Hogtown Eats

Cassoulet all day @ Parquet!!!

Now, we’re no strangers to duck confit here on Triple B. Dude, I’ve even had it in Iceland, bro! So when I heard that Parquet, this funky new French joint on Harbord, was serving up the duck with pork belly and beans in their cassoulet, you KNOW minus-10 degree weather wasn’t gonna keep me away from you!!!!!

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But first, let me bite into these balls, bro. These potato croquettes are kinda like deep-fried poutine, stuffed with cheese curds and served with a side of gravy. At least they say they’re stuffed with cheese curds — I couldn’t taste the cheese, bro. 😦

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Dude, this duck definitely doesn’t suck! Meat is fall-apart tender, skin is super crispy, you’ve got the added unctuousness of the pork belly, and a couple bites of beans — you could put that on a winter boot, and it would still taste good!!!!!

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What makes this place even better is they’ve got my favourite French beer here — Loirette from Brasserie de la Pigeonelle. I’ve had this a couple times before at fancy places like Sorrel and Auberge du Pommier, and I gotta say, it’s probably one of my top five wheat beers. I don’t even mind that it’s 14 bucks a bottle, bro… I mean, it’s not like you can get it at the LCBO!

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But now we’re gonna funk it up about three notches with a Rullquin from Belgium’s Gueuzerie Tilquin. This beer was formerly known as Stout Rullquin, so I was expecting something dark and chocolately — but while it’s a dark beer, it’s also 1/8 lambic, and it’s got the pruney taste of a Belgian trippel. (It’s listed at 7%, but it hit me a lot harder than that.) Just goes to show, you can’t judge a beer by its colour, bro!!!!

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For dessert, your choices were apple tart, chocolate mousse or ice cream — so I had to go chocolate, bro. This looks much more like a chocolate bar, though, with a layer of chocolate cookie on the bottom, and some caramel and walnuts on top. Pretty good, but I just wish there was more of it… Don’t bring me dowwwwwn, mousse!!!

Why settle for a lobster roll when you can have three lobster rolls???

Now, back in 2020, at the height of First Lockdown, I ordered this super-legit lobster burger for takeout from this funky joint called Lobster Burger Bar on King West. And let’s be clear, it wasn’t just a bit of lobster on top of a hamburger — the whole burger was made outta lobster, bro! Well, it mighta taken me a couple years, but you KNOW we gotta check this place out in person. And if you think a burger made outta lobster sounds funkalicious, then you gotta see this!!!!

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They call it the Lobster Trio, and it’s the Atlantic Division first line at the Flavourtown All-Star Game, bro! You’ve got a classic lobster roll, served cold with mayo, a crispy shrimp and lobster roll in the middle, and then they funk it up with their black truffle roll — a dish best served hot, bro!!!

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You can’t go wrong with a classic, and this classic lobster roll is money. Nice meaty chunks of lobster, with a little creaminess from the mayo, on a nice ‘n chewy bun. I’ll take three more to go!!!!

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Up next is the crispy shrimp & lobster roll — Asian fusion on a bun, son! But I gotta say, between the crispy breading and chipotle donkey sauce, I almost don’t taste the difference between the lobster and the shrimp, and that’s a bit of a bummer…

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And we’re saving the most luxurious for last with this black truffle roll. Now, I probably shouldda taken a knife and spread that truffle around more, but after polishing off two lobster rolls, three beers and a shot of Newfie screech, I guess I wasn’t thinking too clearly. But man, that hot lobster is the TheBomb.PEI, and when you do get a bite of that truffle, it really kicks it up a notch!

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Now, all that lobster and a side of truffle fries comes to $69.99 — but we’re kicking it up another notch with some Lobster Fries Supreme, son! You’ve got McDonald’s style fries topped with cheese curds, roasted peppers, and even more lobster, and then it comes with these cheese sauce on the side that you pour over top. Dude, cheese curds and cheese sauce!? Shut the cheese door!!!!

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LBB’s craft beer game is also pretty strong. They’ve got New Belgium Voodoo Ranger IPA on tap, a beer that I hadn’t seen anywhere in town until a couple years ago. At 7%, it’ll sure shiver ye timbers!!!!

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And in the can, they’ve got something I’ve never ever seen before — Velvet Bubble Lord, a tangy blueberry sour from Flying Monkeys. Now, this thing’s only like 4.5%, so it’s practically dessert. Oh, and speaking of dessert…

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Their chocolate lava cake wasn’t exactly molten, but it still got the job done. Dude, this is body by chocolate lava cake!!!!

