Location: 32 Tank House Lane, Toronto
They sell hot chocolate at SOMA Chocolatemaker — but not just any hot chocolate. You have the option to get it as “an intense shot,” which is just what it sounds like. It’s basically like drinking pure, melted chocolate.
It’s not as overwhelming as it sounds; it’s thick and rich, but it’s still drinkable. It’s not quite at the consistency of melted chocolate, even if it’s close.
You can get Mayan hot chocolate, which is amped up with chili peppers and spices, or you can get the good old classic, which is what I ordered on this particular visit (I like the Mayan version too, but I do find that the spices kind of distract from the amazing chocolate).
It’s amazing. Of course it’s amazing; SOMA makes some of the best chocolate in the world, and they have the accolades to prove it. The flavour is rich and complex, with just the right amount of sweetness. I can’t imagine that a better cup of hot chocolate exists.
Location: 1011 Pape Avenue, Toronto
I think the shawarma wrap at Shawarma Frenzy might just be the best deal in the city (it’s in the top five, that’s for sure). It costs a mere $6.75, it’s the approximate size and heft of a small baby, and it’s crazy delicious. There’s no downside.
The chicken shawarma itself is absolutely outstanding; it nails every element. Most importantly, it’s got a surfeit of the dark crispy bits that makes great shawarma so satisfying, but it’s not dried out at all, with tender, juicy meat. And it’s really nicely seasoned. It’s amazing.
And the wrap features a very, very generous amount of meat, not to mention a good balance of fresh veggies, zingy pickles, and tasty sauces. It has a nice garlicky hit, but it’s not so aggressive that you’ll be tasting garlic for the rest of the day. I wish it were a little bit spicier (it’s just barely spicy), but that’s a very minor complaint.
The pita bread is great too — it’s fresh, a little bit chewy, and nicely crisped up in a sandwich press. It’s a top notch shawarma wrap. And it’s $6.75! That’s ridiculous.
Location: 1121 Queen Street East, Toronto
It’s becoming increasingly clear to me that Bobbette and Belle is one of the best bakeries in the GTA. Maybe the best? It’s right up there, that’s for sure.
I tried the apple bread pudding on a recent visit, which they heat up and serve with a very tasty custard sauce. I mean, look at it. Do I even need to mention that it’s delicious? Of course it’s delicious.
It’s crispy on its exterior and creamy inside, with a great custardy flavour. The apples give it a nice zing, and the melty chocolate (yes, there’s melty chocolate in there, in case it didn’t already seem amazing enough) compliments it so well. My only real complaint is that the apples are a bit crisp. I know some people like their apples firm in pies and baked goods, but those people are wrong. Tender apples 4 eva.
Still, the whole thing is so tasty that it just barely matters.
On another visit (yeah, I’ve been there a bunch, so what, wanna fight about it?) I tried the coconut banana cream pie, which was even better.
I love both banana cream pies and coconut cream pies, so I have no idea why it never occurred to me that you could combine the two, but you can and it’s amazing. There’s also a layer of dulce de leche at the bottom of the pie, which gives the whole thing a rich, caramely flavour — and yet it’s not too sweet. It’s perfect.
The crust is great too — crispy but not overly crunchy, with a nice buttery flavour and a mild sweetness that works amazingly well with the rest of the pie. The whole thing is ridiculously good.
Location: 431 College Street, Toronto
The nachos at Sneaky Dee’s are frequently called the best in the city, and yeah, I can see why.
I ordered the King’s Crown (“crisp corn tortilla chips covered with salsa roja, piled high with frijoles, ground beef, tomatoes, onions, mixed peppers, jalapenos, melted cheese, topped with guacamole & sour cream”). At 26 bucks, it seems like it might be overpriced until it comes to the table and you realize it’s enough to feed three or four hungry people.
It’s super tasty. All of the components work really well together, and it’s so loaded with stuff that you’re never going to get a dry chip.
If anything there’s too much stuff — the tortilla chips can’t really hold up to the insane deluge of cheese and toppings. It’s fine at first, but after a few minutes all of the chips in the middle are complete mush.
It’s also a bit one-note rich, though the bottle of vinegary hot sauce they bring with the plate helps out a lot in this regard.
I feel like it’s probably a bit too haphazard to be the best nachos in the city, but it’s certainly delicious.
Location: 1357 St Clair Avenue West, Toronto
La Paloma has been around since 1967, so it’s pretty much the OG gelateria in the GTA. You can’t argue with that type of history; they’re obviously doing something right (though I recently panned Johnny’s Hamburgers, which has also been around since 1967, so I guess you can argue with that type of history).
Anyway, it’s good. It might not be the best gelato in the city, but it’s definitely not the Johnny’s of ice cream.
On my most recent visit I had the Sicilian pistachio. It tasted like they were using pistachio flavouring or even other nuts in there (something about the flavour was a bit off), and it was a bit too sweet, but it’s still quite satisfying.
It helps that the texture is great, with a nice creamy richness. It’s definitely above average.