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Category Archives: Fooding

I Feel Like 🐔 Tonight

I Feel Like 🐔 Tonight

Having recently had Chick-Fil-A after it opened in Toronto (we had tried it before but we still had to go) I was keen on finally having the chicken sandwich from PG Clucks, still the best chicken sandwich in Toronto according to BlogTO. I had to go while the memory was still fresh.

Thankfully the location next to and serving Birreria Volo was still open. It had been ages since we’d been there. Plus Cantillon’s Zwanze Day had just passed the previous week- maybe they’d have some different Cantillon brews on tap?

I was drooling just thinking about the honey and jalapeno sandwich. Luckily I didn’t drool into my cherry cola sour beer. It was so good, it had all the right flavours. For my second I had a cider from Revel that I first had to confirm I didn’t buy. It had plums and elderflowers. Brent had the Nashville hot chicken sandwich, the coleslaw was good but by the time I got my half it had turned into a soppy mess. And the honey jalapeno one was a thousand times better. And certainly way better than Chick-Fil-A. Quite the debate ensued on the walk home. Firstly, where to place it in our rankings. It slowly inched its way to the top tier. But that was where we parted ways, hands-down I would eat that honey jalapeno sandwich over anything from Chick-Fil-A everyday. Even now, a few days later, I am already sort of craving it. It was that good, just oozing with honey.

🐔🐔🐔

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Posted by on October 12, 2019 in Fooding, Uncategorized

 

Poke? Nope!

Poke? Nope!

I can safely say: I am still not a fan of poke bowls. This time around it was better, but I am still not a convert. North Poke was in Kensington and on the way there I scoped out a shop that might have Thai iced tea mix (I was on a mission to find it, having found out about a cookie recipe- it is impossible for me to turn down a cookie recipe).

Each part of the meal was good, it’s just that it’s a taste/texture…food… that I quickly tire of. I gave up on it, not full but just over it. Something about the heavily-sauced marinated fish, it soon started getting to me, threatening me with a stomachache. I did like the addition of the taro chips and they provided some respite, as did the seaweed but in the end I gave up. In retrospect I should have gotten a snack size BUT I went in there for dinner, so it wouldn’t have been enough. Live and learn.

At Ding Dong Exotic Sweet they didn’t have the tea mix but we did get a Japanese Coke, matcha green tea ice cream Oreos, mango Kit Kat and most importantly: freeze-dried Durian. Which we have yet to open. I’m a little scared. We also had fried eel Lay’s (which taste like what they promise which is actually not a good chip flavour) and beef sauce flavoured Lay’s- ditto.  The name of the store reminded Brent of a bakery of the same name, which happened to be just up the street.

Ding Dong Bakery had been voted best Chinese bakery and I could see why. Very efficient system of trays and checkout and so damn cheap. Things started out great, the almond cookie was not too sweet and had an odd dry texture that somehow really worked. The pineapple bun was delicious. The red bean sesame ball was barely alright. From there things went downhill. The egg tart, recommended was awful. The taro item was awful. The worst one by far was the winter-melon bun. I expected something like a fruit danish, not a dense bun tasting of flour.

One day we will open the Durian.

 
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Posted by on October 3, 2019 in Fooding, Uncategorized

 

Why I Never…

Why I Never…

I have never been a big fan of fish & chips (even now as I write this, after having listened to How Fish & Chips Works from SYSK). Kingsway Fish & Chips was on the list of essential Toronto restaurants for tourists to visit. Which makes no sense given its location at Royal York and Bloor. But who am I to question a best-of list? And who am I to question possibly the best fish & chips, based solely on geography?

Bonus points for it being conveniently on the way home from work. I cannot believe how many times I walked right by the place in the past. We ordered fish tacos to start. I was expecting little tiny tacos not these giant behemoths. They were topped with the house coleslaw which was every bit as good as I had been led to believe. Oh man the tacos were good, with breaded and deep-fried haddock. Eating it we realized that it was the same fish as would be in my main. I had ordered a fish & shrimps & chips. Brent had the steak & kidney pie. I am still not a fan of meat pies. I’m barely even a fan of regular pies, often only eating pecan/sugar pies.The fish was so good. I was thoroughly impressed, it almost made me a fan of fish & chips, hence my initially very high ranking of the place. It was only after some debate and remembering past meals that it got bumped down a few notches. It was good fish & chips BUT compared to some other meals we’ve had it ranked around the middle.

