Triple B: Burgers, Bacon & Beer

PATIO BEERS: It’s like the fruit salad of beers, bro!!!

Patio season has gone on about a month longer than expected, but I think we’re heading into the last week now. So we’re hanging out at Thirsty And Miserable, this funky little Kensington Market dive where they’ve got punk rock on the stereo and craft beer on tap…as well as in cans. Even during the pandemic, they’re still a cash-only bar — that’s how punk rock they are, bro! And they’re serving up some beers that are pretty outta bounds, like this renegade of funk in Flavourtown that’s literally called It’s a Trap…

This funky collaboration from Indie Alehouse and Dominion City is packing so much fruit, it might actually be healthy for you. We’re talking grapes, lime, pineapple and millions of peaches, peaches for me in a sour beer that comes in at 5.2%. I gotta say, what I taste most is the pineapple, though…

Now, I don’t always drink pineapple, but if you put it in a beer, I think I’ll have another one. This Big Sky pineapple gose from Town Brewing is even more sour than its predecessor…it gives ya a nice pucker!!!

And while this Kiwi IPA from Badlands Brewing does have fruit in its name, don’t judge a beer by its cover, bro! It’s actually called that cuz it’s got three different kinds of hops from New Zealand — Nelson Sauvin, Riwaka, and Motueka… but also gooseberry, lime, tropical fruit and dank berries. It’s definitely more hoppy than fruity, though!

I’m gonna crush these beers like Bo crushes Yankees pitchers, bro!!!

So, we’re hanging out at Rogers Centre, where the Jays are locked into an epic series against the New York Yankees. Last night, my homeboy Bo Bichette went off, with three hits and two homers, including the game-winning blast in the bottom of the eighth. And now we’re back at the ballpark for some footlong franks and victory beers, bro!!!

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What could be better than meat in tube form? How about 12 inches of meat, son!!! This footlong hotdog is so big, it doesn’t even fit into the bun! However, they got rid of the self-service condiment station, and only gave out packets of ketchup, relish and mustard (which I couldn’t open, for some reason)…but that doesn’t make this dugout dog any less delicious!

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Fries were warm and crunchy at the bottom, but the ones up top were cold and soggy. That’s not to say I didn’t eat every last one, son!!!!

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And when it comes to beer, the only options here were Budweiser, Bud Light or Stella Artois. Part of me wasn’t sure it was worth paying two dollars more for Stella…but I don’t think any part of me thinks it’s worth paying anything for Bud Light, so the choice was obvious. 😛

This bar’s alright, if you like IPAs…

Now, unlike my brother from another mother Guy Fieri, we don’t have Dives in our name on Triple B. But that doesn’t mean we only frequent the most upstanding drinking establishments — sometimes, we just want a good, cheap beer in a funky joint with punk rock on the stereo, like Bryden’s on Bloor St or Squirly’s on Queen West. So when I heard about this place called Wasted Youth Bar, just a drunken stumble from Ossington Station, it seemed like my kinda place. And with 6-dollar beers on “Fucked Up Fridays,” well, I just might have a couple… 😉

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We’re starting off with Canuck, a Canadian classic and one of my favourite IPAs. I know they’ve got other beers — more on that in a minute — but when I think of Great Lakes Brewery, this is the first one that comes to mind.

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But now we’re about to funk it up a notch with a Miami Weiss white pale ale from Great Lakes. Dunno the IBUs on this one, but it’s definitely hoppier than its Canuck counterpart. And I’d kinda like to see what it looks like in a glass…but this joint ain’t classy enough for glasses, bro!!!!!

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Speaking of funky, this Burst New England Pale Ale fits the bill. It’s a lot lighter at 4.5% and less hoppy, making it highly crushable. I could probably pound at least seven of these…

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Now, they’ve only got two things on the food menu at Wasted Youth: hot dogs and nacho chips. (No, not nachos, just the chips.) And while those are a few of my favourite things, I just needed something more substantial after slaying seven IPAs. Good thing they let you order takeout from other places. In my drunken stupor, I Ubered up this chicken souvlaki from a nearby joint called East Coast Donair & Grill. Was it the best souvlaki I’ve ever had? No, not really. But I was drunk and hungry, and it got the job done…

Oh, and I paired it with one of the three beers currently on tap — People’s Pint Italian Pilsner. I guess you could say I needed a break from IPAs. 😛

This bacon, egg & cheese burger is gluten-free…so that means it’s healthy, right?

