Yet Another Tasty Meal at Manpuku

ManpukuLocation105 McCaul Street, Toronto
Websitehttp://www.manpuku.ca/

Does the world need yet another Manpuku post from me?  Probably not!  (This would be post number three, for those keeping count.)  Am I going to do it anyway?

Yes.  Yes I am.

I feel like I have to keep telling everyone I can about this place, because it continually impresses me with its delightful combination of tasty eats and ultra-affordable prices.

Manpuku

On this particular visit I tried the curry don, which features a heaping serving of rice topped with a generous amount of beef curry.

As with everything else here, it’s quite good.  The mild curry isn’t going to knock anyone’s socks off, but it’s rich, tasty, and abundantly satisfying.  It comes with a whole bunch of tender, thinly-shaved beef and is, unsurprisingly, an amazing deal at $6.99 (which I guess is actually kind of expensive by Manpuku’s standards).

Amazing French Street Food at Mister Frenchy

Mister FrenchieLocation: 675 Danforth Avenue, Toronto
Websitehttp://www.misterfrenchy.com/

Mister Frenchy is an unassuming restaurant on the Danforth that specializes in something called French tacos.

No, I had never heard of a French taco either.  But it’s a real thing, apparently — it’s basically a meaty, pressed wrap that was popularized in the Lyon region of France.

I think it’s safe to say that this is the only place in the city that you can try one, which is something that you should absolutely do.  It’s shockingly amazing.

Mister Frenchie

They have a variety of French tacos and baguette sandwiches on their menu; I went with the Le Lyonais French taco, which comes with “ground beef, Algerian sauce, tomatoes, onions, sweet peppers, French fries, and sauce fromagere.”

It was so good.  The wrap was perfectly pressed, giving you that perfect combo of crispy and chewy.  And the filling was pure comfort food perfection: an amazing mix of nicely spiced beef, perfectly cooked veggies, zingy sauce, and abundantly gooey cheese.

Mister Frenchie

Oh, and there are fries in there as well — I’m normally not crazy about potatoes in a sandwich/wrap, but the fries here add substance without getting in the way or calling attention to themselves.  The whole thing is ridiculously satisfying.

Alas, the fries on the side didn’t work nearly as well as the fries in the wrap.  They were undercooked, the herb mixture they were tossed in was overbearing, and the sauce on top was way too zesty to work as a dipping sauce.

Which is fine — the wrap is a perfectly satisfying meal on its own.  Plus, it’s way heavier than it looks.  It’s a bit of a gut-buster.

A Ridiculously Bad Philly Cheesesteak at Philthy Philly’s

Philthy Philly'sLocation: 960 Southdown Road, Mississauga
Websitehttp://www.philthyphillys.com/

If you’re looking for an authentic Philly cheesesteak in Toronto, I think you’re out of luck. There used to be an amazing place called I Went to Philly; their cheesesteak was dead on. Tragically, it went out of business, breaking cheesesteak-loving hearts across the GTA.

It’s not all that difficult to find a cheesesteak in the city, but it’s almost impossible to find an authentic one; most places clutter it up with extraneous toppings like peppers and mushrooms and other sauces.  A real-deal Philly cheesesteak should consist of only four things: a roll, steak, griddled onions, and Cheese Wiz (you can substitute provolone if you’re feeling fancy, but really, Wiz is where it’s at).

Philthy Philly's

So I was pretty excited to try Philthy Philly’s — they have a ton of stuff on their menu, including a whole bunch of optional toppings, but if you want it, you can get a cheesesteak the way it’s supposed to be.

Alas, the cheesesteak here somehow manages to get every single element wrong. It would be impressive if it weren’t so frustrating.

Philthy Philly's

The beef was the wrongest part of the whole maelstrom of wrongness.  The beef in a Philly cheesesteak should be thinly shaved slices of steak.  The meat here, on the other hand, consisted of little pebbly bits of beef that were either ground, or chopped so finely that it may as well have been ground.  It also had a chewy, rubbery texture and absolutely zero beefy flavour.  It was pretty bad.

The “Cheese Wiz” had the consistency of water and zero cheesy tang; the onions had been cooked to the point of being mush.

Philthy Philly's

The final insult was the bread; instead of a lightly crispy outside and a fluffy interior, it was just dense and chewy throughout, with zero exterior crispiness.

The sandwich was cheap, at least.  The smallest size costs just seven bucks, comes on a six inch roll, and is crammed with a generous amount of beef.  But I wish they’d charge a little bit more for a higher quality product; as it is, the sandwich is about on par with Subway, and I say that as someone who doesn’t like Subway at all.

Horrifying BBQ at Hungry Hollow Smokehouse and Grille

Hungry Hollow Smokehouse & GrilleLocation: 134 Guelph Street, Georgetown
Websitehttp://www.hungryhollow.ca/

I try to be a “glass half full” type of guy whenever I can, because it’s always good to have a positive outlook on life.  So, glass half full: Hungry Hollow Smokehouse and Grille gives me a much better appreciation for the disappointing BBQ joints across the GTA.

Places like Adamson Barbecue and Hogtown Smoke might not be as smoky as I’d like, but at least what they’re serving tastes good.  Hungry Hollow, on the other hand…

Hungry Hollow Smokehouse & Grille

I tried the brisket and the pulled pork, along with the fries and coleslaw.

The brisket was, no contest, the worst barbecue brisket I’ve ever had (and probably the worst brisket I’ve ever had, period).  It was atrociously bad.

Hungry Hollow Smokehouse & Grille

There’s no sugar-coating it; this particular glass is completely empty.  The brisket was dry, it had zero smoky flavour, and worst of all, it was the leftoveriest piece of leftover meat in the history of the world.  It had a sharply gamy flavour that immediately let you know something was amiss.  It was outright inedible.

The pork was much better.  It wasn’t particularly good, mind you, but I was able to eat it.

Hungry Hollow Smokehouse & Grille

The texture was complete mush, and like the beef, it wasn’t even remotely smoky — but the flavour was otherwise okay.  It was about on par with the vacuum-sealed pulled pork you can get at the supermarket, and it was clearly fresh.  Under any other circumstances it would have seemed much worse, but after that questionable beef, something with no off flavours was quite delightful.

The sides, at least, were unambiguously tasty.  The fries were fresh and perfectly cooked, and the coleslaw was nice and creamy, with a good level of acidity.

Another Tasty Meal at Manpuku

ManpukuLocation105 McCaul Street, Toronto
Websitehttp://www.manpuku.ca/

I’ve already talked about Manpuku, so I’ll keep this brief.  I went back and tried the shigure don, and just like the udon I tried on my last visit, it was absolutely delicious and delightfully cheap.

The shigure don consisted of a heaping pile of tasty, well-marinated beef and onions atop  a generous portion of rice.  The beef looks a bit dry in the picture, but it was actually super tender, and surprisingly packed with flavour.  And the soft, tasty onions compliment the beef perfectly.

Manpuku

It cost $6.49.  I mean, come on, Manpuku — now you’re making all the other restaurants look bad.  I’ve frequently paid three or four times as much money for meals that weren’t half as good as what they’re serving here.