Category Archives: Other Stuff

Christmas Update

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krampus

Season’s greetings! Merry Christmas, happy Hanukkah, joyous Kwanza and Bah Humbug! This post is a quick update so you can make sure I’m still alive and was definitely not dragged to hell by the Krampus. Here’s a link that explains what the Krampus is https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Krampus. Sure, one could question if this is truly a blog if the writer has to post “I’m still alive” updates on a regular basis, to which I would ask if it’s truly a democracy if the electoral college decides the vote.

santa-beach

I won’t be particularly active in my blogs during the holidays. Not that I’m against hiring underpaid servants to get my next post up, but all the elves are working for some greedy reindeer farmer named “Santa Claus”. So, I won’t post again on either blog until next year. I’ve had longer hiatus.

 

There is a review in the works, but it’s not a time sensitive one so I wanted to put it up after Hannuk/ristmas. For this post, I could talk about how crazy the holiday season gets and rattle on about my personal life, but that’s boring so let’s talk about New Year’s instead.

trump-cartoon

It’s kinda hard to talk Christmas when 2016 keeps rearing its ugly, Brexit-laden head. Even though things went great in my personal life, it was tough for the world at large and, I hate to say, prejudice and corruption prevailed. I went on a tangent here, which included Trump, sweeping generalizations about the american populace and a Death Note reference–it was bad.

santa-rudoldph-movie

Instead I’ll only say this: just let things go for the holidays. Avoid talking politics around the Christmas dinner table, if you’re like me and have to vent about something, there are less depressing subject matters. Why not talk about how much of a douche Santa is in the Rudolph movie, cause he totally was right?

festivus

New Year’s is a time to reminisce, it’s also a time to look forward. If last year sucked, then “Throw cares away” to quote Carol of the Bells. We don’t need any of the crap from last year, no work, no philosophy, no Trump. Just stuff that matters, so we can enter twenty seven-frickin-teen with bright faces. Merry Festivus, and I’ll see you in the new year.

Cricket Hot Dog CNE

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bug bistro

A new eatery opened at The Ex this year, the aptly named Bug Bistro, showcasing various types of arthropod-based dishes. Don’t bother using Google Maps to locate it, which will just point you towards the center of the CNE, instead scour the food building for a smaller stand with a white cricket-adorned sign. Most menu items consist of typical American-style concession foods, with either crickets or mealworms mixed in with more western protein sources.

cricket dog

I personally enjoy trying out various types of “bug food” whenever I can, as it is different and the concept doesn’t bother me in the slightest. Insect-based food is also an extremely efficient and cheap protein source for a growing human population, and also helps bypass the global warming and animal cruelty-related problems of the agriculture industry. So why don’t we eat more crickets? “Because they’re gross, ew!”, as some people may say, despite the fact that insects are a traditional food source in parts of East Asia, certain fast food hamburgers are more disgusting than anything given to us by nature, and there’s a small portion of beetle parts in your peanut butter (look it up). And that is why I chose to eat the Bug Dog (hot dog with mustard-roasted crickets) and a smoothie (forget the name, its the only one they have) made out of mango, beetle larva and with spices sprinkled on top.

smoothie

So, how’s it taste? Crickets, I find, often taste very dry and earthy, with a powerful aftertaste. It made sense to use them as garnish on a milder and more familiar hot dog, as the flavours balanced out. The smoothie had a strong secondary taste of mango, and a huge blast of that earthiness I mentioned earlier, along with a second taste intrinsic to meal worms and larva that I can’t easily describe. I could best describe it as an alien sweetness that tastes nice, but is rather exotic and can fill my stomach up very quickly. While the cinnamon/nutmeg helps cut this, I’d recommend getting the smoothie by itself due to its richness. One major complaint I have about Bug Bistro is a rather strange one: they have no lids for their drinks.

mealworm smoothie

When I was first told by the clerk that there were no lids for my full and bendy plastic cup, I wondered how I was supposed to navigate a crowded building to my seat without bumping into someone and spilling all over. While I made it to my seat without having to explain to an angry person that their shirt is now covered in mango pulp and grounded beetle larva, I only had a few bites of my food before the LIDLESS drink spilled into my hot dog. The bun turned an ill, pale orange colour only seen in Donald Trump’s bathroom during a sick day, and the resulting unholy combination of sweet, salty and buggy was something that should probably be copyrighted by McDonald’s. Fortunately, the bun took the bullet and my wiener and crickets were saved, as well as some of the b@st@rd drink that I threw in the garbage out of spite and consoled myself with Korean Tacos from Far East Grill. Seriously, try that place, it’s delicious and better than the deep-fried gym membership-enders that are sold every year.

far east taco

image courtesy on urbancraze.com

To recap, definitely try Bug Bistro if you like feel adventurous or like eating bugs, get the Beetle Juice drink by itself and beware of the sinful lack of coverage, or get one of the savouries for a lunch. Bug Bistro does a good job making insects both tasty and friendly towards those unfamiliar, and I would have had a better experience had the manager not thought they could save a few bucks skimping out on lids. Also, the world would be a better place if I were its leader.

