Adamson Barbeque (Toronto) for delivery

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

Right off the bat I’ll pre-empt the emails by saying – yes, I have heard about all the anti-masking antics and how the owner ignored city regulations and allowed customers to continue to dine in their restaurant. Does this bother me? A little, as I do believe there are a group of vulnerable people living in our society that needs us to sacrifice our freedoms to protect them.

Does it mean I won’t ever eat at Adamson Barbeque again? No. This pandemic has been a trying time for many people, especially for small businesses that are employing others who are trying to survive. How people react to stress can differ – fight, flight, or freeze. Adam Skelly, the owner of Adamson Barbecue, responded with fight. And in any fight, there are oppositions. I, for one, am staying neutral in this battle. Perhaps for the simple fact that Adamson makes damn good barbeque. At a level I’ve yet to find readily available in my neighbourhood.

I challenge you to think otherwise once you’ve had one of their pork spareribs ($20/lb; 4 large-sized ribs). Why so many restaurants use baby back ribs is beyond me. Sure, the order may look impressive with a half rack or the full thing, but I’m one for quality over quantity. I’d much rather have four AMAZING juicy ribs than ten okay ones any day.

What makes this cut particularly suited for barbeque is that there’s a layer of fat that runs throughout the meat. Think of it as the marbling you find with rib eye. And that layer of fat keeps everything juicy while it’s being cooked so the ribs develop a lovely smoke ring while being tender. And it doesn’t fall off the bone, so that you can eat it off the bone. For me, that’s all part of the enjoyment of having ribs. A greasy rib followed by some of the crispy pickles and I’m a happy camper. We’re definitely getting two pounds of this next time.

Another characteristic of an Adamson product is the absence of powerful sauces. The ribs aren’t slathered in a sticky sauce; there is a bit of a glaze and an underlying garlicky rub, but it’s not in your face. Yet somehow, it’s just enough seasoning to make it work.

Even their pulled pork ($16/lb; enough for 3 really stuffed sandwiches) isn’t drenched in sauce. Instead, the portion is wrapped in butcher’s paper, so all the delicious juices are kept inside and when opened releases the most heavenly smell into the room. The pork arrives in large chunks enhanced with a light tangy vinegar so you can easily eat forkfuls plain.

Or you can wrap them in the delicious white bread that comes with the order. I swear there must be some dairy product used in the dough - I wish I could order it by the loaf. Top with some of the thinly sliced pickled onions and it’s fantastic.

We usually have a couple forkfuls of the pulled pork fresh on delivery day, then let it steep in its juices and intensify overnight to make delicious sandwiches the following day. The leftover pork reheats nicely in the pan with some barbeque sauce thrown in to keep it moist.

I’m still not sold that I actually enjoy beef brisket ($30/lb; ~7 slices), my husband informs me that I likely just don’t like first cut portion of the meat. It’s the cut that you think of when you picture brisket – uniform rectangular slices of beef. It also happens to be the leanest portion so that it’s flavourful but seems dry, especially after having a pork rib to start. Next time, we’re going to see if we can get slices from the point cut, which happens to have more marbling.

Nonetheless, brisket does make for good leftovers – our third dinner from this meaty weekend feast. Re-heating it with sauce for about four hours in the slow cooker really breaks up the remaining beef fibers.    

While we had every intention of getting the corn bread ($20 for 8 pieces) and freezing half to enjoy later. We somehow consumed the entire batch within five days – they make for a great snack or even dessert after a quick nuke in the microwave to get them soft again. Wow is Adamson’s corn bread good.

Out of all the media-fueled frenzy, Adamson Barbeque has been temporarily shutdown from doing takeout and has pivoted to catering instead. It’s a boon for barbeque fans across the GTA, we can now get fantastic barbeque (and more) delivered to our homes on weekends. And as for all the haters: keep calm and eat barbeque.

