What if Jeff Foxworthy was a Hipster instead of a Redneck?

I went to school at the University of Guelph which meant I got to know a lot of agriculture students, many of which are self-proclaimed rednecks. I also grew up in Sudbury.  As a result, I could relate when Jeff Foxworthy burst onto the scene in the early nineties with his signature “You Might Be a Redneck” franchise. To this date, I still laugh at them. The latest one I heard was “If you have just been interviewed about the tornado for the fifth time…you might be a redneck.”  I appreciate his humour in the sense that, like Jerry Seinfeld, he can make fun of the boring antics of Caucasians through astute observation.

This got me thinking what would happen if Jeff were a hipster.  I think he would have a field day with the antics of this outrageous urban subculture. There are definite differences between rednecks and hipsters. For example, ask both what PBR means and one would reference professional  bull riding while the other would ask for a beer.  I’m not pretending for a second that I’m some hilarious comedian but I do eat out a lot and have been immersed in this culture long enough to make some general observations.  So here is my attempt at “you might be a hipster”:

  1. If you read your tattoos to kill time on the subway…you might be a hipster.
  2. If your wardrobe is less diverse than Fred Flintstone’s…you might be a hipster.
  3. If at least one of your T-shirts has a picture of Fred Flintstone…you might be a hipster.
  4. If your happy hour starts at 10 pm…you might be a hipster.
  5. If your pre-set iPhone alarm contains nothing with the letters “am” in it…you might be a hipster.
  6. If your meaning of gelling with someone is comparing the product in your slick backs…you might be a hipster.
  7. If your primarily using your Bachelor of Arts to sculpt your mustache…you might be a hipster.
  8. If you live above where you eat…you might be a hipster.
  9. If you know the difference between crudo and carpaccio but not the difference between walk and don’t walk…you might be a hipster.
  10. If you can identify Nicaragua, Columbia and Kenya in a cup but not on a map…you might be a hipster.
  11. If you have “ubered” yourself for a ride home…you might be a hipster.
  12. If your definition of a car payment is $10 to a food truck…you might be a hipster.
  13. If you wait longer for a taco than you do a medical procedure…you might be a hipster.
  14. If you think “gimmie the skinny” means taking off your tie…you might be a hipster.
  15. If you need to register your beard with animal control on an annual basis…you might be a hipster.

I have no plans to quit my job and join the Plaid Collar Tour anytime soon but hey…it helps ease the pain.

Advertisements

El Sol y La Luna sin el Paraguas: Taking a chance at La Loteria Tacqueria

One of my routines is to hit a food truck at the Sony centre on my way back to the train station.  This often means I forfeit the meal on the Via when heading back to London but one can only enjoy so much panko encrusted tilapia. There are different trucks on different days, some of which are difficult to consume, especially if I’m in a rush or don’t want the to burden myself (or the guy beside me) with  a pound of pulled pork poutine before a two hour train ride home. La Loteria is a newer food truck which promises real Mexican tacos, a bold statement in a city which had been so tacophilic for the last few years. The truck pays homage to he  Mexican game of chance  with the same name.  Like bingo, it used pictograms with clever riddles instead of numbers.  One wins when they have a combination of four pictures in a row, square or each corner.

The menu is simple.  You get three tacos for 10 bucks.  As for choices, on this day there was  no pig tail,cauliflower or beef cheek choices.  Instead, it was simply carnita, al pastor and chicken.  I ordered one of each.  They were  served on soft yellow corn tortillas and simply garnished  with cilantro and fresh onions.  Condiments include green and red salsas. The al pastor tacos were delicious, seasoned with fragrant spices and the right amount of heat.  The carnitas were  moist and meaty.  The chicken tacos were tasty as well but my least favorite of the three.  Personally, I like a stringy, dark meat chicken taco and find those made with cubed chicken breast a little bland. I loved the fresh onions and modest use of the cilantro. The limber yet crunchy shells were some of the best I’ve had in Toronto.

