Grindhouse Burger Bar
65 King St. West
It was a random Saturday afternoon. I was running some errands when Tony asked me if I wanted to have lunch with a school friend – Jacq. I haven’t hung out with them in a while, so I agreed to lunch.
We were chilling (literally, it was bloody cold compared to earlier in the week) around King West & Spadina, Tony was starved and the sky started to spit. We didn’t really know what we felt like eating – Thai Princess? Random bar? Dunn’s Sandwiches??? Then from across the street we saw this place – Grindhouse.
We were definitely intrigued and starved. We crossed the street and from the outside the restaurant appeared to be just a take-out burger place and we were looking for somewhere we could sit, talk and stay for a while. I peered in and saw it expanded to the back to what appeared to be a bar, so we went in.
The inside was cozy. They even had pillows on the banquette! I quite liked the atmosphere. It was very comfortable and perfect for catching up, lunch, dinner, date or chilling with friends at the bar.
The Restaurant Food Concept
The waiter was extremely nice and explained to us the concept behind the “Burger Bar.” The Grindhouse prides itself on providing great tasting, quality menu items. They make everything in-house: the ketchup, mustard, burger buns, the meat is smoked and ground on the premises and they don’t believe in using preservatives or white refined sugars. The meat they use is local, hormone-free, GMO-free and the animals are raised without antibiotics.
Burgers aren’t exactly healthy, but I felt pretty good that I wasn’t putting really bad things into my body. They also don’t serve coke and products like Molson beer! But they do have a whole bunch of really good microbrews – which I’m a huge fan of…especially Colorado microbrews (WOOT NEW BELGIUM!)
The menu is pretty cool! It’s essentially divided into 2 sections: the house menu and the foundation menu.
- The House Menu
This half of the menu is liquid – it changes often. I’m guessing this is equivalent to “chef specials.” The salads, we were told, are more or less the same.
- The Foundation Menu
This half of the menu is stationary – it’s always the same. It lists staple menu items.
After the whole restaurant spiel I was really excited to try out the food! I ordered the Bison Burger. I figured if I’m going to be eating a burger, it might as well be somewhat healthy and low in fat – and what other meat is lower in fat than BISON?! (perhaps ostrich…?)
I got my mine medium-rare. I have to say, when I bit into my burger, it was juicy, the bun was a good texture with a nice char toast and the hint of smokiness from the mustard and ketchup was soooooooo good!! The only criticism I might have is – I wish the burger was bigger ;) Believe you me, I enjoyed every bite of that creation.
Anyway, to offset the non-fatness of the bison burger we shared a poutine. Whenever I think about poutine, I wonder why it’s only a Canadian thing. I’m thinking those south of the border would love it even more. It has all the unhealthy servings of fried potatoes, loads of gravy and cheese curds! I’m surprised how they don’t know what poutine is. Regardless, this poutine was a good size. It was big enough for the 3 of us to share (but then again, we were being polite >__>) Overall, I thought it was a pretty good poutine and I definitely enjoyed it!! DELICIOUS =9
Tony, who was suffering from a hangover, splurged and ordered a lamb burger and a full caesar salad. Let me just say, this meal was consumed quicker than my one burger. ’nuff said!
Days of crappy Burger King, McDonald’s burgers are over!! No more small little whimpy burger patties made out of mass produced, processed meat, full of random meat-filler comprised of meat leftovers and processed through ammonia lined pipes. (Can you tell I watched Food Inc.?) If you’re ever around that part of town and you want something satisfying – definitely check this place out!
The Grindhouse Revisit – March 5, 2011
My slightly disappointing follow-up visit…(but the Kangaroo was excellent!)
One day while browsing through the aisles at Loblaws, I found myself in some sort of “international” foods section. There I found a can of coconut milk, so I bought it in hopes that one day I would get up the courage to make curry from scratch.
I’ve made Indian curry, but I cheated with a jar of Bolst’s Curry Powder mix. That turned out AWESOME! It was really good! But this time, I felt I had to do it from scratch. I had most of the spices anyway, so why not?!
My sister came down to visit me this week and after work, we headed to the nearest grocery store and went to buy some ingredients! I have to admit, while browsing through the “Thai” section of the “international” aisle, I was EXTREMELY tempted to buy the jarred pre-made curry and the curry pastes. Good thing my sister was there – she kept me in check!
I was extraordinarily nervous about making Thai curry from scratch. I kept thinking I wouldn’t have enough of the right ingredients and when it came down to putting it all together something would go wrong. At the grocery store they didn’t have shrimp paste or chilis. Couldn’t rectify the shrimp paste situation, but I bought one jalapeno pepper. They’re both spicy right?
Well, after some chopping, some peeling and some blending, I had my curry all ready for cooking. I tasted it and was blown away!! I added the chicken to the pot, seared it, added the curry and just reduced it down to a thicker sauce. I then added some corn starch and made some rice – VOILA! Thai chicken curry!!