Overall mark - 9 out of 10


How To Find Them
 Location: Toronto, Canada
 Address: Various locations
 Delivery: store delivery

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 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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Piazzetta Trattoria (Toronto) for delivery


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

During a cold evening, my husband and I love dining at Piazzetta Trattoria. The heat from their wood-burning pizza oven is like a welcoming hug as you enter the door, as the smells of bread, melting cheese, and marinara mingles in the air. It’s such a comforting environment … the staff’s friendly greeting and you’re seated with a basket of warm bread in front of you in no time.

Piazzetta’s pizza boxes are emblazoned with a picture of that front door, but as I lift the cover, I’m waiting for the blast of intoxicating heat like entering the front door, sadly it isn’t there. It’s an experience that’s difficult to replicate with delivery.

We are delighted by the containers of jalapeno and habanero hot sauces that arrive with the pizzas. These tarte and slightly spicy sauces, the consistency of chutney, is the reason we order pizza from Piazzetta. So much so, that we even added jar of the jalapeno sauce ($8.99) for home use – these are great on tacos/quesadillas as well.  

The pizza’s crust seems even thinner than what you’d find dining in, to the point it becomes too crispy, losing that slight chewiness, and morphs into a flatbread. Yet, they still load on the toppings: the pizza Bolognese ($19) covered with plenty of ground beef and mozzarella, both not overly salty so that it doesn’t overwhelm the thin crust.

An interesting dilemma arises with whether there’s enough tomato sauce on a pizza that’s considered Bolognese. I felt there wasn’t enough, the pizza tasting more like a burger than a lovely ragu. Yet, I appreciated that the crust wasn’t soggy… perhaps a few dollops of sauce over the beef, after the pizza is cooked, could create something that’s the best of both worlds?

The cheese that was strongest in the quattro formaggi ($19) was the gorgonzola, although you could tell there was plenty of mozzarella and fior di latte included as well, given the cheese formed a layer that was equally as thick as the crust. Consider pre-heating the oven when the delivery is on its way, as this pizza really benefits from a quick broil to melt the cheese and toast the parmigiano so you’ll get a lovely cheesy aroma.

The burrata ($18 for one person) is always a great add-on. Despite the menu noting the smaller serving is for one, the tennis ball sized sphere of cheese easily feeds two as an appetizer and arrives simply on thick tomato slices topped with plenty of basil and olive oil.

Really any of their appetizers can easily satisfy 2-3 people or work as a main for one person. The fritto misto ($18 for one person) is an array of deep-fried calamari rings, chunks of white fish, headless sardines, and shrimp. Being lightly coated in flour the starter isn’t overly heavy, but given the coating is light it could use a sprinkling of salt after being fried to allow it to be eaten solo without the marinara dipping sauce.  

While Piazzetta’s insalata di Cesare ($12) looks like it’s hardly dressed, you can certainly taste the savoury Caesar dressing that has a nice balance of acidity. Incidentally, that freshness was a perfect complement for the fritto misto, toning down the fried affair.

Two popular mains that I see ordered all the time at Piazzetta is their lasagna al forno ($20) and the pollo alla limone ($25). At the restaurant, the lasagna is baked in the pizza oven and brought bubbling to the table in the cooking dish. Of course, this isn’t possible with delivery and could be why the dish tastes less creamy as the tomato sauce doesn’t continue to cook down and combine with the cheese. It doesn’t mean the lasagna’s not delicious – the pasta is nice and silky; the tomato sauce laced with fine ground beef is uber fresh and the dish incorporates enough cheese to satisfy – it just doesn’t seem as decadent.

I was a little worried the lemon chicken (or pollo alla limone) would be too citrusy, but my fears were abated. The combination of white wine, olive oil, and lemon was well composed, and the chicken breast incorporated a bit of flour to allow the runny sauce to stick on without saturating the meat. After the heavier starters, this gentler main with sauteed vegetables and creamy roasted potatoes was the perfect progression.

Having had dinner delivered on two occasions, the heartier mains like pasta and chicken definitely travelled better than the thinner pizzas. The tin foil containers really help retain the heat and are also great for storing leftovers and reheating in the oven. And trust me, with Piazzetta’s portions you’ll have something available the next day, the perfect excuse to not cook again, because I don’t know about you, but I’m getting tired of cooking. 

