You know the feeling, when you visit another country and discover a new restaurant or food concept favourite? It’s like the time you went to LA, gorged on Pinkberry fro-yo and shaved ice and then wished you had the same opportunity in Canada (they’re out west only right now ─ so I guess your frosty dreams came true?). But what of the other cool food concepts you wish would head north? Here are five that may have a fighting chance to win over Canadian palates.
1. Potatopia, NY state
All potatoes, all the time. Sounds a bit far-fetched, right? Until you consider that they give you the choice of ten cooking methods ranging from fried, baked, au gratin or mashed with 21 topping options and 15 sauces. Potato chips, skin chips, shoe string fries ─ the list goes on. For a buck or three more, you can add protein on top of your spudly creation ─ anything from fried eggs, steak to chicken. Too much to decide? Potatopia also offers ‘signature meals’ that make menu choosing less onerous.
2. Burke’s Bacon Bar, Chicago
Chicago’s chef Davie Burke, considered one of the most innovative in the country, has recently opened his Burke’s Bacon Bar in the city’s River North neighbourhood. Every sandwich on the menu, save for one meatball and eggplant anomaly, features the porky goodness of bacon. Eight sandwiches, a few sides, desserts and salads ─ featuring, you guessed it, bacon.
3. Roscoe’s House of Chicken & Waffles, LA
Beloved by celebrities, fuelled by southern style chicken served with what’s been called “Frisbee sized” waffles, Roscoe’s House of Chicken & Waffles is one of America’s most beloved eateries. It’s even been mentioned in the movies Swingers and Rush Hour, adding to its cult status. Fried to a crispy, golden hue and served with natural sugarcane maple syrup, Roscoe’s Chicken & Waffles now has six locations (soon to be seven) throughout Cali to satiate your southern cravings.
4. Beer and ‘Za
Leave it to the Brits to take the North American concept of a craft beer bar and then add hand-made Neapolitan style pizzas (made with Italian 00 flour) to the menu for a combo made in casual food heaven. British small batch brews and wood oven fired pizzas with meaty toppings coming from Tuscany are devoured by hungry patrons in Bristol where Beerd Craft Beer & Pizza is currently located.
5. MADD for Mangos
In London, there’s a funky little shop called MADD (which stands for Mango Addiction) featuring the tropical fruit in everything from smoothies and lassies to ice creams and sago bowls. Just about everything has a bit of mango in it and the concept is that the desserts and snacks are created to “blow your mind, not your waistline.” Sign me up!