Maybe Brampton gets worse a reputation than it deserves. In addition to the fact that there are all too many Torontonians who couldn’t point to Brampton on a map, people often say it’s too far, too hard to get to it, or too dangerous. And were you speaking to a younger Casey Palmer, I might’ve agreed with you.
The Far Side of the GTA
Brampton’s a long way from home, but sometimes you’ve gotta venture into unfamiliar territory to try something new.
In early September, my friend Lat reached out to invite me to a tweetup in her hometown on Brampton, ON. For those not in the know, I’ve a long and sordid history with that little place.
Born and raised in Mississauga, ON, Brampton was always the city just north of us that we’d never visit. I mean — being Mississaugan had its societal pressures — too good for Brampton to the north; not rich enough for Oakville to the west; and nowhere near cool enough to hang with the kids of downtown Toronto to the east. But we always knew Brampton was there, it just wasn’t somewhere we’d go after dark.
Funny what a couple of decades can do to change growing cities and negative perspectives, right?
After an unexpected (and unwanted) adventure on the east side of Toronto, Christine and I made the trek to the northwest to join Lat Leger and friends for the first-ever #BramptonTweetup at the Sul Irmaos Smoke House in the Downtown Brampton neighbourhood.
Who is Lat Leger?
I met Lat last year at either SaugaTweetup or AfterWorkDrinksTO, and since then she’s become a solid friend. Living in Brampton, ON with her husband Garrett and their 3 kids, she’s more than just an award-winning mommy blogger: she’s a social media enthusiast and strategist; self-proclaimed foodie and really likes singing in the car with her windows rolled down. When you connect with her, you expect nothing but candour and authenticity, so it was no surprise to me when I walked into #BramptonTweetup to see a number of familiar and influential faces from the west side of the Greater Toronto Area (GTA), as Lat’s a mutual friend to many of us.
After all, I’m not going back to the ‘burbs for just anybody.
Welcome to Sul Irmaos!
Welcome to Sul Irmaos (English translation = Southern Brothers) Smoke House website. We’re glad you paid us a visit. We are known as the sandwich specialist and if you try one of our delicious sandwiches, you’ll discover that this name fits our restaurant like a glove. We will satisfy your appetite with an assortment of choices from our menu including Po’ Boy, traditional, Portuguese Churrasco and pulled pork sandwiches. Eat in or take-out at your convenience and we also offer first class catering services for special/corporate events and more. Give us a call or visit our restaurant today! We look forward to making your day!
If you’re in Brampton and looking for a good bite to eat, Sur Irmaos has some decent offerings. Dressed up as more of a lunchtime venue, it makes “slow food served fast”, which speaks to the daily effort that Jason and Jonathan Pereira put into assembling a menu that whets an appetite for smoked meats without investing the hours to do it yourself.
The Pereira brothers were nice enough to open up on a Monday evening for us (they normally close on Mondays for a well-deserved day off).
Many of their meats are seasoned, smoked for at least 8 hours and pulled, meant to infuse as much flavour as possible into their offerings. As a testament to their methods, after being rejected from joining Brampton’s annual Rotary Rib Fest, they decided to serve their own ribs, marinating their meat for 2 days and smoking it for 14 hours, with customers waiting up to 2 hours for a fresh batch when they ran out.
So the expectations were high going in to Sul Irmaos! Here’re some highlights from the experience!
Things That Were Great:
- Mac ‘n’ Cheese Bites
- Pulled Pork and Beanasaurus (even several days later, reheated in the toaster oven — Jason made me promise that I wouldn’t wreck my leftovers by microwaving them)
- Pulled Pork Sandwiches
- ATBs (I don’t know why they’re called ATBs, but they’re jalapeño peppers wrapped in pancetta bacon smoked for 4 hours and stuffed with herb cream cheese, dates and chorizo sausage. Truly a great appetizer!)
- Pulled Chicken with Sweet Chili Aioli
- the Sumol (I tried both Pineapple and Passion Fruit and can tell you I loved the Passion Fruit far more but were it served in a glass, it would’ve been easier to stir when the sediment started settling to the bottom)
The Skinny on Sul Irmaos
We all enjoyed ourselves thoroughly, but what was clear, however, was that this was Sul Irmaos’ first foray in the world of tweetups. Things to note:
- the first course of food didn’t make it out ’til Christine and I arrived, and we were a half-hour late
- the amount of food didn’t satisfy the number of guests, which may have been indirect incentive to buy meals, but you don’t invite people to your restaurants and tell the guests it’s BYOF when they get there, right?
I don’t know whether Sul Irmaos offers enough to get Torontonians jumping behind the wheel for the 40-minute trek for a Po’ Boy, however, for Brampton’s 500,000 and Mississauga’s 750,000 — if you want something filling, delicious and a mere stone’s throw away from your backyard, the Southern Brothers have you covered.
In the end, it looks like Brampton’s come up a bit over the years — perhaps enough to have a recurring #BramptonTweetup to rival the very popular #SaugaTweetup from its southern neighbours (ironically run in part by Rob Sarjoo, another Brampton resident!)? But to get to that point, Brampton’s going to need the support of its people — it can’t survive on the efforts of a few people alone.
- Raj Kutty, who’s friends with the owners and made sure to give my bag a solid place to rest behind the counter
- If it weren’t for Christine, who made sure I made it to BramptonTweetup, even when I was trying to avoid a major TTC delay
- Davindra Ramnarine, who’s all about the food and put a review together of Sul Irmaos before it changed its name
And of course, thanks to Lat for a solid event and getting me to return to the ‘burbs. Not an easy feat by any measure, but it’s good to remember that you can only live in a box for so long before you start to lose sight of the bigger picture.
It’s a massive world out there — go explore it!
Adeus and get your nom on,