Oshawa · Toronto

Urban Smoke – Fusion BBQ

Location: To be announced
Price: $

usfbWord on the street at Durham College was that an “Eat St.” style food truck from Toronto was coming to campus for a couple of days. Beyond excited, I knew I was in for a treat…but the day I had planned to indulge, they had to cancel due to unexpected spring-time flurries. I missed my chance…or so I thought.

After finishing my final exam of the semester, I was joyfully leaving the campus in hopes of not returnng for five gracious months, but from the corner of my eye, I spotted something big, black and truck-like in shape. My heart skipped a beat and I knew I was going to be hanging around campus just a tad bit longer…the truck was back!

photo-30My tummy was grumbling and I was giddy upon arrival, instantly being drawn to the red carpet style waiting line, where I skimmed over the delicious, but small menu. It read items such as a classic pulled-pork sandwich, a brisket sandwich grilled cheese style, a portabella mushroom burger and brisket poutine. I was seriously tempted to try one of everything but settled for ‘The Dirty Bob,’ also known as the brisket grilled cheese.

When my name was called, I swooped up my take out box, which was made of cardboard NOT styrofoam…a much healthier and environmentally friendly choice might I add, and I tore it open like a kid on Christmas morning.

photo-34In front of me was a massive, perfectly grilled cheese sandwich stuffed with juicy barbequed brisket, Swiss cheese, and sautéed mushrooms and onions. The caramelized bark on the brisket was to die for, and they sure did not chince out on the quantity of meat. It was fully loaded and enough for two, maybe even three sittings. My only complaint would be the amount of cheese, or lack there of. When I think of grilled cheese, I think of a big gooey mess, but there wasn’t an adequate amount to give it that true grilled cheese feel. None the less, it was delicious!

For $8, the amount of food proves you really get a good bang for your buck, and in fact I wish I wasn’t such a broke student so I could have tried a couple other items as well. Although it’s hard to always track down the truck because its constantly on the go, they do keep an up-to-date Twitter feed as to there daily whereabouts. https://twitter.com/UrbanSmokeTruck


Isabella’s Chocolate Cafe

Location: 2 King St E, Oshawa, ON
Price: $-$$

photo-29I’m always on the hunt for unique little café’s, regardless of where they are. And conveniently, Isabella’s just so happens to be located around the corner from where I attend college…so off I went.

photo-26It’s quaint and cozy, and offers just enough sitting space to accommodate about 20 people. However one of the things I love is the assortment of furniture they have. When you walk in, there is a large rustic 4-seater wooden table with gorgeous colourful wooden block chairs, a store-front high-top table with three burlap upholstered stools, four 2-seater tables with a communal booth-style bench along one side and café style chairs on the other, and a little seating area with two black leather love seats.

photo-24I feel at home at home at Isabella’s. The staff is friendly, and the food is bang on to match. When I off-loaded all of my heavy books and school attire at the table closest to the open door (It was a beautiful spring day and I was taking full advantage of it), I ventured up to the counter only to be overwhelmed by the delicious items noted across two hanging blackboards. There was also a glass display case with fresh baked pastries and goodies. I instantly eyed the cheese and dill scone, and it was sold. I then got a vanilla soy latte and a bowl of the homemade cauliflower and corn puree soup.

photo-27As I sat and enjoyed my latte and cheese and dill scone, I couldn’t help but sit in a happy daze. The latte was incredible, one of the best vanilla soy lattes I’ve had. Most soy lattes I get the soy is extremely heavy, leaving me with a stomach ache for an hour after drinking it, and a lot of times the vanilla is too sweet and overpowering. But this one was perfect. It was so light and airy, and the vanilla was just enough to leave a subtle aftertaste…but no design in my foam, sigh.

photo-28Then the scone…delicious! The scone was perfectly baked, crispy on the outside and moist on the inside, it was incredible. The cheese made it silky and rich, and the dill, well dill just makes everything amazing! But had the scone been warm, it would have been even that much better.

Then my cauliflower and corn puree soup came. Hmm. It was the most unappealing thing I’ve ever seen. It looked like grey baby food. Safe to say my expectations for how it was going to taste weren’t too high…however it was surprisingly really good! The corn was left somewhat chunky, giving it some texture, and it left a sweet after taste in my mouth. But after a few bites I couldn’t eat anymore, it was way too salty for my liking…Campbell’s tomato soup kind of salty where it burns the back of your throat.

After I was done with the soup, I was still kind of hungry so I went up and got a chocolate dipped macaroon and a Mayan spice homemade chocolate to go.

photo-23The macaroon was immaculate! Much like the scone, it was crunchy on the outside, but chewy on the inside. The coconut was sweet, but it was offset by what I detected was a slight saltiness (and I’m a flake to sweet and salty), but then the bitterness from being dipped in dark chocolate made it even better! If you’re wondering, yes, today is most definitely a cheat day!

Then last but not least was the Mayan chocolate, consisting of dark chocolate, cinnamon and cayenne. At first all I was detecting was the dark chocolate with a slight hint of cinnamon, but after I swallowed it, it hit me…the cayenne was making its debut. The warmth from the cayenne was numbing my throat, and I liked it. I love spice, and I love dark chocolate, so of course I’m going to love spicy dark chocolate. It’s definitely my new favourite!

As I go over my experience at Isabella’s, it certainly warrants revisiting. Unfortunately the school year is coming to an end and I most likely won’t be in the Oshawa area too frequently over the summer break, come September, Isabella’s is my go-to. No more stopping at Starbucks before class for a bloating vanilla soy latte…I’ll be stopping by Isabella’s.