Location: 545 King Street West, Toronto
Though the fried chicken sandwich at Porchetta & Co. used to be one of the best in the city, sadly, I think those days are long gone. The last few I’ve had have been nothing too memorable — and that includes the Korean fried chicken sandwich, one of their recent specials.
The sandwich, per their menu: “Sweet & Spicy Korean Chili Sauce, Lettuce, Pickles, Kimchi, Cilantro, Green Onion Lime Mayo, Milk Bun.”
It was fine. It certainly wasn’t out-and-out bad; the rich mayo and the sweet chili sauce are a tasty combo, and the pickles and the kimchi do a good job of cutting through the richness. I wish it had been spicier (the spice level was basically at a vague tingle), but it was tasty enough for what it was.
The chicken was a bit of an issue, however. It wasn’t quite as crispy as you’d like, and the meat itself was pretty tough.
The bun was probably decent at some point, but it was stale and dry.
Though I didn’t hate eating it, the sandwich added up to a whole bunch of meh. I think I’ll probably stick with the porchetta from now on, which is still great.
Location: 28 Bathurst Street, Toronto
Donut Monster is a really acclaimed doughnut joint from Hamilton that recently opened a location in Toronto’s Stackt Market. I’ve been hearing nothing but good things about their doughnuts for a while now — if they hadn’t opened an outpost in Toronto, taking a long drive to Hamilton might have been in order.
I’m so glad I didn’t drive all the way to Hamilton for this.
I tried the Cherry Cheesecake Bullseye, which features sour cherry pie filling, cream cheese icing, and a graham cracker crumble.
I know a lot of people are more concerned about a doughnut’s fillings/toppings than anything else, and on that level this was pretty decent — the balance between the tart cherries and the sweet frosting was actually quite good.
But the doughnut itself was seriously disappointing; it was dense and dry and boring. It was like Wonder Bread. There’s nothing to it. I’m pretty sure the prepacked doughnuts you can get at the supermarket aren’t much worse.
It certainly wasn’t unpleasant, but from a high-end doughnut place it’s a huge let-down.
Location: 28 Kensington Avenue, Toronto
I’ve tried to get the cinnamon bun from Fika Cafe a few times, and it’s been sold out every time.
I finally got one. It was worth the wait.
Fika Cafe is a Swedish bakery and coffee shop in Kensington Market; they sell a Swedish-style cinnamon bun, and it’s fantastic.
It’s basically like a cross between a Swedish cardamom bun and a more traditional cinnamon roll, and it’s so damn good. It tastes more strongly of cinnamon than cardamom, but that slightly floral cardamom taste is definitely there; it’s a delightful balance.
Everything else about it is pretty much perfect — it has the perfect amount of sweetness, with a light sugary glaze and additional pops of sweetness and texture from the pearl sugar on top. It’s pretty restrained, however, so if you’re expecting a Cinnabon-esque sugar-bomb, look elsewhere.
The pastry itself is dense but not too dense, with a nice chewy texture and just the right amount of fluffiness. And of course, the aforementioned cinnamon/cardamom balance is just right. It’s one of the best pastries I’ve had in a while.
Location: 750 Spadina Avenue, Toronto
I’ll always have a soft spot for Greg’s. I’ve been going there since I was a kid, and they’re still pumping out some of the best ice cream in the city.
It’s hard to go wrong with anything here, but their roasted marshmallow is pretty much ice cream perfection. Unlike some other roasted marshmallow flavours (Ed’s, I’m looking squarely in your direction), it tastes exactly like a roasted marshmallow — but in ice cream form.
The texture is slightly gummy (and no, this isn’t just because of the marshmallow — all of their flavours are slightly gummy), but it’s otherwise rich, creamy, and perfect. And that flavour is phenomenal. It’s intense but not overwhelming. It’s so good.
Location: 370 King Street West, Toronto
Not everything needs to be (or can be) a home run. Sometimes it’s fine for a dish to be solid — perfectly tasty, but nothing too mind-blowing.
That’s 00 Gelato in a nutshell. I don’t think anyone’s going to call it the best gelato in the city, but it’s quite satisfying.
The place is a bit odd. It’s in a closet-sized spot on King, and it’s basically just a gelato counter in a doorway. It seems super makeshift, but it’s been popping up for the last few summers, so it’s permanent enough.
I had a scoop of the Ferrero Rocher, and it’s good. The gelato itself is rich and creamy, and the flavour is quite nice. It’s a bit too sweet, but it otherwise does a great job of capturing the Ferrero Rocher flavour, right down to the crispy wafer bits.