Best Burger

When I saw that best restaurant burger had recently been revoted I realized it had been a really long time. Harbord House had held onto that crown for years. I opted for one of the specials of the day: salmon. I stole a bite of the burger form Brent and while yes it was better than Harbord House, I still preferred my salmon. It’s something about big fancy burgers, I just don’t like them that much. Yes it was good and so were the fries. But if I’m going to a restaurant I’d rather have something I can eat with a fork and knife, rather than trying to unhinge my jaw to eat a tall burger. Plus a burger is rather difficult to split halfway.

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Posted by on December 8, 2017 in Adventures of Pinka!, Fooding


I Still Don’t Like The Name

I’ve never been a fan of the designation of “greasy spoon.” It just conjures up a terribly dirty restaurant with literally greasy spoons. That being said, the previous best greasy spoon, The Patrician Grill was awesome and I went into dinner at Gingerman Restaurant with similar expectations. Nothing fancy, just cheap delicious greasy breakfast food for dinner. At this point we have all but exhausted all the places within walking distance of us and have resorted to going to places that are near a subway station. This one happened to be all the way out by Victoria Park.

I was underwhelmed by Gingerman. Yes the food was plentiful, cheap and greasy but it was crappier than I had expected. I should have known better than to get grilled cheese. Why did I not go with my default go-to: pancakes. Or in this case the default would have shifted to french toast because Brent had the sampler which included pancakes. It was not even grilled cheese. It was grilled “cheese.” They used those terrible plastic squares that some people mistakenly refer to as cheese, The ham and bacon were top-notch though. I wish I had ordered the french toast.

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Posted by on December 8, 2017 in Fooding


Well That’s Not a Good Start

Propeller Coffee had recently been voted best coffee. The plan had been to go there, order some coffees and sandwiches after which I would head off to a work meeting. Easy. A nice Saturday plan. If only. When we got there and ordered, the barista went ahead and started making our drinks while the other person tried to cash us out. Alas, the machine was being finicky and not working. We had no cash. There was no sign, no warning when we had come in. Nothing. And they had started making our drinks. It was awkward city so we bailed. Even if we had gone to a nearby bank and gotten cash the drinks were already made so either we would be drinking lukewarm coffee or they would have to make them anew. Bad situation all around. I also had forgotten what time my meeting was at and had to rush to get there on time.

We rescued the day that evening though by going out for best jerk chicken. Allwyn’s Bakery was near Sheppard subway station. The directions we had were not clear at all. We ended up wandering around inside a really strange mall with long corridors and yet-to-be-leased shops. I was sure we would never find the place but then we turned a corner and lo and behold we found an entire food court.

The jerk chicken was amazing. Major props go to them for not having any sides. All I had was chicken. Delicious, well-seasoned, fall-off-the-bone, moist and tender juicy chicken.


Third Timer

Going back to a restaurant for a second time around is not entirely unheard of in our fooding adventures (or in some cases misadventures when we have to return again because the first attempt was a flop). But three times? For three different best of’s? This place damn well better be good if we are returning for a third time for a third reason. It was a good place, it was one of my city favourites: Buca. I was really looking forward to getting the bread knots, an absolute must even if you’ve had them before.

I was torn about which dish to get initially. On the one hand I had tried their pasta dishes before, so I should try a non-pasta dish no? But there pasta dishes are so good and they are so known for them that maybe I should try another one? I ended up going with the latter and I was not disappointed. For a simple spaghetti dish it was delicious and just the right amount of food.

However we were not there for the pasta and pizza. We were there for the city’s best salumi. Which to me just seems like another, equally fancy, word for charcuterie. It was delicious, but still nothing compared to the breadknots. They stole the show as always.

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Posted by on December 8, 2017 in Fooding


BBQ For Breakfast

Adamson’s Barbecue, recently voted best barbecue, is only open for a few short hours 5 days a week. We ended up going on a Saturday morning (risking it being busier) because going out for an 11am lunch at the other end of the city on a work day would be impossible to plan.

We got there 15 minutes before open and already a line had formed. I was kind of hoping there wouldn’t be a line as the restaurant was in an industrial part of town in an old warehouse. Nope, there was still a line. A line of insufferable people. I could not believe how annoying the college kids behind us were. How were they even this awake to be this annoying so early in the day?! Meanwhile the guy in front of us had the worst case of ordering anxiety I had ever seen. He kept bouncing back in forth in the line, talking to the people in front of him, trying to talk to us, always underscoring the fact that he had never been here before. We tried our best to remain aloof without being rude. He was also shocked that there was a line before the place had opened. Clearly he was not familiar with the fooding scene in Toronto.

Once the place opened the line moved inside and slowly inched along. The set-up was that you order at the counter, pay and get your food then you grab a table. The menu was simple enough: either a lunch plate, a sandwich or a pre-determined amount of meat (ex.: 1/2lb of chicken). We opted for each getting a lunch plate. I got two meats (brisket and ribs), Brent got three (turkey, pulled pork and jalapeno-cheddar sausage). We basically got one of each, the chicken was not available for the lunch plate. Each plate also came with two sides. The coleslaw was good, the potato salad not so good. Both ended up being abandoned in favour of chowing down on meat. The brisket was the best one I have ever had! And most of the time I don’t like brisket that much! I had opted for the lean cut and even still it was melt-in-your-mouth fatty. The beef ribs were meaty and delicious. The jalapeño-cheddar sausage was perfectly seasoned with just a hint of jalapeño. The pulled pork was good, but I much prefer it with some kind of sauce in addition to the seasonings. The turkey was good but compared to the brisket it was not outstanding. Without the sides and bread it would have been the perfect amount of food. We ended up taking the slice of bread we each had and adding the pulled pork we couldn’t finish in to make a sandwich for later. Maybe that’s why they give you a slice of bread with your lunch plate? I wish I had more room to eat, the beans that Brent got as his side were also really good. I was also a huge fan of the Big Red cream soda.

