Ted Mosby [envisioning what a Canadian wedding would be like]: Canada? Are you registered at Tim Horton’s?
Lily Aldrin: What, are you gonna walk down the aisle wearing snow shoes? Barney: What do we ask on the wedding invitation, will you be having the elk, or the moose?
I went to Ontario, Canada for work last week, and I have to say: Good job Toronto, and good job Markham, for having amazing food everywhere. I literally was not disappointed by a single dining experience I had. No, I didn’t only go to the $$$ 5-star Yelp places. Although amazingly, that’s what it felt like when I ate. Here’s what my experience was like, in pictures.
Shameless YouTube channel plug: I had 6 hours to fit in as much adventure as possible my first day before working, so I dashed to the CN Tower, and miraculously made it to Niagara before checking into my hotel at 1AM. Here’s the video of my journey:
Now that that’s out of the way, let’s move on to the food!
CN Tower, Toronto
The adventure starts at my first stop: the CN Tower in Toronto.
Give me all the bread, please. Carbs all day, every day. I wanted to do it big when I first got to Toronto – I was in Canada to work, so I knew that I had to take advantage of whatever free time I could squeeze in.
This mushroom soup looks all sophisticated, but it had a crazy depth of flavor. I noticed that mushrooms are used a lot in Canadian cuisine. There was also a huge emphasis on fresh ingredients, which you could definitely taste with every spoon.
I wiped this cod and shrimp plate off in 5 minutes. The cod was cooked perfectly, and the sauce was to die for. It complemented the fish fantastically, and did I already mention that Canadians love their mushrooms? Yummers (Sorry those who hate mushrooms).
The view from the revolving 360 restaurant. Complimentary Hotel Breakfast
I mean… it’s free. The oatmeal was actually pretty friggin’ good for 3-star complimentary breakfast oatmeal. The coffee was good too. But come on, WHY WAS THERE NO REGULAR CREAM?! I eventually found real milk, though. Anyone else have to add milk to their coffee? Smash Kitchen & Bar, Markham
The test of a good baked mac is the cheese pull. Does the cheese snap when you pull? Do you only get a few strands, or none at all? The crust was done beautifully. And the mac was swimming with butter and bacon – just how I like it! NEXTDOOR, Markham
This is the pan seared duck. It’s a real shame this place has only 4 stars on Yelp, because it deserves 5. But I think it’s because the competition in the Markham area is just absolutely bonkers. Like I mentioned in my intro, the food everywhere is just amazing. This place was reasonably priced, had great ambiance, the service was amazing, and the food speaks for itself.
This grilled pineapple dessert was to die for. If you’ve ever grilled pineapple before at a BBQ, you know how it changes the flavor profile of the fruit, and it makes it more sweet. I loved the little crunch, and the cake. So good. Hotel Breakfast FT Canada’s ‘Guy’
I wanted to include this picture because the guy on the right is Canada’s equivalent to our Guy Fieri. Instead of Triple D, it’s called “You Gotta Eat Here.” Can you guess what this guy’s catch phrase right before every commercial break is? I’ll wait… 🙂 Smash Kitchen & Bar, Markham
Chorizo pizza. Yes. The mac ‘n cheese from before is from the same place. I had five days in Canada, and I spent a meal going back to the same place? WHAT KIND OF A FOODIE AM I? Look, people. My coworkers loved this place the first time we went, and when your boss wants to go back, you never, NEVER, say no. ‘Nuff said? This pizza had a great thin crust, and it had a nice balance of meat to veggie to tomato sauce. Azyun, Markham
This place is so underrated. Partially because it’s been open for only two months. But if they opened a location in Austin, it would be GAME OVER. This is their spring rolls. Everything here is done with sort of a modern spin, but the chef doesn’t go out of the confines of authenticity too much here. The fundamental flavors and techniques are still at play here, and that’s what makes this place so great.
The pork belly “mantau” – pork belly bun in English. The flavors in this bun just explode when they hit your tongue. Perfectly cooked pork belly. Little slice of apple. Great sauce. Fluffy bun. It was so good, we got another order.
Tofu cheesecake. If you’re not used to tofu, trust me – it might sound weird, but oh man, was I in sugar heaven when I took my first bite. It’s topped off with an assorted berry compote, and if I remember correctly, the zigzaggy sauce is an almond butter. Super delicious. Can’t praise this place enough. Me-Va-Me, Markham
This baba ganoush blew my mind. This place is designed kind of like a fancy version of the old Verts in Austin, but there were some real winners here, including this baba ganoush. Every bite of the pita dipped in this was super flavorful. You could really taste the freshness of the eggplant, and the little zest and herbs that they add into it.
This giant pita was what we used to dip the baba ganoush. We were all very surprised at how good this was. Hotel Breakfast
I had to get the waffle my last day. I was disappointed that there wasn’t a Canada, or at least Ontario shaped waffle maker 😐 Cluny Grill, Pearson Airport
Duh. You have to get poutine at least once any time you step foot into Canada. This was the “Three Little Pigs” poutine. Fries with pulled pork, bacon, and sausage with cheese curds, smothered in their house brown gravy. I was sick that morning, so I didn’t get to fully enjoy it, but the picture kind of speaks for itself. Amazing.
And that’s it! Hope you enjoyed a little taste of my trip!
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You got poutine at the airport?!?! NOOOOO!!! You have to go to Smokes Poutine if you ever come back!
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I never got the chance to get it during work 😥. So the airport as I was leaving was the only time I could get it. Added smokes to the list!! I’ll be back soon 😁
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