Location: 499 Runnymede Road, Toronto
I generally don’t pay much attention to ice cream shops that don’t make their own ice cream, but I figured I’d give West End Waffles and Scoops a shot. They serve Shaw’s Ice Cream, an Ontario-based company that seemed like it might be a bit more interesting than the usual Kawartha or Nestle.
Outside of the ice cream, I think West End Waffles and Scoops makes pretty much everything else from scratch, including waffles, sauces, cookies, and cones. I went pretty simple, however, and just got a scoop of Grammy’s Cupboard, which features a vanilla base with brownie pieces, cookie dough chunks, and peanut butter swirled throughout.
It’s not bad. It’s not on the level of the better places in the GTA, but the ice cream is nice and creamy with plenty of tasty mix-ins, and a clear step up from something you’d find in a supermarket freezer.
Location: 1448 Dundas Street West, Toronto
I’ll admit that I tried Honey’s — a dessert shop that specializes in “premium plant-based ice creams” — more for the novelty value than anything else. I mean, isn’t plant-based ice cream an oxymoron? That can’t possibly be good, right? Right…?
Wrong, it turns out. And I’ve never been so delighted to be wrong.
They have about a dozen flavours to choose from; I went with peanut butter & saltine, and I was shocked at how good it was. The consistency was probably a bit thinner than traditional ice cream, but if you just handed it to me without context, I don’t think I would have guessed that it’s dairy-free.
It’s rich, creamy, and intensely peanut buttery, with nice pops of flavour from the saltines; their texture has been transformed into something almost cakey, and they work perfectly with the peanut butter ice cream (“ice cream”? Should that be in quotes?).
I’m very curious to come back and try some other flavours, because how is ice cream without cream this good? Has my whole life been a lie??
Location: 25 The West Mall, Etobicoke (inside Sherway Gardens)
I’m just gonna say it: milkshakes are for jerks.
Well, okay, maybe that’s not true. Milkshakes are perfectly delicious, but generally speaking, if I’m going to eat ice cream, I want to eat ice cream. I don’t need to drink it.
Still, I don’t mind a milkshake every now and then, and since I’ve tried all the cones at Sweet Jesus, I figured sure, why not?
I got the Peanut Butter, Pretzel & Chocolate Hazelnut shake, which features “vanilla soft serve, peanut butter sauce, caramel sauce, whipped cream, hazelnut-chocolate sauce, salted pretzel crumble.”
Yeah, it’s a lot of stuff. And it’s quite tasty — it tastes pretty much exactly what you think it’s going to taste like based on that description.
I find a lot of milkshakes to be unpleasantly thick; if I have to struggle to suck it up through a straw, then what’s the point? Just let me just eat it with a spoon. This, on the other hand, was easily drinkable. It was the perfect consistency, though I suspect milkshake aficionados might find it too thin.
Location: 2470 Yonge Street, Toronto
La Viziatta might be the oddest gelato shop I’ve ever been to. It’s inside a video game store.
I don’t mean that they’re neighbours, or that they sell gelato on one floor and games on another. I mean that it’s a video game store with a gelato counter.
But sure, why not? I’m sure the costs to operate a business in a high-traffic spot like Yonge and Eglinton are quite high. So if you can split them with someone else, you may as well go for it.
And they have an interesting assortment of flavours, including the one that brought me here: peanut butter and jelly.
Sadly, it’s not nearly as amazing as you’d hope. The gelato isn’t particularly creamy, the peanut butter flavour is fairly anemic, and the “jelly” is actually an overly sweet syrup rather than jam or jelly. None of the elements are particularly offensive — I ate it all, and if you put another cup in front of me I’d eat that too — but nothing is as tasty as it should be.
Of course, it’s hard not to compare it to the PB and J flavour at Bang Bang, which is almost unfair — that might just be one of the best scoops of ice cream that I’ve ever had. It’s the exact opposite of what they’re serving here: it’s super rich, it has an intense peanut butter flavour, and the balance with the jam is absolutely perfect.
Location: 16 Brookers Lane, Etobicoke
Fluffernutters are delicious. That’s a fact.
In case you’ve been living an empty sham of a life and are unaware of the magic of the fluffernutter, it’s basically like a PB and J, but with gooey marshmallow sauce subbed in for the jam. It’s the best.
They have a fluffernutter-inspired flavour of gelato at Lola’s. Obviously I had to try it.
This was my first time having the gelato Lola’s. The quality is quite good — it’s not the richest or the creamiest gelato I’ve ever had, but it’s solid. It’s above average.
The flavour (called WTF – What the Fluffernutter) consists of peanut butter gelato swirled with marshmallow sauce, with Oreo bits interspersed throughout. It was really tasty. I wish the peanut butter flavour were a bit more pronounced — it doesn’t quite recapture the gooey, peanut-buttery joys of a fluffernutter sandwich — but it’s quite good regardless.