Quick Bites: Chodang Soon Tofu, Khau Gully, La Paloma

Chodang Soon Tofu
Kimchee soon tofu bowl at Chodang Soon Tofu

I’ve written about this place a couple of times before, both for this blog and another one, which is why I’m not bothering with a full post for this particular meal.  But I feel obligated to point out that Chodang Soon Tofu is still great; their namesake dish, a seriously delicious and hearty bowl of stew crammed with creamy tofu, is as vibrant and amazing as ever.  If you’re even remotely in the area, don’t miss this place; it’s a gem.

Khau Gully
Various dishes at Khau Gully

I tried a handful of dishes at Khau Gully, a delightful Indian restaurant just south of Yonge and Eglinton.  Nothing particularly knocked my socks off, but everything was solid.  In particular, the nimbu dhaniya murg featured tender chunks of chicken in a deliciously zippy sauce, and the awadhi subzi featured nicely cooked veggies in a very creamy, tasty sauce.  The kulfi is also worth checking out.  If you’ve never had kulfi before, it has a unique richness that makes it feel pretty distinct from traditional ice cream.

La Paloma
Zuppa Inglese at La Paloma

If I’m trying a gelato place for the first time, I’m probably going to pick a simple flavour like pistachio or stracciatella to gauge the quality of the ice cream.  But if it’s a place I’m familiar with, all bets are off; I’m instantly drawn to odder flavours I might not have tried before.  And I can’t say I’ve ever had a gelato flavour quite like the Zuppa Inglese at La Paloma: “English trifle with layers of cranberries, orange zest and our homemade sponge cake.”  It absolutely nails the trifle flavour, with the fruity/cakey/custardy taste shining through.  It’s also got that in-your-face booziness that you’ll often find in Italian desserts; this is a bit of an acquired taste (and it’s not my favourite thing in the world), but I don’t mind it.  The gelato itself was a bit icy, but this was otherwise a top-notch flavour.

Quick Bites: Nani’s Gelato, Fishman Lobster Clubhouse, and Bakerbots Baking

Nani's GelatoPumpkin Pie and Chocolate gelato from Nani’s Gelato

I’ve written about Nani’s Gelato a couple of times for this blog, and it continues to be fantastic.  Both flavours were top-notch, and the gelato itself is as rich and creamy as ever.  Alas, they’re currently closed for the season; apparently a permanent location might be in the cards, so fingers crossed that they’re able to make this happen.  Clearly, gelato of this calibre needs to available all year round.

Fishman Lobster ClubhouseLobster mountain at Fishman Lobster Clubhouse

I don’t have much to add about this place since I wrote about it last — but come on.  Look at that thing.  That’s a photo you have to share.  And that’s the impressive thing about this place: it seems like it’s expressly designed to impress on social media (and yeah, it clearly is), but it’s also surprisingly delicious.  It’s meaty and perfectly cooked, and the way they fry it makes it a bit more interesting than standard boiled/steamed lobster, but still allows the meat be the star of the show (it’s fried in the shell, so the majority of the meat isn’t battered).  It’s so good.

Bakerbots Baking (Bang Bang)Orange Cardamom ice cream from Bakerbots Baking

Hot tip: Bakerbots Baking serves a decent assortment of Bang Bang ice cream flavours, so if you ever feel like a scoop of Bang Bang without the line, head to Bakerbots.  And the orange cardamom was exactly what I was hoping it would be: creamy and orangey like the best creamsicle you’ve ever had, but with a nice hit of cardamom flavour.  It’s a quality scoop of ice cream.

Pizza and Gelato at Eataly

EatalyLocation: 55 Bloor Street West, Toronto (inside the Manulife Centre)
Website: https://www.eataly.ca/

After years and years of speculation and hype, Eataly finally opened in Toronto last month; judging by the intense crowds, it’s a hit.  Apparently there were lines just to get in for the first few weeks, and on a recent visit on Saturday, the place was absolutely packed.

Eataly

So was it worth the wait?  It’s hard to say based on one relatively brief visit, but I’m gonna say yeah, it was.  It’s basically an enormous, high-end Italian grocery store crossed with a food hall.  They sell all kinds of really interesting looking stuff, and all the food I tried was tasty.  It’s delightful.

I tried a couple of things.  First up was a pizza at La Pizza & La Pasta, a sit-down restaurant with a wood-burning oven that pumps out authentic Neapolitan pizzas.

Eataly

The meal started with some seriously good-quality bread, which came with a bowl of intensely nutty olive oil for dipping.

As for the pizza, I had to try the margherita.  As I’ve said before, I think it’s one of the world’s few perfect foods.  It’s also a great way to judge the quality of a pizza joint; its simplicity puts the technique of the kitchen in full display.  There’s no fancy ingredients to hide behind.

Eataly

The version they serve here didn’t blow me away — the crust was slightly lacking in substance and flavour — but it was a solid B+.  In particular, the pizza had a perfect amount of char from the blazing hot oven.   The person manning the oven clearly knows what he’s doing.

Eataly

Just around the corner from the restaurant is Il Gelato Artigianale, which has a whole bunch of tasty-looking flavours of gelato on offer.  I went with stracciatella, and I quite enjoyed it.

Eataly

I found it a bit overly sweet at first, but the combo of the sweet ice cream and the very bitter chocolate (they’re definitely using a darker chocolate than the norm) won me over.  And the gelato itself is nice and creamy, even if it was slightly on the thin side.

Old School Gelato at La Paloma

La PalomaLocation: 1357 St Clair Avenue West, Toronto
Website: http://lapaloma.ca/

La Paloma has been around since 1967, so it’s pretty much the OG gelateria in the GTA.  You can’t argue with that type of history; they’re obviously doing something right (though I recently panned Johnny’s Hamburgers, which has also been around since 1967, so I guess you can argue with that type of history).

Anyway, it’s good.  It might not be the best gelato in the city, but it’s definitely not the Johnny’s of ice cream.

La Paloma

On my most recent visit I had the Sicilian pistachio.  It tasted like they were using pistachio flavouring or even other nuts in there (something about the flavour was a bit off), and it was a bit too sweet, but it’s still quite satisfying.

It helps that the texture is great, with a nice creamy richness.  It’s definitely above average.

A Tasty Snack at Futura Granita + Gelato

Futura Granita + GelatoLocation: 964 Saint Clair Avenue West, Toronto
Website: https://www.facebook.com/futuragraniteria/

The smallest size of gelato at Futura Granita + Gelato is basically the size of a Dixie cup; all ice cream places should offer this.  Sometimes, a bit of ice cream would hit the spot, but you’re not necessarily hungry enough for a full-blown dessert.  A size like this is perfect.

And the gelato itself is quite good.  I’ll have to come back at some point to try the granita, which is essentially an Italian version of sorbet.

Futura Granita + Gelato

I tried the stracciatella, which is a classic gelato flavour in which crunchy chocolate is mixed into a sweet cream base.

The gelato itself was definitely above average, with a nice creamy consistency and a satisfying flavour.  The tasty dark chocolate complements it quite well.  It’s a quality scoop.