When Alli and I made our reservations for Toronto several months ago, we realized that food would be a large factor in our plans. In fact this was our first vacation/trip since becoming “amateur foodies” and we couldn’t pass up the opportunity of eating food that normally wouldn’t be available in Buffalo.
So we went to Toronto on a mission: we would try not to eat anything boring and we would go out of our way to eat as much Asian cuisine from Chinatown as possible. Everything else was kind of a nice accident; aside from the first restaurant that we ate at, we didn’t really plan too much more and just walked around until we found something that caught our eye.
The day started with our only pre-destined location; something that has sort of turned into a regular visit every time I have gone to Toronto. Right next to the Hockey Hall of Fame is a restaurant located in the first floor of a corporate building called Richtree Market. Richtree is a Toronto based and Canadian exclusive chain that offers a “cafeteria” style atmosphere. All throughout the restaurant are stations that each have their own theme; you can get a burger or freshly grilled steak or some homemade pasta or try out some Asian cuisine or get some freshly made pancakes.
The food has always been pretty good and the incredible variety of fairly high quality options being prepared freshly while you wait has lead to a slightly over priced but still charming experience. After surveying all of my options, I eventually made my way over to the “Far East” section and tried out the Chicken Stir Fry (top picture). For roughly $12, I tried the spicy Thai Peanut Sauce with chicken, snow peas, baby corn, mushrooms, garlic, broccoli and a bunch of other stuff that was delicious. Really it was the Peanut Sauce that won Alli and myself over more then anything. Alli went to the “Grill” station and ordered herself a a nice juicy Burger that was covered in Bacon and Caramelized Onions. Delish.
Unfortunately, the taps were broken at the bar and I wasn’t able to try any of their microbrews. In either case, it’s a great place to head post-trip to the Hall of Fame, especially if you’re not sure what you want to eat.
After several hours of shopping, Alli and I tried to figure out what we wanted to eat for dinner. We settled on a restaurant across the street from our hotel (in all fairness our legs were pretty damn tired, and I needed a beer) and we settled on The 3 Brewers Microbrewery. After looking over the menu I realized that this was some French chain, with only a handful of locations in North America (all of which are located in Canada). I ended up getting a pint of whatever their special was for the night and enjoyed it. Thinking back I believe it was a red amber lager, and it definitely was filling and warmed me up on a particularly cold night.
After visiting Canada since turning 19 several years ago, I have (sadly) never experienced a true order of Poutine. Yes I understand that this is a Canadian staple (or at least to American’s who love it) but it has never interested me. The idea was never appetizing; even when Jim’s Steakout added it to their menu a year ago I didn’t budge. But this time around I figured I would try it out since Alli swears by it was going to order it whether I wanted it or not. Now I’m not sure if it was my insane hunger or that 3 Brewers made a really good gravy, but it was better then my expectations. Alli and I destroyed that bowl in minutes and all without forks!
Alli ordered herself the 3 Brewers Beef Stew, which had tender pieces of Beef, Potatoes, and Carrots cooked in their own beer-gravy and presented with some rice and greens. I ordered their “The Italian” Flamm, which they touted as their “Specialty”. Their Flamms or “tarte flambee” is a specialty from France which is basically “pizza-like” in its preparation, only recently becoming a popular item for restaurants to serve it resembles a thin crust pizza. At 3 Brewers their “Italian” had yellow, green and red peppers as well as Italian sausage and mozzarella cheese. While it wasn’t as “European” as I hoped, the execution was fantastic and I easily ate the entire thing by myself. There was just enough ingredients on the dish that it wasn’t heavy; you could eat an entire section and get all the flavors of the cheese, peppers, sausage and crust without feeling like you just ate a cake.
The service was pretty lackluster but the wait was actually pretty short and we sat down in less then 10 minutes (which is pretty impressive on a Friday night at 6:30 pm) but our waitress didn’t bring us drinks or forks until we were just finishing our appetizer. I understand the place was pretty busy but when asking if we could have a fork to eat our food with the response “those are kind of hard to get around here” was not the answer we were expecting.
When arriving back to the hotel we finally realized that we could indeed get free internet (thank god) in our hotel lobby and we went down t to get our facebook/twitter/perezhilton/sabres fix that we so desperately needed after 14 hours of no internet. As we sat down there we looked at the hotel’s menu and noticed some “Home made Chips with Caramelized Onion Dip” that sounded like a great 11 pm snack. So we put in an order and I enjoyed a Soparro on tap, which was fantastic. After realizing that we were sitting next to a semi-popular rock band, we also realized that this dip was fantastic and tasted like a high class, slightly creamier Bison dip. Such a simple item, yet it was so good that we ordered it again on Saturday night.
Check back tomorrow for Part 2 with our trip to Chinatown and an amazing English Pub.