Tag Archives: fried chicken

Drinks and small bites with a view @ Writers Room

Although we’ve had a couple false starts along the way, it looks like it’s finally rooftop patio season in Toronto, bro! We’re hanging out at the Writers Room Bar, on the 17th floor of the Park Hyatt, where they’re serving up cocktails inspired by Canadian writers — like the Wordsmith, which has a quote from Mordecai Richler beneath it on the menu:

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This drink mixes dark rum with sweet vermouth and bitters, for a little extra kick at the end. It also feels a little strong — especially when you’re drinking on an empty stomach. 😉

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Speaking of which, these fried maitake mushrooms are some nice little bites, with a sweet chili honey and a side of ranch. Definitely in my top five deep-fried mushroom dishes, bro!!!!

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Their Mini Park Burger totally lives up to its name. It’s really just a slider (and a $19 slider at that). Still, it’s pretty tasty, with some onion jam on the bottom and gouda cheese on top…I just wish there was more of it to go around.

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If you’re looking for something bigger, their Korean fried chicken comes with lettuce wraps, a little bit of kimchi cauliflower and a little bit of donkey sauce and peanut sauce. I’m not sure you actually get more deep-fried nuggets here than you do with an order of maitake mushrooms…but hey, it does come with lettuce, so there’s that.

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Now, I wouldn’t normally order a beer at a cocktail bar…but when they told me about this off-menu, in-house special, you KNOW I had to try it! Their Kabosu IPA is brewed exclusively for the hotel by Folly Brewpub (which we already know is too legit to quit), and it mixes in some Japanese citrus fruit for a taste that’s both hoppy and sour. I think I’ll skip the Margaret Atwood absinthe/cognac cocktail and have another one of these instead… 😛

5 course tasting menu…at a BBQ joint!!!???

Now, The Carbon Bar has gotta be the swankiest BBQ joint I’ve ever set foot in. Forget picnic tables, butcher paper and lining up to the counter, this place looks more like some fancy nightclub. But that don’t mean the food ain’t legit — I ordered some real-deal ribs from them during second (or was it third?) lockdown, and even made a couple of their meal kits at home when I had to isolate while awaiting COVID test results after coming back to Canada. (Fuck, I’m glad that shit’s almost over!) So when I heard they were serving up a five-course tasting menu for the reasonable price of 75 dollars, I was all over that like beef on brisket. Dude, that’s like 200 less than I paid at Don Alfonso, bro…

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Now, this may only count as one course, but we’ve actually got three appys here: mozzarella sticks, shishito peppers and KFC — that’s Korean Fried Cauliflower, son! The KFC was nice ‘n crispy, and they added some chili flakes to the shishitos to give ’em a nice little kick. Believe it or not, but the non-vegan mozza sticks were my least favourite thing here…

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Course number two is also a two-for-one, as they put down some shrimp ceviche and pulled pork tacos at the same time. I’m pretty sure this is the exact same pulled pork taco kit I made at home a couple months back…except that they fried the tortillas, while I put them in the microwave. Carbon Bar 1, Greedo Catucci 0.

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Next up was a fish course, which you definitely don’t see at yer average BBQ joint. We only got one piece of salmon per person, but that’s OK with me, since I was saving room for the Pitmaster Platter anyways:

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Now, The Carbon Bar definitely deserves credit for giving their Pitmaster Platter an Extreme Makeover: Flavourtown Edition since I first set foot in here back in 2016. Y’see, six years ago they only gave you three meats — brisket, ribs and fried chicken — and there was hardly enough food to go around. But since then, they’ve upped the ante with smoked sausage and smoked turkey (which is exclusive to the tasting menu; the regular platter comes with pulled pork). Sure, they’ve raised the price to $38 a person for the platter alone, but I actually think that’s a steal, son. Just compare this sad little plate of food from 2016 to the following meaty monstrosity:

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And that’s not even all of it — there was enough food left over for me to go back for seconds! But you KNOW I still had room for dessert, bro…

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OK, so these weren’t all just for me — everybody got a lil’ taste. We’ve got mini chocolate brownies, caramel fudge… but what makes it are the bourbon truffle skulls, bro!!!!!

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Dude, this might be the most badass dessert I’ve ever seen. You want my skull? You can’t have it, bro!!!!!

