Tag Archives: Italian food

Clappin’ veal cheeks @ Tutti Matti!!!

Last Friday, in the middle of a major snowstorm, I made my way over to Tutti Matti, this funky Italian joint on Adelaide that’s been serving up classic Tuscan cuisine for the past 20 years. Turns out it was the last day they were open before the holidays — they’re now closed until January 13. And dude, this is body by Italian food, so you KNOW I had to stop by, no matter how bad it was outside!!!!!

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Dude, this is definitely not my first porchetta sandwich…but it might be my first open-faced one. You’ve got some nice, slow-roasted piggy with arugula (or rocket, as they say across the pond) and deep-fried shallots on a big toasted piece of bread. Pork is super-tender, bread is nice ‘n crunchy — but the deep-fried shallots is what makes it!!!!!!!

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But you KNOW we’re just getting started, son! These veal cheeks were on special, so you might not even see ’em come January. But man, that beef was super fall-apart tender, served in au jus on a bed of creamy polenta with some crunchy croutons — hey, you gotta use up that bread before it goes bad, bro!!!!

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Another cool thing about this place is that all their beer (except for Peroni) comes from GoodLot, this funky little organic craft brewery in Caledon. I had never even heard of GoodLot before, so I asked to see all their wares. I passed on the Philsner and the Mellow Gold, but I can tell you that the Bighead Amber and Farmstead Ale were both quite tasty — I’ll hafta look for ’em in the LCBO sometime.

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But you know we’ve still got room for dessert, right? Their chocolate torte hit the spot, nice and rich with a scoop of caramel gelato on top. Dude, you could put that gelato on a snow boot, and it would still taste good!!!!!!!

MUCH MORE MUNICH: Do you even KNOW knödel, bro????

Now, Munich is a very diverse city — you can find pretty much any kind of food here. (The latest trend is Mexican food, apparently — but we’re a long ways from Mexico, so I think I’m gonna pass…) Me, I wanted to try a style of cuisine that I’ve never had before, and I found it at this funky joint called Fink’s Südtiroler Knödelküche. (Try saying that five times fast!)

So, if you didn’t know (and I only found this out like a month ago), a knödel is a type of dumpling from the South Tyrolean region of Italy, which is actually in the northern part of the country. Now, I’ve had a whole lotta Italian food in Toronto, but I’ve never even seen these before… so I went all in with a KnödelQuartet — four knödel for 18 Euros, bro!!!!

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Started off with the Porciniknödel, nice mushroom flavour that cuts through the mix. Goes great with the Gorgonzola sauce (served separately), son!

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Up next, the Greeknödel, with feta, olives and sun-dried tomatoes. You can taste the tang of the olives, while the tomatoes give this one a nice little kick!

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You can tell which one is the Pizzanödel by its bright orange colour. The combo of tomatoes and cheese make it taste kinda like a pizza… A pizza with no meat, that is.

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Last but not least, the Baconnödel — there’s no shortage of bacon in this one, son! The bacon goes quite well with the rich, doughy dumpling… dude, if I lived here, this would be body by bacon dumplings!!!!

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Washed it all down with a Weihenstephan Weizen, which they’ve been brewing since 10-freaking-40! Man, I loves me some German wheat beer, and this one’s on point. Nice, easy drinking, with a bit of bananas at the end — you KNOW bananas is good, bro!!!!!!

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But even after all that knödel-motion back there, we still have room for dessert. This Bitter Chocolate Orange Knödel is coming in hot with a sugary, doughy outside that kinda reminds me of apple crumble. Chocolate is definitely there, but it doesn’t steal the show. One of the most interesting desserts I’ve had all year — you won’t find this at Swiss Chalet, son!!!!!!!!!

MUCH MORE MUNICH: Can I eat on your magic bus?

Dude, Magic Bus is like my third favourite Who song (Baba O’Reilly FTW!), so when I heard that Munich had its own magic food bus — a modified school bus called DinnerHopping with a built-in bar that takes you to three different local restaurants for a three-course meal, I was all over that like Keith Moon on Heminevrin, bro!

Now, it just so happened to be Italian night when I booked, and since Germany’s a lot closer to Italy than Toronto, I was really curious to see whether things would be more authentic here than back home in Il Gran Fumado…

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The first course, from a place called Ristorante Ottantanove, is beef carpaccio…. and there’s more than enough to go around! Beef had a nice chew, topped with grated parm and shredded mozz, plus some arugula for colour. Not too sure about the cheese on top, but anytime you can start a meal with beef, you KNOW it’s gonna be a good day, bro!!!!!!

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While I don’t usually talk about bread, I like how even the Italian restaurants over here tie their bread rolls into little pretzels, hahaha. Dude, this is body by soft pretzels…and they are everywhere in Munich!!!!

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But now it’s time for the main event, seafood risotto from Trattoria Il Cigno. You’ve got fish, mussels and shrimp on a nice, creamy bed of rice. Portion looks a little small, but there’s plenty of mussels to go around, and I managed to shuck the shrimp successfully, which really kicked things up a notch. I don’t usually go for risotto, but I’d put this dish up with any seafood pasta I’ve had in Toronto, bro!!!!

