Tag Archives: Toronto patios

PATIO LIT EATS: Breezy Sunday brunch @ the Brick Works

As we start heading into fall, you gotta ask yourself, how cold is too cold to eat out on a patio? I saw a couple places that busted out the heaters last weekend, but if you go out in the daytime, you probably don’t need em…yet. We’re hanging out at Cafe Belong, this funky little joint in the Evergreen Brick Works, on a sunny Sunday afternoon. At 15 degrees, the weather was pretty decent — as long as the wind wasn’t blowing. But with the wind, you definitely needed a jacket.

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This place is serving up the same dishes for lunch and dinner on its all-day menu, and while they did have a couple of Sunday specials that checked all the boxes for brunch, I ended up with the duck confit, served with cherry tomatoes, green beans and creamed corn — the most veggies I’ve had all week. The bird had a nice, crispy skin, and the meat was pretty tender, but man, that corn-to-duck ratio was maybe a bit too high…

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We’re washing it down with a Muskoka Mad Tom IPA, cuz hey, it’s 12 o’clock somewhere. This beer had enough hoppy IPA taste, without being too in-your-face. And I had to hold on to the empty can cuz the wind kept blowing it over!!!

PATIO LIT EATS: Slammin’ some short ribs on the sidewalk, son!

So, we’re hanging out at Sorrel, this funky French/Italian joint across the street from the train station LCBO at Yonge and Summerhill. Now, some places might have a backyard patio, and a few others have set up seating on the street, but this is the first restaurant I’ve been to that had outdoor seating on the sidewalk. And hey, it was pretty, pretty nice.

Now, when it comes to food, they’re pairing French classics like duck confit and bouillabaise with pasta dishes like seafood linguine and lobster ravioli. And with all sorts of seafood on the menu, I couldn’t just eat beef…so we’re starting off with some clams, fam!

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These ocean pearls were nice ‘n tender, with a white wine and garlic sauce, and some cherry tomatoes and parsley. They even gave you crusty toasts on the side to soak up the sauce, son!!!

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But now it’s time for the main event. These ribs were meaty, beaty, nice ‘n chewy, with a side of potato gratin that I didn’t hafta order separately, and no veggies whatsoever, except for a few stray carrots. It’s all about the meat ‘n potatoes here, which is totally how I roll, bro!

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Now, it would probably be fine to order wine at this place…but this isn’t Burgers, Bacon & Pinot Grigio, bro! Instead, we’re chugging down a coupla Loirettes, this funky farmhouse ale that’s imported from France!!!

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Of course, you KNOW we still had room for dessert! This French/Italian joint was serving up both creme brulee and tiramisu, but instead, I went with the flourless chocolate torte…and it was torte-ally worth it! It was  more moist like a mousse than your typical cake, but super-rich, with a little scoop of ice cream on the side. This might be one of the top five desserts I’ve had all year, and I definitely don’t back down from ordering dessert!!!!

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: Cheesy baked oysters @ Pure Spirits

Now, I don’t always eat oysters, but when I do, they’ve gotta have cheese, and maybe some hot sauce. So when I heard that Pure Spirits, this funky oyster house in the Distillery District, was doing up oysters “cacio e pepe” style, you KNOW I had to come check it out, bro!

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Like the Italian pasta dish, you pretty much just add cheese and pepper… but there’s also some chopped herbs, and some lemon, which I squeezed overtop. OK, so I probably didn’t need the lemon — you definitely taste the cheese more than the oyster, but in my book, that’s not such a bad thing!

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Of course, those oysters were just a light snack in Flavourtown, son! We’re following it up with a seared steak sandwich, with mushrooms, onions and Gruyere, served on a panini with sides of fries and salad…and there was a lot more salad than fries, for some reason? Between all that salad and the arugula on top, I must have had at least 2-3 servings of veggies this month!!!

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Now, Pure Spirits is right across from the Mill St Brew Pub, so you know the beer is nice ‘n fresh! This here’s their West Coast IPA, which is a lot less hoppy than some of the IPAs I’ve had on the West Coast, so it’s got that added crushability factor. Plus, all the beers here are served in a 23 oz glass. Dude, all beer everywhere should come in a 23 oz glass, bro!!!

 

PATIO LIT EATS: Burger with a view @ Kost

Now, we’ve hit up some pretty nice patios these past couple months. Whether it was in the garden at Casa Loma or down on the waterfront at Cabana, some of these places give you amazing views of the city. But it doesn’t get any better than this — we’re hanging out at Kost, this funky joint on the 44th floor of the Bisha Hotel, where the only thing preventing me from getting a perfect shot of the CN Tower is this freakin’ patio umbrella, bro!!!

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Now, I don’t always take selfies, but when I do, there’s usually alcohol involved. This here’s The Selfie, a refreshing summer cocktail with Tanqueray gin, lychee, elderflower and lemon. You know those drinks that are so fruity that you can’t taste the booze? Yeah, that’s what you’ve got here. All that’s missing is a little pink umbrella, or something…

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But I didn’t come up here for a selfie — I came to crush some beef, bro! This Kost burger comes with lettuce, tomato, lemon donkey sauce, a whole lotta smoked cheddar and some black pepper bacon. Dude, this is body by black pepper bacon! Patty was thick ‘n juicy, you had a nice soft bun… even the fries were on point. This might be the best burger I’ve had all summer, and let’s just say I’ve had a few. 😉

PATIO LIT EATS: Kickin’ it Old School with fried chicken bacon mac ‘n cheese!

