Showing posts with label casual eats. Show all posts
Showing posts with label casual eats. Show all posts

Porchetta & Co. (Toronto) for delivery

Note: Prices in post are based on regular menu prices and may be higher when using delivery services

Is it me, or is everyone jumping onto the fried chicken sandwich bandwagon lately? It’s a thought that fleeted through my head, while going through Porchetta and Co.’s menu that consists of more fowl than swine.

All the choices did make it difficult to decide what we wanted, finally settling on a glutinous dinner of two sandwich combos with two pieces of fried chicken on the side. Needless to say, there was a lot of food and the fries became the casualties – arriving warm and weren’t overly crispy – relegated to being leftovers and tasting much better the next day when they were made crispy in the toaster oven.

We’re certainly not professionals who participate in eating competitions. So, after a sizeable sandwich, a less sizeable piece of fried chicken, and a handful of fries we were FULL. Yet, there wasn’t a gross disgusting feeling; surprisingly, it was a comfortable “clean” fullness despite the plethora of fried foods we just ingested.

The porchetta “house special” sandwich ($16.95 for the combo; $12.95 for just the sandwich) certainly sounds decadent: a combination of slow roasted pork, crispy pork skin crackling, truffle mayo, and parmesan. But then the soft bun is hit with a grainy mustard laced with Frank’s red hot, which cuts through the greasiness to nicely balance out the sandwich. It’s a delicious flavourful bite with the tangy mustard, soft pork, a sudden crunchy bite of skin, and a mellow truffle finish. I can see why this is the house special.

Even with the number of restaurants now serving crispy chicken sandwiches, Porchetta’s OG fried chicken sandwich ($16.95 for the combo) doesn’t disappoint. They swap the breast for a more flavourful thigh meat that’s fried until the edges are simply crunchy - to the point that if it were any crispier the roof of your mouth better watch out. Once again, the heaviness is balanced out with an herby ranch dressing and thick slices of pickles. There’s of course, Porchetta’s favourite condiment - Frank’s hot sauce – sparingly applied so that it doesn’t turn into an overly hot sandwich.

In fact, if you’re afraid of spicy foods, you won’t face with any demons at Porchetta. Even their Nashville hot chicken ($4.95 for a piece) barely registers a sting despite the oily red sauce pooling at the bottom of the container. As spicy hot fried chicken goes, it’s lighter than most, likely drained well before being dipped in the mildly hot oil.

The only disappointment was the buttermilk fried chicken ($4.95 for a piece) that arrived undercooked. Thankfully, my husband and I were sharing everything and had cut it into two, which allowed us to see the pink juices running from the dark pink bone, saving us from any food-related stomach complications later. Therefore, it’s difficult to really judge the chicken since it came sizzling hot from the oven, perhaps a tad overcooked, but yielding tons of crunch.

Putting the undercooked chicken aside, we agreed Porchetta’s sandwiches are certainly worth ordering again. Big heavenly recipes of greasy meats smartly combined with balance condiments; we’re switching from the fast-food chain variety for sure.

Overall mark - 7.5 out of 10

How To Find Them
 Location: Toronto, Canada
 Address: Various locations
 Delivery: Uber and Doordash
Referral Discount Codes
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 UberEats: use eats-ju6ta to get $5 off a $15 order 
 DoorDash: click link to get $20 off

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Gastro World's Grading System

  • Anything under 5 - I really disliked and will never order again
  • 6 - decent for delivery and takeout, but there's better
  • 7 - this is good, for delivery and takeout
  • 8 - great for delivery and takeout, it's almost like you're in a restaurant
  • 9 -  wow, it's like I'm eating at a restaurant
  • 10 - I'd happily order this for delivery or takeout instead of dining in any day!

Is That It? I Want More!

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CLOSED: Love Chix @ Assembly Chef's Hall (Toronto)

Dining with a group with very different tastes? Assembly Chef's Hall combines a number of Toronto's restaurants into one area… sort of like Harrod’s food hall or Eataly. Laid out as two seating areas with the restaurants in the centre, make sure to specify the zone you’re sitting in when meeting friends, otherwise finding each other may be difficult. The dining rooms offer comfortable leather chairs and sturdy wooden tables; it feels like you’re eating in a restaurant, you’ll just need to get your own food. Each room also has a bar, where drinks are also grab and go.

