Location: 3621 Highway 7, Markham
They serve brown sugar boba milk at Bubble Lee; like I mentioned in my review of Tiger Sugar, this stuff is basically bubble tea without the tea. It’s delicious.
The secret are those delightfully chewy tapioca balls and the tasty brown-sugar-infused sauce that they serve them with. I don’t even need the drink; just serve those things in a bowl with a spoon. Serve them on top of ice cream (actually, that’s an amazing idea. Restaurateurs: feel free to steal that).
I think I liked the version at Tiger Sugar a little bit better — they serve it with a “cream mousse” that makes it indulgently rich — but there’s absolutely nothing wrong with what they’re serving at Bubble Lee. On the plus side, it’s not as heavy, so it feels more like a regular drink and less like something you have to take a nap to recover from.
Location: 324 Frederick Street, Kitchener
Though I was really hoping to try the kouign-amann at Ambrosia Corner Bakery, it turns out I visited on the wrong day — they’re only served from Thursday to Saturday. My disappointment was short-lived, however. As soon as I saw their Pecan Cinnamon Sticky Buns, I knew that I needed to put one in my belly ASAP.
Step aside, kouign-amann; that sticky bun has an urgent appointment with my face.
Yes. It’s as good as it looks. It’s sticky, sweet, and incredible. It looks like it might be too sweet, but it’s actually remarkably well balanced. The caramel on top has a very rich, deep flavour, and the buttery, amazing pastry is substantial enough to hold up to the generous amount of sauce. That’s not to mention the underlying cinnamon flavour, which is delightful.
But then do I even need to be writing this? You have eyeballs. Again: it’s as good as it looks.
Location: 25 The West Mall, Etobicoke (inside Sherway Gardens)
The latest featured flavour at Sweet Jesus is Holy Mint, and if you like the mint/chocolate combo, you’ll almost certainly enjoy it.
Personally, I like that combo, so yeah — I enjoyed it.
Holy Mint, as per the Sweet Jesus website: “Mint soft serve, chocolate mints, chocolate mint cookies, milk cookies, chocolate chips, chocolate sauce.”
It’s quite tasty. In particular, the mint soft serve is fantastic; it’s nice and creamy, and the mint flavour is perfect. Some mint desserts can be a bit overwhelming and toothpasty, but the flavour here is nicely balanced. It’s also sweet, but not too sweet. It’s great.
I will say that I’m a bit concerned about Sweet Jesus, particularly their Sherway Gardens location. I visited on Saturday — i.e. the last Saturday before Christmas — and the mall was, not surprisingly, wall-to-wall people. And yet Sweet Jesus was as deserted as it always seems to be. I’ll be very surprised if this particular location makes it through 2020, and that makes me sad.
Location: 176 Hampton Avenue, Toronto
Avoca is a delightful little chocolate shop that makes their own ice cream. It’s also in a seriously unfortunate location — it’s in Greektown right off the Danforth, but it’s far enough off the main stretch that you wouldn’t know it’s there unless you’re looking for it. It’s a bit hidden.
It’s a shame; I think more people would be talking about this place if it were in a better location. I’m not sure about the chocolates, but the ice cream is top notch.
I tried a scoop of the classic chocolate ice cream, and it’s definitely above average. It was served way too cold (the woman behind the counter was having quite the struggle just getting a scoop), but everything else about it was great — it had a deep chocolately flavour, it wasn’t too sweet, and the ice cream itself was rich and creamy.
Location: 128 Dundas Street West, Toronto
Taiyaki NYC is basically the same concept as Sukoi Desserts, in which a taiyaki (a Japanese waffle-like dessert in the shape of a fish) is filled with ice cream and other toppings.
It’s a dessert that’s tailor-made for Instagram; in fact, Taiyaki NYC even has a portion of their wall made entirely of flowers to make your photo really pop. I just wish they put in half as much effort to make the food pop.
It’s a dessert I should love. Ice cream is great. Taiyaki is great. Cramming those two things together should be a home run. And yet…
I went with the Mangonificient, which is supposedly one of their most popular flavours — it features a mango/vanilla swirl inside a custard taiyaki.
The ice cream is the biggest issue. It’s not good — it has a decent mango flavour, but it’s icy and thin. It’s topped with a cookie and a few tiny cubes of tasteless mochi on a stick. It looks impressive, but the taste is another story.
I will say, however, that the taiyaki itself is actually quite good. It’s nice and fresh, with a crispy exterior and a perfectly cakey/fluffy interior. They sell them on their own, which is clearly the thing to order. It probably won’t be much of a hit on social media, though, so what’s the point, right?