Tag Archives: Belgian beer

Classic seafood combo @ Pearl Diver

Now, although they’ve got some pretty good fish on the West Coast, I feel like the East Coast is the best coast for seafood — especially when it comes to the chicken of the sea. So we’re hanging out at the Pearl Diver, this funky little joint on Adelaide, and starting off with some lobster sliders:

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Now, these buns are pretty basic, but they let the lobster do the talking. And between the two of em, you get about as much lobster meat as some of the lobster rolls I’ve had — for the fairly reasonable price (for lobster) of 26 dollars.

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But you KNOW that’s just an appetizer, bro! Now we’re diving in to some fish ‘n chips. Fish is nice and fresh, with enough breading to not be too healthy, but still not too heavy. Fries are thin and salty, and taste better with ketchup.

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Now, the last time we were here, they had some really good beers — and that has not changed at all. Like this Sawdust City Little Norway Pilsner, which goes great with seafood, and has a nice little crisp finish.

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And they’re still bringing a whole buncha Belgian beers across the pond that you probably won’t find anywhere else. Like Orval, a hazy trappiste pale ale clocking in just shy of 7%. Not as heavy as a tripel or quadrupel…but definitely more of a dessert beer.

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And speaking of dessert, this was one of the top five sticky toffee puddings I’ve ever had. It’s super moist, with just enough richness from the caramel sauce. Honestly, it takes Gordon Ramsey’s sticky toffee pudding (that I had in Vegas), puts it between two pieces of bread, and calls it an idiot sandwich, bro!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Pairing Belgian beer with Atlantic seafood @ Pearl Diver

Now, I don’t usually think seafood when I think of Belgium — hey, the country is surrounded by land on three sides. But at Pearl Diver, this funky little seafood joint on Adelaide, they’re importing Belgian beers from across the pond to go along with some off-the-hook seafood dishes…so naturally, I had to try two or three.

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We’re actually starting off with a beer that’s not Belgian, though. I’m a pretty big fan of Blanche de Chambly, a Belgian-style wheat beer from Unibroue in Quebec, so when I heard they had a blueberry version, Blanche de Chambly Bluet, I totally had to check it out! It’s more tart than fruity, but still not too strong — it definitely tastes more like beer than fruit punch, which is a good thing.

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We’re pairing that with the one-two punch of scallops and pork belly, along with some asparagus, almonds and a green, minty sauce. The menu says these come three to an order, but they actually gave me four…not that I’m complaining!

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But now we’re heading across the pond with Saison Dupont, a blonde ale straight outta the farmhouse. Unlike most saisons you see over here, this isn’t a sour beer, but rich and malty at 6.5% — which is actually kinda light for a Belgian.

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For the main course, we’re going with Atlantic cod with grilled zucchini, potatoes, avocado and pineapple salsa, along with some sort of spicy donkey sauce at the bottom. Fish was cooked perfectly, zucchini added a nice touch…but this dish was actually quite spicy. Guess I’m gonna need another beer, bro!!!

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This Westmalle Trappist Tripel kicks things up a couple notches at a hearty 9.5%. It’s got a strong flavour that’s literally bananas — and bananas is good! I think I’m gonna need some dessert with this one, though…

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Their chocolate brownie seems pretty tiny, but it’s also quite tasty. You’ve got nice bites of chocolate, along with some raspberries, blackberries and a white chocolate sauce. Doesn’t quite soak up the booze when you’re drinking Belgian tripels, though. I guess that’s what the sticky toffee pudding is on the menu for…

GRAND REOPENING: Xango Burger Unchained, bro!!!

Just a couple weeks back, we were hanging out at Rabbit! Rabbit! Rabbit! this funky new Tex-Mex joint on King West. And now we’re just a few more steps down the alley at Xango, a Latin-Asian fusion joint with some really loud music and not-so-spicy squid:

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Don’t worry, these calamari were totally Instagram-worthy, with red peppers, tortilla strips and some squid ink underneath. But for a dish that’s called Crispy Spicy Squid on the menu, there was literally no heat at all, bro!!!!!!!!

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But now it’s time for the main event… This Xango Burger is coming in hot with lettuce, tomato, onions, a cream of mushroom sauce and some of the most overcooked bacon I’ve ever seen in my life. Dude, this bacon was so hard, I could barely bite into it, bro! But hey, at least they didn’t put bacon bits on the burger like that one place, on Simcoe…

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Now when it comes to beer, this joint is serving up something I’ve never seen before…even though it’s been brewed since 1821. This Rodenbach Classic isn’t as tart or as tangy as your typical sour beers — instead, it tastes more like a Belgian dubbel, just without nearly as much alcohol. Man, even a Belgian quadrupel couldn’t wash away the taste of that burnt bacon, though… 😦 😦 😦

TORONTO’S TOP TAKEOUT: Valentine’s Day dinner to go…

I don’t usually go out for dinner on Valentine’s Day — gimme a heart-shaped pizza any day, bro! But since we’re in the middle of Second Lockdown, nobody in Toronto is going out tonight, which means restaurants from all over this city are serving up specials for takeout and delivery instead.

