Tag Archives: French food

MUCH MORE MUNICH: Bohemian brunch at a funky Michelin star French joint

Now, I wanted to make sure I wasn’t watching football on an empty stomach last Sunday, so I was looking for some real-deal brunch before the big game. And about halfway from Marienplatz to Allianz Arena, on the bustling Leopoldstrasse, there’s a two-time Michelin Star joint that’s bringing the buffet to you — this is La Bohème!

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For a set price of 79 Euros per person, they’re serving up a multi-course meal with all the things you see above. They do not seem to have an English menu, and I don’t know what half of these words mean…but everything they brought out was quite tasty.

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We started with a cheese cracker, bruschetta, hummus in a cone, and another cone with crudités and dip. Fancy schmancy!

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This spread was like a whole meal in itself (and could probably feed a table for four) with a variety of breads, meats, cheese, smoked salmon, smoked mackerel, guacamole, marmalade… Let’s just say I made a few interesting open-faced sammies out of this. Smoked fish and marmalade taste better together than you might think!

But wait, there’s more…

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Now here’s an interesting take on eggs benny. It’s practically gluten-free with just a couple croutons on the side. But the egg is nicely poached, bacon is good and crispy… It’s different, but it works.

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Next up, a bit of a break with Caesar salad, Avocado/raisin salad and a shrimp cocktail. Caesar was nice and creamy, shrimp was plump and tasty, and who knew that avocado and raisins went together so well???

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From there, we get a lot of small but mighty plates, like rare roast beef with one sliver of potato…

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This little slider was OK, but nothing special.

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Mushroom risotto was strangely foamy but still quite tasty. Mushrooms were nice and tender and the rice was cooked perfectly.

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More rice, and more foam, along with their catch of the day. It’s good, but I’m over it.

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What I really need is some steak to pick me up — and this meat is literally on fire, bro! Beef is super tender, and that cognac glaze really sets it off!!!!

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Instead of full-sized pancakes, we got a bit of an amuse bouche with these pancake balls. Unfortunately only the bottom one got any syrup, and the top one was pretty dry…

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Just when it looked like I would have to skip dessert to head down to the game, I saw them preparing these crepes and decided to wait. Paper thin and citrusy with lemon and orange, it was a nice end to a very long meal. Like I said, this entire 3-hour feast — including champagne and orange juice — was 79 Euros, tax included. Maybe that’s not so great once you convert it to CAD, but for all this food, I really can’t complain… Alles gut en ze hood!

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!!!!

Allez les Duck le Bleu!!!!

Now, we’re pretty big fans of French food here on Triple B, and one of the most classic French dishes is duck confit. So when I heard Joy on Avenue, this funky little joint in Yorkville, was serving up this dish called Duck le Bleu, you KNOW I had to check it out, bro!

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But before we get to the duck, first let’s have some pork. Dude, this pork belly is super-tender, with cauliflower puree on the bottom and wild figs on top. I could crush at least four of these, son!

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Speaking of things that come in fours, these seared scallops are super-legit! Man, after that disappointing Crouching Melon, Hidden Scallop dish I had at Chica, I was hungry like the wolf for some real-deal bivalves, and these babies definitely didn’t disappoint!

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Now, usually when I see duck confit, it would be duck leg, not duck breast. But the meat here is cooked perfectly, nice ‘n juicy. And it’s served with a side of blueberry risotto, which puts the bleu in Duck le Bleu. Man, this would really go great with a Blanche de Chambly Bluet…but they don’t serve any beer at this place at all, bro. 😦 😦 😦

 

 

 

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!!!!!

French onion soup + French beef dip @ this funky French bistro

When we went to Cluny in 2020, I discovered that their coq au vin poutine for two was really just a light snack for me — and it was the only thing I ordered, too, except for dessert. So this time, I’m heading back to check out the ne plus français of French food, starting off with some French onion soup:

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Now, this dish looks really nice when it hits the table, with all that cheese on top. And the ingredients are all on point — melted gruyère, glazed onion, rich beef broth. Only thing that’s missing are the croutons… I guess that makes it gluten-free or something?

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Since the bread was missing from my French onion soup, I pretty much ordered the sandwich version of the same dish. French dip ain’t actually French — it was invented in Los Angeles, of all places. But the version they do here is pretty decent, with an onion loaf that’s flaky like a croissant. Problem is, that onion loaf falls apart too easy, which isn’t great when you’re trying to dip it in au jus. And the fries are super-seasoned, too, but since they don’t come with ketchup, that works for me.

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How better to wash down all that French food than with an English beer? Well, English-style, anyways — a Cobblestone Stout from just down the street at Mill Street Brewery. I have never drank a stout out of such a tall glass before, and it was served much colder than a proper pint of Guinness…but hey, it still gets the job done, son!!!!

