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jenc

The Hoof Café Is Pig Heaven

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Full post, photos, menu: http://bit.ly/8M6Zjq

We met up with a friend last Saturday morning at the recently opened The Hoof Café, The Black Hoof’s newest outpost. Well, it’s more like a nearpost, as it’s located right across the street. With a totally different vibe and menu, we sat down and were presented with an issue: what to eat? I mean, we knew what we wanted, but really, could we consume it all? Taking the safe tack, we opted to keep it at a main per person and two shared dishes. We threw in the Caesar listed on the wall and we were good to go.

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Sabodet

Supposed to be a strong, earthy pork sausage of pig’s head and skin and a specialty of Lyon. So Google tells me. Reminded me more of breakfast sausage. Came on a bed of lentils, which were pretty tasty. I would say this was our least-favourite dish overall. Not bad, but everything else was just more to our taste.

French Press Coffee

They use 49th Parallel from BC. It’s quite mild/mellow and quite lovely just black, even if you’re a milk ‘n’ sugar kind of person. A perfect drink for a relaxed morning.

Pig Skin Soup

Thick and hearty, reminding us of a French pea soup. Came sided with baguette toast, and instead of butter, some delicious kind of porky fat was spread upon it. I had to refrain from eating it up since this was an early dish and I knew we had more coming…

Rabbit & Buckwheat pancakes

The smell when it hit the table was incredible. Quite a nice dish, but we couldn’t finish it. Chunks of rabbit were embedded within the pancake, but what I loved (and what gave off that heavenly smell) were what I assume are the slightly charred piggy/bacon curls on top. More of that please!

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Pig tails ‘n’ grits

Tasting of a mild tomato with a gentle kick. Loved mixing that yolk in and taking a bite of the pork. A hearty and heavy dish. Maybe a bit too heavy for me in the morning with the addition of cheesy grits, though the hit of green onion every now and then helped to break things up.

Tongue grilled cheese

Looking more like a pastrami sandwich, but still really tasty. Lovely grill marks on the toasted challah(?). You can’t really tell from this photo, but the thinly-shaved tongue is piled high. Comes skewered with some sweet pickles. My preference would be some dill pickles instead.

Marrow side

Usually only one marrow per order, we were given two because the first one was small. Since there were three of us, I wasn’t going to complain. Tasty, as always, especially with that hit of Maldon sea salt. So good.

A Caesar was up on the drink menu. Pink peppercorn, vodka, marmite syrup, horseradish. It had to be ordered. I kinda felt like it needed more bite and I didn’t really taste the marmite. I think I preferred the one at Ceili Cottage (you’ll see it in a future post) better.

You can check out the kitchens through the little window near the door. I think that’s Grant Van Gameren playing with some sweetbreads on the left there. Yay to him for making offal cool and broadening Toronto palates.

Though we left things like the Suckling Pig Benny and the Brioche French Toast (with a slab of foie gras on the side, of course!) for next time, despite our discretion, we still were really full. So full that I didn’t even think to ask about dessert – something I regret, now that I hear talk of bone marrow donuts with cherries inside. Sigh. But what we did eat was very good, very rich, and ultimately, satisfying.


foodpr0n.com 11/01/17: A map of macarons in Toronto // For free or for a fee - bring your bottle! corkagetoronto.com

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I've been there as a 'holding tank' for the original Black Hoof across the street.

And it was OK - but not as exciting as the original. Not particularly cheap either.

But, I emphasize that I haven't been there for Brunch - which is the meal getting the rave reviews.

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Just posted about two more recent trips. Full blog post and photos: http://bit.ly/breDBt

It’s hard to say this, but having gone to the Hoof Café and The Black Hoof twice apiece in the span of a week, I think I’ve officially overdosed on the Hoof goodness for now. That being said, let me highlight some yummy things that are on the Hoof Café’s current menu!

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The Bacon & Egger – so good that I had it two days in a row. Thick-cut bacon, topped with a fried egg, sunny-side up and some greens. Sandwiched between soft Calabrese bread, if I recall correctly. Decadent and delicious. Comes sided with lightly-battered onion rings. Really tasty.

Less a Ploughman’s and more breakfast charcuterie. Mine came with: Blueberry bison, horse salami w/walnut, venison w/mustard, spicy summer sausage, foie terrine with duck, capicollo, procuitto, and lavander duck, (hope I got all that right!). A chunk of Douannier, crisps, and pickled veg completed this board. Of the charcuterie, the procuitto was the only one not made in-house. The spicy summer sausage was my favourite overall.

On the menu when I went was a chilled celery soup with salmon roe (yep, ikura) and a dollop of crème fraîche. The soup itself has a slight bitter tinge to it that might turn some off. But a spoonful with a salty roe egg and laced with the crème made it very tasty. Though I liked it, it’s not for every one.

