Location: 235 Spadina Avenue, Toronto
Dainties has just two things on their menu: standard macarons with a Korean bent, and macaron ice cream sandwiches. I tried one of the ice cream sandwiches, and not surprisingly, it’s tasty. It turns out that when you specialize in just one thing, you can do it very, very well.
They have a bunch of traditional flavours like vanilla and pistachio, along with more Korean/Asian-infused flavours. I went with black sesame, and I enjoyed it thoroughly.
I’m not sure where they source their ice cream from (or if they make it themselves), but it’s clearly good stuff — it’s nice and creamy, and the flavour is aces. The nutty, somewhat earthy flavour of the black sesame complements the sweet cookies perfectly. And those macaron cookies are great; the combo of the chewy cookies and the rich ice cream is a clear winner.
The only issue: they serve it way, way, way (way way way) too cold. I could barely even bite through it at first. I waited something like 10 minutes and it was still a bit too firm, but I only have so much willpower when I’ve got a delicious ice cream sandwich in my hands.
Lobster-topped stuffed tilapia from Red Lobster
I used to love Red Lobster as a kid. It was my birthday restaurant for pretty much the entirety of my childhood, so I still have very warm, fuzzy memories of the place. Every several years I feel the need to go back to indulge my nostalgia and remind myself that no, it’s not very good. The lobster-topped stuffed tilapia was actually surprisingly terrible; the flavour was one-note salty and it was absolutely doused in an unpleasant cream sauce. The rice tasted like one of those Uncle Ben’s packets from Dollarama that’s been reheated about a dozen times. The whole thing was just a straight-up bummer. I do still enjoy the biscuits, however, so there’s that.
Smoked Butternut Squash and Egg sandwich from Tuck Shop Kitchen
Though they had more traditional breakfast sandwiches on their menu (which they serve only on Sundays), I was intrigued by this one, which comes topped with “Applewood smoked butternut squash ‘Bacon’, Canadian cheddar, egg and roasted garlic aioli on a toasted sesame bun.” It’s a tasty sandwich, though like with most items labeled as vegetarian bacon, the squash did not resemble anything even vaguely related to bacon. It was just a smoky slice of squash. Still, it works quite well in the sandwich — my only complaint would be that it’s a very rich sandwich, and needs something acidic to cut that down a bit. The menu lists pickled jalapenos as an optional one dollar addon, and I think that would be the thing this sandwich is missing.
Candy Cane Bark gelato from Lola’s Gelato
I feel like everyone (myself included!) sleeps on Lola’s because it’s so far out of the downtown core, but every time I go there I’m impressed by how great the gelato is. This visit was no different; I was particularly struck with the quality of the gelato itself, which is incredibly rich and creamy. And the flavour was great, with a nice balance of mintiness and chocolate. Their assortment of flavours tends to be a bit more basic than places like Nani’s or Mizzica, but when the gelato itself is this great, who cares?
Porchetta sandwich from Porchetta and Co.
I’ve written about the porchetta sandwich from this place before, but just as an update: it’s still quite tasty. However, on this particular visit it was a bit on the dry side, which made me kinda wish I had ordered the House Special sandwich (which comes with a bunch of toppings) instead of the porchetta on its own. And indeed, ordering the porchetta sandwich sans-toppings, which used to be the shop’s bread and butter, isn’t even listed on the menu at this point. Still, it’s a top notch sandwich however you order it.
Super Baked at Ruru Baked
“Super Baked” at Ruru Baked is a thoroughly odd (but tasty) scoop of ice cream. It’s absolutely crammed with various chunks of cake and cookies and it’s certainly not unpleasant to eat, but I think it’s like 75% chunks and 25% ice cream? The ice cream is basically just there to bind the chunks together. I like a chunky ice cream as much as the next guy, but if I wanted to eat cake I’d eat cake. Still, it’s quite tasty, so I can’t complain too much.
Chocolate ice cream from Good Behaviour
And on the opposite end of the ice cream spectrum: plain old chocolate ice cream. Yeah, it’s kind of boring, but you know what? When the quality of ice cream is as good as it is here, it actually isn’t. The chocolate ice cream here has a super intense chocolate flavour, and a texture that’s abundantly rich and creamy. This place easily serves some of the best ice cream in the city (or the best? Maybe).
Location: 307 Queen Street West, Toronto
Mizzica recently opened a second location at Queen and John, and clearly they haven’t missed a step because the gelato I just tried was absolutely fantastic.
Actually, I think this flavour perfectly encapsulates Mizzica’s greatness. It’s a bit of an odd one, and almost certainly wouldn’t have been much more than an interesting novelty at any other gelato shop. Here, on the other hand, it was surprisingly delicious.
That flavour? Gorgonzola, mascarpone, and pistachio. Yes, that gorgonzola, the famous Italian blue cheese.
It’s honestly shocking how delicious it is. The gorgonzola flavour is actually quite pronounced, and yet it totally works as part of this sweet scoop of gelato. I couldn’t even tell you why or how. It shouldn’t. But it does.
The sweet pistachio paste that they top it with complements it perfectly, and the whole thing is luxuriously creamy and so much better than you’d imagine. With a lot of weird flavours like this, even when I like them, I think, well, I never need to have that again. But this was legitimately delicious. I could eat it a million scoops of it.
Blue Buffalo Chicken from Bobbie Sue’s Mac + Cheese
I’ve tried Bobbie Sue’s Mac + Cheese a couple of times and enjoyed it quite a lot. Alas, this visit wasn’t quite as stellar. I had the Blue Buffalo Chicken, which features chicken and Buffalo sauce mixed right in with the pasta, and crumbles of blue cheese on top. It’s a tasty combo, and it certainly wasn’t bad — but the pasta was overcooked, the whole thing was weirdly soupy, and it wasn’t evenly heated (the edges were piping hot, and the middle was surprisingly cold). Hopefully it was just an off day, because my last couple of visits were actually pretty special.
Beer and Brown Bread ice cream from Bang Bang
Beer and Brown Bread is a flavour that’s been popping up on Bang Bang’s menu for years, though for whatever reason I hadn’t tried it until now. It’s… weird! The ice cream itself is actually not that sweet, and captures the beer flavour with unnerving accuracy (it’s fairly bitter, like an IPA). It took me a while to warm up to it, but once you wrap your mind around it, it’s actually quite good. It’s also got somewhat crispy pieces of brown bread mixed in, which complements the beer flavour of the ice cream quite well.
Chocolate Turnover made with KitKat from A&W
Not much to say about this one — it’s a fried pie filled with chocolatey goo, with little crispy bits interspersed throughout. I feel like any fried pie is going to be tasty, and yeah, it’s good. The combo of the crispy exterior and crispy bits within adds some nice texture, and the chocolatey goo is satisfying. The whole thing is a bit too sweet and doesn’t quite have the punch of chocolate flavour that you’re hoping it might, but I still quite enjoyed it.