Showing posts with label ribs. Show all posts
Showing posts with label ribs. Show all posts

Adamson Barbecue (Toronto)


As the age old saying goes, “Things are bigger in Texas”. When it comes to Adamson Barbecue, this isn’t necessarily true… their parking lot only holds 16 vehicles, they prepare enough product for the day (often running out before closing), and the meat on the lunch plates is satisfying but definitely not American sized portions.

For groups of four or more, ordering sides by the container and meats by the pound are their suggested value option. Visiting with only two people, we decided to each get a lunch plate, which allows you to choose from one ($15), two ($20), or three ($25) meats, all arriving with two sides.


Two pieces of lean brisket and baby back ribs are freshly cut and placed on my tray. Is that it? It’ll be gone like that, there’s no way I can share! I thought.  One bite into the succulent smoked rib, as it melted into my mouth, had me wondering if it’d be inappropriate to suck every ounce of sauce and meat off the bone in a public forum. That baby back rib was the best I’ve ever had, which made it SO difficult to share the other.


Even their brisket impressed, although eat it first and quickly. The initial bites of the tender cut were surprisingly moist for what can sometimes be dry and crumbly. Liberal amounts of dry rub melded into the beef so that it forms a beautiful smoke ring and creates a flavourful brisket – sauce be damned. But, once left for 10 minutes and starts getting cold, the meat becomes noticeably drier so that some of the thin tangy sweet barbeque sauce is required.


If you don’t mind the cholesterol, ask for the fattier cut of brisket instead. Having portions of my husband’s, this definitely stayed succulent to the end. While there are some blubbery areas, the fat is soft and simply breaks apart to combine with the beef.


The slice of white bread, mild thinly shaved white onions, and crispy dill pickles went perfectly with the pulled pork allowing us to make our own sandwich. Of all the meats, it arrives in the largest portion, a good baseball size that definitely gave us our fill. Salty, smoky, and having a light pork flavour, it made for a satisfying last bite.     

There are plenty of sides to choose from and after looking through the station the kale Caesar and cornbread were the things that stood out. Other options include coleslaw, potato salad, macaroni salad, fancy pickles, beans, and loaded potatoes (available weekend only).


Kale is kale, but the cornbread is king. Moist, cakey, and just slightly sweet, it almost felt like a dessert to end the barbeque. Plus, it’s a side that’s perfect for wrapping to go (even without the Texas size portions a lunch plate is difficult to finish) and tastes great the next day.

I get the love and why people line up early for a taste of Adamson Barbecue, it really is that good. To be fair, I have yet to visit Texas to sample the smoked meats of the South, but really how much better can it get?

While most people rave about their brisket, the baby back ribs is what earned the golden star for me. Adamson does it low and slow in a wood burning oven and keeps everything warmed until it is cut-to-order. With barbeque this good, I’ll stay out of the states just a little longer.

Overall mark - 9 out of 10


How To Find Them
 Location: Toronto, Canada
 Address: 176 Wicksteed Avenue

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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!

Other Gastro World posts similar to this:



Adamson Barbecue Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Get ready, Craft Beer Market opens on December 6! #GrandOpening


It’s not often the most photographed item from a craft beer restaurant are the pipes. Yet, one look on Instagram’s geotagging of Craft Beer Market and you’ll see more than your fair share of these gleaming silver contraptions. There’s a Willy Wonka factory feel to the place, except instead of transporting melted chocolate these metal pipes move cold brew from the keg room to bars on both levels.


I can understand the need for the high tech setting: with over 150 beers on tap, who would want to be responsible for lugging the heavy brew to the bars? There wouldn’t even be enough real estate at the bars to hold all the kegs. This is what it takes to offer the largest selection of craft beers in Ontario.

Making my way through a few brews, Old Tomorrow’s Light’er Up lager ($6.75) helped quench my thirst and prepare my taste buds for more beer.


There was plenty of drinks to be had at Craft Beer Market’s opening event. Collective Arts Brewing brought in ten beautifully designed cans, perfect for those who want something beautiful to behold other than a frothy cap. Their Lunch Money brew also reminded me of the lovely summer months. Meanwhile, Barrie’s Flying Monkeys served up a delicious crisp Antigravity concoction that really helped cut the saucy food.


If you’re into something different, choose from their “anomalies” section, the tangy Bandit Wizard of Gose ($6.75) had a lovely sour taste that finishes savoury that paired oh so well with the freshly shucked oysters. While these mollusks aren’t served on their normal menu, they can be ordered for larger functions - make sure to ask for the tasty jalapeño mignonette.


