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John Catucci is a funny man who takes his food seriously. He’s on a quest for Canada’s most delicious, mouthwatering, over-the-top comfort food. He’s visiting great joints, greasy spoons, and legendary restaurants to taste the food that made them famous and to meet the colourful characters that make them institutions. John dives into the kitchens to find out what makes these signature recipes so damn good. Health food? Not on this show, baby. Bring on the cheese, bacon and barbecue!Got a restaurant suggestion for YGEH? Send us an email at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Host John Catucci visits Black Forest Inn in Hamilton, ON, bringing his own meat mallet to pound out some massive Bavarian schnitzels. Chef Wolfgang Schoen has been cooking 13 crispy, juicy varieties of schnitzels for over 35 years, like his Jager Schnitzel or “Hunter’s Cutlet”, smothered in mushroom gravy. Next up, John travels to the city of Kamloops, BC for traditional Mexican cooking at Fiesta Mexicana. There he tackles a very complex mole sauce recipe for a “chocolate chicken” enchilada so hard to find words for, we had to cue the chef’s vocal sound effects. Last up on the docket John hops over to PEI and visits The Churchill Arms; it’s an authentic British pub serving curries so flavourful you’d swear you were milling about Bricklane in London – curry central.
Host John Catucci gets his pasta fix at Black Skirt in Toronto, ON, enjoying his Domenica spaghetti – translating to ‘Sunday spaghetti’ – mid-week! Chef Aggie cooks her Nona’s sauce for this giant plate of pasta and John once again finds comfort in his heritage. Then John visits the hottest brunch spot in Montreal, L’Avenue. He better brush up on his French to order the signature sucré-sale-croustillant (sweet savoury crispy) – a plate filled with crunchy panko coated French toast covered in ham, cheese and sweet maple syrup. Finally, John heads to Vancouver, BC’s shrine to Latin cuisine at El Camino’s. Nothing warms John’s heart, or tantalizes his palate, quite like a Spanish sandwich stuffed with short ribs and chimichurri! Delicioso!
Host John Catucci spins right round at Boxwood Café in Calgary, AB where meals rotate to perfection on the rotisserie. We’re talkin’ chicken, lamb and pork all going round and round, proving the best food is cooked “low and slow.”! Next up, John is in Vancouver, BC where he discovers that poutine is alive and well outside of Quebec. At Belgian Fries you can enjoy European style fries dressed in Franco-Canadian style with the finest of ingredients from Europe to the Middle East. Finally, John travels up to the Sunshine Coast in BC, where the sun never shines and the seafood is always fresh! Smitty’s Oyster House is the place to be and John indulges in some crispy bite-sized halibut fritters and scrumptiously large oyster po’boy sandwiches.
John Catucci asked for your recommendations and now he’s arrived at your favourite restaurants for another Fan Fave Edition of You Gotta Eat Here! Super fan Tracy Reis wrote in about burger customization at Burger 55 in Penticton, BC. She said, “You can build your own burger by choosing from a gazillion ingredients!” With wacky toppings like grilled peaches and drunken onions, it’s enough to make a host sing its praises. Next stop is The Smokin’ Buddah where it’s a culinary world tour without leaving the comfort of Port Colborne, ON. Fan Rick Sheppard tells us, “Chef Kevin Echlin is really doing something different over there!” and John discovers a restaurant of exotic flavours – without the annoying tourists. John ends his journey by accepting an invitation from fan Lori Kay, “Montreal’s Icehouse – You Gotta Eat Here!” So he did! And discovers a super southern-styled gem where crispy fried chicken comes in what else, a bucket!
Host John Catucci visits Caplansky’s Deli in Toronto, ON and gets a lesson in smoked meat – Toronto style. Owner Zane Caplansky might be zany, but he’s not crazy! He makes the sanest decision of his life by adding his signature salty smoked meat to his meatloaf. And some might say his namesake “Leaning Tower of Caplansky” is French toast of the highest order. Next up, John takes a walk on the Wildside – Grill that is – in Tofino, BC. With a boat to basket mentality it has surfers flocking to the restaurant’s strictly outdoor seating where they wolf down humungous cod clubs and generous helpings of a west coast seafood gumbo poutine! Then John ferries to the BC mainland and indulges in some sweet and savoury Asian style waffles at Vancouver’s Miura Waffle Milk Bar. In your wildest dreams, you may never have considered cooked meat on your waffle, and certainly not in it, but that’s what this restaurant does!