Now, this might already be the longest review in Triple B history, but you’re gonna wanna stick around for a few beers, cuz they’ve partnered with Blood Brothers Brewing to really kick their beer game up a notch…

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We’re starting off with an Autopop Cherry Sour, the only one of these three beers I’ve had before (it was in a smaller can, though). This one’s a nice way to ease you in, cuz it’s only 4% and tastes more like cherry soda.

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Now, I was trying to hold off on the heavy stout until the meat platter arrived, but the problem is, I drink beer too fast. So I polished off this Amaretto coffee stout, Under a House in Northern Italy, with the tacos and ceviche. Maybe not the best pairing… but dude, I could drink this with a flip-flop, and it would still taste good!!!!!!!

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But we’re saving the most funkalicious (funkaliciousist?) for last with this Ajji Majji nitro sour. This beer smells like vanilla and tastes like peaches — I dunno how they do it, but they sure do it good!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Fried chicken and mushrooms and shrimp… Omai!!!

We’re no strangers to izakayas here on Triple B, and you can find these funky little Japanese joints all over this city! So, we’re hanging out at Omai, this cozy little spot in Baldwin Village, with just a handful of tables and a sushi counter. And while they do serve sushi here, you KNOW I’m heading straight for the fried section of the menu, bro!!!

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We’re starting off with some butternut squash croquettes, coming in hot from the fryer. Now, I’ve had a few croquettes in my time, but these might be the first ones that were stuffed with veggies, son! They also add in some Oka cheese, which makes ‘er nice ‘n creamy…

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Man, I don’t think I’ve had fried shrimp since that one time, at Red Lobster… But there’s nothing wrong with these Panko Fried Shrimp, with a chive donkey sauce and some pickled radishes on the side. I could all-you-can-eat these any day, bro!!!

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Dude, I’m totally trippin’ over these fried oyster mushrooms, son! Warm and delicious, with a shrimp-flavoured donkey sauce — I’d put that on a flip-flop!!!!

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But now it’s time for the main event: Japanese style chicken karaage, served at face-melting temperatures, with some gochujang and more donkey sauce on the side — dude, this is body by donkey sauce! I actually had to wait a bit for the chicken to cool down, but the wait was well worth it!!!

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Of course, nothing goes better with Japanese bar food than beer from Godspeed, our local Japanese-inspired craft brewery. This Yuzu Citrus Saison actually tastes more like a wheat beer than a sour, and is super-crushable at a shade over 4%. I definitely pounded more than one of these!!!!

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But even after all that deep-fried deliciousness, you KNOW we’ve still got room for dessert, bro! The one dessert on the menu at Omai is a Basque Cheesecake, topped with pears, and infused with matcha. Not what I would expect to find at an izakaya…but it was still pretty tasty!

Fried chicken n waffles? We gotchu, FAM!

Now, back in the day when I used to hang out at The Big Bop, this hard rock bar at Queen and Bathurst (which is now a furniture store), there was this little dive across the street called Michael’s Tavern. No, not a funky little dive — but a straight up dive bar with some really sketchy characters. Only good thing about it was the beer was cheaper than across the street…

But you can’t buy beer at the Crate and Barrel, and just like The Big Bop, Michael’s Tavern is no more. Instead, they’ve got this funky little joint called Food Art Music in that spot serving up comfort food classics like these chicken and waffles:

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OK, now let’s break it down. Chicken is boneless, like a tender, but it’s dark meat, with a bit of a kick. Waffles are nice and fluffy, Belgian style, with some fresh berries so you can call it breakfast. Maybe not the best chicken n waffles I’ve ever had, but it beats the heck outta anything they were serving up at Michael’s Tavern, bro!!!!

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In the beer department, this place isn’t much of an upgrade over Michael’s, though. Just your standard macrobrews from Molson, Coors, Heineken and Corona. I actually ordered a couple PBRs, y’know, for old time’s sake…

Ah-ah-ah-ah, Jerk Lobster!!!

Now, we’ve had lobster a few different funky ways on Triple B, whether it was the 1.5-pound lobster roll at Smoked & Cracked (RIP), the Typhoon Crispy Lobster Mountain from Dine & Dim or the grandpappy of them all, Fishman Lobster Clubhouse’s 15 pounds of flavour. But one thing we haven’t tried until now was jerk lobster. I didn’t even know that was a thing, bro!

So, we’re hanging out at Patois, the legendary Jamaican Chinese joint on Dundas, which is now back at full capacity. I’ve already ordered takeout from dem a couple times during lockdown, so I know the food’s legit…and now they’re about to kick it up a notch!!!!

