Tag Archives: duck breast

Pork secreto al pastor? Shut the back door!

Now, when it comes to real-deal Mexican food, it doesn’t get much more baller than tacos al pastor. You’ve got a hunka-hunka burnin’ pork, seasoned and cooked on a spit, served with pineapple — cuz the only thing better than pineapple on pizza is pineapple on tacos, bro! So when I found out that Quetzal, this funky Mexican family-style joint at College and Bathurst, was not only doing al pastor, but making it with iberico pork secreto, you KNOW I had to come check it out…

Now the deal with this place is that they serve you large portions of food that are meant to be shared between 2-4 people. But when they told me I’d hafta split it, I was like, “Dude, dinner for 2-4 is just a light snack in Flavourtown, bro!” While I did pound all this pork o solo mio, I also ordered three other dishes, which I split with one other person.

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We’re starting off with a dry-aged Hawaiian kanpachi aguachile, which is sorta like ceviche, except they use chile water instead of lime. I don’t think I’ve ever had dry-aged fish, much less kanpanchi before (I saw they had one hanging in the kitchen, but I think it still had some aging to do), although it tasted kinda like the smoked trout I once had at Karelia Kitchen (RIP).

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Up next, we’ve got an Oaxacan-style lamb empanada, served in a blue corn tortilla with radish sticks and salsa. Last time we were here (in 2019), they did a similar dish with chicken — but I gotta say, the lamb barbacoa really kicks it up a notch. I would eat this off a flip-flop, bro!!!!!!!!!

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Now, other quirky thing about this place is that they charge a certain price for a platter of meat or seafood (starting at $38), and then charge an extra 6 bucks for 6 tortillas. Dude, you can’t have tacos al pastor without taco shells, bro! And it turns out, they gave you enough meat for about five tacos, so that almost worked out perfectly. Pork was nice ‘n tender, but the grilled pineapple is what makes it!

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But like I said, I split three other things — and this is the third thing, dry-aged duck breast with mole verde and some stringy green thing that I definitely didn’t eat. Duck was cooked perfectly, nice ‘n tender with a good chew. This duck definitely doesn’t suck!!!!!!!

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And that brings me to this culinary creation in Flavourtown: the Pork-a-Duck Taco. You’ve got pork secreto al pastor, layered in with duck breast, some grilled pineapple and another piece of duck on top, with a little mole verde. Pork every duck, bro!!!!

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But even after four al pastor, one duck and one Pork-a-Duck taco, half a lamb empanada and three pieces of kampachi aguachile, you KNOW we’ve still got room for dessert, bro! Unfortunately, they didn’t have the avocado ice cream with candied crickets that we had here last time, so instead I’m diving headfirst into some Spiced Mexican Chocolate Mousse, with buckthorn berries and sponge toffee. Again, the waiter was all like, “This dessert is meant for two people, are you sure you don’t wanna share?” Dude, that’s like asking Kobayashi if he wants to order off the kids menu, bro! Let’s just say I destroyed that mousse faster than you can say “57 Hotdogs with Nothing On,” Bro-ce Springsteen!!!!

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Oh, and it was really tasty, too!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Chowing down 8 courses at the best Italian restaurant outside of Italy…

Now, we don’t usually do tasting menus on Triple B — my motto’s always been why go for a buncha small plates when you can get an XL pizza, bro??? — but when we heard that Don Alfonso 1890, this funky joint inside of Casa Loma, was officially named the best Italian restaurant outside of Italy, you KNOW we had to check it out! And when you eat here, there are only two options: a three-course a la carte menu for 120 dollars, or an eight-course tasting menu for $180. I may not be good at math, but I think that getting more than twice as many things for 50% more money seems like the better way to go, bro!!!!

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After a bread plate and some canapes, they kick things up right away with this playful, mysterious little dish called L‘Anguilla. Believe it or not, but that’s eel gelato, topped with sturgeon caviar, with a side of wild-rose tagliatelle on a dollop of fresh herbs. Now, when it comes to gelato, my go-to is gianduja, but this fishy variety makes for a very interesting appetizer…

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Speaking of seafaring creatures, this rolled-up Muscovy duck breast is served with mashed apples and baby spinach, with a balsamic vinegar and demi-glace. Dude, this duck definitely doesn’t suck!!!!!!

