PATIO LIT EATS: Patio beers & pizza @ King Taps

It seems like there’s two kinds of patios in Toronto right now — the ones that are all booked up for weeks, and others that are first-come, first-serve. That’s why King Taps, this funky craft beer joint in the Financial District, is smarter than your average joint.  Y’see, they’re only doing same-day resos — which means I was online right at midnight to snag a primo spot for the Triple B Krew last weekend, bro!!!!

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Dude, I’ve been to King Taps a couple times before, so I KNOW they’ve got good beer here. The selection wasn’t quite as good as I remembered, but their rotating tap list is still pretty solid. This here’s Solaris White Peach Ale, a hazy wheat beer from Phillips Brewing in Victoria, BC. Super-crushable at 4.3%, and it sure tastes peachy!!!

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Now, when it comes to food, if there’s one thing this joint is known for — besides the $30 double cheeseburger with beef short rib on top — it’s pizza. And when it comes to their pizza, this here’s The People’s Champion. The Stinging Bee rumbles in the jungle with soppressata salami, kalamata olives, a whole lotta mozza, and some honey on top, for just that little hit of sweetness. Who needs to float like a butterfly when you can shove this pizza down your piehole, son????

PATIO LIT EATS: Super-legit lobster linguine!

So, the first time I went to Sofia, this funky Italian joint in Yorkville, I had steak ‘n eggs. And then, the second time I went, I had steak again. So this time, we’re gonna switch it up with a super-delish summer dish… Say hello to ma lil’ friend, lobster linguine!

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OK, now let’s break it down. You’ve got oodles of nice, chewy noodles, with a tangy pomodorini (cherry tomato) sauce, some stracciatella cheese and these big, meaty chunks of lobster on top. Throw in some bread, and you’ve got an Italian lobster roll in Flavourtown!!!

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Now last week, when we went to Blu, they were all outta tiramisu. It was literally the only dessert they didn’t have. So you KNOW this time we’re gonna order a round of tiramisus for the table, bro! You’ve got a great big bowl of ladyfingers and marscapone, topped with a crunchy layer of cocoa, and a scoop of espresso gelato on top — shut the front, back AND side doors, son!!!!

TORONTO’S TOP TAKEOUT: I’m soooo hungry for Hungarian, bro!!!

Now, a couple years back, when we hit up Country Style Hungarian, this little family-run joint in The Annex, I saw a couple college kids order the platter for two, and not even come close to finishing it. Ever since then, I wondered if I could eat all that by myself — and now we’re about to find out!

Y’see, Country Style’s platter for two comes with cabbage rolls, dumplings, sausage, potatoes, beets and not one, but two kinds of schnitzel — Wiener AND Parisian!

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Now, the wiener schnitzel is the more traditional kind — crunchy, munchy, and so big, it barely fits in the container! Throw in some sour cream, and a couple potatoes, and it’s the perfect hangover food…and I ain’t even drunk yet, bro!!!

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But if anything, I think I prefer the Parisian schnitzel. The meat is thicker, breading is lighter, kinda like a chicken-fried steak…gravy not included!

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Cabbage roll was too legit to quit! Stuffed with all kinds of meat, swimming in a sea of hot sauerkraut — dude, Hot Sauerkraut was my nickname in Call of Duty, son!!!

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But what really makes it are these Hungarian dumplings. They’re sorta like spaetzle, made with egg noodles and dropped into boiling water for that nice, soft, texture. Man, I could eat a whole container of these…oh wait, I just did!!!

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Now, because they ain’t serving up Malnaszorp in a to-go cup, I’m washing this feast down with a Rosee d’Hibiscus from Dieu Du Ciel brewery. This fruity wheat beer is brewed with hibiscus flowers, giving it a nice, tropical flavour. Man, I could slam at least seven of these…if I wasn’t polishing off a full platter of food!!!!

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Now, I know what you’re thinking — did he really just eat all that? Well, in the end I came pretty close. I only left a few beets behind…cuz you know what I say, why eat beets when you can eat meat!!!

