Are you trying to lose weight? Get healthy? Cut down on your daily intake of fat and carbs? If you need help sticking to your New Year's resolutions, do not continue reading. In fact, we suggest turning the page. Quickly!
If, on the other hand, you have already had more than your fill of bland steel-cut oats and could not possibly stomach another bowl of lentils, may we tempt you with a week's worth of insanely decadent diet busters from across the country.
Foie Gras Double Down, $26
Joe Beef. 2491 Notre Dame West, Montreal, 514-935-6504. www.Joebeef.ca
This high-end version of the infamous KFC classic is the most decadently delicious competitor we've succumbed to yet. Wrapped in a cute tinfoil pouch, it stars two 80-gram slabs of duck foie gras dredged in seasoned flour and gently deep-fried. The melt-in-the-mouth "bun" is sandwiched around a filling of double-smoked bacon, maple-syrup-smoked cheddar cheese and mayonnaise made with intensely rich duck-skin schmaltz, then finished with coarse salt and a brown-sugared apple juice.
"The apple juice cuts through the fat," restaurant co-owner and co-chef Frédéric Morin says with a laugh. "I wouldn't call it a joke dish, but you know, it's really an odd time for cooking. It's not as easy as it was 20 years ago. You can't impress people with rack of lamb and broccoli - unless it's purple-sprouting broccoli from an organic farm."
Pig Head Tacos, $10 for 2
The Black Hoof: 928 Dundas St. W., Toronto. 416-551-8854. www.theblackhoof.com
This 'heady' pork taco uses the whole caput, including tongue, brain and jowl. The meat is brined and salt-cured for half a day, poached sous-vide overnight, then fried in a sweet cola-orange-chili sauce until the diced morsels are crispy on the outside and molten on the inside. The meat is laid on soft corn tacos and garnished with pickled onion, roasted poblano mayo and finely julienned strips of deep-fried pig ear.
"Pig's head has a nicer complexity than pork shoulder," charcutier Grant van Gameren. "It's 80 per cent fat, but it's good, tasty fat.
Mac 'n' Cheese-stuffed Croissant, $6
PanDa Fresh Bakery: 1300 Pacific Blvd.,Vancouver, 604-761-6088
Roll over, Japadog. This new street vendor - a little yellow school bus, actually - has developed a cult following for its warm, flakey croissants baked fresh around the clock and stuffed to overflowing with homemade mac 'n' cheese.
"Yeah, it's pretty carb-heavy," says food-truck operator Michael Ip, who also stuffs his curbside croissants with ice cream, S'mores and New York-style cheesecake. "But this is Vancouver. A lot of people go for long runs before coming to have one. I won't feel too guilty if anyone breaks their diet because of it."
Cinn-a-Stack Pancakes, $8.69
International House of Pancakes, various locations in Ontario and British Columbia. www.ihop.com
At least you can skip the syrup with this stack of four fluffy buttermilk pancakes layered with sticky cinnamon-roll filling, drizzled with rich cream cheese icing and crowned with creamy whipped topping.
"IHOP has lighter fare also," says British Columbia manager Peter White. "But this has been a popular menu item."
Chicken Lips, $7.25
Pump House Brewpub, 5 Orange Lane, Moncton. 506-855-2337. www.pumphousebrewery.ca
The Pump House takes a great Maritime tradition, an 8-ounce stick of Chris Brothers' pepperoni, slices it on the bias and deep-fries the red medallions until they curl up around the edges and allegedly look like cartoon chicken beaks. They come mild or hot and are served with honey-mustard sauce for dipping.
"For the first couple of weeks after New Year's, we always sell a lot more salads," says executive chef Kurt Wermelinger. "But these are tough to resist. They're really salty and go great with beer."
Blue Cheese Brisket Sandwich $7.50 with Loaded Fries, $10
Pig BBQ Joint, 1325 Blanshard St., Victoria. 250-590-5193. www.pigbbqjoint.com
If you're going to break the resolution, you might as well go big with this daily special belly buster: certified Angus brisket smoked for 12 hours and slathered in blue-cheese mayo in a sweet Kaiser bun. While you're at it, why not add an optional order of loaded fries topped with pulled pork, nacho-cheese sauce, banana peppers and barbecue beans.
"Everything on this menu would destroy a diet pretty fast," says owner Jeff Hetherington, who understands the agony and the temptation. "I'm trying to lose a few pounds myself and can't even eat my own food right now."
Buttermilk biscuits with fried chicken and country gravy, $12
The Superior Café: 106 Superior St., Victoria. 250-380-9515. www.thesuperior.ca
This Suthern breakfast with fried eggs and collard greens is just one of many ways to start your weekend wrong at this live music club. Other seasonal temptations on the brunch menu include eggnog pancakes with spiced rum caramel sauce and pulled pork poutine with poached eggs, white cheddar and roasted garlic miso hollandaise.
"Breakfast is one of those times when people don't care about being healthy," says chef Torin Egan, who puts on a heavy brunch spread all year round. "They're usually hungover, so they want as much fat and grease as they can get."