I used to love Felix & Norton. Their Unionville location was in a plaza right across from where I went to high school, so cookies were a regular occurrence. I remember them being some of the best store-bought cookies around: lightly crispy and chewy, with a really great buttery flavour and high-quality chocolate chunks.
So when I saw unbaked Felix & Norton cookies in the freezer section at a local Loblaws, I couldn’t get them in my cart fast enough.
And it’s not a bad deal: nine bucks for a 500 gram bag, which works out to about 20 cookies. I got Menage a Trois, which features cookies with white, milk, and dark chocolate chunks.
Alas, these weren’t the Felix & Norton cookies I remembered. The chunks were more like tiny chocolate fragments, and barely added any chocolate flavour at all. The cookies were just blandly sweet. They were also insanely greasy, and yet had almost zero buttery flavour.
They weren’t the worst things ever, I guess — they were certainly better than something like Chips Ahoy, but they’re not even close to being in the same league as what you can get at the store.
Cheesecake is good. You know what’s better? Cheesecake dipped in chocolate and nuts, and covered with chocolate and caramel sauces.
Cheesecake by Heirloom was in the Concept section of Yorkdale (I’m a bit late posting this, and it’s now gone — super useful blog post, I know, but supposedly they’ll be selling cheesecakes again at a different location in April), and it’s pretty great. I mean, how could it not be? They start with a good quality piece of New York style cheesecake, then they cover it in all the aforementioned stuff.
And all that stuff is quite good. It’s incredibly sweet and rich — maybe to a fault. It’s not a subtle dessert. It’s probably not something you’d want to eat all the time, but man, it’s delicious.
There’s a Hershey store in Niagara Falls, and I have a pretty vivid memory of the chocolate milkshake there being amazing.
Granted, this was at least a decade ago, but when I recently found myself in Niagara Falls with some time to kill, I got very excited by the prospect of having this milkshake again.
In my memory, this was a superior milkshake with a surprisingly intense chocolaty flavour. I’ve never been a fan of Hershey chocolate, but this milkshake was something else. It was special.
Well, either I’m way wrong about this or it’s gone way downhill, because the milkshake was not good at all. It was throat-burningly sweet, and it didn’t even have much of a chocolaty flavour. It was just all-encompassing sweetness. It was bad.
I got about halfway through, ate the Hershey’s Kiss on top (which tasted like nothing after the mouth-annihilating sweetness of the milkshake), then chucked the rest in the garbage.
Location: 215 Madison Avenue, Toronto
People: this is not a drill. The chocolate hazelnut croissant at MoRoCo Chocolat is mind-blowing. It’s the best pastry I’ve had in a long, long time, and yes — I’m including my recent ten-day trip to Paris. It’s an all-timer.
Everything about it is amazing: you’ve got the croissant itself, which is buttery and flaky and delicious. There’s the perfectly crispy sweet hazelnut topping, which is basically like the topping of an almond croissant, only with hazelnuts, and which goes perfectly with the rich, chocolately filling.
And the icing on the metaphorical cake? The absolutely astonishing custard, which might have been the best custard I’ve ever had.
And I mean, who expects custard in a croissant like this? It’s weird, right? But good weird. The best weird. It’s what pushed this over the top and made it one of the best damn things I’ve eaten in such a long time. It was creamy and rich, with a flavour that I can only describe as the platonic ideal of custards. It’s the kind of custard that makes all other custards taste like garbage, because it’s so damn perfect.
It took something that was already delicious and made it crazy delicious.
I’m not sure why you’re even still reading this when you should clearly be driving/walking/sprinting to MoRoCo to buy one. Just be warned: after taking a couple of bites and realizing that this was the best thing ever, I promptly went back into the store so I could buy another one or two (or three). But that was it. Apparently they only make one or two a day. So get there early. It’s worth it.
Location: 1900 The Queensway, Etobicoke
I’ve been to Scaddabush a few times now, and it continually surprises me. Not that it’s anything particularly special, but they serve consistently good food; for a casual chain restaurant in Canada, that’s a minor miracle.
Granted, it’s easy to look good when your competition is dreck like Boston Pizza and East Side Mario’s, but we are where we are. The bar for a casual chain restaurant is low.
And so Scaddabush, which is very keen to boast that they make their pasta and mozzarella in-house, is comparatively pretty amazing.
The fresh mozzarella is pleasantly toothsome, and with a bit of the sun-dried tomato spread on the side, quite tasty.
The roasted fennel and sausage fettuccine was one of the better pasta dishes I’ve had in a while, with a really nice interplay between the hearty sausage, the spicy pop of the sliced hot peppers, and the crispiness of the seasoned breadcrumbs.
Alas, the meal ended on a sour note — the zeppoli tasted stale, with a sodden exterior and an unpleasantly sponge-like interior. The chocolate hazelnut sauce was fine, but was mostly just bland sweetness; there wasn’t much of a chocolate or hazelnut flavour.