10 of the Most Canadian Meals

The other day, I was chowing down on a bacon poutine burger at Harvey’s, which might be the most Canadian sandwich of all-time. But the thing is, it’s only available for a limited time. So that got me thinking, what are some of the most Canadian meals across this country? We’re talking poutine, obviously, but what about P.E.I. lobster, Alberta beef and New Brunswick fiddleheads?

Now, I have been to every province in this country except Newfoundland, and I’ve eaten all kinds of outrageous, righteous, real-deal meals across the country, as well as right here in Toronto. So when it comes to dishes that best capture the essence of Canadian cuisine, I’d like to think that every province is represented here, even if half these places are in Hogtown. Check out this delicious list, bro!

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Nova Scotia Salmon Burger @ Fifth Pubhouse

The Fifth Pubhouse might be the most patriotic burger joint in this city, if not the entire country. This place has got no less than eight slammin’ sammies named after provinces and territories, including this Atlantic creation, the Nova Scotia Salmon Burger. Now that’s a beauty piece of fish, bro! They take baked salmon, top it with lettuce, tomato and a whole buncha chive mayo, and serve ‘er up with fries and coleslaw, all for just 15 bucks. That’s a whole lot cheaper than a plane ticket to Halifax!

READ MORE: And on the seventh day, he ate salmon…

 

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The Big Crack @ Smoked & Cracked

Now, I’ve had a few lobster rolls in my day, but this is probably the biggest one I’ve even seen. They literally take an entire 1.5 pound lobster, chop ‘er up and serve it all up on a hot, buttery roll, bro! It’s like a PEI lobster supper in sandwich form! Of course, all this lobster don’t come cheap–at 65 bucks (plus tax and tip), it’s probably the most expensive sandwich I’ve ever eaten…

READ MORE: This was the biggest lobster roll I’ve seen in Toronto!

 

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Lomo Saltado with Fiddleheads @ Baro

One cool thing about Canada is that we welcome all kinds of people from different countries, and they each bring their own cultural cuisine. Like Baro, this funky Peruvian joint on King West, that’s taking a Peruvian comfort-food classic, and putting a Canadian twist on it with the national vegetable of New Brunswick. Fiddlehead season is pretty short, but if you get ’em when they’re fresh, they can really kick it up a notch–especially when served beside beef tenderloin, bro!

READ MORE: LOMO arigato, Mr. Roboto!!!!

 

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La T-Rex Poutine @ La Banquise (Montreal)

There are so many killer poutines all over this country that would deserve to be mentioned here, from the wild boar poutine at the Tide & Boar in Moncton, to this honky-tonk redonkadonk lobster poutine I had once at Baton Rouge. But if there can be only one, then it would hafta be La T-Rex from La Banquise in Montreal. This place is legendary for serving up some of the best poutine in the poutine capital of Canada, and this insane-in-the-membrane version comes topped with ground beef, pepperoni, bacon and hot dogs! No wonder they didn’t name it after a stegosaurus…

READ MORE: Poutine: It’s not just for breakfast anymore…

 

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Hogtown Sandwich @ Rashers

What can be more Canadian than Canadian bacon? Rashers is probably my new favourite sandwich shop, serving up Bomb.ca bacon burgers and the best BLT in Toronto. But their signature sammy is pure Canadian simplicity–back bacon and grainy mustard on a fresh, flaky bun. It does not get any better than this, bro!

 

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Aloha Smoke @ True True Pizza

Hawaiian pizza might be Canada’s most infamous culinary creation. Created by a Greek immigrant at this funky little joint in Chatham, Ontario, way back in 1962, this pie has gone worldwide–and attracted more than its fair share of haters. Me, I don’t mind pineapple on pizza, as long as it’s got some meat to it. And at True True Pizza, they serve up this twisted take using bacon instead of ham–shut the back door, bro!

READ MORE: This Hawaiian pie-an tastes better with bacon!

 

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Loaded Surf ‘n Turf @ Loaded Pierogi

For me, when I think Winnipeg, I think pierogis. It used to be known as the Ukrainian capital of Canada, back in the day, and it’s still one of the most notable concentrations of ethnic populations in the country. Now, pierogis are just starting to become a thing in Toronto, with funky joints like Loaded Pierogi serving up some crazy takes on this Ukrainian classic–like the Loaded Surf ‘n Turf, topped with lobster, crab and steak!

READ MORE: Loaded Pierogi’s serving up surf, turf ‘n earth, son!

 

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All You Can Eat KFC (Weyburn, SK)

Now, I can’t be the only one who’s ever ordered a 16-piece bucket for one, right? If eating KFC all day seems like time well spent, then Weyburn, Saskatchewan is a little slice of paradise. This town has an AYCE KFC buffet, one of the last of its kind, and when rumours surfaced last summer than the chicken chain wanted to kill the buffet counter, even the premier of Saskatchewan stepped up in defence of this cultural icon. Which reminds me, I’m way overdue for a trip out west…

READ MORE: Save Saskatchewan’s all-you-can-eat KFC buffet!

 

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Camel and Python and Yak… Oh My! @ Fireside Grill (Czar, AB)

Speaking of small-town destinations out west, this place is next on my roadtrip. I could not even find Czar on a map of Alberta–and I grew up in Calgary–but when I heard about the Fireside Grill, this funky local joint serving up all sorts of exotic meats, well, I knew I just had to come here some day. Did I mention their chef is a dead ringer for Guy Fieri?

