Banana cream pie sundae from Happy Sundae
So, hmm… I’m trying to balance my newfound desire to keep this blog negativity-free with my need to warn you that this place isn’t very good. Because it’s not very good. The biggest issue here is the “ice cream” itself, and I’m putting ice cream in quotes because they say right on their menu that the soft serve is dairy-free. Here’s the thing, though: Honey’s has illustrated fairly conclusively that it’s possible to create dairy-free ice cream that’s just as creamy and delicious as the real deal. The stuff here, on the other hand, is exactly what you fear non-dairy ice cream is going to taste like. But in the interest of not dwelling on the negative, I’ll just say that the banana slices were quite tasty (a lot of dessert places make the mistake of using underripe bananas, and that wasn’t an issue here) and leave it at that.
Jerk chicken meal from Allwyn’s Bakery
On the plus side, the small jerk chicken meal from Allwyn’s is a pretty great deal. Ignore the word “small” — for eleven bucks, you get a hearty portion of rice, two pieces of jerk chicken, and a side of coleslaw. I wish it tasted better, however. I couldn’t taste any of the spices and complexity that you’ll find in the better versions of this dish; it was just one-note salty in a way that got really monotonous to eat. It’s a deal, though!
Pineapple sundae from Tom’s Dairy Freeze
Okay, let’s end things on a more positive note. I know I’ve written about Tom’s Dairy Freeze about a billion times on this blog, and guess what? It’s still great! I got the pineapple sundae this time; the sauce has a decent proportion of small pineapple chunks and sweet syrup, but it’s the ice cream itself that’s the real draw. This is still — hands down — the best soft serve in the city. It’s rich, creamy, and delicious.
Location: 325 Central Parkway West, Mississauga
Dairy Queen is currently serving their Fall menu of Blizzards, which means the Pumpkin Pie Blizzard (a.k.a. the king of Blizzards) is back. I probably should have ordered that, but how could I resist something called a Cinnamon Roll Centres Blizzard?? You’re going to take the best part of a cinnamon roll and mix it with ice cream??? Yes please, give me a million of those please.
Dairy Queen describes this as “soft cinnamon roll pieces and brown butter cinnamon topping blended with our world-famous vanilla soft serve,” and alas, it’s not nearly as great as you’d hope.
They mix some cinnamon flavour right in with the soft serve, which is nice, but the “soft” cinnamon roll pieces are actually not soft at all (they have more of a chewy cookie consistency), and taste absolutely nothing like the sweet, gooey, delicious middle of a cinnamon roll. They’re just kinda dry and chewy, and while they’re cinnamony, they also have an odd flavour that I couldn’t quite put my finger on.
I didn’t hate eating it, I guess, but the notion that this has anything to do with a cinnamon roll honestly feels like false advertising. Can we sue Dairy Queen? I feel like we should sue Dairy Queen.
Location: 2645 Liruma Road, Mississauga
Oaza Shawarma Plus is one of those local joints that doesn’t stand out in any particular way, but that’s still satisfying for what it is.
I got the chicken shawarma wrap, and it was pretty good. The chicken was entirely lacking in the crispy bits you’re hoping for from great shawarma, but aside from that it was juicy and plentiful. The sauces (hot sauce, garlic sauce, and tahini) were all tasty, and the proportion of sauce, chicken, and fresh veggies was just right.
Bonus: the wrap was nicely toasted in a sandwich press. I feel like unless you’re starting with some seriously fresh, delicious bread (and the pita here was of the bagged, store-bought variety), toasting will automatically enhance a shawarma wrap.
Do you need to get in your car and drive here immediately? No, absolutely not. But if you’re in the area, it’s a tasty enough wrap.
Mofongo at Aquarela Restaurant
After realizing that I had never tried mofongo — a Puerto Rican dish in which plantain is mashed with garlic and crispy pork skin — I quickly discovered that Aquarela is pretty much the only game in town. Thankfully, they seem to be doing a pretty great job of carrying the torch for the dish in the GTA; I have nothing to compare it to, but it’s tasty, that’s for sure. It’s rich, creamy, garlicky and abundantly delicious. It’s kinda like mashed potatoes on steroids. It also comes with your choice of meat; I went with the crispy pork belly, and yeah, that’s a great combo. Something to cut through the plate’s overwhelming fatty richness would have been nice, but that’s a minor complaint for a very tasty dish.
Noodle Soup at Hey Noodles
The noodles at Hey Noodles are great (as you’d hope for from a place with “noodles” right in the name of the restaurant), but what really blew my mind was the price. I ordered the Chongqing Street Noodles, which is a very large bowl of soup that’s absolutely crammed with noodles, and that somehow only costs $6.99. The egg was an extra dollar, but even still, that’s a fantastic deal, especially considering how tasty it is. The noodles are nice and chewy, and the soup is delightfully zingy, with that addictive combo of spiciness and numbing heat that you get in this style of Chinese cuisine.
Clay pot rice at Good Taste Casserole Rice
Clay pot rice is an extremely simple dish — it’s basically just plain white rice that’s topped with meat and cooked in the eponymous pot, which makes the bottom layer of rice nice and crispy. It’s simple, but immensely satisfying when done well. The one I ordered was topped with eel and various meats and sausages, and yeah, it’s super satisfying. The fluffy/crispy rice, the tasty meats, and the sauce they have on the side (which was in a soy sauce container, but I’m fairly certain was more than just soy sauce) was a great combo.
Location: 206C Queen Street South, Streetsville
It’s always a good sign when a bakery puts one of their pastries in a paper bag and it becomes translucent with buttery goodness. If the paper bag looks pristine? Sorry, that pastry probably sucks. I don’t make the rules.
Though they have an assortment of sweet and savoury pastries, the specialty at Kate’s Town Talk Bakery is clearly the butter tart, which you can get with pecans, raisins, raspberry Nutella, or on its own.
I got the pecan variety, and oh man, it’s good. The sign outside says that the butter tarts here “rival the best you’ve ever tasted,” and you know what? They’re not wrong. I wish the filling were a bit gooier, but other than that it’s basically butter tart perfection: the crust is perfectly flaky, the filling has a great toffee-like flavour, and it’s got those great crispy caramelized edges that are pretty much irresistible.
I’m not sure that it’s the best best butter tart that I’ve ever had, but it’s right up there, that’s for sure.