Toronto in one of my favourite cities in Canada. It has culture, arts, funky neighbourhoods, cool architecture, food trucks, and an interesting history – - which ultimately led to the creation of When Pigs Fry, a pork themed food tour by Urban Adventures.
The very idea of doing a pork themed food tour in Toronto made my skin tingle with excitement. I LOVE foodie tours. And bacon. And Toronto. What I didn’t love was the fact that I had to walk through Woofstock to get to the tour meeting point. What is Woofstock? It’s DOGMEGEDDON! Dogs are nice and all, but when you cannot walk down a street because it is PACKED with people and dogs, and they all walk at an insanely slow pace, you would loathe the experience too. Thankfully the majority of our tour was nowhere near Woofstock.
We kicked things off with a short trip the grocery store, followed by a stop at Paddington’s Pump (at the St. Lawrence Market) for a Peameal Bacon sandwich. What is peameal bacon? It’s trimmed pork loin that is pickled in a brine and then rolled in cornmeal. And it is absolutely delicious fried and served as a sandwich or with some eggs! Mmmmm…..
Oh, and the deliciousness of peameal bacon was created by William Davies, one of the more popular pork and bacon curers in Toronto. Thank-you Mr. Davies!
Now I want some peameal bacon for breakfast.
When the sad moment arrive for us to leave Paddington’s and make our way to the street car on King Street, Jason (our guide) spoke about the history of the pork industry in Toronto, particularly William Davies and the history of the pork industry in Toronto — which is also known as Hogtown.
The street car ride from our first stop, to our next stop (which is one of my favourite places in Toronto) was far more entertaining than I anticipated as Jason hosted a pig inspired quiz game with maple bacon salt water taffy candy as prizes.
I have overheard many interesting and bizarre conversations while riding on street cars in Toronto — like the conversation where a guy said to a girl, “You look really smart”, and she replied with, “Yes, I am”, and I could NOT stop listening in and purposely missed my stop — so I can only imagine what some of the people on the street car where thinking as Jason asked pork related questions, and we shouted answers like “PORKY PIG!!”, and then got really excited when he tossed the winner a piece of maple bacon saltwater taffy.
It was quite entertaining.
Our next stop was at one of my favourite places in Toronto, Lou Dawgs, a BBQ joint along King Street that serves delicious chicken wings, stays open til 4am from Thurs – Sat to cater to the drinking crowds, and as it turns out, also serves THE MOST AMAZING PULLED PORK POUTINE ON THE PLANET!
I know, it sounds like a stretch, but it is totally true. I’m Canadian. I’ve eaten a lot of poutine. Okay, people who live in Québec have probably eaten more poutine, and my judgement is more about my picky eating habits, but still!
For me, poutine is all about the gravy. If the gravy doesn’t taste right, it can totally ruin the deliciousness of the fries and the cheese curds. I am totally serious. LOL
Here is the thing, we each received a half order of pulled pork poutine which came with chicken gravy which was light and in my non-pretentious foodie opinion (if I say I’m not pretentious, is that believable? Man, I hope so. LOL) it is the perfect gravy choice cause you wanna taste the yunminess of the the pulled pork.
Okay, I can’t write about the poutine anymore because I’m getting hungry and I live like an hour (by car) away from Lou Dawgs, so eating pulled pork poutine is kind of out of the question today.
By the time I finished my poutine (and resisted licking the brown paper lining) I was full, so it’s a good thing we went for a walk up to The Heathly Butcher to chat about sustainable pork practices, eat some oven-cooked bacon, and then walk back down to our last stop of the tour to eat curry wvurst.
I’ll be honest, I have purposely avoided curry wvurst as it didn’t sound very appetizing. Like not at all. That being said when I’m doing a food experience I always make a point of trying everything, even if I would NEVER eat it on my own. It’s the one rule I’ve created for myself that has actually produced positive results almost every time. Thankfully.
If you had not already guessed, I really liked the curry wvurst, but not as much as the pulled pork poutine.
I’m a huge advocate of foodie tours because they allow you to get a feel for the city you’re visiting. You learn a little history, some culture, you generally eat delicious food, and nine times out of ten you have a fabulous guide. Anyone can pop by the restaurants on the When Pigs Fry tour and enjoy the food on their own, but by doing that they miss out on an afternoon with Urban Adventure’s guide, Jason, the man who created the tour. Jason’s infectious laugh, good nature, and knowledge of Toronto and pork made the tour fun and I can honestly say, I could have hung out for a few more hours just to joke around, and eat pork products.
*I’d like to thank Urban Adventures for inviting me to take their When Pigs Fry tour, and for creating my new unhealthy obsession, Pulled Pork Poutine.