10oz Burgers At the Purple Onion

The Purple Onion, located in the Junction neighborhood of Toronto is more known for it’s all-day breakfasts. However, I can’t seem to go to a new place and NOT try the burgers at least once. So I did and they were 10 oz.

I forgot the name of our burgers and their website doesn’t really name them but mine had onion rings, carmelized onions and mushrooms. Nash’s had bacon, carmelized onion and mushrooms. And did I mention the patty was 10oz? All for only $8.95. A great price for the amount of food.

The burger patty itself had pieces of onion in it that added moisture and flavour. It was a simple but decent burger. We’ll be frequenting the Junction a ton for the next little while, so we’ll be back to try their infamous breakfasts in the nearby future.

Purple Onion Steakhouse and Grill on Urbanspoon

Bacon Nation at CNE

The food building was hilariously close to the farm.

One of the reasons I went to the CNE was to eat copious amounts of bacon. Of course we had to check out this so called Bacon Nation that was getting all the rage. We opted for the bacon wrapped hot dog with extra bacon as well as the Ba-conic Sandwich Explosion. To be honest, they were a little bit anti-climactic.

The bacon wrapped hot dog with bacon was literally a bacon wrapped hot dog with more bacon. It was good, but for almost $10, I half expected it to be huge.

The sandwich was bacon wrapped and stuffed sausage with lettuce, tomato and Jack Daniel’s sauce on a bun. The sausage bacon had a nice crunch to it that was nice. While it was delicious, it was nowhere near an explosion. I’ve eaten gourmet burgers bigger than it for the same (if not cheaper price). You can’t name something an explosion if it isn’t gigantic or at least super messy to eat!

We left the desert bacon things alone, mostly because we didn’t want to spend more money to be disappointed. I’m glad I tried them though, it was good but didn’t live up to my expectations.

Burgers at Buskerfest 2012

Last weekend was Scotiabank BuskerFest in Toronto. While most people went there to see performers such as magic shows and silver Elvis, I visited for the food.

There was various vendors for food: ones that you normal find at fairs selling nuts and cotton candy and the fatty delicious foods. However on the first day me and Nash passed by the festival on the way to a concert we stopped by Yes to Fresh’s stand where they offered up Burgers with an Asian twist.

One of these does not have meat!

I accidentally ordered a portobello mushroom burger, not realizing the meat was the mushroom until Nash pointed it out. Luckily he ordered the pork tenderloin and we each had half of each other’s. They were both pretty delicious. The pork had some Thai corn that added a nice sweetness and the mushroom burger had crunchy onions of some sort. Both were served with a green salad.

Friday was my last day at work and we went to Buskerfest for lunch. We started with this Moroccan smoked meat sandwich from Berber.

The meat was really good but I wish there was more of it. There was an abundance of bun. The little pickles were a nice touch also. They were sweeter than usual.

Lastly we had a burger at Great Burger Kitchen. I wouldn’t say it’s the best one I’ve ever had but it wasn’t bad.

I’ll definitely stop by the actual restaurant to give their real burgers a try. Their menu has some drool inducing ones for sure.

We also found trucks giving out free slivers of pizza. The Mozzarellissima sponsored slice definitely highlighted the cheese.

I’m in love with the food at Toronto’s great festivals. However neat year, I am going to definitely make time to check out some of the performers at Buskerfest too!

Bacon Donuts and Pulled Pork Slider From Caplansky’s

The last time I visited Caplansky’s I tried the bbq brisket slider and the smoked meat slider. I encountered the truck again at Hard Fest , so I decided to try the bacon donuts and the pulled pork slider.
The donuts were like timbits stuffed with bacon and glazed with maple. They were soft and warm and a strangely delicious mixture of savoury and sweet. It was like a mini bacon and maple pancake breakfast in one bite.

The pulled pork slider was mini but packed full of meat and coleslaw. It was a bit messy to eat but I ate any droppings with the stick that came with my donuts. It was yummy and if they didn’t cost like $4 each, I probably would have had 5 of them.

So far, I’ve been satisfied with everything I’ve eaten at the Caplansky’s Food Truck. Perhaps I should go check out the actual restaurant!

