Ramen Disappointment at Kinton

Kinton RamenLocation: 4026 Confederation Parkway, Mississauga
Websitehttp://www.kintonramen.com/

Over the last several years, Toronto has seen an explosion of restaurants serving ramen ( a ramenaissance, even?  No?  That’s the worst and I should delete this blog immediately?  Fair).

Despite this, Mississauga remains almost entirely sad and ramenless.  There’s Kenzo, and… that’s about it.  Kinton opening a location here is kind of a big deal.

Their grand opening is today, and to celebrate, they’re offering 50% off all of their ramen.  I showed up a few minutes after they opened, and not surprisingly, the line-up outside was intense.

Kinton Ramen

It’s a nice day, so I figured sure, why not?  It’s been a while since I’ve had the ramen at Kinton, but my recollection was that it was some of the best in the city.

About 40 minutes later, I had a steaming bowl of original shio (salt) ramen with pork.

First, the good: the noodles were great.  You can choose between thick and thin; I went with thick, and they were top-notch.  They had just the right amount of heft, with a nicely firm, springy texture.  I saw some people eating the thin noodles, and they looked way too delicate.  Thick is clearly the way to go.

Kinton Ramen

The pieces of pork were also exceptional; they were super tasty and melt-in-your-mouth tender.  And while the egg wasn’t great (it was undercooked and runny), it was also quite tasty.

Alas, great noodles and pork does not a great bowl of ramen make.

The broth — a.k.a. the heart and soul of a bowl of ramen — was lacking.  Kinton serves tonkotsu ramen, in which pork bones are boiled down for hours and hours until you get a thick, creamy broth.  And they had obviously done something right: the rich broth was indeed thick and creamy.

Kinton Ramen

But the flavour just wasn’t there.  It was bland.  It wasn’t bad at first, but the deficit of taste gets more and more blatant as you go, and by the end of the bowl I was sick of eating it.  I actually left some soup in my bowl, which I pretty much never do.  Not because I was full, but because it was getting monotonous.

The thing about a great bowl of ramen (or even just a good one) is that every mouthful seems to unlock something new; it’s like a symphony of flavours.  Meanwhile, the bowl at Kinton was more like one sad tuba.

It’s literally their first day in existence, so it’s possible that they’re just working out the kinks — but since they’re a chain with nine other locations, I have my doubts.

Advertisements

Classic Eats at Swiss Chalet

Swiss ChaletLocation: 5980 McLaughlin Road, Mississauga
Websitehttps://www.swisschalet.com/

This is going to be a short one.  Because I just had the quarter chicken with fries from Swiss Chalet, and come on.  Do you really need me to describe this for you?  I’m pretty sure that you can legally lose your Canadian citizenship if you’ve never tried Swiss Chalet’s chicken.

Swiss Chalet

I know there are some people who think that Swiss Chalet has gone downhill and that it’s just not very good, and I think those people are nuts.  I can’t speak to anything beyond the chicken and the fries — it’s all I ever order — but those two items are still quite tasty.

And at eleven bucks for the chicken, a heaping portion of delicious fries, and a roll, it’s a pretty great deal.  Yes, white meat is a couple of bucks extra, but lets face it: dark meat is superior in every regard.  That’s not even an opinion.  That’s fact.  It’s just science.  It’s tastier and more moist.  I have a theory that people who prefer white meat don’t actually like chicken very much, because white meat is just a dryer, blander version of dark.

Blueberry Glazed Doughnuts at Krispy Kreme

Krispy KremeLocation: 5920 Mavis Road, Mississauga
Websitehttp://www.krispykreme.ca/

Though I find the vast majority of their doughnuts to be throat-burningly sweet, I really like the plain glazed doughnuts from Krispy Kreme.  Maybe it’s just a nostalgia thing — my family used to take annual trips to Florida, and while we were there, hot Krispy Kreme doughnuts were a regular occurrence.

There’s nothing subtle about a glazed Krispy Kreme doughnut.  It’s basically just fried sugar; it’s a light, fluffy amalgam of pastry and sickly-sweet glaze that almost melts in your mouth as soon as you begin to chew it.  It’s great.

Krispy Kreme

For a limited time (the promotion ends tomorrow, so hurry up if you want to give it a shot) Krispy Kreme is selling blueberry glazed doughnuts.  Aside from a few dark flecks on the surface of the doughnut, it looks exactly like the standard version (it doesn’t even remotely have the day-glo blue of the promotional photos).

It’s quite tasty, but then it’s just a standard Krispy Kreme doughnut with a slightly tart, fruity flavour.  It didn’t quite have the punch of blueberry flavour that I was hoping for, but it’s still quite tasty.

Mediocre Pizza at Papa John’s

Papa John'sLocation: 1706 Dundas Street East, Mississauga
Websitehttp://www.papajohns.ca/

Papa John’s seems to be slowly but surely expanding around Toronto; I guess they must be doing okay, because they opened their first location a few years ago, and they’re still opening new ones.

I have fond memories of eating Papa John’s during my childhood trips to Florida, so I guess there’s always going to be a nostalgia-fueled spot in my heart for the place.  Because the pizza from Papa John’s was pretty bad, but I still kind of enjoyed it.

Papa John's

The crust is tasteless and vaguely gummy, the cheese is rubbery, and the toppings are mostly what you’d expect (except for the sausage — I can’t even sugar-coat that one, the sausage is flat-out gross).  But there’s still something inexplicably appealing about it.  It’s junk, and yet you find yourself compelled to take another slice.

There’s that old saying about how even when pizza is bad, it’s still pretty good.  That’s Papa John’s in a nutshell: it’s bad, but… it’s also kinda good?

Papa John's

This definitely also applies to the dipping sauce, which is basically just a tiny tub of garlic-powder-flavoured grease.  I enjoyed it in the same way that I enjoyed the pizza: with a furrowed brow and a not-insubstantial hit to my self-respect.

Porchetta Roll

Porchetta Roll in Mississauga, Ontario
Location: 4120 Dixie Road, Mississauga
Websitehttp://www.porchettaroll.com/

I have a very, very hard time saying no to a porchetta sandwich.  So when I found myself at this particular plaza and saw that there was a new porchetta-based restaurant?  Well, I wasn’t planning on eating lunch, but I guess I am now.

The menu is mostly based around porchetta and rotisserie chicken.  I got the porchetta sandwich, which comes topped with arugula, caramelized onions, garlic aoili, and mustard.

Porchetta Roll in Mississauga, Ontario

The obvious comparison is Porchetta & Co., and no, it’s not as good as that.  The pork — while tender and tasty — was underseasoned, and there was zero crackling in my sandwich.

I won’t say that a porchetta sandwich is pointless without crackling, but come on.  Crackling.  I need it.

Porchetta Roll in Mississauga, Ontario

It probably doesn’t help that the last porchetta sandwich I ate was this one in Italy, and literally every other porchetta sandwich is garbage compared to that.  It’s an unfair comparison, but I couldn’t help it.

Porchetta Roll in Mississauga, Ontario

Still, it was a tasty sandwich, and a pretty decent deal at about ten bucks with tax (they absolutely cram the sandwich with porchetta — I’d say it’s double if not triple the amount they give you at Porchetta & Co.).  I’d probably ask for it without the caramelized onions next time; they were tasty and perfectly cooked, but their sweetness overwhelmed the subtly-spiced pork.