Tag Archives: Italian food

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!!!

 

HEATED PATIO EATS: Last Supper of 2020 @ Positano

When they opened all the heated patios across Toronto, there was always the question of how long this was gonna last. Well, now we have our answer — with the city heading back into lockdown at midnight tonight, there will be no more dining out, inside or outdoors, anytime soon… and my guess is this will be at least until the end of 2020.

So that’s why we treated our meal at Positano Restaurant, this real-deal Italian joint on Mount Pleasant, like it would be our last restaurant visit of the year. We talking a three-course Italian feast, right on the sidewalk with just one heater, scarfing down pizza, cheese, Birra Moretti…and of course, I’ve still got room for dessert, bro!

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We’re starting off with a great big ball of buffalo mozzarella, served on a bed of cherry tomatoes and arugula. This Buffalo Soldier in Flavourtown is creamy, dreamy, to the extremey!!!

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Now, I’ve housed a whole lotta pizzas in my day, but this is one flavour combo I’ve never seen before. They’re packing shrimp, squid and olives on top of their pizza pescatore, with some nice foldable slices and a real crunchy crust. It’s not delivery, it’s delicious!!!!

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Now, dessert was reasonably priced at $8.95, but you don’t get a lotta bang for yer lira — this was a pretty small piece of cake, son! Their torta caprese is a flourless almond cake with a hard chocolate bottom and a whole buncha powdered sugar on top. It was a less than amazing ending to an otherwise almost perfect meal…but hey, it’s probably still gonna be the best dessert I have for the rest of 2020. I mean, you can’t really order dessert for delivery, bro. 😦 😦 😦

PATIO LIT EATS: Be vewwy, vewwy quiet…We’re eating rabbit!

Indoor dining won’t be allowed in Toronto for at least another month, so it looks like a lotta restaurants will hafta fire up the patio heaters if they’re gonna stay open. But on Wednesday, we didn’t even need a heated patio — it was still, like, 19 degrees at dinnertime.

So we’re hanging out at F’Amelia Ristorante, this cozy, family-style Italian joint just offa Parliament, about a hop, skip and a jump away from Wellesley. And speaking of hopping, when I saw the braised rabbit papperdelle on the menu, I knew I had to jump all over that, bro!!!

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Now, this rabbit meat is kinda like pulled pork, minus the BBQ sauce. And the papperdelle is sorta like a mini lasagna, with a buncha thin, chewy noodles. The oyster mushrooms give it a bit of juiciness, and I think there’s even a couple pieces of kale on there or something. So I had at least one serving of green stuff this week…

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Of course, you KNOW I’ve still got room for dessert, bro! This was the last piece of Nutella cheesecake they had, and it was ice, ice baby, too cold! I actually had to let it thaw out for a bit. But if you take a Nutella cheesecake, top it with chocolate chips, strawberries and cherries, well, there’s no way I’m NOT gonna eat it!!!

HEATED PATIO EATS: Rooftop pizza @ Gusto 501

A couple years back, we hit up Gusto 101 for a real-deal steak dinner on their rooftop patio. So when I heard that they opened up a new joint in the east end called Gusto 501, I was hoping it would be five times better, bro! This place also has a rooftop patio, although it’s a lot smaller, with heated panels on the walls behind every table. I wasn’t quite as warm as last week at George, but at least I was able to unzip my jacket, so that’s not too bad…

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We’re starting off with arancini, two not-so-big balls of deep-fried rice goodness, sitting atop a whole pile of pepper and cheese. You only get a couple of bites here, but I would put these balls in my mouth any day, bro!!!

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But now it’s time for the main event. We’ve got pizza carbonara, with flor di latte, guanciale, pecorino, black pepper and an egg yolk on a nice, crispy crust. Now, I was expecting there to be an egg in the middle of the pizza, but instead it’s sorta smeared all over the place, which takes away half the fun. Anyways, the crust and cheese was on point, but I couldda used some more guanciale, which is basically Italian for bacon.

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Now, I know the name of this blog is NOT Burgers, Bacon and Pinot Grigio, but the only beer they’ve got here is Peroni, which is Italian for “meh.” On the other hand, they’re serving up house wine on tap for just a dollar an ounce, so I told ’em to fill ‘er up to the top, bro!!!

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And yes, we still had room for dessert, son! Now, this tiramisu looks more like tirami-soup, but the flavours were still pretty on point. And hey, at least it’s not served in a mason jar!!!

Slaying a 48 oz Fiorentina steak, son!

You know me, this is body by steak, bro! Now, I’ve been to so many steakhouses all over this city, but when I found out that Noce, this funky Italian joint on Queen West, was serving up a classic bistecca alla fiorentina, I totally had to check it out…

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This super-tender T-bone is grilled to perfection, with fillet to the left of me, sirloin to the right, and here I am stuck in the middle with meat! We’ve also got a side of polenta fries, which have sort of the same texture as potatoes, without the softness inside. But the meat was definitely the star of the show, bro!!!

