Tag Archives: seafood

Whole lotta seafood @ Ivar’s Salmon House

Now, you can’t go to Seattle and not eat seafood. That would be like going to Texas and not eating BBQ, or going to Nashville and not eating hot chicken. So we’re hanging out at Ivar’s Salmon House, this funky little seafood joint that’s right on the water — not the Pacific, but Lake Union…which does flow into the Pacific, though.

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Now, this place is an offshoot of famous local chain Ivar’s House of Clams, so you KNOW we gotta start off with a bowl of clam chowder, bro! This creamy, New England-style soup has some nice little pieces of potatoes, but when you get a chunk of those chewy clams, that right there is the ticket!!!

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But now it’s time for the main event! This Taste of the Northwest platter combines salmon, halibut and scallops for a triple threat in Flavourtown…

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We’re starting off with salmon, which was nice n juicy, with a hint of lemon at the end.

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Cod was so tender you could cut it with a fork… a nice, flaky piece of fish.

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But the scallops are the star of the show. Super soft and tender, they melt in your mouth like butter! I would totally polish off a whole plate of these bad boys!!!!!

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And their beer selection is just as fresh and local as the seafood. This here’s a Scuttlebutt Hefeweizen, brewed in nearby Everett, Washington. Nice and smooth with a slight citrusy aftertaste — reminds me of Big Rock Grasshopper, the brew I was raised on (which you can’t find in Toronto anymore, but that’s another story…)

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But now we’re kicking it up a couple notches with Bad Jimmy’s Habanero Amber. This rich, red beer has a nice flavour profile — but I can’t really taste the habanero though. It’s definitely not spicy, bro, maybe just a bit of an aftertaste when you drink it on its own.

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Now while that seafood trio was pretty tasty, it wasn’t a particularly large portion — so you KNOW we’ve still got room for dessert. We’re talking house-made key lime pie, nice and tart with a crunchy graham cracker crust and a bit of whipped cream on top. Again, it was pretty tasty, but a little on the small side. I *might* hafta stop for pizza on the way home…

This Atlantic cod tajine didn’t actually come in a tajine. (Apparently, they were all out of tajines…)

I first had tajine at Sultan’s Tent, this funky Moroccan joint near St. Lawrence Market, and it was pretty legit. So now we’re hanging out at Luma, this seafood joint in the TIFF Bell Lightbox theatre, and I see they have an Atlantic cod tajine on the menu (although they spell it “tagine”), so I figure I should probably check it out…right after I go to town on this grilled octopus:

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They say it’s just a starter, but this could probably be a meal in itself — if you’re on, like, a Mediterranean diet or something. Octopus was just tender enough, not too chewy, on a bed of spinach, with some tomatoes and black olives for an extra little kick. Nothing wrong with that at all.

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Now, when I saw the tajine come out to other tables in the proper clay pot, I thought this was gonna be good. But then they serve mine on a great big plate, like we’re at a French restaurant or something. Well, it turns out this place only has six main courses to choose from, and they happened to have a run on tajines before we got there, so they musta figured that if they brought it out on a plate, the white guy probably wouldn’t notice. WRONG!

But hey, the flavours of this dish were still on point. Nice, flaky fish, with a tangy sauce and just a little bit of heat that kinda sneaks up on ya. This might actually be the best tajine I’ve ever been served on a plate! 😛

Goin’ all Guy Fieri on fish and pasta @ Fieramosca!!!

Dude, you KNOW this is body by Italian food, bro! So when I heard about Fieramosca Trattoria, this funky little joint on a side street just a meatball’s throw away from St. George, I definitely had to check it out! This place has been dishing out Italian classics since 1980, so you know it’s gotta be good. And while there’s no shortage of pizza, pasta and meat dishes on the menu — they’ve even got not one, not two, but three different versions of veal scaloppini –we decided to go with the Grigliata Mista di Pesce, aka grilled seafood platter:

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You won’t miss Meat Mountain when you’ve got this smorgasbord of seafood, son! There’s three different kinds of fish here — salmon, halibut AND sea bream — plus calamari and tiger shrimp, along with a whole lotta potatoes, peppers, green beans and two baby carrots. Dude, this is enough food to feed at least two people…and since I actually shared this dish, I still had room for pasta:

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I am sooooo trippin’ balls over this mushroom tagliatelle, bro! You’ve got three kinds of shrooms — oyster, porcini AND shitake — on top of thick, chewy noodles in a white wine cream sauce. Shut the front, back and side doors!!!!!!!!

