Brunch at THR & Co.

It’s Saturday morning and the season of Spring has finally shown it’s glorious face. The sun is shining, and the weather is sweet so let’s take a walk up to the Annex. The clock strikes 12, too late for breakfast and too early for lunch, so off to THR & Co. for a Harbord St. Brunch.

THR & CO Brunch Bar Egg McMartin Breakfast Water Coffee Peameal  Johannkd Fooze Liver Chicken Pate Tomato

THR & Co. Dining Room – Love all the natural light.

Still quite a young restaurant, this recently renovated corner restaurant is located at 97 Harbord St. near Spadina Ave. The interior feels like the living space of a modern home, and still showcases the buildings original red-brick wall. White ceilings, checkerboard floors, wood finishes and more importantly large glass windows all around, which allow for a lot of natural light. The interior is spacious and refreshing. There is also an “island” bar at the back of the dining room, with seats along the perimeter of the wood. The bar rail hangs from the ceiling on metal racks.

THR & CO Brunch Bar Egg McMartin Breakfast Water Coffee Peameal  Johannkd Fooze Liver Chicken Pate Tomato

A shot of the island bar at THR & Co.

The brunch menu has a total eight items, such as Buckwheat & Buttermilk Waffles, Slow Cooked Beef Brisket & Fried Eggs, Poached Eggs of a Toasted Brioche just to name a few. The mains are followed by a list of sides, which must be ordered separately to accompany each item. I was surprised to learn this, given the average price of each item was already $12.

The Egg McMartin ($11) / Side of Crispy Potatoes & Mojo Rojo ($3)

Griddled Challah, Sunny Egg, Peameal, Roasted Tomato, Chicken Liver Pate and Gouda.

The Egg McMartin is a Egg McMuffin fit for a true gourmand and was quite the treat. This item is built like a sandwich, between two round griddles challah breads. Chicken Liver Pate is spread over the bottom griddle layered by a two slices, one of roasted tomato the other of salty, delicious Canadian Bacon. This is of course topped off with a sunny egg, cooked medium and another challah griddle forms the crown, held in place with a long skewer.

THR & CO Brunch Bar Egg McMartin Breakfast Water Coffee Peameal  Johannkd Fooze Liver Chicken Pate Tomato

The Egg McMartin (Crispy Potato w/ Mojo Roja) Foreground: Pizza for Breakfast is hand- tailored with scissors.

I found the combination of flavours and textures to be most delightful. Picking up the Egg McMartin was no option, so I scooped up the old knife and fork and went to work. I especially enjoyed the addition of the chicken liver pate that added an extra element and flavour profile to the blend. the challah griddle, cooked perfectly acts as a sponge, absorbing the  juices and egg yolk that trickle and collect around the edges of my plate. Gouda was used to add a caramel sweetness, offsetting the salty Canadian bacon, giving the dish a distinctive and unique zang!

In need of a side to satisfy my appetite, the Crispy Potatoes & Mojo Rojo did a fine job of fulfillment. Next time I return I need to ask the chef for the recipe. Mojo Rojo is a smoked chilean sauce made from garlic, chiles, cumin and paprika. This sauce adds a red colour and an interesting spice to the potatoes.

At THR & Co. Toronto’s finest is served in a tall clear bottles and left at the table, a point of service I sometimes admire, especially during a busy service where one can feel stranded in a desert without a drop. No bottomless coffee here, rather a selection of espresso based coffee and french press are available.

THR & CO Brunch Bar Egg McMartin Breakfast Water Coffee Peameal  Johannkd Fooze Liver Chicken Pate Tomato

Water Pure & Coffee Pressed

Lastly, the service here was warm, friendly and hospitable, and our server (anonymous) gave great suggestions. We came in contact with at least four different members of staff, who were eager to help. The bathrooms are clean and the corridor at the bottom of the staircase is fixed with a large chalkboard for guests wanting to leave their mark! A coat check is also available.

I will have to return for a standard lunch / dinner service to see the full spectrum of what they have to offer. But…as brunch is concerned, a tip of the hat to THR & Co. for fine execution.

