Outstanding Greek Food at Mamakas Taverna

Mamakas TavernaLocation: 80 Ossington Avenue, Toronto
Website: https://mamakas.ca/

I had an idea that Mamakas Taverna was probably something special when I tried their pork souvlaki at the recent OssFest street festival and was completely blown away.  I was finally able to visit the restaurant itself, and yeah.  Yeah.  That souvlaki wasn’t a fluke.  Everything is so good.

Mamakas Taverna

It’s the type of place where you order a bunch of stuff and share, which works out well because everything is so incredibly delicious that you want to try the whole menu.

Mamakas Taverna

There’s the spanakopita, which is basically the platonic ideal of that dish, with a crispy, buttery exterior and an intensely flavourful spinach filling.  The filling was actually quite unique, with a mildly sweet, citrusy tang that does a great job of balancing out the richness of the dish.

Mamakas Taverna

There were these keftedes — perfectly-spiced beef and pork meatballs with a delightfully crispy exterior from the fryer.

Mamakas Taverna

This looks like a pretty standard salad, but the meaty lentils combined with the fresh herbs and the nice pops of sweetness and crunch from the pomegranate — not to mention a dressing that complements it perfectly and isn’t over-applied — made it just as memorable as any of the other dishes.

Mamakas Taverna

The octopus was probably the simplest dish I tried, and proof that if you’re working with great quality ingredients and preparing them well, further ornamentation is unnecessary.  The meat had a great amount of char from the grill, with a mild sweetness and nice meaty bite.  If you’re queasy about eating octopus, you need to get over yourself; you don’t know what you’re missing.  Bad octopus can be rubbery and horrible, but good octopus is like the delicious love-child between a scallop and a pork chop.

Mamakas Taverna

My favourite dish of the night was also easily the least photogenic.  No, this braised short rib doesn’t look like much, but holy moly it was ridiculously good.  Insanely tender (but not mushy) with just the right amount of perfectly creamy fat and an intensely beefy flavour, it was basically like the best pot roast you’ve ever had.

Mamakas Taverna

The dessert — a walnut spice cake with yogurt mousse — was just as delicious as everything else, because of course it was.  The cake was nutty and rich, and the tartness of the creamy mousse complemented it perfectly.

Cupcake Perfection at Bobbette and Belle

Bobbette and BelleLocation1121 Queen Street East, Toronto
Websitehttp://bobbetteandbelle.com/

I’ve already mentioned Bobbette and Belle, a delightful bakery on the east end (they also have a location north of the city).

I quite enjoyed the last cupcake I had here — the cookies and cream — but the pineapple coconut variety I just had blew it out of the water.  It was outstanding.  It might have been the best cupcake I’ve ever had, and that’s not a proclamation I make lightly.

Holy moly it was so good.  I only have the one photo, because I wasn’t planning on blogging about it, but then I ate it and of course I have to blog about it.

The balance between the fluffy buttercream icing and the perfectly moist cake is phenomenal, and the coconut and pineapple flavours work incredibly well together.  That’s not to mention the toasted coconut on top, which adds more flavour and a delightful crispiness.

Seriously: it’s ridiculous how delicious this cupcake is.

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.

Cupfections at Dairy Queen

Dairy Queen CupfectionLocation: 5449 Dundas Street West, Etobicoke
Website: https://www.dairyqueen.com/ca-en/

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.

Dairy Queen Cupfection

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.

Carrot Cake Doughnut at Dipped Donuts

Dipped DonutsLocation: 161 Baldwin Street, Toronto
Website: https://www.dippeddonuts.ca/

Dipped Donuts: still great.  I tried the blueberry basil doughnut from this place last year, and it was seriously tasty.

The one I just had — the carrot cake — might have been even better.  It’s outstanding.

Dipped Donuts

It’s a raised doughnut topped with cream cheese frosting, carrot cake chunks, candied walnuts and ginger, and a caramel drizzle.

It’s definitely sweeter than the last doughnut I tried, but it was just right.  The frosting was gooey and satisfying, and the chunks of cake were seriously tasty.  The nuts and the ginger amps up the flavour, and the caramel?  Come on.  It’s indulgent and amazing.

Dipped Donuts

And of course, the doughnut itself was just as good as I remembered, with a nicely substantial texture and a great flavour.  It’s a top-shelf doughnut.