Tag Archives: guacamole

Who needs porchetta when you can have lambchetta, bro???

Now, if porchetta isn’t my favourite sandwich, it’s gotta be somewhere in the top 10. You’ve got tender pork belly, crispy pork skin, with maybe some mustard or rapini on a bun… You can’t go wrong with that, son! So when I heard that Marked, this funky South American joint around the corner from the Scotiabank Theatre, was serving up something called lambchetta — which is pretty much the same thing, except with lamb — you KNOW I had to check it out, bro!!!!!

marked_guasacaca_dip (6)

We’re starting off with some guasacaca, a Venezuelan avocado dip. Holy guacamole, bro! But while guac is chunkier, guasa is more creamy, with big bites of onion that make it more like an avocado relish. I’d still put that on a sandalia de playa, though!!!!

marked_lambchetta (18)

But now it’s time for the lamb event! This lamb belly is grilled on the churrasco till it’s nice and tender, and served on a bed of green olive puree. There’s not a lotta crispy skin here, and you can’t get it as a sandwich, but other than that… I can’t complain!

marked_feijoada (11)

They mighta replaced pork with lamb in that last dish, but we’ve got yer little piggy right here, bro! We’re scarfing down a side of feijoada, Brazil’s national dish, a hot ‘n hearty stew with pork hock, chorizo and black beans, bro! Last time I had this dish, it was served with white beans, but me, I like my beans how I like my metal — blackened progressive sludge, son!!!!

marked_jellyvision (6)

Now, this here’s what they call a Jellyvision. You’ve got a pint of Bellwoods Jelly King dry hopped sour beer, and a shot of Blanco Tequila, infused with toasted cinnamon and szechuan. The sour fruitiness of the beer plays off against the warm, rich kick of tequila…although you only get the full experience for a few sips. (Let’s just say I switched to an IPA after this.)

marked_alfajores (4)

But you KNOW we’ve still got room for dessert, bro!!! This here’s their crazy spin on alfajores, a South American classic. These are usually sandwich-style cookies, a cross between an Oreo and Jos Louis…but their version is clearly something completely different — a cross between a cake and a chocolate bar. It’s still got a whole lotta layers, though:

marked_alfajores (7)

What we’ve got here is chocolate hazelnut cake, buttercream, banana caramel and chocolate mousse, with a scoop of banana ice cream on the side. But even with all these different things, you mostly taste the banana. Dude, that’s bananas… and bananas is good!!!!

It’s a Mexican meat mountain in a bowl, bro!!!

Now, I know we just had Mexican the other day, but there’s no such thing as too much Mexican food, bro! We’re hanging out at Añejo, this funky joint in a basement at the corner of King and Portland that’s so legit, the guacamole is served up tableside!!!

anejo_guacamole (3)

Dude, it doesn’t get any fresher than this! You’ve got onions, tomato, cilantro, avocado and jalapenos, with a little garlic and lime, served with a side of tortilla chips. Man, I wish I could have somebody follow me around and make guacamole for me everywhere, bro!!!

anejo_molcajete_de_carne (9)

But the main reason I’m here is for the molcajete de carne, a sizzling meat stew that’s packing beef, chorizo and chicken, along with roasted veggies, tomato sauce, oaxaca cheese and even a piece of cactus into the pot. Plus, they give you a handful of tortillas, so you can basically make your own tacos, bros!!!!

anejo_tarta_de_chocolate (5)

But even after all that commotion back there, we’ve still got room for dessert. I’m talkin’ tarta de chocolate, a couple little brownie bites served with brandy, candied serrano peppers and some habanero salt, for that little extra kick. All that’s missing the big stone bowl, bro!!!!!!!!

GRAND OPENING: Beertown is my kinda town, bro!!!

Now, I didn’t get out very much during Second Lockdown, but when I happened to be downtown, I saw they were building this new joint called Beertown, and I knew I had to go there right when it opened. OK, so we weren’t there on opening day, but we hit it up a couple weeks later…and lemme tell ya, their craft beer selection is off the hook, son!!!

couch_full_of_dads (6)

We’re starting off with a Couch Full of Dads, a hazy IPA from Town Brewery in Whitby, where there are couches and couches full of dads. This was not too hoppy and not too heavy, at 6.3%, but you know that’s only Chapter One in Beertown, son!!!!

tropical_apocalypse_farmhouse_ale (3)

This Tropical Apocalypse farmhouse ale is pretty fruity — I mean, it tastes like eating fresh pineapples, and I’m surprised I even remember what pineapple tastes like, cuz I only eat it when it’s on a pizza

bianca_mango_lassi_gose (5)

Don’t look now, but we just funked it up another notch with this Bianca Mango Lassi Gose from those slippery Scandinavians at Omnipollo. Now, I don’t really remember what mango tastes like, but this wasn’t quite as fruity as I thought it would be.

soleil_sorbet_kettle_sour (6)