THR & Co. is located at 97 Harbord St.

Follow on Twitter @THRandCo

Follow on Facebook @THR&Co








Mexicans in the Market – El Trompo Taco Bar & Cactus Grill

Strolling through Kensington Market is always an interesting ordeal, the graffiti covered streets constantly buzz with action and excitement.  Storefronts overflow with goods from gloves, hats and glasses to boots, army jackets, scented oils and even gas masks. The arteries of the market are clogged with the cholesterol of people…Street pedlars, cyclists, buskers, hobos and almost every variety of life can be found on these eclectic streets. With this diverse collection of culture comes a range of ethnic cuisine, including one of my favourites, Mexican.

El Trompo Logo Fooze Johannkd Mexican FoodEl Trompo Taco Bar & Cactus Grill is “un pequeno tesoro”, a family operated restaurant on August Ave, brings authentic Mexican cuisine to the people of Toronto, offering up the taste of Mexico in every dish. The restuarant seats about 35-40 inside, but expands during the hot mexican-style summer months with their sidewalk patio. The menu offers a selection of different Mexican dishes in a variety of flavours. Some items include their famous home-made guacamole, nachos, pico de gallo, tacos, quesos fundidos (Molten Cheese), Alambres and even D-I-Y Tacos.

patio El Trompo Fooze Johannkd Mexican Cuisine

The busy patio at El Trompo during a hot Toronto summer

The atmosphere in the restaurant is extremely friendly, my beautiful server ‘Lucero’ was attentive, made suggestions and even helped me practice my laughable spanish accent. Although zooming around the restaurant like Speedy Gonzales, she maintained an eloquent grace in her stride and never seemed to fluster. The owners are always present and enjoy entertaining their guests, while treating them to their fine cuisine. The sponge painted walls are reminiscent of a Mexican casa and are adorned with souvenirs, sombreros, guitars, paintings and hand-painted wares.

Souvenirs Decor Johannkd Fooze Mexican Cuisine El Trompo

Mexican Memorabilia adorn the walls of El Trompo

The food is here is home-made and beautifully prepared, the spicy aromas from the sizzling hot-plate strategically positioned at the door, arouse the senses. During my last visit I indulged in a brand new dish, Tacos de Cochinita Pibil (Pulled Pork Tacos with Achiote Sauce).  Nothing bad to say about these tacos, El Trompo is not easy on the portions having stuffed the flour taquitos to capacity, each with a handful of dripping pulled pork, topped with some red onion and served with a side of lime wedges. All tables come with bottles of mild or hot salsa to add that extra donkey kick of heat, which is at the heart of every Mexican meal. “Muy Delicioso!”

Tacos de Cochinita Pibil (Pulled Pork Tacos with Achiote Sauce) Johannkd fooze mexican cuisine el trompo

Tacos de Cochinita Pibil (Pulled Pork Tacos with Achiote Sauce)

El Trompo delivers an authentic Mexican culinary experience,  by a family that truly cares about showcasing the culture and flavour of their homeland through the delicious cuisine that they were raised on. Fooze highly recommends El Trompo Taco Bar & Cactus Grill!

Fooze Rating: 10 out of 10
Follow El Trompo on Twitter (ElTrompoTO) and Facebook
El Trompo is located at:
277 Augusta Ave.
Toronto, Ontario
M5T 2M1.
Contact (416) 260-0097

Lola’s Kitchen Brunch Burger

Frigid temperatures in Toronto this morning, but after a late night of debauchery even a snappy snow storm, complete with razor sharp zephyrs wouldn’t stop me from getting my brunch on. Walk with me up Church St. to Lola’s Kitchen for one of Toronto’s finest brunch experiences.

I was slightly disappointed to hear that the last brunch special was served minutes before we got seated. My heart sank when we learned that the “Pulled Pork Grilled Cheese Benny” was 86’d…(-_-) I guess the early bird really gets the worm and we sauntered in shivering at 1pm. Fair Enough.

