Delicious Banh Mi at Rose’s Vietnamese Sandwiches

Rose's Vietnamese SandwichesLocation: 601 Gerrard Street East, Toronto
Website: None

Like many banh mi joints, Rose’s Vietnamese Sandwiches is ridiculously cheap.  I had the standard cold cut banh mi, which is crammed with meat and pate, and costs a paltry three bucks.

This is simultaneously amazing — cheap, delicious food! — and crappy.  There’s an unfair expectation that a lot of Asian or Latin American cuisine should be served for rock-bottom prices, which makes it unnecessarily difficult for the people who run those restaurants to make a living.

Rose's Vietnamese Sandwiches

I’m not going to rehash what many other people have written on the subject, but it does kinda give you pause.

Setting that aside?  It’s a tasty sandwich.  The assorted meats banh mi is the classic — it’s got Vietnamese cold cuts, chunky pate, pickled veggies, and cilantro.

Rose's Vietnamese Sandwiches

It’s really tasty; there’s a lot of meat, but it’s perfectly balanced out by the sweet, vinegary pickled veggies, not to mention the abundant fresh cilantro.  It’s definitely a contender for  the best banh mi in the city, though I think there are a couple of things holding it back from greatness.

The biggest issue: I wish it had more pate.  It has a thin spread of pate that’s entirely overwhelmed by the sizable layer of cold cuts.  You miss out on the satisfying contrast between the meaty cold cuts and the creamy, minerally pate.

Rose's Vietnamese Sandwiches

The other issue is the bread.  It’s certainly not bad, but the exterior doesn’t quite have the light crispiness you’re looking for, and the whole thing is a bit dry.

Still, those are fairly minor complaints — it’s a solid banh mi, it’s just not quite up there with the best that I’ve had.

Solid Ice Cream at 00 Gelato

00 GelatoLocation: 370 King Street West, Toronto
Website: https://www.instagram.com/00gelato/

Not everything needs to be (or can be) a home run.  Sometimes it’s fine for a dish to be solid — perfectly tasty, but nothing too mind-blowing.

That’s 00 Gelato in a nutshell.  I don’t think anyone’s going to call it the best gelato in the city, but it’s quite satisfying.

00 Gelato

The place is a bit odd.  It’s in a closet-sized spot on King, and it’s basically just a gelato counter in a doorway.  It seems super makeshift, but it’s been popping up for the last few summers, so it’s permanent enough.

I had a scoop of the Ferrero Rocher, and it’s good.  The gelato itself is rich and creamy, and the flavour is quite nice.  It’s a bit too sweet, but it otherwise does a great job of capturing the Ferrero Rocher flavour, right down to the crispy wafer bits.

Disappointment at General Assembly Pizza

General Assembly PizzaLocation: 331 Adelaide Street West, Toronto
Website: https://www.gapizza.com/

The last time I checked out General Assembly Pizza, I noted that the crust didn’t quite have the level of chew that you’re looking for; sadly, that issue has not gotten any better.  If anything, it’s worse.

Their current special is a TIFF-inspired pizza called the Pink Panther: “rose sauce, shrimp, lemon, red jalapeno, garlic, scallion, mozzarella.”

General Assembly Pizza

It’s not bad.  The flavours all work together relatively well, and the shrimp is perfectly cooked.  But it’s an off-kilter pizza, and unlike the off-kilter pies at a place like Descendant, I kinda wished I was eating something a bit more traditional.  Nothing about it particularly pops.

Still, it’s tasty enough — aside from the crust.  As you can see from the photo, it’s perfectly cooked, with a delightful amount of char from the hot oven.  But it lacks substance, and it’s kinda bland.  It almost dissolves in your mouth; you barely even have to chew it.

General Assembly Pizza

I also tried the General Bread from the Snacks portion of the menu, which is described as “aged mozzarella, grana, garlic, aleppo pepper, wild oregano.”  It had the same issues with the dough, but it’s loaded with enough cheese and garlic (not to mention the tomato dipping sauce) to overcome the crust’s deficiencies.  It’s quite good.

Tasty Cookies and Amazing Soft Serve at Soul Chocolate

Soul ChocolateLocation: 583 Gerrard Street East, Toronto
Website: https://www.soulroasters.com/

Soul Chocolate is a delightful chocolate/coffee shop on the east end that has some seriously satisfying chocolate soft serve.  Like, ridiculously satisfying.

Soul Chocolate

I also tried the chocolate chunk cookie, and that’s very good too — it has a nice chewy texture, a sweet buttery flavour, and a whole bunch of great quality chocolate chunks.  It’s lightly sprinkled with just the right amount of salt to offset its sweetness.

Soul Chocolate

As delicious as the cookie is (and it’s extremely delicious), it’s overshadowed by the phenomenal soft serve.

Seriously: this stuff is pure magic.  It’s perfectly rich and creamy, though it’s the intense chocolatey flavour that really makes it stand out.  It’s got that bold flavour that you only get from great quality dark chocolate, and it’s amazing.

Soul Chocolate

It actually reminds me of the thick, rich drinking chocolate that they serve at Soma — only it’s ice cream.  If you’re thinking that sounds delightful, you are correct.  It is delightful.  Extremely delightful.

An Excellent Steak Sandwich at Completo

CompletoLocation: 5 Coady Avenue, Toronto
Website: https://completo.club/

There are a lot of ways that a steak sandwich can go wrong, but when it’s good, it’s really good.

Completo, a tiny little take-out spot on the east end that describes itself as serving “Latin fresh fast food,” has a steak sandwich that’s very, very good.

Completo

The steak sandwich is dubbed the classic churrassco.  Pork or chorizo are options, but trust me, you want that steak.  It’s topped with diced tomato, avocado, mayo, roasted red pepper sauce, and hot sauce.

Completo

It’s one of those sandwiches where everything is just right.  I don’t think there’s a single thing that I’d change.

The steak is outstanding.  You could put it on two slices of plain Wonder Bread and it’d still be an amazing sandwich.  It’s tender, it has a nice crust from the griddle, and a very satisfying beefy flavour.

Completo

The other stuff is just the icing on the cake.  The mayo and avocado add a nice creamy heft, though it’s the spicy/sweet combo of the hot sauce and the roasted red peppers that really makes the sandwich sing.  You have the choice between mild, medium, and hot; I went with hot, and yeah, it’s hot.  But the spice works so well with the sandwich’s other flavours.  And of course, the fresh bun suits the sandwich perfectly.  It’s pretty amazing.