Overall mark - 7.5 out of 10


How To Find Them
 Location: Toronto, Canada
 Address: 3441 Yonge Street
 Delivery: Uber, Doordash, Skip the Dishes
Referral Discount Codes
 Support the blog by using my referral code
 UberEats: use eats-ju6ta to get $5 off a $15 order 
 SkipTheDishes: click link to get $5 off a $15 order
 DoorDash: click link to get $20 off

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 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!


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Cafe Landwer (Toronto) for delivery

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

There are some dishes that do better as takeout than others and sadly the items from Café Landwer are best eaten at the restaurant. Landwer recognizes this fact, as their menu has morphed to include more travel-friendly offerings like sandwiches, pastas, and pizza. Luckily, it’s always been an eclectic mix of ethnicities and choices, so these new additions don’t seem out of place.

The sinia kebab ($19) was almost like a hearty pizza anyways, a base of their soft chewy pita that’s slathered with tahini and then topped with a full charbroiled eggplant, large hunks of roasted tomato and red onion, and chickpeas for added texture. Of course, there’s cubes of the namesake beef kebab topping everything - they a bit tougher, but still has the nice balance of spices and flavours. It’s something the rest of the flatbread ingredients lack, relying merely on the tahini, which isn’t powerful enough to flavour the dish. It’s something a crack of salt and pepper at home helps to improve.

With all the juicy vegetable toppings on the flatbread, it does get soggy in the middle. Do yourself a favour and cut it into quarters and give it 8-10 minutes in a hot oven. This really helps make the flatbread handle better and gives the ingredients a chance to heat up. If you’re hungry, just start with the chopped salad it comes with to tide you over (another thing a crack of salt doesn’t hurt).

In fact, 6-8 minutes in the oven is what all their pizzas need. It does melt the cheese on the burrata pizza ($16.95) so that it pools out over everything, but cold tomato sauce isn’t really my thing. Next time, I’m going to remove the cheese from the pie before reheating and add it back afterwards. It’s a dish we’ll certainly re-order - a simple pizza like a margherita but creamier and more decadent thanks to the burrata.  

Even Café Landwer felt something was amiss with the feta and eggplant pizza ($18.95) as I now see it’s been removed, and the feta’s been swapped with mascarpone cheese instead. It’s true, the big cubes of soft feta cheese were a bit jarring to have in one bite and should have been cut into smaller pieces; a spreadable mascarpone would be much easier to combine with everything.

Let’s hope the replacement also takes the black olives and cuts them down a bit. Indeed, Café Landwer doesn’t skimp on ingredients, but adding so many olives simply overpowered everything, including the delicate roasted eggplant. In my mind a ratio of 40% eggplant, 40% cheese, and 20% olives would work the best.

It might seem strange to order a burger ($18) from the restaurant – my poor husband, who must get a weeknight burger from Café Landwer, just so there’s vegetarian options for my flexitarian diet. Needless to say, I didn’t try it. He notes that while the bun could be refresher, the burger isn’t bad. It not as good as a gourmet burger found elsewhere but does remind him of the ones you used to get in the 80s/90s at neighbourhood joints.

In fact, one bite of the fries accompanying the burger and I get what he means. They’re likely the mass frozen variety, but I’m transported back to Van Horne plaza where I’d tuck into an order of these same flour laced spuds at the fish & chips place. Strangely, these lukewarm not fully crispy fries were what we spoke about the most and finished completely. The taste of nostalgia.

If all else fails, the chicken shawarma hummus ($16) is always a safe bet. It’s perhaps a tad waterier than having it at the restaurant, but the chickpea base is just as smooth and luscious and there’s just as many tender pieces of chicken on top. The tightly wrapped flatbread is perhaps the hottest thing in the order and perfect for ripping apart and tucking into while waiting for the other items to reheat.

