Amazing Lamb and Rice at Mandi Afandi

Mandi AfandiLocation: 5120 Dixie Road, Mississauga
Website: https://www.mandiafandi.ca/

I’ll admit that I was skeptical about Mandi Afandi.  The spot they’re in formerly housed a Popeyes Chicken; since it closed down in 2013, that location has been home to a revolving door of failed restaurants.  The last one — Mandilicious — also specialized in mandi.  I didn’t have high hopes for what I assumed would be the latest in a string of shuttered eateries.

But then Suresh Doss highlighted the place in his column for CBC, and of course, I had to sit up and take notice.  If Doss writes about a restaurant, you can be reasonably assured that the food will be tasty.

Mandi Afandi

They have a handful of things on the menu, but of course, mandi — a traditional Yemini dish which features slow-cooked meat and rice — is right there in the name.  They serve it with either lamb, chicken, or both.

I tried the lamb.  Even with the Doss seal of approval, I was still fairly skeptical about the place, and I could not have been more wrong.  It was shockingly delicious.

The lamb is delightfully tender and absolutely crammed with flavour from the spices they cook it with and the meat itself.  I love lamb, and this is some of the best I’ve had in a long time.

Mandi Afandi

You’d think that the rice would take a backseat to the meat, but surprisingly enough, it’s just as good.  You can tell its been cooked with the meat because its infused with that flavour, and it’s fragrant with the same delightful spices that make the lamb so tasty.

The crispy fried onions only amp up the flavour, and add a nice textural counterpoint to the tender lamb and fluffy rice.  You also get little containers of yogurt sauce and hot sauce on the side, and while neither are particularly necessary (it’s already so damn good on its own), they both compliment the dish quite well.

Delicious Doughnuts at Daddy O Doughnuts

Daddy O Doughnuts
Daddy O Doughnuts

Location: 589 North Service Road, Mississauga
Website: https://www.daddyodoughnuts.com/

Is there anything more beautiful than a big box full of doughnuts?  I submit that there is not.  Can I eat an amazing sunset?  Is a great piece of art glazed with sugar?  Are any of the wonders of the world filled with chocolate or jam?  No?  Well then they’re all inferior to a box of doughnuts.  Sorry, I don’t make the rules.

Daddy O Doughnuts

I brought this box to a friend’s house (back when seeing friends was still a thing) and, between the four of us, we managed to try every single one, so suffice it to say I was all doughnuted out by the time we were done.  But in the best way.

I’m not going to bother to go through it doughnut by doughnut, mostly because I don’t feel like it but also because there wasn’t a dud in the bunch.  They were all very tasty, so it’s safe to say that you can’t go wrong with whatever you pick at Daddy O Doughnuts.

Daddy O Doughnuts

I will say that a couple of these were cake doughnuts and the rest were classic raised doughnuts, and I was surprised to discover that I preferred the former.  The raised doughnuts were very good too, but they were a little bit dense and didn’t quite have the personality that you’ll find in the best of the best.  Still, the flavours were all so delicious that it’s hard to complain too much.

Tasty Treats at Kevin’s Taiyaki

Kevin's TaiyakiLocation: 333 Dundas Street East, Mississauga (inside PAT Supermarket)
Website: None

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.

Kevin's Taiyaki

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.

Kevin's Taiyaki

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.

A Solid Sandwich at Banh Mi Saigon

Banh Mi SaigonLocation: 1133 Dundas Street East, Mississauga
Website: None

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.

Banh Mi Saigon

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.

Banh Mi Saigon

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.

Spicy Habanero McChicken at McDonald’s

Spicy Habanero McChickenLocation: 30 Courtneypark Drive East, Mississauga
Website: https://www.mcdonalds.com/ca/en-ca.html

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.

Spicy Habanero McChicken

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.

Spicy Habanero McChicken

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.

Spicy Habanero McChicken

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.