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The Toronto Guilty Pleasures

Yes? Hi!

We were doing the talking about the restaurants that make the something the delicious that we don't always tell the friends. We saw the Susur likes the McDonalds and the Cloudy April likes Burger King but what is the Toronto restaurant that makes the delicious that you keep the secret.

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  1. i guess if claudio aprile and susur lee spend most of their time making exceptional food, then i guess it makes sense that they would slum it in a pit like mickey-d's or the bk, but as someone who isn't part of the restaurant industry, i choose to spend my dollars carefully.

    the 'guilty pleasures' that i have are not really 'secrets' as chowhound is basically devoted to 'outing' the best bites, and the best bites for the buck.

    my favourite quick service places are not really 'chains', per se: bmb, seven lives, holy chuck, etc.

    if we are talking about only chains, then there's two: popeye's chicken, and yes, taco bell seven layer burritos.

    on second thought, if i were aprile or lee, i would still rather eat at a ramen or pho place before those burger boxes.

    1. People like what they like. Why should anyone be ashamed to admit that they like "slumming it" at a fast food joint or a nasty greasy spoon. It's food that you/they like. You'd be surprised what chefs/cooks eat after a hard day at the office. It can't all be foie gras and beef cheeks...

      1. I agree with afong. Popeye's is super tasty and blows away KFC for dirty bird. a 7 layer burrito from Taco Bell was one of the only fast food items I'd eat when I was vegetarian. Eating meat at Taco Bell increases your chances of gastrointestinal distress.
        Is Swiss Chalet too highbrow to fall to this list? I have a soft spot for their ribs.

        3 Replies
          1. re: kwass

            No doughnuts for you today kwass? :-)

            1. re: foodyDudey

              They're not a guilty pleasure...just a pleasure!!

        1. An occasional McChicken. Please don't tell anyone!

          2 Replies
          1. re: justxpete

            An occasional McChicken. Please don't tell anyone!

            I knew it! Ha! :D

          2. Filet-o-fish (no cheese)
            Toasted coconut doughnut and/or a Matador breakfast sandwich from Country Style on hwy 115 on the way to the cottage
            Baja chicken salad from Wendy's

            All of the above are 'road trip' food!

            2 Replies
            1. re: roostermom

              +1 for Filet-o-Fish
              The discovery that you can double the fish had changed my life.

              1. re: happycamper

                Filet-o-fish for me too, and Breakfast Biscuits in the States. ....and Cheese Whiz.

            2. Sausage McMuffin with Egg and a hash brown- but not just any hash brown. A fresh-out-of-the-fryer, too-hot-to-eat-at-the-moment hash brown.

              I will actually sit there and wait five minutes for a fresh hash brown, rather than eat a lukewarm hash brown.

              God I love hash browns.

              10 Replies
              1. re: biggreenmatt

                Not ashamed of it but I occasionally crave mall food court Chinese food. Lemon chicken, sweet and sour chicken, honey glazed chicken wings.

                  1. re: petek

                    NO! But OH MY GOD, YES!!!

                    Know what you've done today, Pete? You've changed a life. That's what you've done today, Pete: changed a life.

                    1. re: petek

                      That's ok, but I prefer two hash browns used as buns. Give the english muffin to the birds.

                      1. re: GoodGravy

                        Oh come on now..that's just crazy! :D

                    2. re: biggreenmatt

                      Like more than scotchy scotch scotch BGM?

                      1. re: millygirl

                        Scotch, dear Milly, is not, and can never be, a guilty pleasure. In the immortal words of David Daiches:

                        "The proper drinking of Scotch whisky is more than indulgence: it is a toast to civilization, a tribute to the continuity of culture, a manifesto of man’s determination to use the resources of nature to refresh mind and body and enjoy to the full the senses with which he has been endowed."

                      2. re: biggreenmatt

                        McD's breakfast exactly so is totally a guilty pleasure. But only at the cottage - Wasaga beach, so it's totally fitting ;)
                        Popeye's, definitely.
                        Poutine from the blue chip wagon at City Hall.
                        I wouldn't call it guilt, these are just infrequent indulgences that I limit, mostly because they wouldn't be the same if I had them all the time.
                        I'm proud to tell any visitor to get the blue chip truck poutine.

