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.

An Odd “Dessert” at 7 Baker

7 BakerLocation: 3 Wellesley Street West, Toronto
Website: https://7baker.ca/

The Chocolate Lava Croissant at 7 Baker is interesting?  It’s quite tasty, but also… different.

It’s a high quality pastry, no doubt about it.  The croissant is top-notch; it’s nice and buttery, with a good level of exterior crispiness and a tender texture.  It’s not the best croissant I’ve ever had, but it’s clearly above average.

7 Baker

It’s filled with an intense, cocoa-packed chocolate pudding that’s creamy and tasty but also… not sweet.  Not even a little bit.

7 Baker

It’s weird.  It generally tastes good (though without a little sweetness to round things out, the bitterness of the cocoa is overly pronounced), but with the lack of sugar, I’m not sure what it is.  It’s ostensibly a dessert, but… desserts are supposed to be sweet, aren’t they?

I certainly didn’t dislike eating it, but it’s flummoxing.  I’m flummoxed by it.

Simultaneous Love and Hate at Blackbird Baking Co.

Blackbird Baking Co.Location: 172 Baldwin Street, Toronto
Website: https://blackbirdbakingco.com/

You win some and you lose some.

I just tried the almond croissant from Blackbird Baking Co.  On one hand, the croissant itself is fantastic; it’s lightly crispy on the outside, satisfyingly buttery, and has an absolutely perfect texture.  The exterior crispiness is maybe a bit too subtle, but for the most part it’s one of the better croissants I’ve had in the city.

Blackbird Baking Co.

But the almond part of this almond croissant is disappointingly anemic.  Almond croissants are traditionally stuffed and topped with almond paste; the paste on top gets crispy and caramelized, and the paste inside is gooey and sweet.

That’s how it’s supposed to be, at least.  Here, on the other hand, the layer on top was so thin that it may as well not have even been there, and it was filled with a crumbly, dry almond mixture that had almost no sweetness.  It’s not at all what it’s supposed to be.

Blackbird Baking Co.

I get wanting to put your own spin on a classic, but if you’re going to do that, maybe make sure that your new creation actually tastes good?

Still, the croissant itself is so amazing that it basically doesn’t matter.  Just don’t expect anything particularly sweet or almondy.

A Mediocre Croissant at Gouter

GouterLocation: 3507 Bathurst Street, North York
Websitehttp://www.gouter.ca/

I assumed I was in good hands when the woman behind the counter at Gouter spoke with a heavy French accent.  Not that every French person can automatically make delicious pastries, but it made me think that the place was probably legit.

Yeah, about that.

Gouter

I had the raspberry croissant, and it was fine.  I certainly didn’t dislike eating it.  But there wasn’t a single element that was better than okay.

The first sign that something was amiss was the paper bag it came in.  The croissant was in there for about twenty minutes before I ate it.  A good croissant should be buttery enough to immediately leave grease stains on a paper bag, but that bag was pristine.

Gouter

The second sign that something was amiss came when I tore it in half and saw that it was filled with about a jar’s worth of raspberry jam.  That’s too much jam.  And I mean, it wasn’t unpleasant to eat, but there’s no balance there.

And as suspected, the croissant — though mildly buttery — wasn’t nearly buttery enough.  It also had zero exterior crispiness other than at the very ends, and was generally lacking in flavour.

Gouter

The overall experience was basically like eating a slice of Wonder Bread slathered with raspberry jam.  There just wasn’t much to it — the lack of textural contrast and the one-note flavour was a bit of a bummer.

Quality Pasta (and Even Better Dessert) at Terroni

TerroniLocation: 1095 Yonge Street, Toronto
Websitehttp://www.terroni.com/

I didn’t think it was possible to be offended by a bread plate, but Terroni proved me wrong.

The bread plate at Terroni costs six dollars.  And fine — I understand that restaurant margins are dangerously thin, and that charging for bread is increasingly becoming a thing.

Terroni

The issue is that the plate comes with three tiny, dried-out slices of over-toasted white bread with a few drops of olive oil sprinkled on, four pieces of taralli (which is essentially an Italian breadstick), a small handful of olives, and… that’s it.  No butter, no olive oil, just mediocre bread and a few olives.  For six bucks.  Get the hell out of here with that.

Terroni

Thankfully, the rest of the meal was much better.

I had the Garganelli Geppetto, which is a pasta dish that comes with “dandelions, homemade spicy italian sausage, fontina, parmigiano, extra-virgin olive oil.”

Terroni

A dish like this is a bit of a tightrope walk — the “sauce” is essentially oil, so it’s going to be somewhat greasy by default.  But this one goes a bit too far, and feels oilier than it should be.

Still, it’s a tasty dish — the sausage is above average and has a mild spicy bite; the cheese adds a good amount of saltiness and a mild funk, not to mention some gooey meltiness; and the pasta itself is perfectly cooked and satisfying.  It’s good stuff.

Terroni

I can’t remember the name of the dessert and I can’t find it on the menu online, but it was essentially a croissant filled with Nutella, hazelnut gelato, and whipped cream.  It was easily the highlight of the meal.  It was shockingly delicious; the Nutella and the creamy gelato (which adds even more hazelnut flavour) go amazingly well together, and the tasty croissant is a perfect vehicle.

Ice cream cones are officially dead to me — I want all my ice cream in a croissant from now on.