Eating all the meats at Benny’s Barbecue

Now, one thing I was missing during all the lockdowns was some real-deal BBQ. I mean, I did order some BBQ takeout a couple times, but it’s just not the same when it’s sitting in a container for half an hour before you get to eat it. So when I heard about Benny’s Barbecue, this funky new BBQ joint that just opened in a little shack down an alley just north of Yonge & Eglinton, then you KNOW I had to check it out, bro!!!

And when it comes to BBQ, I usually can’t just eat one meat, or two or three… so I went with a Sampler platter, which has a little bit of everything — pulled pork, beef brisket, back ribs, side ribs, turkey and sausage. And since it was Saturday, and they only serve beef ribs on Saturdays, I had to get one of those, too.

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Pulled pork was nice and tender, tastes good with a pickle and a bit of BBQ sauce on top.

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Brisket was more on the fatty side, which is just the way I like it. (Friends don’t let friends eat lean brisket, bro!) This meat didn’t need no sauce — nice and tender and you can cut it with a fork.

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Sausage was hot n juicy with a nice snap. Nothing wrong with that at all!

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Now, it’s been a little while since I’ve had BBQ turkey, and this wasn’t as tender as the last place I remember — that place is closed now though, bro! And it feels like I got five slices of turkey, compared to just two slices of brisket. Kinda wish it was the other way around…

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And now, ribs. These side ribs weren’t bad, but I’d take the bigger, meatier back ribs any day:

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Of course, since we’re talking bout ribs, now it’s time for the main event…

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These beef ribs were just as good, as not better as that place where the owner didn’t have a permit. While I did have a few inedible fatty/gristly bits, the meat on here just melted in my mouth, bro!!!!

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And while this would probably be enough food for three people, it’s just another light snack in Flavourtown. I will say that I did NOT have room for dessert, though…

Trippin’ out over this triple mushroom pizza!!!

You KNOW this is body by pizza, bro! We’re hanging out at Get Well, this funky little dive at Dundas and Ossington that not only has a great craft beer selection, but they’re also making pizza in the back — shut the back door! Last time we were here, in 2018, they had North of Brooklyn supplying the pies, but now they’re going all DIY. Get in the van, Henry Bro-llins!!!!

Now, I had my eye on the al pastor pizza, but it was all sold out when we got there, so instead I set my sights on this festival of funk in Flavourtown, the mushroom pizza:

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Now, I like mushrooms almost as much as I like pineapple on pizza, so this right here is the ticket. You’ve got three kinds of shrooms — cremini, maitake AND honey mushrooms, topped with goat cheese and a little garlic oil for that extra kick. You could make this pizza out of a flip-flop, and it would still taste good!!!!

But you KNOW I’m not going to a funky joint like this and ordering an iced tea, bro…

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Up first, we’ve got this funky Cherry Banana Lime Sour from Merit. Dude, this beer is bananas — and bananas are good! This liquid fruit salad combines the tartness of cherries with a hit of sour lime. I don’t really taste the bananas in there though, bro…

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And because I’ve only had one serving of liquid fruit today, I’m about to double down with a Dream Pop pineapple peach sour from Fairweather. You definitely get some citrus here, but it’s also kinda hoppy, like an IPA. I can dig it!

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And because it takes more than two beers to polish off a whole pizza, I also went with this Prairie Coast Wheat beer from Indie Ale House. Now, compared to its predecessors, this beer isn’t particularly fruity and has little aftertaste — which is just fine when the last couple slices of mushroom pizza start to not go down so easy.

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Now, they do sell pizza by the slice here — for about 6 or 7 bucks a pop. But I figured I’d get more bang for my buck ordering a whole pie for $29. It was quite a bit bigger than I expected, but you know what we say… Just another light snack in Flavourtown, son!!!!!!!!!

Pai Northern Thai’s taking it to Midtown Flavourtown!!!

Now, Pai Northern Thai Kitchen is already known as one of the best Thai restaurants in Toronto. I’ve had green curry beef here that was too legit to quit, and ordered some takeout where they probably got the spice level wrong. So when I heard they opened a second location in Midtown, just a coconut’s throw from Yonge & Eglinton, you KNOW I had to check it out, bro!!!!

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The Uptown menu looks to be about the same as the OG location, so I figured I’d order a couple things I haven’t tried before, starting with these kung tawt garlic shrimp. These super-crispy bad boys go down smooth with a little spicy-sour tamarind sauce on the side. Man, if these shrimp were endless, Red Lobster would be outta business, bro!!!!

