Saturday night, two of my best friends and I took advantage of the unseasonable warmth (14 degrees Celsius in Toronto!), hitting the town for a night out sans parkas and winter boots. We hit the West end to drink craft beer, eat one-of-a-kind food and see some plaid shirts matched with thick-rimmed glasses.
The first stop was County General, a fantastic little restaurant at Queen and Ossington. We put our name on the wait list (like with most restaurants in the city these days, reservations are a thing of the past) and headed around the corner to Sweaty Betty’s for a drink while we waited. Betty’s is a local watering hole with some neat craft brews on tap, and a cozy vibe. Plus, in the summer, their patio is definitely a must-visit.
This was my second visit to County General, and it has officially become one of my restaurants to recommend and revisit. The first time I went there, I sampled their homestyle burger (on a milk bun). Saturday night, we shared a bottle of wine and got the Fried Chicken for Two and a plate of fries. To start with, this fried chicken isn’t anywhere near your run of the mill Southern comfort food. Upon bringing the meal, our waiter put a large piece of parchment paper in front of us and proceeded to pour out two small bowls of friend chicken – one labeled “KFC” (a slightly sweet and sour sauce covered them) and the other with a hoisin sauce. They were then covered in sesame seeds, drizzled with an avocado mayo, and sprinkled with a mixture of coriander + green onion + mint + basil. Steamed buns accompanied them.
The best way I can describe this meal? What had been 3 girls laughing and talking furiously, in not time at all became the quietest table at the restaurant while we all devoured the delicious and moist chicken.
After the food, we decided to continue the night by hitting the Queen West bar strip. That area on Queen is rife with some fantastic places to imbibe.
If you’re ever in the mood for a good vibe and some well-priced drinks, I recommend the Beaconsfield, the Drake, or the perennial classic the Rhino. We had a great night taking in the sights and sounds of the West end, with a fabulous meal, good wine and fantastic company to boot!