Finally tried the famous Richmond Station burger…

Now, I’m not really sure if there is a best burger in Toronto, one that’s so iconic that makes it a must-see in this city… But one burger that gets brought up a lot is the one at Richmond Station – it’s stuffed with beef short ribs, son! I’ve only had half a slider at Taste of Toronto a couple years ago, but now, it’s time for the real thing:

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OK, now let’s break it down. You’ve got a medium-rare burger, with aged cheddar, dill pickle, a beet chutney and garlic donkey sauce, all on a milk bun. What it lacks in size, it makes up in flavour – the short rib/ground beef combo is outta bounds, bro! And they don’t short-change ya on the fries, either…

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These warm ‘n tasty spuds are served with a side of lemon donkey sauce. It’s a donkey sauce double-down in Flavourtown!!!

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Of course, even after polishing off all those taters, you KNOW we’ve still got room for dessert. This chocolate pie was the dessert of the day – dude, this is body by chocolate pie! – so I totally had to try it. But it’s really not much of a pie, though. More of a chocolate pudding, with this crunchy crust ring around the rosie. Man, I dunno how I feel about deconstructed desserts, bro…

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On the other hand, their signature beer was TheBomb.ca, son! This Richmond Station Brown Ale is brewed by Niagara College Teaching Brewery, and it’s got just the roasty, toasty taste I’m looking for. I could totally pound a ton of these!!!

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Eating all the tacos @ HotMess

So, we’re hanging out at HotMess, this funky little Tex-Mex joint on College St. When I was here last year, I chowed down on some real-deal Frito pie and a super-spicy patty melt. But now we’re back for Taco Tuesday, where every single one of their hard-shell tacos are just five bucks…which means I’m gonna hafta try all seven!!!

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We’re starting off with the cheeseburger taco, which piles dill pickle, shredded lettuce and southwest sauce on top of your classic beef taco — ground beef, pico de gallo and cheddar cheese. This taco was super-crunchy, and so messy that I needed to go in with a fork to pick up all the extras that fell onto the tray!

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This is the Original Beef, which is a lot less fancy, but just as tasty. You’ve got the tomato, cheddar cheese, and a whole lotta lettuce — at least I’m eating my veggies today!!!

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Now, the Taco Beef kicks it up a notch with some jalapenos, beans, guacamole and buttermilk ranch — dude, this is body by buttermilk ranch!!!!

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But now we’re switchin’ gears to chicken! This Margarita Chicken taco adds some freshness with mango — you’ve also got guac, goat cheese and more of that buttermilk ranch… I’d put it on a flip-flop!!!!

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Speaking of fruity, this chorizo taco throws down some roasted pineapple, bro! Now, this ain’t my first pineapple taco rodeo — it often comes with tacos al pastor, but adding it to chorizo makes my mouth go “Yeah, bro!!!!”

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I told you I was getting my veggies tonight! This vegan street-corn taco is topped with all kinds of carrots — that’s gotta be at least two servings, right there…

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Now, we’re saving the spiciest for last, son! This Hot Chicken taco kicks it up a notch with jalapeno beans, Monterrey Jack and some Valentina hot sauce — I’m gonna hafta chug a coupla beers after this one!!!

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Speaking of beers, this place has got all kinds of local craft cans, bro! Sure, you could get a Modelo for five bucks, but why do that when you can have a Sunfest Cerveza from Anderson Ales? This light, crisp Mexican lager is kinda like Corona, but without the sour aftertaste. I could butt-chug a whole buncha these!!!

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Now here’s one from waaaay out in left field — Left Field Brewery, bro! This WHIP Pina Colada Smoothie IPA is brewed with pineapple, coconut, lactose and vanilla… I’d like to keep mine under 2.00.

Bacon truffle mac attack @ Prohibition Gastrohouse

So, we’re hanging out at Prohibition Gastrohouse, this funky joint on Eglinton with a badass back patio. Now, this place is supposed to have “TO’s Best Truffle Mac & Cheese” — it even says so on their menu — so you know I gotta come check it out!!!

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Now, they definitely funk it up a notch at this place. Cuz that ain’t macaroni — it’s Pasta di Gragnano, bro! And there ain’t no cheddar cheese here…it’s a blend of Gruyere, emmenthal and that’s my boy blue cheese. Throw in some truffle paste, truffle oil, and for an extra five bucks, you can add bacon. Of course, you KNOW the first rule of Flavourtown is Always Add Bacon!!!

Now, they don’t shortchange ya on the bacon,  but if I got one complaint, it’s not very crispy. Nice chew on the noodles, a whole lotta creaminess — the blue cheese really cuts through everything else. If you like your cheese blue, this is the dish for you!!!

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Now, this place has also got a pretty good craft beer selection — and all their draft beers are $5.75 from 5 to 7, son! This here’s a Vagabond IPA, from my punk rock bowling buddies at BrewDog. It’s not as strong or as hoppy as your average IPA, but still has a nice, crisp taste. I could pound, like, 17 of these!!!

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Now, you’re looking at a craft beer legend right here — Anchor Steam, from the Bay Area. This OG of steam beers is woody, minty, big and bouncy…and probably too much flavour for your average light-beer drinker!

SUMMERLICIOUS 2019: Tacos & burgers & churros… Yeah bro!

So, we’re hanging out at Craft Beer Market, where they’re serving up a few of my favourite things for Summerlicious — we’re talking tacos, we’re talking ’bout burgers, we’re talking churros for dessert…and oh yeah, craft beer!!!

