BBQ Pork on Vermicelli at Pho Tien Thanh
Not a ton to say about this one — aside from the pork being a bit dry, this was a tasty version of a classic dish. Most of the herbs and veggies are under the noodles, so you’ll just have to take my word for it, but there was a really good proportion of meat, noodles, herbs, and vegetables. The meat was a little bit sweet and nicely savoury, and the whole thing was thoroughly enjoyable, if nothing too mind-blowing.
Blueberry White Chocolate Cheesecake at Ice Creamonology
I wasn’t crazy about Ice Creamonology on my first visit, but I’ve been back a couple of times and it’s definitely getting better (or maybe it’s just growing on me?). The ice cream is nice and creamy, and while it’s still a bit stretchier than your average scoop, it’s not as gummy as it was the first time I tried it. I will say, however, that I haven’t been back since they’ve moved to Queens Quay, so I have no idea how it holds up now.
Pumpkin Pie soft serve at Nani’s Gelato
I recently mentioned that the Pumpkin Pie Blizzard from Dairy Queen is the king of Blizzards, and this is basically just that, but a billion times better. I tried this last October (I’m still working my way through my backlog since the blog came back from hiatus); if you like pumpkin pie, the next time Nani’s brings this back (hopefully sooner than next October), you need to try it. It’s so good.
Location: 189 Augusta Avenue, Toronto (inside Egg Bae)
There are very few good things that have come out of the last year and a half, but one of the few is the explosion of ice cream shops in the GTA. Yes please to more delicious ice cream. There’s no such thing as too many ice cream shops, especially if it’s as good as what they’re serving here.
Like a lot of the new ice cream shops in the city, Good Behaviour started out selling pints to go, but they’ve very quickly expanded to three pop-up scoop shops: one on Christie, one on Bloor, and the one I visited, inside Egg Bae in Kensington Market.
I tried Chocolate Moose Track, which the menu describes as “dark chocolate base, chunks of chocolate peanut butter cups, & ribbons of chocolate fudge.”
I don’t think I got any peanut butter cups, and whatever they sprinkled on top was completely superfluous and actually kinda detracted from the ice cream, but otherwise this was top-notch stuff.
Normally the lack of advertised PB cups would have vexed me, but the ice cream itself was so crazy good that I honestly did not care at all. The chocolate flavour was delightfully intense, and the ice cream base was perfectly rich and creamy. It’s way above average.
Location: Stackt Market (28 Bathurst Street, Toronto)
Solato is a new gelato place in the Stackt Market with a pretty distinctive gimmick — the gelato itself is made on the spot in a process that’s basically like coffee pods, but for ice cream. It’s very slick.
The menu is relatively limited; when I went, it was just vanilla, chocolate, hazelnut, and a couple of fruity flavours. You can either get the gelato by itself for six bucks, or pay an extra dollar and get a couple of toppings.
I went with hazelnut sans-toppings, and the whole process was pretty seamless; they put a pod in one of the machines, and within a couple of minutes it was dispensing soft serve gelato.
It’s fine. It’s a fun gimmick, I guess, but it’s hard to deny that there’s better gelato in the city.
I was afraid it might taste artificial, but it has a pretty clean hazelnut flavour, albeit a weak one (the nutty taste is far from robust). It’s very smooth, which I guess is the advantage of making it right on the spot, but otherwise it’s nothing special; it’s a bit of a shrug, especially for the price, but if you’re in the Stackt Market anyway it might be worth a shot just for the novelty value.
Location: 30 Courtneypark Drive East, Mississauga
I actually had no particular intention of trying the Grand Big Mac. I mean, it’s just a bigger Big Mac, right? I was hoping to try the Ghost Pepper McChicken, but the McDonald’s I visited didn’t have it, so what the hell, Grand Big Mac it is.
It’s… just a bigger Big Mac.
It’s not the most exciting thing in the world, but if you’re craving a Big Mac and you’re very hungry, sure, why not? The regular Big Mac is 570 calories and the Grand Big Mac is 850, so there’s definitely a noticeable difference in size. Otherwise, it’s a Big Mac, but bigger.
It might have been a bit more interesting if it had the same bun but bigger patties, because then at least then you’d be getting a slightly different, beefier experience. But everything is proportionately bigger, so eating it feels about the same as eating a regular Big Mac. There’s just more of it.
Location: 55 Bloor Street West (in the Manulife Centre), Toronto
Eataly is currently doing a promotion they’re calling the Summer Scoop Series; every month, they’re collaborating with a different local gelato-maker on a special flavour. This month, they’re working with Nani’s Gelato, and the flavour is pistachio ricotta kulfi.
The Eataly website describes it as “an Indian-inspired flavour with an Italian twist, featuring Italian pistachio paste, chopped pistachios, steeped saffron, cardamom, and whipped ricotta.”
As you’d expect from Nani’s (and the gelato at Eataly is no slouch, either), it’s superb. The pistachio flavour is pronounced, and it’s perfectly complemented by the saffron and cardamom. The bits of sweet ricotta interspersed throughout are a nice touch. It’s top-notch gelato.