Now, most of the Valentine’s Day dinners I came across were the type  you had to order in advance, pick it up at a certain time and heat it up yourself. I would do anything for love, but I won’t do that, Meat Broaf! So when I heard that Reign Restaurant, this classy joint in the Royal York Hotel, was doing a three-course V-Day prix fixe that comes to order fully cooked on all the delivery apps, well, that sounds like paradise by the dashboard light to me!!!

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So, we’re starting off with some Oysters Rockefeller. These heroes in a half-shell are topped with spinach, garlic breadcrumbs and little bits of bacon. I don’t always eat oysters, but if you bake ’em with bacon, I can do that all night long!!!!

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It’s the time of the season for steak, bro! This 6 oz Canadian tenderloin was served Oscar-style with king crab and Bearnaise sauce, along with a fistful of veggies. Now, the presentation of this dish didn’t survive the delivery — everything was scattered about and the Bearnaise was all over the bottom of the tray — but that didn’t take away from the taste. This was the tenderest, juiciest, mouth-melting steak I’ve had all year! OK, so it’s only February, but still…

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Perhaps the biggest challenge of this Valentine’s Day takeaway was dessert. Would the molten chocolate cake still be warm after dinner? Once again, the delivery didn’t do the presentation any favours, but when I finally bit into it, the cake was still a bit warm, if not molten. A lot of the lava leaked out onto the tin, which means I had to lick it up, lick it up like Gene Simmons, son!!!

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To me, drinking champagne is insane in the membrane, so instead I cracked open a Belgian quadrupel beer from Straffe Hendrik. This strong sipper is 11% alcohol, which can give you a pretty decent buzz when drinking on a hungry stomach. And the last couple sips sure tasted good with that molten chocolate cake!

Now, it’s time for me to settle in for a nice romantic movie. I’m thinking Inglourious Basterds — nothing gets my heart going like killin’ Nazis, Quentin Taranti-bro!!!!

 

 

 

Funky French/German sausage feast @ Le Sélect Bistro!

Dude, we’re hanging out at Le Sélect Bistro, this funky French joint just south of downtown Chinatown that’s been cranking it out and dishing it up since 1977 — it’s like the Plastic Bertrand of Flavourtown! And with a brunch menu serving all kinds of French comfort-food classics, you KNOW Ça plane pour moi, bro!!!!

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This here’s their choucroute garnie a l’Alsacienne, a quadruple pork party from the German border. You’ve got chunks of bacon, pork hock, and not one, but two kinds of sausages — Strasbourg and Montbeliard, served up on a bed of sauerkraut. But the housemade dijon mustard is what makes it!!!!!!!

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Bro, I would sooo put that on a flip-flop! And of course, because it’s 5 o’clock in France, we’re washing it down with a Belgian beer:

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Now, any beer with both “Grim” and “Bergen” in its name and you know it’s gonna be evil! I first had this double amber at Bodega, and it actually went down a bit smoother this time… A couple more of these and I’d be on my way to kill Euronymous!!!

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Of course, even after scarfing down four kinds of pork and practically a pound of sauerkraut, you KNOW I still had room for dessert. This mini dark chocolate mousse was topped with fresh berries and served with a passionfruit cookie — so at least I got one serving of fruit today.

Lamb & eggs for brunch @ Bodega

Now, lamb has gotta be one of my all-time favourite meats. Whether it’s lamb chops, lamb shank or even lamb tacos, I’m all over it like a Greek freak on fleek! So when I heard that Bodega, this funky little joint in Baldwin Village, was serving up lamb with scrambled eggs for brunch, you KNOW I had to check it out, bro!!!

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Now, I’m no stranger to steak ‘n eggs, but this is definitely kickin’ it up a notch. The New Zealand chops were cooked about medium well (they didn’t ask), but still nice and tender, and actually go good with eggs — who knew? You’ve got a side of skinny, salty fries, as well as a salad with a whole buncha berries. Now, I dunno if I’ve even eaten five salads this year, but this one would hafta be in my top five, though!!!

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Not only are they serving up some funky brunch dishes at Bodega, but this place is also pouring six-dolla pints, bro! You’ve got Sam Adams, Sam Roberts, even Kronenbourg Blanc… but I went with a Grimbergen, this strong Belgian ale, based on the name alone. Now, I thought the fruity, funky brew tasted familiar. I couldn’t place it at first, but then I was like, “Sheeeet son, this beer tastes like prune juice!” So yeah, I maybe won’t order that one next time…