 

Tacos Three Ways $10
Tacos Three Ways $10

My Take

Tacos remain one of the staples on many menus and the preferred snack foods of across the GTA.  In many cases, they are filled with unorthadox ingredients, coated with cereal or given names like the Gobernador.  Most of the time these modifications come with an increase in pesos.  If you’re looking for a simple, cheap and delicious taco, this is your place.  The carnita and al pastor tacos are delicious.  Despite the fact that the rooster. heron, shrimp, deer and watermelon are all depicted  on loteria cards (let’s not get any weird menu ideas here), marking a pig card would make me wanna scream  “Loteria” everytime.

 

La Sandia Loteria Card
La Sandia Loteria Card

La Loteria Tacqueria on Urbanspoon

Review:Toronto:Food Trucks:Urban Smoke

Not since the days of Shaggy, Scooby-Doo and  the Mystery Machine have mobile smokehouses been so mainstream.  Case and point, I was at a fundraiser a while back and the line for Urban Smoke was twice that of any other truck that was onsite.  Parked comfortably within the confines of a private parking lot (so as not to add to further Toronto city hall controversies) , the staff were busy dishing out some traditional and not so traditional fare. Ten bucks got you one of four choices so I picked up some lunch for myself and a colleague.

Urban Smoke Menu
Urban Smoke Menu

Must

The ability to get a hearty soup is a rarity in most restaurants let alone a food truck. The split pea soup was reminiscent of something your French-Canadian uncle J.P. may spend hours in the kitchen whipping up in a magical cauldron. It was thick and savory and filled  with chunks of delicious double smoked ham while resisting  the temptation to over-salt, a common transgression of many an eatery.

Perfecting the grilled cheese seems a easy trick but its simplicity is often its quandary. Urban Smoke offered two sandwiches; a standard grilled cheese and one featuring nutella and mascarpone cheese as a dessert. Magic is grilling the bread to golden brown while melting the ample filling, a feat that everyone from top chefs to 15 year old latchkey kids have spent generations trying to perfect.  Urban Smoke comes close. The secret could very well be seasoning the bread with just a small amount of salt on the outside before grilling the abundant contents within. Simple but extremely satisfying.

Pea Soup, Grilled Cheese and Banana Pudding
Spilt Pea and Ham Soup, Grilled Cheese and Banana Pudding
Marscapone and Nutella Grilled Cheese
Mascarpone and Nutella Grilled Cheese

Maybe

The pulled pork was average which is still a compliment considering the number of food trucks, burger joints and smoke houses who lay  their foundation on good pulled pork.  The meat was tender, partnered with piquant seasonings and the bread was soft and proportional to the filling. The “magic fries” provided a poof that could certainly help Penn and Teller make a rabbit appear but maybe not enough to make David Copperfield’s convertible materialize out of the blue.  The slaw added a delicious, tangy crunch.

Pulled Pork with Magic Fries
Pulled Pork with Magic Fries

Mundane

I took a chance and opted to skip the magic fries in favour of the banana pudding (see picture above).   It had a decent flavour but I felt a bit ripped off by the size and the fact it was starting to separate a bit, leaving a bit of an oily pool in the bottom of the glass.  It was about the size of  a jello shooter and in the end about as exciting as the never-ending handkerchief trick.

Part of the appeal of a food truck should be a quick meal to avoid having to sit down, order, eat and wait for the bill. Although almost inevitable, especially during high volume events such as fundraisers and other events,  long waits continue to be an issue with wheel-bearing establishments and Urban Smoke was no exception.

My Take

Urban Smoke is a bit of a traveling roadshow, bringing a kind of magic show to each and every parking lot or street side it inhabits. The  headliners include  a variety of southern BBQ foods including pulled pork and brisket partnered with a few other choices.  As a result, it draws big crowds which means big lines and  big waits.  The staff, however, are quite efficient and personable and maintain a decent flow. If the truck is around (check out torontofoodtrucks.ca for schedules),  I would definitely consider a trip for lunch  if you have the time and desire to break up a hectic day. After all, after a busy adventure unmasking criminals, I’m sure Shag and Scoob would have been happy to fill up on a few grilled cheese  sandwiches following an equally smoky visit to the Mystery Machine.

Mulling Moment- Please Comment!

Urban Smoke Fusion BBQ on Urbanspoon