Location: 421 College Street, Toronto
Ramen Isshin is a beloved ramen joint on College near Bathurst — so beloved, in fact, that my phone popped up with a notification out of the blue to recommend it to me, and told me there’s a 97 percent chance that I’ll like it. 97 percent! It’s hard to argue with that level of certainty.
And yeah, I liked it. My phone was correct.
I went with the miso ramen: “Isshin Red Miso blend, wok fried pork, onions, bean sprouts, carrots, wood ear mushrooms, chives green onions, pork belly cha shu & thick twisty noodles.”
It’s quite tasty. The tonkotsu broth has a vibrant flavour that’s a bit one-note in its salty/savoury intensity, but still quite satisfying. It’s not the best bowl of ramen I’ve ever had, but even average ramen is better than most other dishes.
Aside from the broth, all of the add-ins are quite tasty: in particular, the bean sprouts add a nice fresh crunch that helps to balance the bowl’s richness, and the ground pork amps up its meaty flavour.
As for the noodles, they’re thick, chewy, and satisfying. It’s a tasty bowl of soup.
Location: 2352 Yonge Street, Toronto
You wouldn’t particularly know it from what they’re serving at Chi Chop (sorry — Chi Chop!!), but Taiwanese food is pretty great. It has a lot in common with Chinese cuisine, but it’s also got its own thing going on in some very delightful ways.
Chi Chop (!!) serves Taiwanese-style fried chicken, and it’s fine. I got the Ninja crispy chicken bento box, which comes with a generous piece of boneless fried chicken, rice, a salad, three small spring rolls, and miso soup.
Nothing particularly stands out. The fried chicken isn’t bad, but it’s made from white meat, and it’s predictably dry. It’s also a bit too aggressively battered, with an overly thick exterior.
Still, I didn’t dislike eating it. It’s nicely seasoned, and there’s nothing blatantly wrong with it. It’s missing the sauce from the photo on their menu (which would have been nice), but… I don’t know. It didn’t offend me. It’s a shrug. An edible shrug.
It probably doesn’t help that the set is a bit muddled; the chicken is Taiwanese, the soup is Japanese, and the spring rolls taste Filipino (they have a separate section of the menu dedicated to Filipino cuisine). It definitely feels like a “Jack of all trades, master of none” situation.
Location: 93a Ossington Avenue, Toronto
After the cubano disappointment at La Cubana, I wondered: would Bang Bang pull the same thing? It’s been several months since I’ve had their ice cream. Has it gone downhill, too?
Nope. It’s still easily the best ice cream in Toronto, and some of the best ice cream I’ve ever had.
Bang Bang tends to have at least one new flavour in their rotation, and this time it was the Bad Dad Joke, which they describe as having miso pecans and butterscotch.
It was so damn good.
As usual, the ice cream itself was absolutely superlative: rich, creamy, and amazing. The flavour was just as good, with the butterscotch and the toasty nuts being a perfect match. The flavour was a bit more complex than you’d expect — whether that’s the miso or something else, I have no idea, but it was ridiculously good regardless.
It also had these white chunks in there, and I have no idea what they were (meringue, possibly?) but they added a nice crispiness to the ice cream that worked quite well.