Tag Archives: craft beer

TORONTO’S TOP TAKEOUT: Nashville hot shrimp sandwich with PEI lobster poutine

I don’t normally eat spicy food… but I’ve been to Nashville a couple times, and I’ve had the second-best hot chicken in town, along with a couple other places. So here we are, in Second Lockdown, and I’m missing the Music City. Now, some of the best hot chicken in Toronto is too far away to deliver, so when I saw that Coast, this funky seafood popup kitchen, was serving up a Nashville hot shrimp sandwich, I figured that might still hit the spot. And this place is actually so close to me that my food arrived in less than 30 min — beat that, Domino’s!!!

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Now, they don’t let you choose your heat level, so you know we’re not in Nashville here, but I gotta say, this sammy is still sneaky spicy. Like, at first it didn’t seem too hot, but the heat sorta builds up and then sticks around. It’s maybe only a 1 or a 2 on the Nashville scale…but that’s all I can really handle, anyways!

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I was a bit bummed out by the tragic poutine I had the other day, so I also decided to order some lobster fries. This PEI lobster poutine was a little light on the gravy and heavy on the herbs — the chives really give this dish a big boost. And while the fries were on the thin side, the combo of fries, real-deal cheese curds and big ol’ chunks of lobster all go together quite nicely.

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This Baldwin Street Fisheye IPA from Kensington Brewing Co. also pairs quite well with some spicy seafood. It’s hoppy, but not too bitter, strong (6.5%), but not too overpowering…and it’s even got some fishies on the label, bro!!!!

TORONTO’S TOP TAKEOUT: 6 Degrees of Kevin Bacon Burger, bro!!!

Now, The Works Craft Burgers & Beer has been bringing the beef since 2001 — it’s also where I slayed a (double) Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup Burger in 2016, so I know they know what’s up! They’re still dealing out some wild and crazy burgs with names like Obi-Wan Kobe’s Man Cave, Gettin’ Piggy With It and Elk on a Beech, but when I saw the Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon burger, you KNOW I’m gonna kick off my Sunday shoes, bro!!!!!!!

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This massively meaty monstrosity is packing back bacon, smoked bacon, maple bacon, and even bacon sticks — which are kinda like Hickory Sticks‘ porkier cousins — on top a slab of well-cooked beef. It comes with lettuce and tomato, but you can also add extra toppings from a list that’s like as long as the menu at The Cheesecake Factory! So I went with pickles (which were free), an onion ring and some Kraft Dinner (each a dollar extra). Also, in a nod to the last time I ate at The Cheesecake Factory, I paid two dollars more for a cheese-stuffed patty…although I don’t see any cheese inside, bro???

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Dude, this burger’s so outta bounds, it’s gotta quarantine for two weeks when it gets back! I mean, if you like the taste of meat on top of meat, on top of meat, then this is the sandwich for you. Just a little crunch from the lettuce and pickles, but the onion ring kinda gets lost here. And about half the bacon sticks and the KD ended up in the container… Good thing I brought a fork, bro!

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Now, this place also lets you pick from 12 different sides, so I went with the Tragically Maple Poutine, which is topped with maple bacon, more of those bacon sticks, and then completely drenched in bacon garlic donkey sauce. So much sauce that you can’t even taste the curds ‘n gravy, which makes this dish about as tragic as its name suggests.

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Man, even though The Works Craft Burgers & Beer has got beer right in its name, they don’t actually deliver the booze — you can get it for pickup through their website, though. So instead, I reached into the fridge for this renegade of funkalicousness, Autopop (you don’t stop!), a session sour with cherry cola from Blood Brothers. And I gotta say, when you lift the glass to your mouth, you can really smell the Cherry Coke. But in the taste department, it’s much more sour beer than soda pop…not that there’s anything wrong with that.

TORONTO’S TOP TAKEOUT: Beef short rib wellington with duck fat fries!

