Toronto Food Trucks II

My food truck journey never stops. It’s just such a unique feeling walking up to a food truck, and it’s kind of a treasure hunt when you get the tweet telling you the location, finding it, and then munching. I love how these gourmet food trucks are so well intertwined and interactive with online social media. This definitely caters and aligns to my modern urban lifestyle and attitudes.

Gorilla Cheese // Twitter // Facebook

So I was in Hamilton visiting family when I remembered that the famous Gorilla Cheese is stationed here all the time. So we went on a mission. On this day, they were parked at Mohawk College, Stoney Creek Campus. Lucky students.

The Lumberjack // $7.50 : Bacon, Cheddar, Apple, Maple Syrup

I dare you to read that description and not drool uncontrollably over your keyboard. Bacon? C’mon. Bacon. The apple is a surprise, but apparently a not-so-secret secret amongst grilled cheese connoisseurs. The bread was crispy, the apple — crunchy. The bacon was salty, the syrup – sweet. The sandwich of beautiful opposites attracting. And each sandwich comes with a nice tart pickle!

The Sarducci // $7.50Mozzarella, Basil, Tomato, Red Onion, Balsamic

A classic combination of ingredients, one that I absolutely adore, and molded to work in the beautiful mechanics of a grilled cheese sandwich. Like all their other sandwiches it’s an integration of the classic comfort and the exclusive gourmet. I approve. The balsamic was sweet and not overly tart. The multigrain bread had wonderful sunflower seeds and oats, which made me feel healthy.  Although the elegantly browned exterior screams oil and grease, the sandwich itself tasted wholly fresh, with the tomatos and red onions. Eating the sandwich was definitely greasy though, but that satisfying, “damn-that-was-so-worth-it” kind of greasy.

Cupcake Diner // Twitter 

The Cupcake Diner has access to my work schedule. Or so it would seem because they like to taunt me by parking a block away from my apartment, but only on days that I’m away at work. Luckily, they have a permanent store that sits on the lower floor of the Hamilton Farmer’s Market. Or as my parents call it, “Ba-nam-bay” or “3-5-7” because it’s only open on Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturdays. Or that’s how it was way back when I was growing up in Hamilton. And it had been at least a decade since I’d been back to the Farmer’s Market and oh my, either I never really noticed what it looked like as a kid, or it has really undergone a totally modern renovation.

Classic Chocolate Cupcakes

Cupcake $2.75 // Cookie $1.50

So I went and had the cookie dough cupcake. It originally had a wedge of cookie on top but I was too quick to dig in and forgot to take a photo. The icing was extremely dense and almost like biting into butter. Really sweet and almost a dessert in and of itself. The cake part was equally as decadent, and I had to share some of it with my brother. Not even expensive for a cupcake, and it really goes the mile. The Rocky Road cookie was bought by my brother and it was huge! The size of my whole hand. It was thick and soft. Made of oats and raisins, I was eating so healthy today! Man, my waist is feeling smaller already! The cookie was sweet and very cinnamon-y. Nom nom nom. I only had a few bites in the car before I had to run for my bus back to Toronto.

Toasted Tangerine // Facebook // Twitter

As fate would have it, Toasted Tangerine was at Yonge-Dundas square for “One Day Without Shoes” event that was going on there. Couldn’t pass that up!

Went twice; ever-changing menu.

Toasted Ravioli $6

The filling for this was SO good. Bolded, capitalized, and italicized. That’s how you know I’m serious. It was creamy, filling, delicious, not too cheesy, light, melty-on-your-tongue. I could go on. The marinara dipping sauce was quite good as well. I loved how the container was big enough so that the ravioli can be dipped it without crushing it or turning all kinds of awkward angles. The only thing I can complain about is that it was deep-fried a little too dark for my liking so the outside was really hard and crunchy, which cut up the roof of my mouth. I’d eat it again though, which is telling of good that filling is!

Toasted Sweethearts $6

Another deep-fried ravioli, but dessert style! This suffered from the super-hard outside as well, but it took me a little while to get to them, so they did soften after a little while with that strawberry glaze. Mmm, strawberry glaze. These were so cute with their heart shape and powdered sugar. Inside was so thick with bananas, mascarpone, dulce de leche, and probably cocaine. This was so yummy!!