And we’re keeping it sour with a Soleil Sorbet Kettle Sour from Storm Stayed Brewing Company in London, ON. You might have noticed by now that they have branded glasses AND branded coasters for every beer on tap — cuz that’s how they roll in Beertown, bro!!!!!

duchesse_de_bourgogne_ale (5)

So we’re heading across the pond with a Duchesse de Bourgogne, this Flanders red ale from a Belgian brewery that I can’t even spell or say out loud. It’s almost got the richness or a Belgian dubbel or tripel, but at just 6.2%, it won’t leave you dubbel’ed over…

zap_pink_lemonade_sour (4)

We should probably start slowing down at this point, so it’s time to switch to lemonade… Make that a ZAP! Pink Lemonade sour IPA from Nickel Brook, son! Look at THIS photograph, Chad Bro-ger!!!!!

lone_pine_west_coast_ipa (4)

We started off with an East Coast IPA, so now we’re ending this magical mystery tour of Beertown with a Lone Pine West Coast IPA from Sawdust City Brewing. Man, everything about this beer sounds so country, you’d be surprised to learn it’s brewed in the Muskokas!!!

beertown_public_house_nachos (4)

Of course, you KNOW we’re not drinking seven beers without eating anything, bro! These are the Public House Nachos, topped with beef brisket, diced tomatoes, peppers, cheddar, mozzarella, pickled jalapeños and handfuls of cilantro. Man, I dunno that I’ve ever seen so much cilantro on top of nachos, bro…

beertown_guac+chips (4)

Luckily, there’s only a little bit of cilantro with their guac + chips, along with some pico de gallo and a small container of salsa. I even double-dipped the chip, cuz these chips are all mine, George Bro-stanza!!!!

beertown_soft_baked_pretzel (2)

Now, it turns out that for $1.99 you can get two soft-baked pretzel sticks, which are warm, salty ‘n delicious, with a side of some spicy mustard. I think next time I would probably pay the $10.99 for a full-sized pretzel though, especially since it comes with cheese + beer dip, which covers at least three of the five food groups in Flavourtown!!!!!

TORONTO’S TOP TAKEOUT: Cinco de Mayo Tacos from Pico de Gallo

Now we’re getting to that weird part of the year where, thanks to COVID, we’ve started celebrating holidays under lockdown for the second time. Not that we really celebrate Cinco de Mayo in Toronto — kinda like how St. Patrick’s Day isn’t much more than an excuse to day drink, Cinco de Mayo is pretty much just a reason to eat tacos. Lots and lots of tacos, bro! So when I saw this funky little joint called Pico de Gallo all over Instagram with their Combo for 2, you KNOW I had to check it out…even if there’s only one of me.

What we’ve got here is your choice of five tacos, either a burrito or a torta, and chips with guacamole, all for 40 bucks. Or, what we call a light lunch in Flavourtown. Now, let’s break it down…

chicken_adobo_taco (6)

La fiesta empieza with a chicken adobo taco. I know this looks like it’s about 50% lettuce, but once you get down to the meat, it’s pretty tasty.

baja_fish_taco (9)

Now, I was gonna get one taco of every different animal on the menu, except that they messed up my order a bit. More on that later. For now, feast your eyes on one of the Top Five fish tacos I’ve ever had, bro! Fish was light and flaky, with a nice crunchy batter, and the pour-your-own donkey sauce really kicked it up a notch!!!

grilled_shrimp_taco (10)

We’re staying under the sea with a grilled shrimp taco, topped with coriander, peppers and a spicy, smoky salsa. Now, they put four sauce containers on the platter, each one next to a taco, so I figured those were the sauces they were supposed to go with. But man, I probably shouldda tasted this one before pouring the whole thing onto the shrimp. This sauce was so hot, I needed several sips of Honey Habanero beer to cool it down!!!

honey_habanero_ale (5)

Picked this bad boy up from The Beer Store especially for this occasion. Now, I’ve already had a couple habanero beers south of the border in 2019, and one of them was like the spiciest thing I’ve ever drank. So I was expecting at least a little heat from this beer…and I didn’t get any. I didn’t really taste the honey, either. I mean, it was still a nice, light, crushable brew, but if you don’t taste the two things on the label, then I dunno, bro. Maybe I’ll try another can without any spicy Mexican food to see if it tastes any different.

UPDATE: OK, there is definitely more habanero heat when you don’t drink this with spicy Mexican food. Still not as overpowering as the Mango Habanero Oberon, but I am definitely feeling the bern right now…

beef_tongue_taco (6)

But now we’re back on the taco attack, with the best beef tongue taco I’ve ever had, bro! For me, good lengua should taste like the well-done beef at the edge of a prime rib roast, and this tongue was totally on point. Plus, the salsa I dumped on top wasn’t nearly as spicy as the last one…

beef_brisket_taco (8)

Now, here’s where Pico de Gallo dun goofed. I asked for a Taco Al Pastor in my order, but instead of sweet ‘n spicy pork with pineapple, I got a beef brisket taco instead. I dunno if they were sold out, or if they got mixed up cuz I had also ordered a beef brisket burrito, but that’s the breaks, little man.

