Location: Stackt Market (28 Bathurst Street, Toronto)
Momofuku Noodle Bar is currently doing a pop-up at Stackt Market; it’s outdoors and the menu is limited, but it was my first time eating at a restaurant with a waitress and the whole rigmarole since last March (which, coincidentally enough, was also at the Noodle Bar).
I had the Chilled Spicy Noodles, which the menu describes as “ramen noodles, black bean sauce, sichuan beef, candy cashew.”
My delight at being back at a restaurant (or in a restaurant-ish setting, at least) might be colouring my opinion here, but man it was good.
It’s an explosion of flavour — it’s salty, it’s savoury, it’s meaty, it’s sweet — but everything complements each other so well. And that black bean sauce is a taste bonanza; it’s basically like a really great hoisin sauce, but with pops of intense flavour from the beans themselves (I don’t know what they do to the beans to get them to taste almost cheese-like, but it’s magical).
It’s served cold, which only intensifies the flavour, and the chewy ramen noodles are the perfect vehicle to bring it all together. It’s a tasty dish.
Location: 2853 Dundas Street West, Toronto
I’ve written about Chica’s many times on this blog, so I’ll make this brief.
Most importantly: yes, their fried chicken is just as good as ever. And the restaurant was packed (the other times I’ve visited it’s been half full at best), so I think the word is finally getting out that Chica’s is doing something amazing.
The sweet heat has been an occasional special up to this point, but they’ve recently added it onto the regular menu. It is predictably delicious.
It’s maybe borderline too sweet, but it’s balanced out quite well by the vinegary bite of the pickled jalapenos. It’s probably my least favourite thing on the menu, but that says more about the deliciousness of everything on offer here than it does about this particular sandwich. It’s still incredibly good.
It’s the fried chicken itself. It’s magical. The contrast between the perfectly crunchy exterior and the juicy interior is the stuff dreams are made of. If you like fried chicken and you haven’t tried Chica’s yet, you’re living your life wrong.
Location: 162 Ossington Avenue, Toronto
The last time I tried Bobbie Sue’s Mac + Cheese, I had the carbonara — it was absolutely delicious, but not exactly a traditional bowl of mac and cheese. I figured I should probably try the real deal.
So I went back and tried the jalapeno and bacon, which is a classic mac and cheese with pickled jalapenos and cubes of bacon (which I’m pretty sure is the pancetta from the carbonara) mixed in. This was a special, so it may or may not be on the menu when you visit.
It’s delicious. The mac and cheese is abundantly rich and cheesey, with perfectly al dente pasta and a nice crispy top from the oven. The meaty bacon and zippy jalapenos compliment it perfectly.
Bonus: the service was great. I picked up my mac and cheese from the counter and then immediately dropped it on the sidewalk (and the plate landed face down, because of course it did). The woman behind the counter witnessed this and quickly made me a new one free of charge, which was very much appreciated.
Location: 30 Courtneypark Drive East, Mississauga
You might recall that last year, McDonald’s released three progressively spicier McChicken sandwiches: jalapeno, habanero, and ghost pepper. I was, sadly, out of town when this happened, otherwise you’d better believe I would have tried all three.
Well, McDonald’s has done me (and you?) a favour by bringing back one of them — the middle one, habanero. I wish I could have tried the ghost pepper version, but beggars can’t be choosers, I guess.
Anyway, it’s nothing anyone should get too excited over; it’s just a standard McChicken with a creamy habanero sauce subbed in for the classic McChicken sauce.
The sauce is pretty tasty, though. It’s got a nice zippy flavour and a vague level of heat.
No, it’s not particularly spicy (I’d put it somewhere between mild and medium), but there’s definitely a noticeable tingle. Between that and the slightly zestier flavour, I’d say it’s an upgrade over the standard McChicken sauce.
Location: 406 Queen Street West, Toronto
I’ve heard basically nothing but good things about My Roti Place, a rapidly expanding chain that specializes in spice-packed roti. I feared it might have been overhyped, but yeah: it’s very good.
You can choose your roti, your meat, and your sauce; I went pretty basic with Mom’s Classic Curry with chicken, wrapped in a classic roti. The spice level is also customizable, with mild, medium, serious, and extreme being options. I figured extreme might be a bit too intense, so I went with serious.
I guess should have gone with extreme; the “serious” level of heat turned out to be not-so-serious. It was noticeably hot, but I’d put it on the upper level of mild. A bit more spice would have been nice.
I may as well get my other complaint out of the way. The chunks of chicken, though generous, are dry and leftovery.
Everything else about this was fantastic. The roti was nice and chewy, and complemented the vibrant curry perfectly. And that curry was outstanding; I’m happy to overlook any number of minor complaints when the curry is that tasty. I don’t care what you serve a curry that good with; it’s automatically going to be delicious. The curry has an amazing depth of flavour that I couldn’t get enough of. It’s serious business.