Like most people, I can’t wait until we can eat out at restaurants again – spring patios, please arrive soon! Café Landwer’s outdoor dining is where you’ll find me, tucking into dishes like the shaksuka that definitely isn’t made for delivery. Until then, kudos to Café Landwer for hustling and creating new options to weather the COVID takeout needs. While it doesn’t live up to your regular menu, I appreciate the tenacity. 

Overall mark - 7 out of 10


How To Find Them
 Location: Toronto, Canada
 Address: Various locations
 Delivery: Uber and Skip the Dishes
Referral Discount Codes
 Support the blog by using my referral code
 UberEats: use eats-ju6ta to get $5 off a $15 order 
 SkipTheDishes: click link to get $5 off a $15 order
 

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 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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Kinton Ramen (Toronto) for delivery

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

Over February, exclusive 3-course and group specials have made its way onto Kinton Ramen’s menu, just in time to warm us up in this cold weather. The meal for two ($27.99) arrives with two ramen, an order of gyoza, and pop that can be upgraded to beer ($2 a can) – you bet we did the upgrade. I would have liked the ability to choose/upgrade the side dish as the citrusy sweet glaze slathered on the gyoza ($4.50 by itself) is not for me. In general, Kinton’s dumplings aren’t the greatest; after scraping off the sauce what’s left is bland, the filling lacking texture and flavour.

In the mood for some heat, the pork spicy garlic ramen ($12.95 for just the noodles) certainly hit the spot – right to the back of the throat as you sip the flavourful fragrant broth. The thick noodles went perfectly with it and stayed chewy despite not being consumed right away.

In hindsight, the ramen could have used some extra toppings as the base was nothing more than just the garlic, a few slices of pork, and a sprinkling of scallion. I would have like something crunchy, like bean sprouts, and a mound of sweet corn to balance out the spice. Note to self: add-ons are key.

My husband was on the right track elevating his bowl with the karaage pork original (additional $3.50 with the combo; $16.45 for just the noodles). I assumed it would be a soggy bust, but the four thick pieces of crispy pork still had a bit of crunch and was oh so juicy. Even as it sat in the broth and the batter soaked in the creamy pork soup, it still tasted good. Way to go Kinton, this karaage ramen is delicious!

Overall, we were just impressed with how well the ramen held up with delivery. After re-heating the broth (a key step for enjoying ramen at home) and placing everything into a glass bowl, it tasted like we were right there in the restaurant - sitting at a high top or the bar and tucking into the hot noodles with a buzz around us. I sense this will become a favourite of ours during the winter, something to keep us warm and cozy.

Overall mark - 8 out of 10


How To Find Them
 Location: Toronto, Canada
 Address: Various locations
 Delivery: Uber, Doordash, Skip the Dishes
Referral Discount Codes
 Support the blog by using my referral code
 UberEats: use eats-ju6ta to get $5 off a $15 order 
 SkipTheDishes: click link to get $5 off a $15 order
 DoorDash: click link to get $20 off

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 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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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
 Support the blog by using my referral code
 UberEats: use eats-ju6ta to get $5 off a $15 order 
 DoorDash: click link to get $20 off

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 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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East Court & Mike's BBQ (Toronto) 怡東燒臘 for takeout


When one thinks of barbeque, images of burgers and hot dogs may come to a North American mind. Across the world, it means so much more. Such as, fragrant jerk chicken or spit-fired whole hogs. Since a young age, I’ve associated barbeque with siu mei, which translates from Cantonese as ‘roasted ends’, an odd description as in reality the animals are prepared and presented in it’s whole form.

Walk inside an establishment like East Court and Mike’s BBQ and you’ll see glistening roasted carcasses hanging from a stainless-steel wall. It’s a sobering moment that reminds you of what you’re eating. If you’re a vegetarian, wait in the car.

Chinese barbeque pork or cha shiu ($8.99 per lb) is probably the most widely known form of siu mei and is the dish I loved as a child. The easiest to eat, since there are no bones, it’s flavoured with a youth-friendly slightly sweet glaze, it’s the dish I must try at every shop.

