Author Archives for greedocatucci

About greedocatucci

Guy Fieri only wishes he had my hair.

Going to town on that assado, bro!!!!

Now, Yonge Street might be the longest street in Canada… but when you go downtown, south of College or so, it’s like a restaurant desert, bro! That doesn’t mean there aren’t any restaurants — but they’re mostly fast food, chains like Milestones and/or tourist traps. Your best bet is to hang a right onto Elm Street for some righteous eats, son…

Or you could head on over to Leña, this funky joint inside The Bay at Yonge and Richmond, for some real-deal, south of the border, Argentinian-style cooking! We first came here for brunch a few years back, and the flavours were on point, so now it’s time to see what they’re serving up for dinner…

lena_gaucho_empanadas (3)

You KNOW we’re starting off with some empanadas, bro! I just had an empanada last weekend at Smorgasburg, but it’s not like we’ve got a weekly limit on empanadas here…  Susana’s Gaucho Empanadas have a nice, tender crust, stuffed with beef, egg and olives, with a side of chiminasty sauce (yes, that’s what they call it) that really kicks it up a notch! Gonna need a couple cold beers to wash that down, bro…

octopus_wants_to_fight (7)

They’ve got a pretty decent beer selection here, too, with seven brews on tap — none of which are Molson or Coors. But instead, I went with an Octopus Wants to Fight from the local IPA meisters at Great Lakes. It’s not quite as hop-heavy as their signature Canuck IPA, but there’s no question you’re still drinking an India pale ale…

lena_assado_de_tira (19)

But now it’s time for el evento principal! Man, I haven’t had assado de tira since 2018, so when I saw these Spanish-style short ribs on the menu, you KNOW I’m all over that Maradona, bro! The beef is very charred, but nice and medium-rare in the middle, with a side of potatoes and snow peas. It comes with chimichurri, but I think I could go for more of that chiminasty sauce instead… You could put it on a flip-flop, and it would still be nasty, Ms. Jackson!!!!

lena_chocolate_tres_leches (5)

But even after all that beef back there, we’ve still got room for dessert. I already knew their churros were legit, so I thought I would try their milk chocolate tres leches cake this time. We’re no strangers to tres leches on Triple B, but I’ve never seen a chocolate version before. Let’s just say I was a bit disappointed when it came out in a mason jar…but the four or five bites you get here ain’t bad, Meat Bro-af!

 

 

 

 

Sucking down some suckling pig that doesn’t suck @ Alder!

Man, we’ve had pork so many different ways on Triple B that I can’t even count that high, bro! But one thing you definitely don’t see every day in Toronto is suckling pig. Like, the only place I’ve seen it before was at Beerbistro, and they only serve it up on Saturdays. So when I heard that Alder, the new funky joint in the Ace Hotel, had suckling pig on its everyday menu, you KNOW Imma bout to go all Big Bad Wolf on this one, bro!!!!!!!!!

alder_baked_clam (17)

But first we’re starting off with a fistful of baked clams, served on a bed of rocks (or maybe uncooked chickpeas?). While I prefer my clams steamed, these babies were just (barely) enough to tide me over till the main event…

alder_suckling_pig (17)

Dude, this little piggy went wee, wee, wee all the way down my piehole, bro! Pork is nice and tender, served in a juicy gravy, and there’s these little pieces of pork skin, aka crackling, which really kick it up a notch! This dish also comes with a side of corn, but we kicked it up another notch with some tempura shishito peppers:

alder_shishito_tempura (3)

Unlike at Vela, where the shishitos were not optional, these crispy bois added a nice little kick to the dish, with a legit chipotle donkey sauce on the side for dipping — I’d put that on a flip-flop!!!!!!

alder_mille-feuille (10)

But you KNOW we’ve still got room for dessert, bro, and out of their three desserts, this mille-feuille was the one that spoke to me. You’ve got dark chocolate, peanut-butter parfait and vanilla cream sandwiched between a couple crunchy, crunchy cookies — I’ll take three of those to go!!!!!

A smorgasbord of international flavours @ Smorgasburg

Dude, Toronto food festivals are back with a vengeance like Simon Gruber this summer… but not all food festivals are created equal. I gotta say, I was so disappointed in the Food Truck Festival that I didn’t even blog about it. Seemed like 75% of the food was burgers, fries and tacos — and yes, those are a few of my favourite things — but I was looking for something funky, and I didn’t really find it.

