Quick Bites: Tom’s Dairy Freeze, Bang Bang, Rudy

Sundae from Tom's Dairy Freeze
Caramel Sundae at Tom’s Dairy Freeze

Hey, gotta take advantage of Tom’s while they’re around (they’re closed all winter).  On this particular visit I got a twist with hot caramel sauce, and yeah it’s as tasty as ever.

Bang Bang
Cherry Milkjam at Bang Bang

I’ve found Bang Bang to be a bit hit-or-miss lately, but when they’re good, they’re still really good.  This particular flavour is actually a “twist” of sorts — it combines cherry ice cream with dulce de leche, and yeah that’s a great combo.  The cherry is a bit sour on its own, but mixing it with the sweet richness of the dulce de leche tempers its tartness and is thoroughly delicious.

Rudy
Fried Chicken Sandwich at Rudy

I’ve already written about the fried chicken sandwich at Rudy (A.K.A. the Valentino), so I’m not going to beat a dead horse, but it’s still nothing particularly special.  It wasn’t overcooked this time, so it had that going for it, but it was almost aggressively middling.  If I you had told me it was a fried chicken sandwich from a fast food chain like Wendy’s or A&W, I would have believed you.  And Rudy’s is expanding quite a bit; I guess they’re becoming a fast food chain themselves, so… it is what it is. [shrug]

Quick Bites: Dairy Queen, Uncle Betty’s, Soul Chocolate

Dairy Queen
Pumpkin Pie Blizzard at Dairy Queen

Dairy Queen brings out the pumpkin pie Blizzard once a year, and come on.  Just put it on the regular menu.  It is the king of Blizzards.  It tastes just like a pumpkin pie, but in Blizzard form.  It’s so good.

Uncle Betty's
Sweet Potato Hash at Uncle Betty’s

This is the type of thing I’d normally write a full post about (I haven’t even written about Uncle Betty’s on this blog, though I did try the burger for Tasty Burgers), but honestly?  I don’t want to.  I mean, look at it.  It’s basically just a pile of cubed sweet potatoes with some onions and a little bit of spinach interspersed throughout.  No particular seasoning that I could taste, no caramelization or crispiness… just a bunch of bland sweet potato topped with a couple of poached eggs, and served with a slightly congealed cup of hollandaise on the side.  It tasted as sad as it looks.

Soul Chocolate
Chocolate Shot at Soul Chocolate

I was actually hoping to get the delicious soft serve from Soul Chocolate, but alas, when I went they had just stopped serving it for the season.  I don’t know who came up with the notion that you can only have ice cream in the summer, but that person is a criminal and deserves to go to jail.  So I got the chocolate shot instead, and it’s very good.  It’s not quite on the level of the version they serve at Soma; it’s got an odd sour note that I found a bit off-putting, but is otherwise deeply chocolatey and thoroughly satisfying.

Quick Bites: Tom’s Dairy Freeze, Soma Chocolatemaker, Nani’s Gelato

Tom's Dairy Freeze
Cherry Sundae at Tom’s Dairy Freeze

I mean, come on: if you go the whole summer without going to Tom’s Dairy Freeze at least once, was it really the summer?  I submit that it was not.  It’s certainly not the most exciting ice cream joint in the city, but they’ve been pumping out consistently great no-frills soft serve for decades, and it’s a million times better than the stuff you’ll find at chains like Dairy Queen or McDonald’s.  On this particular visit I got a sundae with chocolate ice cream and cherry sauce, and yeah, that’s a great combo.  The sauce is excessively sweet (it tastes like maraschino cherries in a thick syrup), but then that’s kind of the charm of a place like this.

Soma
Roasted Almond and Sicilian Pistachio at Soma Chocolatemaker

I’ve mentioned before that Soma serves some of the best gelato in the city, and yeah, it’s still top notch.  I recently tried roasted almond and Sicilian pistachio, and both flavours were rich, creamy, and deeply flavourful.

Nani's Gelato
Malai Kulfi and Mango Chocolate Chip at Nani’s

I don’t think I need to spend more time on this blog on the greatness of Nani’s Gelato.  I’ve thoroughly covered that.  So I’ll just say that on a recent visit I tried malai kulfi and mango chocolate chip, and both flavours were unsurprisingly fantastic.  Malai kulfi, in particular, had that perfect Nani’s balance of a unique flavour and amazingly creamy gelato.  As for mango chocolate chip, I’ll admit I was a bit skeptical about the combo of mango and chocolate, and… to be honest, I’m still skeptical.  But the mango ice cream was so delicious that I thoroughly enjoyed it, despite the flavours not working particularly well together.

Decent Gelato with a Fun Gimmick at Solato

SolatoLocation: Stackt Market (28 Bathurst Street, Toronto)
Website: https://www.solato.com/

Solato is a new gelato place in the Stackt Market with a pretty distinctive gimmick — the gelato itself is made on the spot in a process that’s basically like coffee pods, but for ice cream.  It’s very slick.

The menu is relatively limited; when I went, it was just vanilla, chocolate, hazelnut, and a couple of fruity flavours.  You can either get the gelato by itself for six bucks, or pay an extra dollar and get a couple of toppings.

Solato

I went with hazelnut sans-toppings, and the whole process was pretty seamless; they put a pod in one of the machines, and within a couple of minutes it was dispensing soft serve gelato.

It’s fine.  It’s a fun gimmick, I guess, but it’s hard to deny that there’s better gelato in the city.

Solato

I was afraid it might taste artificial, but it has a pretty clean hazelnut flavour, albeit a weak one (the nutty taste is far from robust).  It’s very smooth, which I guess is the advantage of making it right on the spot, but otherwise it’s nothing special; it’s a bit of a shrug, especially for the price, but if you’re in the Stackt Market anyway it might be worth a shot just for the novelty value.

Quick Bites: Sweet Jesus, Parka Food Co., and Bakerbots Baking

Sweet Jesus
Apple Fritter Crisp from Sweet Jesus

This was actually pretty tasty.  Here’s how Sweet Jesus describes the Apple Fritter Crisp: “Vanilla soft serve, Apple pie sauce, Apple fritter pieces, Apple fritter crumb, Caramel sauce.”  I enjoyed it, mostly — it pretty much nails the apple pie/crumble element, with a cinnamon-infused flavour, and a nice hit of caramel and apples.  But the “apple fritter crumb” it’s rolled in was more chewy than crispy (there was a disconcerting lack of crispiness for something with “crisp” in its name), and the apple fritter pieces were entirely absent.  Still, the creamy vanilla ice cream and the apple-crumble-infused flavour are a tasty combo.

Parka Food Co.
Caesar Salad at Parka Food Co.

I recently found myself back at Parka Food Co., a place that specializes in vegan eats; on my first visit I had a sandwich and found the bun to be fairly horrifying, so I skipped the sandwiches and went with a Caesar salad instead.  It was fine, I guess?  Caesar dressing traditionally features very non-vegan ingredients like anchovies, egg yolks, and cheese; whatever vegan alternatives they used here were decent enough.  But the dressing was overly vinegary, and the pickled onions on top are a bizarre choice — they only amplify the puckery vinegar flavour.

Blackbird Baking Co.
Lemon Tart and Raspberry Rosewater Tart from Bakerbots Baking

Both of these tarts were absolutely fantastic, particularly the Raspberry Rosewater tart, which featured an ultra-rich custard with a pronounced rosewater flavour that complimented the tart raspberries on top perfectly.  And unlike the last pie I had at this place, the crust was superlative; it was crispy, buttery, and perfect.