Untraditional (but Tasty) Sandwiches at Tut’s Egyptian Street Food

Tut's Egyptian Street FoodLocation: 567 King Street West, Toronto
Website: http://tutsrestaurant.com/

Tut’s is a bit of an odd one; the menu features a variety of Egyptian sandwiches, but instead of being served on the pita bread you’re expecting, they’re served on soft, squishy buns that are similar to the potato rolls you’ll find at so many burger joints around the city.

It’s not the most traditional choice, but hey — tasty is tasty, and yes, the sandwiches here are quite good.

Tut's Egyptian Street Food

A combo comes with two sandwiches and a side; I went with soguk (sausage) and kebda (pan-fried beef liver).

Both were really good.  Soguk (more commonly spelled sojuk or sujuk) is a very distinctively-spiced Middle Eastern sausage, and while the one they’re serving here has a much milder flavour than any version I’ve had before, it’s tasty nonetheless.  It comes topped with what they’re calling caramelized onions (they tasted more pickled than caramelized to me) and mustard mint sauce.  That sauce, in particular, is nicely zippy and really brings the sandwich together.

Tut's Egyptian Street Food

The liver comes topped with tahini sauce and a lime wedge for spritzing; like the sausage, it has a surprisingly mild flavour, but it’s tender, meaty, and delicious.  Even if you’re normally iffy on liver, this sandwich might surprise you — it’s really good.

And the soft, fresh, and slightly sweet bun works surprisingly well.  I thought I might miss the pita bread, but I did not.

Tut's Egyptian Street Food

I went with pickles on the side; I think fries are probably the more popular choice, but the occasional pickle slice does a great job of cutting through the richness of the very heavy sandwiches.

Tasty Fried Corn Dogs at Woofdawg

WoofdawgLocation: 1357 Dundas Street West, Toronto
Website: https://www.woofdawg.com/

Woofdog used to operate out of a cart (called Kung Fu Dawg), where they made their own hot dogs from scratch and generally outclassed what you’d expect from a street vendor dog.

They’ve upgraded to a permanent location and changed their name to Woofdog; as far as I can tell, not much else has changed.  They still make their hot dogs in-house — you can pick from beef and pork, beef, or chicken — and they’re still serving top-quality eats.

Woofdawg

On this visit I tried the corn dog, and went with a beef and pork hot dog.  You can get one that’s more extravagantly topped, but I went with the basic version that comes with grainy mustard and nothing else.

Woofdawg

It’s very tasty, though I’ll admit that I was comparing it to the one I recently had at Disneyland, which, surprisingly enough, was clearly superior.  The hot dog itself is very good — it’s meaty, not overly salty, and delicious — but the coating is a bit bland.  It’s nice and crispy from the fryer, but it doesn’t have a whole lot of flavour.

Woofdawg

Still, the hot dog / mustard combo is so tasty that this is barely even an issue.  I think the regular hot dog is probably the way to go here, however.

Chilled Spicy Noodles at the Momofuku Noodle Bar Pop-up at Stackt Market

Chilled Spicy Noodles at Momofuku Noodle BarLocation: Stackt Market (28 Bathurst Street, Toronto)
Website: https://noodlebar-toronto.momofuku.com/

Momofuku Noodle Bar is currently doing a pop-up at Stackt Market; it’s outdoors and the menu is limited, but it was my first time eating at a restaurant with a waitress and the whole rigmarole since last March (which, coincidentally enough, was also at the Noodle Bar).

Chilled Spicy Noodles at Momofuku Noodle Bar

I had the Chilled Spicy Noodles, which the menu describes as “ramen noodles, black bean sauce, sichuan beef, candy cashew.”

My delight at being back at a restaurant (or in a restaurant-ish setting, at least) might be colouring my opinion here, but man it was good.

Chilled Spicy Noodles at Momofuku Noodle Bar

It’s an explosion of flavour — it’s salty, it’s savoury, it’s meaty, it’s sweet — but everything complements each other so well.  And that black bean sauce is a taste bonanza; it’s basically like a really great hoisin sauce, but with pops of intense flavour from the beans themselves (I don’t know what they do to the beans to get them to taste almost cheese-like, but it’s magical).

It’s served cold, which only intensifies the flavour, and the chewy ramen noodles are the perfect vehicle to bring it all together.  It’s a tasty dish.

