Location: 859 College Street, Toronto
I’m sorry to have to inform you, but this is one of those “stop whatever you’re doing right now and visit this bakery” moments, so whatever you’re doing right now — even if it’s important — stop it immediately. Get in your car, or get on public transit, and head over to Barbershop Patisserie. It’s the real deal.
I’ve been there a few times now, and everything is fantastic. Apparently their most popular pastry is the lemon bichon, which is kind of like a kouign-amann — it features a flaky, croissant-like laminated pastry and an exterior layer of crispy sugar, which has a deep, dark caramelized flavour. But it’s also filled with a generous amount of creamy, tart lemon curd, which contrasts perfectly with the sweet exterior. It’s not the most photogenic dessert ever, but man it’s amazing. It’s probably one of the best pastries I’ve ever had.
The chocolate chip cookie isn’t quite as mind-blowing as the lemon bichon (what is?), but it’s a top-notch cookie, with a great contrast between its crispy exterior and chewy interior, and a very generous amount of above average chocolate. The light sprinkling of salt on top helps to balance things out.
I also tried the wild blueberry custard tart, and hey, guess what? It’s delicious. It features a great balance between the creamy custard and the sweet blueberries, and of course that buttery pastry is outstanding.
But why are you still reading this? You should be on your way already.
Papusas and a combination plate at Amanecer Salvadoreño Restaurant
This is a fantastic hidden gem in north Etobicoke. I heard that the papusas are the thing to order here, and yeah, they’re top-notch. But the rest of the menu is no slouch; I also tried the combination plate that came with steak, shrimp, and plantain, and everything was very, very good.
Blueberry cheesecake doughnut at Frenchie’s Doughnuts
Frenchie’s has a fun gimmick that makes them feel delightfully distinct from a run-of-the-mill doughnut shop: they fry their doughnuts fresh and then top them to order (you can either pick from one of their pre-topped selections, or customize your own toppings). I went with the blueberry cheesecake, and the highlight was the doughnut itself; it’s cakey and still warm when you get it, like a full-sized version of Tiny Tom’s.
The Mariachi Platter at 3 Mariachis Mexican Restaurant
That beast of a plate is the Mariachi Platter, which comes with a chicken enchilada, two chorizo tacos, a shredded beef burrito, Mexican rice, guacamole, beans, pico de gallo, and a zippy green sauce. As the menu says, “why have one when you can have it all?” Why indeed. I shared this, obviously — I’m not Andre the Giant — and pretty much everything was quite tasty, particularly the burrito, which was crammed with tender, tasty beef. The taco was a bit dry, but aside from that it was a delicious (and huge) plate of food.
Location: 14B Brookers Lane, Etobicoke
I’ve been back to Lola’s a couple of times since my first visit in 2018, and I think they’re just getting better and better.
On my first visit I found the gelato to be above average, but nothing that’s worth getting too excited about. Now, on the other hand, I think maybe you should be getting a little bit excited. It’s very, very good.
I had Peach Blueberry Sundae, which features a really delightful combo of fresh peach and blueberry flavours. It hadn’t even occurred to me that those two fruits would work so well together, but clearly they do because the flavour is delicious.
And the texture is just right, with a really satisfying level of creaminess and absolutely none of the iciness that you sometimes get in fruity ice creams. It’s top notch.
Location: 5449 Dundas Street West, Etobicoke
Though Dairy Queen comes out with new Blizzards on a regular basis, new sundaes are much more rare. Maybe once or twice a year? If that?
They recently came out with not one, but two new sundaes called Cupfections; obviously I was all over it.
There’s the Brownie and Oreo Cupfection, and the Summer Berry Cake Cupfection. I tried the latter, which comes topped with berries (blackberries, raspberries, and blueberries), vanilla cake, and chocolate pieces.
It’s basically a trifle, but with a whole bunch of ice cream instead of custard.
So yeah, it’s good. I think if you replace any component in a dessert with a whole bunch of ice cream, you’re pretty much guaranteed to wind up with something delicious. The soft serve at Dairy Queen isn’t exactly great, but with all that other stuff, it’s tasty.
I watched the guy make it, and it was kind of interesting — I assumed the cake would just be cake crumbs, but he actually pulled out a full sheet cake from the fridge (frosting and all) and then dug into it with an ice cream scoop.
It would have been nice if the berries weren’t so cold (they were partially frozen), but otherwise this was a tasty dessert. I think it’s a summer-only thing, which is too bad — it would be a solid addition to the permanent menu.
Location: 25 The West Mall, Etobicoke
Cheesecake Blues — which is a featured flavour, and not a part of the regular menu, sadly — might be the best thing on Sweet Jesus’s menu.
Here’s how they describe it: “Blueberry soft serve ice cream, cheesecake bites, blueberry sauce, graham cookie crumbs, Maria milk cookie crumbs, wafer crumbs, white chocolate bits.”
The ice cream is the highlight; the flavour is a lot more subtle than you’re expecting. Typically, fruity ice cream tends to punch you in the face with fruit flavour, but this one is more like blueberries and cream. It’s creamy, mellow, and delightful.
The crumbs on the exterior are a bit odd — they’re supposedly cookie crumbs, but the texture is soft and cakey. I’m not sure if that’s intentional, but either way, it’s tasty.
There are also cheesecake chunks and blueberry sauce, which obviously work quite well together. The whole thing is surprisingly good.