Quick Bites: Red Lobster, Tuck Shop Kitchen, Lola’s Gelato

Lobster-topped stuffed tilapia from Red Lobster
Lobster-topped stuffed tilapia from Red Lobster

I used to love Red Lobster as a kid.  It was my birthday restaurant for pretty much the entirety of my childhood, so I still have very warm, fuzzy memories of the place.  Every several years I feel the need to go back to indulge my nostalgia and remind myself that no, it’s not very good.  The lobster-topped stuffed tilapia was actually surprisingly terrible; the flavour was one-note salty and it was absolutely doused in an unpleasant cream sauce.  The rice tasted like one of those Uncle Ben’s packets from Dollarama that’s been reheated about a dozen times.  The whole thing was just a straight-up bummer.  I do still enjoy the biscuits, however, so there’s that.

Smoked Butternut Squash and Egg sandwich from Tuck Shop Kitchen
Smoked Butternut Squash and Egg sandwich from Tuck Shop Kitchen

Though they had more traditional breakfast sandwiches on their menu (which they serve only on Sundays), I was intrigued by this one, which comes topped with “Applewood smoked butternut squash ‘Bacon’, Canadian cheddar, egg and roasted garlic aioli on a toasted sesame bun.”  It’s a tasty sandwich, though like with most items labeled as vegetarian bacon, the squash did not resemble anything even vaguely related to bacon.  It was just a smoky slice of squash.  Still, it works quite well in the sandwich — my only complaint would be that it’s a very rich sandwich, and needs something acidic to cut that down a bit.  The menu lists pickled jalapenos as an optional one dollar addon, and I think that would be the thing this sandwich is missing.

Candy Cane Bark gelato from Lola's Gelato
Candy Cane Bark gelato from Lola’s Gelato

I feel like everyone (myself included!) sleeps on Lola’s because it’s so far out of the downtown core, but every time I go there I’m impressed by how great the gelato is.  This visit was no different; I was particularly struck with the quality of the gelato itself, which is incredibly rich and creamy.  And the flavour was great, with a nice balance of mintiness and chocolate.  Their assortment of flavours tends to be a bit more basic than places like Nani’s or Mizzica, but when the gelato itself is this great, who cares?

Tasty Scoops at Lola’s Gelato

Lola's GelatoLocation: 14B Brookers Lane, Etobicoke
Website: https://www.lolasgelato.com/

I’ve been back to Lola’s a couple of times since my first visit in 2018, and I think they’re just getting better and better.

On my first visit I found the gelato to be above average, but nothing that’s worth getting too excited about.  Now, on the other hand, I think maybe you should be getting a little bit excited.  It’s very, very good.

Lola's Gelato

I had Peach Blueberry Sundae, which features a really delightful combo of fresh peach and blueberry flavours.  It hadn’t even occurred to me that those two fruits would work so well together, but clearly they do because the flavour is delicious.

And the texture is just right, with a really satisfying level of creaminess and absolutely none of the iciness that you sometimes get in fruity ice creams.  It’s top notch.

Fluffernutter Goodness at Lola’s Gelato

Lola's GelatoLocation: 16 Brookers Lane, Etobicoke

Fluffernutters are delicious.  That’s a fact.

In case you’ve been living an empty sham of a life and are unaware of the magic of the fluffernutter, it’s basically like a PB and J, but with gooey marshmallow sauce subbed in for the jam.  It’s the best.

Lola's Gelato

They have a fluffernutter-inspired flavour of gelato at Lola’s.  Obviously I had to try it.

This was my first time having the gelato Lola’s.  The quality is quite good — it’s not the richest or the creamiest gelato I’ve ever had, but it’s solid.  It’s above average.

Lola's Gelato

The flavour (called WTF – What the Fluffernutter) consists of peanut butter gelato swirled with marshmallow sauce, with Oreo bits interspersed throughout.  It was really tasty.  I wish the peanut butter flavour were a bit more pronounced — it doesn’t quite recapture the gooey, peanut-buttery joys of a fluffernutter sandwich — but it’s quite good regardless.