In fact, it’s all these crisp light beers that pairs well with the Ocean Wise seafood dishes on their menu: the Baja fish tacos ($14.50 for three) are grilled to alleviate any fried-food guilt (to allow for another beer, of course) and packed with tons of cabbage slaw. Meanwhile, the Hawaiian Ahi poke ($16) incorporated tons of tuna, but could use more garlic and sesame soya vinaigrette.


I can tell already the BBQ beer can chicken sliders ($14.50) will be a popular pick for a small bite amongst the after work drinks crowd. While it’s a typical slider, the house made BBQ sauce isn’t too sweet and the meat isn’t too oversaturated so you can actually eat the sandwich cleanly. 


The gaucho chicken flatbread ($17) has a light heat from the jalapeños and chipotle aioli. Unlike some of the other beer market type restaurants that tend to over season their foods (possibly to encourage more drinking), Craft Beer Market’s dishes are less salty with flavours stemming from the spices and ingredients incorporated into the food.


Thankfully, there seemed to be an endless supply of the Maui ribs ($14); I had more than my fair share. Glazed in a black garlic miso BBQ sauce, it’s an interesting savoury flavour, the coating in between a sticky glaze and dry rub. Paired with a stout beer, the ribs would make for a great hearty meal.


Craft Beer Market will be opened soon – December 6, right in time for all the holiday parties. For beer lovers, this restaurant is one you don’t want to miss. You can also join their CRAFT Club, where aside from getting exclusive access to special events you can also rate and share beers with their likeminded community. After downing 100 different ones, they’ll emblazon your name on a keg on their Alumni Wall. As if you need another reason to drink.


How To Find Them
 Location: Toronto, Canada
 Address: 1 Adelaide Street East

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CRAFT Beer Market Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Door FiftyFive (Mississauga)


I wouldn’t call Door FiftyFive a speakeasy as their flashy sign and large frontage isn’t exactly discrete. Still, inside the bar, the dark environment and caged whisky selection excites your senses to want a drink … or two … or five. Without a host at the door, feel free to find an available table and even though their website notes they don’t take reservations, plenty of the larger tables were held so try calling if your party is six plus.


The boss platter ($60) was an easy decision and despite noting it serves two, this dish featuring a selection of meats can easily satisfy four.


The menu explains that Door FiftyFive’s offerings are Southern comfort food incorporating Mediterranean spices and uses a combination of cherry and maple wood chips to smoke meats for hours. Truthfully, I couldn’t decipher the Mediterranean twist and the smoking properties were light (you won’t experience thick barque rings). Nonetheless, the pork ribs smelled intoxicating and were good. A thin layer of tangy North Carolina style BBQ sauce tops them, there’s extra on the side if you need more.

While the brisket has an unappetizing looking layer of fat in the middle, it does make for a succulent piece of meat. The rub could be stronger as the meat itself was rather bland. Not being a huge fan of vinegar based BBQ sauces, I used the pesto type one instead and that also didn’t quite work with the brisket. It did however go nicely with the beef short ribs, cutting against the greasiness; they were tender and nicely cooked.

The fried chicken was surprisingly juicy for being pieces of boneless white meat. The breading was a tad thick, resulting in certain bites that had no chicken and could be salty yet provided tons of crunch. Gravy accompanied the platter but I found the fried chicken flavourful enough on its own.

A score of other items were included in the boss: a rich lean boar smoked sausage, nachos with a fantastic thick zesty chilli, crunchy pickled vegetables, not overly creamy Southern coleslaw and thyme fries (a potato and sweet potato mix). All delicious and provided crunchy, sour and bright contrasts against the heavier meats.

There was one thing missing that we wanted … mac ‘n’ cheese! So, a side of return of the Mack ($9) was required, chocked full of large chunks of maple boar bacon with a Tex Mex cheese base so it had a hint of spiciness. The dish is rather saucy and covered with a thick layer of gooey cheddar so best for sharing.


Door FiftyFive certainly caters to drinkers; they have everything to do with liberations that your heart desires. The selection of cocktails can take a while to make, but all things further than a simple cranberry vodka does. The botanical bliss ($14) sounded delicious with its gin base flavoured with elderflower liqueur, lavender bitters, lemon, Prosecco and syrup. Overall, I liked that it wasn’t sweet and refreshing, but found the mint sprig overpowering (the bits of crush mint were enough) as its infusion ended up overpowering the botanical properties, which are typically strong flavours in their own.

