Dirty Bird Chicken + Waffles

A few weeks ago, purchase Cynthia and I tried to enjoy tortas from San Cosme however, mind they had sold out and had closed for the day. We walked around the corner down Kensington Avenue and decided to try Dirty Bird Chicken + Waffles.
Dirty Bird is another small restaurant in Kensington: there is likely room for about 20 people, stuff standing. When you walk into the restaurant there is a large, island-style table that can fit between 8-10 people around, depending on if people are seated or clustered around the table. There is bar seating along the perimeter of the restaurant that can seat/stand another 10 or so people. The restaurant was full when we arrived on Friday night, however, based on arms weighed down with various assortments of craft beer, we knew the majority of the customers would not be staying in the restaurant.
The restaurant’s concept is fairly simple, fried chicken, served in a variety of ways. You can opt to have the fried chicken served in sandwich form or just the traditional, bone-in bucket way. We decided to order the 6 piece chicken meal with sides of coleslaw and fries.
IMG_5622The intention is clearly for this to be enjoyed by one person based on the size of the sides. The coleslaw was nothing special, just your generic, lightly dressed cabbage, without any major bite or tang. I like my coleslaw creamy and tangy, with hints of fennel. The fries were crispy but still soft and pillowy in the centre.
 IMG_5623The chicken was okay. It was not consistently cooked: the thighs were juicy and very crispy and the drumsticks while juicy, were not crispy. When you are only serving two cuts of meat (which is the standard with fried chicken because you don’t fry the breast) you should be able to manage consistency across both types. And fried chicken needs to be just that, fried and crispy. Otherwise you have the grease factor without the crispy delicious coating. The batter was nothing remarkable, just plain frying batter that was well-seasoned but nothing out of the ordinary. The hot sauce was tangy and had a slight bite to it, it added to the chicken in a nice complimentary way.
We were not completely satisfied from our chicken so we order The Swalty for dessert.
 IMG_5624The Swalty, a waffle ice cream sandwich with salted caramel ice cream, caramel sauce and beef bacon.
This was the highlight of the meal for me. The waffle was crispy on the outside but maintained a light, airiness inside. The ice cream (which is made by Ed’s Real Scoop) had the rich, caramelized, saltiness of salted caramel. The ice cream was creamy and had a smooth texture. No ice crystals had formed in the ice cream that can be so jarring and cold when you bite into the ice cream. The caramel sauce was not cloyingly sweet and complimented the subtle salted caramel taste of the ice cream. The beef bacon was crispy, and had a rich smoky flavour to it. The saltiness in the bacon accented the saltiness in the salted caramel ice cream.
Next time I am craving fried chicken, I will not be returning to Dirty Bird, I will likely revisit my current favourite fried chicken restaurant in the city, Bar Fancy. But I think I will have to have another swalty at some point this summer.
Happy munching!

The Burgernator

A new burger joint called Burgernator opened up in Kensington Market, replacing the old Big Chubby Burger. We haven’t yet been burgers but we went for a little preview by trying their sweet potato fries and onion rings.

IMG_3367I wasn’t crazy about the onion rings but the sweet potato fries were delicious. They were crispy, sweet and tender in the middle. If the sides are any indication of how good the burgers are going to be, omigosh I can’t wait!

Happy munching!

The Burger’s Priest

On Friday GC and I went to The Burger’s Priest for lunch.

We went to the second location, which is at Yonge and Lawrence. We had tried to go the the original location on Queen St East months ago, but as it was Sunday, it was closed. We tried to go again, early this past week, and it was crazy busy and we didn’t have any cash on us (they do have an ATM in the restaurant but we didn’t realize that). I knew I was going to have an issue with The Burger’s Priest. I had a feeling it was going to be like The Grilled Cheese – we had tried to go so many times and when we finally did go we were underwhelmed. Unfortunately, this happened again.

If you love The Burger’s Priest and hate me right now, you should stop reading. Or continue so you can refute every point I make. It’s your choice. Please just don’t rage at me.

Let’s start with some of the things I actually liked about The Burger’s Priest.

1. I liked the aesthetics of the place.

I liked the painted brick wall, the Bible quote with a reference to Nebuchadnezzer, and that the menu boards were clearly formerly from a church to display hymns numbers. Sleek, modern, with a hint of old world religion. This was well done.

The vibe was also great. The clientele was a mix of young and old, families, couples and work friends. The staff clearly liked each other and was busting out renditions of “We Are the Champions” and Motown hits. I wanted to work here and I never want to work in food service.

2. I liked the French fries. This pretty much never happens as I don’t like French fries really. They were lightly salted and crispy. Some of them were slightly soggy but I got over that.

And that’s it. I’m sorry. And you will see I only had two major beefs with this place (and yes, that pun was intended) but since my major beef was with the burger I think that out weighs the good.

And here’s what I didn’t like:

1. I didn’t like the menu didn’t contain any descriptions of the actual burgers. I’m sure the staff is knowledgeable and would have perfectly explained each burger but I should be able to have the choice of reading a proper menu in order to not waste someone’s time.

2. GC and I both The Cheeseburger with all the toppings.

Now, don’t get me wrong, this is a tasty burger. It is not my favourite burger in Toronto and it is not a burger I would say, “You have to go out of your way to try this.” If I was in the neighbourhood and craving a burger, yes, I would eat it again. That being said, I think this burger is going for the pure, beef simplicity often associated with Mom and Pop diners but it is falling short. The meat is not good enough quality to stand alone without much flavouring. The crispy outside is too crispy for the lack of juiciness that it should be protecting. The patty isn’t thick enough to stand up to the bun and this many toppings.

If you are looking for a burger with this kind of feel, or if you love The Burger’s Priest and want to try other burgers like this, then definitely check out Holy Chuck. I think it is more successful attempt at creating an old school diner burger.

I think The Burger’s Priest was too built up for me to completely enjoy it. I’m sorry but happy munching!

Chippy’s Fish & Chips

Last night GC was craving sushi but since we were on Bloor at 7 o’clock at night, all the sushi restaurants had incredibly long lines.To satisfy the fish craving we decided to go to Chippy’s Fish & Chips.

The restaurant is small and is one room containing the kitchen area, the cash and two bars with stools for people to sit. The kitchen is open to the sitting area so you can see how fresh everything is.

We both ordered the Halibut with chips. It is slightly pricey – typically when you order fish and chips at a restaurant they ask if you want a single or a double order but here you only get one piece of fish and it’s $13.99 plus the price of chips on the side. In my opinion that is pretty expensive. And maybe if it was the best fish and chips I had ever had I might be willing to spend that but unfortunately, not so much.

It would seem that I don’t have much luck with fish and chips. When I went to England last year I only ate fish and chips once and the fish was clearly from breaded and frozen and was terrible. It was at some pub in Liverpool where The Beatles did something – this is where I am relying on Liz to chime and say the significance of that pub. It was literally the worst fish and chips I had ever had. If I can’t get good fish and chips in England, where am I going to get it? Am I doomed to have sub par fish and chips forever?

The batter was crunchy and salt but it was thin, and so was the fish. Also, plastic forks and knives cannot hold up to deep fried things. It is a decent piece of fish but because of it’s price I don’t think it is worth it. The fries were not good. Obviously, I am biased because I am not a french fry fan but for a place that focuses on quality ingredients, these are not so great. You could tell they are fresh cut fries but meh, I’m not a fan. Neither was GC.

According to blogTO this is the second best fish and chips in the city. Well if that’s the case, this city is in severe need of better fish and chips. I think the fish and chips from Scallywags are infinitely better. That all being said, I am not going back. Sorry…