Location: 235 Spadina Avenue, Toronto
The dessert pizza at Big Trouble Pizza — called the Butter Jam Jam — is quite odd. It features raspberry jam, butter cream, bocconcini cheese, mozzarella cheese, balsamic reduction, and lemon zest.
It sounds kinda absurd, and… yeah, it’s absurd. I was hoping it would be one of those things that sounds weird but is actually great; no such luck.
It’s not bad, though. It’s generally tasty enough — all of the components are good — but the flavours/textures never quite cohere in any meaningful way. It’s a little too salty for something that’s supposed to be a dessert, and nothing about it particularly pops.
It tastes like something you might whip up in a moment of bizarre inspiration (perhaps under the influence of a certain substance that was just legalized) and then, once you actually try it, never make again.
Still, I didn’t dislike eating it, I guess. And the crust was actually quite good, with a light exterior crispiness, and a pleasantly chewy interior. It definitely makes me want to go back and try one of the traditional pizzas.
Location: 2470 Yonge Street, Toronto
La Viziatta might be the oddest gelato shop I’ve ever been to. It’s inside a video game store.
I don’t mean that they’re neighbours, or that they sell gelato on one floor and games on another. I mean that it’s a video game store with a gelato counter.
But sure, why not? I’m sure the costs to operate a business in a high-traffic spot like Yonge and Eglinton are quite high. So if you can split them with someone else, you may as well go for it.
And they have an interesting assortment of flavours, including the one that brought me here: peanut butter and jelly.
Sadly, it’s not nearly as amazing as you’d hope. The gelato isn’t particularly creamy, the peanut butter flavour is fairly anemic, and the “jelly” is actually an overly sweet syrup rather than jam or jelly. None of the elements are particularly offensive — I ate it all, and if you put another cup in front of me I’d eat that too — but nothing is as tasty as it should be.
Of course, it’s hard not to compare it to the PB and J flavour at Bang Bang, which is almost unfair — that might just be one of the best scoops of ice cream that I’ve ever had. It’s the exact opposite of what they’re serving here: it’s super rich, it has an intense peanut butter flavour, and the balance with the jam is absolutely perfect.
Location: 4910 Yonge Street, North York
Hey. Do you like croissants? Of course you do, who doesn’t? How about peanut butter and jelly? Again, I’m going to have to assume the answer is yes. Of course you like PB and J. You’re not a crazy person.
Well then, you’ll be pleased to hear that Bake Code has a PB and J croissant, and yeah, it’s good. How could it not be?
It’s not even that the croissant is that great. It’s fine. It’s a bit too dense, and it’s not quite as flaky or as buttery as you’d like; it’s a decent, middle-of-the-road croissant. But then they fill it with an absolutely absurd amount of peanut butter and strawberry jam, and how could that be bad? It can’t be.
The crispy croissant, the crunchy peanuts on top, and the gooey PB and J turn out to be an irresistible combination. It almost feels like cheating — you could put gobs of peanut butter and jelly into pretty much anything, and it’s going to be delicious. But tasty is tasty.