Quick Bites: Pho Tien Thanh, Ice Creamonology, Nani’s Gelato

Pho Tien Thanh
BBQ Pork on Vermicelli at Pho Tien Thanh

Not a ton to say about this one — aside from the pork being a bit dry, this was a tasty version of a classic dish.  Most of the herbs and veggies are under the noodles, so you’ll just have to take my word for it, but there was a really good proportion of meat, noodles, herbs, and vegetables.  The meat was a little bit sweet and nicely savoury, and the whole thing was thoroughly enjoyable, if nothing too mind-blowing.

Ice Creamonology
Blueberry White Chocolate Cheesecake at Ice Creamonology

I wasn’t crazy about Ice Creamonology on my first visit, but I’ve been back a couple of times and it’s definitely getting better (or maybe it’s just growing on me?).  The ice cream is nice and creamy, and while it’s still a bit stretchier than your average scoop, it’s not as gummy as it was the first time I tried it.  I will say, however, that I haven’t been back since they’ve moved to Queens Quay, so I have no idea how it holds up now.

Nani's Gelato
Pumpkin Pie soft serve at Nani’s Gelato

I recently mentioned that the Pumpkin Pie Blizzard from Dairy Queen is the king of Blizzards, and this is basically just that, but a billion times better.  I tried this last October (I’m still working my way through my backlog since the blog came back from hiatus);  if you like pumpkin pie, the next time Nani’s brings this back (hopefully sooner than next October), you need to try it.  It’s so good.

Nani’s Gelato Goes to the ‘Burbs

Nani's GelatoLocation: 6039 Erin Mills Parkway, Mississauga
Website: https://www.nanisgelato.com/

This is gong to be a short one, but I couldn’t not write a post about the recently-opened second location of Nani’s Gelato, deep in the wilds of Mississauga.

It’s slightly larger than the downtown location, though still not big enough for any seating — dashing my dreams of a full, sit-down Nani’s sundae experience.

Nani's Gelato

(This is somewhat unrelated to the topic at hand, but what’s the deal with every Toronto ice cream joint being a grab-and-go experience?  Where are all the sundae bars?  And yes, I know that Demetres exists, but I’m dreaming about a place that serves ice cream on par with Nani’s or Bang Bang that also has a menu of elaborate sundaes.  Someone make this happen please.)

Nani's Gelato

Aside from the sad lack of anything even resembling a sundae, the gelato at the new location is as great as ever.  On this particular visit I got Kit Kat Cookie Monster and Double Chocolate Nutella, and they were both rich, creamy, and delicious.  The Nutella flavour, in particular, has a very intense chocolately richness and is thoroughly delightful.

Quick Bites: Tom’s Dairy Freeze, Soma Chocolatemaker, Nani’s Gelato

Tom's Dairy Freeze
Cherry Sundae at Tom’s Dairy Freeze

I mean, come on: if you go the whole summer without going to Tom’s Dairy Freeze at least once, was it really the summer?  I submit that it was not.  It’s certainly not the most exciting ice cream joint in the city, but they’ve been pumping out consistently great no-frills soft serve for decades, and it’s a million times better than the stuff you’ll find at chains like Dairy Queen or McDonald’s.  On this particular visit I got a sundae with chocolate ice cream and cherry sauce, and yeah, that’s a great combo.  The sauce is excessively sweet (it tastes like maraschino cherries in a thick syrup), but then that’s kind of the charm of a place like this.

Soma
Roasted Almond and Sicilian Pistachio at Soma Chocolatemaker

I’ve mentioned before that Soma serves some of the best gelato in the city, and yeah, it’s still top notch.  I recently tried roasted almond and Sicilian pistachio, and both flavours were rich, creamy, and deeply flavourful.

Nani's Gelato
Malai Kulfi and Mango Chocolate Chip at Nani’s

I don’t think I need to spend more time on this blog on the greatness of Nani’s Gelato.  I’ve thoroughly covered that.  So I’ll just say that on a recent visit I tried malai kulfi and mango chocolate chip, and both flavours were unsurprisingly fantastic.  Malai kulfi, in particular, had that perfect Nani’s balance of a unique flavour and amazingly creamy gelato.  As for mango chocolate chip, I’ll admit I was a bit skeptical about the combo of mango and chocolate, and… to be honest, I’m still skeptical.  But the mango ice cream was so delicious that I thoroughly enjoyed it, despite the flavours not working particularly well together.

Nani’s Gelato: Still the Best Gelato in the City

Nani's GelatoLocation: 6 Charles Street East, Toronto
Website: https://www.nanisgelato.com/

I wrote about Nani’s Gelato a few times before this blog went on hiatus; back then they were operating out of a truck, and I mentioned that I think they might serve the best gelato in the city.

They upgraded to a permanent location near Yonge and Bloor last year, and there’s no longer any “might” about it.  It’s easily the best gelato in the city.

Nani's Gelato

The combo of delightfully unique flavours (they come up with a new assortment every couple of weeks) and top-notch quality ice cream is irresistible.  On this particular visit I went with salted olive oil candied pecan and toasted coconut, and both flavours were perfectly creamy and intensely delicious.  Some of the flavours here sound odd in theory, but always work — you never, ever get the sense that they’re odd just for novelty value.  The flavour combos are as tasty as they are unique.

Checking out the Summer Scoop Series at Eataly

Summer Scoop Series at EatalyLocation: 55 Bloor Street West (in the Manulife Centre), Toronto 
Website: https://www.eataly.ca/news/housemade-gelato/

Eataly is currently doing a promotion they’re calling the Summer Scoop Series; every month, they’re collaborating with a different local gelato-maker on a special flavour.  This month, they’re working with Nani’s Gelato, and the flavour is pistachio ricotta kulfi.

Summer Scoop Series at Eataly

The Eataly website describes it as “an Indian-inspired flavour with an Italian twist, featuring Italian pistachio paste, chopped pistachios, steeped saffron, cardamom, and whipped ricotta.”

As you’d expect from Nani’s (and the gelato at Eataly is no slouch, either), it’s superb.  The pistachio flavour is pronounced, and it’s perfectly complemented by the saffron and cardamom.  The bits of sweet ricotta interspersed throughout are a nice touch.  It’s top-notch gelato.