The Diner House 29

The Diner House 29 in St. Catherines, OntarioI watch a ridiculous amount of Diners, Drive-ins and Dives.  It isn’t often that I go to a restaurant that feels like it would fit in on that show (we just don’t seem to have a lot of restaurants like that in the GTA).  But Guy would be right at home at the Diner House 29 in St. Catherines.

There were a few things on the menu that caught my eye, but I went with Porky’s Revenge: “Roasted Pork Belly on a Toasted Bagel Bun with 2 Fried Eggs, House-made Onion Chutney,  Niagara-Peach Mayo & Monterey Jack.”

The Diner House 29 in St. Catherines, Ontario

Pork belly is one of those trendy ingredients that’s popped up on pretty much every menu over the last several years.  But I still have a hard time saying no to it.

And the version here is good.  I have a friend who teases me over the use of the word “unctuous,” because it’s one of those words that really isn’t in a normal person’s vocabulary.  It’s pretty much exclusive to food nerds/writers/bloggers (see also: mouthfeel).

That being said, this sandwich was unctuous AF.  Between the rich, fatty pork belly, the runny yolk from the eggs, the mayo, and the gooey cheese, the sandwich screams unctuous.  There’s really no other word to describe it.

The Diner House 29 in St. Catherines, Ontario

And yet it wasn’t too rich.  The sweet chutney helps to balance things out, and the flavours all work so well together that it never seems one-note.

The bagel bun was quite dense, with a very crispy exterior.  It would have been too much for your average sandwich, but there was so much going on here that the hearty bun was just right.

My biggest issue is that the sandwich is so overstuffed and slippery that as soon as I picked it up, it immediately started to fall apart.  I panicked, took a quick bite, then set the sandwich down and proceeded to eat the rest with a fork and knife.

The Diner House 29 in St. Catherines, Ontario

The sandwich comes with a salad, soup, or potatoes on the side.  I got the rice, beans, and pesto soup; it was absolutely crammed with stuff and had a satisfying pesto flavour.  It was hearty and tasty.



Crispy Pork Hocks from Beast
Location:  96 Tecumseth Street, Toronto

I’ve actually written about Beast before, on Serious Eats, where I raved about the Beastwich.  But I have to rave again — the Crispy Pork Hocks at Beast were so damn good that I felt compelled to bring this blog out of semi-hiatus so I could talk about them.  Immediately after eating them, I was hit by a powerful compulsion: I need to tell someone about this.  I need to tell everyone about this.

The hock — the part of the pig where the foot attaches to the leg, usually served as one big, unwieldy hunk of pork, bone and all — has been streamlined by Beast into convenient little cubes of crispy, porky goodness.  It has been perfected.

Each cube is maybe an inch-and-a-half square, with an amazingly crispy, crunchy exterior, and a rich, perfectly cooked interior of tender, decadently fatty pork.  I’m not even sure I can put into words how amazingly good this was.

Seriously, look at this and tell me you don’t want to eat this right this second:

Crispy Pork Hocks from Beast

That layer of crispy, crunchy amazingness is just so incredibly satisfying, and the interior is the perfect combination of extravagant fattiness and fork-tender pork.  You might think it looks too fatty, but trust me, it’s not too fatty.

It’s served with a thick, sweet variation on soy sauce called kecap manis that kind of reminded me of hoisin sauce; it worked amazingly well with the pork.  It also comes with two eggs cooked how you want them, crispy potatoes, toast, and a fairly generous pile of zingy kimchi.

I don’t want to over-sell this, but I think it might be one of the best things I’ve ever eaten.  This is not a drill.  Drop whatever the hell you’re doing right now and get yourself to Beast.  If they’re not open yet, just camp out and wait.  Because who cares what else is going on when something this good exists in the world and you haven’t tried it yet.