Quick Bites: Pho Tien Thanh, Ice Creamonology, Nani’s Gelato

Pho Tien Thanh
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.

Ice Creamonology
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.

Nani's Gelato
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.

Nani’s Gelato Goes to the ‘Burbs

Nani's GelatoLocation: 6039 Erin Mills Parkway, Mississauga
Website: https://www.nanisgelato.com/

This is gong to be a short one, but I couldn’t not write a post about the recently-opened second location of Nani’s Gelato, deep in the wilds of Mississauga.

It’s slightly larger than the downtown location, though still not big enough for any seating — dashing my dreams of a full, sit-down Nani’s sundae experience.

Nani's Gelato

(This is somewhat unrelated to the topic at hand, but what’s the deal with every Toronto ice cream joint being a grab-and-go experience?  Where are all the sundae bars?  And yes, I know that Demetres exists, but I’m dreaming about a place that serves ice cream on par with Nani’s or Bang Bang that also has a menu of elaborate sundaes.  Someone make this happen please.)

Nani's Gelato

Aside from the sad lack of anything even resembling a sundae, the gelato at the new location is as great as ever.  On this particular visit I got Kit Kat Cookie Monster and Double Chocolate Nutella, and they were both rich, creamy, and delicious.  The Nutella flavour, in particular, has a very intense chocolately richness and is thoroughly delightful.

Tasty Scoops at Lola’s Gelato

Lola's GelatoLocation: 14B Brookers Lane, Etobicoke
Website: https://www.lolasgelato.com/

I’ve been back to Lola’s a couple of times since my first visit in 2018, and I think they’re just getting better and better.

On my first visit I found the gelato to be above average, but nothing that’s worth getting too excited about.  Now, on the other hand, I think maybe you should be getting a little bit excited.  It’s very, very good.

Lola's Gelato

I had Peach Blueberry Sundae, which features a really delightful combo of fresh peach and blueberry flavours.  It hadn’t even occurred to me that those two fruits would work so well together, but clearly they do because the flavour is delicious.

And the texture is just right, with a really satisfying level of creaminess and absolutely none of the iciness that you sometimes get in fruity ice creams.  It’s top notch.

An Interesting Flavour at Boho Gelato

Boho GelatoLocation: 160 Baldwin Street, Toronto
Website: https://www.instagram.com/boho.gelato/

Kensington Market seems like the kind of area that should have a whole bunch of ice cream shops, but it’s surprisingly slim pickings.  There’s a location of Dolce Gelato, a temporary outpost of Good Behaviour, and now this place — but that’s about it.

(There have been other shops over the years, of course, but the turnover in this area is bad even when there isn’t a pandemic to deal with.)

Boho Gelato

Boho Gelato has a pretty standard assortment of flavours, though there are a couple of unique ones.  Rosewater particularly caught my eye; I don’t think I’ve ever seen that in gelato before.  It’s a common ingredient in Middle Eastern desserts, with a very unique flavour that’s somewhat of an acquired taste (I hated it with a passion as a kid, but it eventually won me over).

The gelato itself is definitely above average, though it didn’t knock my socks off.  But that rosewater flavour is clearly a winner.  I got it with a scoop of pistachio, and not surprisingly, the two flavours go perfectly together.

Quick Bites: Tom’s Dairy Freeze, Soma Chocolatemaker, Nani’s Gelato

Tom's Dairy Freeze
Cherry Sundae at Tom’s Dairy Freeze

I mean, come on: if you go the whole summer without going to Tom’s Dairy Freeze at least once, was it really the summer?  I submit that it was not.  It’s certainly not the most exciting ice cream joint in the city, but they’ve been pumping out consistently great no-frills soft serve for decades, and it’s a million times better than the stuff you’ll find at chains like Dairy Queen or McDonald’s.  On this particular visit I got a sundae with chocolate ice cream and cherry sauce, and yeah, that’s a great combo.  The sauce is excessively sweet (it tastes like maraschino cherries in a thick syrup), but then that’s kind of the charm of a place like this.

Soma
Roasted Almond and Sicilian Pistachio at Soma Chocolatemaker

I’ve mentioned before that Soma serves some of the best gelato in the city, and yeah, it’s still top notch.  I recently tried roasted almond and Sicilian pistachio, and both flavours were rich, creamy, and deeply flavourful.

Nani's Gelato
Malai Kulfi and Mango Chocolate Chip at Nani’s

I don’t think I need to spend more time on this blog on the greatness of Nani’s Gelato.  I’ve thoroughly covered that.  So I’ll just say that on a recent visit I tried malai kulfi and mango chocolate chip, and both flavours were unsurprisingly fantastic.  Malai kulfi, in particular, had that perfect Nani’s balance of a unique flavour and amazingly creamy gelato.  As for mango chocolate chip, I’ll admit I was a bit skeptical about the combo of mango and chocolate, and… to be honest, I’m still skeptical.  But the mango ice cream was so delicious that I thoroughly enjoyed it, despite the flavours not working particularly well together.