Tasty Ice Cream at Nadege

Ice Cream by NadegeLocation: 780 Queen Street West, Toronto
Websitehttp://www.nadege-patisserie.com/

Though I feel like the pastries at Nadege have gone a bit downhill since their expansion to multiple locations, I still like the place.  And I can’t say no to their latest addition: ice cream (I can never say no to ice cream.  Never).

They have a small ice cream shop right next to their original Queen Street location, serving classic scooped ice cream (not to be confused with the soft serve they’ve had for a while now).

Ice Cream by Nadege

There’s a bunch of really interesting looking flavours; I went with La Mancha, which is described as “honey, blackberry, saffron, biscuit.”

It’s good, though the ice cream itself is nothing too special.  It’s a bit thin; it’s not nearly as rich or as creamy as it should be.  But the flavour makes up for it.  It’s got a delightfully subtle sweetness, with refreshing swirls of tart blackberry sauce and big cakey chunks.

Ice Cream by Nadege

I wish the blackberry sauce weren’t so icy and that the chunks weren’t so generous (my scoop was something like fifty percent biscuit and fifty percent ice cream), but I still enjoyed it.  I’m keen to go back, if only to try out some of the other flavours; they were almost all really unique.

Mind-blowing Smoked Meat at SumiLicious

SumiLiciousLocation: 5631 Steeles Avenue East, Scarborough
Websitehttps://sumilicious.ca/

Holy crap, SumiLicious.  Holy.  Crap.

I knew I’d have to check the place out as soon as I read this thread on Chowhound.  A new smoked meat place?  Yes please.  Started by someone who worked at the legendary Schwartz’s in Montreal for 18 years?  You had me at “new smoked meat place,” but now I’m really sold.  And it’s delicious?  Buddy, I’m sold already, you can stop.  I’m there.

SumiLicious

I’m kind of glad this place is such a trek from where I live, because if it were nearby, I’d be there every single day.  It’s smoked meat perfection.

I can’t emphasize this enough: the smoked meat sandwich at SumiLicious is absolutely magnificent.  It’s the best smoked meat sandwich that I’ve had in ages.  Certainly, it’s the best smoked meat in the city, and it stands side-by-side with any sandwich I’ve had in Montreal or New York.  It’s ridiculously good.

SumiLicious

The sandwich is a heaping tower of intensely flavourful, ultra-tender, hand-sliced goodness.  It’s quite fatty, but that fat is so perfectly cooked it’ll make your knees buckle.  It just melts in your mouth like unctuous, luxurious meat butter.

And the meat itself is almost absurdly tender, but retains enough texture that it never feels mushy.  It’s perfect.

SumiLicious

The flavour is really unique, too.  It’s got enough of the classic smoked meat seasoning to be pleasantly familiar, but it’s also got its own thing going on; they’re obviously doing something a little bit different with the spice blend (but don’t ask me specifically what — I’m terrible at identifying spices).

It’s a bit less salty than your typical smoked meat, which lets the beef’s natural flavour shine through more than you’d expect.  It’s something special, that’s for sure.

But I mean, don’t take my word for it.  Just look at this close-up:

SumiLicious

Sexy AF.  Downright NSFW.  And it’s just as good as it looks.

I also tried the coleslaw, which is a tad too sweet, but otherwise has a nice vinegary bite and is a good foil for the heavy sandwich.

Oh, and it’s delightfully affordable, too: it’s nine bucks (not including the coleslaw), and considering the quality and the sheer size of the sandwich, that’s a crazy deal.

SumiLicious

Of course, the question is whether or not they can keep up this insane level of quality.  The last couple of high-profile smoked meat joints in the city — Caplansky’s and Ben & Izzy’s — both started out great and then slowly (or not-so-slowly in the case of Ben & Izzy’s) went downhill.

I’m very, very curious to see if SumiLicious can continue to pump out smoked meat of this calibre in the coming months and years.  I hope they do, but I’d advise you to go there now so that you don’t lose out on basking in its magnificence.

Tasty Greek Take-out at Agora

AgoraLocation: 921 Queen Street West, Toronto
Websitehttps://theagora.ca/

Agora is a delightful little take-out gem from the people behind Mamakas Taverna.  As you might imagine, they serve tasty Greek eats.  The menu’s a bit more interesting than the typical gyro joint, with sandwiches, salads, and more substantial meals like moussaka or roasted chicken.  They have a few stools by the window, but for the most part it’s take-out only.

Agora

I tried the spanakopita, which is a mixture of spinach and feta wrapped in crispy phyllo pastry.  It was one of the better versions of that dish that I’ve had.  The filling was rich and satisfying, with lots of spinach flavour and nice pops of saltiness from the feta.  And the super crackly pastry shell was ridiculously buttery, with about a million paper-thin layers of crispy, crunchy goodness.

Agora

I also sampled the briam, which the woman behind the counter described as a Greek version of ratatouille.  And it was indeed extremely ratatouille-esque, with perfectly-cooked, flavour-packed chunks of zucchini and eggplant, among other vegetables.

Fluffy Souffle Pancakes at Hanabusa Cafe

Hanabusa CafeLocation: 77 Kensington Avenue, Toronto
Websitehttps://www.hanabusacafe.com/

It seems like every few months, some new food trend sweeps its way through the city.  In the last couple of years we’ve had stuff like poke, chicken and waffles, Japanese cheesecakes, and sushi burritos.  The latest seems to be souffle pancakes, a Japanese dessert that’s exactly what it sounds like (a cross between pancakes and souffle).

If what they’re serving at Hanabusa Cafe is any indication, this is a trend that I can get behind.

Hanabusa Cafe

My only other experience with this dish was at a place called am.pm in Hong Kong, and that version was dense, overly eggy, and just all-around unappealing.

The one at Hanabusa Cafe, on the other hand, was the polar opposite — it was almost absurdly fluffy, with a mild sweetness and a satisfying custardy flavour without any of the in-your-face egginess you might be expecting.  I ordered the Original Pancake, which is the simplest choice: it’s three pancakes topped with a dollop of whipped cream and served with a side of strawberries and blackberries.  It’s outstanding.

Hanabusa Cafe

Unlike a traditional pancake, it’s already fairly sweet, so it’s perfectly delicious on its own.  I could eat about a million of these (though they’re surprisingly heavy, so three feels like a good number).  The ethereal lightness combined with the custardy flavour is seriously addictive.

I’ll admit that my expectations weren’t all that high, but I really, really enjoyed this.

Delightfully Cheap (and Delicious) Noodles at Manpuku

ManpukuLocation: 105 McCaul Street, Toronto
Websitehttp://www.manpuku.ca/

I just got a bowl of curry udon noodles from Manpuku, and they were both super cheap and super delicious.  What’s better than that?  (I’ll answer for you: nothing.  Nothing is better than that.)

For six bucks, you get a very generous amount of udon noodles in a rich, curry-flavoured broth with some tender potatoes and a heaping pile of sliced pork.  It’s an almost suspiciously good deal; for that little, it really shouldn’t be all that good, right?  But it’s so good.

Manpuku

The broth is rich and delicious, the sliced pork is super tender and infused with that great curry flavour, and the noodles are chewy and perfectly cooked.  The noodles are maybe a little bit bland, but other than that I honestly don’t have any complaints about this bowl.

Manpuku

It’s not the type of thing that’s going to blow anybody’s mind, but it’s rich, hearty, and delicious.  I’d be hard-pressed to think of a more satisfying meal for under six bucks in the GTA.