If you prefer alcohol neat, the bar has a selection of bourbon and whiskey flights and of course beer as well. And if waiting to get a beer sounds taxing, try securing one of the tables with its own tap – simply provide the restaurant with your credit card and keep filling to your heart’s content (you’ll be charged based on the amount dispensed).

Whether you want to drink like a Boss or eat like one, if you’re in the Port Credit area, Door FiftyFive is an interesting place to check out. 

Overall mark - 7 out of 10


How To Find Them
 Location: Mississauga, Canada
 Address: 55 Lakeshore Road East

Follow me on twitter to chat, be notified about new posts and more - https://twitter.com/GastroWorldBlog
____________________________
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!

Other Gastro World posts similar to this:


Door FiftyFive Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato


Liholiho Yacht Club (San Francisco)

Liholiho Yacht Club


If you don’t have a reservation at Liholiho Yacht Club, go as soon as they open or risk standing to eat, which is exactly how I experienced the restaurant. Two thirds of the tables are for reservations, but a third and the bar area is opened to walk-ins. However, instead of taking down your name and managing the bar area, you’re instructed to stand behind people and grab a seat when you can find one. Not only did I feel awkward, but also bad for the people eating as well – having us breath down their necks.

Instead, my friend and I decided to eat at the standing bar, essentially a ledge along a wall by the door. After all, if we’re going to be standing at the bar waiting, why not just stand and eat? 

I highly recommend the tuna poke ($15.50), what a great combination of freshness, powerful flavours and crunch. It actually made me happy while eating it! Hawaiian for ‘chunk’, poke is essentially tender cubes of raw tuna served in a salad form.


At Liholiho, they toss theirs in a fragrant sesame oil and soy sauce, adding dollops of aoili for an extra richness. The soft tuna and creamy sauces contrasts against a crispy deep fried nori that’s similar to a cracker, rather than the thin slivers adorning soba. Micro greens, green onions and toasted sesame seeds cut through the oiliness of the nori; each ingredient merging well to make a fantastic dish.

Although the meat in the beef tongue steam bun ($12.50) was succulent and full of flavour, once you hit the kimchi its heat completely takes over the dish. I would have much rather have it paired with a lighter condiment (maybe a sweet coffee sauce and the existing cucumbers), something related to Liholiho’s Hawaiian flare.


Perhaps additional slices of tongue could help, to make the meat more prominent. Indeed, it would aid in holding up against the doughy naan-like bun. Covered in poppy seeds, the bun is hit or miss depending if you prefer soft pillowy bread or the contrast it provides (I rather liked the seeds). However, it’s definitely not the most date friendly ingredient… there’s so many you’re bound to get one stuck in your teeth.

The glaze on the lamb ribs ($16.25) had such a great fragrance on it, especially when combined with the spice mixture. The typical gaminess of the lamb was neutralized by the slightly sweet black vinegar based glaze …  so sticky that small pieces of crushed peanuts hold onto it.


Everything topping the ribs – almonds, dates, grapes, radish and peanuts – was too much. I understand the Chef likely wanted to provide contrasting textures and flavours against the soft ribs, but I found it started taking away from the lamb: literally burying it under a mountain of secondary ingredients.


If the curry Manila clams ($25.75) was paired with steamed rice, rather than naan, it would be even better. The soft bread was heavy and all the garlic oil on it blocked the carb from soaking up the wonderful fragrant curry sauce. A cross between tom yum and coconut curry, the sauce had tons of heat that mellows out.


With plenty of clams and loads of cubed butternut squash, the dish is rather substantial and heavy – something I didn’t expect from clams. Luckily, Liholiho added some crispy snap peas into the mixture; a great choice to lighten the dish a tad.


Answering my own question of why would anyone just not stand and eat? Well, it makes any meal feel excruciatingly long. Although we were only there for about an hour, I was starting to get stiff and fidgety. Even though I really wanted to try their baked Hawaii for dessert, there was no chance of waiting another 20 minutes.

As much as I’d like to say what matters for a restaurant is their food, your surroundings while having the meal really makes a difference. So, despite the food being inventive and delicious, one can only be so impressed when you back is sore and balancing a napkin on your knee. Therefore, heed my warning: get a reservation – if you can’t, make sure you go as soon as they open.  

Overall mark - 7 out of 10


How To Find Them
 Location: San Francisco, USA
 Address: 871 Sutter Street

Follow me on twitter to chat, be notified about new posts and more - https://twitter.com/GastroWorldBlog
____________________________
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!