PATIO LIT EATS: Mac ‘n cheese poutine, pulled pork grilled cheese, total cheesefest!!!

York Region started reopening a few days before Toronto, so they’ve had a little more time to get their patio scene up and running. That’s why we’re headed up to Unionville to check out a funky little joint that’s been voted best patio in town 16 years running — this is Jake’s on Main.

And, when looking at their menu of funkalicious pub grub, I couldn’t decide between the mac ‘n cheese poutine and the BBQ pulled pork grilled cheese…so I just ordered both!

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Now, I did make mac ‘n cheese nachos before, in one of my drunken stupors, but I never would have thought to put the mac on top of poutine. So I gotta give my brother Jake his props — this dish was freaky, deeky, eat-it-any-day-of-the-weeky! Noodles are cooked perfectly, with a nice creaminess, and then that extra layer of cheese from the poutine really kicks it up a notch!

OK, so maybe it’s not a proper poutine — there’s no gravy, or Quebec cheese curds here — but I don’t really think gravy would make this dish taste better. Now, if you poured some queso on me, that’s a whole nother ballgame, bro!!!!

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And then, I was hoping that this festival of funk in Flavourtown would continue onto the grilled cheese sammy, but as you can probably see, it wasn’t equal parts cheesy and porky — more like a pulled pork sandwich with a slice of cheddar on top. And the pork wasn’t bad, or anything, but it just didn’t quite knock it outta the park. Maybe I’ll just hafta order two poutines next time! 😛

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Now, you KNOW this blog isn’t Burgers, Bacon and Long Island Iced Tea — so we’re totally slamming some patio beers, bro! And nothing screams patio beer like this Big Tiki Tropical Punch Blonde from the hopheads at Hop City. Packed with passionfruit, pineapple, mango and papaya, it tastes more like fruit punch than beer — and at 4.5%, I can pound these until the sun goes down, son!!!

PATIO LIT EATS: Three-course, real-deal Italian meal!

Man, it feels like Toronto is the last place in the world to reopen after this Coronavirus! But finally, last night, restaurants were allowed to open across the city — for patio dining only. So, it’s time to bust out the Kim Mitchell, cuz you KNOW I’m gonna be the first to eat, bro!!!

We’re breaking the seal at Blu Ristorante, this classy Italian joint in Yorkville. They actually just moved into new digs on Avenue Road, in a space that used to be Estia (another Italian joint), with a great front-porch patio. Now, especially for a Wednesday night, this place was packed — we had to wait about 20 mins to get a table. But what’s 20 minutes when I’ve been waiting three and a half months for this???

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We’re starting off with one of my personal favourites, grilled calamari, on a bed of mixed greens with olives, capers and pepperonata. These actually came with seedless olives, so you didn’t have to spit the pits out onto the plate — that’s some solid social distancing in Flavourtown! But the squid was cooked perfectly; not too firm, but not too chewy. I usually like my calamari like my chicken (fried), but I definitely can’t complain about this dish!

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And then we’re going for another real-deal Italian meal… say hello to ma lil’ friend osso buco, served over risotto with a chunky tomato sauce. Now, the last time I was here, I had a killer veal chop, so I know they know their way around baby beef — but this meat was so fall-apart tender, you didn’t even need a knife to cut it! And don’t let the super-close-up fool ya — that’s a pretty big hockey puck of flavour in Flavourtown!!!

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Now, the sun went down before dessert, so the patio lights really added an extra spark to this picture. They were all sold out of my first choice — tiramisu — so I went with panna cotta instead. I think I ate this little slab of gelatin in 4-5 bites…but after all that osso buco, I really didn’t need much more than this.

TORONTO’S TOP TAKEOUT: 6 meat Turkish feast!!!

On Father’s Day Weekend, Uber Eats gave me two codes for 50% off, on orders up to 50 bucks. I wanted to make the most of it by supporting a couple of local, family-run restaurants and making some yuuuge orders! (I believe Uber pays the difference to the restaurant while giving me the discount — hopefully I’m not wrong on that.) Now, you KNOW I love lamb, and shawarma is my jam, so when I found this funky Turkish joint on the Danforth called Efes Kebab House (listed as Efes Bar and Grill on Uber Eats), I totally had to check it out!

