Bars/Lounges · Mexican · Pubs · Toronto

Toronto – Day 3: Carousel Bakery, Under the Table, Clinton’s Tavern, Tacos El Asador, and Corso

Our last day in Toronto. We woke up and walked over to the Carousel Bakery in the St. Lawrence Market. The set-up reminded me of the Lonsdale Quay in North Vancouver, except St. Lawrence had zero vacancy and was filled with vendors selling gorgeous and high-end cuts of meat and seafood. The floor below was filled with food stalls and gourmet kiosks, selling caviar, smoked salmon and international goods.

peameal bacon

L and I shared the Peameal Bacon Sandwich ($7.00), as we knew it would be a food heavy day. The meat was hot and salty, nicely crisp on the outside. The Portageuse bun was the soft squishy type that allowed our tastebuds to focus on the bacon.

under table

We took the subway to Cabbage Town, as I wanted to see the neighbourhood and L wanted jerk chicken. I picked Under the Table based on Yelp reviews. I am happy to report that the food is worth seeking out.

jerk chicken

We ordered a couple of beers and shared a plate of Jerk Chicken ($12.99) with rice and salad. Though it wasn’t busy inside, it took about 30 minutes for our food. I didn’t hear a microwave in the background, and from the way the food tasted, I’m guessing a lot of care goes into the food. The chicken was succulent, subtly spicy and delicious.

beers clinton

We went back to our hotel to pack and called Uber to take us to Korean Village. By the way, I love Uber. It’s way cheaper than taking a taxi, faster and you can track where and who is picking you up. With the exception of one driver, all were professional and helpful.

clinton

As we were early meeting my friend Phoebe, we stopped into Clinton’s Tavern. Beers and wings were cheap on Tuesday. L and I shared an order of hot wings ($6.00) and Steamwhistle beer ($5.00). The meaty wings were burn your hands hot, the skin had a nice crackle to it. I also liked that the hot sauce was served on the side, so the wings remained crispy and we could control how much sauce was on it.

seperate hot sauce

When Phoebe arrived, we headed over to Tacos El Asador for tacos and pupusas. Tacos are made fresh for you and if you eat inside, there’s hot sauce and onions you can add to your dish.
taco store

tacos sauces

The food was so tasty, I forgot to take some pictures. Good thing we ordered seconds. We each ate a fish, shrimp and pork tacos and a mixed pupusa. The pupusa was really tasty though a little oily. I preferred the seafood tacos over the pork. The fish was light and flavourful while the shrimp was richer noticeably more of of that pink cream sauce.

fish taco

Without drinks, L and I paid just about $28.00. Soft tacos are about $3.70 and pupusas are around $3.00 each. The burritos looked good and very filling.

tacos supreme

L and I still had time to kill before our flight, so Phoebe took us to Tallboys. I love this place. The drinks are so cheap and the servers are so nice. Though it was busy, we never felt rushed even though we just sipping on our happy hour beers ($4.40) and wine ($5.00). The food we saw other people ordered looked good, such as the burgers and tacos.

tall boys

peronit

At the airport, we made one final pit stop at Corso. Our experience at Corso was the exact opposite of Chili’s

The prices of beer are listed in the menu (crazy, I know). Our food came out quickly, which is much appreciated as you don’t want to miss your flight. The prices of booze and food, selection and quality of food were far superior. I don’t understand why the Calgary airport cannot have a place like Corso. Does the Calgary airport want to punish locals? I don’t get it.

calamria

The calamari wasn’t just the generic ringlets, but also contained the lovely squid legs. The batter was light and melted in your mouth. There were lots of left over fried batter bits on our plate, which I scooped it up to eat.

I’m glad we only spent three days in Toronto. I ate and drank way more than I should. Toronto is a destination for any Canadian foodie.

