Friday, December 29, 2017

#FoodPornFriday - Amazing Tokyo Style Ramen right here in Windsor

Tan Tan Men

I'm not sure how many people realize this is a thing; down by the University on Wyandotte (2270 Wyandotte West to be exact) is a small Asian diner called Eros Asian Eatery. They feature Southeast Asian Cuisine most days of the week. What people may not know is that every Saturday the shop transforms like Ultraman into the Kagerou Ramen House where you can find some of the best Ramen I've ever had.

Kagerou serves four different varieties of ramen:
Tokyo Style Shoyo Ramen (Soy Sauce Flavour)
Shio Ramen (Salt Flavour)
Miso Ramen
Tan Tan Men (Japan's interpretation of a classic Szechuan noodle dish).

Tokyo Style Shoyu Ramen
I've personally tried the Tan Tan Men (pictured up top) and the Shoyo (pictured to the right) and both were amazing. No, seriously, amazing. This is some of the best ramen I've had. This is some of the best Asian food I've had. Heck, this is some of the best food I've had in Windsor. Okay, fine, I'll say it: this is some of the best food I've ever had. 

The first time I went I noted to one of the owners that I needed to bring my wife. Well, I brought her yesterday and she tried the Miso Ramen (last pic on the page), and enjoyed it so much that she's "forcing" me to bring her back today. Yes, that's correct, we are going to eat Ramen two days in a row because it's so damn good.

But wait, didn't I say this transformation only happens on Saturday and isn't it Friday? Yes, normally that is the case, but in celebration of the Holidays, Eros/Kagerou is doing a special 3 Days of Ramen Holiday Event! It started Yesterday and runs until Saturday. So you can head down there today and try some of this amazing ramen yourself. They are open today until 7pm today and tomorrow from noon until 3pm.

Miso Ramen
If you can't make it out over the next couple days, that's cool. Just stop by any Saturday between noon and 3pm. You may want to go early though, as they only prepare so much and service goes until 3pm or they run out.

I honestly can't recommend this enough. Checking out Kagerou Ramen House at Eros Asian Eatery has been one of my favorite culinary experiences of 2017.  My only regret is that it took me so long to finally give their ramen a chance. Just think of all those Saturday ramen lunches I missed out on. 

Saturday, November 25, 2017

#SadNewsSaturday - Sad news about Capri Pizza

Yes it's Saturday morning. No this isn't a #FoodPornFriday post. I'm a bad blogger. I spent the last few Friday's at work on afternoons. Last night I had a Friday night off. I probably should have used that to blog. Instead, I got a take-out Panzerotti from Windsor Pizza, tried out some of my Motor Craft Ales Members Club beers and played a ton of Destiny 2. So sorry, I didn't write about food last night.

To make up with it, I'm here with #SadNewsSaturday. I don't expect this to actually be a thing. Actually, I really hope it doesn't become a thing. I don't want to have enough sad news to be able to post every Saturday. Hopefully, this will be the one and only #SadNewsSaturday. 

Last week I learned the very sad news that the original Capri Pizza location on Dougal has closed the restaurant side. You can no longer head there to eat in and drink a pitcher of MacLean's Amber Ale. You can't go there for Panzerotti Wednesday where you could get buy one and get one free. Now the only way to get Carpi in Windsor is to either pick it up or get it delivered. 

This bums me out as I really enjoyed eating in at Capri. Besides the obvious advantage of fresh hot Windsor Style Pizza (and draft beer), the atmosphere in there was great. One wall was covered with classic Windsor Pictures. There were articles on the wall going back to when Capri first opened. The place had history. 

I was really hoping to make it there one more time before they closed but it just wasn't meant to be. Goodbye, eat in at Capri. I will miss you.

Friday, November 10, 2017

#FoodPornFriday - Wizards of Walkerville Boardgame Bistro and Bar

The reason you didn't see a #FoodPornFriday post last weekend was the fact that it was the annual Extra Life weekend. This is a charity gaming event that I help run and organize every year as part of the Windsor Gaming Resource. It was a very successful weekend. The awesome gamers of Windsor Ontario raised $3390 U.S. for the Children's Miracle Network of Hospitals.

This week I feature one of the amazing local businesses that were part of our Extra Life event this year: The newly opened Wizards of Walkerville Boardgame Bistro and Bar. Over the course of the Extra Life weekend, my wife and I stopped in many times to see how things were going and ate there for both breakfast and lunch. 

