I was checking out Ontario Food Trucks as part of my normal morning routine (DON’T JUDGE ME!) and noticed an abundance of Food Trucks at Gore Park (middle of downtown Hamilton, Ontario). Marie and I were already slated for lunch that day (sorry Burrito Boyz, you got bodied) and figured it’d be a good chance to try something new in Dobro Jesti.
All photos taken with my iPhone4S.
Mr. Schnitz’s Bits – $3
I came for sandwiches but these may have made the best impression of the day. The batter was crispy with plenty of garlic. The donut itself was light. I was expecting something dense and this was the complete opposite. I would have liked it with some kind of dipping sauce (more garlic?) but otherwise a great snack.
The Pepper – $9
Marie ordered this and was very happy with it. I took a bite and enjoyed it. The bread was amazingly soft. I assume Dobro Jesti buys fresh daily. The chicken was tender. The sandwich was loaded up with Bell Peppers and Onions. There was a little too much onion for my liking but that’s nit picking. I couldn’t identify the Aioli in the sandwich but it had a little bit of heat at the end of the bite.
Risotto Ball – 2 for $3
I took a pass on getting a bite of this Side. Marie absolutely loved it though and ordered 2 more to go. I believe the Risotto was mixed with Goat Cheese and then battered & Fried. I’ll likely give it a shot sometime down the line.
The Razor – $9
I ordered this sandwich and was happy with it for the most part. The bread was fresh and crisp with every bite. The Chicken Schnitzel was fantastic. Provolone was oozing all over the place. My only gripe was the overload of Marinara Sauce. I asked for only a 1/2 portion but it had already been dressed. I’m sure some will love that aspect of it but it definitely wasn’t to my liking. Otherwise it was a great sandwich.
I didn’t care much for this. I’ve only recently been delving into Potato Salad (what’s good Danielle?) after never having eaten it. I haven’t sampled enough to know what I really like but this wasn’t it.
With the exception of the lackluster Potato Salad, the rest of our meal was top flight. The Sandwiches were substantial both in portion and taste. 2 of 3 side dishes were delicious. If you see Dobro Jesti in your neck of the woods, check them out. Go early if you’re a chicken fan though. I hear they run out quickly.
When I started the ball rolling on this side project, I asked for suggestions from friends and random folks alike. The one name that continuously popped up was Pizzeria Libretto in Toronto. A quick check revealed 2 locations. One on the west end at the intersection of Ossington & Dundas. The other on the east end along Danforth, 2 minutes south of Pape station. I went for the latter and made the mission from Hamilton. I already had birthday plans in the city so it made sense to grab a bite before copious amounts of drinking (thanks everybody). On a personal note, if you’re going to a place you’ve never been, make sure you find out your subway station before you go underground. Let’s just say I got off at Coxwell and worked up an appetite.
I was forewarned by just about everybody that recommended Pizzeria Libretto that I was likely in for a line up. Considering I was popping in between the lunch and dinner rush, that wasn’t an issue. However, it’s something to keep in mind. The hostess greeted me warmly and I took a seat facing Danforth. My server Sasha dropped by quickly and took my drink order. He looked perplexed at my not wanting sparkling water. I could see genuine confusion on his face before he took my Water Glass away.
Libretto Organic Lager – $7
I’ve never been one to pretend like I know anything about beer. My only concern is that it’s light and easy to drink. Pizzeria Libretto‘s Organic Lager was exactly what I was looking for. As always, I’d love to know who the actual manufacturer of this Lager was. I get a kick out of the idea behind “house beers” and always want to know who’s really behind it. On a related note, my buddy Paul recommended I go with Wine (M2 Small Lot Gamay Noir from Malivoire to be exact) instead of Beer to pair with my Pizza but I can’t deal with Red Wine. It feels like it sits on my chest. Yes yes, I’m just not drinking the right Wine. Moving along…
Nduja Sausage – $17
I was split between this and a Duck Confit pizza. Sasha said Sausage was the safer bet if this was my first time, so I ran with it. As for the pizza, there is a lot of positive and 1 major negative. I’m going to tackle the latter first.
This pizza went from mildly crispy on the outside to downright soggy towards the middle. Pizzeria Libretto uses a Wood Fire Oven. Basically a pizza is cooked in a couple of minutes at an extremely high temperature. The difference between “crispy throughout” and “hey look this is now charcoal” is a matter of seconds. Sadly, the cook erred a little too much on the side of caution. I like my Pizza crispy, to the point where I always ask for it well done if I’m just popping in for a slice somewhere. To get a soggy pizza was a complete turnoff. I mentioned it to some friends afterwards and Lily immediately noted she doesn’t like their pizza for this exact reason. I guess it’s a recurring problem.
