Location: 224 Queen Street West, Toronto
Marvelous by Fred is a French bakery chain with a bunch of locations in Europe, the States, and, in the last couple of years, Canada. They have a handful of tasty looking desserts and sandwiches, but their specialty is the Merveilleux, a tasty combo of whipped cream and meringue.
They serve a few different varieties of this, but the classic is the dark chocolate, which the store describes as “dark chocolate whipped cream & dark chocolate shavings.”
It’s good. Obviously it’s good — it’s just a big pile of crispy meringue chunks held together by chocolate-infused whipped cream, and then covered in shaved dark chocolate and topped with more cream. You literally cannot go wrong with that. How could you?
It’s not mind-blowing, though. I know that its creation is likely more involved than it tastes, but it kinda feels like I could mix together meringue, whipped cream, and chocolate at home and wind up with largely the same result.
I’m almost certainly not giving the bakery enough credit, but I can’t say I’ve ever thought that about literally any dessert from a French bakery, so there’s that.
Location: 4 St. Patrick Street, Toronto
A mochi doughnut, for the unaware, is basically a regular doughnut, but with the addition of rice flour. This gives it a delightfully chewy texture that works better than you might expect. Even if you don’t like mochi, it’s worth a shot — the chewiness is definitely there, but it’s not particularly aggressive.
They have nine flavours at Isabella’s; they all looked tasty, but I went with the s’mores (“chocolate, toasted meringue, graham crackers”).
It’s really good. The chocolate glaze has a nice chocolatey flavour that isn’t too sweet, and while the fluffy toasted meringue isn’t super marshmallowy, it’s tasty and complements the chocolate well. I don’t think the graham cracker crumbs made much of a difference, but it’s tasty either way.
As for the doughnut itself, yeah, it’s good. The chewiness is just enough to set it apart from a standard doughnut, but not so much that it feels overwhelming. It’s really satisfying.
Location: 445 Adelaide Street West, Toronto
What’s better than a doughnut? A warm, fresh-from-the-fryer doughnut, that’s what.
Outside of a few beverages, Cops does just one thing: Tiny Tom’s-esque mini doughnuts that you can order topped with OG sour cream glaze, cinnamon sugar, or the weekly feature, which was orange sherbet when I visited. I went with an order of six of the feature.
My batch had an unnervingly pale colour, and I thought, uh oh, but maybe they serve a different style of doughnut?
Alas, they do not — the doughnuts were underdone, with an interior that wasn’t quite raw, but that was softer than you’d like.
Still, I didn’t dislike eating them — it’s hard to go wrong with a fresh doughnut, even when it’s not quite fully cooked. The exterior still managed to have a very light crispiness, and while I wish the interior was less mushy and more fluffy, it wasn’t unpleasant to eat.
That’s not to mention the orange sherbet icing, which was fantastic — it had a great balance of sweet and tart, and a nice hit of orange flavour. You could put that on anything and it would be great.
Location: 1425 Dundas Street East, Mississauga
Mr. Puffs is a chain that specializes in fried doughnut holes — they’re basically Greek-style loukoumades, though the menu and website never uses that word, referring to them only as puffs.
The puffs come topped with various sauces and flavours; the woman behind the counter said that honey cinnamon and sugar cinnamon are the two most popular, so I got six of each (an order of 12, which comes out to about eight bucks, is the smallest you can get).
This location has just opened, so I’m going to give them the benefit of the doubt and say that they’re still working out the kinks. This style of doughnut is generally soaked in syrup, but the syrup was just drizzled on here, resulting in a final product that was just barely sweet (and the sugar cinnamon variety had the same issue). The doughnuts mostly tasted of the oil they were fried in.
I also think that the oil might have been a bit too hot, because the exterior was aggressively crispy (I could barely put a fork through it) and the interior was soft and gummy.
Still, despite the issues, it’s a fun concept — assuming they work out the kinks, it’s definitely worth checking out.
Location: 2883 Lake Shore Boulevard West, Etobicoke
The Sydney Grind is a delightful Australian-themed coffee shop that serves a bunch of tasty-looking pastries. One of those pastries: the lamington, an Australian specialty that features yellow cake coated in chocolate and coconut.
It’s quite tasty. I mean, how could it not be? It’s just plain cake with chocolate and coconut — all tasty stuff.
Well, I guess you could mess it up by making a bad quality cake or using shoddy chocolate, but that’s clearly not the case here. The cake is tasty and moist, and the chocolate/coconut combo is expectedly delicious.