Now that football season has started, you can guarantee that I ain’t going for Sunday brunch until at least February…but a couple weeks ago, we headed out to Almond Butterfly Bistro, this funky little joint on Dundas West that’s pretty much right next to Old School (and across the street from the Collective Arts Toronto Brewery). These folks are serving up all-day brunch every day, along with burgers, tacos and fish ‘n chips…oh, and it’s all gluten-free. So that means I’m not gonna gain any weight after I destroy this great big burger, right???

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Their signature A.B. Burger is topped with nice, crispy bacon, two kinds of cheese — white cheddar AND smoked gouda — along with tomatoes, pickles and onions, swimming in a sea of donkey sauce. I also paid two bucks to add a fried egg, cuz hey, it is brunch after all.

Let’s just say it’s about to get messy. And I actually didn’t notice this, but the bun is gluten-free. Many moons ago, I had a gluten-free bun that tasted like cardboard, but this one wasn’t that bad…

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Of course, these fresh-cut fries are gluten-free anyways, so there’s nothing wrong with that. I actually asked for onion rings…but it turns out they only serve ’em as an appetizer, not a side dish. Although they did tease me by leaving one single onion ring on my plate — and it was the best ring I’ve tasted since that one time, at onion-ring camp!

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Dude, this place is so committed to the cause that they only serve gluten-free beer, bro! Now, I’ve never had a gluten-free “pilsner-style” beer before, or even heard of Lakefront Brewery… but it’s from Milwaukee, so I figured it had to be at least as good as Glutenberg. I gotta say, something did taste a little different — I mean, it’s brewed without wheat OR barley — but I still pounded like 3-4 of these, cuz it’s not like I can have just one beer, Mark Bro-ssier!!!

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LE BURGER WEEK: Vegan jicama fish burger. Whaa???

Now, as I mentioned off the top, there were only five restaurants near me serving up Le Burger Week deals on DoorDash — and one of them only does dessert. Now, since this other place didn’t confirm my order after like 10 minutes, I was left with just one other option… the vegan jicama fish filet from Parka Food Co.

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Now, I don’t always eat vegan, but when I do, it’s usually something that’s meant to taste like meat — like the pulled jackfruit tacos at Planta. But man, while they’ve put together a pretty decent sandwich here, with tartar sauce, dill pickles, coleslaw and guacamole on a whole wheat bun… this jicama tastes about as much like fish as Guy Fieri looks like Emily Dickinson. OK, so I don’t know who Emily Dickinson is, or even what kinda plant a jicama comes from, but it’s super-duper crunchy, and not even remotely fishy. I mean, you really don’t even need the slaw cuz the jicama is pretty slaw-some on its own, son!!!

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Ain’t nothing wrong with these vegan fries though, bro. They’re pretty similar to Mickey D’s, cept with less salt and more herbs. Oh, and apparently they’re gluten-free…

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We’re washing this all down with a Bleep Bloop, which also happens to be the censored version of what I said when I took a big bite of that jicama burger. This NEIPA, coming straight outta Calabogie, is hoppy and heavy enough to help the vegan food go down, bro!!!!

 

 

LE BURGER WEEK: Is this a burger or a hot dog? It’s both, bro!!!

Now, Fancy Franks is probably known more for hot dogs — I mean, it’s right there in the name, bro. But they’ve also got burgers on the menu, so when it comes to Le Burger Week, they’re serving up something that’s more like a hot dog…but is also a burger. They call it the Guilt Burger:

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OK, so what we’ve got here is a smashed burger patty along with a kosher hot dog, served on a hot dog bun with cheese, pickles, scallions and a whole lotta special sauce, which is kind of a cross between relish and Thousand Islands. Dude, I dunno how many times I wished I could have a burger and a hot dog at the same time, so this is like a dream come true in Flavourtown!!!

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Now, the Guilt Burger was only $11.50, so to get the six-dollar discount, I had to add fries. But why settle for regular fries when you can have curly fries, son? You KNOW I’d pay an extra 50 cent for those — it’s a party in da piehole, bro!!!

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Now, we’re washing down that crazy culinary creation with a Hazy Days IPA from Cowbell Brewing Co. This beer is nice ‘n hazy and juicy — just like it says on the can. I’ve got a fever, and the only cure is more beer!!!!!!!

