A Pleasant Surprise at Sweet Jesus

Sweet JesusLocation: 25 The West Mall, Etobicoke (inside Sherway Gardens)
Websitehttp://www.sweetjesus4life.com/

I mentioned recently that I like Sweet Jesus, but that it looks better than it tastes.  Well, I think that the abysmal soft serve at Kiss the Tiramisu and Loukomania Cafe have completely readjusted the way that I evaluate soft serve.  They were a very visceral reminder that bad soft serve can be really bad.

Suddenly, Sweet Jesus is looking pretty good.  Because I just went to their location in Sherway Gardens, and I quite enjoyed it.

Sweet Jesus

I got the Oh Hungry, which is similar to the flavour I got last time — vanilla ice cream, caramel and peanut butter sauces, peanuts, chocolate chips, and a chocolate drizzle.

It was shockingly delicious.  All of the sauces, nuts, and chocolate went really well together  (true to its name, it tasted similar to an Oh Henry bar), and there seemed to be a better ratio of toppings to ice cream.  Plus, the vanilla ice cream was rich and creamy.  It still didn’t have much of a flavour beyond a general sweetness, but it wasn’t overly cloying and the texture was on point.

I don’t know if the quality has gone up or if my expectations have gone down, but either way, it was good stuff.

Japanese Domination Continues at Koi Koi Sake Bar

Koi Koi Sake BarLocation: 170 Baldwin Street, Toronto
Websitehttps://www.koikoibar.com/

Joining places like Little Pebbles, Sakoshi Mart, and Millie Creperie, the Japanese domination of this stretch of Kensington Market continues with Koi Koi Sake Bar, which features a tasty selection of Japanese eats.  I, for one, welcome our new Japanese overlords.

I tried a few things.  First up was a nice little snack that every table gets by default.  I meant to ask what these were and completely forgot, but they were crunchy, savoury, and a little bit sweet.

Koi Koi Sake Bar

Next up was the katsu sando, which is a fried pork sandwich topped with a generous amount of mayo and tangy tonkatsu sauce, with some romaine lettuce for added crunch and freshness.  It’s a solid sandwich, though the pork was overcooked (I had a hard time even biting through it in parts).

Koi Koi Sake Bar

The miso nasu followed, which is a dish consisting of grilled, miso-glazed eggplant.  It feels like it’s missing something (a crunchy counterpoint to the soft eggplant, perhaps?), but it’s enjoyable enough; it basically tastes like they distilled the flavour of miso soup into a glaze and then brushed it onto an eggplant.

Koi Koi Sake Bar

The last dish was the bacon fried rice, which food writer David Ort called “possibly the best fried rice [he’s] ever had.” This is mostly what made me want to come here.

Koi Koi Sake Bar

I’m not sure if it’s the best I’ve ever had, but it was definitely top-shelf fried rice, with a nice meatiness from the generous bacon and a satisfying level of crispiness from the fried garlic slices.  The creamy mayo on top was a nice touch.

Cheap, Satisfying Eats at Ho Garden Chinese Restaurant

Ho Garden Chinese RestaurantLocation: 9255 Woodbine Avenue, Markham
Website: None

If you’re looking for bang for your buck, you’re not going to do much better than Ho Garden, a delightful Hong Kong-style diner in Markham.  I ordered the egg sandwich, which comes with a generous bowl of noodle soup with beef, and a mug of milk tea.  The price?  Seven bucks.  Delightful.

I was a little bit skeptical about the egg sandwich, but aside from the fact that it’s a Hong Kong comfort food staple, a friend strongly recommended it.

Ho Garden Chinese Restaurant

I’ll admit it — I was wrong to be skeptical.  It was surprisingly delicious.

It’s the definition of simplicity: it’s just a plain omelette served inside of crustless white bread.  No mayonnaise, no condiments — just eggs, salt, and untoasted bread.  Sounds way too plain, right?  Wrong.

Ho Garden Chinese Restaurant

The eggs were fluffy, creamy, and perfectly cooked, and the slightly sweet, light-as-a-cloud bread complimented them perfectly.  Considering its utter simplicity, it was shockingly good.

The noodles — which feature a generous amount of toothsome noodles in a flavourful, slightly spicy broth, topped with tender beef — were quite tasty as well, but it’s that egg sandwich that was clearly the star of the show.

Amazing Almond Croissants at Patisserie la Cigogne

Patisserie la CigogneLocation: 1626 Bayview Avenue, Toronto
Websitehttps://patisserielacigogne.com/

I don’t have much to say about the almond croissant at Patisserie la Cigogne other than that it was delicious and you should eat it.

It was really good, though.

I mean, almond croissants are just generally great; if they’re done well, they’re an amazing combo of crunchy, crispy, buttery, and sweet.  And I honestly can’t remember the last time I had one this good — the croissant was flaky and super buttery, and there’s a very generous amount of the sweet almond filling.

Patisserie la Cigogne

I mean, look at all that filling that’s oozed out and become crunchy and caramelized.  The best.  There’s also a generous amount of filling inside the croissant that’s nutty and creamy and sweet.  Also the best.

(The whole thing was pretty much the best, so like I said earlier, you should probably go eat one.)

Decent Fried Chicken at Love Chix

Love ChixLocation: 111 Richmond Street West, Toronto (in the Assembly Chef’s Hall)
Websitehttp://www.lovechix.ca/

I got nervous when, after I ordered my chicken sandwich from Love Chix, they opened a drawer filled with pre-cooked chicken pieces and then dunked one in the fryer to reheat it.

Thankfully, it certainly could have been worse, but the chicken was dry and overcooked, and it’s easy enough to see why.  This might have been less of an issue if they started with dark meat, which has a bit more leeway during the cooking process before it dries out.  But it was white meat, and “moist” was not a word in its vocabulary.

Love Chix

The sandwich was otherwise quite tasty.  It’s tossed in a honey hot sauce and topped with buttermilk ranch, coleslaw, and arugula.  The honey flavour was quite pronounced, but there was enough of a spicy kick and a vinegary bite to balance out the sweetness.  The creamy ranch and the peppery arugula helped to round things out.  It was actually quite tasty.

And while the crunch factor wasn’t quite as pronounced as it could have been, it was certainly satisfying.

I just wish the meat itself weren’t so dry.  I certainly understand why they serve their chicken this way; people might get impatient to wait the almost ten minutes it would take to fry a piece of chicken from scratch.  But I wish they’d give you a choice.