Triple B: Burgers, Bacon & Beer

If this place ain’t country, I’ll kiss your ass…

So, we’re hanging out at Farmhouse Tavern, this funky joint in The Junction that’s a little bit country, and a little bit rock ‘n roll. They’ve got pictures of animals on the walls, Waylon, Merle and Loretta on the stereo, and a farm-to-table menu that’s written on a chalkboard, with a bull horn on top. Man, I didn’t even know you could find a place like this in Toronto, bro!!!!

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We’re starting off with the Ploughman’s Platter, a country-style charcuterie board with bread, cheese, mustard, pickles, not one but two kinds of eggs — pickled AND Scotch — the only thing that’s kinda missing here is the meat, as they’ve only got a few thin slices of sausage.

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But they’re more than making up for it with this bad boy, the Barnyard Burger. You’ve got thick ‘n juicy beef, homemade pork belly bacon, topped with a creamy duck egg — shut the barn door, bro!!!

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And of course, you can’t just go here and order some city-slicker beer, hoss! Country Vibes, this amber lagered ale from the tractor rappers at Beau’s, is equal parts lager and amber, with roast caramel malts and a clean, crisp finish. Unlike Kim Mitchell, you don’t hafta decide between lager and ale here…cuz you can get them both, bro!!!!

This maple bacon waffle is the breakfast of champions!

Now, I don’t always get up in time for breakfast, but when I do, there’s probably gonna be bacon involved. We’re hanging out at Sunny Morning, this cozy little diner on Yonge St, just south of St. Clair, where they only do two meals: breakfast and lunch. So don’t even bother coming in after 3 pm, bro!

Now, this place has got all the classics — waffles, pancakes, omelettes, eggs benny, and even a few different burgers to choose from. But when I saw the Bacon & Maple Waffle, I knew what I was having… Dude, Bacon & Maple was the name of my doo wop duo in junior high, bro!!!

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Now, on the menu it says there’s bacon baked right in, but unfortunately, that wasn’t the case. You’ve still got a hot, fluffy waffle completely covered in bacon, and with a small jar of PYOS (pour your own syrup) overtop, so I definitely can’t complain! Man, I could slam at least four of these…but then I wouldn’t have room for home fries:

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Dude, there’s so many potatoes on this plate, it’s almost enough for first AND second breakfast, Bil-bro Baggins! These spuds have got a nice chew, not too crispy, and are nicely seasoned — there’s actually quite a bit of a kick here, which I was not expecting. Man, I would come back to this place just for the home fries alone… There’s no fries like home, bro!!!

PATIO LIT EATS: Kolsches and sours and stouts, oh my!

Now, patio season might be almost over, but we’re taking advantage of any sunny days we’ve got left to chug some more patio beers — even if ya gotta wear a jacket. We’re hanging out at Mascot Brewery, this funky joint with a backyard beer garden right on King St. Well OK, it’s actually more like a back alley beer garden, but they do have beer, and that’s what matters, bro!

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Starting things off with a Sun Sipper, this clean, crispy kolsch that according to their beer menu is perfect for long sessions on a patio. I’m not gonna argue with the menu, bro!!!

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Next up, we’ve got the Passionfruit Peach Sour. This fruity, summery beer is maybe more tangy than sour — but that’s not a bad thing, in my books.

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Now, before we get into the heavier stuff, first I gotta eat something. So I ordered up a trio of smoked brisket sliders, nice ‘n simple, with grainy mustard on some potato buns. I mean, all you really need is meat, mustard and bread, right?

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I gotta say, their poutine game was a little weak — especially when compared to the poutine spring rolls at Betty’s. Fries were decent, but the gravy was soupy and the cheese brought no squeak to the table. But hey, time for another beer!!!!

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This Frosthammer DIPA is so grim, it was probably on its way to kill Euronymous. Super-citrusy, hazy and heavy, at 8.2%, this is not the beer for poseurs!

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Of course, even after all that commotion back there, we’ve still got room for dessert…and by dessert, I mean another beer. This Chocolate Daddy is brewed with barley, oats and chocolate malt — but it wasn’t quite as rich and chocolately as I expected. At 6.6%, it’s sorta like a Guinness on steroids, though!!!

