The Truth About Milkshakes

Sweet JesusLocation: 25 The West Mall, Etobicoke (inside Sherway Gardens)
Website: https://www.sweetjesusicecream.com/

I’m just gonna say it: milkshakes are for jerks.

Well, okay, maybe that’s not true.  Milkshakes are perfectly delicious, but generally speaking, if I’m going to eat ice cream, I want to eat ice cream.  I don’t need to drink it.

Still, I don’t mind a milkshake every now and then, and since I’ve tried all the cones at Sweet Jesus, I figured sure, why not?

Sweet Jesus

I got the Peanut Butter, Pretzel & Chocolate Hazelnut shake, which features “vanilla soft serve, peanut butter sauce, caramel sauce, whipped cream, hazelnut-chocolate sauce, salted pretzel crumble.”

Yeah, it’s a lot of stuff.  And it’s quite tasty — it tastes pretty much exactly what you think it’s going to taste like based on that description.

I find a lot of milkshakes to be unpleasantly thick; if I have to struggle to suck it up through a straw, then what’s the point?  Just let me just eat it with a spoon.  This, on the other hand, was easily drinkable.  It was the perfect consistency, though I suspect milkshake aficionados might find it too thin.

Passable Taiwanese Food at Chi Chop!!

Chi Chop!!Location: 2352 Yonge Street, Toronto
Website: http://chichop.ca/

You wouldn’t particularly know it from what they’re serving at Chi Chop (sorry — Chi Chop!!), but Taiwanese food is pretty great.  It has a lot in common with Chinese cuisine, but it’s also got its own thing going on in some very delightful ways.

Chi Chop!!

Chi Chop (!!) serves Taiwanese-style fried chicken, and it’s fine.  I got the Ninja crispy chicken bento box, which comes with a generous piece of boneless fried chicken, rice, a salad, three small spring rolls, and miso soup.

Nothing particularly stands out.  The fried chicken isn’t bad, but it’s made from white meat, and it’s predictably dry.  It’s also a bit too aggressively battered, with an overly thick exterior.

Chi Chop!!

Still, I didn’t dislike eating it.  It’s nicely seasoned, and there’s nothing blatantly wrong with it.  It’s missing the sauce from the photo on their menu (which would have been nice), but… I don’t know.  It didn’t offend me.  It’s a shrug.  An edible shrug.

Chi Chop!!

It probably doesn’t help that the set is a bit muddled; the chicken is Taiwanese, the soup is Japanese, and the spring rolls taste Filipino (they have a separate section of the menu dedicated to Filipino cuisine).  It definitely feels like a “Jack of all trades, master of none” situation.

(Mostly) Tasty Eats at The Ex

The ExLocation: 210 Princes’ Boulevard, Toronto
Website: https://theex.com/

Though I haven’t been in a couple of years, I enjoy going to the Ex.  I mean, they have an enormous building dedicated entirely to food, not to mention vendor after vendor selling junky carnival food, so of course I enjoy it.

I didn’t get to try quite as much as I would have liked (this stuff was all extremely heavy), but I sampled a few things.

The Ex

The Big Chief from Porkies Sandwich Co.

This place specializes in porchetta and pork belly, and serves a sandwich that’s crammed with both of them.  The two meats are topped with caramelized onions, arugula, provolone, salsa verde, and chipotle mayo.  It’s not bad — the two types of pork are a bit bland and textureless (they’re super tender, but there are zero crispy bits or crackling), but they’re still porky and satisfying.  The cheese was unmelted and basically added nothing to the sandwich, but the onions and the sauces are tasty and do a good job of cutting through the extreme richness of the belly and the porchetta.  I will say, however, that this might have been the greasiest sandwich I’ve ever eaten in my life.  Grease was leaking everywhere.

The Ex

Scorpion Burrito from Burrito Co.

Though Burrito Co. advertises this as “Canada’s hottest burrito,” that’s a dubious claim; the burrito itself is barely spicy at all.  It does, however, come with a tiny dropper filled with a legitimately fiery hot sauce.  This stuff isn’t kidding around, though I wish they had added it right into the burrito, because having to reapply it every couple of mouthfuls was a bit of a pain.  As for the burrito itself, it was fine, I guess?  It was decent enough, but nothing about it particularly stands out (other than the comically absurd $19.25 price tag).