Requesting a "half fat half lean" piece, the cut is a little oily when eaten on its own, but once mixed with hot rice, is oh so delicious as the fat melts into the grains. Plus, the roasted pork is much moister. I enjoyed East Court’s thicker cuts – when you place a slice in your mouth, you get a lovely meaty bite that's a bit like steak. Their glaze has a balanced sweetness and was applied generously but not so thick that it tastes like it's dipped in corn syrup.

The roasted duck ($11 for half) was cut nicely, each piece roughly the same thickness and so deftly prepared that it easily reforms the animal’s shape in the container. This was also nicely marinated, so it didn’t require plum sauce, the duck juices enough to satisfy providing a wonderful savoury star anise taste.

For a smaller portion of fowl, their barbeque chicken legs ($3 each; two shown in the picture) is a great add on. These are glazed with a thinner version of the cha shiu sauce giving it a little bit of sweetness. Of course, the ginger and green onion oil will completely change the flavours of the dish and is such a great condiment with chicken.  

East Court and Mike’s BBQ is an example of why you should purchase siu mei from a professional roaster and not just some Asian supermarket: the flavours are well-rounded so the meats can be enjoyed solo without any condiments, never too sweet or salty so that it overpowers the protein; and items are cut with a uniform thickness so that each piece is the perfect bite-sized morsel.

Next time you’re in the mood for “barbeque” expand the definition and look beyond burgers and ribs. Check out a siu mei restaurant for a different spin. Plus, professional roasters are set-up as take-out only shops, which bodes well with our current COVID dining restrictions.

Overall mark - 8 out of 10


How To Find Them
 Location: Toronto, Canada
 Address: 4400 Sheppard Avenue 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!

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Urban Acorn Catering's Virtual Supper Club (Toronto)

Since the pandemic began, I’ve been curious about virtual supper clubs – how do they work, is it awkward eating in front of a computer with a bunch of strangers, do they drag on and on given you’re relying on people to make their own meals?

In January, an amazing opportunity presented itself, while trying to plan a safe way to celebrate a friend’s birthday. Given she had dietary restrictions and we all lived in different areas of the city, finding a restaurant to all order from would be impossible. That’s when I heard about Urban Acorn Catering’s vegan supper club ($50 per meal; $10 per order for delivery), and as luck would have it, there was going to be a session on my friend’s birthday!

The night would be in celebration of Haiti’s independence, to mark the occasion when the country fought against the French to win their freedom in 1984. At this point, my knowledge of Haiti and its cuisine was limited, which made the meal even more exciting – I love to try new things.

It was a simple ordering process with the meals getting delivered the morning/afternoon of the dinner with detailed preparation instructions. It was simple: each dish either re-heated in the oven, in a pot, or eaten straight out of the container. The only thing you need is a timer to make sure things don’t burn.

And it all began with the black bean and malanga accra – a fluffy fritter made vegan by using black beans instead of the typical white fish. On its own, the accra would be rather plain, but once it was garnished with the red pepper ti malice sauce and topped with the oh so yummy pikliz (imagine a really refreshing non-creamy coleslaw) the starter shone. The dish even arrived with these ultra thin double fried plantain chips, the best I’ve ever had. Urban Acorn needs to sell these by the bag for snacking!

I loved hearing the story about the soup joumou, the dish that’s almost always served as part of the celebration. What does a hearty squash and vegetable soup filled with creamy pinto beans and tons of pasta have to do with Haitian independence? Marie explains that joumou was something slaves had to made for their owners and could never eat. So, when they won their freedom, they were finally able to eat the dish they used to slave away making. It made every clove incensed spoon taste even better.

Maybe Marie was onto something when the email noted the soup could be frozen for later. After having the first two courses, I was getting full. Nonetheless, I soldiered on with the Haitian griot, traditionally a deep-fried pork shoulder, but Urban Acorn recreating its essence as fried beet “pillows”. They were airy and delicate, the beet and rice flour pocket a little chewy with a slightly crispy skin.

