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Sanagan’s Meat Locker : takeout counter + beautiful people

26 Sep

photo courtesy of

When European Quality Meats left my Kensington market neighbourhood in favour of somewhere really far away that I will never go to (Etobicoke? maybe? I could probably look that up but… it’s just far) I felt a little betrayed.  They had been providing me with Meats of European Quality for so long, I didn’t know where to turn.

Sanagan’s moved into the space and they’re great; they offer high quality meats along with friendly and knowledgeable service.  They tend to be a little expensive for my poor ass but overall I’m glad that they’re there.

I’m particularly happy that they’ve carried on their predecessor’s tradition of having a takeout counter.  Instead of the former burgers, sausages and fries, however, theirs features rotisserie chicken, house made soups, sandwiches, salads and fries (still – of course).

So far I’ve tried the rotisserie chicken – for $13 you get a whole perfectly seasoned chicken with crispy golden skin and tender meat – and the roast beef sandwich which, at $7, comes complete with pickled red onion, arugula, horseradish, and crispy parmigiano frico on a kaiser.

It’s some tasty.

Also of note: everyone on staff at Sanagan’s seems to be unreasonably attractive.  Go for that if nothing else.

Sanagan’S Meat Locker  on Urbanspoon

don’t we all have mixed feelings about Java House / chick pea + kale soup with cinnamon

22 Aug

If you’re from Toronto and are / have been at one point young and poor you’ve probably had the… not “pleasure”… the, experience of going to Java House.  I’ve been there a lot (not recently but that’s beside the point) and I have a tumultuous relationship with the place, as I believe many do.

There are some undeniably great features – it has a huge patio just off Queen West that’s always bursting at the seams yet always has room for you somewhere, even on the most patio friendly days of summer.  The beer is cheap, like 11$ for a pitcher of half decent beer cheap, and so is the food.  One must, however, consider that the place just feels like there are cockroaches running around the kitchen and under the kegs – I’ve never had a bad experience with that but I’ve heard enough stories to be wary – it’s fairly dingy.  The service is ok-ish but under NO CIRCUMSTANCES should you try to get separate bills for your table.  Don’t. Do it.  Oh, and I mentioned that the food is cheap… it is, really really cheap.  It is not “good”.

With one exception!  There was (as I said, I haven’t been there recently so maybe it’s gone?) a tomato chick-pea soup that I believe cost about $3 a bowl.  It was not spectacular but it was really tasty.  It was especially good when, half way through an after-work session of “beer instead of dinner will be just fine”, I realize that no I need to eat at least once a day.  Probably more.

So I feel that an homage to that fine, fine soup is in order.  My soup is better.  In fact it’s unreasonably f***ing delicious, especially considering how simple it is.

makes 6 servings

chick pea + kale soup with cinnamon


  • 6 c vegetable broth
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 400 ml can diced tomatoes
  • 1/2 bunch of kale
  • 1 500ml can chick peas, drained
  • 2 tsp turmeric
  • 2 tsp dried oregano
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • olive oil
  • salt


Cut the spine out of each kale leaf.  Rinse the leaves, bunch them together and roughly chop them; you should have about 2 generous cups of chopped kale.

Heat oil in a large pot over medium heat.  Add onion and sautee until they just begin to soften.  Add garlic, turmeric and oregano along with the chick peas.  Cook, stirring constantly, until onions are translucent.  Add kale one handful at a time, stirring until it wilts.  Add tomato, broth and cinnamon stick.  Bring to a boil then reduce heat and let simmer for 10-15 minutes.

Remove cinnamon stick, add salt to taste and serve.

Java House on Urbanspoon

Porchetta & Co. : porchetta sandwich

13 Apr

Porchetta & Co.

825 Dundas St W Toronto

So they take pork shoulder.  They marinate it for a whole day.  They wrap it in prosciutto.  They wrap that in cured pork belly.  They cook it so the outside gets golden and crispy then slow roast it so it’s tender and juicy on the inside.  They carve it and put it on a soft, fresh, floury Portuguese bun with hot sauce and Kozliks’ mustard.

I can’t believe it took me so long to go get one of these!!

At $6.95 each, they’re not banh mi cheap but considering the love that goes into making that golden delicious pork it’s definitely worth it.

I got the basic porchetta with mustard and hot sauce but you have the option of adding toppings like parmesan, truffle sauce, mushrooms, rapini and more.

Porchetta & Co on Urbanspoon

Dumpling House : dumplings

30 Mar

Dumpling House

328 Spadina Ave. Toronto

The dumplings are great (as good as Mother’s Dumplings? up for debate) and inexpensive.  I do recommend going there to eat but the real deal is the frozen bags of dumplings.  They’re available in any flavour on the menu and it’s $10 for three bags of a dozen.

That’s $3.30 per bag!

That’s 27 cents per dumpling!


Get them now!!

One bag is a satisfying dinner for one.

To cook, thaw the dumplings, heat some oil over medium heat in a skillet with a lid and place them flat side down in the oil.  Let them sit until the bottoms are golden brown (about a minute) then pour 1/2 a cup of water in the pan and cover for 3-4 minutes.  Take the lid off and let any remaining water boil off.

If you don’t have time to thaw them, you can cook them straight from frozen for 8 to 10 minutes in a bamboo steamer (you can pick one up anywhere in Chinatown for $5 to $10 – definitely a worthwhile investment).

Serve the dumplings with a mixture of 1 part vinegar to 2 parts soy sauce for dipping.

Dumpling House Restaurant on Urbanspoon

toronto street food project

27 Mar

click on me

In Toronto, street food is hot dogs.

That’s it.


Because of stupid by-laws that’s why.

If you live in Toronto and you have a few seconds (you do, I know you do) click the badge at the top of the post and send an email or tweet to your councilor to let him or her know that you care about encouraging a vibrant and diverse street food culture in our city.


Ba Le : banh mi

26 Mar

Ba Le

538 Dundas St W, Toronto

Once upon a time, the French took over Vietnam and a delicious sandwich was born.

The end.

Go and order yourself a barbeque pork banh mi.  It’s delicious and filling and it costs $2.90!

From the Vietnamese you get the barbeque pork, lightly pickled shredded carrot and daikon and fresh cilantro.  From the French, garlicky mayonnaise and a fresh crusty baguette.

a kind of gross photo of my companion's partly eaten sandwich... you're welcome!

For a filling lunch that costs less than getting on a streetcar, it’s hard to beat.

Banh Mi Ba Le on Urbanspoon