Quality Salads at Flock

Location: 330 Adelaide Street West, Toronto
Websitehttps://www.eatflock.com/

If you’re downtown and you’re looking for something quick and relatively healthy, you could probably do worse than Flock.  Though I’m not crazy about their much-ballyhooed chicken sandwich (its texture is one-note soft, and it generally doesn’t taste much better than something I could throw together at home from leftovers), I just tried one of their salads and found it quite satisfying.

Flock

I got the Frenchy Flock (“Mixed Greens & Arugula, Vine Beans, Crispy Onions, Roasted Cauliflower, French Lentils, Sweet Peppers, Cucumber, Cherry Tomatoes, Hard Boiled Egg, Yellow Zucchini with Roasted Tomato/Olive/Caper Vinaigrette”) and had it topped with pulled chicken.

Yes, it’s a lot of stuff.  And it’s a quality salad; the veggies are all nice and fresh, and the zippy vinaigrette suited it well.  The pulled chicken was above average, and did a good job of making the salad feel like a full meal.

Flock

But the roasted cauliflower was overcooked and mushy, and the egg was chalky and dry, which was unfortunate.  Also unfortunate: with the chicken add-on, it came up to about $17.50.  That’s almost hilariously expensive for a salad that, though tasty, isn’t substantially better than the pre-packed salads you can get at a nicer supermarket (which cost about half as much).

Fried Chicken Perfection at Heirloom

Heirloom Food TruckLocation: It’s a truck, so check Twitter or their website
Websitehttps://www.heirloomtoronto.com/

Either my memory is wrong or the food at the Heirloom food truck has seriously improved, because I have a vague recollection of trying their fried chicken sandwich a few years ago and not being particularly impressed.

I just had the Szechuan fried chicken sandwich, and holy guacamole, it was so good.

Heirloom’s menu describes this as “brined chicken thigh, homemade Szechuan sauce, pickled cucumber, bean sprout, organic peanut, scallion aioli, brioche bun.”

Heirloom Food Truck

My only real complaint is that the chicken was a bit dry; though the menu claims they’re using thigh meat, I’m fairly certain it was actually breast.  Either way, it was slightly overcooked and a bit less juicy than it should have been.

Other than that?  Crazy good.

The exterior crisp-factor was perfect, with a profound level of crunchiness that’s never overbearing.

And let’s face it: there are very few things in life more satisfying than biting into a perfectly crispy piece of fried chicken.

Heirloom Food Truck

The sandwich is saucy as hell (it’s impossible to eat without getting sauce all over your hands and face), but it absolutely works.

The Szechuan sauce is sweet, savoury, garlicky, and a little bit spicy (this is a minor complaint, but I wish it were a bit spicier.  It’s basically a mild tingle).  It’s absolutely fantastic, and the big peanut chunks give it a nice nutty crunchiness.

The richness of the aioli works great with the flavour-packed sauce, and the pickled veggies help to cut through the overall heaviness of the sandwich.

The whole thing is an absolute assault of assertive flavours and textures, but it’s so well balanced.  It’s easily one of the best fried chicken sandwiches I’ve had in a while.

Passable Noodle Soup at Pho Vistro

Pho VistroLocation: 259 Queen Street West, Toronto
Websitehttp://www.phovistro.com/

The pho at Pho Vistro was fine.  There wasn’t anything particularly wrong with it, and I didn’t dislike eating it.

But it made no real impression on me; my biggest takeaway is that it was food and I ate it.  It wasn’t memorable in any particular way.

Pho Vistro

They have a few different varieties of pho on the menu; I ordered the restaurant’s namesake dish, which features beef and chicken.

The broth had a nice, clean chicken flavour, but almost none of the distinctive spicing you expect from a good bowl of pho.  They have a couple of bottles of sauce on the table that add a nice dose of spice and zestiness; these are absolutely essential.  On its own, the soup is seriously bland.

Pho Vistro

The slices of chicken and beef are okay, but they all had a vaguely leftovery flavour, and they’re all a bit tough.

The broad rice noodles are what you’d expect. They’re good.

Pho Vistro

It all adds up to a very inoffensive meal that I can’t imagine anyone getting too excited over.

Surprisingly Tasty Vietnamese Food at Mii Sandwich Co.

Mii YorkdaleLocation: 3401 Dufferin Street, North York (inside Yorkdale Mall)
Websitehttp://mii.herokuapp.com/

Mii is a small fast food chain specializing in quick Vietnamese eats.  As far as I know it’s only in mall food courts, which kinda makes you think it’s not going to be very good.

(Also, the name seems like a lawsuit from Nintendo waiting to happen.  It’s a bit puzzling.)

Well, I just tried their classic banh mi, and I was shocked at how much I enjoyed it.  It’s certainly not the best banh mi I’ve ever had, but it gets pretty much everything right, and very little wrong.

Mii Yorkdale

Basically: it’s not the bastardization you’d expect from the food court in Yorkdale.  It’s legit.

It’s seven bucks, so it’s somewhat pricey by banh mi standards, but it’s a hefty sandwich; considering the location, you really can’t expect it to be much cheaper.

Mii Yorkdale

Everything is as it should be: a nice slathering of butter, a healthy amount of chunky pate, a variety of cold cuts, and a good proportion of veggies and cilantro.  There was some kind of dark sauce that was a little bit too sweet for my taste, but aside from that, it was a tasty sammich.

The baguette was quite good, too; maybe a little bit too crunchy on its exterior, but otherwise soft and fresh.

Bizarre Pizza at Big Trouble Pizza

Big Trouble PizzaLocation: 235 Spadina Avenue, Toronto
Websitehttps://www.bigtroublepizza.com/

The dessert pizza at Big Trouble Pizza — called the Butter Jam Jam — is quite odd.  It features raspberry jam, butter cream, bocconcini cheese, mozzarella cheese, balsamic reduction, and lemon zest.

It sounds kinda absurd, and… yeah, it’s absurd.  I was hoping it would be one of those things that sounds weird but is actually great; no such luck.

Big Trouble Pizza

It’s not bad, though.  It’s generally tasty enough — all of the components are good — but the flavours/textures never quite cohere in any meaningful way.  It’s a little too salty for something that’s supposed to be a dessert, and nothing about it particularly pops.

Big Trouble Pizza

It tastes like something you might whip up in a moment of bizarre inspiration (perhaps under the influence of a certain substance that was just legalized) and then, once you actually try it, never make again.

Still, I didn’t dislike eating it, I guess.  And the crust was actually quite good, with a light exterior crispiness, and a pleasantly chewy interior.  It definitely makes me want to go back and try one of the traditional pizzas.