Quick Bites: Pizzeria Via Napoli, Ikkoi Japanese Family Cuisine, Nani’s Gelato

Pizzeria Via Napoli
Margherita pizza from Pizzeria Via Napoli

I suppose you could order something from a Neapolitan pizza joint that isn’t a margherita pizza, but why would you?  As I’ve mentioned before, it’s the perfect food.  It’s also a great test of a restaurant’s chops, because it’s so simple that if your technique isn’t on point, and if the ingredients you’re working with aren’t great, it’s going to show.  Pizzeria Via Napoli’s version absolutely hits it out of the park; the crust is flavourful, perfectly chewy, and has a good amount of char on its exterior (including the bottom of the slice).  And the other ingredients are just right.  Margherita test: passed!

Ikkoi Japanese Family Cuisine
Ramen from Ikkoi Japanese Family Cuisine

Speaking of food that’s perfect: ramen.  It’s the best.  I ordered the tonkotsu ramen from Ikkoi (they serve several other styles of ramen, along with sushi and other Japanese standbys), and it’s pretty decent.  Is it the best bowl of ramen that I’ve ever had?  No; their menu is so broad that they’re probably spreading themselves a bit thin.  But there’s also absolutely nothing wrong with it.  I wouldn’t go out of my way for it, but if you’re in the area and you’re craving a bowl of ramen, it’s worth a shot.

Nani's Gelato
Dark Chocolate Oreo at Nani’s Gelato

Nani’s continues to be great.  I don’t particularly feel the need to write about Nani’s every time I eat there, because I think it’s fairly clear by this point that I think Nani’s serves some truly stellar gelato.  But I would like to note that, even though it’s not technically on the menu, Nani’s does have a kids size cup that’s pretty much the perfect amount if you’re not super hungry.  It’s the same size cup as the small, but the gelato pretty much only goes to the brim instead of being mounded way up.  I’m not sure why they don’t advertise this size, but I’m definitely glad I know it exists.  And now you do too!

Delicious Pastries at Choux Lab

Choux Lab
Location
: 386 Royal York Road, Toronto
Website: None

Remember Beard Papa?  Because I certainly do!  That was (and still is, though their only Canadian locations are in Vancouver) a delightful Japanese chain that specialized in delicious cream puffs.  They used to have a location in the Pacific Mall, but then they broke hearts across the GTA by shutting down like a bunch of jerks.

Sadly, there’s no indication that they’re coming back anytime soon, but in the meanwhile, we’ve got Choux Lab.

Choux Lab

Choux Lab serves up choux pastries (which are light and fluffy, with a crispy exterior) with a variety of fillings.  The vanilla is probably the most Beard-Papa-esque, but they were actually handing out samples of that one, and it was delicious (and indeed, did remind me of Beard Papa, with a creamy, custardy filling), so I figured I’d order something else.

Choux Lab

I went with the hazelnut, and it was very, very good.  The filling was rich and ultra-creamy, with a great hazelnut flavour and a nice balance of sweetness — sweet, but not overwhelmingly so.  Beard Papa used to fill their puffs to order, and I was worried that the pre-made ones they serve here might lack that great crispy/fluffy/creamy combo.  But the one I tried wasn’t soggy at all, and all the textures were right where they should be.

Choux Lab

Choux Lab is just a few stores over from San Remo, and I worry that everyone will just stick with the reliable deliciousness there and not give this place a shot.  But everyone needs to check this place out; I need them to stick around forever and not break my heart like Beard Papa did.

Tasty Sweet Buns at Akko Cake House

Akko Cake House
Location
: 4040 Creditview Road #1, Mississauga
Website: None

Akko Cake House is a bit oddly named.  They do have a handful of cakes at the front, but mostly, this is a fairly standard Chinese bakery with a whole bunch of sweet and savoury buns and tarts.

Akko Cake House

I tried a few sweet buns: coconut, custard, and walnut.

The pastry itself was quite good — it was fresh, a little bit sweet, and super fluffy.

Akko Cake House

I was intrigued about the walnut variety; I don’t recall ever seeing a walnut bun before, and I’ve certainly never tried one.  It was fairly subtle, however, with a very thin layer of  walnut paste and a few walnut chunks.  It tasted more like a plain bun with a mild walnut flavour.

Akko Cake House

The custard was about what you’d expect.  It was sweet, creamy, and tasty.

Akko Cake House

The coconut bun was where it was at.  The generous filling was really tasty, with a nice coconut flavour.   It also has a surprisingly strong hit of salt that does a great job of rounding out the  sweetness.  It’s really good.  The bakery was packed (the line was to the door when I left), and with buns that good, it’s easy enough to see why.

Cinnamon Roll Centres Blizzard at Dairy Queen

Cinnamon Roll Centres Blizzard
Location
: 325 Central Parkway West, Mississauga
Website: https://www.dairyqueen.com/

Dairy Queen is currently serving their Fall menu of Blizzards, which means the Pumpkin Pie Blizzard (a.k.a. the king of Blizzards) is back.  I probably should have ordered that, but how could I resist something called a Cinnamon Roll Centres Blizzard??  You’re going to take the best part of a cinnamon roll and mix it with ice cream???  Yes please, give me a million of those please.

Dairy Queen describes this as “soft cinnamon roll pieces and brown butter cinnamon topping blended with our world-famous vanilla soft serve,” and alas, it’s not nearly as great as you’d hope.

They mix some cinnamon flavour right in with the soft serve, which is nice, but the “soft” cinnamon roll pieces are actually not soft at all (they have more of a chewy cookie consistency), and taste absolutely nothing like the sweet, gooey, delicious middle of a cinnamon roll.  They’re just kinda dry and chewy, and while they’re cinnamony, they also have an odd flavour that I couldn’t quite put my finger on.

I didn’t hate eating it, I guess, but the notion that this has anything to do with a cinnamon roll honestly feels like false advertising.  Can we sue Dairy Queen?  I feel like we should sue Dairy Queen.

A Delicious Butter Tart at Kate’s Town Talk Bakery

Kate's Town Talk Bakery
Location
: 206C Queen Street South, Streetsville
Website: https://www.katestowntalk.ca/

It’s always a good sign when a bakery puts one of their pastries in a paper bag and it becomes translucent with buttery goodness.  If the paper bag looks pristine?  Sorry, that pastry probably sucks.  I don’t make the rules.

Kate's Town Talk Bakery

Though they have an assortment of sweet and savoury pastries, the specialty at Kate’s Town Talk Bakery is clearly the butter tart, which you can get with pecans, raisins, raspberry Nutella, or on its own.

Kate's Town Talk Bakery

I got the pecan variety, and oh man, it’s good.  The sign outside says that the butter tarts here “rival the best you’ve ever tasted,” and you know what?  They’re not wrong.  I wish the filling were a bit gooier, but other than that it’s basically butter tart perfection: the crust is perfectly flaky, the filling has a great toffee-like flavour, and it’s got those great crispy caramelized edges that are pretty much irresistible.

Kate's Town Talk Bakery

I’m not sure that it’s the best best butter tart that I’ve ever had, but it’s right up there, that’s for sure.