PATIO LIT EATS: Putting poutine inside spring rolls, bro!

Now, Labour Day is just about the end of summer around here, so that means it might be one of our last chances to hit up a patio in Toronto, bro! We’re hanging out at Betty’s, this funky little dive at King and Sherbourne, where they’ve got social-distancing blow-up dolls inside and a pretty spacious backyard patio, hidden away from all the condos.

Now, this place has got a lot of your typical pub food — burgers, pizza, chicken fingers, along with some more unusual items like pad thai and pot pie. But when I saw they had poutine spring rolls, I was all over that like Kid Rock on a Coors Light, bro!!!

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Ever wish that poutine could be even more deep-fried and delicious? Well, your wish is about to come true, son! Basically, they take fries and cheese curds, wrap ’em in spring roll batter, and fry ’em to perfection, then serve ’em up with gravy for dipping…cuz you probably can’t deep-fry the gravy, eh? And while you don’t get the squeaky texture from the cheese here, that spring roll casing definitely adds an extra crunch! Dude, I could pound about 17 of these, bro…but then I wouldn’t have room for dumplings!

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These kimchi pork dumplings are also deep-fried, because one fried thing deserves another, bro! Served with some Chinese red vinegar and a red hot chili sauce, which definitely adds a strong kick… Man, I’m gonna need at least a couple beers to wash this down!!!

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We’re starting off with a Nordic Lager, this collaboration between Canada and Denmark, brewed by Henderson. It’s definitely pretty malty, but you’ve got a bit of hops, and a smooth finish, with yeast from the Carlsberg Research Lab. It might be more of a winter beer, though…

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On the other hand, Lazy Days of Summer, this hazy passionfruit IPA from Whitewater, is definitely made to be crushed before Labour Day! Equal parts piney and fruity, it will have you pining for the days where you didn’t hafta wear a jacket on the patio, bro!!!

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But now we’re going back, way back to the Summer of ’69 with this 8-Track IPA from Radical Road Brewing. This one’s not as hoppy, but packs a pretty good kick at 6.5%.

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And we’re ending the summer with the fruitiest of fruit beers, a 12 Minutes to Destiny Raspberry Hibiscus Lager from Flying Monkeys. This basically tastes like fruit punch — and at just 4.1%, you can pretty much drink it like fruit punch, too!

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Now, even after pounding poutine rolls, dunking some dumplings and crushing all those craft beers, I still had room for dessert. But the only thing on the menu with fruit in it was this Deep Six bean dip. You’ve got layers of refried beans, salsa, sour cream, guacamole and cheddar cheese, served at face-melting temperature, with a whole buncha chips for dipping. Unlike most places that never give you enough chips for the dip, I actually had lotsa nachos left over after scraping off every last bite of bean dip… And I didn’t even double dip the chip!!!

PATIO LIT EATS: Burger with a view @ Kost

Now, we’ve hit up some pretty nice patios these past couple months. Whether it was in the garden at Casa Loma or down on the waterfront at Cabana, some of these places give you amazing views of the city. But it doesn’t get any better than this — we’re hanging out at Kost, this funky joint on the 44th floor of the Bisha Hotel, where the only thing preventing me from getting a perfect shot of the CN Tower is this freakin’ patio umbrella, bro!!!

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Now, I don’t always take selfies, but when I do, there’s usually alcohol involved. This here’s The Selfie, a refreshing summer cocktail with Tanqueray gin, lychee, elderflower and lemon. You know those drinks that are so fruity that you can’t taste the booze? Yeah, that’s what you’ve got here. All that’s missing is a little pink umbrella, or something…

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But I didn’t come up here for a selfie — I came to crush some beef, bro! This Kost burger comes with lettuce, tomato, lemon donkey sauce, a whole lotta smoked cheddar and some black pepper bacon. Dude, this is body by black pepper bacon! Patty was thick ‘n juicy, you had a nice soft bun… even the fries were on point. This might be the best burger I’ve had all summer, and let’s just say I’ve had a few. 😉

PATIO LIT EATS: Kickin’ it Old School with fried chicken bacon mac ‘n cheese!

