Archive for queen west

I ate a Double Down, somehow survived

Posted in Obituaries, Reviews with tags , , on October 21, 2010 by grimgastronomicon

What madness has wrapped its feverish grip around our frozen bastion of cool austerity? Canada is not normally known for being aggressively single minded about stuff, but the announcement of the KFC Double Down seems to have provoked somewhat of a fervour. People attempting to get them have told me some locations sold out on the first day, others just seemed incredibly curious. I ranked in the 3rd category-I haven’t updated my blog in ages, and felt like sickening myself for a post, rather than post about any far more interesting food-related matters I’ve attended to lately. SO AWAY WE GO!

What prompted me? Well, when I saw all the press it was getting in the US, I thought it looked stomach-churningly terribad, something designed to cause intestinal discomfort. When I heard it was coming to Canada, I was aghast-c’mon, we’re totally supposed to be above this level of chicanery, right? Then morbid curiosity got the better of me, and I decided to make a lunch-event out of it today at work, rather than saving it for a time when my evening productivity wasn’t reliant on having a well-balanced midday meal.

Foolishly steadfast in my quest, I proceeded to the KFC/Taco Bell near my work (so strange that the song is about Pizza Hut , and not KFC…). I was almost gleeful in my anticipation of the horrors I was going to wreak upon my stomach-after all, if it was so baddd, could they legally sell them? Walking up to the register, I had a big, smug grin on my face when I ordered it, as if somehow paying way more than is reasonable for a lark is a credible venture on my part (FYI, the sandwich alone is $7). The cashier smiled at me, and walked over to the heatlamp counter, and grabbed a pre assembled box from a large, large stack-They’re clearly moving a number of these suckers out the door (and into the sewer, with a few intervening steps).


They had the sick sense of humour to proudly display this above the cash.


As I clutched my wretched bounty on my way back to work, I kept an eye on everyone I passed, wondering if they knew what foul thing I was carrying around in that paper sack. Or conversely, if they’d be so jealous of my lunch savvy, that they’d roll me for a Double Down-that’d certainly make the news.


When I was finally seated in the lunch area at work, I finally opened the proverbial Pandora’s box…and was kind of repulsed.

Seriously, I realize even in the ads these things are ugly, but damn, I must’ve stared at it for a good 2 minutes before feeling adventurous enough to take a bite. The chicken is lumpily coated and weird. The cheese resembles industrial adhesives, and the bacon just looked sad. Emo bacon.



I took a deep breath, and bit into it. And my initial reaction was overwhelming disappointment-SHIT, This just tastes like what it advertises itself as-2 pieces of boneless, crispy KFC chicken stacked on top of eachother! It was overwhelmingly underwhelming in just how average it was; I WANTED to be able to rail about what I had gone through. FUCK Morgan Spurlock, I had eaten a Double Down, and that was damn near equivalent in caloric content and fat to a month worth of Mickey Ds.

And then by my third bite, I hit the cheese, bacon, and whatever-the-hellapeno sauce. And winced. The sauce was fairly noxiously odorous to begin with, but it was unfairly hindered by a completely artificial flavour, which further didn’t help the slimy bacon, or over-processed cheese. They all kind of flopped damply onto my tastebuds, and then oozed. Oozed flavour? I guess, in the same way that bad music is still music.

I wasn’t able to finish it. I still had a small chunk left, but had hit a chewy bit, and gagged a little. I tossed it, and finished my orange pop (sadly, by far my favourite element of nearly any fast food offering), and my fries. I felt somewhat gross, but otherwise fine. I had survived.


And then within twenty minutes felt nauseous, within ten minutes after that was wondering  if my Double Down was tainted, and I was going to die of the worst case of food poisoning ever had. I didn’t, obviously, but it was pretty chancy there for a little while. I remained full feeling for at least another 6-7 hours, but that might just have been my body trying to defend itself from any further attacks.

So, what did we all learn from this? Don’t eat it. Please. I’d assume most reading this are already possessed of enough intelligence or self-worth to avoid inflicting catastrophic gastronomical damage upon oneself, but just in case, I took that bullet for you guys.


