Tag Archives: milkshake

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!

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!

Burger Stomper Gourmet Burger & Milkshake Bar

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Even though we just blogged about burgers in our last post, there are a lot of burger joints in this city and people love to eat them in the summer.  We went to Burger Stomper Gourmet Burger & Milkshake Bar because it’s quite new and has been getting a lot of hype.  Burger Stomper (the name is too long and awkward to fit properly anywhere) has a new type of cooking method when it comes to making burgers.  When I first heard that this place had a “different” way of cooking burgers, I immediately thought “….there’s another place that claims this called The Burger’s Priest..”  And we all know how I feel about them.


When we first got in we sat at a booth that’s elevated and uses piping as a makeshift step/stair.

I’m looking at the menu which is above the open kitchen

The service was very friendly as well as patient with us newcomers.  The menu is a little odd and features some unusual dishes like the Cheese Please. 

Waiting patiently for us to decide

Its always better when there’s an open concept kitchen because you know what’s done to your food before you get it.

My Burger (Better than the Other Guy)

Even though I was quite skeptical to begin with, the burgers here are quite good and not just because of their unusual design.  One thing that makes this superior to The Burger’s Priest (what isn’t) is that the patty is soft to bite into without falling apart.  And its also juicy without being greasy!!  It what seems to be a trend in the food scene which Burger Stomper is following; the servings are ridiculously generous but the food is of excellent quality.  Even the vegetables are crisp and fresh.

My Mom’s Burger – Cheese Please

Wouldn’t be surprised if people’s first reaction (it certainly was mine) is: ‘ What is that on my plate?’.  What “that” is, its a Cheese Skirt;  basically a disc of steamed, melted cheese.  My mother and Nana loved it but I was just okay with this.  I think I should mention that I prefer cured bacon to crispy because then that’s just burnt meat.  I mention bacon because my mother insisted I compare this ring of cheese to bacon which in her mind is the ultimate compliment to food.  I’m not going to describe my Nana’s burger because she ordered off the menu.  What I can say is that she very rarely eats red meat but she would happily come here again.  I originally planned to take a video of the burger being “stomped” but my mom instead decided to ask how the cheese skirts were made and we didn’t feel comfortable asking for two secret recipes.

So we found this video online


The french fries here are actually hot and steaming, not like the water trying to escape from the horrific mess of garbage that is served at Tortilla Flats.  Obviously these fries are homemade but they are also well drained and therefore not greasy and they had just the right amount of salt.

Mint Chocolate Flavour

I originally wanted to try the Nutella Chocolate Peanut Butter Heaven, to compare them to Dangerous Dans’ and Easy Restaurant’s but unfortunately they had run out of chocolate and vanilla ice cream.  So we defaulted to their Mint Chocolate shake.  One thing that’s great about this shake is it’s actually just milk and ice cream, with NO syrups or thickeners.  The ratio of ice cream to milk was balanced quite well so that it was not  head-pulsingly thick nor was it runny.

Burger Stomper is a highly recommendable place and hopefully will overthrow The Burger’s Priest as the Number One burger in Toronto.

Burger Stomper Gourmet Burger & Milkshake Bar 364 Danforth Ave
Burger Stomper Gourmet Burger & Milkshake Bar on Urbanspoon

Easy Restaurant

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We went to this place for my mom’s birthday celebration, who was perfectly content to go to a restaurant for brunch that we’d blog about later.  When we got there it was completely full and with a long wait but fortunately there’s a little secret.  That is: two different locations joined to the same kitchen, around the corner from each other.

1645 Queen St W

This is the place we originally planned to go to.

1598 King St

And this is the place we ended up going to.

Should we mention that this side was busy too but didn’t have a 30 min+ wait but closer to 10-15 minutes, tops.  The decor was very nice with a 70’s feel complete with a shelf of scale model cars and movie posters for action flicks.  The only problem was the seating was very cramped; reminding me of when you go to a place like Second Cup or Starbucks, where you’re desperately searching for seating.  And when you do find a spot you’re awfully close to your neighbours.  That being said we arrived there at a bad time and got swamped  in the brunch rush.

inside the King St location

Much like when we went to Frankly Eatery and found an Indian influence, at Easy Restaurant we found a Mexican influence.  Maybe it is because Toronto is so multicultural its spawned its own Fusion Culture.

