Pour House

Last week’s mission for the National Post’s Gastropost was patios. I love patios. They are my summer escape and I can be found on a patio from anywhere from April to October. Check out the article because my face is on a map and I thin kthat’s pretty great.

My favourite patio in Toronto is Pour House and here is what I had to say for the Post:

“My favourite patio in the city is the patio at the Pour House at Dupont and Davenport. It is the perfect blend of everything the Annex has to offer: a converted old Victorian style home, a crowd consisting of students, young professionals and hipsters and tree coverage to make you feel like you are in a forest.

The patio has two levels and it is the second level that is the most sought-after. A flight of stairs leads you to a rooftop patio that is the perfect escape from the city in the city, completely engulfing you in trees and sun. My preferred time to enjoy this patio is brunch on a Sunday morning – quiet, peaceful and equipped with a Caesar bar.”

What I didn’t include in the article is what we ate that day. GC had the Irish Fry.

And I ordered the Double Dare Donut Burger.

No, I did not need a double dare to order this burger. Yes, I ordered a side of breakfast sausage as if this meal wasn’t ridiculous enough. And no, this isn’t my first donut burger.

Best patio in the city.

Hemingway’s

Two weeks ago I went to Hemingway’s with Liz.

My first visit to Hemingway’s was 3 years ago for a residence staff team building lunch. I had this amazing brie, apple and chicken sandwich and I was looking forward to trying it again. Unfortunately, it is only on the lunch menu which I don’t agree with because sandwiches are just as much a dinner item as they are a lunch item, especially at this kind of pub/patio style restaurant. We decided to give it another try and it is unfortunate to say but this was one of the more disappointing dining experiences I have had recently and for several reasons:

1. There are several different levels of patio and each has it’s own hostess. Ok, that makes sense but they are all fairly unhelpful with directing you and getting you to a table.

2. Our server was atrocious. She ignored us and walked by our table constantly without asking us if we were ready to order. She also committed the cardinal server sin (in my opinion, I assume people actually have higher standards they hold their servers to): trying to pass Pepsi off as Coke. Whenever a server says, “We only have Pepsi, is that ok?” I ALWAYS say no, in the hopes that they will learn to tell people and not just assume this is ok. Not only did our server almost not tell us it was Pepsi, she did it to the next table too. I know this isn’t a big deal but come on, there is a difference between Pepsi and Coke, don’t lie.

3. Liz ordered the Butter Chicken: Chunks of chicken in a smooth Indian curry sauce, served with steamed vegetables, rice and mango chutney. She really liked it which I think slightly made up for the service and the Pepsi-Coke misunderstanding.

I ordered the Turkey Burger: Seasoned ground turkey, grilled and garnished with a tasty cranberry mayo, served on a lightly toasted 12 grain bun and garnished with a slice of tomato, onion, pickle and lettuce. The turkey burger was dry which I know is something that is very hard to achieve as turkey is a dry meat because it is so lean. I wanted my mayo to actually be more like a chutney to make it feel like Thanksgiving on a bun. They did not mislead me about what I was getting, I just misinterpreted what cranberry mayo would be. I would have preferred if the onions were red instead of white. The sweet potato fries on the other hand were great and the chipotle mayo was creamy with a little kick to it.

If I had gone to enjoy the patio to have a few pitchers of beer and just enjoy the evening, I would have had a great time. But because I was starving and looking for a good meal and good service, it was a lack luster experience.

Save Hemingway’s for your patio experience, not dining experiences.

 

BQM Burgershoppe Quality Meats

Last Sunday GC and I tried to go to Pizzeria Libretto for lunch but unfortunately, on Sundays, they do not open until 4 pm. Apparently, people do not want to eat pizza before 4 – I didn’t realize it was strictly an evening food.

Since we were feeling dejected and lazy we looked around the Ossington and Dundas area for an alternative and we discovered BQM Bugershopped Quality Meats. A general note on this neighbourhood – there is a plethora of restaurants on this stretch, starting at Ossington and Dundas and going down a couple of blocks. Restaurants featured on this stretch that I want to try include (but aren’t limited to): Salt, Pizzeria Libretto, Fishbar, Yours Truly, Foxley and so many more. I suffer from something I feel like most Torontonians suffer from – I am mentally restricted and confined to the subway line. This is something I need to break free from, especially since I have access to a car.

I love the interior of this restaurant – the pendant lighting, the art and books on the shelves, the mixture of bench seating and tables. The only reason the restaurant was empty on Sunday at lunch time was because the day was beautiful and everyone was on the patio. The patio was on the side street, off of Ossington and was a great spot to enjoy some beers and burgers on a beautiful March afternoon.

Things I should have read before I ordered. I think next time I will get the brisket burger. The brisket is the cheapest burger meat you can order on their menu so I naturally assumed it was lesser quality. Sirloin is leaner which appeals to most people but I think the marbling of the brisket burger would add delicious, fatty flavour.

The menu explains everything about the meat – where the cattle is raised, where on the cow the cuts of meat come from and the sustainability of the ingredients. The quality of the base ingredients for each burger is emphasized and this comes through in the complete assembly of the burger. Each ingredient compliments the others and creates a perfect burger from top to bottom.

I ordered the Sirloin Hawaiian Burger grilled to Medium-Rare.

Bacon, smoked white cheddar, pineapple and chipotle aioli. The bacon was crispy but not burnt or charred. The smokiness of the cheddar complimented the smokiness of the burger. The pineapple was perfectly grilled and the grilling brought out the sweetness of the pineapple which worked with the smoky flavours from the cheddar, the bacon and the burger. The chipotle aioli added a little, but the right amount of heat to the burger.

I would get the burger done Medium next time – Medium-Rare is perfect for a steak but a bit too bloody for a burger. My burger bun got a bit soggy but everything was still delicious.

The sweet potato fries were hand cut from real sweet potatoes and were crispy on the outside but soft and moist on the inside. All washed down with a pint of Creemore – a perfect alternative to a barbecue in your own backyard..

GC ordered the Sirloin Riverside Burger grilled to Medium-Rare.

Bacon, mozzarella, BQM BBQ sauce, onion ring and garlic aioli. This burger had the perfect amount of crunch to it. And again, I think a more grilled through burger would have complimented that crunch that much better.

I loved everything about this place. The location, the interior, the general message of the company and of course, the burgers. I think I found my new favourite Toronto burger place.