A Ridiculously Bad Philly Cheesesteak at Philthy Philly’s

Philthy Philly'sLocation: 960 Southdown Road, Mississauga
Websitehttp://www.philthyphillys.com/

If you’re looking for an authentic Philly cheesesteak in Toronto, I think you’re out of luck. There used to be an amazing place called I Went to Philly; their cheesesteak was dead on. Tragically, it went out of business, breaking cheesesteak-loving hearts across the GTA.

It’s not all that difficult to find a cheesesteak in the city, but it’s almost impossible to find an authentic one; most places clutter it up with extraneous toppings like peppers and mushrooms and other sauces.  A real-deal Philly cheesesteak should consist of only four things: a roll, steak, griddled onions, and Cheese Wiz (you can substitute provolone if you’re feeling fancy, but really, Wiz is where it’s at).

Philthy Philly's

So I was pretty excited to try Philthy Philly’s — they have a ton of stuff on their menu, including a whole bunch of optional toppings, but if you want it, you can get a cheesesteak the way it’s supposed to be.

Alas, the cheesesteak here somehow manages to get every single element wrong. It would be impressive if it weren’t so frustrating.

Philthy Philly's

The beef was the wrongest part of the whole maelstrom of wrongness.  The beef in a Philly cheesesteak should be thinly shaved slices of steak.  The meat here, on the other hand, consisted of little pebbly bits of beef that were either ground, or chopped so finely that it may as well have been ground.  It also had a chewy, rubbery texture and absolutely zero beefy flavour.  It was pretty bad.

The “Cheese Wiz” had the consistency of water and zero cheesy tang; the onions had been cooked to the point of being mush.

Philthy Philly's

The final insult was the bread; instead of a lightly crispy outside and a fluffy interior, it was just dense and chewy throughout, with zero exterior crispiness.

The sandwich was cheap, at least.  The smallest size costs just seven bucks, comes on a six inch roll, and is crammed with a generous amount of beef.  But I wish they’d charge a little bit more for a higher quality product; as it is, the sandwich is about on par with Subway, and I say that as someone who doesn’t like Subway at all.

Amazing Wonton Noodle Soup at Wonton Chai Noodle

Wonton Chai NoodleLocation: 4040 Creditview Road, Mississauga
Websitehttp://www.wontonchainoodle.ca/

A good bowl of noodle soup is just the best.   It’s the best.  If you disagree, then I’m going to have to respectfully inform you that you’re wrong and that the way you’re living your life is wrong.

Wonton Chai Noodle

And Wonton Chai Noodle’s noodle soup game is strong.  Not only that, but it’s delightfully affordable.

Wonton Chai Noodle

Seven bucks gets you a very large, steaming bowl of noodley, shrimpy goodness.  The ultra-thin and ultra-firm noodles are really satisfying, and the simple-but-flavourful broth is imminently slurpable (especially when you add a heaping spoonful of the inferno-hot chili oil) — but it’s the wontons where this bowl really shines.

Wonton Chai Noodle

The filling of each wonton is crammed with whole pieces of perfectly cooked shrimp.  Shrimp is easy to overcook and turn rubbery, but these were spot-on.  And the flavour was just as good, with a rich seafoodiness that makes me want to order a whole pile of these and eat it like a bag of popcorn.  The wrapper was ever-so-slightly mushy, but aside from that they were seriously tasty.

Tasty Chimney Cones at Eva’s Original

Eva's Original ChimneysLocation: 100 City Centre Drive, Mississauga (inside Square One)
Websitehttp://www.originalchimneys.com/

I’ve tried Eva’s once before, back when it was just a food truck.  I waited in line for about 90 minutes; I think we can all agree that this is an absurd amount of time to wait in line for ice cream.

I thought it was fine, but nothing particularly special, and certainly not worth the intense line (but then, what is?).

Eva's Original Chimneys

I actually enjoyed it much, much more this time (not having to wait in line for the length of a romantic comedy probably helped).

But even aside from that, it was clearly improved.  The baked, bready cone had an irresistible texture — perfectly crispy on the outside, and fluffy as a cloud on the inside.  Aside from the fact that it was impossible to eat without making a mess, it was an absolutely perfect vehicle for ice cream.