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Of course, you can’t be the best Italian restaurant outside of Italy without making a mean pasta, and this vermicelli dish definitely fits the bill. Noodles are cooked perfectly, with a couple pieces of mackerel on the side and topped with Sicilian pine nuts, which give it a nice crunch. Man, I couldda slammed three times as much pasta — but I had to save room for snapper:

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This roasted red snapper has a nice, citrusy seasoning, on a bed of organic asparagus — the best kind of asparagus, bro! — red radishes, and a cauliflower puree. While I don’t normally go for fish, this dish was delish!!!!

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But they’re saving the best for last with Il Bisonte! You’ve got Manitoba bison tenderloin wrapped in a Swiss chard and Buffalo mozzarella crust, with salsa verde and red chili sauce for dipping. The meat was perfectly cooked, super-tender… dude, you could put that cheese crust on a flip-flop, and it would still taste good!!!

And it turns out the bison was the same size portion as the one on the a la carte menu. It’s just that the a la carte version comes with veggies, so it looks like I made the right choice…

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Now, when you’re dining at the best Italian restaurant outside of Italy, you don’t just get one dessert to choose from, son! Served on top of dry ice, we’ve got little baby cannoli, raspberry mousse on a raspberry wafer topped with a raspberry… and the star of the show, Pistachio Semifreddo (which sounds like a bad guy on The Sopranos, bro!) But that’s not all, folks…

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Say hello to ma lil’ friend Trionfo Alla Nocciola! They’re packing a whole lotta hazelnut in here, with hazelnut parfait, hazelnut sponge cake, hazelnut crumble and a hazelnut mousse wrapped in chocolate on top. Dude, that’s hazel-nuts!!!!!

Now, while I didn’t go for the wine pairing, my personal beer pairing (Blood Brothers Inner Eye IPA) along with the tasting menu, tax and tip set me back nearly three bills. So I might hafta stick with frozen pizza for the rest of the week — not that there’s anything wrong with that… 😛

GRAND OPENING: This dry-aged duck definitely doesn’t suck!!!

Now, we don’t always do fine dining here on Triple B, but when we do, you KNOW it’s gonna be honky-tonk redonkadonk, bro! So, we’re hanging out at Joni, this new joint that just opened up in the Park Hyatt on Bloor Street. This place is serving up breakfast, lunch AND dinner, and while I dunno if I’d pay 32 bucks for a Classic Canadian Breakfast, bro, I don’t mind dishing out that much for some bees wax poached lobster:

Now, obviously you’re not getting a whole lobster at that price — pretty sure I’ve seen shrimp that were bigger than this, son! And it doesn’t even take up half of the plate… But while you can totally pig out on two (for one) Typhoon Crispy Lobster Mountains for about as much money, this here lobster is much, much tastier.

Speaking of tasty, it’s time for the main event! This dry-aged duck breast is cooked to a nice medium-rare, with super-crispy skin. Plus, you’ve got pickled cherries, confit turnip and some licorice crumble — definitely my first time eating any of those things!!!!

But you KNOW we’ve still got room for dessert, bro! And all the desserts here have one-word names, like cacao, apple or citrus — of course, I went for the chocolate. Basically, you’ve got some chocolate sponge cake, with two kinds of ice cream — chocolate and lemon! Nothing wrong with that at all, although I think I still had room for another dessert…

TORONTO’S TOP TAKEOUT: This smoked duck sushi burrito is a Flavourtown fusion three-way!!!

Dude, I can’t even remember the last time I used Ritual — probably sometime before the pandemic started. But for a limited time, they are taking 50% off your first order at certain restaurants, up to $10, which is perfect for lunchtime. And since it’s warm outside now, I figured I might as well take advantage of one of the few things we’re actually allowed to leave the house for and pick up some takeout instead of having it delivered to me for a change.

So, there’s this funky little joint called Mi’hito Sushi Laboratory serving up Japanese/Mexican fusion from four locations across Toronto and Mississauga. This place has got everything: sushi tacos, sushi burritos, poke bowls and so many rolls to choose from. But when I saw the Spicy Samurai Duck burrito, I was all over that like duck on rice, bro!!!

