Creature of Habits

We’re going back in time for this post folks. A few months ago (at least) Carla and I purchased a Groupon for Habits Gastropub. $69 earned us the right to a four-course dinner for two. You don’t always know what to expect from a Groupon, however when you’ve got the seal of approval from Toronto’s finest palate – Julien Favre – it’s a pretty safe bet.

Like I said, it was a while ago so I couldn’t tell you what Carla was wearing that night, or whether I chose to wear my hair up or down. But my stomach has the memory of a young Tom Berenger, plus Photarla took pics so we’re going to be juuuuuuuust fine. Off we go!

Starter:

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Lime, Pepper & Cilantro Chicken Wings: 

The first course was a starter to split. I think there were a few good options but the moment the waitress said “Chicken Wings” Snarla ripped her arm clean off and screamed “BRING ME THE F**KIN WINGS NOW!” She bled out…

Anyways, as you can see the wings were cooked golden crispy, and once I removed the herb of Satan (cilantro) and burned it at the stake, they were quite delicious. The sauce/seasoning was mild, but as my ol’ pappy always told me, “Son, you’re a disappointment, and it doesn’t take much to make a good-ass wing.”

Salads:

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1.) Pear/Blue Cheese/Pomegranate Seed/Arugula/Spinach  

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2.) Beet/Goat Cheese/Spinach

Mine had more stuff in it than GoatCharla’s therefore it was superior. They were some hefty salads, which would have been fine if I had the appetite of a 4’11” Filipino woman. But we’d already had the wings so my little tummy needed to be careful not to fill-up before the main event. What, you wanna know more about the salads? They’re salads. Calm down.

Entrees:

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10 Oz. Striploin + Fries:

I’m not going to pretend to be an expert on beef. But I do know, that I like my steak like I like my women – lightly seasoned with an internal temperate of 131 Fahrenheit. And this one met my rigorous criteria. But the real standout here was the fries. When you go to a restaurant, months later, how many of you can really remember the fries? None of you so stop lying to yourselves. Especially YOU!

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Braised Octopus: 

E: “What are you getting?”
C: “Hmm…I think the braised octopus.”
E: “Ew, you’re dumb.”

There it is, verbatim. We should have our own reality show. You can suggest names for that show in the comments, but have fun beating “Snarla and the Gingersaurus“. I’ll ask Carla now what she thought of the octopus. “It was amazing. It was so good and tender. Probably the best octopus I’ve ever had. Also I think the only restaurant octopus I ever had…but still…crispy on the outside and soft on the inside.” Her exact words, verbatim.

Dessert:

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1.) Cheesecake w/berries

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2.) French Vanilla Ice Cream

This one is getting long. I’ll keep the dessert short. The cheesecake was simply adorable in it’s cute little jam jar container. The ice cream was rich and smooth just like my man Derek Mumford.

The Score:

Webster’s dictionary defines a “Gastropub” as, “a pub, bar or tavern that offers meals of high quality.” It goes on to define a Kraken as a “fabulous Scandinavian sea monster.” And now the score.

Starter: 6 dead waitresses out of 8
Salads: 7 Big Salads out of 10
Entrees: 16 Verbatim’s out of 19
Dessert: 8 Shivering Ghost’s out of 10

There you have it folks. A final score of 37/47 for Habits Gastropub. Happy Tuesday and I hope you enjoyed your Canada Day!

I love my Nana

We’re back. For how long? Well that’s not really any of your business and we’ll thank you to stay out of our personal affairs.

The original hiatus was Snarla’s fault. Then once we finally did have the time to start posting again, Snarla was too lazy and would tell me to shut up every time I suggested it. Then I tried to post using my own photos but she found out and broke my camera. What I’m trying to say is that she’s insane and I need someone to please call the authorities.

Anyways, enough about my never-ending nightmare, because on Sunday we went to Nana – sister restaurant to the famous Khao San Road. One of my main road dawgs Palmer had been talking a big game about it so Carla and I went bowling, Turkarla got her first turkey ever, and then it was off to Nana.

Let’s get to the Food:

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A pile of deep-fried chicken chunks sprinkled with a variety of citrus’y, chile’y, Thai’y spices. There were a few people who’d gone to Nana before and they all said “get the chicken laab”. Carla responded to those people “don’t tell me what to do”, and then I had to hold her back. I’m telling you she’s not right in the head. But she sure did love this chicken.

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A golden curry sauce with egg noodles, sprouts and chunks of  fried chicken. I wish right now my water bottle was filled with Khao Soi broth. I wish the random snowglobe on my desk was filled with Khao Soi so I could smash it on the ground and lap up the puddle. Khao Sarla noted while we ate that I kept sighing everytime I took a bite. It’s perfect and I love it.

