Gross Meatballs and Tasty Dessert at Ikea

IkeaLocation: 1475 The Queensway, Etobicoke
Websitehttps://www.ikea.com/

Hot tip: Ikea serves chicken meatballs now, and you should absolutely, positively never order them.  You’re welcome.

They’re actually quite similar to the standard beef meatballs, which are junk — but tasty junk.  I wouldn’t want to eat them on a regular basis, but they’re not bad for what they are.

The chicken meatballs, on the other hand, are not tasty junk.  The flavour is basically fine; they taste a lot like the beef meatballs, but saltier and with a vague chicken-like flavour.

But the texture is horrific.  Remember those rubber Super Balls that would bounce and bounce and bounce?  I’m pretty sure these meatballs have most of the same properties.  They were so rubbery and horrible that I couldn’t even cut through them with a fork.

Ikea

On the plus side, I also had a slice of the chocolate caramel cake, and it’s surprisingly great.  It’s certainly not gourmet — it actually reminds me a lot of the brownies they used to serve in my high school’s cafeteria, but with the addition of caramel — but it’s rich and sweet and satisfying.  I think the next time I find myself in Ikea, I might just skip straight to the dessert.

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Instagram-Friendly Ice Cream at Sweet Jesus

Sweet JesusLocation: 106 John Street, Toronto
Websitehttp://www.sweetjesus4life.com/

I don’t think there’s a more blatant case of an Instagram-famous restaurant than Sweet Jesus.  They serve up concoctions that are so finely-honed to be drooled over on social media that actually eating them almost feels like an afterthought.

They mainly serve very elaborately topped cones that are impossible to eat without making a huge mess; but then, what do they care?  Again: actually eating them is secondary to the likes that they’ll accrue online.

Thankfully, they eventually acquiesced to common sense and offered the option of a cup instead of a cone, which is slightly less photogenic, but much more reasonable to eat.

I got the Sweet Baby Jesus, which is supposed to come with caramel soft serve (I’m pretty positive it was actually vanilla) topped with peanut butter caramel sauce, chocolate peanut crumble, and chocolate sauce.

Sweet Jesus

I should note that I actually like Sweet Jesus.  I’ve been there a bunch of times, and I have no doubt that I’ll be back a bunch of times.  But it could be so much better.

The biggest issue is the soft serve itself.  It’s fine; it’s basically on par with what they serve at ice cream trucks.  I like the stuff, but it’s not exactly high quality ice cream.

And because they insist on making these things as cones instead of the sundaes they should obviously be (for no reason other than that the elaborate cones look better on Instagram), the ratio of sauce/toppings to ice cream is way off.  This would be fine if they were using better quality ice cream, but they’re not.  Which means that the big pile of ice cream you’re left with after the toppings have been eaten feels kinda useless.

As for the Sweet Baby Jesus, it was tasty enough.  Peanut butter and chocolate is a surefire combo, and yeah, it works here.  But both of the problems I mentioned above are definitely present.

McFlurry Deliciousness at McDonald’s

McDonald'sLocation: 6170 Bathurst Street, Toronto
Websitehttps://www.mcdonalds.ca/

Generally speaking, I think McFlurries are a waste of time.  I mean, they’re just a poor man’s Blizzard, right?  If I’m craving a blended ice cream treat, why get an imitation when I can have the original?

It turns out I might be wrong about this, because I just had the Butterscotch Blondie McFlurry, and it was easily better than any Blizzard I’ve had in recent memory.

McDonald's

It had a really rich caramel flavour from the abundant butterscotch, and the sizable blondie chunks were chewy, tasty, and satisfying.  It’s super sweet, obviously, but there was enough going on here that it didn’t feel one-note.

The ice cream was a little too melty, but aside from that?  Shockingly good.

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.

Consistent Excellence at Bang Bang

Bang BangLocation: 93a Ossington Avenue, Toronto
Websitehttp://bangbangicecream.com/

After the cubano disappointment at La Cubana, I wondered: would Bang Bang pull the same thing?  It’s been several months since I’ve had their ice cream.  Has it gone downhill, too?

Nope.  It’s still easily the best ice cream in Toronto, and some of the best ice cream I’ve ever had.

Bang Bang tends to have at least one new flavour in their rotation, and this time it was the Bad Dad Joke, which they describe as having miso pecans and butterscotch.

Bang Bang

It was so damn good.

As usual, the ice cream itself was absolutely superlative: rich, creamy, and amazing.  The flavour was just as good, with the butterscotch and the toasty nuts being a perfect match.  The flavour was a bit more complex than you’d expect — whether that’s the miso or something else, I have no idea, but it was ridiculously good regardless.

Bang Bang

It also had these white chunks in there, and I have no idea what they were (meringue, possibly?) but they added a nice crispiness to the ice cream that worked quite well.