Location: 25 The West Mall, Etobicoke
The common refrain is that you should give a restaurant at least a few weeks before you pass judgment on it. It often takes a little while for the kitchen to work out all the kinks.
Union Chicken is a perfect example of this. Last year, I went there within a couple of weeks of its opening; it was absolutely, positively awful. I tried a few things and they were all horrifically bad.
In the meantime, I’ve heard basically nothing but good things, so I figured it was probably about time to give it another shot. And it was night and day. Everything was really, really good.
The Buffalo and blue cheese fried chicken sandwich was delicious. It’s got everything you’re looking for in a fried chicken sandwich: that amazing exterior crunch, a juicy piece of chicken (the fact that it’s thigh instead of breast helps mightily in this regard), and a zingy sauce that makes it all sing.
There’s something about the magical interplay between vinegary Buffalo sauce and creamy blue cheese dressing that just works, and Union Chicken only elevates that — the blue cheese dressing on the sandwich is seriously tasty, with a mild garlicky bite that sets it apart.
I had the baked beans on the side, and they were also well above average. Sometimes baked beans can be a bit of a sweet overload, but these had a nice vinegary punch to round things out, and a decent amount of spice. The texture was a bit soupy, but they were otherwise top-shelf beans.
That sandwich, though. I was honestly surprised at how good it was. It definitely belongs on a list of the best fried chicken in the city.
Location: 3797 Lake Shore Boulevard West, Etobicoke
I’ve mentioned before that frozen custard is almost impossible to find in the city. Which is completely baffling, because we have about a million ice cream shops. There’s no reason we shouldn’t have a bunch of places serving delicious frozen custard.
As far as I know, we have two: Rita’s, an outpost of an American chain near Kensington Market, and now Woodfire Sandwich Co.
If you’re not familiar with frozen custard (and if you’re living in Toronto, you’d be forgiven for not knowing what it is), it’s basically like regular ice cream, but made more luxurious and creamy with the addition of egg yolks.
Woodfire serves chocolate, vanilla, and a rotating feature flavour. You can also add a variety of optional toppings. I just got plain vanilla so I could bask in the sweet, sweet, custardy glory without anything getting in the way.
It’s good. It’s not quite as tasty as basically any frozen custard I’ve had in the States, but it’s legit. It’s got a pronounced custardy flavour and a satisfyingly silky texture. It could be creamier, and eating it gets a bit one-note sweet after a while, but all things considered, I enjoyed it.
Hey, beggars can’t be choosers. It’s frozen custard and it doesn’t require that I drive hundreds of kilometres to the States. I’ll take it.
Location: 25 Sherway Gardens Road, Etobicoke
Amaya is a (usually) decent quality chain that (usually) serves tasty Indian fare. But the Sherway Gardens location is… odd. I tried it when it first opened, and the food was so atrociously bad that it was nearly inedible.
I figured they deserved another chance — new restaurants often need a month or two to work out all the kinks. I just tried the rogan josh, which features big chunks of lamb in a mildly spicy curry sauce on top of basmati rice.
Yeah, it was pretty bad. It’s so weird, because the other Amaya locations I’ve tried have been pretty reliable, but the Sherway Gardens location is almost like a completely different restaurant.
The flavour of the curry wasn’t bad, but the chunks of lamb were mostly tough and rubbery (with a few tender pieces interspersed throughout to mix things up), the rice was ice cold, and when I got to the bottom of the bowl, there was a big pool of greasy water that was tremendously off-putting.
Location: 165 North Queen Street, Etobicoke
I’ll admit it: I was quite impressed by the Apple Crumble Sundae from McDonald’s. I really enjoyed it.
It’s quite simple: vanilla soft serve layered with spiced apple topping, and sprinkled with with cinnamon oat crumble.
The spiced apple topping is essentially apple pie filling, with a decent amount of small apple chunks. It’s a little bit tart, which works well with the very sweet crumble and ice cream.
The crumble is a little bit too hard and crunchy, but it has a satisfying brown sugar flavour that compliments the apple topping and the ice cream nicely.
The ice cream is the ice cream. If you need me to describe McDonald’s soft serve for you, I really don’t know what you’re doing here.
There’s not much more to say about it than that. It tastes like an apple crumble in sundae form. It’s exactly what you want it to be.
Location: 1569 The Queensway, Etobicoke
I actually quite like Wendy’s. I mean, it’s still a fast food chain, so it’s not great — but it’s one of the better ones.
Well, usually, at least.
The Bacon Maple Chicken Sandwich definitely isn’t their finest hour. It’s a fried chicken sandwich served on a croissant bun and topped with Swiss cheese, maple glaze, and bacon.
It’s super sweet and super dry, and I just did not enjoy eating it at all.
The “maple glaze” is basically just thick, sludgy maple syrup. It’s intensely sweet and far too overwhelming for a sandwich like this. The mildly spicy chicken patty (you can get spicy or original) helps to balance out the sweetness a little bit, but it’s not nearly enough to overcome the sugar overload.
Everything else is dry. The fried chicken patty is dry, the “croissant” bun is dry (and aside from the cosmetic, it has zero croissant-like properties), the completely unmelted cheese is dry — even the bacon is dry. I like crispy bacon as much as the next guy, but the glass-like strips in this sandwich were taking it a bit too far.
It really needed additional sauce to give it moisture, but adding more of the maple glaze would pretty much be instant diabetes. The whole thing is head-scratchingly misguided.