Tag Archives: lamb

A totally different take on lamb shank…

Now, you KNOW I love lamb — and probably my favourite kind of lamb is lamb shank. There’s just something amazing about that super-tender meat that falls right off the bone… So, we’re hanging out at Silk Road, this funky Middle Eastern joint on Queen West, and I’m all in on the Shank Osmani, braised lamb slow cooked for 14 hours. This is not quite what I was expecting though:

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Now, even though this lamb isn’t baa-baa-baa-baa-bad to the bone, it’s still pretty tender, and pretty tasty, on a bed of labneh yogurt with some crispy onion strings on top. I do not regret ordering it — even if it was not what I thought it would be.

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Speaking of the unexpected, I was not expecting to see kalbi-style beef short ribs at a Middle Eastern joint, bro! They’re actually called Mongolian (not Korean) ribs, but they are quite tasty — nicely grilled and more tender than some Korean places. I just kinda wish they had put that green chili sauce on the side, cuz it was a little too spicy for me.

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But the surprises don’t stop there, son… While the menu mentions a Skyward Ontario IPA from Avling Brewery, this is in fact a Calm Sea Ontario Pale Ale. Which is the same brewery, and same style, but not quite the same beer. Didn’t stop me from chugging a few of these, though, bro!!!!!

TORONTO’S TOP TAKEOUT: Thai lamb curry in a bit less of a hurry…

I dunno guy, but it seems like every time I order from Uber Eats, it takes about an hour for my food to get here. OK, so I’ve only ordered from them a couple times since this latest lockdown started…but both times, it took almost an hour. And the last two times before that took over an hour, too. Whatever happened to 30 minutes or it’s free, bro???

Anyways, after three failed attempts to redeem a Chinese New Year’s discount code with Skip the Dishes (I picked from the “featured restos” and ordered the right amount of food, but for some reason the code wasn’t eligible!!!???) I ended up opting for an Uber Eats offer where you save a lucky 8 dollars when you order 30 bucks or more — from certain participating restaurants. First one that popped up with Isaan Der, this funky little Thai joint at Queen and Broadview. I’m always down to try some Thai, so when I saw the Lamb Shank Massaman Curry, I knew it was heading straight down my piehole…some 53 minutes later. (Hey, at least I can start going back to restaurants tomorrow?)

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Now, as much as I love lamb, I would not put this down as one of my top 10 lamb dishes. (Especially not after coming back from Iceland, where they put lamb in everything!) The meat here was NOT fork tender or fall-off-the-bone — despite what it says on the menu, I definitely needed a fork and knife to get in there. As for the curry, I ordered mine mild, since I’ve had some mild Thai food before that was still pretty spicy… but at this place, mild really means mild; there was no heat at all. Well, except for the fact that I paid $1.50 for a container of fresh chilies to bump my order up to 30 bucks. Those babies really kicked it up a notch! And I didn’t realize this dish already came with rice, which is also sold separately, so I ended up with two kinds of rice — sticky AND jasmine. But hey, I can use that extra rice, as well as some of that leftover curry sauce, for dinner the next day… so it’s all good in the hood, bro!!!

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Now, Thai food is often served with a lighter, crisp lager — most typically Tiger Beer, when tends to be my go-to at Asian restaurants that don’t have many beers to choose from. But this heavier curry calls for a richer brew like Doc Perdue’s Bobcat, a West Coast Red Ale from the fine folks at Cowbell Brewing Co. (You KNOW I need more Cowbell, bro!!!!!) You get a nice, malty flavour that takes the heat off those side chilies without being too heavy at 5.5%. Plus, it’s named after some dude’s pet bobcat, which is pretty badass…

ICE ICELAND BABY: Racking up a (boneless) rack of lamb

So, we’re hanging out at Kopar, this funky little joint right along the Reykjavik harbour, next to all the whale watching boats. I’m sure this place has got some great seafood, but I’m here for the ultimate in Icelandic eating — we’re talking local, free-range lamb, fam!

But first, I figured I should probably have at least some seafood…

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This rock crab soup is fab, son! It’s sorta like a cross between crab bisque and a Thai coconut curry — and they don’t shortchange you on the crab, either!

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But now it’s time for the main event. They didn’t ask how you wanted your lamb cooked — it came out pretty well-done, but still pretty tender. And I like the super-high meat to veggies ratio on this plate, bro!

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Of course, we’ve still got room for dessert, and they’re funking it up a notch with this pina colada chocolate tart with green apple sorbet. Shut the front, back and side doors, bro! The chocolate and pineapple play together nicely, while the sorbet gives it a major sour kick that’s probably best enjoyed separately. I gotta give em props for coming up with green apple sorbet though, bro!!!

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Washed it all down with an Ulfrun Session IPA from Borg Brugghus — nice, hoppy flavour profile but just 4.5% alcohol. I could assimilate six or seven of these, son!!!!

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Now, speaking of lamb, this hand-carved roast lamb, a $36 lunch at the Geysir Visitor Centre food court, was hands-down better than 90% of the lamb I’ve ever had. It comes with potatoes, veggies and gravy… but you could serve it with a flip-flop, and it would still taste good!!!

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!!!!!

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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!!!!

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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!

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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!!!!

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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.)

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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:

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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!!!!

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!!!!

