Tag Archives: creme brulee

Le Petit Chef is cooking up some big flavours!!!

Now, we don’t normally go for five-course prix fixe menus on Triple B, but when I heard this one was being made tableside by a 6 cm animated chef, you KNOW I had to check it out, bro! Le Petit Chef just opened up in downtown Toronto a few months ago — they’ve already got one in Richmond Hill, Vancouver, and about 30 other places, including 12 in Germany(!), so you know it’s gotta be good, right?

So here’s the deal. Before each course, you get an animated show projected onto the table about how Le Petit Chef cooked each dish, and then they replace the animated version on the plate with the real thing. You KNOW we never eat salad on Triple B, but after I saw all the trouble this little guy went to in pulling those veggies outta the ground, I felt like it was my duty to chow down on this caprese salad, son!!!

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So, what we’ve got here is some lettuce, thinly sliced radishes, two kinds of tomatoes, with a big ol’ hunka Buffalo mozzarella in the middle and these little balsamic pearls on top. I’d say this is one of my Top 5 salads of 2023 — but it’s only January and I don’t think I’ve had five salads this year, so take that for what it’s worth…

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Up next, we’ve got seafood bisque with one mussel, a nice little piece of lobster and a tiny hunk of octopus that Le Petit Chef chopped off a big ol’ ock who was trying to eat him for dinner. Dude almost gave his life for this dish, so you know it’s gotta be good!!!!

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At this place, you get not one, but two main courses — although they’re both pretty petite. But I gotta say, the little guy makes a mean chicken ballotine, stuffed with spinach, goat cheese and red peppers. You’ve got a couple potatoes on the side, and some demi-glace and red pepper sauce for dipping, along with a sprig of pine needles sticking out of the top. I actually saw someone eat all the pine needles — she must have really fresh breath, bro!!!!

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But now it’s time for the moment de vérité — filet mignon au poivre, mec! This had to be the smaller steak we’ve ever eaten on Triple B, but it’s still a lot bigger than the guy who cooked it, so I will give him that. Nice char on the meat, with a bit of peppery taste, and the mashed parsnips really kicked it up a notch! I’m not sure I needed three spears of asparagus, though… You cuss, I cuss, we all cuss for asparagus, bro!!!!!!!!!

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But even after lighting himself on fire when he was cooking the steak, the little dude really came through with dessert. Although it’s hidden under a whole buncha berries here, this creme brulee had the hardest, crunchiest shell I can ever remember breaking through… and when it comes to creme brulee, that’s a really good thing. Dude was saving the best for last, bro!!!!!

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BIG APPLE BITES: The king of beef @ La Grande Boucherie

At West 53rd and 6 1/2th, just a few steps from the Late Night with Colbert studio, sits this busy French bistro, La Grande Boucherie, where the dishes might be French, but the portions are definitively American-sized. We’re talking big cuts of steak, lamb chops, pork chops… even a whole chicken. Better bring your appetite, bro!!!!

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With all the fresh seafood sitting in front of me behind the counter, I couldn’t just eat meat, though. Starting off with Saint Jacques a la Provençale, seared scallops with roasted tomatoes, butter and herbs. Scallops were super fresh, nice and tender with a bit of that saltiness from the sea. Not a lot of excess sauce, but the two big chunks of bread soaked it up nicely.

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But the star of the show is the roast beef au jus — you’ll find it at the top right corner of the menu. Of course, we had to go with the biggest one, Le Roi… although it’s maybe just a Medium in Flavourtown, checking in at 16 ounces.

You know how when you go to a buffet, and they only give you a small sliver of prime rib? Well, this is the opposite of that. Beef needs some of that au jus to warm it up — and there’s not enough of it to go around — but the meat is incredibly tender, and the fresh horseradish adds a nice little kick. And speaking of tender, juicy things, definitely get the side of mushrooms!

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But you KNOW we’ve still got room for dessert, and I gotta try the crème brûlée, right? The classic French dessert (they also have a signature version with black sesame, but you don’t phoque with a classic, mec!) hits the spot with its crunchy caramel crust concealing the creaminess underneath. They even put a couple fresh berries on top, so I don’t die of scurvy…

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We’re washing it down with a rich, malty Dunkel from Von Trapp in Vermont. Yes, they do have Kronenbourg, but for a dollar less (and still 11 bucks a pint) I will go with this bad boy instead…

Funky four-course French feast @ Jules Bistro

In 2021, I demolished a 24 oz cote de boeuf at Jules Bistro, this funky fresh French joint on Queen West. But it turns out there’s another Jules Bistro in town… only this one’s on Queen East. (They pretty much have the same menu, though.) So when I heard they were serving up a three-course prix fixe for just 40 bucks, you KNOW I had to check it out, bro!!!!!!