                      3. Nachos from the Keg

                        Caramel Sundae from Costco and McDonald's

                        5 Replies
                        1. re: kwass

                          Wait... they have caramel for their sundaes at Costco??? Before they only had chocolate syrup and a strawberry. This changes everything!

                            1. re: kwass

                              We need to petition Costco CA to bring gelato to Canada! Just found out the USA Costco has pistachio gelato

                            2. re: Nevy

                              They have sundaes at Costco???

                          1. HI!
                            Mr's Tasty's fries parked outside of city hall.
                            Double Fish-o-Filet
                            Burger King's Veggie Burger (i know i know, it's a hangover from my vegetarian days)

                            7 Replies
                            1. re: happycamper

                              Hi happy!
                              If you can time it just right, try the fish o filet with a hash brown on it. I think it's called a Mcgangbang or something like that..

                              1. re: petek

                                The McGangbang is a double cheeseburger with a junior chicken in it. According to my SO after a long day of work with only a few hours to sleep it was a bad idea.

                                1. re: LexiFirefly

                                  I stand corrected but I'd still eat one! :)

                                  1. re: petek

                                    He did not regret it at the time. I'll say that much :)

                              2. Costco hot dog, big Mac (extra sauce, Shhh,) diet coke and super burger. It just gives me that cottage feeling! :) (I know it's not in Toronto, hope no one minds I threw it in!)

                                1. Filet-o-fish for me (only if it's fresh and hot) and for my SO a Big Mac with chicken McNuggets. When I first met my SO I never understood how he could like that since he's in the industry but now I completely understand - although I still make fun of him.

                                  1. Popeyes and Church's fried chicken is no secret! But then there's McNuggets, entire sweet n sour pork at Swatow or the Red Onion, Cheesies, Starbucks marshmallow squares, King Slice primavera slice at new place on Queen west, Menchies, Wendy's single, chocolate peanut butter at Baskin Robbins, plate of onion rings at Thompson, eating more VON donuts at a time than ever recommended! Peanut butter/chocolate/banana croissant at Clafouti.

                                    Yea, there's more.

                                    19 Replies
                                    1. re: justsayn

                                      I used to make those marshmallow squares. They're good because they don't have any preservatives and good vanilla paste!

                                      1. re: LexiFirefly

                                        Yep and no corn syrup. Pretty tasty!

                                        1. re: justsayn

                                          No added corn syrup, unless they changed the marshmallows they used, there will be a little bit.

                                          1. re: LexiFirefly

                                            Yes good point! but at least the goo part is less crappy.

                                            1. re: justsayn

                                              They use the same store bought marshmallows I use! And the same vanilla paste. They actually are like home made!

                                              1. re: LexiFirefly

                                                What are these things? Rice Krispy squares?

                                                1. re: julesrules

                                                  Yep. It's surprising how much companies screw them up!

                                                  1. re: LexiFirefly

                                                    Starbucks version is very good, the only thing I would improve is more butter flavour.

                                                    1. re: justsayn

                                                      Try the Marshmallow/Krispy squares at Mrs. Fields ... I ate them daily when I was pregnant...

                                                      1. re: roostermom

                                                        Preggie cravings in Toronto...that deserves a new thread!

                                                2. re: LexiFirefly

                                                  I went by Starbucks and the sign for their marshmallow squares says Made Without HFCS. They must have change the recipe given how boldly they advertise that.

                                                  1. re: justsayn

                                                    I would personally be wary of that claim. I've never seen a marshmallow made without corn syrup. Look up any recipe even at home and it calls for it. I've made them with maple syrup instead, but a hygroscopic sugar is needed, and the cheapest is....

                                                    1. re: LexiFirefly

                                                      Well I know you know your stuff so I bet you're right. Gave me an excuse to go grab one so not all lost ;-)

                                                      1. re: justsayn

                                                        Still grab one! They are the best quality in the market! Like I said, closest to homemade you can get!