John Catucci asked for your recommendations and now he’s arrived at your favourite restaurants for another Fan Fave Edition of You Gotta Eat Here! In Dartmouth, NS at Cheesecurds, super fan Bailey Jawornicki wrote in to tell John about yet another amazing use of, you guessed it, cheese curds. Bailey’s tried every single burger, but the one she loves and needs John to try is the legendary CC Porker with crispy onion rings, salty bacon, and of course, pillows of cheese curds! Next John finds Wallflower Modern Diner in Vancouver, BC which fans claim is their home away from home. Makes sense since the menu highlights include a classic, hearty beef stroganoff and an aptly named Grandma’s Fried Chicken! Finally, in Drumheller, AB, the town that’s famous for giant dinosaur bones, AND the oversized eats at Bernie and the Boys. Fan Christy Edwards told John that, “Bernie puts his heart and soul into this place.” And John quickly finds out that Bernie has a heart and soul of MAMMOTH proportions when he attempts to wrap his mouth around the 4 pound juicy Mammoth burger.
Gotta have some noodles in your burrito? Host John Catucci drops in at Chino Locos in Toronto, ON where that’s exactly what you get! With hip-hop inspired names like ‘Da Finest Fish Burrito’ and ‘Off-Da-Hook’, somebody there is definitely going loco. Further west down the tracks in the town of Winona, John stops in at one of the most talked about BBQ joints in Ontario. Memphis Fire Barbeque Company serves smoked meat for breakfast, lunch and dinner and John has half a mind to take on their breakfast special; ‘The Lobotomizer.’ At Déjà vu Café in Moose Jaw, SK, John discovers a restaurant with 74 dipping sauces and a menu that absolutely deep fries everything – even the fruit!
Host John Catucci doesn’t just go out for brunch, he goes out of his way to Edgar in Gatineau, QC for one of the best brunches in Canada. Chef Marysol Foucault creates brunch heaven with maple syrup soaked bacon, pork belly in a pop over and a huevos rancheros that can only be described as Franco-Mexican delicious. John then samples Israeli food at Dr. Laffa’s in Toronto, ON. The famous Laffa bread is the heart and soul to almost every dish and Chef Yoram Gabay coaches John as he slaps the dough into the restaurant’s truly unique oven. Finally, John changes gears and finds Diana’s Gourmet Pizza in Winnipeg, MB, where all of your favourite foods are on a pizza pie. Order up Chinese food – but on a pizza, chicken fingers – they’re on a pizza. Need a beer? You guessed it - in a pizza!
FORE! John Catucci is hightailing it off the tee box and right into Flavor19, a restaurant in the middle of a Sydney, NS golf course. Golfers and non-golfers alike hang out and enjoy burgers covered in mac and cheese or topped with gigantic onion rings. Burgers so filling everyone will need a ride home in a golf cart afterwards! John’s next visit is to the heartland of Canadian beef, Edmonton, AB. There he manages to wrangle... a gator!? Louisiana Purchase serves up some serious heat in authentic Creole spice dishes like alligator kabobs. Last stop is to the rock in St. John’s, NL at Rocket Bakery, where everything, from sausage rolls to empanadas, is wrapped up and sealed with ‘melt in your mouth’ buttery and flaky pastry.
Host John Catucci visits Calgary, AB and finds The Holy Grill of breakfast perfection. Three brothers cook everything from “smashbrowns” and bennies to massive paninis with crispy beet chips, converting John into a devout follower. Next up, John visits The Flying Spatula Diner in Flesherton – one of the few true truck stop restaurants left in Ontario where GOOD food comes first. John samples the traditional prime rib dinner and a massive hot turkey sandwich – both smothered in hot and savoury gravy. Lastly, John travels west to Vancouver, BC for an authentic southern brunch. At Chewies Steam and Oyster Bar, seafood is breakfast food. What better way to start the day but with sweet shrimp and grits and the flakiest crab cakes and eggs!
Host John Catucci visits Kawaii Crepe in Winnipeg, MB for some of the cutest crepes he’s ever seen. The thin pancakes appear in inventive savoury incarnations, with fillings like sweet yam or saucy pulled pork! Next up is one of Ontario’s friendliest roadside stops. At the Argyle Street Grill in Caledonia, ON, John samples old time classics like chicken and ribs: crispy rotisserie chicken with a massive rack of fall-off-the-bone ribs – simply scrumptious! John’s last stop is for a traditional Polish feast in Victoria, BC at Skinnytato – but there’s nothing skinny about hearty Eastern European eating. John dives into potato pancakes, cabbage rolls and a heavenly hunter’s stew.