LE BURGER WEEK: I’m soooo hot for Priestley, bro!!!

Back when Toronto had its very own Burger Week, from 2012 to 2014, it was pretty awesome. You had all these funky joints all over the city dishing out one-off burgers for charity, and then they all got together on the last day for a Burger Day where they were serving up sliders in an outdoor space — one year it was even AYCE!

But that died in 2015, along with the short-lived alt-weekly that sponsored it, just as Le Poutine Week/Le Burger Week was first picking up steam…in Montreal, anyways. While it has supposedly expanded to every province across Canada, Le Burger Week has never really caught on in Toronto. The last time I tried writing about it, there were so few places participating that I ended up eating at two different Hero Burgers. And not much has changed in the 5 years since.

But last week I got an email from DoorDash offering 6 bucks off 15-dollar orders at participating Le Burger Week restaurants. So I went into the app, only to find there were only five places within delivery distance — plus, one was vegan  and another one only does dessert (cheesecake is NOT a burger, bro!) But hey, six bucks off is six bucks off… so I guess I might as well try the other three burgers, eh?

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We’re starting off with Rudy, this funky little joint on Duncan that’s got some of the best poutine in the city. This Le Burger Week Special is a tribute to the second-biggest Beverly Hills hottie (RIP Luke Perry!) — they’re calling it Hot For Priestley. You’ve got a griddled double cheeseburger topped with pickles and deep-fried jalapenos, plus I paid $2.49 to add bacon — you KNOW the first rule of Flavourtown is always add bacon, bro!!!

Now this burger will already set you back $13.95, so after adding the bacon I saved about 36%. And that would be even less if I ordered a poutine, a milkshake, or any other side dish. So instead I busted out a bag of Hickory Sticks, and reached into the fridge for some Low Hanging Fruit:

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Since this sour beer is brewed with pomegranate and black currants, I was expecting it to be purple or lavender or something. But while it actually looks like a regular beer, you definitely get the tart pucker of pomegranate — I think I remember what pomegranate tastes like? — and there’s probably some black currant in there too; just don’t ask me the last time I had black currant. In any case, it was a highly crushable summer beer that helped cool off the spice of the jalapenos, bro!

 

PATIO LIT EATS: Labour Day burgers & beers @ C’est What Beer Garden

Labour Day means the end of summer is coming soon, and we’ve probably got just another week or two of patio weather left. So we’re celebrating the long weekend at C’est What Beer Garden, this outdoor drinking space down a back alley from the C’est What brewpub. Last time we were at C’est What, we pretty much had the place to ourselves (this was right after indoor dining had just reopened after First Lockdown), and the beer garden was also pretty private on a Saturday evening. But you know what I say — Saturday night’s alright for drinking, Bro-ton John!!!!!

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We’re getting this party started with a Haberdasher Hefeweizen from the renegades of funk at Muddy York. Now, I do enjoy a good German wheat beer, and this one’s got the flavour down in Flavourtown. Basically, this beer tastes like bananas — and bananas are good, bro!!!!!

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Speaking of renegades of wheat, this next one is another funky wheat beer coming direct from the C’est What brewery. C’est What Ginger Wheat is sorta like drinking an Arizona ice tea — if Arizona ice tea had 4.5% alcohol…

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This High Grade IPA is coming straight outta Hamilton with just enough hops that you know you’re getting the good stuff!

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Up next, we’re got Al’s Cask Ale, a nitro-brewed pale ale that tastes a bit like an English bitter, or even a stout. Nothing wrong with that at all!

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As you can see, it’s getting pretty dark out, but we’ve still got time to kick out the j… erm, jam up the mash, muthafucka!!!! (Last call at the beer garden is 10 pm.)

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Of course, we can’t slam all those beers on an empty stomach, so I ordered a Lamburger with a side of poutine. This playful, mysterious little dish is served on a naan flatbread with Emmental cheese, lettuce, cucumber and a side of tzatziki — I put that shit on everything, son!

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Poutine was a bit of a bummer, though. Sure, it had the GFC — gravy, fries and curds — but the fries were too thin and the gravy was too lumpy for this ever to set foot in the Poutine Hall of Fame.