These sat on diri ak pwa, a rice and beans medley mixed with herbs and bits of crispy vegetables, which were a great contrast against the softer griot. I only wish the rice were even “wetter” and had more seasoning. Perhaps it was kept neutral to not overpower the delicate beet flavours?

Thankfully, the slice of pain patate wasn’t overly large, the sweet potato rum cake rather refreshing since there was plenty of pineapple incorporated into the batter. The dessert could have used more rum but was nevertheless delicious – like a tropical pumpkin pie topped with coconut cream.

My first virtual supper club was a success. It felt a little awkward at first, but after the first course and a bit of wine, people seemed to loosen up and talk more. Somehow between the eating and having dishes explained to us, the conversation flowed without interruption and it seemed almost normal.

Guests were sometimes a little bit early or behind with each course, but it didn’t matter, you couldn’t really tell what everyone was eating anyways. And since people were serving themselves, it allowed the meal to proceed in a well-timed manner so something that normally could have lasted three hours was thankfully shortened for the Sunday evening affair.

The virtual setting also allowed us to customize the experience: we joined the group until our mains were done then left and started our own Zoom meeting to get a chance to celebrate and catch up over dessert. Under normal conditions, it would be rude to all get up from the table and move into a corner.

Still, we all agreed that we’d love to experience the supper club in-person one day. Even though we learned a fair amount about Haiti cuisine and the day of celebration, it would have been nice to be able to have a private conversation with other guests to get to know them better – this is where Zoom breakout groups could work well. Until then, I look forward to trying another virtual supper club. It’s a great experience to make the most of our time in lock down. 

Overall mark - 7 out of 10


How To Find Them
 Location: Toronto, Canada
 Delivery: store delivery

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 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!


The Sushi Bar (Toronto) for delivery

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

Having had delivery at least weekly since the start of the lockdown, my first encounter with a messed-up order is with The Sushi Bar. Seafood was what we were craving so we settled on four maki and two grilled fish items. Unfortunately, the more substantial hot items didn’t arrive; what a let down when you’re looking forward to grilled black cod and hamachi kama.

At least the rolls were decent. Sushi Bar’s spicy tuna ($7) was stuffed with big chunks of fish, rather than a pulverized paste. If the sauce were spicier and the cucumber cut julienned thinner, it would have been even better as the maki tasted a bit like cream cheese tuna with a prominent cucumber finish. The salmon tartare ($7) was closer to a traditional spicy roll, where the fish is chopped up and mixed tempura flakes and spicy mayo. I did like the bits of green onion incorporated into the mixture, which gave it a nice hit of freshness.

Of all the maki served that evening, the green dragon roll ($15) was the tastiest. It’s essentially a dynamite roll layered with salmon and topped with rice puffs, salmon roe, and green onion. While it looks like there were a lot of garnishes, everything worked together nicely in terms of textures and tastes.

Had I thought to recall my previous experiences with The Sushi Bar, I would have skipped the plain dynamite roll ($9). The shrimp is pre-cooked from earlier in the day so it’s too soft and cold for my liking. With the green dragon roll, at least it’s topped with other ingredients to hide the lacklustre centre.

Whomever packs up the purchases really needs to work on the condiment/cutlery to food ratio. Our order arrived with a full container of wasabi and ginger, but only half a container of soy sauce, an amount sufficient for one person. Luckily, we had a couple of packages left from another restaurant so that we could skimp together enough for the meal.

Surely, soy sauce would have been the cheapest thing to provide. If anything, they could save money by not providing four pairs of chopsticks with an order of four rolls, especially after a customer requests no cutlery.

Perhaps if the experience started off better, I could have overlooked the lack of soy sauce and wasted chopsticks. But, when you were really looking forward to black cod and grilled fish and it doesn’t arrive, everything after that feels disappointing  

Overall mark - 6.5 out of 10


How To Find Them
 Location: Toronto, Canada
 Address: 3365 Yonge Street
 Delivery: Uber
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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!


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