Flavourtown Roadtrips

These ain’t yer grandpappy’s Buffalo wings, bro!

So we’re hanging out at Big Ditch Brewing Company, this funky craft brewpub in the city that put the Buffalo in Buffalo wings. But at this joint, they don’t just toss ‘em in Frank’s Red Hot and butter – they’ve got a secret ingredient, their Hayburner IPA.

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Now, these wings are super-crispy, straight outta fryer and very lightly sauced, with a side of blue cheese – dude, this is body by blue cheese! I went with mine medium, after the server said the only guy who likes ‘em hot is a fireman who burned off all the nerves in his tongue. I gotta say, there was not a whole lotta heat here…but I still hosed ‘em down with a couple beers, bro!

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This is a pint of Lemon-Lime Pineapple Breeze, a seasonal special from their not-quite-winter menu. You’ve got a light, fruity, crushable wheat ale with pineapple juice, lemon zest and dry hops, for that little extra kick.

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Now, after pounding that plate of wings, I still had room for some liquid dessert! This Cinnamon Apple Amber Ale is brewed with apple cider, cinnamon, allspice, oatmeal and brown sugar, and tastes pretty much the way it sounds. Still better than last year’s Mill St. Christmas beer, though!

Holy peanut butter jalapeno bacon cheeseburger, Batman!!!

So, we’re hanging out at Allen Burger Venture, this funky little joint on Allen St, right in the heart of the cool part of Buffalo. If your favourite craft beer dive bar only played punk rock and new wave and had 14 different burgers – without counting the non-beef ones – on the menu, it would be this place. And you know me, I had to go with the funkiest of the funky bunch…this is burger number five, Lou Bro-ga!

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Now, this has gotta be the most outta-bounds burger I’ve had since I ordered the Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup burger, and made mine a double! You’ve got the salty creaminess of the peanut butter, some heat from the hot peppers, a nice chewy bacon, and a thick and juicy patty – and then you throw down some white cheddar!? Shut the back door!!!

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But the funk train don’t stop there, son! These are some of the biggest, breadiest, crunchiest onion rings I’ve ever seen – and they’re beer-batted in Olde English 800, maybe the one beer I might not drink over Molson Canadian. It sure tastes good on some rings though, bro!!!!

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And when it comes to beer, there ain’t no Canadian here! (They do have Labatt Blue Light though, for some reason.) Instead, you’ve got 24 taps of local craft beer, and even more in cans! This here is Nosferatu, a bloody red ale from Great Lakes Brewing – not the one from Etobicoke, but the one in Cleveland. And rather than the bitter taste of a Crazy Canuck, this brew actually reminds me more of Arch Brewing’s Dinner Jacket O’Red IPA, which used to be my Ottawa Redblacks beer…except that they don’t make it anymore. 😦

I’m about to go all Gene Simmons on some lamb tongue, son!!!

Now, I’m not normally in Waterloo Region unless they’ve got a country music festival going on or something. But when I heard that Langdon Hall, one of Canada’s best restaurants on the outskirts of Cambridge, was serving up lamb three ways, I was all over that like a three-way between Guy Fieri, John Catucci and a pound of bacon, bro!!!!

Now, before we get to the lamb, we’re starting off with some poached scallops. These ocean pearls were served cold, with chunks of apple and a celery jello . There’s always room for celery jello, bro!!!

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But now we’re calling Dr. Lamb in Flavourtown. This tasty tongue kinda had the texture of cabeza, or beef’s head, which I’ve had before in a few tacos. The lamb chop was cooked perfectly, the lamb bacon was super-legit, and the gravy on the plate is what makes it. You know I’m gonna lick it up, lick it up, whoa-oh-oh!!!!

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Of course, the portions at this place aren’t very yuuuge, so you KNOW I still had room for dessert…

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On the dessert menu, they just call this Chocolate. Me, I call it funkalicious. You’ve got a 70% chocolate sponge cake, with a raspberry mousse and a brownie cracker crust. Pretty sure I could eat, like, eight of these…

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Now, obviously you know I’m a beer guy — this ain’t Burgers, Bacon & Strawberry Daiquiris, bro! But all the cocktails at this place all are named after hit songs like “Oops, I Seed-Lipped Again,” “You Can Stand Under My Umber-Weller” and “A Shrub is a Guy Who Thinks He’s Fly” (and is also known as a buster). So when I saw the “Hey, Amaro-Carena!” I had to get up and do the dance, bro! This cocktail has got Amaro Trevisano, celery bitters, red pepper basil, lemon and ginger beer, for a hit of spicy bitterness. Heeeey, marijuana!!!

Who needs steak ‘n potatoes when you can have steak ON potatoes???