On the other hand, Smorgasburg Toronto, which is going down on the waterfront every Saturday until mid-September, has a list of vendors that better reflects the culinary diversity of this city. You’ve got Jamaican, Sri Lankan, Salvadorean, Japanese, Filipino, Indian, Argentinian… I think I even saw a Somali samosa stand. But you KNOW I love the smell of sizzling meat in the summer, so my first stop was the great big grill at Baan Authentic Thai Cuisine, where I snagged me some pork skewers:

smorgasburg_thai_pork_skewer (2)

You don’t need need a fork to eat this pork! Meat is nicely grilled, with some good char, and they come three to an order, which is a nice light snack in Flavourtown. But if you don’t like it hot, stay away from the green sauce — that shit’s so spicy, I actually ate some of the cucumbers that came as a garnish just to cool things down!!!

smorgasburg_jerk_shrimp_poboy (7)

But you KNOW we can’t go to Smorgasburg and only eat one thing, bro! This jerk shrimp po’boy packs a fistful of crispy shrimp into an irie cocoa-bread roll, with some plantain chips on the side for snacking. Yeah, we be jammin’ this… straight down my piehole!!!!!!

smorgasburg_beef_empanada (5)

Don’t get me wrong, some of the stuff at Smorgasburg is expensive — that shrimp sammy was like 13 bucks, bro! But if you want more bang for your buck, you can’t go wrong with a five-dolla empanada. The pulled beef was nice and tender, the shell was flaky, and the whole thing was piping hot, even though they just pulled it out of a warming station. Dude, I could crush at least four of these…

smorgasburg_ice_cream_sandwich (2)

…but you know I gotta save room for dessert, right? There are some pretty funky dessert stands at this festival, but on a hot summer day like last Saturday, I could really go some ice cream. Turns out Pandoughra’s Box sells both cookies AND ice cream, and combining these two things into an ice cream sandwich is sooo the way to go, bro!!!!

SUMMERLICIOUS 2022: Super-legit lamb @ The Rabbit Hole

Summerlicious is coming to an end this weekend, but we are going out with a bang, bro! We’re hanging out at The Rabbit Hole, this classy British-style pub in the Financial District, where they’re serving up a 55-dollar dinner menu that has a few of my favourite things — or at least one of them, anyways.

rabbit_hole_soused_mackerel (8)

But first, we’re starting off with some soused mackerel. I thought that might mean this fish was soaked in booze, but the only liquid on this place seems like it might be residue from the pickled veggies, or something. This dish didn’t really blow me away — it’s basically just cold fish with a few veggies and a piece of bread. But hey, at least it’s not salad?

rabbit_hole_lamb_sirloin (9)

But now we’re about to kick it up, oh, about 6 or 7 notches with the main course. We’re talking a perfectly-cooked lamb sirloin served in date sauce, with a variety of veggies — oh, and it even comes with a haggis croquette:

rabbit_hole_haggis_bonbon (5)

Dude, haggis croquette was my nickname at the College of Piping, bro!!!!

rabbit_hole_chocolate_cake (5)

Now, you know the drill — Summerlicious always comes with dessert! And I gotta go with the flourless chocolate cake. It’s dense and rich like a chocolate bar, topped with meringue, a couple raspberries, and a raspberry sauce underneath. Nothing wrong with that at all!!!!

kingpost_english_pale_ale (6)

Of course, I’m not gonna go to a pub and drink a glass of water, mate! So we’re British-ing it up with this Collingwood Kingpost English pale ale. This is not like an IPA you get in the USA — it’s a little more malty, and not quite as bitter. A few of these will getcha more soused than a mackerel though, bro!!!!

danforth_viaduct_ipa (11)

But speaking of IPAs, we’re kicking it local with a Viaduct IPA from Danforth Brewery. Let’s just say it tastes a lot better than water from under the bridge!!!!

Demolishing the legendary Gramercy Tavern Burger!!!!

Now, it’s been almost 10 years since we’ve had a killer burger in New York City, so you KNOW we gotta take care of that, bro! We’re hanging out at Gramercy Tavern, this funky joint on East 20th Street, where I hear their Tavern Burger is one of the best in town… so we’re definitely gonna check that out. But first, it’s time for some duck liver mousse:

gramercy_duck_liver_mousse (13)

This duck definitely doesn’t suck! Rich and creamy, like a pate, served on grilled sourdough toast. But what makes it is the cherry compote, adding a nice tartness to balance out the dish.

gramercy_tavern_burger (14)

But now it’s time for the main event. The Tavern Burger is coming in hot, a nice blend of 70/30 chuck and brisket, cooked to medium. This burger is tender, juicy, with some bacon and an oozy white cheddar cheese. The onion donkey sauce on the side adds a bit of a kick, but it’s better off without it. My only complaint is it was too small — more like a supersized slider. Now if they could make it a triple, I’d be all over that, son!!!!!!!!!

