The Grand Big Mac at McDonald’s

The Grand Big Mac at McDonald'sLocation30 Courtneypark Drive East, Mississauga
Websitehttps://www.mcdonalds.com/ca/en-ca.html

I actually had no particular intention of trying the Grand Big Mac.  I mean, it’s just a bigger Big Mac, right?  I was hoping to try the Ghost Pepper McChicken, but the McDonald’s I visited didn’t have it, so what the hell, Grand Big Mac it is.

It’s… just a bigger Big Mac.

The Grand Big Mac at McDonald's

It’s not the most exciting thing in the world, but if you’re craving a Big Mac and you’re very hungry, sure, why not?  The regular Big Mac is 570 calories and the Grand Big Mac is 850, so there’s definitely a noticeable difference in size.  Otherwise, it’s a Big Mac, but bigger.

It might have been a bit more interesting if it had the same bun but bigger patties, because then at least then you’d be getting a slightly different, beefier experience.  But everything is proportionately bigger, so eating it feels about the same as eating a regular Big Mac.  There’s just more of it.

Cookies and Cream at Ice Creamonology

Cookies and Cream at Ice CreamonologyLocation: 1184 Queen Street West, Toronto
Website: https://www.icecreamonology.com/

Ice Creamonology had only been around for a few months when, after what sounds like a pretty horrifying dispute with their landlord, they had to move out of their spot on Queen’s Quay. That’s a bummer, but they seem to have landed on their feet, with a new location on the west end right next to Chen Chen’s.

Their rotating menu mostly consists of old standbys like pistachio, dark chocolate, and vanilla; I kept it pretty simple with Cookies and Cream, which they describe as coming with “real Oreo pieces and Oreo crumbs.”

Cookies and Cream at Ice Creamonology

Nothing about the flavour particularly blew me away, though to be fair I’m not sure what you could do with cookies and cream to make it mind-blowing. It features a pretty perfect amount of cookie pieces; it’s enough to give it a nice Oreo-infused flavour, but not so much that it overwhelms the ice cream.

And the quality of the ice cream is pretty decent, though the flavour is a bit muted and it’s gummier than I’d like (it’s much stretcher and chewier than your average scoop).

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.

Tasty Sandwiches at Chen Chen’s Nashville Hot Chicken

Chen Chen's Nashville Hot ChickenLocation: 1184 Queen Street West, Toronto
Website: https://www.chenchenshotchicken.com/

It’s hard to eat a Nashville hot chicken sandwich in the GTA without comparing it to Chica’s Chicken, a place that serves what might just be some of the best fried chicken I’ve ever had.

No, the sandwich from Chen Chen’s isn’t on that level, but there’s absolutely nothing wrong with it; it’s quite tasty.

Chen Chen's Nashville Hot Chicken

You can choose from five spice levels: Southern (which they describe as “no heat”), mild, medium, hot, or poultrygeist (which they describe as “extra HOT!!”). I went with hot, which is very spicy but not face-meltingly so.

The chicken is tender thigh meat — always a good thing — and the exterior is satisfyingly crunchy. My biggest issue here is that it’s a bit bland; outside of the cayenne-infused heat, the chicken doesn’t have a ton of flavour. It’s underseasoned.

The sandwich is topped with zingy pickles, coleslaw, and aioli, which all does a pretty decent job of bringing the sandwich some flavour. But the chicken’s blandness does mar an otherwise above average sandwich.

Popular (and Delicious) Ice Cream at Ruru Baked

Ruru BakedLocation: 659 Landsdowne Avenue, Toronto
Website: https://www.rurubaked.com/

Ruru Baked have been doing pop ups and selling pints since 2017, but they’ve only just opened their own place. Apparently their pints sell out in minutes, and clearly their new shop is just as popular because the line was quite substantial on a recent Saturday afternoon.

Ruru Baked

They specialize in custard-based ice cream, and serve from a rotating selection of flavours — when I went, some of the choices included banoffee pie, Milo, and miso butterscotch, but you can see what they’re currently serving on their website.

Ruru Baked

I went with Honeycomb cereal milk, which features a Honeycomb-infused flavour and swirls of a very rich caramel sauce. It tastes pretty much exactly how you want it to taste — the Honeycomb flavour is quite pronounced, and the caramel swirls have an intense, almost bitter flavour that does a great job of balancing out the sweetness of the ice cream.

As for the ice cream itself, it’s rich and creamy — it’s definitely above average.