Lou Dawg’s: Celebrating 5 Years of Southern Comfort

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Foodival: Inspired Carnival Foods Brought to 99 Sudbury

Last weekend Foodies on Foot treated Toronto to an amusement park treat at 99 Sudbury with a carnival themed food festival. The first ever Foodival had a great atmosphere and even better treats with a large group of vendors both outside in the parking lot and inside the venue as well.

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On top of all the delicious food there were fire performances, bounce house battle ground like something out of American Gladiators and a bounce house race on bungee cords. But enough about the entertainment, I’m sure you’re here to read about the food.
First up we got to try one of Jonny Blonde’s flatbread sandwiches, the Butter Blonde. This fairly large flatbread sandwich was enough for the both of us filled with tandoori chicken in butter chicken sauce with roasted cauliflower, salted candied almonds and melted brie. The brie was a nice creamy surprise, and even better is the fact that all their flatbreads are homemade. I would definitely try this one again!
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One of my favourites at the entire festival got the carnival theme down just right and that was The Salted Pig’s Pigs in a Blanket. They were corn tortillas filled with pulled pork, deep fried, and covered with a sour cream horseradish sauce, chopped been onions and their own homemade louisiana hot sauce which added a perfect kick. I’m a sucker for anything “pigs in a blanket” related, and these were a step up from your traditional hot dog variety. We were definitely responsible for sending quite a few of the patrons of the evening their way to try one.
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Up next was the grilled cheese from Cut the Cheese, which we were waiting all night to try. This time we each got our own and tried two different varieties because you can never have enough grilled cheese.  I tried the classic which was medium cheddar and candied bacon. I was pleasantly surprised with the taste because I normally find that medium cheddar is not strong enough, but it was just perfect. Ama had the “Harvest” which had cheddar, squash and caramelized onions for a good autumn flavour. They were perfectly golden brown and to fit in with the theme of the night they paired the sandwiches with a house made root beer flavoured ketchup, delish!
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Cut the Cheese 'Harvest'

Cut the Cheese ‘Harvest’

What’s a carnival without dessert? We finished off our night with liquid nitrogen ice cream from Ice Volcano. This was a really cool sight to watch it being made as well as eating it. I can say this was my first time eating anything made with liquid nitrogen and I think I love it. We tried both the Oreo flavoured and the even better “Milo” which was chocolate and malt ice cream topped with Milo powder.
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To wash everything down we ended up getting some Rosehips and Mint flavoured kombucha from Rise Kombucha. Normally being very much not a fan of kombucha I think we were both pleasantly surprised with how refreshing they tasted.
We will definitely be checking out Foodival next year as well as other events put on by Foodies on Foot.
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AwesTRUCK 2013 Brings Ontario its Biggest Food Truck Rally

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

It was a rainy Saturday afternoon, however this could not stop foodies nor food truck fans from trudging through the rain and mud at Fort York to attend AwesTRUCK 2013.  This planned to be Ontario’s largest food truck rally and many awards were to be handed out in several different categories including best new food truck, best design, etc.

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Festival Food Express: Summer Grub That Saved Our Lives

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Music festival season is fully upon us. There’s something so ethereal about the longing for and nostalgia after a good music festival that let’s you forget about, let’s say,  not getting to the front of the stage, having to stand beside an obnoxiously drunk girl wearing a tiara who’s more interested in screaming for birthday shots than the band in front of her, or the bitter disappointment of missing a band’s set entirely because you’re outside fighting to get in.

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Of course there’s more to festivals than just music. There’s also food. You need to survive those open bar industry mixers, you of course want those greasy breakfasts to soak up what nastiness you got up to last night, but you’re also a connoisseur and only want the best for yourself and those out of town friends you’re trying to sway.

