie, bro!

Now, this place has got some good ol’ fashioned Cajun cooking, like jambalaya, shrimp ‘n grits and catfish, but what really caught my eye was the blackened chicken livers. Hey, if I eat enough livers, maybe mine will grow back stronger?

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Now, these are like blackened balls of goodness in Flavourtown, son! It’s sorta like chicken pate with Cajun seasoning, then you’ve got some garlic toast, and a little lemon butter on the side. One of the best appetizers I’ve had all year–and that ain’t no joke, cowpoke!

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But one does not simply snack on some chicken livers before calling it a night–and it wouldn’t be my kind of night without a little catfish dinner, dude! This farm-raised filet comes coated with crackers and served with greens, rice, and a holla-at-ya-peno tartar sauce. You may not find this dish in no Luke Bryan video…but gimme Alabama any day, bro!

It’s like a culinary Cuttlefish of Cthulhu in Flavourtown!

So, we’re hanging out at Ebisu, this funky Japanese joint on Queen Street West, just like a block or two from University Avenue. Now, this place has got sushi, they’ve got ramen, but they’re also serving up all kindsa crazy stuff that I’ve never even tried before, like this funkalicious Flavourtown fishfuck—BBQ cuttlefish, bro!

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Now, the last time I tasted cuttlefish, it was spraying me from the stage of the Opera House. But this was a totally different beast here. It’s got the texture of calamari, grilled up Japanese style, all chewy and rubbery, but the tentacles are totally what makes it. I actually didn’t need to eat more than one of these, cuz they give you like 17 pieces, bro!

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Of course, that wasn’t the only seafaring creature I shoved down my piehole. One of their monthly specials was the soft-shell crab, served up crispy with some mushrooms on the side. It was kind of hard to pull this guy apart with just a fork, but once you got to the meat inside, it was well worth the effort!

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But this has gotta be the piece de resistance, right here. Now, my brother from another lover Anthony Bourdain is always going on about beef tongue—it’s pretty much his go-to taco, bro! So when I saw the BBQ beef tongue, I knew I had to try it. But here’s what I wasn’t expecting…they give it to you raw, and then you gotta cook it up yourself like some Fine Young Cannibal! But at least it’s like having your own personal grillsus, with this mini hibachi here. Turns out I like my lengua extra crispy. Who knew?

Frozen butter chicken poutine—what will Loblaws come up with next!?

Now, I only go to the Maple Leaf Garden Loblaws like once a year, on Easter Sunday, cuz it’s the only grocery store that’s open. And they’ve always got some funky finds I never see anywhere else. Last year, I scored some wild boar, and even tried frozen microwavable Chili’s. (It probably wasn’t any worse than regular Chili’s.) But this year, I spotted something so honky-tonk redonkadonk it made all those other dishes go redneck crazy, bro! It’s Quebec meets Indian in a box—PC frozen butter chicken poutine!

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So basically, there are three elements to this dish. You’ve got your fries and your sauce, which you heat up at 425 for 25-30 minutes, and then your curds, which you’re supposed to let thaw, conveniently, for 25-30 minutes. They say to combine everything in a bowl, but I ain’t got a bowl that’s big enough, so I had to put it all in this big ol’ dish, which is like a culinary hubcap in Flavourtown:

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Now, this dish actually came together better than I thought. The fries were nice and crispy, the curds were warm enough to melt, although they didn’t really squeak, and the butter sauce was pretty much on point. The chunks of chicken were, well, edible at least, although they didn’t really add that much in terms of texture or flavour. But hey, while I won’t be opening a frozen wing of the Poutine Hall of Fame anytime soon, I will say that this was just as good as I expected, if not better. It’s definitely not the worst thing I ever ate out of a box—that would have to be Swanson Hungry-Man Cheeseburger, bro!

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Meaty quadruple decker on the Danforth, dude!

My motto in life has gotta be “Why eat one meat when you can have four?” Real talk, bro. But hey, that’s only because “When it’s right, it’s right” was already taken by Ron Burgundy. So, we’re hangin’ out at Greenwood Smokehouse, this cozy, homestyle BBQ joint just a Will Ferrell fastball away from Pape Station. This is probably the first BBQ joint I’ve been to–and I’m certainly no stranger to barbecue–where they had an open kitchen, so you come out of there smelling like hickory. But that’s the price you gotta pay for eating four meats between two slices of bread sometimes, y’know?

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They call this the Danforth Decker, and it’s like a house party upper decker in Flavourtown–this sandwich is the shiznit, son! You’ve got beef brisket, you’ve got pulled pork, you’ve got ribs, house bacon ‘n cheddar, all between dry white toast. And they don’t just give you one section, or two sections, or three sections, but four whole sandwich sections, dude! Because why eat one meat sandwich when you can have four is pretty much my life story, bro!