Now, there’s only like a couple weeks left of patio weather in this city, and I’m definitely gonna make the most of it — even if it means getting up before 11 on a weekend, bro! So we’re hanging out at Old School, this funky brunch joint on Dundas West that starts serving it up at 10 am (9 am on weekends).

Last time we were here, I had some waffles fit for The King, and I know their blueberry pancakes are legendary, but when I saw the Return of the Mac and Cheese on the menu, I knew it was about to go down in Flavourtown!!!

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Noodles are nice and cheesy, with a bechamel sauce and some aged cheddar. But the fried chicken was waaaay overcooked, and the bacon a little underdone. I gotta give ’em credit for using actual bacon strips instead of some fake bacon bits though…

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Good thing I was able to drown my disappointment with a Hot Mess. What’s a Hot Mess? Well, you’ve got tequila, grapefruit and raspberry-hibiscus juice, along with some agave nectar, poured into a wheat beer. It’s like a Breakfast of Champions in Flavourtown, bro!!!!

 

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: They made this burger a Triple B just for me!!!

Now, back when Assembly Chef’s Hall first opened, I came and I conquered pretty much every stall in the place. I even checked out their patio a couple years ago, and it was pretty sweet. Now, not every vendor has reopened for business — Cherry St Bar-B-Que is noticeably missing — but they’ve introduced table service out on the patio. So, while you can’t go around and order at the counter(s) anymore, you can order stuff from a few different places, and they’ll bring it right out to you.

This also gave me a chance to check out this funky joint that wasn’t even open the first time I stopped by, but is serving up what Toronto Life once called this city’s best new burger — Resto Boemo! Now, this place had a Single B and a Double B burger on the menu, but I was like, “Dude, can I get a Triple B, bro???”

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These patties weren’t super huge, so I could totally house a triple. (And yes, there is a third slab of beef tucked under there, even if you can’t see it in this photo.) But aside from being super-stacked, this burger was plain and simple — lettuce, onions, pickles, lots of American cheese and an oozy aioli coming out all over the place. Can’t complain about that at all! Paired with a side of Parm Frittes, which are basically just fries, but tossed with herbs and cheese…yes please!!!

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Since this blog isn’t Burgers, Bacon and Shirley Temples, I washed this bad boy down with a couple of Farmer(s) in the Sky, a nice, refreshing, dry-hopped pilsner from True History Brewing. The brewery is based in Toronto, but it says on the back that this beer was brewed in Calgary — either way, it still tastes good to me!

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Of course, you KNOW we’ve still got room for dessert, bro! This Nutella sundae was six dollars, but you could add a shot of Kahlua for another six dollars. So, basically, you gotta spend the extra six dollars. The booze was the best part, bro!!!!

PATIO LIT EATS: The Caesar that eats like a meal!

Now, I’ve been wanting to check out Score on King for a while, but never got a chance to go until last night. This place is known for its legendary Caesars, and you know my motto’s always been go big or go home, so I’m going for the biggest, tallest, most overloaded of them all — The Checkmate Caesar:

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Now, this bad boy is so big that they can only serve it to (at least) two people, so that’s why I brought a friend…and then I didn’t share. You’ve got a pulled pork sandwich on top of a cheeseburger on top of a Cornish game hen, with a pulled pork mac ‘n cheese hot dog, chicken wings, onion rings and a chocolate brownie sticking out the sides! And all this on top of a drink served in a Hoegaarden pint glass, which, even on its own would be the second-biggest Caesar I’ve ever had…but this one’s got a lot more toppings, bro!

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So, we’re starting off with the pulled pork mac ‘n cheese hot dog, which was probably the most precariously perched piece of food. The dog itself was hot ‘n beefy, but both the mac and the pork were kinda cold, which was a little weird…

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Next up, we’ve got the pulled pork slider. Now, I don’t love pulled pork unless it’s really good, and this one was just OK. The coleslaw inside the sandwich and the pickle on top were a nice touch, though!

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Now, this cheeseburger was pretty basic, but it was definitely above average. Patty was thick and hot, and there were just enough toppings to add support without stealing the show. I might try one of their other burgers next time I come here…if I don’t just go for The Caesar Grande, though!

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These wings were what I like to call sports-bar spicy — they’ve got a decent kick, but not gonna melt your face off. At least by now I had taken enough food off the top that I could actually stick a straw in and drink some of the Caesar!

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Onion rings were pretty good, nice ‘n crunchy, and went well with the wings. If they were a little cold, that’s on me because I ate three whole sandwiches before I got to them!

Now, at this point, I had eaten a pretty decent amount of food. I mean, if I was at a Super Bowl party, I’d have probably stuffed this much down my piehole by the second quarter. But I still had the biggest, most intimidating part of this dish left to go — the full Cornish game hen:

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Even though I left it for last, this chicken was still pretty tasty. Skin was deep-fried and crispy, and the bird was tender and juicy. It’s a good thing that it was so melt-in-your-mouth, cuz I could barely chew at this point…but you KNOW I still ate it all, bro!!!!

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And of course, I still had room for dessert…

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Now, I already had a few bites of this chocolate brownie before I remembered to take a picture, but it was still pretty tasty. At this point, I had eaten enough food to curl up in a ball and go to sleep — but only after watching the Flames shut out the Dallas Stars, son!!!!