An Upscale McRib at Aloette

Aloette
Location
: 171 East Liberty Street, Unit 127A, Toronto
Website: https://aloetterestaurant.com/

Aloette has recently added a few new things to their menu, including a McRib-esque rib sandwich, and yeah, obviously I’ve gotta try that.

The Ribette Sandwich, as per the menu: “Slow cooked pork ribs, coleslaw, pickles, pickled onions, BBQ sauce.”

Okay fine, it’s actually not much like a McRib, which features a ground pork patty and is only tangentially related to ribs.  This one contains actual ribs (but with the bones conveniently removed), and it’s extremely tasty.

Aloette

It’s not smoky at all, which is too bad, but it’s porky and tender, and features some nicely crispy/charred bits from the grill.  It’s slathered in a deliciously sweet and tangy BBQ sauce, and topped with pickles and pickled onions, which do a great job of adding some crunch and cutting through the richness of the fatty pork.

It also comes with a little tub of zingy coleslaw that you’re supposed to add to the sandwich yourself; BBQ sandwich + coleslaw is always a great combo, and yeah, it works quite well here.

Aloette

It’s served on a fluffy, lightly chewy bun that holds up nicely to the saucy sandwich.  It’s great.

I also tried the fries, which are crispy, fluffy, and perfectly cooked.  Good stuff.

An All-Time Great Sandwich from Schwartz’s Deli

Schwartz's Deli
Location
: 3895 Saint Laurent Boulevard, Montreal, Quebec
Website: https://schwartzsdeli.com/

It’s been over a decade since I’ve been to Schwartz’s, Montreal’s legendary purveyor of smoked meat, and I wondered: is it as amazing as I remembered?  Sometimes nostalgia can turn rosy memories into an unobtainable ideal, and of course, legendary restaurants like Schwartz’s run the risk of being overhyped.

Schwartz's Deli

Well, it turns out that Schwartz’s isn’t quite as amazing as I remembered — it’s even better, somehow??  Their smoked meat sandwich might literally be one of the best things I’ve ever eaten.

Schwartz's Deli

I should note that I ordered the sandwich fatty, which is clearly the way to go: the fat here is creamy and luxurious, basically melting in your mouth like unctuous meat butter.  It’s so good.

Schwartz's Deli

The ultra-tender meat is crazy delicious; I don’t know what’s in the spicing, but it’s absolutely perfect.  But then everything here is absolutely perfect: the meat is super tender, incredibly flavourful, and just the best thing ever.  The absolute best.  The sandwich has the perfect amount of meat, too — it’s generous, but not a comically tall pile that’s impossible to eat.

Schwartz's Deli

I got a side order of coleslaw, which was crunchy and zingy — the perfect counterpoint to the indulgent sandwich.

Hot tip: if you’re planning on coming here (and yes, it’s worth the drive to Montreal for this place alone), arrive early.  I showed up at about 10:30 in the morning; the place was already quite busy, but I was able to get a counter seat immediately.  By the time I left, the place was packed and there was a line out the door.

Top-Notch Sandwiches at Vilda’s

Vilda's
Location
: 209 Dovercourt Road, Toronto
Website: https://www.vildastoronto.com/

Sandwiches!  I think I’ve mentioned in the past that there are a few dishes that I think are the perfect food.  A margherita pizza, for one.  A great bowl of ramen.  And of course, you’d have to add sandwiches to that list — but is that cheating?  A margherita pizza is a pretty specific thing, but with all the different combos of bread and fillings, a sandwich can be about a billion different things.

Vilda's

Still, who doesn’t love a sandwich, particularly when they’re as great as they are at Vilda’s?

(That’s mostly a rhetorical question, but if you’ve legitimately never had a sandwich that you loved, then there might be something medically wrong with you.  Go see a doctor.)