Sweet Rider Sliders $7

So after the one day at Toasted Tangerine, I knew I just had to go back for some more. This was at one of their regular appearances at Queen and Jarvis. The buns were nice and soft for a ciabatta, and the pulled pork bbq sauce was nice, sweet and sticky. The stand out piece of this was the pineapple mint salsa. I’m not a big fan of mint but this was absolutely wonderful. The pineapple giving a sweet & juicy tang and just a hint of mint to highlight the sweetness of the pork and bbq sauce. I ate these while walking, and it wasn’t too messy. Everything stayed rather well in the bun, nothing wasted!! Uguughghgh I want pulled pork.

This will not be the last food truck post. I think I’m obsessed. I’ve got tickets to the “Next Food Truck Event” presented by Food Truck Eats that takes place tomorrow. So prepare yourself for that as I prepare my belly for it. I’m really looking forward to trying Ninja Piggies, Rock Lobster Company, and Fidel Gastro! I want to try all the food trucks. I don’t need to worry about my belly, I just need to worry about whether I’ll have enough time to eat everything! I know I will barely be able to sleep tonight knowing that tomorrow I’ll get to stuff my face with delicious things. This truly is the life.

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Reeeewind.

Hey, hey, hey. You guys remember that place? Fusia Dog? I thought one post per restaurant was sufficient. Apparently, it wasn’t. I introduce you to the one and only. The magnificent. The beautiful representation of two cultures fusing together to make something magical. Unforgettable.

Daniel Henney

Wait. No. I meant to say this:

The Fusia Dog

Yes, that’s what I meant. But I guess you can say that the fusia dog is the food representation of Daniel Henney. Or that DH is somehow the personification of the fusia dog. They’re both gorgeous, should be sought after, full bursting with promise of a good life, and I would assume, taste awesome. Woah. That got a little more than PG 13 there. I apologize.

Okay, so the fusia dog. Menu description as follows:

Beef or chicken dog, kim chi, daikon carrot salad, wasabi mayo, and coriander, wrapped in a paratha $6.95

Now, I don’t know what a paratha is, but I can only assume it means floured wrap made from the liquid of the Gods. I got the beef dog on break from my class, brought it into class, then promptly got up and went to eat it in the common area. It smelled too good and I didn’t want my classmates, who I would have to see the following week, to see me smearing this wondrous concoction all over my face. I knew I would be shovelling fistfuls of fallen daikon into my already full mouth, aioli streaming down my arms, trying to inhale it through my nose. I thought I’d save myself the embarrassment. So I did it in the student common area.

It was amazing. So warm, the wasabi cleared my nose and yet it wasn’t painful. The dog was juicy, the flavours meshing surprisingly well together. Who’da thunk   that a hot dog with asian toppings would be amazing? But then again, after all the hype surrounding Japadog, I should have known.

So, if you ever find yourself in the downtown area, do yourself a favour and get to Queen and Duncan, enter the cute little Fusia Dog shop (or their Food Truck if you can find its location), and get yourself the Fusia Dog. You will not regret it.

Here’s a bonus picture of Daniel:

Grand Electric

There’s something I need to admit to all of you out there.

I love tacos. I really do. It all started way back when I didn’t know any better and I would beg to go to Taco Bell at any time of the day. Mind you, this was back when I didn’t know how to drive, didn’t know how to get anywhere, and relied on older family members to cater to my intense pregnant-like cravings. What do you want to eat? Insta-answer: Tacos. Nothing but.

Getting a little older, I learned of the magic of Old El Paso taco seasoning and ground beef. So there I was, high school student and little brother, mixing up beef and powder, white flour tortillas, poorly cut lettuce and pre-shredded cheese. I was more than satisfied. I was happy.

Then comes college, the first time I was ever really constantly out of my house. I spent my days and most of my nights downtown Montreal going to school, doing homework, and eating and drinking with friends. The first time I hit up bars and restaurants, for no special reason other than we were tired and hungry and too far from home. Places like Mesa 14 opened up a whole new world of Mexican cuisine. The Three Amigos were my three amigos. Tacos that were prepared fresh and hot to my liking, with no pre-shredded cheese or canned salsa. Surely, this cannot get better. And then we went on vacation.

We actually went to Mexico. The land of chili, lime, and cilantro. Sure we were on a resort with the standard buffet fare, but then we ventured to the village markets, off resort property. I’ve been to Mexico twice now, and both times, the best food is off the resort. Sure, you’re risking food poisoning and germs that your body isn’t used to. But, let me tell you, it is all worth it.