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But you KNOW we’ve still got room for dessert, bro! This leaning tower of tiramisu tastes just like Nonna makes it — except maybe for that chocolate sauce swirl around the outside. But that didn’t stop me from scarfing it all down, son!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Oodles of octopus @Joso’s

Restaurants are now back to full capacity in Toronto, so we’re hanging out at Joso’s, this legendary local Italian seafood joint at Av & Dav dating back to 1967, son! This place is one of Drake’s favourite restaurants, so you know it’s gotta be good — he’s even got his own special chair upstairs — but we had actually never been here before despite living in Toronto for quite a while. Time to check this one off the bucket list, John Bro-tucci!!!!

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Now, Joso’s doesn’t actually have an appetizer section on its menu, but that doesn’t mean you can’t order some mains as starters — at main course prices, mind you. These Grilled Gamberoni come four to an order, some decent-sized prawns cut in half and served in the shell with lemon, garlic and a bit of butter. Can’t go wrong with any of that, son!

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But one of the main draws at this place, aside from the market-priced whole fish, is this dish — Octopus Schiavona. Schia-what-now? I have eaten octopus more than a few times before, but never served like this, steamed and thinly sliced with olive oil, capers and olives. It’s almost more like octopus poke, but with a prettier presentation. And I can’t really complain about the portion size…

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Now, if I’m eating at an Italian joint, you KNOW I’m gonna be judging them on their tiramisu — and this one totally passed the test! It was super moist, almost creamy even, with a nice dusting of cocoa poweder. Only questionable thing was the whipped cream on the side… I didn’t have to eat it, but I couldn’t just leave it sitting there, y’know?

Super-thick crab cakes & wicked awesome chowdah @ Rodney’s

Now, back in January, right in the middle of Second Lockdown, I ordered a real-deal lobster dinner delivered from Rodney’s Oyster House on King Street. And I gotta say, they really knocked it outta the park. So, now that they’re reopen for indoor dining, we’re heading out to check out some of the other seafood on the menu — starting with this classic in a cup, New England clam chowder:

Now this is super-legit, right here. You’ve got PEI clams in a creamy broth with potatoes, leeks and celery, plus a couple crackers broken overtop. The crackers are what makes it, bro!!!!

But now it’s time for the main event… Dude, these crab cakes are so thick, you gotta cut ’em with a steak knife! Nice combo of Newfoundland and New Brunswick crab meat, with just enough bread crumbs to give it a nice crunch, served with a chipotle donkey sauce, and some sides of coleslaw and broccolini. Now, I kinda wish I couldda paid two bucks less to get this in a bun like I did in Maryland, cuz the sides weren’t really working for me. But you could serve these crab cakes with a side of flip-flops, and I’d still order it again — they were that good, bro!!!!

Not only is Rodney’s serving up a solid selection of seafood, but the beer list ain’t bad here, either. I went with a Clean Cut Kolsh, a nice crispy boi from Beyond the Pale in Ottawa. I had never even heard of this brewery before, but next time I’m in The City That Sleeps at 7:30, I might hafta check ’em out… cuz they nailed it with this German-style brew, bro!!!!!!!!

GRAND REOPENING: Whole lotta lobster @ Fishman Lobster Clubhouse

Now, I don’t always go to Scarborough, so when I do, you KNOW it’s gotta be big, bro! We’re talking a nine-course Chinese seafood extravaganza, with 15 pounds of lobster, 4.5 pounds of crab, plus beef, fish, fried oysters, sweet & sour pork…and we might even have room for dessert. This is Fishman Lobster Clubhouse!!!

