Location: 31 Main Street North, Markham
There are a whole bunch of really good bakeries doing fancy French desserts in the GTA, so if you want to stand out, you’d better be really good.
Cho-Kwok-Lat stands out.
They have two display counters; one with tasty looking croissants, and the other with fancy cakes. I wanted to eat everything in both displays immediately. The woman behind the counter said that the chocolate rum almond croissant is their most popular, so I figured that was probably a good choice.
It’s immediately clear why it’s so popular. It’s basically like an almond croissant and a pain au chocolate had a baby, and it’s just the absolute best. The combination of the tasty almond paste and the great quality chocolate is so good, and the croissant itself is buttery, flaky, and perfect. I was worried that it might taste overly boozy, but if “rum” weren’t in its name, I don’t think I would have known it was there.
The woman behind the counter heated it up for me, which I don’t think I’ve ever seen with a croissant like this before, but which is clearly the way to go. The croissant was just barely warm, but it had been heated up enough to really emphasize the pasty’s exterior crisp-factor, and to make the chocolate nice and gooey. Good stuff.
Cinnamon Toast Crunch ice cream at Churnt Up
I decided recently that if I eat something I don’t particularly enjoy, I’m not going to write all that much about it — I think there’s enough negativity in the world, and I’d rather spend my energy focusing on stuff I like rather than stuff I don’t. That being said, I’ll say that Cinnamon Toast Crunch is a great flavour for ice cream, and I’ll leave it at that.
Strawberry croissant at Nord Lyon
The strawberry croissant at Nord Lyon is named after the bakery; it’s always a safe bet to order a restaurant’s namesake dish, and in this case, the croissant has a nice buttery flavour and a healthy amount of sweet strawberry jam. It was pretty stale when I tried it, but maybe you’ll have better luck?
Funnel cake at Canada’s Wonderland
It turns out that Canada’s Wonderland is actually pretty boring for food — at least half of the eateries are locations of Pizza Pizza or Subway, and the rest all serve stuff like burgers and chicken strips, with almost none of the over-the-top carnival-style fun you might expect. But! They still serve funnel cakes — topped with soft serve and a chunky strawberry sauce — and they’re just as good as you remember. No… better. If there’s a better combo than fresh fried dough, creamy ice cream, and sweet strawberry sauce, I’d like to hear about it.
Location: 1183 Dundas Street West, Toronto
I love croissants. I mean, who doesn’t? They’re crispy, they’re fluffy, they’re buttery, they can be sweet, they can be savoury… they’re one of the world’s perfect foods, and there are few things more delightful than eating a really great one.
Well, Geste Croissanterie specializes in the stuff, and as you’d hope, they’re great. I tried a sweet one and a savoury one, and they were both seriously delicious.
I started with the smoked salmon sandwich, which they make with a croissant that’s been formed into a ring like a bagel. The croissant itself is top-notch; it’s super flaky and buttery, with a great contrast between the crispy exterior and the tender interior. But the rest of the sandwich isn’t an afterthought, with some seriously good smoked salmon that’s definitely a cut above the stuff you can buy at the supermarket.
But it was the pistachio pain au chocolat (which the man behind the counter said is their most popular item — and I can absolutely see why) that really blew me away. I’m sure it helped that it was clearly super fresh, but oh man this was easily one of the best things I’ve eaten in a while.
It features that same outstanding croissant base, which is filled with tasty chocolate and a gooey pistachio paste (I wish I had taken a picture of the interior so you could see how glorious it is). It’s very sweet, but not overwhelmingly so, and the balance of all of the components is absolutely perfect. It’s so good.
Location: 1636 Bayview Avenue, Toronto
Though I’m not entirely sure that this stretch of Bayview particularly needed another fancy French bakery (Patisserie la Cigogne is just a few stores down, and Rahier Patisserie is, according to Google, a one minute walk away), but sure, why not? If the area can sustain multiple French patisseries, then go for it, particularly if the pastries are as tasty as they seem to be here.
I tried a couple of things. The first was a ham and cheese quiche in a croissant-like crust. I don’t think anyone is going to lose their mind over this one, but aside from the pastry being a bit soggy, it’s rich and creamy, and it has a good amount of ham and cheese.
I also tried the pistachio croissant, which was a clear winner — the croissant was buttery, flaky, and delicious, and the generous pistachio filling was sweet without being overwhelming.
My only complaint is that it didn’t have a particularly strong pistachio flavour (I’m guessing there’s a mix of almonds and pistachios), but the combo of the top-notch croissant and nutty filling was so tasty that it doesn’t particularly matter.
Double 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.
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.
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.