Location: 853 Dundas Street, Woodstock
Since I was in Woodstock anyway (for completely rational reasons), I figured I’d see if there was anything else worth checking out in the area. Bartley’s Dairy Bar — a dessert shop that specializes in soft serve ice cream — fit the bill nicely.
They serve the usual assortment of sundaes, dipped cones, and Blizzard-like concoctions, along with scooped ice cream and frozen yogurt. I kept things relatively simple and ordered a hot fudge sundae with vanilla ice cream.
It’s actually quite good — the ice cream was creamy and delicious. I’d say it’s about on par with Tom’s Dairy Freeze.
I kinda wish I had just ordered the ice cream on its own, however, because the hot fudge sauce wasn’t the best. It was basically fine, but it was way too sweet. It’s a bit of a throat-burner.
Location: 2109 Yonge Street, Toronto
Hey, it’s yet another place doing dipped cones. Hooray?
Look, I can’t say no to ice cream, but as I mentioned in my review of Chocolats Favoris last year, we’ve got a lot of places that serve dipped cones in Toronto. It’s a crowded field.
So does Les Epicuriens stand out? I dunno, not really? I mean, they have a lot of dip options (a dozen when I visited), but then most of these places have a lot of dip options. They also have a handful of toppings (various nuts, candy pieces, etc.), but that’s also par for the course.
I went with the “special vanilla” ice cream (vegan chocolate is also an option) with a pistachio dip.
The ice cream is really good. It’s very rich and creamy with a nice, clean flavour. I’d say it’s about on par with Tom’s.
The dip was fine, though it was aggressively sweet and had only a mild pistachio flavour. It basically tasted like white chocolate with a vague whiff of nuttiness. I’d probably try a different dip next time, or just get the ice cream on its own.
Location: 3797 Lake Shore Boulevard West, Etobicoke
I’ve mentioned before that frozen custard is almost impossible to find in the city. Which is completely baffling, because we have about a million ice cream shops. There’s no reason we shouldn’t have a bunch of places serving delicious frozen custard.
As far as I know, we have two: Rita’s, an outpost of an American chain near Kensington Market, and now Woodfire Sandwich Co.
If you’re not familiar with frozen custard (and if you’re living in Toronto, you’d be forgiven for not knowing what it is), it’s basically like regular ice cream, but made more luxurious and creamy with the addition of egg yolks.
Woodfire serves chocolate, vanilla, and a rotating feature flavour. You can also add a variety of optional toppings. I just got plain vanilla so I could bask in the sweet, sweet, custardy glory without anything getting in the way.
It’s good. It’s not quite as tasty as basically any frozen custard I’ve had in the States, but it’s legit. It’s got a pronounced custardy flavour and a satisfyingly silky texture. It could be creamier, and eating it gets a bit one-note sweet after a while, but all things considered, I enjoyed it.
Hey, beggars can’t be choosers. It’s frozen custard and it doesn’t require that I drive hundreds of kilometres to the States. I’ll take it.
Location: 319 Danforth Avenue, Toronto
The cinnamon roll from Cinnaholic is shockingly good. Not that it’s the best cinnamon roll I’ve ever had, but it’s vegan. You’re bracing for the worst when you hear that a traditionally dairy-heavy dessert has been made vegan. How could that possibly end well?
Cinnaholic, somehow, pulls it off.
It’s an interesting set-up; they have a few dozen different frosting and topping choices (if there’s a dessert topping you can think of, they probably offer it here). I wanted to see what the deal was with the roll itself, so I went as simple as possible with the “Classic Old Skool Roll,” which is topped only with vanilla frosting.
I won’t lie: I was expecting it to be dense and dry and weird, but it was pleasantly light and fluffy, with a nice cinnamon flavour and a great level of sweetness. It’s very, very sweet, but it’s not quite the throat-burning assault of sugar that you’ll get with something like Cinnabon.
The frosting is quite tasty, too — it’s rich and creamy, but also incredibly soft and light. I have no idea how they achieve that texture without dairy (I’m assuming margarine is involved), but whatever it is, it tastes pretty darn good.
That’s the surprising thing about it. Yes, it’s vegan, but it’s not good for a vegan dessert; it’s good, period.
Location: 165 North Queen Street, Etobicoke
I’ll admit it: I was quite impressed by the Apple Crumble Sundae from McDonald’s. I really enjoyed it.
It’s quite simple: vanilla soft serve layered with spiced apple topping, and sprinkled with with cinnamon oat crumble.
The spiced apple topping is essentially apple pie filling, with a decent amount of small apple chunks. It’s a little bit tart, which works well with the very sweet crumble and ice cream.
The crumble is a little bit too hard and crunchy, but it has a satisfying brown sugar flavour that compliments the apple topping and the ice cream nicely.
The ice cream is the ice cream. If you need me to describe McDonald’s soft serve for you, I really don’t know what you’re doing here.
There’s not much more to say about it than that. It tastes like an apple crumble in sundae form. It’s exactly what you want it to be.