The Ex

Pickle Pizza from Rick’s Pizza

This is the only thing I tried that was outside of the food building.  The slice is basically exploding with pickle flavour; it’s topped with pickle slices, and features dill ranch instead of tomato sauce.  It’s a novelty food and it tastes like a novelty food, but it’s actually kind of satisfying.  The pickles are nice and zingy, and the pizza itself is decent.  I don’t know that I’d want to eat this all the time — but isn’t that the whole point of carnival food?  If it’s something you’d want to eat on a regular basis, it’s probably not doing its job.

A Tasty Cupcake at Bobbette and Belle

Bobbette & BelleLocation: 1121 Queen Street East, Toronto
Website: http://bobbetteandbelle.com/

I kind of hate going to a good bakery, because I want to eat that, and that, and that, and that, but there’s only so much room inside my stomach.  It’s kind of like Sophie’s Choice, but at least she only had two children to choose between; there’s like a dozen things here that look delicious.

Bobbette & Belle

I wound up going with the Cookies and Cream cupcake at Bobbette and Belle, but there were so many other pastries I could have picked.  Everything looked great.

Bobbette & Belle

I’d say I chose pretty well.  The cupcake features a chocolate base topped with an Oreo-infused frosting.  It’s delightful.  The cake is nice and moist, with a satisfying chocolatey flavour.  And the frosting is sweet (but not overly sweet) and creamy, with a nice balance of cookie chunks.  It’s one of the better cupcakes I’ve had in a while.

Fried Chicken and Spaghetti at Jollibee

JollibeeLocation: 800 Boyer Boulevard, Mississauga (inside Seafood City Supermarket)
Website: http://jollibeecanada.com/

Jollibee opened locations in Scarborough and Mississauga in the last couple of years, and they were both immediately swamped.  People love Jollibee with a passion that’s unusual in the world of fast food.

I tried visiting the Mississauga location a couple of times when it first opened, and both times the line was way too intense.  But I figured it was safe enough to give it another shot, and yeah, the extreme crowds have died down.  I showed up at around 11:20 AM on a Friday and was able to order immediately, though by the time I left a line had already formed.

Jollibee

I ordered the Crispy Chicken Perfect Pair, which comes with a piece of fried chicken, Jolly Spaghetti, and a drink.

I assumed I’d like the fried chicken (and I did), but the spaghetti was a bit more of a question mark.  It’s topped with meat sauce with chunks of hot dog mixed in, and it’s notorious for being quite sweet.  I was expecting something in line with Chef Boyardee.

It’s interesting; the sauce is, as advertised, quite sweet.  But it’s also tangy, and kind of reminded me of a cross between a traditional tomato sauce and barbecue sauce.  It feels like it shouldn’t work, but it kinda does.  The salty hot dog slices help to round out the sweetness, as does the cheese on top.

Jollibee

The spaghetti itself isn’t exactly al dente, but it’s not mushy, either.  The whole thing is oddly compelling.  I liked it.

The fried chicken is more straightforward.  It basically tastes like KFC original recipe, but with a slightly more subtle flavour.  The chicken was nicely crispy on its exterior and very juicy inside.  It’s a quality piece of fried chicken.

Jollibee

Even the gravy is a bit more unique than you might think; it’s definitely not the typical brown gravy you’ll find at a fast food joint.  It’s a little bit sweet, and there’s a spice in there I couldn’t quite put my finger on.  It works really well with the fried chicken.

I ordered the peach mango pie for dessert, which is crispy and fried, as it should be.  The filling is basically a fruit-flavoured goo (there were maybe like two or three tiny bits of fruit in there), but it’s still quite tasty.  It’s basically impossible to go wrong with a deep fried pie.

Jollibee

Okay: I get it.  I get the lines.  It’s certainly not the best thing ever, but I can see why people who grew up with Jollibee have a deep fondness for the place.  It’s pretty unique.