A Blast from the Past at Grandad’s Donuts

Grandad's DonutsLocation: 574 James Street North, Hamilton
Website: https://www.grandads.ca/

Remember the Walnut Crunch from Tim Hortons?  Because I certainly do.  It was clearly the best doughnut they sold, but then they discontinued it and darkness descended upon the land.

Grandad's Donuts

It’s safe to say that since then, we all occasionally google “Walnut Crunch Tim Hortons” to see if there’s any talk of it coming back.  I think we can all agree that this is a completely rational thing to do and not crazy at all.

Grandad's Donuts

It was during one of these searches that I discovered a place called Grandad’s Donuts in Hamilton — they sell their own version of the Walnut Crunch, just like Tim Hortons used to make.  Obviously, I had to check it out.

It was glorious.  It was exactly as I remembered at Tim Hortons — maybe a bit puffier, but otherwise pretty much exactly the same thing.

Grandad's Donuts

It’s sweet and cakey, with a thick sugary glaze, a mild chocolate flavour, and the occasional nutty crunch from the walnuts.  I’ll admit that taken on its own merits — without a fairly liberal dose of Walnut Crunch nostalgia — it’s nothing particularly special.  But then we’re all nostalgic for the Walnut Crunch, aren’t we?

An Amazing Vegetarian Sandwich at Black Camel

Black CamelLocation: 4 Crescent Road, Toronto
Website: https://www.blackcamel.ca/

If it weren’t for Toronto Life’s list of the best sandwiches in the city, never in a million years would it have occurred to me to try the roasted veggie sandwich at Black Camel.  I suppose I’m indebted to the list, because the sandwich was quite delicious.

Black Camel is a little take-out sandwich shop that specializes in tender, slow-roasted beef brisket and pork sandwiches (they also have chicken, steak, and a BLT).

I had assumed that the roasted veggie sandwich was more of a perfunctory, vegetarian-appeasing menu-filler than something anyone would actually want to order.

Black Camel

I was super duper wrong.  The veggie sandwich was just as good as their other offerings.  Maybe better.

The sandwich consists of roasted roma tomatoes, red pepper, and eggplant, with some peppery arugula for good measure.  It’s served on a soft, fresh bun.

Black Camel

You can choose from a variety of sauces; Toronto Life recommended the Charamoula sauce, which the menu describes as a “Moroccan-inspired mayonnaise [that] blends the flavours of garlic, cilantro, lemon juice, and smoked paprika into a one-of-a-kind topping.”  The list also recommended adding Fontina cheese, and who am I to argue with the list?

It’s a fantastic sandwich.  The veggies are all tender but not mushy, with a nice herby flavour.  They’re sweet, savoury, and absolutely crammed with flavour.

Black Camel

But it’s the Charamoula mayo that’s clearly the star of the show.  It’s zesty, spicy, and incredibly assertive without being overwhelming.  It’s one of those sauces that would make practically anything taste good; the fact that the veggies themselves are quite tasty is just a bonus.

The mild Fontina cheese adds a nice creaminess that only ups the richness from the silky mayo.  It’s a shockingly delicious sandwich.

More Dipped Cones at Les Epicuriens

Les EpicuriensLocation: 2109 Yonge Street, Toronto
Website: https://www.facebook.com/indulgeyourtastebuds/

Hey, it’s yet another place doing dipped cones.  Hooray?

Look, I can’t say no to ice cream, but as I mentioned in my review of Chocolats Favoris last year, we’ve got a lot of places that serve dipped cones in Toronto.  It’s a crowded field.

Les Epicuriens

So does Les Epicuriens stand out?  I dunno, not really?  I mean, they have a lot of dip options (a dozen when I visited), but then most of these places have a lot of dip options.  They also have a handful of toppings (various nuts, candy pieces, etc.), but that’s also par for the course.

I went with the “special vanilla” ice cream (vegan chocolate is also an option) with a pistachio dip.

Les Epicuriens

The ice cream is really good.  It’s very rich and creamy with a nice, clean flavour.  I’d say it’s about on par with Tom’s.

The dip was fine, though it was aggressively sweet and had only a mild pistachio flavour.  It basically tasted like white chocolate with a vague whiff of nuttiness.  I’d probably try a different dip next time, or just get the ice cream on its own.

Tasty Greek Food at Fat Lamb Kouzina

Fat Lamb KouzinaLocation: 874 Yonge Street, Toronto
Website: https://www.fatlambkouzina.com/

Fat Lamb Kouzina is a delightful little Greek place near Yonge and Bloor that, as you’d guess from the name, specializes in lamb.  It’s mostly a take-out joint, though they do have a communal table and some stools.

Fat Lamb Kouzina

The menu’s pretty simple — you can either get lamb, pork, chicken, or eggplant, and you have the choice of getting it on a pita, or with a side of potatoes or salad.

I went with the lamb; it’s right there in the name.  It’s an easy enough choice.

Fat Lamb Kouzina

There’s nothing better than well-prepared lamb — there’s something about its distinctive flavour that’s fairly irresistible.  And they prepare it very, very well here.  It’s slow-roasted and seasoned perfectly, with a zippy, herb-packed flavour.

It’s also incredibly tender.  Maybe a touch too tender?  I would have liked it to have a bit more texture, but it’s hard to complain when it’s this delicious.

Fat Lamb Kouzina

I got it with the potatoes on the side, which were perfectly creamy, and just as herby and delicious as the meat.  It comes with a cup of creamy tzatziki that amps up everything’s flavour.  It’s good stuff.

Delicious Doughnuts at Glory Hole Doughnuts

Glory Hole DonutsLocation: 1596 Queen Street West, Toronto
Website: https://www.gloryholedoughnuts.com/

I checked out Glory Hole Doughnuts when it opened and was thoroughly unimpressed.  That was a few years ago, and in the meanwhile it’s been piling up accolade after accolade.  Another visit was in order.

Glory Hole Donuts

Yeah, everyone is right about this place: it’s great.

I had the bread and butter doughnut, which is a classic raised doughnut topped with brown butter icing, toasted breadcrumbs, and cinnamon.

Glory Hole Donuts

The doughnut itself was perfect; just the right amount of fluffiness and chewiness, with a really nice flavour and no oiliness (this was an issue on my first visit, but not even a little bit this time).

Glory Hole Donuts

The icing was creamy, slightly nutty from the brown butter, and perfectly sweet.  The breadcrumbs add some crunch and a mild toasty flavour.  The sweet cinnamon-infused flavour, the creamy icing, and the crispy breadcrumbs are an irresistible combo.  It’s an amazing doughnut.