Tag Archives: poutine

TORONTO’S TOP TAKEOUT: Sucking on chili dogs at the back of Fancy Franks…

Today is Opening Day for the Blue Jays…although they were in New York today, and will play their “home games” in Florida until at least the end of May. Since it looks like we won’t be heading down to the ballpark anytime soon, we’re bringing the ballpark home with some real-deal Coney Island chili dogs from Francy Franks.

Suck on THIS chili dog, John Bro-gar Bro-llencamp! We’ve got a 100% beef wiener topped with meaty chili, chopped onions and mustard in a warm ‘n toasty bun. And you KNOW I didn’t eat just one, bro!!!

But that’s not all, folks! We’re kicking things up another notch with some chili poutine! This dish is like Chili Cheese Fries Gone Wild — with real-deal cheese curds to top it off. There is even some gravy on here, but it mostly either absorbed into the meat or settled at the bottom. And hey, this dish actually held up OK in delivery!

Now, we won’t have the CN Tower in the background on Opening Day, so instead we’re drinking a beer with the CN Tower on it — Divercity Helles Lager from Lost Craft. And hey, the Jays actually came back in extra innings to beat the Yanks!!!! Can I get a Helles Yeah, bro????

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TORONTO’S TOP TAKEOUT: 6 Degrees of Kevin Bacon Burger, bro!!!

Now, The Works Craft Burgers & Beer has been bringing the beef since 2001 — it’s also where I slayed a (double) Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup Burger in 2016, so I know they know what’s up! They’re still dealing out some wild and crazy burgs with names like Obi-Wan Kobe’s Man Cave, Gettin’ Piggy With It and Elk on a Beech, but when I saw the Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon burger, you KNOW I’m gonna kick off my Sunday shoes, bro!!!!!!!

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This massively meaty monstrosity is packing back bacon, smoked bacon, maple bacon, and even bacon sticks — which are kinda like Hickory Sticks‘ porkier cousins — on top a slab of well-cooked beef. It comes with lettuce and tomato, but you can also add extra toppings from a list that’s like as long as the menu at The Cheesecake Factory! So I went with pickles (which were free), an onion ring and some Kraft Dinner (each a dollar extra). Also, in a nod to the last time I ate at The Cheesecake Factory, I paid two dollars more for a cheese-stuffed patty…although I don’t see any cheese inside, bro???

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Dude, this burger’s so outta bounds, it’s gotta quarantine for two weeks when it gets back! I mean, if you like the taste of meat on top of meat, on top of meat, then this is the sandwich for you. Just a little crunch from the lettuce and pickles, but the onion ring kinda gets lost here. And about half the bacon sticks and the KD ended up in the container… Good thing I brought a fork, bro!

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Now, this place also lets you pick from 12 different sides, so I went with the Tragically Maple Poutine, which is topped with maple bacon, more of those bacon sticks, and then completely drenched in bacon garlic donkey sauce. So much sauce that you can’t even taste the curds ‘n gravy, which makes this dish about as tragic as its name suggests.

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Man, even though The Works Craft Burgers & Beer has got beer right in its name, they don’t actually deliver the booze — you can get it for pickup through their website, though. So instead, I reached into the fridge for this renegade of funkalicousness, Autopop (you don’t stop!), a session sour with cherry cola from Blood Brothers. And I gotta say, when you lift the glass to your mouth, you can really smell the Cherry Coke. But in the taste department, it’s much more sour beer than soda pop…not that there’s anything wrong with that.

TORONTO’S TOP TAKEOUT: Greek burger with Greek poutine

Before the pandemic, I’d sometimes head down to Alexandros on Queen’s Quay for some quick and easy Greek food. It was mostly a takeout spot, although they did have a small front patio that was right on the lake, which wasn’t a bad place to sit in the summertime. So when I found out they had another location downtown on Church Street, you know I had to check it out. Only, instead of ordering a Greek classic like gyros or souvlaki, I went with more of a mashup with this Greek burger and a side of Greek poutine.

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Now, the burger patty had the taste and texture of a frozen burger from like M&M Meat Shop, but then they added Greek toppings like tomatoes, onions, tzatziki and feta cheese, and served it all in a really big bun. I gotta say, the flavour combo works. I mean, it’s like having a gyro, but instead it’s a burger. So I can go for that…

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Now, I have had Greek fries before on the Danforth, and maybe somewhere else, like W Burger Bar or something. But Alexandros is kicking it up a notch with this Greek poutine. You’ve got fries, a classic poutine-style gravy… but with feta instead of cheese curds. Now this gravy was actually more authentic than a lot of the poutines I’ve had in Toronto, and the saltiness of the feta didn’t seem outta place, but the problem was with the fries. They either didn’t cook ’em long enough or hot enough, cuz they were soft, and not crispy. A nice, crispy fry couldda tied this thing together, but now they’re making me wish I ordered a Greek salad — and that’s a crying shame in Flavourtown, bro!!!!!

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TORONTO’S TOP TAKEOUT: You don’t need no blindfold for this Bird Box, bro!!!

Now, this is body by fried chicken, so when I found out about this new chicken joint called Bird Box on Dundas West, you KNOW I’m not gonna drive below 50 miles per hour to get there — Speed is still my favourite Sandra Bullock movie, bro!

Now, this place has everything: chicken sandwiches, chicken wraps, chicken fingers, chicken ‘n waffles — with no less than 30 different sauces to choose from! But as soon as I saw the Drunk and Chicks on the menu, you KNOW I was gonna take this Drunk Girl home, Chris Jan-son!!!

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Dude, this is like Hangover Breakfast Poutine Gone Wild in Flavourtown! You’ve got some nice, crispy fries, with real-deal cheese curds, and then they add chicken gravy, bacon, and not one, not two, but three chicken strips and a fried egg on top. So, it’s time to answer the age-old question, what goes down my piehole first, the chicken or the egg?

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While every part of this poutine was pretty tasty, there’s no question that the chicken is the star of the show. These house made strips put the tender in chicken tender, with nice ‘n juicy white meat. Man, next time I order this, I need to get a side of chicken strips, they were that good!!!

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!!!

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