Chugging some drunken garlic shrimp @ Chi Dim Sum

Dude, beer and garlic are two of my favourite things, so if you combine them with shrimp, and serve it all up on a flatbread, then you know I’m all over that like white on a $2.75 side of rice! We’re hanging out at Chi Dim Sum & Asian, this funky little joint on Yonge, close enough to Eglinton that you can smell the construction. Now, you might be asking what kind of Asian? Well, this place has everything from soup dumplings to green curry to Korean beef ribs, and even this funky opening act in Flavourtown, General Tao Chicken Bao:

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Now, if you like sauce, this here’s your jam. They pretty much smother everything in the sticky General Tao sauce — man, you could put that on a carrot, and it would still taste good! But I was not expecting thinly sliced chicken breast here. I was looking for something more like the deep-fried crunchiness of the General Tao in my neighbourhood, right next to Downtown Flavourtown. This chicken was more like it’s from a distant suburb or something…

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But hey, I came here to do two things: drink some beer, and eat some shrimp — and we’re almost outta Tsingtao, bro! These Drunken Garlic Shrimp are plump and juicy, with just the right amount of sauce. They say they’re sauteed in garlic, butter and beer, which just might be the name of my new cooking show. Couldn’t really taste the booze, but that didn’t stop me from polishing off a whole wooden paddle of these bad boys!

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Now, at this point you’re probably asking, after slamming 17 shrimp, could he still have room for dessert? Oh it’s true, it’s damn true, Kurt Bro-ngle!!!

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Now, this dish right here has gotta be a gold medallist at the Flavourtown Olympics in the most righteous dessert category. Say hello to ma lil’ friend, deep-fried banana split! You’ve got ice cream, you’ve got chocolate sauce, even a couple strawberries on top…and the bananas are deep-fried in a crispy golden batter, for that ooey, gooey taste on the inside. Dude, this split is bananas… and bananas is good!!!!

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Slammin’ smoked lamb at Barque, bro!!!

Now, Barque Smokehouse is already one of my favourite BBQ joints in this city. Their Smoker’s Choice platter is enough food to feel a small army of Flavourtown Warriors, Bro-veheart! But when it’s date night in Flavourtown, I’m all about the BBQ Sampler for Two. You get three meats, two sides and an appetizer, for just 64 bucks. And yes, they do give you enough food (unlike some place on Queen St I won’t mention)…

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Man, this is like a Fieri family portrait in Flavourtown! You’ve got Barque Rack O’Bama baby back ribs, beef brisket, and…wait for it…smoked pulled lamb shoulder, son! Plus there’s sides of cajun mac ‘n cheese and garlic mashed potaters, topped with crispy pancetta? Shut the front, back and cellar doors!!!! And I haven’t even mentioned the appetizer:

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Dude, these Korean BBQ Nachos were so outta bounds, I almost Gangnam Styled myself to death, bro! You’ve got smoked wonton chips, gojuchang beef brisket, cheddar cheese, jalapenos and smoked pineapple!? Dude, I don’t even mind pineapple on pizza, but this is totally kicking it up a notch!!!!

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Now, I’ve had the brisket and ribs here before, so I know they’re legit, but this was the first time in my lifetime I’ve ever eaten BBQ pulled lamb. I did have lamb ribs that one time in Cleveland, and they were only my third-favourite kind of ribs (beef ribs FTW, bro!!!), but I’ve always been more of a lamb shank kinda guy. So hey, if you take it, and pull it and sauce it, well…there’s nothing wrong with that at all.

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Now, when it comes to sides, that crispy pancetta on the potatoes is TheBomb.it. You could put that on a flip flop, and it would still taste good! But you know it’s all about that mac, bro… Dude, this is body by mac ‘n cheese!!!

 

Greedo goes to Canoe…hilarity ensues!

Now, in all my years of eating in this city, I had never been to Canoe. I did have sex in a canoe once–it tasted like Bud Light. But I’d never been to the restaurant at the top of the TD Tower with the majestic views of the city skyline…until now.

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So, I figured if I’m gonna be way up high, I’d better be drinking Life in the Clouds, this strong, hazy, double dry-hopped IPA from Collective Arts. If you’re a fan of unfiltered citrus beers, then this one’s for you. And hey, some of the wines here were like 90 bucks for a thimble…so I figured I’d better stick to beer.

