Japadog

I stayed true to my word…my culinary adventure through Vancouver has begun, and I will do my best to capture it.

ImageBack in the days when I had cable, I used to love watching the show Eat Street. Apparently, they film in Vancouver decently often, which makes sense – head downtown in this city and there’s practically a food truck at every corner. Right away I was drawn to Japadog – when I first laid eyes on the little stand at Pender and Burrard I thought, “that looks weird and awesome.” And apparently, this place was featured on Eat Street, as my step-mom informed me.

ImageI had to go for the signature dog, despite being drawn to a number of menu items here. The “Terimayo” is a pork hot dog with mayo, teriyaki, and seaweed. I gotta say, the combination of these flavours was a bit strange at first. The seaweed reminded me of sushi, which gave me a fishy connotation even though there was nothing fish related in my dog. Once I got my head around that, I realized how well these flavours meshed. As I anticipated, it was weird, but also delicious.

ImageWhile I don’t regret my choice at all (I HAD TO GET THE SIGNATURE DOG), I don’t think I would get it again. The hot/spicy, Croquette, and Tonkatsu all look amazing…one of those will enter my belly at some point in the near future I’m sure.

I also tried their “Shaked Fries” which are basically fries shaken up in a bag with your choice of seasoning. I picked “Shichimi and Garlic” – they were perfectly crispy, coated, spicy, and garlicky. I loved it.

ImageJapadog definitely lived up to the hype. I would for sure go there again. But it might be a while. There’s about 500 other food trucks in Vancouver that I’m going to have to try first.

First impressions – this city is great.

Head over to Japadog’s website to check out their menu and locations.

Japadog on Urbanspoon

 

Update

Just as quickly as I appeared in the blogosphere, I seemed to have disappeared. However, that’s not really the case. Here’s the deal.

I threw caution to the wind recently and decided to do something a little drastic. I up and moved across the country, leaving my little apartment in Waterloo, Ontario to live in a littler apartment in Vancouver, British Columbia. I haven’t been blogging at all lately, because I’ve just been too busy. But fear not! I shall return!

And I will return vigorously. You know why? There’s a shitload of food to eat here in Vancouver. And I want to put all of it in my face. I’m finally starting to get a bit settled here, and I think I’m going to venture downtown to try a random food truck or something. I’ll let you know how it goes.

I have a lot of learning to do in regards to the music scene here. Now that I have the internet, I’ll keep my ear to the streets and scope out some musics. Stay tuned.

Sincerely,

The one with the fat fingers

King of the Dot – World Domination 4

Hi Friends,

Sorry I’ve been incognito for so long. I’ve been hard at work writing my master’s thesis, so contributing to my blog has been relegated to the back-burner for a bit. But things are starting to slow down, so I figured I’d make a post.

*segue*

What have I been writing my thesis about, you ask? Battle rap. Remember that Eminem movie where he insults people in rap form in order to prove his dominance on the stage? That sort of thing…

I won’t get into the academic stuff that I’ve been concerning myself with. I’m coming at this as more of a fan. A couple of weekends ago, I went on a solo mission to Toronto to visit King of the Dot’s “World Domination 4″ battle event at the Opera House. It’s being heralded as one of the best battle events ever, and I’m glad I got to see it first hand.

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As I’m sure you’ve been able to figure out by now, I’m a huge hip-hop head. For whatever reason, a lot of my rap associates don’t care for battle rap. I for one, think it’s pretty rad. These artists are not only super talented, but they have got to be the bravest people in all of hip-hop. In a genre where your value is greatly dictated by your persona, these rappers put everything on the line, setting themselves up to potentially have their personas utterly dismantled by opponents. There appears to be no boundaries in battle rap – EVERYTHING is fair game. Dead relatives, ex-spouses, disabled siblings – it all gets brought up and used as ammo. While I don’t condone in these types of things at all, something about it in the context of battle rap truly fascinates me.

This pseudo-review of a rap event has quickly transformed into a general discussion about battle rap. And I’m not sure how well I can actually review the event. It was great. There were some crazy good match ups that had me laughing and astonished simultaneously. If you’re interested, these contests get posted on YouTube, and have slowly progressed from crappy homemade style videos into polished, professional videos posted in high definition. While I’m glad I went to the event, I almost prefer watching them on YouTube. The sound is nice and clear, I get to sit down and eat/drink while I watch it. I don’t know, maybe I’m getting old but I was pretty ready to go home at the end of the battle event I went to.