So, lockdown’s been extended in Toronto for (at least) a couple more weeks, which eats donkey dick. But the delivery apps have helped to make things a little less painful. Last week, DoorDash gave me two codes for 25% off, which I used at Hungary Thai and Torteria San Cosme. And Uber offered me $20 off a $30 “essentials” order, which happened to include Blood Brothers Brewing, one of my favourite local breweries. Hey, craft beer is essential to me, bro! Now, Uber is giving me three codes for 40% off, which is the biggest discount I’ve ever seen…

But there is a bit of a catch, though. The most money you can save is $30, a rule they put in place after Uber paid $50 of my $200 steak dinner from Jacob’s (RIP) last summer. So, if my math’s correct, I can’t spend more than $70 this time. Good thing I’ve found three meals that cost right at or just under that price, starting with this decadent dinner from BlueBlood Steakhouse!

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Now, I had definitely seen the beef short rib wellington on the menu before, but I wasn’t prepared to pay 55 bucks for some puff pastry. That’s why it’s the perfect 40% dinner, though! Dude, this thing practically takes up a whole takeout container, and it’s only meat beneath that crust — no veggies or nothing. The crust is nice ‘n flaky, but a bit crusty on the bottom, and the meat is super-tender. Throw in some of that au jus on the side, which was still warm when it arrived, and I would soooo order this again, even at full price, son!!!

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Now, there was only two sides that would keep this order under $70 — garlic whipped potatoes or these hand-cut, duck fat fries. I already had these fries two years ago when I slaughtered their Wagyu cheeseburger, so I knew they were some of the thickest in the business. Some of ’em were even four-biters, bro! And for 14 bucks, they give you enough for at least two people…if one of those people ain’t me. 😉

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Of course, if there’s one beer that goes great with this upscale take on a British pub classic, It’s a Stout. Yeah, that’s actually the name of the beer! This blackened brew from Kensington Brewing Co. has all the rich, chocolately flavour you’re looking for — and at 5.8%, it punches harder than a Guinness. So maybe don’t drink it for breakfast, bro?

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: Turducken dinner for one, son!!!

Now, Christmas dinner in Flavourtown is NOT just your typical turkey, bro! Last Christmas, I gave you some turkey dinner pizza, but this year, we’re kicking things up a notch. When I heard that Richmond Station, home of that famous burger, was dishing out a takeout turducken dinner, I was all over that like boom, tough-actin’ Tinactin, John Madden!!!!

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OK, now let’s break it down. You’ve got a roast turducken — which is a chicken inside a duck inside a turkey — topped with garden sage gravy, a Cran-Marnier sauce, and sides of scalloped potatoes, carrots, cabbage and a chunka chunka brioche stuffing! Plus, there’s a curly kale and Brussels sprout salad, along with a yule log cake for dessert — shut the front, back AND side doors, bro!!!!!

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This bird is soooo the word, bro! Not really sure where the turkey ends and the duck and chicken begin, but it’s super-tender, unctuous and rambunctious! The gravy adds a nice kick, you’ve got some tartness from the cranberry, and the stuffing just melts in my mouth. I would eat this eight days a week!!!!

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Now, I gotta say that a kale and Brussels sprout salad would not be my first choice, or even my sixteenth or twentieth choice, bro. But when you add the raisins, shaved ham, cheddar cheese and sunchoke donkey sauce, then it’s pretty badass. If I could only get them to add ham and cheese next time I go to Planta

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Now, you KNOW the name of this blog ain’t Burgers, Bacon & Egg Nog, so we’re chasing this turducken with Saint of Circumstance, a triple-hopped, unfiltered, citrus blonde from Collective Arts. At 4.7%, it’s the perfect light beer for this heavy feast — and hey, in 2020, we’re all just a Victim of Circumstance, Bro-an Jett!!!

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But you bet yer ass I’ve still got room for dessert — and that means cracking open another beer. I don’t always drink stout, but when I do, it’s usually after dinner. And this Brown Cow milk stout from Calabogie Brewing hits the spot with a nice little kick of chocolate and espresso…

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When I first bit into the yule log cake, I was like, dude, this is like an After Eight on steroids! Nice creamy, minty flavour with a chewy, chocolately shell. I think I did a decent job of laying down the plum compote, but they give you so many chocolate crumbs that it would take a pro pastry chef to make them all look pretty — or at least a bigger plate, anyways. But hey, you can never have too much chocolate, bro!!!

