Tag Archives: mac ‘n cheese

PATIO LIT EATS: Kickin’ it Old School with fried chicken bacon mac ‘n cheese!

Now, there’s only like a couple weeks left of patio weather in this city, and I’m definitely gonna make the most of it — even if it means getting up before 11 on a weekend, bro! So we’re hanging out at Old School, this funky brunch joint on Dundas West that starts serving it up at 10 am (9 am on weekends).

Last time we were here, I had some waffles fit for The King, and I know their blueberry pancakes are legendary, but when I saw the Return of the Mac and Cheese on the menu, I knew it was about to go down in Flavourtown!!!

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Noodles are nice and cheesy, with a bechamel sauce and some aged cheddar. But the fried chicken was waaaay overcooked, and the bacon a little underdone. I gotta give ’em credit for using actual bacon strips instead of some fake bacon bits though…

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Good thing I was able to drown my disappointment with a Hot Mess. What’s a Hot Mess? Well, you’ve got tequila, grapefruit and raspberry-hibiscus juice, along with some agave nectar, poured into a wheat beer. It’s like a Breakfast of Champions in Flavourtown, bro!!!!

 

PATIO LIT EATS: The Caesar that eats like a meal!

Now, I’ve been wanting to check out Score on King for a while, but never got a chance to go until last night. This place is known for its legendary Caesars, and you know my motto’s always been go big or go home, so I’m going for the biggest, tallest, most overloaded of them all — The Checkmate Caesar:

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Now, this bad boy is so big that they can only serve it to (at least) two people, so that’s why I brought a friend…and then I didn’t share. You’ve got a pulled pork sandwich on top of a cheeseburger on top of a Cornish game hen, with a pulled pork mac ‘n cheese hot dog, chicken wings, onion rings and a chocolate brownie sticking out the sides! And all this on top of a drink served in a Hoegaarden pint glass, which, even on its own would be the second-biggest Caesar I’ve ever had…but this one’s got a lot more toppings, bro!

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So, we’re starting off with the pulled pork mac ‘n cheese hot dog, which was probably the most precariously perched piece of food. The dog itself was hot ‘n beefy, but both the mac and the pork were kinda cold, which was a little weird…

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Next up, we’ve got the pulled pork slider. Now, I don’t love pulled pork unless it’s really good, and this one was just OK. The coleslaw inside the sandwich and the pickle on top were a nice touch, though!

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Now, this cheeseburger was pretty basic, but it was definitely above average. Patty was thick and hot, and there were just enough toppings to add support without stealing the show. I might try one of their other burgers next time I come here…if I don’t just go for The Caesar Grande, though!

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These wings were what I like to call sports-bar spicy — they’ve got a decent kick, but not gonna melt your face off. At least by now I had taken enough food off the top that I could actually stick a straw in and drink some of the Caesar!

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Onion rings were pretty good, nice ‘n crunchy, and went well with the wings. If they were a little cold, that’s on me because I ate three whole sandwiches before I got to them!

Now, at this point, I had eaten a pretty decent amount of food. I mean, if I was at a Super Bowl party, I’d have probably stuffed this much down my piehole by the second quarter. But I still had the biggest, most intimidating part of this dish left to go — the full Cornish game hen:

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Even though I left it for last, this chicken was still pretty tasty. Skin was deep-fried and crispy, and the bird was tender and juicy. It’s a good thing that it was so melt-in-your-mouth, cuz I could barely chew at this point…but you KNOW I still ate it all, bro!!!!

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And of course, I still had room for dessert…

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Now, I already had a few bites of this chocolate brownie before I remembered to take a picture, but it was still pretty tasty. At this point, I had eaten enough food to curl up in a ball and go to sleep — but only after watching the Flames shut out the Dallas Stars, son!!!!

PATIO LIT EATS: Cod fish empanadas & truffle tater tots!

Dude, if there’s one thing I like more than comfort food, it’s comfort food that kicks it up a notch. So we’re hanging out on the patio at Canteen, this funky O&B joint at the bottom of the TIFF Lightbox. And they’re all about the comfort food — Caesar salad, tacos, burgers, sliders and pizzas…but when I saw the truffle tater tots, you KNOW I gotta have my tots, bro!!!

