Super Deluxe Hot Dogs at Kung Fu Dawg

Kung Fu DawgLocation: 19 Ossington Avenue, Toronto
Websitehttp://kungfudawg.com/

Remember when street vendor hot dogs were everywhere in the city?  There was a time when you couldn’t walk more than a block or two without running into one.  I’m not sure exactly why they mostly went away, though I’m assuming it has something to do with the explosion of cheap eats around the city over the last decade or so, not to mention the general foodie-ification of the GTA.

But there are still a handful of old school vendors around the city — or if you’re looking for something made with a bit more care, there’s Kung Fu Dawg on Ossington.

They actually make their own hot dogs and put them in a natural casing, which gives you a snappier bite than a traditional dog.  The pickles and many of the condiments are homemade as well, so clearly, this is something a bit more special than your typical street meat.

Kung Fu Dawg

I ordered the namesake Kung Fu Dawg, which is piled high with fennel slaw, pickles, onions, jalapenos, corn relish, spicy mayo, crispy onions, chili, and cheese.

There’s no easy way to eat this.  I tried to pick it up out of the cardboard box it’s served in, but it was so big and unwieldy I couldn’t get a grip on it.  Eventually, I had to just embrace the mess and dive in.

It’s really good, and an absolute cornucopia of tastes and textures.  It’s pretty much got all the flavours: it’s salty, savoury, sweet, vinegary, and a little bit spicy.  It’s crispy, it’s crunchy, it’s meaty — it’s everything at once.

Kung Fu Dawg

I liked it a lot, but I think there might have been a little bit too much going on.  They make their own hot dogs, but there’s so much stuff piled on top of it that you can barely taste it. It may as well have been Oscar Mayer.

Of course, the whole thing is super delicious, so it’s hard to complain too much — but next time, I think I’ll order something a bit more plain so I can see what the actual hot dog tastes like.

Oh, and I also tried the fries; like the hot dog, they were way above average.

Roasted Pineapple Ice Cream at Bang Bang

Bang BangLocation93a Ossington Avenue, Toronto
Websitehttp://bangbangicecream.com/

I’ve already written about Bang Bang a couple of times on this blog, so I sort of figured I wouldn’t be writing about it again.  I mean, I could happily make this blog all Bang Bang all the time — it’s the greatest, and anyone who says otherwise is dead to me — but that might get a bit monotonous.

No one needs a few dozen posts that all amount to “hey, this new flavour at Bang Bang, it’s also delicious!”

But… hey, this new flavour at Bang Bang, it’s also delicious!

The roasted pineapple flavour at Bang Bang is so good that I have to post about it.  I must.  It’s too good.

It’s got the usual creamy, rich amazingness that you expect from Bang Bang’s ice cream, but it’s the flavour that really puts it over the top into crazy good territory.

I normally don’t even like fruity ice cream all that much, but this one is something special.  It has such an amazing roasty pineapple flavour; it’s obvious that the fruit has been intensely caramelized.  If you’re looking for something light and tart and refreshing, look elsewhere.  This has a really deep, rich flavour that’s perfectly balanced by the creamy ice cream.  It’s perfect.  It’s honestly one of the best scoops I’ve ever had.

Another Amazing Flavour at Bang Bang

Bang BangLocation93a Ossington Avenue, Toronto
Websitehttp://bangbangicecream.com/

I’ve already established that Bang Bang continues to be the best.  Further proof?  A flavour called P’nut Butter Cup, which they describe as “Reese candy / mucho peanut butter.”

Mucho peanut butter??  Uh, yes please.

I’m not sure why they call this P’nut Butter Cup — there are actually Reese’s Pieces in there, not peanut butter cups, and that’s what it tastes like (I love Reese’s Pieces, so I’m not complaining).  Though they do also add chunks of chocolate, so I guess that adds a certain amount of peanut-butter-cupiness.

Bang Bang

The ice cream itself is ridiculous.  It’s so rich and peanut buttery — “mucho” definitely isn’t an exaggeration.  It almost tastes like some kind of delicious amalgam between ice cream and peanut butter, like a jar of peanut butter and a pint of ice cream found its way into Jeff Goldblum’s teleportation machine.  It’s incredible.  And the crunchiness of the Reese’s Pieces makes for a great contrast with the dense, smooth ice cream.  It’s pretty much the best.

Consistent Excellence at Bang Bang

Bang BangLocation: 93a Ossington Avenue, Toronto
Websitehttp://bangbangicecream.com/

After the cubano disappointment at La Cubana, I wondered: would Bang Bang pull the same thing?  It’s been several months since I’ve had their ice cream.  Has it gone downhill, too?

Nope.  It’s still easily the best ice cream in Toronto, and some of the best ice cream I’ve ever had.

Bang Bang tends to have at least one new flavour in their rotation, and this time it was the Bad Dad Joke, which they describe as having miso pecans and butterscotch.

Bang Bang

It was so damn good.

As usual, the ice cream itself was absolutely superlative: rich, creamy, and amazing.  The flavour was just as good, with the butterscotch and the toasty nuts being a perfect match.  The flavour was a bit more complex than you’d expect — whether that’s the miso or something else, I have no idea, but it was ridiculously good regardless.

Bang Bang

It also had these white chunks in there, and I have no idea what they were (meringue, possibly?) but they added a nice crispiness to the ice cream that worked quite well.

Cubano Disappointment at La Cubana

La Cubana
Location
: 92 Ossington Avenue, Toronto
Websitehttp://www.lacubana.ca/

I love the cubano sandwich at La Cubana.  Or at least, I usually do.

I was going to order something else, but then I realized that I’ve never actually written about the cubano here, and I really don’t need much more of an excuse than that.

And here’s the thing: it was good.  It certainly wasn’t bad, per se.  That’s the problem with serving truly great food; there’s nowhere to go but down, and even something that’s quite good is going to seem like a letdown in comparison.

La Cubana

The cubano here is normally the perfect amalgam of gooey cheese, savoury meats, and zingy pickles.  It’s astonishingly good.  Usually.

This time?  It was off.  Though the cheese was nice and gooey, the pork had a mildly gamy, leftovery flavour, there were almost no pickles to cut the richness of the cheese and the meat, and the bread was dry and overly crunchy.  I ate the sandwich as carefully as I could, and it still thoroughly mangled the roof of my mouth.

Has La Cubana gone downhill?  Or was the kitchen just having a bad day?  I’ll feel bad if it’s the latter — but they served me what they served me, so I don’t feel too bad about it.