Tasty Dipped Sandwiches at Hot Dip

Hot DipLocation: 1186 Queen Street West, Toronto
Website: https://www.instagram.com/hotdiptoronto/

Hot Dip is a new sandwich shop on Queen Street that specializes in meaty sandwiches you can dip into things, and yeah, gimme that. That’s a genius idea.

They actually only have four sandwiches on the menu (at the moment, at least), which I appreciate. I always freeze like a deer in headlights when I see a menu with dozens of things on it — I know that everything on this huge menu cannot possibly be great, so just tell me what the good stuff is and what I can ignore.

Hot Dip

Focusing on only a few things solves this problem entirely.

I ordered the Hot Dip (because you should always get the menu item that shares a name with the restaurant) which is a roast beef sandwich with horseradish mayo topped with crispy onions and served on a pretzel roll. The dip, in this case, is sharp cheddar.

Hot Dip

It’s a very good sandwich. The thinly-sliced roast beef is super tender with a nice beefy flavour, and there’s a generous amount of it — the menu says eight ounces (i.e. half a pound, i.e. a lot of beef), and based on how substantial the sandwich is, I have no reason to believe they’re skimping on the meat.

The pretzel roll is just as good as the beef. Sometimes pretzel bread can be a bit on the dense side, but this struck a great balance between softness and heft, with a lightly crispy exterior.

Hot Dip

As for the dip, weirdly enough it’s the weakest part of the sandwich. Despite being called “sharp cheddar” it has a thoroughly mild flavour — it basically has the taste and texture of watered-down Cheez Whiz. It mostly just adds moisture to the sandwich, but between the fresh bread and the tender meat, it doesn’t particularly need it.

My other big issue: it’s an incredibly heavy sandwich, and it really needs something acidic to cut through the overwhelming richness. I guess the horseradish mayo is supposed to fill this role? But it’s completely overwhelmed by all the beef; you can barely even tell that it’s there. It’s certainly not a deal-killer (it’s still very tasty), but it makes the sandwich feel a bit one-note rich, which is a shame.

Outstanding Greek Food at Mamakas Taverna

Mamakas TavernaLocation: 80 Ossington Avenue, Toronto
Website: https://mamakas.ca/

I had an idea that Mamakas Taverna was probably something special when I tried their pork souvlaki at the recent OssFest street festival and was completely blown away.  I was finally able to visit the restaurant itself, and yeah.  Yeah.  That souvlaki wasn’t a fluke.  Everything is so good.

Mamakas Taverna

It’s the type of place where you order a bunch of stuff and share, which works out well because everything is so incredibly delicious that you want to try the whole menu.

Mamakas Taverna

There’s the spanakopita, which is basically the platonic ideal of that dish, with a crispy, buttery exterior and an intensely flavourful spinach filling.  The filling was actually quite unique, with a mildly sweet, citrusy tang that does a great job of balancing out the richness of the dish.

Mamakas Taverna

There were these keftedes — perfectly-spiced beef and pork meatballs with a delightfully crispy exterior from the fryer.

Mamakas Taverna

This looks like a pretty standard salad, but the meaty lentils combined with the fresh herbs and the nice pops of sweetness and crunch from the pomegranate — not to mention a dressing that complements it perfectly and isn’t over-applied — made it just as memorable as any of the other dishes.

Mamakas Taverna

The octopus was probably the simplest dish I tried, and proof that if you’re working with great quality ingredients and preparing them well, further ornamentation is unnecessary.  The meat had a great amount of char from the grill, with a mild sweetness and nice meaty bite.  If you’re queasy about eating octopus, you need to get over yourself; you don’t know what you’re missing.  Bad octopus can be rubbery and horrible, but good octopus is like the delicious love-child between a scallop and a pork chop.

Mamakas Taverna

My favourite dish of the night was also easily the least photogenic.  No, this braised short rib doesn’t look like much, but holy moly it was ridiculously good.  Insanely tender (but not mushy) with just the right amount of perfectly creamy fat and an intensely beefy flavour, it was basically like the best pot roast you’ve ever had.

Mamakas Taverna

The dessert — a walnut spice cake with yogurt mousse — was just as delicious as everything else, because of course it was.  The cake was nutty and rich, and the tartness of the creamy mousse complemented it perfectly.