Category Archives: Eat.

The DIRTYBIRD.

I think I found my life’s passion… I think I’m going to become a chicken + waffles connoisseur.

At the beginning of March, a new chicken + waffles joint opened in Toronto right in the heart of Kensington Market. Let me introduce you to The DIRTYBIRD Chicken + Waffles, a restaurant specializing in Northern Fried Chicken. Located at 79 Kensington Avenue, the DIRTYBIRD brings you a southern staple with a Canadian twist — blending some form of maple into fried chicken.

The restaurant is small with limited seating, similar to most other restaurants in the area. My friend and I luckily managed to snag seats along the wall. I ordered the ODB — the original dirty bird — which was basically just a large piece of boneless meat on top of a waffle.

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The waffle was quite delicious — light, fluffy, and warm with a hint of maple buttery goodness. The chicken was perfectly cooked — moist, juicy, and tender. I’m not sure what the red sauce on top was, but it was amazingly flavourful, the perfect combination of sweet and tangy. When you combine all these components into a single bite, it’s like heaven in your mouth.

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School.

School Restaurant, located at 70 Fraser Ave, in Toronto’s Liberty Village specializes in delivering you an amazing brunch experience. Upon arrival at around 11:30 AM on a Sunday, there was quite a crowd around the entrance of patrons waiting to get a table. School is a walk-in restaurant only, meaning no reservations. That may put you off a bit, but in my opinion it’s definitely worth the wait.

On this specific day, a table for two required a wait time of 50 minutes. The restaurant utilizes a tablet where they take down your number and send you a text message when your table is ready, so feel free to explore the surrounding area. My friend and I had ventured to the nearby Tim Horton’s to grab a coffee and some timbits (only because we were super hungry).

Forty minutes into our wait, we got the text message that our table was ready for us. So we scurried back to the restaurant where our table was waiting for us. Already having had our coffee and tea, we got down to the nitty gritty and ordered our entrees. We both got the Black ‘N’ Blue Flapjacks (otherwise known as pancakes). I was really debating between the pancakes or the chicken and waffles, but ultimately I chose pancakes because we made plans to go for chicken and waffles on Friday.

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We also ordered a side of Sugar Cured Ontario Bacon and Grilled Turkey Breakfast Sausages. The sausages weren’t anything special, but the bacon was delicious. At first, I was kind of put off by “sugar cured” thinking that the bacon would be overly sweet, however, there was only a mild sweetness to the bacon which was balanced out by the smokiness.

It was tough, but we finished our pancakes and slowly, like really slowly, made our way out of the restaurant. Overall, the food was amazing and the service was great! I will definitely be coming back to try the chicken and waffles, hopefully in the summer when patio season begins.

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Eating in Banff.

I recently went on a trip to Banff, Alberta. The purpose of my trip was to see the mountains, as I love mountains. I never really considered Banff to be a food destination so I wasn’t really particularly focused on what I was eating. However, I did come across a couple places, with relatively cheap eats, in a town where meals can get quite pricey.

IMG_2160My first stop upon arrival was Barpa Bill’s located on 223 Bear Street. I ordered the chicken souvlaki pita and my total came up to $9. It’s a small little place, with one or two tables and some counter seats. There was a TV playing a hockey game when I was there. I would highly recommend this place  if you want to stop in for some deliciously good, inexpensive greek food. Fill up your stomachs before heading out for a hike. Looking at the picture (although not so great), I could definitely go for another pita right about now.

IMG_2255After a long day in Lake Louise, once back in Banff, I headed to the downtown core where I stopped at Pad Thai located at 110 Banff Avenue inside the Clock Tower Village Mall. Again, this was a small restaurant with one guy working. Upon walking in, he sat me down at a table and brought me a menu and a glass of water. After skimming through the menu for some time, I finally settled on a hot bowl of Tom Yum Noodle Soup. I can’t really judge the authenticity of the dish as I’ve never had Tom Yum Soup before, but I can say that it was a well seasoned dish. I just remember it getting super spicy after a while (mind you, my tolerance for spice is quite low), but nonetheless it was still delicious. I my total meal came up to about $13 + tip. Overall, the food was tasty and the service was great!

IMG_2327One afternoon, I took the local ROAM bus to Canmore which took roughly 20 minutes. I was starving and wanted to catch a quick bite before heading out to explore the trails. I stopped at Rocky Mountain Bagel Co. the one located in the downtown core at 102-830 Main St. (8th). I ordered the Canuck bagel which contained eggs, bacon and cheese and chose a whole grain bagel. I think this came up to about $8. It was delicious! Although it did kind of just remind me of a higher quality breakfast sandwich from Tim Horton’s. Yummy nonetheless! You can’t ever go wrong with eggs, bacon, and cheese. Here you order at the counter, and they hand you placard to take with you which you place on your table and a server brings you your food when its ready. The ambiance was cozy, café style. It was relatively busy when I was there that afternoon. Most of the tables were occupied, but I managed to easily snag one.