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Corso - Toronto Pearson International Airport Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Bars/Lounges · Beer · Burgers · Toronto · Vietnamese

Day 2 in Toronto: Banh Mi Boys, Mill Street Brewery, Black Hoof, & Bellwoods Brewery

store brothers

We woke up late the next day and headed over to Banh Mi Boys. Our Airbnb host Kimmy recommended it for lunch. L ordered the Grilled Chicken ($6.99) while I picked the 5 Spice Pork Belly ($7.50) banh mi and a can of coconut water.

four banmi

I was surprised that the sandwiches contained so much meat considering the price. My favourite of the two sandwiches was the Grilled Chicken. The chicken was hot and smothered in a mouth-watering BBQ sauce. I really liked the pork belly and the fact the cut of meat contained quite a bit of lean meat and not all fat. I thought the seasoning in the pork belly smelled like dim sum.

Excellent prices, good quality ingredients and delicious flavours, I think Banh Mi Boys deserves all its hype. I can see why it is such a popular spot.

pork bin mah

We checked out the U of T campus and then the Annex before we met Thomas at the Mill Street Brewery. I know Thomas would have preferred to head to Kensington for drinks, but I wanted to show L the touristy Distillery section. We drank free samples in the tasting room and then landed a table on the patio.

cheese dip

L ordered a Tankhouse Radler, poured with grapefruit juice ($8.00) while I drank a pint of Mill ST Organic and a shot of bierschnaps ($14). The bierschnaps tasted like whisky. L’s radler was refreshing and delicious.

We munched on the Cheddar Ale Dip ($12.00), which is made with Tankhouse ale, four cheeses and came with fresh potato chips. I thought the dip was not the most flavourful and the chips were too oily to go with the watery consistency of the dip. Regardless, I’m glad we went as the speciality drinks were good and not something I can get back home.

pig hoof

We walked back to our hotel room to get ready for the main event, dinner at Black Hoof. The only show I watch on Netflix besides Narcos is Anthony Bourdain, Parts Unknown. I saw that he raved about Black Hoof, as well as our friend M, so I made it my mission to check it out.

cocktails hoof

We arrived at 6:30 pm and were the second couple to arrive. However, within an hour, the entire restaurant was packed. L went crazy over his Trou du Diable ($9.00), a beer made in Shawinigan, Quebec. The IPA was a juicy, slightly hoppy, with small bubbles. Based on my server’s recommendation, I ordered a glass of the Charles Baker riesling ($11), which I found not sweet and fragrant.

black drinks
Our server recommended five dishes but I’m glad we only ordered four as the food was so filling. We ordered Pistachio Hummus and Chicken Livers ($10, plus $3.00 for bread), Tongue on Brioche ($15), Horse Tartar ($18) and the Smoked Scallops & Sobrassada ($18).

tartar

The horse tartar was quite delicate in texture and flavour. To me, it was clean tasting, fresh and much lighter than a beef tartar.

dip

One of our favourite dishes was the Pistachio Hummous with Chicken Livers. By the way, no chickpeas were used in this dip. The sweet nuttiness of the pistachio went well with the richness of the chicken livers. With or without the bread, this was a divine dish.

scallop

I enjoyed the smoked scallops. The scallops had a buttery smooth texture without a trace of fishiness. This dish, like the horse tartar, was a light and subtle in taste.

tongue

The tongue was delicious. The meat was sliced super fine and was kinda like pastrami but less strong tasting. Mixed with whole grain mustard and the richness of the mayonnaise, the tenderness of the salty meat and crunchiness of the brioche made me forget all about what a whole beef tongue looks with its skin on.

bellotwon brewery

After dinner, we were meeting with my sister’s best friend M and her husband D. They were running late so we headed over to Bellwoods for a table. I’m glad we were early as the place was packed. The garage-like interior was such a cool space, I wished there was one like it in Calgary or Vancouver.

bellotwon brewery

Based on the server’s recommendation, I ordered a Diable Pitoune, an unfiltered pilsner. This beer was fruity with tiny bubbles that reminded me of champagne. It was very easy to drink.

M and D ordered some snacks. Fries with garlic mayo toscano cheese, fine herbs ($7) and foie gras terrine ($12) with sour cherries and house-made brioche. The food looked and smelled so good, but I was so full from dinner, I couldn’t even try a bit nor another beer.