So, we’re hanging out at a.k.a. Friscos, this funky joint just a short, strange trip from the Flying Dog Brewery in Frederick, Maryland. Now, this place is known for two things: giant sandwiches and awesome baked potatoes — that’s literally what it says on the menu, bro! While this is body by giant sandwiches, I wanted to try something different…so I went with the flat iron steak potato:

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Check out this awesome smorgasbord of flavour, son! You’ve got half a pound of steak, grilled to perfection, a steamy baked potater, steak sauce, melted cheese, and some green onions, for that extra kick. Break out the Booker T, baby!!!

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Now, if you’re more into white meat, this Santa Fe chicken baked potato is right down your piehole. Chicken is cooked in a spicy Monterey Jack sauce, with salsa, sour cream and shredded lettuce…all on top of a baked potato. THIS bird is the word, Surfin’ Bro!!!

This corned beef Reuben omelet is a real Irishman’s breakfast!

So, we’re hanging out at Bushwaller’s, this cozy Irish pub in downtown Frederick, Maryland. Now, I heard they had some of the best Sunday brunch in town, so we showed up right at 11 to be the first ones in!

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Even though it’s not on the brunch menu, I had to start my day off with a crab pretzel. You’ve got a soft, chewy pretzel topped with crab dip, cheddar cheese and Old Bay, with a side of beer cheese and marinara sauce for dipping. Now, the beer cheese definitely added to this tasty flavour combination, but the marinara was a little too far outta bounds for my tastebuds, bro!

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But now it’s time for the main event. This Reuben omelet is basically everything you want in a Reuben — corned beef, sauerkraut, Swiss cheese and Thousand Islands, all wrapped up inside an egg blanket. Plus, you’ve got these hot ‘n crispy hash browns, a whole buncha toast, and even some fruit, all for just 10 bucks…but you know what the best part is?

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On Sundays, all Irish beers are 2 bucks off, which means that this pint o’ Irish breakfast smoothie, aka Guinness, was only $4.50, bro! Talk about starting your day off right!!!

Maybe pigs can’t fly, but they still got wings…

So, we’re hanging out at Mackies Southern BBQ, this cozy little family-run joint on the ground floor of a house, across the street from a hospital in Frederick, Maryland. This place is known as one of the best BBQ joints in town, but alongside your standard BBQ dishes like beef brisket, pulled pork and ribs, they’re also funking it up with the likes of BBQ nachos, crab cakes and these three little pigs of Flavourtown, the Texas Hog Wild Pork Wings:

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Now, these meaty monstrosities come slathered in a BBQ sauce with a nice little kick, and then there’s a side of garlic parm to cool things off. It’s kinda like a cross between a rib and a drumstick, minus the Wet-Naps. And speaking of sides, you get three wings and two sides for just 16 bucks, bro! Me, I went with mac ‘n cheese and potato salad:

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The mack daddy was nice ‘n hot, you can tell it wasn’t just sitting around somewhere. A good amount of cheesiness, creamy texture, and a few bites of pepper, for that extra kick.

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Potato salad also tasted nice and fresh, not too much mayo — you don’t even need to add raisins, bro!

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Now, unfortunately you can’t get beer here, but a nice cold glass of homemade lemonade sure hits the spot!!!

3 meats, 1 bun @ Black Hog BBQ

Now, I don’t always go looking for BBQ — sometimes, BBQ just finds me. We’re hanging out in downtown Frederick at Black Hog BBQ, this local chain with three locations in Maryland. This place has been serving up all kinds of smoked meat since 2007, but I’m only gonna eat here once, so I gotta make sure to get as many as I can shove down my piehole, bro!!!

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So, we’re starting off with an order of BBQ pork fries — these are like cheese fries gone wild in Flavourtown! They take fresh-cut potatoes, smother ’em in cheddar, and then pile bacon and pulled pork on top??? Shut the front, back and side doors, bro!!!

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But now it’s time for the main event. They call this sammy the Triple Meat Mofo, and it’s a baaaad muthafucka! You’ve got beef brisket, pulled pork, country ham, swiss cheese, grilled onions and BBQ mayo, all stuffed between two buns. The beef was nice and tender, the pork was fall-aparty…but that country ham is what makes it, with the thickness to break up this flavour volcano!All this and a side of ooey, gooey mac and cheese for just $12.50!? Don’t tase me, bro!!!

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Of course, when you’re in Frederick, you’re in Flying Dog Country, so I had to check out this little feel-good hit of the summer, Numero Uno Mexican Lager. This light, easy-drinking beer is brewed with agave and lime zest, so it’s packing a lot more flavour than a Corona. And believe it or not, but after the pork fries, the three-story sammy, mac ‘n cheese and a couple of these, I actually did NOT have room for dessert!!!!!!!

