Sandwich Perfection at Tortería San Cosme

Tortería San CosmeLocation: 181 Baldwin Street, Toronto
Websitehttp://www.sancosme.ca/

I recently mentioned that the sandwich at Egg Bae was fine, but that it was a bit one-note; the flavours and textures were all monotonous, and it was kinda boring to eat.

The Conchinita torta from San Cosme is the exact opposite of that.  It’s an almost absurdly well-balanced sandwich.

It was my first time back there since it opened; it was very good then, and it’s even better now.  The torta I just had was dangerously close to sandwich perfection.

Tortería San Cosme

The sandwich comes with pulled pork, refried beans, habanero onions, and fried plantains.

It’s ridiculously good.  All the elements work together in such perfect harmony.  There’s the tangy pork (which is super tender, but still has some texture) and the creamy beans, which balance perfectly with the mild sweetness of the plantain.  The pickled onions add crunch, and their vinegary bite helps to cut the richness from the pork and beans.

Tortería San Cosme

Then there’s the crispiness from the fried plantains, not to mention the amazing bread, which is lightly crispy on its exterior and delightfully fluffy inside.

It’s kind of absurd how good the sandwich is.  The contrasting flavours and textures are like a perfectly orchestrated symphony.

Tortería San Cosme

And it’s made even better with the house-made pickled jalapenos they have on the counter.  These things are so good, with an assertive crunch, a vinegary bite, and a mild spiciness.  You assume the sandwich can’t get better than it already is, then you add a few of those, and yeah — somehow it gets even more delicious.

Decent Breakfast Sandwiches at Egg Bae

Egg BaeLocation: 189 Augusta Avenue, Toronto
Websitehttp://eggbae.ca/

I’ve been meaning to check out Egg Bae pretty much since it opened, though I’ll admit that the name kinda makes me cringe.  I can’t help but think about this moment from 30 Rock every time I see it.

But regardless of the name, I just can’t say no to a tasty breakfast sandwich.  Who can?

Egg Bae

The menu is admirably focused, with breakfast sandwiches, breakfast sandwiches, and more breakfast sandwiches (they also have hash browns if you want something on the side).  I went with the eponymous Egg Bae: “Soft Scrambled Eggs, Chives, Muenster Cheese, Slow Cooked Onions, Bae Sauce.”

It’s decent enough, but alas, it didn’t quite knock my socks off.

Egg Bae

All of the components are really good (in particular, the eggs themselves are perfect — they’re amazingly soft and creamy with zero sliminess), and the hearty bun does a great job of holding up to the very gooey sandwich.

But all of the flavours and textures are basically on the exact same wavelength; it’s one-note soft, salty, and rich, and as good as it is, it gets monotonous.  It really needed some texture to balance out how soft everything is, and something acidic to cut the richness.  It’s not a large sandwich, and I was still sick of eating it towards the end.

Egg Bae

Certainly, Gold Standard, which serves my current favourite breakfast sandwich in the city, remains the… well, gold standard of breakfast sandwiches.

This will probably flush my credibility down the toilet, but I think even a McMuffin is better (I’m partial to the Egg and Sausage).  Yes, the quality of the ingredients at Egg Bae are clearly superior and the eggs are better prepared, but the McMuffin is just more satisfying.  The toasted English muffin gives it some much-needed textural contrast, and the flavours are better balanced.

¯\_(ツ)_/¯

Tasty and Unique Flavours at Dipped Donuts

Dipped DonutsLocation: 161 Baldwin Street, Toronto
Websitehttps://www.facebook.com/dippeddonuts/

Though Dipped Donuts has been serving their tasty treats at various events throughout the city for a few years, they’ve only just recently opened a permanent outpost in Kensington Market.

They keep things pretty simple; as far as I can tell, they only serve classic raised doughnuts — nothing with a cakey base, and on the day I visited, nothing filled (though they do have filled doughnuts in their rotation).

Their menu mostly consists of quirky flavours like rosewater pistachio, mango ginger, and London fog.

Dipped Donuts

I tried the blueberry basil, and yeah, it’s good. The doughnut itself is a little bit more dense and chewy than the norm, which is actually quite satisfying.

The glaze was seriously delicious, though I’ll admit that I couldn’t taste any basil flavour.  It was bright and fruity, with a mild tartness and a pronounced blueberry flavour.  It’s also admirably restrained in its sweetness; it’s basically the polar opposite of the in-your-face sugar bombs you’ll find at Krispy Kreme.

Most of the time, I’m ready to tap out from the sweetness after one doughnut.  Here, I could have happily eaten another one (or two).

Delicious Asian-Style Ice Cream at Koishi

KoishiLocation: 160 Baldwin Street, Toronto
Websitehttp://little-pebbles.com/koishi-ice-cream

Koishi is a collaboration between Little Pebbles (which is great) and Arthur Pezzelli, the co-founder of Bang Bang (which is beyond great).

Bang Bang serves, bar none, the best ice cream in Toronto.  It’s not even close; they blow everyone else out of the water.  This makes Koishi a must-visit.  A new place started by one of Bang Bang’s founders?  Uh, yeah, I’m all over that.

Koishi

Asian-style ice cream has very much become a thing in Toronto, and as you might infer from the name, that’s what Koishi is all about.  They have a variety of Japanese-influenced flavours that you can get in a cone, a cup, or a sweet bun.

Koishi

I’m all about the ice cream at places like this (as much as I love Bang Bang, the cookies are a complete waste of time), so I just went with a plain scoop in a cup.

I tried the honey soba: “toasted buckwheat & caramelized honey.”

Koishi

It was pretty great — the crunchy bits of soba gave it a nice toasty flavour, and the honey was pleasantly floral, with a subtle sweetness that was just right.

The quality of the ice cream itself wasn’t as perfect as Bang Bang’s — it didn’t quite have the same level of rich creaminess, and it was very subtly icy — but it’s still top-shelf stuff.

Japanese Domination Continues at Koi Koi Sake Bar

Koi Koi Sake BarLocation: 170 Baldwin Street, Toronto
Websitehttps://www.koikoibar.com/

Joining places like Little Pebbles, Sakoshi Mart, and Millie Creperie, the Japanese domination of this stretch of Kensington Market continues with Koi Koi Sake Bar, which features a tasty selection of Japanese eats.  I, for one, welcome our new Japanese overlords.

I tried a few things.  First up was a nice little snack that every table gets by default.  I meant to ask what these were and completely forgot, but they were crunchy, savoury, and a little bit sweet.

Koi Koi Sake Bar

Next up was the katsu sando, which is a fried pork sandwich topped with a generous amount of mayo and tangy tonkatsu sauce, with some romaine lettuce for added crunch and freshness.  It’s a solid sandwich, though the pork was overcooked (I had a hard time even biting through it in parts).

Koi Koi Sake Bar

The miso nasu followed, which is a dish consisting of grilled, miso-glazed eggplant.  It feels like it’s missing something (a crunchy counterpoint to the soft eggplant, perhaps?), but it’s enjoyable enough; it basically tastes like they distilled the flavour of miso soup into a glaze and then brushed it onto an eggplant.

Koi Koi Sake Bar

The last dish was the bacon fried rice, which food writer David Ort called “possibly the best fried rice [he’s] ever had.” This is mostly what made me want to come here.

Koi Koi Sake Bar

I’m not sure if it’s the best I’ve ever had, but it was definitely top-shelf fried rice, with a nice meatiness from the generous bacon and a satisfying level of crispiness from the fried garlic slices.  The creamy mayo on top was a nice touch.