PATIO LIT EATS: XXL pork chop? Don’t mind if I do…

Now, it’s probably safe to say that patio season in Toronto is pretty much over, with rain in the forecast for the next few days and the temperature dropping below 20 by the end of the week. (Hey, at least we’re allowed to eat inside now!) But before it gets too cold to eat out in the street, we’re hitting up one last patio at Domaine MaMo on Mount Pleasant, where half the menu is French food, and the other half Italian — it’s all written in English, though. And while they’ve got six kinds of pasta and eight different pizzas to choose from, I think I’m gonna stick to the French side of the menu…

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They call this dish panisse, and what we’ve got are some thick-cut chickpea fries, crunchy on the outside but soft on the inside, with a little olive tapenade and some harissa hot sauce for dipping. Now, you’re probably supposed to eat these with a fork and knife, but the only time I use a fork to eat fries is when I’m chowing down on some poutine, son!!!

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And now it’s time for the main event. I gotta say, this Porc XXL is really just a Medium compared to this pork chop I had a few years ago or even this one. But what it might be slightly lacking in size, it more than makes up for in flavour. Nice, tender meat with a crispy breading and just a touch of lemon. There’s even more olive tapenade on the side, bro! But we’re also kicking it up a notch with some meli melo, a mix of seasonal mushrooms with garlic, herbs and cheese. You could put that on a sandale de plage, and it would still taste good!!!

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Now, for dessert, I gotta say, I’m a little disappointed that they don’t do tiramisu or creme brulee — or even some funky combination of them both. Instead, we’ve got profiteroles…but these are not your typical profiteroles, with chocolate sauce on top and vanilla gelato on the inside instead of cream. I would still crush, like, 16 of these — but they only come 3 to an order, bro…

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?

GRAND REOPENING: 24 oz cote de boeuf for one @ Jules Bistro

Unless you’re new to Triple B, then you already know that this is body by steak, bro! So when I heard that Jules Bistro, this funky French joint on Queen West, was serving up a 24 oz. AAA grade ribeye platter for two, well, I figured that I could eat it all by myself. Hey, I did just polish off a 24 oz steak, like, a week ago, bro!!!

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I gotta say, I liked this steak even more than the one I had last week. Meat was cooked to perfection, a nice medium-rare, with a solid peppery seasoning. They even left the bone to gnaw on — although there wasn’t much meat on it. And the fries were on point; they basically tasted like McDonald’s, with a side of mayochup for dipping. But when it comes to the salad, they made a bit of a mistake…

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Now, on the menu it says you can substitute a Caesar salad for a few dollars more, and I figured that if I had to have salad with my steak, then it had better be Caesar. But as you saw in the first picture, the board came out with a plain green salad on it…and when I mentioned I had ordered the Caesar, they brought it out separately in its own bowl. Which means I now have to eat two whole salads. Not that it was gonna stop me…

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AND BOOM GOES THE DYNAMITE!!!

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Now, you might think I wouldn’t have room for dessert after such a glorious feast…but you’d be wrong, son! I am kinda glad this creme brulee wasn’t more than a couple ounces, though…

GRAND REOPENING: Snails in a half shell…snail power!!!

Now, I may not be French, but I know the French cook with a lotta butter and cream, and this is body by butter and cream, so I can go for that any day of the week, son! And it doesn’t get more French than escargot — snails swimming in garlic butter. I’ve ordered escargot a couple times at funky local joints like Le Papillon, Cafe La Gaffe and Auberge du Pommier, but here at Maison Selby, this cute little French bistro just a mime’s rope pull away from Bloor and Sherbourne, was the first place I’ve seen em served inside the shell.

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Now, after a bit of work with the escargot fork (which has two prongs, instead of three), I was able to wrestle a couple of these bad boys out onto a piece of toasted baguette. Nice texture; meaty, but not too chewy, and that garlic butter was TheBomb.fr — I just wish I had some softer bread to soak it all up…

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But you KNOW it’s gonna take more than six snails before I call it a night, bro! And it turns out this place has both kinds of lamb: leg AND shoulder, right here in their duo d’agneau. Meat was nice ‘n tender, in a rich, brown sauce…but I probably couldda eaten twice as much, and still had room for dessert.

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Don’t get me wrong, the food was pretty good, but the best thing about this meal was the beer. They’ve got this Guava Gose from Collective Arts on tap, which is equal parts fruity and sour, while looking like the kinda pink drink that FGL would stick an umbrella in. Baby you a beer, make me wanna roll my windows down and booooze!!!!!!

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!!!