CHITOWN CHOWDOWN: Cheezborger Cheezborger Cheezborger @ Billy Goat Tavern

So we’re hanging out in the Windy City for a few days, and chowing down on the best that Chitown has to offer. Of course, our first stop has gotta be the legendary Billy Goat Tavern, the place that put the goat in the curse of the goat, bro! Now, my Blues Brothers from another mother Dan Aykroyd and John Belushi used to hang out here, back in the day, which inspired the famous Cheezborger Cheezborger Cheezborger sketch on SNL…so you KNOW what I’m gonna order, bro!!!!

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This Triple Cheezborger and a bag of chips (no fries, chips, bro!!!!) will only set ya back 11 bucks, after tax. The thin patties and processed cheese remind me of McDonald’s…but these patties are a lot juicier, cooked to order on the flat top. Their condiment bar was running a little low, so I only added pickles and onions — but that was all I really needed anyways.

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Also unlike McDonald’s, you can order beer here, such as their signature Billy Goat IPA. This little old-timey glass of beer is only five bucks — which might make this the cheapest meal I scarf down all week, son!!!

Chowing down on Wynona’s big brown branzino, bro!

Man, I remember back in the day when all you had to eat around Gerrard Square was McDonald’s. But since then, a buncha funky joints opened up in a neighbourhood sometimes known as Gerrones, and just a couple blocks away, across from a new condo under construction, you’ve got Wynona, this cozy little place serving up seafood and Italian comfort food. I mean, it’s not every day you get gabagool on the menu, bro!!!!

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This Italian cured pork product (known as Capocollo to people who’s never watched The Sopranos) is drizzled with honey and topped with a shredded cow’s milk cheddar, along with a couple banana peppers for that added bada bing. But you KNOW this is just an appetizer in Flavourtown…

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While the menu here changes weekly, there’s a good chance they’ve got branzino, a grilled European sea bass served with brown butter, olives and capers. Take me to the river, bro!!!!

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And what better beer to wash this down than Marco Polo, an Italian-style pilsner from Indie Alehouse? These guys run the bottle shop at Eataly, so you know they know Italian — and the crispness of this one is definitely on point.

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Of course, we’ve still got room for dessert, and you’ve got two choices here, creme caramel or chocolate cake. That’s basically a no-brainer in Flavourtown, bro! They kick this cake up a notch with chocolate pastry cream, sour cherries and a dollop of whipped cream — you KNOW they whip it good, De-bro!!!!

Put the absinthe in the coconut, and drink ’em both up, bro!!!!

Now, we don’t usually go to cocktail bars on Triple B. I mean, the name of this blog is NOT Burgers, Bacon and Bourbon…although that would still be a pretty sweet blog, bro. But man, I dunno how many times I have stumbled past BarChef on Queen West in one of my drunken stupors, so I figured it was time to finally go inside and check it out. And let’s just say you do not go here to order a beer…

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Instead, we’re kicking off this shindig with a Coconut & Absinthe Sour. They say it’s a pina colada meets the green fairy, and while I wouldn’t mind getting caught in the rain with a few of these, it tasted more like pineapple than absinthe to me. I’m also pretty sure I didn’t start hallucinating afterwards — so they couldn’t have put too much absinthe in there, could they?

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Up next, we’ve got the Charred Strawberry, with strawberry gin, scotchy scotch scotch, four kinds of bitters, two kinds of Marachinos and some charred caramelized strawberries blended in there somewhere. Although it comes in a manly rocks glass, this drink was quite fruity — you can get Girl Drink Drunk in style with this one, son!!!!

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And now we’re got a BarChef classic, the Four Seven Two, named after the place’s address (472 Queen St West). This one takes a bourbon & coke — or rather, cola bitters — and mixes it with lime and mint for a little bit of mojito and mint julep, all rolled into one! This concoction has gotta be the most crushable of the three — and at $17, it’s also the least expensive. (Hey, their signature Vanilla & Hickory Smoked Manhattan will set ya back 55 bucks… although it does come in a smokey dome, so there’s that.)

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Of course, we ain’t crushing cocktails on an empty stomach, bro! These beef barbacoa tostadas put the small in small plates — but you do get a lotta meat in every bite.

