Lobster-topped stuffed tilapia from Red Lobster
I used to love Red Lobster as a kid. It was my birthday restaurant for pretty much the entirety of my childhood, so I still have very warm, fuzzy memories of the place. Every several years I feel the need to go back to indulge my nostalgia and remind myself that no, it’s not very good. The lobster-topped stuffed tilapia was actually surprisingly terrible; the flavour was one-note salty and it was absolutely doused in an unpleasant cream sauce. The rice tasted like one of those Uncle Ben’s packets from Dollarama that’s been reheated about a dozen times. The whole thing was just a straight-up bummer. I do still enjoy the biscuits, however, so there’s that.
Smoked Butternut Squash and Egg sandwich from Tuck Shop Kitchen
Though they had more traditional breakfast sandwiches on their menu (which they serve only on Sundays), I was intrigued by this one, which comes topped with “Applewood smoked butternut squash ‘Bacon’, Canadian cheddar, egg and roasted garlic aioli on a toasted sesame bun.” It’s a tasty sandwich, though like with most items labeled as vegetarian bacon, the squash did not resemble anything even vaguely related to bacon. It was just a smoky slice of squash. Still, it works quite well in the sandwich — my only complaint would be that it’s a very rich sandwich, and needs something acidic to cut that down a bit. The menu lists pickled jalapenos as an optional one dollar addon, and I think that would be the thing this sandwich is missing.
Candy Cane Bark gelato from Lola’s Gelato
I feel like everyone (myself included!) sleeps on Lola’s because it’s so far out of the downtown core, but every time I go there I’m impressed by how great the gelato is. This visit was no different; I was particularly struck with the quality of the gelato itself, which is incredibly rich and creamy. And the flavour was great, with a nice balance of mintiness and chocolate. Their assortment of flavours tends to be a bit more basic than places like Nani’s or Mizzica, but when the gelato itself is this great, who cares?