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And the best thing about this dinner was it came precooked, so it only took 25 minutes to prepare. Who needs to spend all day on a turkey when you can just pop a turducken in the oven, son? I was even finished eating by 7:30, which means I’ve still got time to watch Die Hard AND Die Hard 2 before the clock strikes midnight… Cuz you know it ain’t Christmas until Hans Gruber falls from Nakatomi Plaza, Bro-ce Willis!!!!!!!!!

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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PATIO LIT EATS: Detroit style pizza and burgers in Parkdale

Now, with some unseasonably warn weather yesterday, we got to enjoy the last day of (unheated) patio season 10 days into October. We’re hanging out in Parkdale, at this funky joint called Gianna’s Patties and Pies, that opened up during the (first) lockdown over where the Tennessee Tavern used to be. Not gonna lie, I’m gonna miss their AYCE pierogis, but when I heard that this new place was serving up Detroit-style pizza, along with a cheese skirt burger,  then you KNOW I had to check it out, bro!!!

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Up first is the Frico Cheeseburger, with its massive fried cheese skirt. You’ve also got tomato, pickles, a couple hot peppers, and then I paid extra to add bacon, cuz the first rule of Flavourtown is Always Add Bacon! This burger was so messy I couldda used more than one napkin, but when you get a bite of that deep-fried cheese, along with the beef, that’s TheBomb.ca, bro!!!

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But you KNOW that burger was just a light snack in Flavourtown, son! Up next, we’ve got a 10″ by 14″ Hawaiian pizza, topped with braised ham, fresh pineapple, basil and this wicked awesome sauce imported from Ono Grinds in San Diego. Now, I definitely don’t mind pineapple on pizza, and this was one of, if not, the best ham & pineapple pizzas I’ve ever had. You’ve got nice chunks of meat, the sweetness of the fresh pineapple, plus, since it’s Detroit-style, that ring of burnt cheese around the edges… The cheese is what makes it, bro!!!

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Of course, we’re not washing this down this ham and pineapple with a pina colada or nothing like that..

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Instead, we’ve got a couple cans of Kizuna, this hazy, Vermont-style IPA from Godspeed. This dry-hopped brew has enough citrusy, hoppy flavour to go good with Hawaiian pizza — or probably any pizza, dude! And at 5.8%, I could definitely crush a few of these before the sun goes down…

If this place ain’t country, I’ll kiss your ass…

So, we’re hanging out at Farmhouse Tavern, this funky joint in The Junction that’s a little bit country, and a little bit rock ‘n roll. They’ve got pictures of animals on the walls, Waylon, Merle and Loretta on the stereo, and a farm-to-table menu that’s written on a chalkboard, with a bull horn on top. Man, I didn’t even know you could find a place like this in Toronto, bro!!!!

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We’re starting off with the Ploughman’s Platter, a country-style charcuterie board with bread, cheese, mustard, pickles, not one but two kinds of eggs — pickled AND Scotch — the only thing that’s kinda missing here is the meat, as they’ve only got a few thin slices of sausage.

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But they’re more than making up for it with this bad boy, the Barnyard Burger. You’ve got thick ‘n juicy beef, homemade pork belly bacon, topped with a creamy duck egg — shut the barn door, bro!!!

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And of course, you can’t just go here and order some city-slicker beer, hoss! Country Vibes, this amber lagered ale from the tractor rappers at Beau’s, is equal parts lager and amber, with roast caramel malts and a clean, crisp finish. Unlike Kim Mitchell, you don’t hafta decide between lager and ale here…cuz you can get them both, bro!!!!

PATIO LIT EATS: Kolsches and sours and stouts, oh my!

Now, patio season might be almost over, but we’re taking advantage of any sunny days we’ve got left to chug some more patio beers — even if ya gotta wear a jacket. We’re hanging out at Mascot Brewery, this funky joint with a backyard beer garden right on King St. Well OK, it’s actually more like a back alley beer garden, but they do have beer, and that’s what matters, bro!

