Location: 318 Queen Street West (inside Lululemon)
I’m very late to the party on the charcoal cones at iHalo Krunch. But hey, if you’re curious about that thing you saw all over Instagram last year, here I am to talk about it ridiculously late.
Would it surprise you to hear that this Instagram-famous ice cream cone is all style, no substance? Because at this point, it probably shouldn’t.
It’s fine — but of course, the most interesting thing about it is the way it looks.
I ordered the black on black, which is coconut flavoured soft serve made jet black thanks to “activated charcoal” (which is basically edible charcoal with some alleged health benefits) served in a charcoal cone.
The ice cream has a pleasant coconut flavour, but there’s really not much to it. It’s also way too thin, with a distinct lack of creaminess.
The cone is fine. It’s a cone that happens to be black. Nothing else about it stands out.
And of course, I don’t think I saw anyone order it and not take a photo, because why else would you order this thing? It’s essentially an edible prop.
Location: 630 The Queensway, Etobicoke
…Specifically, it’s closing in just over a couple of weeks, on the 25th of November. So you should probably head over there while you still can.
Yes, it’s starting to get a bit chilly outside, so an ice cream joint with no indoor seating probably isn’t too high on your list of priorities. But delicious is delicious — cold schmold.
I just tried the Jack and Jill sundae, which features vanilla soft serve topped with chocolate and marshmallow sauces. The soft serve was as creamy and tasty as ever, and the chocolate/marshmallow combination is a clear winner.
Location: 760 Queen Street West, Toronto
Taiyaki — a fish-shaped, waffle-like dessert that’s traditionally filled with tasty custard or red bean — is great. What’s not to like? It’s delicious.
But I was a little bit concerned that the taiyaki cones they’re serving at Sukoi Desserts might be one of those looks-first, taste-second Instagram-bait creations that have been popping up all over the city. The fact that I overheard the owners discussing the cost of bringing “influencers” to the shop certainly didn’t instill confidence.
You can customize your cone in a few different ways — the ice cream (they had black sesame and vanilla when I went), the filling (red bean, custard, or Nutella), and the topping (chocolate cookie crumbs, graham cracker crumbs, or sprinkles).
I got a black sesame / vanilla twist, a topping of cookie crumbs, and a filling of red bean.
It wasn’t the best thing I’ve ever eaten, but I wouldn’t call it empty Instagram bait, either. The ice cream was fine — it had a pronounced sesame flavour and an enjoyably subtle sweetness. It was a little grainy and not particularly creamy, but it wasn’t bad. I enjoyed it.
The taiyaki was easily the highlight. It was warm and fresh, with a pronounced crispiness on its exterior and a perfect amount of substance on its interior. The generous amount of tasty red bean filling complimented it perfectly.
Overall it’s a tasty enough dessert, but the middling ice cream mostly just gets in the way of the delicious taiyaki, so… I guess it kinda is Instagram bait. Oh well.
Location: 106 John Street, Toronto
After essentially accusing Sweet Jesus of being empty Instagram-bait, I recently came to the realization that it’s probably a bit better than I’ve been giving it credit for. Yes, a heavy emphasis is placed on making their creations as visually pleasing as possible, but the soft serve is nice and creamy, and the flavours are usually satisfying.
That being said? Their new limited edition TIFF-inspired creation, the Marie Antoinette, is empty Instagram-bait.
It’s a collaboration with Nadege, and it features vanilla soft serve, maple sauce, macaron crumbs, mini macarons, and a full-sized macaron on top.
The full macaron is actually the best thing about it. It has a nice, lightly crispy texture, a very subtle chewiness, and a pleasant vanilla bean flavour that isn’t too sweet. It’s a quality macaron.
Otherwise, the rest basically just tastes like plain vanilla ice cream. The mini macarons are one-note crunchy and don’t really taste like anything, the maple sauce features shockingly little maple syrup flavour (I never would have guessed it was supposed to be maple if I hadn’t known), and the macaron crumbs just add a grainy texture.
The vanilla ice cream is tasty enough, so I certainly didn’t dislike eating it, but there isn’t a whole lot there.
Location: 100 City Centre Drive, Mississauga (inside Square One)
I’ve tried Eva’s once before, back when it was just a food truck. I waited in line for about 90 minutes; I think we can all agree that this is an absurd amount of time to wait in line for ice cream.
I thought it was fine, but nothing particularly special, and certainly not worth the intense line (but then, what is?).
I actually enjoyed it much, much more this time (not having to wait in line for the length of a romantic comedy probably helped).
But even aside from that, it was clearly improved. The baked, bready cone had an irresistible texture — perfectly crispy on the outside, and fluffy as a cloud on the inside. Aside from the fact that it was impossible to eat without making a mess, it was an absolutely perfect vehicle for ice cream.
And the ice cream was great. I got the current flavour of the month, peach cobbler: “Peach compote, granola, whipped cream, peach coulis, peach slice.” And indeed, it basically tastes like peach cobbler a la mode, with the crispy/fluffy cone complimenting it perfectly.
My only real complaint is the price: I got the smaller size, which came up to about ten bucks with tax. I wish it had been a couple of bucks cheaper — but then it was pretty damn good, so it’s hard to complain too much.