While we all wait to find out what will be this year’s Cronut or pig ear burger at the CNE this summer, plenty of Toronto spots offer unique delicacies to tempt the taste buds. Grab your selfie stick and some Tums and take on some of these “don’t see them every day” culinary treats.
Call ahead to Queen West’s Banu to make sure they’ve got Don Balan in stock, and you’re ready to try grilled lamb testicles with torshi, lime and lavash. One food reviewer said they taste like “scallops with a hint of bacon.”
From chicken livers to pig’s ear slaw to tongue on brioche, The Black Hoof on Dundas West has it all — including bone marrow. When Anthony Bourdain visited, he tried a bone luge by funneling alcohol into his mouth via the hollowed out bone. He said it defied all standards of decency, so you should probably give it a go.
Big Mac Pizza
It’s cleverly called the Sir John A McDonald, but with ground all-beef patties, cheddar cheese, pickles and onions on a sesame seed crust topped with lettuce and special sauce, it’s colloquially known as the Big Mac pizza. Makes sense. Get one at Big House Pizza on Danforth Avenue.
The Bloody Jerk Caesar
Remember when you used to get excited if a Caesar had beans in it instead of a pickle? Feast your eyes on this beast at Harlem, located on both Queen West and Richmond Street East. It’s garnished with a tower of stuff including fried chicken, candied plantain, deep fried pickles and okra and a waffle. Because, why not?
Horse, of course
If horse is your game, La Palette on Queen West has it for you. Try it alongside venison, or sink your teeth into a six-ounce horse tenderloin, served rare. The Quack ’n’ Track gets you horse with duck confit.
The whole animal
If you think you’ve had it all, it might be time to actually have it all. The Beast (96 Tecumseth Street) can offer a six-course meal using a whole animal. Choose from lamb, goat, rabbit, duck, chicken, squab, pig, wild boar, cow, elk, water buffalo or bison. Take your time though — it’s best to give at least one week’s notice.
It’s not a strange food list without bugs
Plenty of places let you consume small critters in various forms. Add crickets to your guac at El Catrin (18 Tank House Lane, Distillery District) for $9. Cookie Martinez (various locations) can offer kribab (cricket kebabs) and cricket empanadas. Prefer your insects sweet? Try Crittle (cricket brittle) there while you’re at it.
Ready for dessert?
The Bake Shoppe (859 College Street) has Ruffles — yes, the chip — marshmallow squares. Visit Junked Food Co. (507 Queen Street West) for stuff like the Cookie Doh-Nut soft serve. It’s a cone loaded with vanilla ice cream, chocolate chip cookie dough, oreo crumble, peanut butter sauce and glazed doughnut chunks. What, no ladybugs?