Delicious Italian Sandwiches at Flora’s Deli

Flora's DeliLocation: 1276 Dundas Street West, Toronto
Website: https://www.florasto.com/

Flora’s Deli is a delightful little shop that offers a takeout menu (they also have a couple of small tables outside) of Italian sandwiches.  It doesn’t have the most exciting menu ever, with the usual veal and eggplant sandwiches, various cold cut assortments, etc.

The sandwiches are so well executed, however, that this never feels like an issue.  The Norma Gina is generally what people talk about when they talk about this place, and yeah, I can see why.  Served on a fresh sesame seed roll and featuring a generous amount of fried eggplant topped with hot honey,  creamy whipped ricotta, and fresh arugula, it’s a great sandwich.

Flora's Deli

The eggplant is perfectly cooked, the ricotta adds a delightful richness, the arugula is nice and peppery, and the honey adds a subtle sweetness that contrasts nicely with the savoury sandwich.

I also tried the Sofia, which the menu describes as “prosciutto, coppa, sopressata, fresh mozzarella, roasted red peppers, arugula, 6yr balsamico.”  This one’s a pretty standard cold cut sandwich, but when you’ve got top-notch ingredients that all complement each other so well, there’s absolutely no need to reinvent the wheel.  I sort of figured the eggplant sandwich would be the more interesting of the two, but I’d honestly have a hard time picking a favourite; they’re both so good.

Flora's Deli

(I should also note that since I wrote this, the restaurant’s pop-up location is no more, but supposedly a permanent spot is in the works.)

Checking out the Summer Scoop Series at Eataly

Summer Scoop Series at EatalyLocation: 55 Bloor Street West (in the Manulife Centre), Toronto 
Website: https://www.eataly.ca/news/housemade-gelato/

Eataly is currently doing a promotion they’re calling the Summer Scoop Series; every month, they’re collaborating with a different local gelato-maker on a special flavour.  This month, they’re working with Nani’s Gelato, and the flavour is pistachio ricotta kulfi.

Summer Scoop Series at Eataly

The Eataly website describes it as “an Indian-inspired flavour with an Italian twist, featuring Italian pistachio paste, chopped pistachios, steeped saffron, cardamom, and whipped ricotta.”

As you’d expect from Nani’s (and the gelato at Eataly is no slouch, either), it’s superb.  The pistachio flavour is pronounced, and it’s perfectly complemented by the saffron and cardamom.  The bits of sweet ricotta interspersed throughout are a nice touch.  It’s top-notch gelato.

Perfectly Crispy Cannoli at Holy Cannoli

Holy CannoliLocation: Follow them on Instagram to see where they’ll be
Website: https://www.holy-cannoli.com/

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.

Holy Cannoli

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.