Usually I bring my lunch to work because I like to save money like that. And even when I do go out to eat, I have food court food or make a long journey to a vegan place; but today, I agreed to go out to a random lunch with my friend, Ken.
Not surprisingly, choosing a place to eat is always a difficult task #firstworldproblems. Good thing we somehow, miraculously, agreed up Bannock in a very short period of time. We’re both familiar with Bannock and I’ve been there for various types of meals (dinner, lunch & “take-out). Bannock is part of the Oliver & Bonacini Restaurants (O&B, Biff’s, Canteen, Luma, etc.) and is described as serving Canadian comfort food.
On this particularly Frankenstorm afternoon, Ken decided he needed to be SEVERELY comforted and the powers of comfort food overtook his brain and he ordered the duck poutine pizza. And yes, it’s exactly what it sounds like.
Monstrosity. It was a pizza with carmelized onions, pulled duck, cheese curds, crispy french fries and gravy. I wondered how he could go back to work after this meal and he assured me this wasn’t as bad as the time he had AYCE Indian food for lunch. So I was confident I wouldn’t have to carry him back to work!
I opted for a slightly ligher fare – the Praire Grain Salad with the soup of the day (roasted red pepper tomato).
Now this salad wasn’t what I had in mind. I thouhgt it would be more of a leafy salad with some grains on the side, but as you can see, I got full-on grains..with mayo? The pickled vegetables were good, but it was much too heavy for me.
My final word:
Overall my experiences at Bannock have been great. They always have great service and food. This lunch was a comfort food overload and I didn’t really like what we had, but previous times at Bannock I’ve enjoyed their fish dishes, soups, bannock and other lighter fare. It’s a cool central place and always great when it’s rainy and cold!
I find that many restaurants and eateries attempt to make one of the more truly authentic North American dishes, the mac & cheese, but fail to make it actually taste good. Most mac & cheese dishes I’ve had in Toronto taste bland, sometimes too liquidity and not cheesy enough.
One of the best mac & cheese experiences I’ve had is at the Victory Cafe. The mac & cheese has a wonderful crispy top and gooey cheesy macaroni underneath. The flavours of sun dried tomato and caramelized onion are layered in. The texture is not too liquid or dry (this isn’t a macaroni pie!). This is definitely my favorite place to grab this type of comfort food – nothing beats it…yet ;)
Aside from the mac & cheese, the Victory also has great beers on tap! I don’t really see how you can’t go try it out!!
For those who know me well (or maybe even those who don’t), I love eating! I try very hard to eat healthy, but there are those times when you just really don’t want to do that and you “forget” about everything healthy and gorge on your favourite comfort foods.
One of my favourite types of comfort food is American Southern cuisine! Which is a bit ironic because I always put down the US for serving up crappy food – but just to clarify, I just think they do ethnic foods wrong!! (Actually, the US does serve up some pretty unhealthy food :( LOL)
My all time favourite comfort food restaurants is located in Denver, Colorado – Steuben’s Food Service. Steuben’s is named after a popular restaurant in Boston – a city which I love! I have yet to see if this Boston Steuben’s still exists and if it does, must check it out!
But back to Steuben’s in Denver…I don’t even know where to begin! I remember the first time my boyfriend took me there, it was for a late breakfast and we sat outside on their enclosed patio where my eyes lit up with gluttony as I carefully scanned through the brunch menu.
It felt like they had everything on that menu; and with menu items such as chicken fried steak and eggs, pancake stack, bacon & sausage roll egg sandwich, chicken and waffles, pulled pork sandwich, bbq beef brisket, and biscuits & gravy – I was in comfort food heaven! (and this was just the brunch menu!)
Naturally, I went for the basic breakfast – 2 eggs, hashbrowns, toast, breakfast meat (which was I believe ham…Canadian bacon? it was soo long ago…). I usually do the basic breakfast when I try out new places, it’s my litmus test to see how good a restaurant is – if they can serve me up a delicious basic, then their “specialities” must be equally tasty, if not better! I also ordered a malt milkshake because a) LOVE LOVE LOOOVE malt (maltasers, horlicks, malt candies); b) I’m in America – land of excess!
In the end, my meal was impressive despite the fact I felt I gained a few pounds and my arteries became a bit more plaquey. Steuben’s had found its way into my heart (in more than one way), it’s a place where I frequent whenever I’m in Denver, and where my mind wanders whenever I feel like some good ol’ comfort food.
P.S. Their cubano is AWESOME!!!! so are their drinks…