Unique Pumpkin Ramen at Momofuku Noodle Bar

Momofuku Noodle BarLocation: 190 University Avenue, Toronto
Website: https://noodlebar-toronto.momofuku.com/

The pumpkin ramen from Momofuku Noodle Bar is extremely untraditional, and extremely delicious.

From the menu: “kanpyo, cheese, scallion pesto.”

An aside: I’m not sure if I’ve ranted about this before, but menu descriptions that consist solely of a dry recital of ingredients fills me with an unreasonable amount of rage.  Admittedly it’s not a huge issue in this case — it’s ramen, so you know that the dish is, at its core, soup with noodles in it.  But these types of descriptions almost always tell you absolutely nothing about what the dish is going to be.  I know that it’s the way that all the young and hip restaurants are doing it, but if all the young and hip restaurants were jumping off a cliff, would you do that too??

Momofuku Noodle Bar

I digress.  Shoddy menu description notwithstanding, it’s a tasty dish.  I’m guessing the pumpkin is blended right into the soup, which is satisfyingly rich and creamy.  And the add-ons are great; in particular, the crispy breadcrumbs compliment the ramen quite well.  Or at least I think they’re breadcrumbs?  Maybe I should check the menu to see what they are oh wait I can’t.

Whatever they are, they’re nicely seasoned and add some crispy contrast to the bowl.

Everything else works just as well, from the zippy pesto to the gooey cheese.  And the kanpyo (a traditional Japanese ingredient made from a type of gourd) brings some meaty substance.

The noodles are slightly underseasoned and bland, but are otherwise perfectly firm and chewy.  It’s an odd bowl of ramen, but it’s very good.

Momofuku Noodle Bar

I tried the Citrus Pie for dessert, which the menu very helpfully describes as “yuzu, lemon, lime.”  It’s basically a lemon meringue pie.

It’s tasty enough; the desserts here are generally not on the level of the savoury dishes, and this was no exception.  The creamy, citrus-packed filling was actually very good, with just the right amount of tartness that doesn’t overwhelm.  But the crust was a bit on the soggy side, and the meringue was unpleasantly grainy.

Mediocre Fried Chicken and Poutine at Rudy

RudyLocation: 619 College Street, Toronto
Website: http://www.rudyresto.com/

I love Rudy.  I’m on record calling their burger the best in the city.  So it pains me to say this, but the meal I just had there was not great.

To be fair, I didn’t have a burger; going to a burger joint and not ordering the burger is probably not the smartest thing in the world.

Instead, I got the fried chicken sandwich and the poutine.  Neither was particularly great.

Rudy

The chicken sandwich is dubbed the Valentino: “Fried Chicken Sandwich, Coleslaw, Valentino Sauce, Mild Hot Sauce.”  I’ve had this before and found it to be quite tasty, so maybe they were just having an off day?

The biggest issue is the chicken itself; it was dry, overcooked, and incredibly salty.

The first few bites were outright bad, but then I noticed that the two sauces were actually in little plastic containers on the side rather than on the sandwich.  I’m not sure why they did it that way (I certainly didn’t ask for that), but once I applied them both to the chicken, things improved considerably.  The tasty ranch / hot sauce combo helped to smooth over a lot of the chicken’s faults.

Rudy

As for the soft squishy bun that works so well on the burger — sadly, it has a hard time holding up to the more substantial chicken sandwich.

I also tried the poutine, which Toronto Life recently called the best in the city.  It was fine?  I guess?  The gravy was overabundant and bland, the curds were stale (no squeak to be found), and the whole thing wasn’t hot enough to even vaguely melt the cheese.  It certainly wasn’t unpleasant to eat, but it’s a far cry from the best in the city.

I should note that someone else got the burger and said it was as delicious as ever, so unsurprisingly, the burger is the thing to order at the burger joint.  Who would have guessed!

Classic Comfort Food at Bobbie Sue’s Mac + Cheese

Bobbie Sue's Mac + CheeseLocation162 Ossington Avenue, Toronto
Websitehttps://bobbiesues.com/

The last time I tried Bobbie Sue’s Mac + Cheese, I had the carbonara — it was absolutely delicious, but not exactly a traditional bowl of mac and cheese.  I figured I should probably try the real deal.