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We’re chasing that with some chicken karaage, or as they call it, Japanese fried chicken. These hot, tender, crunchy fried chickens really hit the spot — I could pound at least 12 of these, bro!!!!!

$25 AYCE Filipino Fiesta Brunch @ Kanto

Now, I’m always up for AYCE, and this is body by buffet, so when I heard that Kanto by Tita Flips, this funky Filipino joint in The Junction, was serving up an AYCE Filipino buffet on Sundays, I shut the back door and bought a 25-dollar ticket. You KNOW I’m gonna get my money’s worth, bro!!!!!

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Now, you won’t find a prime rib carving station at this buffet, but they do have lechon, a roast suckling pig, freshly carved and ready to go. Man, I musta grabbed at least 10 pieces of this here piggy piggy…

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Another famous Filipino pork dish is sisig, with bits of pork belly and jowl mixed with chicken liver, chili peppers, and a poached egg on top. Dude, this dish is magically delicious!!!!

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We may not be at Jollibee…but they’re still serving up some boneless fried chicken, which is nice ‘n crunchy, and tender on the inside. I think I had at least five pieces of this…

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While you can’t get some waffles with that chicken, you can have a made-to-order ube pancake, which is nice and fluffy, with just a bit of purple sweet potato punch.

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And if you like it sweet, give this chocolate porridge a try. Actually, I think this might taste good on top of those ube pancakes…

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And, since it was Easter Sunday, they passed around these little mini ube cupcakes with a chocolate Easter egg on top. Nice little finishing touch…

Of course, this is just barely scratching the surface of all the various soups, stews and sausages we scarfed down yesterday. And did I mention they have a sweet tea station? For 25 bucks, you really can’t go wrong, bro!!!!!

This 24 oz porterhouse is a righteous Easter Feaster!

Now, I’m not saying we won’t be going for Easter Sunday brunch on Triple B…but the real Easter feaster already happened last night. We’re talkin’ steak night at Morton’s, with the biggest cut of meat on the menu — 24 ounces of porterhouse steak, son!!!!!

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Dude, this steak is cooked to perfection — medium-rare, just the way I like it. I also splurged for some bacon-wrapped scallops, which were also cooked perfectly. And because the First Rule of Flavourtown is “Always add bacon” we also went for the Smoked Gouda & Bacon Au Gratin Potatoes, which has got pretty much everything you need in a side dish, right there. Now, this feaster cost me a pretty penny, but it was soooo good to the late bite, bro!!!!

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Of course, you KNOW we’ve still got room for dessert — and at Morton’s, that can only mean one thing:

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Dude, Morton’s hot chocolate cake is so legendary, it’s literally right there in the name, bro! The oozy, dripping chocolate goes great with a scoop of vanilla ice cream — I didn’t start feeling full until after I polished this bad boy right off!!!!!

Whole lotta haggis @ The Caledonian

Dude, the last time I had haggis was on Robbie Burns Day at Mackenzie House in 2020 — one of the last Triple B adventures before the pandemic hit. So now that things are starting to feel a lot like normal, we’re chowing down on haggis two ways at The Caledonian, this funky Scottish pub on College St:

Now, the Scots are good at battered, fried things — more on that later — so I had to kick things off with some haggis fritters. These super-crunchy great balls of haggis are kinda like hush puppies on the outside, but they’re filled with some nicely spiced organs for that extra little kick.

Up next, we’ve got a Highland Haggis Burger, topped with blue cheese. Basically, it’s just a beef patty, topped with a haggis, topped with cheese, with no other veggies or condiments whatsoever — a perfect part of any meatatarian’s diet!!!

We’re washing this down with some Elvis Juice, a grapefruit-infused IPA from the Scottish hooligans at BrewDog. Now, I’ve been hearing about BrewDog for a while, dawg, but this is the first time I’ve seen one of their beers on tap — so I totally had to try it. Let’s just say they weren’t kidding about the “grapefruit-infused” part, cuz it tastes just like grapefruit juice. I would totally crush a few of these for brunch, bro!!!!!

