Egg BLT Bagel at McDonald’s

McDonald'sLocation: 4333 Bloor Street West, Etobicoke
Websitehttps://www.mcdonalds.ca

I like McDonald’s.  The place tends to get a bad rap, but if you’re craving something junky and quick, it (usually) hits the spot.  I’m sure a childhood’s worth of nostalgia helps, but there’s always going to be a place in my life for the occasional visit to the Golden Arches.

That being said, the Egg BLT Bagel was super duper gross and you should absolutely never eat it.

I got it on a plain bagel, which was overly sweet and substantial.  The egg was dry and overcooked, the bacon was paper-thin and soggy, the lettuce was so stingy that it may as well not have even been there, and the mayo overload meant it was impossible to eat without making a greasy mess.  There just wasn’t a whole lot of flavour here, other than the sweetness from the bagel.

The tomato was okay, though, so… hooray for that, I guess?

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A Misguided Brunch at Ramona’s Kitchen

Ramona's KitchenLocation: 7355 Bayview Avenue, Thornhill
Websitehttp://www.ramonaskitchen.ca/

I should note a couple of things up front: Ramona’s Kitchen is popular.  I showed up with a group of four at around 11:30 on a Saturday, and the place was absolutely packed, with a full restaurant and a bunch of people waiting around for tables.  It took a solid half hour to sit down.  So people obviously like the place.

And everyone I was with really liked the food.  A lot.

Ramona's Kitchen

That being said?  I ordered the breakfast poutine, and it was kind of shocking how bad it was.

The dish consists of hash browns (which they call “tri-coloured potatoes” for the three types of potatoes they use), hollandaise sauce, cheese curds, and a poached egg.

The individual components were all decent — the potatoes were crispy on the outside and soft on the inside, the hollandaise was rich and creamy, and the poached egg had a perfectly runny yolk.

Ramona's Kitchen

But the whole thing was just off.

It was served in a tall, narrow bucket, which I guess is a fun presentation, but really awkward to eat out of.

And while most of the components were good, the curds were a bit too salty and tasted stale (fresh curds should squeak when you bite into them; these did not).  And though the potatoes were hot and fresh, the hollandaise was only warm, which didn’t provide enough heat to get the curds even vaguely melty.

Ramona's Kitchen

Also (I sure have a lot of complaints about these cheese curds, don’t I?), the majority of the pieces were tiny little curd fragments, and since they were cold and unmelted, the whole thing was unappealingly cottage-cheese-esque.

The hollandaise was quite good, though, as were the potatoes, so you’d think that alone would be enough to make this delicious.  I mean, crispy potatoes?  Delicious.  Hollandaise?  Also delicious.  But if there was ever a case of “too much of a good thing,” this is clearly it.  The entire bucket was absolutely swimming in heavy, creamy hollandaise, and it’s just overkill.  It’s like hollandaise pudding with potatoes.  It’s off-putting.

Ramona's Kitchen

That’s not to mention that, by the bottom of the bucket, the hollandaise had started to congeal, making it even thicker and richer, with a gluey, mayonnaise-like consistency.

But again: I think this is a good restaurant?  Just don’t order the breakfast poutine unless you really, really like hollandaise (and I do!  But not as much as I thought, apparently).

Eggs Benedict (?) at Smash Kitchen

Smash KitchenLocation: 4261 Highway 7, Unionville
Websitehttp://www.smashkitchen.com/

Is eggs benedict still eggs benedict if you don’t include the hollandaise sauce?  Traditionally, that dish consists of an english muffin topped with meat (usually ham or bacon), a poached egg, and hollandaise.

That’s four things; the hollandaise is 25 percent of the dish.   How far can you change something until it’s no longer that thing?  Is it still spaghetti and meatballs if you replace the tomato sauce with alfredo?  Probably not!

Which is to say that I just ordered the Smash Benedict from Smash Kitchen, and they replaced the hollandaise with gravy.  To be fair, they also have a traditional eggs benedict on the menu, so that does kinda give them license to mess around with it in their other offerings.

The problem is, I missed the hollandaise.  This particular benedict featured an english muffin topped with pulled pork, cheese, the standard poached egg, and the aforementioned gravy.  The pulled pork was tossed in a very vinegary barbecue sauce that, while tasty, absolutely dominated the dish.

A heaping serving of creamy hollandaise might have helped to cut the vinegary sharpness of the pork, but the gravy was completely lost.  It may as well have not even been there.  I had to eat most of this with some hash browns to help mellow out that strong barbecue sauce flavour.

Still, it certainly wasn’t bad, and the crispy fried hash browns were a very tasty accompaniment.  But if I came back, I’d probably just stick with the classic benedict (there was also a crab cake benedict that looked tasty, and yes — that one had hollandaise on it).

Golden Palace Banquet Hall

Location: 3225 Highway 7, Markham
Website: None

There’s a dim sum place in Markham called Golden Palace Banquet Hall, and it’s quite good.  I’ve been there a couple of times now, tried at least a dozen things, and I don’t think I’ve had a single dud.

All of that stuff? Quite tasty!  But there’s one reason to visit Golden Palace Banquet Hall, and it’s these things right here:

I’m talking about the enormous, honey-coated pieces of fried dough in the lower right-hand side of that photo.  They’re called angel wings (though I’ve also heard them referred to as egg shatters), and they’re the best.

There’s really not all that much to them.  They’re airy, lightly crispy pieces of fried dough that have been coated in honey.  That’s it.  But there’s something about them that’s completely irresistible.  Once you start eating them, you can’t stop.  They’re so great.