Celebrating Saint Patrick’s at Kettleman’s

After winning the Soccer 7s Men Rec division 1 championship with Sporting Yamela 7-5 against the Red Star, we went to Irene’s for a celebratory pint. Irene’s has been the watering hole for my former teamates for years. I say former teammates because Yamela had called me as an emergency replacement from my current Chelsea Panthers team to replace their injured goalie.

At the end of the night, as had been my habit in my Yamela’s days, I stopped at Kettleman’s Bagel Co. across the street to bring home a few bagels for the next morning.

Two guys were busy working the dough, getting ready for the morning’s business. A few patrons were eating bagels and chatting away, a late night snack after an evening of drinking, it sounded like.

I ordered my dozen Montreal-style, sesame seeds bagels, and then noticed something unusual in the refrigerated counter.

Amongst Kettleman’s regular offer of spreads, including Olives, Chives, Hot Peppers and more; there was a bright green spot.

Intrigued, I got closer, and discovered Irish Cream Cream Cheese.

I couldn’t resist. The colour is simply wrong and the flavour can’t possibly work with cream cheese, but I had to get me some. So I did!

The next morning, I was ready to try. So I did!

I toasted my fresh bagel, and schmeared it lightly with the green spread. As it slightly melted under the hot bagel, the cream cheese let out an aroma that was vaguely familiar.

I took a bite. Yes, vaguely familiar.

A sweet aftertaste, with hint of vanilla and coffee. Kinda like Irish Cream. But with no booze. And with cream cheese. And green.

So ya…

Perhaps only for St-Patrick’s Day!

Update February 29th, 2024 :
X user David Moscrop wants to call the cops. It is unclear if he is mad at the price or the colour.
This is a 51.14% increase over 10 years.

The McRib is back!

It had been a long time coming. Ever since the McRib first made its debut in 1981, the McDonald’s delicacy has been standing out as a unique and beloved creation. So when McDonald’s announced on January 25th that it was bringing back the iconic sandwich to Canadian menus, people got excited.

The McRib is more than junk food, it is a cultural phenomenon, as evidenced by social media platforms lighting up with posts celebrating the McRib’s return, and by mainstream media covering the story.
Even Tania was caught in the frenzy, sharing with me the Ultimate Homemade McRib Recipe from Serious Eats.

The McRib has appeared on and off on the menu but was last sold in Canada in 2014. Many Canadians had given up on ever seeing the sandwich again, as McDonald’s USA had announced in 2022 that the elusive McRib was finally back… embarking on a “Farewell Tour”.

They said it couldn’t be done. Never say never. You’re welcome Canada, the McRib is back! McDonald's Canada #missionaccomplished✔️ #promisemadepromisekept  #neversaynever #tomorrowneverknows #mcrib #McRibMania #TeamMcRib
They said it couldn’t be done. Never say never. You’re welcome Canada, the McRib is back! McDonald’s Canada #missionaccomplished✔️ #promisemadepromisekept #neversaynever #tomorrowneverknows #mcrib #McRibMania #TeamMcRib

Other members of the Waffle’s family had no idea what they were missing. Inspired by Justin’s working class leadership, I was going to fix this. No, not that Justin. This one!

The anticipation and excitement was contagious. Ms. Waffle agreed to pick up some McRibs on the way back from a shopping trip. Turns out, the saucy sensation is not available at every location, so she had to make a long detour to make it happen. God bless.

Soon, we all had the pleasure of indulging in the magical McRib. Well, not quite, as the Waffle Jr. opted for a cheeseburger. I wanted to ban her to the outlands but I figured it wouldn’t be worth the drama and would keep me from rediscovering the flavors, textures and smells of the elusive and exclusive sandwich.

The McRib was designed to be a pork alternative to the traditional beef patties that dominated the McDonald’s menu. Served on a roll with sesame seed, it has a distinctive rib-shaped pork patty, is smothered in tangy barbecue sauce and topped with pickles and onions. Read more!

Tacos Del Rancho justo lo que necesitaba

I woke up at 2 AM, awoken by the arrival of yet another snow dump. My alarm was set for 4 AM, for a United flight out of Ottawa which was originally scheduled at 6:25 but had already been delayed by half an hour the night before.  I knew the heavy snow would cause further delays and my layover in O’Hare was impossibly short to begin with. Perhaps for that reason, I couldn’t get back to sleep. Or perhaps I was too much aware there was no other flight to Tucson out of O’Hare. I was already assuming that I’d spend the night in Chicago and my plan B was a deep dish pizza adventure and a visit to the United Center to see the Blackhawks play the Predators.