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With jerk in the name, I figured it’s gotta be spicy — the waiter even warned us — but there wasn’t really any heat in this dish. Turns out it’s cooked with jerk butter, which definitely adds flavour, but not much of a kick. Now, what puts this ahead of other crispy lobster dishes we’ve destroyed is they pair it with tater tots instead of frozen french fries. You KNOW I gotta have my tots, bro!!!!!!!!

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But that’s just the first act of this festival of funk in Flavourtown, son! We’re going to town on this $169 feast for four, starting off with Jamaican patties, kale salad and crispy Brussels sprouts. OK, so this wasn’t my favourite part of the feast — but hey, those Brussels sprouts weren’t too shabby…

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These Caribbean side dishes ain’t no side chick, son! We’ve got coleslaw, rice & peas, shrimp chips and my personal favourite — Trini Mac Pie. Dude, any dish that combines mac ‘n cheese and pie has gotta be one of the all-time greatest culinary creations in Flavourtown, bro!!!!

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But you KNOW this party’s just getting started in here, Bro-k Eyed Peas! Here come the hotsteppah — jerk chicken, fried chicken, and a pair of double smash burgers served on a Chinese pineapple bun!!! Oh, and they happen to have an extra-special secret ingredient…

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Now, I dunno if you can tell from this angle, but they actually put Hickory Sticks, my all-time favourite chips on top of this burger! Patties are pretty tasty, too, and the pineapple bun adds some extra sweetness… Can this night even get any better, bro!!!!!!???????

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You can totally order some fruity, tropical cocktails at this place — but since this blog ain’t Burgers, Bacon, Wray & Ting… I had to order a beer. Patois’ beer selection is pretty solid, too, with craft brews from Beaus, Blood Brothers, Cowbell and Fairweather alongside your Red Stripe and Dragon Stout. They’ve even got this Cowbell Citra Smash juicy IPA on tap, which is actually more fruity than hoppy at 40 IBU, and goes pretty great with Jamaican food, if I don’t say so myself…

EATING LAS VEGAS: Waffle Me Up, Before You Go Go…

If you like KISS, Guy Fieri and sweaty shirtless dudes, the Rio is the place to be, bro! Now, I didn’t stay here, but since these are a few of my favourite things, I did make a couple trips down Flamingo Ave during my time in Vegas. Another thing worth checking out at the Rio is Hash House a Go Go, this funky little diner serving up comfort food classics straight outta Indiana — like these Sage Fried Chicken and Waffles, son!

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What we’ve got here are two fried chicken breasts served up on a tower of waffle power, with a couple random fruits for a garnish or something. But let’s stick to the good stuff. Chicken is super-tender, with a nice, savoury seasoning, and the waffles have bacon baked right in — that’s like a game-winning triple play in Flavourtown!!!

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Dude, this is a breakfast that eats like a meal, bro! I might hafta play an extra round of KISS glow-in-the-dark mini golf just to work this all off…

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Hummus royale…without cheese.

Now, you KNOW I loves me some Middle Eastern food — dude, this is body by shawarma, bro! So when I heard that Byblos, this funky Eastern Mediterranean joint in the Entertainment District, was fully reopened for business, I had to come in and check it out. They actually don’t serve shawarma here, but you can get a short rib kebab, roasted lamb shoulder or wagyu brisket pide, among other things. But me, I’m gonna go for the wagyu beef in this funky little first course, hummus royale.

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Basically, what you’ve got here is hummus, topped with wagyu ground beef, pine nuts and barberries — say what now? Plus, it comes with these little pieces of Persian barbari flatbread for dipping. These little bread chunks don’t dip as easily as a pita, but I guess they’re more authentic, eh?

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But you know that hummus was just a light snack in Flavourtown — now it’s time for some Middle Eastern fried chicken!!!

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When they told me there were five pieces to an order, I figured it would be a decent-sized dinner — but these are more like boneless chicken bites, bro. Still pretty tasty, topped with tahini, za’atar herbs and with some spicy shug hot sauce on the side — I definitely needed to eat all those pickles to cool my mouth down, son! And hey, you KNOW I still had room for dessert, right?

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Dude, this hazelnut chocolate mousse is some next-level shit. It’s got that rich, chocolately taste, but there’s also some Middle Eastern spices, a bit of coffee syrup, edible flowers and a couple crunchy wafer cookies sticking out of the top. This dessert was the best part of the whole meal, bro!!!!