Pink Smoothie (the Classic -strawberries, banana & OJ) Brown Smoothie (the Peanut Power – peanut butter, dutch cocoa, espresso, cinnamon and soy milk)

I made my mother take a comparative size photo so you could see the behemoth volume of these dinosaur sized smoothies.  The only thing missing is the tiny man, waving.  I think that these smoothies are more meant to be drank by themselves; both because they are ridiculously large and (especially the Peanut Butter one) are really rich and filling.  The peanut power’s consistency was much more comfortable to drink than Dangerous Dan’s Elvis Shake but unlike the Elvis shake the predominant flavour in Easy Restaurant’s smoothie was peanut butter.  I really couldn’t taste any chocolate at all. The same could said for mom’s Classic Smoothie saying the OJ was the predominant flavour, lacking any strawberry and not enough banana.  Which seems a little too “easy”.  Pun intended.

the Breakfast Quesadilla

The ingredient list is long so I’ll put it here: whole-wheat tortilla with grilled chorizo with carmelized onions, eggs, Monterey jack and spicy red salsa.  Comes with sour cream and salad or home fries.  As you can see here, the filling was very generous and not all cheap or easy.  The chorizo was very tasty and again surprisingly in abundance.  But unlike the smoothies, the flavour profile was well-balanced between the meat and other ingredients and not blown out of all proportion.

the Breakfast Burrito

My mom’s breakfast:   re-fried black beans, scrambled eggs, chipotle salsa, Monterey jack, coriander and caramelized onions, baked in a whole-wheat tortilla with side guacamole – with salad or home fries.  My mom says there was nothing re-fried about the black beans, in fact they were barely cooked.  I think the fact that you could cut the beans with a knife is proof of that.  The eggs were all right but lacked proper seasoning.  Because the burrito was devoid of proper amounts of flavour enhancers like the salsa, it left a void which could only be filled in with the black beans.

the French Toast Croissant

Nana’s breakfast:  Grill-Pressed buttery battered croissant, served with fruit coulis, berries, real maple syrup and real whipped cream.  On the upside,  the berry compote is pleasant, the overall dish is not too sweet and the syrup is real maple syrup.  But Nana doesn’t like Maple syrup, she finds it cloy. On the downside, the croissant while good in concept is bland and suspiciously dependent on the compote, syrup and cream.  The rest of the sentiments you’ll find the same as with the Breakfast Burrito.

Now for a summary of my overall opinion of Easy Restaurant.  The decor is very well though out and if I was to go again, I would choose the King St side as it has a lovely view of Lake Ontario.  The service was prompt and attentive as well as friendly.  The only kicker here is that the food ranges from tasty to tasteless.  Of the foods we tried, I would suggest the Quesadilla for brunch and the Peanut Power Smoothie for a snack.  Is Easy Restaurant recommenable? If you’re in the neighbourhood, looking for a bite to eat – definately yes.  If you’re looking for a destination restaurant anywhere in the city – definately no.

Easy Restaurant 1645 Queen St W

Easy Restaurant on Urbanspoon

Dangerous Dan’s Elvis Shake

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I came across this shake while waiting for a restaurant across the street to open. We want to do a review of The Real Jerk, a Jamacian restaurant, but it opens at two o’clock on a Sunday.  We had to wait an hour and it was raining outside. So we killed half that time by having an Elvis shake at Dangerous Dan’s. The Elvis shake is made from chocolate ice cream, peanut butter and bananas (I kid you not).

I found the shake to be surprisingly tasty, but my mother didn’t like it as much.  In fact, she felt it was just a really bad idea. It was hard to taste the chocolate ice cream, which means either the peanut butter was too overwhelming or the peanut butter and chocolate merged to make a new flavour. Because I thought mine was accidently too thick, we switched cups for a little while. I found my mom’s shake had more of a banana-like flavour. This shows that the ingredient ratio is not constant. Probably because of the peanut butter I thought the shake was too thick to suck through the straw without a lot of effort. Next time I go to Dangerous Dan’s I want to try out a different shake, to see if that theory is correct.

Struggling to get the Elvis Shake through the straw

Dangerous Dans Diner 714 Queen St E
Dangerous Dan's Diner on Urbanspoon