So I went back and tried the jalapeno and bacon, which is a classic mac and cheese with pickled jalapenos and cubes of bacon (which I’m pretty sure is the pancetta from the carbonara) mixed in.  This was a special, so it may or may not be on the menu when you visit.

Bobbie Sue's Mac + Cheese

It’s delicious.  The mac and cheese is abundantly rich and cheesey, with perfectly al dente pasta and a nice crispy top from the oven.  The meaty bacon and zippy jalapenos compliment it perfectly.

Bonus: the service was great.  I picked up my mac and cheese from the counter and then immediately dropped it on the sidewalk (and the plate landed face down, because of course it did).  The woman behind the counter witnessed this and quickly made me a new one free of charge, which was very much appreciated.

Quick Bites: Moxie’s, Tom’s Dairy Freeze, and Blackbird Baking Co.

Moxie'sDouble Cheese Nachos at Moxie’s

Before having these nachos, I hadn’t been to Moxie’s in several years.  My recollection is that the place was deeply mediocre, and hey, wouldn’t you know it, it’s still deeply mediocre.  The nachos were fine-ish; they’re somewhere in the vicinity of fine, I guess?  For something called “Double Cheese” nachos, there were a lot of dry chips, and there otherwise isn’t much going on here other than some chopped tomatoes and sliced jalapenos.  It’s one-note in its flavour, and desperately needs something with a bit of acidity/zinginess to perk it up a bit (salsa could have filled this role, but the salsa here tasted like it came out of a jar — and a particularly shoddy one, at that).

It’s also crazy overpriced for what it is; with the pulled chicken (which was basically stewed chicken mush) and guacamole (which was exceptionally bland), the platter comes up to a whopping 29 bucks, which is a galling amount to pay for such a mediocre plate of nachos.

Tom's Dairy Freeze
Hot Fudge Sundae at Tom’s Dairy Freeze

I’ve written about Tom’s Dairy Freeze a couple of times before, which is why I didn’t bother writing a whole post about this, but it’s worth noting that the hot fudge sauce here is above average.  It’s not great, mind you (the ice cream itself is definitely the reason to come to Tom’s), but it has a decent chocolate flavour, and it’s not overly sweet.  It’s definitely a cut above a place like Dairy Queen.

Blackbird Baking
Cinnamon Bun at Blackbird Baking Co.

Like the almond croissant at Blackbird Baking Co., the cinnamon bun is a lot more subtle than you’re expecting it to be — but it’s also delicious.  It’s basically like a croissant and a cinnamon bun had a baby.   The croissants at Blackbird are quite good, so yeah, this is as good as you’d hope.

Surprisingly Tasty Carbonara at Bobbie Sue’s Mac + Cheese

Bobbie Sue's Mac + CheeseLocation: 162 Ossington Avenue, Toronto
Website: https://bobbiesues.com/

I was pretty much completely blown away by the carbonara at Bobbie Sue’s Mac + Cheese.  It wasn’t what I was expecting at all, but in all the best ways.

I sort of figured it was going to be some kind of bizarre mash-up of mac and cheese and carbonara, but it definitely wasn’t that.  It was actually a legit bowl of carbonara, and it was delightful.

Bobbie Sue's Mac + Cheese

The menu describes the carbonara as “pancetta + Grana Padano + egg yolk.” I really enjoyed it.

The diced pancetta (and yes, it was pancetta, as it should be — not bacon) was abundant and nicely crisped up — it was crispy, salty, and porky.  The sauce was rich and creamy from the egg yolks, with a nice cheesy kick from the Grana Padano (an Italian cheese that’s very similar to Parmesan).  And the pasta was perfectly al dente.

Bobbie Sue's Mac + Cheese

It was maybe slightly too dry, but aside from that it was shockingly good.  You’re barely expecting a bowl of carbonara from an actual Italian restaurant to be that delicious, let alone a mac and cheese take-out window that doesn’t have a seating area.  It’s a really delightful surprise.