These deep-fried lamb balls are magically delicious!!!

Back at the beginning of First Lockdown, I ordered a whole Pekin duck from R&D…and ate it all myself. Dude, that duck was delicious! So now that they’re open for indoor dining again, we decided to stop by for another funky dish — how bout some deep-fried lamb balls, bro???

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Now, I know what you’re thinking…but we’re NOT nibbling on nutsacks here. These lamb croquettes are stuffed with braised lamb shank, potatoes and onions, served in a sea of lamb curry with some donkey sauce on the side. Dude, you KNOW I love lamb bro, and these tender little flavour nuggets just melt in my mouth!!!

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But now it’s time for the main event: chicken fried karaage style with a seaweed donkey sauce and a some lemon on the side. Man, this chicken was juicy, crispy…and coming in so hot I burned the back of my mouth, bro! And for 22 dollars, you get more than enough to share — unless you’re the type of person who eats a whole Pekin duck to themself. 😉

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And since the name of this blog isn’t Chicken, Croquettes & Coca-Cola, we’re washing this down with a Fountain Green IPA from Furnace Room Brewery in downtown Georgetown. First time I’ve ever heard of this beer, or even this brewery, but it checks all the boxes than an IPA should, so it’s all good in the Flavourhood!!!!

GRAND REOPENING: Four fried chickens and a beer, bro!

Collective Arts is probably one of my favourite craft breweries in Ontario, so when I found out that they had just reopened their Toronto location, for patio and indoor dining, you KNOW we had to check it out! Along with the craft beer, this place is serving up backyard favourites like tacos, empanadas, and these Blues Brothers in Flavourtown, the fried chicken platter:

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This platter is the perfect foursome in Flavourtown — four pieces of hot ‘n crispy chicken, four pieces of plain white bread and four pickles, along with a tangy jalapeno ranch sauce for dipping, which really kicked the white bread up a notch. Chicken itself is so hot, you gotta wait a while to eat it, but it’s well worth the wait, bro!!!

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Who needs a Coke with your fried chicken when you can have beer, bro? This Hazy State Session IPA has the citrusy kick you’re looking for, but at 4.1%, you can pound at least four of these…

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But instead, we’re switching it up with a Kiwi Sorbet Sour. You definitely get the taste of kiwi in this beer, along with a nice, sour kick, son!!!

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This Skipping Stones Mexican Lager tastes slightly better than Corona. I think I ordered it mostly because it came in a 20 oz glass…

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Speaking of 20 ounce-glasses, this Roads Travelled Light Lager was a nice way to end the evening. Despite being highly sippable at 3.9%, it still has a good malty finish, so it’s not like you’re drinking Bud Light here or anything…

 

 

 

 

 

TORONTO’S TOP TAKEOUT: Four fried chickens and a Coke

Dude, PG Clucks was serving up fried chicken sandwiches before fried chicken sandwiches was cool, bro! This place started out as a takeout window in the Royale Theatre, but when Birreria Volo opened next door, you could order their sandwiches right to your table, washed down with some killer craft beer. Of course, everything is takeout and delivery nowadays, and they’ve even opened a second location on Queen St West, but the OG in Little Italy is still closest to me. So, when I found out they were serving up 2-for-1 fried chicken on Uber Eats, I was all over that like John Belushi on a mission from God, Blues Bro!!!!

Now, you won’t get any chicken wings or chicken legs here — it’s all boneless, bro! Their two piece chicken + one side meal gave you the option of half regular, half Nashville Hot, so I ended up with two pieces of each. They also came with smokey chili and buttermilk ranch sauce…so I saved the smokey chili for the mild pieces. Chicken was nice ‘n crispy, and the boneless factor made it easy for dipping. I wouldn’t fill up on just one order, but 2-for-1 seemed just right for a light lunch in Flavourtown.

Now, their Nashville Hot Chicken wasn’t nearly as spicy as the stuff I’ve had in Nashville — or the best Nashville hot chicken in Toronto, for that matter. But while I loaded up on the buttermilk ranch — dude, this is body by buttermilk ranch — it still had a pretty decent kick. I may or may not have been all Johnny Cash on the toilet after, put it that way…

On the side, I went with macaroni salad, which was probably just the right amount — once you double it, anyways. The creaminess took a bit of the edge off the Nashville Hot, and it’s always good to have another bite in between. One two-piece order is just a light snack in Flavourtown, but when you double down, it’s at least enough for lunch, son!!!

 

 

 

 

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