This funky Finch Ave. joint is the place to be on Fridays, with tanks stacked with fresh seafood and plates piled high with lobster. They even let you take a selfie with your crab before they cook it (crabfie?) — but I didn’t wanna get crab juice on my tank top, so instead we’re diving right in with the soup of the day:

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Chicken corn chowder is a Chinese food classic…although it seems like they forgot the chicken with this one. But hey, it’s not like we don’t have about 27 pounds of meat coming right up!!!!

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We’re starting with another Chinese staple, sweet & sour pork. Dude, this is body by sweet & sour pork! The first of many deep-fried dishes, these tangy little flavour nuggets got things started off right. Oh, and the little baby gherkins really kicked things up a notch!!!

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Now, here’s a dish I never dun seen before — fried oysters in honey pepper sauce. Oysters aren’t my favourite sea creature, but man, if you batter and fry ’em, I’d even chow down prairie oysters, son!!!!

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Now, here’s a dish where I don’t hafta think twice — diced beef tenderloin with garlic, backed with some fried rice! Man, I could eat this for breakfast, lunch and dinner, bro!!!!

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But now we’re getting into some of the stars of the show…like this steamed double bass in soy sauce. Dude, this dish is like a Nikki Sixx bass solo in Flavourtown!!!

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Not gonna lie, they pile this crab with ginger and green onion pretty high…but b-b-b-b-baby, you ain’t seen n-n-nothing yet!!!!

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In case you’re wondering what 15 pounds of deep-fried lobster looks like…whoomp, there it is! This dish was very similar to the Typhoon Crispy Lobster Mountain I scaled from Dine & Dim — except it’s like 15 times taller! They cut the lobster up into little pieces, and you pretty much had to use your hands to tear it apart (at least they gave you plastic gloves, cuz there weren’t extra napkins). But if you got a nice piece of warm, tender claw meat, that’s the ticket, right there!

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Now, we obviously didn’t have much room for dessert after such a massive smorgasbord-board of flavour…but a coupla little macarons oughtta do’er.

TORONTO’S TOP TAKEOUT: Holy hell-a, that’s a lotta paella!

Now, you don’t often see a lotta seafood for takeout (although I did order a whole lobster a couple weeks back), so when I heard that Patria, this funky Spanish joint at King and Spadina, was serving up not one, not two, but three kinds of paella, I was all over that like saffron on rice, bro! This dish comes in two sizes, small and large, and you know I’ve never ordered a small in my life, so I went with the large…which is basically just two separate containers of paella.

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Now, if I had known that, I mighta switched things up with one order of Paella de Vieira, but instead, I doubled down on their classic Paella Patria. You’ve got mussels, clams, flaky white fish and some of the tastiest, juiciest, jumbo shrimp I’ve ever seen, son!

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Now, I gotta say, their clams were pretty big… but the mussels were a little undersized. Hey, shrinkage happens to the best of us when it’s cold out, bro!!!

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But yeah, let’s just say I slaughtered a lotta sea creatures — leaving nothing but the shells. Spongebob don’t live here no more, son!!!!!!!!

One night in Bangkok Garden, and the world’s your oyster…

Now, I’ve never been to Bangkok, but I often rock out to Murray Head’s Greatest Hits on cassette when I’m cruisin’ in the Camaro, so there’s that. And there just so happens to be this funky little joint downtown, just a go-go dance away from Yonge and Dundas, that’s been serving up real-deal Thai food since the early 80’s… Cue the synth flute solo, cuz we’re spending one night in Bangkok Garden, bro!

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Of course, if we’re spending one night in Bangkok, you can bet your bottom baht that we ain’t drinking Coors Light! This here’s Singha beer, the original Thai lager since 1933. If you take Molson Canadian, and actually add flavour, it would taste a little something like this. And if you’re gonna crush some spicy Thai food, you might wanna chug a few of these brewskis, bro!!!

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Now, this place has got some seriously spicy dishes with some totally awesome names — we’re talking Demon’s Dare (stir-fried chili beef), Neptune’s Nemesis (deep-fried fiery chili fish), Totsakan’s Revenge (red curry fish) and Warrior’s Beef Curry…it’s like their menu was written by Kerry King or something! But since the Camaro doesn’t run on fart juice, I went for something a little less spicy — the grilled seafood satay:

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OK, now let’s break it down. You’ve got shrimp, mussels and squid…all grilled up and served on a stick — which was also the name of my Meat Loaf cover band in college (I was the varsity tackle). It comes with a side dipping sauce that actually had quite a bit of a kick, and then you’ve got a bed of rice to soak it all up. All that’s missing is the oysters!

