Decent Fried Chicken at Love Chix

Love ChixLocation: 111 Richmond Street West, Toronto (in the Assembly Chef’s Hall)
Websitehttp://www.lovechix.ca/

I got nervous when, after I ordered my chicken sandwich from Love Chix, they opened a drawer filled with pre-cooked chicken pieces and then dunked one in the fryer to reheat it.

Thankfully, it certainly could have been worse, but the chicken was dry and overcooked, and it’s easy enough to see why.  This might have been less of an issue if they started with dark meat, which has a bit more leeway during the cooking process before it dries out.  But it was white meat, and “moist” was not a word in its vocabulary.

Love Chix

The sandwich was otherwise quite tasty.  It’s tossed in a honey hot sauce and topped with buttermilk ranch, coleslaw, and arugula.  The honey flavour was quite pronounced, but there was enough of a spicy kick and a vinegary bite to balance out the sweetness.  The creamy ranch and the peppery arugula helped to round things out.  It was actually quite tasty.

And while the crunch factor wasn’t quite as pronounced as it could have been, it was certainly satisfying.

I just wish the meat itself weren’t so dry.  I certainly understand why they serve their chicken this way; people might get impatient to wait the almost ten minutes it would take to fry a piece of chicken from scratch.  But I wish they’d give you a choice.

Average Meatball Sandwich at Little DaiLo

Little DaiLoLocation: 111 Richmond Street West, Toronto (in the Assembly Chef’s Hall)
Websitehttps://chefs-hall.squarespace.com/

Little DaiLo in the Assembly Chef’s Hall currently has a garlic sambal meatball sandwich on their menu.  I just tried it; it was a meatball sandwich.  The End.

I should write a few more words, I suppose.  But there’s not all that much to say about it — despite the presence of napa slaw and garlic sambal, it’s a super run-of-the-mill meatball sandwich.  It’s perfectly tasty, but there isn’t anything about it that stands out.

Well, that’s not strictly true: though it doesn’t add all that much flavour, the sambal has a pleasant kick that makes the sandwich a bit more fiery than the norm.

Little DaiLo

The other thing that should set it apart is the napa slaw, but aside from a mild crunch, you can’t even tell it’s there.

Other than that, the beef meatballs and the sauce were standard-issue (though the meatballs in a meatball sandwich can sometimes be a bit mushy and these had a nice texture, so I appreciated that).  The sandwich is ostensibly Asian-inspired, but it tastes like what you’ll find at any number of Italian sandwich joints around town.  It’s good, but nothing about it stands out.

My only real issue here is with the bread.  It was cold and clammy.  I wish it had been even lightly toasted (or at least warmed up somehow), but it was otherwise fine.

Delicious Cupcakes and Cookies at Short and Sweet Bakeshop

Short and Sweet BakeshopLocation: 111 Richmond Street West, Toronto (in the Assembly Chef’s Hall)
Websitehttp://shortandsweetcupcakes.ca/

Are you a cake person or a frosting person?  Because the cupcake I had at Short and Sweet is making me doubt myself.  Generally I prefer a cupcake that’s a bit heavier on the cake in the cake-to-frosting ratio, but Short and Sweet goes hard in the other direction.  And yet I quite enjoyed it.

As you can see from the photo of its midsection, between the injected sauce and the icing on top, it’s something like 35 percent cake, and 65 percent sauce and frosting.  It’s pretty intense.

Short and Sweet Bakeshop

I got the Dream Team cupcake, which is a vanilla cupcake that’s been topped with vanilla buttercream and a swirl of caramel and chocolate sauces.  It’s also injected with the aforementioned sauces.   It’s an intense, in-your-face sugar bomb — and yet it somehow isn’t too sweet.  All of the flavours go together so well.

Short and Sweet Bakeshop

It helps that all of the individual components are great — the cake is moist and fluffy, the buttercream is smooth and velvety, and the two sauces are great.  In particular, the rich, dulce-de-leche-esque caramel sauce is absolutely fantastic.  But everything is so sweet, and altogether you’d think it would be way too sweet, but it isn’t.  It works.

Short and Sweet Bakeshop

I also tried the s’mores cookie sandwich, which consists of two above-average chocolate chip cookies encasing a whole bunch of chocolate frosting and marshmallow sauce.

Do I even need to say anything else?  Or does it go without saying that it was delicious?  Because it’s just as good as you’d hope it would be.

Short and Sweet Bakeshop

I should note that it’s incredibly heavy, both figuratively and literally — the thing must weigh like half a pound, so eating this all at once isn’t advisable unless you have a particularly large appetite.  But it’s so, so good.

Lamb Shoulder at Cherry Street Bar-B-Que

Cherry Street Bar-B-QueAssembly Chef’s Hall is Toronto’s first food hall — it’s basically like a food court, if food courts were amazing.

There’s a bunch of interesting restaurants here, though I was homing in on the burger from Resto Boemo, which I wanted to review for my burger blog.  But then I saw that Cherry Street Bar-B-Que was serving lamb shoulder as part of a St. Patrick’s Day special, and it was game over.  I love southern-style barbecue, and I love lamb.  Barbecued lamb?  Hell yes.

Cherry Street Bar-B-Que

It comes served on chunky mashed potatoes, and is topped with a generous amount of their Murphy’s Stout BBQ sauce, which was amazing.  It was extremely untraditional — it wasn’t nearly as sweet or as acidic as you’d expect, with a rich, tomatoey flavour that’s rounded out by the stout, which adds notes of chocolate and coffee.  It sounds odd, but it worked incredibly well with the lamb.  I should have asked if I could buy a bottle.

And that lamb was quite tasty, though like pretty much every barbecue place in the GTA, it had almost zero smokey flavour.  But in this case I didn’t even particularly mind — the amazing flavour of the lamb was front-and-centre, and it’s hard to complain too much about that.  It was tender while still retaining some texture, with some really tasty bark, and just enough fat to keep things interesting, but not enough to overwhelm.