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But now it’s time for a different type of beef curry — we be jammin’ this oxtail down me piehole, mon! Meat is super-tender, sauce adds a nice little kick, but you gotta watch out for all them little bones, bro…

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Now, they don’t have as much craft beer here as their downtown joint (from what I remember), but man, whenever I see Blood Brothers on a beer list, I pretty much have to order it. This is the latest installment in their Autopop series, a session sour with cherries. Not gonna lie, I thought I was ordering the Autopop Cherry Cola sour, which I’ve had a couple times before, but this light ‘n tangy fruit punch does go pretty good with Thai food, though.

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But now we’re kicking it up a couple notches with a Black Hand Stout. This rich, dark beer is sorta like Guinness on steroids, coming in strong at 7%…which means instead of slamming six beers, I might only have five.

Back for Round 2 @ Score on King

Two years ago, we headed out to Score on King, this funky little sports bar serving up some ridiculous caesars, where I polished off The Checkmate, a caesar topped with so much stuff, it could feed a family of four (small, not very hungry people). But that was just one of two massively overstuffed caesars on the menu… so now it’s time to say hello to ma lil’ friend, Caesar Grande:

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Do not adjust your settings, son — this drink is topped with nachos, mac ‘n cheese balls, corn dogs (on the other side), a fried chicken sandwich, Nutella pie and a 14 oz burger. So it’s like every part of a balanced breakfast in Flavourtown!!!!

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We gotta start with the nachos, cuz you don’t want those to go soggy, bros. Tri-coloured chips topped with cheese, tomatoes, diced onions, black olives and jalapenos — nothing wrong with that at all. They even come in an edible taco bowl, although some of the edges were extra crispy.

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The two “scorn dogs” (as they call them) are a nice little snack that really takes you back to your childhood — if you spent your childhood in sports bars drinking overloaded caesars, that is.

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Now, deep fried mac ‘n cheese balls are one of the greatest culinary creations of all time…and their version definitely didn’t disappoint.

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On the other hand, the fried chicken sandwich was kinda meh. Not overly saucy or crispy, it was just there. Oh, and they also put cheese on it, for some reason?

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But now it’s time for the piece de beef-sistance: the 14 oz Score Burger. When I checked off The Checkmate, I ate a regular-sized cheeseburger in the process that was pretty tasty, but this one might be too much of a good thing. Sure, you’ve got some lettuce, tomato and donkey sauce here, but what you really taste is meat, meat, meat, Damned Bros!!!!

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Of course, this multi-course meal also comes with dessert, and we’re talking Nutella pie, son. It maybe melted a bit in the early evening sun, but still hit the spot.

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Now, unlike The Checkmate, The Caesar Grande is completely boneless, so there is no sexy aftermath shot…but let’s just say I didn’t let a drop go to waste. 😉

Winner, Winner, Chicken Dinner @ Taverne Bernhardt’s

Now, we don’t always eat chicken on Triple B — gimme steak any day of the week, son! — but when I heard about Taverne Bernhardt’s, this cozy little joint on Dovercourt serving up chicken so legit it landed in the Top 30 of Canada’s 100 Best Restaurants, then you KNOW I’m there with a beret on, bro!!!!

They do have some sides and starters, and maybe another main dish or two, but the star of the show is definitely the rotisserie chicken. You can either get a half chicken or full chicken dinner, which comes with pickles, slaw, a dinner roll and your choice of fries or potatoes. I guess a full chicken could probably feed up to 4 people (maybe more if you order some starters), but the half chicken dinner is a nice meal for one in Flavourtown:

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Dude, this chicken is like Swiss Chalet on steroids, bro! Moist, tender, juicy, it goes great smothered in gravy. And the band’s all here — breast, leg, drumstick, wing — I just can’t stop eating this, son!!!!

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Oh, and while I’m told the potatoes are pretty good, I still say you gotta get the fries. Some of the crispiest, beefiest french-fried potaters I’ve ever had. You don’t even need ketchup, and I always eat ketchup with fries, son!!!!

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Now, there may be a handful of beers on the menu (which isn’t available online), but last night, they only had two.

