Triple B: Burgers, Bacon & Beer

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: 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!!!

GRAND REOPENING: Nachos and draught beer @ Madison Avenue Pub

Now, some food just doesn’t work well for takeout or delivery. Case in point: nachos. If you don’t eat ’em right away, the chips get thin and soggy, and they don’t hold up well in a takeout container. Even the amazing nachos at Sneaky Dee’s aren’t as great when you get them delivered. And yes, this is something you could make at home, although my make-at-home nachos tend to be made in a microwave. So you’re definitely not getting the full restaurant experience.

All of this is to say that I haven’t actually had nachos since like November. So now that restaurant patios are open again, we’re hanging out at The Madison, this funky little joint just east of Spadina, where they’ve got a three-level patio serving up pub classics like burgers, wings…and these Buffalo chicken nachos:

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Now, let’s be honest, these nachos weren’t really that great. They only put cheese on maybe 10% of the chips, the chicken was tough, and not spicy, and there weren’t many other toppings to speak of. But man, I’m just happy to be having nachos again, bros!!!

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Dude, I can’t even remember the last time I ordered a pitcher of draught beer. I mean, even a lot of restaurants that reopened are only serving it in cans or bottles right now. So, never mind that The Maddy only had three beers on tap — two Amsterdams and a Stella — I’m about to get my drink on, son!!!!!!!

 

 

TORONTO’S TOP TAKEOUT: Wagyu, the meaning of beef, the way that I want you to dine!!!

Slayer Burger opened its original location in the east end right around the start of Lockdown Number 3, so I never got the chance to check it out. But when I heard they had a second spot on Queen Street East, just South of Heav… erm, East of Broadview, I was all over that like a Dissident Aggressor, bro!!!!

Now, this place has six different burgers to choose from, but you KNOW I had to go with the First Degree Burger. We’re talking Wagyu beef, bacon, foie gras, fried onions, arugula and provolone on a black metal (or more like blackened thrash) charcoal sesame-seed bun, son!!!!!

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Dude, this Angel of Death in Flavourtown is so decadent, you’d hafta be Criminally Insane not to enjoy it! Nice, beefy patty, oozing with cheese, and the signature Slayer sauce gives it a nice little kick. But what really makes it is the bacon. Dude, this is the best bacon I’ve had on a burger in a long time — perfectly thick and crispy, just the way I like it. You KNOW I’m gonna Show No Mercy to this one, bro!!!!!!!!!!!

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But after that Reign in Beef, I gotta Cleanse the Soul with a salad. (Hey, it’s not salad if you yell SLAYER, bro!!!) This Slayed Caesar comes with croutons, real bacon bits and parmesan crisps — dude, this is body by parmesan crisps! And since my Uber delivery bike rider took several Seasons in the Abyss to get here, any fries would haven been as soggy as a Dead Skin Mask by the time they arrived…

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Now, my Slayer Milkshake wasn’t exactly solid after spending 40 minutes in some dude’s delivery bag, but it was still cold ‘n creamy, with a hint of almonds and cherries. Hardening of the Arteries never tasted so good!!!!

 

 

TORONTO’S TOP TAKEOUT: Richmond Station Burger to go, bro!!!!!!

I KNOW we are just two days away from restaurants reopening for patio dining, and we are definitely gonna hit up a couple funky joints this weekend, but the latest deal in the delivery world is DoorDash’s Toronto Premium Restaurants, a buncha classy joints where they take $7 off orders of $30 or more until June 30. Now, at a few of these places, it’s pretty easy to drop like $90, which doesn’t make it such a big deal… but if you only spend 30 bucks, you end up saving almost 25%.

Now, you KNOW I loves me a good deal bro, and I’ve found a few of these classy establishments where you can spend no more than 32 dollars on a decent lunch or dinner — which is music to my ears, cuz I’m probably gonna drop much more than that on patio beers this weekend. And of course, we’re starting off with one of the most legendary, famous, iconic burgers in Toronto from Richmond Station, where you can get the Station Burger, fries AND a local craft beer for an even $30…which means that, after the DoorDash discount, the fries are basically free. 😉

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Dude, this burger tastes even better than I remembered! Patty is nice ‘n thick, cooked to your liking (although they don’t go below medium), topped with aged cheddar, lettuce, onions and donkey sauce. But the beet chutney is what makes it — that’s not blood on the bun, it’s beet juice, son!!!

