I’m going to tell you something I probably shouldn’t. It’s not something I’m proud of, and it’s certainly not something any respectable foodie would go blabbing about on their amateur blog on the Internets. But I’m only human, and we’re all friends here, and for the sake of this particular restaurant review, I gotta come clean:
I am a McDonalds-aholic.
Since I was one of those freakshow kids who worked on sets for most of my childhood (some would say prodigy, some being me), there’s a somewhat short list of things that take me back to being a kid again. Playing Super Mario 3 with the old-school Nintendo controller with chocolate stuck between the buttons, sleeping in my Joey McIntyre/New Kids On The Block sleeping bag, watching Punky Brewster, reciting soliloquies in my study over a glass of sherry… You get the idea. But nothing brings me back more than the sweet, tangy, disgusting taste of a McDonald’s happy meal. It was my treat after a hard day, something my dad and I shared in secret on the car ride home after school before a “healthy dinner” with Mom. It became the ultimate comfort food for me, and right up until my mid-20’s, it was my go-to stop for just about any ailment: stress, hangovers, the blues, hangovers, etc. A Big Mac and fries with a side of McChicken sauce (that’s “mayo” in McDonald’s speak) was just about my favorite meal.
And then I read a little book called Fast Food Nation. And did my own research on fast food corporations and what it was exactly I was ingesting on a weekly basis, and I made the mature decision to quit eating fast food altogether. I lost weight, my headaches went away, and most importantly, that all-too-familiar feeling of wanting to vomit up the sawdust sitting in my stomach was gone. But my cravings never left. And to this day, every time I walk past a McDonalds, it takes every bit of willpower I have not to run in there and go all Hamburgler on their ass.
But lo and behold! Toronto, the latest city of my employment, has a magical little restaurant that makes its very own almost-like-the-real-thing mini Big Macs! With the sauce and the little pickles and the baby bits of onion and everything! It’s called 416 Snack Bar. Or my second home.
Tucked away on Bathhurst, 416 Snack Bar is a tiny little place specializing in all things snacky, meaning no cutlery allowed. If that isn’t enough to woo you, it’s also got a sexy hipster bar type of vibe, which means the place is packed full of pretty young things who aren’t afraid to get their hands messy. It’s dark, it’s a wee bit dingy, and the food cranking out of that minuscule kitchen is just about the best. Some of my favorite offerings:
And, the piece de resistance…..
They also have other treats like a daily “grilled thing” (it was quail the last time I went– cute little birds are the tastiest!), lovely fried zucchini flowers, and even a salad for your weird healthy friends. The only thing to skip would be the “Devils on Horseback”, a strange little bacon and date thingamajig that just wasn’t up to par. But who cares when the rest of the offerings are that glorious?!
Word to the wise: order your own Mini Mac. And if I’m around, keep it close, my friends.
Also: Joey McIntyre? I still love you.