As for toppings and flavours, that was a total home run. The base flavours of Tomato, Garlic, Oregano, and Basil fused together perfectly. The Pizza was liberally topped with fresh Mozzarella. The in house made Sausage had just a little kick to it. The meat was tender and felt like it crumbled when I bit into it.
One thing I was very happy with was the near complete lack of grease. I know for some they get a kick out of it, but I don’t need my pizza leaking grease like a faucet.
It’s best to say my jury is still out on Pizzeria Libretto. While toppings were amazing, that soggy bite is the one thing I truly took away from my experience. It’s very telling how big a role texture plays in an eating experience. I’d likely return just to test the waters one more time. If soggy, I won’t be returning. If crispy, it’ll immediately shoot up my list of best Pizzas.
Funny how one thing can change everything.
If you have a suggestion for the Realest Pizza, please feel free to leave a comment below or send me an email. I’ll be happy to check it out later this summer.
I’m fortunate to have so many Food Trucks in Hamilton Ontario. On any given day, I can walk to any number of trucks within 1/2 hour and try something new. This past Sunday I lucked upon Food Truck Alley’s Facebook update and noticed there was a large variety of trucks. I made the mission and it gave me both a delicious meal and an inspiration for a new series of posts over the course of the summer.
The Final Shootout – $10
While it wasn’t a huge burger upon first look, this was a substantial offering. 2 burger patties (I’d estimate 4 ounces each) cooked a perfect Medium. Each patty is covered with Canadian Cheddar and then dressed with Maple Smoked Bacon, Organic Greens, Tomato and “Baws Sauce.” Big shout out to what could have been the best Bacon I have ever eaten. The long strips were crisped to perfection without burning at all. They also had a very light hint of sweetness. Veggies were fresh and crisp. I was not at all impressed with whatever Baws Sauce was though. It didn’t carry much flavour. It was also far too thin a consistency and was dripping everywhere. I’d get this The Final Shootout again but would pass on Tomato (not my favourite fruit to begin with) and Baws Sauce.
Smoked Mac Daddy & Cheese - $5
I’m just going to put this out there right now. This is the best Mac N Cheese I have EVER eaten. I could not believe how much I loved this simple dish. It was made all the better by the fact I had zero intention of eating it at first. My friend Vesna just happened to order and I figured “sure why not.” I was a big fan of their use of Cavatappi Pasta. I rarely see it. I may have to start cooking with it now. SST use copious amounts of Old Cheddar with a little Black Pepper. The whole thing is fused together over their Smoker. I can’t recommend this highly enough.
This was a beast of a lunch punch (I can hear Casey Palmer groaning at that one). Burger Legend cooked a perfect burger but that sauce kept it from legendary status. Southern Smoke‘s Daddy Mac N Cheese was the business though. If you spot either truck, pull over (or walk over like me) and grab either item for a great bite. You won’t be disappointed.
If any of my readers have a recommendation for me please feel free to leave a comment below.
If any food truck owners are reading and would like me to stop by to check out your cooking, please leave me an email with your schedule.
Marie dropped me a line a couple days ago suggesting we try out a spot in Burlington. I’d really like to start delving into their restaurant scene and see what’s good. She sent me a link to Honey West. They recently revamped their menu and there were some interesting items so I figured why not. Kathy was back from her trip to Cuba and the three of us were off for a fun night.
As a heads up, this is my first review with my Canon Powershop S95. Big thanks to mobile powerhouse Daniel Bader for hooking me up on the cheap. I hope people enjoy the upgrade in quality of photos. I’ll be making it my project in the summer to improve the quality of my shots to something a photog (what’s good Casey & Marcel) wouldn’t laugh at.
Somersby Mini Piitcher – $6.65
Honey West has a drink special every evening between 4 – 7. Draft beer/cider in a mini pitcher (basically 2 pints) for just under $7. Talk about value town.
Parmesan Crusted Wings – $14
While the drinks were value town, these wings were anything but. I was surprised all wings were drumsticks as that’s not to everyone’s liking. The wings were large and juicy but lacked seasoning. The breading was just that. The wings were given a stong dose of Parmesan coating and the flavour punched right through. They came with a side of Blue Cheese Coleslaw though neither Kathy or myself got any sense of Blue Cheese. No complaints here. I can’t stand any cheese in that family. Good wings but overpriced for the quantity.
