Tag Archives: Summerlicious

SUMMERLICIOUS 2019: Real-deal lamb dinner @ Volos

So, Summerlicious ends on Sunday, and we’re going out in style at this fancy Greek joint, Estiatorio Volos, just a Rob Ford backpedal away from City Hall. Now, you KNOW I love lamb, bro, so when I saw they had lamb shank, I was all over that like a Fun Guy on the Greek Freak!!! But Greece is also known for seafood, so we’re starting off with some grilled octopus:

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This crunchy creature of the sea is the one that I want, do-do-do! (Wait, wrong Grease…) Nice, lemony chew to the octopus, with a bit of bite from the black olives, a couple pieces of red pepper and some arugula. Hey, if you put arugula underneath an octopus, I guess I’ll eat it…

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But now it’s time for the main event. Dude, this was probably the most tender lamb I’ve ever had — it falls off the bone, pulls apart with a fork AND melts in your mouth, bro! You’ve got a nice bed of mashed potatoes, some braised greens, and then these crispy leeks on top…man, I could eat that for breakfast, lunch and dinner!!!!

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For dessert, we’ve got an Ouzo chocolate mousse, with strawberries, blueberries and Ouzo-infused Chantilly cream. Now, this little mousse scoop was quite tasty, but after that massive chocolate cake at Piano Piano, it felt like I was ordering off the kid’s menu!

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Washed it all down with a Volkan Blonde, this Greek wheat beer that they’ve got on tap. I guess they’re not pros at pouring beer, cuz that’s a whole lotta head for such a small glass, bro!!!

SUMMERLICIOUS 2019: Legit beef brisket @ R&D

So, we’re hanging out at R&D, this modern Canadian Asian fusion joint right in the heart of downtown Chinatown. This place is serving up funky dishes like tom yum mussels, Korean rice cakes and black bean crispy tofu — but when I saw the Sichuan beef brisket, I knew I had to have it, just like an overweight basement broseph needs Szechuan sauce. But that only comes after I scarf down the biggest popcorn shrimp I’ve seen in my life:

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Dude, these were like popcorn shrimp on steroids — and I would know, cuz I once chugged creatine with A-Rod, bro! You’ve got a sweet chili sambal glaze, and these “Hong Kong umami crumbs,” which are like mini little nuggets of flavour in Flavourtown!!!

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But now it’s time for the main event. This Sichuan beef brisket was super-tender, fall-apart-on-your-fork goodness, on a bed of egg noodles with cabbage, mushrooms and a whole lotta sesame seeds. I’m sending these noods straight down my piehole, bro!!!

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For dessert, we’ve got this ais kacang, a Malaysian-style sundae, with tapioca, strawberries, mango cream and not one, but two flavours of Haagen-Dazs ice cream.  Dude, who knew they had Haagen-Dazs in Malaysia???

SUMMERLICIOUS 2019: Sweet Sicilian pizza pie @ Piano Piano

Now, I gotta take my trucker hat off to Piano Piano — where some places only give you 3-4 choices for Summerlicious, this place gives you a full menu, including pizza, pasta, meat and fish — not to mention six different starters and five different desserts to choose from! It’s hard to pick a favourite from so much great grub, but when it came to the apps, I knew I had to go with the garlic cheese bread. Dude, this is body by garlic cheese bread!!!

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Now, when I went with the garlic cheese bread, I figured I’d be getting a couple of garlic toasts — not a full freakin’ pizza! You’ve got mozza, you’ve got parma, rosemary and oregano all on a thin, chewy crust that even comes with its own scissors! Man, if I knew I’d be eating this much garlic bread, I wouldn’t have ordered a pizza as the main course:

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Now, this Sweet Sicilian was a little more on the savoury side, with fennel sausage, red onions, basil, oregano and flor di latte. The cheese wasn’t evenly spread out, so you just got these big mouthfuls here and there…not that I’m complaining. And yes, I did eat two full pizzas — and I still had room for a whole lotta dessert:

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Don’t let that giant glass plate fool ya — this chocolate layer cake was freakin’ huge! This dessert was supposed to be for two people, and it could probably feed a family of four, but once I showed them my Flavourtown citizenship, they knew it would be just a light snack for me. You’ve got all kinds of chocolate, including chocolate chunks and chocolate icing, some caramel sauce, and then a waffle cone full of vanilla ice cream — that’s at least two scoops, right there:

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But hey, even though that was the most chocolate I’ve shoved down my cakehole since that one time, at Wildfire Steakhouse, you KNOW I ate the whole thing, o solo mio, bro!!!

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SUMMERLICIOUS 2019: Tacos & burgers & churros… Yeah bro!

So, we’re hanging out at Craft Beer Market, where they’re serving up a few of my favourite things for Summerlicious — we’re talking tacos, we’re talking ’bout burgers, we’re talking churros for dessert…and oh yeah, craft beer!!!

