Unique Scoops at Wong’s Ice Cream

Wong's Ice CreamLocation: 617 Gerrard Street East, Toronto
Websitehttp://www.wongsicecream.com/

Ice cream is the best (obviously), but if you ever find yourself getting bored with the same old flavours, there’s an easy solution: head to Wong’s, an Asian-inspired ice cream shop with some seriously interesting scoops.

Wong's Ice Cream

I don’t think you’re going to find taste combinations like pineapple cilantro, wasabi honey, or toasted ramen miso anywhere else in the city (though Wong’s is far from the only Asian ice cream joint in town; Kekou Gelato is another stand-out).

I got the rosewater white chocolate jasmine, and it was seriously delicious.  The texture was ever-so-slightly grainy (from the white chocolate, perhaps?), but it was otherwise excellent, with a very rich, creamy consistency.

Wong's Ice Cream

White chocolate tends to be intensely sweet, so I was worried this would be a bit much, but the sweetness was admirably restrained.  Rosewater has a very distinct, very strong flavour (it’s a bit of an acquired taste), but again, the flavours here are really subtle and well-balanced.  There’s a mild floral sweetness, but it isn’t in-your-face.  If you’re on the fence about rosewater, this might just be the dessert to get you on board.

Mediocre Ice Cream at Cows

Cow's Ice CreamLocation: 44 Queen Street, Niagara on the Lake
Websitehttps://cows.ca/

Cows has been a Niagara on the Lake institution since 1983, so they’re obviously doing something right.  Though in this case, I think the thing they did right was picking a location that’s right in the middle of the main road in a very touristy town.  Because the actual ice cream isn’t that great.

It’s relatively rich and creamy, so it’s certainly very, very far from the worst ice cream I’ve ever had.  But the flavour was a pretty big shrug.

Cow's Ice Cream

I got the Wowie Cowie, which is “vanilla ice cream, English toffee marble, chocolate flakes & moo crunch.”

The vanilla ice cream doesn’t taste like anything but generic sweetness.  There’s nothing there.  Plain ice cream can be amazing — the sweet cream at Ed’s, which doesn’t even have vanilla bean to fall back on, manages to pack in an impressive amount of flavour and depth.  Meanwhile, this tasted like sweet nothing.

Cow's Ice Cream

The “English toffee marble” was even worse, and there’s a lot of it rippled in there.  It didn’t have any of the rich caramel flavour you’d expect from English toffee; it was just thick and sweet, like plain corn syrup.

As for the other elements, the chocolate was fine, and the moo crunch didn’t even seem to be there (I’m not sure what it was supposed to be, but I didn’t notice anything but the caramel and the chocolate).

Terrible Ice Cream at Baskin Robbins

Baskin RobbinsLocation: 855 The Queensway, Etobicoke
Websitehttp://www.baskinrobbins.ca/

This probably won’t come as much of a surprise: it turns out that the ice cream at Baskin Robbins isn’t very good.  I haven’t been there in several years, but I remember it being decent enough.

Either I’ve become pickier in the meantime, or it’s become worse.  Probably a bit of both.

I tried the current flavour of the month, Cookies ‘n Cake: “Cake flavored ice cream, cookie pieces, and a chocolate cake batter flavored ribbon.”

Baskin Robbins

The quality of the ice cream itself was pretty bad; it was slightly better than really bottom-of-the-barrel stuff like Chapman’s, but that’s really not saying much.  The texture was thin and unsatisfying.

The flavour was even worse.  I’ve eaten a lot of cake in my lifetime, and none of it even remotely tasted like the ice cream here.  I’m normally fine with artificial, cake-flavoured junk food, but this stuff was just vile.  I’m having a hard time even figuring out how to describe the flavour — it was acrid and unpleasant and weird.

The cookie chunks were good, at least — they were Oreo pieces, so no surprise there.  But the “chocolate cake batter flavored ribbon” basically just tasted like a sweeter, less chocolatey version of Nesquik chocoalte syrup.  It wasn’t offensive like the ice cream, but it wasn’t particularly good, either.

Decent Dipped Cones at Chocolats Favoris

Chocolats FavorisLocation: 1440 Major MacKenzie Drive West, Vaughan
Websitehttps://www.chocolatsfavoris.com/

If you want a dipped cone in the Toronto area, you’re covered.  Aside from Chocolats Favoris (which hasn’t expanded to the city quite yet), you’ve got relatively new places like Sweet Jesus, La Diperie, and Hollywood Cone, not to mention old standbys like Tom’s Dairy Freeze and the always-reliable Dairy Queen.

Note to all future restaurateurs: we’re all good for dipped cones.  May I suggest you open a frozen custard joint?  Or maybe a traditional sundae shop?

Chocolats Favoris

Chocolats Favoris (which is a Quebecois import, as you might infer from the name) sells dipped cones with a particular emphasis on the chocolatey dips; they’ve got about a dozen you can choose from, which you can either have as a plain dip, or in one of their customized combinations.

I went with the latter, and got the Hazelnut Praline, featuring vanilla ice cream with a chocolate hazelnut dip, hazelnut pieces, and dark chocolate sauce.  It’s garnished with a Ferrero Rocher-esque confection.

Chocolats Favoris

The chocolate hazelnut dip was quite tasty, which is good because there was a lot of it.  I don’t know if there’s always that much or if the woman behind the counter was just feeling generous, but the sauce layer was about a centimetre thick.

It basically tasted like a slightly sweeter, less hazelnutty version of Nutella.  The texture was interesting; it didn’t get quite as crackily as your typical chocolate dip (it might have been laid on too thick to properly harden).  It was fudgy and chewy, which actually worked quite well.  It’s basically vanilla ice cream with a bunch of Nutella mounded on top.  It’s hard to go wrong there.

As for the ice cream itself, it was fine.  It was about on par with what they’re serving at Sweet Jesus, which is to say that it was tasty, but nothing special.

A Pleasant Surprise at Sweet Jesus

Sweet JesusLocation: 25 The West Mall, Etobicoke (inside Sherway Gardens)
Websitehttp://www.sweetjesus4life.com/

I mentioned recently that I like Sweet Jesus, but that it looks better than it tastes.  Well, I think that the abysmal soft serve at Kiss the Tiramisu and Loukomania Cafe have completely readjusted the way that I evaluate soft serve.  They were a very visceral reminder that bad soft serve can be really bad.

Suddenly, Sweet Jesus is looking pretty good.  Because I just went to their location in Sherway Gardens, and I quite enjoyed it.

Sweet Jesus

I got the Oh Hungry, which is similar to the flavour I got last time — vanilla ice cream, caramel and peanut butter sauces, peanuts, chocolate chips, and a chocolate drizzle.

It was shockingly delicious.  All of the sauces, nuts, and chocolate went really well together  (true to its name, it tasted similar to an Oh Henry bar), and there seemed to be a better ratio of toppings to ice cream.  Plus, the vanilla ice cream was rich and creamy.  It still didn’t have much of a flavour beyond a general sweetness, but it wasn’t overly cloying and the texture was on point.

I don’t know if the quality has gone up or if my expectations have gone down, but either way, it was good stuff.