Sweet Lemon Caesar – $11
This salad was an absolute beast. The lettuce was fresh and crisp. The Crostini in place of croutons had great crunch. The cook was a little heavy handed with the Parmesan dressing but nothing to turn me off. Every bite had a strong sense of lemon zest to it. I was a little surprised at getting one long strip of bacon. I chopped it up and it was more than enough but it felt like something tacked on.
Jalapeno Cheddar Wontons – $12
By far the star of the appetizers. Marie was sold on Honey West as soon as she saw this item on their online menu. They lived up to her hype and then some. Crisp Wontons wrapped chopped Jalapeno, Red Onion, Aged Cheddar and Cream Cheese. It was an amazing combination. I could not believe how much I enjoyed these. Odds are good if I come back I’ll order 2 of these with a Mini Pitcher and be set for the evening.
Petit Filet – $32
Bacon wrapped Filet Mignon. OK here’s the thing; Kathy ordered it Medium Well. I’m not going to get into why I think that’s steak sacriledge. What I will get into is that this was far beyond Medium Well. I tried two bites and both were chewy and dry. Sadly such an amazing cut of beef went to waste. Oddly the bacon wrapping the beef was fantastic. It came with a side of Smashed Red Potatoes. There was an element in those potatoes I couldn’t put my finger on. The server asked the cook and he said Salt, Pepper, and Sour Cream. I don’t believe it for a second. There’s at least one other component in there.
Hong Ma Chow Mein – $23
Marie ordered this dish and absolutely loved it. It’s a very large portion of Udon Noodles, Chicken, Shrimp, and Mixed Vegetables. The key to this combination was the Siracha Chili though. Holy hell was that good. Honey West was liberal in its use and it worked well. I loved that little bit of heat in the back of the bite.
Pineapple Butter Chicken – $22
Like the Chow Mein, Honey West did not mess around with portions. I was slightly fearful of the taste as I don’t care for Pineapple. I figured it’d create too sweet a taste. Truth be told I didn’t get any sense of Pineapple and I was grateful for it. Heaping mounds of well seasoned Butter Chicken with mixed vegetables. The veggies were cooked perfectly. I always worry about vegetables getting soggy but these were an ideal consistency. Basmati Rice with plenty of Curry Sauce at the base. I sopped up every last drop with the fresh Naan Bread. I couldn’t be happier.
Shout outs to our server Angelica who did a great job all evening. I think she was the only server that night and worked like a mofo.
Kathy pointed out that she got punked out on her choices (wings & steak) but Marie and I both thoroughly enjoyed our apps and entrees. I can’t speak highly enough of the Jalapeno Cheddar Wontons or my Pineapple Butter Chicken. With the exception of the astronomical cost of the Parmesan Wings, everything else was solid value for the taste and portions. Pop into Honey West this summer for patio dinner and get your max value between 4 and 7 on that beer/cider special.
Last Saturday night I felt like being lame and stayed in. As is always the case, I PVR’d You Gotta Eat Here. They showcased a restaurant out in Caledonia that featured a Two Way Poutine. Leave it to say I was immediately intrigued. I texted Marie instantly and arranged for dinner plans. Steph and Kathy joined us and we were off to The Argyle Street Grill to see what all the hype was about. Steph had noted she’d tried to eat there a couple of times before and came up short as they were full. I made reservations through the site (why don’t more restaurants do this?) for 7pm. I was a bit surprised at how busy it was even on a Wednesday evening. Our server Courtny (who I’ll get to later) noted there was a big spike since they were featured on TV a few days prior and that the past weekend was completely stacked.
We figured to split a few appetizers to get the ball rolling.
Two Way Grand Poutine – $11
This is what drew me in to The Argyle Street Grill to begin with so why not start here. This had a base of hand cut fries, which was then topped with Cheddar Curds. It’s covered on one side with Braised Beef and the other with Pulled Chicken. Each side with its own gravy. This dish was fantastic. Marie & Steph preferred the beef side and I preferred the chicken but honestly both were delicious. They don’t skimp on cheese that’s for sure. It melted everywhere. I had high expectations after seeing this on TV and it was more than up to the task.