Vilda's

I tried a couple at Vilda’s: the Duca di Zucchine, and the Tuna à la Mediterranean.  Both were very good, but the Duca di Zucchine (which the menu describes as “Hard-roasted, lemon-marinated zucchini ribbons.  A vibrant spread of garlic scapes and tahini.  Parmesan cheese!  Bacon AND mint?!  Together?  Yes.”) was the highlight.  The combo of the tender zucchini, the crispy/meaty bacon and the zingy vibrancy of the various sauces was extremely delicious.

Vilda's

The Tuna à la Mediterranean (“Cut up artichokes, whipped tuna, melted cheddar, olive-dressed butter lettuce and mayo”) was a bit less impressive, but still quite tasty.  This one tasted more like something I might be able to make at home (or more accurately, something I think I could make at home, but could never actually make at this level of deliciousness).  It was also a bit odd in that it was ostensibly a tuna melt, but featured cheese that was completely unmelted.  You’d think that this would be an issue, but it was delicious regardless.  It’s hard to go wrong with the combo of the creamy tuna spread and the crispy freshness of the veggies, not to mention the great bread.

A Great Chicken Sandwich at Black Camel

Black Camel
Location
: 4 Crescent Road, Toronto
Website: https://www.blackcamel.ca/

Black Camel is mostly known for their meaty sandwiches (though their roasted veggie sandwich is no slouch); the brisket and the pulled pork are the specialties, and both are great.  I went with the roasted pulled chicken on this visit, and hey, what do you know — it’s great.

Black Camel

One of the distinctive things about this shop is that there aren’t really any pre-set sandwiches; you customize your meat, your sauce, and toppings (which cost 95 cents a pop).  I went with the suggestion of the woman behind the counter, which was the basil pesto mayo and roasted red peppers.

Black Camel

It’s a top notch sandwich.  The chicken is nice and tender and has a satisfying roasty flavour, the silky roasted peppers add some nice pops of sweetness, and the rich mayo holds it all together.  That’s not to mention the bun, which is soft and fresh and holds up nicely to the meaty filling.

I think the chicken is either mostly or entirely white meat, which is a shame; a bit more moisture and flavour from some dark meat would have been nice.  And the basil pesto mayo mostly just tasted like plain mayonnaise, and could have used a bit more zip.  But mostly, it’s a great sandwich from a consistently great restaurant.

A Decent Cheeseburger at Matty’s Patty’s

Matty's Patty's
Location
: 923a Queen Street West, Toronto
Website: https://www.mattyspattysburgerclub.com/

Let’s get the obvious out of the way first.  This place is called Matty’s Patty’s, but should clearly be called Matty’s Patties.  Apostrophes: they’re not that complicated!  Maybe spend the five minutes it would take to figure out how they work before you name your restaurant?

You might argue that the name is wrong on purpose because it looks better, since both words are so similar, to which I would reply that no, you need to get out of here with that.  That’s BS and we all know it.

You might also argue that no one cares, and that maybe I should be talking about the food, since that’s the point of this whole thing.  And yeah, that’s fair.

Matty's Patty's

The food is fine!  They have two main things on the menu: “Matty’s,” which is a hefty seven ounce burger that comes with mustard sauce, pickles, and onion.  I tried this about a year ago, when this blog was on hiatus, and enjoyed it.

The other thing on the menu is “Patty’s,” which is a more traditional griddle-smashed cheeseburger that you can get as a single, a double, or a triple (a vegetarian version made with Impossible Meat is also an option).  This one comes topped with either Matty’s Patty’s sauce, pickled jalapeno mayo, or spicy ketchup sauce.  I went with the single and had it topped with pickled jalapeno mayo.

Matty's Patty's

It’s pretty decent.  Nothing about it blew me away, but the patty has a very mild beefy flavour and a nice texture thanks to the course grind.  It could stand to be beefier and juicier, but you could absolutely do worse.

The pickled jalapeno mayo mostly just tasted like a slightly zingier version of regular mayo, which is too bad because the burger really needed something a bit more acidic to cut through the richness of the gooey cheese and the patty.

The bun was probably the highlight, oddly enough.  It was super soft, squishy, and fresh, with just the right amount of heft to stand up to the patty.  It kinda reminded me of the potato rolls that have become so popular in the GTA, but better.