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.
Location: 331 Adelaide Street West, Toronto
The last time I checked out General Assembly Pizza, I noted that the crust didn’t quite have the level of chew that you’re looking for; sadly, that issue has not gotten any better. If anything, it’s worse.
Their current special is a TIFF-inspired pizza called the Pink Panther: “rose sauce, shrimp, lemon, red jalapeno, garlic, scallion, mozzarella.”
It’s not bad. The flavours all work together relatively well, and the shrimp is perfectly cooked. But it’s an off-kilter pizza, and unlike the off-kilter pies at a place like Descendant, I kinda wished I was eating something a bit more traditional. Nothing about it particularly pops.
Still, it’s tasty enough — aside from the crust. As you can see from the photo, it’s perfectly cooked, with a delightful amount of char from the hot oven. But it lacks substance, and it’s kinda bland. It almost dissolves in your mouth; you barely even have to chew it.
I also tried the General Bread from the Snacks portion of the menu, which is described as “aged mozzarella, grana, garlic, aleppo pepper, wild oregano.” It had the same issues with the dough, but it’s loaded with enough cheese and garlic (not to mention the tomato dipping sauce) to overcome the crust’s deficiencies. It’s quite good.
Location: 160 Baldwin Street, Toronto
Sukoshi Mart is a little Japanese convenience store in Kensington Market that sells hard-to-find Japanese goods. They also sell freshly-made taiyaki, a waffle-like dessert that’s traditionally filled with either red bean or custard.
I like this place. If you’re looking for Japanese snacks or candy, it’s worth a visit.
The taiyaki, on the other hand? Not so much.
It’s fine. It’s perfectly edible, but the exterior is dense and doughy, and the red bean is overly sweet. It’s also misshapen and haphazard, so it doesn’t even have the (usually) delightful visual component. It’s not the best.