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Tag: oyster

Beast Restaurant

Deep Fried Pickles

Beast Restaurant – 96 Tecumseth St, Toronto

I heard such great things about Beast’s brunch since Dave (@1goatroti) and Adrienne (@AdrienneDLR) went there a few weeks ago. So of course, I had to come and try since I found out they had a dish called the Beastwich.

Above is our appetizer. Boyfriend can never say no to deep fried pickles. I loved these ones because they were sliced, not quartered like other places usually do them. The breading was beautifully seasoned and retained their crunchiness. They served this with a homemade ranch sauce. So delicious, I actually wanted a second order and we hadn’t even started eating our real meals yet.

omelette

We ended up ordering one of their specials, which was the meat omelette, made with beef tongue and sauerkraut (boyfriend’s favourites). It was served with a nice fresh salad and a buttermilk biscuit. I didn’t like the omelette too much, but the salad had a yummy balsamic dressing. The biscuit was perfectly buttery and salty, and we kept eating it even after we were extra stuffed.

poboy

I don’t know what it is with the word po’boy, but I am a sucker for them. I had a softshell crab po’boy at Porchetta and Co about a month ago, and I swear I might have died right then and there. This was a deep fried oyster po’boy with cheese, bacon, lettuce, tomato, and pickles, served with a side of homemade bbq chips. The chips were nice, light, and crispy. The po’boy was soft and cheesy, and while it was deep fried, the veggies kept it tasting fresh and light. The only thing wrong with it was that I realised I forgot that I don’t like cooked oysters. But I’m sure if you like them, then you would love this sandwich. The oysters themselves were huge and meaty, encased in a beautiful coating of fried dough.

beastwich

There’s a third?? How many were you?? It was just me and boyfriend, but of course I had to have a third meal. There were too many choices to just end up with two! And how could we not have the beauty that was called the “Beastwich.” Deep fried chicken atop a buttermilk biscuit, fried egg, cheese, and topped with sausage gravy, served with homefries.

I love sausage and biscuits so much. After the first time having them in Atlanta, I was hooked. The chicken was so moist and deliciously deep fried. Everything together was soft, and moist, and savoury, and heavy in the best way possible. This is exactly what I expect from a sandwich called Beastwich.

Altogether, our bill came up to about $60 — three meals, an appetizer, and a $5 caesar — which wasn’t too horrible, but at the end of my birthday month, our bank accounts are tapped out! I would love to come back and try their dinner though; they have some really yummy looking things on the menu.

Southern Delight

Of course one of the only reasons I travel is to try out new and wonderful foods that excite every sense I have. Atlanta did not disappoint. I tried the go-to southern foods, that which I will not list here because I want you to continue reading. Although I STILL haven’t had a deep-fried mars bar/twinkie/anything else crazy even though they’re now available everywhere, I do plan to… eventually. Without further ado, Judy’s Southern Cuisine Adventure!!

Mama Ninfa’s 231 Peachtree Center Avenue

Now,  I know I promised southern but this was the first meal we had in Atlanta (actually my first meal was a bag of jalapeno chips and a fruit punch; others’ was some McDonald’s at 5 Points station, which we completely did not know was super sketchy). Our food adventure did not get off to a good start. This was the worst tex-mex food I’d ever had the disgust of trying. I could have made this meal way better using packaged Ol Del Paso mix, at least the ground beef would have been food grade instead of this gravel mixture that they tried to pass off as food. The beans were uninspired, felt old and the rice was bland with old veggies. The corn tortillas were hard and chewy and tasteless.

I only even mention this restaurant as a warning to not be sucked in by their $10 pitchers of beers as we were. The fact that the place was empty on a Friday afternoon during happy hour should have been a clue. Don’t eat here.