                                                        1. re: LexiFirefly

                                                          Oh I did! Lol. Hey I think I figured out the wrinkle. I googled it. Both you and the sign are correct. While there is no HFCS, there is CS.

                                                            1. re: LexiFirefly

                                                              Went to get a pretzel bagel to try it but they were sold out so I grabbed a rice krispie at SB.

                                                              1. re: justsayn

                                                                Every time I've gone to get a pretzel bagel they're sold out. They must be tasty!

                                        2. re: justsayn

                                          +1 chicken McNuggets (although it's been forever!)

                                          +1 cheesies

                                          +1 Clafouti 's chocolate peanut butter banana croissant (although I never feel any guilt when I eat it...just joy)

                                          Baskin and Robbins chocolate chip ice cream and BR strawberry

                                        3. I'm amazed that the secret is out about the double Filet O' Fish. I thought it was just me!

                                          But, if you really think about it, it's not really a "guilty" pleasure.

                                          Fish is fish. Fish, breaded and deep fried, is delicious, virtually no matter who makes it. Filet o' Fish is deep fried, breaded fish. Adding another filet on top is extra protein (and that's it, amirite???) and more deliciousness, insofar as adding another poached chicken breast on to your salad is extra protein and more deliciousness. Not really much to be guilty about. :)

                                          4 Replies
                                          1. re: biggreenmatt

                                            HOLY CRAP!

                                            What about ordering a Big Mac-i-fied Filet O' Fish??? Two fish patties, three buns, cheese, lettuce, pickles, onion and tartar sauce!!!

                                            GAME CHANGER!!!

                                            1. re: biggreenmatt

                                              Double? Amateurs


                                              (some of us know Stella, I do not understand how she is not completely spherical)

                                              1. re: bytepusher

                                                I love what she does with the fries and the remaining buns! Brilliant!!

                                                1. re: bytepusher

                                                  Any girl who can cram a sandwich that big in her mouth is my kind of girl! :D

                                              2. The Red Head a.k.a. Wendy's jbb - jr bacon cheese burger. Hold the mayo add pickle and ketchup. It is my go to hangover fix. The SO would eat there weekly if he could and only ever get the jbb - not one of them but three of them.

                                                1. The cioccalato Italiano at Lavazza by the Harbourfront. Not spoken about much and it's a guilty pleasure due to the richness.

                                                  1. Fish and chips WITH GRAVY at Old Yorke. To die for.

                                                    +1 McDonalds nuggets and/or big mac AND fries

                                                    +1 food court chinese food honey and garlic anything

                                                    +1 cheesies or Ms Vickys plain

                                                    1. A&W Root Beer Float, fish heads with Patrick at Starfish.
                                                      (Not in combination.)

                                                      1. + costco polish sausage- mustard + onions.

                                                        A&W Mama burger + rootbeer float.

                                                        1. to keep with the McD's theme...a double cheeseburger dressed like a mac.

                                                          other than that:
                                                          1) anytime I can get singapore noodles*
                                                          2) hakka-style chill chicken, extra hot*
                                                          3) spicy tuna rolls
                                                          4) wings from Boston Pizza...baked
                                                          5) eating a tablespoon of dulce de leche straight...stuff that i buy in toronto, of course.

                                                          * kill 2 birds with one stone at Danforth Dragon

                                                          1. Costco pizza, polish sausage and poutine. I need to get to Costco this weekend.

                                                            McDouble with mac sauce.

                                                            Mr. Sub pizza sub - nostalgic childhood treat.

                                                            1 Reply
                                                            1. re: Underdog Rally

                                                              Mmmm, pizza sub..... that sauce is magical.

                                                            2. What about you, Indianguy?

                                                              1. From Costco, Hors d'oeuvres and then Polish sausage with onions, mustard, sauerkraut. Big step down when they changed teh soda fountain supplier and dropped ginger ale.

                                                                1. Junior chicken with half the mayo and slice of tomato or bacon cheeseburger with slice of tomato. The slice of tomato makes these treats very healthy of course! ;)
                                                                  A & W teen burger when at the mall, about 3 times per year.