Tag Archives: craft beer

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!!!

BBQ beef ribs and beers… Oh my!

Now that we’ve reached a point where restaurants have reopened for indoor dining, it’s time for me to check out some funky joints that don’t have a patio. Like C’est What, one of the OG craft brewpubs in the city, at the corner of Front and Church. This place is soooo underground, it’s literally in a basement, bro! And they’re serving up all kinds of local craft beer, along with comfort food classics like poutine, mac ‘ n cheese, and these bad-to-the-bone BBQ beef ribs:

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Now, these ribs were boiled, not smoked, but the meat was still pretty tender. Sauce had a pretty decent kick, especially when you dipped the meat in the extra sauce on the side. Coleslaw and hash-brown potatoes aren’t things I would normally eat with BBQ, but they got the job done. After a few beers, I definitely couldn’t complain!!!

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And speaking of beers, we’re starting off with a Hopping Mad IPA from Granite Brewery. This copper cask beer had a nice punch, at 60 IBU, without being too puckery, and was still very crushable at 6%.

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Speaking of IPAs, this Surround Sound DIPA from Collective Arts kicks it up a notch with Azacca, Amarillo and Comet hops, coming in at 8.2%. Definitely a lot more juicy and citrusy, if you’re into that!

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But now we’re getting into the darker stuff, with a Long Shadow stout from Fairweather Brewing. They brew this one with coconut, vanilla and coffee, giving it a similar chocolately taste to Granville Island’s Lions Winter Ale, a personal favourite…although it’s not quite as rich. Would definitely try this again, though!

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Speaking of dessert beers, this home-brewed C’est What Mocha Porter is a pretty decent one to curl up in front of a fireplace with. Plus, they donate one dollar from every pint to feminism, so I did my good deed for the day, son!!!

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Even after that four-course liquid dinner, you KNOW I’ve still got room for dessert, bro! This chocolate hazelnut brownie, with ice cream, whipped cream and a cherry on top really hits the spot!!!

PATIO LIT EATS: Fish ‘n chips by the sea shore…

Now, Toronto may not be a place where you can eat freshly caught seafood from the ocean next door — but that doesn’t mean we don’t have a waterfront patio scene. While I probably wouldn’t wanna eat anything that comes outta Lake Ontario, I can still enjoy looking out at the lake from the massive back patio at Against the Grain, this funky joint right next to Sugar Beach.

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Now, it feels like it’s been a while since I’ve eaten a burger, so we’re starting off with a trio of prime rib sliders. You’ve got some thinly sliced pickles and spicy mustard on the bottom, and then cheddar cheese and a piece of crunchy, deep-fried bologna on top. The meat is cooked to well done and comes out really hot, so I couldn’t really tell that it’s prime rib…but overall, it was still pretty tasty!

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But you KNOW that was just a light snack in Flavourtown! So we’re moving on to the main course, freshly battered haddock with a whole pile of thin ‘n salty fries. Batter had a nice crunch, goes good with the dill tartar sauce — I kinda wish I couldda made mine a two-piece order, though!

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Of course, I’m not gonna go to a place like this and order a Cranberry White Claw, bro! This here’s a Lemonade Stand, a refreshing lactose sour from Indie Ale House. Just enough citrusy sourness without being too bitter — I totally crushed a few of these!

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We’ve also got a Hopped and Confused Vol. 2 from the Mill St crew. Despite its name, this beer isn’t very hoppy — it’s only got 20 IBU. But I’m always down for a Dazed and Confused reference…it’s a fiesta in the making at the Moon Tower, son!!!

 

PATIO LIT EATS: Patio beers & pizza @ King Taps

It seems like there’s two kinds of patios in Toronto right now — the ones that are all booked up for weeks, and others that are first-come, first-serve. That’s why King Taps, this funky craft beer joint in the Financial District, is smarter than your average joint.  Y’see, they’re only doing same-day resos — which means I was online right at midnight to snag a primo spot for the Triple B Krew last weekend, bro!!!!

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Dude, I’ve been to King Taps a couple times before, so I KNOW they’ve got good beer here. The selection wasn’t quite as good as I remembered, but their rotating tap list is still pretty solid. This here’s Solaris White Peach Ale, a hazy wheat beer from Phillips Brewing in Victoria, BC. Super-crushable at 4.3%, and it sure tastes peachy!!!

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Now, when it comes to food, if there’s one thing this joint is known for — besides the $30 double cheeseburger with beef short rib on top — it’s pizza. And when it comes to their pizza, this here’s The People’s Champion. The Stinging Bee rumbles in the jungle with soppressata salami, kalamata olives, a whole lotta mozza, and some honey on top, for just that little hit of sweetness. Who needs to float like a butterfly when you can shove this pizza down your piehole, son????

TORONTO’S TOP TAKEOUT: $200 steak dinner, delivered!!!

Uber Eats gave me a code for 25% off this week, so I was looking for the most expensive, decadent meal I could order for delivery…and I think I found it. Jacobs & Co. Steakhouse is one of the classiest steak joints in Toronto, with premium cuts of Japanese beef that can set you back four bills, bro! Now, they weren’t delivering the (really) good stuff — their priciest cut was an 8oz Wagyu tenderloin from Australia for $168. Throw in a couple of sides, and let’s just say I saved 48 dollars today. 😉

My order arrived in about 35 minutes, and the aluminum containers kept everything nice and warm, so I definitely can’t complain! And who needs fine china when you’ve got heavy metal, bro???

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Now, the first thing I thought when I took everything out of the delivery bags was “Man, these mushrooms smell amazing!” You’ve got a nice mix of roasted ‘shrooms, with some butter and chives, making this the perfect steak sidekick in Flavourtown!