Le Petit Chef is cooking up some big flavours!!!

Now, we don’t normally go for five-course prix fixe menus on Triple B, but when I heard this one was being made tableside by a 6 cm animated chef, you KNOW I had to check it out, bro! Le Petit Chef just opened up in downtown Toronto a few months ago — they’ve already got one in Richmond Hill, Vancouver, and about 30 other places, including 12 in Germany(!), so you know it’s gotta be good, right?

So here’s the deal. Before each course, you get an animated show projected onto the table about how Le Petit Chef cooked each dish, and then they replace the animated version on the plate with the real thing. You KNOW we never eat salad on Triple B, but after I saw all the trouble this little guy went to in pulling those veggies outta the ground, I felt like it was my duty to chow down on this caprese salad, son!!!

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So, what we’ve got here is some lettuce, thinly sliced radishes, two kinds of tomatoes, with a big ol’ hunka Buffalo mozzarella in the middle and these little balsamic pearls on top. I’d say this is one of my Top 5 salads of 2023 — but it’s only January and I don’t think I’ve had five salads this year, so take that for what it’s worth…

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Up next, we’ve got seafood bisque with one mussel, a nice little piece of lobster and a tiny hunk of octopus that Le Petit Chef chopped off a big ol’ ock who was trying to eat him for dinner. Dude almost gave his life for this dish, so you know it’s gotta be good!!!!

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At this place, you get not one, but two main courses — although they’re both pretty petite. But I gotta say, the little guy makes a mean chicken ballotine, stuffed with spinach, goat cheese and red peppers. You’ve got a couple potatoes on the side, and some demi-glace and red pepper sauce for dipping, along with a sprig of pine needles sticking out of the top. I actually saw someone eat all the pine needles — she must have really fresh breath, bro!!!!

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But now it’s time for the moment de vérité — filet mignon au poivre, mec! This had to be the smaller steak we’ve ever eaten on Triple B, but it’s still a lot bigger than the guy who cooked it, so I will give him that. Nice char on the meat, with a bit of peppery taste, and the mashed parsnips really kicked it up a notch! I’m not sure I needed three spears of asparagus, though… You cuss, I cuss, we all cuss for asparagus, bro!!!!!!!!!

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But even after lighting himself on fire when he was cooking the steak, the little dude really came through with dessert. Although it’s hidden under a whole buncha berries here, this creme brulee had the hardest, crunchiest shell I can ever remember breaking through… and when it comes to creme brulee, that’s a really good thing. Dude was saving the best for last, bro!!!!!

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Who needs cauliflower when you can have beef brisket, bro????

So, we’re hanging out at Fat Pasha, this funky Middle Eastern joint on Dupont. This place is known for its spicy cauliflower…but do you really think we’re gonna eat cauliflower on Triple B, bro????

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Instead, we’re starting off with some halloumi sticks, a funky take on a pizza joint classic. Dude, I am always down for some deep-fried cheese, so you KNOW there ain’t nothing wrong with these!!!!

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But now it’s time for the main event — Linda’s beef brisket. I dunno who Linda is, but I’d eat her brisket any day of the week, bro! Meat is nice n tender, with a thick BBQ sauce and a whole pile of fried onions… dude, this is body by fried onions!!!!!

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But even after all that brisket back there, we’ve still got room for dessert. We’re talking tahini fudge brownie, with a bit of acid cutting through the chocolate mix. Dunno why they cut it into six, cuz this is just a light snack for one in Flavourtown, son!!!!

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Funky four-course French feast @ Jules Bistro

In 2021, I demolished a 24 oz cote de boeuf at Jules Bistro, this funky fresh French joint on Queen West. But it turns out there’s another Jules Bistro in town… only this one’s on Queen East. (They pretty much have the same menu, though.) So when I heard they were serving up a three-course prix fixe for just 40 bucks, you KNOW I had to check it out, bro!!!!!!

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We’re starting off with their vegetarian French onion soup, which is more like French onion soup, with a twist. Fortunately, it’s not completely cheese-free — vegetarian, not vegan — but you won’t see a cheese crust or a crock pot, and instead of croutons, there’s a couple pieces of French bread on top. It wasn’t bad, but I prefer the more typical soupe a l’oignon like they serve at Cluny.

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Now, the escargot weren’t on the prix fixe menu, but you KNOW I can’t go to a French restaurant and NOT eat snails, bro! These were not your garden-variety escargot, either, served in a brandy mushroom cream sauce with a side of toasted baguette — no garlic butter here!