Liholiho Yacht Club Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato


The Smoke (Collingwood)

The Smoke Collingwood


Collingwood has a thriving restaurant scene, especially in the Blue Mountain area. During a girl’s weekend, we decided to venture away from the Mountain and try the restaurants within the town itself – the first being a BBQ joint, The Smoke, which was featured on You Gotta Eat Here.

As their name indicates, the restaurant is known for smoked foods; not only meats but also fish and bananas used in ice cream. So, it’d be a shame to visit without trying something prepared using their namesake method. The smoked BBQ wings ($12) were fantastic, so delicious that we put in a second order right afterwards. The BBQ sauce had a light tanginess to it but wasn’t too strong to mask the aromatic smokiness. The wings were grilled after being tossed in the sauce to help provide a deeper caramelized flavour.


The Smoke sampler ($29) was perfect for our first visit, allowing us to share and try the ½ rack of back ribs, 8oz of pulled pork and 6oz of beef brisket. 


At the restaurant, they cook their meats in the smoker then cry-o-vac and chill them. As dishes are ordered, the meat is revived in a sous vide water bath before being finished on the grill. This method certainly makes for a juicy and tender meat, but also dampens the strong BBQ flavour.


However, if anything is lacking in the flavour department, the bottles of sauces at the table will correct the problem. I love the fact that we didn’t have to choose when we ordered and could take our time trying all of them. Indeed, everyone had their favourites. For me I found the smokin’ hot BBQ sauce great with the ribs, the smoky sweet BBQ sauce with the brisket the slightly vinegary Carolina mustard sauce great with pulled pork.

For the sides, two orders of mac ‘n’ cheese ensured we wouldn’t have to fight over it. The penne was nice and al dante but the cheese sauce could be stronger. Maybe it’s due to the meats and sauces being so intense, the pasta’s smoked cheddar cheese sauce didn’t stand out at all.

With all the heavy meats, the leafy garden salad ($8) was a welcomed side and had a great mustard dressing. Meanwhile, their soup of the day ($9), a potato cheddar, was thick, velvety and flavourful.


The complimentary corn bread was pretty bad – horribly dry, crumbly and lacked flavour… even a pat of butter couldn’t revive it. If the recipe can’t be improved, The Smoke should consider offering another carb instead. Based on the Charleston episode of Parts Unknown, supposedly the best one to pair with BBQ is plain soft sliced bread.


But, I can overlook this small misstep … really who needs to fill up on bread when you have such amazing smoked wings?

Overall mark - 7.5 out of 10


How To Find Them
 Location: Collingwood, Canada
 Address: 498 First Street
 Website: http://thesmoke.ca/

Follow me on twitter to chat, be notified about new posts and more - https://twitter.com/GastroWorldBlog
____________________________
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!

Other Gastro World posts similar to this:



TheSmoke Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato


CLOSED: Houston Avenue Bar & Grill (Toronto)

Location: Toronto, Canada
Address: 33 Yonge Street
Website: www.yongedowntown.houstonresto.com

Type of Meal: Lunch and Dinner


Too often the restaurants in the heart of Toronto’s Financial District (Yonge to University and Wellington to Adelaide) are somewhat expensive so visits generally only involve drinks unless expense accounts are available. Houston Avenue Bar and Grill defies this stereotype by offering reasonably priced mains despite its location and “trendy” environment.

On a recent visit, I tried the half-rack of ribs ($16) which were the expected fall-of-the-bone tender and well glazed with BBQ sauce.  Indeed, it wasn’t smoked beforehand (on account on the missing smoke ring and barque), but it was decent quality and quite a substantial portion for a half rack. The coleslaw was vinegar based like I enjoy but still a bit too heavy on the sugar for my taste.  The shoe string fries, although not house-made, were satisfying arriving hot, crispy and well-seasoned.


Previously, I visited during lunch where they have a 2-course special, the steak frites ($21) I ordered included a salad to start.  For the price, I was pleasantly surprised with the quality; it was tender, cooked well and a good portion.  A red wine sauce added some flavour and the fries were the same as what accompanied the ribs.

My suggestion if you do visit is to stick with beef – think steak and ribs.  My co-worker ordered the chili lime glazed chicken ($19) and it was dry and overcooked. Additionally, despite asking if the chicken was breaded and being told no that it was only lightly “dusted” with flour; the poultry arrived with a pretty thick coating.  I recall the flavour was decent – hint of spicy, ginger and citrus and wouldn’t have been so horrible if it weren’t so tough. 