We landed late in O’Hare, but United had decided to hold the plane for the few of us who needed that connection! Even my checked bag made it!  Long story short, I was really impressed with United. But not impressed enough to order their food.

After getting my bag, getting the rental car and checking in at the hotel, I had been awake for far too long while having only had a small bag of plane pretzels. It was well overdue to get some real food. I drove back towards downtown, having passed a whole bunch of restaurants along the way. I ignored the KFC, Arby’s and other McDonald’s and ended up at Tacos Del Rancho under the Arizona afternoon sun.

Tacos Del Rancho is a fairly new joint, located in one of the numerous small strip malls on Oracle road. Established in September 2021, it is 100% family-owned and operated. They say that their tex-mex menu is inspired by the Sonora desert. Points for making their own salsas and also their own fresh corn and flour tortillas. Bonus points for using certified Angus beef. On the menu, you’ll find Nachos, Asada Fries, Gordita, Burritos and of course, Tacos! The decor is minimalist, but polished with bright colours.

I relied on the staff’s advice before ordering. They told me that the most popular item on the menu was the Taco Del Rancho ($4.50). Frankly, if the dish is named after your restaurant, it HAS to be the best thing you offer. So I ordered it in a combo! Two tacos, served with  beans, rice and a choice of side – I picked the Chile En Rajas – and a soda. Read more!

A pizza in a Cage (II)

It had been a while since I last tried a pizza at La Cage, which is no longer “Aux Sports” as the Waffler nation well knows. In fact, pizza wasn’t on the menu for a while, although they did have flatbreads on the menu a while ago. Not the same dough, so not the same, though.

Now available in some locations, a selection of Neapolitan pizza. I was intrigued, because unlike before, they now have a dedicated pizza oven in select locations. Options include Prosciutto & Arugula; Bacon, Sausage & Onion; Margherita; Italian Sausages. I decided to go ahead and order the Margherita.

Margherita pizza is a traditional culinary specialty said to have originated in Naples, Italy. Very popular for its simplicity, this napoletana pizza is topped with tomatoes, mozzarella and fresh basil. The colors of these three ingredients are meant to represent the Italian flag. It seems to have been first described, in 1830, by Riccio in the book Napoli, contorni e dintorni.

So if it is so simple, why is it so popular? If simplicity is the base, the real secret of a Margherita pizza lies in the use of high quality ingredients. You want a very fresh, fairly raw pizza sauce, made with San Marzano tomatoes. You want real fresh mozzarella di Buffala, coming in balls, not the industrial blocks. And of course, the freshest of basil, sweet with large leaves.

Read more!

Not the ringer we expected

Fast Food chains are always looking for new offerings to attract consumers. Variations should be limitless yet it is rarely really out of the ordinary. Still, here in this corner we decided to give a shot to Harvey’s newest burger:

The Angus BBQ Bacon Ringer Melt.

So you get a 100 per cent Canadian, flame grilled Angus burger topped with BBQ sauce, cheese, bacon and Onion Rings on a toasted bun. As always, you top your burger with your choice of fixings.

I fired up the app to get it to go from the Saint-Joseph Boulevard location in Hull. First things first, Harvey’s informed me that they were currently experiencing supply challenges with their gravy. As a result, their Poutines may temporarily be unavailable on the menu at some locations. I had no interest in a Harvey’s poutine so I cannot confirm if it was actually available, but the app kept offering it to me as an option.

Harvey’s sells it’s Angus BBQ Bacon Ringer Melt for $8.79. The regular Angus Burger goes for $6.39, with cheese for $7.19, with cheese and bacon for $8.39. So basically an extra 40 cents for a couple of onion rings.

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Hitting the spot on Christmas Day

We arrived at the Tsawwassen Ferry Terminal with plenty of time to spare before we boarded the Queen of New Westminster to Nanaimo. We only had snacks on our journey so far.

It being Christmas Day, lots of things were closed in the terminal area. Vending machines were not a wanted option. So I headed over to the Tsawwassen Quay Market to check it out, fingers crossed. The air was fresh and the wind was brisk.

Tsawwassen market is a small retail market that showcases a West Coast theme and lifestyle, featuring fashion and crafts. There are usually plenty of food options but today, only three were open. The Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory was immediately ruled out by me.

Two options were in the running: Salsa, a Mexican joint offering tacos, quesadillas nachos, enchiladas and burritos. And Frankie’s Barbecue Grill, featuring hot dogs, hot sandwiches, beef dip, pulled pork and smoked meats.

I texted the menus over to see if the Waffle family were interested. They were. The question was: did they want to come over or would they like me to deliver? The food might get cold if I walked back to berth 3 with it. So the decision was made to enjoy the fresh air.

Read more!