Thank you all for your assistance with my recent business trip to Toronto. Most of my time was consumed by work, but I did manage time for a few quick bites. I expect to be back soon for business, so will likely solicit more requests. Here is a quick report on my top ten favorite items I tasted during my three days in Toronto several weeks ago
1) Parsley Root Soup at The Grove. The clear standout among many great tastes that week. They say taste has the weakest memory of the senses. This is one of those exceptions that proves the rule. Etched in my memory.
2) Smoked Sweetbreads at The Black Hoof. Perfectly fried, served with house-made hot sauce, and paired with a slightly off-dry Riesling. Outstanding.
3) Toronto cocktail at Chanticler. Where have you been all of my life? I often read about and drink classic cocktails. Somehow this one escaped my attention over the years. Chainticler's was one fantastic introduction.
4) Reuben at 416 Snack Bar. Maybe not on par with Katz's Deli, but an excellent sandwich nonetheless.
5) Pork Belly Steamed Bao at Banh Mi Boys. Lived up to the hype.
6) Braunschwieger at The Black Hoof. The sweet mustard may have made this dish, but the housemade sausage was stellar.
7) Poutine from The Blue Chip Truck. Maybe eating it outside in a very cold snowstorm helped, but this was one satisfying meal.
8) Beef Cheek tacos at Grand Electric. Everything I would want in a good taco. Didn't even find the music as loud as everyone had warned.
9) Popcorn Chicken Hearts at Cocktail Bar. Great bar snack.
10) Bellwoods Oysters at Oyster Boy. I still prefer my oysters raw, and unadorned. But, if they have to be baked, the version with chorizo at Oyster Boy did not disappoint.
Honorable Mention: Tourtiere at Bannock. I'm glad I tried this regional specialty. My kind of food. There was a dominant spice (clove? Allspice?) that became a bit redundant by the end, but that could have been mitigated if I had had it with something, instead of as a hand pie while walking down the street.
Thanks for the report
Worth noting that the Toronto Cocktail (basically a Manhattan, made with Fernet Branca instead of Vermouth) doesn't originate here (it seems to have been invented in New York and first appears in the 1948 Embury cocktail book) and is not actually all that common on cocktail menus here.
Nice report! Didn't know they were doing popcorn chicken hearts at Cocktail Bar. I'll need to check that out...