Now, I will say that when you get this many meats slathered in the same sauce, you can’t always taste everything. I really didn’t get too many bacon-y notes, and if there’s cheese on this sandwich, it clearly dissolved into the meat tsunami. Not that I’m complaining–meat tsunami was my nickname in high school. It’s sorta like a sharknado, except instead of live sharks, you’ve got beef brisket, bro!

(Actually, I did have a shark sandwich in Cleveland, and hey, it wasn’t bad…)

FINAL FOUR FOOD: The Flavourtown Bracket Breakdown

Now, Gonzaga didn’t win it all this year, but the Final Four weekend wasn’t a total bust. For one thing, I got to see Sir Charles Barkley jump around to some old-school House of Pain, which is a memory I’ll cherish forever…oh, and I also got to defeat some sweet eats, son! So, in the spirit of the Final Four, I’m pitting my Phoenix meals head-to-head in a Flavourtown showdown, to see whose cuisine reigns supreme. The iron refs can’t possibly screw this one up, can they?

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GLENDALE BRACKET

Gridiron Grill vs. Crave Waffle Sandwich Creations

Now, the lineup for food at University of Phoenix Stadium was longer than Adam Morrison’s NBA career (still love the mullet though, bro!), but the grub itself actually wasn’t bad. On the other hand, Crave Waffle Creations was one of the only places in the Westgate Entertainment District that didn’t have a big line to get in on Championship Monday. One bite of their overly crispy chicken, and I knew why.

WINNER, WINNER, CHICKEN DINNER: Gridiron Grill

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DOWNTOWN BRACKET

Alice Cooper’stown vs. La Piazza

Now, this one would definitely be the late game, cuz it’s like UNC vs. Oregon in Flavourtown, son! You’ve got Alice Cooper’s sports bar, serving up real-deal BBQ and 22-inch hot dogs up against this funkalicious Triple D Neapolitan-style pizza joint. They’re both number one seeds in my bracket, bro! But while I gotta give Alice the edge for the tuneage, ambiance, and showing hockey on the big screen, the Italian Stallion hits a game-winning three pointer at the buzzer to advance to the Flavourtown Championship!

WINNER, WINNER, CHICKEN DINNER: La Piazza

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FLAVOURTOWN TITLE GAME

Gridiron Grill vs. La Piazza

Even though Gridiron Grill had the home court advantage, they still couldn’t compete with the pizza dudes from downtown. La Piazza is draining triples all day, bro–this game’s over at halftime!

WINNER, WINNER, CHICKEN LUNCH AND DINNER: La Piazza

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FINAL FOUR FOOD: Guy Fieri’s favourite pizza place in Phoenix

So, we’re hanging out at La Piazza, this funky Triple D pizza joint in downtown PHX. This place serves up the pizza pies real-deal Neapolitan style from an authentic pizza oven, as well as other real-deal Italian classics, like these saucy, cheesy breadsticks, bro:

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OK, let’s break it down. These Bomb.ca bread nuggets are crispy on the outside, chewy in the middle, fried to perfection. Then you’ve got the Sicilian oregano, pomodorini tomatoes, chunks of Parmesan and basil. And you could probably feed three people with this dish, but it’s just an appetizer in Flavourtown!

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They call this amazing pie the Italian Stallion, and it packs a punch like Sly Stallone and the Family Stone! You’ve got this amazeballs fennel sausage, super-crispy pepperoni, and then prosciutto and sopressata tag-teaming your tastebuds like Owen Hart and the British Bulldog, bro! This is probably one of the top five pizzas I’ve ever had, and I’m pretty sure I’ve had more pizzas in my lifetime than Mark Few has wins at Gonzaga!

(Hey, there’s always next year, right?)

FINAL FOUR FOOD: Four fried chickens and a waffle, son!

So we’re hanging out at Crave Waffle Sandwich Creations, this funky waffle sandwich joint in the Westgate Entertainment District. Most of the bars in the area were packed, but there were still a few seats left at this place–even with five Bud Lights for 10 bucks, bro!

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Now, this place has both kinds of waffles: sweet AND savoury, son! I went with the Southern Hospitality, which piles housemade coleslaw and lettuce on top buttermilk fried chicken strips in a maple glaze. This chicken was extra crispy, but you almost got more breading than chicken. And while the coleslaw was quite tasty, the second half of the sammy was super soggy by the time I picked it up. Still, this wasn’t the worst 11 bucks I’ve ever spent–and did I mention five beers for 10 bucks, bro???