3_floyds_legendary_shader (13)

Washed it all down with a Legendary Shader, this funky German-style Hefeweizen from 3 Floyds. Dude, this tastes bananas (literally), just like a good German wheat beer should. And at 6.2%, it packs a bit of a punch that kinda sneaks up on ya…

sun_up_hazy_ipa (13)

We’ve also got a Sun Up hazy IPA from Talea Brewing in Brooklyn. This one checks all the boxes — hazy, hoppy and just a little fruity. I’ll take 10 of these to go…

gramercy_tavern_cheesecake (6)

Now, since that burger wasn’t very big, we’ve still got room for dessert. And when in New York, you gotta go for some cheesecake, bro! This caramelized cheesecake comes complete with cookie crumbles, honey strawberry sorbet AND compote on the side. You’ve got the creaminess of the cheese, a nice crunch from the cookies and the tartness of the strawberries. And it’s all over in a New York minute!!!!

SUMMERLICIOUS 2022: This 3-course Greek dinner is only 35 bucks, bro!!!!

Now, we’re no strangers to Soulas Modern Greek here on Triple B. Dude, I dig this place so much that I ordered $69 worth of takeout during the pandemic…and ate it all by myself. So when I heard they were serving up a three-course Summerlicious dinner for just 35 dollars, you KNOW that’s all Greek to me — and Greek is good, bro!!!!!

soulas_dolmades (8)

So, we’re starting off with dolmades, which are kinda like Greek cabbage rolls. You’ve got a couple vine leaves stuffed with rice and ground beef, topped with tomato sauce, and served with a small Greek salad — this is pretty much all the salad I need, bro!

soulas_exohiko_lamb_pie (13)

So, we’ve had our share of Greek food on Triple B, but this main course is something I’ve never seen before. We’re talking exohiko, a lamb pie stewed with onions and mushrooms in a feta and rosemary sauce, all wrapped up in phyllo pastry. Now, I’m a fan of spanakopita, tiropita and baklava, but this might be the best thing I’ve ever had in phyllo dough. Lamb is super tender, cooked to perfection, and that pastry adds a nice crunch. This dish takes shepherd’s pie out to pasture, bro!!!!!!!!!

soulas_karidopita_walnut_cake (4)

Now, they did have baklava on their Summerlicious dessert menu, but instead of doubling down on phyllo dough, I went with the karidopita, a moist, tender honey walnut cake. While this dish was still delish, I also had to steal a few bites of their ekmek kataifi pistachio cream pie… Totally getting that one next time, son!!!

Taking down a 2-foot taco at the CNE!!!!

Finally… the CNE has come back… to Toronto!!!! Sure, there are rides, concerts and even an airshow, but here at Triple B, we’re all about the crazy carnival food. And we’re definitely no strangers to the CNE, whether it was the fried chicken s’more sandwich in 2018, or the Philly cheese “steakclair” in 2016. So you KNOW we’re totally down to chow down on some of the weirdest, wackiest things at this year’s exhibition, bro!!!!

cne_korean_corndog (2)

So, we’re kicking off the festivities with a Korean corn dog. There are a lotta corn dog stands on the midway, but only one is serving up this tasty treat, which is two-thirds dessert, one-third hot dog. Just as I was about to give up on my search for this culinary classic, there it was, tucked in behind BMO Field.

cne_korean_corndog (11)

Now, I’m a big fan of Korean rice dogs, but this is a bit different. The batter is dipped in squid ink, and coated in sugar and breadcrumbs, so it’s sweet like a dessert. There is some melted cheese inside, but the first few bites were more like a cake pop — I didn’t get any hotdog until more than halfway through.

cne_korean_corndog (17)

Now, if you’re just looking for deep-fried deliciousness, you’re probably better off ordering from one of the other seven corn dog vendors on the midway. But if you want meat on a stick that’s so outta bounds, it makes you shut the back door and buy a ticket, then it might be worth spending 10 bucks on one of these bad boys!!!

cne_2ft_taco (8)

But now it’s time for the main event, and it’s about to get messy! The shell of this two-foot taco was already cracked by the time they handed it to me, and while I did grab a few (but not enough) napkins, I didn’t think to take a fork, which meant I had to scoop up the chorizo and lettuce with my hands, and shove it back into the rapidly decaying tortilla…

cne_2ft_taco (18)