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These cubano street tacos come two to an order, but you could almost stuff all of this into one double-shell taco. (I didn’t, though.) You’ve got pulled pork, fried onions, cilantro and a citrusy mustard mojo — shut the back door, bro!

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For the main event, we’re going Classic Burger — two beef patties, pickles, lettuce, tomato, special sauce… Of course, I paid a buck fiddy to add bacon, cuz the first rule of Flavourtown is always add bacon!!!

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Now, for dessert we’re talking churros, sprinkled with icing sugar and sprayed with an imperial-stout infused Nutella. But you KNOW that’s not the only alcohol heading straight down my beerhole, bro!!!

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This Shaggin’ Wagon IPA from Stray Dog is like a boogie van in Flavourtown! It’s got a nice citrus kick, but not too hoppy at 55 IBU…and it kinda sneaks up on you at 6.4%.

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This Electric Unicorn White IPA is basically my spirit animal…if my spirit animal was a beer. It’s surprisingly smooth for 75 IBUs, and at 6.5%, it’s also not for wimps!!!

SUMMERLICIOUS 2019: East Coast meets Far East @ Aviv

So, we’re hanging out at Aviv, this funky little joint on Dupont, right next to the Psycho Therapy Training Centre. Gimme gimme shock treatment, bro!!! Now, this place mixes Italian with Middle Eastern, with some crazy dishes that will blow your mind…like these PEI mussels with kimchi, gochujang and Chinese sausage:

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OK, now let’s break it down. The mussels are nicely steamed, you’ve got a bit of kick from the jalapeno, a little funk from the sausage, some crunchy bean sprouts…but what makes it is the kimchi. That’s some killer kimchi, dude!!!

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Now, for the main event, we’ve got some tender pork tenderloin swimming in a mango-lime sauce, with sweet potatoes, collard greens and french fries. OK, so the fries aren’t normally part of this dish, but this is body by french fried potaters, bro!!!

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Sadly, their desserts were so small that I had to eat two of them. The lemon cheesecake was pretty tasty, but as for the flourless chocolate cake…let’s just say it needs flour!!!

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I washed this all down with a Moroccan Brown Ale from Spearhead Brewing, which they’ve got on tap. Just look at that creamy head — mmm, creamy head…

SUMMERLICIOUS 2019: $33 steak dinner @ The Oakwood Hardware

So, we’re hanging out at The Oakwood Hardware, this funky neighbourhood joint just a few bus stops away from Eglinton West. I had never been to, or even heard of this place before, but their Summerlicious menu looked pretty legit — we’re talking steak and shrimp, and shrimp and steak, all for just 33 bucks, bro!!!

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But first, let’s talk about these green chili corn fritters. Dem deep-fried dough boys are back with corn, a little green onion, with some tangy jalapeno crema on top — I could slam, like, 22 of these…but we still gotta save room for the main course:

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OK, first of all the steak is cooked perfectly — a nice medium rare. You’ve got three decent-sized shrimp on top, a little chimichurri, some tasty fries and a few veggies on the side, for added colour, I guess. This definitely hit the spot. But of course, because this is Summerlicious, you gotta have room for dessert!!!

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Now dessert is where they definitely kick it up a notch. In the back you’ve got what they’re calling Strawberry Fields — it’s a scoop of strawberry cheesecake ice cream, a whole lotta matcha and a strawberry ice cream float, with cotton candy around the rim. That dish is so outta bounds…if you like strawberries. But me, I had to go with the black forest doughnuts:

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Dude, this has gotta be the best dessert I’ve had all month — I’ve still got a few Summerlicious dishes to go, though. The doughnuts are baked like a cake, and then you’ve got a lotta chocolate sauce, sour cherries and some whipped cream on top… You could put this on a flip-flop, and it would still taste good!!!

 

SUMMERLICIOUS 2019: Big, beefy burger @ Batch

Now, I’m no stranger to paying 38 bucks for a burger, so when I saw that Batch was serving up its signature Batch burger, plus two other courses, for just 23 dollars, I was all over that like beef on a bun, bro! Their Summerlicious menu starts off with apps like salad, tomato soup, peas on toast…or these fishy flavour nuggets in Flavourtown, fried squid:

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This I-can’t-believe-it’s-not-calamari comes served on a bed of basil and a smoked tartar sauce, and the breading’s got a bit of a kick. They were quite tasty, but aren’t calamari supposed to be round?

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Now, me and this burger are a match made in Flavourtown Heaven, aka Austin, Texas. Patty is nice and thick, cooked to not-quite medium, and topped with swiss cheese, pickles and a bit of lettuce — the meat to veggie ratio on this bun is just the way I like it. And then you’ve got a great big pile of some of the thickest fries I’ve even seen — these are like three-bite French fries, bro!!!

