Amazing French Street Food at Mister Frenchy

Mister FrenchieLocation: 675 Danforth Avenue, Toronto
Websitehttp://www.misterfrenchy.com/

Mister Frenchy is an unassuming restaurant on the Danforth that specializes in something called French tacos.

No, I had never heard of a French taco either.  But it’s a real thing, apparently — it’s basically a meaty, pressed wrap that was popularized in the Lyon region of France.

I think it’s safe to say that this is the only place in the city that you can try one, which is something that you should absolutely do.  It’s shockingly amazing.

Mister Frenchie

They have a variety of French tacos and baguette sandwiches on their menu; I went with the Le Lyonais French taco, which comes with “ground beef, Algerian sauce, tomatoes, onions, sweet peppers, French fries, and sauce fromagere.”

It was so good.  The wrap was perfectly pressed, giving you that perfect combo of crispy and chewy.  And the filling was pure comfort food perfection: an amazing mix of nicely spiced beef, perfectly cooked veggies, zingy sauce, and abundantly gooey cheese.

Mister Frenchie

Oh, and there are fries in there as well — I’m normally not crazy about potatoes in a sandwich/wrap, but the fries here add substance without getting in the way or calling attention to themselves.  The whole thing is ridiculously satisfying.

Alas, the fries on the side didn’t work nearly as well as the fries in the wrap.  They were undercooked, the herb mixture they were tossed in was overbearing, and the sauce on top was way too zesty to work as a dipping sauce.

Which is fine — the wrap is a perfectly satisfying meal on its own.  Plus, it’s way heavier than it looks.  It’s a bit of a gut-buster.

Satisfying Eats at Running Pig

Running PigLocation: 3636 Steeles Avenue East, Markham
Website: None

Running Pig is a no-frills take-out joint that serves various meat options and veggies on top of rice.  It’s not the best thing you’ll ever eat, but it’s a hefty amount of meat and rice for $7.50; it’s hard to go wrong there.

Running Pig

I got the pork knuckle bento, which comes with a generous pile of pork knuckles (one is missing from my photo — I dug right in then realized I forgot to take a picture), a hard-boiled egg, tofu skin, and a variety of veggies on rice.

Pork knuckles can be mostly collagen without a whole lot of meat (particularly the way they’re cut here); if it’s not properly rendered, it’s going to be rubbery.  And while these were mostly okay, they definitely could have braised for a little bit longer.

Running Pig

The various veggies and tofu were all tasty enough, and combined with the rice, it makes for a solid meal.  Nothing here particularly stands out, but it’s cheap, quick, and satisfying.  Sometimes that’s enough.

Breakfast Sandwich Perfection at Gold Standard

Gold StandardLocation: 385 Roncesvalles Avenue, Toronto
Websitehttp://thefed.ca/goldstandard/

I recently tried the burger at Gold Standard, and while I enjoyed it (and appreciated that a Toronto burger joint was finally serving an American-style slider), I wasn’t blown away.

Well clearly, the breakfast sandwich is the thing to order, because that one?  That blew me away.

The Gold Standard breakfast sandwich, per their menu: “scrambled egg, cheddar, bacon, aioli, pickles, hot sauce, English muffin.”

Good lord, it’s delicious.

Gold Standard

I really should have cut it in half so that you could see its glorious innards; it doesn’t look like much in that picture, so you’ll just have to take my word that everything was well-proportioned and perfect.

All the components work so well together.  The perfectly cooked egg and the gooey cheese meld into something that’s downright magical.  The generously-applied crispy bacon adds texture and a meaty saltiness.  The mild kick from the hot sauce along with the vinegary bite of the pickles cuts the richness of the cheese, the bacon and the eggs.  And the soft, fresh, perfectly toasted English muffin holds it all together (and adds a light crispiness) without getting in the way.

Best breakfast sandwich ever?  Quite possibly!

Decent BBQ at Beauty Barbecue & Smokehouse

Beauty BBQ & SmokehouseLocation: 2901 Bayview Avenue, North York
Websitehttps://www.beautybbq.com/

Judging by Toronto’s restaurants, really great barbecue must be the toughest thing to get right.  Because there are a lot of BBQ joints in the GTA, and very, very few of them are much better than okay.

You can add Beauty Barbecue & Smokehouse to the “okay” list.  It’s fine.  I didn’t dislike eating there.  It’s certainly not great, but I’ve had worse barbecue in the city.

Beauty BBQ & Smokehouse

I tried three things and a couple of sides: smoked + roasted pork shoulder, Torontreal smoked meat, and baby back ribs, along with grilled cornbread and kale coleslaw.  I was really hoping to try the brisket; alas, it was sold out.

Beauty BBQ & Smokehouse

The pork shoulder was the oddest of the bunch.  It didn’t even vaguely resemble the pulled pork you might be expecting from a barbecue joint.  Instead, it was thinly sliced and tasted more like porchetta than something you’d find in the American south, with an overwhelmingly herby, rosemary-tinged flavour.  I suspect it hadn’t seen a smoker in many hours (if not days) as it had zero smokiness and a mildly gamy reheated pork flavour.

Beauty BBQ & Smokehouse

The Torontreal smoked meat was a definite upgrade over the pork.  Though it can’t compete with the best smoked meat in the city, it was nicely spiced and had a surprisingly smoky flavour.  But the meat was tough and the fat was vaguely rubbery.  Despite the fact that it was sliced very thinly, it was disconcertingly difficult to cut with a plastic knife.

Beauty BBQ & Smokehouse

The ribs were the best of the bunch.  They had a good level of smoke and a nice texture — tender, but with a bit of bite.  Something about them wasn’t quite clicking (I think maybe the rub?), but the vinegary-sweet sauce was tasty, and it was overall a quality rack of ribs.

Beauty BBQ & Smokehouse

As for the two sides, they were both solid.  Neither particularly stood out, but the coleslaw was nice and zingy, and the cornbread was sweet, buttery, and satisfying.

Amazing Roast Beef at Woodfire Sandwich Co.

Woodfire Sandwich Co.Location: 3797 Lake Shore Boulevard West, Etobicoke
Websitehttps://www.woodfiresandwich.com/

You can’t go wrong with a really good sandwich.  And the folks at Woodfire Sandwich Co. certainly seem to know their stuff.

In particular, the First Date — a roast beef sandwich with crispy onions, arugula, gorgonzola, sauteed mushrooms, and mayo — was something special.

Woodfire Sandwich Co.

The sandwich is crammed with an absolutely absurd amount of rare roast beef; this would be overwhelming with lesser quality beef, but here it’s amazing.  The meat is perfectly tender, with a really satisfying beefy flavour that’s only amplified by the fact that they serve it cold.

Woodfire Sandwich Co.

Beef and mushrooms are best friends, so I don’t need to tell you that this combination was great.  The cheese and the mayo add a nice amount of creaminess, and the peppery arugula does a great job of keeping the sandwich’s richer flavours in check.

It’s served in a sesame seed roll that perfectly straddles the line between lightness and heft; it makes its presence known and holds up well to the onslaught of beef and mushrooms, but it never overwhelms.  It’s a great roll for a great sandwich.

Woodfire Sandwich Co.

I also tried the fried chicken sandwich, which was less great (or more accurately: not great at all).  It was fine, but nothing about it stands out.    The exterior didn’t really have the crisp factor that you’re looking for in a great fried chicken sandwich, and the seasoning was ho-hum.  Plus, the chicken itself (white meat, sadly) was slightly overcooked and a bit dry.  It was a perfectly acceptable sandwich, but nothing about it stood out like the amazing roast beef.