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Dude, this whole dinner is brought to you by cream sauce. Up next, we’ve got saute de poulet, sliced chicken breast in a bacon and mushroom cream sauce, with a side of fries and salad. Chicken is nice ‘n tender, that cream sauce is legit, but those fries are what makes it — they’re like McDonald’s without all the salt, son!!!!

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And of course, we’re ending this creamy feast with some creme brulee. This tastes pretty much like I remember from the West End spot, with a nice crispy crust and a cold, creamy centre. Nothing wrong with that at all!

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We’re washing it down with a cream, erm, Queen of Wheat beer from Spearhead. It’s sorta like a Belgian wit, but not as citrusy as some of the ones I’ve had before (i.e. Blanche de Chambly). Goes good with soup ‘n snails, but I switched to a Great Lakes Stout for the main course and did not regret it…

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Crab cakes, nduja and clams — oh my!!!

Now, I don’t always eat seafood, but when I do, you KNOW it’s gotta be funkalicious, bro! So we’re hanging out at Pink Sky, this funky seafood joint on King West, where I had a legit lobster mac ‘n cheese last year. But if there’s one thing I learned from the last time we were here, it’s that eating only one thing isn’t gonna be enough food for me. So that’s why I made sure to order at least three things this time around…

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We’re starting off with a couple crab cakes, coming in hot ‘n crispy, straight outta fryer, on a whole bed of tartar sauce. These crab boys weren’t as good as the ones down the street, but they’re still pretty tasty.

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But now it’s time for the main event. We’re talkin’ steamed clams in a spicy broth with couscous, nduja sausage and a peck of piquillo peppers. Now, the first few clams up top weren’t very spicy, but once you get into that broth, with a few little bites of nduja, it really kicks things up a notch!!!!

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But you KNOW we’ve still got room for dessert — and with just four things on the dessert menu, it’s basically a no-brainer. We’re going with the chocolate olive oil cake, with toasted almond ice cream. Now, I couldn’t tell that there was olive oil in here, but the cake was nice ‘n moist, with plenty of chocolate to go around. If I could get that in King’s Cake size, that would be amazeballs, bro!!!!

I’m impressed with this iberico pork presa!

Now, we’re all about dat piggy on Triple B, so it’s rare that there’s a pork product we haven’t had yet. Last year, we learned the pork secret handshake of Iberico pork secreto, but it turns out there’s more than one way to skin an Iberian pig. And at Lapinou, this funky French nouveau joint on King West, they’re serving up a different kind of Iberico — this is Iberico pork presa:

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I definitely had to look this up, but it turns out that Iberico pork presa is the juiciest and most flavourful part, attached to the shoulder, while pork secreto is the end of the flank, next to the headboard of the spine. Well, the Spanish butcher shop I got that info from ain’t lying — this pork is very juicy and flavourful, with a texture like a ribeye steak, cooked to a nice medium rare. It comes with a whole buncha Swiss chard, which is braised until tender. But just like at Vela, where the pork secreto was hidden by a heap of shishito peppers, the green-stuff-to-meat ratio was a little too high over here…

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Mind you, I did eat a little more meat to help balance things out. This beef tartare is seasoned with green peppercorns, chives and an anchovy sauce — the peppercorns give it a nice little kick. I could maybe have used one more piece of toast to go with all that meat… but man, you could serve that beef tartare on a flip-flop, and it would still taste good!!!!!

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Now, they’re definitely more about wine than beer here, but they did have a couple Blood Brothers brews on tap, including this Inner Eye Pale Ale. Man, this tastes so much like Blood Light that I feel they almost served me that beer instead (I think that’s what it said on my bill, anyways), but in any case, I can’t complain about this slightly citrusy, not too hoppy APA.

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Now, if I do have one complaint, it’s that the portions were pretty small. I definitely still had room for dessert… and of the three items on the dessert menu, Chocolate was the obvious choice. They described this one as tasting like a chocolate orange, and they weren’t kidding — the orange zest really cuts through the mix. They also added some sesame seeds for a grainy texture, which made things a little more interesting. Hey, I’ll take this over panna cotta any day!!!!!

Clappin’ veal cheeks @ Tutti Matti!!!

Last Friday, in the middle of a major snowstorm, I made my way over to Tutti Matti, this funky Italian joint on Adelaide that’s been serving up classic Tuscan cuisine for the past 20 years. Turns out it was the last day they were open before the holidays — they’re now closed until January 13. And dude, this is body by Italian food, so you KNOW I had to stop by, no matter how bad it was outside!!!!!

