Location: 256 Augusta Avenue, Toronto
I tried Otto’s Berlin Doner around when it first opened and quite enjoyed it; I’m happy to report that not only has the place not missed a step, I think they’ve actually gotten better. I just had the veal and lamb doner, and I was pretty blown away by how good it was.
Every element works so well — it’s got that great bread, which is delightfully crispy on the outside and fluffy on the inside, and it’s got the perfect balance between tasty meat and fresh veggies, with the sauces all complementing it so well.
You can choose between garlic, yogurt, and hot sauce — or you can do what I did and get all three, which is definitely what you should do because it’s a very tasty combo (the hot sauce isn’t hot at all, but it’s hard to complain when it’s all this tasty).
But it’s the veal and lamb that really makes the sandwich sing. It’s super tender, with a great meaty flavour from the lamb and a punch of rosemary-tinged herbiness. And it’s absolutely crammed with the crispy bits that make a sandwich like this so addictive.
I mean, look at this picture. Look at the crispy bits. That’s a thing of beauty.
You can also add feta cheese and/or fries to your sandwich for a buck a piece, and again, you should definitely do that. The fries add more delightful savoury crispiness, and the feta brings creamy pops of saltiness that really rounds out the sandwich.
Pumpkin Pie Blizzard at Dairy Queen
Dairy Queen brings out the pumpkin pie Blizzard once a year, and come on. Just put it on the regular menu. It is the king of Blizzards. It tastes just like a pumpkin pie, but in Blizzard form. It’s so good.
Sweet Potato Hash at Uncle Betty’s
This is the type of thing I’d normally write a full post about (I haven’t even written about Uncle Betty’s on this blog, though I did try the burger for Tasty Burgers), but honestly? I don’t want to. I mean, look at it. It’s basically just a pile of cubed sweet potatoes with some onions and a little bit of spinach interspersed throughout. No particular seasoning that I could taste, no caramelization or crispiness… just a bunch of bland sweet potato topped with a couple of poached eggs, and served with a slightly congealed cup of hollandaise on the side. It tasted as sad as it looks.
Chocolate Shot at Soul Chocolate
I was actually hoping to get the delicious soft serve from Soul Chocolate, but alas, when I went they had just stopped serving it for the season. I don’t know who came up with the notion that you can only have ice cream in the summer, but that person is a criminal and deserves to go to jail. So I got the chocolate shot instead, and it’s very good. It’s not quite on the level of the version they serve at Soma; it’s got an odd sour note that I found a bit off-putting, but is otherwise deeply chocolatey and thoroughly satisfying.
Location: 596 College Street, Toronto
I noticed after the fact that Tondou Ramen bills itself as “the one and only Okinawan restaurant in Toronto.” That being the case, I probably should have ordered the Okinawa soba instead of the shio ramen. Oh well.
Still, the shio ramen was mostly quite tasty, with a fairly large caveat that, to be fair, mostly applies to me and weirdos like me. Specifically: people who hate raw onion.
I’m a card-carrying raw onion hater, so you can take all of my opinions on the matter with a grain of salt, but the ramen here was a bit much. It’s topped with the usual green onion (which I’m normally okay with) along with a generous amount of sliced white onions, and it’s onion overload.
The problem is that the soup itself, which the menu describes as a “light chicken broth,” has such a subtle flavour that it can’t help but be overwhelmed by the raw onion assault. It’s all you can taste. It completely overpowers the delicate broth.
Still, everything else about the bowl was quite good, particularly the perfectly chewy fresh noodles.
I also tried the takoyaki (A.K.A. octopus balls), which was very good; oddly, the balls are deep fried (is that an Okinawan thing?), which gives them a delightfully crisp exterior.
Location: 2853 Dundas Street West, Toronto
I’ve written about Chica’s Chicken many, many times on this blog. I’ve mentioned that I think they serve the best fried chicken in the city, and that’s still probably true — even if I wasn’t crazy about this particular sandwich.
The Jalapeno Popper Sando, as per their menu: “boneless fried chicken topped with chipotle aioli and pickled jalapeños, served on a toasted brioche bun.”
The fried chicken is as delicious as ever; it’s the perfect combo of crispy (but not overbearing) exterior and juicy interior. It’s so damn good.
I’m not quite as sold on the rest of the sandwich, however. It’s that chipotle aioli. It’s sweet. I like the sweet/salty combo as much as the next guy, but holy moly the level of intense sugariness here is a bit intense. It overpowers the other flavours of the sandwich. I find the Sweet Heat sandwich at Chica’s to be a bit on the sweet side, and this one is even sweeter, somehow. Between the sweet sauce and the sweet brioche bun, the flavour is extremely one note.
It also tastes absolutely nothing like a jalapeno popper, which is odd. The whole point of a jalepeno popper is the contrast between the tangy cream cheese and the spicy bite of the jalapeno, and I don’t think there was any cream cheese here?? Or if there was, I couldn’t taste it over the aggressive sweetness.
Also, I don’t think I’ve ever had a jalapeno popper that was even remotely sweet. Am I the weird one, or is Chica’s?
Oh well. Everything else on the menu is so good that I don’t particularly care, but this is still an odd misstep from an otherwise great restaurant.
Location: 181 Dovercourt Road, Toronto
Pizzeria Badiali is a pizza joint that bills itself as “a nod to the New York classics.” And yeah, it’s quite different from the Neapolitan-style pizzas you can find all over town.
Of course, it would have to be — it’s a slice shop, and the floppier slices of a Neapolitan-style pizza aren’t exactly grab-and-go compatible.
The slices here, on the other hand, have a delightful crispiness that never feels overly crunchy, with an interior texture that balances fluffiness and chewiness quite well. It reminds me a bit of the slices they serve nearby at Superpoint, but I think this might be even better.
I got the margherita: “crushed tomato, fior di latte, pecorino and padano, basil.”
It was great — in particular, the balance between the creamy fior di latte and the sharp pecorino and padano really popped.
The place is quite popular (someone actually came out and announced a twenty minute wait for a new batch of slices shortly after I got mine), and with the combo of great quality toppings and a superlative crust, it’s easy enough to see why.