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For dessert, you KNOW I’m having tiramisu, bro! Vi Vadi Rustico is maybe not making it 100% like Nonna, but they do it up right. Yes, there is chocolate sauce drizzled on the plate and a random fruit garnish, but the espresso, marscapone and ladyfingers are on point. Questionable flourishes aside, this tiramisu is quite tasty!

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Of course, you KNOW this ain’t Burgers, Bacon and Pinot Grigio, bro! The only beer on board was Erdinger Helles, which wasn’t bad…it kinda reminds me of Labatt Blue. But man, after slamming some killer wheat beer for like 4.50 Euros at a grocery store, let’s just say that Munich can do much better…

On the tour, they charge an extra fee for beer (I think it was like 13 Euros) on top of the cost of the food. I mean, you could stick with soda, but why??? Now, I dunno how many beers you’re supposed to get for that price, but I had like 5 and they didn’t cut me off, so I’d say I got my money’s worth!!!!

Too much linguine? No, not really…

Now, I would ride or die with Clint Eastwood, bro, but if he ever asks this fat fuck to climb a fence, my answer’s gonna be “Too much linguine.” Good thing that at Enoteca Sociale, this “Funky spot offering Italian small plates” (couldn’t have said it any better myself!) you don’t get too much linguine when you order. I still ain’t climbing no fence, though!!!!!

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Speaking of small plates, their arancini only come one to an order — I guess that makes it arancino? But hey, it was still a nice, hot ‘n cheesy rice ball… I guess for six bucks, you wouldn’t get more than one, eh?

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When it comes to their squid ink linguine (linguine nero di seppia), the ball of pasta is more than a little bit bigger than an arancino. It also comes with some nice bites of snow crab and a whole lotta zucchini. But I think I finished this thing in like six or seven bites — let’s just say I definitely still had room for dessert!

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And when I’m eating Italian, you KNOW I’m having tiramisu for dessert, bro! I was making hand gestures when I saw them bring it out in a coffee cup, but even if it’s not how Nonna wouldda served it, the flavours here are still on point.

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And speaking of Italian flavours, this Figo Italian-Style Pilsner hit the spot. Too bad I had already finished my pasta by the time it arrived at the table (it was my second beer of the evening), so I can’t tell you how it paired with the linguine…

Goin’ all Guy Fieri on fish and pasta @ Fieramosca!!!

Dude, you KNOW this is body by Italian food, bro! So when I heard about Fieramosca Trattoria, this funky little joint on a side street just a meatball’s throw away from St. George, I definitely had to check it out! This place has been dishing out Italian classics since 1980, so you know it’s gotta be good. And while there’s no shortage of pizza, pasta and meat dishes on the menu — they’ve even got not one, not two, but three different versions of veal scaloppini –we decided to go with the Grigliata Mista di Pesce, aka grilled seafood platter:

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You won’t miss Meat Mountain when you’ve got this smorgasbord of seafood, son! There’s three different kinds of fish here — salmon, halibut AND sea bream — plus calamari and tiger shrimp, along with a whole lotta potatoes, peppers, green beans and two baby carrots. Dude, this is enough food to feed at least two people…and since I actually shared this dish, I still had room for pasta:

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I am sooooo trippin’ balls over this mushroom tagliatelle, bro! You’ve got three kinds of shrooms — oyster, porcini AND shitake — on top of thick, chewy noodles in a white wine cream sauce. Shut the front, back and side doors!!!!!!!!

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But you KNOW we’ve still got room for dessert, bro! This leaning tower of tiramisu tastes just like Nonna makes it — except maybe for that chocolate sauce swirl around the outside. But that didn’t stop me from scarfing it all down, son!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Chowing down on Wynona’s big brown branzino, bro!

Man, I remember back in the day when all you had to eat around Gerrard Square was McDonald’s. But since then, a buncha funky joints opened up in a neighbourhood sometimes known as Gerrones, and just a couple blocks away, across from a new condo under construction, you’ve got Wynona, this cozy little place serving up seafood and Italian comfort food. I mean, it’s not every day you get gabagool on the menu, bro!!!!

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This Italian cured pork product (known as Capocollo to people who’s never watched The Sopranos) is drizzled with honey and topped with a shredded cow’s milk cheddar, along with a couple banana peppers for that added bada bing. But you KNOW this is just an appetizer in Flavourtown…

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While the menu here changes weekly, there’s a good chance they’ve got branzino, a grilled European sea bass served with brown butter, olives and capers. Take me to the river, bro!!!!

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And what better beer to wash this down than Marco Polo, an Italian-style pilsner from Indie Alehouse? These guys run the bottle shop at Eataly, so you know they know Italian — and the crispness of this one is definitely on point.

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Of course, we’ve still got room for dessert, and you’ve got two choices here, creme caramel or chocolate cake. That’s basically a no-brainer in Flavourtown, bro! They kick this cake up a notch with chocolate pastry cream, sour cherries and a dollop of whipped cream — you KNOW they whip it good, De-bro!!!!