When L and I return to Toronto, we’ll give Bellwoods Brewery a go for dinner, and Bar Isabella, M and D’s favourite hang-out. I’m happy to report that day 2 in Toronto was a success.

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The Black Hoof Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Bars/Lounges · Beer · Burgers · Pubs · Toronto

Day 1 in Toronto – Steam Whistle, Wallflower & Fran’s

In 2008, I lived in Toronto for a month and then again in 2010 to do some research for my master’s thesis. I adore Toronto’s food scene. There is so much diversity and options. The restaurants can from extremely expensive to dirt cheap. While Vancouver has an abundance of Asian cuisines, Toronto also has excellent Caribbean, Ethiopian, Korean and Thai restaurants. On my most recent visit, I planned to try Pai Northern; Japango; Black Hoof; Okonomi House; Rasta Pasta; Gandhi’s Roti; and Banh Mi Boys. Unfortunately, the first day didn’t go as well as planned, food-wise.

crowd

On our first day, L and I headed over to watch the Blue Jays. We didn’t have time for a sit-down meal at a restaurant, so we picked up beef hot dogs ($4.00) at a vendor with the longest line-up. I loaded my dog with mustard, ketchup, raw onions, pickles, sauerkraut and hot peppers and let it drip down on the ground as we listened to a good drummer/performer who entertained the crowd milling around the Dome.

steamwhistle

Since we had some time before the game started, I took L over to the Steam Whistle for free samples and a couple of pints ($8.00). I ordered a blisteringly hot, buttery pretzel ($4.99) to go with my beer. The whole grain mustard had a nice pop to it.

pretzel

I’ve never been to a baseball game before. Though our seats were sky high, I could still see all the home runs the Blue Jays repeatedly hit. I was also impressed with the beer selection at the Dome. Unlike Calgary, the beers vary beyond Budweiser and Bud Lite. Hallelujah.

game

We met our friend Thomas at 1602, a bar on Dundas W. We were the only people in there the entire hour. With an absence of food and ambience, we left to check out a nearby restaurant, Wallflower.

patio wallflower

Ah, the Wildflower was more my scene. The patio was cute and clean, the selection of drinks was better and cheaper. Most wines by glass went for around $10.00 and beers were about $6.00.

menu wallflower

We ordered Gnocchi ($14.00), Jerk Devilled Eggs ($4.50) and Potato Wedges with Garlic Aioli ($5.00). The creamy filling in the devilled eggs ($4.50) had a nice kick to it. I liked how they sliced the bottom of the egg off so that the egg sat up on the plate. I need to remember to do this when I make my own devilled eggs. For $1.50 per egg, this was a tasty and cheap snack.

gncoochi

The dumplings were light and fluffy and came soaked in a heavy, rich creamy sauce. While the menu said there was chicken sausage, pancetta, and bolognese, I could only taste the sauce and salty meats. Not that this was a bad thing. The gnocchi was a hot delicious mess and the favourite thing we ate.

fries wallflower

The potato wedges remind me of the Naam‘s famous miso fries. The potatoes tasted like they were baked, crispy on the outside with an almost powdery soft consistency inside. I enjoyed the heavy use garlic in the aioli.

eggs

The food was so good, we should have stayed and eaten more. However, we left to see Thomas’s place and to meet his friends. By the time we left for our hotel, we were starving. The only place open and literally next door to our hotel was Fran’s.

fran

L and I thought since we had more than a couple of drinks, that no matter how bad the food was at Frans, it would be okay. Well, perhaps we didn’t drink enough.
sandwich

L ordered the Chicken Parmigiana Sandwich with fries ($11.99) and I ordered a Beef Burger with home Fries ($9.99). On the positive side, the food was cheap. However, the patty was dry and the bread in both the sandwich and the bun were too hard and chewy to eat. The home fries were hot and crispy, so another point there. I vowed that the next day, we would fare better and hit some of the places recommended to me by locals.

veal

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