Now, there’s only like a couple weeks left of patio weather in this city, and I’m definitely gonna make the most of it — even if it means getting up before 11 on a weekend, bro! So we’re hanging out at Old School, this funky brunch joint on Dundas West that starts serving it up at 10 am (9 am on weekends).

Last time we were here, I had some waffles fit for The King, and I know their blueberry pancakes are legendary, but when I saw the Return of the Mac and Cheese on the menu, I knew it was about to go down in Flavourtown!!!

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Noodles are nice and cheesy, with a bechamel sauce and some aged cheddar. But the fried chicken was waaaay overcooked, and the bacon a little underdone. I gotta give ’em credit for using actual bacon strips instead of some fake bacon bits though…

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Good thing I was able to drown my disappointment with a Hot Mess. What’s a Hot Mess? Well, you’ve got tequila, grapefruit and raspberry-hibiscus juice, along with some agave nectar, poured into a wheat beer. It’s like a Breakfast of Champions in Flavourtown, bro!!!!

 

BBQ beef ribs and beers… Oh my!

Now that we’ve reached a point where restaurants have reopened for indoor dining, it’s time for me to check out some funky joints that don’t have a patio. Like C’est What, one of the OG craft brewpubs in the city, at the corner of Front and Church. This place is soooo underground, it’s literally in a basement, bro! And they’re serving up all kinds of local craft beer, along with comfort food classics like poutine, mac ‘ n cheese, and these bad-to-the-bone BBQ beef ribs:

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Now, these ribs were boiled, not smoked, but the meat was still pretty tender. Sauce had a pretty decent kick, especially when you dipped the meat in the extra sauce on the side. Coleslaw and hash-brown potatoes aren’t things I would normally eat with BBQ, but they got the job done. After a few beers, I definitely couldn’t complain!!!

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And speaking of beers, we’re starting off with a Hopping Mad IPA from Granite Brewery. This copper cask beer had a nice punch, at 60 IBU, without being too puckery, and was still very crushable at 6%.

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Speaking of IPAs, this Surround Sound DIPA from Collective Arts kicks it up a notch with Azacca, Amarillo and Comet hops, coming in at 8.2%. Definitely a lot more juicy and citrusy, if you’re into that!

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But now we’re getting into the darker stuff, with a Long Shadow stout from Fairweather Brewing. They brew this one with coconut, vanilla and coffee, giving it a similar chocolately taste to Granville Island’s Lions Winter Ale, a personal favourite…although it’s not quite as rich. Would definitely try this again, though!

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Speaking of dessert beers, this home-brewed C’est What Mocha Porter is a pretty decent one to curl up in front of a fireplace with. Plus, they donate one dollar from every pint to feminism, so I did my good deed for the day, son!!!

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Even after that four-course liquid dinner, you KNOW I’ve still got room for dessert, bro! This chocolate hazelnut brownie, with ice cream, whipped cream and a cherry on top really hits the spot!!!

PATIO LIT EATS: They made this burger a Triple B just for me!!!

Now, back when Assembly Chef’s Hall first opened, I came and I conquered pretty much every stall in the place. I even checked out their patio a couple years ago, and it was pretty sweet. Now, not every vendor has reopened for business — Cherry St Bar-B-Que is noticeably missing — but they’ve introduced table service out on the patio. So, while you can’t go around and order at the counter(s) anymore, you can order stuff from a few different places, and they’ll bring it right out to you.

This also gave me a chance to check out this funky joint that wasn’t even open the first time I stopped by, but is serving up what Toronto Life once called this city’s best new burger — Resto Boemo! Now, this place had a Single B and a Double B burger on the menu, but I was like, “Dude, can I get a Triple B, bro???”

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These patties weren’t super huge, so I could totally house a triple. (And yes, there is a third slab of beef tucked under there, even if you can’t see it in this photo.) But aside from being super-stacked, this burger was plain and simple — lettuce, onions, pickles, lots of American cheese and an oozy aioli coming out all over the place. Can’t complain about that at all! Paired with a side of Parm Frittes, which are basically just fries, but tossed with herbs and cheese…yes please!!!

