Location: 160 Baldwin Street, Toronto
Sukoshi Mart is a little Japanese convenience store in Kensington Market that sells hard-to-find Japanese goods. They also sell freshly-made taiyaki, a waffle-like dessert that’s traditionally filled with either red bean or custard.
I like this place. If you’re looking for Japanese snacks or candy, it’s worth a visit.
The taiyaki, on the other hand? Not so much.
It’s fine. It’s perfectly edible, but the exterior is dense and doughy, and the red bean is overly sweet. It’s also misshapen and haphazard, so it doesn’t even have the (usually) delightful visual component. It’s not the best.
Location: 61 Kensington Avenue, Toronto
Rasta Pasta serves, as the name implies, a fusion of Caribbean and Italian cuisine. It’s a bizarre amalgamation of flavours, but they’ve been a Kensington Market hotspot for years, so they’re obviously doing something right.
Their pasta wasn’t available when I visited, so I kept it simple and ordered the jerk chicken sandwich, dubbed the Vatican.
The sandwich consists of saucy jerk chicken and coleslaw in a soft roll that’s nicely crispified thanks to a panini press. It’s quite good.
However, despite the presence of a functioning grill at the front of the restaurant, the chicken tastes more braised than grilled. It’s extremely tender, and the jerk sauce is flavour-packed and mildly spicy, but the crispy exterior and smoky flavour that you expect from jerk chicken is completely absent.
And yet it’s so tasty that it isn’t particularly an issue. The sweet coleslaw compliments the savoury chicken really well, and the crispy roll is the perfect vehicle. It’s a very satisfying sandwich.
Location: 161 Baldwin Street, Toronto
I almost didn’t order the apple fritter at Dipped Donuts. Sanremo — an amazing Italian bakery in Etobicoke — sells an apple fritter that’s so delicious, getting one anywhere else feels like a waste of time. How can you top it?
Well, I’m not sure if Dipped Donuts quite tops it, but it’s pretty damn close. Their fritter is absolutely amazing.
It’s got the perfect balance of crispy, chewy, and fluffy. It’s sweet but not too sweet, with the rich glaze balancing perfectly with the cinnamony, apple-infused pastry.
It’s easily the best doughnut I’ve had from Dipped Donuts — and everything I’ve had from that particular shop has been extremely delicious. It’s ridiculously good.
Location: 172 Baldwin Street, Toronto
The ham and pimento cheese sandwich from Blackbird Baking Co. is exceptionally simple. It’s just ham, pimento cheese, and arugula. Less is more.
Getting a sandwich from a good bakery is usually a pretty safe bet; if nothing else, you know the bread is going to be good.
And the bread here was especially tasty, with a great flavour, a lightly crispy exterior, and a nice hearty chew. I could eat a big hunk of that bread on its own and be satisfied. The filling is almost a bonus.
Pimento is a southern sandwich spread consisting of cheddar, mayo, and pimentos; its presence in this sandwich takes the classic ham and cheese combo and kicks it up a notch.
It’s creamy and rich, with a nice sharp cheesy flavour and just a little bit of spice and garlic. It’s the perfect accompaniment to the meaty ham. It makes for a top notch sandwich.
Location: 189 Augusta Avenue, Toronto
I think it’s safe to say that Egg Bae isn’t for me. I think it’s fine — actually, it’s better than fine. All of their sandwiches use high quality ingredients that are prepared well; they’re just not particularly to my taste.
The last sandwich I tried — the eponymous Egg Bae — was tasty enough, but I found it to be one-note soft and rich.
This time, I went with a pick from Toronto Life’s list of the 25 best sandwiches in the city: the Eh Bae Bae (“Soft Scrambled Eggs, Sweet and Spicy Bacon, Muenster Cheese, Tomato, Arugula, Pickled Shallots, Bae Sauce”).
Once again, the individual components are all top-notch; the sweet bun is fresh and fluffy, the bacon is meaty and satisfying, the Muenster is nice and gooey, and the eggs are ultra creamy and luxurious.
But while this sandwich actually has a bit more balance from the pickled shallots, it needs a lot more; it’s incredibly rich. It does have some texture thanks to the bacon and the veggies, but it’s still mostly just soft overload.
That’s not to mention that between the glazed bacon and the very sweet bun, it’s an intensely sweet sandwich.
Still, it’s enjoyable enough — but considering the quality of the ingredients, it could be so much better.