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OK, now let’s break it down. What we’ve got here is smoked duck breast, served cold, with a mix of cabbage, red pepper, seaweed, mandarin orange and a cucumber dill dressing leaking out all over the place. This thing was super messy, bro! I don’t think I’ve ever had duck served cold before, but you still got a nice, rich, meaty texture. But this is a situation where all the meat is on one side, and the veggies are on the other, so you gotta take two bites before you chew, son!!!

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Of course, you KNOW I couldn’t get Japanese/Mexican takeout and NOT order a fried chicken taco, bro! This chicken is super-crunchy, karaage-style, but also seems to be served cold, with lettuce, cabbage, corn, edamame, green onions, and one lonely piece of avocado hanging out the end. Now, this wouldn’t be the best fried chicken taco I’ve ever had, but at 50% off, it only cost me like 2 bucks, and I can go for that…

TORONTO’S TOP TAKEOUT: This duck pizza is a Flavourtown double down!!!

Now, even with all these funky joints shutting down during the pandemic, there are still some new restaurants that have opened, like Za Cafe, this little pizza place that replaced The Gabardine on Bay Street a few months back. Now, if there’s one food that’s made for takeout and delivery, it’s pizza, and these guys have got 15 different kinds to choose from, including veal, jerk shrimp and spicy house sausage. But when I saw the duck pie, you KNOW I was gonna cross the road for that one, bro!!!

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Now, this pizza has got two kinds of duck — duck breast AND duck eggs! There’s actually no cheese on here, but the unctuous egg action keeps it nice and creamy. I also added some green hot chili peppers as a free add-on, which really kicked it up a notch, bro!!!

HEATED PATIO EATS: Fancy land, sea & air trio @ George

Since the province has ordered all indoor seating at restaurants in Toronto to stay closed until November, a lot of places have started popping up with heated patios. I wasn’t sure if I even wanted to be out on a patio when it was only, like, 10 degrees outside, but last night, I was sitting outside in a t-shirt, right next to a heater, chowing down on three tasty courses at George, this really nice restaurant on a not-so-nice stretch of Queen Street East…

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So, we’re starting off with lobster, a dish served cold with lentils, lemongrass and a random piece of lavash bread for some reason. I don’t always eat cold lobster, but the nice, meaty chunks went well with the lentils…and hey, if you give me bread, it’s not like I’m not gonna eat it.

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From there we’ve moving on to what was probably the best dish of the night, roasted duck breast with chanterelle mushrooms and a Danish-style pastry stuffed with mushrooms and herbs — it’s like Yorkshire pudding gone hygge, bro! The duck was nicely roasted, and you got a pretty decent amount of food for a “second course,” which was enough to tide me over until the main event.

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Now, this is something you definitely don’t see every day. We’re talking wild boar, medium rare, with some cheese-stuffed pasta, beans ‘n greens. And also a tostada, for some reason. I am not sure what’s up with the random breads at this place…but again, I’m not really complaining.

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Of course, you KNOW we’ve still got room for dessert, bro! I wasn’t really feeling the desserts on the menu, so I asked if they had anything chocolate, and they were like, “Why yes, we do!” This here’s a flourless chocolate cake, which they call a “bergote,” and it’s topped with strawberry ganache and caramel butter cream. It might not be my favourite flourless chocolate cake in the city…but with all the crazy flavours going on here, I think it’s my second-favourite.

FLAVOURTOWN OLYMPICS: This French duck breast is only second best!

Oh man, was that was one helluva ice dance last night, or what? Virtue and Moir, the greatest ice dancers of all time, had to make an epic comeback after the French team of Papadakis and Cizeron came out and set a new world record. Papadakis had a major wardrobe malfunction in the free skate, but it still looked like they were gonna win gold…until Tessa and Scott came through in the clutch and set an even newer world record. Boom goes the ice-dance-amite!!!!

Man, it’s gotta suck knowing that you’re one of the greatest, but someone else is just a bit better than you. That’s kinda like being the duck breast in this delicious duck double down, bro!

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Don’t get me wrong, I love duck breast just as much as the next broseph, but for me, duck confit is where it’s at. So, when I heard that Le Batifole, this friendly neighbourhood French joint on Gerrard, was combining them both into one iconic French duo, I was so into that like a Macron handshake, mec! But even though the breast was succulent and juicy, I still had to give it to the confit on this one. It scored higher marks in technical execution, son!

READ MORE: We’ve got both kinds of duck here: confit AND breastern!