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Now, they said we would need 5-6 people to finish it, they said we would hafta take some home…but really, it’s just dinner for two in Flavourtown. I even chewed that last piece of meat right off the bone after taking that picture!

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And you KNOW we’ve still got room for dessert, bro! This chocolate cake was off the chain, with crunchy toffee, ice cream, and bananas…and bananas is good! Now, it wasn’t a very big piece of cake, but after that great big steak, I didn’t need too much cake — so this hit the spot perfectly!

PATIO LIT EATS: Duck confit ravioli @ Terroni

Dude, this is body by ravioli, bro! When I was a kid, I would plow through Chef Boyardee’s like it was crack in a can, so when I heard that Terroni, this funky Italian joint on Adelaide, was serving up not just any kind of ravioli, but duck confit ravioli, with not one, but two kinds of mushrooms, you KNOW I had to come check it out!!!!

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But first, we’re starting off with some deep-fried rings of crunchy goodness — Frittura di Calamari, cazzo! And I am sooo on board with the level of breading here… I could crunch ‘n munch these all night long!!!!

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But now it’s time for the main event! These pillows of chewy goodness come in a nice, creamy sauce, topped with fresh Parmesan for that extra kick. The mushrooms are melt-in-your-mouth, but the duck meat is ground down to the point when you’re missing that unctiousness — I mean, this could be beef or veal, and I wouldn’t taste the difference. (I mighta had a few Menabrea beers by this time, though…)

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Of course, you KNOW we always have room for dessert on Triple B, and this flourless dark chocolate lava cake really takes the cake…so it takes itself? You’ve got some warm, chocolately goodness, with a nice oozy centre, on a bed of cream, with some strawberries and blueberries on the side — I’ve eaten my five pieces of fruit for the week, bro!!!!

PATIO LIT EATS: Super-legit lobster linguine!

So, the first time I went to Sofia, this funky Italian joint in Yorkville, I had steak ‘n eggs. And then, the second time I went, I had steak again. So this time, we’re gonna switch it up with a super-delish summer dish… Say hello to ma lil’ friend, lobster linguine!

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OK, now let’s break it down. You’ve got oodles of nice, chewy noodles, with a tangy pomodorini (cherry tomato) sauce, some stracciatella cheese and these big, meaty chunks of lobster on top. Throw in some bread, and you’ve got an Italian lobster roll in Flavourtown!!!

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Now last week, when we went to Blu, they were all outta tiramisu. It was literally the only dessert they didn’t have. So you KNOW this time we’re gonna order a round of tiramisus for the table, bro! You’ve got a great big bowl of ladyfingers and marscapone, topped with a crunchy layer of cocoa, and a scoop of espresso gelato on top — shut the front, back AND side doors, son!!!!

PATIO LIT EATS: Three-course, real-deal Italian meal!

Man, it feels like Toronto is the last place in the world to reopen after this Coronavirus! But finally, last night, restaurants were allowed to open across the city — for patio dining only. So, it’s time to bust out the Kim Mitchell, cuz you KNOW I’m gonna be the first to eat, bro!!!

We’re breaking the seal at Blu Ristorante, this classy Italian joint in Yorkville. They actually just moved into new digs on Avenue Road, in a space that used to be Estia (another Italian joint), with a great front-porch patio. Now, especially for a Wednesday night, this place was packed — we had to wait about 20 mins to get a table. But what’s 20 minutes when I’ve been waiting three and a half months for this???

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We’re starting off with one of my personal favourites, grilled calamari, on a bed of mixed greens with olives, capers and pepperonata. These actually came with seedless olives, so you didn’t have to spit the pits out onto the plate — that’s some solid social distancing in Flavourtown! But the squid was cooked perfectly; not too firm, but not too chewy. I usually like my calamari like my chicken (fried), but I definitely can’t complain about this dish!

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And then we’re going for another real-deal Italian meal… say hello to ma lil’ friend osso buco, served over risotto with a chunky tomato sauce. Now, the last time I was here, I had a killer veal chop, so I know they know their way around baby beef — but this meat was so fall-apart tender, you didn’t even need a knife to cut it! And don’t let the super-close-up fool ya — that’s a pretty big hockey puck of flavour in Flavourtown!!!

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Now, the sun went down before dessert, so the patio lights really added an extra spark to this picture. They were all sold out of my first choice — tiramisu — so I went with panna cotta instead. I think I ate this little slab of gelatin in 4-5 bites…but after all that osso buco, I really didn’t need much more than this.