Tag Archives: Middle Eastern food

Who needs cauliflower when you can have beef brisket, bro????

So, we’re hanging out at Fat Pasha, this funky Middle Eastern joint on Dupont. This place is known for its spicy cauliflower…but do you really think we’re gonna eat cauliflower on Triple B, bro????

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Instead, we’re starting off with some halloumi sticks, a funky take on a pizza joint classic. Dude, I am always down for some deep-fried cheese, so you KNOW there ain’t nothing wrong with these!!!!

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But now it’s time for the main event — Linda’s beef brisket. I dunno who Linda is, but I’d eat her brisket any day of the week, bro! Meat is nice n tender, with a thick BBQ sauce and a whole pile of fried onions… dude, this is body by fried onions!!!!!

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But even after all that brisket back there, we’ve still got room for dessert. We’re talking tahini fudge brownie, with a bit of acid cutting through the chocolate mix. Dunno why they cut it into six, cuz this is just a light snack for one in Flavourtown, son!!!!

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Proceeds the chicken… Nazareth!!!

Now, we’re no strangers to hot chicken here on Triple B. So when I heard that The Haifa Room, this funky Israeli joint at Dundas and Ossington, was serving up a Middle Eastern take on Nashville hot chicken, with a nod to my favourite 63-minute song, you KNOW I had to check it out — right after I help myself to some hummus.

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Now, because two dips are better than one, we’re doubling down with some labneh and chef’s hummus. Man, this hummus is a real humdinger, topped with peaches and pistachios. And it tastes even better on top of a schnitzel pita!

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That’s right, they take hot, fresh pita bread, cover it in batter, and deep-fry it. Dude, I’m pretty sure I’d eat a schnitzel flip-flop…so you KNOW I’m all over this, bro!!!!!

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But that’s not the only fried thing on the menu, son! We’re taking Nazareth Hot Chicken, topped with harissa and served on some sumac yogurt. Now, since this is sorta like a Middle Eastern take on Nashville hot chicken, I was scared it would be spicy — but if anything, it’s actually more temperature hot, coming straight outta the fryer. I could kill like an 8 piece dinner of these, bro…

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Of course, then I wouldn’t have room for the main event, and you definitely wanna leave room for lamb! This is some of the most tender lamb I’ve ever tasted. You can cut it with a fork AND it melts in your mouth! I also ordered a side of roasted potatoes…but had I known it came with radishes, which had a bit of a potatoey texture, then I might not have needed the spuds. That didn’t stop me from completely clearing all the plates, though!!!!

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Washed all this good stuff down with a couple of Burdock NULAs, a dry-hopped orange & grapefruit sour. Man, this tastes more like fruit salad than a beer… Yummy yummy!!!!

This lamb shawarma pizza are a few of my favourite things…

It almost goes without saying, but this is body by pizza! We’ve had all kindsa pizza here on Triple B — Neapolitan, Detroit-style, both kinds of Chicago pizza (deep dish AND tavern), Montreal smoked meatza… even spam & pineapple. So when I heard there’s this new funky joint at Bloor and Ossington called Levant serving up what they call Levantine Sicilian pizza, you KNOW I gotta check it out, bro!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

This place has got 11 different pizzas on the menu, and you can get em either by the slice, as a small or a large. I have not limited myself to a small pizza since that one time in Vegas (they called it a Wee Pizza), but since I was told Levant’s large was 18 slices, 14 by 14 inches, and could feed a family of four…I stuck with a small, which is a pretty decent personal pizza in Flavourtown.

The good news (besides that I just saved a buncha money on pizza insurance) is that with a small, you can mix and match two different kinds of pies — with a large they let you do three, but then I’d need at least two of me to just eat it, Weird Bro-al!

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Now, if I could only pick two pizzas, there’s no doubt that The Shawarma would be my number one pick. A funky take on my favourite Middle Eastern food, this pie is loading up roasted lamb & beef brisket with pickled shallots, cherry tomatoes, baby arugula and a bit of bomba sauce for an extra kick. Man, I’ve never seen lamb roasting on a spit at a shawarma shop before, but if that’s actually a thing, I need to find it ASAP. Plus, did I mention that the crust is made of focaccia? Mamma mia!!!!!!

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But you ain’t seen nothing yet, Randy Bro-chman! This Meat Habibi is a Middle East take on a classic meat lover’s, with pepperoni, Mediterranean sausage, kofta meatballs, mushrooms and pickled chilies, completely smothered in garlic donkey sauce. Give it to me Habibi, uh-huh, uh-huh! (You KNOW I’m pretty fat for a white guy, bro!!!!!!!!!!!)

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Levant only seats about 15 people, but they do have take out, and you can even grab some beer to go, right out of the display fridge. It turns out I grabbed the last Elora Borealis, a lighter shade of IPA coming straight outta Elora, Ontario. But they’ve also got a whole buncha beers from Burdock, which is just a couple blocks down the street, eh?

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Maybe it’s cuz of all the pizza I ate, but I expected this saison to be sour and funky — and it was actually pretty mild and smooth. This Tuesday’s gone with the wind, Bro-nerd Sko-nerd!!!!

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But even after all that pizza back there, we’ve always got room for dessert! Now, I’ve had kunafa a couple times before, and I didn’t really dig it. It’s kinda like baklava and tiropita had a baby, and poured rose water all over it. But this tiramisu kunafa adds a little Italian with some cocoa powder, espresso syrup, and a little marscapone mixed in with the cheesy centre. I actually liked this version so much better that when I had a couple bites of their OG kunafa, I poured some espresso syrup on it, in the name of love, bro!!!!!

