So, we’re back at Hogtown Smoke, the new location right in downtown Flavourtown. I see they no longer have the 22 oz pork chop on the menu, so instead I went with a sammy that combines two kinds of pork…and just so happens to be named after my favourite Al Pacino character. Say hello to ma lil’ friend Tony Montana 2.0, bro!
OK, now let’s break it down. You’ve got pulled pork, back bacon and creamy coleslaw, along with beer-braised onions, pickles and some melty Velveeta, all smothered in their signature Hogmother BBQ sauce. And this is literally only half of it–there’s a second side to this sammy, son! Throw down a side of fries, and it’s a sandwich that eats like a meal for about 20 bucks (after tax)!!!!
So, we’re hanging out at Tequila Bookworm, this funky little craft beer bar on Queen West. This place has got daily rotating taps, along with a whole bevvy of pricey bottles, but when it comes to food, they keep it simple, with sandwiches, poutines and salads.
This fried chicken sandwich is outta bounds, bro! You’ve got super-crispy breading, with pickles, lettuce, a nice crunchy slaw and some spicy mayo. Nothing wrong with that at all!
And then there’s this funky dish of deliciousness, the house specialty: tequila fries. You’ve got some nice, crispy spuds, topped with green onions, tomatoes, feta cheese and these spicy chilies. This ain’t yer grandpappy’s poutine, son!
With so many local craft beers on tap, it’s hard to pick just one. But I went with the Barnraiser Pale Ale, from Oast House Brewers in Niagara on the Lake. Apparently they don’t just grow wine in the Niagara Region…and I’ll take this zesty IPA over a pinot grigio any day!!!
Now, I wouldn’t say that French food is my favourite foreign cuisine…but it’s probably somewhere in the Top 10. I mean, you’ve got French onion soup, duck confit, and my personal Flavourtown Flava Fav, poutine. OK, I guess that one’s French-Canadian, but hey, they still speak the same language, right?
Of course, they also eat things like snails and frog’s legs, too. Now, I don’t know if we’re still in grenouille season, but when it comes to escargot, you can get ’em for brunch at Le Papillon, this funky French bistro on Front Street, just a short crawl from the St. Lawrence Market.
These slippery little snails are served up as a six-pack, swimming in a garlic parsley butter. Dude, I would put that on a flip-flop! But you know that’s just a pre-brunch snack in Flavourtown, bro!!!!
Dude, this bacon apple crepe is LaBombe.qc.ca! The bacon is cooked perfectly, the right balance between crispy and chewy. Then you’ve got baked apples and mad cheddah stuffed inside a light, fluffy pancake with maple syrup on top. It costs extra for the syrup, but dude, this is body by maple syrup, bro!!!!
So, we’re hanging out at Junked Food Co, this funky little joint on Queen W that served up the most totally awesome taco at Tacofest 2016. They actually don’t have tacos on the menu, but you can get mac ‘n cheese, deep-dish pizza, Dorito-bag nachos…oh, and save room for dessert, cuz they’re serving up these funky waffles with all kinds of junk on top!
OK, let’s break it down. You’ve got a Belgian-style waffle, with Froot Loops, vanilla fluff, Swedish Berries, sour gummies and icing sugar. Eating this in one sitting will leave you wired for hours! You can’t buy this sugar high anywhere else, bro!!!
Now, I’ve had actual Nashville hot chicken in Nashville–even on a pizza!–but I never thought I’d find the real deal in Toronto. Most places that offer “Tennessee Hot Chicken” in this city are about as authentic as Red Lobster’s Nashville Hot Shrimp. But then this new funky chicken place opens up on Bloor Street…
Five Points is this traditional hot chicken joint inside of a craft beer dive bar called Open House, where you order in the window, and then they ring a bell when it’s ready for you to bring back to your table. (Kinda like how they do it at Casino El Camino in Austin, but with chicken.) And man, they’ve got everything: chicken legs, chicken thighs, chicken breast, chicken wings, chicken tenders…all done up Nashville style:
Picture the best Shake ‘n Bake chicken you’ve ever had, but with a bit of sweet, and more than a bit of heat. Mind you, I only got mine mild, which wasn’t so bad. The bread underneath absorbs a lot of the sauce, though, and I gotta say, that was some of the spiciest bread I’ve ever eaten! Definitely needed a ice cold beer after that one!!!
Now, this here brewski definitely hit the spot. Black Bellows White is a light, refreshing wheat beer, with just a touch of elderflower. If I’d gotten my chicken any hotter, I’d probably hafta pound a few more of these!
So, we’re hanging out at Pho Vistro, this funky little Vietnamese soup joint on Queen Street West. Now, I don’t usually eat soup, unless the only other option is salad, but this place is pretty legit. Their all-natural broth is cooked for 10 hours, and packed with more herbs and spices than the Colonel’s Original Recipe. You can get it with beef, chicken or vegan, or go for their signature Pho Vistro, which has beef AND chicken, for literally just a dollar more:
This pho totally reeks of deliciousness, bro! The broth is light and not too salty, which goes great with the noodles. You’ve got strips of both chicken and beef, along with some sprouts and some onions, for a little extra flavour. But what makes it is the beef short rib:
Where’s the beef!? It’s right here, bro!!!! This chunka-chunka burning rib is so tender, it comes right off the bone…although you still gotta bite it a bit. Kicking this dish up a notch with short rib will cost ya an extra two bucks, but since the soup’s only like 12 dollars to begin with, it’s an upgrade that’s totally worth it!
So, we’re hanging out at Walrus Pub and Brewhall, this funky downtown joint that just opened at Bay and Wellington a few weeks back. Now I like pubs, and I like beer halls, so you put ‘em together and it’s gotta be great, right?
Well, for a place with Brewhall in its name, I gotta say their draught list ain’t all that special—especially when you’ve got places like Craft Beer Market and King Taps close by. Mind you, The Walrus is classier than Craft and much more spacious than King Taps, although it seems to be lacking in the patio department. But hey, its mascot is pretty sweet:
I ended up going with the Henderson Food Truck Ale, which was a little malty, but not overpowering. I think it would go nicely with some taco truck fajitas… It also didn’t taste too bad with this burger:
No walruses were harmed in the making of this sandwich—the burger’s just named after the joint, is all. Instead you’ve got some thick, juicy ground beef patties, American cheese, lettuce and bacon on a potato bun. Of course, I made mine a double. You gotta pay extra for the bacon, but that’s not even a question, bro!
While the patties were meaty, beaty, big and bouncy (whoops, wrong British Invasion band!) and the cheese was nice and melty, the bacon was actually undercooked and chewy. Maybe I gotta kick in an extra buck for crispy bacon???