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Now, you could pay a couple bucks more for polenta fries, but if you wanna stick to the 30-dollar limit, then these rosemary fries are the ticket. Nice and crunchy, served with some more donkey sauce — dude, that’s like a donkey sauce double down in Flavourtown!!!!

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Now, there are a couple $6 beers that will get you where you need to be, but why settle for Creemore when you can have this delicious amber from GoodLot, a farm-to-can brewery that actually grows its own hops!? It might not have been ice cold by the time I got it home — dude, did you see how hot it is today!? — but it definitely still hits the spot!!!!!!

TORONTO’S TOP TAKEOUT: Beefy double cheeseburger and cheese fries from The Bullger

Now, when I heard that The Bullger, this funky burger joint at Queen and Parliament, was serving up an eight-dollar double burger with a fried egg on top for the Eggs Anytime deal with Skip the Dishes, I was all over that like beef on a bun, son! They call this the Bull’s Eye, and it totally hits the target!!!

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OK, now let’s break it down. We’ve got two beefy six-ounce patties, topped with mozza cheese, lettuce, onions, mushrooms, and just oozing with donkey sauce…and then they put an egg on top!? Shut the front, back and side doors, bro! Now, this burger was really messy — I definitely needed all the napkins that they gave me! But the patties were on point, and when you get a nice bite of egg, and maybe a couple shrooms, that right there is the golden ticket!!!

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And now we’re kicking it up another notch with some cheese fries, bro! These french-fried potaters are topped with real cheese, and then they put some cheese sauce and donkey sauce on top! The only downside is that, while the top layer is nice ‘n cheesy, the fries underneath are pretty much plain. Ya gotta layer on the cheese sauce, son!!!!!!!!!

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Now, they don’t serve beer at The Bullger, so I pulled this bad boy outta the fridge. Hustle Over Hype is a crushable pale wheat ale that doesn’t really have the citrusy kick of a wheat beer or the hoppiness of an IPA. But it does have an old-timey boxing dude fighting a hop monster on the can, bro!!!!!

TORONTO’S TOP TAKEOUT: Bacon and egg and cheese…and beer!!!

The George Street Diner, this funky little joint in Corktown, is the kinda place that puts the Diner in Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives. OK, so Guy Fieri has never been here — but as a matter of fact, Harry Potter actually has. We also hit this place up a couple years back for an Irish take on an English breakfast, so when I found out they were doing the Eggs Anytime deal on Skip the Dishes, you KNOW I had to check it out!!!!

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This Egg in a Hole sandwich has just about everything I want for breakfast. We’re talkin’ grilled cheese on challah bread, with Irish rashers (British style-bacon) and an egg in the middle! Now, you can eat this sandwich with your hands, although it gets a bit messy once you break the yoke…

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Served with your choice of seasonal salad or homemade coleslaw. Me, I couldda gone for some hash browns or potato wedges, but I guess I’ll settle for coleslaw…

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This slaw is a little stringier and more peppery than what you’d get in a container, which gives it a little more flavour, and a not-unpleasant aftertaste. Man, this would go really good with some fried chicken, or some BBQ, bro!!!

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And, because it’s Beer O’Clock somewhere, we’re washing this down with a Blueberry Blonde from Ottawa’s Broadhead Brewery. Now, some of the other blueberry beer I’ve had was pretty much purple, but this one has a nice blueberry aroma while still looking like an ordinary beer. And its nice, smooth taste goes good in the morning when we could all use a little Hair of the Dog after that Leafs loss in OT last night, am I right????

TORONTO’S TOP TAKEOUT: Celebrating Victoria Day with a poutine burger!!!