SOUTH BY SOUTH AUSTIN: $16 Middle East Feast @ Dimassi’s Mediterranean Buffet

Not only is everything bigger in Texas, but it’s usually cheaper, too. So when I heard about Dimassi’s Mediterranean Buffet, this funky joint with an AYCE lunch buffet for just $15.99, you KNOW I had to check it out, bro!!!

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Plate 1: fried chicken, gyros, kofta, chicken breast, meatloaf, hummus, tzatziki, tabbouleh, coleslaw, pasta salad

Kofta was hot and tasty, but the highlight was the spicy meatloaf, topped with a potato and a hot pepper. And I don’t even know what this dish is called, bro…

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Plate 2: chicken breast, pulled beef, fried fish, potatoes, okra, brown rice, potato salad, chickpea salad, fattoush, avocado hummus, baba ganoush

The pulled beef was outstanding, tender and tangy, while the fried fish was nice and crisp. And avocado hummus!? Shut the back door, bro!!!!

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Plate 3: fried chicken, baked fish, eggplant, cauliflower, grape leaves, falafel, spicy flatbread

Fried chicken was tastier this time around, coming in hot and juicy. And that eggplant melts like butter, bro! Not sure about that spicy flatbread, though. I thought it was pizza…but no!

And you KNOW we’ve still got room for dessert! But after some rice pudding, baklava and halawa (which I forgot to take a picture of), that oughtta do’er.

A feast from the Middle East that’s closer to the heart…

Here on Triple B, we’re no strangers to shawarma, and you KNOW this is body by brisket, bro… so when I heard about Fet Zun, this funky little joint on Dupont just a few steps from the subway, we totally had to check it out. This place is serving up a signature Fet Zun Feast with Tahini, Labneh, Whipped Feta, Charred Eggplant, Chirchi, Chopped Salad, Pickles, Olives, Hummus, Chicken Shawarma, Brisket Shawarma, Charred Broccoli, French Fries AND Saffron Rice — shut the front, back and side doors, son!!!!!

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Now, it’s hard to pick a favourite among so many great dips, but the real star of the show here has gotta be the bread. It’s baked fresh and hot to order, and just pulls apart like putty. Man, I could eat this bread for breakfast, lunch and dinner…but I gotta save room for the good stuff, bro!

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On this side, we’ve got a whole pile of brisket, with onions and pickles, some nice saffron rice and charred broccoli. I didn’t have any broccoli, though… Why eat broccoli when you can eat brisket????

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At the same time, they’ve also serving up chicken shawarma, with a nice variety of sauces and pickles, alongside a big bunch of crispy, salty fries. I think I ate about half of these fries by myself, bro…

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This is pretty much the perfect plate right here. You’ve got two kinds of meat, some fries, rice and pretty much no vegetables (unless a pickle counts). I managed to polish off two plates like this — and still had room for dessert!!!

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Dessert isn’t officially part of the Fet Zun Feast, but they do give you two desserts to choose from…so we ordered both. On the right, you’ve got knafeh, a Middle Eastern dessert made with phyllo pastry, stuffed with ricotta and topped with orange blossoms and pistachios. And on the left hand side, they’re funking it up a notch with a halvah cheesecake, a creamy take on a sesame cake with a pistachio crust and all kinds of shaved coconut on top. I liked this one a lot more than the knafeh.

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We’re pairing this food from across the pond with a true Canadian classic — Henderson’s Rush Canadian Golden Ale. I hadn’t had the chance to try this beer before, so when I saw they were serving it up here (for a couple bucks more than the other beers), I had to check it out. To be honest, I think this beer has even less flavour than Molson Canadian — it’s kinda like drinking Kokanee, or even Coors Light. As far as Rush albums go, this one is less 2112, more Signals, bro…

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!!!!!

Hummus royale…without cheese.

Now, you KNOW I loves me some Middle Eastern food — dude, this is body by shawarma, bro! So when I heard that Byblos, this funky Eastern Mediterranean joint in the Entertainment District, was fully reopened for business, I had to come in and check it out. They actually don’t serve shawarma here, but you can get a short rib kebab, roasted lamb shoulder or wagyu brisket pide, among other things. But me, I’m gonna go for the wagyu beef in this funky little first course, hummus royale.

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Basically, what you’ve got here is hummus, topped with wagyu ground beef, pine nuts and barberries — say what now? Plus, it comes with these little pieces of Persian barbari flatbread for dipping. These little bread chunks don’t dip as easily as a pita, but I guess they’re more authentic, eh?

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But you know that hummus was just a light snack in Flavourtown — now it’s time for some Middle Eastern fried chicken!!!

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When they told me there were five pieces to an order, I figured it would be a decent-sized dinner — but these are more like boneless chicken bites, bro. Still pretty tasty, topped with tahini, za’atar herbs and with some spicy shug hot sauce on the side — I definitely needed to eat all those pickles to cool my mouth down, son! And hey, you KNOW I still had room for dessert, right?

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Dude, this hazelnut chocolate mousse is some next-level shit. It’s got that rich, chocolately taste, but there’s also some Middle Eastern spices, a bit of coffee syrup, edible flowers and a couple crunchy wafer cookies sticking out of the top. This dessert was the best part of the whole meal, bro!!!!

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 kunafa, 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)…