Adding to my disappointment, this taco was not very good. The brisket was really dry, and all bunched up in a great big clump. Did it help that I had already eaten four tacos, all the chips with guac, and half a burrito before I even bit into this one? Probably not. But if there’s one taco from this combo that I would avoid ordering next time — even by accident — it would definitely be the brisket.

beef_brisket_burrito (22)

Speaking of brisket, this burrito suffered from the same predicament as its taco bro. Meat was really dry, but at least the rice, cheese and chipotle donkey sauce made for a bit of a better bite. Of course, I still ate it all…but I kinda wished I had gone for a Burrito Al Pastor instead!!!!

pico_de_gallo_aftermath (4)

I’m soooo gonna Tap That Cask, bro!!!!

Now, since Doug Ford shut down large gatherings in Ontario (even tailgate parties serving Buck-a-Beer!), it meant that there weren’t too many folks at Duke’s Refresher for their Tap That Cask Festival yesterday. Which just means more craft beer for me, bro!

This awesome event brought over a dozen cask beers from breweries all over Ontario, and sample cups were just two bucks. Let’s just say I did my part to support the provincial economy…

tap_that_cask_flight_1 (4)

My first flight, from left to right:

  • Nickel Brook Gold & Glory Cuvee — barrel bourbon aged, very sour, definitely a bit of tang, also a bit of a pruney Farmhouse taste
  • Innocente Irish Red Ale brewed with Lucky Charms — solid red ale with a bit of sweetness, but doesn’t taste like Lucky Charms
  • Halo Event Horizon Stout with lactose — milkier Guinness with a bit of a kick, chocolately notes a la Lions Winter Ale, but a bit smoother
  • Black Lab APA with lemon, grapefruit & orange — very fruity, citrusy, crushable
tap_that_cask_flight_2 (4)
Flight number two, coming right through…
  • Muddy York Best Bitter — English pub style beer, right combo of malt and bitter
  • Elora Raspberry Lodestar Sour — very fruity, definitely taste the raspberry
  • Blood Brothers Fruity DIPA — very citrusy, grapefruit or passion fruit flavour, not super hoppy
  • Beau’s Wag the Wolf White IPA — nice hoppy, citrusy flavour. Solid IPA

tap_that_cask_flight_3 (2)

Flight number three still tastes good to me!!!

  • Left Field Rally Cap Hibiscus Pale Ale — Not as tart or as sour as Side Launch, a more balanced, refreshing fruity beer
  • Skeleton Brew Crew Knucklebone IPA — another typical IPA, nothing more, nothing less
  • Rorschach Hawaiian Punch Reverie DIPA — definitely get the fruit punch, tanginess
  • Collingwood Downhill Pale Ale — Pretty standard IPA, nothing wrong with that

dukes_refresher_onion_rings (5)

Of course, you KNOW I couldn’t crush all those cask beers on an empty stomach, son! Now, the best onion rings I’ve ever had were at this funky burger bar in Buffalo, but this tall tower of super-crispiness, with a nice side of chipotle donkey sauce, might just be second best!

dukes_refresher_guacamole (1)

Holy guacamole, bro! This guac rocks with big, creamy chunks of avocado goodness, to go with some nice, lightly seasoned chips…and they even throw in a tin of salsa roja for that double-dipping action!

halo_event_horizon_stout (3)

Now, it’s hard to pick a favourite among so many great brews, but if I had to choose, it would be Halo’s Event Horizon Stout — I liked it so much, I ordered a full pint! Dude, this is like Stouts Gone Wild — super-creamy, with the lactose adding an extra richness that you don’t get with Guinness. And since St. Patty’s Day is probably cancelled, this might be the only stout I slam until April, bro!!! 😦 😦 😦 😦

One night in Bangkok and we’re eating nachos!

Now, if you wanna find a place that has Happy Hour after 7 pm, head to the Financial District, where all the bankers working for the weekend are long, long gone on a Friday night. At REDS Wine Tavern on Adelaide, they’re serving up five-dolla wines, Muskoka half-pints and gin and tonics–but only after seven, bro!

Now, I don’t normally drink wine, so I went with a Muskoka Detour Session IPA. And you know beer goes with nachos like peroxide on a Fieri, so I’m slamming down some Bangkok nachos, son!!!

reds_bangkok_nachos (8)

OK, now check out this funky melody in Flavourtown. You’ve got some roasted chicken, lime crema, queso and chili sauce, topped with onions, cilantro and sesame seeds, all on a cripsy wonton? Shut the back door, bro!

nova_scotia_guacamole (6)

Now what goes better with Bangkok nachos than some lobster guacamole? You’ve got Nova Scotia lobster, smothered in guajillo chilies, on top of creamy avocado…dude, you could put that on a hip-wader, and it would still taste good!!!