Sandwich Box-my lunchtime saviour

Posted in Reviews, Thoughts with tags , , , , on February 14, 2010 by grimgastronomicon

My 30(ish) minute lunch break is always a mad dash for food. I’m normally hurried enough in the mornings (and forgetful enough in the evenings) that I only bring a lunch a couple times a week; most of the time, it’s either whatever leftover goodies from a meal Jess made (the meals I make never seem to take the next day into account), or random canned goods that can be heated at the lunch site.

Now, as previously stated, it’s not like there’s a dearth of  restaurants in the Queen West area, but unless I feel like stretching that 30 minute lunch by another 15-20, there are definite limitations imposed o my gastronomical agenda. Enter 238 Queen St West-Across from the CityTV/MuchMusic headquarters, this little plaza held a multitude of little food counters, from burgers to bubble tea (bah!) to icecream to a million chinese places to sandwiches.

The obvious Food du Jour there was Sandwich Box-for around $10, you get a great sandwich, a side salad (baby spinach leaves, a bit of radiccio, and barely a hint of a balsamic vinegar-some employees are known to be less stingy with it, but they’re generally new to the company), and a pop(jones Orange&Cream soda is my poison of choice).  There was also Big Stan’s Burger, and a smoothie joint. These were all great options at various times, though Sandwich Box was notorious for having a fairly lengthy lineup.

Then, they closed.

More specifically, they posted a notice that they weren’t allowed to renew their lease for complaining about the plaza conditions to the management, or somesuch. I was crushed.

Then Big Stan, the Ben & Jerry’s, and most of the other higher-end places closed within a year of each other. I haven’t been in there in many, many months, but at last glance, all that’s left are a few low-end chinese places, not worth mentioning.

All of this was devastating, as Subway, McDonalds and Taco Bell/KFC aren’t exactly meals to look forward to.

Fast forward some un-specified amount of time (seriously, if you care, you probably should stop reading this now-I’m not likely to ever be too specific on time frames, unless they’re the crux of a story), and I’m walking down Richmond, just off of Peter, and I pass by SANDWICH BOX!(388 Richmond St. West). This was some time last year, but I still remember the intense excitement I felt, which is surprising-it’s a frigging sandwich place, not a fountain of gold. Still, since then, lunches have improved a couple times a week.

The food:

Sandwich Box breaks construction of its sandwiches down a few simple categories with several options each


ryes, swiss triangles, some with onions, some with yukon gold potato flakes-they have room in their bread display for 12 types at any given time, but they rarely have more than  5 or 6 available at a time. I generally choose something different every time I go


avocado/chipotle mayo, basil pesto, black olive, curried apple chutney…


Smoked Salmon, Grilled Chicken, Smoked Turkey Breast, Prosciutto…


Goat cheese, asiago, jalapeno havarti, …


Caramelized onions, roasted sweet peppers, avocado, bland tomatoes (sorry, but even when in season, they never seem particularly good here)

And then, they drizzle a little olive oil, lemon juice, some salt and pepper, annd then grill it on a panini press for a couple minutes.

It generally always tastes good, but I use  it as a opportunity to do simple flavour experiments to further my culinary knowlege (eg. how well certain strengths of cheese go with certain spreads, if I can improve on a classic sandwich by altering an ingredient or so…the possibilities aren’t endless, but they do provide an interesting diversion during my lunchbreak).

a recent foray of mine:

Whole grain panini/basil pesto/goat cheese/turkey breast/avocado

Restrained in flavour, but very mouth filling-the avocado and goat cheese pair in a very laid-back manner. Neither is especially overwhelming (once again, screw you AS jr), though the avocado seems to have an even further moderating effect. The basil pesto adds a nice tang and savoury aroma, with out getting in the way. The turkey, moist, but not incredibly flavourful.

It was kinda pedestrian, but as something to keep my engine running for the day, it was pretty awesome.

And the Jones soda with it was damn fine.

According to their uber-minmalist web presence, they now have 5 locations in downtown Toronto, so if you see one, stop by. That is a command, not a suggestion.