READ MORE: This Guy Fieri lookalike is serving up some righteous roadkill in rural Alberta!

 

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Mr. Alberta @ The Elbow Room Cafe (Vancouver)

It figures that the best breakfast in Vancouver is something named after Alberta. I stopped by this funky little joint a couple years back when I was in town for the Grey Cup, and you know I wasn’t gonna have a vegan quinoa salad! This big-time brekkie contains a 5 oz sirloin, blackened tomatoes, scrambled eggs, hash browns and jalapeno toast. And the service is something else, lemme tell ya!

READ MORE: Breakfast of Champions in Vancouver

Italian beef at the airport, bro!!!!

Now, I’ve never actually been to Chicago, unless you count the times I had a connecting flight at O’Hare. So I was on my way back from Phoenix last month, when my United flight got delayed right around dinnertime. Now, they don’t have a ton of eating options in Terminal C, but when I saw the Billy Goat Tavern in the food court, I was all over that like John Belushi on a cheeseburger, Bro-son burner! But I wasn’t about to order a burger without Dan Aykroyd behind the counter, so instead I went for this Sweet Home Chicago classic, Italian beef:

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This slammin’ sammy was downright delicious, dude! You had thinly sliced roast beef, served on a hoagie roll dipped in its own sauce, then loaded up with carrots, celery and holla-atcha-peno peppers! It’s like a festival of funkaliciousness heading straight down my piehole! And I washed it all down with an Old Style lager, which is kinda like Molson Canadian, except it’s American. It pretty much tastes the same, though, bro!!!!

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???

FINAL FOUR FOOD: Feedin’ my Frankenstein at Alice Cooper’s restaurant!

Now, when I heard that Alice Cooper had his own sports bar just a Randy Johnson seagull-destroying fastball from Chase Field, you know I had to be there with bell-bottoms on, bro! This place has got gold records on the wall, NHL hockey(!) on the big screen, and even a signed photo of the 1993 Montreal Canadiens. Not even making this up, mon frère!

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And even though Randy Johnson mighta hung up his ugly-ass purple jersey a few years back, they’ve still got a 22-inch hot dog in his honour called The Big Unit. Whenever one of these bad boys comes outta the kitchen, they ring a bell, and everybody yells “Big Unit!” It’s like a grand slam home run in Flavourtown, son!

But as appealing as shoving a 22-inch sausage straight down my piehole might sound, it didn’t seem like such a good idea at 11 am. So instead, I went with the Welcome to My Nightmare Nachos:

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These chips were topped with cheese sauce, jalapeños, cheese and Alice’s signature Nightmare chili–which was much more bean than beef. And the cheese-sauce to real-cheese ratio was about 3-to-1, which was a bit of a bummer bro! These nachos were not the stuff that dreams are made of…

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Of course, one does not simply walk in to Alice Cooper’stown and only eat nachos! Now, I coulda gone with the No More Mr. Nice Guy Chicken Pasta, or the School’s Out for Summer St. Louis Style Ribs, but instead I opted for the Billion Dollar BLT, baby!

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This classic, simple dish helped cleanse my palate after all the chili n jalapeños and nacho cheese. Just a basic BLT, but with a whole pile of crispy bacon, cooked perfectly, on Texas Toast…or so they say. If that’s Texas Toast, then I’m Yokozuna, son! More like Texas Toast on a diet! But the Ballad of Dwight French Fries were Super Duper Alice Cooper crispy n delicious, and this dish won’t set ya back a cool billion–it’s only $9.99, my little bronies!

And hey, you gotta love a place that plays Spoonman by Soundgarden, Judith by A Perfect Circle and Rush’s Tom Sawyer all within a half hour. I was air-drumming like Neil Peart on Percocets, dude! Not a single Alice Cooper song on the stereo the entire time I was there, though!!!!

FINAL FOUR FOOD: Double cheeseburger, chili cheese fries…and a Diet Coke

I told you Gonzaga was going all the way, bro!!! Well, OK, they lost to Carolina in the NCAA Final, so I probably owe Eric Church a cold one or two. But as soon as the Zags punched their ticket to Phoenix for the Final Four, so did the Triple B Crew. And you know we’re not (just) loading up on carbs before the game, dude! So, over the next few days, we’re rolling out the Final Four of funky fresh Phoenician eateries…can you smell what the desert is cookin’?

So, after watching the Zags beat the Cocks in an epic game on Saturday, I went to grab some grub, bro. But there were so many people on the concourse, that I could only go as far as the closest concession stand–the Gridiron Grill.

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By this point I hadn’t eaten anything since airport food at 8 am, so you know I went BIG. Why have a burger when you can get a double cheeseburger, bro? And why settle for fries when chilli cheese fries are on the menu? Of course, I washed it all down with an extra large Diet Coke, cuz I’m counting my calories…still counting…OK, so maybe I can’t count that high.

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OK, let’s break it down. The burger patties are nice and meaty, although they’re well beyond medium well. The pickles add some freshness, and the cheese is as processed as a clinical procedure. The fries are thick ‘n crispy, but when you pour concession stand chilli on em and put concession stand cheese on top, this dish is a hot mess and a half, dudeson!!!