I would happily go back for more fish & chips and coleslaw. The fries, while really good and tasting of the beef fat they were fried in, were a bit much. I also accidentally dipped one in marinara sauce, mistaking it for ketchup.

 
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Posted by on October 3, 2019 in Fooding, Uncategorized

 

Bye-Bymark

Bye-Bymark

I didn’t expect that around #19 on a top 100 list I would be seriously considering if it was worth it to continue making our way down the list. Bymark wasn’t terrible by any means but I kind of had higher expectations for it. Until I remembered taht we had previously eaten at a McEwan joint in Yorkville and my short review was: too much butter. I don’t get why it was so subpar given how good the hot table at the McEwan grocery store is.
We split an order of the house made focaccia bread and an order of the calamari and octopus. She warned us that they had recently updated taht dish and it now had shishito peppers. I was thrilled! Shishito peppers are so good! She was legit surprised that I even knew what they were. The bread was so good. The seafood had absorbed some flavour from the peppers. My cocktail had gin and cucumber in it, so I could claim it was mildly restorative as I got over my cold and allergies double-combo.

Brent ordered the burger (that the article assured, was worth the price). I had the (what was once 72-hours sous vide but was now braised) beef short ribs with chimichurri. It was a bit salty for my liking and reliant on the chimichurri to be a good dish. The meat itself was soft and fell apart and so juicy but just the littlest bit too salty. I also don’t get why the meat mains didn’t come with sides. It was an enormous portion and a side would have been nice (along with it being a smaller portion). Drink number two was just as good, cherry liqueur might be one of my new favourites.

We didn’t stick around for dessert (even though we were given a menu after settling the bill). For one, I was pretty full but also I was not really tempted by anything on the menu. Plus there’s always Bulk Barn on the walk home.

 
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Posted by on October 3, 2019 in Fooding, Uncategorized

 

More Than I EXpected

More Than I EXpected

Having looked at the schedule online ahead of time I didn’t really have high hopes for the CNE this year. The vendor list also seemed really short. I pinned all my hopes on food. No mardi gras parade. No aerial acrobatics/ice show. What was going on? Was it just not updated. I held out hope until the day we arrived and got day-of schedules. No luck. On the plus side, we wouldn’t have to rush lunch and we could go to the 4:30pm Super Dogs show instead (as opposed to the 6pm one which was always really busy with the after 5 crowd).

I had a heck of a list of food items to look out for. I had more than I could eat. More than I could eat even with the help of whoever I could rope into it. But every year there are things I can’t find so it makes sense to have a long list.

The day started off relaxed. I stopped in at the Food Building for a red licorice donut from Tim Hortons (every year I leave Timmie’s for alter and every year it is too damn busy). This was actually my first time getting a wacky Timmie’s CNE donut. I tried to order a box of the pink lemonade Timbits but the lady said they only sold them in packs of 20- we had a long day of eating ahead of us and that was way too many Timbits). I passed through the Arts & Crafts building in search of my beloved coffee. It’s ironic, the name of the place is the Wandering Bean yet they are the most stable thing for me at the CNE, they have always been in the same spot.

I cannot believe how hot it was in the little rooms in the Kids Zone. All they had going was a small fan mounted on the wall, no air-conditioning. It was stifling in there. I lasted maybe 10 minutes before I had to get out of there, Camilla Adrian & Alexis would catch up to us later. Plus it was time to go meet my mom and sister by the fountain (the usual). The CNE sign had been moved to the Prince’s Gates and in it’s place, the fountain was surrounded by 12 raccoon sculptures, further cementing Toronto as a raccoon-obsessed city. I was actually glad to not see the ostriches in the Farm Building- they always seem kind of sad in their high-fence pen. The llamas delivered hilarity as per usual. As we finished up, Alexis went to get a pizza from the Food Building, everyone chowed down outside- except me. I was holding out for the Food Building’s more wacky offerings. I was a bit worried that I’d be eating alone.

We worked up an appetite in the Arts & Crafts building, being able to dedicate more time to to it as we were not rushing for the aerial & acrobatics show this year. We hemmed and hawed over at the seafood spread stand, eventually settling on coming back for it at the end of the night so it wouldn’t go bad during the day (plus it would be less to carry). We also visited my favourite CNE vendor, Carmicheal for my yearly purchase of summer sausage. The guy claimed to remember me and that just made me like them even more. They also got shunted to end-of-the-night-purchases, it would be too much to carry.