Wizards of Walkerville (Wizards from now on) is located at the corner of Hall and Ottawa.  Currently, it's more of a restaurant/cafe that happens to have an amazing selection of board games to play. That will be changing when they get the basement gaming area open. As it stands it's still awesome mainly due to how damn good the food is. This is seriously good food. This includes the coffee which is some kind of special blend (sorry not a coffee snob, so I don't remember what's special about it, I just know it's good). The fact that they also have games to play is just a very cool added bonus.

As far as the games go they have a fantastic range of games. There's all of the classics: Clue, Monopoly, Connect Four etc. Along with those they have a really good selection of party and family games. For the hardcore gamers, you can even find amazing hobby strategy games like Scyth and Terraforming Mars. I challenge any tabletop gamer to go in there and not find something that fits their taste.

Back to the food. For breakfast Saturday morning I tried the Ol' Fashion French Toast. That's the main pic up there. This is pumpkin spice blend french toast, with toasty pecan coating. It came with a cardamon maple "Ol' Fashion inspired" maple syrup blend. It was some of the best French Toast I've had. There was the option to get bacon but I somehow missed that on the menu. 

The other item I tried, for lunch on Sunday, just before the Extra Life event ended at 3pm, was the Par-Cheesy with a side of Italian Wedding Soup. The Par-Cheesy is their grilled cheese. The thing with this is that the cheese blend changes each week. Mine was a mix of mozzarella, provolone, and asiago (If I remember correctly). This was really good, but not quite as good as that french toast. That's it over there on the left.

Overall I think Wizards is awesome. I'm looking forward to when the gaming area opens up and when the Bar part of their name becomes a reality. In addition to being a cool place to play and learn new games, they have really good food. I strongly suggest checking them out. 

Friday, October 27, 2017

#FoodPornFriday - sometimes there's nothing better than traditional bacon and eggs

I post a wide variety of #foodporn on here. Quite a bit of it people would consider fancy. It's not the stuff mom used to cook. I've noticed a big trend here in Windsor of more gourmet foods showing up everywhere. Words like Aoili, Bechamel, Carcuterie, and Quenelle show up on more menus every day. This isn't a bad thing, in no way. But sometimes you just want something "normal".

To me, there's nothing more simple and basic and normal, than Bacon and Eggs. This is comfort food at it's finest as long as it's cooked right. That's the kicker though. Pretty much any place that opens before 10am serves meat, eggs, and potato, but so few actually get it right.

For those few weeks, I was living back at my parent's place taking care of my dad we made a new daily habit. That was going to Pete's Place. Personally, I like my eggs "over medium" which to me means flipped over, yolks still liquid and all whites cooked through without being overcooked and having crispy bits. I like my bacon a bit under crisp, you can bend it but eventually, it will break. I like my potatoes with a bit a seasoning salt. Pete (yes the owner and cook of Pete's place is named Pete) nails this every time. 

As an added bonus, it's cheap. Really cheap if you get there before 11am. A plate of bacon and eggs before 11am is under $5. That's unheard of nowadays. I will fully admit it's not the fanciest place. It's pretty much the Wikipedia page image for a greasy spoon and they don't even take debit. It's exactly the kind of place you expect to find a great plate of eggs.

You can check out Pete's for yourself at 381 Wyandotte St. East. Right across from the big park in front of Water World near The Barn. 

Friday, October 20, 2017

#FoodPornFriday - Etta's isn't just for breakfast.

I've mentioned Etta's Greeklish Eatery on #FoodPornFriday before. More than once I think. There's a good reason for it. It's one of my favourite places to eat, for breakfast. Their Meatlove Casserole is one of my favourite things to eat in this city. Well, last night we did something crazy. We went to Etta's for dinner.

The dinner menu is very different from the lunch and breakfast menu. I was actually quite surprised. I assume it's probably a different cool in the afternoon. Actually, hold up a second. A correction: the adult dinner menu is different. The kid's menu is identical. Not that my kids really cared, but it's worth noting.

The night menu was much more Greek than the menu we had seen before. Greek enough that I couldn't pronounce most of the stuff on it. There was your usual gyros, souvlaki, opa, grape leaves, greek salad, lemon rice soup, etc.  Then there's a bunch of stuff I've never heard of like Pastitsio, Moussaka (actually this one sounded familiar, but I didn't recognize it by description) and Kokkinisto.

I went with the Kokkinisto which is what you can see in the #foodporn picture above. It was some amazingly tender beef in a tomato sauce over rice served with roasted potatoes and green beans (seasonal veg). The beef part was amazing, the red sauce was good. I found the rice a bit plump, but okay. The potatoes were good, but not Thansi's good.

To go with it I passed on the Lemon Rice soup and got a bowl of some amazing ham, bacon, cheddar and potato soup. You know me well enough that should have been the obvious choice between the two. It was amazing. The soup was even better than the Kokkinisto.