And now where do we stand? My love affair with this wonderful beacon of hand-sized heaven. We stand, my friends, with the gourmet. The daring. The trendy. We stand among great chefs that do more than ground beef and seasonings. More than just your plain and packaged flour tortillas. We stand with pork belly, jalapenos, fancy things like “aioli”, with individual tacos that cost more than a meal at McDonalds.

On a chilly Friday night, we stand in front of Grand Electric Bar.

1330 Queen Street West, Toronto

 

I don’t know how to describe this place with any words other than super hip. The first time we tried to go, we made the mistake of getting hungry before deciding on the restaurant. The wait was to be 1.5 hours. This time, even though we arrived about 15 minutes after opening, the wait time was the same. I hear you have to line up before they open to actually sit at 6pm. The restaurant is decorated in vintage wood with the menus and specials written up on chalkboard. The whole place had a rustic western feel to it, like I was in a smoky saloon that had Jay Z performing all night. In addiction to the lovely warm feeling of the place, loud rap and hip hop was playing all night. The ambiance was amazing.

We sat at the bar, which was great because there was a lot of room for our dishes.

Tip: There are hooks underneath where you can put your coats/purses.

We ordered some drinks, bourbon and tequila and they were mighty strong. So, a warning, if you aren’t used to not-girly drinks that don’t taste like sugar.

Guacamole and chips with a large slice of pig fat in the middle. The guac and salsa were pretty standard, nothing crazy, but delicious all the same. They had sprinkled some sort of salty cayenne seasoning on the chips which really enhanced the flavours of the dish together. I took a bite of the pig fat because I had never tasted it before, and well, it was pig fat. Really delicious but too rich and oily for me to be eating the whole thing.

Tuna ceviche on a fried tortilla covered in cilantro, radish, onions, and jalapeno aioli. This is raw tuna so don’t order if you’re squeamish about raw fish. This dish was nice and Saney went crazy all over it.

“The tuna ceviche is booooommmbbbb. It’s sooooo good.” – Verbatim

The tacos!!! They were a little small but it was to be expected. However, their size is not at all proportionate to the flavour they pack. Each one was super decadent and flavourful. You can’t help but savour every bite. From the top going clockwise, we’ve got: Fish taco, pig tail, beef cheek, and pork belly. The fish tacos were topped with some slaw, chives, onions, radish, and if I recall correctly, mayo. The beef cheek had a guacamole and fresh jalapeno (not pickled!) topping and the pork belly had a cilantro and steamed pineapple topping. Everything was tender to a fault. Juicy. Extravagant. A delight. And definitely gone too fast. I was very excited to try to pig tail and it was unlike anything I’d ever had before. Almost a cross between foie gras for texture and crispy BBQ pork. The beef cheek was almost like pulled pork, but a great deal more delicate. Extremely juicy. The pineapple on the pork belly gave this taco a whole other dimension. It enhanced the smoky flavour and gave it a nice tang.

Oh what I would do to eat here again. I definitely need to eat here again.

Next up was the fried chicken that had a fancy name. It was probably Pollo Frito. Let me begin by saying that this photo does not at all do this dish justice. The chicken wings were piled high, topped with a mixture cilantro, chili peppers, jalapeno, and cooked lime, and then drenched in this sweet, sticky, spicy, garlicky sauce. It was heaven. There was no effort to share, it was eat as much as you can before it’s all gone. The chicken was crispy and tender. Drenched, but maintained it’s exterior texture. It was like magic. The spice was subtle but definitely there. It wasn’t overpowering to the point where you want to stick a fire extinguisher in your mouth, but it was enough to satisfy. Everything tasted fresh and the flavours married each other so well. Best chicken wings ever.

I want this in my mouth right now please okay thanks.

If I could, I would eat here all the time. I would brave the mildly cold Toronto winters, the stinky summers, the terrifying nights. I would do it all for Grand Electric. (It’s legal to marry a restaurant, right?)

Fusia Dog!

Fusia Dog!

Located on Duncan and Queen just south of the Pita Land. Fusia dog. I feel like they should have a theme song. It’s just cute little store with a small sitting area and a friendly Philipino-looking couple running it. Oh and they have an amazing menu with asian fusion fast foods that I’d never seen before!

I ordered the Peking Duck Quesadilla (seriously, who wouldn’t?) while my buddy ordered the Mediterranean. When we sat down, the nice lady offered us some free samples of their Power Slaw and Roasted Red Potato Salad.