Atlanta Grill 181 Peachtree Street Northeast

Later that night, we were on the hunt for a restaurant around 9PM but were very surprised to see that almost everything was closing/already closed so early on a Friday night. We found the Atlanta Grill which is on the second floor of the Ritz-Carlton and although it was a bit pricey, the food was fantastic. The atmosphere was a nod to old southern culture with beautiful booths, wooden details, and large rustic paintings. We were served some lovely cornbread mini-muffins with pats of butter on the side. These little things were so deliciously moist and just the perfect amount of sweet. Dinner, as opposed to lunch, was getting off to a distinctly delicious start.

Because we were both not too hungry, boyfriend and I shared two appetizers (of my choosing of course!), so on the left we had the Shrimp & Grits, which I just had to try, and on the right was a She-Crab Soup with a drizzle of lemon oil on top. I don’t know what they do with the He-Crabs but apparently, they are not good enough for this soup.

The shrimp and grits were everything I could ask for. The shrimps were big, plump, and juicy. They were perfectly cooked and each bite was meaty and satisfying. Served on top of grits (which are like corn-y mashed potatoes) which are smothered in a light seafood-y gravy. This dish was surprisingly filling. And this is the point of the blog where I start salivating for all this food again.

The crab soup was nice and thick with chunks of crab in it. Lovely and peppery without being overpowering. The lemon oil was light and gave it a nice citrus-y touch. This dish also filled us up quite nicely without being too heavy. ACK. The quality of all this food was just outstanding.

So for dessert, we split a sweet caramel bread pudding of sorts with a rum and raspberry sorbet on the side. On the right was my banana pudding. Everyone knows I loooooooove banana pudding. It had real chunks of banana, surrounded by a banana cream, with little sugar cookies (that maintained their crunch!), a stick of chocolate, and get this, toasted marshmallows. TOASTED MARSHMALLOWS. In case you missed it the first time. Divine. Absolutely wonderful.

Corner Bakery Cafe 270 Peachtree St NW #100

I’ve been after a whoopee pie since I first saw them about two years ago on Bobby Flay’s showdown that I happened to be watching one day. So what I now know is: A whoopee pie is a sandwich where two small cakes are the breads and a sweet cream is the filling. I had a whoopee pies two days in a row. The one on the left being a vanilla filling and the right a peanut butter based filling. Both very sweet and I probably shouldn’t have had them for breakfast but so worth it.

The other foods we had at this place were great! I had a veggie sandwich filled with all sorts of warm soft veggies between some lovely nutty multigrain bread that was crispy to a fault! Everyone else’s sandwiches looked tasty as well. They were a little pricey but it is some high end bistro food that comes out of their kitchen.

Pitty Pat’s Porch 25 Andrew Young International Boulevard Northeast

This is where we had dinner on Saturday night. The atmosphere was really cute, walking into the restaurant was just like walking into someone’s living room, with a couch and paintings and photographs on the wall. The dining area is down a set of stairs where famous people stare at you on the way down (their faces line the walls). There is a live piano player and the wait staff was really nice, helpful, and friendly. The waiter even laughed very hard (and convincingly) at my lame jokes.

They have a really great fully stocked salad bar. Macaroni salad, chicken salad, cucumber & tomato salad, all of them super yummy.

Of course I couldn’t leave Georgia without having some o dem fried chickens. These things were huge! What do y’all feed your chickens in America?? I got chicken and ribs with a side of buttered veggies and mashed potatoes, and could barely finish it all! I actually didn’t. I had the ribs and a small piece of chicken. That huge honkin’ thing got doggy-bagged. And now I’m going to admit to you that I also stocked up salad bar stuff to take home. I ain’t embarrassed.

Boyfriend needed a chunk of meat so he had a steak which came with some amazingly cheesy creamy gouda mac and cheese. GOUDA mac and cheese. It had a nice gratiné on top, and lordy do I love that crispy cheese. The pasta was of the large ring variety which house all of that gooey sauce. Too delicious. The sideboard provided for the table was black eyed peas and collard greens which boyfriend destroyed. With his mouth.

