Quality Pasta (and Even Better Dessert) at Terroni

TerroniLocation: 1095 Yonge Street, Toronto
Websitehttp://www.terroni.com/

I didn’t think it was possible to be offended by a bread plate, but Terroni proved me wrong.

The bread plate at Terroni costs six dollars.  And fine — I understand that restaurant margins are dangerously thin, and that charging for bread is increasingly becoming a thing.

Terroni

The issue is that the plate comes with three tiny, dried-out slices of over-toasted white bread with a few drops of olive oil sprinkled on, four pieces of taralli (which is essentially an Italian breadstick), a small handful of olives, and… that’s it.  No butter, no olive oil, just mediocre bread and a few olives.  For six bucks.  Get the hell out of here with that.

Terroni

Thankfully, the rest of the meal was much better.

I had the Garganelli Geppetto, which is a pasta dish that comes with “dandelions, homemade spicy italian sausage, fontina, parmigiano, extra-virgin olive oil.”

Terroni

A dish like this is a bit of a tightrope walk — the “sauce” is essentially oil, so it’s going to be somewhat greasy by default.  But this one goes a bit too far, and feels oilier than it should be.

Still, it’s a tasty dish — the sausage is above average and has a mild spicy bite; the cheese adds a good amount of saltiness and a mild funk, not to mention some gooey meltiness; and the pasta itself is perfectly cooked and satisfying.  It’s good stuff.

Terroni

I can’t remember the name of the dessert and I can’t find it on the menu online, but it was essentially a croissant filled with Nutella, hazelnut gelato, and whipped cream.  It was easily the highlight of the meal.  It was shockingly delicious; the Nutella and the creamy gelato (which adds even more hazelnut flavour) go amazingly well together, and the tasty croissant is a perfect vehicle.

Ice cream cones are officially dead to me — I want all my ice cream in a croissant from now on.

Top-Notch Gelato at Piccolina Gelato

Piccolina GelatoLocation: 85 Portland Street, Toronto
Websitehttps://piccolina-gelato-e-altra-roba.business.site/

Piccolina Gelato is a tiny little ice cream shop (it’s about the size of a large walk-in closet) that sells gelato and soft serve ice cream.

Maybe it’s because it’s such a small and unassuming space, but my expectations weren’t particularly high.

I was pretty blown away by how good it was.

Piccolina Gelato

I had the chocolate hazelnut, and man, it was good.  It was maybe a touch too sweet, but aside from that it was first-class gelato.

The texture was amazing — it was rich, silky, and incredibly creamy.  It was profoundly satisfying, and certainly, right up there with the best in the city in that regard.

The flavour was almost as good.  It had a very assertive chocolate/hazelnut flavour that was quite Nutella-esque.  It also had a very generous amount of nut pieces and chocolate chips that helped to amp up the flavour and the texture.

Honestly, aside from the sweetness thing (a minor complaint), everything about it was great.  I really, really enjoyed it.

Delicious Chocolate Chip Cookies at Craig’s Cookies

Craig's CookiesLocation: 1537 Queen Street West, Toronto
Websitehttps://www.craigscookies.com/

Though there are a handful of places to get delicious, freshly-baked cookies in the GTA, there are very few dedicated cookie shops.  It’s actually kind of baffling; everybody loves cookies, don’t they?

There’s Felix & Norton in Markham, and apparently there’s a place called Robyn’s Cookies that I literally just discovered on Google moments ago, and… that’s about it.  There used to be Moo Milk Bar near the Beaches; they had amazing cookies, but alas, they went under.

Craig's Cookies

Thankfully, there’s a new contender in Toronto’s very un-crowded cookie shop field: Craig’s Cookies.

They sell nothing but cookies and ice cream cookie sandwiches.  I have a lot of respect for a place that does one thing, and does it well.

Craig's Cookies

And man, does Craig’s Cookies ever do it well.  They have a whole bunch of really delicious-looking cookies; I went with Nutella, which is a standard chocolate chip cookie with a whole bunch of Nutella in the middle.

Pretty much anything with that much Nutella is going to be delicious, but I was actually shocked at how good the cookie itself was.  It had a perfect flavour, a great crispy/chewy contrast, and enough chocolate chips to give it that chocolatey hit, but not so many that it’s all you taste.

Craig's Cookies

It also had a great balance of salt, which I think is the secret with a cookie like this.  You need a little bit of salt to help balance out the cookie’s sweetness, and Craig’s nails this.  There’s just enough salt for it to do its job, but not so much that it stands out.  Perfection.

Middling Gelato at Ed’s Real Scoop

Ed's Real ScoopLocation: 189 Roncesvalles Avenue, Toronto
Websitehttps://www.edsrealscoop.com/

I’ve mentioned before that I quite like Ed’s Real Scoop, but that really, their sweet cream is where it’s at.  It’s outstanding.  Their other flavours are disappointingly hit-and-miss.

But in all my dozens of visits to the place over the years, I’ve never bothered to try their gelato.  This is going to be a short post — more of a PSA than anything else — because it’s not very good.  I’d advise that you stick to the ice cream.  Specifically, stick to the sweet cream.

I tried the pistachio and the bacio (chocolate hazelnut), and both of the flavours were pretty weak.  There just wasn’t much there, other than a generic sweetness.  This tends to be an issue with their ice cream, too, but at least in that case they’re starting with a great quality base.

Alas, the gelato itself was thin and underwhelming, with barely any creaminess at all.  It’s a waste of time when the ice cream is right there.

Decent Dipped Cones at Chocolats Favoris

Chocolats FavorisLocation: 1440 Major MacKenzie Drive West, Vaughan
Websitehttps://www.chocolatsfavoris.com/

If you want a dipped cone in the Toronto area, you’re covered.  Aside from Chocolats Favoris (which hasn’t expanded to the city quite yet), you’ve got relatively new places like Sweet Jesus, La Diperie, and Hollywood Cone, not to mention old standbys like Tom’s Dairy Freeze and the always-reliable Dairy Queen.

Note to all future restaurateurs: we’re all good for dipped cones.  May I suggest you open a frozen custard joint?  Or maybe a traditional sundae shop?

Chocolats Favoris

Chocolats Favoris (which is a Quebecois import, as you might infer from the name) sells dipped cones with a particular emphasis on the chocolatey dips; they’ve got about a dozen you can choose from, which you can either have as a plain dip, or in one of their customized combinations.

I went with the latter, and got the Hazelnut Praline, featuring vanilla ice cream with a chocolate hazelnut dip, hazelnut pieces, and dark chocolate sauce.  It’s garnished with a Ferrero Rocher-esque confection.

Chocolats Favoris

The chocolate hazelnut dip was quite tasty, which is good because there was a lot of it.  I don’t know if there’s always that much or if the woman behind the counter was just feeling generous, but the sauce layer was about a centimetre thick.

It basically tasted like a slightly sweeter, less hazelnutty version of Nutella.  The texture was interesting; it didn’t get quite as crackily as your typical chocolate dip (it might have been laid on too thick to properly harden).  It was fudgy and chewy, which actually worked quite well.  It’s basically vanilla ice cream with a bunch of Nutella mounded on top.  It’s hard to go wrong there.

As for the ice cream itself, it was fine.  It was about on par with what they’re serving at Sweet Jesus, which is to say that it was tasty, but nothing special.