Mexican Bacon Queso More-Ning McWrap at McDonald’s

McDonald'sLocation: 85 Ellesmere Road, Scarborough
Websitehttps://www.mcdonalds.ca/

This is it — my final stop on the McDonald’s World Taste Tour.  It’s been fun?  I guess?

Well, the McFlurry was pretty good, at least.

And the Mexican Bacon Queso More-Ning McWrap isn’t bad.  It consists of bacon, scrambled eggs, lettuce, tomato, and queso sauce wrapped in a whole wheat tortilla.

The biggest surprise here is the generous serving of scrambled eggs, which are actually pretty well prepared.  You kind of assume it’s going to be dry and rubbery, but shockingly enough, it’s neither of those things.  They weren’t the best scrambled eggs I’ve ever had, but they were tasty.

McDonald's

And while the queso sauce didn’t taste particularly cheesy — it tasted more like a zesty mayo — it did a good job of brightening up the eggs and adding a very minor dose of spice.

The biggest issue here is something you (probably) won’t have to worry about.  There wasn’t any bacon.  I kept thinking the bacon would reveal itself in the next bite, or that it was all clustered at the end of the wrap, but it was MIA throughout.  By the time I realized that the wrap was bacon-free, I was too lazy to get up and do something about it.

I’m actually impressed that I enjoyed this as much as I did, considering that one of the primary ingredients was missing (it’s right there in the name).

The Reuben at Maker Pizza

Maker PizzaLocation: 59 Cameron Street, Toronto
Websitehttp://www.makerpizza.com/

A Reuben pizza is one of those things that’s simultaneously ridiculous and oddly compelling.  It probably shouldn’t work, and yet… as soon as I saw it, I knew I had to eat it.

Here’s how Maker’s menu describes it: “Montreal smoked meat, mustard béchamel, Swiss cheese, sauerkraut, Russian dressing, everything bagel crust.”

It sounds absurd (and amazing).  It looks absurd (and amazing).

Alas, it’s just absurd — it’s not particularly amazing.

Maker Pizza

I will say that the (non-absurd) pizza at Maker is some of the best in the city.  Even in this particular pie, that’s fairly apparent; the crust is outstanding.  It has an amazing flavour, a good amount of char, and an absolutely irresistible crispy/chewy/bready texture.  I was afraid that the everything bagel elements would overwhelm the crust, but they actually work quite well.

The crust also manages to not completely collapse under the deluge of meat, sauerkraut, cheese, and sauce, and it manages to do that without feeling overly substantial.  That’s no small feat; certainly, it’s a testament to how good the crust is here.

Maker Pizza

And while the Reuben elements are all tasty (the thinly-sliced smoked meat is a little bit tough, but the Reuben flavours are otherwise perfect: it’s meaty, cheesy, salty, sweet, and vinegary, with everything balanced really well), it never quite coheres as a pizza.

It just feels like too much stuff.  It needed more bread to balance out the voluminous ingredients, like… oh, I don’t know, a sandwich??  It probably would have worked better as a calzone, but then that wouldn’t have been nearly as Instagrammable, which I imagine is half of the point of this thing.

And that’s the problem — even though all of the elements are really good, it’s a food mashup that never should have been mashed up.  It’s a gimmick.  I would have rather eaten a Reuben sandwich or a regular pizza.  This takes two great things and makes both of them less great by combining them.

Good Quality Ice Cream at Chocolateria

ChocolateriaLocation: 361 Roncesvalles Avenue, Toronto
Websitehttp://www.thechocolateria.ca/

Apparently chocolate shops are pretty great at making ice cream, because Soma has some of the best gelato in the city, and Chocolateria on Roncey serves some top-shelf stuff.  It’s not “best in the city” good, but it’s a respectable scoop of ouce cream.

They have a handful of interesting flavours; I went with the burnt toffee chocolate, which features a tasty mix of chocolate and burnt toffee ice cream.

Chocolateria

It’s high-quality ice cream.  The chocolate is satisfyingly rich, and while the burnt toffee could have had a deeper flavour (it basically just tastes like regular caramel), it worked very well with the chocolate.

My only real issue was that the texture was a bit gummier than I’d like, but aside from that it was quite enjoyable.

Aussie BBQ & Egg Burger at McDonald’s

Aussie BBQ & Egg Burger at McDonald'sLocation5310 Dixie Road, Mississauga
Websitehttps://www.mcdonalds.ca

Well, here it is — Australia, the last stop on McDonald’s World Taste Tour (though there’s also the Mexican breakfast wrap, which I guess I should try at some point).

McDonald’s describes the Aussie BBQ & Egg Burger as coming topped with “a fresh cracked egg, crispy beet chips, processed cheese, leaf lettuce and a smoky BBQ sauce on a brioche-style bun.”

Aussie BBQ & Egg Burger at McDonald's

I’m not even going to bother complaining about the burger patty itself.  It’s not good — but then it’s McDonald’s, so no one should be surprised by this.  I will say that I really wish they’d use the thinner patties from the regular hamburger and the Big Mac on all of their burgers.  When it comes to the beef at McDonald’s, less is more.

But then no beef patty could have saved this burger — it’s easily the worst of the World Taste Tour.  It’s mostly pretty good: an egg is always welcome on a burger, the beet chips and the lettuce add a satisfying crunch, and the gooey cheese helps bring it all together.  But the smoky BBQ sauce (which is mayo-based, unlike a standard BBQ sauce) completely ruins it.  It’s the absolute worst.  It’s cloyingly, aggressively sweet, with no smokiness at all.  It’s just awful.

Aussie BBQ & Egg Burger at McDonald's

BBQ sauce tends to be quite sweet, but with a vinegary bite to help balance things out.  No such balance here; just in-your-face sweetness.

The burger kind of reminded me of the trifle Rachel made on Friends, but in reverse.  It’s got a bunch of tasty burger ingredients… and a sugary-sweet sauce that would be more at home on a slice of cake or a scoop of ice cream.  It’s one of those things that’s so bad, you have to wonder if anyone even tasted it before they added it to the menu.

Delightful Soft Serve at Tom’s Dairy Freeze

Tom's Dairy FreezeLocation: 630 The Queensway, Etobicoke
Websitehttp://www.tomsdairyfreeze.ca/

If you’re looking for soft serve ice cream in Toronto, you can’t go wrong with Tom’s.  It’s been a summertime institution since 1969 and, shockingly enough, still sells some of the best soft serve in the city.

In a city where so many old-school restaurants skate by on nostalgia alone (I’m thinking of vintage burger joints like Johnny’s and Apache), I tend to approach years-old restaurants with a healthy dose of skepticism.  Toronto’s food scene has improved astronomically over the decades, and a place like Johnny’s (which routinely used to top “best burger in the city” lists despite serving awful pre-fab junk) is a palpable reminder of how far we’ve come.

Tom's Dairy Freeze

Tom’s Dairy Freeze, however, is a delightful exception to this rule; the soft serve here is top-shelf stuff.

On this particular visit I went simple with vanilla ice cream and a chocolate dip.  The dip is nothing special, but the ice cream is phenomenal.  It’s rich, creamy, and has a really satisfying vanilla flavour.  Anyone who wants to sell soft serve in the city should be forced to come here and take notes.