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Dude, this is definitely not my first porchetta sandwich…but it might be my first open-faced one. You’ve got some nice, slow-roasted piggy with arugula (or rocket, as they say across the pond) and deep-fried shallots on a big toasted piece of bread. Pork is super-tender, bread is nice ‘n crunchy — but the deep-fried shallots is what makes it!!!!!!!

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But you KNOW we’re just getting started, son! These veal cheeks were on special, so you might not even see ’em come January. But man, that beef was super fall-apart tender, served in au jus on a bed of creamy polenta with some crunchy croutons — hey, you gotta use up that bread before it goes bad, bro!!!!

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Another cool thing about this place is that all their beer (except for Peroni) comes from GoodLot, this funky little organic craft brewery in Caledon. I had never even heard of GoodLot before, so I asked to see all their wares. I passed on the Philsner and the Mellow Gold, but I can tell you that the Bighead Amber and Farmstead Ale were both quite tasty — I’ll hafta look for ’em in the LCBO sometime.

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But you know we’ve still got room for dessert, right? Their chocolate torte hit the spot, nice and rich with a scoop of caramel gelato on top. Dude, you could put that gelato on a snow boot, and it would still taste good!!!!!!!

Who needs Christmas turkey when you can have deep-fried duck???

Now, I know I’ve said this before — I am not a big fan of turkey, unless it’s Texas-style BBQ turkey, or maybe a turducken. But I didn’t see any place serving up turducken this year, so instead we’re heading to Louix Louis, this funky joint at the top of the St. Regis hotel, for a Christmas day brunch. They aren’t serving turkey here, either… but when I saw the Duck & Waffle, with deep-fried duck legs, I mean, who even needs turkey, right???

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OK, now let’s break it down. Waffles were thick, but not very fluffy. Even with the syrup, they didn’t get very soft, so instead of piling the duck on top, I had to put it on the side, like so. But the deep-fried duck was legit, nice n’ chewy with a crispy breading, and that blueberry compote kicked it up a notch!

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But hey, because calories don’t count on Christmas Day, we also ordered some steak ‘n eggs, son! Steak was on the rare side of medium rare (not a bad thing), and the eggs were pretty decent, although I didn’t see any of the shaved truffles they mentioned on the menu. Guess it must not be truffle season?

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Washed it down with “The Original Bloody Mary” which is supposed to be a St. Regis specialty — this drink was actually invented at a St. Regis in NYC, back in the day. But man, I gotta say, I didn’t taste or feel the vodka in this one. I mean, I wanna get drunk, bro, not dip my french fries in it!!!!!!!

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Speaking of St. Regis specialties… you KNOW I saved room for a slice of King’s Cake, bro! Dude, this 13-layer chocolate cake is thicker than Lizzo and J.Lo combined — I ate most of it, but I’ve still got pretty much an entire Prime Seafood Palace-sized piece of cake leftover for tomorrow…

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Say hello to my Brother from Another Mother!!!!

Now, I don’t always eat sushi, so when I do, you KNOW it’s gotta be funkalicious to the max. We’re hanging out at Akira Back, this funky joint in the Bisha Hotel, where they’re serving up these crazy sushi rolls with names like Hot Mess, Pop Rockin and Show Me the Roll. But when I saw this renegade of funk called Brother from Another Mother, you know I was buying a one-way ticket straight to Downtown Flavourtown, son!!!!!!!!

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Dude, this bad boy is so outta bounds, where do I even begin, bro? You’ve got two kinds of eel — unagi AND anago, with some crunchy cucumber, and then they put foie gras on top????? However you say shut the back door in Japanese, that door is definitely shutting!!!!

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But you know we’re just getting this party started, bro! Up next, we’ve got wagyu short rib, marinated for 48 hours, so it’s nice ‘n tender, heart in a blender, watch it spin round to a beautiful oblivion… This dish has got a rendez-vous with my piehole in like 2 seconds!!!

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We’re pairing that with a side of king crab fried rice. Now, I gotta say, the rice-to-beef ratio is pretty high — I was expecting a lot more than four little chunks of beef here. But you could pair this rice with a side of flip-flop, and it would still taste good!

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But of course, we’re still got room for dessert. And now it’s time to make like Roger Waters and have a cigar. This AB Cigar is sorta like a Drumstick without a cone — you’ve got miso caramel ice cream in a chocolate shell with all kinds of cocoa nubs for that extra little kick. You KNOW ‘sticks are unbelievable, bro!!!!!!!!

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