Some of personal favourites from World Domination 4 were Bonnie Godiva vs. Young Gattas – this was the first female battle in King of the Dot history (KOTD is the Toronto based league). Young Gattas won the Canadian crowd over, claiming that her opponent’s sexual promiscuity has resulted in her “pussy looking like poutine.” I know it sounds kind of juvenile but it was great. Maybe you had to be there. Arcane vs. Pat Stay was incredibly close and entertaining. And Rone vs. Real Deal was classic calibre. I’d be on the lookout for those videos – I believe KOTD has a schedule on their website of when the videos will be released. 

In the meantime, I’d suggest you head over to YouTube and search “King of the Dot” and watch a couple of these battles. It’s an underground movement that is becoming exceedingly popular, and has been cosigned by the likes of Drake, Diddy, Busta Rhymes, and a number of others. Get on it while it’s still cool.

Abdominal & The Obliques – A Brief History of the Chicken Wing

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Toronto musicians seem to have a thing with food. In the short time I’ve been doing this blog, I’ve already posted videos by Toronto rappers, Wordburglar and More Or Les, both of which were food-themed. Now, the Toronto underground rap staple, Abdominal, along with his band, The Obliques, release a hip-hop infused blues tune detailing the history of the chicken wing.

I’ve known of Abdominal’s existence for quite some time, but hadn’t realized his musical versatility until recently. If this is your first taste of Abdominal, you probably wouldn’t assume that he’s been a prominent rapper in the Toronto scene for well over a decade. This song not only sounds great, but its content pertains to one my absolute favourite food items – the chicken wing. And overall, Abdominal does this delicious pub grub justice…except for his approval of blue cheese sauce. I’m all about that ranch.

If you want to hear more of Abdominal’s stuff, head over to his Bandcamp page, where you can check out his recent project with The Obliques, as well as his early, rappier stuff.

More Or Les – Brunch Again

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Ask Toronto rapper More Or Les what the absolute best thing in the universe is. I bet he’ll tell you it’s brunch.

More Or Les first dedicated raps to brunch in 2006 on the song, Brunch, off the album “The Truth About Rap”. His next solo album was called “Brunch With a Vengeance,” in 2010. Now comes the song, Brunch Again, off his entirely food-based album “Mastication.”

The video features fellow Backburner Crew members Ghettosocks, Jesse Dangerously, Timbuktu, and Wordburglar, all of whom are depicted in rough shape after an assumed evening involving the excessive consumption of spirits. My personal favourite is Wordburglar – the bags under his eyes indicate that he probably wasn’t really acting when this video was shot.

Alternatively, the happy-faced, apron-clad More Or Les eventually offers his crewmates brunch, revitalizing each and every one of them. Funny concept, great song, and brunch is the meal of all meals. Check out the vid!!

As a side note, I recommend you listen to More Or Les’ Mastication album. The album has a lot of range, despite being a concept album. There’s albums includes everything from tunes that look into the exploitative ways of the sugar industry to songs that are basically just recipes. Food + Rap combo at its finest.

Lancaster Smokehouse

Once upon a time, I would spend several months of each year waiting for the Kitchener Ribfest, as I knew that attending this festival would be the only way that a hungry Waterloo boy could fulfill his need for delicious, smokey ribs and pulled pork. But now, in 2013, I care about Ribfest significantly less. Because I have the Lancaster Smokehouse.

I first ate at Hogtails – the still existent precursor to the Lancaster Smokehouse – just a few months after it opened back in 2010ish. Food was great, but the place was too small and way too busy. Then the owners of my beloved BBQ joint took over The Lancaster Tavern, a local landmark turned dive bar. Now I can eat the best food imaginable in a nice big comfortable setting, while listening to live blues (on Fridays and Saturdays).

I’m going to keep this review brief. There’s really not much to say other than the food at the Lancaster Smokehouse is the best food I’ve eaten within the confines of the Kitchener-Waterloo area. For serial. They use locally sourced meat/produce, everything is homemade, the portions are magnificently gigantic, and the price is fair. If I had one of those ultra-lean body types, I would eat at the Lancaster Smokehouse every day.

I apologize in advance for the quality of these pictures. I didn’t care about capturing this moment – once the food landed on my table, all I wanted to do was put it into my face at full force.