Host John Catucci travels to Westbank, BC and visits Kekuli Café; a restaurant with a simple mantra – Don’t panic, we’ve got bannock! Chef Sharon Bond incorporates an ancient Indian ingredient in making a First Nation fry bread used for everything from Bannock Buffalo Burgers to Berry Bannock Bread Pudding. Then John finds a one-of-a-kind pit master in Nikki Bond at Big T’s BBQ and Smokehouse in Calgary, AB. Nikki loves her meat, and has created The Elvis Platter featuring 6 different smoky types – can John keep up with this petite blonde BBQ chef? Lastly, John presses on to the nation’s capital and learns the importance of pressing sandwiches and waffles at Pressed! One of the top sellers: The Hangover Waffle topped with smoked brisket, squeaky cheese curds and homemade gravy – it’s a miraculous breakfast cure-all.
Host John Catucci rushes to the far, far north where at the Klondike Rib and Salmon Grill in Whitehorse, YK, the only thing shining brighter than the midnight sun is Dona Novecosky’s smile! This feisty woman’s got plenty of game and gives it to John with a rich and creamy elk stroganoff. Next up, John heads east to Collette’s in Glace Bay, NS and finds a filling Christmas dinner all wrapped up in the gift of a festive poutine. Hark, John hears the herald angels sing! And lastly, John travels back west and visits Edmonton, AB to enjoy what else? Turkish food! At Sofra, chef Yuksel Gultekin cooks kabobs on real swords, creating a dish worth fighting for. John gets prepared for the beef kabob duel of his life!
Host John Catucci has seen quite a few poutines in his travels, but Murray Street Kitchen in Ottawa, ON has managed to blow his mind once more with a potato-less poutine topped with a duck confit and swimming in “beast” gravy. Then John visits every mother’s kitchen at Fanny Chadwick’s in Toronto, ON. Cook Vega Janic is amping up old homestyle favourites, turning the restaurant into your new home away from home with comforting shepherd’s pies and savoury tourtières ! Lastly, John searches for the best Caribbean food, but instead of going down south he follows his food compass north to Antoinette’s in the Yukon. A transplanted islander, Antoinette fuses Caribbean flavours with Canadian and French favourites like Halibut T&T [Trinidad & Tobago] and a Spicy Caribbean Pork stew.
“I do like them, John I am, I do like green eggs and ham... especially on a pizza!” While visiting Pie in Barrie, ON, host John Catucci learns to create a storybook pizza that could only be conceived by the mind of Dr. Seuss OR chef Randy Feltis. And he even attempts to eat the most epic pie of them all – the Furious Canucker – named after Canadian champion eater, Furious Pete. At Burger Barn in Oshweken, ON, John enjoys a First Nations fry bread twist on burgers and tacos, E-I-E-I-Ooooo. Just don’t expect to see any veggie sides, ’cuz there’s no room! John’s last stop is on the west coast at Smoken Bones Cookshack in Victoria, BC. First, this little piggy has a homemade spicy coiled sausage, then this little piggy tries a saucy, sweet and beefy Sloppy Joe. And then to top it off, this little piggy has salty and sweet bacon brittle coated ice-cream that makes him go wahoo, wahoo, wahoo all the way home!
At Shine Café in Victoria, BC, host John Catucci discovers a Scotsman cooking the most deliciously outrageous Bennies and Hash. The ‘Ooo Benny’ is piled high with sweet potato mash, grilled turkey, and crispy onion rings. Drizzle it with sweet maple infused hollandaise sauce and you’ll say “Ooo” too. Then, in Toronto, ON, John finds three brothers who take their mom’s traditional Banh Mi sandwiches – subs with Asian flair – and twist them up with unique stuffings like a rich duck confit. Over at Smoke and Spice in Windsor, ON, Chef Ryan Odette learnt all his tricks during a work-cation in Tennessee. Now, he makes southern classics you’ll be hard pressed to find anywhere else in Canada; think smoked and deep fried bologna smothered in coleslaw or a pulled pork sundae complete with BBQ rub sprinkles!
John Catucci asked for your recommendations and now he’s arrived at your favourite restaurants for another Fan Fave Edition of You Gotta Eat Here! Super fan Dee Dee Ruda has been going to Smoque Shack in Ottawa, ON since day 1 and wrote in, “the jerk BBQ puts a tingle on my lips and a smile on my face.” And John is feelin’ the heat mon when he tries the BBQ jerk pork, Jamaican style! Next stop is to Slickity Jim’s Chat n’ Chew in Vancouver, BC where fan Michelle Baye wrote in about an elusive dish called The Abstract Notion – meaning, the chef just makes it up on the spot! John’s got his own notion to try it and see if Michelle’s claim that it’s “SO GOOD!” is true. Last stop is to legendary Boogie’s Burgers in Calgary, AB. Fan Shane Hartman says “these are some of the biggest burgers you’ll ever see.” So John sets his sights on a burger that has 4 beef patties, bacon, wieners and a corn dog. Wowza, now that is impressive!
