Lou Dawg’s: Celebrating 5 Years of Southern Comfort

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Photos by Yuli Scheidt

Originally posted to Ama’s weekly column on Toronto Is Awesome.

If you’ve ever been on the hunt for good Southern charm and late night eats on King Street West, then you’ve probably run into owner Daryl D’Souza at his restaurant Lou Dawg’s before. Serving down-home good ol’ Southern BBQ for the past five years, Lou Dawgs has built up a following for being cheap, cheerful, and fun. I mean, when owner Daryl tells you there is a tradition of getting “Tuesday’d” which consists of lots of whiskey and ribs, you do not question it.

Yuli Scheidt Lou Dawgs

Just recently, the restaurant decided to freshen up the menu a bit. Adding some new touches to old menu items and adding some new menu items all together. One is a new take on a classic: The Angry Loutine ($6.99/8.99). The components (cheese, jalapeños, pulled pork, BBQ mayo, crispy onions) are everything and, just like the original Loutine, marry wonderfully together.

Yuli Scheidt Lou Dawgs

Next up, we were introduced to some of the best chicken wings I have had in this city. The Slow Smoked Dry Rubbed Wings ($9.95) were crunchy yet tender and just plain delicious. This rub has always been at Lou Dawgs but it’s a great classic that cannot be missed.

Yuli Scheidt Lou Dawgs


Yuli Scheidt Lou Dawgs

Next, we launched ourselves into the St. Louis Style Ribs which were extra saucy. Typically a half-rack of ribs are $12.95 or a full rack $22.95. For the amount of tender meat coming off these bones, these ribs were worth every penny. They were succulent and slow-cooked to perfection. Just the way ribs should be.

Yuli Scheidt Lou Dawgs

Two new menu items came next: a fish taco and a pulled pork taco ($8.95 ea). The fish taco had a beautiful coleslaw on top (which was simple) whereas the pulled pork taco had a black bean and corn salad with mayo. Be forewarned: the tacos are messy. All the flavours married so well together and the meats were tender. The biggest problem was the tortilla and the condiments. The mayo seems to make the tortilla soggy and therefore eat thru the tortilla. First world taco problems.

MAIN

Finally, we were fed some delicious sliders. There were two options for the evening: The Triple B Slider, which had all the same ingredients as the pulled pork taco and my favourite slider of the evening: The Pulled Pork Slider with BBQ mayo, beans, and bacon. It reminded me of camping in the best way possible. 3 Meat Sliders are $9.95.

Yuli Scheidt Lou Dawgs


Yuli Scheidt Lou Dawgs

The Big Dawg Menu offers a lot and what was showcased during our evening is just a sample of what Lou Dawg’s has to offer for the next five years and beyond.

Advertisements

Toronto rides ‘Gravy Train’ to first Poutine Festival

Originally posted to Ama’s weekly column on Toronto is Awesome.

YuliScheidt_PouttineFest_Poutinis

Just last week, hundreds gathered into the Beer Academy for five hours of all-you-can-eat poutine mayhem dished up by events company Joylister. It was Toronto’s first Poutine Festival and it brought out the curd lover in all.

Five restaurants took place in the first Poutine Festival showcasing all that they had in the fries, curds and gravy combos. Some kept it simple but some went over the top and fabulous. The event was $35 and sold out within 2-minutes of tickets going on sale. For those lucky enough to get in, indulge they did!

 

As we navigated our way through the Beer Academy and made our “Poutine Routine”, we went into the basement to check out Great Burger Kitchen’s Butter Chicken Poutine. This was the one I was simply dying to check out, as I have a thing for rich Indian flavours and disappointed I was not. The sauce was light and creamy and the chicken was juicy & tender. I have always been afraid to try variations of butter chicken anything for fear of the butter chicken sauce being too heavy. But for this portion size, Great Burger Kitchen knocked it out of the park.

YuliScheidt_PoutineFest2

Next up, we saddled up to Coquine Restaurant and their Duck Confit Poutine. Perfectly cooked pieces of duck with perfectly salted fries and brie cheese and gravy. It was like a flavour explosion in my mouth of perfection. All the salty flavours married perfectly together and didn’t overpower. You felt as if you were eating a 5-star French poutine.

Picture 3

As we made our way upstairs, we noticed that crowds had swelled and it was time for a plan of action. We divided and conquered the lines so first up, we took on Lou Dawg’s BBQ, The Mighty Loutini. This poutine consisted of none-other than pulled pork, which had heaps of it on top. I have had the original Mighty Loutini at Lou Dawg’s but this mini-version did not translate very well. The fries didn’t seem cooked very well and the pulled pork while it was delicious, wasn’t the standard I expect from Lou Dawg’s. The poutine was good but not GREAT. For those who attended Poutine Fest, I would highly recommend going to Lou Dawg’s and having the Mighty Loutini there.

YuliScheidt_PoutineFest3

Next up was the infamous Queen West eatery Poutini’s House of Poutine who was serving up two types of poutine: Traditional and The Works. Since we didn’t come to a Poutine Festival to check out Traditional Poutine, we went with the Works and man, was it good. Topped with huge bacon pieces, sour cream, chives, fries and gravy — it was like eating a big old baked potato. It also kind of reminded me of Lick’s Taters and Cream, only with some gravy. Either way, I was super into it.

After we ate (and drank) our way through the poutine selections, we decided to cast our votes for (as Joylister called it), 2013 Poutine King Champion. Both Yuli and I were split on the vote. She casted a ballot for Coquine Restaurant and their Duck Confit poutine and I was torn between Great Burger Kitchen’s Butter Chicken Poutine and Coquine Restaurant’s offering.

At the end of the night, after all was said and done, Joylister tallied the votes and Coquine Restaurant won out amongst the restaurants for 2013 Poutine King Champion. Joylister has gone on record as stating they will be setting up more food events in the future. Stay tuned to their website.

 

Fries and Cheese Curds and Gravy … OH MY. Toronto’s first Poutine Festival

9012272093_b7c6bae7ac_zphotos by yuli scheidt

Fries, cheese and gravy is already loved by one and all across this nation.  So why hasn’t it had a festival dedicated to it here in Toronto?  Well, that’s a good question that newly minted Toronto startup Joylister asked themselves when they started planning Toronto Poutine Fest (Thursday August 22, 2013 from 5PM-10PM).

Toronto is such a diverse food city that Seungchan Lee, co-founder of Joylister, an events company told me: “All of us loved poutine and thought it would be interesting to get the best poutine vendors together in one place for a night of poutine.”

9063171029_e12f58eb52_z

Lee mentioned that there should be over 400 Poutine lovers in attendance at the Beer Academy.  Lee told me, “Ticket to the poutine fest was $35 + HST per person. It includes all-you-can-eat poutine as well as 3 sample sized craft beers.” As of right now, the event is sold out.  Joylister has confirmed that NO TICKETS will be sold at the door.

Cooking up some fries, gravy and curds that night will be Coquine Restaurant, The Feisty Jack Mobile Co, Great Burger Kitchen, Lou Dawg’s BBQ, and Poutini’s House of Poutine.  When I asked Seungchan what he thinks will be the craziest poutine that night, he said he would leave the up to the chefs in attendance.  However all those in the Joylister office had dreamed up some different types of poutine they wish would appear (but will not be present at the Festival), “(we) had a dessert poutine in mind, but personally I love Japanese food and Izakaya poutine would be really cool. Maybe Yakitori poutine?”

For up to the minute updates on Toronto’s first Poutine Fest, visit the website or look for the hashtag #PoutineFestTO