Tasty Chocolate Ice Cream at Avoca

AvocaLocation: 176 Hampton Avenue, Toronto
Website: https://avoca.business.site/

Avoca is a delightful little chocolate shop that makes their own ice cream.  It’s also in a seriously unfortunate location — it’s in Greektown right off the Danforth, but it’s far enough off the main stretch that you wouldn’t know it’s there unless you’re looking for it.  It’s a bit hidden.

It’s a shame; I think more people would be talking about this place if it were in a better location.  I’m not sure about the chocolates, but the ice cream is top notch.

Avoca

I tried a scoop of the classic chocolate ice cream, and it’s definitely above average.  It was served way too cold (the woman behind the counter was having quite the struggle just getting a scoop), but everything else about it was great — it had a deep chocolately flavour, it wasn’t too sweet, and the ice cream itself was rich and creamy.

Extremely Spicy Noodles at Momofuku Noodle Bar

Momofuku Noodle BarLocation: 190 University Avenue, Toronto
Website: https://noodlebar-toronto.momofuku.com/

After my recent disappointment with Canada’s so-called hottest burrito, I found myself craving extreme spice.  That burrito was a complete buzzkill.  You can’t get me all hyped up to eat something stupidly spicy and then serve a regular burrito with a little bit of hot sauce on the side.  That’s not cool.

The Very Extremely Spicy Noodles at Momofuku Noodle Bar was just what the doctor ordered.

I knew it would be; I tried it a couple of years ago and found it to be quite tasty, but spicy enough that I needed a year or two to want to eat it again (especially when there’s so much good stuff on the menu at the Noodle Bar).  But enough time had passed for me to go for round two.

Momofuku Noodle Bar

It is definitely as advertised.  It’s extremely spicy, but not so ridiculous that it’s inedible.  It’s a very, very spicy dish, but it’s clearly designed to be delicious, and not to be something you’d only eat on a dare.

It’s an explosion of flavours; it’s spicy, garlicky, fermented, and funky.  It also has that numbing heat from Sichuan peppercorns, which helps to balance out the extreme spice.

The explosive sauce and the chewy noodles are a great combo.  Assuming you have a decent tolerance for spice, it’s seriously delicious (and the glass of soy milk that comes on the side does a decent job of cooling down the inferno in your mouth).

Momofuku Noodle Bar

I also tried the hot cocoa soft serve, which the menu describes as “chocolate, coffee, ancho, cocoa cookie”; this wasn’t quite as good.

I think the main issue is that it’s clearly mislabeled — it tastes way more strongly of coffee than chocolate.  It’s basically coffee ice cream with mild chocolatey undertones, and a surprisingly restrained level of sweetness.

I don’t particularly like coffee, but if you do I’m sure you’ll find this delicious.  The ice cream has an amazingly smooth and creamy consistency, but the coffee flavour was way too intense for me.

Empty Instagram Bait at Taiyaki NYC

Taiyaki NYCLocation: 128 Dundas Street West, Toronto
Website: https://taiyakinyc.com/

Taiyaki NYC is basically the same concept as Sukoi Desserts, in which a taiyaki (a Japanese waffle-like dessert in the shape of a fish) is filled with ice cream and other toppings.

It’s a dessert that’s tailor-made for Instagram; in fact, Taiyaki NYC even has a portion of their wall made entirely of flowers to make your photo really pop.  I just wish they put in half as much effort to make the food pop.

It’s a dessert I should love.  Ice cream is great.  Taiyaki is great.  Cramming those two things together should be a home run.  And yet…

Taiyaki NYC

I went with the Mangonificient, which is supposedly one of their most popular flavours — it features a mango/vanilla swirl inside a custard taiyaki.

The ice cream is the biggest issue.  It’s not good — it has a decent mango flavour, but it’s icy and thin.  It’s topped with a cookie and a few tiny cubes of tasteless mochi on a stick.  It looks impressive, but the taste is another story.

Taiyaki NYC

I will say, however, that the taiyaki itself is actually quite good.  It’s nice and fresh, with a crispy exterior and a perfectly cakey/fluffy interior.   They sell them on their own, which is clearly the thing to order.  It probably won’t be much of a hit on social media, though, so what’s the point, right?

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.

Rolled Ice Cream at Wow Wow Yum Yum

Wow Wow Yum YumLocation: 4141 Dixie Road, Mississauga (inside Rockwood Mall)
Website: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Wow-Wow-Yum-Yum/809769729167391

I’ll admit that I had basically written off rolled ice cream as a gimmick.  The one time I tried it previously, in Kensington Market, I thought it was fine, but a bit thin and mediocre.

Wow Wow Yum Yum, on the other hand, has me convinced that rolled ice cream can be just as tasty as the traditional churned variety.

Wow Wow Yum Yum

If you’re not familiar with this type of ice cream, what makes it so distinct is that it’s essentially created right on the spot.  It’s made by pouring the unfrozen ice cream mixture directly onto an ice-cold anti-griddle.  The mixture then freezes almost instantly, and is rolled up and served in a cup.

Wow Wow Yum Yum

It was way better than I thought it would be.  It’s remarkably rich and creamy — if you close your eyes and forget about the gimmick, it’s just really good quality ice cream.

My only real issue here was the flavour.  I tried their most popular, Nutella banana, which had the problem that plagues so many banana desserts — the banana they used was clearly underripe.  That was a bit of a bummer.