Location: 106 John Street, Toronto
After essentially accusing Sweet Jesus of being empty Instagram-bait, I recently came to the realization that it’s probably a bit better than I’ve been giving it credit for. Yes, a heavy emphasis is placed on making their creations as visually pleasing as possible, but the soft serve is nice and creamy, and the flavours are usually satisfying.
That being said? Their new limited edition TIFF-inspired creation, the Marie Antoinette, is empty Instagram-bait.
It’s a collaboration with Nadege, and it features vanilla soft serve, maple sauce, macaron crumbs, mini macarons, and a full-sized macaron on top.
The full macaron is actually the best thing about it. It has a nice, lightly crispy texture, a very subtle chewiness, and a pleasant vanilla bean flavour that isn’t too sweet. It’s a quality macaron.
Otherwise, the rest basically just tastes like plain vanilla ice cream. The mini macarons are one-note crunchy and don’t really taste like anything, the maple sauce features shockingly little maple syrup flavour (I never would have guessed it was supposed to be maple if I hadn’t known), and the macaron crumbs just add a grainy texture.
The vanilla ice cream is tasty enough, so I certainly didn’t dislike eating it, but there isn’t a whole lot there.
Location: 780 Queen Street West, Toronto
Though I feel like the pastries at Nadege have gone a bit downhill since their expansion to multiple locations, I still like the place. And I can’t say no to their latest addition: ice cream (I can never say no to ice cream. Never).
They have a small ice cream shop right next to their original Queen Street location, serving classic scooped ice cream (not to be confused with the soft serve they’ve had for a while now).
There’s a bunch of really interesting looking flavours; I went with La Mancha, which is described as “honey, blackberry, saffron, biscuit.”
It’s good, though the ice cream itself is nothing too special. It’s a bit thin; it’s not nearly as rich or as creamy as it should be. But the flavour makes up for it. It’s got a delightfully subtle sweetness, with refreshing swirls of tart blackberry sauce and big cakey chunks.
I wish the blackberry sauce weren’t so icy and that the chunks weren’t so generous (my scoop was something like fifty percent biscuit and fifty percent ice cream), but I still enjoyed it. I’m keen to go back, if only to try out some of the other flavours; they were almost all really unique.
Address: 3401 Dufferin Street, Toronto
I just got a couple of meat pies from Nadege in Yorkdale — beef bourguignon and chicken basquaise — and they were both fine. they were so middle-of-the-road that I’m having a hard time mustering up the enthusiasm to even write a few words about them, but this is a food blog. It was food. Let’s do this.
They both had the same puff pastry crust, which was light and flaky, if a bit dry. Like everything else about these things, it was fine.
They heated them up for me, but clearly not enough, because they were vaguely hot in some places, and lukewarm in others.
The beef bourguignon had big, tender cubes of beef interspersed with carrot chunks. It wasn’t bad, but nothing about it particularly stood out. There just wasn’t much going on, flavour-wise, and the sauce was nonexistent — it was just dry chunks of beef and carrots.
The chicken basquaise had big chunks of chicken interspersed with pieces of peppers (red and yellow peppers, I think? I ate this just a couple of hours ago and it has already almost completely faded from my memory). Like the other pie, it was a bit bland. It was also entirely sauce-less, and the chunks of chicken were kinda dry. But it was fine.
I know I’ve said “fine” an awful lot, but it’s really the best word to describe these things. By tomorrow they will have both entirely receded from my memory, like they never existed.