Barbecue Meets Pizza at Conspiracy Pizza

Conspiracy Pizza
Location
: 858 Eglinton Avenue East, Toronto
Website: https://www.conspiracypizza.ca/

Though Conspiracy Pizza started out as a pop-up inside of the infamous (and defunct) Adamson Barbecue, they’ve since cut ties and have their own space (which they share with Churnt Up, an ice cream shop, and Phamily Eats, which sells patties).

They’ve still got a bit of a barbecue theme, however — their namesake pie, the Conspiracy, comes topped with “white sauce, emmental cheese, brisket, red onion, jalapeno, barbecue sauce.”

Conspiracy Pizza

It’s an odd pizza, but it absolutely works.  In particular, the chunks of brisket are shockingly good — they’re nice and tender, and they’ve got a distinctly smoky flavour.  It makes me wish they served a sandwich, because it’s top-notch BBQ brisket.

Conspiracy Pizza

But then the whole pizza is pretty great, with pops of heat from the jalapenos, a satisfying richness from the white sauce and the cheese, and with the barbecue sauce bringing it a nice zippy sweetness to cut through the meat and cheese.  The crust is quite good too, with a super crispy exterior and a fluffy interior.

I also tried the Government Cheese, which comes topped with “mozza, cheddar, emmental, provolone, manchego, oregano.”

Conspiracy Pizza

It takes a lot for me to say that a pizza is too cheesy, but… this one was too cheesy.  It’s overwhelming.  It also kinda reminded me of a Costco pizza (the cheddar, maybe?).  It’s not bad — a huge pile of gooey cheese is never going to be all bad — but I can’t say I’d ever order it again.

Pho Ngoc Yen is a Hidden Gem

Pho Ngoc Yen
Location
: 1090 Kamato Road, Mississauga
Website: https://sites.google.com/orderup.ai/ngocyenrestaurant/home

Pho Ngoc Yen is one of those restaurants that must rely pretty much entirely on word of mouth; hidden away in an industrial neighbourhood in Mississauga, it’s basically in the middle of nowhere.  The odds of you stumbling onto it are quite miniscule.

Pho Ngoc Yen

But yeah, it’s definitely got the word of mouth that it needs, and I can see why — it’s great.

Pho Ngoc Yen

I got the Pho Ngoc Yen Dac Biet, which the menu describes as “NY’s special: rare beef, beef balls and boneless beef shank with rice noodles.”

Pho Ngoc Yen

It’s a great bowl of pho.  The generous amount of meat is tender and tasty, and the broth is beefy, richly spiced, and thoroughly delicious.  The noodles were slightly on the soft side, and my bowl was missing the beef balls, but the broth and the beef were both so tasty that this never felt like a big issue.

Meaty, Cheesy Sandwiches at Good Behaviour Submarine

Good Behaviour Submarine
Location
: 342 Westmoreland Avenue North, Toronto
Website: https://goodbehaviourto.ca/

Though Good Behaviour started out as an ice cream shop, they also serve an assortment of meaty subs, and sure, why not?  Ice cream and subs; seems like a winning combo to me.

The menu features a few cold subs, and a few hot ones.  I tried a couple of the hot ones: beef brisket (“smoked beef brisket, smoked gouda, banana peppers, caramelized onion, horseradish, beef fat vinaigrette, iceberg lettuce”) and pork shoulder (“braised pork shoulder, provolone, salsa verde, broccoli rabe, chili preserve, mustard mayo, lemon juice, red onion, iceberg lettuce”).

Good Behaviour Submarine

The sandwiches were both meaty, cheesy, and incredibly rich.  They were quite tasty — how could they not be, with that quantity of tender meat and gooey cheese — though nothing about either of them particularly blew me away.

Good Behaviour Submarine

The problem is that they’re both a bit one-note in their flavour and in their meaty richness.  Though maybe “problem” should be in quotes there, because let’s face it: a sandwich being meaty and rich isn’t exactly the end of the world, even if I’d like some other flavours/textures to break things up a bit.  To be fair, both sandwiches had elements like banana peppers and salsa verde that should have performed this function, but all I could taste was meat, cheese, and heavy sauces.

Good Behaviour Submarine

Still, they were both solid sandwiches, particularly the beef brisket, which had a mild but satisfying smokiness from the beef and the gouda.  And the bread is great — perfectly toasty, soft and fluffy, but with enough heft to stand up to the sloppy fillings.

An Amazing Sandwich at Elsa’s Food & Bakery

Elsa's Food & Bakery
Location
: 30 Baywood Road, Unit 15, Etobicoke
Website: https://www.facebook.com/Elsas-bakery-1905919683049150/

Elsa’s is a delightful hole-in-the-wall Iraqi bakery that specializes in a pita-esque flatbread called samoon; you can get it on its own (you should do this) or stuffed with shawarma or falafel (you should do this too).

This is the latest hidden gem I’ve discovered thanks to the inimitable Suresh Doss, and like basically everything he writes about, it’s great.

Elsa's Food & Bakery

It’s that bread.  It’s chewy, fluffy, flavourful, and amazing.  It’s tasty as part of a sandwich, but it’s also pretty damn good on its own.

I got the falafel sandwich, which comes with the usual toppings, along with the delightful addition of eggplant and fries.  The last time I had eggplant in a falafel sandwich was at L’As du Fallafel in Paris, and I’m starting to seriously wonder why every falafel sandwich doesn’t have eggplant in it.  It’s a fantastic addition.

Elsa's Food & Bakery

The other thing that stands out is the sauce they top it with, called amba — it’s a mango-based sauce, and it’s sweet, sour, tangy, and delicious, with a mildly curry-tinged flavour.  It’s not a subtle sauce; its intense zippiness completely dominated the other flavours in the sandwich, but it’s so tasty that this barely felt like an issue.

A Tasty Poke Bowl at Pokito

PokitoLocation: 420 Queen Street West, Toronto
Website: https://www.pokito.ca/

The poke bowl at Pokito isn’t exactly the most photogenic dish of all time.  I mean, look at that thing.  It’s basically just a melange of green and brown, but hey — if it tastes good, who cares?

And yes, it definitely tastes good.

Pokito

The menu at poke is extremely flexible; you can get a bowl of poke that’s customized to your liking, or you can do what I did and order one of signature bowls.  I went with the Creamy Spicy Salmon Bowl, which the menu describes as “Rice, Salmon, Crab Salad, Seaweed, Edemame.”  Once you choose from white or brown rice and a few optional toppings, you’re good to go.

I went with sushi rice and got a topping of crispy onions, but otherwise got the bowl as-is.

Pokito

It’s quite tasty.  It’s got a great variety of tastes and textures; at first it seems like there’s maybe too much stuff, but everything complements each other quite well.  And the star of the show — the salmon — tastes fresh, works really well with the creamy spicy sauce (which is, sadly, only marginally spicy), and is abundant enough that you won’t have to worry about running out before the bowl is done.