 

Post apocalypse

No new taxes!

Lids and Crickets everywhere!

Status Update

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busy

First off, I would like to apologize for not having posted on either blog in a while. It’s not that I’ve given up on them, my mom and I have both been busy and are having some difficulty in keeping up our posts. My mom is responsible for pretty much all of the non-writing technical stuff that I don’t have the skill or time to do, and lately she’s been having trouble both with the computer and finding free time in her schedule. I have been active as of late too, which also hindered my ability to write up frequent blogs. If only it were easier, not to say that thought has ever helped anyone out. Hopefully we’ll get back on track soon, I might even learn how to operate the dreaded computer myself. </span>

Since my blogging speed has been severely delayed by all the events I’ve been going through in my life, it’s only fair to talk about what exactly is happening. As one or two of my previous posts have mentioned, I am on the track to going to the Special Olympic Provincial swim meet. As it is taking place this month, most of this post and the next are going to center around that. Before talking about that, I’ll bring you up to speed on other stuff as well.

There are some posts in the woodworks that are close to completion but need some final edits, and we will be reviewing more restaurants during the summer when we get more free time. My mom got a new laptop, which will help her edit the posts in accordance with our old rickety PC that has been acting good as of late. I am taking online high school equivalency courses  so I can qualify for Ryerson University’s English course, which is in turn a crucial step for me getting a career in writing. The Ontario government passed a law that heavily supplements the secondary education of students whose families have an income below a certain rate, which includes my family under its terms. This has greatly eased my fear that I’ll be wasting my parent’s money by going to university.

red belt test

In terms of sport stuff, it’s pretty much just general progress. I’m signed up for a soccer team which has some of my Special Olympic friends on it, and the basketball team I’m on has been improving quite well since even a couple months ago. I recently got my red belt in Tae Kwon Do (the one after blue and before black), and continue to go a mandatory two times a week, although I sometimes get the feeling my master wants me to do competitions as well. All this stuff may or may not have posts about it in the future, but I’ll wrap up with my swimming news.

special olympic coaching

Getting coached at the Pan Am Centre

The Sunday classes have ended, mostly because the Olympic meet they were training us for is almost here. I’ve gotten a new coach of sorts; the provincial athletes are sorted into special teams in preparation for the provincial meet, each of which is lead by a manager coach. The big weekend is a four-day event from Thursday through to Sunday, bookmarked by opening and closing ceremonies, and is being held at the university of Guelph, Ontario (about an hour west of where I live by car). They have travel and lodging for athletes–which we will be getting more information on next week–although parents will have to get there through their own means. My mother is able to go and has booked a hotel room.

swim meet

Apologies again for going off schedule, I hope we can maintain both blogs more frequently once things get under control. I will be too busy to do blow-by-blow updates of the big meet while it takes place, so I’ll write a post once the The Games are over and I’m back home.  I can’t thank you enough for all your patience, here’s hoping to see you again soon.

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!

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.  


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

Montreal

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Don't ask me what the name of this church is, they have a lot of them in Montreal

Don’t ask me what the name of this church is, they have a lot of them in Montreal

I’ve come back from Montreal [the time of writing is Wednesday, I came back Friday], and decided to do a little catcher-upper. It’s like a fixer-upper except there’s less construction workers standing around drinking coffee in front of a dilapidated house.

image courtesy of sodahead.com

image courtesy of sodahead.com

I’ve been requested to do a post on poutine–seeing as I was basically in the capital of it–and I will be doing one, but it’ll take a while. The post will contain the history and culture behind it, a lot of which deals with the relations between the Anglophone and Francophone communities of Quebec. This whole English/Francais thing is really controversial, and a lot like the divide between communities [I’ll use a fake name to protect the feelings of the real city I’m using as an example] NotLosAngles. It’s kind of like an Internet forum about religion in that regard.