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We’re starting off with their vegetarian French onion soup, which is more like French onion soup, with a twist. Fortunately, it’s not completely cheese-free — vegetarian, not vegan — but you won’t see a cheese crust or a crock pot, and instead of croutons, there’s a couple pieces of French bread on top. It wasn’t bad, but I prefer the more typical soupe a l’oignon like they serve at Cluny.

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Now, the escargot weren’t on the prix fixe menu, but you KNOW I can’t go to a French restaurant and NOT eat snails, bro! These were not your garden-variety escargot, either, served in a brandy mushroom cream sauce with a side of toasted baguette — no garlic butter here!

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Dude, this whole dinner is brought to you by cream sauce. Up next, we’ve got saute de poulet, sliced chicken breast in a bacon and mushroom cream sauce, with a side of fries and salad. Chicken is nice ‘n tender, that cream sauce is legit, but those fries are what makes it — they’re like McDonald’s without all the salt, son!!!!

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And of course, we’re ending this creamy feast with some creme brulee. This tastes pretty much like I remember from the West End spot, with a nice crispy crust and a cold, creamy centre. Nothing wrong with that at all!

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We’re washing it down with a cream, erm, Queen of Wheat beer from Spearhead. It’s sorta like a Belgian wit, but not as citrusy as some of the ones I’ve had before (i.e. Blanche de Chambly). Goes good with soup ‘n snails, but I switched to a Great Lakes Stout for the main course and did not regret it…

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Eating, like, a horse @ La Palette

Now, you’ll find no shortage of funky French food in Toronto — Jules Bistro, Le Select, Le Papillon, Maison Close, Maison Selby, Cafe La Gaffe… just to name a few. But we’ve found this one place on Queen St West that’s pulled ahead of the competition by a nose. La Palette is not just serving up your everyday steak frites, y’see, they’ve got a secret ingredient — it’s horse, of course!!!!

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Now, people mighta been pissed when they found horse meat at Burger King about 10 years ago… but if it tasted like this, they’d really have nothing to complain about. This horse tenderloin was nice ‘n tender, melts in your mouth and nicely seasoned. They say on the menu they can only cook it rare — mine came out more medium rare, which is how I like my steak anyways.

Put it this way: I would not say neigh to eating horse again!!!!

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But you KNOW we can’t go to a French joint and NOT have escargot — that’s a major no-no, bro! And these were some of the most tender snails I’ve ever had, served up with plenty of garlic butter, and topped with chives and chopped peanuts.  Man, I’ve never seen nuts served with this dish before. It’s pretty nuts… and nuts is good!

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But you KNOW I’m still hungry like a horse after all that horse meat, so I’ve definitely still got room for dessert. And while they might have 4-5 desserts to choose from, ya know what they say — it’s gotta be crème brûlée. La Palette really nailed this dish, with the hard, crunchy crust and creamy inside. But it has gotta be the smallest crème brûlée I’ve ever seen. I’m pretty sure I’ve had ramekins of ketchup that were bigger than this! (To be fair, it’s only 5 bucks, so there’s that.)

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And yes, I am that guy who goes to a French bistro and asks what beers they have on tap. Well, I asked if they had Kronenbourg — and they actually didn’t, but steered me to this Czechvar Dark Lager instead. A couple of these, and we’re back in the saddle again, Aer-bro-smith!!!!

Bison and venison — laissez les bons temps rouler!!!!

So, we’re hanging out at Laissez Faire, this funky, laid back French place at King and Portland. They just changed their menu, so when I saw the bison carpaccio, you KNOW it was heading straight down my piehole, bro!!!

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Dude, this dish is too legit to quit! It almost tastes like prosciutto, with a rich, meaty flavour, plus you’ve got little bites of cheese and mushrooms on top. There’s also some asparagus in there — or at least I think that’s why my pee smells funny, bro…

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But now it’s time for the main event. This venison tenderloin puts the tender in tenderloin — you can practically pull it apart with your fork. And it comes with mashed potatoes and sweet potatoes, along with a tiny little pitcher of au jus — more than enough to go around, mind you. It looks pretty fancy, but is still fairly reasonable at $32.

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Of course, you KNOW we’ve still got room for dessert, bro! Their molten lava cake is full of chocolatey goodness, while the crème brûlée is nice and creamy under the crispy crust. I would sooooo order both of these again!!!!!

This crème brûlée is an appetizer, NOT a dessert. Whoa…

Now, when it comes to French food, crème brûlée is one of the things I judge a restaurant on. I mean, if you can’t get that right, do you even know français, bro? But of course, it always comes at the end of the meal…until now. We’re hanging out at Peter Pan Bistro, this funky joint on Queen Street West, where they are serving up this truffle crème brûlée — as an appetizer. Fermez toutes les portes!!!!