The Power Slaw was basically just veggies and nuts and shredded cheese with a bit of mayo. It was a bit dry and tasted more like raw vegetables than any kind of coleslaw I’d ever had. The red potato salad, however, was so nice! Sweet and smokey while not being too heavy. It reminded me of the kind of potatoes that you get alongside your kimchi at Korean BBQ places.

My Peking Duck Quesadilla! Mmm, even though I’m not a big fan of bean sprouts, I didn’t mind them here. The quesadilla was nice and crispy and stuff full of veggies and sweet, juicy duck. It was a perfect refreshing and light lunch. Didn’t fill me up that much, but that’s because I have the belly of a sumo wrestler. Another perk, they serve Boylan’s here! I was very reluctant to share any bite of this with my friend, but alas, manners. The only thing missing from this is  the classic daikon that makes the perfect Peking Duck.

They served the Mediterranean dog on a toasted poppy seed bun in the cutest little banana leaf boat! Topped with feta cheese and roasted onions, peppers, and zucchini, I had a bite of this and it completely blew my mind. Surprisingly hearty, extremely juicy, and everything just melted so perfectly in your mouth. I’m not even a big fan of cheese but the contrast between the soft veggies, the saltiness of the feta, the hot dog underneath, and the sweet egg poppy seed hot dog bun, to die for. There is a reason this dog runs for $8!

I only saw these while on the way out, but you read that correctly. Skor Pretzels. I’m already planning my next trip there: The Fusia Dog, with daikon and carrot salad, wasabi mayo, kimchi, and coriander, with a side of Skor Pretzels and a Black Cherry Boylan’s to wash it all down!

Food Truck Toronto

These past few weeks have been something of a mission for me. I was walking home one day when, lo and behold, there was a big white truck sitting in a parking lot. There were quite a few people lining up in front of said truck and … getting food? What sorcery is this? Looks like I stumbled upon a fabled food truck. I’ve heard so much about them, but always in other cities. Places like San Diego and Los Angeles. I had never seen one in real life before, yet here it was. Naturally, I got in line and from that first bite and conversation, I was hooked. Cue adventure time.

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Food Cabbie // @FoodCabbie // Facebook

Food Cabbie has been around for about 5 months now, with the chef (a very nice man!) coming from California and bringing with him American cuisine with a touch of Mexican flair. They have different sandwich specials each day, each sounding taster and tastier than the last. I can’t believe that I’ve been living a block away, yes, ONE block, and I had never seen this place until last week. Of course, to make amends, I visited them twice last week and will probably go tomorrow too. That philly cheese steak is looking extra tempting. Food Cabbie is parked on Queen St. E between Shuter and Dalhousie from Monday-Friday 11-5!

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Lunchtime rush!


The Ortega Cheeseburger // $6.50

Pico de gallo (my weakness), sour cream, lettuce, and secret burger sauce. The description alone is what intrigued me, I mean, who has ever put sour cream on a burger? Worth a shot. The burger was nice and juicy, basically leaking into my mouth (this is a good thing, people!). It was nice, tart, and fresh with the bun lightly toasted but soft. Filled me up quite nicely, too!

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The Carne Asada Burrito // $6

Smoky grilled steak with refried beans and tomatos. It’s like they channelled my soul when creating this menu. I’m a sucker for refried beans. And steak. And burrito. A proper burrito where they grill the outside as well! I can’t say how many places I’ve been to where the tortilla is just flimsy and doughy, completely ruins the whole integrity of my meal. But this, this was amazing. Enjoy my gross photo of a half eaten burrito and cry if you haven’t had a Food Cabbie burrito! Yum. :)

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Caplansky’s Deli Truck // @CaplanskyTruck // Website

Right next-door to the Food Cabbie is where Thunderin’ Thelma is parked. Yes, the truck’s name is Thunderin’ Thelma, named after the owner’s Nana, which I think means grandmother. Caplansky’s Deli was featured in Toronto Life’s April 2012 issue along with Food Cabbie and 8 other GTA-serving mobile eateries. As the chalk-based menu suggests, their items change up every so often with items such as the Brisket and Smoked Meat being staple.

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Look at this picture of their coleslaw. I love coleslaw.

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When you see something called Maple Beef-Bacon Donuts, you don’t just walk away. You look the man in the window in the eyes, nut up, and order these strange little creatures. At about a dollar each, depending on how many you buy, you can’t really go wrong. Unless you have blood suger problems, in which case you do what you do. The outside was nice and crispy while the inside was a bit doughy. It does give you a satisfying bite though. These balls were dense and bacon-y and sweet, dripping in a thick maple syrup. It reminded me of something like baklava and that really sweet syrupy indian dessert. Different, strange, not bad. Definitely couldn’t eat more to 3 by myself.

