Quick Bites: Nani’s Gelato, Fishman Lobster Clubhouse, and Bakerbots Baking

Nani's GelatoPumpkin Pie and Chocolate gelato from Nani’s Gelato

I’ve written about Nani’s Gelato a couple of times for this blog, and it continues to be fantastic.  Both flavours were top-notch, and the gelato itself is as rich and creamy as ever.  Alas, they’re currently closed for the season; apparently a permanent location might be in the cards, so fingers crossed that they’re able to make this happen.  Clearly, gelato of this calibre needs to available all year round.

Fishman Lobster ClubhouseLobster mountain at Fishman Lobster Clubhouse

I don’t have much to add about this place since I wrote about it last — but come on.  Look at that thing.  That’s a photo you have to share.  And that’s the impressive thing about this place: it seems like it’s expressly designed to impress on social media (and yeah, it clearly is), but it’s also surprisingly delicious.  It’s meaty and perfectly cooked, and the way they fry it makes it a bit more interesting than standard boiled/steamed lobster, but still allows the meat be the star of the show (it’s fried in the shell, so the majority of the meat isn’t battered).  It’s so good.

Bakerbots Baking (Bang Bang)Orange Cardamom ice cream from Bakerbots Baking

Hot tip: Bakerbots Baking serves a decent assortment of Bang Bang ice cream flavours, so if you ever feel like a scoop of Bang Bang without the line, head to Bakerbots.  And the orange cardamom was exactly what I was hoping it would be: creamy and orangey like the best creamsicle you’ve ever had, but with a nice hit of cardamom flavour.  It’s a quality scoop of ice cream.

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.

Holy Mint Ice Cream at Sweet Jesus

Sweet Jesus - Holy MintLocation: 25 The West Mall, Etobicoke (inside Sherway Gardens)
Website: https://www.sweetjesusicecream.com/

The latest featured flavour at Sweet Jesus is Holy Mint, and if you like the mint/chocolate combo, you’ll almost certainly enjoy it.

Personally, I like that combo, so yeah — I enjoyed it.

Sweet Jesus - Holy Mint

Holy Mint, as per the Sweet Jesus website: “Mint soft serve, chocolate mints, chocolate mint cookies, milk cookies, chocolate chips, chocolate sauce.”

It’s quite tasty.  In particular, the mint soft serve is fantastic; it’s nice and creamy, and the mint flavour is perfect.  Some mint desserts can be a bit overwhelming and toothpasty, but the flavour here is nicely balanced.  It’s also sweet, but not too sweet.  It’s great.

Sweet Jesus - Holy Mint

I will say that I’m a bit concerned about Sweet Jesus, particularly their Sherway Gardens location.  I visited on Saturday — i.e. the last Saturday before Christmas — and the mall was, not surprisingly, wall-to-wall people.  And yet Sweet Jesus was as deserted as it always seems to be.  I’ll be very surprised if this particular location makes it through 2020, and that makes me sad.

Tasty Chocolate Ice Cream at Avoca

AvocaLocation: 176 Hampton Avenue, Toronto
Website: https://avoca.business.site/

Avoca is a delightful little chocolate shop that makes their own ice cream.  It’s also in a seriously unfortunate location — it’s in Greektown right off the Danforth, but it’s far enough off the main stretch that you wouldn’t know it’s there unless you’re looking for it.  It’s a bit hidden.

It’s a shame; I think more people would be talking about this place if it were in a better location.  I’m not sure about the chocolates, but the ice cream is top notch.

Avoca

I tried a scoop of the classic chocolate ice cream, and it’s definitely above average.  It was served way too cold (the woman behind the counter was having quite the struggle just getting a scoop), but everything else about it was great — it had a deep chocolately flavour, it wasn’t too sweet, and the ice cream itself was rich and creamy.

Pizza and Gelato at Eataly

EatalyLocation: 55 Bloor Street West, Toronto (inside the Manulife Centre)
Website: https://www.eataly.ca/

After years and years of speculation and hype, Eataly finally opened in Toronto last month; judging by the intense crowds, it’s a hit.  Apparently there were lines just to get in for the first few weeks, and on a recent visit on Saturday, the place was absolutely packed.

Eataly

So was it worth the wait?  It’s hard to say based on one relatively brief visit, but I’m gonna say yeah, it was.  It’s basically an enormous, high-end Italian grocery store crossed with a food hall.  They sell all kinds of really interesting looking stuff, and all the food I tried was tasty.  It’s delightful.

I tried a couple of things.  First up was a pizza at La Pizza & La Pasta, a sit-down restaurant with a wood-burning oven that pumps out authentic Neapolitan pizzas.

Eataly

The meal started with some seriously good-quality bread, which came with a bowl of intensely nutty olive oil for dipping.

As for the pizza, I had to try the margherita.  As I’ve said before, I think it’s one of the world’s few perfect foods.  It’s also a great way to judge the quality of a pizza joint; its simplicity puts the technique of the kitchen in full display.  There’s no fancy ingredients to hide behind.

Eataly

The version they serve here didn’t blow me away — the crust was slightly lacking in substance and flavour — but it was a solid B+.  In particular, the pizza had a perfect amount of char from the blazing hot oven.   The person manning the oven clearly knows what he’s doing.

Eataly

Just around the corner from the restaurant is Il Gelato Artigianale, which has a whole bunch of tasty-looking flavours of gelato on offer.  I went with stracciatella, and I quite enjoyed it.

Eataly

I found it a bit overly sweet at first, but the combo of the sweet ice cream and the very bitter chocolate (they’re definitely using a darker chocolate than the norm) won me over.  And the gelato itself is nice and creamy, even if it was slightly on the thin side.