Garlic Bread With Cheese – $7
Marie had been to The Argyle Street Grill before and was very high on their Garlic Bread. They buy their bread fresh locally from The Hagersville Bakery just 10 minutes up the street. Again this was great. The Baguette was warm and crispy. It’s brushed with a healthy (unhealthy?) dose of Garlic Butter and topped with Mixed Cheeses. The photo doesn’t do justice to the sheer length of the Baguette. It’s telling when you have a long plate and they still have to pile pieces on top to fit it all.
Molten Marble Planks – $8
Marble is my favourite cheese so this was an automatic choice. The Argyle Street Grill chops their Marble (bought locally from Jensen Cheese), coats it in Panko Crumbs and then deep fries them. I can’t begin to describe how much I loved these things. I’ll never go back to Mozzarella sticks after eating Marble Planks. The Panko was thick and had an almost crunch to it. The Marble was melted through and oozing out as soon as you take a bite. At no point was it burning hot or a mess though. Absolutely perfect temperature. They came with a side of Chipotle Marinara. I didn’t get any sense of taste difference from any other Marinara but it’s such a trivial point. The Marble Planks were a big hit and I’d order these again in a heartbeat.
We probably should have stopped there but lets get to entrees shall we?
Chicken Clubhouse – $10.50
Steph ordered this sandwich and subbed in a bowl of Potato Bacon soup. Sadly the photo I took of the soup turned out poorly and wasn’t usable. It should be noted that both Steph and Marie loved the soup. The Sunflower Multi-Grain Bread was packed with Pulled Chicken, Lettuce, Tomato and Red Pepper Mayo and then Panini Pressed. Steph enjoyed it but in her own words “it’s good but I wish I ordered something else. It’s just a sandwich.”
Philly Steak Panini – $12
Kathy was the second half of the sandwich duo. She never finishes her entree so of course I scooped it. In fact I’m eating it as I write this post. Like the Clubhouse, this sandwich was packed with Shaved Sirloin. It’s covered with Mozzarella and then topped with Mushrooms, Onions, and Red Peppers. Going from my own experience, I was pleased with this sandwich but it didn’t blow me away. I’m not a fan of hot Red Pepper and removed them after the first bite. The meat was tender and juicy. The Garlic Panini had great flavour and worked perfectly. Good but nothing I’d go out of my way to order.
Stellar Ribs – $13 (Full Rack $20)
While the sandwiches were good but hardly memorable, Marie‘s Stellar Ribs were just that; STELLAR! They’re given a dry rub of various spices, slow cooked for 3 and 1/2 hours and then basted in a Stella Artois BBQ Sauce. The ribs essentially fall off the bone and are bursting with flavour. I’d say these were some of the best ribs I’ve ever had and I told Marie that I would immediately order these if I’m ever back.
Asiago Chicken Linguine – $14
Lord knows I don’t need any more pasta after my Italian run of reviews over the last little while but I couldn’t pass this up. Honestly though, I wish I had. I wasn’t a fan of the Pulled Chicken. Every bite tasted like Turkey. Steph informed me that’s what truly fresh Chicken tastes like. I’m still skeptical but taking her word at face value. I don’t care for Olives at all and this was loaded up with Olive Tapenade in every bite. It had copious amounts of Sun Dried Tomato (YEAH!) but was very scarce when it came to Asiago (BOO!). The pasta was cooked perfectly but I would expect nothing less. Odd as it is to say, I don’t think I was the right person to eat this. Everything was prepped well (Asiago aside) but none of the flavours worked for me.
Butterscotch Pots De Creme
Argyle 4 Way Cheesecake
Girls will always save room for dessert. They loved both desserts but the 4 way Cheesecake (1 Creme Anglaise, 1 Strawberry, 1 Butterscotch, 1 Chocolate) was the big hit. The cookie crumble base put these over the top. I’m not typically one for Cheesecake but I tried the Chocolate and was pleasantly surprised. They were all rich but none overly sweet. A perfect way to end a great meal.
Shout outs to our server Courtny (no e). She was FANTASTIC! From start to finish she was very attentive, easy to talk to, and went above and beyond to answer questions during a busy dinner service. We couldn’t have been happier with her and you should consider yourself lucky if she’s serving your table. She was an absolute treat.
All in all we really enjoyed out experience. The appetizers were all phenomenal and I’d order any of them again without a second thought (Two Way Poutine wins hands down though). The entrees were a mixed bag. The sandwiches were good but nothing special. My pasta simply wasn’t to my liking. Big thumbs up to the Pork Ribs though. We all agreed we’d come back in the summer when the patio is open. Make your way to Caledonia and take a seat at The Argyle Street Grill. It’s worth the drive.
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