Tag Archives: Middle Eastern food

Super-tasty seafood tajine @ Sultan’s Tent

Now, we’ve had some real-deal meals from all over the world right here on Triple B — without even leaving Toronto — but I think this might be our first time for Moroccan food. We’re hanging out at The Sultan’s Tent, this funky joint on Wellington, and some of the dishes seem kinda familiar, like something I mighta had at places like Darna or Amal…but there’s also a French influence with some of the food on the menu, like filet mignon or shrimp provencal. Don’t think I’m gonna go the French route here, though…

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Starting off with some hummus and pita. Now, I like hummus, and I like pitas…but it was a bit of a bummer that this dish came with pita chips instead of fresh pita bread. I still ate every last bite of it though, bro!!!!

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But now let’s get to the good stuff. We’re talkin’ seafood tajine, served in a clay pot, with shrimp, scallops and calamari in tomato sauce, rice, bell peppers and a lemon wedge. All the seafood was cooked perfectly — the shrimp was especially tasty — and it’s not every day I get to eat out of a clay pot, bro!!!

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We’re washing it down with a couple Moroccan Brown Ales from the renegades of funk at Spearhead. I mean, if you’re gonna have a Moroccan joint in Toronto, this is the beer you should be pouring — coming straight outta Kingston(!) with dates, figs, raisins and a dash of cinnamon!!!

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Now, just the other day I said the chocolate brownie stack at Vela was the best dessert I’ve had in 2021. But man, this chocolate cake is definitely right up there! I don’t really think chocolate cake when I think Morocco, but I would definitely order this again, bro! Nice and rich, but not too heavy, with some mixed berries and a cream cheese icing on the side…it’s got everything I want in a dessert — except maybe some ice cream?

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: This eggplant schnitzel shook me all night long!!!

Finally… in-person dining has come back to Toronto!!! Now, we missed the two-week window when patios were allowed to open back in March (it wasn’t really patio weather, anyways), so this is the first time we’re actually eating at a restaurant since November 2020. Reunited and it feels so good, Peaches & Bro!!!

First night out on a patio in over six months, so you know we want something real-deal, something super-legit — like Middle Eastern vegetarian food. Say what now??? While it might not be the first thing that comes to mind (and trust me, I AM going for a steak and/or burger tomorrow), I gotta say that Shook, this funky little joint on Portland, just south of King Street, really knocks it outta the park!

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First, we’re starting off with the ultimate Middle Eastern vegan dish, falafel. These goodness gracious great balls of flavour are surprisingly spicy — I think there’s some zhug sauce on there or something. But the creamy tahini and pickled onions balance things out quite nicely. Dude, I could slam, like, 17 of these, bro!!!!

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But now it’s time for the main event, so let’s get ready to rumble! On the menu, they call this eggplant schnitzel, but it’s almost more like eggplant parmesan, topped with tomatoes, basil and buffalo sold-jah mozzarella. And dude, that breading is fantastic! Nice and crispy, soaks up the cheese and the sauce. I almost forgot I was eating veggies! Like seriously, I would put this right up there with the bone-in veal parm from Piano Piano — and that was really, really good!!!

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But the hits keep coming, and they don’t stop coming, Smash Mouth lookalike bro!!! For dessert, we’ve got this tasty gianduja chocolate mousse, with hits of hazelnut and passionfruit, served underneath a deconstructed bakalava crust. I dunno whose job it was to scrape all the crust offa those baklavas, but that man is a hero in my book!!!

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And now, the question you’ve all been waiting for, “What’s your first patio beer of the year, bro???” Well, Shook only has six beers to choose from, and two of them are Coors or Miller. So instead, I opted for this Boundless IPA from Creemore. Not too bitter, not too hoppy, but just right. I think I’ll have another (two or three)…

TORONTO’S TOP TAKEOUT: Hail to The Hummussiah!!!

You KNOW I’m all about that Middle Eastern food — this is body by shawarma, bro! So, when I heard about The Hummussiah, this funky little joint right smack dab in the middle of Ryerson University, serving up nine different kinds of warm hummus bowls, I was all over that like peace in the Middle East!!!

It’s hard to pick a favourite among so many great hummuses, but I had to go with the Chuck Stew Hummus Bowl, with slow cooked beef, potatoes and chickpeas, served with house pickles, pita bread, a mango amba sauce and some spicy green schug — I’d put that on a flip-flop, bro…

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…or at least a big piece’a pita bread. The pitas here are nice ‘n thick, so you can really load ’em up good. I really couldda used a third pita, though — that’s how much stuff was in the bowl! And I’m not sure you’re supposed to fold it up like a taco, but it seemed like the best way to get this all straight down my piehole.

Oh, and I definitely went and scraped up everything off the side of the bowl — no hummus left behind, bro!!!

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TORONTO’S TOP TAKEOUT: Call your mama, that’s a lotta shawarma!!!

Now, I first heard the legend of Me Va Me’s footlong shawarma many years ago…but when they finally opened a downtown location, it wasn’t even on the menu. So when I found out that Shawarmama, this funky little joint on Queen West, was serving up footlong beef and chicken shawarmas, I was all over that like tahini on tabbouleh, bro!!!!