For late breakfast, I enquired with our server what she recommended for a hearty, full portion that was sure to put a mammoth appetite to rest. Enter Lola’s Brunch Burger ($16).

Brunch Burger Lola's Kitchen Peameal Johannkd Fooze Egg Challah Breakfast Burger

Lola’s Kitchen Brunch Burger ($16)

This big boy brunch burger was built with hangovers in mind. Constructed with a gargantuan Ontario all beef burger patty, topped with grilled Canadian bacon (peameal), caramelized onions, a blend of Lola’s Cheese, sweet pickles, and a sunny side up organic egg. Lola’s house-made ketchup and garlic aioli dresses the lightly toasted Challah bun, which does a great job of soaking up the juices from the hearty beef patty, which will undoubtedly drip down your wrists, chin and definitely pool your plate.  The egg yolk cascades down, permeating through the layers  of the burger adding great texture and somehow the addition of an egg, diminishes the guilt of eating a burger and fries for breakfast! For an accompanying side the options of a salad, home fries or frites are available. Vegetarian modifications are on offer, but being the carnivore that I am, the question never crossed my mind.

I would trek through the snow every Sunday for this burger, it was quite the treat. Fooze Recommends!

Lola’s Kitchen is located at 634 Church St, Toronto, ON M4Y 2G3. Contact: (416) 966-3991
 Click For Full Brunch Menu 
Brunch Burger Lola's Kitchen Peameal Johannkd Fooze Egg Challah Breakfast Burger

….have another look why dont’cha

O&B Faves #1 : Calamari Tacos at O&B Canteen

Haven’t written in quite some time, and for that I apologize. I’ve been away in the Philippines for the past month. After such a grandiose vacation the budget is tight, that being said I haven’t been dining out as much as I would like to. However, I have the great fortune of employment at the successful restaurant company, Oliver & Bonacini (O&B). Therefore, I’ve decided to give you an insider scoop and post some of my favorite dishes off the company’s eclectic and diverse menus spanning all the brands and properties:

O&B, Canteen, Dining Room, Toronto, Oliver & Bonacini, johannk fooze

O&B Canteen: The Dining Room

Of all the restaurants under the O&B umbrella, I most frequent O&B Canteen. Although Canteen is the most casual and relaxed setting of the company, they still exhibit the same high class standards synonymous with the O&B Brand. Located at the busy intersection of King St. and John St. nestled under the TIFF Bell Lightbox building and another phenomenal O&B Restaurant ‘Luma‘. This location is part Restaurant part Grab-&-Go,  catering to the busy King St. business clientele for lunch and to the cinema/theater crowd by night.

Calamari Tacos

Calamari Taco O&B Canteen Johannkd Fooze

Calamari Tacos – Two Soft Shell Tacos, Fried Calamari, Buttermilk Crema and Mango

One of my favorite dishes at Canteen and perhaps the company, the Calamari Tacos are an absolute must for an appetizer. I often bring my friends and insist that we procure a plate of these savoury, sweet and spicy mouthfuls. The dish is presented so beautifully, you wouldn’t want to touch them. Served on a wooden board the dish consists of two soft shell tacos, smeared with a dollop of buttermilk crema, the crispy fried calamari is drizzled with a home-made mango sauce and crowned with jalapenos and fresh parsley. The Calamari Tacos are served with a slice of lime. Though simple in form, these tasty tacos have a complex flavor and leave the taste buds screaming for more!

I highly recommend this dish, if you were to ask the staff there what Fooze blogger Johann orders most 9/10 servers will reply with the aforementioned treat! Although Canteen recently unveiled a fresh menu, I believe they kept the Calamari Tacos just for me!

Great Dish, Go Grab Some!

OB Canteen is located at :
TIFF Bell Lightbox
330 King St. West
Toronto, Ontario, Canada M5V 3X2
Tel: 647.288.4710

Calamari Taco O&B Canteen Johannkd Fooze

Calamari Taco O&B Canteen Johannkd Fooze

Uni Sashimi

Uni Sashimi

I’ve made the journey to the other side of the world, the Philippines to be exact. Our first dinner out was at Omakase, an authentic Japanese restaurant located in the Molito Plaza in Alabang, Manilla.