Waffle House 96 Lower Alabama Street

Just Around The Corner 76 Spring Street Northwest

I went to the Waffle House by myself one day because everyone else had gone the day before when I was dealing with some airport stuff. I just had to try a waffle house waffle to see what the hype was all about. I went to the location just outside of 5 Points MARTA centre which, like I said above, was very ghetto. There were a lot of beggars around, but I persevered. I walked in and didn’t quite know what to do with myself. Do I just seat myself? Am I allowed to sit in a booth or was that rude because I was by myself? And I know for damn sure that I stook out like a sore thumb because I’m a little asian girl lookin’ around the place like she’s lost and the only person who wasn’t black. That was fun. But I ended up sitting at the counter in front of the kitchen area, which I think is where people sit for a quick breakfast by themselves. Step one, done!

I picked up a menu and clearly looked like I’ve never seen a menu anymore debating over every little thing. However, the food experience was nice. Everything was super cheap. I ordered one waffle, a plate of bacon, and of course, biscuits and gravy. The waffle was really big, and was like a shallow eggo. It really wasn’t all that great, and I’m on the waffle side of the waffle vs pancakes argument. The bacon was paper thin, too crispy (probably because of its width), and fell apart with a gust of wind. However, the biscuits and gravy was amazing! The sausage gravy was completely savoury, with bits of, I guess, sausage, though it had the consistency of ground beef. If I were to go back, I’d probably go to a different location (I didn’t feel safe by myself), and I would definitely get the biscuits and gravy.

On the right hand side is a sandwich from Just Around The Corner. We passed this place on the cab ride back to the hotel from the CNN Centre. None of us were really paying attention to the roads so when we went back to find it, the only the only thing we could as was “Uhh… it said best burgers in the city, had a red tarp, and maybe advertised Coca Cola.” Ya, it’s Atlanta, everyone advertises Coca Cola. We even stopped some nice cops to ask but we had no idea what we were talking about. We did find one of the Atlanta tourism people who hang out on the corners and luckily he knew exactly what we were talking about.

The place itself is a hole in the wall that reminds me of Decarie Hotdog or La Belle Province in Montreal. The burgers were great, and I had a Philly Cheesesteak (my weakness!). They have a place outside on the sidewalk to eat and watch the streets. Yummy yummy!

Ray’s In The City 240 Peachtree Street Northwest

For our last night, we ate at Ray’s which is a high-end seafood restaurant right smack in the middle of downtown. It was very expensive but you have to live every once in a while and the food was so goddang good. In the lower part of the photo you’ll see some crab cakes. But they aren’t JUST crab cakes, they are the best crab cakes in the whole world. THE WHOLE WORLD. Flakey, and pure crab and crack. Fresh crab and crack. That’s all is needed to make this, I’m sure. And the shrimp, oh lawdy the shrimp. Ray’s BBQ shrimp. Big and juicy, pleasantly spicy. The sauce was so good that we ended up just dunking our bread in it when all the shrimp was gone. This seafood platter also came with calamari (yum!) and some rockefeller oysters (which I wasn’t a big fan of) for $55. I seriously cannot get over how good the shrimp and crack cakes were. Sorry, crab cakes. My bad.

For my entree, I had parmasen-crusted scallops on top of a bed of lobster risotto, with seafood gumbo on the side. I’d had a side of gumbo at Pitty Pat’s as well, and have just come to accept that I don’t particularly like gumbo. Both times they were really salty, and the flavour wasn’t to my liking. Maybe I’ll have to barge into a southerner’s house to try it in order to like it. Both my scallops and my other cousin’s scallops weren’t that great as well. Both just very bland and the parmasen crust was burnt and tasted burnt as well. However, the lobster risotto was amazing. A distinct lobster taste, soft without being mushy, a nice cheesy taste, and thankfully very filling as well because I couldn’t bear the eat more than one scallop.

With all these beautiful meals, I do believe that our trip down south was a success. My trip to eat was fully satisfactory and I do believe another trip down there is definitely in my future! Enjoy the food, and remember that the photos do get bigger, but no matter how much you magnify, it probably won’t magically appear on your keyboard. Sorry!