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BBQ Brisket Sandwich // $7

Let’s talk about this amazing sandwich for a second. Or five. Or forever. First of all, onion bun. AMAZING. Secondly, the brisket was nice and soft. Savoury and smokey. Not too sweet as some BBQ sandwiches tend to be. So much meat on one sandwich that it’s incredibly satisfying. What sets this sandwich apart from others for me? The super crunchy and crispy deep fried onions sitting there between the meat and the bun. Such a nice contrast between the softness of the bun and the meatiness of the brisket. So so so yummy. An incredibly dangerous sandwich. Guaranteed if you try this you’ll be coming back for more and more and more.

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With my appetite whet by these two food trucks, when I heard about the FoodTruckEats pop-up in Liberty Village, I just had to be there. It rained mighty hard in the morning but after my meeting, I trekked out the with my umbrella, and my hole-y flats, and my hungry hungry belly. 3 food trucks were featured that day for three hours between 11AM and 2PM: Caplansky’s Deli, Blue Donkey Streatery, and

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El Gastronomo Vagabundo // @ElGastronomo // Website

Unfortunately, my meeting ran late so I only had time to stand in line for one truck, and I’m so glad I chose this one. Although Blue Donkey is supposed to be mind-blowing, El Gastronomo’s feature was something I just couldn’t turn down. There were tons of people standing in line and waiting for food, and the air was electric. Or it might have just been me, but the rain had temporarily let up, food smells are wafting up in the air, the excitement was building up. I. Was. PUMPED. BRING IT ON.

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Biltong Belly Tacos // 2 for $8

Twice-cooked “Biltong” pork belly, jalapeno aioli, pickled daikon on corn tortillas. Is your belly crying yet? Because it should be. These things were amazing. I don’t think the above photo does it much justice because in my eyes, it looked like this. I’m pretty sure I heard an angelic choir singing somewhere. I was just going to take it on the streetcar and eat it, but no, I was too excited. Who cares if I was late for work, this was clearly more important, and it was so worth it. I sprinkled lime juice along the tacos and dug in. The pork, oh gosh the pork. Crispy. Tender. Not fatty like other servings of pork belly. Seasoned with this mysterious biltong pixie dust. I’m pretty sure I looked insane as I sat down by myself snarfing these down with a weird smile on my face. But then it was gone. How did these two tacos go by so fast? I don’t know. It was simultaneously the best moment of my life as well as the worst. Gone so fast. I was so tempted to go grab another one, but we all know where that leads us. Sitting curbside, constantly refreshing twitter, clutching onto the food truck’s bumper begging for more, draining our bank accounts, “Will dance for El Gastronomo.” Right, guys? Heh… heh..

Seriously. Amazing.

Definitely not my last food truck experience. These last few weeks have been amazing, and it’s just the beginning. I plan to try every last one of the GTA food trucks.

From what I glean, there is a bit of struggle in the city of Toronto whereby food trucks are not allowed to operate on pay-to-pay parking lots for more than 10 minutes to sell food even if they’ve bought all the necessary permits, and adhere to regulations that are even more strict than restaurants. So! Go and sign this petition so that Toronto can have more of this wonderful food, all the time! :)

THE PETITION

Oh. Hey. Hi. PHOTODUMP. :)

Delicious, delicious photodump.

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1. Hello. Bacon, onion, and spinach quiche. I know, so fancy. I made these because my eggs were going to expire and these quiches were supposed to last me a few days. However, after they came out of the oven, they smelled too good. So I ate one. And then another.

And then I ate all of them.

No regrets.

2. My vegetarian friend made too much spaghetti sauce so she gave me a bag of frozen sauce and I finally got a chance to use it. It was so hearty with some things that I’ve never put in pasta sauce before, like zucchini. Hahah. I had gotten home from one of my ridiculous days and was just starving. All I needed to do was boil pasta, brown some ground beef, and then dump in some sauce. Thanks Zizi!

3. I had some leftover pulled pork that I had made from the day before and a nice organic brie loaf and some cheese. What else to make but an inside out grilled cheese filled with pulled pork? I made one sandwich and left the ingredients on the counter because I knew I was going to make another one. And then I did.