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We’re starting off with a Matron Summery Landbier, which I believe might be brewed exclusively for Bernie’s (as the cool kids call it). This beer is so light, it’s actually under 4%, and while it does have more flavour than Molson Canadian…I’m pretty sure the dishwater at Taverne Bernhardt’s tastes better than Canadian, too. 😛

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The other beer they weren’t sold out of was True History’s Just a Pils, which is pretty much exactly what it says on the can. It doesn’t go too bad with some rotisserie chicken, though…

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And when it comes to dessert, there are only two options — cake OR ice cream. Since you can’t combine em, I gotta go with the chocolate cake, topped with hazelnuts and cherries. This is so rich ‘n decadent that I wouldn’t even know it was flourless if it didn’t say so on the menu. Man, this might be the best gluten-free thing I’ve ever eaten, bro!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Allez les Duck le Bleu!!!!

Now, we’re pretty big fans of French food here on Triple B, and one of the most classic French dishes is duck confit. So when I heard Joy on Avenue, this funky little joint in Yorkville, was serving up this dish called Duck le Bleu, you KNOW I had to check it out, bro!

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But before we get to the duck, first let’s have some pork. Dude, this pork belly is super-tender, with cauliflower puree on the bottom and wild figs on top. I could crush at least four of these, son!

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Speaking of things that come in fours, these seared scallops are super-legit! Man, after that disappointing Crouching Melon, Hidden Scallop dish I had at Chica, I was hungry like the wolf for some real-deal bivalves, and these babies definitely didn’t disappoint!

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Now, usually when I see duck confit, it would be duck leg, not duck breast. But the meat here is cooked perfectly, nice ‘n juicy. And it’s served with a side of blueberry risotto, which puts the bleu in Duck le Bleu. Man, this would really go great with a Blanche de Chambly Bluet…but they don’t serve any beer at this place at all, bro. 😦 😦 😦

 

 

 

ROOFTOP PATIO EATS: Burger for breakfast @ Gardiner Museum

You know when there’s a restaurant that’s hiding in plain sight, a place you’ve walked past a whole buncha times, but never been inside? Well, right across from the ROM, and within stumbling distance of Bloor and Avenue Road, sits the Gardiner Museum, a three-story space completely dedicated to pottery. And wouldn’t you know it, but their third floor restaurant is called Clay.

This place is pretty much just open for brunch though, as they close at 3 pm every day. But that doesn’t mean they only serve breakfast food, bro. Can you say cheeseburger at 10 am???

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Their signature CLAY Burger combines short rib and brisket into a thick, juicy patty, topped with water buffalo cheddar(!), with pickled red onions and radicchio instead of lettuce in a surprise twist. Oh, and I also paid $4 to add a fried egg on top, just so I could call it breakfast. 😉

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Fries are extra-crispy, slightly salty and served with some funky sauce that’s kinda like a remoulade or mayochup. Maybe I shouldda asked for ketchup?

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And when it comes to beer, there’s only three choices here — Peroni, Ace Hill Lager or Steam Whistle Pilsner. A Steam Whistle will do just fine, though…

Pork secreto al pastor? Shut the back door!

Now, when it comes to real-deal Mexican food, it doesn’t get much more baller than tacos al pastor. You’ve got a hunka-hunka burnin’ pork, seasoned and cooked on a spit, served with pineapple — cuz the only thing better than pineapple on pizza is pineapple on tacos, bro! So when I found out that Quetzal, this funky Mexican family-style joint at College and Bathurst, was not only doing al pastor, but making it with iberico pork secreto, you KNOW I had to come check it out…

Now the deal with this place is that they serve you large portions of food that are meant to be shared between 2-4 people. But when they told me I’d hafta split it, I was like, “Dude, dinner for 2-4 is just a light snack in Flavourtown, bro!” While I did pound all this pork o solo mio, I also ordered three other dishes, which I split with one other person.

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We’re starting off with a dry-aged Hawaiian kanpachi aguachile, which is sorta like ceviche, except they use chile water instead of lime. I don’t think I’ve ever had dry-aged fish, much less kanpanchi before (I saw they had one hanging in the kitchen, but I think it still had some aging to do), although it tasted kinda like the smoked trout I once had at Karelia Kitchen (RIP).

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Up next, we’ve got an Oaxacan-style lamb empanada, served in a blue corn tortilla with radish sticks and salsa. Last time we were here (in 2019), they did a similar dish with chicken — but I gotta say, the lamb barbacoa really kicks it up a notch. I would eat this off a flip-flop, bro!!!!!!!!!

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Now, other quirky thing about this place is that they charge a certain price for a platter of meat or seafood (starting at $38), and then charge an extra 6 bucks for 6 tortillas. Dude, you can’t have tacos al pastor without taco shells, bro! And it turns out, they gave you enough meat for about five tacos, so that almost worked out perfectly. Pork was nice ‘n tender, but the grilled pineapple is what makes it!