Big Daddy’s Oyster Bar

My good friend and I came across this place on a whimsy on the opening day of the Toronto Jazz Festival, June 24th, which was coincidentally St-Jean Baptiste Day, the “national” holiday of Quebec, where all of us Quebeckers decided to sit around a campfire, drink copious amounts of beer and various other alcohols, light fireworks, and chant “Vivre le Quebec libre!”

We had gone and wanted to see Aretha Franklin perform at Metro Hall, but fell hungry when we realized she wouldn’t be performing till many hours later. Cue Big Daddy’s Oyster Bar. It was the perfect restaurant for the night. A New Orleans themed place, what with the oysters and the voodoo, meshing with the theme of jazz, and of course the French quartier of New Orleans gave us a place to host our mini St-Jean Baptiste celebration, as my friend is also a Montreal expat.

And what a wonderful place  we chose.

The atmosphere was amazing, such kind staff, as the two of us raucously regaled ourselves in a language we’ve scarce been able to speak since arriving in Toronto.

The establishment offered 2$ off appetizers after around 9 o’clock that night, and the two prix fixe menus was a very fair price. Three courses for only about 24 dollars or 36 dollars, depending on how high end your entrées were.

So cheap for food that was absolutely fantastic.

The first course was this great salad with arugula and some other greens I couldn’t identify. On top of which lay asparagus, warm goat cheese, and a caramelized onion dressing. Pomegranate seeds and cherry tomatoes sprinkled the top and a side of corn bread sat on the side. I’ll get to the corn bread later.

The salad was warm but fresh, salty thanks to the goat cheese but highlighted with the sweetness of the onions. The greens weren’t at all wilted but instead were delightfully crisp. Such a great salad, and only the introduction to what was supposed to be a snack but turned into a full fledged meal.

Black PEI mussels in a thick Creole sauce with another piece of corn bread smeared with some stuff. The portion was huge for me (my friend is a vegetarian and doesn’t eat seafood) so I had it all to myself. Thank the Lord because I don’t think I could have shared that, and I’m not even a fan of mussels/oysters/other stuff of that ilk. But definitely the highlight of this dish was the Creole sauce. I don’t know what kind of billionaire-level crack they put in that stuff but it was amazing. I sipped the sauce out of the shell, I drenched the corn bread in the sauce, I slurped it with a spoon. I couldn’t get enough of that sauce. By the end, as the waitress cleared my bowl, there wasn’t a lick left of the sauce in there, because it was in my belly. In my soul. I need to find out how they make that sauce. Is it traditional? Should I marry a Creole man? If he can’t cook, should I marry his sister? I would become a lesbian if it meant I could eat that sauce every week for the rest of my life.

(Read: I really need to go back to Big Daddy’s.)

For dessert, we indulged in the pretty safe bet of crème brûlée, which, admittedly is one of my favourite restaurant desserts to order. If it’s on the menu, it’ll probably be in my belly by the time I leave the restaurant.

And that was that for the prix fixe menu. 24$ for a pretty filling meal split between two people. Not bad!

And then the boyfriend came.

Boyfriend loves escargot. This escargot was great. Cheesy, moist, so flavourful. I also dipped my corn bread in that oily fatty residue. Worth it. I didn’t get to taste much because it was too good for him to share*, but I was still able to steal a few bites and those few I tasted were scrum-diddly-umptious.

Of course, since this was an oyster bar, we simply had to try their oysters. After my experience at Biff’s, raw oysters are something I crave every once in a while, and the smell of freshly grated horseradish is not something easily resisted. I do believe these were about 5$ for 4 oysters. They also had about 6-8 different sauces that you can try with your oysters. Marinaras, seafood sauces, chilli sauces, really fun to try out.

Now it’s time to talk about the bread.

OH. MY. GOD.

