Tag Archives: chicken wings

PATIO LIT EATS: Funky Japanese tapas & beers in Little Portland

Just when you thought patio season was over, they pull you back in with a mini heatwave sending temperatures up to 24 degrees at the start of October, son! So, we’re hanging out in Little Portland, around Dundas and Ossington, where some of the most popular patios are already packed — but they still had several tables available at Bar Shozan, this funky little Japanese joint. You can get sushi and ramen here, but for 10 bucks a pop, they’ve also got some real-deal izakaya-style bar food…dude, this is body by izakaya-style bar food!!!!

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These shrimp ‘n corn skewers are coming in hot, bro! These seafood lollipops in Flavourtown pop with nice bites of shrimp and little kernels of corn. Pretty sure I could slam, like, 10 of these…I just need to wait for them to cool down first!!!!

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Speaking of skewers, this pork belly yakiton is too legit to quit! Pork is fork-tender, with a nice, tangy miso sauce and one green onion for that serving of veggies. This was probably my favourite dish, right here…

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Now, when I saw they had wings on the menu, I couldn’t NOT order them, bro! These Tebasaki wings were nice ‘n crispy, a little sweet, with just a bit of a kick at the end. Oh, and there was enough green onions on this plate to feed Booker T and the MGs!!!!

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Now, this place is serving up all three main Japanese beers — Sapporo, Asahi AND Kirin — as well as five different beers from Far Yeast Brewing, including a couple I’ve never even seen before. But I stayed in Toronto with an Otsukaresama from our local Japanese-influences craft brewers at Godspeed. Despite its name, which apparently means something like “good job” (I speak the third most Japanese in the Triple B Posse, bro!), this is actually a German-style lager, with hops and malt straight outta Dortmund. And it goes great with some wings and pork skewers… Domo Arigato, Mr. Roboto!!!!

GRAND REOPENING: Giant pretzel & jumbo wings @ Rec Room

Yesterday, Toronto moved into Step/Stage/Phase 3, which means that most indoor things are allowed to open, at a limited capacity. So you KNOW we’re heading down to the Rec Room to crush some arcade games, son! But before killing it at Pop-a-Shot, we gotta fill up on some snacks. And at Triple B, it’s all about go big or go home — we’re talking giant pretzel with a dozen jumbo wings, bro!!!!

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While this wasn’t the biggest giant pretzel I’ve ever seen, it still checked all the boxes — hot, soft and salty. The beer cheese queso was TheBomb.Mexico…but I wasn’t really into the dill ranch so much. Even with the wings, it was just OK.

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Now, the jumbo wings were meaty, big and crispy, so they didn’t disappoint me. You could choose two different sauces, and I went with sweet heat and smoky chipotle BBQ. Well, the first one was sweet, but not even a little spicy, and the smoky chipotle BBQ didn’t really taste like any of those things. So maybe next time, I’ll just go with “Medium Buffalo,” bro!

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Now, I know the name of this blog isn’t Burgers, Bacon & Hard Iced Tea, but when the only beers on tap are Budweiser, Bud Light, Mill Street Organic and Stella, can you even blame me, bro???

TORONTO’S TOP TAKEOUT: Final Four fusion food feast!

Now, the last time Gonzaga was in the Final Four, I flew to Phoenix, Arizona for all the festivities. But this year, I can’t even cross the border without isolating for 14 days…and who wants to spend 14 days in Indiana!? So while I had to watch Jalen Suggs hit one of the greatest shots in NCAA Tournament history at home, at least I didn’t go hungry, bro!

Kinka Izakaya, this funky Japanese joint on Church St, is serving up a March Madness special that was meant for two…but it’s really just a light snack in Flavourtown. You’ve got two pounds of wings with fries, salmon oshizushi, takoyaki and gyoza dumplings, along with a six-pack of Sapporo to help the medicine go down. And since I had another 40% offer from Uber Eats, I took almost 30 bucks off — which means Gonzaga wasn’t the only winner, winner, chicken dinner last night!!!!!

Of course, we gotta start with the wings. These babies were nice ‘n crispy, with a Taiwanese-style crunchy batter. They came in two flavours, Original or Spicy, and since I figured a Japanese joint probably wouldn’t be dishing out face-melting heat, I went with the Spicy…and I was right. A decent little kick, but nothing two outrageous. I could easily slam two takeout boxes of these without being bound by wild desire the next day…

Now, these deep-fried gyoza dumplings were a nice little side dish. They’re basically two-biters, and you get four to an order, so they’re not gonna fill you up, buttercup. Pretty sure they were vegan, though — I’m like, where’s the beef, bro???

