T.O. Turkey Smackdown

… Wherein your humble author declares the victor in the ages-old battle for turkey dinner supremacy between Fran’s and The Tulip.

First up: Fran’s

Toronto’s oldest surviving diner (I think) scored points right off the bat for serving up their Thanksgiving special all weekend long. My ladyfriend and I took them up on it early Friday evening.

For $19.99 we got a three-course meal, including soup or salad to start. Knowing what was in store we both chose the salad, and were rewarded with a bowl of huge uncut chunks of iceberg lettuce soaking in a small pool of italian dressing.

And then, the main attraction…

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Moving left to right, the bread was too dry to be of any practical use, the cranberry sauce was canned and the turkey/gravy combo merely average. Though it doesn’t look like much the stuffing was actually pretty good—maybe it was pan-fried? But the big surprise was those roasted ‘taters. Thanks to a generous dusting of seasoned salt they rocked! Oh yeah, the carrots were good too, but who cares?

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Fran’s also got high marks for their pumpkin pie. Though it was served sans whipped cream—blasphemy!—it was obviously home-made, and the thin crust was delicious. Bonus points too for letting the missus sub out her pumpkin pie for a slice of apple. And I’m quite partial to Fran’s coffee as well.

Final Score: 3/5

Pros: Stuffing, ‘taters, pie, coffee.

Cons: The lonely drunk guy with the milkshake at the next booth who wouldn’t shut up.

Tulip Time

We visited the Tulip on Thanksgiving Monday at 8pm; fearing the infamous long lineups we were instead sat right away. It should be noted that the Tulip only serves their special on Sunday and Monday—points were subtracted accordingly. The score sank even further with their bland, watery coffee.

And here’s Tom Turkey!

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For $12.99 you get all this… No plate-dusting necessary here—the mouth-watering gravy threatened to spill overboard if I didn’t start chowing down immediately. The turkey was nice and tender too, with a mound of soft, gravy-infused stuffing hiding underneath… Surprise! If the cran was canned it was at least banged up enough so as not to retain that telltale shape. The baby carrots were really the only weak point. Our waiter regretfully informed us that they were out of mashed potatoes, but home-fries did fine in their stead, so long as they were covered in that sweet, sweet gravy—which they were.

And that mountain of bread you see in background comes standard with any Tulip entree…

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That $12.99 doesn’t include starters or dessert, but I had to order pie anyhow—just for comparison’s sake. It didn’t disappoint; as you can see, homemade whipped cream was there in abundance, but really… They had me at the gravy.

Final Score: 4/5

Pros: Price, serving size, gravy, real whipped cream..

Cons: No vomitorium on premises.

And with that, I do not wish to see any of the above-mentioned food groups until Christmas Day, at the earliest!

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