And then every once in a while my mom comes over and cooks me food. Which is amazing. I mean, some of this Vietnamese fare, you just can’t get at a restaurant.

4. Bun thit nuong. She made me all the things and I just assembled it. The grilled beef though, I think I used this recipe off the internet. It turned out really nice, especially with a bit of lemon tang. Other than that, we’ve got nem nuong, carrots (no daikon -sadface-), cucumbers, and green stuff and vermicelli noodles.

5. Bun reu cua. She taught me how to make this and this pleases me. :D It’s an egg, tomato, and shrimp-based soup with vermicelli noodles and served with mixed greens with chili pepper and salt on the side.

Not going to lie, it’s been rough. Working too much, not sleeping enough, and not enough time to eat! That being said, it’s rare that I’ll fully get to go out and eat at delicious restaurants, and I can barely afford to either. The first three photos are from Utopia Cafe on College, west of Bathurst.

6. Utopia Nachos With tons of awesome melted cheese, chicken, beef and other nacho staples. They also serve with a side of salsa, guacamole, and sour cream. But, as always, there’s never enough salsa or guacamole, and they do charge if you ask for more (which we found out on the bill). Though the middle of the nachos are great, the edges were sadly neglected crispy chips. The nachos are piled on top of this crispy baked pita which was really nice as well. $15

7. Steak & Cheddar Burrito The burrito was a bit on the smaller size (this coming from eating Burrito Boyz burritos, those things are MASSIVE), and was served with a side of spinach salad (even though I’m pretty sure I ordered coleslaw.. but didn’t realize this till right now), and black bean rice. The burrito, though, was really good. The mayo was excellent and tangy, the meat juicy. The burrito just seemed a bit sparse and empty, like there wasn’t a lot of filling inside. The salad was great and featured a nice balsamic dressing on top. I was sharing the plate and did not try the rice. Overall, this was an okay dish, I probably wouldn’t order it again, but I hear the burgers are amazing.  $12.50

8. Flourless Chocolate Cake The waitress had told us that they were newly just trying out desserts at Utopia but they got this cake bang-on. Definitely couldn’t have eaten this by myself (oh who am I kidding, yes I could have.) Flourless means gluten-free, which is great for the new gluten-free diet trend* and for those who are sensitive to gluten or have gluten allergies. However, being flourless means they replace the flour with… more sugar. So diabetics, hyperglycemics, and people with generally high blood sugar should beware. Other than that, it was really good, it was a flourless batter thing on the bottom (I’m guessing made out of butter and sugar primarily), nice and crumbly, topped with thick chocolate fudge. Served with a side of whipped cream and berries. Very delicious. $5

9. This is the Riverside burger from BQM Burgershoppe. They have 3 different locations in Toronto, and the one I’ve been to several times is the one on Queen, east of Spadina, right near my school. The burgers are great, nice and juicy patties that aren’t too small. I was craving burgers and onion rings so decided to kill two birds with one stone. It was great, with lettuce, tomato, bacon, cheese, and garlic aioli, but while being great at the time, it did create some painful carnage on the roof of my mouth. BQM onion rings are really really crispy, which are great if you’re biting into them individually. Overall though, always a great experience here. Tiny seating areas though! Riverside Chuck Burger $9

*

Deliciously G-Free by Elisabeth Hasselback. ISBN 9780345529381

I’ve been seeing a lot of gluten-free diet books coming out at the bookstore lately, the most popular one being Deliciously G-Free by Elisabeth Hasselback, who everyone has been telling me was on that Survivor show that I never watched.

Okay, so what is gluten? It’s a protein found in a lot of wheat, rye, barley and other things. So, obviously, people with Celiac’s disease can’t actually eat gluten products because it causes their intestines to go all kinds of painful crazy. But what people don’t know, is that there’s a lot of people who are also gluten-sensitive. Humans ourselves can’t actually process gluten and wheat that well. It has less nutritional value and is a pro-inflammatory. So basically, giving up gluten is a really healthy choice and great for people who don’t have Celiac’s disease or a gluten allergy. It’s just one of those trends that I’ve been seeing popping up lately.

**

In other news, I saw this new beautiful book on display yesterday:

Meat Free Monday Cookbook ISBN: 978-1906868697

It’s this huge campaign going on in the UK started by Paul McCartney and his family, showing us that just by eliminating meat from our diet once a week has great environmental and personal benefits and effects. I’m a meat person, I really am, but this cookbook is actually amazing. And really beautiful.