Between the soup and the beef dish, I was very happy and very full. The kids tried Orzo, my wife got a Gyro and my mom tried the Pastitsio (a meat sauce and ziti baked dish). Everyone left full and we even had some leftovers. 

Friday, October 13, 2017

#FoodPornFriday - Just what is Windsor Style Pizza?

A Large Meatlovers from Capri Pizza

Today I have a practical #FoodPornFriday post all about Windsor Style Pizza.

A Queen take out Pizza
from Windsor Pizza
Nine times out of ten when I post a picture of Windsor Style Pizza and mention that I'm having/enjoying Windsor Style Pizza I will get at least one comment asking what exactly Windsor Style Pizza means. I've answered that question now at least 20 times, maybe as many as 50 times. It doesn't matter how often I answer it, I'm certain that the next time I post a picture of Windsor Pizza on some social media site someone is going to ask me: What's Windsor Style Pizza.

So that's why today's #FoodPornFriday post exists. So that the next time someone asks me this question I can just provide them with a link to this blog post. Instead of typing out the same answer over and over I will just have to share this link. So let's get to it:

What is Windsor Style Pizza?

Small 2x Cheese Peperoni Sausage
from Armando's
Though it seems many people don't believe it, Pizza in Windsor Ontario is unique. Most people have heard of Chicago Style Deep Dish Pizza or New York style pizza. Some people have even heard of Detroit Style Pizza (it's square). But it seems that Windsor Style pizza is something only people from Windsor or people who have been to Windsor know about. 

Now that's starting to change. If you Google Windsor Style pizza you will find quite a few articles. There's a great one titled How Did Pizza Become One of Windsor, Ontario's Hottest Exports? and another great one about Volcano Pizza titled: Volcano Pizzeria: A look into one of Windsor's most famous pizza palaces. Check them out if you have time. 

Volcano is where the whole thing started. It was the first pizza place in Windsor and it set the standard for everything that came afterward. Every single 2nd generation pizza place (many of which are still around to this day) owe their success to Volcano and most of them were opened by previous employees of Windsor's first Pizzeria. 

There are many places in Windsor where you can still get Windsor Style Pizza. Armandos, Franco's, Koolinis, Acrata, Capri, Antoninos, Riverside, Roma's, Rivera, Naples, Sam's, Winsor Pizza and probably 20 more I'm forgetting about. Personally, my favorites are Windsor Pizza, Capri, Antonino's, and Armando's. 

What makes Windsor Pizza Special?

Medium Bacon and Scallop pizza
from Sam's
Windsor Style Pizza has a thicker doughy crust that should be crusty on the bottom but soft in the middle. This is middle thickness, not deep dish at all but not the flat style you see at many wood oven places. The sauce is a spicy sweet arabiata style. Differing levels of sweet and spicy are one of the main things that set various Windsor pizzerias apart. Toppings go on top of the cheese never under (sometimes if you get extra cheese that goes on top, usually part way through cooking). 

There are a few idiosyncrasies in regards to ingredients. Pepperoni (often just called sausage, whereas what most people would call sausage can be found as Italian Sausage on many menus) is sliced, never full circles. Sausage (Italian Sauage) is a local brand that is usually small balls and rather fennely. Mushrooms are canned and are usually Success brand. Vegetables and other meats are usually roughly cubed. Additional fennel and sometimes oregano can be found either in the sauce or sprinkled on top (some places like Antonino's have shakers for you to add your own once you get your pie).

The pies themselves are oven baked. I personally have no idea if there's such a thing as a Windsor Style Pizza oven, or if all pizza places use the same style but I do know that pretty much every place I stop in for pick up has similar looking ovens. The important part though is that they use an oven, the whole wood-fired thing, while good, isn't Windsor Style. 

Random slices from Koolini's
The biggest Windsor Pizza secret for years was the cheese. The mozzarella comes from a local shop called Galati Cheese Company Ltd. This was an industry secret for a long time and was what caused many "Windsor Style Pizza" places that opened out of town in London or Toronto to fail. They had the recipes from the Windsor places but couldn't get exactly the same ingredients. Now the Galati secret is out and you can now see all Windsor Pizza places with signs stating "Proudly serving Galati cheese" prominently displayed.

So yes, Windsor Style Pizza is a thing. A big thing for the people who love it. If you don't belive me just check out this article: Sask. couple orders beloved Windsor pizza for long-distance Super Bowl delivery, where a Sask. couple paid $140 to have an Arcata pizza flown out there for their Super Bowl Party.