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Since this blog isn’t Burgers, Bacon and Shirley Temples, I washed this bad boy down with a couple of Farmer(s) in the Sky, a nice, refreshing, dry-hopped pilsner from True History Brewing. The brewery is based in Toronto, but it says on the back that this beer was brewed in Calgary — either way, it still tastes good to me!

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Of course, you KNOW we’ve still got room for dessert, bro! This Nutella sundae was six dollars, but you could add a shot of Kahlua for another six dollars. So, basically, you gotta spend the extra six dollars. The booze was the best part, bro!!!!

PATIO LIT EATS: Fish ‘n chips by the sea shore…

Now, Toronto may not be a place where you can eat freshly caught seafood from the ocean next door — but that doesn’t mean we don’t have a waterfront patio scene. While I probably wouldn’t wanna eat anything that comes outta Lake Ontario, I can still enjoy looking out at the lake from the massive back patio at Against the Grain, this funky joint right next to Sugar Beach.

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Now, it feels like it’s been a while since I’ve eaten a burger, so we’re starting off with a trio of prime rib sliders. You’ve got some thinly sliced pickles and spicy mustard on the bottom, and then cheddar cheese and a piece of crunchy, deep-fried bologna on top. The meat is cooked to well done and comes out really hot, so I couldn’t really tell that it’s prime rib…but overall, it was still pretty tasty!

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But you KNOW that was just a light snack in Flavourtown! So we’re moving on to the main course, freshly battered haddock with a whole pile of thin ‘n salty fries. Batter had a nice crunch, goes good with the dill tartar sauce — I kinda wish I couldda made mine a two-piece order, though!

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Of course, I’m not gonna go to a place like this and order a Cranberry White Claw, bro! This here’s a Lemonade Stand, a refreshing lactose sour from Indie Ale House. Just enough citrusy sourness without being too bitter — I totally crushed a few of these!

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We’ve also got a Hopped and Confused Vol. 2 from the Mill St crew. Despite its name, this beer isn’t very hoppy — it’s only got 20 IBU. But I’m always down for a Dazed and Confused reference…it’s a fiesta in the making at the Moon Tower, son!!!

 

PATIO LIT EATS: Fountains of Flavour @ Casa Loma Gardens

Now, last weekend at Cabana was probably the prettiest patio I’ve been to since this whole thing started. But this place has gotta be a close second. We’re hanging out at The Gardens at Casa Loma, this massive castle courtyard at a local tourist attraction. Now, I’ve eaten inside at BlueBlood Steakhouse before, but this was something totally different:

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What we’ve got here is a crab cake BLT with a side of jerk chicken lollipop wings. When I ordered ’em, I thought the wings would come out first, but hey, it’s not like I can’t eat two things at once. And for the record, I did NOT ask for a side salad — this dish couldda came with fries, but the server didn’t even ask what I wanted on the side, and just assumed I needed salad… Yo, don’t shame me, bro!!!

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It ain’t no thing but a chicken wing, though! These lollipops packed a punch from the jerk marinade, but the pineapple salsa helped cool things down…although I had to scoop it up with a fork cuz it didn’t stay on top of the chicken. I could probably pound, like, 17 of these, but then I wouldn’t have room for crab cakes:

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While this sandwich does have all the necessary ingredients — bacon, lettuce and tomato — there’s no question that the crab cake is the star of the show. Breaded and deep-fried, it’s coming in hot and crunchy, with some added crunch from the slaw, and a soft bun to bring it all together. Hey, it’s no Maryland crab cake, but I still can’t complain!

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When it comes to beer, you won’t find any craft here…unless you like Mill St Organic. (And there’s nothing wrong with that at all.) But I prefer the nice, summery taste of a Hoegaarden wheat beer from Belgium. They don’t have the massive pint glasses you’ll normally find this beer in, but a couple of these brewskis will still hit the spot, son!!!

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