A Decent Sandwich at Gold Standard

Gold StandardLocation: 1574 Queen Street West, Toronto
Website: http://breakfastsandwich.ca/

There’s basically nowhere to go but down from Gold Standard’s breakfast sandwich.  It’s bordering on sandwich perfection.

I just tried the Sabich from Gold Standard’s new location on Queen, and yep: it’s not as good as the breakfast sandwich.  It’s not even close.

Gold Standard

The sabich, per their menu: “egg salad, fried eggplant, cucumber, pickles, parsley.”

It’s fine.  It’s decent enough, but the breakfast sandwich is clearly the thing to order here.

Gold Standard

There’s certainly nothing wrong with it; the egg salad is nice and creamy, as is the meaty eggplant.  The cucumber adds a bit of crunch, though some additional texture would be nice.

The biggest problem is that all of the components are basically on the same wavelength; the flavour is one-note.  It’s boring.  It needs some acidity to round things out.  The pickled onions add a slight vinegary bite, but there isn’t enough of them to make much of an impact.

Beyond Burger at Tim Hortons

Beyond Burger at Tim HortonsLocation: 4100 Dixie Road, Mississauga
Website: https://www.timhortons.com/ca/en/index.php

The Beyond Burger at Tim Hortons is way better than it has any right to be.  Is it particularly good?  No, not really.  Would I order it again?  Absolutely not.  But it’s perfectly acceptable.  It’s not gross.

Maybe that’s a low bar.  But Tim Hortons isn’t exactly known for having an appetizing lunch selection.  And their last foray into the fake meat game — the Beyond Sausage breakfast sandwich — featured an impressive emulation of actual meat, but was otherwise pretty lousy.

Beyond Burger at Tim Hortons

Beyond Meat has clearly been evolving their product since I tried the Beyond burger at A&W last summer.  I found that one to be off-puttingly mushy.  The texture of the burger I just had at Tim’s was much, much better.

If you compare it to a good quality burger, it’s pretty much garbage.  But!  It actually compares quite favourably to the frozen burgers that are served all over the city.  If I had eaten it blind, that’s what I would have assumed it was.  It’s impressive.

Beyond Burger at Tim Hortons

In fact, I think I might have liked this a bit better than that type of frozen burger; those ones sometimes have a gamy, off meat flavour that’s a bit off-putting.  This one, on the other hand, has a generic meaty flavour that’s not unpleasant.  Again, it’s not particularly good, but it’s not bad either.  It’s fine.

They top it with cheese (which isn’t melted, of course), lettuce, tomato, ketchup, and mustard, which successfully covers up the patty’s lack of a beefy flavour.   Between the assertive condiments and the impressively accurate cheap burger texture, you’d never know that you’re not eating a lousy (but real!) hamburger.  I know that’s not exactly high praise, but I’m actually really impressed.

Tasty Fried Veal at San Francesco

San FrancescoLocation: 5101 Dixie Road, Mississauga
Website: http://sanfrancescos.com/

There’s nothing quite like a veal sandwich.  It’s just a whole bunch of fried veal and rich tomato sauce in a hearty bun.  It’s probably not something you want to be eating on a regular basis (unless you’re keen on getting a massive heart attack), but every now and then it has to happen.  It’s pure, unadulterated comfort food.

My go-to is California Sandwiches, but a location of San Francesco recently opened near me, so I figured I’d give them a shot.

San Francesco

You can choose from all kinds of toppings for an additional fee, but I went with the basic sandwich and ordered it spicy, which meant it came with a generous amount of blazing-hot jalapenos.

The thing that stands out the most about the sandwich is how incredibly tender the veal is; it might just be the most tender veal I’ve ever had in a sandwich like this.  Your teeth glide right through it like butter.  It’s amazing.

San Francesco

The exterior is moderately crispy, but not quite enough to hold up to the sauce — it sogs up almost instantly.  It’s not quite as good as California Sandwiches in that regard.

