Tag Archives: poutine

TORONTO’S TOP TAKEOUT: Thai-style chicken wings & poutine!

Bangkok Garden is one of the OG Thai joints in this city, serving up authentic Thai dishes downtown since the early 80’s. When we ate here in person, a couple years back, I scarfed down some succulent seafood skewers — but this time, for takeout, we’re going with their take on a couple Canadian classics… poutine AND chicken wings!

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Now, I think you actually can get chicken wings in Thailand — or at least at other Thai restaurants in town. But I always thought that Thai wings were a little too sweet. These ones definitely weren’t though, nice ‘n crispy with a little bit of Sriracha heat, and then some fish sauce for dipping. For 10 bucks, I definitely can’t complain!

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But the Thai poutine is where they really take it to another level! First of all, the fresh-cut fries were fricken delicious — definitely the best fries I’ve ever had from any Asian joint! But what kicks it up another notch is the red curry sauce. I mean, you wouldn’t think that fries, cheese and curry would go together, but the end result is magically delicious. I would totally order this the next time I dine in at Bangkok Garden!!!

PATIO LIT EATS: Kolsches and sours and stouts, oh my!

Now, patio season might be almost over, but we’re taking advantage of any sunny days we’ve got left to chug some more patio beers — even if ya gotta wear a jacket. We’re hanging out at Mascot Brewery, this funky joint with a backyard beer garden right on King St. Well OK, it’s actually more like a back alley beer garden, but they do have beer, and that’s what matters, bro!

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Starting things off with a Sun Sipper, this clean, crispy kolsch that according to their beer menu is perfect for long sessions on a patio. I’m not gonna argue with the menu, bro!!!

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Next up, we’ve got the Passionfruit Peach Sour. This fruity, summery beer is maybe more tangy than sour — but that’s not a bad thing, in my books.

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Now, before we get into the heavier stuff, first I gotta eat something. So I ordered up a trio of smoked brisket sliders, nice ‘n simple, with grainy mustard on some potato buns. I mean, all you really need is meat, mustard and bread, right?

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I gotta say, their poutine game was a little weak — especially when compared to the poutine spring rolls at Betty’s. Fries were decent, but the gravy was soupy and the cheese brought no squeak to the table. But hey, time for another beer!!!!

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This Frosthammer DIPA is so grim, it was probably on its way to kill Euronymous. Super-citrusy, hazy and heavy, at 8.2%, this is not the beer for poseurs!

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Of course, even after all that commotion back there, we’ve still got room for dessert…and by dessert, I mean another beer. This Chocolate Daddy is brewed with barley, oats and chocolate malt — but it wasn’t quite as rich and chocolately as I expected. At 6.6%, it’s sorta like a Guinness on steroids, though!!!

PATIO LIT EATS: Putting poutine inside spring rolls, bro!

Now, Labour Day is just about the end of summer around here, so that means it might be one of our last chances to hit up a patio in Toronto, bro! We’re hanging out at Betty’s, this funky little dive at King and Sherbourne, where they’ve got social-distancing blow-up dolls inside and a pretty spacious backyard patio, hidden away from all the condos.

Now, this place has got a lot of your typical pub food — burgers, pizza, chicken fingers, along with some more unusual items like pad thai and pot pie. But when I saw they had poutine spring rolls, I was all over that like Kid Rock on a Coors Light, bro!!!

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Ever wish that poutine could be even more deep-fried and delicious? Well, your wish is about to come true, son! Basically, they take fries and cheese curds, wrap ’em in spring roll batter, and fry ’em to perfection, then serve ’em up with gravy for dipping…cuz you probably can’t deep-fry the gravy, eh? And while you don’t get the squeaky texture from the cheese here, that spring roll casing definitely adds an extra crunch! Dude, I could pound about 17 of these, bro…but then I wouldn’t have room for dumplings!