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Oh, and I still had room for some late-night tostidos. These Mexican-style spring rolls are stuffed with black beans and cheddar, and served with a spicy chipotle donkey sauce. ¡Cierra la puerta trasera!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

GRAND OPENING: Beertown is my kinda town, bro!!!

Now, I didn’t get out very much during Second Lockdown, but when I happened to be downtown, I saw they were building this new joint called Beertown, and I knew I had to go there right when it opened. OK, so we weren’t there on opening day, but we hit it up a couple weeks later…and lemme tell ya, their craft beer selection is off the hook, son!!!

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We’re starting off with a Couch Full of Dads, a hazy IPA from Town Brewery in Whitby, where there are couches and couches full of dads. This was not too hoppy and not too heavy, at 6.3%, but you know that’s only Chapter One in Beertown, son!!!!

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This Tropical Apocalypse farmhouse ale is pretty fruity — I mean, it tastes like eating fresh pineapples, and I’m surprised I even remember what pineapple tastes like, cuz I only eat it when it’s on a pizza

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Don’t look now, but we just funked it up another notch with this Bianca Mango Lassi Gose from those slippery Scandinavians at Omnipollo. Now, I don’t really remember what mango tastes like, but this wasn’t quite as fruity as I thought it would be.

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And we’re keeping it sour with a Soleil Sorbet Kettle Sour from Storm Stayed Brewing Company in London, ON. You might have noticed by now that they have branded glasses AND branded coasters for every beer on tap — cuz that’s how they roll in Beertown, bro!!!!!

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So we’re heading across the pond with a Duchesse de Bourgogne, this Flanders red ale from a Belgian brewery that I can’t even spell or say out loud. It’s almost got the richness or a Belgian dubbel or tripel, but at just 6.2%, it won’t leave you dubbel’ed over…

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We should probably start slowing down at this point, so it’s time to switch to lemonade… Make that a ZAP! Pink Lemonade sour IPA from Nickel Brook, son! Look at THIS photograph, Chad Bro-ger!!!!!

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We started off with an East Coast IPA, so now we’re ending this magical mystery tour of Beertown with a Lone Pine West Coast IPA from Sawdust City Brewing. Man, everything about this beer sounds so country, you’d be surprised to learn it’s brewed in the Muskokas!!!

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Of course, you KNOW we’re not drinking seven beers without eating anything, bro! These are the Public House Nachos, topped with beef brisket, diced tomatoes, peppers, cheddar, mozzarella, pickled jalapeños and handfuls of cilantro. Man, I dunno that I’ve ever seen so much cilantro on top of nachos, bro…

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Luckily, there’s only a little bit of cilantro with their guac + chips, along with some pico de gallo and a small container of salsa. I even double-dipped the chip, cuz these chips are all mine, George Bro-stanza!!!!

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Now, it turns out that for $1.99 you can get two soft-baked pretzel sticks, which are warm, salty ‘n delicious, with a side of some spicy mustard. I think next time I would probably pay the $10.99 for a full-sized pretzel though, especially since it comes with cheese + beer dip, which covers at least three of the five food groups in Flavourtown!!!!!

Happy hour is here with The Tragically Hip’s new beer!

Now, Big Rock has gotta be one of my favourite craft breweries. Dude, this is body by Big Rock, bro! So when I heard they were putting out the official beer of the Tragically Hip, Lake Fever Lager, I was all over that like a 50 mission cap!!!

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Now, I gotta say, this beer is pretty basic. I mean, it’s got a little more character than Molson Canadian… actually, it kinda reminds me of Labatt 50, which isn’t actually a lager, but has a similar mouthfeel. Let’s just say it’s not one of those beers that you buy one or two to pair with some fancy cheese plate — more like something you’d shotgun a 24 by a bonfire at the cottage (and there’s nothing wrong with that at all). Know what it does go good with, though? Buffalo wings, bro!!!

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Turns out these Pinty’s frozen Buffalo wings were like 7 bucks off at Metro, which makes for the perfect at-home Happy Hour special in Flavourtown! They came with two packets of Buffalo sauce, which was more than plenty — as you can see, these bad boys were super-saucy! And the sauce was on point, too. It’s been hard for me to find a really great Buffalo wing in town since they turned my former favourite wing joint into a Wild Wing’s, but I feel like Pinty’s really nailed it. They even came with some blue cheese dressing on the side, son!

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Baby, eat this chicken slow — it’s full of all them little bones, bro!!!!

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