Word to ye Olde Mother! (Olde Mother Brewing Co)

So, we’re hanging out at Olde Mother Brewing Co, this funky  little craft brewery in Frederick, Maryland. You won’t find any crabs and/or Old Bay here, but they are coming up with some pretty funky flavours, like a steam beer, fruited wheat beer and a sour double IPA. Then there’s this Mexican fiesta de cerveza, which they call La Bamba:

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Now this beer is pretty funkalicious. It’s brewed with lime juice, so you don’t need a lime wedge, but then there’s the secret ingredient that makes it — poblano peppers. No, it’s not spicy, but you definitely get the flavour of the peppers in there, which is pretty redonkadonk. Corona ain’t got nothing on La Bamba, chica!!!

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But if you thought that last beer was ridiculous, this one is even more crazy — a strawberries and cream wheat beer. You’ve got the taste of fresh strawberries, and it’s brewed with lactose, so it’s almost like a milkshake IPA, but less hoppy, more fruity. And it’s not even red or anything… Shut the back door!!!

Craft beer ‘n crab cakes @ Brewer’s Alley

So we’re hanging out at Brewer’s Alley, the first-ever gastropub in Frederick, Maryland, where they’ve been serving up their own beers, combined with killer cuisine, since 1996. Everybody in town knows this is the place to be, and it ain’t one of those “craft beer bars” that’s serving up a bunch of beers from local breweries — they’ve actually got their own brewhouse, bro!

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So, we’re starting off with the Hefeweizen, a light, German-style wheat beer with a fruity aftertaste. This beer literally tastes like bananas — and bananas is good!!!

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We’re pairing that with a big ol’ Maryland crab cake, which you can get with veggies for 19 dollars or on a sandwich for 18. Dude, anytime I can pay less and not eat vegetables is a win-win in Flavourtown, bro! This crab is broiled in Old Bay butter — cuz you gotta get the Old Bay in there — and smothered in a creole remoulade sauce. Man, you could put that on a flip-flop, and it would still taste good!!!

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Now, that crab cake sammy was slamtastic, but it ain’t the only renegade of funk in this funky joint — say hello to ma lil’ friend, pork taco pizza. They take pulled pork, lettuce, pico de gallo, diced jalapenos and drizzle it all with crema, erved up on a nice, fluffy crust — shut the back door, bro!!!

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Now, for dessert, we’re chugging down some Two Loves, this crazy unfiltered chocolate ale with liquefied cocoa. Dude, if Guinness is liquid breakfast, then this beer is liquid dessert. There’s so much cocoa here that it’s making me cuckoo for Cocoa Puffs!!!

 

“We can’t stop here, this is beer country!” — a tour of Flying Dog Brewery

So, we’re hanging out at Flying Dog Brewery down in Frederick, Maryland, about an hour north of Baltimore. These guys are known for their labels, designed by Hunter Thompson’s main main Ralph Steadman, and for brews with names like Doggie Style and Raging Bitch. Now, I’m no stranger to Doggie Style — I chugged a few last time I was in Bodymore — so when they offered to give me the grand tour, I was all over that like queso on Guy Fieri’s mustache, bro!!!

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Now, this is where the magic happens — they take the hops, water and barley, and they mix it all up! They gave us some barley to taste, and while it doesn’t taste like much on its own, once it’s run through the lauter tun, it starts to get the job done…

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99 barrels of beer on the wall, 99 barrels of beer…

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Fun fact: when they make beer, it creates a whole buncha CO2, which they have to funnel out into a bucket. You couldn’t triple-dog dare me to chug that bucket, bro!!!

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Behind this door is the quality assurance lab — man, how do I get that job???

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This here is their bottling machine — what, you thought they did it by hand? Actually, the reason Flying Dog moved to Frederick from Colorado is because the old owners of the brewery left this baby behind!

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Of course, the best thing about the tour is the beer. Not only do they give you a few samples along the way, but at the end, there’s a Choose Your Own Beerventure flight waiting for you at the bar. For my four beers, I went with:

  • Ain’t Nothing But a G Thang hazy pale ale (5.7%)
  • Brut Reynolds brut IPA (5.7%)
  • Woody Creek White (4.7%)
  • Dead Rise Old Bay Gose (5.7%)

Dunno why, but they like to end their beers in .7%. While they were all quite tasty, the major highlight was the Old Bay Gose:

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Now, Old Bay is pretty much the chicken base and garlic salt of Maryland. They put that shit on everything — crabs, fries, crab dip, crab fries, chicken wings… you name it! And while I don’t actually see any of it floating in my beer, you can totally taste the Old Bay. Cuz what better way to wash down some Old Bay than with even more Old Bay, bro????

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