I didn’t break out the measuring tape or nothing, but this had to be the longest shawarma I’ve ever seen. This pita snake is stuffed with seasoned beef, some crunchy onions, a little acid from the tomatoes and a tangy tahini, and toasted to perfection, son! I also made mine a meal, with fries and a drink, for $4.50 more…

Fries were super extra-crispy, which meant they didn’t get soggy in delivery. Plus, I paid an extra 99 cents for some house-made garlic sauce, which is such a smooth move in Flavourtown, bro!!!

Now, they’ve actually got a deal on with Uber (which ends today though), where if you spend at least 20 dollars, you can get a free tub of hummus with an extra large pita for dipping. Dude, I’m not saying this is body by hummus…but if it was, it might be less than 300 pounds, bro. Hummus is smoother than the grocery-store kind, but still nice and tangy. And even after pounding all that pita, I still had like half a container of hummus left, so I might actually have a healthy snack for once!!!!

 

 

 

TORONTO’S TOP TAKEOUT: Born in Arizona, moved to Babylonia… Funky Tut’s Street Food, son!!!

Now, we have savoured flavours from all over the world on Triple B, but one that we’ve never had before is Egyptian. So when I heard about Tut’s Egyptian Street Food, this funky little joint at King and Portland, you KNOW I had to check it out, bro!!!!

This place is serving up seven different sammies, about half the size of a hot dog, and since I’ve never eaten Egyptian before, I pretty much wanted one of everything that isn’t vegan. Good thing they have a thing called the Tut’s Plus Combo, which gives you four sammies and a side for $19.99. Now that’s what I call winner, winner, Egyptian dinner — or make that Egyptian lunch!!!

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We’re starting off with the Egyptian Falafel, two great balls of fibre topped with tahini and coriander. This dish not only smells amazing, but it tastes delicious too…and technically, I guess it actually is vegan. My bad, bro!

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Now, while these might all look like little hot dogs, this here sammich is the closest thing to an actual hot dog. We’re talkin’ grilled beef sausage, topped with caramelized onions and a mustard mint sauce. Take me out to the ball game, bro!!!!!

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Now batting third, we’ve got grilled kofta, a Middle Eastern meat stick topped with tahini and parsley. But what really kicks it up a notch is a pair of pickles, giving things a nice little extra tang.

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But now we’re gonna kick it up another two or three notches with something I’ve never had in a sandwich before — pan-fried beef liver, bro! Now, this meat tasted kinda like the shredded beef you’d put in a taco, and the lime wedge added a nice little bit of acid. Plus, there’s some more tahini on top — dude, they put that shit on everything!!!

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With this combo, you also get a choice of sides — tomatoes, pickles or fries. Can you guess which one I went with? These french-fried potaters are seasoned with Dukka, an Egyptian blend of herbs and spices. At first, I was like, this little fistful of fries isn’t gonna be enough for four sandwiches, but it turns out I got about two fries for every bite… Now that’s some culinary rocket science in Flavourtown!!!

TORONTO’S TOP TAKEOUT: 6 meat Turkish feast!!!

On Father’s Day Weekend, Uber Eats gave me two codes for 50% off, on orders up to 50 bucks. I wanted to make the most of it by supporting a couple of local, family-run restaurants and making some yuuuge orders! (I believe Uber pays the difference to the restaurant while giving me the discount — hopefully I’m not wrong on that.) Now, you KNOW I love lamb, and shawarma is my jam, so when I found this funky Turkish joint on the Danforth called Efes Kebab House (listed as Efes Bar and Grill on Uber Eats), I totally had to check it out!

And when it came to making my 50 bucks count, I was definitely going big with this six-meat symphony in Flavourtown — the Ocak Basi Mix:

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Dude, when your meal comes in a big metal catering tray, you know that’s a lotta food! You’ve got some chicken and beef shish kebab, along with chicken and beef doner — which is basically shawarma — meatballs, a lamb chop and a bed of rice with some warm pita bread, along with a side salad. But what makes it is the adana kebab:

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I’ll be honest, the lamb chop is what caught my eye when I first saw this dish, but little did I know, I’d be getting two lambs for the price of one! This ground lamb skewer is cooked over charcoal, which really gives the meat a nice flavour. I’m sure glad I got a nice long piece!!!

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But really, this whole dish was delish — no crumb left behind, son!!!

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Now, after all that meat, I didn’t really need something sweet, but these two little two-bite baklava rolls hit the spot! I didn’t expect them to come with this dish, but I guess when you buy the biggest, meatiest platter, as well as a tub of hummus (I saved some of it for snacking later), they throw in the dessert for free — which makes this a 5-star experience in Flavourtown!!!!

Zezafoun’s Syrian brunch is off the hook!!!

Now, I’ve eaten a bunch of brunches from all over the place, but this was probably the first time I’ve ever scarfed down some Syrian food. So there’s this cozy little joint called Zezafoun, just off Yonge St, a couple blocks from Davisville Station. They’re got yer shawarma, they’ve got falafel, and a whole buncha daily specials straight outta Damascus. But the best time to come is for brunch, when they’re serving up Middle Eastern comfort food like fatteh, right here:

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Now, this is sorta like if they took all the sides from a shawarma plate, and put ‘em in a bowl. You’ve got chickpeas, tahini and almonds, served warm, with some pieces of fried pita bread mixed in. I told ‘em this would be a great dip for some deep-fried pita chips…so if you see that on the menu next time, you’ll know why.

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Now, I didn’t think this would fill me up, but whatever they put in here, it sticks to yer ribs. They say that in Syria, people go right back to bed after a big bowl of fatteh, and I can totally see where they’re coming from!!!