Unlike some restaurants, I’ve found Houston is usually accommodating with large group reservations and last minute changes.  If you’re visiting on a Thursday or Friday after 4pm, service can be slow as they tend to be a popular after-work drinks location. Overall, Houston isn’t the most delicious restaurant, but is a reasonably priced choice if you’re looking for somewhere to eat in the Financial District. 

Overall mark - 7 out of 10



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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!

Houston Steaks & Ribs on Urbanspoon

Real Sports Bar & Grill (Toronto)

Location: Toronto, Canada
Address: 15 York Street
Website: http://www.realsports.ca/BarAndGrill/Toronto/
Type of Meal: Dinner and Lunch



Real Sports is like any sports bar except more over the top. Yes they have a dining area, but it’s over two floors and 2400 square feet situated beside a sports fanatic location – the Air Canada Centre.  Their second floor is reserved for private parties but is great for large events with lots of seating, its own bar and even a golf simulator.  Sure they have food and drinks, but the menu is extensive and arrives in a bounded leather book. Of course there are television screens, but there are almost 200 of them and one is the largest you’ll find within a North American restaurant.  Real Sports is a sports bar first and foremost; but, is also a tourist destination to experience at least once.

For those of us based in Toronto, we're lucky that it's conveniently located and actually offers decent food. After having many meals here, I thought I'd share a few of the dishes I like most. Real Sports serves the same menu for lunch and dinner so you can easily order these whenever. 
My new go to dish I’ve recently discovered is the lettuce burger ($14.99).  The dish is just like their normal charbroiled beef burger, except instead of a bun, the patty is wrapped in layers of crunchy iceberg lettuce. Topped with tomatoes and a delicious tzatziki sauce, it's a delicious alternative and makes you feel less guilty about having the basket of fries accompanying it. The meat itself is a bit dry, likely due to Real Sports using a leaner cut of meat and cooking it to the normal well done Canadian standards (Americans, you’ll find this burger over done).
When first reading their menu, bragging about their chicken wings being top rated in Toronto, I had my doubts. But, after you try their wings, you know they can hold their claim.  I tried the sweet Thai chili ($14.99 for 1lb), Chef Tony’s speciality, and admit they are the best I’ve had in Toronto.  The wings were a great jumbo size; the worst are scrawny wings consisting of skins and bones and little meat. Although crispy on the outside, the meat is tender and juicy on the inside without tasting overly fatty.  Additionally, they are coated with the perfect amount of sauce for my tastes – just enough to cover the wing without making it soggy and pooling at the bottom of the plate.

Lastly, if you are feeling hungry then go for their ribs. But, even the only go with the "not so hungry" portion ($18.99) which is already huge. I can't imagine how big their "hungry" ($26.99) size would be! The “not so hungry” portion consists of six ribs and a large portion of fries. The ribs were tender and easily pulled off the bone, yet still tasted like pork thanks to it being slowly braised. However, it lacked the smokiness and barque from a barbecue and smoker that true rib experts would like; nonetheless, they were still tasty.  


Normally, the dish arrives with coleslaw; not being a creamy coleslaw fan I asked if they could substitute it with vegetables. They agreed and came out with a side dish of boiled carrots and broccolini which were crisp and savoury. I just wished the waitress would have warned me about the $5 supplement, which I would have still paid, but believe pricing transparency is important for a restaurant.  
Anyone who knows me probably has heard about my love affair with fries.  Real Sports fries are concocted from real potatoes but are inconsistent given its likely made in large quantities.  When you get them freshly made they are amazing, but when your basket is filled with an old batch they arrive lukewarm and slightly hard.  It’s really hard to know when you’ll get a good batch, but my one bad experience occurred during a visit right at the start of the lunch hour (noon); perhaps they start preparing them earlier in the day?
Some reviews have complained about the service at Real Sports.  Having visited the restaurant numerous times, I have personally never been ignored at the door or have waited a long time for service.  Although no one has been outrageously memorable, the service has always been friendly and efficient.  Of course, during key game times (like playoff season) Real Sports does get busy and once have been turned away at the door due to the long wait times, but this really isn’t the restaurant’s fault.
Real Sports price points are 10-20% higher compared to other pubs, but I find their comfortable environment and food quality worth it.  If you’re planning a visit to downtown Toronto you should try it at least once, just to see the television screen if anything.


Overall mark - 8 out of 10

Like the blog?  You can now follow me on twitter for notifications - https://twitter.com/GastroWorldBlog

____________________________
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!


Real Sports Bar & Grill on Urbanspoon