Tasty Pastries at Little Pebbles Cafe

Little Pebbles CafeLocation: 160 Baldwin Street, Toronto
Websitehttp://little-pebbles.com/

I was still hungry after the horrifying abomination I was served at Kiss the Tiramisu; I couldn’t eat more than a third of it.  So I went a couple of stores down to Little Pebbles, a great little Japanese cafe in Kensington Market.

They have the usual assortment of coffees to pick from, as well as a variety of French/Japanese-inspired baked goods.  I went with the Strawberry Sakura Mont Blanc, which features an almond-infused crust, pastry cream, a whole strawberry, and strawberry mont blanc cream.

Little Pebbles Cafe

Maybe I was just happy to eat something that wasn’t disgusting, but I really enjoyed this.  The nutty crust was tasty, the whole strawberry was sweet and ripe, and the mont blanc cream did a really great job of balancing the chestnut flavour you’d expect with something a bit fruitier.

The whole thing was quite subdued in its flavours, but it all worked really well.  I’d definitely like to come back here and try some of their other offerings, because everything looked really good.

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Shockingly Terrible Ice Cream from Kiss the Tiramisu

Kiss the TiramisuLocation: 160 Baldwin Street, Toronto
Websitehttp://www.kissthetiramisu.net/

I don’t want to be too hyperbolic, but I think the sundae at Kiss the Tiramisu in Kensington Market might be the worst thing I’ve ever been served in a restaurant.  Certainly, it’s right down there.

To be fair, they were clearly having issues.  Shortly after I ordered, the woman behind the counter attempted to dispense ice cream from the machine; pure liquid came out.  She looked shifty and then told me I’d have to wait five minutes.

A smarter man would have asked for his money back and left.  Clearly, I am not a smart man.

The ice cream is layered with coffee, some kind of white sauce (mascarpone?), and a whole bunch of cocoa powder.  It’s absolutely terrible.

Kiss the Tiramisu

I’m really not sure what that vile, sludgy glop was, but it certainly wasn’t ice cream.  That’s not even a joke: it was thin and lacking anything even remotely resembling creaminess.  I’m almost certain it didn’t have the proportion of milk fat that is legally required for something to be called ice cream.  It was also grainy and icy, so it was pretty much the worst.

The flavour was no better; I find a lot of ice creams are a little bit too sweet for my taste.  I had the opposite problem here.  This was bland and horrible, with a vague milkiness and and unpleasantly watered-down bitter coffee flavour that was downright repulsive.  There was also an insane amount of cocoa mounded onto this thing, which just made it impossible to eat without getting powder all over the place.

Despite spending well over seven bucks (!), I couldn’t bring myself to finish it.  It was so bad.

Seriously: I take back every bad thing I’ve ever said about Sweet Jesus.  I certainly have issues with the place, but at least what they’re serving is actual ice cream that isn’t gross.

Tasty Pies at General Assembly Pizza

General Assembly PizzaLocation: 331 Adelaide Street West, Toronto
Websitehttps://www.gapizza.com/

After my horrifying Pizzeria Libretto experience, I wondered: am I being too picky?  Was Libretto actually not that bad?  Are my expectations just way too high?

Thank you, General Assembly Pizza, for letting me know that I’m not crazy.  Pizzeria Libretto was indeed terrible.  I am still capable of enjoying pizza.

General Assembly Pizza

They’re certainly not the best I’ve ever had, but the pizzas they’re serving here are all-around solid.

The first thing you notice is the even char on the crust; clearly, the temperature/time in the oven is just right.  Remember the disturbing photo of the colourless bottom of the slice from my Libretto post?  Here’s what the bottom of a slice of pizza should look like:

General Assembly Pizza

That’s not to say that the crust here was perfect.  I liked the subtle crispiness on its exterior, but it didn’t quite have the chewiness that you’re looking for, and it was a bit bland.  It wasn’t quite at the Wonder Bread level of Libretto’s crust, but it was definitely lacking.

The toppings do a pretty great job of hiding the crust’s shortcomings, however.  I tried three pizzas: Sweet Heat (tomato, mozzarella, hot salami, chili, honey, basil), Falco Sausage (tomato, parmesan, sausage, red onion, bread crumb, garlic, black pepper, chili flake, basil), and Garden Smash (tomato, squash eggplant mash, red onion, spring onion, garlic, sesame, basil).

General Assembly Pizza

All three were quite tasty, with a great sweet/salty contrast on the Sweet Heat, and a nice savoury punch on the Falco Sausage.  Even the Garden Smash — a cheeseless pizza, which I was deeply skeptical about — was fairly satisfying (though I still missed the cheese).

You can also kick things up with a nicely potent chili oil they have on the side.  I strongly recommend that you do this; it’s great.

Wacky Flavours at Death in Venice Gelato Co.

Death in Venice Gelato Co.Location: 536 Queen Street West, Toronto
Websitehttps://www.deathinvenice.ca/

If you’re looking for an off-kilter scoop of gelato, Death in Venice is the place to go.  With their various flavours featuring ingredients like parsnip, kaffir lime, and lavender, you’d be advised to look elsewhere if you’re hoping for a scoop of plain chocolate or vanilla.

Of course, it’s easy enough to serve oddball flavours as a novelty; it’s not-so-easy to make them actually taste good.

Death in Venice Gelato Co.

I can happily say that Death in Venice absolutely nails the whole “tasting really good” thing.

On this particular visit I tried the pistachio yogurt and baklava, which was outstanding.  It features crispy bits of phyllo pastry, pistachio chunks, and honey, which really nails the baklava flavour.  The yogurt adds a very subtle tartness.  There clearly isn’t enough yogurt here to qualify this as frozen yogurt; there’s just enough to add that flavour without being overly sour.

Death in Venice Gelato Co.

That’s not to mention the lemon zest, which works perfectly with the other elements here.  I think there might have also been ricotta?  I’m not sure.

But you know what I am sure about?  That this was great.  Because it was great.  Aside from the really interesting combination of flavours, the gelato itself was creamy and luxurious.  It’s good stuff.

Tasty Gelato at Soma Chocolatemaker

Soma ChocolatemakerLocation: 443 King Street West, Toronto
Websitehttps://www.somachocolate.com/

I mentioned recently that Hollywood Gelato is a strong contender for my favourite gelato in the city.  Also on that list?  Soma Chocolatemaker.  You wouldn’t think that a place that makes great chocolate would also make great gelato, but hey, why not?  They also sell some pretty tasty cookies, so I guess they’re just great at everything.

Soma Chocolatemaker

I got the dark chocolate gelato, and as you’d expect from a place with the word “chocolate” in their name, the flavour was outstanding.  It had a deep, rich chocolate flavour with a perfect balance of sweetness.  The creamy, almost fudgey texture was deeply satisfying.

I’d be surprised if there were a better scoop of chocolate gelato in the city.