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Starting things off with a Sun Sipper, this clean, crispy kolsch that according to their beer menu is perfect for long sessions on a patio. I’m not gonna argue with the menu, bro!!!

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Next up, we’ve got the Passionfruit Peach Sour. This fruity, summery beer is maybe more tangy than sour — but that’s not a bad thing, in my books.

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Now, before we get into the heavier stuff, first I gotta eat something. So I ordered up a trio of smoked brisket sliders, nice ‘n simple, with grainy mustard on some potato buns. I mean, all you really need is meat, mustard and bread, right?

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I gotta say, their poutine game was a little weak — especially when compared to the poutine spring rolls at Betty’s. Fries were decent, but the gravy was soupy and the cheese brought no squeak to the table. But hey, time for another beer!!!!

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This Frosthammer DIPA is so grim, it was probably on its way to kill Euronymous. Super-citrusy, hazy and heavy, at 8.2%, this is not the beer for poseurs!

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Of course, even after all that commotion back there, we’ve still got room for dessert…and by dessert, I mean another beer. This Chocolate Daddy is brewed with barley, oats and chocolate malt — but it wasn’t quite as rich and chocolately as I expected. At 6.6%, it’s sorta like a Guinness on steroids, though!!!

PATIO LIT EATS: Putting poutine inside spring rolls, bro!

Now, Labour Day is just about the end of summer around here, so that means it might be one of our last chances to hit up a patio in Toronto, bro! We’re hanging out at Betty’s, this funky little dive at King and Sherbourne, where they’ve got social-distancing blow-up dolls inside and a pretty spacious backyard patio, hidden away from all the condos.

Now, this place has got a lot of your typical pub food — burgers, pizza, chicken fingers, along with some more unusual items like pad thai and pot pie. But when I saw they had poutine spring rolls, I was all over that like Kid Rock on a Coors Light, bro!!!

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Ever wish that poutine could be even more deep-fried and delicious? Well, your wish is about to come true, son! Basically, they take fries and cheese curds, wrap ’em in spring roll batter, and fry ’em to perfection, then serve ’em up with gravy for dipping…cuz you probably can’t deep-fry the gravy, eh? And while you don’t get the squeaky texture from the cheese here, that spring roll casing definitely adds an extra crunch! Dude, I could pound about 17 of these, bro…but then I wouldn’t have room for dumplings!

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These kimchi pork dumplings are also deep-fried, because one fried thing deserves another, bro! Served with some Chinese red vinegar and a red hot chili sauce, which definitely adds a strong kick… Man, I’m gonna need at least a couple beers to wash this down!!!

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We’re starting off with a Nordic Lager, this collaboration between Canada and Denmark, brewed by Henderson. It’s definitely pretty malty, but you’ve got a bit of hops, and a smooth finish, with yeast from the Carlsberg Research Lab. It might be more of a winter beer, though…

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On the other hand, Lazy Days of Summer, this hazy passionfruit IPA from Whitewater, is definitely made to be crushed before Labour Day! Equal parts piney and fruity, it will have you pining for the days where you didn’t hafta wear a jacket on the patio, bro!!!

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But now we’re going back, way back to the Summer of ’69 with this 8-Track IPA from Radical Road Brewing. This one’s not as hoppy, but packs a pretty good kick at 6.5%.

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And we’re ending the summer with the fruitiest of fruit beers, a 12 Minutes to Destiny Raspberry Hibiscus Lager from Flying Monkeys. This basically tastes like fruit punch — and at just 4.1%, you can pretty much drink it like fruit punch, too!

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Now, even after pounding poutine rolls, dunking some dumplings and crushing all those craft beers, I still had room for dessert. But the only thing on the menu with fruit in it was this Deep Six bean dip. You’ve got layers of refried beans, salsa, sour cream, guacamole and cheddar cheese, served at face-melting temperature, with a whole buncha chips for dipping. Unlike most places that never give you enough chips for the dip, I actually had lotsa nachos left over after scraping off every last bite of bean dip… And I didn’t even double dip the chip!!!

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