FINALLY. It was lunch time, my time to shine. I settled on the pho fries for lunch because it seemed like the easiest to share and least wacky of all the items on my list. I was saving the wackier stuff for later when Brent would be joining us. The premise of pho fries was that it was pho, but instead of noodles it was fries with beef and green onions and bean sprouts. It was good. Except towards the end I was getting tired of eating fries so I just ate the rest of the toppings, leaving behind some sad fries. For dessert: deep-fried Ferrero Rocher. It had not been on my list, I just happened across it when I was looking for deep-fried avocado (which got bumped for this).

Satiated and overheated, we piled onto the tram and went over to the At Home and International Pavilions. We had about 2-2.5 hours before it was time for the dog show. Of course we all went for the plant vendor, like moths to a flame. Air plants are so pretty, and every year I swear that THIS is the year. This is the year when I won’t end up killing all my airplants. I also wanted to get some bamboo shoots, but they weren’t even selling them. So instead I got a little cactus to replace the one I had over-watered.

The At Home Pavilion was very underwhelming, way less vendors. It was even worse in the International Pavilion. Pretty much none of our usual go-to’s were there, no Sri Lankan tea, no Polish amber jewelry. The warehouse section was cut in half and there was no Bluenotes or kitchen supply stores. I had my heart set on those two. We finished up in no time. We went to the Colombian coffee place and sat outside on the reduced-size midway and moped. So far this was one of our most disappointing CNE years. After the dog show at 4:30 we would have very little left to do. Camilla left and we lined up for the dogs, except even that was not so busy. We got amazing seats without having to wait for very long so I guess that was a plus? The dog show turned things around, how could it not?

We spent some more time going through the makeup warehouse and the International Pavilion as we waited for Brent. Once he found us we headed over to the Silk Lantern display. On the way we found another plant shop, kind of hidden within the At Home Pavilion. They had bamboo!! I also ended up getting a money tree with the hopes of not killing it. We took a mini detour to look at prize-winning house plants in the horticultural section and it put me to shame. The size and voluminousness of the plant put me to shame.

The lanterns were awesome, as was to be expected, given they were awesome last year as well. We had a pit stop at the Food Building. Lucy was after her traditional corn dog. Brent and I had other plans. After a few failed attempts at finding food (read: every time I asked at the info desk where the vendor was I was told somewhere in the midway) we eventually settled on veal tacos from SanFrancesco. What is a veal taco you may ask? A taco that has for it’s shell a breaded veal cutlet. A+ for creativity BUT it was hard to eat, despite how delicious it was. We also jumped on the bandwagon and had a “beyond meat burger” from Bubs Burgers. For a non-meat burger it was actually pretty good and it was the closest to a real burger we had ever tasted (as opposed to: portobello mushroom, black beans, tofu). From there we slowly made our very tired way over to the Arts & Crafts building for our end of day purchases. Except it wasn’t end of day for Brent and I. We backtracked to the Farm Building so he could see all the animals.

And then it was time to eat again! This time we divvied up the midway stands. Brent stood in line waiting for our deep-fried Kit Kats, I went off in search of R&Js pizza for a slice of dill pickle pizza (it has ranch instead of tomato sauce). Somehow we missed each other on the midway and I had to backtrack to our meeting spot: the bar with the Muskoka chairs (something beach.*). They had a secret menu item: frozen sangria slush. I was all about that! Alas, it was all sold out. I had to settle for a berry vodka slush which was still god. And necessary, between the Kit Kats and the pizza I needed a drink. The pizza was surprisingly good and possibly the best item of the 2019 CNE. The Kit Kat was also pretty damn good. It had thankfully been broken up into the four parts as opposed to being served as a whole.

We ventured further into the midway in search of a Tokyo street dog, and if I couldn’t find that, then a hot Cheetos encrusted corn dog. A guy from a wacky hotdog vendor offered us a sample but as I realized it was not the right place, I asked him if he knew where Street Dogs was. He stared at me blankly, Brent was like he’s a competing hotdog seller!! Turns out Street Dogs was just opposite. Oops. Our last menu item of the night was a tempura battered hotdog with kewpie mayonnaise, teriyaki sauce and strips of seaweed. It was delicious, save for the too-chewy seaweed. Bordering on nauseatingly full, we wandered back towards the streetcars through the midway. I kept shaking my head saying no no nope, at all the roller coasters. I just don’t get it. We stopped at a game where you had to hang from a bar for 1min50s to win a prize. It was hilarious seeing the overly confident guys walk up and be like I got this, only to see their face contort seconds later in agony. It felt like an old-timey fun fair, gawking at people.