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If I went back to Nana with someone who had never eaten Thai food before, and I knew they were a picky eater, I’d tell them to order this. It’s like going to Pizza Aiolo, skipping the fancy slices and rockin’ a pepperoni. I believe George Costanza said it best. Delicious and dependable.

Time to tally up the scores. I have a feeling they’re gonna do well:
Chicken Laab: 15 “Carla is nuts” out of 18
Khao Soi: 19 “Call 911, help me!” out of 21
Yellow Curry Beef: 16 “No seriously do it” out of 20

Total score is a very impressive 50/59. If you haven’t been, make sure you check out Nana sometime soon, maybe you’ll be lucky enough to see Palmer and his lovely gal pal Michelle. Or maybe you’ll see me in a dunk tank of Khao Soi. Happy Friday to all, we’re happy to be back.

What so proudly we inhaled

God Bless America, land that I love. From my endless jaunts to Florida I’ve learned that our neighbours to the South certainly have their flaws – but where else can you bowl for 2 hours straight, drink 5 beers, and eat 3 big macs for a grand total of $18? Nowhere that’s where.

No, Carla and I didn’t go on a Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives inspired road trip to the States. That was the original idea but we couldn’t fit my holiday gut into the car. So we did the next best thing and went out for dinner in -19 degree weather. With those fierce climate conditions, our restaurant choice lived up to its name – Home of the Brave. (Nailed it)

Salute the food:

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And the pork ribs red glare

This was advertised on the menu as ‘bucket o’ bones’. We were a little caught off guard by the size of the bucket. I mean for $19 bucks you’d expect more than 4 pork ribs, and 1 beef rib. However, the pork ribs were tender, delicious and falling off da bone. The beef rib was pretty tough though – I thought I had scraped it clean but then Carnivorla stepped in for the kill and humiliated me with a primal display of savagery. I had to cover her with my jacket so the other patrons would stop crying.

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The tater tots bursting in air

Oh baby these little fellas were just bursting with potato’y goodness! Dusted with some grated cheese and sitting on a layer of gravy, they were delicate but once you got them from skillet to mouth, KABOOM! Like taking a firework to the face they’d explode and leave nothing but mangled teeth and charred tastebuds behind. Good value at $8 bucks.

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Gave proof through the night, that our corn-bread was still there

This was CornontheCobla’s favorite dish of the night. I haven’t eaten a ton of cornbread in my life but hands down this was by far the best I’ve ever had. The portion didn’t look huge when it showed up, but looks can be deceiving. The bottom of the plate was smothered in a cheese sauce and chunks of bacon – this cornbread was rich as hell and actually a little spicy. At $8, initially I thought we overpaid, but I was dead wrong. We would have dropped a Johnny Mac on this no problem.

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O’er the ice cream we watched, was so gallantly melting

I inherited many gifts from my father. His intolerance to shellfish, an uncommon body position when walking, a love of all things Harvey’s, and best of all, an ice cream fetish. So when Carla and I ordered the “chocolate peanut butter epipen” I started to buzz with expectation. BRRRRRRRPPPPRRRRRRBBBBBRRRRR. That’s me buzzing. Time to call on Jerry again. One of the best ice-cream experiences I’ve ever had. Chocolate soft serve, injected with peanut butter, and rolled in peanuts. This might have been the first time in the history of FLHB I had more than my share of the food. TAKE THAT SNARLA!

The Score:
Ribs: 14 tiny bucket’s out of 20
Tots: 15 crazy potato’s out of 20
Cornbread: 17 tennis legends out of 20
Ice Cream: 10 Big Mel burgers out of 10

Home of the Brave scored high with a 56/70. When our food first showed up, Carla and I were admittedly a little peeved. The portions looked small for the price, and we were both pretty hungry. We figured we’d have to order more. But the food is super rich and very filling. So while originally I had planned to write about how it was too pricy, in the end it really wasn’t because before tip our bill came to $54 which for two people on King street really ain’t too shabby, and everything we got was pretty damn good. Sorry for the late post today, I thought it was Thursday…happy Friday all, see how long it takes you to figure out what’s wrong with this…

Made in Pai-land

Just over 7 years ago I spent a month in Thailand feeding my soul, fending off ladyboys that Julien Favre steered in my direction, and eating more cashew nut chicken than any man (boy) should. I returned with a whole new perspective on ping pong, and an appreciation for Thai cuisine.

You know that annoying traveller who goes on and on about how you’ve never had good pizza until you’ve been to Italy and you just want to take a pepperoni and punch it through their head? Well that’s me! You see it blew my mind that every single little place you’d walk into anywhere in Thailand, could make a dish better than most Thai places here. Why? We have Thai people. We have vegetables. We have 28 days straight of traveller’s diarrhea. I mean spices…we have spices.

However a few months ago Tharla and I went to a little restaurant on the east side called Sukho Thai. And I believe Jerry says it best. Wednesday night was Carla’s birthday, so I used my FLHB influence (thanks Adrian) to get a reservation at their newish sister restaurant on Duncan street, called Pai.

