Moti Mahal

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Moti Mahal

What is Moti Mahal? It appears to be one of the more successful restaurants of Toronto’s Little India, a culturally rich but ever changing neighborhood with exotic clothing and jewelry stores, fancy cafes and abandoned buildings. Moti Mahal would look like a simple fast food restaurant to any uninformed window shoppers, but after taking the red pill and eating here, I discovered a hidden gem and secret history. No, this isn’t a rant post, you’ll have to try again next time.

Angry rant

Although I can refer you to Google if that’s what you’re looking for.

What up until the time of writing I thought was a local Indian restaurant, it turned out to have a much more important history. The story of Moti Mahal begins in the 1900s in the Punjab region of Pakistan—which was still India—with a man named Kundan Lal Gujral. Losing his father at age ten, he worked at a restaurant which revolutionized the art of making tandoori chicken.

Tandoor Oven

A tandoor is a clay pot used as an oven, but Gujral was the first to dig a tandoor into the floor of his eatery, making the dish popular and Gujral’s services vey popular. In 1947, The British brought about partition; separating the great country into India and Pakistan. Gujral fled to India, and arrived in New Delhi poor but hopeful. He then re-started his business into what is today Moti Mahal.

Moti Mahal is now a chain with over 120 locations, including the one three blocks away from my house in Toronto, which among other things happens to be the inventor of modern Dal Makhani and Butter Chicken. Wait wait wait, what?! Yeah, that’s right, Moti Mahal invented one of the more popular Indian dishes back in the 50’s. Don’t believe me? Well then check the Wikipedia page, because apparently they have one.

MotiMahal seating
Since I hadn’t learned Moti Mahal’s history until after eating there, my opinion was formed as a regular diner’s experience. The decor isn’t much to talk about, since it appears to be AWOL, and the seating comprises of cafeteria style bolted-down benches and tables. Even though the interior is lacking, the prices are really low in comparison to the food’s quality.
Menu

Decisions, decisions

Upon looking at the wall-mounted menu behind the ordering counter, one notices the large number of dishes. Or in my case, one notices the thing that will keep you staring at the wall indecisively for minutes on end. I eventually settled on the number 7 option from the special menu, a huge plate with naan and a smorgasbord of other dishes in smaller portions.

Butter Chicken Thali

My lunch had butter chicken (rather fitting in hindsight), chana masala, bisrani (rice with flavouring) and an onion dumpling in yogurt sauce. Let’s start with the butter chicken. It had generous amount of tender, boneless chicken marinating in a creamy, fresh sauce. The sweet/savoury combination that characterizes butter chicken was spot on, and very warm. It might not be the best I’ve had, but pretty damn good. As for the chana masala, it was amazing. The well-cooked chickpeas were the ideal vessel for a perfect sauce. Unlike most chana dishes I’ve had, this one had very little acidity and a much richer flavour—a little bit was quite filling. The taste could be described as earthy, or as I like to say, umami, and there was just enough spice to bring it all together.

Kathi Roll

My mom’s paneer kathi roll

The biryani surprised me on the first bite. As opposed to just plain rice, it had been treated with a sweet and herbaceous flavouring, making it more suitable to be eaten alone than as a vessel for sauce—I guess that’s what the gigantic pieces of bread were for. Speaking of which, the naan was pretty decent, could’ve been fluffier in my opinion, but I’m a sucker for flatbread and it filled its purpose. As for the onion dumpling yogurt sauce thing—yeah I forget the Indian name okay?!—it matched the other dishes. The yellow stew gave off a mild sourness, brought down by its smoothness. This worked in tangent with the dumpling—a dense but soft, moist ball meant to be chewed with ease.

Pakora

Their pakora; big as a baseball

Overall, I very much recommand Moti Mahal, it has delicious food for a great price. I can also vouch for the pakora and samosas, two or three of which can make up a lunch for someone on a budget: I order it regularly and I’m a penny-pinching b@stard. If you come here, try it at least once, there’s a reason Moti Mahal is always crowded.

Moti Mahal 1422 Gerrard St E

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The 100th Post

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Well, the title kind of says it all, doesn’t it? After 4 years, something like this was actually kind of inevitable, in spite of the six-month hiatus. At the least, we had better odds of a one hundredth post than the Leafs do at winning a game. Jeez, even if 99 posts isn’timpressive, the stats certainly are. It kind of goes without saying that a lot has changed, both personally and globally, but this blog has been through some of Toronto’s dark days. So why did I start it, or continue to make new posts?

