Tag Archives: lamb

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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I’m gonna slam some Mexican lamb!!!

It’s no secret that I loves me some lamb, bro! Man, I’ve had Indian lamb, Ethiopian lamb, BBQ lamb, lamb tongue, lamb & eggs… even lamb in a taco! But when I heard that Pancho y Emiliano on King St was serving up this delish Mexican lamb dish, you KNOW I had to check it out! Say hello to ma lil’ friend, Mixiote de Cordero!!!

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OK, now let’s break it down. What we’ve got here are super-tender chunks of stewed lamb, slow-cooked in a banana leaf, with guajillo chilies, cumin, thyme and garlic, for that little extra kick. It actually kinda reminds me of an Indian curry, with a side of rice and all kinds of veggies — dude, that’s gotta be the most veggies I ate all month!!!!

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Washed it all down with a Mexican Bulldog — that’s when you take a margarita, and stick a bottle of Corona on top. The first few sips were equal parts beer and tequila, but once you get to the bottom, it’s really just Corona with ice. I dunno bro, but I think I prefer Dos Equis…

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Of course, you KNOW we still had room for dessert! This plate fulla churros comes with all the fixin’s — strawberries, blueberries, sprinkles, marshmallows…even chocolate pretzel sticks! Dude, this is body by chocolate pretzel sticks!!!!!!

Ethiopian lamb ribs @ Lalibela Restaurant

So, we’re hanging out at Lalibela, this funky Ethiopian joint at Bloor and Ossington. Now, I’ve been to other Ethiopian joints before, but this one was named best in the city, and they’ve definitely got the most massive menu — with 69 dishes, not counting salad and desserts!!!

Now, I’ve done Ethiopian beef before, and I even went with a combo platter, but when I saw six different lamb dishes to choose from, I knew I had to pick one. So I went with the goden tibs, a mixture of cubed lamb and lamb ribs:

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Now, this dish actually comes to the table fajita-style on a sizzling skillet, but then they dump it all out on the injera bread for you. The meat itself isn’t spicy, but when you get a bite of the raw jalapeno, that’ll poke a hole in yer taste buds, bro! And while I ate the bony bits with my bare mitts, I did go all Ethiopian style with the injera on the rest — just grip it and rip it, Bro Daly!!!

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Legit lamb burger + poutine @ Big Smoke

So, I know there’s been a Big Smoke Burger at the Eaton’s Centre for a while now — I sometimes go there for lunch. But when I got a coupon for a free poutine, I was all over that like Fieri on frijoles…dude, this is body by free poutine! The deal is, you had to order a combo to get the poutine, so I figured this would be a good time to try the lamb:

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This lamb burger is righteous, bro! Grilled to order, with a little pink in the middle, and then you’ve got onions, lettuce, tomato and this funky cilantro-feta spread. Dude, I would put that on a flip-flop!!!

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And now it’s time for the poutine du jour. I gotta say, this is one of the best fast-food poutines I’ve had. You’ve got lotsa thick, melty curd action, the fries are tasty, even on their own, and the gravy gets the job done. This body checks McDonald’s poutine into the boards, bro!!!

Lamb two ways @ Auberge du Pommier

Now, after having a surprisingly satisfying dinner at Canoe, we decided to check out the other fancy O&B joint, waaay up in North York – Auberge du Pommier. This upscale funky French place has been going for 30 years, so you know it’s gotta be good. And when I heard they were serving up not one, but two kinds of lamb, I totally had to try it!

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But first, we’re starting off with some escargot. These slimy little snails are served with a couple little croutons on a big green sea of watercress. Whatever happened to mushroom caps, bro?

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And now it’s time for the main event. When the menu said they’re serving up lamb sirloin and shank, I figured that’s gotta be a lotta baa-baa black sheep! But as you can see, they really only give you a little taste of each. I’m soooo gonna have room for dessert, broooo!!!

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When it comes to dessert, what could be more français than crème brulée? But just like that crazy deconstructed chocolate cake at Canoe, this was not your normal burnt cream. You’ve got these little mini cream brulees, served with passionfruit, Thai basil and a coconut ice cream. It might be a little too funky, but I’d eat that ice cream off a flip-flop, though!!!

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Now, the best part of this meal has gotta be the beer. They’ve imported this Loirette Saison from Brasserie de la Pigeonelle in the tiny little town of Céré-la-Ronde, France. Well, Céré-la-Bouche, cuz that’s some good stuff, son!!!

I’m about to go all Gene Simmons on some lamb tongue, son!!!

Now, I’m not normally in Waterloo Region unless they’ve got a country music festival going on or something. But when I heard that Langdon Hall, one of Canada’s best restaurants on the outskirts of Cambridge, was serving up lamb three ways, I was all over that like a three-way between Guy Fieri, John Catucci and a pound of bacon, bro!!!!

Now, before we get to the lamb, we’re starting off with some poached scallops. These ocean pearls were served cold, with chunks of apple and a celery jello . There’s always room for celery jello, bro!!!

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But now we’re calling Dr. Lamb in Flavourtown. This tasty tongue kinda had the texture of cabeza, or beef’s head, which I’ve had before in a few tacos. The lamb chop was cooked perfectly, the lamb bacon was super-legit, and the gravy on the plate is what makes it. You know I’m gonna lick it up, lick it up, whoa-oh-oh!!!!

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Of course, the portions at this place aren’t very yuuuge, so you KNOW I still had room for dessert…

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On the dessert menu, they just call this Chocolate. Me, I call it funkalicious. You’ve got a 70% chocolate sponge cake, with a raspberry mousse and a brownie cracker crust. Pretty sure I could eat, like, eight of these…

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Now, obviously you know I’m a beer guy — this ain’t Burgers, Bacon & Strawberry Daiquiris, bro! But all the cocktails at this place all are named after hit songs like “Oops, I Seed-Lipped Again,” “You Can Stand Under My Umber-Weller” and “A Shrub is a Guy Who Thinks He’s Fly” (and is also known as a buster). So when I saw the “Hey, Amaro-Carena!” I had to get up and do the dance, bro! This cocktail has got Amaro Trevisano, celery bitters, red pepper basil, lemon and ginger beer, for a hit of spicy bitterness. Heeeey, marijuana!!!