Location: 4 St. Patrick Street, Toronto
A mochi doughnut, for the unaware, is basically a regular doughnut, but with the addition of rice flour. This gives it a delightfully chewy texture that works better than you might expect. Even if you don’t like mochi, it’s worth a shot — the chewiness is definitely there, but it’s not particularly aggressive.
They have nine flavours at Isabella’s; they all looked tasty, but I went with the s’mores (“chocolate, toasted meringue, graham crackers”).
It’s really good. The chocolate glaze has a nice chocolatey flavour that isn’t too sweet, and while the fluffy toasted meringue isn’t super marshmallowy, it’s tasty and complements the chocolate well. I don’t think the graham cracker crumbs made much of a difference, but it’s tasty either way.
As for the doughnut itself, yeah, it’s good. The chewiness is just enough to set it apart from a standard doughnut, but not so much that it feels overwhelming. It’s really satisfying.
Location: 336 Queen Street West, Toronto
Chick-fil-A opened in Toronto a couple of years ago and was immediately greeted with a whole bunch of hype and perpetual lines.
They’ve been here long enough at this point (and have enough locations) that the hype has mostly died down. This is a good thing, because the chicken sandwich here is tasty, but probably not worth lining up for.
You just have to temper your expectations; if you’re comparing it to local joints like the now Michelin-noted (!) Chica’s Chicken, it’s nothing special. But compared to its fast food competition, it’s a solid sandwich (the sandwich here is certainly leagues better than McDonald’s latest chicken creation, the McCrispy).
It’s got a much more subtle crunch than the norm, but it’s nicely seasoned and, on my visit at least, hot from the fryer and nicely juicy.
It’s also a bit unusual in how sparsely topped it is, with just a couple of pickle slices, a buttered bun, and nothing else. But I guess that’s part of its charm, and the chicken is flavourful enough that you don’t really miss the toppings.
Location: 10 Stephanie Street, Toronto
Kome Yogurt is right across the street from the original Mizzica Gelateria & Cafe, which is an unfortunate location; I’ve been intrigued by it for a while, but obviously if I’m in the area my first choice is that amazing gelato, which is some of the best in the city.
But I’ve been to Mizzica a few times now, so sure, why not — let’s yogurt it up.
They actually have a pretty extensive menu, with a couple dozen choices ranging from various fruity options to Asian dessert standbys like red bean and black sesame. The woman behind the counter said that the Purple Kome is one of their most popular choices, so I went with that.
It’s pretty simple — it’s just sweet yogurt blended with purple rice. But sometimes the simplest things are the best.
It actually reminded me a lot of the dessert I recently had at Xe Kem; it’s pretty much the same thing, but in beverage form. There’s a decent amount of chewy rice at the bottom that you suck up with a big straw like bubble tea. It’s like rice pudding, but yogurty and drinkable. It’s quite refreshing.
My only complaint is that it’s probably a touch too sweet; I would have liked the tartness of the yogurt to stand out a bit more. But the sticker on the side of the cup indicated that the sweetness level was standard, which makes me think you can customize the sugar level. I’ll definitely have to do that next time.
Location: 249 Queen Street West, Toronto
Ikkousha Chicken Ramen shocked me. It’s a spin-off of Ikkousha Ramen, which specializes in porky tonkotsu ramen. I like that place a lot, but I find the flavour of the soup to be a bit one-note porky. It’s delicious, but not exactly my favourite ramen in the city.
Ikkousha Chicken Ramen, as you’d probably expect, serves a similar style of ramen, but made with chicken instead of pork.
I ordered the tori paitan ramen with an egg added on (a must). They have lighter choices on the menu, but the tori paitan is basically the chicken version of the signature tonkotsu at the original restaurant.
It’s very, very good. It has really delightful roast chicken flavour; it’s like a soup version of a great roast chicken, with such a rounded chicken flavour that it never feels one-note like the ramen at the original location.
The slices of ultra-tender chicken on top are great, and the egg was perfectly cooked, with a great flavour and a perfectly jammy yolk. The noodles were maybe a touch too soft, but that’s a minor complaint for what is otherwise one of the best bowls of ramen I’ve had in a while.
Location: 445 Adelaide Street West, Toronto
What’s better than a doughnut? A warm, fresh-from-the-fryer doughnut, that’s what.
Outside of a few beverages, Cops does just one thing: Tiny Tom’s-esque mini doughnuts that you can order topped with OG sour cream glaze, cinnamon sugar, or the weekly feature, which was orange sherbet when I visited. I went with an order of six of the feature.
My batch had an unnervingly pale colour, and I thought, uh oh, but maybe they serve a different style of doughnut?
Alas, they do not — the doughnuts were underdone, with an interior that wasn’t quite raw, but that was softer than you’d like.
Still, I didn’t dislike eating them — it’s hard to go wrong with a fresh doughnut, even when it’s not quite fully cooked. The exterior still managed to have a very light crispiness, and while I wish the interior was less mushy and more fluffy, it wasn’t unpleasant to eat.
That’s not to mention the orange sherbet icing, which was fantastic — it had a great balance of sweet and tart, and a nice hit of orange flavour. You could put that on anything and it would be great.