Gta toronto

That’s what 2012 felt like anyways.

I’m an aspiring writer, and blogging was my family’s idea to get me started on practice. I like food enough to write at length about it—sometimes too long—and as the process got easier, it became more fun. As time went on, my writing, hopefully, got better. It has evolved somewhat since I first started. One major change is that my asides are shorter—like this—instead of long bracketed monsters (much more like this(and sometimes like this)). That’s largely because of family who helped me with the blog, I couldn’t have written it without them. I’ve done two things: first was to visit Dangerous Dan’s, my second post, to re-review it, and to list some basic stats about Callumeatstoronto. Stat #1, that was the first time I’ve ever written my blogs name in a post—that was easy.

Funny demotivational poster

Redundant caption on captioned picture

Here’s the hard numbers, which are thankfully not as boring/life ruining as stock prices. Of the 99 posts, 71 are restaurant reviews, the rest are cuisine/other posts. Some will surely be missed, such as the fantastic Dukem, and others were sadly not that much of a loss, like Pauline’s Chicken and Donuts. In all, 11 have gone the way of Stephen Harper’s approval rating. My most popular posts are: 1, Fast Food, 2, Japanese Cuisine and 3, Fancy Frank’s. Apparently I should do more cuisine posts. The number of yearly hits was 4,000 in 2011, rising up to 19,000 in 2014, going up in tangent with the U.S. debt.

US debt graph

Oops.

So, how did Dangerous Dan’s do? I first wrote a post on it in 2011, after my very first post about New Haandi 2000, which isn’t any “newer” now than it was then. Now Dan’s is facing the possibility of closing, if they get sold to a new owner, and we wanted to eat there before it’s gone. And the verdict for me was pretty good.

Dangerous Dan's

 

It still retained its characteristic theme, family friendly yet purposefully crash, complete with car seat chairs next to a Simpsons billboard. And as for the food, just look at this d@mn thing.

Burger

The Big Kevorkian : Fried onion, fried mushrooms, 2 slices fried bacon, deep fried pickle, garlic dressing & mayo

 

Yeah, Double D’s hadn’t changed much in four years, that’s a good thing. For old times’ sake, I ordered the Elvis Shake once again

Milkshake

Circa 2011

That was then.

Milkshakes

Circa 2015

This is now.

I just wanted to thank everyone who has read my posts, especially my subscribers. This blog would’ve been nothing without a readership. It’s gotten all the way to hovering around 85 on UrbanSpoon’s ranking, and while I wrote the blog, it was you who got it there. Thanks so much for all your support!

Bach Yen

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Que Ling

We had originally planned to review Que Ling and had even taken outside pictures, but something… unexpected happened. We were kicked out, within about half a minute of walking in—maybe more like 40 seconds—a record-breaking time regardless. They told us to take a seat, and then claimed the restaurant closes at seven, despite the fact a guy who walked in literally at the same time was allowed to stay. All kinds of reasons went through my head, that they didn’t like bloggers, had all of their tables reserved,  to maybe some kind of prejudice against certain customers. But either, d@mn that was a quick time, even Soup Nazi would be shocked.

Bach Yen

 

The closest other Phò restaurant, Bach Yen, was forgiving in that they actually liked paying customers. I was rapidly overwhelmed by the very bright interior.  As my eyes adjusted to the pitch, they revealed a decor of cheap furniture and one (maybe two) Asian paintings. But in many areas of Toronto, restaurants have an appearance many times worse than this, but have incredibly good food. This was—{breathes}—definitely not that.

Dining chairs

 

Let’s do a Pros and Cons list. What were the pros of the appetizers? There were pretty cheap: we afforded both the veggie spring rolls (order #3) and chicken satay (order #4) with peanut butter sauce, without having to mug someone for spare change! The cons? Everything else.

Spring rolls

 

The spring rolls tasted weird, not the weird flavour of pure genius, but rather the cacophony of bad ideas someone who thinks they’re genius would make. I really shouldn’t blame Bach Yen however, but rather the grocery store they got the frozen boxes from. Same could be said of the chicken sauce, I made a better peanut dish at home, all I did was crack open a jar and spread it on a tortilla wrap. I didn’t even add honey. By the way, the chicken was a bit chewy, and mom felt like it was a frozen product too.