It was DELICIOUS!!!!
Curry in Blender
Cooking in the Pot
With the Veggies
The Recipe: Thai Chicken Curry
- Some chicken cut into pieces (I used 2 chicken breasts, you could definitely use more)
- Freshly squeezed lime juice
- fresh basil and cilantro for garnish
- 1 can coconut milk
- Onions (I used 2 green onions)
- 1 thumb-size piece ginger
- 4 cloves garlic (or as much or little as desired)
- 1 Tbsp. tomato ketchup
- 3 Tbsp. fish sauce
- 1 Tbsp. chili powder
- 1 Tbsp. ground cumin
- 1 Tbsp. ground coriander
- 2 heaping tsp. brown sugar
- 1 small jalapeno pepper
- 1 yellow bell pepper, chopped
- 2-3 tomatoes, sliced into wedges
- And really…any veggie you like!
- Place all curry sauce ingredients in a food processor or blender. Process well.
- Sear chicken pieces in a pot. (I didn’t add oil)
- Pour the curry sauce over the chicken. Stir well, so that each of the chicken pieces is covered with sauce.
- Add lime and cinnamon, mixing these into the sauce.
- Simmer and reduce sauce.
- Stir occasionally.
- Add mixture of corn starch and water in a bowl. Mix well and add some to the curry until desired viscosity is achieved.
Romagna Mia Ristorante
106 Front St E
This restaurant was recommended by my boyfriend’s friend who is Italian – shockingly, we only recently found out he’s half Italian! Anyway, one night after many 2 for 1 Guinness’ at Fionn MacCools we were hungry and we didn’t really want to eat at the bar. After a couple of minutes of standing at the street corner we decided to try this place out.
The restaurant itself was quite nice, except we were seated at some weird table right by the door. I didn’t quite like that, but whatever. We could see the kitchen and all the food being prepared and noticed some longer tables for larger parties. Aside from those 2 things, it was nothing special, but really, do you need something extremely fancy? I will say, it does have that “romantic, date place” feel to it.
I’m not familiar with what distinguishes food from different regions of Italy, but this restaurant claims to serve up “authentic Northern Italian food”. I’m going to assume the menu indeed reflects the fact, but my lack of knowledge led me to believe it was about the same as any other Italian restaurant.
As Italian food is one of my favourite foods, I was quite excited to try this place out!
Mozzarella di Bufala in Camicia di Prosciutto Originale di Parma
This was our appetizer – Buffalo mozzarella wrapped in prosciutto on a bed of fresh greens, tossed in balsamic vinegar reduction and Parmigiano-Reggiano on top. I love Buffalo mozzarella! It’s creamy, it’s soft, it melts in your mouth…so good! Like all mozzarella, it’s subtle so the prosciutto provided some nice flavour. My only criticism is the prosciutto was a little over-powering and you couldn’t exactly enjoy or appreciate the mozzarella it wrapped around. The dressing was really nice! I enjoyed the sweetness of the balsamic vinegar reduction!
Strozzapreti alla Romagnola
My boyfriend had this as his entree, “Strangle the Priest”. It’s a pasta sauteed with sausage ragout, baby spinach and Parmigiano-Reggiano. His friend was the one who recommended this particular dish and for good reason! It was really really good! I’m not sure where to begin, perhaps the fresh pasta. As I’m writing this I can almost feel the texture of the fresh pasta. I like dried pasta very much, but you can’t get the same “chewiness” in dried pasta like you can with fresh. The difference is like night and day. Sauteed pastas are definitely my favs and this one had a great balance of flavours. You really just gotta try it!
Stinco di cinghiale Funghi e Risotto alla Milanese
I chose one of the chef suggestions: Wild Boar leg slowly braised with mushrooms with Milanese risotto. Like heaven. Braised anything is good because the meat is always fall off the bone, tender and juicy. This was exactly that! Seasoned well and most importantly, not too salty!! I’m always a little apprehensive when I see dishes like this because it can either be good or salty. My mediocre/bad experiences have centered around the saltiness of the juice. Thankfully, this wasn’t the case!! Perfect. The risotto was also good! Again, really afraid it would be salty – sometimes there is too much Parmigiano and it makes it too sticky and salty. This one was excellent. I liked the fact it wasn’t too cheesy or heavy!
I didn’t take a picture of dessert u____u But we had a really yummy homemade pistachio gelato!!!
In terms of pricing, enjoying a meal doesn’t have to be expensive here. Obviously, my boyfriend and I had quite the extravagant dinner complete with wine as well – but if you came in for just a plate, it’s not that expensive. Pasta entrees average around 14-16$, while secondi averages around 25$.
They also have free parking ;) So if you’re around, want a nice place to take a date, have a party, consider Romagna Mia.
Note: I took those English descriptions from their website!