Tacos at King’s Tacos
The most interesting thing about the tacos at Kings Tacos might just be the way they serve them — an order comes with a very generous platter of meat (in this case the King’s Special, which comes with pork, beef, chorizo, onion, bacon, and cheese) and tortillas on the side, and you build it yourself. It’s interesting, and it’s a great value, because that pile of meat is not kidding around. That’s not to mention the very generous bowl of free (and tasty!) tortilla chips and sauces that comes with the meal. It’s not just a good value, however: it’s quite tasty, too.
Cinnamon Bun at Bakerbots Baking
I’ve heard the cinnamon bun at Bakerbots referred to as one of the best in the city, and yeah, that sounds about right. It’s absolutely fantastic, with a slightly crispy exterior and a gooey (but not overly gooey and sweet, like a Cinnabon) interior. The pastry itself is top-notch, with a nice chewy texture and a flavour that ensures that the cinnamon bun isn’t just one-note sweet. Is it the best in the city? It could be!
Jokbal at Hanyang Jokbal
I mean, look at that glorious pile of pork. Do you even need me to say anything? Jokbal is a Korean dish featuring braised pig trotters; I tried the half and half, which is half jokbal and half bossam (pork belly, if I recall correctly). You eat it wrapped in lettuce with some of the tasty sides and condiments on the table, and yeah. It’s delicious. Again: look at it.
Location: 4941 Dundas Street West, Etobicoke
When you’re in the mood, there’s nothing that hits the spot quite like a hearty, flavourful, bubbling hot Korean stew.
(Well okay fine, as a person who generally doesn’t like food to be so hot that you’re at risk of burning yourself, I could do without the “bubbling hot” part — but since the hot stone bowl is part of the package, I guess I’ll allow it.)
I ordered the ugeojikug, which the menu describes as “cabbage hangover soup made in a beef broth with rice.”
It’s very good. The soup is absolutely crammed with cabbage and sliced beef, and the broth is slightly spicy and profoundly beefy. The beef was a bit on the tough side, but everything else is so tasty that this is never a particularly big deal. In particular, the soup itself has a very satisfying beefy flavour; they could have served that broth on its own and I would have left happy.
Location: 4916 Yonge Street, North York
Gamjatang (A.K.A. pork bone soup) is one of those dishes that might sound a bit intimidating on paper, since the bones in question come from the spine of the pig, which isn’t exactly a common cut of meat. But it’s so good.
(I was about to say “done well, it’s so good” but then I realized that I’ve never had a bad version of this dish. I’m sure they’re out there, but I guess it’s hard to completely mess up, because it’s always tasty.)
The version at Mapo Gamjatang was especially delicious, with a super flavourful broth and surprisingly generous (and ultra-tender) chunks of pork. Sometimes you have to work hard to find the meat on the bones in this dish, but this particular version featured a shocking amount of tasty pork. It’s delightful.
It’s a great deal, too. The regular bowl (large is an option, but trust me, regular is plenty) costs 13 bucks and comes with a generous (and tasty) assortment of banchan.
Kimchee soon tofu bowl at Chodang Soon Tofu
I’ve written about this place a couple of times before, both for this blog and another one, which is why I’m not bothering with a full post for this particular meal. But I feel obligated to point out that Chodang Soon Tofu is still great; their namesake dish, a seriously delicious and hearty bowl of stew crammed with creamy tofu, is as vibrant and amazing as ever. If you’re even remotely in the area, don’t miss this place; it’s a gem.
Various dishes at Khau Gully
I tried a handful of dishes at Khau Gully, a delightful Indian restaurant just south of Yonge and Eglinton. Nothing particularly knocked my socks off, but everything was solid. In particular, the nimbu dhaniya murg featured tender chunks of chicken in a deliciously zippy sauce, and the awadhi subzi featured nicely cooked veggies in a very creamy, tasty sauce. The kulfi is also worth checking out. If you’ve never had kulfi before, it has a unique richness that makes it feel pretty distinct from traditional ice cream.
Zuppa Inglese at La Paloma
If I’m trying a gelato place for the first time, I’m probably going to pick a simple flavour like pistachio or stracciatella to gauge the quality of the ice cream. But if it’s a place I’m familiar with, all bets are off; I’m instantly drawn to odder flavours I might not have tried before. And I can’t say I’ve ever had a gelato flavour quite like the Zuppa Inglese at La Paloma: “English trifle with layers of cranberries, orange zest and our homemade sponge cake.” It absolutely nails the trifle flavour, with the fruity/cakey/custardy taste shining through. It’s also got that in-your-face booziness that you’ll often find in Italian desserts; this is a bit of an acquired taste (and it’s not my favourite thing in the world), but I don’t mind it. The gelato itself was a bit icy, but this was otherwise a top-notch flavour.
Location: 333 Dundas Street East, Mississauga (inside PAT Supermarket)
Kevin’s Taiyaki is inside the PAT Supermarket in Mississauga, which is a pretty trippy place to visit. It’s basically like stepping through a portal into South Korea. When I went, every other person — both customer and employee — was Korean, and the only language I heard spoken was Korean. PAT has a downtown location as well, but I’ve never quite had the same experience there.
I have a definite fondness for South Korea (I think it’s an underrated travel destination), so that was delightful.
Like the downtown PAT, there’s a location of Kevin’s Taiyaki right inside the supermarket, which specializes in red bean or custard filled pastries.
I got the red bean, and it was very, very good. It was freshly made, with a nice crispy exterior, fluffy pastry (if you’ve never had taiyaki before, it’s extremely waffle-like), and a delicious red bean filling. The red bean had a restrained level of sweetness and a chunky (but still smooth) texture that was extremely satisfying.
Taiyaki is one of those dishes that’s very simple and rarely bad, but difficult to do really well. Kevin’s Taiyaki does it really well.