Healthy Eating at By the Way Cafe

A few weeks ago, my stomach was a little iffy so I opted to find something healthier (that wasn’t burgers) to eat. From random window browsing, we made our way to the By The Way Cafe located in the Annex. I had walked past it a million times in the past but never wandered inside. The restaurant is really bright and has a homie feeling even though they do consider themselves a fine dining restaurant. I was actually quite surprised to find that it served middle-eastern cuisine. I always thought that it served sandwiches or generic coffee shop food because of it’s name.

We ordered light, mainly because we wanted an excuse to get froyo after. We opted for the combination platter which contained hummus, tabuleh, babaganough and Israeli salad. We also had the spicy and crunchy calamari which lived up to it’s name. Ok, I admit the calamari is not considered “healthy”, but whatever it was delicious.

The platter was basically like bread and dip but it was flavorful and we finished every drop of it. It’s a tiny bit pricey though ($12) for how much there is. There’s definitely a ton of choices on the menu for those who choose not to eat meat (never) including a vegetarian lasagna. At least I’ve finally eaten something besides sushi in the Annex!

By the Way Cafe on Urbanspoon

Snakes and Lattes- A Board Game Cafe

Located at 600 Bloor Street West, Snakes and Lattes has become one of my favourite new discoveries. Simply put, it’s a board game cafe. A place where you can have a drink and play a game with your friends.

The place is only a few years old, but already they’ve expanded into the building next door. For now, only one side is liquor licensed so if you’re looking for some drunk board game times ask specifically for that side. When you walk in the place its usually full of people playing games of all types. I saw some pretty complicated boards with islands and giraffes.

The atmosphere is friendly and inviting. There are a couple of walls lined up with thousands of board games. According to their site they have over 2208 games. There are even really limited edition versions of the board games that you can’t even buy any more. I got really nostalgic when I visited the shelves. I love Jenga and I found the Mario version (which I later ended up buying).

I was there for a birthday party and we asked for game suggestions. The staff is pretty knowledgeable about all the games and will teach you how to play if you’re too lazy to read the instructions. We discovered a game called Cards Against Humanity which is a hilarious and dirty minded version of Apples to Apples. Definitely a great one to try if you’re there to drink.

I wish I lived beside this place, because I want try all the board games. It’s a great place to kill time and hang out with friends. For only a $5 per person charge, you can sit in the cafe all day. There is also food and drinks available so you won’t starve if you really do decide to stay the day. It’s also a great place to try out new board games before you buy them. They have a bunch of new games on site that you can purchase if you do become attached to one.

I definitely will be back to play some more games soon!

Interesting Burgers at the Yellow Griffin

I learned about the Yellow Griffin from their tempting ads mentioning their huge variety of burgers that they’ve had up occasionally in subway stations for the past couple of years. Last week, I finally decided to visit the joint. It’s a pub style joint, but there’s always a top floor where you can book parties. Their menu has an offering of over 35 styles of burgers which you can get with beef, chicken, lamb, bison, veggie, turkey or even salmon patties.

I ordered the New Mexican with a regular burger patty. On top of it sat guacamole, santa fe salsa, tobasco sauce, diced sweet potatoes, peanut butter, chopped coriander. I thought I’d try something other than the heart-attack inducing burgers I usually order. I chose sweet potato fries as my side.

The patty was pretty huge. The burger had a lot of flavour. The peanut butter blended really well with everything else, which was surprising because I thought it would be really strange. It was also texturely interesting with the sweet potatoes (that were almost like a mash) and the salsa. The fries were crunchy and addictive.

Nash ordered the Hold the Port, which had a giant portebello mushroom and blue cheese. These 2 ingredients both have strong flavour on their own but together they marry so well. I stole a bite and I tasted the mushroom first, but when my tongue finally touched the blue cheese it was awesome. His onion rings were also delicious, kind of wish there were more of them (it didn’t come with that many) that I could steal.

Service there was slightly awkward, but we both enjoyed our food and will definitely be back to try the other burgers!

Yellow Griffin Pub on Urbanspoon

Novo Horizonte and the X-Everything Burger

I heard of Novo Horizonte because a friend posted this Spice City link on my wall. As a burger aficionado, I had to try the place Since I was heading to the Drake for a concert it was the perfect pre-concert meal.

