Location: 120 Peter Street, Toronto
It’s hard to imagine this now, but there was a time in Toronto when you couldn’t find a shop selling baby-sized burritos on every other block. But of course, Burrito Boyz opened on Peter Street in 2003 and basically launched a city-wide obsession.
After a split between the owners, that spot became Burrito Banditos, and now it’s Burrito Gordito. I have no idea if either of the original Burrito Boyz boys are involved here, but the menu is pretty much the same.
I ordered the steak burrito, which was always my favourite back in the original Burrito Boyz days, and yeah, it’s still good. I don’t know if it’s quite as tasty as I remember it being way back in the early aughts, but then how can you possibly compete with warm and fuzzy memories from well over a decade ago?
The quality of the steak itself is quite good, and there’s a generous amount of it. It’s nice and tender but still has a satisfying chew, and it has a mild but enjoyable beefy flavour.
As for the rest of it, it’s as crammed with rice, beans, and sauces as you’re expecting, with a nice variety of zippy flavours. I ordered it spicy and it was barely hot at all (I remember it being legitimately fiery back in the Burrito Boyz days), but aside from that it’s quite satisfying.
It’s also nicely toasted on the outside — they even roll it over to toast it on its sides, which is a nice touch.
Double Cheese Nachos at Moxie’s
Before having these nachos, I hadn’t been to Moxie’s in several years. My recollection is that the place was deeply mediocre, and hey, wouldn’t you know it, it’s still deeply mediocre. The nachos were fine-ish; they’re somewhere in the vicinity of fine, I guess? For something called “Double Cheese” nachos, there were a lot of dry chips, and there otherwise isn’t much going on here other than some chopped tomatoes and sliced jalapenos. It’s one-note in its flavour, and desperately needs something with a bit of acidity/zinginess to perk it up a bit (salsa could have filled this role, but the salsa here tasted like it came out of a jar — and a particularly shoddy one, at that).
It’s also crazy overpriced for what it is; with the pulled chicken (which was basically stewed chicken mush) and guacamole (which was exceptionally bland), the platter comes up to a whopping 29 bucks, which is a galling amount to pay for such a mediocre plate of nachos.
Hot Fudge Sundae at Tom’s Dairy Freeze
I’ve written about Tom’s Dairy Freeze a couple of times before, which is why I didn’t bother writing a whole post about this, but it’s worth noting that the hot fudge sauce here is above average. It’s not great, mind you (the ice cream itself is definitely the reason to come to Tom’s), but it has a decent chocolate flavour, and it’s not overly sweet. It’s definitely a cut above a place like Dairy Queen.
Cinnamon Bun at Blackbird Baking Co.
Like the almond croissant at Blackbird Baking Co., the cinnamon bun is a lot more subtle than you’re expecting it to be — but it’s also delicious. It’s basically like a croissant and a cinnamon bun had a baby. The croissants at Blackbird are quite good, so yeah, this is as good as you’d hope.
Location: 3447 Kennedy Road, Scarborough
Ming’s Noodle Cafe is a Hong-Kong-style diner; it’s also one of those restaurants with a multi-page menu with literally hundreds of choices. If you’re not sure what to order, the All Day Special is a safe bet, and an absolutely incredible deal.
For the almost absurdly low price of 7.45, you get an egg sandwich or an omelette with toast on the side, a main meal, and a drink. It’s an insane deal.
Is the food amazing? No, it definitely isn’t; but for that price how can you complain?
And it’s certainly not bad. I started with the egg sandwich, which features a tasty, buttery omelette between two fluffy slices of white bread. The eggs were slightly overcooked, but it was a respectable sandwich.
Next up was the beef with satay sauce on vermicelli soup. This was fine; the beef is tender, and the satay sauce is tasty enough. Nothing about it particularly stands out… until you add a heaping amount of the chili sauce they have on the table, then it really comes alive.
I wish that sauce were a bit spicier (it’s surprisingly mild) but it’s otherwise sweet, savoury, and addictive, with a face-punch of satisfying flavours. You can buy a jar to take home for six bucks, and you’d better believe I bought one.
Location: 235 Augusta Avenue, Toronto
I recently had a pide at Byblos Uptown that was good but not great; now here comes Best Istanbul Restaurant to show them how it’s really done.
I tried a couple of pides, and they were both seriously delicious. There was the Sucuk Pide (“Turkish flatbread with mozzarella, sucuk meat and eggs”) and the Veggie Pide (“mozzarella, spinach and feta cheese”).
Both were quite good, though the sucuk was my favourite of the two. If you’re unfamiliar with sucuk (which is sometimes spelled sujuk), it’s a really tasty, intensely-spiced sausage that’s kind of like a turbo-charged version of pepperoni. It’s so good.
It works perfectly on the pide, with its assertive flavour matching perfectly with the mild, gooey cheese. The crust is great too, with a nice exterior crispiness and a satisfyingly chewy/fluffy interior. I didn’t notice the egg, however; either they forgot about it (the picture on the menu shows a full egg yolk on the pide), or they mixed it right in with the cheese (though it didn’t taste like they did).
The Veggie was quite tasty as well, though the crust was slightly thinner and crispier, which wasn’t quite as satisfying as the other one. It was also a bit underseasoned, though a spritz from the accompanying lemon wedge easily took care of that problem.
Location: 324 Frederick Street, Kitchener
Though I was really hoping to try the kouign-amann at Ambrosia Corner Bakery, it turns out I visited on the wrong day — they’re only served from Thursday to Saturday. My disappointment was short-lived, however. As soon as I saw their Pecan Cinnamon Sticky Buns, I knew that I needed to put one in my belly ASAP.
Step aside, kouign-amann; that sticky bun has an urgent appointment with my face.
Yes. It’s as good as it looks. It’s sticky, sweet, and incredible. It looks like it might be too sweet, but it’s actually remarkably well balanced. The caramel on top has a very rich, deep flavour, and the buttery, amazing pastry is substantial enough to hold up to the generous amount of sauce. That’s not to mention the underlying cinnamon flavour, which is delightful.
But then do I even need to be writing this? You have eyeballs. Again: it’s as good as it looks.