Sad Disappointment at Crazy Crepes

Crazy CrepesLocation: 366 Church Street, Toronto
Website: https://www.crazycrepescanada.com/

Sometimes, you know you’re in trouble before you even take a bite.  This was definitely the case at Crazy Crepes, a Japanese chain that serves sweet and savoury crepes.

It was game over before it even began; as soon as I ordered my crepe, the woman behind the counter went for a big pile of pre-made crepes and started putting mine together.

Crazy Crepes

I’m not sure why, but crepes are one of those foods that deteriorate in quality within minutes of being made.  Fresh crepes are delicious; old crepes are a pale imitation of their previous selves.

I’m sorry, but when it comes to crepes: make it fresh or GTFO.  Yes, I’ll wait.  Get out of here with that dry, rubbery garbage.

Crazy Crepes

I ordered the Strawberry & Kiwi Fresh Cream crepe, which the menu notes is one of their signature creations, and of course, it never had a chance.  The kiwi and strawberries were both pretty sour, but if the crepe had been really good, it still could have been tasty.  Alas.

More Tasty Ice Cream at Nadege

NadegeLocation780 Queen Street West, Toronto
Websitehttp://www.nadege-patisserie.com/

The last time I tried the ice cream at Nadege, I found it to be quite tasty, but not quite on par with the best ice cream in the city, like Bang Bang or Greg’s.

On a recent visit, I tried the Baked Caramel Crunch, with features vanilla ice cream swirled with caramel sauce and chocolate chip cookie dough (the menu just says chocolate chip cookies, but the chunks were chewy and tasted like cookie dough to me).  I normally go with a cup over a cone, but having heard so many good things about the cone, I figured I needed to try it.

The cone is as advertised.  It’s amazing.  It’s crispy but not overly crunchy, with a rich buttery flavour.  It’s easily one of the better cones I’ve ever had.

Nadege

The ice cream is as I remembered.  They’re incredibly generous with the sauce and the chunks.  That sounds good, right?  And it is, but there’s a limit.  It’s like that episode of the Twilight Zone where the guy in the afterlife has everything go his way until he finally realizes that he’s actually in hell, not heaven.

The scoop was so saucy and chunky that I could barely even taste the ice cream.  It was overkill.  From what I could taste of the vanilla, it seemed like it was above average, but I honestly couldn’t particularly tell.  It was basically like eating a tub of caramel sauce with cookie dough mixed in.

Nadege

I had better luck on another recent visit with the strawberry pistachio.  This one features pistachio ice cream with a light and frothy strawberry sauce mixed in.  Strawberry and pistachio sounds like an odd combo, but it works; the sweet fruitiness of the sauce compliments the rich, nutty ice cream very well.

And since there weren’t any chunks, I was able to taste the ice cream itself, which is quite good.  I really wish they wouldn’t work so hard to obscure it.

Delicious Mochi at Sasaki Fine Pastry

Sasaki Fine PastryLocation: 3160 Steeles Avenue East, Markham
Websitehttps://www.instagram.com/sasakifinepastry/

Sasaki Fine Pastry is the latest gem I’ve discovered thanks to the inimitable Suresh Doss, who specializes in sussing out the best non-Western eats in the city, usually out in the ‘burbs.  If you’re on Twitter and you’re not following him, I don’t even know what you’re doing with your life.

Sasaki Fine Pastry

Sasaki specializes in daifuku, a Japanese dessert in which soft, chewy mochi is stuffed with various sweet fillings.  On this particular visit they had seven flavours available; I tried mango cream, strawberry cream, yuzu cream, and sesame cream.

It’s easily the best mochi I’ve ever had.  I like mochi, but it can sometimes be a little too gummy.  But the version here had a delightfully delicate chew that almost melts in your mouth.

Sasaki Fine Pastry

The subtly sweet, creamy fillings were all great, though the strawberry — which featured a mixture of strawberry cream and sweet red bean filling — was the highlight.

Sasaki Fine Pastry

I also tried the red bean and cream doriyaki, which features a filling of sweet red bean and whipped cream that’s sandwiched between two little pancakes.  Like the daifuki, this was super fresh, subtly sweet, and extremely delicious.

Fluffy Souffle Pancakes at Hanabusa Cafe

Hanabusa CafeLocation: 77 Kensington Avenue, Toronto
Websitehttps://www.hanabusacafe.com/

It seems like every few months, some new food trend sweeps its way through the city.  In the last couple of years we’ve had stuff like poke, chicken and waffles, Japanese cheesecakes, and sushi burritos.  The latest seems to be souffle pancakes, a Japanese dessert that’s exactly what it sounds like (a cross between pancakes and souffle).

If what they’re serving at Hanabusa Cafe is any indication, this is a trend that I can get behind.

Hanabusa Cafe

My only other experience with this dish was at a place called am.pm in Hong Kong, and that version was dense, overly eggy, and just all-around unappealing.

The one at Hanabusa Cafe, on the other hand, was the polar opposite — it was almost absurdly fluffy, with a mild sweetness and a satisfying custardy flavour without any of the in-your-face egginess you might be expecting.  I ordered the Original Pancake, which is the simplest choice: it’s three pancakes topped with a dollop of whipped cream and served with a side of strawberries and blackberries.  It’s outstanding.

Hanabusa Cafe

Unlike a traditional pancake, it’s already fairly sweet, so it’s perfectly delicious on its own.  I could eat about a million of these (though they’re surprisingly heavy, so three feels like a good number).  The ethereal lightness combined with the custardy flavour is seriously addictive.

I’ll admit that my expectations weren’t all that high, but I really, really enjoyed this.

Tasty Pastries at Little Pebbles Cafe

Little Pebbles CafeLocation: 160 Baldwin Street, Toronto
Websitehttp://little-pebbles.com/

I was still hungry after the horrifying abomination I was served at Kiss the Tiramisu; I couldn’t eat more than a third of it.  So I went a couple of stores down to Little Pebbles, a great little Japanese cafe in Kensington Market.

They have the usual assortment of coffees to pick from, as well as a variety of French/Japanese-inspired baked goods.  I went with the Strawberry Sakura Mont Blanc, which features an almond-infused crust, pastry cream, a whole strawberry, and strawberry mont blanc cream.

Little Pebbles Cafe

Maybe I was just happy to eat something that wasn’t disgusting, but I really enjoyed this.  The nutty crust was tasty, the whole strawberry was sweet and ripe, and the mont blanc cream did a really great job of balancing the chestnut flavour you’d expect with something a bit fruitier.

The whole thing was quite subdued in its flavours, but it all worked really well.  I’d definitely like to come back here and try some of their other offerings, because everything looked really good.