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OK, so what makes these truffle tater tots is the truffle aioli dipping sauce — there’s a reason why these are eight bucks, and not 800! But the taters were nice ‘n crispy, and the sauce adds a bit of a kick…I can’t complain at all!

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But you KNOW that order of tots wasn’t gonna tide me over, so we’re pairing it with a pair of Piri Piri cod empanadas, cabron! These fish pastries were super-flaky, coming in really hot out of the oven. The fish was pulled, and not very spicy — but still pretty tasty!!!

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But the party is just getting started, son! Up next we’ve got mac ‘n cheese, with mushrooms, cured tomatoes and herb bread crumbs. There was supposed to be kale here, too, but friends don’t let friends ruin mac ‘n cheese with kale, bro! You’ve got some nice, big noodles, a creamy cheese sauce, and the mushrooms add a nice bite. I couldda maybe used a little more cheese on top, though…

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And we’re washing it all down with a coupla Maison Selby Wit beers, brewed by Big Rock for another O&B joint…but they serve it on tap here, too. Nice, light and refreshing, but not too citrusy — I could slam at least 10 of these!!!

PATIO LIT EATS: Mac ‘n cheese poutine, pulled pork grilled cheese, total cheesefest!!!

York Region started reopening a few days before Toronto, so they’ve had a little more time to get their patio scene up and running. That’s why we’re headed up to Unionville to check out a funky little joint that’s been voted best patio in town 16 years running — this is Jake’s on Main.

And, when looking at their menu of funkalicious pub grub, I couldn’t decide between the mac ‘n cheese poutine and the BBQ pulled pork grilled cheese…so I just ordered both!

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Now, I did make mac ‘n cheese nachos before, in one of my drunken stupors, but I never would have thought to put the mac on top of poutine. So I gotta give my brother Jake his props — this dish was freaky, deeky, eat-it-any-day-of-the-weeky! Noodles are cooked perfectly, with a nice creaminess, and then that extra layer of cheese from the poutine really kicks it up a notch!

OK, so maybe it’s not a proper poutine — there’s no gravy, or Quebec cheese curds here — but I don’t really think gravy would make this dish taste better. Now, if you poured some queso on me, that’s a whole nother ballgame, bro!!!!

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And then, I was hoping that this festival of funk in Flavourtown would continue onto the grilled cheese sammy, but as you can probably see, it wasn’t equal parts cheesy and porky — more like a pulled pork sandwich with a slice of cheddar on top. And the pork wasn’t bad, or anything, but it just didn’t quite knock it outta the park. Maybe I’ll just hafta order two poutines next time! 😛

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Now, you KNOW this blog isn’t Burgers, Bacon and Long Island Iced Tea — so we’re totally slamming some patio beers, bro! And nothing screams patio beer like this Big Tiki Tropical Punch Blonde from the hopheads at Hop City. Packed with passionfruit, pineapple, mango and papaya, it tastes more like fruit punch than beer — and at 4.5%, I can pound these until the sun goes down, son!!!

TORONTO’S TOP TAKEOUT: This is mac daddy mac ‘n cheese, son!!!

Now, who doesn’t love mac ‘n cheese, bro? Whether they’re serving it up at an old-school British pub, inside a grilled cheese burger, or at a full-fledged festival, you KNOW I’m always down to clown, Charlie Brown! And when I heard about this funky little mac shack just offa Ossington, Bobbie Sue’s Mac + Cheese, I definitely had to get me some!!!

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This here’s the Blue Buffalo Mac, and it’s totally mac-tastic! You’ve got some big ol’ pieces of pulled chicken, a buncha blue cheese, and some tender noodles, served up in a box big enough for an 8″ personal pizza! I don’t think I’ve ever been so full for 15 bucks, bro — not since the AYCE sushi at Kyoto House, anyways…

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TORONTO’S TOP TAKEOUT: BBQ platter for two (but really just for one…)

Dude, I’ve been wanting to check out Meat & Pie Co., this funky halal BBQ joint that’s serving up two of my favourite things — meat AND pie — down on King St, where the Lone Star Grill used to be, for a little while now. Of course, they’ve been closed due to COVID-19…but on weekends, they’re doing free delivery on orders of 50 dollars or more.