Note not every pizza place in Windsor does Windsor Style Pizza. May people consider the Caboto Club to have the best pizza in town and it's a thin crust wood fired style pizza. One of the best pizzas I've had comes from the newly opened Downtown Pizza Co and they also don't serve Windsor Style. I just wrote about their pies last week

Friday, October 6, 2017

#FoodPornFriday at the Downtown Pizza Co.

Walk in the Woods

A week ago my wife and I had the pleasure of attending the Friends, Family, and Foodies preview night at the Downtown Pizza Co. so I thought I would talk about it for today's #FoodPornFriday post.

This is the latest restaurant by Mark Boscariol who also owns Snackbar-B-Q and the Willistead. It's right downtown at 255 Ouelette Ave. where you used to be able to find Chanosos.

As expected they specialize in gourmet pizza. This isn't Windsor Style pizza though. Instead, you will find both white and red sauce wood-fired pizza on very tasty sesame seed crust.

During the event, my wife and I got to try two of their pizzas and both were fantastic. 

At the top of the page here you can see my wife's Walk In The Woods. A white sauce pizza with honeyed mushroom, mozza, fior di latte, parmesean, roasted garlic, thyme and sesame crust.

Over to the left there, you can see my Mario & Luigi. A red sauce pizza with genoa, calabrese, hot capocoolo, roaster garlic, green olive, chili flake, fior di latte, mozza, paremesaen and seaseme crust. 

Along with great pizza, the Downtown Pizza Co. also has a great craft beer selection. I was very happy to see that they had at least one beer from pretty much every local brewery. You could get Walkerville, Brew, Frank, Craftheads and even GL Heritage from Amherstburg.  In addition, they also brew their own beers. 

That night they were featuring the pizza and beer and a couple mixed drinks so that's all we got to try. It's worth noting that their menu also includes salads and a selection of excellent sounding sandwiches.  They also sever fresh made soft serve ice cream.

Overall I was very impressed. The beers were great. The pizza was even better. I happily welcome Downtown Pizza Co. to the city core and hope to be back there often. 

Friday, September 22, 2017

#FoodPornFriday featuring Etta's Greeklish Eatery

Okay I know it can't be good for me. There's no way anything with this much meat and cheese is really good for anyone, but I don't care.

Today's #FoodPornFriday post features one of my favourite local breakfasts. This cholesterol killer is the Meatlovers Casserole from Etta's Greeklish Eatery. IT's a massive bowl of bacon, ham, sausage, fried egg and grilled potatoes covered in cheddar and mozzarella cheese. by massive, I mean even this big dude can't usually finish a bowl. There's probably enough food to feed a family of four here. I've never left Etta's without leftovers, and that's not a bad thing.

You can find Etta's at 5975 Wyandotte E in the heart of Riverside. I strongly recommend going for breakfast, though they are open all day and serve a great lunch and dinner. I'm just partial to their breakfast (and not just this casserole).

Friday, September 8, 2017

#FoodPornFriday featuring Cheeseburgushi

Today's #FoodPornFriday post comes from Universal Studios in Orlando Florida. Specifically from an amazing restaurant called The Cowfish that is part of the Universal Citywalk.

As you may expect from the name, The Cowfish specializes in burgers and sushi. But they also have something else: Burgushi. That is what you see here. Specifically Cheeseburgushi.

I will fully admit I was leery when my mother in law ordered this. I did have to admit it looked pretty damn good when it showed up though. Come on look at that picture, you can't tell me that doesn't look appetizing. So how was it?

This was by far one of the best things I've eaten in my entire life. It was so damn good!

After finishing just one piece of this burgushi I looked at the three other specialty rolls on our table and wished they were the other varieties of burgushi. That's knowing that Cowfish has really damn good sushi, but it's nothing compared to this monstrosity they have created. An amazingly tasty monstrosity.

My only regret is that we had meal plans for the rest of our trip and getting back to The Cowfish was not part of the plan. If we ever make it back down to Orlando I will definitely make sure that a trip to Cowfish is on the itinerary and when we get there I'm ordering one of each of all the different types of burgushi.

Friday, August 25, 2017

A why didn't I think of that? #FoodPornFriday

Everyone in Windsor knows the place this came from, though they probably don't recognize what it is. This was my side with my Chicken Delight. That's right Windsor's Penalty Box.  

When I asked what the soup of the day was the last time we were at the Penalty Box the waitress said: "Grilled Cheese and Tomato soup" and I was sold instantly. I love that particular combo, at least when it's two separate things, a grilled cheese sandwich and a bowl of tomato soup. Putting them both together as one thing sounded too interesting to pass up.

