Tasty Sourdough Pizzas at The Hole in the Wall

The Hole in the Wall
Location
: 2867A Dundas Street West, Toronto
Website: https://theholeinthewallto.ca/

The Hole in the Wall is a delightful little spot in the Junction (with a fairly generous streetside patio) that specializes in various sourdough shenanigans: they’ve got sourdough loaves, sourdough bagels, and what I ordered — sourdough pizza.

The Hole in the Wall

I tried a couple of pizzas: the margherita (“fior di latte, fresh mozzarella, fresh basil, tomato sauce”) and the cacio e pepe (“white base, zucchini, pecorino, black pepper”).

The Hole in the Wall

They were both delicious.  As you’d expect from a place that specializes in sourdough, the crust was stellar — it’s got a great balance between fluffiness and chewiness, and a nice sourdough flavour that really pops.  It’s a crispier than a standard Neapolitan-style pizza, but it totally works.

The Hole in the Wall

It’s also very aggressively charred, but it never crosses the line into burnt territory.  The char adds a subtle bitterness that contrasts nicely with the more flavourful dough.

The Hole in the Wall

As for the pizzas themselves, they were both great (and translating the creamy, peppery bite of cacio e pepe to a pizza is actually fairly ingenious), though not surprisingly, I preferred the margherita.  I’ve said it many times before — I think a good margherita pizza is a perfect food, and this was a very good one.

Tasty Dark Chocolate Ice Cream at Bang Bang

Bang Bang
Location
: 93a Ossington Avenue, Toronto
Website: https://www.instagram.com/bangbang_icecream/

Bang Bang is a bit less exciting these days; they have a pretty set selection of permanent and rotating flavours, and once you’ve tried them all, you’ve tried them all.  The early, more experimental days where there were always at least a couple of odd new flavours to try are, sadly, long gone.  I can’t remember the last time I saw something new on their menu.

Bang Bang

The quality is still fantastic, however.  I had the WTF2 on my most recent visit (“a smooth dark chocolate, 70% callebaut chip”), and holy moly it’s good.  Super creamy, intense chocolately flavour, good level of sweetness, and the chocolate pieces are thin enough that they still melt in your mouth (a lot of chocolate in ice cream tends to have that issue where it’s so cold that it’s mostly just crunchy with no real flavour).

New places like Good Behaviour are giving Bang Bang a run for their money, but it’s clear that Bang Bang still knows how to make a primo scoop.  They’re also, as you can tell from the photo above, still doing quite well, which is nice to see.

Delicious Pastries at Choux Lab

Choux Lab
Location
: 386 Royal York Road, Toronto
Website: None

Remember Beard Papa?  Because I certainly do!  That was (and still is, though their only Canadian locations are in Vancouver) a delightful Japanese chain that specialized in delicious cream puffs.  They used to have a location in the Pacific Mall, but then they broke hearts across the GTA by shutting down like a bunch of jerks.

Sadly, there’s no indication that they’re coming back anytime soon, but in the meanwhile, we’ve got Choux Lab.

Choux Lab

Choux Lab serves up choux pastries (which are light and fluffy, with a crispy exterior) with a variety of fillings.  The vanilla is probably the most Beard-Papa-esque, but they were actually handing out samples of that one, and it was delicious (and indeed, did remind me of Beard Papa, with a creamy, custardy filling), so I figured I’d order something else.

Choux Lab

I went with the hazelnut, and it was very, very good.  The filling was rich and ultra-creamy, with a great hazelnut flavour and a nice balance of sweetness — sweet, but not overwhelmingly so.  Beard Papa used to fill their puffs to order, and I was worried that the pre-made ones they serve here might lack that great crispy/fluffy/creamy combo.  But the one I tried wasn’t soggy at all, and all the textures were right where they should be.

Choux Lab

Choux Lab is just a few stores over from San Remo, and I worry that everyone will just stick with the reliable deliciousness there and not give this place a shot.  But everyone needs to check this place out; I need them to stick around forever and not break my heart like Beard Papa did.

Top-Notch Sandwiches at Vilda’s

Vilda's
Location
: 209 Dovercourt Road, Toronto
Website: https://www.vildastoronto.com/

Sandwiches!  I think I’ve mentioned in the past that there are a few dishes that I think are the perfect food.  A margherita pizza, for one.  A great bowl of ramen.  And of course, you’d have to add sandwiches to that list — but is that cheating?  A margherita pizza is a pretty specific thing, but with all the different combos of bread and fillings, a sandwich can be about a billion different things.

Vilda's

Still, who doesn’t love a sandwich, particularly when they’re as great as they are at Vilda’s?

(That’s mostly a rhetorical question, but if you’ve legitimately never had a sandwich that you loved, then there might be something medically wrong with you.  Go see a doctor.)

Vilda's

I tried a couple at Vilda’s: the Duca di Zucchine, and the Tuna à la Mediterranean.  Both were very good, but the Duca di Zucchine (which the menu describes as “Hard-roasted, lemon-marinated zucchini ribbons.  A vibrant spread of garlic scapes and tahini.  Parmesan cheese!  Bacon AND mint?!  Together?  Yes.”) was the highlight.  The combo of the tender zucchini, the crispy/meaty bacon and the zingy vibrancy of the various sauces was extremely delicious.

Vilda's

The Tuna à la Mediterranean (“Cut up artichokes, whipped tuna, melted cheddar, olive-dressed butter lettuce and mayo”) was a bit less impressive, but still quite tasty.  This one tasted more like something I might be able to make at home (or more accurately, something I think I could make at home, but could never actually make at this level of deliciousness).  It was also a bit odd in that it was ostensibly a tuna melt, but featured cheese that was completely unmelted.  You’d think that this would be an issue, but it was delicious regardless.  It’s hard to go wrong with the combo of the creamy tuna spread and the crispy freshness of the veggies, not to mention the great bread.

A Great Chicken Sandwich at Black Camel

Black Camel
Location
: 4 Crescent Road, Toronto
Website: https://www.blackcamel.ca/

Black Camel is mostly known for their meaty sandwiches (though their roasted veggie sandwich is no slouch); the brisket and the pulled pork are the specialties, and both are great.  I went with the roasted pulled chicken on this visit, and hey, what do you know — it’s great.

Black Camel

One of the distinctive things about this shop is that there aren’t really any pre-set sandwiches; you customize your meat, your sauce, and toppings (which cost 95 cents a pop).  I went with the suggestion of the woman behind the counter, which was the basil pesto mayo and roasted red peppers.

Black Camel

It’s a top notch sandwich.  The chicken is nice and tender and has a satisfying roasty flavour, the silky roasted peppers add some nice pops of sweetness, and the rich mayo holds it all together.  That’s not to mention the bun, which is soft and fresh and holds up nicely to the meaty filling.

I think the chicken is either mostly or entirely white meat, which is a shame; a bit more moisture and flavour from some dark meat would have been nice.  And the basil pesto mayo mostly just tasted like plain mayonnaise, and could have used a bit more zip.  But mostly, it’s a great sandwich from a consistently great restaurant.