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Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Staxx for brunch!

On a blustery autumn morning, we made our way down to Staxx Burger, Chicken and Waffle House. We had heard rumours of a bountiful all you can Sunday brunch. The rumours weren't wrong.
Pic from http://www.hamiltonbusiness.com/
We were the first in the doors at 11 a.m. (the door was actually unlocked for us!).  We were greeted by one of the owners with a smile and cheer.  We were immediately brought brewed coffee.  It was nothing to write home about, but it was of a fine strength and brewed well.

Cajun spice dusted chips
Right after ordering, we were brought amazing homemade chips, taken up a level by being dusted with Cajun spice. They were perfectly crispy and had a great burn that hit 20 seconds after you are done eating. We thought this treat to be indicative of great service - which it was - however, since our brunch took 30 minutes to hit our table, feeding us chips was a great way to keep us happy until the main event.
All-you-can-eat brunch, with the meat left off, by request
Ms. HitH ordered the all-you-can-eat brunch, which featured your choice of eggs, hash browns, sausage and bacon, and, of course, waffles.  She decided to try the eggs benedict.  Given her vegetarian leanings, she asked not to have the bacon and sausage.  After the order went to the kitchen, the owner came back to ask if she wanted the peameal on my eggs.  When she said she was going to give it to Mr. HitH, he said they would be happy to just put it on his plate.  That is impressive service.  The hash browns were crispy, but could have been improved with some of the cajun spice put on the chips. The eggs benedict was, of course, served on a waffle instead of toast.  It is an interesting change.  The waffle is much spongier which makes a tremendous change in the texture of the dish - and not for the better, in our opinion. However, the indents in the waffles are perfect for soaking up egg yolk from the perfectly poached eggs and hollandaise.  We found the hollandaise bland, but we do have to take into account that we asked for the peameal to be removed, which would definitely affect the saltiness.  The waffles were perfection.  We were happy to pay extra for real maple syrup and it is so worth it.  Their waffles are just a touch sweet, cooked to just the right crispness and worth the trip.
All-you-can-eat brunch with chicken added

Mr. HitH also got the all-you-can-eat and then added all you can eat fried chicken for $2.00.  Instead of eggs benedict, he had scrambled eggs. They were not the most dleicious of breakfast eggs, and were in fact rather flat and uninspriing. He found the sausage and bacon to be prepared well and perfectly adequate additions to the meal, he enjoyed his waffles - but he was in heaven when he got to his fried chicken.  The chicken at Staxx is so well made. The crispy coating crunches in perfect harmony with the moist chicken underneath. It comes with buffalo style hot sauce that we have been told, on previous visits, is housemade and we both find it delicious. The entire dish is perfectly conceived and executed. Mr. HitH is also happy to report that he has, he believes, come up with the optimal way to consume Staxx's chicken. Here are his instructions.:
  • First drench your chicken in maple syrup. 
  • A pool of maple syrup will form on your plate. Allow the syrup to soak into your chicken for at least 2 minutes. 
  • Then, rip apart your chicken,re-dipping into the maple syrup and then give a quick dip into the hot sauce. 
    • Do not over soak in the hot sauce. That would result into a mouthful that is all heat, no sweet. 
Fried chicken and hot sauce

In summary, Ms. HitH would definitely return for brunch, but instead of getting all-you-can-eat (which is a STEAL at $10.99), she would order one of the specific waffle dishes.  Strawberry dreams, I'm looking at you.  Mr. HitH would get the all-you-can-eat + chicken, just to keep eating Staxx's incredible fried chicken over.  And over.  And over.

Staxx Burger Chicken & Waffle House on Urbanspoon

Friday, April 04, 2014

Charred & JC Patissier

Love the bottle of tap water we were given!
It was a dark and stormy night. Ms HitH had the h-anger.  You know what the h-anger is? It is when one is so hungry, one is angry.  Given the early dinner hour (5:15) we decided to hit up our neighbourhood Italian eatery, Chicago Style Pizza.  Unfortunately, their line up was already approaching the door.  Given that, we decided to try somewhere new, Charred.