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Because we were already out in the east end of the city we decided to go to the mon K Patisserie for best Japanese desserts. Turns out we had miscalculated the distance a bit, it was another hour’s walk from the barbecue place (which had taken us an hour to walk to already). It might seem incredible, like the city is huge or we are truly dedicated to getting dessert, but mostly it was a detour around the Don River.

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For dessert we got (ranked in order of best to worst): mini choux pastry cream puff, Yuzu macaron, green tea macaron and finally a really weird take on tiramisiu made with matcha. That last one was a flop but the mini choux was amazing! So it evens out.


I’m Sure We Will Figure It Out

A  few weeks ago’s fooding adventure involved something old and something new. On the way to best hot pot (new) we would stop for best bubble tea (old). I don’t know how many times now we have tried bubble tea but I am still not a fan of it. But nevertheless, if The Alley was the best I’d give it a try. What we did not realize was that not all of the drinks are bubble teas. Some of them are just regular teas.  It was also confusing because after you order they ask you how sweet you want it and how much ice. We had no idea what would be good. So we defaulted with regular. Brent had ordered the original milk tea drink. I had ordered the white peach oolong. Mine was not a bubble tea, it was a regular good quality iced tea. One sip of Brent’s bubble tea, followed by a second to verify was more than enough for me. Yes it was better than previous bubble teas. No I am still not a fan of it. I did like the sweet milk base but it was too much to drink an entire cup of it. There was also some initial confusion as we had mixed up our straws. Brent was desperately trying to drink his bubble tea but his straw kept getting jammed because the tapioca (I refuse to call them deerioca as they are called due to the deer theme of The Alley) bubbles got stuck in his straw. Turns out our straws were different thicknesses and we had accidentally swapped.

If only we knew how much more confusion was awaiting us at dinner. It was a short walk over to Morals Village on Dundas. Hot pot was a new one on the list. And new for us in general. We had never been to a hot pot restaurant and we had no idea what to expect. Brent had talked to his co-workers about it and we googled it. The premise was that you boiled meat and veggies in a broiling pot of broth. It seemed simple enough. Even still we were hesitant about it. Some of the meat was marinated in sauce and it seemed like the sauce would come right off in the broth. It did, but the spicy beef stayed spicy. It was an all-you-can-eat scenario which was a good thing because we had also had no idea how much food to even order. At times they also seemed to bring us the wrong dish, but with it being all-you-can-eat it did not matter. It was a lot of fun throwing slices of meat and fish in the broth and eagerly awaiting it to finish cooking and then trying to fish it out with my chopsticks. Weirdly the “crispy pork sausage”- which was actually just cocktail weiners- was one of the best things to toss in. I can’t explain it. It was difficult to fish out, not crispy at all and yet so oddly tasty.

We had a split pot so we could each get a different broth. Brent got the spicy one and I did not not trust it, it had multiple chili pepper icons beside it on the menu, the second most of all the menu items. I opted for the much milder bone broth but I did still try the spicy one just to see how spicy it was. It was unbearably spicy, I did not regret my choice in opting to split and have two broths.

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To finish off the night we went to an LCBO whisky pop-up. We each had a flight of 4 different alcohols. I was tempted by the around the world flight whcih had a Japanese whisky and a Swedish whisky but they lost me when the last two were both Irish whiskys.  I opted for the bourbon flight and Brent had the scotch flight. It was fun sniffing them and ranking them. The pop-up gets bonus points for providing mini shortbread cookies along with the flights.

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I May Have Been Wrong

Continuing the impromptu theme in our fooding, we recently went out for best breakfast sandwiches. Originally we were going to go out for best dim sum until we realized that the #1 spot had not changed. We had already been there. I’m not gonna lie- I am not a fan of breakfast sandwiches. It’s just something about them, too much egg or too much grease. I’ve never had one that was outstanding or memorable. Initially I was going to just get a grilled cheese sandwich, but once we got there and I looked at the chalkboard menu, something about the breakfast burrito just seemed enticing. I think it was the chorizo sausage.

I was expecting gargantuan messy monsters of a sandwich and burrito. I was pleasantly surprised when our reasonably-sized, can-get-all-components-in-one-bite breakfasts arrived. The Rise & Shine breakfast sandwich from Lazy Daisy’s Cafe is hands down the best breakfast sandwich I have ever had. The burrito was also amazing. They have made me seriously rethink my stance on breakfast sandwiches. Which up until now was lukewarm at best (save for a few specific exceptions).

I would happily go back there again and get a breakfast sandwich. Except it was weirdly very busy for a Wednesday at 11am. The cafe was packed. It’s a good thing we had not tried to go there for brunch. I can only imagine the line.

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