Tasty Vegan Treats at Nanashake

NanashakeLocation: 4750 Yonge Street, North York (in the Emerald Park food court)
Websitehttp://www.nanashake.com/

I recently blogged about the tasty Chinese crepes at the Emerald Park food court.  Also at that food court?  Nanashake, which serves vegan, banana-based soft serve and shakes.

I almost got the soft serve (because I have a very hard time saying no to soft serve of any kind), but then I remembered that “shake” is right there in the name of the restaurant, so I got one of those instead.

Nanashake

They have a few different flavours — strawberry, pistachio, date, etc. — but the guy behind the counter said chocolate was the most popular, so that’s what I went with.

It was quite refreshing.  It tasted more like a smoothie than a milkshake (it is vegan and made predominantly with bananas, after all), but whatever it is, it’s good.  The banana/chocolate flavour was satisfying, and its level of sweetness was much more subtle than a typical milkshake.  It probably won’t satisfy an all-out dessert craving, but it’s a refreshing and tasty beverage that I’d happily drink again.

Nanashake

Plus, it is (presumably) healthy; something that’s good for you and actually tastes really good is always nice.

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Chinese Street food at Gao’s Crepe

Gao's Crepe in the Emerald Park food courtLocation: 9 Bogert Avenue, North York (in the Emerald Park food court)
Website: None

There’s a Chinese street food called jian bing that’s fairly ubiquitous in China, but virtually unknown over here.   And I’m not sure why — it’s super delicious, and it’s cheap and relatively easy to make.

That’s why I was so excited when I found out that a little place called Gao’s Crepe in the Emerald Park food court serves these things.

Gao's Crepe in the Emerald Park food court

That food court is hidden away on the bottom level of a condo near Yonge and Sheppard; you’d never even know it’s there if you’re not specifically seeking it out.  But it’s a gem.  Aside from the crepes, there’s several interesting-looking eateries here, mostly Asian.

Gao’s Crepe doesn’t even have a sign, and there’s no English menu posted — again, if you didn’t know it was there, you’d pass right by.  But the jian bing they’re serving is the real deal.

Gao's Crepe in the Emerald Park food court

Jian bing is essentially an eggy crepe that’s coated with hoisin sauce and hot sauce, sprinkled with green onions and cilantro, and wrapped around a crispy piece of fried dough.  The version at Gao’s Crepe is freshly made right in front of you (you can watch the chef doing his thing).

Gao's Crepe in the Emerald Park food court

It’s quite tasty.  The contrast between the chewy crepe and the crispy fried dough is really satisfying, and the vibrant flavours of the hoisin and the hot sauce matches well with the freshness of the green onions and the cilantro.

Gao's Crepe in the Emerald Park food court

It’s not as good as the versions I had in Shanghai — it’s a little dry, and the balance of flavours feels just a bit off — but then that sort of comparison is always unfair.  We’re a million miles from Shanghai, and it’s quite good.

PB and J Goodness at Bake Code

Bake CodeLocation: 4910 Yonge Street, North York
Websitehttp://bakecode.com/

Hey.  Do you like croissants?  Of course you do, who doesn’t?  How about peanut butter and jelly?  Again, I’m going to have to assume the answer is yes.  Of course you like PB and J.  You’re not a crazy person.

Well then, you’ll be pleased to hear that Bake Code has a PB and J croissant, and yeah, it’s good.  How could it not be?

Bake Code

It’s not even that the croissant is that great.  It’s fine.  It’s a bit too dense, and it’s not quite as flaky or as buttery as you’d like; it’s a decent, middle-of-the-road croissant.  But then they fill it with an absolutely absurd amount of peanut butter and strawberry jam, and how could that be bad?  It can’t be.

Bake Code

The crispy croissant, the crunchy peanuts on top, and the gooey PB and J turn out to be an irresistible combination.  It almost feels like cheating — you could put gobs of peanut butter and jelly into pretty much anything, and it’s going to be delicious.  But tasty is tasty.

Scratching my Head at Konjiki Ramen

Konjiki Ramen
Location
: 5051 Yonge Street, North York
Websitehttps://konjikiramen.com/

I think ramen might just be my favourite food on the planet.  Burgers are obviously a strong contender, but there’s something about a truly great bowl of ramen that’s incomparable.

That’s why the ramen at Konjiki — a seriously acclaimed Tokyo ramen joint that has just opened their first outpost in Canada — was so disappointing.  Their specialty is ramen made with clam, shellfish, chicken and pork.  I was exceptionally excited to try it.

You can either get shio (salt) or shoyu (soy sauce); I went with shoyu, which was clearly a mistake.  The flavour was all salty soy sauce, which completely wipes out all of the nuances from the broth.

https://tastyburgers.ca/

The thing that’s so irresistible about a great bowl of ramen is how complex it is; it feels like you’re discovering something new with every mouthful.  But there was nothing new to discover here after the first slurp.  It certainly wasn’t bad, but the first sip was exactly the same as the last.

The noodles were quite good, at least, with a satisfying chewiness.  The texture was slightly off in a way that I couldn’t quite put my finger on, but that’s a minor complaint.

The chasu, on the other hand, wasn’t great.  It was super dry, and just didn’t add much to the bowl.

I also tried the gyoza (which were pork, shrimp, and cabbage dumplings) and the karaage (fried chicken), and they were both tasty, if nothing particularly mind-blowing.

Konjiki Ramen

I should also note that there were some service issues.  I was with a group of four, and two bowls of ramen came fairly quickly.  The other two took an extra fifteen minutes to arrive.  The waitress was extremely apologetic once she realized what was happening, and I got a free egg out of the deal (which was nicely cooked, with a gooey, just-barely-set yolk — but like the ramen itself, it was too salty).

Overall, not the greatest experience ever, and certainly not worth waiting for when there are several other ramen joints right nearby.