Hogtown Eats

GRAND REOPNING: I’m gonna slammy some Wagyu at Minami!!!

Now, I’ve got nothing against sushi, but when we’re at a Japanese restaurant, I usually go for beef. We’re talking real-deal, A5-grade Wagyu at places like Minami, this funky joint on King St in the Entertainment District. Where’s the beef? It’s right here, bro!!!!

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Now, you can probably expect to pay a pretty penny for such premium meat; each piece of Miyazaki A5 tenderloin nigiri will set ya back 12 bucks. Lightly seared on a bed of rice with the wasabi melted right in, it’s a tasty little flavour nugget in Flavourtown. OK, so you could buy like a 24 of Molson Dry for the price of three of these, but gimme A5 Wagyu over Molson Dry any day, bro!!!

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But the beef don’t stop there, son! While it’s not Wagyu, this Alberta beef tenderloin is still rootin’-tootin’ tasty, with some killer wild mushrooms and a nice peppercorn au jus. I also ordered some potatoes with my steak…although they actually came as an appetizer, which was kinda weird.

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Dude, these brown butter gratin potatoes were 2 legit 2 quit! Served super-hot out of the oven in a Gruyere/Parmesan sauce… it even has a cheese crust!!!!

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Of course, even after all that meat ‘n potatoes, you KNOW we’ve still got room for dessert, bro!!! This Japanese cheese tart was more Uncle Tetsu than Pablo, with more of a creamy, cake-like texture. That’s not to say I wouldn’t crush, like, six of these, though…

 

 

 

 

PATIO LIT EATS: 3 courses from 3 different restaurants @ Yonge & St. Clair

Now, not every restaurant in Toronto has the space for a patio. And while they can open for socially distanced indoor dining now that we’re in Phase/Stage/Step 3, it still means lost revenue for some of the smaller businesses. That’s why I really dig what they’re doing with Patio at Yonge and St. Clair, where they’ve set up a buncha picnic tables in a parking lot, along with a beer tent, and they’ve got an app that lets you order takeout from 11 nearby restaurants — delivered right to your table.

Now, you know me, I can’t just order from one or two different places on an evening such as this… so I made it a three course meal from three different funky joints, along with a coupla beers — cuz hey, this ain’t Burgers, Bacon & Diet Pepsi, bro!!!!

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So, we’re starting off with a handful of empanadas from 9 Bars Latino Cafe, this funky little joint just east of Yonge St. You can choose from beef, chicken, cheese, fish or black bean & cheese, although they don’t let you mix and match, so you gotta get five of the same. I paired these tasty little flavour nuggets with a Henderson Radicle Gose, which added a nice, sour, limey taste to the mix.

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For the main meal, I slammed this Reuben sammy from Zelden’s Deli and Desserts, which is just south of St. Clair. It comes with your choice of fries, rings, slaw, tater salad or a “garden salad,” for some reason. I went with the onion rings, and I’m glad I did — these were the biggest, beefiest rings I’ve had since I ordered takeout from The Irv, bro!!!

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Now, that’s a really nice ring, Au-bro Graham!!!!

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We’re washing this down with a Figo Italian pilsner from Henderson. This might be the maltiest, most flavourful pils I’ve ever crushed — and there’s nothing wrong with that at all!!!

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Now, speaking of Italian… When we went to Capocaccia Trattoria last weekend, I actually didn’t have room for dessert. But when I saw them sending up cannoli to the Patio, you KNOW I was all over that like Danilo Gallinari, bro! You’ve got pistachio to the left of me, chocolate to the right, and here I am chowing down in Flavourtown, Leroy Brown!!!!!!

GRAND REOPENING: Real-deal British pub food @ The Rabbit Hole

Now, not only are we starting to see restaurants reopening all over this city, but there are also some new joints setting up shop as well, like The Rabbit Hole, this funky British-style pub inside the Scotiabank building in the Financial District. And this place is serving up all the classics: steak and mushroom pie, tikka masala, fish ‘n chips… But we’re starting off with something you don’t see often on this side of the pond — Welsh rarebit, son!!!

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Now, the last time I had this dish, it was basically just cheese on toast…so this is definitely a bit different. There is a layer of cheese, but it’s baked right into the bread, which is super crunchy and crusty. Not what I was expecting, but still not too shabby!

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Of course, I couldn’t go to a British pub and NOT get fish ‘n chips, mate! This ale-battered halibut was not too heavy, while the thick-cut fries had a little bit of Cajun salt — do they even do that in the UK? But what makes it are the mushy peas. I have literally never had these peas before, but they almost tasted more like mashed potatoes… Dude, this is body by mashed potatoes!!!!!!

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And of course, we’re washing it down with a good, English-style beer. This Indie Alehouse Breakfast Porter packs quite a bunch, at 7.2%, but provides the chocolately richness you’d expect from a proper British pint. They’ve also got a lotta cocktails here — remind me to try the Ace of Spades next time!!!!!!!