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from flickr

Now, I’ve been meaning to eat the Brioche French Toast for the longest time with the foie gras, but I just couldn’t do it (having eaten at both the Hoof Café and The Black Hoof the previoius day). However, I thought this was a really tasty french toast with maple syrup, maple butter, and apple sauce. Sugared julienned green apple was a nice contrast to the sweet on the plate. I’d jack this up with a side of bacon next time if I’m still daunted by the thought of a giant chunk of foie in the morning.


Edited by jenc (log)

foodpr0n.com 11/01/17: A map of macarons in Toronto // For free or for a fee - bring your bottle! corkagetoronto.com

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Any other experiences at this place by anyone else?

Chiming in with JenC on this one: multiple time. I'll be bold and state that I enjoy the plates at the Hoof Café slightly more than those served at the Black Hoof. (Don't throw stones at me please!)

Here's another point of view in case JenC's wonderful posts don't have you salivating enough.

Hoof Café 1

Hoof Café 2

Hoof Café 3

Hoof Café 4 (coming up)

I swear I do eat at other places.

I've been there as a 'holding tank' for the original Black Hoof across the street.

And it was OK - but not as exciting as the original. Not particularly cheap either.

But, I emphasize that I haven't been there for Brunch - which is the meal getting the rave reviews.

I will confess that all my experiences were only at Brunch. The fare served at midday is worth the effort of trekking out to Trinity Bellwoods on a weekend morning (some courses more than others). It makes me sad to note that they are no longer serving "Mike's pasta" which was the highlight of my meals, but that's easily comforted with a plate of pig tails & grits. One caveat, there is quite a juxtaposition of mild savouries (beautifully prepared) with tooth aching sweetness. I don't have that big of a sweet tooth so I find much of the syrup/reductions cloying. Thankfully there's not enough present to drown the rest of the dish (of the i.e. pancakes, french toast, crepes). On weekends they offer (limited supply) the bone marrow doughnuts. Often I've missed out, but finally encountered them 2 weeks ago. If you like cake doughnuts (and those the size of a thumb nail) you might enjoy them. They come fresh from the fryer, and as such, the bone marrow center melts creating a wet interior (crumb). It's not really my thing (wet doughnuts), although I know some people who like to dunk their doughnuts in their coffee.

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Over in the Nibbles-and-Notes topic, jenc recommended the Hoof Cafe for my recent visit to Toronto. I got there this week. Living in China, I eat a lot of really nice pork, but I was impressed by the quality of meat that was on offer here. We made it in for lunch on Monday, and ordered the ploughman's and sausage-and-links.

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The links and beans came with fried shredded kale and an excellent pan-fried egg. The beans were layered over toast, and I had to consciously make an effort not to lick the plate clean when we were done. The kale really made the dish fun, but greasy - I'd of liked a bit of sour or tangy to balance out the plate, like a pickled tomato or something, but I'm not complaining. The sausages were spicy, and perfect. Sausage like this is something that's quite difficult to find in Asia, and I always make it an eating priority when I come back to NA.

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The charcuterie plate was fantastic, and our server fielded our questions about the meat with aplomb and detail which I then promptly forgot to write down. I think the proscuitto was the only thing not made in-house, but correct me if I'm wrong. Perhaps it was the only meat that wasn't local? I remember something about Iowa, at any rate. My husband and I fought over the summer sausage, but I got all the terrine to myself. Even the lure of foie gras couldn't overcome his reluctance to try "pate". He's been a victim of too many crap grocery store pates, but like the greedy sod I am, I encourage his ignorance so I can hog a nice terrine like this to myself. Forgive me; I did it for the foie.

For "dessert", we got the side of pork belly pastrami to split. Really, really, excellent quality pork. I also eat a lot of pork belly, of course, but the quality of the meat came across in the tenderness and flavour of the fat. It came with a (I think? I was in a pork haze) brown butter sauce. Again, I would have preferred a big savoury smear of garlicky ssamjang across the bottom the plate with belly like this, but that's just me. We sopped up all the sauce with our forks (about as difficult as it sounds), so we obviously overcame our weird tastes.

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I wish I lived in Toronto so I could eat my way around this menu.

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Hey Erin! The prosciutto is indeed the only thing they don't make in-house (if it's the same board I had), and the stuff at the bottom of the pork belly pastrami should be a maple syrup of some sort. :)

Glad you had a lovely meal there. I always do.


Edited by jenc (log)

foodpr0n.com 11/01/17: A map of macarons in Toronto // For free or for a fee - bring your bottle! corkagetoronto.com

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