Since Toronto is still shut down for indoor and outdoor dining, I can’t even go for some AYCE wings at St. Louis Bar & Grill, which they’re normally serving up this time of year. Dude, right about now, I could really go for AYCE anything…as long as it’s not vegan. But in 2021, I still can’t even celebrate Victoria Day except by getting drunk at home, which is really just another Monday afternoon in Flavourtown. So when I heard that St. Louis had a special poutine burger for the occasion, well, I think I’m still allowed to head down the street and pick it up???

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Now, their All Canadian Burger is pretty basic — they take a frozen beef patty, cook it till it’s hockey-puck grey, and top it with fries, curds and gravy. I even made sure to check if this burger came with bacon before paying extra to add bacon — the menu says it does, but I didn’t really see or taste it until halfway through…and that’s because they use bacon bits, not bacon strips. So that’s a bit of a bummer, bro!

And while Harvey’s Bacon Poutine Burger circa 2017 let you add all the toppings you want, you can’t put anything else on this burger unless you pay extra for it. So if you wanna make it, like, a smoked meat poutine burger, you’ll hafta order that smoked meat from somewhere else…

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Now, I couldda laid down a buck-fiddy for a side of poutine — and then maybe put some more poutine on the burger — but I thought that might be a touch too much, BroC/DC! And besides, their Signature Golden Fries are one of the things St. Louis does really, really well. Hot ‘n crispy, with just the right amount of crunch… Dude, if they ever did AYCE fries, I could pound like seven pounds of these, son!!!!!!!

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And what better beer to wash down this All Canadian Burger than a Canuck IPA from Great Lakes Brewing, a beer so Canadian it even has an apology on the can? In Flavourtown (with a U), we drink this brewski instead of Molson Canadian during the North Division playoffs, bro!!!!!

TORONTO’S TOP TAKEOUT: 50% off Bacon Cheddar Burger!

Now, we’re all about value here on Triple B, so when I found out that Earls was dishing out half-price burgers on Skip the Dishes, I was all over that like Jason Lee’s mustache! Now, for nine bucks, you could get a Bigger Better Burger with fries, but for just a dollar more, you can upgrade to their Bacon Cheddar Burger. That’s about the easiest dollar I’ve ever spent, son!!!

Now, there’s definitely no shortage of bacon strips on this bad boy, and they cook ’em till they’re nice ‘n crunchy, just the way I like it. Combined with other classic toppings — lettuce, tomato, onions, pickles, mustard and mayo — on a lightly toasted bun, and that’s some pretty good eatin’ for 10 bucks, bro!!!

Fries were about the same size as McDonald’s, but not as crispy or as salty. Came with a double pack of ketchup — dude, Double Pack of Ketchup was my nickname in Lunch Lady Land — but I still needed a couple more packs of ketchup to finish ’em off. Let’s just say that after 13 months of takeout, I’ve got a whole fridge fulla ketchup, bro!!!

TORONTO’S TOP TAKEOUT: This really nice burger needs some really big rings!!!

Now that Toronto is into State of Emergency No. 3 like a bad Lou Bega number, let’s just say I’m not getting a lot of exercise these days. So when I saw that The Irv, this funky little joint in Cabbagetown, was serving up a Dad Bod Burger, I was all over that like a fat dad on a Smartie, son!!!

These are a few of my favourite things, right here. You’ve got blue cheese, bacon strips, caramelized onions and a whisky-glazed BBQ sauce, all on top of a thick, juicy patty. This burger is sooo outta bounds, it almost held a gathering of more than 10 people, bro!!!

The only thing that brings it down a bit is the thin, weak bun that was completely soggy by the time I opened the box. So instead of a 10/10, it’s maybe like a 9…

Now, when I saw you could upgrade from fries to house-cut onion rings for just two dollars more, I was all over that like a fat dad in a Speedo, bro! And man, these were like, seriously, some of the best onion rings in Toronto. They give you about a full onion’s worth, with a thick, doughy batter that really kicks things up a notch! I mean, like there are 3-4 bites of onion ring for every bite of burger in this takeout box…not that I’m complaining!!!

Man, the last time I had rings this good was in Buffalo…but who knows when I’ll even be allowed to go to Buffalo again, bro??? 😦 😦 😦

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