Where Woodhouse Brew Pub chef Graham Pratt gets takeout oysters, cold-cut sub sandwiches and Portuguese pastries

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Where Woodhouse Brew Pub chef Graham Pratt gets takeout oysters, cold-cut sub sandwiches and Portuguese pastries

We’re asking Toronto chefs and restaurateurs which takeout dishes have been getting them through the pandemic

The past year has been an adventure for Graham Pratt. After closing The Gabardine at the end of 2019, Pratt returned to the joys of being a chef—not a business owner—at Woodhouse Brew Pub, the kitchen of Brockton Village’s Woodhouse Brewing Co. “Unfortunately, the first lockdown began only a month and a half after I started at the pub,” says Pratt. “When we reopened during the summer, we continued to evolve the menu as restrictions loosened. Now that we’re back in a full lockdown again we’re using the kitchen to do takeout, offering pop-up-like specials for pickup and delivery. It allows us to continue being creative, to cook whatever we feel like in the moment.”

Pratt’s fantastically nostalgic Hungry Friends meals—elevated takes on TV dinners—have been a hit, especially the holiday tray he made in collaboration with the chefs of Montreal’s Joe Beef. Right now, he’s churning out trendy birria tacos, but Pratt says that there will be more fun collaborations in the coming weeks. But when Pratt wants someone else to do the cooking, he pays a visit to these west-end kitchens.

Bom Dia Café and Bakery

1205 Queen St. W., 416-551-6342, bomdia.ca
“Bom Dia is a newer Portuguese bakery in Parkdale. They sell all the classic Portuguese baked goods and sandwiches that you would find at an old-school Portuguese cafe, but done incredibly well. I’m looking forward to trying more of their hot dishes for sure.”

Go-to item 1: Pastel de nata (Traditional Portuguese custard tarts)
Tasting notes: “You can get them plain or with cinnamon sugar on top. They’re the best I’ve had outside of Lisbon; still warm and so crunchy.”

Go-to item 2: Rissóis (savoury fried pastries)
Tasting notes: “These are little fried croquettes. Normally Portuguese bakeries only sell ones made with shrimp but here there is a whole selection: chicken, beef, veggie and shrimp, of course. All of them are delicious.”

Go-to item 3: Various desserts
Tasting notes: “The custard-filled doughnuts and cannoli are perfect.”

 

Oyster Boy

872 Queen St. W., 416-534-3432, oysterboy.ca
“Oyster Boy is the perfect date spot but now that we’re in lockdown, being able to order fresh seafood from them is a game changer. If you grab some nice things to drink, maybe some other snacks and a bunch of seafood from Oyster Boy you can have the nicest night in.”

Go-to item 1: Oysters
Tasting notes: “I like to shuck my own oysters, but they do a great job pre-shucking if you don’t want to do it yourself. They always have the freshest and best quality oysters at a super-reasonable price.”

Go-to item 2: Cold seafood
Tasting notes: “Even though they have delicious hot food like crab cakes, fish and chips and chowder, I usually just get the cold seafood—Atlantic snow crab legs, whole PEI lobster and shrimp cocktail. Everything is prepared and packaged perfectly.”

 

A1 Subs and Extra Burger

1265 Dundas St. W., extraburger.ca
“A1 Subs is the new sub shop in the back space of Extra Burger’s Dundas and Dovercourt location. Owner Jesse Fader and I are both nostalgic about growing up in the east end, and the A1 space is like a rec room/convenience store that could have easily existed on the Danforth or Kingston Road. They don’t just have perfect subs, they also have beef patties, chocolate bars, chips, sweet cereals and old sports cards. So the move is this: go get a sub and some candy from A1, then walk around to Extra Burger at the front and get the Bowlerama fries, some Woodhouse Beers or a Dr. Pepper.”

Go-to item 1: A1’s cold-cut combo
Tasting notes: “It’s a classic assorted sub with turkey, ham, capicollo, shredded lettuce and processed Swiss cheese on a Martin’s hoagie roll. It’s less of an Italian-style sub and more of what Mr. Sub used to taste like—even though Mr. Sub was nowhere near as good as this.”

Go-to item 2: Extra Burger’s Bowlerama Fries
Tasting notes: “They’re crinkle-cut fries with cheese sauce and brown gravy, but I ask for a side of secret sauce that I dump on top as well. They’re like something you’d get at a bowling alley, hockey arena or ski chalet on a field trip as a kid because your parents weren’t around to stop you from ordering them.”