Location: 856 Weber Street North, Waterloo
The apple fritters at The Fritter Co. in St. Jacobs Market are popular. I’ve been hearing about them for years, so when I recently found myself in St. Jacobs, checking them out was a must.
The first challenge: actually finding the place in the surprisingly massive St. Jacobs Market compound, which encompasses several enormous buildings and a seemingly endless outdoor market. I’m not sure where the largest farmers’ market in the world is, but I have to imagine this one is in the top 10.
The second challenge: mustering up the patience to stand in the gigantic, slow-moving line, which wound up taking about half an hour.
Maybe after all of that, no fritter could have lived up to my sky-high expectations, but the apple fritter here was… not very good? This place is universally beloved, and sorry everybody, but I don’t get it.
The fritter is interesting, I’ll give it that — each one features a full apple ring that’s the approximate thickness of a finger. And I did enjoy the contrast between the very tart apple slice and the sweetness of the sugary exterior. But the crisp apple slice also seems to impact the pastry itself, which was slightly undercooked around the middle in both of the fritters I tried.
Otherwise, the very pancake-like pastry was fine, I guess? And the whole thing was certainly not unpleasant to eat (the fact that they serve them piping hot from the fryer helps), but was it worth the epic half hour line-up? Absolutely not. If you’re coming from Toronto, save yourself the time and just go to San Remo or Dipped Donuts. You’re welcome.
Location: 655 College Street, Toronto
Bonne Nouvelle is a delightful French/Korean patisserie with a whole bunch of seriously tasty looking treats. Though they have a tempting assortment of cakes and croissants, I just wanted something small to try, so I went with the strawberry rhubarb madeleine.
I regretted it as soon as I took a bite and realized how delicious it was. Another visit to better sample their wares is definitely in order.
With its tasty glaze and injection of strawberry rhubarb filling, it’s pretty far from a standard madeleine, but it’s so good. The cake itself is seriously tasty, and the tartness of the filling does an amazing job of offsetting the pastry’s sweetness. It might be the best madeleine I’ve ever had?
Location: 2853 Dundas Street West, Toronto
I’ve written about Chica’s Chicken many, many times on this blog. I’ve mentioned that I think they serve the best fried chicken in the city, and that’s still probably true — even if I wasn’t crazy about this particular sandwich.
The Jalapeno Popper Sando, as per their menu: “boneless fried chicken topped with chipotle aioli and pickled jalapeños, served on a toasted brioche bun.”
The fried chicken is as delicious as ever; it’s the perfect combo of crispy (but not overbearing) exterior and juicy interior. It’s so damn good.
I’m not quite as sold on the rest of the sandwich, however. It’s that chipotle aioli. It’s sweet. I like the sweet/salty combo as much as the next guy, but holy moly the level of intense sugariness here is a bit intense. It overpowers the other flavours of the sandwich. I find the Sweet Heat sandwich at Chica’s to be a bit on the sweet side, and this one is even sweeter, somehow. Between the sweet sauce and the sweet brioche bun, the flavour is extremely one note.
It also tastes absolutely nothing like a jalapeno popper, which is odd. The whole point of a jalepeno popper is the contrast between the tangy cream cheese and the spicy bite of the jalapeno, and I don’t think there was any cream cheese here?? Or if there was, I couldn’t taste it over the aggressive sweetness.
Also, I don’t think I’ve ever had a jalapeno popper that was even remotely sweet. Am I the weird one, or is Chica’s?
Oh well. Everything else on the menu is so good that I don’t particularly care, but this is still an odd misstep from an otherwise great restaurant.
Location: 160 Baldwin Street, Toronto
Kensington Market seems like the kind of area that should have a whole bunch of ice cream shops, but it’s surprisingly slim pickings. There’s a location of Dolce Gelato, a temporary outpost of Good Behaviour, and now this place — but that’s about it.
(There have been other shops over the years, of course, but the turnover in this area is bad even when there isn’t a pandemic to deal with.)
Boho Gelato has a pretty standard assortment of flavours, though there are a couple of unique ones. Rosewater particularly caught my eye; I don’t think I’ve ever seen that in gelato before. It’s a common ingredient in Middle Eastern desserts, with a very unique flavour that’s somewhat of an acquired taste (I hated it with a passion as a kid, but it eventually won me over).
The gelato itself is definitely above average, though it didn’t knock my socks off. But that rosewater flavour is clearly a winner. I got it with a scoop of pistachio, and not surprisingly, the two flavours go perfectly together.
Location: 6 Charles Street East, Toronto
I wrote about Nani’s Gelato a few times before this blog went on hiatus; back then they were operating out of a truck, and I mentioned that I think they might serve the best gelato in the city.
They upgraded to a permanent location near Yonge and Bloor last year, and there’s no longer any “might” about it. It’s easily the best gelato in the city.
The combo of delightfully unique flavours (they come up with a new assortment every couple of weeks) and top-notch quality ice cream is irresistible. On this particular visit I went with salted olive oil candied pecan and toasted coconut, and both flavours were perfectly creamy and intensely delicious. Some of the flavours here sound odd in theory, but always work — you never, ever get the sense that they’re odd just for novelty value. The flavour combos are as tasty as they are unique.