WINTERLICIOUS 2018: My oh my, beef brisket pie!!!

So, we’re hanging out at Liberty Commons, the funky Big Rock brewpub in Liberty Village. Now, when we were here for Summerlicious last year, the soup was super tasty, the beer-fried dough for dessert was legit, but the beef brisket was cold and fatty. Dude, cold and fatty is what my ex-wife calls me!!!!

But when I heard they were bringing back the brisket inside a cornish pastry as part of their Winterlicious lunch, you KNOW I was ready to come back, bro! But first, here’s some ale-cured smoked salmon:

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Now, I don’t always eat fish, but when you soak it in beer, I’m all in! You’ve got some house-made creme fresh, pickled onions and a couple sprigs of green stuff, all on a Montreal-style boiled bagel. I could probably have eaten 2-3 of these, but then I wouldn’t be so hungry for the brisket:

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Man, this meat just melts in my mouth, bro! The brisket is super-tender, then you’ve got these carrots and potatoes, all inside a flaky crust. With apologies to The Pie Commission, this might be the best meat pie I’ve ever munched on, Bro-sephus!

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Of course, you KNOW I still had room for dessert, bro! They call this beer-amisu, and I call it magically delicious! You’ve got a chewy, ooey-gooey pumpkin marscapone, soaked in Big Rock Coffee Porter, instead of your regular cuppa joe. This almost tastes like pumpkin pie, but, y’know, with beer on top…

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Of course, one does not simply go to a brewpub to sip honey-spiced mead. This Big Rock Pilsner is much better. Pretty sure I slammed at least four of these… Dilly Dilly, Brozilly!!!!

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WINTERLICIOUS 2018: Imagine steak and shrimp, and chocolate cake…

So, we’re hanging out at Wildfire Steakhouse, this upscale cow palace on Yonge Street, a few blocks north of Lawrence. This place might not look like much from the outside, but once you walk in, it’s pretty fancy-schmancy. And their Winterlicious menu is massive, bro–you get to pick from eight apps, eight mains and four desserts, all for 43 bucks!

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So, I started with a six pack of shrimp, broiled in butter and garlic with a buncha panko breadcrumbs. The scampi were cooked perfectly, nice and juicy. Just a light snack in Flavourtown!

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Now, while the ribs and the lamb shank both seemed like solid choices, if I’m gonna go to a steakhouse, you KNOW I’m having the steak. So I went with the seven-ounce filet mignon, cooked to a perfect medium rare. This meat melts in your mouth like butter, bro! But man, I gotta say, I did not taste any garlic in the garlic mashed potatoes…

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Now, I’ve been complaining about some of the teeny-tiny desserts these other restaurants are serving for Winterlicious, but when it comes to Wildfire, I’ve got no beef whatsoever. Dude, this slice of chocolate cake is big enough for three people–but you KNOW I scarfed it all down, bro!!!!

WINTERLICIOUS 2018: That’s a big ol’ messy burger, bro!!!

Now the Cactus Club is pretty big out west–I’m pretty sure Vancouver runs on Cactus Club, bro! But like a lot of these chains that started off in B.C. or Alberta (Earl’s, Joey’s, Moxie’s), they fancy it up when they hit Toronto. Like their location at First Canadian Place, right in the heart of the Financial District. This place has a rooftop patio that’s open all year round–cuz it’s got a heater and a roof of it’s own! And for Winterlicious, they’re warming things up with burgers, chicken sammies…and like a salad, or something.

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But you don’t win friends with salad, bro, so instead I started off with some butternut squash ravioli. These squares of flavour were super creamy, with a whole buncha shredded parma on top. They only give you two, but of course, the best is yet to come…

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They call this the Feenie Burger, and it’s like a nuclear meltdown in Flavourtown! You’ve got smashed Angus beef, topped with cheddar and a whole buncha mushrooms. Then just add bacon, pickles, a little lettuce and tomato. And then they’ve got this tangy concoction that’s a mix of red relish, mayo, ketchup and mustard! Half the sauce ended up on my lap, but hey…if it ain’t messy, it ain’t tasty, Charles Bro-son!!!

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Now, have you ever said to yourself “Man, I feel like an Oh Henry, but with a dab of caramel, a scoop of ice cream and some little chocolate Smarties for dessert?” Well, today’s your lucky day, bro! I could maybe go for a King Sized next time, though… Dude, this is body by Oh Henry!!!!!

WINTERLICIOUS 2018: Handheld “deep dish” pizza…what???

So, we’re hanging out at Hotel Ocho, this funky boutique hotel in downtown Chinatown with a very modern resto lounge downstairs. Normally, this place serves up stuff like gnocchi, halibut and a steak ‘n shrimp surf ‘n turf, but for Winterlicious, they’re offering up a more upscale take on a whole bunch of American comfort food classics.