Located at 1430 Dundas Street West (at Gladstone), it’s a tiny little place where you’ll see a bunch of Brazilian’s hanging out and drinking. We seemed like such foreigners walking in. At first glance, it simply looks like just a bar. The waitress politely asked us what we would like to drink and we had to specifically ask for the menu.

The menu consisted of only burgers, which were very decently priced. You could get a burger of under $4, if you weren’t picky. Of course we opted for the X-Everything Burger (not the X-Challenge because we still needed to live) and I also ordered this mango orange juice thing. It was a pretty sweet nectar like juice in a mini container I probably could have drank in 2 gulps.

The X-Everything Burger was a glorious combination of things. It consisted of hamburger, chicken, bacon, ham, egg, cheese, lettuce, tomato, corn and shoestring fries (which were hickory sticks). They all combined together really nicely with some interesting textures.

It was easily devoured and this is what was left of the burger less than 10 minutes later:

We had 2 X-Everything Burgers, the mango orange drink, and a Moosehead beer and our bill only came up to $24. I don’t get it.. that would mean the beer costs close to nothing here! We’ll definitely be back, for drinks and more burgers. Perhaps, we’ll take on the X-Challenge next time.

Novo Horizonte Sports Bar on Urbanspoon

I Don’t Mind Eating Burgers Alone But…

I’m not ashamed to go eat a burger alone. It’s quite a normal occurrence during busy times. Burgers are bunned happiness. Who has conversations with someone while eating a burger?

Anyways, this week was Burger Week in Toronto so of course I would participate. I chose Burger Bar because it happened to be the closest joint to the Supermarket, where I was going to see a show afterward. I headed there after work and starving. I had actually been to Burger Bar once before with my best friend 2 years ago. It wasn’t the greatest experience because her patty was bloody and under-cooked. I figured if the place still existed than it must have improved, so I gave it another chance.

I wandered in and asked for a table for 1. Either the waitress was loud or being a jerk, but she made me ask like 10,000 times. I finally sat down at a table (with no menu) and 15 minutes later a waitress came up to me and asked, Are you just sitting here? I was starting to get irritated. WHY THE HELL WOULD I BE JUST SITTING HERE IF I DON’T WANT A BURGER? but I replied, “Um, no, give me a menu.”

I decided to just stick with the Burger Week special as it was only $5. It was a local beef burger infused with hops and chipotle aioli. I felt I needed to calm down so I also tried to order a drink off the placemat, but apparently you can’t order the drinks on the placemat….

Why put these on all the tables, when you can’t order them?

I watched as a group of 10 people tried to do the same. Even though one waitress already took my order, another kept asking me if I was waiting for someone. I told her NO 3 times. FML, I just wanted to enjoy a burger alone. Oh yeah, I waited almost 20 minutes for said burger and it looked like this:

I was so hungry, I took a bite out of it before I took a picture.

Wrinkly bun, small as hell. It was okay I guess since I ate it fast (or I was just fuckin’ hungry). I guess I can’t expect much for $5, but I WAITED 20 MINUTES. They were lucky I gave them another chance, but I don’t think I will come back to Burger Bar EVER again.

As for eating burgers alone, luckily there are plenty of other places to do that in Toronto. My favourite being Gourmet Burger, where people and environment is friendly and the burgers are delicious.
Burger Bar on Urbanspoon

Fusion Hot Dogs and Manic Coffee

I found Fusia Dog one day when I was wandering downtown. We decided to try it. Located in the Entertainment district, this mini joint puts an asian fusion twist on the hot dog.

I ordered the Fusia Dog which had kimchi, daikon carrot salad and coriander wrapped in a paratha. For a hot dog, it was very light and refreshing. There was a wasabi mayo that had quite the kick. For some reason I thought the hot dogs would be over $10, but it was only $6.95. I finished it in less than 5 minutes.

Nash ordered the Boston Dog. It had more American toppings with baked beans, cheese, crispy bacon and fried onions. I stole a bite and it was delicious and surprisingly not too heavy.
Fusia Dog on Urbanspoon

It was another concert night and since we finished our hot dogs way too fast, we decided to hit up another local coffee joint. We ended up at Manic Coffee at College and Bathurst. I ordered a mocha.

It’s amazing, how many coffee joints there are in Toronto that aren’t chains. I think I’m going to make an effort to support more little places. Not only are they cheaper than Starbucks, but can be more delicious too!