GRAND REOPENING: Squid stuffed with sausage? Don’t mind if I do…

Man, we’ve eaten so much Italian food all over this city on Triple B that it’s pretty rare when we come across an Italian dish that I’ve never seen before. But that’s what just happened at Capocaccia Trattoria, this funky little joint on Yonge St, just a penalty kick south of St. Clair. We’re talking calamari ripieni, a sausage-stuffed squid, served on a bed of couscous. Dude, Sausage-Stuffed Squid was my nickname at swim camp, so you KNOW I gotta check this out!!!!

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Now, I normally like my calamari like my chicken — fried — but this texture totally works here. Nice, chewy calamari with a pretty good kick from the sausage… And they even give you the little tentacles, too!

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Of course, we can’t go to a real-deal Italian joint and NOT order pizza, bro! I gotta say, their margherita is on point, with a nice, crispy crust, some ooey-gooey, flor di latte… I could slam, like, 16 slices if I wasn’t saving room for squid!!!!

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And you can’t have patio pizza without patio beers, bro! This place not only has Peroni on tap, but they’re even serving it in a Peroni-branded glass! I’m not sure that makes the beer taste any better…but at least it looks good on the blog, eh? 😉

GRAND REOPENING: Giant pretzel & jumbo wings @ Rec Room

Yesterday, Toronto moved into Step/Stage/Phase 3, which means that most indoor things are allowed to open, at a limited capacity. So you KNOW we’re heading down to the Rec Room to crush some arcade games, son! But before killing it at Pop-a-Shot, we gotta fill up on some snacks. And at Triple B, it’s all about go big or go home — we’re talking giant pretzel with a dozen jumbo wings, bro!!!!

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While this wasn’t the biggest giant pretzel I’ve ever seen, it still checked all the boxes — hot, soft and salty. The beer cheese queso was TheBomb.Mexico…but I wasn’t really into the dill ranch so much. Even with the wings, it was just OK.

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Now, the jumbo wings were meaty, big and crispy, so they didn’t disappoint me. You could choose two different sauces, and I went with sweet heat and smoky chipotle BBQ. Well, the first one was sweet, but not even a little spicy, and the smoky chipotle BBQ didn’t really taste like any of those things. So maybe next time, I’ll just go with “Medium Buffalo,” bro!

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Now, I know the name of this blog isn’t Burgers, Bacon & Hard Iced Tea, but when the only beers on tap are Budweiser, Bud Light, Mill Street Organic and Stella, can you even blame me, bro???

GRAND REOPENING: Tacos! Tacos! Tacos! @ Rabbit! Rabbit! Rabbit!

You KNOW this is body by tacos, bro! So when we found this funky new joint serving up Tex-Mex style tacos on King Street called Rabbit! Rabbit! Rabbit! we totally had to check it out. We’re talking fish tacos, we’re talking brisket…we’re even talking crispy cauliflower. OK, so maybe we might skip that one.

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Now, this wasn’t the biggest or crunchiest fish taco I’ve ever caught, but it was still fairly flavourful, with some pico, cilantro and coleslaw, not to mention the chipotle crema oozing out all over the place… You could put that on a flip-flop, and it would still taste good!

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Chicken tinga also had a nice little crunch from the radish and pickled onions, along with a little cotija cheese on top. This one also had a bit of a kick, but was not too spicy for this gringo… Let’s just say I chased it away with a couple pints of their house Rabbit! Cerveza.

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Now, the smoked brisket tacos were probably the reason I came here. Dude, you definitely don’t see brisket tacos every day in Toronto, bro! They kinda buried the brisket in salsa verde and donkey sauce, but I think I found a way to kick things up a notch…

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You KNOW I’m all about the meat ‘n potatoes, bro! So I ordered a side of tater tots, and then stuck a few of ’em on top. Man, the crunch from the tots reminded me of some of the breakfast tacos I had in Austin… Too bad the brisket was nothing compared to Franklin’s, though!

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But even after slammin’ a fistful of tacos, you KNOW we’ve still got room for dessert. We’re talking tres leches, topped with toasted coconut and candied pineapple, for a little extra kick. Cake was nice ‘n moist, not too sweet, and there was plenty of pineapple to go around — you could put it on a pizza, and it would still taste good!!! 😛

GRAND REOPENING: BLT lettuce wraps + bacon-bit cheeseburger

Dude, patio season is sooo Triple B season, bro! We’re hanging out at SOCO Kitchen & Bar, this funky joint just a Vladdy Jr. long ball away from the Rogers Centre (maybe next month, bro?). And this place is serving up a few of my favourite things, such as burgers, bacon and beer!

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We’re starting off with some BLT lettuce wraps, these crispy, deep-fried rolls of cheese topped with onions, bacon bits and donkey sauce, served on a bed of lettuce. Only thing that seems to be missing is the tomatoes — but I guess that’s the least important part?

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Now, when I saw the SOCO Bacon Cheeseburger on the menu, I knew it was heading straight down my piehole! You’ve got two smashed patties topped with oozy cheddar cheese, lettuce, tomato, onions and special sauce — but it turns out they put bacon bits instead of bacon strips, which means you can barely taste the bacon. Look, I get that it’s a pandemic, and you gotta cut costs or whatever, but that’s still a big-time summer bummer in Flavourtown, son!!!!!