This is actually a tree that's been bent.  In some park (on an island?) in Montreal

This is actually a tree that’s been bent. In some park (on an island?) in Montreal

Seeing as this is a food blog, it is hard for me to get into the details of my vacation without boring the appetite out of somebody, but suffice to say I saw a lot of the beautiful city I went to.

Gay Village, Montreal

Gay Village, Montreal

Editors’ Note: You can give the kid an app for his iphone so that he can add notes to the pics he takes; but that doesn’t mean he’ll use it.  So please excuse the poorly captioned photos.

Old Port, Montreal

Old Port, Montreal

Montreal is named after Mont Real [translates to Royal Mountain, correct me if I’m wrong in the comments], a mountain north of the city that is recognized for it’s suspiciously hill-sized stature [Everest it is not] and the various structures on top: namely a Cross to mark a grave site, a tall antenna and what looks like a giant tuning fork.

image courtesy of montreal.metblogs.com

image courtesy of montreal.metblogs.com

Compared to Toronto, there seemed to be a lot of cafes. My sister, who has lived there upwards of 2.5 years, said Montreal was just starting to get into coffee culture. Naturally, I ran screaming out of the city shouting ‘The British are coming!’ before realizing that Montreal is an island and sinking to the murky depths to confuse future archeologists.

Instead of yelling "the British are coming!!", I actually just ate there

Instead of yelling “the British are coming!!”, I actually just ate there

I could go into the niggles of the various hot chocolates I had, but I won’t for two reasons. The first is that I didn’t give a damn enough to take notes, and the second is that everyone wanted me to have poutine [pron: Poo-Teen, Po-Tin, and Pow-Tin if you’re American].

[Sorry if I’m not as funny as I [help] usually am, it’s hard to write with a gun pointed at your [help] head by okay okay I’ll get back to the post]

from Java Café, Montreal

from Java Café, Montreal

I was kidding, don’t worry for my health or safety [help]. The first poutine I had that I’ll talk about was a curious one ordered with a sandwich at a cafe called Java [or something like that, again, no notes]. While the sandwich was so average it was most likely aired by the CBC, the poutine was something else. Its fries were well cooked and better than one would think, and added a bit of flavouring spice to the mix. The gravy was always well done in every poutine I had, probably because Montreal messing up the gravy in poutine would be akin to Toronto’s Rob Ford forgetting to bring some  crack cocaine to a party.

image courtesy of alyssamooremru.blogspot.com

image courtesy of alyssamooremru.blogspot.com

Also a staple of Quebec poutine [the one city I visited now arbitrarily represents the entire province of millions of people, just like I’m an American tourist exploring the foreign savage-lands of NotUS.] is that cheese curds shall always be generous, and they shall always be higher quality than anywhere else in the country, or the Quebec Gods will come down from the skies and drag you screaming to the dining tables of Valhalla. That didn’t even make sense.

 

Poutine with fried chicken I ate at my sister's house

Poutine with fried chicken I ate at my sister’s house

I’ve had plenty of regular poutine to counteract the crazy stuff I had, most notably the one with fried chicken on it. It was basically two meals in one, which made it an average meal for me. The poutine is already confirmed to always be good [a humoungous cheese/fry ration compared to other Pow-Tins if I’m correct], but the fried chicken was actually surprisingly good with it, making me wonder if it was also a standalone option on the restaurant’s menu. The quality of it was preserved in the trip from its kitchen to the house I was staying at, which was basically me saying I had takeout while managing to use one full sentence to even out this paragraph’s space better.

Needless to say, I ate a lot of Poutine

Needless to say, I ate a lot of Poutine

Every poutine I had the pleasure of eating came mandatorily with fresh cut, homemade fries, warm, creamy savoury gravy and big, rich, flavourful cheese curds. I highly recommend eating it there. That said, I’ve had enough for a while, before I really do run screaming into the lake.

Chilling in a beautiful Montreal park with my sister's most excellent dog, Noodle

Chilling in a beautiful Montreal park with my sister’s most excellent dog, Noodle

Keep your eyes peeled [not really, ew] for my poutine post, which I will make after the necessary researching, cross-checking and blackmailing is completed. I’ve also got a post on the food truck scene in Toronto, which is as well-respected and supported by the city’s government as Capitalism is in China.

Editor’s Note part deux:  unless otherwise noted in the captions, all photography for this post courtesy of Reighan Murphy (aka the Sister) or Callum Denault (himself)