So moist, so sweet, buttery, with a slight hint of herbs and the jalapeno pieces within gave it such a wonderful spice that’s not overpowering. This is truly the food of the Gods. Even with the pieces of corn bread that came with our meals, my stomach and palate forced me to order another side of this wondrous bread. Yes, I am a slave to my body and I am not ashamed.

Let’s stare at the picture for a while and pretend our houses are made out of these golden molds.

Drool.

Drool.

Drool.

Drool.

In the end, our bill came up to 150$ between three people, but that’s mostly because we had about five or six pints between us as well as five shots of amaretto and some other stuff.. Don’t get a  jagerbomb here, I think it cost thirteen dollars, or something equally as ridiculous. Actually, don’t get a jagerbomb anywhere because it’s just redonk expensive. But you know, the boyfriend has expensive taste.

To sum up, food was great for the price, relatively inexpensive, but the drinks were up the butt expensive (or rather, they were because we weren’t expecting that when ordering out 12$-a-piece meal.)

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Boyfriend actually does share with me quite well. Don’t worry, my stomach does not get negatively abused.

Biff’s Bistro

4 Front Street, Toronto

A quaint french bistro located downtown Toronto on Front and Yonge, it’s a classy place with a great atmosphere and some seriously delicious food. On warmer days, they offer a terrace that opens to the busy street, but is slightly obscured by some vines and shrubbery to give some privacy to diners and it also serves to absorb some of the street noises for a quieter dining experience. Inside, the restaurant is split between two dining areas: the ‘bar’ room, which includes a bar and more casual atmosphere, and the dining room, which is a classy, multi-leveled sitting area with small booths and tables, lit candles, and perfect for an intimate dinner.

What drew our crowd to this place was the spectacular offer of delicious oysters. After 5pm, they offer small raw oysters for only 1$ a pop. Granted, these are not as large as the giant oysters you’ll find at dim sum, but they are cosy and delicious. Served raw with shredded horseradish, red wine vinaigrette, and a few slices of lemon, you eat them with tiny forks and they’re like aristocratic frenchmen having a luncheon in your mouth, and it’s bangin’. Word of caution though, if you enjoy your oysters with cocktail sauce, it is not particularly delicious here when paired with these oysters.

One of my companions indulged in their specialty, Steak et Frites. The fries here are delightful. Perfectly seasoned and with soft potato texture encased in an exterior that is crisp to a fault. They stay warm and crispy from the beginning to the end of your meal. Easily some of the best french fries I’ve ever had in the technical sense of the word. The steak, which I had a few bites of, was so juicy, thick, and tender. So flavourful that adding a barbecue sauce would just be an act of blasphemy. A slight char on the outside creates a nice texture when biting into the meat, and it is served on a bed of mild rapini.

I, myself, ordered the lamb chops braised with a plum mustard sauce. It came served on top of string beans and gnocchi. The beans themselves were nicely salted and embodied the crunch that I love so much about beans in general. This was the first time I’d ever had gnocchi, and it’s rather safe to say that it will definitely not be the last. It is as if bread and potatoes had a baby. Delicious, delicious babies. And then the baby crawled onto my plate, under the medium rare chops, to be soaked with juice of lamb. They were soft, with a hint of tension on the outside that gave way easily. Wow. So yummy.

The lamb itself was juicy and tender and huge. I know a lot of people are put off by the game-y texture of lamb, but here it is not at all game-y and just has a wonderful lamb taste with a hint of porto. The flavour is pleasantly complimented by the plum and mustard seed paste that clings to the exterior portions. Writing this post is making me want to go back to eat there.

Overall, Biff’s Bistro is a classy place with a classy price. The portions are not huge, but it filled me up just so I was content and no more. I’d recommend that if you’re used to eating gigantic portions without breaking a sweat, you probably won’t be full after a meal here, unless you go for one of their fixed course dinners. It is a tad expensive but a great place to go for a special occasion or a big romantic date.

Happy eating. 🙂

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