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These cubano street tacos come two to an order, but you could almost stuff all of this into one double-shell taco. (I didn’t, though.) You’ve got pulled pork, fried onions, cilantro and a citrusy mustard mojo — shut the back door, bro!

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For the main event, we’re going Classic Burger — two beef patties, pickles, lettuce, tomato, special sauce… Of course, I paid a buck fiddy to add bacon, cuz the first rule of Flavourtown is always add bacon!!!

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Now, for dessert we’re talking churros, sprinkled with icing sugar and sprayed with an imperial-stout infused Nutella. But you KNOW that’s not the only alcohol heading straight down my beerhole, bro!!!

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This Shaggin’ Wagon IPA from Stray Dog is like a boogie van in Flavourtown! It’s got a nice citrus kick, but not too hoppy at 55 IBU…and it kinda sneaks up on you at 6.4%.

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This Electric Unicorn White IPA is basically my spirit animal…if my spirit animal was a beer. It’s surprisingly smooth for 75 IBUs, and at 6.5%, it’s also not for wimps!!!

Word to ye Olde Mother! (Olde Mother Brewing Co)

So, we’re hanging out at Olde Mother Brewing Co, this funky  little craft brewery in Frederick, Maryland. You won’t find any crabs and/or Old Bay here, but they are coming up with some pretty funky flavours, like a steam beer, fruited wheat beer and a sour double IPA. Then there’s this Mexican fiesta de cerveza, which they call La Bamba:

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Now this beer is pretty funkalicious. It’s brewed with lime juice, so you don’t need a lime wedge, but then there’s the secret ingredient that makes it — poblano peppers. No, it’s not spicy, but you definitely get the flavour of the peppers in there, which is pretty redonkadonk. Corona ain’t got nothing on La Bamba, chica!!!

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But if you thought that last beer was ridiculous, this one is even more crazy — a strawberries and cream wheat beer. You’ve got the taste of fresh strawberries, and it’s brewed with lactose, so it’s almost like a milkshake IPA, but less hoppy, more fruity. And it’s not even red or anything… Shut the back door!!!

Craft beer ‘n crab cakes @ Brewer’s Alley

So we’re hanging out at Brewer’s Alley, the first-ever gastropub in Frederick, Maryland, where they’ve been serving up their own beers, combined with killer cuisine, since 1996. Everybody in town knows this is the place to be, and it ain’t one of those “craft beer bars” that’s serving up a bunch of beers from local breweries — they’ve actually got their own brewhouse, bro!

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So, we’re starting off with the Hefeweizen, a light, German-style wheat beer with a fruity aftertaste. This beer literally tastes like bananas — and bananas is good!!!

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We’re pairing that with a big ol’ Maryland crab cake, which you can get with veggies for 19 dollars or on a sandwich for 18. Dude, anytime I can pay less and not eat vegetables is a win-win in Flavourtown, bro! This crab is broiled in Old Bay butter — cuz you gotta get the Old Bay in there — and smothered in a creole remoulade sauce. Man, you could put that on a flip-flop, and it would still taste good!!!

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Now, that crab cake sammy was slamtastic, but it ain’t the only renegade of funk in this funky joint — say hello to ma lil’ friend, pork taco pizza. They take pulled pork, lettuce, pico de gallo, diced jalapenos and drizzle it all with crema, erved up on a nice, fluffy crust — shut the back door, bro!!!

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Now, for dessert, we’re chugging down some Two Loves, this crazy unfiltered chocolate ale with liquefied cocoa. Dude, if Guinness is liquid breakfast, then this beer is liquid dessert. There’s so much cocoa here that it’s making me cuckoo for Cocoa Puffs!!!

 

“We can’t stop here, this is beer country!” — a tour of Flying Dog Brewery

So, we’re hanging out at Flying Dog Brewery down in Frederick, Maryland, about an hour north of Baltimore. These guys are known for their labels, designed by Hunter Thompson’s main main Ralph Steadman, and for brews with names like Doggie Style and Raging Bitch. Now, I’m no stranger to Doggie Style — I chugged a few last time I was in Bodymore — so when they offered to give me the grand tour, I was all over that like queso on Guy Fieri’s mustache, bro!!!

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Now, this is where the magic happens — they take the hops, water and barley, and they mix it all up! They gave us some barley to taste, and while it doesn’t taste like much on its own, once it’s run through the lauter tun, it starts to get the job done…

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99 barrels of beer on the wall, 99 barrels of beer…

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Fun fact: when they make beer, it creates a whole buncha CO2, which they have to funnel out into a bucket. You couldn’t triple-dog dare me to chug that bucket, bro!!!

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Behind this door is the quality assurance lab — man, how do I get that job???

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This here is their bottling machine — what, you thought they did it by hand? Actually, the reason Flying Dog moved to Frederick from Colorado is because the old owners of the brewery left this baby behind!

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Of course, the best thing about the tour is the beer. Not only do they give you a few samples along the way, but at the end, there’s a Choose Your Own Beerventure flight waiting for you at the bar. For my four beers, I went with:

  • Ain’t Nothing But a G Thang hazy pale ale (5.7%)
  • Brut Reynolds brut IPA (5.7%)
  • Woody Creek White (4.7%)
  • Dead Rise Old Bay Gose (5.7%)

Dunno why, but they like to end their beers in .7%. While they were all quite tasty, the major highlight was the Old Bay Gose:

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Now, Old Bay is pretty much the chicken base and garlic salt of Maryland. They put that shit on everything — crabs, fries, crab dip, crab fries, chicken wings… you name it! And while I don’t actually see any of it floating in my beer, you can totally taste the Old Bay. Cuz what better way to wash down some Old Bay than with even more Old Bay, bro????