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Gettin’ loaded

Today on FLHB we celebrate Central/Eastern European culture…so let’s start with a completely tasteless Polish joke that I once stumbled across online when I was googling jokes for a roast of my ol’ pal Conor – The Polish Prince.

Q: “Did you hear about the Polish guy who thought his wife was trying to kill him?
A: “On her dressing table he found a bottle of “Polish Remover”.

In terms of stereotypes that kneeslapper really didn’t hold back did it? What a doozy. Now that’s more of a Colin Pearson or Julien Favre type of joke. I’m much more politically correct as you all know. Which is why for FLHB this week, Carla and I pay homage to our Eastern neighbours, with a trip to a hawt, new joint called Loaded Pierogi.

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No Regretto, a trip to Libretto.

“Call me Ishmael.” For I have been chasing my white whale for years. No not Carla…although she’s certainly large, she’s not white so the reference wouldn’t make any sense. No friends, my white whale happens to be a pizza joint at the corner of Dundas and Ossington known as Pizzeria Libretto.

What’s pathetic is that it’s only about a ten minute walk from my home. It’s a location that’s been on FLHB’s radar for a while now, but since Carla isn’t a huge pizza fan (aka she’s a raging psycho), I’ve been forced into a diet that’s high in rice, and low in Grimes. WELL IT’S A NEW DAY CARLA! YOU HEAR ME!? Oh you did hear me? Sorry I’ll keep it down…you’re the best…

Il Cibo: (The food)

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Jamasian persuasion

OH HAY! Happy Friday everyone – it’s almost the weekend and we all know what that means…two whole days of damp, cold, dark days on the couch, watching your gut creep over your waistband while you try to muster up the energy to shave or pleasure yourself. Don’t pretend like it’s not true.

But last week Carla and I fought back against the winter blues. We decided it was high time for another FLHB post. So Snarls got a strong prying board and managed to wedge me out of my couch groove, then she got me a tub of luke warm water, some Mr. Clean and a rag on a stick so I could bathe myself.

We discussed where to go. I felt we should choose a place that reflected both of our respective cultures. So we chose Patois – a Jamaican Asian fusion restaurant. Oh and I’m going to try and remember to include prices from now on.

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Wing Wars: East vs. West

Chicken wings.

Now upon reading those two words, what kind of emotional or even physical response did I invoke? Many of you probably experienced a salivary response – namely uncontrollable mouth-watering. Others, including myself, may have even felt a tingle deep in their loins. Or maybe you’re like Carla and you just get really angry at me for bringing the memory of their deliciousness to your conscious mind, without the physical reward to back it up.

I’m no scientician, but that’s a pretty powerful food. And last week The Toronto Star just happened to post a video by some food guy on how to make some good ass baked wings. So myself and cockle-doodle-Darla decided, let’s save a little cash this week and see if this guy knows what the hell he’s talking about.

Let the experiment begin:

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Carla Sutra

Recently a fine young friend of mine sent me an interesting article on Lockheed’s bold announcement that they’re working on a fusion reactor that could be ready for commercial use in as little as 10 years. Now what the hell does this have to do with a stupid food blog and Carla’s bottomless pit of a stomach? Well for this week’s post we went to Sutra…an Indian/Asian FUSION restaurant!

Probably my best intro yet. Anyhoo, Sutra is a small restaurant on Roncesvalles with one very key feature…they offer a Groupon. Don’t judge, I have a hardcore Salvia addiction and that shit ain’t cheap. Carla was pretty excited about this one – my guess is because she is either Indian or Asian, tough to say which one exactly but probably in that general area. I think she told me once but it was probably during a Habs game.

Food time:

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Red Meat in Red Lake

So for the second time in two posts…we’d like to offer our apologies. We missed our Friday time-slot yet again. So we’ll be doing two posts this week to make up for lost time. The reason for our tardyness? Carla and I were sent on a fairly last minute project for work to the very beautiful Red Lake, Ontario. So we decided while we’re there…why not do an FLHB post on the top ranked restaurant in Red Lake – Antonio’s.

Red Lake is a small gooooooooooooold mining town of about 5,000 people in Northern Ontario. Their chief imports are small Filipino girls that fuel the local economy with their food intake. Their chief exports are small Filipino girls that decimate the local moose population with their food intake.

Speaking of moose here’s a fun little story. Our cab driver upon arrival was a local named Glen. Glen was fantastic in so many ways. I expressed to him my hopes of seeing some local wildlife. So as we approached our hotel Glen says “oh there’s a moose up here on the right!” I didn’t see anything. He then pointed at a giant red moose-shaped stain on the side of the road. Apparently a moose had been struck and killed by a truck the night before. Thanks Glen.

Onto the food:

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