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But like I said, I split three other things — and this is the third thing, dry-aged duck breast with mole verde and some stringy green thing that I definitely didn’t eat. Duck was cooked perfectly, nice ‘n tender with a good chew. This duck definitely doesn’t suck!!!!!!!

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And that brings me to this culinary creation in Flavourtown: the Pork-a-Duck Taco. You’ve got pork secreto al pastor, layered in with duck breast, some grilled pineapple and another piece of duck on top, with a little mole verde. Pork every duck, bro!!!!

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But even after four al pastor, one duck and one Pork-a-Duck taco, half a lamb empanada and three pieces of kampachi aguachile, you KNOW we’ve still got room for dessert, bro! Unfortunately, they didn’t have the avocado ice cream with candied crickets that we had here last time, so instead I’m diving headfirst into some Spiced Mexican Chocolate Mousse, with buckthorn berries and sponge toffee. Again, the waiter was all like, “This dessert is meant for two people, are you sure you don’t wanna share?” Dude, that’s like asking Kobayashi if he wants to order off the kids menu, bro! Let’s just say I destroyed that mousse faster than you can say “57 Hotdogs with Nothing On,” Bro-ce Springsteen!!!!

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Oh, and it was really tasty, too!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Bison and venison — laissez les bons temps rouler!!!!

So, we’re hanging out at Laissez Faire, this funky, laid back French place at King and Portland. They just changed their menu, so when I saw the bison carpaccio, you KNOW it was heading straight down my piehole, bro!!!

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Dude, this dish is too legit to quit! It almost tastes like prosciutto, with a rich, meaty flavour, plus you’ve got little bites of cheese and mushrooms on top. There’s also some asparagus in there — or at least I think that’s why my pee smells funny, bro…

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But now it’s time for the main event. This venison tenderloin puts the tender in tenderloin — you can practically pull it apart with your fork. And it comes with mashed potatoes and sweet potatoes, along with a tiny little pitcher of au jus — more than enough to go around, mind you. It looks pretty fancy, but is still fairly reasonable at $32.

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Of course, you KNOW we’ve still got room for dessert, bro! Their molten lava cake is full of chocolatey goodness, while the crème brûlée is nice and creamy under the crispy crust. I would sooooo order both of these again!!!!!

Slamming seven Spanish tapas @ Bar Chica

Now, we don’t always eat tapas on Triple B. I mean, why settle for a buncha small plates when you can have one really, really big plate, bro? But we’re hanging out at Bar Chica, this new funky tapas place on Portland, just south of King West, so we can’t just order one thing, or two things, or three things…we’re polishing off seven different tapas, son — and I’ll probably still have room for dessert. 😉

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Now, you don’t ride for free at this bread rodeo, but this toasted sourdough with tomato butter might actually be worth paying for, bro!

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Their vieras crudas (raw scallops) is a playful, mysterious little dish. For one thing, there’s a lot more melon than there is fish — the scallops are hidden at the bottom, so you gotta go diving for em. But hey, at least I ate a green thing today…

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Up next, we’ve got some culinary classic rock en español in Flavourtown, with these jamón croquetas. Only these aren’t your everyday croquettes, bro. Instead of putting the ham inside, it’s stuffed with cheese and truffles, and then there’s a slice of jamón on top…so it’s almost better if you don’t use a fork and knife, to get everything in one bite.

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Up next is another Spanish classic, patatas bravas. But unlike Bar Isabel, which gives you a whole plate of po-ta-toes, at Chica you only get two, and they’re done up all millefeuille style, so you can’t really eat a steak with these, bro…

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Speaking of steak, they do have ribeye on the menu, with blistered shishitos and plenty of Bearnaise on the side. You get maybe six pre-cut pieces of steak to an order — so maybe like eight ounces — but after all this other stuff, that’s OK with me.

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The next two dishes came out at the same time, which I think might be against the law in Tapastown. But anyways, on the left you’ve got grilled octopus with eggs (an off-menu, limited-time special) and on the right, smoked corn topped with corn foam. Man, I didn’t even know that corn foam was a thing. It tastes very…foamy?

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But after all that commotion back there, we’ve still got room for dessert. This ying yang pie is actually two tartas in one — on the left, a chocolate tart with hazelnut spread and brown butter ice cream, and on the right, apple tart with almond ice cream and caramel sauce. Dude, this dessert is as Spanish as tarta de manzana, hermana!!!!