Tag Archives: Italian food

Off the hook-o osso bucco @ Caffino, bro!!!

You know me, this is body by Italian food! So when I heard about Caffino, this funky little joint that’s been dishing out real-deal Italian classics on King St since 1996, I was all over that like tomato sauce on pasta, son!!!

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Speaking of tomato sauce, this first course is really swimming in it. We’re talking homemade polenta stuffed with Gorgonzola, topped with sausage and baked in tomato sauce — these are a few of my favourite things, bro!!!!

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But now it’s time for the main event. This veal osso bucco is super-tender, braised in red, red wine and served on top of a creamy risotto with peas and Parmesan. They even give you the bone marrow, bro!!!

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But you KNOW we’ve still got room for dessert — and it’s no surprise that the first thing on their dessert menu is tiramisu. This classic Italian dolce is nice ‘n creamy, sprinkled with cocoa for that extra kick. Mamma mia!!!

PATIO LIT EATS: Smoked salmon on a pizza? Don’t mind if I do…

Well, the big heatwave we were having is over, and it looks like patio season will be winding down pretty soon — so it’s time to make the most of it while we still can. We’re hanging out on the rooftop patio at Terroni on Price (not to be confused with the one downtown), which is definitely one of the nicest patios in the area north of Rosedale, but not quite Midtown.

Now, when you’re here, you’re probably getting pizza — they’ve got over 20 pies to choose from. Last time we were here, we chowed down on a coupla real-deal pizzas in the dark, and it may be a bit brighter outside this time, but we’re about to funk it up a notch with this pizza al salmone:

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Now, I like smoked salmon, and I like pizza, so when you put ’em together, it’s gotta be good, right? This pie came flying outta the kitchen in like five minutes — I hadn’t even finished my bread — but it still wasn’t super warm… which is OK, considering that smoked salmon is usually served cold. But the crust was still crispy and the cheese was still melted, which made for a nice vessel for the salmon, onions, capers and tomatoes.

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Menabrea Bionda, we meet-a again-a. I’ve had this Italian beer with pizza before, and while it’s nothing too fancy or hoppy, it gets the job done.

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Now, speaking of deja vu all over again, I have ordered the flourless chocolate cake — torta calda al cioccolato — at least three times at two different Terronis, so it’s definitely my go-to dessert. I mean, warm chocolate cake with an oozy, chocolately centre… you can’t go wrong with that at all!!!!

PATIO LIT EATS: Real-deal Italian food on Mount Pleasant Road

Now, Mount Pleasant might not be the first place that comes to mind when you’re thinking Italian food in Toronto. But just before Second Lockdown, we had a righteous last supper at Positano. And now we’ve found another old-school, red sauce, checkered tablecloth joint just down the street… This is Florentia!

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So, we’re starting off with salsiccia cacciatore aka sausage and peppers. Dude, this is body by sausage and peppers! Nice, meaty chunks of sausage with a bit of a kick, some sweetness from the peppers, and a real-deal tomato and basil sauce… I’d put that on a flip-flop!!!

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But now it’s time for the main event — real-deal veal scaloppini. And they’re giving you a choice of not one, not two, not three, not four, but five different sauces, son! I went with the gorgonzola, which was nice ‘n creamy, but not too cheesy. And I went with pasta over veggies. As you can see, they didn’t cook the pasta in the gorgonzola…

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Now, when it comes to beer here, you’ve got three choices — Peroni, Moretti and, uh, Creemore. So I went with Birra Moretti. I gotta say, though, it tastes an awful lot like Peroni, bro…

GRAND REOPENING: Smoked eggplant ravioli and smoked beer @ Il Covo

Now, you know an Italian restaurant is Super Mario legit when they import their beer straight from the old country. We’re hanging out at Il Covo, this funky little joint in Little Italy, that’s pretty much next door to Trattoria Taverniti. Sure, they serve wine here, but they’ve also got five different beers straight outta Italy, including this Anais smoked beer from Birra Flea. It’s like a funky bassline in Flavourtown, bro!!!

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Now, it’s been a while since I’ve had a proper German rauchbier, or smoked beer — a little over 4 years ago, actually. I can tell you it was definitely a lot darker than this one, though. But you do still get the smokey taste with Anais, and while it’s a little strong, at 6.4%, and slightly hoppy (28 IBU), it still goes down pretty smooth. Even at 15 bucks a bottle, I still went back for another round…

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But that’s only after going toe-to-toe with a fistful of lamb skewers. Now, I love lamb in all shapes and sizes, but I had never seen these arrosticini at any Italian joint before. This kinda reminded me of Taste of the Danforth, walking around with some grilled meat on a stick… I guess I probably can’t ask for tzatziki here, eh?