The biggest osso buco I’ve ever eaten @ Eataly

Now, we’re no strangers to osso buco here on Triple B — whether they’ve serving it up on a patio in Yorkville or way west on King West. But when I heard that Trattoria Milano, this funky little joint inside of Eataly, had an osso buco so big, it was enough food for four people… you KNOW I had to check it out, bro!!!!!!

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But first, we’re chowing down on some deep-fried meatballs. These mondeghili are a Milanese specialty, and I gotta say, these were some of the most tender balls I’ve ever put in my mouth. Stay away from that candied fruit though — that yellow stuff was surprisingly, ridiculously spicy!!!!

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But now it’s time for the main event…

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I gotta say, I was expecting this meat to be super, fall-apart tender like a lamb shank — or some of the other osso buco I’ve had before. It was a little tougher, and I definitely needed a fork and knife here, but it was still pretty tasty. Oh, and while this dish was supposed to be for four, it only took three members of the Triple B Krew to polish if off, son!!!!!!

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And you KNOW we still had room for dessert…

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Now, their tiramisu was pretty small, and they put in a mason jar like some friggin’ trendy hipsters. But it was still very, very good — rich ‘n creamy with just enough of a coffee kick. And hey, since Eataly is a grocery store, you can also buy a full-sized one to take home…as long as you finish eating before they close. (My bad, bro!)

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And since this blog ain’t Burgers, Bacon & Burgundy, we’re drinking the closest thing to wine…that’s still a beer. Vine Song 1 is an Italian grape ale saison from Indie Alehouse that they sell downstairs, and it’s definitely got that sour tartness of white wine, while being a little more hangover friendly at 8% alcohol. Dude, Imma hafta bring a couple of these next time I go to a wine and cheese soiree!!!

Wild boar pizza + sea urchin spaghetti @ Dova

Now, we’ve eaten a whole lotta Italian food here on Triple B — but every once in a while, I still come across something I’ve never seen before. So we’re hanging out at DOVA, this funky little joint in Cabbagetown, where they’re putting sea urchin on spaghetti, wild boar and black truffle on pizza, and orange mascarpone in their tiramisu. Shut the front, back and side doors, son!!!!!

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They call this dish Ricci, and it’s got a helmet like former San Jose goon Mike Ricci. Underneath is some fresh Newfoundland sea urchin, on top of spaghetti, all covered in garlic and parsley. Now, I don’t think I’ve ever had sea urchin before — especially not from Newfoundland — but it added a nice creamy touch to the spaghetti.

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But now they’re about to kick things up another notch with their Fughese pizza — and you don’t even hafta be straight edge to eat it, Bro-an MacKaye! Dude, this pizza’s packing wild boar sausage, black truffles, oyster mushrooms and arugula, plus it’s extra cheesy with fior di latte AND stracciatella! Dude, this has gotta be the best pizza I’ve had all year, and let’s just say I eat a lotta pizza…

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And since we’re not straight edge here on Triple B, we’re washing this all down with a funkalicious brewski. This here’s a Raspberry Lavender Gelato Sour from Fine Balance Brewing straight outta Kingston. Now, i dunno what lavender tastes like, but you definitely get a lotta raspberry in here — it’s like a tropical fruit punch in Flavourtown!!!

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Of course we’ve still got room for dessert — and it’s probably safe to say at a place like this, they don’t do tiramisu just like Nonna makes it. Instead, you’ve got orange mascarpone, Cointreau liqueur, candied oranges and pistachios. It wasn’t bad, but I mostly just tasted the orange, bro…

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… 😛

Oodles of octopus @Joso’s

Restaurants are now back to full capacity in Toronto, so we’re hanging out at Joso’s, this legendary local Italian seafood joint at Av & Dav dating back to 1967, son! This place is one of Drake’s favourite restaurants, so you know it’s gotta be good — he’s even got his own special chair upstairs — but we had actually never been here before despite living in Toronto for quite a while. Time to check this one off the bucket list, John Bro-tucci!!!!

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Now, Joso’s doesn’t actually have an appetizer section on its menu, but that doesn’t mean you can’t order some mains as starters — at main course prices, mind you. These Grilled Gamberoni come four to an order, some decent-sized prawns cut in half and served in the shell with lemon, garlic and a bit of butter. Can’t go wrong with any of that, son!

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But one of the main draws at this place, aside from the market-priced whole fish, is this dish — Octopus Schiavona. Schia-what-now? I have eaten octopus more than a few times before, but never served like this, steamed and thinly sliced with olive oil, capers and olives. It’s almost more like octopus poke, but with a prettier presentation. And I can’t really complain about the portion size…

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Now, if I’m eating at an Italian joint, you KNOW I’m gonna be judging them on their tiramisu — and this one totally passed the test! It was super moist, almost creamy even, with a nice dusting of cocoa poweder. Only questionable thing was the whipped cream on the side… I didn’t have to eat it, but I couldn’t just leave it sitting there, y’know?

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