Bacon, Egg & Smoky Gouda McMuffin at McDonald’s

Bacon, Egg & Smoky Gouda McMuffin at McDonald's
: 1050 Dundas Street East, Mississauga

I’ve said it before, but I think the McMuffin is a legitimately great breakfast sandwich that’s probably better than a lot of the fancier sandwiches you can find around the GTA.  The rest of the McDonald’s menu is decent for what it is, but I will go to bat for the McMuffin any day of the week.

Bacon, Egg & Smoky Gouda McMuffin at McDonald's

The Bacon, Egg & Smoky Gouda McMuffin doesn’t stray too far from the Bacon ‘N Egg McMuffin template, so yeah, it’s good.

As per the McDonald’s website, the sandwich comes with “a freshly cracked Canada Grade A egg topped with smoke flavoured Gouda cheese, Smoky cheese flavoured sauce and hickory smoked bacon.”

Bacon, Egg & Smoky Gouda McMuffin at McDonald's

It’s tasty for all the same reasons a regular McMuffin is tasty (the egg, cheese, and toasted English muffin combo continues to be a winner), but with a distinct hit of smokiness thanks to the gouda and the sauce.  It’s a solid breakfast sandwich.

Quick Bites: Red Lobster, Tuck Shop Kitchen, Lola’s Gelato

Lobster-topped stuffed tilapia from Red Lobster
Lobster-topped stuffed tilapia from Red Lobster

I used to love Red Lobster as a kid.  It was my birthday restaurant for pretty much the entirety of my childhood, so I still have very warm, fuzzy memories of the place.  Every several years I feel the need to go back to indulge my nostalgia and remind myself that no, it’s not very good.  The lobster-topped stuffed tilapia was actually surprisingly terrible; the flavour was one-note salty and it was absolutely doused in an unpleasant cream sauce.  The rice tasted like one of those Uncle Ben’s packets from Dollarama that’s been reheated about a dozen times.  The whole thing was just a straight-up bummer.  I do still enjoy the biscuits, however, so there’s that.

Smoked Butternut Squash and Egg sandwich from Tuck Shop Kitchen
Smoked Butternut Squash and Egg sandwich from Tuck Shop Kitchen

Though they had more traditional breakfast sandwiches on their menu (which they serve only on Sundays), I was intrigued by this one, which comes topped with “Applewood smoked butternut squash ‘Bacon’, Canadian cheddar, egg and roasted garlic aioli on a toasted sesame bun.”  It’s a tasty sandwich, though like with most items labeled as vegetarian bacon, the squash did not resemble anything even vaguely related to bacon.  It was just a smoky slice of squash.  Still, it works quite well in the sandwich — my only complaint would be that it’s a very rich sandwich, and needs something acidic to cut that down a bit.  The menu lists pickled jalapenos as an optional one dollar addon, and I think that would be the thing this sandwich is missing.

Candy Cane Bark gelato from Lola's Gelato
Candy Cane Bark gelato from Lola’s Gelato

I feel like everyone (myself included!) sleeps on Lola’s because it’s so far out of the downtown core, but every time I go there I’m impressed by how great the gelato is.  This visit was no different; I was particularly struck with the quality of the gelato itself, which is incredibly rich and creamy.  And the flavour was great, with a nice balance of mintiness and chocolate.  Their assortment of flavours tends to be a bit more basic than places like Nani’s or Mizzica, but when the gelato itself is this great, who cares?

A Tasty Egg Sandwich at Egg Club

Egg Club
: 531 Yonge Street, Toronto

As you’d guess from the name, Egg Club is all about egg sandwiches; every sandwich here features a fluffy omelet with various toppings, served on sweet Japanese milk bread.  It reminds me a lot of Egg Bae, but I think I like this place better.

Egg Club

You can get sandwiches here with stuff like ham, bacon, or even lobster, but I went pretty simple with the eponymous Egg Club: “Balsamic Onion, Swiss Cheese, Creme Fraiche, Egg Club Sauce.”

Egg Club

Between the silky eggs, the cheese, the sweet brioche-style bread, and the creamy sauces, it’s a very rich sandwich.  It’s a bit one-note (this was my biggest problem with Egg Bae as well), but the balsamic onion does a pretty solid job of bringing some sweet acidity that tones it down.  It’s hard to tell from the pictures, but there’s a generous amount throughout the sandwich, and it’s fairly essential in keeping things balanced.

Beyond Sausage Egg and Cheese from Tim Hortons

Beyond Sausage Egg and Cheese from Tim HortonsLocation: 2960 South Sheridan Way, Oakville

The fake meat gold rush continues; I think it’s safe to say that, before long, all of the fast food chains will have imitation meats from places like Beyond Meat or Impossible Foods on their menus.

Tim Hortons is the latest, with three new breakfast sandwiches featuring sausage that looks and tastes like sausage — but isn’t.

I tried the Beyond Meat burger from A&W last summer, and I thought it vaguely approximated real meat, but wasn’t going to fool anyone.

The Beyond Sausage at Tim Hortons is much more convincing.

I got the Egg and Cheese, which features a Beyond Sausage patty, an omelette patty, and processed cheese on an English muffin.

Beyond Sausage Egg and Cheese from Tim Hortons

The sausage certainly isn’t great, but it convincingly tastes like an actual sausage — a mediocre sausage, mind you, but if I hadn’t known it was fake meat, I wouldn’t have guessed.  That’s impressive.

(Of course, emulating a lousy, ultra-processed sausage is much, much easier than emulating one that actually tastes good, but one step at a time, I guess?)

There was something about the spicing that I found vaguely unappealing, and the flavour was particularly aggressive, presumably to cover up the lack of a meaty flavour.  But for the most part, it’s decent enough.

The texture is dead-on.  Unlike the Beyond Meat burger I had at A&W, it’s not mushy at all.  It’s a bit dry, and no one’s going to confuse it for a decent quality sausage, but the texture is basically identical to the type of mediocre sausage you’ll find at a place like Tim Hortons.  I was surprised at how close it got.

Otherwise, the sandwich was typical Tim Hortons, which is to say it was pretty lousy — the cheese was barely melted, the omelette was rubbery, and the English muffin was dense and dry.

Fried Chicken Breakfast Sandwich at Porchetta & Co.

Porchetta and Co. - Exchange TowerLocation: 130 King Street West, Toronto

The Exchange Tower location of Porchetta & Co. is a bit different from the other ones — it opens early, and it has a breakfast menu.  This menu includes a buttermilk fried chicken sandwich.

Fried chicken in the morning?  Yes please.

Sadly, it’s not quite as great as you’d hope, but it’s fried chicken, an egg, and gooey cheese.  Of course it tastes good.  How could that combo not taste good?

Porchetta and Co. - Exchange Tower

Like all of the fried chicken at Porchetta & Co., the chicken here is perfectly cooked, with a satisfyingly crispy exterior.  It’s dipped in hot honey, with a very strong emphasis on the honey.  It’s sweet.  I wish there were a bit more spice, and maybe some vinegar to cut the sweetness, because it’s tasty, but it’s a bit cloying.

The egg was overcooked, with a chalky yolk — but other than that, the sandwich was solid.  The cheese was nice and melty, and the buttery toasted English muffin was the perfect vehicle for the chicken, egg, and cheese.