Thursday, June 27, 2013

Anton's Taproom

I run by Anton's all the time, as it is on my regular running route. I have been saying (since before they opened) that I really wanted to go there, but for some reason I had yet to try it, until my beautiful wife gathered a group of friends and took me there for my birthday (plus she probably wanted me to stop saying "I really need to try that place"). Admittedly, I had built Anton's up quite a bit, and it still lived up to everything that I had hoped that it would be!

As soon as we sat down, I started to to work my way through the list of saisons that are on tap at Anton's.

We started off with smoked barbecue chicken wings and fried pickles. The wings were so tender that they almost fell off of the bones, I am sure that the only thing holding the meat to the bones was the skin. The wings came with a really nice, house-made bleu cheese dipping sauce (for you bleu cheese heads, like myself). The fried pickles were equally awesome; the batter on the pickles almost tasted like a funnel cake batter (which was surprisingly good). The dipping sauce for the pickles was even better than the bleu cheese, it was a cucumber buttermilk.

Continued my way down the list of saisons.

Entree choices were easy given Anton's adjacent butcher shop and lengthy selections of steaks; we did  what was essentially a tour of steaks. Anton's has filets, strips, and both bone-in & bone-out ribeyes, all of which are available in grain fed or grass fed and 14 or 28 day dry-aged versions (think they have enough steak choices?). *For those that don't know the difference between grain fed and grass fed beef, I will explain that (to the best of my ability) in the below note* The grain fed, dry-aged filet was without a doubt the best steak that I have ever had. The grass fed, dry aged KC strip had a stronger beefier taste, but was not near as tender. Finally, the grain fed, dry-aged bone-out ribeye was also some sort of fantastic. To go with our steaks, we had the seasonal roasted root vegetables (carrots and beets), they were just as good as everything else (I have no idea why people sleep on beets).

Enjoyed some neat whiskey (if it's not good enough to drink neat, its not good enough to drink, IMO) and switched from saisons to a dubbel (before beginning a long explanation about grass fed beef).

*Above referenced note (grass fed vs grain fed beef, in laymen's terms): Once upon a time, cows roamed free and ate grass & hay. Then, somewhere along the line, some beef farmer got the great idea to feed them grain to fatten them up (so that they would sell for more at the market). This industry tactic to add cheap weight to their cattle had the happy side effect of adding fat marbling to the meat, which adds tenderness to the texture and richness to the flavour. This is partially why we chose the grass fed strip, because that cut naturally has a slightly higher fat content, since grass fed beef is lower fat than grain fed beef. Grass fed beef is more natural, lower fat, and has a stronger beefy flavour. Grass fed is favored by many for dietary reasons, including higher omega 3 fatty acids and lower saturated fat levels, but also takes a lot more careful preparation (as the lower fat content makes it a lot less forgiving). Paleo dieters also love the grass fed beef, but the thing that I don't get about these Paleo people is how they have no problem with cell phones, tv, or air conditioning (cavemen didn't have those things either, why just pick on the food? </rant>). Long story short: I see both sides, therefore will continue to eat both types of beef.*

We wrapped up an awesome birthday with a chocolate mousse dessert, which was as good as you could ask it to be!

Anton's also has organically raised tilapia (raised in their basement) that they use in the fish & chips and fish tacos. They are very proud of this and love to give tours, all you have to do is ask.

P.S. I have no idea what kind of crack Urbanspoon voters are smoking, but 72%?!? No way this place is 72%, it's incredible!

Anton's Taproom on Urbanspoon

Tuesday, June 11, 2013


Oldest nephew playing Army
When we went to go visit my other brother in Colorado Springs, after the birth of his second child, you know we had to check out the local flavour! I got a little nervous when he suggested Mexican, as I was sure it was going to be Tex-Mex, but I tried not to down his taste and kept my mouth shut. Then when we got there, I was glad that I did not question him.

Toro's is owned by an ex-Senor Frogs executive, who wanted to branch out and do his own thing. He describes his job at Senor Frogs as "making sure that everyone had a good time while they were there". When Senor Toro moved to Colorado, he wanted to serve the most authentic Mexican food in town and continue to make sure that everyone had a good time (much like many Latin restaurants, please keep this in mind if you are looking to be in and out).

Tacos, Beans, Pacifico
The drink menu at Toro's is somewhat reminiscent of what you would see at Senor Frogs (although they did not bring around a tequila bottle and pour shots down your throat). They have the party-girl favorite, the Corona-Rita, which is when you bury the neck of a Corona bottle beneath a margarita. Most impressively, however, they have Pacifico... ... on tap! Pacifico on tap is tough to find anywhere, so you know what I ordered!

The food menu was full of more awesomeness. Of course I have to try the street tacos at any restaurant that offers them. At Toro's they come with an order of soupy beans, which are actually not half bad and have a surprising kick to them. My wife and I ordered the carnitas and carne asada tacos, respectively, and shared. Both tacos that we tried were quite good. The tortillas at Toro's are home made, the meat was tender, and we were quite full. 

But then when we were offered Toro's version of a sopapilla, we couldn't say no to that. This sopa is not your standard sopa, this is a fried pastry (puffed, not crunchy), topped with powdered sugar, served with a dipping sauce made in house with local honey and cinnamon. This dessert was seriously out of this world! I wish I could make it at home, but then I suppose I would be Prince Fielder's size.

I have it on good authority that Toro's tortas are also where it is at, so I believe that we will be back to Toro's for more the next time we are in town.

Mountains in Colorado Springs
We had a great (albeit short) visit to Colorado, but when it was time to go, we grabbed some Bristol Beer and headed back down to "sea level".

Toro's on Urbanspoon