Chicken satay

 

But maybe the appetizers aren’t the chef’s speciality. Maybe it’s a restaurant based off of one or two dishes and the rest are menu filler. The rare beef and beef ball phò (order 327) was going to put that to the test.

Pho soup

 

Unfortunately, we’ll never know, since all I got was a bowl of alien, brown liquid. I’m not saying I could ever make phò—unless stealing a bowl from someone else counts as “cooking”—but I can taste it. I’m on the easier side of the food world, I can’t produce my own stuff, but can judge who deserves praise and money like a dad with too many kids. As a soup, it wasn’t bad, but the only interesting flavour was a flowery back note. In a dish with many tastes mixing together, this would’ve been good, but in a slightly salty broth, it sticks out like a cuss word in kindergarten. This was the only time I hadn’t turned a bowl upside down to drink every last drop of the phò, there could’ve been a prize lurking in the bland depths and I would’ve been none the wiser.

 

 

Bean sprouts

The usual condiments that come with Pho

There’s a voice in the back of my head saying, “If you can’t say anything nice, don’t say anything at all.”, to which I reply, “Shut up you nasally parasite!” I also hear a second voice telling me to go back on the meds, but that’s not important at the moment. In order to be balanced and fair, there are some good qualities to Bach Yen, much like how a graph of the economy has upwards climbs of hope before crashing down into the abyss of Wall Street-esque anarchy.

Tea

 

I liked the tea, there were flowers in the pot which added a meadowy perfume to the drink, although I found myself picking microscopic petal fragments out of my cup like a passive-aggressive OCD sufferer. The service was friendly and quick, shame about the food though. I was thinking if someone wanted to open a can-opener Vietnamese diner, they should’ve have done so far away from Chinatown, where there are a host of better done Phò eateries.

 

Rare beef pho

Bach Yen wasn’t horrible, but it was pretty bad. I understand cooking is hard, but customers—put very nicely—don’t give a flying rat’s @$$. If you have a critic light years higher calibre than me, the kind of guy who exhumes pretentiousness and already had a rare truffle dish today, s/he’s not going to care either. You could go to Bach Yen and pay to have someone heat packaged food for you, or you could go to a better chef, or you could whip up your own experimental disaster at home yourself. Either way, I’m not recommending this.

Bach Yen 738 Gerrard St E.
Bach Yen on Urbanspoon

Sushi Friends

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sushi friend outside
See?  I’m back!  I said I’d still be blogging on this site, I never lie.   I just take writing breaks the length of a human pregnancy, at least it wasn’t as long as an elephant’s term.  The restaurant I’m reviewing is Sushi Friends, which can best be summarized as a friendly sushi place.
Given that I’ve been to a favourite Japanese restaurant prior to eating here, it wasn’t going to be an easy win for Sushi Friends.  But actually, (spoilers) they did pretty good.  

 bento box

My mom ate two servings of Philadelphia rolls, and I had the Queen Bento Box.  That came with miso soup, seaweed salad, 8 pcs California rolls, 3pcs Daily sushi rolls, 2pcs Shrimp Tempura, 5 pcs Vegetable and I chose Chicken Teriyaki out of Beef Teriyaki and Beef Ribs. 

miso 

Miso’s miso, so there isn’t much to review there.  I did notice the outside of the bowl wasn’t fully cleaned, being an expert on badly-washed dishes myself.  This as the only dirty plate I noticed, so it’s completely possible that was the only one out of 100 clean dishes.   So it’s not a problem, but worth mentioning.  

 seaweed salad

The seaweed salad, for those curious, has a texture similar to glass noodles.  Chewy, fresh and clean.  I really liked its refreshing, green taste and sesame sauce.  I could imagine sitting outside with that dish on a bright summer day, whilst getting a horrific neck burn and watching ugly shirtless men walk by.  Now I’ll go onto the least-good dish, worded that way because nothing I ate here was bad.   The chicken teriyaki had a weak sauce, but the meat itself was perfect.  I hadn’t noticed this before, but there’s a certain taste and feel to good teriyaki meat, and this chicken had it.  But the sauce didn’t hold up to the chicken, like pairing a 3-star meal with a bag of Ruffles.  

