The New “Hotter and Juicier” Big Mac

McDonald's - New Improved Big MacLocation: 2510 Hampshire Gate, Oakville
Website: https://www.mcdonalds.com/ca/en-ca.html

McDonald’s is making a big hullabaloo about their “remastered” classic burgers (the Big Mac, the Quarter Pounder with Cheese, and the Cheeseburger).  This includes a promotion where you can get a Big Mac for three bucks, so I figured it was worth a shot.

The improvements, according to McDonald’s:

  • 100 per cent Canadian beef patties now cooked in smaller batches for hotter and juicier beef
  • Storage changes for fresher and crisper produce
  • Onions added directly on the patties on the grill to intensify flavour
  • More of our legendary Mac Sauce applied on Big Macs
  • New bun recipes for warmer buns

I got a Big Mac, and… I don’t know.  It’s a Big Mac?  It tastes like a Big Mac?  I’m sure if I were that guy who eats multiple Big Macs every day, it would have blown my mind with all the little differences.  But it’s been a year or two since I’ve had one.  It tasted exactly the same to me.

McDonald's - New Improved Big Mac

Actually, that’s not entirely true — it’s clearly saucier.  The amount of sauce is kind of insane.  It oozes out of the burger with every bite.  It’s a mess.

Obviously the dry, mostly tasteless McDonald’s patties need a lot of help (and no, they are absolutely not juicier in any discernible way).  But even still, this was overkill.

The only other change that stood out were the onions; you could tell just by looking at them that they had been put on the griddle.  They had a bit of colour to them.  But if that made any particular difference to the flavour, I certainly couldn’t tell.

Still, it wasn’t bad.  I liked the Big Mac before, and I like it now — but I guess I prefer the old version, because the amount of sauce on the new one is bonkers.

Buffalo Chicken Sandwich at Chica’s Chicken

Chica's ChickenLocation: 2853 Dundas Street West, Toronto
Website: https://www.chicaschicken.net/

Last summer, I tried just about everything on the menu at Chica’s Chicken, and decided that it was probably the best fried chicken in the city.

It’s still probably the best fried chicken in the city.  The Buffalo fried chicken sandwich is a newer addition to the menu, and it was every bit as amazing as I was hoping it would be.

It’s normally served on a brioche bun, but since they were out of those, it came on sliced bread instead.  I’m sure it would have been delicious on the bun, but the bread didn’t feel like a detriment.  It was an outstanding sandwich.

Chica's Chicken

The fried chicken was as crispy, flavourful, and juicy as ever, and the zingy Buffalo sauce just enhances it.  It’s topped with coleslaw and blue cheese sauce, and it’s absolutely perfect.  It’s the perfect Buffalo chicken sandwich.  I can’t think of a single thing I’d change.

Actually, that’s a lie — it’s only mildly spicy, and I wish it were a little bit hotter.  But the sandwich was so thoroughly satisfying that I only barely missed the spice.

Outstanding (and Unique) Gelato at Nani’s Gelato

Nani's GelatoLocation: It’s a truck; check Instagram to see where they’re parked
Website: https://www.nanisgelato.com

Fact: it’s impossible to read this article without immediately being overcome by an extreme desire to go check out that gelato.  High quality gelato with really interesting, Indian-inspired flavours?  Yes please.  Put that in my belly ASAP.

I was hoping to try the pistachio cardamom, but alas, it wasn’t available when I went.  I guess I’ll have to go back — what a hardship.

Nani's Gelato

It’s as delicious as advertised.  The gelato itself is great; it’s rich, creamy, and smooth, with a perfect consistency.

As for the flavour, I got the Carrots and Cream, which is apparently based on a traditional Indian pudding called carrot halwa.  I can’t say I’ve tried that particular dessert, but if this gelato is any indication, it’s good.

I’m not sure what to compare the flavour to.  I guess carrot cake?  But not really.  It has a similar flavour profile to any number of Indian desserts, but it’s also got its own thing going on.  I don’t know.  It’s delicious.  That’s the best way I can describe it.  It’s delicious and you should eat it immediately.

White Lily Diner Makes a Mean Meatloaf Sandwich

White Lily DinerLocation: 678 Queen Street East, Toronto
Website: http://whitelilydiner.ca/

At this point, I’ve eaten several of the sandwiches from Toronto Life’s list of the best in the city.  That’s a solid list.  And the meatloaf sandwich from White Lily Diner (Toronto Life’s 12th best sandwich) is absolutely outstanding.

White Lily Diner

The sandwich features a thick slice of meatloaf, mayo, a sweet tomato sauce, and pickles.  An egg is an optional surcharge, but of course you need to get the egg.  Every sandwich is improved by the addition of a fried egg with a gooey yolk.  That’s just science.

Oh, and did I mention that it also comes with a bowl of gravy on the side for dipping?  Because it does, and it’s glorious.

White Lily Diner

It’s an incredibly rich sandwich — there’s the butter-laden toast (which they make in house, and which is amazing), the weighty slice of meatloaf, the fried egg, and of course, the gravy.  That sandwich doesn’t take any prisoners.  It’s not kidding around.

It’s also delicious.  The meatloaf is perfectly spiced while still retaining a nice beefy flavour.  It has a great texture, not to mention a nice crispy exterior from the griddle.  The rich gravy only amps up the beefy flavour.

White Lily Diner

But it’s perfectly balanced; the pickles and the sweet tomato sauce ensure that it never feels one-note rich.

It comes with a salad on the side (and trust me, you don’t need anything heavier than that to accompany this sandwich) which is dressed with a simple vinaigrette; it works as a nice counterpoint to the very rich sandwich.

Bong Lua Vietnamese Restaurant

Bong Lua Vietnamese RestaurantLocation: 2572 Birchmount Road, Scarborough
Website: None

Bun Rieu — a Vietnamese crab noodle soup — is one of those dishes that’s everything at once.  It’s alternately sweet, salty, savoury, meaty, fishy, and sour.  It’s quite rich, but vibrant enough that it never feels overly heavy.

Bong Lua Vietnamese Restaurant

The version at Bong Lua isn’t mind-blowing, but it’s quite tasty.  The broth lacks the rich complexity of the best versions of this dish, but there’s absolutely nothing wrong with it.

Bong Lua Vietnamese Restaurant

There’s a great interplay between the sweet acidity of the tomatoes and the fishy funk from the crab.  That’s not the mention the chewy rice noodles, which suit the dish perfectly.  It’s a solid bowl of soup.