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So we’re starting off with this dish of smoked boudin noir sausage, Kentucky-fried sweetbreads with risotto, walnuts and morel mushrooms. I knew I had to order this when I saw ’em bring it to another table under a glass dome with all the smoke. Now, I don’t always eat sweetbreads, but if you Kentucky fry that shit, I could slam, like, seven of these…and still have room for some shrooms:

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Now, for the main course, I was torn between the Tamarack Lamb and the Quebec Red Stag. But dude, how often do you get deer…from Quebec???

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This baaaad, baaaad venison was like a Bon Jovi keyboard solo in Flavourtown! Deer was cooked to a perfect medium rare, you’ve got like one or two potatoes, a small sausage roll, some peanut-butter jelly sauce…and a lot of cabbage. Like, a whole lotta cabbage–enough that you almost need a third piece of meat to go with it. Dude, I did not come here for the cabbage…but of course, I still ate it all, anyways:

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Of course, even after all that cabbage, you KNOW I still had room for dessert, bro! But I gotta say, when I ordered the Chocolate Forest Stout Cake, this is NOT what I was expecting. I guess you’ve got some cake crumbles in there, with some marshmallow, chocolate pudding, chocolate chunks and then this chestnut/gingerbread ice cream. But I’d much rather have a great big piece of real man’s cake, the way they do at Wildfire Steakhouse, son!!!

Now, I gotta say, I know a couple people who’ve been to Canoe before, and they told me that I’d hafta stop for a burger on the way home cuz I’d still be hungry. But I can tell ya that after an appetizer, main course and a dessert…I did not have room for an after-dinner burger. Maybe it’s because I filled up on the free bread and butter, though?

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Bacon burger and a beer for 20 bucks @ Friday Roots and Vibes

Now here’s a Wednesday Night Special that’s after my own heart. We’re hanging out at Friday Roots and Vibes, this funky southern soul food joint on Dundas West, where they’re serving up a double beef brisket bacon cheeseburger, plus a short cold one, for just 20 bucks, bro! Say hello to the Friday Burger:

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Dude, this thing is like a Big Mac on steroids! You’ve got two beef brisket patties, a couple slices of cheddar, maybe like one or two bacon strips and a whole lotta lettuce, all swimming in secret sauce. Bro, this burger was so saucy, I was expecting it to get up on stage and do a striptease or something–but instead it ended up going straight down my piehole!!!

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Now, here’s the deal with their burger and beer deal, though. You can’t choose any beer on the menu — you only get a stubby of Red Stripe. Man, I didn’t even drink Red Stripe when I was in the Caribbean…but as long as there’s burgers involved, I guess it’s irie, mon!

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Of course, you KNOW I still had room for dessert, son! This Mississippi Mud Pie was just chocolate, chocolate and more chocolate… with some whipped cream on top. I easily couldda slammed a slice twice this size though, bro!!!

Duck confit on a bun for this funky French brunch!!!

Now, I don’t really celebrate Easter — I pretty much eat Peeps 24/7, bro!!! — but I’ll take any excuse to go for brunch that I can get. So, we’re hanging out at Le Paradis, this funky French bistro that’s kinda in the middle of nowhere, on Bedford north of Davenport. This place has got everything on their brunch menu from steak tartare to eggs benny to a raclette cheeseburger — although I see they’ve omitted the beer-braised lamb, which makes me a sad lambda. But we’re still eatin’ good in this neighbourhood!!!

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We’re starting off with moules a la marinière, these PEI mussels steamed with white wine, garlic and onions. Dude, who needs muscles from Brussels when you can have mussels from Charlottetown???

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But you know that was just a light snack in Flavourtown, so now we’re moving on to the main event — a duck confit sammy on a ciabatta with a fried egg on top! It’s like if Italy was facing off against France in the kitchen, and they both laid an egg — which sounds kinda like a soccer game, eh? The duck is nice and tender, you’ve got the crunchiness of the ciabatta, and then that egg oozing all over the place… Man, I’d actually sit through a soccer game if you fed me a few of these!!!

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Now, here’s where we kick brunch up a notch with a pint of Averbode Abbey Ale, this Belgian brew from the 14th century. Well, OK, I don’t think this one was actually brewed in the 1300’s — that would be some pretty skunky beer, bro! But I gotta say, it was a nice, fruity, brunchy beer with a deceptively strong 7.5% kick. I’m not drunk or anything, but I might have led the resto in a round of “Frère Jacques” — sonnez les matines, son!!!