 philadelphia roll

The sushi was put together well, this coming from the guy who can hardly roll a tortilla wrap without it coming apart.  The ingredients were colourful and fresh, especially the fish.  That’s quite impressive considering how far away Toronto is from either coast—I’ve never caught imitation crab in Lake Ontario.  What really surprised me was the shrimp tempura, it was light and fluffy, kind of like a raccoon before it shows teeth.  The veggie tempura also stood out: the eggplant was really thick and generous.  There’s no pictures because I ate it—this is a me-eating-things blog, what do you expect, photos

 ice cream

So, what is that thing?   That is banana tempura, yes you can read that sentence again to make sure it isn’t an impossibly late onset of dyslexia.  It’s hot, gooey banana covered in a light tempura and drizzle of chocolate sauce.  The ice cream on the side was Green Tea flavoured, because why not?  The ice cream, just to describe it, is pretty mild with a back note of green tea, and isn’t that sweet.  It was perfect with this dessert, a chocolate-covered soft-serve vanilla twist would’ve been a bit out of place.   The banana was delicious, cooking it really brings out the sweetness, and it mixed with the other, maybe slightly random, ingredients perfectly.  This is a great dish to sneak potassium into your kid’s diet.  But if you’re like me you’ll require a skilled group of Japanese chefs to pull off the dish, so shoving bananas down the little brat’s throat works too.  Ah, that’s why I didn’t write a parenting blog, okay.  

 sushi friend inside

In other notes, the decor was fancy enough to be comfortable, but not so classy as to instill the awkward feeling of having to wear a tie at the table.  I liked watching tennis on the T.V., since I’m such a professional critic that stands out in my mind more than things like atmosphere or chef’s technique.  The service was polite, and quick enough that I wasn’t turning the table cloth into an appetizer 2 days after ordering.  I don’t like waiting for food, this place doesn’t make you wait.    On a side note, the bathrooms are clean, so you don’t need to pick between bodily discomfort or a post-modern dungeon of horrors.  Washrooms are part of reviewing a restaurant too, even though they aren’t that appetizing—hopefully that’s not just me—it’s important in my book.   
All in all, is Sushi Friends a good place with tasty food, and solid service/decor.  The prices were great, so you can bring someone here and not rely on the cheap ba$@rd to pay his own godd@mn bill.  No, I wasn’t projecting, honest.  If you’re an easy walk, car ride or subway ride away, Sushi Friends is a local place worth checking out.  
Sushi Friends 397 Danforth Avenue

Sushi Friends on Urbanspoon

Blog Update

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Oh dear, I forgot to post on this thing for moths.  And I left the ‘n’ out of months, but nobody noticed.  I’ve been busy for a long time, and so has my Mom, who did most of the work due to her editing.  I’ve sort of exhausted the whole ‘food reviews’ premise, and decided to quit.  Bye.  What, you expected more?  Fine, who am I to be such a jerk to my subscribers after a such a long dry spell?  


My mom’s been getting a new career, and with our finances changing, eating out at restaurants wasn’t a priority. Somehow this blog has remained active since August, staying at 85 out of 250 on UrbanSpoon’s ranking. There’s probably someone around 260 who posts everyday and is rather pi$$ed at me. But things have changed since when I last posted, Dinosaurs going extinct being a good example. Zomato—a huge restaurant reviewing website with footholds as far away as Sri Lanka—has bought out UrbanSpoon. I don’t know if UrbanSpoon is going to be kept running, or if we’re going to have to move to Zomato’s website.  


But there’s also another thing: I’m starting another blog. It’s really different from this one—more serious too, in parts—but it’s something that I’ve been needing to write for a while. That wasn’t vague at all. I’m going to post once a month in each blog, and I’ll have links in micro-posts for any developments on the new blog or the whole Zomato thing.


Hopefully you’ll check out and like my new blog, although it isn’t up and running yet (micro-post on this blog when it is ) .  I’m sorry for not posting since however ridiculously long it’s been, but I’m going to work on both blogs now.  So—if things go well—see you soon.  Not literally…and now I’ve ruined the ending.  Just read two sentences back to end this perfectly, bye and thanks once again.  Also sorry about the no-posting.  Alright…now I’m done.  


