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.
Location: 1184 Queen Street West, Toronto
It’s hard to eat a Nashville hot chicken sandwich in the GTA without comparing it to Chica’s Chicken, a place that serves what might just be some of the best fried chicken I’ve ever had.
No, the sandwich from Chen Chen’s isn’t on that level, but there’s absolutely nothing wrong with it; it’s quite tasty.
You can choose from five spice levels: Southern (which they describe as “no heat”), mild, medium, hot, or poultrygeist (which they describe as “extra HOT!!”). I went with hot, which is very spicy but not face-meltingly so.
The chicken is tender thigh meat — always a good thing — and the exterior is satisfyingly crunchy. My biggest issue here is that it’s a bit bland; outside of the cayenne-infused heat, the chicken doesn’t have a ton of flavour. It’s underseasoned.
The sandwich is topped with zingy pickles, coleslaw, and aioli, which all does a pretty decent job of bringing the sandwich some flavour. But the chicken’s blandness does mar an otherwise above average sandwich.