And when it came to making my 50 bucks count, I was definitely going big with this six-meat symphony in Flavourtown — the Ocak Basi Mix:

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Dude, when your meal comes in a big metal catering tray, you know that’s a lotta food! You’ve got some chicken and beef shish kebab, along with chicken and beef doner — which is basically shawarma — meatballs, a lamb chop and a bed of rice with some warm pita bread, along with a side salad. But what makes it is the adana kebab:

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I’ll be honest, the lamb chop is what caught my eye when I first saw this dish, but little did I know, I’d be getting two lambs for the price of one! This ground lamb skewer is cooked over charcoal, which really gives the meat a nice flavour. I’m sure glad I got a nice long piece!!!

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But really, this whole dish was delish — no crumb left behind, son!!!

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Now, after all that meat, I didn’t really need something sweet, but these two little two-bite baklava rolls hit the spot! I didn’t expect them to come with this dish, but I guess when you buy the biggest, meatiest platter, as well as a tub of hummus (I saved some of it for snacking later), they throw in the dessert for free — which makes this a 5-star experience in Flavourtown!!!!

TORONTO’S TOP TAKEOUT: Double red chorizo burger…with a pineapple on top!

Now, with all the businesses that have shut down during the pandemic, it’s rare that you hear about a restaurant that closed last year reopening in the middle of all this — but that’s exactly what happened with Harry’s Charbroiled, this legendary Parkdale burger joint. The place shut its doors in October, but reopened in April on Uber Eats, serving up real-deal burgers and fries out of an address on College St.

Now, this is body by burgers, bro, so you KNOW I had to check it out — and when I saw they had a funky red chorizo burger, I made mine a double! This is the Red Burger:

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What I like most about this burger is there’s no veggies whatsoever. You’ve got two charbroiled red chorizo patties, melty Swiss cheese, bacon (which costs $2 extra) and grilled pineapple, shoved between a not-quite-big-enough bun. There’s a nice texture on the pork, some added chew from the bacon, a bit of sweetness from those pineapple chunks, and then the cheese, which really brings it all together. Now, I know that small buns make the sausage patty look bigger, but I *maybe* couldda used a little more bread here…

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On the other hand, I really can’t complain about the size of these spuds. The thick ‘n crunchy fries were nicely salted, and stayed warm and crispy after delivery. Man, normally I would go for some chili cheese fries or loaded tater tots or something, but these plain and simple taters really hit the spot — just like the burger did!

TORONTO’S TOP TAKEOUT: Sushi and tacos and dumplings, oh my!

Now, sometimes deciding what to order for lunch can be tricky. Do I want tacos, or do I want sushi? And how bout a couple dumplings on the side? Well, at The Haam, this funky Japanese inspired Mexican joint on Adelaide, you can get all three with their sushi and taco combo, bro!!!

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So you KNOW I gotta start off with the taco, son! This gochujang barbacoa piles lots of guac, lettuce, crema, queso and cilatro on top of tasty braised beef inside a hard-shell taco…which got pretty soggy cuz it took an hour to deliver, sadly.

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On the sushi side, I settled on a six-pack of Spicy Crunch Salmon rolls. Dude, Spicy Crunch Salmon is the name of my fishing boat, bro!!!

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Now, if you order the sushi and taco combo from DoorDash — and only from DoorDash — they throw in two beef gyoza for free. The only problem was that my DoorDash delivery took so long that these dumps were cold as ice, ice baby! But I gotta say, the flavours from this joint were on point. So I would probably order from them again — only next time, Imma stick with Uber Eats…

TORONTO’S TOP TAKEOUT: $200 steak dinner, delivered!!!