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Up first, we’ve got their take on a Kentucky hot brown, an open-faced sammich with turkey, bacon and tomato, all smothered in Mornay sauce, which is basically a bechamel with extra cheese. Now, I’ve never been down to Louisville, but this hot brown was straight outta Flavourtown! The only thing that was kinda weird was when they put spinach at the bottom…

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Now, I’ve never been to Chi-town neither–except for that time I ate Italian beef at the airport–but when I’m thinking deep dish pizza, this wasn’t exactly what I had in mind. I was expecting a ginormous, multi-layered cheesy casserole that you had to eat with a fork and knife. But I couldn’t eat this one with a fork even if I wanted to–the crust was so crunchy, you couldn’t even cut it, bro! And while they said there was blue cheese and jalaepenos in there, I got neither the heat from the peppers nor the pungentness of blue cheese. I kinda wish I’d gone with the ribs instead.

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Now I can’t even think of a reason to go down to Mississippi, especially since the fire went out in Jackson, but I kinda thought a Mississippi mud pie would be a pie, and not a brownie. It was still a pretty tasty piece of chocolate, with some whipped cream on top, but I think they took just a bit of creative license with this one…

WINTERLICIOUS 2018: All the meat you can eat for 43 bucks, bro!!!!

It’s the most wonderful time of the year–we’re talking Winterlicious, dude! The time where over 200 restaurants in Toronto are offering three course meals at some crazy cheap prices–or in the case of Rodeo Brazilian Steakhouse, as many courses of meat as you can eat! It’s like a Flavourtown festival of funkaliciousness, heading straight down my piehole, bro!!!

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They start you off with the salad bar, which includes cured meat, breads and cheeses. The highlight has gotta be the cooked shrimp and mussels, although there weren’t many mussels left when I got there.

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Of course, you don’t wanna fill up on salad when there’s steak to be eaten. Their prime rib was tender, juicy and cheesy, with little bits of cheddar baked right in. I could pound about 20 pieces of this stuff, son!

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But, y’know, life isn’t always about the beef. Not when there’s some fresh-sliced pork shoulder to be scarfed, too!

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Daddy, would you like some sausage? Don’t mind if I do, son!!!

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Who can say no to chicken parm on a stick? I think I slammed at least six of these!

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Now you KNOW I can’t just say no to chicken wings, bro! These molten-hot flavour nuggets taste even better with some Cholula Chipotle sauce on ’em!

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Now, here’s something you won’t get at the Copacabana–it’s a yellow-bellied chicken liver! This sphere of internal poultry has definitely got a different texture, kinda chewy and not as meaty. I think I’ll stick with the steak…

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Now, you wouldn’t think I’d still have room for dessert at the end of this funkalicious flavourtrain, but this deep-fried banana is bananas–and bananas ARE good, bro!!!!

This deep-fried-pickle bacon cheeseburger is totally dill-icious!

So, we’re hanging out at BQM, this funky craft beer and burger joint right in the heart of Little Portland, Ossington just south of Dundas. This place has got one main thing on the menu, and that’s burgers, bro! (They’ve also got wings, poutine, and salad, but I skipped that last part.)

Now, when I go to a place that specializes in burgers, you KNOW I never order a salad! So I went for the funkiest meat on a bun on the menu. They call this one Dill-i-cio, and me, I call it magically delicious:

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OK, let’s break it down. You’ve got a thick ‘n juicy beef patty, with super-crisp and crunchy bacon, just the way I like it. There’s added crispy crunchiness from the lettuce, but you KNOW the panko-battered deep-fried pickle is what makes it, bro! You’ve got a bit of a kick from the sriracha, and some creamy garlic mayo, but man…this might be the crunchiest burger I’ve ever shoved straight down my piehole!!!

Legit lamb skewers at Toronto’s OG Middle-Eastern joint!

So, we’re hanging out at Jerusalem Restaurant, the first place in Toronto to serve up Middle-Eastern food, waaay back in 1971. Now, I’m a pretty big fan of this type of cuisine. You KNOW I love the shawarma bro, and I’ll scarf down pretty much anything with lamb in it. So when I heard they were serving up two lamb skewers with a whole mountain of fries for $17.95, I was all over that like Yair Netanyahu at a strip club, son!!!

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The lamb is super tender, with a nice grilled taste, but not too much charcoal. Fries are hot and crispy, and the salad has some green stuff in it. I don’t always eat salad, but in this case, the meat-to-veggie ratio here was just about right. I think I coulda gone with some more pita bread instead though, bro!!!

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