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BITE: Sausage Battles
Toronto's top chefs go head-to-head in Marben's annual Sausage League

Timing is everything. When I asked a friend to join me for Sausage League, they inquired whether it was a Pride event. Cheeky. And also a very legit question. Sausage League is in its third year at Marben restaurant and, while I’d like to say the sausages are bigger and better than ever before, I’m not really qualified to make such grand statements about other people’s sausages.

Every Wednesday during the summer, two popular Toronto restaurants battle it out for the title of super sausage at Marben. A chef from each restaurant creates a composed dish — you’re not getting street meat on a bun — and Muskoka Brewery pairs a beer with each of the two sausage dishes. Your two sausage dishes and samples of beer will run you $25. This past Wednesday, chefs John Koplimae from the Drake Hotel and Topher Hope from Jacobs & Co. Steakhouse crowded themselves into the Marben kitchen to cook up their own dishes. This was in addition to the regular Marben restaurant crew cooking up items from their regular menu.

The Drake Hotel had a deconstructed porky apple pie with a pork sausage, smoked cheddar and apples. A nice bit of chicharron (fried pork rind) became the top crust of this dish. Continuing with the loose “deconstructed” theme, Jacobs & Co. served up a deconstructed Sheppard’s pie with a lamb sausage, lamb bacon, and drippings from the lamb in a micro slaw. Triple lamb. The sausage was served on top of a potato gratin with some English mushy peas.

Diners vote for their favourite sausage and the winner moves on to the next round. Bestellen, The Drake Hotel, the Farmhouse Tavern, and The Saint are just some of the restaurants who are moving on to another Sausage League round.

Even if you’re there for the Sausage League special, make sure you take a glance at the dinner menu and ask about the specials. I almost missed out on a delicious tempura-battered softshell crab until I overheard someone talking about it. I do my best eavesdropping in restaurants. Also, I quite enjoy crabs with my sausages.

Tomorrow’s Sausage League contenders will be the chefs from the Harbord Room and Parts and Labour. Do your part and vote.

Follow Marben on Twitter: @MarbenResto


Pay Chen is a TV and radio host, writer, and producer who puts a lot of things in her mouth. If you have a favourite spot in the city to share, follow her on Twitter at @PayChen.

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