Now, it’s not hard to spend 50 bucks on BBQ ’round these parts — a couple meats, a couple sides, and you’re usually set. I wanted to try a few of the best things they had to offer, so I ordered the 2 Person Platter. But the thing is, due to social distancing, there’s only one of me to eat it…

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Dude, this was so much food that I had to put it out on a cutting board, cuz I didn’t have a big enough plate! You’ve got a smoked half chicken with Tandoori seasoning, two big, thick slices of brisket — one on the leaner side, the other more medium — two pieces of jalapeno cheddar cornbread, a tin of mac ‘n cheese, a side of pickles and two little containers of BBQ sauce…and did I mention there’s pie for dessert???

OK, now let’s break it down…

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Now, the brisket wasn’t quite fork-tender — the leaner piece was more like eating steak — but it still had a nice, smoky flavour, good texture and a nice chew. It goes great with the crunch of the pickle, and while I don’t normally like sauce on BBQ, the tangy, smoky sauce on the side was pretty darn good for dipping!

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But the real star of the show has gotta be that smoked Tandoori chicken. Bird’s nice and moist, with just a bit of a kick… I could eat that all day, son!!!

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Mac ‘n cheese was nice and creamy, with a good breadcrumb crust — although it didn’t stay as warm as the meat did. And the cornbread was everything you’d expect, with little chunks of jalapenos and cheese…I can’t complain at all.

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Of course, because the name of the blog isn’t Burgers, Bacon & Unsweetened Tea, we had to wash this all down with an ice cold beer. This here’s a Firefly, a red currant habanero coconut gose from Half Hours on Earth, this craft brewery in the small town of Seaforth, ON…about an hour west of Kitchener. Now, the last habanero beer I had was pretty spicy, but that’s not the case here; if anything, I get more red currants, along with the slightly sour taste of the gose, which goes quite well with the heavy meat platter — and you KNOW I polished it all off, bro!!!!

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Aaaaand after clearing the table, I’ve still got room for dessert…

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This homemade apple pie was absolutely delectable! You’ve got a ton of apples in here, with some cinnamon, sugar, and a nice crunchy crust. And it’s about the right size after such a big meal — I probably couldn’t have eaten any more pie if I wanted to, bro! This also goes well with a nice glass of wine…

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…except that’s not wine, it’s another beer, bro! This Delirious Night sour DIPA, also from Half Hours on Earth, is brewed with Pinot Noir grape juice, Madagascar vanilla and milk sugar. It smells like a whole barrel full of hops, and is surprisingly strong, at 7%. I actually got both of these beers delivered from The Rosedale Diner, which makes this a delivery double down in Flavourtown!!!!

 

Lamb shank with a side of mac ‘n cheese, son!!!

Now, when the weather outside is frightful, I like to chow down on some go-to comfort food. You KNOW that I love lamb even more than Steve Carell, and mac ‘n cheese is probably my favourite side dish… So, we’re hanging out at The Queen and Beaver, this friendly neighbourhood English pub just offa Yonge St, and I’m like, why not do both???

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Now I’ve ordered lamb shank many times, many ways…but I don’t think I’ve seen it served with mashed squash before — it’s like culinary baby food in Flavourtown! And they’ve also got a whole lotta lentils, which is like the most green stuff I ate all month… But you KNOW the best side dish is yet to come, bro!!!!

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Now, I wouldn’t consider mac ‘n cheese to be your typical British pub food…but this British pub does a pretty decent take. Mac is nice ‘n creamy, with a crunchy breadcrumb crust — it’s a real culinary tongue-twister in Flavourtown!!!!

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Now, after tearing through that culinary mac-stravaganza, I actually wasn’t gonna order dessert…but then they sold me on the sticky toffee pudding. Their version uses molasses instead of caramel, for that extra richness — and there’s plenty of extra sauce. I’d put that on a flip-flop!!!!

Bacon truffle mac attack @ Prohibition Gastrohouse

So, we’re hanging out at Prohibition Gastrohouse, this funky joint on Eglinton with a badass back patio. Now, this place is supposed to have “TO’s Best Truffle Mac & Cheese” — it even says so on their menu — so you know I gotta come check it out!!!