Now, when I order tacos, I usually get at least 4-5 (unless we’re in Texas), so to me, this was just like eating 4-5 tacos…all rolled into one. It’s not the best taco I’ve ever had, but it’s definitely the biggest — so that counts for something, right?

cne_oreo_croffle (4)

Of course, since 4-5 tacos all rolled into one is just a light snack in Flavourtown, you KNOW I still have room for dessert. We’re talking croffles, a tasty treat that’s got the flakiness of a croissant, the shape of a waffle and the messiness of an ice cream sundae that you eat with your hands — they give you a fork, but not a knife, and this dessert is too thick to cut through it with just a fork, so here ya go…

cne_oreo_croffle (7)

Even with all the mess, this was the only CNE food that I would definitely eat again. (If I could get a two-foot taco al pastor, I might go for that…) There were a couple other flavours — tiramisu and I think mixed berries or something? — but I went with cookies and cream, which is basically what it says in the name, with Oreo cookie crumbles and chocolate sauce on top of pastry cream. Hey, it’s no Philly cheese steakclair, but it gets the job done, son!!!!!!!

SUMMERLICIOUS 2022: $75 steak dinner @ Michael’s on Simcoe

After a two-year hiatus due to COVID, Summerlicious has come back to Toronto, with funky joints all over this city serving up three-course lunch and dinner menus at a set price for a limited time. Dude, this is body by three-course lunch and dinner menus at a set price for a limited time, so you KNOW we had to check it out! And we’re starting off on the high end with a $75 steak dinner from Michael’s on Simcoe.

Now, I have walked by this place so many times, but I’ve never been inside until now. They have a reputation as one of the nicest steakhouses in town, and even the appetizers on their regular menu are almost 40 bucks, so I figured that a $75 set menu was a pretty good deal.

michaels_on_simcoe_burrata (2)

Speaking of appetizers, the three choices for Summerlicious were either soup or salad, and it’s a little too hot to be eating soup. So if I’m eating salad, I want it to be the least salad-y salad I can get; this burrata hits the mark with big ol’ chunks of cheese, a few baby tomatoes, sweet peppers and pickled chanterelle mushrooms — besides a couple sprigs of basil, there’s not a leafy green thing in sight!!!

michaels_on_simcoe_striploin (13)

Now, you could order the chicken, the trout or even a mushroom risotto… but if I’m eating at Michael’s for Summerlicious, I’m having the steak. This sliced New York striploin was a lot less meat than I’m used to, but it was still pretty flavourful, with a mustard-infused potato salad, one great big broccolini and a super-thick ‘n crunchy onion ring. Man, I could go for a basket of those onion rings any day of the week, bro!!!!!!!!

michaels_chocolate_torte (2)

And while there was nothing wrong with the steak, the highlight of this meal was definitely dessert. We’re talking rich, moist chocolate torta, with chunks of salted caramel and a scoop of chocolate hazelnut gelato. This is right up there with one of the best desserts I’ve had all year. Can I get three of them to go???

 

 

 

EAST VILLAGE BAR CRAWL: From punk rock dive to KGB Bar to OG Irish pub…

CBGB’s may be long gone, but there are plenty of places to grab a drink, and even listen to some punk rock, in New York City’s East Village. So after stuffing our faces full of pastrami, we set out to check out a few of em, all within stumbling distance…

Doubling down on $5 IPAs @ Double Down Saloon

black_flag_mural (2)
We’re starting off this adventure at the Double Down Saloon, which is just around the corner from Katz’s Deli on Avenue A at Houston Street. This punk-rock dive bar started off in Vegas, and they’re keeping it hardcore with this badass Black Flag mural on the back patio.
founders_all_day_ipa (6)
It just so happens to be Happy Hour until 8 pm, which means you can pound pints of craft beer for just five bucks, bro! We’re starting off with a Founders All Day IPA, which has a nice hoppy taste, but is relatively light at 42 IBU and just 4.7%. What’s more, this beer is only 140 calories, so I can drink, like, 13 of these…
bells_two_hearted_ale (2)
But instead, we’re switching to Bell’s Two-Hearted Ale. This American IPA is stronger (7%), hoppier (60 IBUs) and more citrusy than its predecessor…which means I *might* only have 3 more.