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But now it’s time for the main event, son! These smoked eggplant ravioli are ready to rumble with cherry tomatoes and basil, along with some strips of salty ricotta. These ravioli were pretty tasty, but I couldda easily eaten three times as many…

Fastest Time To Eat 6.75 Pounds Of Canned Ravioli For A YouTube Video |  World Record | Naader Reda

GRAND REOPENING: Squid stuffed with sausage? Don’t mind if I do…

Man, we’ve eaten so much Italian food all over this city on Triple B that it’s pretty rare when we come across an Italian dish that I’ve never seen before. But that’s what just happened at Capocaccia Trattoria, this funky little joint on Yonge St, just a penalty kick south of St. Clair. We’re talking calamari ripieni, a sausage-stuffed squid, served on a bed of couscous. Dude, Sausage-Stuffed Squid was my nickname at swim camp, so you KNOW I gotta check this out!!!!

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Now, I normally like my calamari like my chicken — fried — but this texture totally works here. Nice, chewy calamari with a pretty good kick from the sausage… And they even give you the little tentacles, too!

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Of course, we can’t go to a real-deal Italian joint and NOT order pizza, bro! I gotta say, their margherita is on point, with a nice, crispy crust, some ooey-gooey, flor di latte… I could slam, like, 16 slices if I wasn’t saving room for squid!!!!

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And you can’t have patio pizza without patio beers, bro! This place not only has Peroni on tap, but they’re even serving it in a Peroni-branded glass! I’m not sure that makes the beer taste any better…but at least it looks good on the blog, eh? 😉

GRAND REOPENING: Patio pizza in Little Italy!

Dude, Little Italy was lit last night, bro! After the Azzurri beat Belgium in the Euro Cup, people were out dancing and celebrating in the streets — the cops actually blocked off College until 8 o’clock, three hours after the game ended! OK, so there might not have been as many people as we wouldda seen pre-pandemic, but I’m pretty sure they still exceeded the limits of an “outdoor social gathering” under Phase 2. And we were right in the middle of all the action at Trattoria Taverniti, this cozy, family-run Italian joint that’s been at the corner of College and Clinton for the past 10 years!

Man, this place has almost an entire page of pizzas to choose from — 24 in all — so you KNOW I’m gonna crush a pie, paisano! But first, here’s a take on bruschetta thatta I’ve never even seen before, bro…

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Now, who needs tomatoes when you can have spicy sausage and cheese, though? At Tavernitis, they top this toasted bread with n’duja sausage spread and some creamy stacciatella, and then finish it with a drizzle of honey. I dunno what they put in that salsiccie, but it was pretty, pretty spicy! And yet, the sweetness from the honey really cuts through the mix. Man, I don’t think I can go back to regular bruschetta after this…

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Now, it’s hard to pick a favourite among so many great pies, but when in doubt, I go with the one that has the most meat. (That’s probably, like the fifth rule of Flavourtown, or something.) In this case, that would be the Carne, a combination of pepperoni, Italian sausage, and no, that’s not bacon — it’s guanciale, bro! Crust was nice ‘n crispy, and 18 bucks gets you a pie that’s probably enough food for two people…but you KNOW I ate it all and still had room for dessert!!!!!!!

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And when it comes to il dolce, I gotta go with an Italian classic — we’re talkin’ tiramisu! Nice ‘n creamy, with a hit of cocoa and not too, too much espresso…pretty sure I could slam at least three of these, bro!!!!

TORONTO’S TOP TAKEOUT: Super-crunchy chicken lunchy!!!

Now, we first ordered delivery from Eataly in the early days of the pandemic, picking up a pizza that looks like an Italian flag. But since they’re part of the Toronto Premium Restaurants deal on DoorDash that’s going on until the end of the month, I figured I’d try them again, but with more feeling. Say ciao to my little amico, pollo alla milanese!!!

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Talk about a winner, winner, chicken lunch!!! Super crispy, crunchy breading, but still juicy on the inside, with a nice hit of citrus from the lemon, chunks of parmigiano reggiano, and a side salad…hey, it came with the order. While it’s a decent-sized portion for lunch, I’d probably still be hungry if I had it for dinner; plus, at 25 bucks, it’s a bit pricey — although taking $7 off with DoorDash took some of the sting away.