Host John Catucci enrols in French cooking classes at Tess in Halifax, NS where Chef Michael Cullen schools John in the making a Croque Madam. This is one waffle that gets a little sweeter by cooking the ham in the waffle! Take that, Paris chefs! John then travels to Victoria, BC and continues his food schooling at the Tibetan Kitchen Café, where Chef Pemba gives him a pop quiz in samosa making. Trouble is John, it’s a trick question as her recipe calls for the non-traditional ingredient – craisins! Finally, John’s in Edmonton, AB at the Highlevel Diner taking his final class of the episode in Cinnamon Bun Making 101. Just watch as he tries to emulate Chef Adam Stoyko’s dough tying skills in hopes of getting a passing grade.
John Catucci asked for your recommendations and now he’s at your favourite restaurants for another Fan Fave Edition of You Gotta Eat Here! Pat Defilippis confesses that he visits That Italian Place in Brampton, ON at least 2 or 3 times a week and insists that John’s gotta try “The Big Mouth Challenge” – a 7.5 pound Stromboli! In Toronto, fans swear that every bite is good at Barque Smokehouse, where brisket on your benny and smoked duck on your pancakes make their BBQ brunch one of the best in the city! John’s last stop is for authentic Mexican tacos in Vancouver. La Taqueria is the real deal serving up street food indoors. John tries to choose from 12 different Mexican fillings, including braised beef cheeks and pork confit. Andale!
Host John Catucci pays homage to the city of brotherly love... in Vancouver?! The American Cheesesteak Co. successfully masters the “art” of a Philly Cheesesteak when celebrity chef Anthony Sedlak takes this American classic sandwich, infuses it with the highest quality beef and then gives it his own signature spin utilizing a variety of condiments only he could brilliantly imagine. John then travels south - to Orangeville, ON that is - at Soulyve, the kitchen truly heats up when John tries the enormous jerk chicken Reggae Wrap. And just what part of Italy does the jerk and pineapple pizza come from? Back in John’s hometown of Toronto, he discovers a wiener dog named Murray whose namesake spot is making serious sandwiches with playful names like the Dogfather, BLTizzy and Mama Jamma! Okay, maybe his owner Anthony is doing the cooking, but at Murrays Sandwich Emporium, the dog still calls the shots.
Host John Catucci visits The Bungalow in London, ON. Nope, not a single-story house, but the home of a gazillion delicious burger options. Watch as John takes up residence and shows how game he is by sampling every burger from boar to buffalo. Over at The Rumpus Room in Vancouver, BC John cosies up with vintage board games and waffle burgers, returning to childhood with kiddie classic snacks like “ants on a log” – celery sticks with peanut butter and raisins. Lastly, John satisfies his hankering for fresh seafood at a restaurant in… ALBERTA?! Big Fish in Calgary has a soft shell crab club sandwich that will leave you humming ‘Under The Sea’!
Host John Catucci attends a day of worship at The Burger’s Priest in Toronto, ON, where he communes with grilled cheese hamburgers of biblical proportions and tries to solve “secret menus.” John’s mission; infiltrate the kitchen and crack the code of why these burgers are foodies’ Holy Grail. Next in Hamilton, ON, there’s a bakery/pizzeria that combines their disciplines to make the best pizza crust in town. Only John could use a little discipline himself when attempting to toss the dough or have it tossed out. Finally, John travels to Central Canada to celebrate Central American delicacies. At EE Burritos in Saskatoon, SK, they cook up authentic Salvadorian pupusas and tamales so big in flavour that customers call them, “a fiesta in a wrap!”
John Catucci asked for your recommendations and now he’s arrived at your favourite restaurants for another Fan Fave Edition of You Gotta Eat Here! Super fan Annie Waugh, who wrote in about The Early Bird in London, ON, couldn’t say enough about the turducken club. John just had to find out how turkey, duck, and chicken come together in this supersized sandwich! John’s next Fan Fave stop is in Mexico, rather Newmarket, ON, at Made in Mexico. Fan Mandy Wilton Hagen wrote that the Nachos Rancheros in this Canadian city are the real deal, not to mention closer to get to. Lastly, fan, Karleena Squires, wrote to John about Chafe’s Landing in St. John’s, NFLD, where traditional Newfoundland seafood cooking takes a turn with the island’s other favourite roll. Lobster rolls rock, but for landlubbers like John, the Pulled Moose Roll stuffed with tender moose meat and melted sharp cheddar, there is a new source of provincial pride to hunt for.