IMG_2514On my last night in Banff, I decided to stop by Chaya, a really small Japanese restaurant located on 118 Banff Ave. I walked in, and the place was full. The waitress told me I would have to reserve a table and I told her I would leave and come back. She proceeded to fill out a ticket for me, which told me to come back in about 10 minutes, which I did. At first I sat down, stupidly waiting for someone to come, but then I realized you had to order at the counter first. So I decided to get the Miso Ramen which was $10… not bad for a bowl of ramen, right? After ordering, I sat down at my table and minutes later a server brought my food over. Visually, the ramen was underwhelming. I’m used to ramen with lots of fillings, like seaweed and corn, this ramen was very beige in colour, topped with bean sprouts and ground meat. I remember it tasted fine, but it wasn’t anything amazing. I don’t really remember much of it to be honest. My expectations weren’t high, as I didn’t expect to go to Banff and eat amazing ramen. Overall, it was just a cheap eat, filled my belly for the night and that was about it.

IMG_2520The morning of my last day there, it snowed! That was exciting, not cause I’ve never seen snow before, I’m from Toronto, we see lots of snow, but because Banff was surprisingly warm and cloudy the whole time I was there. After a morning walk, and getting covered in snow, I stopped in at the Wild Flour Bakery on 211 Bear St. It was a cozy, cute café with lots of delectable sweet and savoury food options. I got a peach & ginger muffin with a cup of sencha green tea. Found a seat by the window and caught up on my journaling.

Finally, on my last day in Banff, I decided to get some Cow’s ice cream located on 134 Banff Ave. This place definitely has the cutest shirts ever. I ordered the Moo York Cheesecake and it was delicious! I can’t remember what exactly was in it… but it was amazing. Great way to end my stay in Banff. IMG_2542

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Fried Chicken and Waffles.

Just over a week ago, I was on a “mini vacation” from work where I finally got the chance to catch up with some friends over good food. Initially the plan was to go get waffles, however, little did we know, the waffle place we planned on going to was closed at 6 pm. Disappointing. However, we chose the next best option. Chicken and waffles.

Processed with MoldivTo the left, lo and behold, the holy grail of chicken and waffles brought to you by Harlem Restaurant. They have two locations, the one we went to was on 745 Queen St. West and the other one is located at 67 Richmond St. East. The ambience on Queen West was great, with very attentive and patient servers. But above all, the food was amazing. The dish came with three sauces: maple syrup for the waffles, a gravy and a scotch-bonnet-coriander-lime syrup which was a bit too spicy for my liking.

There were a bunch of other things like the jerk chicken and the jambalaya that I was considering trying… however, I was already dead set on getting the chicken and waffles so I couldn’t not get them.

I would love to make another visit to Harlem in the near future to try out the other dishes, which I am sure would not disappoint!

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Canadian National Exhibition.

Every year, as a sure sign that summer is coming to an end, The Ex (otherwise known as CNE) opens up and runs for basically the last two weeks of August. At The Ex, you are bound to find deep fried, fatty foods and with the food scene exploding as of late, you will most definitely encounter not-your-average, atypical food creations. Whether these creations are hits or misses, that’s for you to decide.

IMG_1881This year at The Ex, Fran’s was my go-to place. Some items from their menu that really caught my eye included the Thanksgiving Waffle, Big Breakfast Maple Toast, Peanut Butter Sriracha Bites, and the Brownie Cheesecake Milkshake. I tried everything listed, with the exception of the Thanksgiving Waffle and I’m quite disappointed that I didn’t. I heard it was amazing.

Of the three, my least favourite was the Big Breakfast Box. Visually, it looked nothing like the pictures I’ve seen in news articles, so that was disappointing. My box toast was over cooked, in my opinion. As a breakfast food lover, nothing about this dish impressed me. For me, this was definitely a miss which made me regret not choosing the Thanksgiving Waffle even more!

The Peanut Butter and Sriracha Bites were surprisingly good. Who would have ever thought to put these two flavour combinations together? At first bite, you really only taste the peanut butter and then right at the end the kick of the sriracha hits you. The perfect balance between sweet and spicy.

Finally, the Brownie Cheesecake Milkshake was probably my favourite out of the three. It was creamy and thick just like what a true milkshake should be. It wasn’t overly chocolate, it struck the perfect balance between chocolate and cheesecake.

After a truly fattening day at The Ex, my summer is officially over. Bring it on Fall.

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National Ice Cream Month.

July was National Ice Cream Month. Upon learning this fact, my goal for the month was to have ice cream at least once a week. The first week I went to Marble Slab and then life got busy so I did not have the time to make a weekly trip to an ice cream shop. However, I did get a chance to end off the month on a positive note at The Big Chill located on 566 College St.

Processed with MoldivI opted for 2 scoops in a waffle cone. My waffle cone was freshly made to serve which I thought was an added bonus. There was a wide selection of flavours and it took me a while to make up my mind but in the end I settled for Ferrero Rocher and The Bear Paw (or at least I think that’s what it was called). Ferrero Rocher, pretty self-explanatory. The Bear Paw contained raspberries and… to be honest, I don’t remember, but it was absolutely delicious! I highly enjoyed it over the Ferrero Rocher. This was definitely a sweet end to a great month.

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Jelly Modern Doughnuts

I’ve been craving gourmet donuts for the longest time now and I finally found the time to make a trip to Jelly Modern Doughnuts. Located at 376 College Street just in between Bathurst and Spadina, you find this cute little shop that holds all this heavenly goodness. As the peanut butter lover I am, of course I had to get the Peanut Butter Cup donut (regular size) and I just couldn’t resist, so I also got a small coconut donut as well. My friend got the Chef creation of the day which was Strawberry Shortcake and Crème Brule (donuts pictured above). Gourmet donut craving satisfied. I can’t wait to go back to try more flavours.

Donut worry, be happy 😉

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