Murrays Sandwich Emporium – Queen and Bathurst

Murrays Sandwich Emporium is a small hole in the wall restaurant located near the up and coming intersection of Queen and Bathurst. This neighbourhood has been undergoing lots of improvements with new condos and big box retailers popping up all along Queen. It is still a work in progress and small independent restaurants like Murrays are some of the great things that are bringing this area up a notch.

My first time around I had “The Murkey Turkey Club” ($9), with smoked turkey and double smoked bacon. Reading over the menu description again it’s no wonder I liked this. “Smoke” is probably one of my top 3 flavors. The club had a great taste to it that you wouldn’t expect from the looks of it. So often a sandwich with sliced deli-style turkey will have disappointingly bland turkey but this one isn’t one of those. It was possibly one of the best sliced deli turkeys I’ve ever had – moist and a ton of smokey flavor. The bacon as well was rich and crispy, just the way I like it. The other condiments were fresh, but this is to be expected as a minimum for the price you pay for premium sandwiches. I also ordered a side of fries which had a real fresh-cut taste, with lots of actual potato flavor. This is something that sometimes is forgotten with all the frozen fries that we eat, but these actually tasted like a potato.Walking in, there are two small wooden communal tables jutting out of an exposed brick wall and a vintage Pac-Man arcade machine on the other side. The atmosphere is laid-back and the staff are very friendly. On all the tables there are old copies of magazines like Vice and the TV plays a continuous loop of snowboarding trick shots. They clearly make their personal style apparent: young, hip, and “with it”. Their menu consists of mainly (surprise) sandwiches with clever names like “The Uncle Phil”, “The nutorious/mamma jamma” (sic) and “The BL-Tizzy”. They also have Okanagan Spring on tap and had a $10 pitcher deal the times that I went in. A great choice for a hot summer lunch. I recently had some work in the area so I took the chance to visit…twice. It’s always a good sign if you can draw me back in for a second lunch in an area so rich with great restaurants as Queen West. Continue reading

The Construction Site

Some of their cyber marketing.

The Construction Site  is a relatively new addition to the Yonge and Eglinton area. Opening its doors last November, it is tucked in beside the subway entrance, where there used to be a Druxy’s deli. They specialize in grilled cheeses using gourmet ingredients in imaginative combinations. They have several large wooden communal tables for dine-in guests, giving the experience a homey feel. The menu is constantly evolving each month, with 5 staple items and a rotating weekly special. Each month they drop the least popular item and replace it with the best selling special from the month before. This has a very organic, “survival of the fittest” feel to it which I find very interesting. Who knows what the menu will look like a few months from now. Continue reading

“All-in” 10 bean chili

It was a cold January evening. I was cozying up with a bottle of Rickard’s Dark as I have been known to do, and craving something really rich and hearty for Sunday dinner. This reminded me of my university days when my soon-to-be chef roommate would make a huge vat of chili to help get us through the bitter cold winters of Guelph, Ontario. The rich flavor of the dark beer helped me make my decision as well. Here’s my simple adaptation of several chili recipes I found on the web with lots of my own touches added. That’s why I call it the “all-in” chili, basically anything in my fridge that seemed like it might remotely work went into the pot. Continue reading

Adult Grilled Cheese

Aged Cheddar Grilled Cheese with Crispy Bacon and Green Apples!

Grilled cheese is a crowd pleasing fan favorite. Not many people can dispute that. There is something comforting about warm gooey cheese sandwiched between two crispy pieces of bread that brings most back to their childhood days. This is my version of a classic grilled cheese stepped up for a more adult palette, inspired by an item on the Gorilla Cheese  menu that was sold out when I stopped by. Continue reading