*Beach Bar. I was close.

 
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Posted by on September 3, 2019 in Adventures of Pinka!, CNE, Fooding

 

Well They Sure Earned That…

For all the times we’ve visited the Burdock bottle shop, we’d never been to the accompanying restaurant. I’d bought bread from the bottle shop before- but never a full sit-down meal. Well, now we had a reason to. Burdock had been voted best brewpub and I was itching for some patio time. It was mid-August and I had yet to enjoy any patios.

Going in, I had assumed it would be an alright meal, didn’t really have high expectations. We got a spot on the patio, sharing a communal table. Somehow we got the middle seats. To start we split a spelt pretzel with honey mustard butter. I thought I knew what to expect, I’d gotten pretzels from the bottle shop before. Man was I wrong. It was served warm and the honey mustard butter was so damn good. I’ve never eaten so much butter in my life and been so happy. Something so simple was so magical. Up next we split the red onion pakora. I had no idea what to expect, this was Brent’s choice. When the dish was placed in front of us I kind of just stared at it. Dark brown deep-fried and battered balls of… red onion and some other stuff? Turns out pakora is really good. It had corn and red onion and something like corn meal? And a seasoned mayo-sauce for dipping. I was all for this.

For our mains, Brent had the piri-piri chicken skewers and I went with the pork shoulder tacos. The reasoning being that I could make piri-piri chicken at home. It wasn’t that good, it was way too reliant on the sauce and the chicken was a bit chewy. The tacos were amazing, topped with red cabbage and sprinkled with little crispy bits of chips.

I had lucked out that Burdock was also serving Revel cider. On the website they had listed Time & Place, which I had just tried at Honest Weight but when we got there it had been changed. Now they were serving the Riesling Piquette. I was tempted by two other offerings until I saw that they were 750ml bottles- the very same ones I had planned on ordering directly from Revel later in the week. Pass!

Overall Burdock far outshone our expectations and was delightful. The spelt pretzel could easily be a regular thing if I can get it to go? Please?

 
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Posted by on August 18, 2019 in Fooding

 

Heeeeere Fishie, Fishie, Fish

Heeeeere Fishie, Fishie, Fish

We skipped over #13 on the Toronto Life Top 100 and went to #14 due to scheduling conflicts. To celebrate my birthday we walked to Honest Weight in the Junction. This had been a long day of walking for me (in total I was just shy of 14km). At some point there was a creepy guy walking at the same pace as us, just a few steps behind and shuffling his feet. Eventually he walked ahead of us, crossed over to the other side of Dupont… and then crossed right back. We ducked into a gas station and bought a soda to lose the guy. Later on we saw him across the street walking back in the opposite direction. What a weird guy.

Honest Weight was unlike other restaurants we had been to in the past. It was part fish market. They had a dinner option on the menu where you pick a fresh fish they have available, and then they cook it for you. The only way it could have been fresher would be if the fish was still alive. We sat at a small bar table at the end of the display case and tried to identify all the fish on display. They had a Revel cider I had never tried before, something about a farm and/or time. Who can say. It was tart and delicious.

To start we split a fish plate because it had gravlax as one of the fish. Whyfor the interest in something that sounds like a stomach remedy? It was in Brent’s 1001 Foods book. It sounded delicious: raw salmon cured in salt and sugar with dill, it sounded dill-ightful.* The fish plate also had smoked salmon, a trout schmear, marinated mussels and a dill mayonnaise. It arrived on a fish shaped plate so already this was an A+ in my books. On the side we had thick slices of toast with lots of butter. Heaven. It was heaven. The schmear was first place, followed in a close second by the gravlax. I am normally not a fan of smoked salmon, but migawd was it good.

For my main I went with the pick-your-fish option and had the pickerel. It was from Lake Erie, and I’ve never seen pickerel offered on a menu before. It was fun trying to guess which one it was and eagerly waiting for someone to come and take my fish out of the display case and go prep it. Brent ordered the garlic butter shrimps, not realizing he would have to peel them. It was a buttery mess and when it was my turn to eat my half, I opted for hacking at it with fork and knife. The dish came with bread on the side to help sop up the mini-soup of citrus-y garlic butter beneath the shrimps. The smashed potatoes under the pickerel were amazing, the fish was so simple, just grilled but so damn good.

It was one of our top meals of the year.

*I liked it so much that I’ve since found a recipe and intend to make it at home (one day)

 
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Posted by on August 8, 2019 in 1001 Foods, Fooding

 
 
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