I’m about to go all Untouchables on this cotoletta di capone!!!

Dude, The Untouchables is one of my all-time favourite movies, bro! You’ve got Kevin Costner, Andy Garcia, Sean Connery and Robert muthafuckin’ De Niro wearing Al Capone’s underwear. Talk about a cinematic classic!!!

Now, I’ve never sent one of his to the morgue, but I have slayed a whole lotta Italian dishes in my day. So now we’re hanging out at Giulietta, this funky Italian joint on the west side of Dundas, where you can see people in leather jackets with punk rock patches walking down the street. The neighbourhood might not be gentrified, but that’s not to say this place ain’t fancy — it was just named Canada’s Best New Restaurant of 2019. But you can still walk in there wearing a Judas Priest t-shirt and a Calgary Flames camouflage trucker hat — trust me, I would know. 😉

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Now, before I could get to Capone, I had to go through his henchman, Salsiccia d’Agnello. Talk about a name straight outta a gangster film! This lemony lamb sausage was nice and sweet, with some braised fennel and a whole buncha grilled onions. Not even Prohibition could stop me from scarfing this down, son!!!

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And then I found myself staring down the Big Boss Man, Cotoletta di Capone. (His friends call him “Al.”) This crispy Italian schnitzel was served with some greens, pickled veg and a lemon wedge — and while it’s not quite as massive as the plate-sized pork cutlet at Tennessee Tavern, you might need a whole team of Untouchables to take this one down!

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Of course, since Prohibition is soooo 1920’s, I celebrated my takedown of Capone with a couple of Menabrea Biondas. I first had this Italian beer at Sud Forno, and while it’s nothing worth starting a temperance movement over…I would still drink it over Molson Canadian, any day!!!!

All You Can Eat Asian @ Spring Rolls

Now, my motto’s always been “Why only eat some, when you can eat all?” So we’re hanging out at Spring Rolls, right at Yonge and Dundas, where you can get all you can eat Asian food for just 28 bucks, bro! And we’re not just talking sushi, we’re talking dim sum, bulgogi, calamari, lamb chops… and a whole lotta cupcakes for dessert! OK, now let’s break it down:

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This plateful of deep-fried goodness includes Japanese gyoza, deep-fried scallop cakes, and a beef satay skewer with a very uneven sauce distribution… But that’s not all we’re frying up here:

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Holy Octopus Balls, Batman! This takoyaki was so hot it almost melted my face off!!!

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Now here’s something I’ve never even seen before — they take a wonton, stuff it with cream cheese, and then drop it in the fryer. Man, the only way this would be better is if they used nacho cheese, bro!

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Of course, we’ve always got room for some calamari. Dude, this is body by calamari!

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Now, I guess we should probably order some sushi. On the right, we’ve got a salmon avocado roll, and then on the left, that’s a green dragon roll — crab meat, avocado and cucumber, with more avocado on top! Who needs a cherry when you can have avocado on top???

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But now we’re about to funk it up a notch, homes! This spider roll, spider roll does whatever a spider roll does — it’s got deep-fried soft shell crab, with some regular crab, avocado, cucumber and mayo… It’s like a Tobey Maguire upside-down kiss in Flavourtown!!!

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Now, I know at this point you’re probably asking “Where’s the beef, bro?” Well, it’s right here, son! This sizzling bulgogi beef is so chewy, you could pull it apart with a fork… Man, I could eat like 17 of these!

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But that’s not the only thing they’re sizzlin’ at Spring Rolls, son! This honey ginger chicken wasn’t quite as spicy as advertised…but you KNOW it’s still heading straight down my piehole!!!

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Now, here’s something I wasn’t expecting. Imagine having steak and lamb, and lamb and steak. Imagine having both of them, on just one plate… OK, so both of these pieces were well beyond medium rare, but they can still tag team my taste buds any day, bro!

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Now, if you like your Chinese food deep-fried and saucy — dude, Deep Fried ‘n Saucy is my dating profile handle! — then this Tango Mango Chicken is for you. You’ve got crunchy, crispy bird, mango, sweet, sweet onion and bell peppers, sauteed in a house special citrus tango mango sauce. Dude, you could put that on a flip-flop, and it would still taste good!!!!

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Of course, even after slamming all those Asian taste sensations, we’ve still got room for dessert. Mini brownies, mini creme brulees, and five different kinds of mini cupcakes. The ones with the Oreos on top were my Flavourtown favourites…