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While this is a (mostly) savoury dish, I swear the first thing you taste is that caramelized sugar on top. You do get some of the truffle aftertaste, though, along with a hit of pickled mushrooms — and it goes great on the toast that comes on the side. The crème-to-toast ratio is almost 2-to-1 though, so it looks like I’m gonna hafta lick the knife…

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But like the title says, that was just an appetizer — now it’s time for the main course. These mussels are NOT from Brussels, but rather the Salt Spring Islands, in B.C. They’re served in a bouillabaisse broth with potatoes and chunks of corn on the cob. Oh, and a side of fries, with both ketchup and mayo. Nothing wrong with that at all — except that 5-6 of my mussels didn’t even open, bro. 😦

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Now, when a funky joint is serving up crème brûlée as a starter, I dunno how they can even do dessert, bro. It turns out their dessert menu is only two things, so I decided to have a couple beers instead — starting with this Burdock Vermont Blonde, which they actually had on tap. Easily crushable at 4.5% and not too hoppy, it sure beats having Molson Canadian on tap, bro!!!

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And now we’re bringing on another NEIPA, with this Jutsu from Bellwoods. It’s definitely heavier and hazier, but still not too, too hoppy. I could probably crush another 10 of these… and still have room for dessert?

HEATED PATIO EATS: The full French experience @ Biff’s Bistro

So we’re hanging out at Biff’s Bistro, this funky French food joint on Front Street. I’ve been here a few times before, and they’ve always had some good grub, but during the pandemic, they’re going back to their French roots with culinary classics like duck confit, steak frites, Coquilles St. Jacques, and these crispy critters in Flavourtown, Cuisses de Grenouille — we’re talkin’ frog legs, son!

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Now, if you told me these taste like chicken, you would not be wrong. But watch out for them little bones, bro! These babies are topped with chopped ‘nduja sausage for that extra kick, and there’s like a cool ranch donkey sauce underneath, giving you that full chicken wing experience…

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And speaking of chicken, up next we’ve got another French culinary classic, coq au vin. Dude, this was some of the best cock in wine I’ve ever had, bro! The chicken just falls apart, super-tender and juicy, with some mashed potatoes, a couple mushrooms and crisp green beans. This dish was so good, I even ate all the veggies, bro!!!!

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But you KNOW I’ve still got room for dessert. And it definitely doesn’t get more français than crème brûlée, mon ami!

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Say no more, mon amour! This burned cream snaps, crackles and pops with a nice crispy shell, creamy centre and they even throw in a sugar cookie, for that extra crunch. This totally puts Auberge du Pommier to shame in the dessert department!!!

Lamb two ways @ Auberge du Pommier

Now, after having a surprisingly satisfying dinner at Canoe, we decided to check out the other fancy O&B joint, waaay up in North York – Auberge du Pommier. This upscale funky French place has been going for 30 years, so you know it’s gotta be good. And when I heard they were serving up not one, but two kinds of lamb, I totally had to try it!

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But first, we’re starting off with some escargot. These slimy little snails are served with a couple little croutons on a big green sea of watercress. Whatever happened to mushroom caps, bro?

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And now it’s time for the main event. When the menu said they’re serving up lamb sirloin and shank, I figured that’s gotta be a lotta baa-baa black sheep! But as you can see, they really only give you a little taste of each. I’m soooo gonna have room for dessert, broooo!!!

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When it comes to dessert, what could be more français than crème brulée? But just like that crazy deconstructed chocolate cake at Canoe, this was not your normal burnt cream. You’ve got these little mini cream brulees, served with passionfruit, Thai basil and a coconut ice cream. It might be a little too funky, but I’d eat that ice cream off a flip-flop, though!!!

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Now, the best part of this meal has gotta be the beer. They’ve imported this Loirette Saison from Brasserie de la Pigeonelle in the tiny little town of Céré-la-Ronde, France. Well, Céré-la-Bouche, cuz that’s some good stuff, son!!!

SUMMERLICIOUS 2018: French menage a trois @ Cafe La Gaffe

So, we’re hanging out at Cafe La Gaffe, this funky little French bistro in Baldwin Village. This is another place with tons of Summerlicious options, but I decided to stick with a trio of French classics here–and I definitely wasn’t disappointed!

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So, we’re starting off with some escargot, bro! These slippery little snails are swimming in garlic butter and going whee, whee, whee all the way down my piehole!!!

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Now, I’m definitely no stranger to roasted duck legs, but this has gotta be one of the top five duck confits I’ve ever had! The meat is super-tender, fall-off-the-bone, and that brandy cream sauce is outta bounds, bro! Man, I could probably eat six or seven of these…or however many legs that ducks actually have.

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But you know the drill, we’ve still got room for dessert, dude! This creme brulee was crackly on top, creamy on the bottom, with a couple nice bites of blueberries and a cherry on top! Who needs whipped cream when you’ve got burnt cream, mon cheri???