But you KNOW we’ve still got room for dessert, and in the dessert department, it doesn’t get more Scottish than a deep-fried Mars bar. I dunno who was the bonnie lad who first decided to drop a Mars bar in the deep-fryer…but to him, I say “You can take my freedom any day, bro!!!!!”

Vegan nachos & tacos and churros… Dios mío!

Now, you KNOW this is body by Mexican food, bro! And while I’ve had a few vegan tacos before, it only happens when I order every taco on the menu and one of them happens to be vegan. But now we’re hanging out at Rosalinda, this funky downtown Mexican joint…where all the food is vegan. So I guess I’ll be eating more than one vegan taco today, bro?

First, we’re starting off with some nachos that are not only vegan, but gluten-free. The chips are definitely extra-crunchy, but they still taste pretty good. Plus, you’ve got pico de gallo, guacamole and some jalapenos on top, which are a few of my favourite plant-based things, right there. The one thing this dish is really missing is cheese, though — while they do have a butternut “queso” drizzled on top (along with a cashew “crema”), it just doesn’t have the same texture or flavour as some shredded cheddar.

Now, I gotta give ’em credit for nailing the texture on these mushroom birria tacos. This is the first time we’ve had birria tacos with the dipping sauce on Triple B, even though I’ve seen ’em popping up everywhere since the pandemic started. Dude, this spicy mushroom stew is hearty enough that you don’t really miss the meat here. But these are some of the most expensive tacos I’ve seen in Toronto — 2 for $19 or 3 for $27. Dude, I could get 27 tacos from Latin World for that price, bro! (Not sure if I could eat them all, though…)

But since we only had three tacos here, that means I’ve still got room for dessert. And even though their Drunken Pineapple was my nickname from that time I went to Hawaii, I still had to go with the churros. I mean, I’m not sure what part of churros aren’t vegan to begin with, but these ones were pretty on-point, just a little on the crunchy side, though. You’ve also got dulce de leche on the inside, and chocolate sauce on the side, which makes for a pretty solid one-two punch in Flavourtown!!!!!

This is the most expensive Greek restaurant I’ve ever been to. But was it worth it???

Now, we’re no strangers to souvlaki here on Triple B, and Greek food has gotta be one of my go-to’s. So when I heard about Myth, this fancy Greek place on King West, that was serving up a 35-dollar chicken souvlaki along with 67-dollar lamb chops, I thought this could be really, really good — I mean, if they’re charging that much for it, it’s gotta be a lot better than Jimmy the Greek, right?

Now, I will say that this was the best-looking Greek restaurant I’ve even been to (both the building and the staff), and the service was very friendly. As for the food, we tried four different dishes, and they were all pretty tasty…

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I’m always a big fan of food that’s literally on fire — and that’s why I’m such a sucker for saganaki, son! This Greek cheese is all lit up like Josh Todd at a KISS concert (back in ’09), and served with a side of warm, tasty pita bread. Man, even the bread here is good! And at 21 dollars, the price of this dish is pretty similar to other fancy Greek joints like Volos or Soulas Modern Greek, so I would say we’re off to a good start here.

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We also went with the kalamari mixto, which combines fried calamari and shrimp for a double down in Flavourtown! While the squid rings were suspiciously small (size doesn’t matter, bro!), they were still quite tasty — but I gotta say, that shrimp stole the show. Dude, it takes Red Lobster out back and chucks it into the ocean, bro! But as good as the shrimp was, this 28-dollar dish was a good $9-$10 more than you’d pay for calamari at some other Greek places. The shrimp was worth at least a couple extra bucks, though…

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When it comes to the famous $35 chicken souvlaki, as you can see, you do get a lot of meat here. I mean, it’s about twice as much as your standard Greek joint, I’ll give ’em that. But on the flip-side, all you get with it is a handful of peppers and onions, and a small puddle of tzatziki. At Soulas Modern Greek, a 23-dollar souvlaki dinner comes with rice, potatoes and salad. Here, the potatoes cost $16 extra — even if they give you enough potatoes for 2-3 people, this just turned into a $50 souvlaki dinner for two, with no rice or salad…

So, I didn’t feel totally ripped off at this point — but then the lamb arrived…

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Don’t get me wrong, this lamb was quite tasty. I didn’t even let a chop go to wastey. But at Myth, 67 bucks gets you a total of four lamb chops, with nothing else but tzatziki. For that same price, you can get both a rack of lamb AND a loin of lamb at Soulas, and one comes with black olive mash, pan seared spinach and garlic roasted carrots, while the other is served over feta scalloped potatoes and more garlic roasted carrots. (I can also tell you from experience that Soulas’ lamb is super-legit!) So if you’re a fan of the lamb, you can definitely get more baaaah for your buck elsewhere.