This was not my first time tackling takoyaki, the Japanese fried dough balls with a piece of octopus inside. These ones were very saucy, which left ’em a little soggy — but you KNOW I still put all them balls in my mouth, bro!!!!

Now, while you might not find gyoza dumplings or octopus balls at your local sports bar, I can still dig them as game-day eats — pretty much anything that’s battered and deep-fried will do it for me! But now, this is something that I’d never think to order for the big game… salmon oshizushi, or pressed sushi, with layers of fish squished together on top of some rice. Now, there was nothing wrong with this dish at all, it’s just that next time I’m watching sports, I don’t see myself chowing down on sushi. But hey, if you put it in a combo meal, I mean, it’s not like I won’t eat all of it…

TORONTO’S TOP TAKEOUT: Katsu sandos with black chicken wings…

Now, over in Tokyo, katsu sandos are everywhere — you can even get ’em at 7/11, son! But they’re not so popular in Toronto… Me, I’ve only ever had one, and that was a couple years ago. So when I heard that Tokyo Sando & Chicken was serving ’em up outta Kinka Izakaya on Church Street, I couldn’t have just one, so I ordered two. Oh, and some chicken wings, too. Hey, it’s right there in the name, so it’s gotta be good, right?

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This here’s the classic pork katsu sando, a big, thick piece of breaded pork served between two slices of plain white toast with cabbage, truffle butter and a Dijon donkey sauce. Dude, this sandwich eats like a meal…and that’s only half of it!

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But you KNOW I’m not gonna eat just one sando, bro! This here’s the ebi katsu, with deep-fried shrimp, more cabbage, some Japanese tartar sauce and teriyaki. The shrimp’s a little lighter than the pork, but you do get four to a sando, so I can’t really complain, though…

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But now we’re gonna kick it up a notch! These Kurogoma wings are smothered in a black sesame sauce for a flavour that’s just nuts, bro! Let’s just say I killed a few napkins downing these bad boys…

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TORONTO’S TOP TAKEOUT: Super Bowl party for one!

One of my last memories from before Coronavirus was going out to a Super Bowl party, where they were serving up a buffet spread of game-day eats, showing the game on the big screen, and I even won the grand prize in the raffle. Of course, this year, there was no going out, no big screen and no grand prize — but I did chow down on a pretty solid Super Bowl spread, thanks to Firkin on Harbour and the Kensington Brewing Company!

It’s been a few years since I’ve been to the Firkin, but when I saw that they were serving up a Super Bowl 55 Super Package with two pounds of wings, cheeseburger spring rolls, Buffalo chicken potato skins, fries, tater tots AND deep-fried pickles, I was all over that like the Tampa Bay D-line on Patrick Mahomes, bro!!!

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Now, with such a big box of food, the only decision I had to make was what kinda sauce to put on the wings. I went with 40 Creek BBQ, which didn’t taste much like whiskey — or BBQ — but added a little bit of tang to these crispy, meaty wings!

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Now, I guess there was a piece of Buffalo chicken on top of this potato skin, but it didn’t really add much flavour. Did that stop me from scarfing it down, though, bro? No way Jose!!!!

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These cheeseburger spring rolls were my Super Bowl MVP. They were the only thing that was still really hot when my food arrived — and it was only a seven-minute drive, bro! And while I didn’t really taste the cheese, if you stuff a spring roll wrapper with ground beef and fry it, I’m gonna be all over that like Tom Brady in the red zone!!!!

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Now, Kensington Brewing Company, from right in the heart of Kensington Market, was offering up a pretty sweet Super Bowl special of their own — a six-pack of tallboys, with two different beers, for 17 bucks… with free game-day shipping! Mine arrived in plenty of time before kickoff, so they were nice ‘n cold to crack open. This Market Pils was the lighter of the two, at 4.7%, but I gotta say it had to be the hoppiest, fruitiest pilsner I ever had. Clocking in at 23 IBUs, it was almost like a Jr. IPA — albeit without that bitter beer aftertaste.