Our delicious Caesar salad.  Superb!
We went in and were immediately welcomed.  The restaurant is lovely, with a small seating area. The rotisseries are up front, and the entire place smells amazing - the burning charcoal, the roasting chicken - so so good! Mr. HitH was pleased to see that he uses the same charcoal in his BBQ.  We were immediately given a bottle of chilled tap water. Love it! The menu isn't extensive, mostly featuring chicken, potatoes and salads. Mr. HitH ordered up a half chicken with fries as his side, and extra spicy piri piri sauce. Ms. HitH got the brand spanking new rice dish with spicy piri piri sauce, a side of roasted potatoes and we got a caesar salad, without bacon, to share.

Veggie food!  Rice, roasted taters & piri piri sauce.  These are the small portions!
First, let's focus on the vegetarian food at a rotisserie restaurant. Cue the sad trumpet sound. You know the one.  Mwah wah wah.  Now take your pathetic trumpet noise back because my food was awesome!  The rice is nothing fancy, just rice cooked in veggie broth with some green onion.  However, when you mix in the piri piri sauce, it is truly delicious.  Loved it! The roasted potatoes were crispy on the outside and moist on the inside. I ordered a small of both, and the servings were huge.  Before today, I thought the best Caesar salad in the city was at Memphis Fire BBQ Co., but Charred has them beat. The lettuce was fresh and crisp and the dressing was fabulously garlicy.  It wasn't overly creamy and while it coated each leaf, it didn't become cloying at any time. The shaved parmesan gave it the necessary umami, and I was very impressed that our server took the time to ensure that it was OK for the vegetarian to have the egg in the dressing.  I'm sure it would have been better with bacon, but sadly, Mr. HitH has to give up some delicious pleasures for the awesomeness of having Ms. HitH in his life.  Overall, great meal!

Meatarian food!  Delicious chicken, fries, piri piri sauce & a great bun!
The half chicken was moist, with crispy skin.  No burning or off flavours, and again, a very generous portion.  When Mr. HitH used up all his piri piri sauce, our server immediately brought him another bowl for dipping. The fries are slim, slender, and delicious.  They rival the goodness of The Burnt Tongue's fries - and those fries are awesome. The bottle of malt vinegar is up at the bar, so ask for it. It also came with the same bun you get from The Burnt Tongue with the soup.  They're from a local baker, and we need to ask which one, because they are great - soft and yummy.

I am torn about glass bottles.  They are adorable, but pricey!
Service throughout was excellent - attentive, fun, helpful.  We were impressed with the quality of the food and the serving sizes were so generous that we are contemplating changing our name to Full in the Hammer. We will be back.
Clockwise from upper left: apple tarte, strawberry tart, mango cheesecake and very fancy blueberry cheesecake

We had to hit The Mustard Seed so we decided to stop in at JC Patissier, a bakery that we had passed by many times since it relocated from downtown to York Street.  We went in and ordered a mango cheesecake, a strawberry tart and a apple tart. The owner then very generously told us to pick a complementary treat out, and we chose a blueberry cheesecake.  We packed them up and brought them home.  Overall, they were a nice little treat, with the fruit tart being excellent.  The almond base brought out the flavours of the strawberries, which were deliciously sweet.  The cheesecakes both had great cheesecake, but the crusts were too buttery (who would have thought this was possible?) and there wasn't enough fruit flavour, especially in the mango. It frankly tasted more like a plain cheesecake. The apple tart had good flavours, but the apples were quite dry despite the glaze on top.  Overall, the treats were good and the owner was lovely, but we probably won't add this bakery into our regular rotation.  There was nothing wrong - at all - but nothing amazing either.


Charred Rotisserie House on Urbanspoon
J C Patisserie on Urbanspoon

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Speedy Subs


We love Hamilton. We love people who love Hamilton. That is part of the reason we love Speedy Subs. However, we also just love their old school delicious subs.
From the Speedy Subs facebook page
First the food.  These are not fancy subs.  No toasting is offered and nary a glimpse of guacamole is seen. You know what?  That can be a good thing. They offer old fashioned, delicious subs on fresh bread.  There is no fancy cheese. It's the old school white stuff - and I, who disdain cheese slices as being appropriate only for wrapping up pills in when having to administer medicine to my dogs, LOVE it.  Their prices are beyond reasonable. They always have a sub of the month that is an incredible price.  In March 2014, it was a 12" turkey sub for $3.99! 

