Jalapeno Popper Fried Chicken Sandwich from Chica’s Chicken

Chica's ChickenLocation2853 Dundas Street West, Toronto
Websitehttps://www.chicaschicken.net/

I’ve written about Chica’s Chicken many, many times on this blog.  I’ve mentioned that I think they serve the best fried chicken in the city, and that’s still probably true — even if I wasn’t crazy about this particular sandwich.

The Jalapeno Popper Sando, as per their menu: “boneless fried chicken topped with chipotle aioli and pickled jalapeños, served on a toasted brioche bun.”

The fried chicken is as delicious as ever; it’s the perfect combo of crispy (but not overbearing) exterior and juicy interior.  It’s so damn good.

Chica's Chicken

I’m not quite as sold on the rest of the sandwich, however.  It’s that chipotle aioli.  It’s sweet.  I like the sweet/salty combo as much as the next guy, but holy moly the level of intense sugariness here is a bit intense.  It overpowers the other flavours of the sandwich.  I find the Sweet Heat sandwich at Chica’s to be a bit on the sweet side, and this one is even sweeter, somehow.  Between the sweet sauce and the sweet brioche bun, the flavour is extremely one note.

It also tastes absolutely nothing like a jalapeno popper, which is odd.  The whole point of a jalepeno popper is the contrast between the tangy cream cheese and the spicy bite of the jalapeno, and I don’t think there was any cream cheese here??  Or if there was, I couldn’t taste it over the aggressive sweetness.

Also, I don’t think I’ve ever had a jalapeno popper that was even remotely sweet.  Am I the weird one, or is Chica’s?

Oh well.  Everything else on the menu is so good that I don’t particularly care, but this is still an odd misstep from an otherwise great restaurant.

Decent Fried Chicken at Dave’s Hot Chicken

Dave's Hot ChickenLocation: 2066 Yonge Street, Toronto
Website: https://www.daveshotchicken.com/

Dave’s Hot Chicken is an American fried chicken chain with a couple of locations in the city, and one more on the way.  It’s easy to be cynical about the explosion of fried chicken restaurants in the city (Nashville hot chicken in particular), but aside from the fact that now is not exactly an easy time to be a restauranteur, fried chicken is delicious.  Nashville hot chicken is delicious.  So sure, why not?

Dave's Hot Chicken

The menu here consists pretty much entirely of fried chicken tenders that you can either get on their own, or in a sandwich.  You can pick from seven levels of spiciness ranging from “no spice” to “reaper.”

I went with the sandwich and got it hot, which was milder than you’d expect — it has a noticeable kick, but it’s not exactly going to get anyone too hot and bothered.  If you have any kind of tolerance for heat, extra hot or even reaper is probably a better choice.

Dave's Hot Chicken

Otherwise, it was pretty tasty — the white meat is a bit on the dry side, but it’s really well seasoned and quite tasty, with an exterior that’s noticeably crispy, but not overwhelming.  It’s topped with a zingy special sauce, pickles, and coleslaw, which all do a great job of cutting through the richness of the sandwich.

It comes with crinkle-cut fries that are battered and seasoned; I’m normally not crazy about battered fries, but these were pretty good (I think it’s mostly that tasty seasoning, which would probably make anything taste good).

Dave's Hot Chicken

As far as fried chicken in the GTA goes, this isn’t on the level of local joints like Chica’s or PG Clucks, but for a chain it’s not bad at all.

Tasty Fried Corn Dogs at Woofdawg

WoofdawgLocation: 1357 Dundas Street West, Toronto
Website: https://www.woofdawg.com/

Woofdog used to operate out of a cart (called Kung Fu Dawg), where they made their own hot dogs from scratch and generally outclassed what you’d expect from a street vendor dog.

They’ve upgraded to a permanent location and changed their name to Woofdog; as far as I can tell, not much else has changed.  They still make their hot dogs in-house — you can pick from beef and pork, beef, or chicken — and they’re still serving top-quality eats.

Woofdawg

On this visit I tried the corn dog, and went with a beef and pork hot dog.  You can get one that’s more extravagantly topped, but I went with the basic version that comes with grainy mustard and nothing else.

Woofdawg

It’s very tasty, though I’ll admit that I was comparing it to the one I recently had at Disneyland, which, surprisingly enough, was clearly superior.  The hot dog itself is very good — it’s meaty, not overly salty, and delicious — but the coating is a bit bland.  It’s nice and crispy from the fryer, but it doesn’t have a whole lot of flavour.

Woofdawg

Still, the hot dog / mustard combo is so tasty that this is barely even an issue.  I think the regular hot dog is probably the way to go here, however.

Delicious Doughnuts at Daddy O Doughnuts

Daddy O Doughnuts
Daddy O Doughnuts

Location: 589 North Service Road, Mississauga
Website: https://www.daddyodoughnuts.com/

Is there anything more beautiful than a big box full of doughnuts?  I submit that there is not.  Can I eat an amazing sunset?  Is a great piece of art glazed with sugar?  Are any of the wonders of the world filled with chocolate or jam?  No?  Well then they’re all inferior to a box of doughnuts.  Sorry, I don’t make the rules.

Daddy O Doughnuts

I brought this box to a friend’s house (back when seeing friends was still a thing) and, between the four of us, we managed to try every single one, so suffice it to say I was all doughnuted out by the time we were done.  But in the best way.

I’m not going to bother to go through it doughnut by doughnut, mostly because I don’t feel like it but also because there wasn’t a dud in the bunch.  They were all very tasty, so it’s safe to say that you can’t go wrong with whatever you pick at Daddy O Doughnuts.

Daddy O Doughnuts

I will say that a couple of these were cake doughnuts and the rest were classic raised doughnuts, and I was surprised to discover that I preferred the former.  The raised doughnuts were very good too, but they were a little bit dense and didn’t quite have the personality that you’ll find in the best of the best.  Still, the flavours were all so delicious that it’s hard to complain too much.

Mediocre Khao Soi at Imm Thai Kitchen

Imm Thai KitchenLocation: 651 College Street, Toronto
Website: https://www.facebook.com/Immthaikitchen/

Khao soi is one of those dishes I have a hard time resisting.  The combo of the creamy and vibrant curry soup, the chewy noodles in the bowl, and the crispy fried ones on top add up to a dynamite mix of flavours and textures.

Imm Thai Kitchen

At Imm Thai, I tried a few of the starters before I got to the soup: spring rolls, fresh rolls, and fried sweet potato.  The two types of rolls were both about what you’d expect, but the sweet potato really stood out.  The thin strands of potato were crunchy and addictive — they were basically like a freshly-fried version of Hickory Sticks, and I couldn’t get enough of them.

Imm Thai Kitchen

The khao soi, on the other hand — i.e. the reason I wanted to visit the restaurant in the first place — wasn’t the best.  It was fine; I certainly didn’t dislike eating it, but it is absolutely, positively not in the same league as the best bowls of this particular dish.

Imm Thai Kitchen

The “soup” itself is the biggest issue.  And yes, in this case, the word soup definitely needs to be in quotes — the thick, sludgy liquid here was at the consistency of a particularly hearty gravy.

Imm Thai Kitchen

Of course, the broth in a bowl of khao soi is supposed to be a little bit richer than a typical bowl of soup, but this version took that two or three (or four or five) steps too far.

Imm Thai Kitchen

The flavour, too, was a bit one-note, with none of the delightful complexity that makes the best bowls of khao soi really sing.  The crispy noodles on top were nice, if not quite as abundant as you’d like, and the pieces of chicken (you can also pick tofu, shrimp, or lobster) were all dry, personality-free chunks of white meat.