SUMMERLICIOUS 2019: East Coast meets Far East @ Aviv

So, we’re hanging out at Aviv, this funky little joint on Dupont, right next to the Psycho Therapy Training Centre. Gimme gimme shock treatment, bro!!! Now, this place mixes Italian with Middle Eastern, with some crazy dishes that will blow your mind…like these PEI mussels with kimchi, gochujang and Chinese sausage:

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OK, now let’s break it down. The mussels are nicely steamed, you’ve got a bit of kick from the jalapeno, a little funk from the sausage, some crunchy bean sprouts…but what makes it is the kimchi. That’s some killer kimchi, dude!!!

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Now, for the main event, we’ve got some tender pork tenderloin swimming in a mango-lime sauce, with sweet potatoes, collard greens and french fries. OK, so the fries aren’t normally part of this dish, but this is body by french fried potaters, bro!!!

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Sadly, their desserts were so small that I had to eat two of them. The lemon cheesecake was pretty tasty, but as for the flourless chocolate cake…let’s just say it needs flour!!!

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I washed this all down with a Moroccan Brown Ale from Spearhead Brewing, which they’ve got on tap. Just look at that creamy head — mmm, creamy head…

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Greedo goes to Canoe…hilarity ensues!

Now, in all my years of eating in this city, I had never been to Canoe. I did have sex in a canoe once–it tasted like Bud Light. But I’d never been to the restaurant at the top of the TD Tower with the majestic views of the city skyline…until now.

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So, I figured if I’m gonna be way up high, I’d better be drinking Life in the Clouds, this strong, hazy, double dry-hopped IPA from Collective Arts. If you’re a fan of unfiltered citrus beers, then this one’s for you. And hey, some of the wines here were like 90 bucks for a thimble…so I figured I’d better stick to beer.

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So we’re starting off with this dish of smoked boudin noir sausage, Kentucky-fried sweetbreads with risotto, walnuts and morel mushrooms. I knew I had to order this when I saw ’em bring it to another table under a glass dome with all the smoke. Now, I don’t always eat sweetbreads, but if you Kentucky fry that shit, I could slam, like, seven of these…and still have room for some shrooms:

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Now, for the main course, I was torn between the Tamarack Lamb and the Quebec Red Stag. But dude, how often do you get deer…from Quebec???

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This baaaad, baaaad venison was like a Bon Jovi keyboard solo in Flavourtown! Deer was cooked to a perfect medium rare, you’ve got like one or two potatoes, a small sausage roll, some peanut-butter jelly sauce…and a lot of cabbage. Like, a whole lotta cabbage–enough that you almost need a third piece of meat to go with it. Dude, I did not come here for the cabbage…but of course, I still ate it all, anyways:

quebec_red_stag_canoe (28)(This might be the most unclean cleaned plate I’ve ever seen…)

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Of course, even after all that cabbage, you KNOW I still had room for dessert, bro! But I gotta say, when I ordered the Chocolate Forest Stout Cake, this is NOT what I was expecting. I guess you’ve got some cake crumbles in there, with some marshmallow, chocolate pudding, chocolate chunks and then this chestnut/gingerbread ice cream. But I’d much rather have a great big piece of real man’s cake, the way they do at Wildfire Steakhouse, son!!!

Now, I gotta say, I know a couple people who’ve been to Canoe before, and they told me that I’d hafta stop for a burger on the way home cuz I’d still be hungry. But I can tell ya that after an appetizer, main course and a dessert…I did not have room for an after-dinner burger. Maybe it’s because I filled up on the free bread and butter, though?

canoe_bread+butter(Mmm, sourdough…)

Bonin’ a 22 oz bone-in ribeye @Morton’s The Steakhouse

You know me, this is body by steak, bro!!! We’re hanging out at Morton’s The Steakhouse, right in downtown Toronto at the Park Hyatt Hotel. Now, they might doing all kinds of construction next door, but they’re still serving up steaks inside…like this bad boy, the 22 oz bone-in ribeye:

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In case you’re wondering what 1,360 calories of primo beef looks like, you’re looking at it bro!!! This cow’s so country, it’s practically mooing on the plate! And then you’ve got sides of seasonal wild mushrooms and horseradish mash — dude, horseradish mash was my favourite dance in gym class!!!

Of course, you KNOW I ate everything on that plate, cept for the bone…

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…and I still had room for dessert!!!

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Feast your eyes on this big ol’ piece of hot chocolate cake, son! It’s rich on the outside, gooey on the inside, with a scoop of vanilla, some caramel drizzle and a couple of raspberries on top. After scarfing down this sexy thing, you KNOW I believe in miracles, bro!!!

Pounding crispy pork knuckles @ Biff’s Bistro

Have you ever had a knuckle sandwich, bro? I don’t mean the kind where you get punched in the kisser… We’re talkin’ pork knuckle, son! They may not put it between bread, but at Biff’s Bistro, this funky French joint on Front Street, they’re frying up and dishing out the best part of the pig, and its hors de la chaine, mec!!!