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But even if the lamb was more than a little overpriced, what bums me out the most about this place is the complete and utter lack of beer here. There’s no Volkan, no Fix, no Hellas or Eos — you’ve only got one option, and it’s Heineken. So instead, I drowned my sorrows in an Apricot Old Fashioned, which was not nearly as fruity as it sounds. At 20 bucks a pop, though, let’s just say I switched to Heineken after this one…

…and it turns out Heineken tastes pretty good with Greek food!

So, was it worth it?

While I would definitely avoid the lamb — and maybe stick with Mr. Greek if I want souvlaki for lunch — I wouldn’t skip Myth altogether. It is a very nice-looking place, and this fancy Greek feast did fill me up (all the dishes were split two ways) quite nicely. Everything tasted good, although I wouldn’t say it was better than some of my go-to Greek spots… it also wasn’t any worse. But be prepared to drop mad dimes if you’re dining here. Even going halfsies on the bill, I spent more on this meal than I did on a three-course dinner of foie gras, pigeon and chocolate souffle at Sash — and we didn’t even order dessert at Myth!!!!

(Sash was totally worth it, by the way.)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Takin’ bacon & eggs to the next level…with beef brisket!!!!!

Now, we ain’t gonna change the name of this blog to Burgers, Bacon & Brunch or anything… but for the second Sunday in a row, we’re setting our alarms and heading out for some funky brunch, Marky Mark! This time we’re hitting up Liberty Commons, this brewpub in Liberty Village, which seems like the only place you can get Big Rock beer in Toronto now — you KNOW I gotta have my AGD, bro!!!!

We’ve been to Liberty Commons a couple times before, and I wasn’t that impressed with their BBQ back in 2017, but when I saw they were serving up brisket & eggs for brunch, I still had to order it — dude, this is body by brisket & eggs, bro! And I gotta say, they’ve gotten much, much better at cooking brisket over the past five years…

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Now, here’s where I should mention that we made a little menu hack. Since I didn’t wanna be shittin’ my britches after a night out drinkin’, I swapped out the baked beans for a side of bacon. The First Rule of Flavourtown is always add bacon, bro! And having that bite of pork on top of the super-tender brisket and sunny-side up eggs just takes it up another notch, son!!!!!

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And since the name of this blog IS still Burgers, Bacon & Beer, let’s just say this Breakfast Coffee Stout had my name on it. At 6%, it’s definitely stronger than a Guinness (which I had for brunch last week), and it’s got a stronger coffee flavour, too. Now, I don’t normally drink coffee, but if you turn it into a beer, I would have at least four cups a day, bro!!!!!

I’m gonna squash some squash poutine, son!!!

Now, we’ve had all kinds of poutine here on Triple B — and this classic combination of fries, curds and gravy almost always involves potatoes. So when I heard that Neon Tiger, this funky little joint on Dupont, was serving up a squash poutine, well, that is something you definitely don’t see every day. So I had to go check it out, bro!!!!

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I gotta say, the squash was actually the best part of this dish, coming in all hot and crispy. You’ve also got a bit of a clash between the hot, melted cheese and the cold kimchi…but man, there was so much gravy in this dish that it was practically poutine soup. And that’s not cool.

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On the other hand, their Bulgogi cheesesteak really hits the spot. This simple sammy is just steak and Swiss cheese on a soft, chewy roll — nothing wrong with that at all!!!!

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Now, you ain’t gonna find any craft beer here — they just stick to Asian macrobrews. But hey, this Tiger beer ain’t bad, and it is in the name of the restaurant, so… I think I’ll have a couple of these.