Speaking of California Sandwiches, I think their sauce is marginally better; the sauce here is quite tasty, but it feels like the flavour could (and should) be amped up by a notch or two.

San Francesco

I think California has the overall superior sandwich, but it’s very, very close.

The sizes are a bit funny.  They have two sizes: baby and regular.  I ordered the regular, and my dining companion ordered the baby.  As it turns out, I (and anyone with a normal-sized appetite) would be perfectly happy with the baby.  Regular is enormous.  Baby should really be called regular, and regular should be called jumbo.

Nanaimo Bar McFlurry at McDonald’s

Nanaimo Bar McFlurryLocation: 30 Courtneypark Drive East, Mississauga
Website: https://www.mcdonalds.com/ca/en-ca.html

This is kind of old news at this point, but McDonald’s currently has a Great Canadian Tastes promotion going (until the 17th of June, so don’t dilly dally if you want to sample it and haven’t yet), which includes fish and chips and a Nanaimo Bar McFlurry.

I’ve only tried the McFlurry so far, and it’s not bad.  I don’t think I would have guessed that it was supposed to taste like a Nanaimo bar, but it’s decent enough for what it is.

Nanaimo Bar McFlurry

It’s intensely sweet — but then a Nanaimo bar is also super sweet, so on that level at least, it resembles what it’s supposed to be.

The easiest way to make this would have been to just mix Nanaimo bar chunks into ice cream, but instead, this features coconut graham crumbs, cocoa, chocolate chips, and hot fudge sauce.

Nanaimo Bar McFlurry

Chocolate is clearly the dominant flavour here, with lots of sauce and a healthy amount of graham cracker bits.  The bits have a mild coconut and chocolate flavour, and add a satisfying amount of crunchiness.

There’s also a vague underlying toffee flavour, but for the most part, this thing is just chocolatey and sweet.  It’s tasty enough, but if you’re craving that distinctive Nanaimo bar flavour, you’re probably going to be disappointed.

Tasty (and Unusual) Doughnuts at Flipside Donuts

Flipside DonutsLocation: 12 Case Goods Lane, Toronto
Website: https://flipsidedonuts.com/

Though I’ve had many, many sweet doughnuts in my lifetime (and so have you, I’m guessing, unless you’re living out some kind of Encino Man scenario and have just emerged from the ice), but I can’t say I’ve ever had a savoury one.

There’s a first time for everything, of course, and if what Flipside Donuts is serving up is any indication, savoury doughnuts are way better than you’d think they’d be.

Flipside Donuts

Flipside serves mini doughnuts a la Tiny Tom, and if you order one of their savoury concoctions, you get eight little doughnuts with various toppings.

I ordered the Spadina Streetcar: “8 mini donuts covered in hoisin, braised duck, pickled vegetables, sesame aioli, cilantro.”

Flipside Donuts

The doughnuts themselves are great — they’re freshly fried, just as you’d hope they’d be, with a mild sweetness that works quite well with the savoury toppings.

The texture is a bit more dense and cakey than Tiny Tom, with a lightly crispy exterior that’s incredibly satisfying.

Flipside Donuts

And the toppings are delicious.  Hoisin and duck is obviously a boffo combination, not to mention the extra punch of creaminess that you get from the aioli.  And the freshness of the cilantro and the vinegary punch of the slaw helps to cut the richness from the other elements.  The duck itself is a bit dry, but mostly, the dish works way better than you’d think.

Flipside Donuts

I also tried a few of the sweet doughnuts.  I tried Bellwoods Bonfire (“toasted spiced walnuts & hickory smoked maple syrup”), South Coast Sour (“lemon curd, toasted poppy seed”), Danforth Drizzle (“pistachio butter, Toronto honey, puff pastry”), and Viva YRT (“sweet mango puree & toasted coconut”).

Flipside Donuts

There wasn’t a dud in the bunch, though the Danforth Drizzle, with its rich pistachio flavour, was my favourite.