As you can see in that lovely #FoodPornFriday picture up there, when the soup came it was basically a twist on a French Onion Soup (another personal favourite of mine). Here I had a big hot bowl of tomato soup filled with garlic croutons and topped with melted mozzarella.  It was fantastic and brilliant. I keep sitting here thinking, man why did I never think to do this. Why haven't other people thought to do this? I should be seeing this soup everywhere. 

The only problem with this soup is that you can't just go get some right now. It was a soup of the day and who knows when Penalty Box will have it again. Maybe it's worth calling to find out? Hmm.

Friday, August 4, 2017

A sad #FoodPornFriday post about The Leaf

Yes, you can believe your eyes. I actually managed to post two #FoodPornFriday posts in a row. Actual consistency. Now next Friday we will be in Florida so I double I can make it a hat trick but we will see.

While I'm happy I managed to actually post two weeks in a row this #FoodPornFriday post makes me quite sad. What you see pictured here was my favorite dish from The Leaf Neighbourhood Grill. I say was my favourite dish because The Leaf recently closed its doors, for good.

This bummed out my entire family. The Leaf was our favourite 'family restaurant.'  It was the place we went the most often with my parents. It was somewhere we went regularly with our kids. It's also somewhere my wife and I would go when we just wanted some down to earth good food.

This particular dish I always ordered as Butter Chicken. On the menu, they called it Chicken Mahkani. Boneless chicken breast grilled and smothered with Indian butter sauce. Serviced with Jasmine rice, hot Naan bread, and the seasonal vegetable.  Nine times out of ten when we went to The Leaf this is what I got. I loved it and I miss it.

Friday, July 28, 2017

#FoodPornFriday featuring my all time favourite comfort food: Hot Hamburger.

I love sushi. I love a flavorful steak. I love bacon wrapped panko encrusted chicken stuff with ricotta and spinach. Sometimes though I just want something traditional. But, sometimes I want some good old fashioned comfort food. So this #FoodPornFriday I'm sharing this pic of my favorite comfort food: Hot Hamburger.

I love a good Hot Hamburger. To me, a good Hot Hamburger has to be a freshly made beef patty and has to come with mashed potatoes, never fries. The rest can be changed up. A side of veg? Sure. Chicken gravy instead of beef gravy? Sure I'll try that. Swap that white bread for biscuits? No wait, the bread should be white bread. I guess I'm a bit pickier than I thought.

I'm guessing many Windsorites can guess in an instant where this particular Hot Hamburger came from. If the placemat menu doesn't give it away the wood table should. The Lumberjack has been a Windsor staple since 1980. I remember going there when it first opened and it was much, much smaller than it is now (and so was I). My biggest memory of that trip was the heaping mound of mashed potatoes my meal came with. I remember being reminded of Close Encounters of the Third Kind. I don't remember what meal I got with that huge mound of potatoes but I'm willing to bet good money it was a Hot Hamburger.

Friday, February 3, 2017

#FoodPornFriday Cinnamon Toast Crunch French Toast from TOAST

I really don't know what I can say for this #FoodPornFriday post. This Cinnamon Toast French Toast from TOAST on Erie Street pretty much speaks for itself. 

The actual toast is coated with ground cinnamon toast crunch cereal. There are almonds and oats on there. Even the whipped cream isn't your average whipped cream but is instead vanilla whipped cream.

I do have one warning about this one, though it should be obvious at this point: this breakfast is sweet. Okay, more like SWEET! Which I have to admit went really well with TOASTs great coffee.

Friday, January 20, 2017

#FoodPornFriday - a Sunday tradition of comics and coffee

Our family has something we love to do every Sunday. It starts with stopping at Windsor's best comic shop: Rogues Gallery Comics

We have a pull box at Rogues. For the non-comic book fans, that's when you ask the store to set aside certain comics for you each week. They put them in your box, and when you show up they pull them for you. This is done to make sure you don't miss any issues. Myself I've been reading the new Marvel Star Wars comics. My wife is still huge into ElfQuest and the kids love the two current My Little Pony runs. 

Once we are done at Rogues we had downtown to The Coffee Exchange. For some drinks, sweets, and to read our new books.

I've loved the Coffee Exchange for years and have been going there since it was right across from The Palace Theater. It has moved twice since then and is now a bit further down Ouellette closer to the river. 

The coffee exchange has fantastic coffee, the best cappuccino in the city (according to my wife), great tasting and reasonably priced kids drinks (mine go for the kids hot chocolate every time) and some great snacks. 

So who out there has a pull box at the local comic shop? How about lazy Sunday traditions with the family?