Decent Ice Cream at West End Waffles and Scoops

West End Waffles and Scoops
Location
: 499 Runnymede Road, Toronto
Website: https://www.instagram.com/westendwafflesandscoops/

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.

West End Waffles and Scoops

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.

Quick Bites: Churnt Up, Nord Lyon, Canada’s Wonderland

Churnt Up
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.

Nord Lyon
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
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.

Amazing Croissants at Geste Croissanterie

Geste Croissanterie
Location
: 1183 Dundas Street West, Toronto
Website: https://geste-croissant.com/

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.

Geste Croissanterie

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.

Geste Croissanterie

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.

Geste Croissanterie

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.

Quick Bites: Superpoint, Good Behaviour Ice Cream, Falafel Plus

Superpoint
Cheese slice from Superpoint

Superpoint!  It’s still great.  This time I got a plain cheese slice, and it’s absolutely phenomenal — it’s got the perfect amount of gooey cheese, tasty sauce, and that nicely crispy/chewy thin crust.  Pizzeria Badiali is right nearby also serving up top-notch slices, and I’m extremely envious of anyone who lives in the area because they’re both so good.

Good Behaviour Ice Cream
Mint Chocolate from Good Behaviour Ice Cream

Easily the weirdest scoop of mint chocolate chip ice cream I’ve ever had — it didn’t taste like mint or chocolate.  If I had eaten this blind, I honestly don’t think I would have guessed mint.  It tastes more like a mild key lime pie.  It’s not bad, it’s just weird when you’re expecting mint.  As for the chocolate, I’m of the opinion that standard chocolate chips are useless in ice cream.  They have a nice crunch, but nothing else — frozen chocolate chips are too cold to properly melt in your mouth, so they basically just crumble into little bits that you can’t taste.

Falafel Plus
Falafel from Falafel Plus

If you have “falafel” right in the name of your restaurant, you’d better be able to back that up.  I’m happy to say that Falafel Plus very much backs that up: the falafel here has a great balance between crispy exterior and fluffy interior, and it’s perfectly spiced, with a herby flavour that’s very satisfying.  Clearly, I’m going to have to return and try a bunch more stuff, because they have a fairly extensive menu, and based on the falafel it’s probably all tasty.

The Fritter Co. at St. Jacobs Market

The Fritter Co. at St. Jacobs MarketLocation: 856 Weber Street North, Waterloo
Website: https://fritterco.ca/

The apple fritters at The Fritter Co. in St. Jacobs Market are popular.  I’ve been hearing about them for years, so when I recently found myself in St. Jacobs, checking them out was a must.

The Fritter Co. at St. Jacobs Market

The first challenge: actually finding the place in the surprisingly massive St. Jacobs Market compound, which encompasses several enormous buildings and a seemingly endless outdoor market.  I’m not sure where the largest farmers’ market in the world is, but I have to imagine this one is in the top 10.

The Fritter Co. at St. Jacobs Market

The second challenge: mustering up the patience to stand in the gigantic, slow-moving line, which wound up taking about half an hour.

The Fritter Co. at St. Jacobs Market

Maybe after all of that, no fritter could have lived up to my sky-high expectations, but the apple fritter here was… not very good?  This place is universally beloved, and sorry everybody, but I don’t get it.

The Fritter Co. at St. Jacobs Market

The fritter is interesting, I’ll give it that — each one features a full apple ring that’s the approximate thickness of a finger.  And I did enjoy the contrast between the very tart apple slice and the sweetness of the sugary exterior.  But the crisp apple slice also seems to impact the pastry itself, which was slightly undercooked around the middle in both of the fritters I tried.

The Fritter Co. at St. Jacobs Market

Otherwise, the very pancake-like pastry was fine, I guess?  And the whole thing was certainly not unpleasant to eat (the fact that they serve them piping hot from the fryer helps), but was it worth the epic half hour line-up?  Absolutely not.  If you’re coming from Toronto, save yourself the time and just go to San Remo or Dipped DonutsYou’re welcome.