Sweet Heat Sandwich from Chica’s Chicken

Sweet Heat Sandwich from Chica's ChickenLocation: 2853 Dundas Street West, Toronto
Website: https://www.chicaschicken.net/

I’ve written about Chica’s many times on this blog, so I’ll make this brief.

Most importantly: yes, their fried chicken is just as good as ever.  And the restaurant was packed (the other times I’ve visited it’s been half full at best), so I think the word is finally getting out that Chica’s is doing something amazing.

The sweet heat has been an occasional special up to this point, but they’ve recently added it onto the regular menu.  It is predictably delicious.

Sweet Heat Sandwich from Chica's Chicken

It’s maybe borderline too sweet, but it’s balanced out quite well by the vinegary bite of the pickled jalapenos.  It’s probably my least favourite thing on the menu, but that says more about the deliciousness of everything on offer here than it does about this particular sandwich.  It’s still incredibly good.

It’s the fried chicken itself.  It’s magical.  The contrast between the perfectly crunchy exterior and the juicy interior is the stuff dreams are made of.  If you like fried chicken and you haven’t tried Chica’s yet, you’re living your life wrong.

Tasty Noodle Soup at House of Gourmet

House of GourmetLocation: 484 Dundas Street West, Toronto
Website: http://houseofgourmet.blogspot.com/

Wonton noodle soup is one of those dishes that’s basically always delicious.  I’ve certainly had bowls that are better than others, but I think it’s just fundamentally appealing.  It’s kinda like pizza; it’s hard to mess up, and even when it’s bad, it’s good.

House of Gourmet

And the bowl at House of Gourmet is quite good.  It’s not the best I’ve ever had, but it’s a solid bowl of noodle soup.

House of Gourmet

I was clued into this place thanks to this article, which specifically called out the wonton brisket noodle soup as being the thing to order here.  The addition of fatty, tender, flavourful beef suits the bowl quite well.

Everything else is just as it should be; the soup has a savoury punch, the noodles are nice and firm, and the chunky wontons are quite satisfying.

House of Gourmet

And of course, you’ve gotta add some chili oil to the bowl.  Unlike the stuff I recently had at Ming’s Noodle Cafe, which was crammed with flavour but surprisingly low on spice, a heaping spoonful is all you need to give the bowl a nice kick.

Quick Bites: Sweet Jesus, Parka Food Co., and Bakerbots Baking

Sweet Jesus
Apple Fritter Crisp from Sweet Jesus

This was actually pretty tasty.  Here’s how Sweet Jesus describes the Apple Fritter Crisp: “Vanilla soft serve, Apple pie sauce, Apple fritter pieces, Apple fritter crumb, Caramel sauce.”  I enjoyed it, mostly — it pretty much nails the apple pie/crumble element, with a cinnamon-infused flavour, and a nice hit of caramel and apples.  But the “apple fritter crumb” it’s rolled in was more chewy than crispy (there was a disconcerting lack of crispiness for something with “crisp” in its name), and the apple fritter pieces were entirely absent.  Still, the creamy vanilla ice cream and the apple-crumble-infused flavour are a tasty combo.

Parka Food Co.
Caesar Salad at Parka Food Co.

I recently found myself back at Parka Food Co., a place that specializes in vegan eats; on my first visit I had a sandwich and found the bun to be fairly horrifying, so I skipped the sandwiches and went with a Caesar salad instead.  It was fine, I guess?  Caesar dressing traditionally features very non-vegan ingredients like anchovies, egg yolks, and cheese; whatever vegan alternatives they used here were decent enough.  But the dressing was overly vinegary, and the pickled onions on top are a bizarre choice — they only amplify the puckery vinegar flavour.

Blackbird Baking Co.
Lemon Tart and Raspberry Rosewater Tart from Bakerbots Baking

Both of these tarts were absolutely fantastic, particularly the Raspberry Rosewater tart, which featured an ultra-rich custard with a pronounced rosewater flavour that complimented the tart raspberries on top perfectly.  And unlike the last pie I had at this place, the crust was superlative; it was crispy, buttery, and perfect.

Mediocre Fried Chicken and Poutine at Rudy

RudyLocation: 619 College Street, Toronto
Website: http://www.rudyresto.com/

I love Rudy.  I’m on record calling their burger the best in the city.  So it pains me to say this, but the meal I just had there was not great.

To be fair, I didn’t have a burger; going to a burger joint and not ordering the burger is probably not the smartest thing in the world.

Instead, I got the fried chicken sandwich and the poutine.  Neither was particularly great.

Rudy

The chicken sandwich is dubbed the Valentino: “Fried Chicken Sandwich, Coleslaw, Valentino Sauce, Mild Hot Sauce.”  I’ve had this before and found it to be quite tasty, so maybe they were just having an off day?

The biggest issue is the chicken itself; it was dry, overcooked, and incredibly salty.

The first few bites were outright bad, but then I noticed that the two sauces were actually in little plastic containers on the side rather than on the sandwich.  I’m not sure why they did it that way (I certainly didn’t ask for that), but once I applied them both to the chicken, things improved considerably.  The tasty ranch / hot sauce combo helped to smooth over a lot of the chicken’s faults.

Rudy

As for the soft squishy bun that works so well on the burger — sadly, it has a hard time holding up to the more substantial chicken sandwich.

I also tried the poutine, which Toronto Life recently called the best in the city.  It was fine?  I guess?  The gravy was overabundant and bland, the curds were stale (no squeak to be found), and the whole thing wasn’t hot enough to even vaguely melt the cheese.  It certainly wasn’t unpleasant to eat, but it’s a far cry from the best in the city.

I should note that someone else got the burger and said it was as delicious as ever, so unsurprisingly, the burger is the thing to order at the burger joint.  Who would have guessed!

Classic Comfort Food at Bobbie Sue’s Mac + Cheese

Bobbie Sue's Mac + CheeseLocation162 Ossington Avenue, Toronto
Websitehttps://bobbiesues.com/

The last time I tried Bobbie Sue’s Mac + Cheese, I had the carbonara — it was absolutely delicious, but not exactly a traditional bowl of mac and cheese.  I figured I should probably try the real deal.

So I went back and tried the jalapeno and bacon, which is a classic mac and cheese with pickled jalapenos and cubes of bacon (which I’m pretty sure is the pancetta from the carbonara) mixed in.  This was a special, so it may or may not be on the menu when you visit.

Bobbie Sue's Mac + Cheese

It’s delicious.  The mac and cheese is abundantly rich and cheesey, with perfectly al dente pasta and a nice crispy top from the oven.  The meaty bacon and zippy jalapenos compliment it perfectly.

Bonus: the service was great.  I picked up my mac and cheese from the counter and then immediately dropped it on the sidewalk (and the plate landed face down, because of course it did).  The woman behind the counter witnessed this and quickly made me a new one free of charge, which was very much appreciated.