I had my favourite food in the universe – the ribs. A half-rack with two sides will likely leave you bringing some food home for a late-night snack. I got the onion rings and mac n’ cheese for my sides. The onion rings are out of this world – doughy, salty, huge, and somehow not all that greasy. I like saucy food, so I dipped my onion rings in a mixture of the sweet and smokey BBQ sauces that are waiting for you on the table. I also put some sweet sauce on my ribs, mixed with a tad of their “fullilove” hot sauce (you have to ask for that).

ImageMy mom ordered the fried chicken, which I have eaten in the past. It’s also amongst the best fried chicken I’ve ever eaten. Perfectly seasoned, the breading is nice and crispy, the chicken moist and again, not greasy.

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My sister got a little experimental and had the fried oyster po’ boy sandwich, which was topped with bacon, remoulade, lettuce, and tomato. I had a bite of it, and it was really good as well.

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I feel like I’m running out of synonyms for “best effing thing I’ve ever tasted.” But that’s how I’d define pretty much everything I’ve eaten at this lovely establishment. My bro got the brisket, which he devoured. In the past I’ve tried their chicken wings, which are smoked and grilled as opposed to fried – also, they’re huge. And perfect. They’re like if Jesus raised chickens and cooked the wings himself.

If there’s one place in Kitchener-Waterloo that you should go to for food, this is it. Honestly, I don’t know what else to tell you. GO HERE.

Lancaster Smokehouse

Lancaster Smokehouse Southern Bar B Que on Urbanspoon

Ted’s Range Road Diner

If there’s any place I’ve been to in Canada that belongs on Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives, it’s Ted’s Range Road Diner in Meaford, Ontario.

Where, you say? Exactly. Meaford is a tiny town somewhere in between Owen Sound and Collingwood, which is north-west of Toronto. In other words, it’s the last place on earth where you’d expect to find some ultra-delicious food.

ImageThe first time I rolled up to Ted’s (this was the second time I’ve been there) I couldn’t believe my eyes. The restaurant is in a f@$%ing quonset hut, which is a lightweight building originally used for military purposes that are mostly found in agricultural settings today. Enter the quonset hut – the place bears a resemblance to Merlotte’s diner in True Blood. Straight up country. The staff are possibly the nicest people on earth. Legend has it that the chef (Ted) likes to cook shirtless, although my eyes have yet to confirm this. Rather than menus, diners are invited to read the chalk writings on the wall, which showcase all kinds of interesting dishes. This includes a lot of game and exotic meat, like bison steak, crocodile bites, kangaroo, elk, and everything else you could think of. All of these factors won me over before I had even taken a bite.

ImageWe came here for my bday dinner, so I spoiled myself and ordered a 12oz, aged, AAA Angus steak topped with peppercorn gravy and mushrooms, with homefries on the side. The quality of the meat was absolutely outstanding. While it was cooked a tad above the medium rare that I requested, I honestly didn’t care at all because it was melt-in-your mouth steak like I’ve had nowhere else. The gravy complimented the beef perfectly, and the homefries were exactly what you want when you get homefries. I also had a caesar salad to start, which came with an extremely garlic-heavy dressing that I adored.

ImageThe steak was a popular choice amongst my family. My sister (who is responsible for the nicer looking photos in this post) ordered the beef ribs – my birthday status enabled me to have a bite, and I definitely wanted to keep going. The meat was a bit fatty, but I’m all about that – and the sauce was nice and tangy.

ImageMy partner ordered the seafood bake, which came with lobster, scallops, and shrimp, topped with a phyllo pastry. I was hoping to pull the birthday trick to get a bite of that, but she devoured the thing. From what I could gather, the seafood all looked nice and big, and the dish gave off an aquatic aroma that was saliva-inducing. I hear it was absolutely delicious.

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The food at Ted’s is seriously great. Birthday-dinner worthy for sure. And to top things off, they gave me a slice of homemade chocolate cake that my belly did not need, but my mouth was definitely pleased. It was rich, moist, and I ate every last crumb.

Even if the food at Ted’s wasn’t good, I feel like I would still enjoy eating there. The vibe is unlike any place I’ve ever been. If for any reason you ever find yourself within an hour of Meaford, I’d suggest making the trek for a meal at Ted’s Range Road Diner. I think it’s one my favourite places I’ve ever eaten, period.

Ted's Range Road Diner on Urbanspoon