Location: 430 Horner Avenue, Etobicoke
B’s Sizzling Kitchen is one of those places that you’d probably never discover if you hadn’t heard about it from a friend or read about it online, since it’s kinda hidden away in a very nondescript industrial/residential area of Etobicoke. But it’s absolutely worth coming out of your way for.
It’s a Filipino restaurant that specializes in Cebu lechon — ultra-tender roast pork with delightfully crispy skin — and man, it’s good.
I started with the lechon sisig fries, which features a heaping portion of tasty pork on top of crispy, crinkle-cut fries. This was everything you want it to be. It’s porky, crispy, sweet, and addictive. It’s profoundly delicious.
But of course, the Cebu lechon is what you’re here for, and it’s just the absolute best. They make it with pork belly, and… I mean, just look at it.
Look at it.
The meat is melt-in-your-mouth tender, it’s perfectly seasoned and intensely flavourful, and the crispy skin is the stuff dreams are made of. Just give me a big bag of that skin and let me eat it like potato chips.
I’m going to like pretty much any well-prepared fatty pork dish by default, but this one is something special.
As I was leaving, there was a whole suckling pig sitting on a table waiting to be picked up, and I don’t think I’ve ever wanted anything so badly in my entire life.
Lobster-topped stuffed tilapia from Red Lobster
I used to love Red Lobster as a kid. It was my birthday restaurant for pretty much the entirety of my childhood, so I still have very warm, fuzzy memories of the place. Every several years I feel the need to go back to indulge my nostalgia and remind myself that no, it’s not very good. The lobster-topped stuffed tilapia was actually surprisingly terrible; the flavour was one-note salty and it was absolutely doused in an unpleasant cream sauce. The rice tasted like one of those Uncle Ben’s packets from Dollarama that’s been reheated about a dozen times. The whole thing was just a straight-up bummer. I do still enjoy the biscuits, however, so there’s that.
Smoked Butternut Squash and Egg sandwich from Tuck Shop Kitchen
Though they had more traditional breakfast sandwiches on their menu (which they serve only on Sundays), I was intrigued by this one, which comes topped with “Applewood smoked butternut squash ‘Bacon’, Canadian cheddar, egg and roasted garlic aioli on a toasted sesame bun.” It’s a tasty sandwich, though like with most items labeled as vegetarian bacon, the squash did not resemble anything even vaguely related to bacon. It was just a smoky slice of squash. Still, it works quite well in the sandwich — my only complaint would be that it’s a very rich sandwich, and needs something acidic to cut that down a bit. The menu lists pickled jalapenos as an optional one dollar addon, and I think that would be the thing this sandwich is missing.
Candy Cane Bark gelato from Lola’s Gelato
I feel like everyone (myself included!) sleeps on Lola’s because it’s so far out of the downtown core, but every time I go there I’m impressed by how great the gelato is. This visit was no different; I was particularly struck with the quality of the gelato itself, which is incredibly rich and creamy. And the flavour was great, with a nice balance of mintiness and chocolate. Their assortment of flavours tends to be a bit more basic than places like Nani’s or Mizzica, but when the gelato itself is this great, who cares?
Location: 847 Brown’s Line, Etobicoke
Kettlemans Bagel serves Montreal-style bagels — I was actually in that city recently and tried fresh bagels from the big two (St. Viateur and Fairmount) and yeah, if you’re craving a Montreal-style bagel in the GTA, the version at Kettlemans is bang-on. It’s got a satisfyingly substantial chew, it’s a little bit sweet, and the wood-burning oven gives it some nice personality. And as you can see from the open kitchen in the store, they make them fresh throughout the day. They’re quite good.
(And yes, as far as I can tell, “Kettlemans” does not have an apostrophe, though the company themselves seems to be a bit confused about it. The logo on the shop is sans-apostrophe, but if you go to their website, it’s about 50/50 apostrophe/no-apostrophe. I’m just going to assume that the logo is right.)
They have a variety of bagel types that you can get on their own, but if you’re looking for more of a meal, you can pick from a bunch of different sandwich options. I went with the Kettlemans Special: “smoked salmon, deli cream cheese, tomato & red onion, served with garlic olives.” You can pick the type of bagel that you want, but since the photo in the restaurant used the sesame seed variety, that’s what I went with.
It’s a tasty sandwich — the smoked salmon is nothing to write home about, but combined with the juicy tomato and the ultra-silky cream cheese (it’s easily the creamiest cream cheese that I’ve ever had, with the usual zippiness of cream cheese but with a texture that’s closer to mayo), it’s a quality sandwich.
I’m not a fan of raw onions, so I got mine without, but for most normal people I’m sure that they would have enhanced the sandwich — something crunchy would have been nice.
Location: 1001 Islington Avenue, Etobicoke
Hey, guess what? Spicy Chicken McNuggets are Chicken McNuggets that are… spicy. Shocking, right??
Well, I figured they might taste slightly different, or have some kind of different seasoning or something, but as far as I can tell they taste just like the regular version, but with heat.
That spice level isn’t exactly going to blow your face off, but it is there. I’d probably put it a notch or two above mild.
I got the Ghost Pepper dip on the side, and that stuff is actually quite tasty; it’s noticeably hotter than the McNuggets, and it’s creamy and delightfully zippy. The heat sneaks up on you. It doesn’t seem that hot at first, but by the time I was done, my mouth was nice and toasty. I’d buy a whole bottle of that stuff if I could.
Location: 448 Brown’s Line, Etobicoke
I’ve heard nothing but good things about the schnitzel sandwich at V’s Schnitzel House, so that’s what I ordered. It was delicious. I wish I hadn’t ordered it.
Specifically, I ordered the pork schnitzel sandwich (chicken is also an option), which comes topped with lettuce, tomato, and “Magic dill sauce.”
It’s a top-notch sandwich — the fluffy Kaiser roll has just enough heft to hold up to the meat without overwhelming, the lettuce and tomato add a nice dose of freshness and crunch, and the Magic dill sauce is seriously delicious.
I ordered the house salad on the side. It also comes with the Magic dill sauce, and man that stuff is so good. It’s creamy, a little bit sweet, garlicky, and has a pronounced dill flavour. You can buy a bottle of this stuff for ten bucks, and I’m very tempted to go back and pick one up.
But I mentioned that I wish I hadn’t ordered the sandwich (in spite of how delicious it was), and that’s because the schnitzel itself was amazing. It was hard to tell in the context of a sandwich, but I think this might have been the best schnitzel I’ve ever had? The exterior was perfectly crispy, the seasoning was great, and the meat itself was thoroughly tender. Clearly, I need to go back and try the schnitzel on its own ASAP.