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But make no mistake, this steak was the star of the show. The baseball-sized sirloin melts like butter and cuts with a butter knife, Bro-an Adams! Now, I wouldn’t normally put any sauce on such a great steak, but a bit of that chimichurri and a couple dabs of horseradish really kicked it up a notch!

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When it comes to the other sides, well, the duck fat fries were tasty — sorta like an elevated Swiss Chalet — but what really makes this dinner was something I didn’t even hafta pay for…the real-deal bread rolls!

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With a meal like this, you really don’t wanna fill up on bread, but I just had to eat both of these — they’re like muffins meets Yorkshire pudding in Flavourtown! And that chive butter was super legit… I’d put that on a flip-flop!!!

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Now, some people might drink wine with a nice meal like this, but you KNOW I’m all about the beer, bro! So I’m washing it down with a Unify or Die, this funky spiced stout from Blood Brothers, one of my favourite local breweries. (Dude, they’ve even got an Iron Maiden beer!!!) This brew’s got the silky smooth body of a Guinness, but with a lot more vanilla, and a bit of cinnamon, for that extra kick. And man, is there a better-named beer for this whole pandemic thing???

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Now, even though I saved over 48 bucks on this order, after taxes, fees and a reasonable tip, I still ended up dropping just over 200. But man, it was money well spent, son! If I ever sign a big NHL contract or something, I KNOW where I’m going for dinner!!!!

 

TORONTO’S TOP TAKEOUT: BBQ platter for two (but really just for one…)

Dude, I’ve been wanting to check out Meat & Pie Co., this funky halal BBQ joint that’s serving up two of my favourite things — meat AND pie — down on King St, where the Lone Star Grill used to be, for a little while now. Of course, they’ve been closed due to COVID-19…but on weekends, they’re doing free delivery on orders of 50 dollars or more.

Now, it’s not hard to spend 50 bucks on BBQ ’round these parts — a couple meats, a couple sides, and you’re usually set. I wanted to try a few of the best things they had to offer, so I ordered the 2 Person Platter. But the thing is, due to social distancing, there’s only one of me to eat it…

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Dude, this was so much food that I had to put it out on a cutting board, cuz I didn’t have a big enough plate! You’ve got a smoked half chicken with Tandoori seasoning, two big, thick slices of brisket — one on the leaner side, the other more medium — two pieces of jalapeno cheddar cornbread, a tin of mac ‘n cheese, a side of pickles and two little containers of BBQ sauce…and did I mention there’s pie for dessert???

OK, now let’s break it down…

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Now, the brisket wasn’t quite fork-tender — the leaner piece was more like eating steak — but it still had a nice, smoky flavour, good texture and a nice chew. It goes great with the crunch of the pickle, and while I don’t normally like sauce on BBQ, the tangy, smoky sauce on the side was pretty darn good for dipping!

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But the real star of the show has gotta be that smoked Tandoori chicken. Bird’s nice and moist, with just a bit of a kick… I could eat that all day, son!!!

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Mac ‘n cheese was nice and creamy, with a good breadcrumb crust — although it didn’t stay as warm as the meat did. And the cornbread was everything you’d expect, with little chunks of jalapenos and cheese…I can’t complain at all.

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Of course, because the name of the blog isn’t Burgers, Bacon & Unsweetened Tea, we had to wash this all down with an ice cold beer. This here’s a Firefly, a red currant habanero coconut gose from Half Hours on Earth, this craft brewery in the small town of Seaforth, ON…about an hour west of Kitchener. Now, the last habanero beer I had was pretty spicy, but that’s not the case here; if anything, I get more red currants, along with the slightly sour taste of the gose, which goes quite well with the heavy meat platter — and you KNOW I polished it all off, bro!!!!

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Aaaaand after clearing the table, I’ve still got room for dessert…

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This homemade apple pie was absolutely delectable! You’ve got a ton of apples in here, with some cinnamon, sugar, and a nice crunchy crust. And it’s about the right size after such a big meal — I probably couldn’t have eaten any more pie if I wanted to, bro! This also goes well with a nice glass of wine…

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…except that’s not wine, it’s another beer, bro! This Delirious Night sour DIPA, also from Half Hours on Earth, is brewed with Pinot Noir grape juice, Madagascar vanilla and milk sugar. It smells like a whole barrel full of hops, and is surprisingly strong, at 7%. I actually got both of these beers delivered from The Rosedale Diner, which makes this a delivery double down in Flavourtown!!!!

 

20 BEERS BETTER THAN CORONA: 18. Dead Rise Old Bay Gose

Now, this has gotta be one of the crazy, zaniest, what-the-funk-where-they-thinking beers I’ve ever chugged — I’m glad I didn’t drink more than a sample cup! But you know what? I’d still rather drink this beer than Corona, which just shut down production today due to Coronavirus. It’s like raiiiiin on yer wedding day, Alanis Bro-risette!!!

18. Dead Rise Old Bay Gose

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Don’t get me wrong, I enjoyed my tour of Flying Dog Brewery in Frederick, Maryland last summer. I got to see where all the magic happens, then, at the end, there was a free flight waiting for me in the tap room! Now, I actually like a lot of their beers — Doggie Style, Raging Bitch, Brut Reynolds IPA…but when I tried the Dead Rise Old Bay Gose, I got a little bit more than I bargained for!

Y’see in Maryland, they put Old Bay on everything — crab cakes, crab dip, crab fries…I even had it on chicken wings. But brewing a beer with Old Bay seasoning in it, where you actually taste the saltiness, was no bueno, bro! Next time, I think I’ll stick with their Ain’t Nothing But a G Thang hazy IPA!!!!!

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