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Members of the Toronto Squad have already survived two festivals. The first being the one-day Arts & Crafts Field Trip took over Fort York and Garrison Commons to bring together bands from the record label’s roster from the last decade. The return of Broken Social Scene from indefinite-hiatus, sharing the stage with Feist for the first time in who knows how long. Aside from the old-gaurde there was also new signees Trust, Gold & Youth. It wouldn’t be a field day without kids running around screaming their faces off, hula hoops, bouncy castle, screen-printing and plenty of good grub. Toronto Underground Market was out in full force, with full truck set-up on the Fort York side, mini-TUM in the kids area, and another tent-city TUM on the Garrison Commons side. Heaven.

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Trucks on the Fort York Side

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Greek Poutine from Blue Donkey.

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West Side Beef Co.

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Cheesy ball from How About Them Meatballs?

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Octopus Tacos from Buster’s Sea Cove

We had to save room for NXNE though. The week-long music, film, comedy and interactive festival can really zap you if you don’t prepare. Food is important. You can find yourself trying to get across town on the TTC trying to catch a set and it hits you hard, “when was the last time I ate?” Hopefully, you ate as well as we did.

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Pulled pork and pulled mushroom sliders from Hogtown Smoke at the Exclaim! / Jager Backlot BBQ

And the Hogtown Smoke pulled pork poutine, of course.

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Stuft and Fidel Gastro trucks were holding it down at Vice’s Hot Tar Party

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Refreshments from Tito’s Handmade Vodka

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Squad Leader Ama keeping it wavvy with a new friend.

Foodwares #CHWDWN Pop-Up Lunch ft. Hot Bunzz, Porchetta & Co., FeasTO, Babi & Co. + more

My mom has worked for the Hudson Bay in Calgary for longer than I have been alive. The majority of that time was spent at the historic location downtown (so historic by Calgary standards that my grade five class once took a field trip to learn about it’s architecture). A lot of the women in my family have worked at this location over the years, and I became very familiar with it growing up.

I distinctly remember visits to the 6th floor cafeteria with my grandmother. Thursday’s special was half price liver and onions. But times change and this kid is now an adult who was invited to the most recent #CHWDWN event hosted by the Foodwares Market in the Hudson Bay’s flagship Queen Street store here in Toronto.

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This blew that liver and onions outta the water. Ama and I headed down on our lunches and found ourselves in the midst of this semi-regular pop-up lunch with business district types also on their lunch breaks. You think it’d be chaos, but everything went ticking like clockwork. Nothing makes us Type-A Food Lovers happier.

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First we honed in on some Hot Bunzz. We’ve seen these kids around down, but had never partaken of the bunzz before. We desided to sink our teeth into a Brazilian BBQ after asking the girl at the counter what was the most popular. Out other choices were Quebec 3 Chz, Sicilian Sausage, and Texas Pulled Pork. With that on our tray we moved to the next station.

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Having survived Burger Week the previous weekend, Babi & Co. was there reppin’ Indonesian-inspired street food. We grabbed an order of babi on a bun, just the grub they’d been serving up at Artscape Wychwood Barns on #BurgerDay. They didn’t last long, we savored the bite-sided buns for less than a bite they were so yummy.

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Next we stopped in at Foodware’s own station, where their in-house team along with a consulting chef from Oliver & Bonacini introduced us to the creation they’d been dropping hints on all week. The All-Canadian Donut Sandwich. It’s genius in it’s simplicity. Take a lightly sweetened donut cut in half, slap some Peameal bacon and a maple mayo on there. Top it off with a donut hole in the donut hole, plate it with a perfect hunky chunky potato and egg salad with plenty of smoked paprika and we were in heaven.

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Porchetta & Co. was standing by with their standard sandwich (read: not your standard sandwich). The pork, cheese and seedy, whole grain mustard made our Ama a believer after she’d had a disappointing sammie at Porchetta’s brick and mortar on Dundas last year.

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Last to hit our tray was some dumplings from FeasTO. New to the Fat Girl Food Squad’s radar we slurped down some shiitake, portobello, leek and tofu bundles. Our other choices where a deconstructed beef pho, or foie gras and water chestnut dumpling.

Foodwares is located on the lower level of the Hudson Bay at 176 Yonge Street right along in the thick of the kitchen wares. Always my favourite department.