Toronto is 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.
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 arrives for us to leave Paddington’s and make our way to the streetcar 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 streetcar 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 streetcars 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 streetcar were 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 4 am 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 yumminess of 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 Healthy 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 appetising. 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.