Location: 3401 Dufferin Street, North York (inside Yorkdale Mall)
Since I’ve already established that the restaurant at the Restoration Hardware in Yorkdale is better than it has any right to be (I was shocked at how decent the burger was), it shouldn’t be a surprise that the grilled cheese is quite tasty.
It’s a classic, no-frills grilled cheese. This is a dish that a lot of places feel the need to gussy up, with toppings and condiments aplenty. But grilled cheese is perfect on its own; all you need is good quality bread, cheese, and a whole bunch of butter. No ornamentation is necessary.
And that’s exactly what the RH Courtyard Cafe gives you: the cheddar cheese is sharp and gooey, and the bread has the perfect amount of substance, with a crispy exterior and a soft interior.
It’s also ridiculously buttery, as it should be; if you can hold a grilled cheese sandwich without your hands instantly becoming slippery with grease, then you need to throw it right in the garbage. It’s worthless.
But then there’s the price. It’s 19 bucks. As good as it is (and it’s quite good), it’s still just a grilled cheese sandwich, which might be the easiest (and cheapest) thing in the world to make. So it’s hard to justify spending that much on it.
Location: 25 The West Mall, Etobicoke (inside Sherway Gardens)
I mentioned recently that I like Sweet Jesus, but that it looks better than it tastes. Well, I think that the abysmal soft serve at Kiss the Tiramisu and Loukomania Cafe have completely readjusted the way that I evaluate soft serve. They were a very visceral reminder that bad soft serve can be really bad.
Suddenly, Sweet Jesus is looking pretty good. Because I just went to their location in Sherway Gardens, and I quite enjoyed it.
I got the Oh Hungry, which is similar to the flavour I got last time — vanilla ice cream, caramel and peanut butter sauces, peanuts, chocolate chips, and a chocolate drizzle.
It was shockingly delicious. All of the sauces, nuts, and chocolate went really well together (true to its name, it tasted similar to an Oh Henry bar), and there seemed to be a better ratio of toppings to ice cream. Plus, the vanilla ice cream was rich and creamy. It still didn’t have much of a flavour beyond a general sweetness, but it wasn’t overly cloying and the texture was on point.
I don’t know if the quality has gone up or if my expectations have gone down, but either way, it was good stuff.
Location: 4300 Steeles Avenue East, Markham (inside Pacific Mall)
There are few things that are more satisfying than a really good bowl of chewy, hand-made noodles. And Sun’s Kitchen in the Pacific Mall definitely knows how to do it.
If you come at the right time, you can see the noodle maker doing his thing; he pulls the dough again and again and again until a thick piece becomes a handful of noodles, almost as if by magic. It’s the work of a man who has clearly spent years mastering his craft, and it’s a sight that’s as hypnotic as it is impressive.
I’ve been here at least a dozen times, and I order the same thing every time: noodles with spicy pork. I’m occasionally tempted to order something else, but the spicy pork is so damn good, and I don’t come here enough to mess around.
It’s an exceptionally simple dish; it’s just spicy ground pork, a whole bunch of noodles, and some sliced cucumber to cut the richness and the heat of the pork.
It’s outstanding. The pork is salty, spicy, and intense. It’s the perfect foil for the amazingly chewy noodles.
It comes with a cup of sweet, citrusy soy milk. I didn’t like it at first, but now I can’t get enough. It also comes with a bowl of bland soup that I’m not crazy about. I keep meaning to tell them to hold the soup, but I always forget.
Address: 3401 Dufferin Street, Toronto
I just got a couple of meat pies from Nadege in Yorkdale — beef bourguignon and chicken basquaise — and they were both fine. they were so middle-of-the-road that I’m having a hard time mustering up the enthusiasm to even write a few words about them, but this is a food blog. It was food. Let’s do this.
They both had the same puff pastry crust, which was light and flaky, if a bit dry. Like everything else about these things, it was fine.
They heated them up for me, but clearly not enough, because they were vaguely hot in some places, and lukewarm in others.
The beef bourguignon had big, tender cubes of beef interspersed with carrot chunks. It wasn’t bad, but nothing about it particularly stood out. There just wasn’t much going on, flavour-wise, and the sauce was nonexistent — it was just dry chunks of beef and carrots.
The chicken basquaise had big chunks of chicken interspersed with pieces of peppers (red and yellow peppers, I think? I ate this just a couple of hours ago and it has already almost completely faded from my memory). Like the other pie, it was a bit bland. It was also entirely sauce-less, and the chunks of chicken were kinda dry. But it was fine.
I know I’ve said “fine” an awful lot, but it’s really the best word to describe these things. By tomorrow they will have both entirely receded from my memory, like they never existed.
Can that be my whole review? Just meh? It’s my blog, so yeah, it can. But fine, I’ll expand on that a little bit.
Nugateau is a fancy eclair place that is (for now, at least) in the Concept section of Yorkdale Mall (they have a permanent location on Queen Street as well).
I tried a pistachio and a salted caramel eclair, and they were both fine, I guess — but if I’m paying six or seven bucks for an eclair the size of a spring roll, I kinda want to be blown away. Nothing about the custardy filling in either of these things particularly stood out in any meaningful way.
Worse, they both tasted like they had been filled way in advance. The pastry was… well, “mushy” might be overstating it, but it had seen better days, that’s for sure.