This bar’s a poet, and they don’t even know it…

Now, beer and pizza are a few of my favourite things, so when I heard about Bar Poet, this funky little joint at Queen and Dovercourt, that was serving up both in ample quantities, you KNOW I had to check it out, bro!!!

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We’re starting off with some bacon garlic fingers, which is practically a whole pizza in itself. You’ve got pizza dough topped with roasted garlic butter, shredded mozzarella and bacon, with some hot sauce and donair sauce for dipping. But you know that’s just a light snack in Flavourtown, bro…

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Now, this place has got 13 different pizzas to choose from, but I had to go with the 3 Little Pigs. Dude, this is body by 3 little pigs! You’ve got bacon, sausage AND pepperoni, with a couple basil leafs thrown in for colour. I totally blew this house down, bro!!!

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We’re washing it down with a few pints of the house Bar Poet IPA. This place has got not one, not two but three house beers, but you can’t go wrong with this nice, hoppy boi. I think I crushed at least 5 of these…

Mother, tell your burger not to walk my way…

Now, I don’t always drink cocktails, but when I heard about Mother, this funky little cocktail bar named after my second favourite Danzig song (Twist of Cain FTW, bro!), you KNOW I gotta check it out! And it turns out they’re serving up a signature brisket and short rib burger…so I think I’ll have one of those.

Now their Mother Burger isn’t all that big, but sometimes good things come in small packages…like Glenn Danzig. Burger is nice n juicy, with minimal toppings on a soft brioche bun, and you can really taste that the meat is a cut above. Whoa-oh, bro!!!!

I was somewhat disappointed that they were sold out of the Lost Craft Neapolitan Stout, so I had to settle for their Skyline IPA, which was not a bad consolation prize. This brut IPA is light and dry, just a little hoppy, and packs an unexpected punch at 6.2% — kinda like that guy who knocked out Danzig.

Of course, you can’t go to a cocktail bar and not order a cocktail… This here’s called Porcelain, and it’s got all kinds of crazy stuff like dry sake, jasmine baiju and Italian violet liqueur, for a nice, sweet, and totally not evil taste. It can bang heads with me any day, bro!!!!

Middle East beef stew feast @ Queen of Persia

With all the different cultures that call Toronto home, it’s safe to say not every restaurant is closed for Christmas — which is great when you’re a Pastafarian. (Dude, I’ve been touched by his noodly appendage, bro!!!) So, we’re hanging out at Queen of Persia, this cozy, family joint serving up comfort food classics from all over the map of Iran. Sure, they’ve got kebabs — five different kinds, bro —  but the menu has so much more…like this classic Persian dish, gheymeh nesar:

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This super-tender beef stew is cooked with barberries, almonds and a hint of orange peel, for that added tangy sweetness. Plus, it comes with enough rice for at least three people — but you KNOW it’s just dinner for one in Flavourtown, son!!!!

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Now, the beer selection is pretty limited here — and they were all outta Moroccan Brown Ale — so I went for a couple Pom Pom Martinis instead:

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This ain’t yer grandpappy’s Manhattan, captain! This pomegranate and rose water martini is garnished with even more pomegranate…cuz you can never have too much pomegranate!!!!

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Now, I gotta say, I was pretty full after all that rice, so I barely even had room for dessert. These two little pieces of homemade baklava sure hit the spot, though!!!

 

 

 

Who needs turkey dinner when you can have lamb, bro???

Now, I’m not really big on turkey dinner — although I did chow down on a tasty take-home turducken last Christmas. But since we’re not in total lockdown in Ontario this year (yet), I figured I would go out for a pre-Christmas dinner at a fancy local restaurant instead.

Chiado might be the best seafood joint in all of Little Portugal. And the last time we were here, in 2018, we feasted on six different seafood dishes (and still had room for dessert). But even though most of the menu might be fish, I still wanted a different dish for my Christmas wish…so when I saw the roasted rack of lamb, I was all over that like freaky on tzatziki! But you know I had to get at least a couple of bites of seafood in me first:

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The lobster & shrimp bisque was a nice, hearty little dish, although you’re looking at about half the seafood that was in it right here. But hey, it was still soup weather, and this definitely hit the spot, so I can’t complain too much — especially when I’m still saving room for lamb, fam!!!

