Location: 499 Runnymede Road, Toronto
I generally don’t pay much attention to ice cream shops that don’t make their own ice cream, but I figured I’d give West End Waffles and Scoops a shot. They serve Shaw’s Ice Cream, an Ontario-based company that seemed like it might be a bit more interesting than the usual Kawartha or Nestle.
Outside of the ice cream, I think West End Waffles and Scoops makes pretty much everything else from scratch, including waffles, sauces, cookies, and cones. I went pretty simple, however, and just got a scoop of Grammy’s Cupboard, which features a vanilla base with brownie pieces, cookie dough chunks, and peanut butter swirled throughout.
It’s not bad. It’s not on the level of the better places in the GTA, but the ice cream is nice and creamy with plenty of tasty mix-ins, and a clear step up from something you’d find in a supermarket freezer.
Location: 426 St. Clarens Avenue, Toronto
I love ice cream (and I mean, who doesn’t?). I’m always on the lookout for the next great scoop.
I’m not going to bury the lede — Emmy’s does not serve the next great scoop.
It’s fine. There wasn’t anything glaringly wrong with it. But the quality is more in line with something you might get from the supermarket with the words “Nestle” or “President’s Choice” on the label.
It’s in a bit of an odd location; it’s basically part of a coffee shop (they have their own sign and door, but once you’re inside, it’s all one store).
They don’t make their own ice cream. They source it from Dutch Dreams. I have a vague recollection of going to Dutch Dreams well over a decade ago and not being impressed, but I was hoping that they had improved in the interim.
Alas. I had the “Life on St. Clarens,” which is vanilla ice cream with a peanut butter swirl, along with brownie chunks and cookie dough.
Nothing about it particularly stood out. Though the ice cream was somewhat rich, the flavour was just generic sweetness. The same lack of flavour extended to the chunks — the brownie was just chewy and sweet, and the cookie dough was crumbly and sweet. Nothing makes an impact.
Given the fairly unambitious array of flavours they have on offer, I suspect that they’re trying to be more of a stop for local kids than somewhere you might go out of your way for. Which is fine. But… don’t go out of your way for it.
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.