Location: 32 Tank House Lane, Toronto
They sell hot chocolate at SOMA Chocolatemaker — but not just any hot chocolate. You have the option to get it as “an intense shot,” which is just what it sounds like. It’s basically like drinking pure, melted chocolate.
It’s not as overwhelming as it sounds; it’s thick and rich, but it’s still drinkable. It’s not quite at the consistency of melted chocolate, even if it’s close.
You can get Mayan hot chocolate, which is amped up with chili peppers and spices, or you can get the good old classic, which is what I ordered on this particular visit (I like the Mayan version too, but I do find that the spices kind of distract from the amazing chocolate).
It’s amazing. Of course it’s amazing; SOMA makes some of the best chocolate in the world, and they have the accolades to prove it. The flavour is rich and complex, with just the right amount of sweetness. I can’t imagine that a better cup of hot chocolate exists.
Location: 1121 Queen Street East, Toronto
It’s becoming increasingly clear to me that Bobbette and Belle is one of the best bakeries in the GTA. Maybe the best? It’s right up there, that’s for sure.
I tried the apple bread pudding on a recent visit, which they heat up and serve with a very tasty custard sauce. I mean, look at it. Do I even need to mention that it’s delicious? Of course it’s delicious.
It’s crispy on its exterior and creamy inside, with a great custardy flavour. The apples give it a nice zing, and the melty chocolate (yes, there’s melty chocolate in there, in case it didn’t already seem amazing enough) compliments it so well. My only real complaint is that the apples are a bit crisp. I know some people like their apples firm in pies and baked goods, but those people are wrong. Tender apples 4 eva.
Still, the whole thing is so tasty that it just barely matters.
On another visit (yeah, I’ve been there a bunch, so what, wanna fight about it?) I tried the coconut banana cream pie, which was even better.
I love both banana cream pies and coconut cream pies, so I have no idea why it never occurred to me that you could combine the two, but you can and it’s amazing. There’s also a layer of dulce de leche at the bottom of the pie, which gives the whole thing a rich, caramely flavour — and yet it’s not too sweet. It’s perfect.
The crust is great too — crispy but not overly crunchy, with a nice buttery flavour and a mild sweetness that works amazingly well with the rest of the pie. The whole thing is ridiculously good.
Location: 4141 Dixie Road, Mississauga (inside Rockwood Mall)
I’ll admit that I had basically written off rolled ice cream as a gimmick. The one time I tried it previously, in Kensington Market, I thought it was fine, but a bit thin and mediocre.
Wow Wow Yum Yum, on the other hand, has me convinced that rolled ice cream can be just as tasty as the traditional churned variety.
If you’re not familiar with this type of ice cream, what makes it so distinct is that it’s essentially created right on the spot. It’s made by pouring the unfrozen ice cream mixture directly onto an ice-cold anti-griddle. The mixture then freezes almost instantly, and is rolled up and served in a cup.
It was way better than I thought it would be. It’s remarkably rich and creamy — if you close your eyes and forget about the gimmick, it’s just really good quality ice cream.
My only real issue here was the flavour. I tried their most popular, Nutella banana, which had the problem that plagues so many banana desserts — the banana they used was clearly underripe. That was a bit of a bummer.
Location: 180 Queen Street West, Toronto
I just talked about Shanghai Dim Sum, a dim sum restaurant in Richmond Hill that’s both delicious and delightfully affordable.
Well, Planta Queen serves dim sum on the weekends, and it’s the complete inverse of that — it’s ridiculously expensive and thoroughly mediocre.
I managed to try a few things, and while nothing was outright unpleasant, everything I tried was an inferior version of something you could get at a dim sum joint or elsewhere. The dumplings were probably the worst offenders — the various fillings were fine, but the wrappers were flabby and overcooked.
Adding insult to injury? They all ranged from 13 to 15 bucks for an order of four. For 15 bucks, I could get 60 soup dumplings from Shanghai Dim Sum (well, I’m sure they have a limit per table, but you get the idea) — and those dumplings were about a million times better than any of the dumplings here.
The other things I tried — a dosa, fried mushrooms, dan dan noodles — were all decent enough, but again, they were crazy expensive and thoroughly inferior to the real deal.
The best thing I had — by far — was the chocolate cake. The pastry chef here is clearly the real talent in the kitchen, because the cake was abundantly satisfying. It was rich, fudgy, and slightly fruity, with a deep chocolately flavour. It was amazing.
Location: 964 Saint Clair Avenue West, Toronto
The smallest size of gelato at Futura Granita + Gelato is basically the size of a Dixie cup; all ice cream places should offer this. Sometimes, a bit of ice cream would hit the spot, but you’re not necessarily hungry enough for a full-blown dessert. A size like this is perfect.
And the gelato itself is quite good. I’ll have to come back at some point to try the granita, which is essentially an Italian version of sorbet.
I tried the stracciatella, which is a classic gelato flavour in which crunchy chocolate is mixed into a sweet cream base.
The gelato itself was definitely above average, with a nice creamy consistency and a satisfying flavour. The tasty dark chocolate complements it quite well. It’s a quality scoop.