Day Sixty-Eight – I Like Eating and Writing About It

9 03 2010

I love Yelp! When I had downtime at my last job, and there was a lot of downtime, I’d spend a ton of it looking up restaurants on Yelp.

I’ve also tried my hand at reviewing them. My review of Phil’s Original BBQ made the monthly newsletter, so that was exciting. If you haven’t been to Phil’s, you really should make an effort to go. I absolutely love it there.

Given that, I tried Pulled Pork elsewhere. It was upsetting. Read the review below:

Black Camel (Toronto, Ontario)

Why go to 'Black Camel' with 'Phil's Original BBQ' so nearby?

I’ll say right off the bat that my score is slightly unfair. My love is for the pulled pork of another, so when I walked into ‘Black Camel’ to taste what was dubbed “The Greatest Pulled Pork in Toronto”, I was set-up for disappointment.

Hypothetically speaking, had I never been to ‘Phil’s Original BBQ’, I may have liked the pulled pork at ‘Black Camel’ a little better. The sandwich was packed with meat and the sauce was pretty tasty on its own merits. However, I found myself dreaming, and wishing, for Phil’s sauce with every bite, just to be sorely disappointed each time.

The bread had an odd taste to it, almost overpowering the meat at times, but there was more than enough meat to stop it from happening too often.

The service was quick, but the place is so small that the people ahead of me pounced on the odd free seat – forcing me to sit out in the cold. Again, I don’t have a problem with this in some places, but knowing I could be in the warm confines of another was just another disappointment.

The sandwich was a little pricey as well. For the same cost, I could get a sandwich, albeit a smaller one, with a wonderful side of beans elsewhere. I was satisfied, hunger-wise, at the end of my sandwich, but I would have preferred to mix the palette up a little.

I don’t see myself returning to ‘Black Camel’ in the future. I’m sure the people in Rosedale love it, but with the subway right there, I would much rather ride the rocket to ‘Phil’s’.

Chili’s (Vaughan, Ontario)

I really enjoyed Chili’s when I visited it in New Jersey, so imagine my excitement when it’s announced that a Chili’s is opening a mere 20 minutes away from home. No more pulling out my passport just for some fajita.

However, like most things that cross the border up to the Great White North, it just didn’t feel the same. The moment we walked in, we were warned that the wait would be long. “Long”, as I was told when I asked what that meant, was supposed to be around a half-hour. Definitely long, but reasonable considering it was around 6pm and dinner service was sure to ramp up.

My girlfriend and I stood there, as there isn’t really anywhere to sit when you’re forced to wait inside the doorway as not to get in the way of people walking to and fro in front of you. About an hour later, we were finally seated.

I don’t know why I waited that long for a table with all the other options so nearby, but we did. We were determined to simulate the great experience we had in Jersey as best as possible. The good news was, we were right next to the kitchen. No excuse to miss us.

They did. A bunch of times.

We sat there for about another half-hour before someone finally came and asked us what drinks we wanted. Having all the time to review the menu much too thoroughly, we decided to order our entrees as well.

I got the fajita, as I would State-side, and I have to say that they were pretty good. Just not good enough to wait the extra 45 minutes it took for the meal to get to us.

At 9pm, we finally got the bill and got the hell out of the packed Chili’s. What was supposed to be a quick meal ended up being a three hour test of our patience. Good for them, I’m a sucker for branding and I waited through that mess.

I hope the service improves because the food is actually quite good, but if I can get to a Chili’s in New Jersey before I’m seated in Vaughan, it’s definitely not worth visiting this Chili’s.

I know I’ve been a couple of other places, but I just can’t remember them right now. Feel free to click on the Yelp! link to see some of my other reviews too!


Day Ten – Slacker’s Delight: My Chili con Carne Recipe

10 01 2010

So, I’ve made it to ten posts.

Time to celebrate with a good meal. This is the recipe to a chili I’ve been perfecting for a couple of years now. These measurements aren’t exact. They’re all to taste.

Let’s start with ingredients:

  • 1 green or red bell pepper, chopped
  • 1/2 to 1 bottle of Frank’s Red Hot
  • 1 jar of tomato sauce
  • 1 large can of kidney beans
  • 1 small can of sliced mushrooms
  • 1 package (2lb) of ground beef
  • 1 clove of garlic, chopped
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • Chili powder
  • Salt
  • Black pepper

The reason I call it a “slacker’s delight” is because the chili is very low maintainance. Once everything is thrown into the pot, it’s pretty much done.

All you need are three items.

  • A pot
  • A wooden spoon for stirring
  • A tablespoon for tasting

Here’s how you do it.

  1. Chop your onion and garlic on a cutting board. It’s easier if you have one you can pick up and slide everything into the pot.
  2. With a little oil at the bottom of the pot, cook the onions and garlic until they’re see-through.
  3. Throw in the ground beef. Cook it until it’s brown. You can drain the meat when it’s done, but I usually just tip the pot. It’s not as thorough as a strainer, but it does the job.
  4. While that’s cooking, chop up your pepper.
  5. Throw it in too. Let it cook for a little bit.
  6. Open the cans of kidney beans and mushrooms while stirring the peppers.
  7. Throw ’em in.
  8. Let that cook for long enough to open the jar of sauce. Dump any oil that may have collected at the top. If there’s a basil leaf in your jar, pull that out.
  9. Throw the sauce in the pot as well.
  10. Stir that for a little bit.
  11. Add a pinch of salt and black pepper.
  12. Add the chili powder. I do it to taste. I guess start with about 2-3 tablespoons. Stir and add more until you can taste it.
  13. Add the Frank’s Red Hot. I usually start with about half a bottle, adding as I stir it in. This is why you’ll need a spoon, because you’ll need to taste it as you add more Frank’s.
  14. Let that cook on a medium heat for about an hour. Walk away. Watch some tv. Get up and stir every so often, but that’s it.
  15. When the sauce is cooked, throw it on the table and ladle it out into the bowls.
  16. Enjoy.

I’ve been working on this for a while. Adding and subtracting parts of it. Still working on it, but this is what works for me right now.

Happy cooking.