The CNE

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Canadian_National_Exhibition
As it happens every year in Toronto towards the end of summer [as advertisers incessantly remind kids about the coming school the same way a cynical douche would remind people that Monday isn’t that far away from Saturday], the CNE opens at the Exhibition grounds.

The summer hasn’t been that hot, which is a mixed bag in terms of how summer goes.  At least the nights weren’t spent in a sweaty insomniac attempt at sleep when one is too drowsy to wake up but too hot to possibly rest and spends several hours in a surreal prison of the mind.  There wasn’t that much ice cream this summer either.

 

I went with my family at opening day, an annual tradition for us, mostly since its cheaper that day and because my family are CNE geeks. The gates were somewhat crowded, and one family was rushing around before the food building even opened.  Speaking of that…

 

Chicken & Waffles, sort of put together like a sandwich

Chicken & Waffles, sort of put together like a sandwich

My breakfast meal was some kind of southern contraption [meaning American, as in south of Canada], namely Fried Chicken and Waffles.  That would be the chicken wrapped in waffle like a madman was let loose in an all day breakfast diner’s kitchen and made a sandwich.  It was covered with syrup and hot sauce, just to really mess with things.  I had it so early that I was apparently the first customer there.

 

The meal’s two halves did clash a bit [that was obvious wasn’t it?], but it was surprisingly good.  The chicken was generously portioned, tender and juicy, with a fresh crispy breading.  The sight of it would make a Texan cry the same way the sight of an M16 assault rifle would.  Sorry Texas, it’s just that you’re so unreasonably bullied anyway I might as well jump on the bandwagon, and bring obvious gun law jokes in as well since we’re talking about ‘Murica [no, why is it hypocritical for me to be anti-gun and know the exact different models of guns?].  As for the waffles, they were soft, moist and sweet.  All around delicious mix of savoury crunchy chicken and classic buttermilk pancakes.

 

image courtesy of theboomtx.com

image courtesy of theboomtx.com

If anyone’s raging about the American crack I made earlier, my cruelty is partially because Burger King bought out Tim Horton’s both to escape American business tax and to annex every single piece of Canadian identity that took years to make.  I like Obama being against the whole deal, considering the idea of a US burger chain snatching a donut chain from a fellow country would make political cartoons probably about as scathing as the ones from all the failed wars [Iraq, Iraq again, Vietnam, Korea, Canada need I go on?].

 

image courtesy of politico.com

image courtesy of politico.com

Back to CNE, back to CNE, right.  The midway was fun, especially the games were one throws balls at a hole in order to make their horse win a race.  Inevitably I went home with several stuffed animals.  Then there were the rides, those dreaded rides.  I hate heights, so therefore I hate rides that go high, which is easily 90% of the rides at any amusement park or fairgrounds.  One time a friend told me they were taking someone to Canada’s Wonderland and might take me, but they chose someone else instead.  Mostly I felt relieved as opposed to disappointed, about not having to strap myself in to an inescapable seat of screams that rockets fast as a NASA g-force simulator [the one that goes round and round and round and MAKE IT STOP!] on a rail named Leviathan.  Because the prospect wasn’t scary enough, let’s name it after a horrific sea beast from Revelations: the part of the Bible were everyone dies [edit: excluding the rest of the book].

photo (1)

So I was strapped what could barely be called a roller coaster on the edge of tears as my Mom and two nine year old kids smiled and threw their arms into the air.  Fun fun fun friggin’ fun.

 

I had more enjoyment in the buildings, both the farm building with its cute farm animals I’ll probably end up eating [the goats reminded me of Indian curry as I thought of how adorable they looked, because I’m sick like that], and the Arts and Crafts building, or as I like to call it a Free Samples.  Jams, sweets and more jams are all sampled out so people can taste what they otherwise could/would never afford, and I got to taste a weird piece of meat.  Guess what it is, guess….

kangaroo meat

Human–no just kidding its kangaroo: another cute animal I’ll probably end up eating.  The sample giver said that apparently they have a farm in BC.  I didn’t eat human, I’m not that nuts…yet anyways.  More exotic insects and spiders are on the list first, followed by crocodiles and bull testicles [I’m not kidding, I want to eat all those things].

