Location: 505 University Avenue, Toronto
Nobs’ is a street vendor with a really interesting setup; it looks like a hot dog cart, but you won’t find a dog or a sausage on the menu. Instead, they serve a variety of meaty sandwiches (and mushroom for the vegetarians) that are cooked sous vide and finished on the grill. Ideally, this means that the meat will be perfectly cooked, with a nice smoky crust from the fire.
And yeah, that’s what happened.
I ordered the AAA Canadian Blade Steak Sandwich, which comes topped with greens, chimichurri, mayo, and pickled onions.
The steak was perfectly tender, with a good amount of exterior texture from the grill. The rest of the sandwich is quite tasty, too, with the vibrant, garlicky chimichurri matching well with the creamy mayo.
The bread is also great — it’s fresh, with a nice crispy exterior, and enough heft to hold up to the very substantial sandwich.
But the flavours are overwhelming. In particular, the garlic in the chimichurri packs an absolute wallop. It’s intense. It’s delicious, mind you, but it’s basically all you can taste. The beef is mostly just there for texture; the flavour is completely annihilated.
The whole thing is really good; I just wish I could have tasted more of the steak (or any of the steak).
Location: Follow them on Instagram to see where they’ll be
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.
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.
Location: 80 Ossington Avenue, Toronto
Mamakas Taverna had a booth at the recent OssFest street festival on Ossington, serving up chicken and pork souvlaki. It was almost improbably good. Like, is the food at a street festival even allowed to be this good? It was easily the best souvlaki I’ve ever had.
It’s simple enough — it features pita bread slathered with tsatziki, and topped with chunks of pork and tomatoes (onions are also an option, though I skipped those).
Every element here is amazing. The pork is cooked on a spit over coals, giving it a nice smoky flavour. It’s perfectly cooked and amazingly juicy.
They chop the pork up and toss it in some kind of magical, zesty sauce; little touches like this make all the difference. The pork would have been perfectly delicious if they had just served it as-is, but that sauce kicks up its flavour, adds additional moisture, and elevates the wrap from good to great.
The creamy, mint-and-garlic-infused tzatziki is just as delicious as the pork, and complements it exceptionally well. And the bread is the perfect vehicle — it’s fresh, a little bit chewy, and amazing. The whole thing is exceptionally delicious.
Location: 160 Baldwin Street, Toronto
Sukoshi Mart is a little Japanese convenience store in Kensington Market that sells hard-to-find Japanese goods. They also sell freshly-made taiyaki, a waffle-like dessert that’s traditionally filled with either red bean or custard.
I like this place. If you’re looking for Japanese snacks or candy, it’s worth a visit.
The taiyaki, on the other hand? Not so much.
It’s fine. It’s perfectly edible, but the exterior is dense and doughy, and the red bean is overly sweet. It’s also misshapen and haphazard, so it doesn’t even have the (usually) delightful visual component. It’s not the best.