This chicken-strip look-a-like dish is in fact ‘Uni’ or Sea Urchin Sashimi, it comes served with sliced cucumber and ‘Calamansi’, a type of miniature lime.

This dish was pretty good, new to me but tasted very similar to liver. Note to Squeemers: Uni has an extremely slimy texture and might otherwise off-put non-adventurous diners. A word of advice, squeeze the Calamansi juice into your soy-souce to add a little zest to your Uni and distract you from the strange texture.

Rose And Sons :: One of Toronto’s best brunch spots!

Rose and Sons, Johannkd, Fooze, Brunch

On the west end of our great city at Dupont & Davenport, next door to Big Crow sits Rose & Sons. This cozy little nest is perfect for brunch lovers who want to try something new, delicious and essentially Canadian. R&Sons gives off a cool vibe and feels like the back-room of an old Canadian cottage, lots of vintage trinkets adorne it’s shelves, graffiti artwork in the corridors and chalkboard feature menus along the back wall. With probably around thirty-five (35) seats maximum, there will be wait times, but believe me…It’s worth it!

Rose and Sons, Johannkd, Fooze, Brunch

Text Message from Rose & Sons

My party had to wait about twenty (20) minutes to grab one of these hot-seats, as the restaurant was buzzing with activity and completely sat. I gave my name and number and received a lighthearted text message welcoming us back to eat. When we got back, they were ready for us and we were seated immediately. Our server came over and laid out the features of the afternoon, both of which we accepted… here’s the story of our meal.

To drink, we indulged in the “Cava + Ganza” ($44), a Do-it-Yourself mimosa kit, which came compete with a bottle of Juve y Camps and “All the Juice” which consists of grapefruit and orange. Mimosas are a tasty, tangy and bubbaliciously refreshing cocktail, which has become a brunch staple worldwide. Chances are we wouldn’t have gotten this unless the server highlighted it and we were glad we did, it lasted the entire experience, with each of us having 3 glasses.

Cava Ganza Mimosa Rose and Sons Johannkd Fooze

Cava-Ganza: One bottle Juve y Camps + All the juice $44

For our entree’s we decided to adventure through the feature of the day, Jerk Pork & Hash ($14). This special was extremely tasty, it consisted of a medium spicy jerk seasoned shredded pork, sitting on a hump of sweet potato hash, donned with a soft poached egg and garnished with some salsa verde. I always appreciate a good jerk seasoning, especially when the cook isn’t of Caribbean descent. Tip of the hat, this was  an exceptionally yummy dish…if I had my way however, I would level up the spice. I do understand the need to appease a Canadian palette, but a great Jerk should result in a miniature volcanic eruption on the taste buds, just saying.

Salsa, Jerk, Pork, Egg, Brunch, Potato, Fooze, Johannkd

Jerk Pork, Sweet Potato Hash, Soft Poached Egg & Salsa Verde

The other dish we shared was really something else, an epic clash of savory and sweet, built on southern comfort and doused in the essence of Canadian maple. I speak only of the Griddled Brie Cornbread Brisket ($14), this sweet puppy is not for the feint of heart, a chunky slice of house-made cornbread comes decked with a couple ounces of tender beef brisket, and is topped with a sl’eazy (slight easy) fried egg. This beast lays in a pool of sweet, gooey maple syrup and a chili pepper sauce. So unique is it’s composition, this is hands-down one of my favorite brunch items in Toronto.

maple syrup, cornbread, egg, pork, beans, johannkd, fooze, rose and sons

Griddled Brie Cornbread-Brisket Fried Egg, Maple Syrup and Chili Pepper Sauce

With our tum-tums satiated and our thirst quenched, we sat there without speaking for a couple minutes. A slight buzz from the Cava tickling our senses, we left with no complaints…not even the -7 Celsius Toronto weather could dampen our spirits upon departure from Rose & Sons. We really enjoyed our experience here, and would definitely return!

