Above Average Patties at Stush Patties

Stush PattiesWebsite: https://stushpatties.com/

Stush Patties are available frozen at various supermarkets throughout the GTA (you can see where on their website), but alas, they don’t have a permanent location where you can buy their patties hot.

They were recently set up for the weekend at the Cheese Boutique, and I can say pretty conclusively that they need to open their own place ASAP.  They’re top notch patties.

Stush Patties

They had five types of patties on offer: beef, jerk chicken, jerk pulled pork, spicy lentil, and swiss chard.  They’re five bucks a pop (or slightly cheaper if you buy them frozen), which seems pricey, but you get what you pay for.

I went with the pulled pork, which features a whole bunch of tender pork with a delightful punch of tasty jerk flavour.  It’s meaty and very nicely spiced, with a pleasant kick and a mild sweetness that rounds things out.

Stush Patties

The pastry is quite good too; it’s rich and flaky without being overwhelming.  Some patties  overdo the pastry and skimp on the filling, but this one is just right.

Great New York Style Slices at Pizzeria Badiali

Pizzeria BadialdiLocation: 181 Dovercourt Road, Toronto
Website: https://www.pizzeriabadiali.com/

Pizzeria Badiali is a pizza joint that bills itself as “a nod to the New York classics.”  And yeah, it’s quite different from the Neapolitan-style pizzas you can find all over town.

Pizzeria Badialdi

Of course, it would have to be  — it’s a slice shop, and the floppier slices of a Neapolitan-style pizza aren’t exactly grab-and-go compatible.

The slices here, on the other hand, have a delightful crispiness that never feels overly crunchy, with an interior texture that balances fluffiness and chewiness quite well.  It reminds me a bit of the slices they serve nearby at Superpoint, but I think this might be even better.

Pizzeria Badialdi

I got the margherita: “crushed tomato, fior di latte, pecorino and padano, basil.”

It was great — in particular, the balance between the creamy fior di latte and the sharp pecorino and padano really popped.

Pizzeria Badialdi

The place is quite popular (someone actually came out and announced a twenty minute wait for a new batch of slices shortly after I got mine), and with the combo of great quality toppings and a superlative crust, it’s easy enough to see why.

A Decent Falafel Sandwich at The Haifa Room

The Haifa RoomLocation: 224 Ossington Avenue, Toronto
Website: https://www.instagram.com/thehaifaroom/

The Haifa Room has been up and running for a bit more than a month, and while the dining room isn’t open quite yet, they do have a take-out window where you can get a variety of sandwiches.

I went with the falafel sandwich: “Falafel, tahina, hummus, z’hug, cucumber and tomato salad, marinated red cabbage, parsley, onions, and pickles.”

I asked them to hold the onion, but otherwise got it as is.

It’s a solid sandwich, though nothing about it particularly blew me away.  The falafel itself is crispy and flavourful, with a nice fluffy interior that’s almost creamy (it might have been a tad undercooked, but it was tasty regardless).  And the healthy amount of parsley they top it with is a nice touch, adding a herby punch that complements the falafel quite well.

The Haifa Room

None of the other toppings particularly stand out, however, and I missed the red pickled turnips that you typically find in a sandwich like this; there were copious amounts of tahini and hummus, and in the absence of something with some zip, it felt overly rich and a bit one-note in its flavour.  It did have pickle slices, but they weren’t assertive enough to add much of anything.

(The menu also says the sandwich is topped with z’hug, a herby Yemenite hot sauce, but I didn’t see or taste anything even remotely hot-sauce-like in the sandwich.)

The vaguely stale pita bread probably didn’t help, which came out of a bag and tasted like it came out of a bag.

I feel like I’m complaining a lot for something I actually quite enjoyed, but pretty much everything here is one small step away from being very good, so it’s easy to notice the flaws that are holding it back.

Delicious Italian Sandwiches at Flora’s Deli

Flora's DeliLocation: 1276 Dundas Street West, Toronto
Website: https://www.florasto.com/

Flora’s Deli is a delightful little shop that offers a takeout menu (they also have a couple of small tables outside) of Italian sandwiches.  It doesn’t have the most exciting menu ever, with the usual veal and eggplant sandwiches, various cold cut assortments, etc.

The sandwiches are so well executed, however, that this never feels like an issue.  The Norma Gina is generally what people talk about when they talk about this place, and yeah, I can see why.  Served on a fresh sesame seed roll and featuring a generous amount of fried eggplant topped with hot honey,  creamy whipped ricotta, and fresh arugula, it’s a great sandwich.

Flora's Deli

The eggplant is perfectly cooked, the ricotta adds a delightful richness, the arugula is nice and peppery, and the honey adds a subtle sweetness that contrasts nicely with the savoury sandwich.

I also tried the Sofia, which the menu describes as “prosciutto, coppa, sopressata, fresh mozzarella, roasted red peppers, arugula, 6yr balsamico.”  This one’s a pretty standard cold cut sandwich, but when you’ve got top-notch ingredients that all complement each other so well, there’s absolutely no need to reinvent the wheel.  I sort of figured the eggplant sandwich would be the more interesting of the two, but I’d honestly have a hard time picking a favourite; they’re both so good.

Flora's Deli

(I should also note that since I wrote this, the restaurant’s pop-up location is no more, but supposedly a permanent spot is in the works.)

Great Fried Chicken and Pie at Aloette

AloetteLocation: 171 East Liberty Street (Unit 127A), Toronto
Website: https://aloetterestaurant.com/

Aloette was forced to become a take-out joint last year (for obvious reasons) and I guess that’s worked out for them, because they’re leaning into it; their second location, in Liberty Village, is take-out only, with a selection that mostly consists of fried chicken, burgers, and a handful of salads.

Aloette

I ordered the fried chicken sandwich, which is simply topped with aioli and pickles.  It’s a top-notch sandwich; the chicken is satisfyingly crunchy and very nicely seasoned, with what seemed like an Asian-inspired flavour that I couldn’t quite put my finger on, but that I thoroughly enjoyed.  The zingy pickles and creamy aioli complement it well, and the bun is nice and fluffy, with just enough heft to hold up to the substantial piece of fried chicken.

Aloette

The chicken itself is ever-so-slightly on the dry side, and the crunchy exterior is maybe slightly too aggressive (it actually cut the roof of my mouth), but those are both minor complaints.

Aloette

They have a couple of tempting sundaes for dessert, but I couldn’t resist the lemon meringue pie; it’s a mainstay on Instagram, but is definitely more than just a pretty face.  It’s luxuriously rich and creamy, and has a perfect tart/sweet balance.  My biggest problem here is the crust: it’s mostly decent enough, but then you get to the big hunk at the end and it’s thick and gummy and, eaten on its own, kinda unpleasant.