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OK, now let’s break it down. The pork falls off the bone – they don’t give you a steak knife cuz you don’t even need one! You’ve got some new potatoes, green beans, and sauerkraut, giving it a little saltiness. But man, the crispy pork skin is what makes it, bro! You could put this stuff on a flip-flop (or on top of bad poutine), and it would still taste good!!!

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Of course, after eating every single bite of this pig fist, you KNOW I still had room for dessert! Last time I was here, I had a Bomb.fr slice of chocolate cake, so I had to get an instant replay on that one. This gateau is super-rich, with a toffee sauce, and a whole lotta peanut butter mousse on the side… It’s like Paris by Night in Flavourtown!!!

WINTERLICIOUS 2018: Tacos ‘n chicken ‘n waffles…oh my!

Welp, that’s another Winterlicious in the books, and this year might have been the best one yet. Over the past two weeks, we chowed down on Brazilian BBQ, deep-dish pizza, beef brisket pie and a winner, winner steak dinner. But I just might be saving the best for last with one of my favourite comfort-food classics. I’m talking chicken ‘n waffles, son!

So, we’re hanging out at Insomnia, this funky little date night/brunch spot in The Annex. Man, I used to slam some pulled pork benedicts when I lived in this hood, bro! But since I’ve been gone, they’ve started putting it on a taco:

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Now, I can’t say this was the best taco I’ve ever had. It wasn’t even the best pulled pork taco I’ve ever had. I’m a little hot and cold on this dish…because the dish was a little hot and cold. The pork was warm, but the slaw, and some of the toppings were cold as ice, ice baby. I’m not willing to sacrifice our love over this one, son!

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But lemme tell ya, they more than made up for it with the main course. The boneless chicken thighs were plump ‘n juicy, you’ve got just the right amount of purple slaw, some sweetness from the honey maple butter, and a little bit of hot sauce. The waffles were the perfect vessel to guide this dish straight down my piehole, bro! You KNOW I scarfed it all down, and still had room for dessert!

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Now, this piece of chocolate cake wasn’t quite as impressive as the one at Wildfire Steakhouse, but it was still a pretty decent-sized slice. There’s gotta be at least three layers of chocolate here, and then you’ve got some chocolate sauce on the plate and white chocolate swirls on top… There is nothing wrong with that, at all!

WINTERLICIOUS 2018: Imagine steak and shrimp, and chocolate cake…

So, we’re hanging out at Wildfire Steakhouse, this upscale cow palace on Yonge Street, a few blocks north of Lawrence. This place might not look like much from the outside, but once you walk in, it’s pretty fancy-schmancy. And their Winterlicious menu is massive, bro–you get to pick from eight apps, eight mains and four desserts, all for 43 bucks!

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So, I started with a six pack of shrimp, broiled in butter and garlic with a buncha panko breadcrumbs. The scampi were cooked perfectly, nice and juicy. Just a light snack in Flavourtown!

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Now, while the ribs and the lamb shank both seemed like solid choices, if I’m gonna go to a steakhouse, you KNOW I’m having the steak. So I went with the seven-ounce filet mignon, cooked to a perfect medium rare. This meat melts in your mouth like butter, bro! But man, I gotta say, I did not taste any garlic in the garlic mashed potatoes…

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Now, I’ve been complaining about some of the teeny-tiny desserts these other restaurants are serving for Winterlicious, but when it comes to Wildfire, I’ve got no beef whatsoever. Dude, this slice of chocolate cake is big enough for three people–but you KNOW I scarfed it all down, bro!!!!

WINTERLICIOUS 2017: Might as well Jump for this beef brisket, bro!

So, we’re hanging out at Jump, this uptown funky joint in the financial district. Man, this place must be like chilling in Manhattan in the 80’s—and I don’t mean at CBGB’s, cuz it’s pretty fancy-shmancy. But they’re serving up some real deal comfort food for Winterlicious, stuff like Waldorf salad, beef dip sammies and a devil’s chocolate cake. Dude, this is body by devil’s chocolate cake, bro!!!

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So, we started off with the black-eyed pea soup, which is like southern comfort in semi-liquid form. You’ve got some smoked ham hock, bits of collard greens, and a whole buncha black-eyed peas. But what really makes it is the chive sour cream. I could eat this stuff off a flip-flop!

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Now, I’ve got nothing against seafood chowder or chicken scallopini, but I think you probably knew I was going for the beef dip. We’ve got whiskey-soaked braised beef, sautéed onions and a whole lotta horseradish on a bakery roll, bro! And you know I dipped this in the au jus—I could eat that stuff off a flip-flop…if it wasn’t already covered in sour cream, son!

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And then I totally went chocolate cake for dessert. It was kinda dry, and the frosting didn’t knock my socks off, but the sea of crème anglaise definitely kicked things up a notch. Pretty sure I could eat this stuff off a flip-flop…except I don’t have three feet, dudebro!!!