 

Not so much a cone as it is a rolled flat bread

Not so much a cone as it is a rolled flat bread

Next meal I had was a shepherd’s pie in a cone, which is to say it was a shepherd’s pie in a cone made of flat bread.  The dish was really well held together–better than ice creams which are so easy to knock off little kid’s cones–although there was too much potato for my taste.  I think that maybe I should’ve gotten a different cone, like the bacon/nutella one, but I didn’t want to have meat/sweet dishes for all four meals.  The meat in the cone was ground and tasty in a normal way, the food was good.  Clever concept, makes it worth trying the other flavours.

pulled pork grilled cheese

This post is getting long, so suffice to say after the buildings and midway my first dinner was a grilled cheese pulled pork sandwich that came with a free side of two pickles and Ms. Vickles chips.  Oddly, the mix of cheese and pork [another animal I saw at the farm building] went perfectly, as pulled pork is a great sandwich filling, as is melted cheese a fantastic topping for the filling.  I guess one could say that the cheese wasn’t prominant, but the sandwich was so good that it’s actually a good thing.  The same place also sold Mac and Cheese.

fried mars bar

After this dinner, I had a deep fried Mars Bar for dessert.  It was suprisingly simple and tasty: just a typical Mars bar breaded and fried so that the inside was warm and soft.  I liked it, the frying made the chocolate easier to chew and tamer on the mouth, probably because everything got mixed into a melted goo.  Less disgusting than deep fried butter [not that I’ve had it, but who would think that sounds like a good idea?].

korean fusion taco

For my second departing dinner, I ate at a fusion Korean/Mexican place.  I ordered their two tacos order, one filled with ground meat, the other with sirloin steak, both had Korean sauces on them.  Even though the mix was weird, the ground meat had lots of savoury, sweet and exotic flavour to it, filling the whole taco with its amazing influence, and was easy to eat and chew in its ground form.  It was backed by tomatoes and onions to add some different tastes to the taco.  The sirloin was even better, the meat was so tender and well marinated in what must be a secret sauce passed down the generations for decades that it was near perfect, and I don’t say perfect just because nothing can be perfect.  In short, I loved the fusion tacos, and could very well eat them again next year at the Ex.

 

from the Fan Art exhibit an the EX

from the Fan Art exhibit an the EX

In short, I had a great time at the CNE barring the roller coaster ride of terror, and a ridiculous amount of delicious food.  And no its time for work, school cold weather and a decrease in the quality of life index.  Cheers.

Food Trucks

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food trucks woodbine park

Long gone since the time anyone will be reading this [indeed far past the time of writing], during the primordial age of the Internet of over two seconds ago when there were less sad attempts at humour awaiting the future archeologists, a park south of my home had a festival.  The day I went, there were trucks stationed on the grass selling food to the festival goers.  I realize that this post is also after Taste of the Danforth, but I won’t be going for these very reasons, as I’ve promised myself I wouldn’t go unless a friend wanted to go, which they didn’t. It’s for the better though, if I was to be in a place that crowded for that long, the voices would’ve come back.

how is litter decorative or festive?

how is litter decorative or festive?

By the way, Danforth’s sidewalks and street were about as clean as a back alley of a slum after the festival, so it’s nice to see that they clean up after themselves [sarcasm]. I will be doing the South East Asian festival though, and the Exhibition, so I’ll review those instead.

 

For those who would have no reason to be aware of this, Toronto’s policy regarding food trucks is rather akin to how the combined efforts of Canadian and American governments separately find innocent minorities [gays, Native Americans, handicapped etc.] and abuse the living **** out of them for no particular reason other than some old rich men in a fancy house said so.
image courtesy of themarketingbit.com

image courtesy of themarketingbit.com

 You should trust me because I’m a cynical person who’s been handed a keyboard and told ‘have at it’.  Acknowledging awareness of that fact makes me seem to be more clever when in fact it is another cliche trope used by countless other mostly-hairless apes with keyboards in an attempt to stand out in a vast internet sea. [period because the sentence was getting too long, as amatuer bloggers often forget to keep their sentences from going the length of an entire paragraph] This web serves only to show how shallow and idiotic the human race really gets when allowed to show its true colours anonymously.

angry blogger

That went to the dark side, I think going from the government abusing innocents to an existential self-hating rant is probably not the best way to start a food post.