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These kimchi pork dumplings are also deep-fried, because one fried thing deserves another, bro! Served with some Chinese red vinegar and a red hot chili sauce, which definitely adds a strong kick… Man, I’m gonna need at least a couple beers to wash this down!!!

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We’re starting off with a Nordic Lager, this collaboration between Canada and Denmark, brewed by Henderson. It’s definitely pretty malty, but you’ve got a bit of hops, and a smooth finish, with yeast from the Carlsberg Research Lab. It might be more of a winter beer, though…

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On the other hand, Lazy Days of Summer, this hazy passionfruit IPA from Whitewater, is definitely made to be crushed before Labour Day! Equal parts piney and fruity, it will have you pining for the days where you didn’t hafta wear a jacket on the patio, bro!!!

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But now we’re going back, way back to the Summer of ’69 with this 8-Track IPA from Radical Road Brewing. This one’s not as hoppy, but packs a pretty good kick at 6.5%.

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And we’re ending the summer with the fruitiest of fruit beers, a 12 Minutes to Destiny Raspberry Hibiscus Lager from Flying Monkeys. This basically tastes like fruit punch — and at just 4.1%, you can pretty much drink it like fruit punch, too!

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Now, even after pounding poutine rolls, dunking some dumplings and crushing all those craft beers, I still had room for dessert. But the only thing on the menu with fruit in it was this Deep Six bean dip. You’ve got layers of refried beans, salsa, sour cream, guacamole and cheddar cheese, served at face-melting temperature, with a whole buncha chips for dipping. Unlike most places that never give you enough chips for the dip, I actually had lotsa nachos left over after scraping off every last bite of bean dip… And I didn’t even double dip the chip!!!

PATIO LIT EATS: We be lambin’, mon!

So, we’re hanging out at Bymark, this funky joint in the Financial District. When I was here last summer, we ate underground, but now we’re taking advantage of their swanky courtyard patio…and their righteous summer menu, son!

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So, we’re starting off with lobster poutine, which is one of my favourite kinds of poutine. Fries are ridiculously crispy, you’ve got some nice, big chunks of lobster, and a classic Bearnaise sauce on top. Now, technically it’s not a poutine — where’s the cheese curds, bro? — but definitely some of the best lobster Bearnaise fries I’ve ever had!!!

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Now, speaking of things that are a little unusual… I’ve totally had some real-deal jerk chicken before, and a whole lotta lamb shanks, but this jerk lamb shank was definitely a first. I was worried that it might be spicy, but it really wasn’t. Braised meat was super-tender, and you’ve got some stuff on the side that I don’t normally eat, like quinoa and lima beans. But if you put it on the plate with lamb, I’m gonna make it disappear, bro!!!

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Now for dessert, we’re kicking it up another notch with some creme brulee donuts! These creamy little Timbits come with a side of salted caramel and some walnut pralines for that added crunch. This might be the funkiest dessert I’ve had since we came outta lockdown, son!!!!

PATIO LIT EATS: Coq au vin poutine? Say no more, mon amour!!!

Now, everybody knows I love poutine. Dude, this is body by poutine, bro!!! So when I found out that Cluny, this funky French bistro in the Distillery District, was serving up a coq au vin poutine, I was all over that like French on bread, mec! They say it’s meant to share, but this looks more like poutine for one in Flavourtown…

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OK, now let’s break it down. The fries are super-thin, and the cheese, if it was ever in curd form, was completely melted by the time it hit the table. But the chicken was nice ‘n tender, and you’ve got these little flavour nuggets of bacon and mushroom for an extra kick. This one might not go in the Poutine Hall of Fame, but it was still a pretty tasty dish. It wasn’t even enough food for me, though — you KNOW I still had room for dessert, bro!!!

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The only thing that’s bittersweet about this Bittersweet Truffle Bar was that it’s not a bit bigger! It’s kinda like a solid chocolate mousse, with a whole lotta raspberry sauce, a few pink marshmallows and these little caramel cocoa nibs. Pretty sure I could slam three of these, and still have room for… I dunno, maybe some frog legs or something?