In terms of eateries, The Good Son’s freshly made pizza was popular during a weeknight visit. The mini Kao San Road and Los Colibris stalls also peaked my interest, but I decided to go with something I haven’t had before. That’s when Love Chix’s colourful sign and fried food aroma lured me over. Indeed, it may have also been due to a monstrous fried chicken sandwich sitting at the pass. It looked so good that I had to get my hands on some fried chicken.

The three-piece ($14) with a side of French fries ($3) arrived freshly made with thick house-made ketchup.  I loved the sauce on the chicken, the hot and sweet sauce melted into the juicy chicken meat. Be forewarned, the pieces are small (the three-piece consisted of two drum sticks and a boneless wing); if you’re even remotely hungry, go with the five-piece. While the fries were good at first, after 5-minutes they got stale fast. It made me have eater's regret for not ordering the fried Brussel sprouts.

My friends opted for Resto Boemo instead. The rich truffle gnocchi ($18), which was a hefty portion, was too soft for my taste. If the pasta isn't your thing, their burger with truffle Parmesan fries smelled heavenly.

Overall, Assembly Chef’s Hall is a great concept, but a few improvements would make it even better.
  • Sadly, many restaurants still used disposable containers. With a shared space like a food hall, I would have thought they’d invest in communal plates and cutlery – if Eaton Centre can do it, surely it is possible at Assembly! Mother Nature will thank us later.
  • There’s no way of indicating a table is occupied, which means unless it’s the winter and you have coats, someone needs to stay behind to claim the space. Since looking around and waiting for your food to be prepared takes time, it generally means a full half hour passes before everyone is back at the table. A simple vacant/occupied sign at the table, like Marche, would help.
  • Lastly, for an eatery connected to Google, I would have thought it’d be more technologically advanced. It was a bit annoying you pay at each station (including separately at the bar). They have launched an app, but judging by the reviews, it hasn’t been helping with the ordering and payment process. Tweeks are required.
It is nice that you’re able to stay for as long as you please; while there are staff who clear the table, no one bothers you to leave. Hearing it gets very busy during lunch, it wasn’t too packed in the evening (easiest for tables of four or less). Although on my next visit, I’m aiming to go back for Tachi, the stand-up omakase sushi bar from Chef Jackie Lin. For that, you don’t even need a table.

Overall mark - 7 out of 10

How To Find Them
 Location: Toronto, Canada
 Address: 111 Richmond Street West

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Gastro World's Grading System

  • Anything under 5 - I really disliked and will never go back
  • 6 - decent restaurant but I likely won't return
  • 7 - decent restaurant and I will likely return
  • 8 - great restaurant that I'd be happy to recommend
  • 9 - fantastic restaurant that I would love to visit regularly and highly recommend
  • 10 - absolute perfection!

Is That It? I Want More!

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CLOSED: Hot Star Large Fried Chicken turns 2 and they're celebrating!

Hot Star, Toronto’s famed XXL fried chicken purveyor, is celebrating its 2nd anniversary this November. It seemed like just yesterday the face-sized pieces of crispy fowl came onto the scene and elicited long line-ups downtown; walk around Yonge Dundas Square and every other person seemed to be holding a monstrous piece of chicken.

As if they weren’t busy enough, their chefs decided to stuff the fried chicken with cheese and things really got hectic. After Blog TO did a spot on the new product and the queues got even longer. A tip for those who want to try this crazy concoction without the wait, Hot Star has a much calmer location in North York (there are also Pacific Mall and Waterloo outposts).

Having tried the stuffed fried chicken, heed my advice and use a knife and fork – the molten cheese centre is gooey and hot! At first, I was taken aback by the slightly sweet coating on the chicken (the spicy may be better) but it grew on me and thankfully the crust is nice and thin.

Meanwhile, the chicken is thicker and shorter than the XXL fried version, allowing it to retain more moisture. Despite being stuffed with an ample amount of cheese, it surprisingly isn’t heavy.

Celebrate with Hot Star, as they mark their 2nd anniversary with these specials:
  • November 11 & 12: the first 50 people at the downtown and Waterloo locations will receive a free original fried chicken
  • November 11 to 17: 20% off all orders at all Hot Star four Ontario stores – perfect for those who want to try the cheese filled option.

Disclaimer: The above meal was complimentary. Rest assured, as noted in my mission statement, I will always provide an honest opinion.

How To Find Them
 Location: 374A Yonge Street, Toronto
                255 King Street North, Waterloo

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