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The other beer in the Super Bowl six-pack was Nasch Vienna Lager, named after a big market in Austria. This one’s a little richer and heavier, at 5.3%, and kinda reminded me of a beer I had at the Steam Whistle Biergarten, Von Bugle Munich Lager. Anyhoo, I only slammed a couple of these bad boys with dinner, but polished off the rest of them before the game was over. Dude, I destroyed that spread like the Tampa Bay defence — can you say Chompa Bay, bro???

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TORONTO’S TOP TAKEOUT: Slammin’ down some Spicy P wings!!!

Now, the Raptors are playing outta Tampa this season, so I’m not gonna be slammin’ down some brewskis at a basketball game anytime soon. But I can still crush some classic comfort food at home — we’re talking wings, chili cheese fries…and maybe even a brewski or seven. I found this funky little joint called Cabano’s Comfort Food, just a long-distance 3-pointer from Bay and Bloor, that’s serving up burgers, fried chicken, and these Flavourtown All-Stars — Spicy P chicken wings!

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Dude, these wings are TheBomb.ca, bro! Pretty good kick, but not too spicy, drizzled with a dill ranch — you could put that on a high-top, and it would still taste good! But even though I ordered not one, but two pounds of wings, you KNOW I still got room for some chili cheese fries, bro!!!!

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Dude, this chili had a pretty decent kick — I think it was even hotter than the wings… Fries were thin, but nice ‘n crispy, and then they smother it in queso, which is like one of the five food groups in Flavourtown!!!

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Of course, you can’t have wings without beer, so we’re crushing The Mutants Are Revolting, a nice, crushable IPA from Flying Monkeys. You definitely get a hit of hops, without it being too heavy… I could crush at least 10 of these, bro!!!

And of course, you KNOW there was no fry left behind, broseph!!!

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TORONTO’S TOP TAKEOUT: Thai-style chicken wings & poutine!

Bangkok Garden is one of the OG Thai joints in this city, serving up authentic Thai dishes downtown since the early 80’s. When we ate here in person, a couple years back, I scarfed down some succulent seafood skewers — but this time, for takeout, we’re going with their take on a couple Canadian classics… poutine AND chicken wings!

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Now, I think you actually can get chicken wings in Thailand — or at least at other Thai restaurants in town. But I always thought that Thai wings were a little too sweet. These ones definitely weren’t though, nice ‘n crispy with a little bit of Sriracha heat, and then some fish sauce for dipping. For 10 bucks, I definitely can’t complain!

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But the Thai poutine is where they really take it to another level! First of all, the fresh-cut fries were fricken delicious — definitely the best fries I’ve ever had from any Asian joint! But what kicks it up another notch is the red curry sauce. I mean, you wouldn’t think that fries, cheese and curry would go together, but the end result is magically delicious. I would totally order this the next time I dine in at Bangkok Garden!!!

PATIO LIT EATS: The Caesar that eats like a meal!

Now, I’ve been wanting to check out Score on King for a while, but never got a chance to go until last night. This place is known for its legendary Caesars, and you know my motto’s always been go big or go home, so I’m going for the biggest, tallest, most overloaded of them all — The Checkmate Caesar:

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Now, this bad boy is so big that they can only serve it to (at least) two people, so that’s why I brought a friend…and then I didn’t share. You’ve got a pulled pork sandwich on top of a cheeseburger on top of a Cornish game hen, with a pulled pork mac ‘n cheese hot dog, chicken wings, onion rings and a chocolate brownie sticking out the sides! And all this on top of a drink served in a Hoegaarden pint glass, which, even on its own would be the second-biggest Caesar I’ve ever had…but this one’s got a lot more toppings, bro!

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So, we’re starting off with the pulled pork mac ‘n cheese hot dog, which was probably the most precariously perched piece of food. The dog itself was hot ‘n beefy, but both the mac and the pork were kinda cold, which was a little weird…

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Next up, we’ve got the pulled pork slider. Now, I don’t love pulled pork unless it’s really good, and this one was just OK. The coleslaw inside the sandwich and the pickle on top were a nice touch, though!

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Now, this cheeseburger was pretty basic, but it was definitely above average. Patty was thick and hot, and there were just enough toppings to add support without stealing the show. I might try one of their other burgers next time I come here…if I don’t just go for The Caesar Grande, though!

