…it’s not what you think, I swear. This beeyotch is loyal to the bone. 😉
Anywho, enough of me being inappropriately sassy. I have less than a week left in my off-season…craaaazy right!? I’ve been trying to cross off all the foods I drool over while I’m in competition prep so I’ve been busy hustling all over the big city for mouthwatering CHEAT MEALS. (That’s what I meant, you sickos.)
So a couple weeks ago, I hit up The Carbon Bar with my favourite graphic designer, Teri (@teriaki on the Twitter machine) for some southern friiiiiiied. Let me tell you a little something about myself: I am obsessed with southern food. I wanted to live in Georgia when I was younger. Can’t get enough of those peach orchards and collard greens, ya hear!? And don’t get me started on those southern drawls. Swoon.
Located on the “easterly” side of Toronto – “Corktown” – (a.k.a. slightly east of Yonge Street), The Carbon Bar looks like it could be a swanky new lounge for all the cool catz. Inside the restaurant, it was very open concept and had the tables all squished together (not only did my butt brush the top of the table next to us – #squats – but Teri and I made friends with the lovely out-of-towners next to us – they copied everything we ordered!) The service was amazingly quick and I had another experience with a server who continuously kept me hydrated throughout my meal – thanks bro! I don’t know why this always happens to me – do I look #thirsty?
On to the food portion of the dining experience, dahling. Teri and I ordered the exact same thang: their signature, all-day-braised pork ribs with a side of collard greens and the banana toffee cream pie for dessert. The ribs were to-die-for – fall-off-the-bone-and-melt in your mouth-and-leave-your-current-husband-for-them. They were rubbed in some sort of delicious, sodium-infused (I drank half of the world’s remaining freshwater sources after this meal) rub …but I wasn’t too into the sauce that came with it. The collard greens were deliciously spicy, but again, a little too salty for me. Maybe I’m just sensitive, because I don’t eat a lot of salt in my diet? Who knows.
And the banana toffee cream pie? OH LAWD, SAVE MY DIRTY SOUL. Teri and I split the dessert as we always do and it was so good, I wished it lasted forever. Fluffy whipped cream with fresh bananas (my favourite part) covered in chunks of dark chocolate and I can’t forget the thick, graham cracker crust. (Can I possibly train for competitions only eating desserts? Nutritionists, please answer with a yes or #GTFO.) The dessert was sinful, the server let us talk our faces off forever and had a charming Montreal accent, and I got to cross ribs off of my Cheat Meal Bucket List, so I give The Carbon Bar three and a half hipster cowboys out of five.
Oh, you want me to go on and tell you where I cheated next? You’re such a rascal.
Last week I cheated with pizza and my university roomie, Carina. SCANDAAAALAOUS.
And I didn’t just cheat with any Domino’s or Gino’s mangiacake pizza. I went onto BlogTO and looked at their recent reviews of restaurants (I think? I don’t really remember. Worst. Memory. Ever.) and picked Mangia e Bevi. It got some good reviews on Yelp and they had a social media presence (something I like in a restaurant for some reason). Normally I consult my foodie friend Teri on what restaurants to go to, but this time I trusted my gut (literally, ha!) and chose Mangia e Bevi.
The restaurant is also located in Corktown and it’s somewhat of a hidden gem…literally. If you enter from King Street, there is no sign and it’s located in a commercial building. I had to ask some guy in an alley where it was (sorry, Dad!!) However, it only took me 20 minutes to find it, so it could be worse. The inside of Mangia e Bevi is cozy but fairly big. Decked out in strings of white Christmas lights and lots of wood, this place reminded me a bit of Bellwoods Brewery – definitely a good place for a romantico date (wink wink.) My experience at Mangia e Bevi left something to be desired..ahh, I hate being mean, but there were some things I didn’t like about it (mainly to do with our server, to be honest.)
- My server placed another table sooo close to ours when there were so many empty ones around us in her section a.k.a. one third of the restaurant. Like, how am I supposed to vent about my dating disasters and drop more-than-occasional F-bombs when there’s someone’s Nonna sitting next to me? I cannot.
- Our server took for-freaking-ever to take our order. Can’t you see the pure look of hanger on my beauteous face!? (Definition of hanger: hungry anger.)
- When it came time to rustle up the Benjamins for the bill, we had to walk up to the takeout counter to pay, while the table next to us received their bill promptly. And nah, we had our jackets on and looked ready to go, sooooo it’s not like it looked like we were having girl talk.
- BUT THE FOOD WAS SO GOOD. I can’t even lie: I ate a whole pizza. I ordered the Canadese pizza off of the Pizza Classiche menu, which was topped with tomato sauce, mozzarella, spicy sopressata, mushrooms, and onions. Carina ordered the Peperina pizza off of the Pizza Giuste menu, which had tomato sauce, mozzarella, roasted red peppers, goat cheese, olives, and basil.
- THE PIZZA CAME FAST AS LIGHTNING. That’s what she said, I know I know I know.
- The pizza was a thin, fresh crust. The toppings could not stay on for the life of us: we just rolled up the pizza into mini burritos and ate it like classy ladies. Oh yeah…did I mention that we ate the WHOLE THING?! I had a food baby and his name was Frankie ‘Za.
- We ordered the tiramisu for dessert — one of the only Italian desserts that I actually enjoy. I know – I’m a terrible Italian. It was so delicious and light. I could have probably eaten the whole pan, to be honest. I’m such a piggy. Oink.
We didn’t get a cool table, the service was lacklustre despite the raving reviews about service (however, food service was super fast), but the food was beyond amazing, so I give Mangia e Bevi three chubby Nonnas out of four.
I don’t think I have any more cheat meals left, since my prep begins next week, so this is the end of my food adventure this winter. Stay tuned.
If you have any suggestions, please feel free to share with this little piggy.