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When it comes to beer, this place has got Steam Whistle, Mill Street, Goose Island and, uh, Budweiser on tap — but I went with their rotating Collective Arts can, which happened to be Life in the Clouds, a strong, juicy New England style IPA. Funny thing, they also had their Guava Gose in a can, but I literally just had that one, so, y’know… I figured I’d switch it up some.

 

 

 

GRAND REOPENING: Snails in a half shell…snail power!!!

Now, I may not be French, but I know the French cook with a lotta butter and cream, and this is body by butter and cream, so I can go for that any day of the week, son! And it doesn’t get more French than escargot — snails swimming in garlic butter. I’ve ordered escargot a couple times at funky local joints like Le Papillon, Cafe La Gaffe and Auberge du Pommier, but here at Maison Selby, this cute little French bistro just a mime’s rope pull away from Bloor and Sherbourne, was the first place I’ve seen em served inside the shell.

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Now, after a bit of work with the escargot fork (which has two prongs, instead of three), I was able to wrestle a couple of these bad boys out onto a piece of toasted baguette. Nice texture; meaty, but not too chewy, and that garlic butter was TheBomb.fr — I just wish I had some softer bread to soak it all up…

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But you KNOW it’s gonna take more than six snails before I call it a night, bro! And it turns out this place has both kinds of lamb: leg AND shoulder, right here in their duo d’agneau. Meat was nice ‘n tender, in a rich, brown sauce…but I probably couldda eaten twice as much, and still had room for dessert.

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Don’t get me wrong, the food was pretty good, but the best thing about this meal was the beer. They’ve got this Guava Gose from Collective Arts on tap, which is equal parts fruity and sour, while looking like the kinda pink drink that FGL would stick an umbrella in. Baby you a beer, make me wanna roll my windows down and booooze!!!!!!

GRAND REOPENING: Great beef short rib @ The Gatsby

Back in 2018, when a pandemic was something that happened 100 years ago, we hit up the Windsor Arms Hotel for some delicious Summerlicious dishes. Since then, it looks like they renamed their dining space from The Living Room to The Gatsby — which might be a bit easier to Google, I guess? We weren’t in anybody’s living room this time, although their side patio was still pretty cozy.

Now, they actually had Cornish hen on the menu again, but when I saw the braised beef short rib, I knew it was gonna be love at first bite…

Meat was super-tender — not quite fork-tender, but they only gave you a butter knife, and I barely needed it. Some nice veggies, along with roast potatoes, and I like how they served the au jus on the side — I would put that on a flip-flop, bro! Now, this meal was pretty filling, but you KNOW I still had room for dessert…

Dude, this is body by warm chocolate cake! While it’s not much bigger than a brownie, it does come with Chantilly cream and some fruit on the side. And it definitely is warm — I almost burned myself when I touched the dish, bro!!!

Speaking of fruit, this St. Ambroise Apricot Wheat Ale was probably the most interesting beer they had here. It’s only slightly fruity, but makes for a nice, crushable summer sipper — I think I had at least three of these…

GRAND REOPENING: Duck eggs & bacon @ Farmhouse Tavern

Now, we first moseyed on down to Farmhouse Tavern last September, back when we were still allowed to eat inside. It may be a little out of the way — we’re talking Dundas West and Dupont — but I really, really liked this place. So when I found out their patio had reopened AND they were serving Sunday brunch, you KNOW I had to check it out, bro!!!!!

Their whole deal is farm-to-table, so you can expect a small menu, that changes regularly, with fresh, seasonal ingredients. Well, I guess this must be duck huntin’ season, cuz they’re serving up duck two ways in this funky brunch dish called the Quack and Scram:

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Now, what we’ve got here is duck confit, served inside a tortilla, with fresh mushrooms…and then they put a duck egg on top. It’s like Tex-Mex meets French in Flavourtown, bro! Dude, every part of this dish tastes good — even the tortilla is nice ‘n crispy. But the bacon was definitely the best part!!!!!!

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Here’s where I should probably mention that the bacon doesn’t actually come with this dish — I paid six bucks for a side of bacon, and lemme tell ya, that was the best six dollars I’ve spent all year. This lil’ piggy is sooo outta bounds, it ended up in the chicken coop, son! You’ve got thickly sliced pork belly with this amazing smokey flavour…it’s like the beef brisket of bacon, bro!!!

I mean, the last time I had bacon this good wasn’t even in Canada. Can I get, like, seven pounds to go???

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Now, since we’ve entered Year 2 of the pandemic, it doesn’t even hafta be 5 o’clock — as long as it’s, like, 2 p.m. somewhere, this guy could use a beer. So this Square Wheels, a hazy, sneaky strong IPA from Town Brewery in Whitby, definitely hits the spot. There’s a tear in my beer as I type this, Bro-cephus!!!

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