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This Lamb Chops Slay-along in Flavourtown goes on and on, my friend! The lamb is definitely cooked past the medium-rare that I asked for, but the meat is still pretty tender, in a nice rosemary sauce, with some super-tender veggies. Not that I come here for the vegetables, but they were actually pretty tasty. Of course, you KNOW I still have room for dessert, bro…

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Natas do ceu translates to cream from heaven, and the waiter described it as sorta like a Portugese tiramisu. I’m not sure that’s totally true, though. This dish is nice ‘n creamy, but you don’t get as much from the cookies at the bottom (although they threw in a Christmas cookie and a digestive biscuit for some extra crunch), and it’s a lot sweeter, with the egg cream, whipped cream and almond liqueur. Next time I’m here though, I gotta go for the peras cozidas — that dish looked like artwork on a plate, bro!!!

Who needs ribeye steak when you can have ribeye bison?

So a little while back, I had some bison meatballs at the Drake Hotel. And they were tasty, but kinda small, and I was like, man I wish I had a bigger bison. So when I heard that Sassafraz, this upscale funky joint in Yorkville, was serving up a 12 oz Alberta bison ribeye, I was all over that like a Buffalo soldier, bro!!!
Meat was nice n tender, perfect medium rare. Came with a few little mushrooms, a bit of onion and some kale. But when they asked if I wanted to add Parmesan truffle fries, I was like “Dude, does a bear shit in Schitt’s Creek, bro???”
These taters were nice n crispy, more cheese than truffle. I like that they came with both mayo and ketchup, so you can grab a bit of both…
Of course, you KNOW I still had room for dessert, son! This flourless chocolate cake was a cross between a chocolate bar and a turtle pie, with blueberry compote and a scoop of ice cream. I would eat that off a snow boot, son!!!!

Welcome to the jungle, we’ve got shrimp and steak…

So we’re hanging out at Selva, this funky new black-light, jungle-themed joint serving up South American/Thai fusion in a basement in the Entertainment District. This place used to be The Fifth Pubhouse, where I once scarfed down a tasty salmon burger…but they’ve got a completely different vibe now.

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They are still serving up some seafood, though. These grilled shrimp are coming in hot, eight to an order with a slightly spicy yellow pepper sauce. These aren’t quite as good as the shrimp at Emeril’s, but still not a bad start.

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Now, when I saw the 7 oz Denver steak on the menu, I thought it might be a little small — but when it got to the table, I’m not sure that’s even 7 ounces bro. Also, most pieces were well past medium rare, even with it coming pre-cut… So yeah, I’m a little disappointed right now.

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Of course, after such a small steak, I definitely still had room for dessert. These banana fritters were more like deep-fried banana slices…but I think I got more pieces here than I did of the steak, so at least there’s that. And hey, the place looks pretty funky, as this toucan can confirm:

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Snap your fingers, snap your glazed pork neck!!!

Back when I was in Vegas, I chowed down on some tasty Filipino lechon among a whole plateful of Asian pork products at the Bacchanal Buffet at Caesars Palace. So, now that I’m back in Toronto, I heard there was this funky Filipino fusion joint called Mineral serving up glazed pork neck, among other things…so I had to go check it out, bro!!!

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First, we’re starting off with another Filipino comfort food classic; ensaymadas, a warm cheese bun, with a side of soppressata. Can’t go wrong with meat, bread and melted cheese bro — when you put a couple piece of that soppressata on top, that right there is the ticket!!!

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Speaking of things that you eat with your hands, the glazed pork neck comes with lettuce wraps, alongside toppings like pineapple and pickled papaya, so it’s just like a funky finger sandwich in Flavourtown:

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Now, I wouldn’t have know that pork neck tastes similar to pork belly, but it’s got that same fatty unctuousness… plus you can’t go wrong with a little donkey sauce on top, son!!!!

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But you KNOW that we’ve still got room for dessert, even after eating all that pork back there, bro! This ube leche flan is the only dessert on the menu, and while it’s not something I wouldda ordered otherwise, I gotta say, this is one of my top five purple yam desserts ever!!!!

(OK, so I probably haven’t had five purple yam desserts before, but hey, it was still pretty tasty…)

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Wolves in the Taproom @ Folly Brewpub

We’re back in Toronto now, and with all this talk of Omicron variant and new COVID restrictions, I could use a beer…or 10. So we’re hanging out at Folly Brewpub, this funky little joint at College and Dovercourt that’s serving up nine different beers brewed in house, along with a food menu that ranges from Italian to German. Shut the front, back and side doors, son!!!!