John Catucci asked for your recommendations and now he’s arrived at your favourite restaurants for the Fan Fave Edition of You Gotta Eat Here! Super Fan Barbi Lazarus wrote in and proclaimed that The Hogtown Vegan is the place for vegans and their carnivore friends to get great, greasy, diner food. John tries her favourite – the “unpulled” pork sandwich, yes, you read correctly “unpulled” pork, topped with a creamy, crunchy slaw. The next Fan Fave stop is Edmonton, AB, where John checks out Super Fan Julie Crick’s recommendation, The Dish Bistro. Chef Michael Verchomin takes creative spins on traditional dishes; Julie’s favourite (and soon to be John’s!) is the sweet potato shepherd’s pie topped with crunchy yam chips. Our last Fan Fave is Motor Burger, located and named for the auto-loving city of Windsor, ON. Adriano Ciotoli motors right through the menu raving to John about the “LAMB-ORGHINI”, “FIRE-BIRD” and “AUTOSTRADA.”
Host John Catucci visits Miss Kitty and cook Paulette who team up at The Reef in Vancouver, BC to bring true home-style island meals to this northern, west coast metropolis. It’s here John discovers a unique Canadian/Caribbean hybrid dish – The Jerk Chicken Poutine - and improves his cooking lexicon as he cooks up a spicy jerk chicken and gravy to cover his fries. Then, in Nanaimo, BC at Smokin’ George’s BBQ, John samples a fully loaded, deep fried, brisket baked potato. Sound intense? You can always try out the pulled pork lasagne instead! John’s Nona might not approve, but you sure will after one taste. Then, moving eastward, John discovers the only turn table pizza oven in Canada. Mississauga, ON is home to Mickey’s Dragon Pizza where you can slay that hunger for a delicious pizza by ordering it deep dish style with more than 100 slices of pepperonis, The Meat King RULES! Watch as John holds court in an effort to conquer “the king.”
Host John Catucci lands in Vancouver, BC at Via Tevere Pizzeria, but is convinced he’s actually in Naples! Brothers Frank and Domenic teach John the very precise ritual for making their deliciously rustic and simple, thin crust, wood-fired Neapolitan pizza. John’s next stop is at another spot serving circular creations, The Crepe House in Port Dover, ON. Chef Penny Nunn serves traditional crepes alongside creative creations like her Crepe Cannelloni and Shrimp & Scallop Coconut Curry Crepe! Last stop for John is a trip back in time to Hilltop Diner in Langley, BC where customers have been enjoying comfort food classics since the 1940’s. But this old dog has learned some new tricks: like breakfast sandwiches where the traditional English muffin is swapped for a grilled apple fritter drizzled in sweet icing.
John loves the old-school Italian pizza at Baffo’s, in Bolton, ON – but Chef Elio’s rigorous pizza training might be more than he bargained for. Then – this ain’t no Tex-Mex at Tres Carnales Taqueria in Edmonton, AB. From taco to torta, will John master authentic Mexican street food or get bounced out the door by a lucha libre masked man? And in New Glasgow, PEI, John goes tank to table, tackling a whole lobster at New Glasgow Lobster Suppers, an island institution since 1958!
As if being berated by Chef Sandy weren’t enough, John has to take on her 9 lb double-decker hamburger. Only at Blondies in Winnipeg, MB could John find a burger bigger than a grown man’s head – certainly bigger than his! Then in Ontario’s cottage country, John is subjected to further ‘teasing’ in the kitchen, but manages to impress with his little gnocchi song at That Little Place by the Lights in Huntsville, ON. And at Neighbours in Vancouver, BC, John gets the ‘good neighbour’ treatment when taunted for his pizza sauce stirring skills and put to shame in a spanikopita-off!
Pulled pork and ‘magic’ spice rubbed ribs draw the crowds at Boneheads BBQ in seafood centric Halifax, NS. Host John Catucci licks smoked chicken bones clean and gets poutine lucky with burnt beef tips. And what’s the name of that damn pub in Thornbury, ON…? Oh, yeah – it’s “fun times” for John at Dam Pub with Chef Suzette, getting caught bypassing the pan when preparing shepherd’s pie potatoes! John also drops into Landmark Café in Victoria by the Sea, PEI where he digs into a decadent, triple-cheesy lasagna the likes of which, dare he admit, his mother never made.