Fooze Rating: 9 out of 10

Rose & Sons is located at 176 Dupont St. Toronto, ON M5R 2E6

Follow Rose & Sons on Twitter @

Who Says Smoking is Bad? – Kamado Joe’s on my Wish List this year!

The leaves have finished their pilgrimage through color, the splash of yellow and orange fade from Toronto’s parks, and so do the memories of a scorching summer. A season where beastly cold brew and smokey BBQ were a commonplace amenity at every house and cottage.

Ontario Gas BBQ Smoker Toronto Canada Johannkd Fooze

Ontario Gas BBQ

As the season comes to a close, the time has come to plan for next summer, and my famous backyard BBQ’s. I’ve had my eyes on a couple big boy chef toys for Christmas, and there all in one place…at Ontario Gas BBQ.

Grill-Masters listen up! This is sure to peak your interest! OGB is a grill-master’s mecca, the world’s largest barbecue & grill store and showroom, showcasing hundreds of barbecue hardware and accessories. In preparation for next summer, I highly recommend subscribing to the newsletter and following them on twitter for great recipes, tips and barbecue shows.

Looking forward to next year, I’m really excited to start a smoke show for my neighbors. Investing in a quality BBQ smoker is an awesome tool to give your favorite meats that unique, delicious southern BBQ flavor. Most famously used by Caribbean Natives referred to as “Barbacoa” (sound familiar?) A pre-historic cooking method, smoking meats involves a “slow and low” cook using smoke from burning wood.

Indians B

OGB offers an array of smokers from a selection of brand names, including Weber, Primo and Bradley in a range of prices. On my Christmas list this year, I’m asking Smoker Santa for a particular build, the ‘Classic’ Kamado Joe 18” Grill ($949.99 CAD). This robust smoker is crafted with cast iron, has two finished bamboo shelves, a stainless steel cooking grate and locking wheels for mobility and stability.

Kamado Joe Ontario Gas BBQ smoker

Kamado Joe “Classic Joe” 18” Smoker

kamado joe grill bbq johannkd fooze  ontario gas bbq

Cross Section of the components in a Kamado “Classic Joe” Grill

The ‘Classic’ also has a mammoth sibling,‘Big Joe Red’ ($1,599 CAD), which in itself weighs around 250lbs. I considered it, given that OGB offers free delivery and assembly in the GTA for any BBQ at $1,000 (pre-tax) or higher. The other great thing, is that you can pay and order the smoker now for NEXT SEASON and have it delivered any weekday in the new year.

Beef Brisket Smoked Smoker Kamado Joe Johannkd Fooze

Smoked Beef Brisket (Click for Recipe)

For the ladies out there, if your thinking of gifts for that special man (or blogger) in your life, look no further. OGB have got a great selection of gift ideas for this Christmas, ranging from skewers, smoker boxes and baskets to corn holders and mega injectors to season that jumbo double smoked Christmas ham! So, do like me, get outside and get cooking next year! I already did the dirty work for you and found that grill-masters who want delivery before Christmas, must be paid and ordered by Monday, December 16th to allow OGB time to deliver and assemble (which would be on Thursday or Friday, December 19th/20th, 2013). Also, Deliveries will not be scheduled after Thursday or Friday December 19/20 (for the 2013 year).

Can’t wait to rock back on the patio with some amigos, fire up the Kamado Joe and heave a thick slab of Beef Brisket on to smoke. “I got the BBQ covered y’all, just bring the beer, Sam Adams preferably”

 Next summer is going to be incredible, “Smoke it Up!” (no pun intended)

Kiss Cook Johannkd Fooze Ontario Gas BBQ

OGB MapInterested in Ontario Gas Barbecue? Do yourself a favor and head over, their located at:
3310 Langstaff Road
Concord, Ontario, L4K 4Z8
Tel: 905-761-8511
Toll-free: 800-387-7757