What are we doing for lunch today?

"Come on guys, it's Friday. Let's go to Upstairs" - T. Koop

Sunday, June 24, 2007

Back Alley BBQ

After missing out on some great BBQ while I was in Rochester I still had a need for some ribs, but sadly there is no place in Toronto (that I know of) that compares to US BBQ joints.

But I was in Kensington during (one of the car-free) pedestrian Sundays and hit up Back Alley BBQ on Augusta for some BBQ and beer.

For $10.99 I got the half chicken and rib combo.

Being an asian run place it has an inevitable asian touch. The chicken and ribs were super tasty, but white rice and asian style vegetables were a weird choice for sides and the home fries in gravy were passable.

The rice with the asian sauce was not bad but some cornbread or mash would've been the ticket....and of course portions were not American-sized.

I would add this to the rotation if it cost about $4 less.


Sunday, June 03, 2007

Quick eats in San Francisco

I was in San Francisco back in April and managed to find a few decent eats. By the way, SF's Chinatown may be the biggest in North America, but the eats there definitely aren't the best. We wandered around there looking for something that looked half decent, and the one place that we finally picked was pretty bad. Even though I was anticipating this, I was still pretty annoyed. Anyway, just like in Toronto or Vancouver, I'm sure most of the good Chinese eats in SF are not in Chinatown but in some of the areas more recently populated by Chinese people.

This was an eggplant parmesan sandwich from a little store we found in the Little Italy area. I would have gotten veal, but even though this place had everything from meatball sandwiches to rice balls to every kind of Italian cold cut I've ever heard of, they didn't have veal (I think they had chicken, but that's lame). So eggplant it was...and it was pretty tasty. You could get your pick of a pretty wide selection of buns. I went for a chewy sourdough which stood up pretty well to the saucy insides and gave a bit of extra flavour to pick up the eggplant a bit. Oh, and this place was pricey...this sandwich was like $8. But then again, almost everything in this town is pricey.

This is the famous "Mission style burrito" from the Mission district. I got a burrito al pastor from Tacqueria Cancun, which I picked because of all the magazine "awards" hanging from the window. Well, the burrito turned out to be really tasty. The meat is way tastier than anything in the Toronto burritos and the addition of some cilantro is a nice touch. I still don't know if I dig the whole burrito concept that much (non-Asian style rice just doesn't do it for me) but this was worth a repeat, even for me. Note: I got there a bit early and I was the only non-Spanish speaker in there, but by the time 11:45 rolled around, the place started filling up with hipsters. I guess that's what happens when stuff gets discovered.

In-N-Out double double, animal style. Well, it's better than most fast food burgers, but I'd still rather take a homestyle/steakhouse-type burger from the local family run burger joint.

Friday, June 01, 2007

Roll Your Own Adventure

I caught a ground beef sale and decided that it was too hard to pass up and take (another) shot at rolling my burgers. Despite what I've heard peeps say about homemade burgers mine have been hit or miss. Sometimes tasting to "beefy" and kinda bland.

But armed with All Purpose Soul Seasoning I had to take another shot.

Here are the patties rolled up. Each one is a good softball-sized fistful of beef.

Ingredients :
All Purpose Soul Seasoning
1 egg
breadcrumbs (3 tablespoons I'd say)

I used a bit of binder (egg and breadcrumbs) but didn't overdo it.

Here are the babies on the grill :

They held together fine and I figure I cooked them about 8-10 mins per side med./high heat. I drizzled a bit of soy sauce on them while they grilled. Lookin' good ...

They were cooked through, a bit of a crust outside but still really juicy :

Taste : Awesome ! The one lesson I've learned is ....

The KEY to a good burger is SEASONING.


New York Eats

Takin' a bite outta the Big Apple!

Tai Fun Taiwanese Noodle with BBQ Pork. $6.50. Sammy's Noodle Shop.

Delicious! Fuggetaboutit!

Hot dog with mustard. $2. Corner of Broadway and 40th.

A New York classic! The guy had a big sign that said Polish Sausage, Hot Italian, Italian, Bratwurst, blah, blah, blah, and finally "Hot Dog". Well, you quickly realize he only sells hot dogs. Maybe that was a wish list, not a menu. Anyway, I felt like a hot dog so ordered the Hot Italian. Nice.

Linguini with clams in a white sauce. $12.95. La Mela Ristorante.

A great linguini. Clams were fresh. Pasta was wonderfully al dente. The sauce was not too rich at all, which is definitely a danger when you stray from the reds.

They had this "lamp" made of duct tape attached to the ceiling. When the cord is pulled the lamp raises to the ceiling and lights up. The waiters were going crazy with this thing! Nothing like some 6th grade humour with your meal! Oh, I also liked that if you order some house wine (I got white) they bring you like a litre and a half bottle. Oh I took the hint thank you and starting pounding it back. After about a litre, I admitted defeat to the waiter and he's like, "oh man, we only charge you for what you drink!" I like this, it works out to be a lot cheaper than ordering glass by glass. Apparently this is what they do in Italy. Although, I never saw that. Anyway, the guy says well, if you really want the rest I'll give it to you for 5 bucks. So that's how I ended up wandering around New York with a half empty bottle of wine.

New York Eats without a Deli? Impossible!

Corned beef on rye (half) with pickles and Matzo Ball soup. $11.05.

The soup was pretty good. The sandwich was adequate. But I had honestly hoped for more. Schwartz's in Montreal is in a whole other league compared to this place. Well, at least in terms of smoked meat. But they seemed to have a pretty good menu - maybe the tongue sandwiches are their specialty.

The atmosphere was good. The walls are covered with pictures of the owner (Katz maybe?) with tons of famous people (with a definite New York theme). Lots of de Niro, Pat Riley, Guiliani, Bloomberg, firefighters, etc.

The staff wear these shirts that say "Send a salami to your boy in the army!". I admit I was tempted. If I was hanging out in Fallujah I would be so unbelievably grateful if a salami from Katz's Deli showed up. If anyone is feeling generous, you can order online.

Peruvian roast chicken with fried sweet plantain. $7.50. Flor de Mayo.

Riquisimo!! This was my kind of place. The staff are Chinese but they all speak Spanish. The menu is half Latin half Chinese, which pretty much matches the clientele. Very good prices. Reminded me of the Phoenix Restaurant in Toronto (Colombian and Chinese), except I didn't see anyone here cleaning the stove and walls with a mop.

Labels: , , , , ,