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Now, you know the first rule of Summerlicious is “Always save room for dessert,” and I’m definitely gonna go with the most chocolatey thing on the menu:

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This chocolate tart was packed with dark-chocolate richness and some hazelnut crunch, but I don’t really get the frozen orange stuff on top. (Mine was a little pulpy.) Still, I gotta say, it totally satisfied my sweet tooth!!!

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Of course, because Batch is a craft brewpub, you KNOW I’m not gonna order a Coors Light, bro! This Creemore Springs Boundless IPA was a nice balance of hops and citrus, with just a little bit of sweetness at the end. Maybe they couldda poured some of this on that chocolate tart instead…

SUMMERLICIOUS 2019: Fancy duck confit @ Bymark

It’s the most wonderful time of the year — Summerlicious has come back to Toronto, bro! You know I’m a fan of eating three funky dishes for the price of one…an appetizer, main course and dessert, all for a set price between 23 and 53 bucks. This year, we’re starting off at the high end at Bymark, this funky little Mark McEwan joint in the Financial District. For Summerlicious, they’re rolling out stuff you won’t find on the menu, like these fried green tomatoes with crispy pork belly:

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You know what I say — anything deep-fried has gotta be delicious, and these fried green tomatoes were no exception. The crispy pork belly lived up to its crispiness, and then you’ve got a little freshness from the sour cream, and a nice corn salsa… Not a bad way to get things started!

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Dude, this duck definitely didn’t suck! Nice and roasted, kinda like chicken, with more veggies than I ate all of last month! I mean, they even managed to make Brussels sprouts taste good, and they’re like the Axis of Evil in Flavourtown!!!

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I probably couldn’t tell you the last time I ate a profiterole — what is that, French or something? But when you stuff it with a chocolate stout ice cream, I’m all in. You could put that on a sandale de plage, and it would still taste good!!!

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Now, unlike some fancy-schmancy places, that have like 72 wines and 3 beers to choose from, Bymark actually has a pretty big beer list — and it’s not all Molson, either. I went with a Ball’s Falls Session IPA from Bench Brewing Company, which has some hoppy goodness, but is much more crushable than your average IPA, at just 4.5%. Dude, I could probably crush, like, 17 of these…

SUMMERLICIOUS 2018: French menage a trois @ Cafe La Gaffe

So, we’re hanging out at Cafe La Gaffe, this funky little French bistro in Baldwin Village. This is another place with tons of Summerlicious options, but I decided to stick with a trio of French classics here–and I definitely wasn’t disappointed!

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So, we’re starting off with some escargot, bro! These slippery little snails are swimming in garlic butter and going whee, whee, whee all the way down my piehole!!!

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Now, I’m definitely no stranger to roasted duck legs, but this has gotta be one of the top five duck confits I’ve ever had! The meat is super-tender, fall-off-the-bone, and that brandy cream sauce is outta bounds, bro! Man, I could probably eat six or seven of these…or however many legs that ducks actually have.

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But you know the drill, we’ve still got room for dessert, dude! This creme brulee was crackly on top, creamy on the bottom, with a couple nice bites of blueberries and a cherry on top! Who needs whipped cream when you’ve got burnt cream, mon cheri???

SUMMERLICIOUS 2018: Steak AND lobster for 33 bucks, bro!!!!!!!

If you’re looking for the best deal on a real-deal three-course meal at Summerlicious, look no further than Sambucas on Church. Now, at most places, you’re lucky if you get more than three or four entrees to choose from–and even luckier if you can actually find ’em on the regular menu.

But at this funky joint, they’ve got no fewer than 11 Summerlicious mains, and they ain’t holding back, either–filet mignon, rack of lamb, and both steak AND lobster, bro! And did I mention that there’s two other courses, and it’s all just 33 bucks???? Shut the front, back, side, top, rear, port and starboard doors, Sailor Broon!!!!

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Now, speaking of the sea, we’re starting off with a whole pile of PEI mussels. These clammas from another mamma are meaty, beaty, big and juicy–there ain’t no Substitute here, son! Then again, a whole buncha mine didn’t open…but I guess that just helped me save more room for steak (and lobster)!

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My motto’s always been why settle for one thing when you can eat two things, and this dish definitely doesn’t disappoint, dude! Steak is cooked to a nice medium rare, the lobster tail is nice and chewy, and you’ve got a whole pile of veggies and mashed potatoes…I guess I gotta eat those too, eh?

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Now, even though I kinda just ate two meals, you KNOW I’ve still got room for dessert–and there’s no shortage of dessert choices at Sambucas, either! You’ve got creme brulee, truffle cheesecake, and three different kinds of Tartufo–but this here chocolate lava cake has got my name on it:

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