What they do is they create a whole meal-plan for you, for each Monday in a year. If I recall correctly, they provide Breakfast, 2 snacks, a lunch, and dinner recipe for each day, which makes it incredibly easy to switch over to a meatless day. I mean, I know one of the major excuses for not participating is, “I wouldn’t know how to cook meatless” and now you do.

They also sort the recipes by season much like one of my other favourite cookbooks, Martha Stewart’s everyday Food Light, which makes it great when you’re shopping for your ingredients because all of them are in season, which means they’re cheaper and they taste better too!

Everyday Food: Light ISBN: 978-0307718099

Other than that, my favourite food blogger is coming out with a new cookbook on March 13, called Food From My Frontier, which is chock full of simple recipes, and knowing Ree (not personally), everything is going to be delicious!!!! :)

The Pioneer Woman Cooks: Simple, Scrumptious, Satisfying ISBN: 9780061997181

Cheerio and happy eating! :)

Joey Eaton Centre

There is another Joey restaurant in the GTA a bit further north from me in the Don Mills area that opened up in 2009, but the Joey Eaton Centre location opened up just this summer on the south west side of the Yonge and Dundas intersection. I remember watching it being built every time I walked past the area last year, and finally, in July it opened up, and boy was it slick. A black exterior with their name plastered out front in glossy black metal, their huge front windows open up on warmer days so it’s like an interior patio.

Inside, you can choose the quiet dining area or the bar/lounge area with high chairs and tables. It’s a posh kind of bar-lounge that looks like it’s perpetually happy hour for the next new media gurus of the downtown area. The ceilings are incredibly high, making the space seem huge, and although there are a lot of people and it gets pretty noisy, dinner here always feels relatively intimate.

The waitresses are cookie-cutter beautifully formulaic women, but they’re so friendly. The first waitress we had gave us the above drink samplers for free, which really brightened up the evening. I’m sure it was just a little tactic to get us to buy drinks, but I’m going to pretend that she was just really nice.

Either way, it worked, and we both ended up ordering the “Stiff Lemonade,” which is a lemon slush with blue caracao (one of my favourite alcohols) and probably some vodka as well. They’re really big though, so I couldn’t finish mine.

The red drink was another sort of slushy drink, except this time with a peach slush. Yum! If I recall correctly, the red was rum with grenadine.

Pictured here is another Stiff Lemonade as well as the drink of the day, made with vodka, cherry cola, and a splash of lemon slush. I also tried a kind of beer that they serve as a special on Mondays called “Gringo” but it was a bit too limey for me, and after a few too many nights of a few too many Coronas, I couldn’t quite get it down.

Their caesar salad had funny little parmesan shavings, but I’m not complaining since they’re actually parmesan shavings and not the dusty things that some restaurants try to serve you. Other than that, it tasted like any other caesar salad, but it was a little light on the dressing.

I’d never had fish tacos before, so in a bit of an adventurous bout, I went to try these ones. I don’t know what other fish tacos taste like (oh ha ha. Yes, laugh.) but these tasted wonderful. The battered fish was crunchy and crispy with a not too overpowering fishy taste. The cilantro and lemon were great, the hot sauce wasn’t too spicy but it had a sweetness that complemented the salty fish quite well.

Also, they had guacamole on there. I loooove guacamole.

Their mushroom and cheddar burger. The patty was thick and so incredibly juicy. Juicy, juicy flavour. They even ask you how you like your burger done (medium rare) which always gets huge huge thumbs up from me. The mushrooms were spilling over, laying thickly on top of the cheese, on top of all the other toppings. The bun was not overly bready (such a killer for me), and not too hard that you scrape the roof of your mouth. The boyfriend, who is not at all a big fan of burgers, craves this one all the time, so that’s saying something. I’m not going to lie, this might be on par with burgers from Grover’s Bar and Grill.

Not pictured was a side that we got called crispy mashed potatoes. I was expecting a pile of wonderful mashed potatoes put in the oven to crisp up the top, but what we received was unexpected but just as good, and it gained points for being so darn creative. The crispy mashed potatoes are mashed potatoes rolled up in crispy spring roll paper and then deep fried so that when you bite into the flaky spring roll, you get this lovely contrast of the softness of the potatoes. Never seen or heard of anything like that before, and the flavours of the spring roll paper and the mashed potatoes complimented each other surprisingly well.

