Tag Archives: chicken karaage

SOUTH BY SOUTH AUSTIN: Texas BBQ meets Japanese izakaya @ Loro

Now, we’re no strangers to Franklin Barbecue on Triple B, having lined up there for six hours last time I was in town. So when I heard that Aaron Franklin had opened this new funky joint with Tyson Cole of Uchi, the most popular Japanese restaurant in town, you KNOW I had to check it out, bro!

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Of course, it’s still all about the brisket, which is so tender they don’t even give you a knife, and is served daily AFTER 4 pm. This beef comes topped with chili gastrique and Thai herbs for a little extra kick!

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But they aren’t just doing BBQ here, bro! They’ve also got Asian food, like these tender and juicy chicken karaage, which are great on their own or with the chili aioli. I’d put that on a flip-flop!!!!

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Washed it all down with a couple pints of Swifty IPA, which happens to be just 5 bucks during Happy Hour, from 2 to 5 on weekdays — now that’s what I call perfect timing, 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!!!!!

Fried chicken and mushrooms and shrimp… Omai!!!

We’re no strangers to izakayas here on Triple B, and you can find these funky little Japanese joints all over this city! So, we’re hanging out at Omai, this cozy little spot in Baldwin Village, with just a handful of tables and a sushi counter. And while they do serve sushi here, you KNOW I’m heading straight for the fried section of the menu, bro!!!

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We’re starting off with some butternut squash croquettes, coming in hot from the fryer. Now, I’ve had a few croquettes in my time, but these might be the first ones that were stuffed with veggies, son! They also add in some Oka cheese, which makes ‘er nice ‘n creamy…

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Man, I don’t think I’ve had fried shrimp since that one time, at Red Lobster… But there’s nothing wrong with these Panko Fried Shrimp, with a chive donkey sauce and some pickled radishes on the side. I could all-you-can-eat these any day, bro!!!

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Dude, I’m totally trippin’ over these fried oyster mushrooms, son! Warm and delicious, with a shrimp-flavoured donkey sauce — I’d put that on a flip-flop!!!!

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But now it’s time for the main event: Japanese style chicken karaage, served at face-melting temperatures, with some gochujang and more donkey sauce on the side — dude, this is body by donkey sauce! I actually had to wait a bit for the chicken to cool down, but the wait was well worth it!!!

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Of course, nothing goes better with Japanese bar food than beer from Godspeed, our local Japanese-inspired craft brewery. This Yuzu Citrus Saison actually tastes more like a wheat beer than a sour, and is super-crushable at a shade over 4%. I definitely pounded more than one of these!!!!

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But even after all that deep-fried deliciousness, you KNOW we’ve still got room for dessert, bro! The one dessert on the menu at Omai is a Basque Cheesecake, topped with pears, and infused with matcha. Not what I would expect to find at an izakaya…but it was still pretty tasty!

TORONTO’S TOP TAKEOUT: Japanese sandos on torched buns, bros!

Now, when it comes to sandos, this blog ain’t just about burgers. Whether we’re taking hot dogs, fried chicken or pulled pork, it’s all good in the hood, bro! So when I heard that Kinka Izakaya had started a spinoff serving up Japanese Aburi Bunz, you KNOW I had to check it out…

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They call this The OG Aburi, and it’s a gangster of love in Flavourtown. You’ve got a nice, beefy hot dog on a bed of cabbage in a torched bun, topped with bonito flakes, shredded seaweed and a garlic donkey sauce — I’d put that on a flip-flop!

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Up next, we’ve got The Fire Cracker, with four chunks of spicy chicken karaage on top of crunchy coleslaw that barely fit inside the bun, son! With a name like Fire Cracker, I was a little worried about the heat, but it’s more Buffalo chicken than Nashville Hot. Although the last couple bites had a bit more of a kick — I guess there was a little more sauce on that one piece…

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Of course, I WOULD like fries with that, but these ain’t yer everyday taters, bro. These Tokyo Wedges are topped with bonito flakes, seaweed, Japanese curry sauce and more donkey sauce. Like I always say, if there’s anything better than donkey sauce, it’s even more donkey sauce, broseph!!!!!!!

Tacos and spring rolls and ceviche… Oh Mai!

So, we’re hanging out at Mai Bistro, this funky little family joint in the West West End–we’re talkin’ bout Etobicoke, bro! Now this place takes Latin food, they take Asian food, they put the lime in the coconut and mix it all up! With so many of my favourite foods on their tapas menu, I almost don’t know where to start… Oh yeah, how bout with some curry lamb spring rolls?

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Dude, this dish is like a Bollywood Kung Fu double feature in Flavourtown! You’ve got the richness of the curry, wrapped up in a deep-fried wonton, and dipped in chili sauce??? Shut the back door!!!

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Now, at this place, they’ve got both kinds of calamari: grilled AND fried! But why grill anything when you can deep-fry it, dude???

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And now, it’s totally time for tacos, bro! These shrimp tortillas are grilled with chipotle, and then they throw down some mango, avocado and pico de gallo… It’s a party in my piehole!!!

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Of course, you KNOW we’ve still got room for dessert–and we’re chowing down on some ceviche, son! Who needs chocolate cake when you’ve got shrimp and crab???

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Now, up to this point we’ve had some Mexican, we’ve had Italian, an Indian/Chinese fusion and Peruvian. So why not end off with some Japanese fried chicken karaage? It’s around the world in 80 bites, bro–and it’s all right here, at Mai Bistro!!!