Mr. HitH got the namesake Speedy Sub, which is a mixed sub with double cheese and meat.  The offering of veggie isn't extensive, but is perfectly adequate (lettuce, tomato, onion, green pepper, black and green olives, pickles, mushrooms, cucumbers, hot peppers) and they have a few different types of mustard too.  It was yummy and satisfying and fully prepared Mr. HitH to go and spend the rest of the evening coaching soccer and playing ball hockey.
The loaded with meat Speedy Sub
 Unfortunately, being vegetarian severely limits the options one has at a sub shop.  Fortunately, I really like veggie subs.  This one hits the mark.  There is nothing fancy or pretentious about it.  As you can see, they have a generous hand with the toppings, and while I would prefer just about any other leafy vegetable to iceburg lettuce, this is a great sub.
A terrible picture of a quite good veggie sub
Beyond the food, Speedy Subs is fantastic for Concession street.  Their windows are always decorated for the season and they are huge boosters of the neighbourhood. It's just a pleasure to go in and talk with them about how the Raleigh/Eastmount neighbourhoods are developing and changing. Concession Street has a shot at being the next Locke St. type success, and places like Speedy Subs will help fuel that success.  


Speedy Subs on Urbanspoon

Saturday, March 15, 2014

Grilled Cheese Fest!

What?  A Grilled Cheese Fest?  With all you can eat?  In the Hammer?  AWESOME.  We will see you there (but you won't be able to see much of us, as our faces will be covered with the grilled cheese we are eating!)


More info at https://twitter.com/HamOntBeerFest


Monday, March 10, 2014

The Burnt Tongue

The Burnt Tongue is remarkable. Absolutely remarkable.
Today's Drink Selections:  Canada Dry, Grape Crush & Rummy Grapefruit
Let me preface this post by saying that Ms. HitH is not a soup fan. She believes that food should be solid and chewed, not drunk. Mr.HitH has no such convictions, however, and adores soup.  For that reason, we had our first visit to The Burnt Tongue many months ago (when we were too consumed with work and school and other things to write). Since then, we have visited many times and each time, we are awed by the quality of the food. The fact that The Burnt Tongue won her over should tell you an awful lot!
Spiced Carrot and Lentil with yogurt and cumin seeds
The staff at The Burnt Tongue are fantastic.  They are always ready to describe the soups for you (they change daily), make suggestions, and are just generally wonderful to visit.  The restaurant is small, with only a few tables and can often be packed.  We usually take our food to go. The restaurant itself is a great space, but is very dim (as you can probably judge from the pics).

 Zucchini & Jalapeno with sour cream and cilantro
We visited again today, taking one of our siblings so they too could know the joy of The Burnt Tongue. We ordered 3 bowls of soup - Zucchini & Jalapeno with sour cream and cilantro, Spiced Carrot and Lentil with yogurt and cumin seeds and Greek Chickpea & Lemon with green onions & feta.  We all ordered buns as our side with our soup. We also all ordered grilled cheese to go with our soup (made with Cake & Loaf bread!)  and an order of frites with chipotle mayo. The Burnt Tongue has a great selection of novelty pop, often changing.  It's always worth asking what they recommend.  Today, we bought Grape Crush, Ginger Ale and Rummy Grapefruit.
Greek Chickpea & Lemon with green onions & feta
All of the soups were superb. The integrity of the flavours shine through and the combinations are well thought out. We have yet to have a bad bowl of soup, and we've tried many.  The combinations are modern, interesting and full of flavour without becoming cloying. I don't think it is going too far to say that the chef's palate is remarkable.
Grilled Cheese (with one quarter already eaten).
The grilled cheese was perfectly crisp and oozing with cheese. It was, as we were told when ordering, perfectly suited to soup dipping and the Cake & Loaf bread was perfect.  If we have one (tiny) complaint, it's that the cheese is particularly non-descript, which of course makes sense if you want it to mix seamlessly with all the soups.
The Frites with chipotle mayo
The fries at The Brunt Tongue are great.  They are perfectly crisp, never greasy, just the right amount of salt.  Even when they're cold, they don't get soggy.  Ms. HitH isn't a fan of the regular (Belgian-type) mayo, but the chipotle mayo was great.  Not too spicy and a perfect addition to the fries.

In summary, The Burnt Tongue is our new go-to in the Hammer.  With amazingly consistent and remarkable food, it's always a better than safe bet.  Check their facebook or twitter for daily menus.  Go now.  Go often.  We will accept thank you gifts for our recommendation.


The Burnt Tongue on Urbanspoon