 

image courtesy of sabinabecker.com

image courtesy of sabinabecker.com

The food trucks were allowed to operate on a reservation in the form of a festival, far from the restaurants that view food trucks as a threat to their business [which is why the Toronto government hadn’t allowed the trucks in the first place, as Rob Ford does more Cocaine* than Tony Montana].
*Crack cocaine is still cocaine, random internet fact-communist who’s trying to make their parent’s basement less depressing, and I didn’t say Nazi because Goodwin’s law {link to Wikipedia article on Goodwin’s law] is making me tired.

swat food truck

There were plenty of trucks to choose from, including one that was rather convincingly costumed as a SWAT truck, which had me worried in the back of my head that something was going to go down.  I didn’t truly believe that crazy thought because I’m not insane, at least that’s what the voices told me.  There was also a German place that had display food just waiting for someone with long, fast legs to snatch and run away with [that’s basically me], and some of the typical Greek/sandwich establishments.

bacon nation

I picked this place that specialized in bacon, because I felt like something meaty and filling.  Bacon can often be overdone in that hipster thinking-you’re-cool-when-you’re-actually-just-annoying kind of way.    But it can taste good when done properly, and not just crammed into a dish as much as possible with a plunger and a vacuum seal.  And done properly is was, in the form of a bacon-wrapped hot dog covered with pulled pork [probably not the best place for Muslims to order from, if you couldn’t tell].

 

Pulled Pork Hot Dog

Pulled Pork Hot Dog

The sausage was well cooked in terms of juiciness, flavour and overall thickness for a regular hot dog, and was a good vehicle for the pork and bacon.  I found the bacon wasn’t as crazy heart-attack-causing plentiful as it could’ve been, but that’s actually really okay, it’s better that the dog wasn’t too salty and meaty just to make it more unhealthy.  The amount that was there was crispy and tasty enough to hold its own, and contrasted the sweetness of the pulled pork quite well.

Buster's Sea Cove

I had fare from a second truck that was decidedly weirder [maximum bacon is one of many of those ‘hipster’ things that became popular and lead to the whole movement becoming oxymoronic, oh look here comes the flame war in the comments section].  Buster’s Sea Cove had seafood, including octopus tacos.  That is to say, tacos with huge, meaty chunks of tentacle in them.  How could I not try that?

octopus taco

The tacos may have seemed small, but they were so overstuffed with rich, filling cephalopod appendage that it was actually a very good portion.  The octopus was clearly quite fresh, as it was juicy, and had a briny after taste that matched its seafood taste ever so perfectly.  The onions and tomato added a spicier taste to the dish, bringing variety along with it.  The mayonnaise was a good edition, and went with it all well even though it was a bit odd to have in a taco [octopus].

Penny Lou Lou truck

So I’d already eaten WeightWatcher’s worse nightmare and the star of an R-rated Japanese film, what was next on the menu?  Desert, Penny-Lou-Lou to be exact.  It’s a place named after a Hong Kong street food of the same name, which is made of a light sweet dough that is baked.  It’s a lot like a funnel cake, especially if ordered with ice cream and strawberries on the side.

penny lou lou sweet treat

The penny-lou-lou was divided into bite-sized sections, which made it easier to eat for both people who are messy eaters or have crippling hereditary OCD*.  As you might tell I already loved it.  The heaviness of the desert was a solid medium, light enough to not be ridiculously filling and rich enough to have some weight to it as opposed to leaving one hungry for more.  The ice cream went perfectly along with it, as did the strawberries, to mix up the flavours a bit.  It was sugary enough to satisfy a sweet tooth, but not so sweet so as to caused one’s blood pressure rise to the point of making Dracula really, really excited.  On reflection [after two weeks because I clearly suck at regular updates], balance was the key to Penny-Lou-Lou, excluding portion size which was huge and perfect to just go crazy and dig in into. 

Beaches Jazz Festival

I found the food truck festival to be quite fun, nice park, good music, great food and a day is made.  I don’t see why the Toronto politicians are so stuffy about the concept of food trucks, maybe it’s just to deter from the fact that the city’s runner is a real-life cartoon that’s been overused far past his funny primetime [much like every cartoon].  Could be that minority thing I got so insane about earlier.  Either way, food trucks, recommended, the festival, recommended, and I’ll do something about the Southeast Asian Festival, the Ex and the Poutine blog [I haven’t forgotten].  Ciao.
 food truck festival
Editor’s Note:  There is a Food Truck Festival on Sunday September 21, 2014 at Ontario Place.  These trucks plus many more will be in attendance