We also ordered a roll of sushi. This one was the Rainbow Roll. At first, it seemed to taste like a regular rainbow roll, nothing too extraordinary, but then I realised that the inside of the roll was made with a kind of tuna salad. Strange indeed, and you would expect it to be an unpleasant mix, but it was actually quite nice.

Deep-fried calamari with “vegetable tempura.” The vegetable tempura was just asparagus and onions, so not what we were expecting, but not terrible. The calamari was a little small but nice and crisp, and they provide a nice honey dijon dipping sauce which is a pleasant change from the usual marinara.

Mmm, doesn’t that look great? It’s one of their flatbread selections. Tiny white shrimps paired with sun-dried tomatoes, fresh basil, some sort of sweet and spicy sauce (spicy mayo?), and wonderful wonderful pesto. I’m a HUGE pesto fan. The bread was crispy, sinfully delicious. I wasn’t a big fan of the shrimps, they tasted undercooked, but even that was masked by the wonderful flavours of everything else. I was about to eat about 60% of the flatbread before deciding that it started to taste a little too salty, so I took it in a doggy-bag to bring home. I’m told they tasted wonderful the next day.

For dessert we had the strawberry shortcake (sorry, no picture) but oh my golly, this dessert was so well-presented. It was like strawberry shortcake mixed with creme fraîche mixed with crème brûlée mixed with whipped cream mixed with custard. Now, not all of those were in there, but that’s the feeling I got when I ate the cake. It had this sugar wafer thing on top of the bread that tasted just like the top of crème brûlée. Then there’s the cream and the moistness of the cake. To die for. I was so glad that it wasn’t overly sweet, as most restaurant desserts are, and it was big enough for two to share!

Overall, we had a wonderful meal with great food, and the prices are not even too high. Each plate ranged from $10-$25 depending on which one you got, but the prices are so fair for the quality of food. The fact that it’s so close to where I live (a mere 3-4 blocks) means it’s very dangerous for my wallet.

:)

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You can follow me on Foursquare to see some of the restaurants and places I go to about my day-to-day life. I check into all restaurants I go to, so if you’re looking for somewhere to eat, you can look into there as well. :) I’m just sad I didn’t start doing this a long time ago, all those lost stats, it’s really unfortunate.

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EDIT:

So, we went back to Joey Eaton Centre recently and had the most fantastic meal. However, my phone was out of commission at the time, so no pictures.

For our appetizer, we had the Killer Ahi Tuna Tacos. These were SO much better than the fish tacos I had up there. The Ahi Tuna Tacos are an appetizer whereas the fish tacos were an entrée. Mmm. One of the most interesting and delicious things I had ever tasted. They had a super rare, seared piece of tuna on top of a mountain of garlic coleslaw (you know how I loove my coleslaw) in a nice crispy taco shell. On the side, there was a wasabi aioli with toasted sesame seeds in it that you’re meant to dribble on top. The aioli wasn’t at all spicy, which is nice, because I don’t particularly like the burning sensation, but instead it was sweet with a hint of the smokey sesame seeds.

These tacos were AMAZING. Y’all don’t even know. I thought that was the highlight of the dinner already, but, moving on.

The boyfriend had the restaurant’s version of the surf and turf, which is the same rainbow roll we had above as well as a 7 oz. steak. Since we’ve already discussed the rainbow roll, let’s talk about the steak.

Basically, don’t order the steak at Joey Eaton Centre. I don’t know if the cook was having a bad night, or maybe the steaks are just like that all the time. We asked for the steak to be medium rare, and at least it came out right. Except the sear wasn’t much of a sear as it was a char, and the meat was downright chewy. I couldn’t enjoy the flavours because all I could taste was burn. :(

I am at least glad that wasn’t my meal, but the boyfriend had the rainbow roll to comfort him so it wasn’t too bad, but it was a lesson learned.

Now, my meal. One of the greatest things I’ve ever eaten. I ordered the lobster ravioli, just so, well, I can say that I’ve eaten lobster ravioli. It was soo decadent, soft pillows enveloping the lobster mixture within. A layer of nicely grated aged parmesan covered the top and roasted cherry tomatoes highlighted the edge of the bowl. The whole thing was covered in a lovely lemon-dill sauce.

One bite was all it took. I ate it all. It was so lovely, the flavours melding together, the softness of the dough, the tenderness of the lobster. The cheese wasn’t at all overpowering, but instead just accented the lemon-dill sauce. Mmm. And I love lightly roasted tiny tomatoes. They just pop in your mouth and they’re warm, but still taste freshly picked. Mmm! Best meal. :)