Location: 93a Ossington Avenue, Toronto
I’ve already written about Bang Bang a couple of times on this blog, so I sort of figured I wouldn’t be writing about it again. I mean, I could happily make this blog all Bang Bang all the time — it’s the greatest, and anyone who says otherwise is dead to me — but that might get a bit monotonous.
No one needs a few dozen posts that all amount to “hey, this new flavour at Bang Bang, it’s also delicious!”
But… hey, this new flavour at Bang Bang, it’s also delicious!
The roasted pineapple flavour at Bang Bang is so good that I have to post about it. I must. It’s too good.
It’s got the usual creamy, rich amazingness that you expect from Bang Bang’s ice cream, but it’s the flavour that really puts it over the top into crazy good territory.
I normally don’t even like fruity ice cream all that much, but this one is something special. It has such an amazing roasty pineapple flavour; it’s obvious that the fruit has been intensely caramelized. If you’re looking for something light and tart and refreshing, look elsewhere. This has a really deep, rich flavour that’s perfectly balanced by the creamy ice cream. It’s perfect. It’s honestly one of the best scoops I’ve ever had.
Location: 361 Roncesvalles Avenue, Toronto
Apparently chocolate shops are pretty great at making ice cream, because Soma has some of the best gelato in the city, and Chocolateria on Roncey serves some top-shelf stuff. It’s not “best in the city” good, but it’s a respectable scoop of ouce cream.
They have a handful of interesting flavours; I went with the burnt toffee chocolate, which features a tasty mix of chocolate and burnt toffee ice cream.
It’s high-quality ice cream. The chocolate is satisfyingly rich, and while the burnt toffee could have had a deeper flavour (it basically just tastes like regular caramel), it worked very well with the chocolate.
My only real issue was that the texture was a bit gummier than I’d like, but aside from that it was quite enjoyable.
Location: 630 The Queensway, Etobicoke
If you’re looking for soft serve ice cream in Toronto, you can’t go wrong with Tom’s. It’s been a summertime institution since 1969 and, shockingly enough, still sells some of the best soft serve in the city.
In a city where so many old-school restaurants skate by on nostalgia alone (I’m thinking of vintage burger joints like Johnny’s and Apache), I tend to approach years-old restaurants with a healthy dose of skepticism. Toronto’s food scene has improved astronomically over the decades, and a place like Johnny’s (which routinely used to top “best burger in the city” lists despite serving awful pre-fab junk) is a palpable reminder of how far we’ve come.
Tom’s Dairy Freeze, however, is a delightful exception to this rule; the soft serve here is top-shelf stuff.
On this particular visit I went simple with vanilla ice cream and a chocolate dip. The dip is nothing special, but the ice cream is phenomenal. It’s rich, creamy, and has a really satisfying vanilla flavour. Anyone who wants to sell soft serve in the city should be forced to come here and take notes.
Location: 3276 Midland Avenue, Scarborough
I don’t particularly like matcha. It has a vaguely bitter, swampy flavour that I find unappealing.
So obviously, when I went to Golden Bubbles, I ordered the Matcha Red Bean Waffle despite the fact that they have many non-matcha options that look perfectly delicious. Because I’m a stupid person?
In my defense, I’ve been craving a red bean dessert (probably because I’ve been watching Kantaro: The Sweet Tooth Salaryman on Netflix, a delightfully quirky Japanese show about a dessert-obsessed businessman). Plus, it’s been a few years since I’ve tried a matcha dessert, so my general mindset was “prove me wrong, Golden Bubbles. Prove me wrong.”
Yeah, I still don’t like matcha. But if you do, I’m sure you’ll find this quite tasty. It consists of a matcha poppy seed waffle, green tea ice cream, and a sweet red bean topping.
The fresh Hong Kong style waffle was great, with a delicately crisp exterior and custardy interior. And, flavour notwithstanding, the quality of the ice cream was very good. It was rich and creamy. The beans were tasty as well.
But no, sorry matcha fans. It’s beloved, and I just don’t get it. I won’t say it’s flat-out gross, but its popularity baffles me.
I guess I’ll wait another few years and try it again.
Location: 1167 Queen Street West, Toronto
Hollywood Cone is basically a superior version of Sweet Jesus — they have a similar selection of social-media-friendly cones, along with other Instagram-bait creations like elaborate milkshakes topped with entire doughnuts or slices of pie.
The quality of the ice cream itself is a solid upgrade over Sweet Jesus. And yet the place seems to be struggling to attract customers — go figure. On this particular day, I was actually intending to get a scoop from Bang Bang, but the line-up was intense, even by their standards. Meanwhile, Hollywood Cone (which is just a few blocks away) was a ghost town.
I ordered the Salted Caramel Skor (well, technically I ordered something else and they gave me the wrong thing — but I couldn’t be bothered to correct them), which comes topped with Skor bits, salted caramel sauce, and a chocolate drizzle.
It’s not bad at all. The sauces were middle-of-the-road, but the real attraction here is the ice cream. It’s super creamy and rich, and it lacks the artificial sweetness that you find in lesser soft serve. It’s really, really good.
Like at Sweet Jesus, their creations are designed to be Instagram-friendly cones instead of the sundaes they’re clearly meant to be, so the toppings run out pretty quickly. But unlike at Sweet Jesus, the quality of the ice cream is so good that you don’t particularly mind.
It’s odd that the place isn’t doing better than it is, though the aforementioned service issues don’t help, nor does the fact that the place is weirdly dirty and dark, with an atmosphere that feels more like a dive bar than an ice cream shop.