Eva's Original Chimneys

And the ice cream was great.  I got the current flavour of the month, peach cobbler: “Peach compote, granola, whipped cream, peach coulis, peach slice.”  And indeed, it basically tastes like peach cobbler a la mode, with the crispy/fluffy cone complimenting it perfectly.

My only real complaint is the price: I got the smaller size, which came up to about ten bucks with tax.  I wish it had been a couple of bucks cheaper — but then it was pretty damn good, so it’s hard to complain too much.

Aussie BBQ & Egg Burger at McDonald’s

Aussie BBQ & Egg Burger at McDonald'sLocation5310 Dixie Road, Mississauga
Websitehttps://www.mcdonalds.ca

Well, here it is — Australia, the last stop on McDonald’s World Taste Tour (though there’s also the Mexican breakfast wrap, which I guess I should try at some point).

McDonald’s describes the Aussie BBQ & Egg Burger as coming topped with “a fresh cracked egg, crispy beet chips, processed cheese, leaf lettuce and a smoky BBQ sauce on a brioche-style bun.”

Aussie BBQ & Egg Burger at McDonald's

I’m not even going to bother complaining about the burger patty itself.  It’s not good — but then it’s McDonald’s, so no one should be surprised by this.  I will say that I really wish they’d use the thinner patties from the regular hamburger and the Big Mac on all of their burgers.  When it comes to the beef at McDonald’s, less is more.

But then no beef patty could have saved this burger — it’s easily the worst of the World Taste Tour.  It’s mostly pretty good: an egg is always welcome on a burger, the beet chips and the lettuce add a satisfying crunch, and the gooey cheese helps bring it all together.  But the smoky BBQ sauce (which is mayo-based, unlike a standard BBQ sauce) completely ruins it.  It’s the absolute worst.  It’s cloyingly, aggressively sweet, with no smokiness at all.  It’s just awful.

Aussie BBQ & Egg Burger at McDonald's

BBQ sauce tends to be quite sweet, but with a vinegary bite to help balance things out.  No such balance here; just in-your-face sweetness.

The burger kind of reminded me of the trifle Rachel made on Friends, but in reverse.  It’s got a bunch of tasty burger ingredients… and a sugary-sweet sauce that would be more at home on a slice of cake or a scoop of ice cream.  It’s one of those things that’s so bad, you have to wonder if anyone even tasted it before they added it to the menu.

Beyond Meat Burger at A&W

A&W - Beyond Meat BurgerLocation: 1130 Dundas Street East, Mississauga
Websitehttp://www.aw.ca/

A&W recently added a Beyond Meat burger to its menu; the company that makes these things calls them “the future of protein,” and word on the street is that it tastes surprisingly close to the real deal.

Veggie burgers that try to emulate actual beef are pretty much always disgusting (case in point: Doomie’s, a restaurant that actually specializes in vegan food but still manages to serve a vegan patty that tastes like pure, distilled sadness), so I was curious, but my expectations were about as low as it gets.

Well, maybe that helped, because the Beyond Meat burger?  Not terrible!

A&W - Beyond Meat Burger

I know, “not terrible” isn’t exactly high praise, but since I was expecting this to be an all-out disaster, I’m going to chalk that up as a win.

The biggest giveaway that this isn’t an actual hamburger is the texture — though it’s vaguely meaty, it’s also off-puttingly mushy.  But it wasn’t dry or rubbery, so it certainly could have been worse.

A&W - Beyond Meat Burger

(Yeah, I completely mangled the hamburger — it turns out wooden coffee stir-sticks are an absolutely horrible implement to cut a burger in half.  Lesson learned!)

The taste was a bit better than the texture.  It wasn’t beefy at all — but then the actual beef at most fast food joints doesn’t have a particularly beefy flavour.  The flavour is sort of generically meaty in a way that’s not great, but also not altogether unpleasant.  The burger is absolutely doused in ketchup, mustard, and mayo, which helps make it more palatable.

It probably isn’t going to fool anyone other than longtime vegetarians who have forgotten what a burger tastes like, and I don’t think I’d ever order it again, but I was still impressed at how non-gross it was.  I’d easily take it over the actual beef burgers at really bottom-of-the-barrel places like Hero Certified Burgers or Burger King.