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Speaking of German, we’re starting off with a Trust No One Lichtenhainer, which just happens to be what it says on my lower back tattoo. This wheat beer has a nice smokey smell and more of a sour, citrusy taste. I don’t know how they brew it, but they sure brew it good, Bro Scratch Fever!!!

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We’re pairing that with a classic Italian app — arancini. These creamy little rice balls are deep-fried to perfection, with a piece of cheese in the middle, and they soak up all the sauce on the place, son!

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Now, when I saw this next beer on their list, I knew I totally had to try it. This is Wolves in the Taproom, named after my second-favourite atmospheric blackened shoegaze band. (Deafhaven FTW, bro!) Although it’s an amber, they brew it with Belgian yeast to give it a nice, chocolately flavour. I could pound, like, 16 of these!!!!

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Did I mention that the food here is pretty funky? They’re actually serving up three different kinds of mussels — Provincial, Calabrese and Thai. (All that’s missing are some mussels from Brussels, bro!) Me, I went with the Thai ones, served in a curry coconut milk broth. Now, the ones on top aren’t too spicy, but when you get to the bottom, and they’re swimming in that broth, you definitely get a nice little kick…

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But you KNOW I’ve still got room for dessert, bro…and by dessert, I mean another beer. How About Some Coffee is a nice, heavy coffee stout with a creamy head. It only comes in bottles — but on the plus side, you can buy ’em to take home, so I think I might just do that. 😉

 

 

 

 

 

EATING LAS VEGAS: Taking out some Memphis-style trash ribs…

Now, I might never have wandered into Virgil’s Real BBQ if the In-n-Out Burger across the way wasn’t closed for U.S. Thanksgiving, but I’m sure glad I did… You KNOW I’m always down for some southern BBQ, and the BBQ Combo is the way to go, bro! You get your choice of two meats and two sides, and they even throw in a mini little cornbread nugget for free! Now, I had to go with the sliced Texas beef brisket — dude, this is body by Texas beef brisket — but when I saw the trash ribs, I figured I would try those, too…

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Now, according to Virgil, “Real BBQ” is smothered in sauce. But for these chewy little spare ribs, the BBQ sauce adds a nice little kick, and there’s nothing wrong with that at all.

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Now, for me Texas brisket only needs salt ‘n pepper — and the fattier the better. So I’m a little disappointed at how saucy this brisket was. Still nice ‘n tender, but I’d say this brisket is about as Texas as Sam Hunt…

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Virgil’s side game is pretty solid. You can’t go wrong with Mac ‘n cheese, and the collard greens come with bacon — everything’s better with bacon, bro!!!

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Of course, you KNOW I still had room for dessert… We’re talking banana pudding, with big chunks of bananas, creamy pudding, crunchy cookie crumbs, and a handful of shortbread cookies, thrown in whole. Dude, this dessert is soooo bananas…and bananas is good!!!!

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Washed it all down with a few Moose Drool Brown Ales, coming straight outta Montana from Big Sky Brewing. Nice, rich flavour, sorta like Newcastle Brown Ale, but not too heavy at 5%. Then again, I guess 5% is pretty strong for American beer!!!

EATING LAS VEGAS: Waffle Me Up, Before You Go Go…

If you like KISS, Guy Fieri and sweaty shirtless dudes, the Rio is the place to be, bro! Now, I didn’t stay here, but since these are a few of my favourite things, I did make a couple trips down Flamingo Ave during my time in Vegas. Another thing worth checking out at the Rio is Hash House a Go Go, this funky little diner serving up comfort food classics straight outta Indiana — like these Sage Fried Chicken and Waffles, son!

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What we’ve got here are two fried chicken breasts served up on a tower of waffle power, with a couple random fruits for a garnish or something. But let’s stick to the good stuff. Chicken is super-tender, with a nice, savoury seasoning, and the waffles have bacon baked right in — that’s like a game-winning triple play in Flavourtown!!!

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Dude, this is a breakfast that eats like a meal, bro! I might hafta play an extra round of KISS glow-in-the-dark mini golf just to work this all off…

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