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: It’s a burger made outta lobster, bro!!!!

I know yesterday was National Burger Day — I had like 75 people tag me on Instagram, bro! But for me every day is Burger Day, and that’s why we’re celebrating Friday with a lobster burger from Lobster Burger Bar, this funky joint on King St West. Now, I’ve had some massive lobster rolls before, and even a burger with lobster on top, but a burger made outta lobster? This I gotta see!

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They call this the Halifax Lobster Burger, and it’s waaaay better than those nachos at the Scotiabank Centre, son! You’ve got a five-ounce Atlantic lobster patty, with mozza and white cheddar baked right in, plus lettuce, tomato and a whole lotta mayo. And of course, I paid 3 bucks extra to add bacon — dude, the Number One Rule of Flavourtown is Always Add Bacon!!!!

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Now, when it comes to sides, I couldda gone with fries, or maybe some sweet potato spuds. But when I saw the poutine, you KNOW I had to try it. I was a little disappointed to see the skinny little matchstick fries, but you know what? Even though the curds were kinda melty by the time I dug in, they still had that squeak, and the gravy was the closest thing I’ve had to proper sauce en canne in a while. On the scale of one to redonkuluous, it’s no Poutine Mountain, but for a side dish at a seafood joint, this poutine’s pretty legit!!!

TORONTO’S TOP TAKEOUT: We’re taking poutine to the extreme!!!

Now, if there’s one food group I could eat for breakfast, lunch and dinner, it’s gotta be poutine. And there’s no shortage of funky poutineries all over this city — even during lockdown, bro! Like Poutine Mountain, this pop-up kitchen in the 6ix Food Hall, that’s serving up poutine so outta bounds, they gotta dare you to eat it:

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This I Dare You poutine is like a 2 a.m. drunk dial in Flavourtown, bro! You’ve got french fries, mozza cheese, mozza sticks, a piece of fried chicken, and then a buncha pepperonis at the bottom. The menu said there were chicken tenders, but I actually think the pepperoni works better, cuz it lets me do this:

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Now, I gotta say right off the bat that there are no cheese curds in this poutine, which is kinda like a cardinal sin in Flavourtown. But when you get some fries, some gravy, a bit of cheese, half a mozza stick and then a pepperoni on top, that’s pretty much the perfect bite, bro!!!!

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Now, on the other hand, the fried chicken was a bit of a miss with this dish. I’m not used to eating fried chicken with a fork, so pulling pieces of chicken off to stack on top of the FCG — fries, cheese ‘n gravy — did not go so well. But hey, while none of the ingredients were perfect, or even very good, when you put ’em all together, it’s pretty much what the doctor ordered after back-to-back-to-back virtual happy hours, bro-rantine king!!!!

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TORONTO’S TOP TAKEOUT: This burger’s for Rudy, coach!

Now, I was never a walk-on at Notre Dame, but I know a good burger when I see it. And Rudy, which has three locations across the city, all doing takeout and delivery, makes a pretty darn good burger, bro!

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This is the Tattooed Rude Dude combo, and it has barely a speck of athletic ability. You’ve got a bacon double cheeseburger with a side of poutine — all combos should come with poutine, son!!!

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This Rude Dude is griddled for those extra crispy edges, topped with super-melty cheese, tomatoes, lettuce and bacon. Now, the difference between a regular Rude Dude and the Tattooed Rude Dude is the bacon, which costs an extra $2.50. But you KNOW that the first rule of Flavourtown is Always Add Bacon, bro!!!!

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Now, this poutine is soooo next level! The fries are nice and thick, gravy is on point…but what makes it are the cheese curds. I can’t even remember the last time I had poutine with properly squeaky curds — normally, the cheese is all melty by the time it meets my mouth. But these curds squeaked so hard, they sacked the quarterback, son! No wonder Toronto Life calls it the best poutine in the city

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!!!

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