Host John Catucci indulges in classic favourites with a twist - from 12 delicious, mouth-watering poutine combinations at Boomers Gourmet Fries in Stratford, ON (check out the signature “poutini” – garnished with an olive), to over 40 gourmet burger selections at Relish Burgers in London, ON (including one heart-stopping option named after the local ER) to more than 10 varieties of Eggs Benny at John’s Place in Victoria, BC. Caution: This episode may induce a food coma. Can someone say defibrillator?
Meals are more than meats the eye at Boon Burger in Winnipeg, MB! See what happens when host John Catucci sinks his carnivorous teeth into the vegan delight Winnipeg voted burger of the year. Yes, we said vegan! Then, get ready to indulge at Jelly Modern Doughnuts in Calgary, AB, where Canadian classics maple and bacon join forces on the nation’s most beloved coffee accompaniment. And in Etobicoke, ON John loosens his lederhosen to make room for The Musket’s jager schnitzel. Watch as the masters of German meat work magical pork wonders.
How far north would you go for authentic southern BBQ? Host John Catucci travels to Ontario’s wilderness to discover a hidden gem in Busters BBQ, where blueberries are the key to killer sauce. John also visits the Argo Café in Vancouver, BC where they serve up everything from your typical diner food like grilled cheese sandwiches and fries to bistro-caliber duck confit. Then in Lunenberg, NS, John drops in at the renowned Magnolia’s Grill, where he is put through the paces of making chef Nancy’s signature fish cakes and delectable key lime pie. It’s all fun and games until somebody double dips!
Host John Cattuci discovers a lobster-lover’s dream come true at Moncton NB’s Catch 22 Lobster Bar, where classic comfort dishes turn into magnificent lobster creations served 22 different ways. At Chicago Style Pizza in Hamilton ON, pizza loving John has himself a new favourite - a pizza stuffed into another pizza. Now that’s amore! At Topanga Café in Vancouver, BC, John chows down on authentic, homemade, California-style Mexican dishes which include their signature Wet Burrito with oh so much extra guacamole. It’s a fiesta of food when Enchiladas, Tacos, Tostadas, Nachos Supreme, are added to the menu, not to mention the unexpected, yet famously delicious, homemade chocolate cake. Olé!
Host John Catucci feasts on one-of-a-kind favourites! An East Coast café, Charlene’s Bayside restaurant, serves authentic comfort foods in a big way, including a bucket filled with chocolate mousse and brownies; and a Moncton, NB joint, the Tide and Boar, prepares everything in-house, from the famous Boar Poutine, right down to the ketchup. And if that’s not enough, you might want to try their very own uniquely Canadian take on tiramisu, the “Beeramisu.” And welcome to the Prince Albert’s Diner in London, ON, for a burger staple that offers bacon and peanut butter on a quarter pound of dripping goodness. When you see it, the only question is, smooth or crunchy?
We’re in Turner Valley, AB where city boy host John Catucci gets a Wild West makeover; he mounts a horse and starts his day with the freshest burger possible. With their own cattle, Chuckwagon Café raises the bar on beef; ‘if it ain’t Alberta, it ain’t beef!’ Then John meets the shock jock of fast food, Jon Truch, at Tubby Dog in Calgary, AB, where the wild, wacky and wonderful hot dog creations feature madcap toppings like grape jelly or pickled ginger. And welcome to Flapjack’s in Caledon, ON, home of sinfully delicious banana bread French toast and new pancake line cook… John Catucci! Who knew John could flip such a mean flapjack? He’s flippin’ awesome!
Host Giovanni Catucci visits the Coastal Waters in Ingonish, NS. At Chez Claudette in Montreal, QC John shows off his fluent Franglais while preparing the ultimate in Quebecois comfort dishes. Then John checks out a barbecue joint that Americans cross the border for: Tunnel BBQ in Windsor, ON.
Looking to gain a little weight? How about a lot? John Catucci visits three Canadian eateries that offer only full-fat options! D & S Southern BBQ in Carlsbad Springs, ON features The Determinator Burger: three homemade patties, back bacon, beef brisket, onion rings, cheese… oh and built with grilled cheese sandwiches instead of buns. Think you can handle it? No-one else has! Déjà-Bu, in Caraquet, NB serves up poutine made with potatoes double fried in duck fat for double the crispiness and twice the flavour. At Bubi’s Awesome Eats in Windsor, ON. they offer $1000 and a t-shirt to anyone that finishes their behemoth 8-pound burger and lives to tell the tale! Will John?