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These wings were what I like to call sports-bar spicy — they’ve got a decent kick, but not gonna melt your face off. At least by now I had taken enough food off the top that I could actually stick a straw in and drink some of the Caesar!

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Onion rings were pretty good, nice ‘n crunchy, and went well with the wings. If they were a little cold, that’s on me because I ate three whole sandwiches before I got to them!

Now, at this point, I had eaten a pretty decent amount of food. I mean, if I was at a Super Bowl party, I’d have probably stuffed this much down my piehole by the second quarter. But I still had the biggest, most intimidating part of this dish left to go — the full Cornish game hen:

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Even though I left it for last, this chicken was still pretty tasty. Skin was deep-fried and crispy, and the bird was tender and juicy. It’s a good thing that it was so melt-in-your-mouth, cuz I could barely chew at this point…but you KNOW I still ate it all, bro!!!!

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And of course, I still had room for dessert…

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Now, I already had a few bites of this chocolate brownie before I remembered to take a picture, but it was still pretty tasty. At this point, I had eaten enough food to curl up in a ball and go to sleep — but only after watching the Flames shut out the Dallas Stars, son!!!!

PATIO LIT EATS: Fountains of Flavour @ Casa Loma Gardens

Now, last weekend at Cabana was probably the prettiest patio I’ve been to since this whole thing started. But this place has gotta be a close second. We’re hanging out at The Gardens at Casa Loma, this massive castle courtyard at a local tourist attraction. Now, I’ve eaten inside at BlueBlood Steakhouse before, but this was something totally different:

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What we’ve got here is a crab cake BLT with a side of jerk chicken lollipop wings. When I ordered ’em, I thought the wings would come out first, but hey, it’s not like I can’t eat two things at once. And for the record, I did NOT ask for a side salad — this dish couldda came with fries, but the server didn’t even ask what I wanted on the side, and just assumed I needed salad… Yo, don’t shame me, bro!!!

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It ain’t no thing but a chicken wing, though! These lollipops packed a punch from the jerk marinade, but the pineapple salsa helped cool things down…although I had to scoop it up with a fork cuz it didn’t stay on top of the chicken. I could probably pound, like, 17 of these, but then I wouldn’t have room for crab cakes:

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While this sandwich does have all the necessary ingredients — bacon, lettuce and tomato — there’s no question that the crab cake is the star of the show. Breaded and deep-fried, it’s coming in hot and crunchy, with some added crunch from the slaw, and a soft bun to bring it all together. Hey, it’s no Maryland crab cake, but I still can’t complain!

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When it comes to beer, you won’t find any craft here…unless you like Mill St Organic. (And there’s nothing wrong with that at all.) But I prefer the nice, summery taste of a Hoegaarden wheat beer from Belgium. They don’t have the massive pint glasses you’ll normally find this beer in, but a couple of these brewskis will still hit the spot, son!!!

TORONTO’S TOP TAKEOUT: Softshell crab sammy + sticky chicky wings

Now, you really can find just about any kind of food in this city — even with all the restaurants shut down for dine-in. So tonight, I was craving Vietnamese bar food — I’m talking real-deal banh mi, maybe with some sticky Asian wings, and a nice IPA to wash it all down? Yes, there is a place for that, just north of College St in Little Italy… this is Pinky’s Ca Phe!

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Now, you gotta love the old-school takeout boxes and sandwich bags — that tells me this joint is legit! These sticky wings are glazed in a garlic fish sauce, with some fried garlic for that extra vampire-killing goodness. Only spice here comes from the garnish, with pickled chilies and fresh holla-atcha-penos — I definitely needed a cold beer to beat that heat!

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Now, at this joint they’re taking your traditional banh mi — a great, chewy baguette, with pickled carrots, daikon and cilantro — and then they’re adding an extra-special ingredient: deep-fried, crunchalious, soft-shell crab! Man, you do not see that crustacean very often this far north of Baltimore… and that smoked oyster donkey sauce and chili jam really kick it up a notch!!!!

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Now, this place isn’t just serving up some righteous bar food — they’re also delivering real-deal beers, done dirt cheap! This $6 tallboy hazy session IPA is a collaboration between Henderson Brewing and the Society of Beer Drinking Ladies; nice and hoppy, with a citrusy, grapefruit finish. And, at just 4% it sure is sessionable — I could crush, like, 17 of these, son!!!!