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But I was still a few dollars short of 30, so it’s a good thing they sell their own branded beer, bro! This La Volpe dark lagered ale, brewed by Indie Ale House, has a nice, rich flavour… but at 4.5%, you’re practically drinking water. I could slam, like, diciotto of these, bambino!!!

GRAND REOPENING: Who needs Canoe when you’ve got CANO?

Now, one place that hasn’t been able to reopen at all during the pandemic is Canoe, the fancy-smancy, fine-dining restaurant at the top of the TD Tower. I mean, you can’t really put a patio up on the 54th floor…although I would totally check it out if they did. But in the meantime, the similarly named, yet totally different CANO Restaurant on St. Clair West is packing ’em in on their front and back patios, bro! The only time we could even get a table was at 6 o’clock, making this place almost as hard to book as Canoe during Winterlicious…

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So, we’re starting off with the Cozze al Bianco — I would sooo vada a bordo for these, bro! The mussels from PEI-ussels are cooked in a white wine and garlic sauce, with shallots, chili flake and cherry tomatoes. Plus, you’ve got these thin slices of Focaccia on the side to soak up the sauce… Dude, you could put that on a flip-flop, and it would still taste good!!!!

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Up next, we’ve got Vitello alla Griglia, a grilled veal chop with smashed potatoes, wild mushrooms and broccolini. This dish tastes almost as good as it looks, son! The only problem was the piece of meat was too thin for them to cook it medium rare, and I thought it was a little overdone. I mean, I’ve definitely had a better veal chop at Blu Ristorante, pre-pandemic… but man, this was some of the best broccolini I’ve ever tasted (by default, almost, but still…)

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Now here’s a beer I’ve never seen ’round here before. This Birrificio Otus Pilsner is coming straight outta Italia, where it won a bronze medal for German and Bohemian pilsners at the 2019 Birra Dell’anno Awards. And I gotta say, it’s got everything you want in a pils — a nice crispness, not too malty, pairs well with Italian food. It’s also 12 bucks a bottle, but hey, it’s not like you can get it at the LCBO, so, y’know, when in Rome, bro!!!!

 

 

 

TORONTO’S TOP TAKEOUT: Veal Parmesan…in a pizza box!?

Now, I already know that Piano Piano, this funky Italian joint in Harbord Village, has some killer pizza. Last time I was there, I ate a pizza-sized garlic cheese bread, followed by a whole pizza, followed by a chocolate cake for two. But I didn’t see any chocolate cake on their takeout menu, so instead I went with an all-time Italian classic — bone-in Veal Parmesan — and it came in a pizza box!

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Man, this was some of the best veal parm I’ve ever had — pizza box or not! The veal was super tender, topped with tomatoes, flor di latte and basil, but what makes it is the spicy soppressata, which gives this dish a nice little kick. Man, I would eat that off a flip-flop!!!!

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I had a 40% off discount with Uber Eats if I spend up to 75 bucks, so I also ordered a side dish. Now, they did not have the garlic cheese bread on Uber Eats, so my only choices were Brussels sprouts or fried cauliflower — not something I would normally order. But if I ever have to choose between two vegetables, I’m gonna go with the fried one. Mind you, this cauliflower wasn’t battered, but still had a nice tang from the cumin, red onion, pickled grapes — and there were even a few slivers of red-hot chili peppers, along with some creamy tzatziki. Definitely in my top five cauliflower dishes of all time…although I don’t think I’ve had more than five cauliflower dishes.

Plus, all this and a 6-pack of Peroni came to 70 bucks before the discount kicked in, sooo… I saved 28 bucks tonight, bro!!!!

TORONTO’S TOP TAKEOUT: Octo burger & lasagna sticks from Mission Lasagna

You know me, this is body by Italian food, bro! So when I heard about Mission Lasagna, this funky joint in Little Italy, serving up eight different kinds of lasagnas, along with other pastas, burgers and more, I totally had to check it out. Only I didn’t actually order a lasagna — unless you count these lasagna sticks:

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These crispy flavour nuggets are served cold, like a cracker, with three dipping sauces — pesto, marinara and donkey sauce. Dude, you could put all three of those on the same flip-flop, and it would still taste good! But you KNOW that’s just a light snack in Flavourtown, bro!!!

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Now, I’m no stranger to eating octopus, but this is the first time I’ve ever had it on a bun, son! This Octo Burger is nice ‘n chewy, lightly breaded on a bed of rapini and ricotta — kinda like the Crimson and Clover of Little Italy, Tommy Bro-ndell!!!

 

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