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Now, they definitely funk it up a notch at this place. Cuz that ain’t macaroni — it’s Pasta di Gragnano, bro! And there ain’t no cheddar cheese here…it’s a blend of Gruyere, emmenthal and that’s my boy blue cheese. Throw in some truffle paste, truffle oil, and for an extra five bucks, you can add bacon. Of course, you KNOW the first rule of Flavourtown is Always Add Bacon!!!

Now, they don’t shortchange ya on the bacon,  but if I got one complaint, it’s not very crispy. Nice chew on the noodles, a whole lotta creaminess — the blue cheese really cuts through everything else. If you like your cheese blue, this is the dish for you!!!

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Now, this place has also got a pretty good craft beer selection — and all their draft beers are $5.75 from 5 to 7, son! This here’s a Vagabond IPA, from my punk rock bowling buddies at BrewDog. It’s not as strong or as hoppy as your average IPA, but still has a nice, crisp taste. I could pound, like, 17 of these!!!

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Now, you’re looking at a craft beer legend right here — Anchor Steam, from the Bay Area. This OG of steam beers is woody, minty, big and bouncy…and probably too much flavour for your average light-beer drinker!

Maybe pigs can’t fly, but they still got wings…

So, we’re hanging out at Mackies Southern BBQ, this cozy little family-run joint on the ground floor of a house, across the street from a hospital in Frederick, Maryland. This place is known as one of the best BBQ joints in town, but alongside your standard BBQ dishes like beef brisket, pulled pork and ribs, they’re also funking it up with the likes of BBQ nachos, crab cakes and these three little pigs of Flavourtown, the Texas Hog Wild Pork Wings:

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Now, these meaty monstrosities come slathered in a BBQ sauce with a nice little kick, and then there’s a side of garlic parm to cool things off. It’s kinda like a cross between a rib and a drumstick, minus the Wet-Naps. And speaking of sides, you get three wings and two sides for just 16 bucks, bro! Me, I went with mac ‘n cheese and potato salad:

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The mack daddy was nice ‘n hot, you can tell it wasn’t just sitting around somewhere. A good amount of cheesiness, creamy texture, and a few bites of pepper, for that extra kick.

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Potato salad also tasted nice and fresh, not too much mayo — you don’t even need to add raisins, bro!

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Now, unfortunately you can’t get beer here, but a nice cold glass of homemade lemonade sure hits the spot!!!

Slammin’ smoked lamb at Barque, bro!!!

Now, Barque Smokehouse is already one of my favourite BBQ joints in this city. Their Smoker’s Choice platter is enough food to feel a small army of Flavourtown Warriors, Bro-veheart! But when it’s date night in Flavourtown, I’m all about the BBQ Sampler for Two. You get three meats, two sides and an appetizer, for just 64 bucks. And yes, they do give you enough food (unlike some place on Queen St I won’t mention)…

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Man, this is like a Fieri family portrait in Flavourtown! You’ve got Barque Rack O’Bama baby back ribs, beef brisket, and…wait for it…smoked pulled lamb shoulder, son! Plus there’s sides of cajun mac ‘n cheese and garlic mashed potaters, topped with crispy pancetta? Shut the front, back and cellar doors!!!! And I haven’t even mentioned the appetizer:

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Dude, these Korean BBQ Nachos were so outta bounds, I almost Gangnam Styled myself to death, bro! You’ve got smoked wonton chips, gojuchang beef brisket, cheddar cheese, jalapenos and smoked pineapple!? Dude, I don’t even mind pineapple on pizza, but this is totally kicking it up a notch!!!!

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Now, I’ve had the brisket and ribs here before, so I know they’re legit, but this was the first time in my lifetime I’ve ever eaten BBQ pulled lamb. I did have lamb ribs that one time in Cleveland, and they were only my third-favourite kind of ribs (beef ribs FTW, bro!!!), but I’ve always been more of a lamb shank kinda guy. So hey, if you take it, and pull it and sauce it, well…there’s nothing wrong with that at all.

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Now, when it comes to sides, that crispy pancetta on the potatoes is TheBomb.it. You could put that on a flip flop, and it would still taste good! But you know it’s all about that mac, bro… Dude, this is body by mac ‘n cheese!!!