 

Hot N Cold Portuguese tapas @ Chiado

Now, when you think tapas, you’re probably thinking Spain, or maybe Japan, but did you know they’ve also got small plates in Portugal? Well, at least they do in Little Portugal, bro! We’re hanging out at Chiado, this fancy Portuguese place on College, just west of Ossington. They’ve actually got a full-fledged tapas menu here, but if you wanna classy it up, you can make a reservation in the dining room, and order a lot of the same stuff as appetizers. You will hafta leave your trucker hat at home though, bro!!!!

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Dude, these clams are clam-tastic! You’ve got a bowlful of steamed babies, with garlic, coriander and a white wine/olive oil broth that goes great with the bread basket, bro!

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This was some of the fanciest smoked salmon I’ve seen, served up pinwheel-style with onions, capers and a hard-boiled quail egg!!!

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Now, I don’t always go for goat cheese, but since they insisted, I couldn’t resist it. This toasty goatsy is served on a bed of eggplant and portabellas, with a champagne supernova vinaigrette!

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Now, I’m a sucker for some great grilled squid, whether it’s battered and fried Greek style, or done up all Japaneezy. At this place, they cook it with coriander, lemon, garlic and a little extra virgin olive oil, for that extra kick!

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Now here’s a funky dish you definitely don’t see every day! You may have had beef carpaccio before, but do you even know fish carpaccio, bro? This thinly sliced raw grouper is served up with white asparagus, pine nuts and a little preserved citrus adding just a touch of zestiness.

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And now we’re getting into the funky portion of this evening’s performance, with some grilled piri piri quail served on top of a shiitake mushroom risotto. Tastes just like chicken!

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Now, I’m not sure if this shot gives you any sense of just how massive these tiger shrimp are, but I gotta tell ya, they’re pretty freakin’ yuuuge. They’ve also gotta be some of the plumpest, tenderest, tastiest crustaceans I’ve ever stuffed my face in. I could probably slam seven or eight of these…if they weren’t 38 bucks an order!

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And finally, you’ve got the special du jour, a creamy tuna tartar with chunks of avocado, onion and I forget what that yellow stuff is. Dude, this is like a culinary hockey puck of awesomeness in Flavourtown. He shoots, he scores, bro!!!

Now, in case you were wondering, I did NOT eat all eight of these amazing apps alone…I might have had just a little help from my friends. But, on the plus side, at least I saved some room for dessert:

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Dude, this chocolate mousse is totally scattered, smothered and covered with tons of tasty toppings! You’ve got walls of milk and white chocolate, three kinds of berries, a couple different sauces for swiping…and then there’s these little lemon meringue kisses on top. And you know this plate ain’t clean until I lick it up, lick it up, whoa-oh-oh!!!!

 

 

Seafood linguine en estie @ Estia

Now, I might eat a lot of pasta–dude, this is body by mac ‘n cheese, bro!–but I don’t eat seafood all that often. Don’t get me wrong, I loves me some crispy calamari just as much as the next Guy, but when it comes to shellfish, like clams and mussels and shrimp (oh my!), I definitely don’t do those every day. But now we’re hanging out at Estia, this uptown funky Italian/Greek joint at Av & Dav, and I’m about to dive face first into a big pile of seafood linguine:

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Dude, this is like a culinary pool party in Flavourtown! And the gang’s all here–you’ve got baby clams, mussels of love and some nice ‘n juicy shrimp, on a bed of noodles with tomato sauce. There is nothing wrong with that at all, bro! But what makes it is the squid:

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Dude, if you thought that squid only came in rings, battered and deep-fried, you’re all wrong, Pete Tong! These tasty little tentacles are nice and chewy, swimming in sauce and headed straight down my piehole. Surf’s up, bro!!!!