Decent Eats at Olde Yorke Fish & Chips

Olde York Fish & ChipsLocation: 96 Laird Drive, Toronto
Websitehttps://oldeyorkefishandchips.com/

Everyone loves fish and chips, don’t they?  It’s one of those universally appealing meals that’s hard to truly hate.  I mean, it’s a big old plate of deep fried goodness.

But it’s surprisingly difficult to find a place that does it really well (without a plane ticket to the UK, at least).  It’s such a simple dish, but sometimes the simplest meals are the toughest to pull off.  It’s just fish and batter; if your technique isn’t perfect, there’s nowhere to hide.

Olde York Fish & Chips

I got the haddock and chips from Olde York, and while it was certainly tasty, there were a couple of things holding it back from being much better than okay.

A lot of fish and chips joints tend drop the ball with the batter itself; so many places over-apply it, resulting in a thick and crunchy shell that overwhelms the fish.  And while Olde York isn’t the worst offender in this regard, the batter was definitely too substantial.

Olde York Fish & Chips

It’s also easy to overcook the fish, and alas, that was an issue here as well.  It wasn’t too blatant, but it was dryer than it should have been.

I don’t want to make this a complain-a-thon, because I actually did enjoy it… but the fries could have been crispier and the tartar sauce was way too sweet.

But that’s the thing about fish and chips: even when it’s not perfect, it’s still so satisfying.

Super Deluxe Hot Dogs at Kung Fu Dawg

Kung Fu DawgLocation: 19 Ossington Avenue, Toronto
Websitehttp://kungfudawg.com/

Remember when street vendor hot dogs were everywhere in the city?  There was a time when you couldn’t walk more than a block or two without running into one.  I’m not sure exactly why they mostly went away, though I’m assuming it has something to do with the explosion of cheap eats around the city over the last decade or so, not to mention the general foodie-ification of the GTA.

But there are still a handful of old school vendors around the city — or if you’re looking for something made with a bit more care, there’s Kung Fu Dawg on Ossington.

They actually make their own hot dogs and put them in a natural casing, which gives you a snappier bite than a traditional dog.  The pickles and many of the condiments are homemade as well, so clearly, this is something a bit more special than your typical street meat.

Kung Fu Dawg

I ordered the namesake Kung Fu Dawg, which is piled high with fennel slaw, pickles, onions, jalapenos, corn relish, spicy mayo, crispy onions, chili, and cheese.

There’s no easy way to eat this.  I tried to pick it up out of the cardboard box it’s served in, but it was so big and unwieldy I couldn’t get a grip on it.  Eventually, I had to just embrace the mess and dive in.

It’s really good, and an absolute cornucopia of tastes and textures.  It’s pretty much got all the flavours: it’s salty, savoury, sweet, vinegary, and a little bit spicy.  It’s crispy, it’s crunchy, it’s meaty — it’s everything at once.

Kung Fu Dawg

I liked it a lot, but I think there might have been a little bit too much going on.  They make their own hot dogs, but there’s so much stuff piled on top of it that you can barely taste it. It may as well have been Oscar Mayer.

Of course, the whole thing is super delicious, so it’s hard to complain too much — but next time, I think I’ll order something a bit more plain so I can see what the actual hot dog tastes like.

Oh, and I also tried the fries; like the hot dog, they were way above average.

Rudy: Still Great

RudyLocation: 619 College Street, Toronto
Websitehttp://rudyresto.com/

I recently named Rudy the best burger in Toronto.  So from now on, I’m always going to be afraid that, one day, they’ll lower the quality of their hamburgers and make me look like an idiot.

That day may come.  It hasn’t yet.

I just went back, and I can confirm that it’s as great as ever.  The burger is still juicy, beefy, and amazing.  And that crust from the griddle?  Bonkers.  Absolutely bonkers.

Rudy

I mean, look at that.  It’s perfect.

Along with the burger and fries, I tried the deep-fried pickle chips, and they were pretty great too — particularly when you dip them in the tasty ranch sauce that comes on the side.

Rudy

Fried pickles is one of those things that sounds weird until you try it, and you realize that it’s actually amazing.  I wish the batter here was a little less chewy and a bit more crunchy, but aside from that they were tasty and addictive.

Epic Fried Chicken Sandwiches at Chica’s Chicken

Chica's ChickenLocation: 2853 Dundas Street West, Toronto
Websitehttps://www.facebook.com/chicaschicken/

I’ve already talked about the Nashville hot chicken at Chica’s, which is amazing.  Well I just went back and tried the sandwich, and yeah, it’s pretty damn good, too.

The first thing that you notice is that it’s monstrously big.  The piece of fried chicken in the sandwich is almost comically oversized.   It’s not easy to eat.

It looks like it might be one of those fried chicken sandwiches that’s about fifty percent batter and fifty percent chicken, but it’s surprisingly meaty, with a pronounced (but not overbearing) outer layer of crunchy goodness.

Chica's Chicken

I think they might have somehow managed to combine chicken breast and thigh into one enormous mega-patty, because aside from the fact that it was insanely large, some of it tasted like dark meat, and some of it tasted like white.  Maybe I’m going crazy and it was all white meat; either way, it was perfectly cooked and not even remotely dry.

I ordered it hot AF, and like on my last visit, it was abundantly spicy — but not overwhelmingly so.  It’s an outstanding sandwich.

Chica's Chicken

I got the bean salad on the side, which was corny, beany, garlicky, and delicious.  I also tried the waffle fries, which are battered and crispy.  Battered fries aren’t my favourite, but these were good.

I’ve pretty much tried the entire menu at this point (the only thing I haven’t had are the wings), and there isn’t a dud in the bunch.  If you haven’t tried this place yet, you need to rectify that immediately.

Classic Eats at Swiss Chalet

Swiss ChaletLocation: 5980 McLaughlin Road, Mississauga
Websitehttps://www.swisschalet.com/

This is going to be a short one.  Because I just had the quarter chicken with fries from Swiss Chalet, and come on.  Do you really need me to describe this for you?  I’m pretty sure that you can legally lose your Canadian citizenship if you’ve never tried Swiss Chalet’s chicken.

Swiss Chalet

I know there are some people who think that Swiss Chalet has gone downhill and that it’s just not very good, and I think those people are nuts.  I can’t speak to anything beyond the chicken and the fries — it’s all I ever order — but those two items are still quite tasty.

And at eleven bucks for the chicken, a heaping portion of delicious fries, and a roll, it’s a pretty great deal.  Yes, white meat is a couple of bucks extra, but lets face it: dark meat is superior in every regard.  That’s not even an opinion.  That’s fact.  It’s just science.  It’s tastier and more moist.  I have a theory that people who prefer white meat don’t actually like chicken very much, because white meat is just a dryer, blander version of dark.