Quick Bites: Pho Tien Thanh, Ice Creamonology, Nani’s Gelato

Pho Tien Thanh
BBQ Pork on Vermicelli at Pho Tien Thanh

Not a ton to say about this one — aside from the pork being a bit dry, this was a tasty version of a classic dish.  Most of the herbs and veggies are under the noodles, so you’ll just have to take my word for it, but there was a really good proportion of meat, noodles, herbs, and vegetables.  The meat was a little bit sweet and nicely savoury, and the whole thing was thoroughly enjoyable, if nothing too mind-blowing.

Ice Creamonology
Blueberry White Chocolate Cheesecake at Ice Creamonology

I wasn’t crazy about Ice Creamonology on my first visit, but I’ve been back a couple of times and it’s definitely getting better (or maybe it’s just growing on me?).  The ice cream is nice and creamy, and while it’s still a bit stretchier than your average scoop, it’s not as gummy as it was the first time I tried it.  I will say, however, that I haven’t been back since they’ve moved to Queens Quay, so I have no idea how it holds up now.

Nani's Gelato
Pumpkin Pie soft serve at Nani’s Gelato

I recently mentioned that the Pumpkin Pie Blizzard from Dairy Queen is the king of Blizzards, and this is basically just that, but a billion times better.  I tried this last October (I’m still working my way through my backlog since the blog came back from hiatus);  if you like pumpkin pie, the next time Nani’s brings this back (hopefully sooner than next October), you need to try it.  It’s so good.

Pho Ngoc Yen is a Hidden Gem

Pho Ngoc Yen
Location
: 1090 Kamato Road, Mississauga
Website: https://sites.google.com/orderup.ai/ngocyenrestaurant/home

Pho Ngoc Yen is one of those restaurants that must rely pretty much entirely on word of mouth; hidden away in an industrial neighbourhood in Mississauga, it’s basically in the middle of nowhere.  The odds of you stumbling onto it are quite miniscule.

Pho Ngoc Yen

But yeah, it’s definitely got the word of mouth that it needs, and I can see why — it’s great.

Pho Ngoc Yen

I got the Pho Ngoc Yen Dac Biet, which the menu describes as “NY’s special: rare beef, beef balls and boneless beef shank with rice noodles.”

Pho Ngoc Yen

It’s a great bowl of pho.  The generous amount of meat is tender and tasty, and the broth is beefy, richly spiced, and thoroughly delicious.  The noodles were slightly on the soft side, and my bowl was missing the beef balls, but the broth and the beef were both so tasty that this never felt like a big issue.

Meaty, Cheesy Sandwiches at Good Behaviour Submarine

Good Behaviour Submarine
Location
: 342 Westmoreland Avenue North, Toronto
Website: https://goodbehaviourto.ca/

Though Good Behaviour started out as an ice cream shop, they also serve an assortment of meaty subs, and sure, why not?  Ice cream and subs; seems like a winning combo to me.

The menu features a few cold subs, and a few hot ones.  I tried a couple of the hot ones: beef brisket (“smoked beef brisket, smoked gouda, banana peppers, caramelized onion, horseradish, beef fat vinaigrette, iceberg lettuce”) and pork shoulder (“braised pork shoulder, provolone, salsa verde, broccoli rabe, chili preserve, mustard mayo, lemon juice, red onion, iceberg lettuce”).

Good Behaviour Submarine

The sandwiches were both meaty, cheesy, and incredibly rich.  They were quite tasty — how could they not be, with that quantity of tender meat and gooey cheese — though nothing about either of them particularly blew me away.

Good Behaviour Submarine

The problem is that they’re both a bit one-note in their flavour and in their meaty richness.  Though maybe “problem” should be in quotes there, because let’s face it: a sandwich being meaty and rich isn’t exactly the end of the world, even if I’d like some other flavours/textures to break things up a bit.  To be fair, both sandwiches had elements like banana peppers and salsa verde that should have performed this function, but all I could taste was meat, cheese, and heavy sauces.

Good Behaviour Submarine

Still, they were both solid sandwiches, particularly the beef brisket, which had a mild but satisfying smokiness from the beef and the gouda.  And the bread is great — perfectly toasty, soft and fluffy, but with enough heft to stand up to the sloppy fillings.

An Amazing Sandwich at Elsa’s Food & Bakery

Elsa's Food & Bakery
Location
: 30 Baywood Road, Unit 15, Etobicoke
Website: https://www.facebook.com/Elsas-bakery-1905919683049150/

Elsa’s is a delightful hole-in-the-wall Iraqi bakery that specializes in a pita-esque flatbread called samoon; you can get it on its own (you should do this) or stuffed with shawarma or falafel (you should do this too).

This is the latest hidden gem I’ve discovered thanks to the inimitable Suresh Doss, and like basically everything he writes about, it’s great.

Elsa's Food & Bakery

It’s that bread.  It’s chewy, fluffy, flavourful, and amazing.  It’s tasty as part of a sandwich, but it’s also pretty damn good on its own.

I got the falafel sandwich, which comes with the usual toppings, along with the delightful addition of eggplant and fries.  The last time I had eggplant in a falafel sandwich was at L’As du Fallafel in Paris, and I’m starting to seriously wonder why every falafel sandwich doesn’t have eggplant in it.  It’s a fantastic addition.

Elsa's Food & Bakery

The other thing that stands out is the sauce they top it with, called amba — it’s a mango-based sauce, and it’s sweet, sour, tangy, and delicious, with a mildly curry-tinged flavour.  It’s not a subtle sauce; its intense zippiness completely dominated the other flavours in the sandwich, but it’s so tasty that this barely felt like an issue.

A Tasty Poke Bowl at Pokito

PokitoLocation: 420 Queen Street West, Toronto
Website: https://www.pokito.ca/

The poke bowl at Pokito isn’t exactly the most photogenic dish of all time.  I mean, look at that thing.  It’s basically just a melange of green and brown, but hey — if it tastes good, who cares?

And yes, it definitely tastes good.

Pokito

The menu at poke is extremely flexible; you can get a bowl of poke that’s customized to your liking, or you can do what I did and order one of signature bowls.  I went with the Creamy Spicy Salmon Bowl, which the menu describes as “Rice, Salmon, Crab Salad, Seaweed, Edemame.”  Once you choose from white or brown rice and a few optional toppings, you’re good to go.

I went with sushi rice and got a topping of crispy onions, but otherwise got the bowl as-is.

Pokito

It’s quite tasty.  It’s got a great variety of tastes and textures; at first it seems like there’s maybe too much stuff, but everything complements each other quite well.  And the star of the show — the salmon — tastes fresh, works really well with the creamy spicy sauce (which is, sadly, only marginally spicy), and is abundant enough that you won’t have to worry about running out before the bowl is done.