Cherry Sundae at Tom’s Dairy Freeze
I mean, come on: if you go the whole summer without going to Tom’s Dairy Freeze at least once, was it really the summer? I submit that it was not. It’s certainly not the most exciting ice cream joint in the city, but they’ve been pumping out consistently great no-frills soft serve for decades, and it’s a million times better than the stuff you’ll find at chains like Dairy Queen or McDonald’s. On this particular visit I got a sundae with chocolate ice cream and cherry sauce, and yeah, that’s a great combo. The sauce is excessively sweet (it tastes like maraschino cherries in a thick syrup), but then that’s kind of the charm of a place like this.
Roasted Almond and Sicilian Pistachio at Soma Chocolatemaker
I’ve mentioned before that Soma serves some of the best gelato in the city, and yeah, it’s still top notch. I recently tried roasted almond and Sicilian pistachio, and both flavours were rich, creamy, and deeply flavourful.
Malai Kulfi and Mango Chocolate Chip at Nani’s
I don’t think I need to spend more time on this blog on the greatness of Nani’s Gelato. I’ve thoroughly covered that. So I’ll just say that on a recent visit I tried malai kulfi and mango chocolate chip, and both flavours were unsurprisingly fantastic. Malai kulfi, in particular, had that perfect Nani’s balance of a unique flavour and amazingly creamy gelato. As for mango chocolate chip, I’ll admit I was a bit skeptical about the combo of mango and chocolate, and… to be honest, I’m still skeptical. But the mango ice cream was so delicious that I thoroughly enjoyed it, despite the flavours not working particularly well together.
Double Cheese Nachos at Moxie’s
Before having these nachos, I hadn’t been to Moxie’s in several years. My recollection is that the place was deeply mediocre, and hey, wouldn’t you know it, it’s still deeply mediocre. The nachos were fine-ish; they’re somewhere in the vicinity of fine, I guess? For something called “Double Cheese” nachos, there were a lot of dry chips, and there otherwise isn’t much going on here other than some chopped tomatoes and sliced jalapenos. It’s one-note in its flavour, and desperately needs something with a bit of acidity/zinginess to perk it up a bit (salsa could have filled this role, but the salsa here tasted like it came out of a jar — and a particularly shoddy one, at that).
It’s also crazy overpriced for what it is; with the pulled chicken (which was basically stewed chicken mush) and guacamole (which was exceptionally bland), the platter comes up to a whopping 29 bucks, which is a galling amount to pay for such a mediocre plate of nachos.
Hot Fudge Sundae at Tom’s Dairy Freeze
I’ve written about Tom’s Dairy Freeze a couple of times before, which is why I didn’t bother writing a whole post about this, but it’s worth noting that the hot fudge sauce here is above average. It’s not great, mind you (the ice cream itself is definitely the reason to come to Tom’s), but it has a decent chocolate flavour, and it’s not overly sweet. It’s definitely a cut above a place like Dairy Queen.
Cinnamon Bun at Blackbird Baking Co.
Like the almond croissant at Blackbird Baking Co., the cinnamon bun is a lot more subtle than you’re expecting it to be — but it’s also delicious. It’s basically like a croissant and a cinnamon bun had a baby. The croissants at Blackbird are quite good, so yeah, this is as good as you’d hope.
Location: 630 The Queensway, Etobicoke
…Specifically, it’s closing in just over a couple of weeks, on the 25th of November. So you should probably head over there while you still can.
Yes, it’s starting to get a bit chilly outside, so an ice cream joint with no indoor seating probably isn’t too high on your list of priorities. But delicious is delicious — cold schmold.
I just tried the Jack and Jill sundae, which features vanilla soft serve topped with chocolate and marshmallow sauces. The soft serve was as creamy and tasty as ever, and the chocolate/marshmallow combination is a clear winner.
Location: 630 The Queensway, Etobicoke
If you’re looking for soft serve ice cream in Toronto, you can’t go wrong with Tom’s. It’s been a summertime institution since 1969 and, shockingly enough, still sells some of the best soft serve in the city.
In a city where so many old-school restaurants skate by on nostalgia alone (I’m thinking of vintage burger joints like Johnny’s and Apache), I tend to approach years-old restaurants with a healthy dose of skepticism. Toronto’s food scene has improved astronomically over the decades, and a place like Johnny’s (which routinely used to top “best burger in the city” lists despite serving awful pre-fab junk) is a palpable reminder of how far we’ve come.
Tom’s Dairy Freeze, however, is a delightful exception to this rule; the soft serve here is top-shelf stuff.
On this particular visit I went simple with vanilla ice cream and a chocolate dip. The dip is nothing special, but the ice cream is phenomenal. It’s rich, creamy, and has a really satisfying vanilla flavour. Anyone who wants to sell soft serve in the city should be forced to come here and take notes.