The Soviet-themed bar that stands with Ukraine…

kgb_bar (4)
Now, the East Village is also known as Little Ukraine (I’ve heard the pierogis at Veselka are so legit!) so it’s not surprising to find a Soviet-themed joint called KGB Bar on East 4th Street, just off of 2nd Ave. As their website makes clear, though, they definitely stand with Ukraine!
The music selection was an interesting mix of punk, goth, and Brian Eno-style ambient music. In Soviet Russia, synthesizer plays you???
radeberger_pilsner (1)
Now, I’ve heard that before the war, you could find a lotta Russian and Ukrainian beers here…but I’m guessing the sanctions against Russia probably put a stop to that. The closest I could find was a Radeberger Pilsner from Germany, dating back to 1872. It’s got a bit of a bite to it, similar to Pilsner Urquell, but not quite as bitter.
(Oh, and they actually have Pilsner Urquell here, too.)

Cozy craft beers at Cooper’s

coopers_craft&cocktails (3)
Stumbled out of the KGB Bar to find this funky little joint with “Craft” in its name, so you KNOW we had to check it out… This is Cooper’s Craft & Cocktails.
mondo_generator_ipa (5)
Starting off with a Mondo Generator from Wild East — Dude, Mondo Generator is my second-favourite Nick Oliveri band, bro! This West Coast IPA is about as bitter as the dude who wrote a song called “Kyuss Dies,” with a nice mix of Citra, Columbus and Simcoe hops. A few of these, and you’ll be loading up your war machine, bro!!!
rockaway_brewing_sour (3)
Up next, we’re gonna hitch a ride to Rock-Rock-Rockaway Beach with this Eccentrics Welcome from Rockaway Brewing Company. This sour beer is super tropical with apricot and passion fruit, coming in at a crushable 4.8%. I think I’ve only had apricot and passion fruit in liquid form, but the citrusy flavours are definitely on point. The techno pop they were playing at this place? Not so much…

If the Bovine was a sports bar, this is the bar it would be…

standings_sports_bar (2)
When you think sports bar, you usually think some massive place with big screen TVs, chicken wings, waitresses in referee stripes, etc, etc. But Standings, this funky little joint on East 7th, ain’t like that. This place fits maybe 40 people, and the walls are covered in sports cards, pennants, posters and other memorabilia. The night I went, there was only a handful of people in the place, and everybody seemed to be cheering for the Red Sox against the Yankees. Whaaaa???
victory_prima_pils (7)
Oh, and they also serve a buncha craft beers, like this Prima Pils from Victory Brewing. A nice, crispy German-style pilsner — this ain’t no Bud Light, bro!!!!
greenport_harbor_porter (2)
This Greenport Harbor Black Duck Porter does a pretty good impression of a Guinness. Nice, chocolatey richness, but not too strong or too heavy. Maybe a little heavier on the cocoa than an Irish breakfast smoothie. Not bad for a nightcap, though…

And we’re ending the night at an OG Irish pub…

mcsorelys_old_ale_house (1)

If there’s one place to bring this evening to a fitting conclusion, it’s McSorely’s Old Ale House, an OG NYC Irish pub that’s been open since 1854.

mcsorelys_light_ale (6)
They only have two beers on tap — dark ale or light ale. And when you ask for a pint, they give you these two small glasses, which’ll set you back 7 bucks. Is this the best beer I’ve ever had? Not by any stretch. (I’d say it’s just a little bit better than Molson Canadian…) But the historic aspect of this place makes it a must-see when in NYC!
I mean, what’s the oldest bar in Toronto? The Senator? Imperial Pub? I guess the Wheat Sheaf is about the same age, but it doesn’t have quite as much character as McSorely’s. Slainte!!!
mcsorelys_light_ale (10)

I’ll have what she’s having… and then some!!!

So, we’re hanging out at Katz’s Delicatessen, the legendary deli in New York City’s East Village that’s been serving it up since the 1880’s. Man, the food here’s so good it made Meg Ryan cream her jeans, so you KNOW we gotta check it out!!!!

katz_pastrami_on_rye (16)

While there’s no shortage of deli classics here, the sandwich to get is pastrami on rye, with mustard. Picture some of the best beef brisket you’ve ever tasted, brined in that pink salt, with just enough bread to hold it together… This meat just melts in your mouth, bro!!!!

katz_delicatessen_pickle (4)

Pair this with some housemade pickles to kick it up a notch. The dills are decent, but I prefer the fresh ones…

katz_potato_salad (2)

And we’ve also got a nice helping of creamy potato salad. Nothing wrong with that at all!

katz_pastrami_aftermath (7)

Now, this food is NOT cheap — the sandwich itself will set ya back 26 bucks — but it’s some of the best smoked meat I’ve had this side of Texas. And I didn’t even hafta line up down the street for it!

(There are definitely lines at the meat-cutting stations, but with 6-8 cutters on duty, and free samples to tide you over while you wait, it wasn’t too painful when I was there.)