Funky feast from the Middle East @ Darna

Now, it’s no secret that I’m a fan of Middle Eastern food — shawarma is my spirt sandwich, son! So when I heard of this funky joint up on Bayview serving up home-cooked food from across the Middle East, you KNOW I had to check it out, bro!

Now sure, they’ve got classics like hummus, shakshuka and kabab, but I wanted to try a few dishes that I’ve never even heard of before — starting with these shish barak beef dumplings:

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Now, shish barak definitely sounds like something Joey Biden wouldda said back when he was VP, but these dumplings are soooo next level. They may look like meatballs, but there’s actually a decent layer of dough there, with some ground beef inside. Served up with this yogurt mint sauce that’s so baller, I’d put it on a flip-flop — or at least a piece of pita bread, anyways…

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But now it’s time for the main event: Ontario lamb fukhara, a braised stew cooked in a clay pot, and served over rice or bulgur at your table. Lamb was super-tender, with some nice pieces of potato, carrot and eggplant, and even a couple zucchinis, meaning I ate at least one green thing today…

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But you KNOW we’ve still got room for dessert, bro! They call this kunafah, and it’s sorta like a cross between baklava and saganaki. Basically, you’ve got cheese-stuffed pastry topped with pistachios and rose water syrup. Nothing wrong with that at all!!!!

 

 

GRAND REOPENING: Irish lamb shank in Greektown!!!

Now, whenever we hit the Danforth, we’re usually looking for Greek food — like gyros, seafood, or maybe some Greek poutine. But there’s this other funky joint, right next to the Danforth Music Hall, that’s been serving up craft beer and local fare since 1987 — they’ve got 4 full chalkboards of beers at Allen’s, so you KNOW this is my kinda place, bro!!!

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We’re starting off with a Lemon Shapeshifter, this strong, citrusy sour from Halo Brewery. You definitely get the puckery taste of lemons here, along with a little sweet hint of vanilla. I’m not sure I would order more than one of these, though…

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Now, even though we’re not eating Greek, I’m still in the mood for lamb. This Dublin Lamb Shank is braised in Guinness, and served with potatoes and gravy — dude, this is body by potatoes and gravy! It was not the most tender lamb I’ve ever tasted (that would be Estiatorio Volos, which actually is NOT on the Danforth), but I still ate every last bit of it, so, y’know, it was pretty tasty.

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Of course, I can’t go to a place with 140 beers and only order just one. This Drip Drip sour ale from Fairweather in Hamilton is a lot more fruity, with a strong taste of black currant, and a nice little kick of lime at the end. I liked this beer better than the other one…

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But you KNOW we’ve still got room for dessert, and I’ve got three words for ya: Chocolate Guinness Cake, son! This thick ‘n heavy slice is topped with sour cream, and somehow includes Guinness in the recipe…cuz there’s no such thing as too much Guinness!!!!

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: Snails in a half shell…snail power!!!

Now, I may not be French, but I know the French cook with a lotta butter and cream, and this is body by butter and cream, so I can go for that any day of the week, son! And it doesn’t get more French than escargot — snails swimming in garlic butter. I’ve ordered escargot a couple times at funky local joints like Le Papillon, Cafe La Gaffe and Auberge du Pommier, but here at Maison Selby, this cute little French bistro just a mime’s rope pull away from Bloor and Sherbourne, was the first place I’ve seen em served inside the shell.

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Now, after a bit of work with the escargot fork (which has two prongs, instead of three), I was able to wrestle a couple of these bad boys out onto a piece of toasted baguette. Nice texture; meaty, but not too chewy, and that garlic butter was TheBomb.fr — I just wish I had some softer bread to soak it all up…

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But you KNOW it’s gonna take more than six snails before I call it a night, bro! And it turns out this place has both kinds of lamb: leg AND shoulder, right here in their duo d’agneau. Meat was nice ‘n tender, in a rich, brown sauce…but I probably couldda eaten twice as much, and still had room for dessert.

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Don’t get me wrong, the food was pretty good, but the best thing about this meal was the beer. They’ve got this Guava Gose from Collective Arts on tap, which is equal parts fruity and sour, while looking like the kinda pink drink that FGL would stick an umbrella in. Baby you a beer, make me wanna roll my windows down and booooze!!!!!!

Slamming legit lamb…and one of the funkiest desserts ever @ Mira

Now, I’m no stranger to Peruvian food, whether it’s lomo saltado, funky fusion ceviche or a small plates combo of lamb, sea and air. So when I heard that Mira, this Peruvian joint down a back alley near the Shopify office, was serving up Peruvian plates that are big enough to share, I was all over that like lime on raw fish, son!

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We’re starting off with some crispy pork belly bites, served up with a sizable side of chicharron. This dish isn’t even on their regular menu, but dude, Pork Belly was my nickname in gym class, bro! Flavours were on point, but it barely tided me over until the main event…

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Dude, this dish was lamb-tastic! You’ve got a fork-tender braised lamb shoulder in a smokey ají panca sauce, with amaranth grains and chili peppers, plus I ordered a side of yucca fries, cuz I’m all about that meat and potatoes, bro! This dish was meant to share, but I ate it all myself…and still had room for dessert!!!

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Now, this had to be the funkiest dessert I’ve seen all year! It’s called El Huevo Malo, and it comes to the table inside a giant chocolate egg, which you smash with a spoon. On the inside, you’ve got coffee ice cream, chocolate bread pudding, honeycomb, yuzu marmalade and raspberries! And you KNOW I left no crumb behind, bro!!!

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