Location: 333 Dundas Street East, Mississauga (inside PAT Supermarket)
Kevin’s Taiyaki is inside the PAT Supermarket in Mississauga, which is a pretty trippy place to visit. It’s basically like stepping through a portal into South Korea. When I went, every other person — both customer and employee — was Korean, and the only language I heard spoken was Korean. PAT has a downtown location as well, but I’ve never quite had the same experience there.
I have a definite fondness for South Korea (I think it’s an underrated travel destination), so that was delightful.
Like the downtown PAT, there’s a location of Kevin’s Taiyaki right inside the supermarket, which specializes in red bean or custard filled pastries.
I got the red bean, and it was very, very good. It was freshly made, with a nice crispy exterior, fluffy pastry (if you’ve never had taiyaki before, it’s extremely waffle-like), and a delicious red bean filling. The red bean had a restrained level of sweetness and a chunky (but still smooth) texture that was extremely satisfying.
Taiyaki is one of those dishes that’s very simple and rarely bad, but difficult to do really well. Kevin’s Taiyaki does it really well.
Apple Fritter Crisp from Sweet Jesus
This was actually pretty tasty. Here’s how Sweet Jesus describes the Apple Fritter Crisp: “Vanilla soft serve, Apple pie sauce, Apple fritter pieces, Apple fritter crumb, Caramel sauce.” I enjoyed it, mostly — it pretty much nails the apple pie/crumble element, with a cinnamon-infused flavour, and a nice hit of caramel and apples. But the “apple fritter crumb” it’s rolled in was more chewy than crispy (there was a disconcerting lack of crispiness for something with “crisp” in its name), and the apple fritter pieces were entirely absent. Still, the creamy vanilla ice cream and the apple-crumble-infused flavour are a tasty combo.
Caesar Salad at Parka Food Co.
I recently found myself back at Parka Food Co., a place that specializes in vegan eats; on my first visit I had a sandwich and found the bun to be fairly horrifying, so I skipped the sandwiches and went with a Caesar salad instead. It was fine, I guess? Caesar dressing traditionally features very non-vegan ingredients like anchovies, egg yolks, and cheese; whatever vegan alternatives they used here were decent enough. But the dressing was overly vinegary, and the pickled onions on top are a bizarre choice — they only amplify the puckery vinegar flavour.
Lemon Tart and Raspberry Rosewater Tart from Bakerbots Baking
Both of these tarts were absolutely fantastic, particularly the Raspberry Rosewater tart, which featured an ultra-rich custard with a pronounced rosewater flavour that complimented the tart raspberries on top perfectly. And unlike the last pie I had at this place, the crust was superlative; it was crispy, buttery, and perfect.
Location: 324 Frederick Street, Kitchener
Though I was really hoping to try the kouign-amann at Ambrosia Corner Bakery, it turns out I visited on the wrong day — they’re only served from Thursday to Saturday. My disappointment was short-lived, however. As soon as I saw their Pecan Cinnamon Sticky Buns, I knew that I needed to put one in my belly ASAP.
Step aside, kouign-amann; that sticky bun has an urgent appointment with my face.
Yes. It’s as good as it looks. It’s sticky, sweet, and incredible. It looks like it might be too sweet, but it’s actually remarkably well balanced. The caramel on top has a very rich, deep flavour, and the buttery, amazing pastry is substantial enough to hold up to the generous amount of sauce. That’s not to mention the underlying cinnamon flavour, which is delightful.
But then do I even need to be writing this? You have eyeballs. Again: it’s as good as it looks.
Location: 484 Danforth Avenue, Toronto
The Greek doughnuts (a.k.a. loukoumades) they serve at Lukumum are intensely sweet. They’re also extremely delicious.
I tried loukoumades at Loukoumania Cafe in Vaughan last year; the ones at Lukumum are twice as sweet. Three times as sweet? They’re way sweeter.
I tried a couple of varieties. I went with the classic, which is soaked through with syrup and topped with honey and cinnamon, and the hazelnut, which is soaked with syrup and topped with Nutella and hazelnuts.
Both were delicious, though I preferred the classic. Despite being soaked through with syrup, the exterior remains pleasantly crunchy. The inside is completely suffused with syrup, but it’s not mushy. It’s great. The honey adds even more sweetness, and a nice floral note that goes very well with the cinnamon.
The Nutella variety is tasty as well — Nutella makes anything delicious — but the original is more unique.
Location: Follow them on Instagram to see where they’ll be
There’s nothing sadder than biting into a cannoli only to find that its would-be crispy exterior has been rendered soft and chewy by the ravages of time.
Holy Cannoli, which had a booth at the recent OssFest street festival, avoids this problem quite definitively by filling their cannoli shells to order. This is clearly the way to do it. I don’t know why every bakery doesn’t do it this way.
So of course, the shell was nice and crispy, just as it should be. It’s crispy but not overly crunchy — it’s basically the perfect cannoli shell.
You can choose from either chocolate chip or vanilla filling; I went with the latter, and it was creamy, sweet, and tasty. Nothing about it particularly jumped out as being amazing, but it was a solid cannoli.