Host John Catucci discovers the perfect cure for what ails you at Ottawa’s Elgin Street Diner. Open 24 hours, it’s famous for its chilli laden poutine and humongous Hangover Blue Plate Special. Here they sell over 700 lbs of fresh cut fries per week, 700!!. John then gets strict schooling on the art of the perfect smoked-meat sandwich at Schwartz’s Deli in Montreal, QUE (est. 1928), And at Mrs. Riches restaurant in Nanaimo, BC, John attempts to finish the massive K2 Mountain Burger and get his face on the “wall of fame” – will he be triumphant, or will he fail to scale this mountain of meat and bust a gut while trying?
Who’s that mad man eating ice cream in the snow? Host John Catucci, of course! After cooking up a bowl of hearty, belly-warming beef stew, John dons his parka to enjoy homemade ice cream at Evelyn’s Memory Lane Café in High River, AB. Then it’s ready… steady… ribs-steak-smoked meat! John goes meat crazy at The Main, a founding father of Montreal’s deli scene. Hope he leaves some room for the latkes! And in Toronto, ON watch John’s cholesterol hit the roof, sampling the likes of ‘The Coronary’ and ‘The Colon Clogger’. With names like that, no wonder this burger institution is called Dangerous Dan’s.
Host John Catucci takes a cross-Canada Euro-food tour! Highland Kitchen in Edmonton, AB might have a Scottish sounding name, but it’s their modern Ukrainian inspired fare that John enjoys in the city’s historic Highlands neighbourhood. Then John’s flick-of-the-wrist flipping skills are put to the test at Pfanntastic Pannenkoek Haus in Calgary, AB. And for some Greek family fun, John flames the saganaki under the watchful eyes of ’Mama and Papa Feta’ at Joe Feta’s in St. Catherines, ON.
Host John Catucci is in Montreal, QUE, where he crushes tomatoes by hand at the family-run Pizzeria Napoletana, his Nona would be so proud. And by the time he leaves the restaurant he won’t be just a friend, he’ll be family! Buon Appetito! It’s high stakes fun for a chef’s preference mystery meal at Floyd’s Diner in Victoria, BC. Customers who feel lucky raise the stakes on eating when they let John flip a coin for their order of the famous “Mahoney.” Heads, it‘s a free meal, tails, they pay double! And In Port Perry, ON at the legendary Haugen’s Chicken & Ribs, John samples their top secret dipping sauce. Some patrons have been known to drink it straight, will John?
Go back to the golden age of diners with host John Catucci at Red Top Diner in Winnipeg, MB. The 60’s might be over, but the Red Top’s 6-patty Monster Burger lives on! Then, John lines up like a local at Diner Deluxe in Calgary, AB, where nifty nuances on brunch classics – like maple fried oatmeal and meatloaf hash – make it worth the wait. And at Café Polonez, in Toronto, ON, a restaurant so authentically delicious the former Polish president paid a visit, John tries his hand at pierogi making… You might want to leave that to the professionals, John!
At Saint John Alehouse in Saint John, NB, host John Catucci goes head-to-head with eight pounds of lobster and 42 ounces of prime rib steak rolled into one. Then off-the-beaten-path in Burnaby BC, John arrives to shake things up at Fraser Park Restaurant, a joint known only to locals where they string up German sausage and serve home cooking with a German flair. And in Orangeville, ON, a Philly Cheese Steak sandwich never tasted so good with 10 different varieties to choose from. Drippy, ooey-gooey, sloppy steaks have John doubling up on the napkins!!
Host John Catucci sinks his teeth into Halifax, NS’s Best Pizza Pie for over 10 years running at Salvatore’s Pizzaiolo Trattoria, where the cheese goes under the sauce putting it’s taste over the top! At The Harbour Diner in Hamilton, ON, locals line up for juicy menu items such as a better-than-mom’s meatloaf and mash and a big and meaty, super cheesy, crab and lobster mac’n cheese. While at Thunder Bay, ON’s Hoito Restaurant, John takes a bite out of history with paper thin Finnish-style pancakes served there for nearly a century.
Did someone say “bobotie”? John tracks down this South African mince meat delicacy at Stoneface Dolly’s in Ottawa, ON a little family-run joint. And only four hours away down the Trans Canada Highway in Toronto, John walks in on Hadley’s, a neighbourhood restaurant that smokes everything in-house including the cheese, and serves up classic comfort food, like their signature deep-fried “poached” eggs with homemade hollandaise. John also visits St. Peter’s Bay, PEI and dives into Rick’s Fish N’ Chips and Seafood House for some seafood pizza (not just for sushi joints) and Cajun mussels. This world-renowned eatery delivers the best crunchy-crusted filets and homemade fries on the island.
