Average Meatball Sandwich at Little DaiLo

Little DaiLoLocation: 111 Richmond Street West, Toronto (in the Assembly Chef’s Hall)
Websitehttps://chefs-hall.squarespace.com/

Little DaiLo in the Assembly Chef’s Hall currently has a garlic sambal meatball sandwich on their menu.  I just tried it; it was a meatball sandwich.  The End.

I should write a few more words, I suppose.  But there’s not all that much to say about it — despite the presence of napa slaw and garlic sambal, it’s a super run-of-the-mill meatball sandwich.  It’s perfectly tasty, but there isn’t anything about it that stands out.

Well, that’s not strictly true: though it doesn’t add all that much flavour, the sambal has a pleasant kick that makes the sandwich a bit more fiery than the norm.

Little DaiLo

The other thing that should set it apart is the napa slaw, but aside from a mild crunch, you can’t even tell it’s there.

Other than that, the beef meatballs and the sauce were standard-issue (though the meatballs in a meatball sandwich can sometimes be a bit mushy and these had a nice texture, so I appreciated that).  The sandwich is ostensibly Asian-inspired, but it tastes like what you’ll find at any number of Italian sandwich joints around town.  It’s good, but nothing about it stands out.

My only real issue here is with the bread.  It was cold and clammy.  I wish it had been even lightly toasted (or at least warmed up somehow), but it was otherwise fine.

Gross Meatballs and Tasty Dessert at Ikea

IkeaLocation: 1475 The Queensway, Etobicoke
Websitehttps://www.ikea.com/

Hot tip: Ikea serves chicken meatballs now, and you should absolutely, positively never order them.  You’re welcome.

They’re actually quite similar to the standard beef meatballs, which are junk — but tasty junk.  I wouldn’t want to eat them on a regular basis, but they’re not bad for what they are.

The chicken meatballs, on the other hand, are not tasty junk.  The flavour is basically fine; they taste a lot like the beef meatballs, but saltier and with a vague chicken-like flavour.

But the texture is horrific.  Remember those rubber Super Balls that would bounce and bounce and bounce?  I’m pretty sure these meatballs have most of the same properties.  They were so rubbery and horrible that I couldn’t even cut through them with a fork.

Ikea

On the plus side, I also had a slice of the chocolate caramel cake, and it’s surprisingly great.  It’s certainly not gourmet — it actually reminds me a lot of the brownies they used to serve in my high school’s cafeteria, but with the addition of caramel — but it’s rich and sweet and satisfying.  I think the next time I find myself in Ikea, I might just skip straight to the dessert.

Review Round-up: Part 1

So I’ve barely been updating this blog at all over the last year or so, but obviously I’ve been eating things.  So here you go: the first part of my (maybe) multi-part round-up of some of the more noteworthy things I’ve eaten in the last several months.

Blue Sage
Blue Sage
When I visited this place the owner seemed to be the only one manning the restaurant and cooking the food, as he’d go in the back and disappear for long stretches, and I never saw anyone else.  He certainly talked a big game, espousing at length the lost art of classic Southern low-and-slow barbecue cookery.  He was so serious about it that it made me more excited to try the food; he really seemed to know his stuff.

The discrepancy between the way he talked about the food and the actual flavour was almost comical.  I ordered the spare ribs, and they were ridiculously tough.  Fall-off-the-bone is actually not a desirable trait among BBQ aficionados, with a little bit more chew and texture being desirable.  This, however, was on the opposite end of the spectrum.  Cutting through it, even with the sharp steak knife provided, took a very concerted effort, and biting off chunks of meat was a serious jaw workout.  It also had very little smoke flavour, and no visible smoke ring whatsoever.

My dining companion had a pulled pork sandwich, and that was even worse.  Zero smoke flavour.  It had that distinctively gamy taste that you only get when you reheat pork one time too many, and it was absolutely doused in a strongly vinegary BBQ sauce.  My dining companion described it as tasting like a vinegar sandwich, and I can’t say I disagree.

Cafe Polonez
Cafe Polonez
This was my second time eating at this gem of a restaurant, and having ordered something a bit more familiar the first time (the goulash-stuffed potato pancake — which is absolutely delicious, by the by) I decided to go with the much more mysterious Pulpety, which is described as “Minced chicken balls topped with a creamy dill sauce.”  I wasn’t entirely sure what this was going to be, but as it turned out it was essentially meatballs with gravy; kinda like a Polish (and much, much more delicious) take on Ikea’s trademark dish.  The meatballs were super tender, with a pronounced chickeny flavour, and the creamy, dill-infused sauce complimented them perfectly.

Dance Mac
Dance Mac
It’s very easy to miss this place, which is in a tiny little food court on Queen Street near John.  They make a few different mac and cheese variations, which they cook fresh in the oven in front of you, which gives you that nicely crispy, cheesy topping.    It’s certainly not gourmet (the mac has a processed-tasting, Velveeta-esque base), but it’s creamy and cheesy and abundantly satisfying.

Fabbrica - ravioli
Fabbrica
That would be Nonna McEwan’s Ravioli: “veal, pork, beef, tomato sauce and reggiano.”   Honestly it’s been a while since I’ve eaten this one, and my memory is getting a bit fuzzy — I do remember, however, thinking it was one of the best versions of ravioli that I’ve had in a long, long time, so I’d say it’s definitely worth eating.  Actually, I kind of want to eat it again.  Note to self: go back to Fabbrica.

Fidel Gastro - short rib
Fidel Gastro’s
Having really, really enjoyed my meal at Lisa Marie, I was excited to try the food from where it all started.  I tried the root beer braised short rib and kimchi sandwich, which certainly sounded interesting.  Sadly, it was quite terrible: mushy, cloyingly sweet short rib with the approximate texture of wet paper towels, topped seemingly randomly with kimchi (it didn’t compliment the meat at all). It’s all on a soft, squishy bun that adds no texture and only serves to make the mushy meat feel even mushier.

Gilead Cafe - Porchetta sandwich
Gilead Cafe
I had the porchetta sandwich, which was okay — it had a decent flavour, though to be honest it’s hard to eat porchetta in this city, knowing that the always phenomenal Porchetta and Co. is an option.  That’s pretty much porchetta perfection, so it’s very difficult to measure up to that.  Jamie Kennedy’s famous fries were as delicious as always, however.