Delicious Butter Tarts at Abbey’s Bakehouse

Abbey's Bakehouse by RedsLocation: 100 City Centre Drive, Mississauga (inside Square One)
Website: http://www.sircorp.com/abbeys-bakehouse/

I love butter tarts, but they’re one of those things that I’m sometimes wary to order; when they’re tasty they’re very tasty, but they can easily be throat-burningly sweet.

But I had specifically heard that the tarts at Abbey’s are quite good, so it seemed like a safe enough bet.

Abbey's Bakehouse by Reds

They’re not just good.  They’re great.  I’m not sure if they’re quite on the level of the Maids’ Cottage in Newmarket, which serves my favourite butter tarts in the GTA, but they’re clearly way above average.

The filling is sweet but not too sweet, with a rich caramelized flavour and a nice gooey consistency.  The crust is great too — it’s buttery and shortbready, and compliments the sweet filling perfectly.

Abbey's Bakehouse by Reds

The crust-to-filling ratio is also on point.  This can easily trip up a lesser butter tart, but here the balance is just right — there’s enough crust to offset the sweet filling, but not so much that it dominates.  It’s delicious.

Fish and Chips at McDonald’s

McDonald's Fish and ChipsLocation: 25 The West Mall, Etobicoke
Website: https://www.mcdonalds.com/ca/en-ca.html

I just posted about the Nanaimo Bar McFlurry, which is part of McDonald’s soon-to-end (on the 17th) Great Canadian Tastes promotion.  And now I’ve tried the other item in that menu, Fish and Chips.  Because of course I did.  What did you think, that McDonald’s was going to introduce fish and chips and I wasn’t going to try it??  Get out of here.

McDonald's Fish and Chips

It’s fine, I guess.  When I first heard about it, I assumed they were just going to throw a Filet-O-Fish patty on some fries and call it a day, but this isn’t that.

The meal comes with two pieces of fried haddock that basically taste like any number of middle-of-the-road frozen fish filets you can get at the supermarket (it’s not reconstituted fish pieces, so it’s got that going for it).

McDonald's Fish and Chips

They’re nice and crispy, and when I had them at least, they were freshly fried — but they definitely have that distinctive processed flavour that lets you know they were made in a big factory many miles away and then frozen.

The fish itself was dry, but it could have been worse.  Like I said, it was fine.  Not great, but perfectly edible.

The meal comes with a little tub of tartar sauce, which is zippy and surprisingly oniony.  I wasn’t crazy about that (raw onions are the worst; why everyone thinks they’re acceptable to eat is a complete mystery to me), but it was definitely a bit more interesting than you’d expect.

Nanaimo Bar McFlurry at McDonald’s

Nanaimo Bar McFlurryLocation: 30 Courtneypark Drive East, Mississauga
Website: https://www.mcdonalds.com/ca/en-ca.html

This is kind of old news at this point, but McDonald’s currently has a Great Canadian Tastes promotion going (until the 17th of June, so don’t dilly dally if you want to sample it and haven’t yet), which includes fish and chips and a Nanaimo Bar McFlurry.

I’ve only tried the McFlurry so far, and it’s not bad.  I don’t think I would have guessed that it was supposed to taste like a Nanaimo bar, but it’s decent enough for what it is.

Nanaimo Bar McFlurry

It’s intensely sweet — but then a Nanaimo bar is also super sweet, so on that level at least, it resembles what it’s supposed to be.

The easiest way to make this would have been to just mix Nanaimo bar chunks into ice cream, but instead, this features coconut graham crumbs, cocoa, chocolate chips, and hot fudge sauce.

Nanaimo Bar McFlurry

Chocolate is clearly the dominant flavour here, with lots of sauce and a healthy amount of graham cracker bits.  The bits have a mild coconut and chocolate flavour, and add a satisfying amount of crunchiness.

There’s also a vague underlying toffee flavour, but for the most part, this thing is just chocolatey and sweet.  It’s tasty enough, but if you’re craving that distinctive Nanaimo bar flavour, you’re probably going to be disappointed.

Tasty (and Unusual) Doughnuts at Flipside Donuts

Flipside DonutsLocation: 12 Case Goods Lane, Toronto
Website: https://flipsidedonuts.com/

Though I’ve had many, many sweet doughnuts in my lifetime (and so have you, I’m guessing, unless you’re living out some kind of Encino Man scenario and have just emerged from the ice), but I can’t say I’ve ever had a savoury one.

There’s a first time for everything, of course, and if what Flipside Donuts is serving up is any indication, savoury doughnuts are way better than you’d think they’d be.

Flipside Donuts

Flipside serves mini doughnuts a la Tiny Tom, and if you order one of their savoury concoctions, you get eight little doughnuts with various toppings.

I ordered the Spadina Streetcar: “8 mini donuts covered in hoisin, braised duck, pickled vegetables, sesame aioli, cilantro.”

Flipside Donuts

The doughnuts themselves are great — they’re freshly fried, just as you’d hope they’d be, with a mild sweetness that works quite well with the savoury toppings.

The texture is a bit more dense and cakey than Tiny Tom, with a lightly crispy exterior that’s incredibly satisfying.

Flipside Donuts

And the toppings are delicious.  Hoisin and duck is obviously a boffo combination, not to mention the extra punch of creaminess that you get from the aioli.  And the freshness of the cilantro and the vinegary punch of the slaw helps to cut the richness from the other elements.  The duck itself is a bit dry, but mostly, the dish works way better than you’d think.

Flipside Donuts

I also tried a few of the sweet doughnuts.  I tried Bellwoods Bonfire (“toasted spiced walnuts & hickory smoked maple syrup”), South Coast Sour (“lemon curd, toasted poppy seed”), Danforth Drizzle (“pistachio butter, Toronto honey, puff pastry”), and Viva YRT (“sweet mango puree & toasted coconut”).

Flipside Donuts

There wasn’t a dud in the bunch, though the Danforth Drizzle, with its rich pistachio flavour, was my favourite.

Middling Ramen at Sansotei Ramen

Santosei RamenLocation: 100 City Centre Drive, Mississauga (inside Square One)
Websitehttps://www.sansotei.com/

Sometimes, I just don’t have all that much to say about a particular dish.  When something is fine — not particularly good, but not particularly bad — it can be difficult to muster up all that much enthusiasm to write about it.

Santosei Ramen

The tonkotsu ramen at Santosei is one of those dishes.  The only exceptional thing about it is how exceptionally middle-of-the-road it is.

Santosei Ramen

There are some things about it that I liked, however.  You can choose thick or thin noodles — I went with thick, and they were chewy and satisfying.  And the broth has a rich porkiness that’s pretty tasty.  But it’s a bit one-note in its flavour, and it’s intensely salty.

The chasu wasn’t bad, but I think it needed to cook for slightly longer, as it had a vaguely rubbery texture.   The egg was nice, but ice cold.

Santosei Ramen

Even by the standards of ramen in Toronto, what they’re serving at Santosei is quite ho-hum.  But…  I don’t know.  It’s fine, I guess?