Uber Eats gave me a code for 25% off this week, so I was looking for the most expensive, decadent meal I could order for delivery…and I think I found it. Jacobs & Co. Steakhouse is one of the classiest steak joints in Toronto, with premium cuts of Japanese beef that can set you back four bills, bro! Now, they weren’t delivering the (really) good stuff — their priciest cut was an 8oz Wagyu tenderloin from Australia for $168. Throw in a couple of sides, and let’s just say I saved 48 dollars today. 😉

My order arrived in about 35 minutes, and the aluminum containers kept everything nice and warm, so I definitely can’t complain! And who needs fine china when you’ve got heavy metal, bro???

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Now, the first thing I thought when I took everything out of the delivery bags was “Man, these mushrooms smell amazing!” You’ve got a nice mix of roasted ‘shrooms, with some butter and chives, making this the perfect steak sidekick in Flavourtown!

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But make no mistake, this steak was the star of the show. The baseball-sized sirloin melts like butter and cuts with a butter knife, Bro-an Adams! Now, I wouldn’t normally put any sauce on such a great steak, but a bit of that chimichurri and a couple dabs of horseradish really kicked it up a notch!

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When it comes to the other sides, well, the duck fat fries were tasty — sorta like an elevated Swiss Chalet — but what really makes this dinner was something I didn’t even hafta pay for…the real-deal bread rolls!

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With a meal like this, you really don’t wanna fill up on bread, but I just had to eat both of these — they’re like muffins meets Yorkshire pudding in Flavourtown! And that chive butter was super legit… I’d put that on a flip-flop!!!

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Now, some people might drink wine with a nice meal like this, but you KNOW I’m all about the beer, bro! So I’m washing it down with a Unify or Die, this funky spiced stout from Blood Brothers, one of my favourite local breweries. (Dude, they’ve even got an Iron Maiden beer!!!) This brew’s got the silky smooth body of a Guinness, but with a lot more vanilla, and a bit of cinnamon, for that extra kick. And man, is there a better-named beer for this whole pandemic thing???

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Now, even though I saved over 48 bucks on this order, after taxes, fees and a reasonable tip, I still ended up dropping just over 200. But man, it was money well spent, son! If I ever sign a big NHL contract or something, I KNOW where I’m going for dinner!!!!

 

TORONTO’S TOP TAKEOUT: Fried chicken ‘n ribs from Uncle Ray’s

Now, I’m not gonna lie — I’ve got a big list of funky takeout joints that I’ve been meaning to check out. But sometimes, I come across a place that looks so good, it goes right to the top of the list…like this funky soul-food joint at the foot of Church Street, Uncle Ray’s Food & Liquor.

Now, this place has got all the classics — grilled chicken, fried chicken, ribs, burgers, hot chicken, beef short rib, chicken ‘n waffles… But the thing is, you can’t order ribs on their own. They only come in a chicken ‘n rib combo — and that’s grilled chicken, not fried chicken. So, to buy a ticket to this festival of funk in Flavourtown, I had to order a chicken & ribs combo for one AND a two-piece fried chicken plate. Any more chickens, and I’d hafta ask for a Coke, blues bro!!!

But I put the grilled chicken in the fridge for later, cuz this is the star of the show, right here:

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Dude, this bird is the word! And believe it or not, but it’s boneless… which means more bird for your buck! Actually, I’ve had this fried chicken before — the chicken ‘n waffles Sunday special at Union Chicken uses the same recipe, which is super-crunchalicious! Only here, they throw in some pickles and a legit hot honey, which really kicks it up a notch!!!

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Now, this might just look like one giant piece of pork, but there are actually two bones to this order — which is good, because otherwise, I’d hafta file a complaint. Ribs were nice ‘n meaty, with a nice glaze, but not too saucy. And you definitely can’t complain about the size!

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Now, the chicken ‘n ribs combo comes with not one, not two, but three sides, which is just about enough to fill me up, buttercup! You’ve got some spicy baked beans with a nice kick, the mayo from the slaw to cool off the spice, and then a buttermilk biscuit with a nice honey butter — I’d put that on a flip-flop!!!

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Let’s just say that after all this eatin’ good in the neighbourhood, I might hafta save that grilled chicken for tomorrow…