Host John Catucci lands at Stoney’s Bread Company in Oakville, ON where they serve up a massive open-faced, blackened salmon sandwich on home-made focaccia. To die for! Over on the west-coast, he hits the Rock Cod Café in Cowichan Bay, BC famous for mouth-watering dishes like The Captain’s Plate, stacked with deep-fried goodness including halibut, prawns, oysters, scallops and calamari. Even for John’s appetite, that’s a really big catch! And get ready for a new dance craze to sweep the nation as John shows off his signature “bacon-mushroom-cheeseburger” moves at The Tomahawk in North Vancouver, BC (est. 1927).
Man can’t live on cinnamon buns alone, but host John Catucci certainly tries at The Sugarbowl in Edmonton, AB. And at The Grilled Cheese in Toronto’s Kensington Market, John goes in for a grown-up version of the sandwich everyone grew up on. Then the cheese keeps on coming for John at the Shish-Kabob Hut in Peterborough, ON – in the form of a hot pepper and feta spread that sells like hotcakes.
Host John Catucci braids his first challah and discovers new takes on throwback Jewish classics at Winnipeg’s The Tallest Poppy, where the corned elk beats out the beef, and the blintzes are brazen. In Toronto, John goes mental for meatloaf muffins and bears witness to how rules are made to be broken through the magic of deep-fried mac and cheese, all at the modern west-end diner, The Cardinal Rule. And over at JR’s in Almonte, ON, John makes his mama proud juggling spicy meatballs and showing off expert flambéing skills -, well, almost expert!
Host John Catucci is transported back to his childhood as garlic hits the pan with a sizzle at Tre Sorelle in Orillia, ON. It might take three sisters to prepare these Italian classics the old fashioned way, but it only takes one brother to eat them! Then, what do you get when a Czech family takes over a Danish restaurant? Same enormous portions of kylling and dansk schnitzel, only served up with a different accent! Watch John go dice for dice with Chef Paul preparing the out-of-this-world potato salad. And across the country in Canada’s smallest province, John is welcomed like a local at Water Prince Corner Shop in Charlottetown, PEI, famous for their authentic seafood chowder and ‘burping’ biscuits.
Host John Catucci dishes up non-traditional breakfast treats at a new Toronto, ON favourite, Uncle Betty’s Diner, where the eggs benny is served on freshly made, in-house doughnuts. Don’t knock it ‘til you’ve tried it! Over in Halifax, NS, The Armview Diner remains an institution since the 50s. Their fish comes strait from the shore through their door, and John follows in order to get cooking and serve updated classics to a new generation of Haligonian hipsters. From fish fries, to seafood burgers and salads, Haddock is the catch of the day. In Victoria B.C, Brooklyn-born brothers, Howie and David Siegel, owners of Pagliacci’s, show John some New York City attitude. Their restaurant’s claim to fame? Homemade, creamy, dreamy and definitely calorie enhancing New York-style cheesecake.
Host John Catucci hits the road for good ole comfort food: At the Urban Deli in Saint John, NB they serve up classic two-handers, a.k.a: Massive American-style deli sandwiches. In St. John’s, NFLD, Ches’s Fish and Chips - a local favourite for more than 60 years - remains tight-lipped on a famous family batter recipe where if you can’t spell your name in the batter, then it’s not ready! And at Reggie’s Hot Grill in Peterborough, ON, John settles an argument between best friend owners while diving into Reggie’s Signature Burger, an all-beefer topped with a fried egg, a slice of mozzarella cheese and followed by a round piece of cheddar to give the cheesy illusion of a second egg. Garnish with crisp bacon and you have a meal worth arguing about!
Brunch in Edmonton, AB means Urban Diner. Join host John Catucci as he makes a mess of the massive meatloaf breakfast sandwich, then flips out for their famous house signature poffertje pancakes. Haven’t had your breakfast fill? Check out Fat City Franks in Calgary, AB, the ultimate mom and pop hot dog shop, where cool cat retirees Bob and Jane show John their one-of-a-kind breakfast dog. Then John learns the art of ‘the big smoke’ from the father of the TO barbeque scene, at Phil’s BBQ in Toronto, ON. Will the sweet and sassy sauce reign supreme or will John’s taste buds learn to handle some serious heat?
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