Cookies and Cream at Ice Creamonology

Cookies and Cream at Ice CreamonologyLocation: 1184 Queen Street West, Toronto
Website: https://www.icecreamonology.com/

Ice Creamonology had only been around for a few months when, after what sounds like a pretty horrifying dispute with their landlord, they had to move out of their spot on Queen’s Quay. That’s a bummer, but they seem to have landed on their feet, with a new location on the west end right next to Chen Chen’s.

Their rotating menu mostly consists of old standbys like pistachio, dark chocolate, and vanilla; I kept it pretty simple with Cookies and Cream, which they describe as coming with “real Oreo pieces and Oreo crumbs.”

Cookies and Cream at Ice Creamonology

Nothing about the flavour particularly blew me away, though to be fair I’m not sure what you could do with cookies and cream to make it mind-blowing. It features a pretty perfect amount of cookie pieces; it’s enough to give it a nice Oreo-infused flavour, but not so much that it overwhelms the ice cream.

And the quality of the ice cream is pretty decent, though the flavour is a bit muted and it’s gummier than I’d like (it’s much stretcher and chewier than your average scoop).

Checking out the Summer Scoop Series at Eataly

Summer Scoop Series at EatalyLocation: 55 Bloor Street West (in the Manulife Centre), Toronto 
Website: https://www.eataly.ca/news/housemade-gelato/

Eataly is currently doing a promotion they’re calling the Summer Scoop Series; every month, they’re collaborating with a different local gelato-maker on a special flavour.  This month, they’re working with Nani’s Gelato, and the flavour is pistachio ricotta kulfi.

Summer Scoop Series at Eataly

The Eataly website describes it as “an Indian-inspired flavour with an Italian twist, featuring Italian pistachio paste, chopped pistachios, steeped saffron, cardamom, and whipped ricotta.”

As you’d expect from Nani’s (and the gelato at Eataly is no slouch, either), it’s superb.  The pistachio flavour is pronounced, and it’s perfectly complemented by the saffron and cardamom.  The bits of sweet ricotta interspersed throughout are a nice touch.  It’s top-notch gelato.

Tasty Sandwiches at Chen Chen’s Nashville Hot Chicken

Chen Chen's Nashville Hot ChickenLocation: 1184 Queen Street West, Toronto
Website: https://www.chenchenshotchicken.com/

It’s hard to eat a Nashville hot chicken sandwich in the GTA without comparing it to Chica’s Chicken, a place that serves what might just be some of the best fried chicken I’ve ever had.

No, the sandwich from Chen Chen’s isn’t on that level, but there’s absolutely nothing wrong with it; it’s quite tasty.

Chen Chen's Nashville Hot Chicken

You can choose from five spice levels: Southern (which they describe as “no heat”), mild, medium, hot, or poultrygeist (which they describe as “extra HOT!!”). I went with hot, which is very spicy but not face-meltingly so.

The chicken is tender thigh meat — always a good thing — and the exterior is satisfyingly crunchy. My biggest issue here is that it’s a bit bland; outside of the cayenne-infused heat, the chicken doesn’t have a ton of flavour. It’s underseasoned.

The sandwich is topped with zingy pickles, coleslaw, and aioli, which all does a pretty decent job of bringing the sandwich some flavour. But the chicken’s blandness does mar an otherwise above average sandwich.

Popular (and Delicious) Ice Cream at Ruru Baked

Ruru BakedLocation: 659 Landsdowne Avenue, Toronto
Website: https://www.rurubaked.com/

Ruru Baked have been doing pop ups and selling pints since 2017, but they’ve only just opened their own place. Apparently their pints sell out in minutes, and clearly their new shop is just as popular because the line was quite substantial on a recent Saturday afternoon.

Ruru Baked

They specialize in custard-based ice cream, and serve from a rotating selection of flavours — when I went, some of the choices included banoffee pie, Milo, and miso butterscotch, but you can see what they’re currently serving on their website.

Ruru Baked

I went with Honeycomb cereal milk, which features a Honeycomb-infused flavour and swirls of a very rich caramel sauce. It tastes pretty much exactly how you want it to taste — the Honeycomb flavour is quite pronounced, and the caramel swirls have an intense, almost bitter flavour that does a great job of balancing out the sweetness of the ice cream.

As for the ice cream itself, it’s rich and creamy — it’s definitely above average.

Tasty Dipped Sandwiches at Hot Dip

Hot DipLocation: 1186 Queen Street West, Toronto
Website: https://www.instagram.com/hotdiptoronto/

Hot Dip is a new sandwich shop on Queen Street that specializes in meaty sandwiches you can dip into things, and yeah, gimme that. That’s a genius idea.

They actually only have four sandwiches on the menu (at the moment, at least), which I appreciate. I always freeze like a deer in headlights when I see a menu with dozens of things on it — I know that everything on this huge menu cannot possibly be great, so just tell me what the good stuff is and what I can ignore.

Hot Dip

Focusing on only a few things solves this problem entirely.

I ordered the Hot Dip (because you should always get the menu item that shares a name with the restaurant) which is a roast beef sandwich with horseradish mayo topped with crispy onions and served on a pretzel roll. The dip, in this case, is sharp cheddar.

Hot Dip

It’s a very good sandwich. The thinly-sliced roast beef is super tender with a nice beefy flavour, and there’s a generous amount of it — the menu says eight ounces (i.e. half a pound, i.e. a lot of beef), and based on how substantial the sandwich is, I have no reason to believe they’re skimping on the meat.

The pretzel roll is just as good as the beef. Sometimes pretzel bread can be a bit on the dense side, but this struck a great balance between softness and heft, with a lightly crispy exterior.

Hot Dip

As for the dip, weirdly enough it’s the weakest part of the sandwich. Despite being called “sharp cheddar” it has a thoroughly mild flavour — it basically has the taste and texture of watered-down Cheez Whiz. It mostly just adds moisture to the sandwich, but between the fresh bread and the tender meat, it doesn’t particularly need it.

My other big issue: it’s an incredibly heavy sandwich, and it really needs something acidic to cut through the overwhelming richness. I guess the horseradish mayo is supposed to fill this role? But it’s completely overwhelmed by all the beef; you can barely even tell that it’s there. It’s certainly not a deal-killer (it’s still very tasty), but it makes the sandwich feel a bit one-note rich, which is a shame.