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.
Location: 1133 Dundas Street East, Mississauga
It’s hard to go wrong with a good banh mi; it’s cheap, filling, and delicious. And yes, Banh Mi Saigon serves a good one.
The menu’s pretty basic — they have seven different types of banh mi, and they all cost $3.50. I went with the assorted, which comes with the usual medley of Vietnamese cold cuts, pate, and pickled veg.
Nothing about it particularly jumped out at me, but for $3.50 for a hefty sandwich, it’s hard to complain too much.
I will complain a little bit, though. In particular, there’s so little pate that I couldn’t even taste it, the cold cuts were ho-hum, and the bread pretty much wrecked the roof of my mouth (though it was otherwise fresh and tasty).
Still, it was a tasty sandwich; it just wasn’t anything too mind-blowing.
Location: 30 Courtneypark Drive East, Mississauga
You might recall that last year, McDonald’s released three progressively spicier McChicken sandwiches: jalapeno, habanero, and ghost pepper. I was, sadly, out of town when this happened, otherwise you’d better believe I would have tried all three.
Well, McDonald’s has done me (and you?) a favour by bringing back one of them — the middle one, habanero. I wish I could have tried the ghost pepper version, but beggars can’t be choosers, I guess.
Anyway, it’s nothing anyone should get too excited over; it’s just a standard McChicken with a creamy habanero sauce subbed in for the classic McChicken sauce.
The sauce is pretty tasty, though. It’s got a nice zippy flavour and a vague level of heat.
No, it’s not particularly spicy (I’d put it somewhere between mild and medium), but there’s definitely a noticeable tingle. Between that and the slightly zestier flavour, I’d say it’s an upgrade over the standard McChicken sauce.
Location: 796 Burnhamthorpe Road West, Mississauga
The Maple & Cheddar Chicken was a pleasant surprise. “Maple” being so prominent in the name of the sandwich, I sort of figured it would be way too sweet. And yeah, it was sweet. But the sweetness feels relatively well tuned.
The Maple & Cheddar Chicken comes topped with maple mustard sauce, “mayo-style sauce,” cheddar cheese, crispy onions, tomato, and lettuce.
It pretty tasty, though the maple mustard sauce is basically all maple with a tiny bit of mustard. It’s a glaze. It’s incredibly mapley, and hardly mustardy at all.
But the salty chicken, cheddar, and crispy onions all do a pretty decent job of balancing out the sweetness. It works.
Also: put crispy onions on everything, please. They’re delicious and enhance basically everything they’re on. Well, maybe not on dessert, but hey –who knows? Crispy onions on a sundae? Might work. I can’t rule it out.
Location: 30 Courtneypark Drive East, Mississauga
The Spicy Chipotle Seasoned Fries aren’t the most exciting new item at McDonald’s — they’re just fries with some seasoning on them.
And when I popped open the box, I was skeptical. The way the spice blend was mounded onto the fries, there was no way they could be good. That’s too much seasoning, isn’t it?
They were actually pretty tasty. The profound amount of seasoning on the fries (particularly the ones on top) made me assume that the flavour was going to be overwhelming, but it was more subtle than I was expecting. There was a lot, but it worked.
The seasoning is lightly zingy, with a decent chipotle flavour and a mild hit of spice. It’s not too salty, which is good because if it were, it would have been inedible.
The effect is basically like a cross between a flavoured bag of chips and French fries. It’s quite tasty. The only real downside is the presence of garlic and onion powder in the spice mix, which means you’re going to be stuck with a lingering aftertaste for hours after you eat it.