Location: 224 Queen Street West, Toronto
Marvelous by Fred is a French bakery chain with a bunch of locations in Europe, the States, and, in the last couple of years, Canada. They have a handful of tasty looking desserts and sandwiches, but their specialty is the Merveilleux, a tasty combo of whipped cream and meringue.
They serve a few different varieties of this, but the classic is the dark chocolate, which the store describes as “dark chocolate whipped cream & dark chocolate shavings.”
It’s good. Obviously it’s good — it’s just a big pile of crispy meringue chunks held together by chocolate-infused whipped cream, and then covered in shaved dark chocolate and topped with more cream. You literally cannot go wrong with that. How could you?
It’s not mind-blowing, though. I know that its creation is likely more involved than it tastes, but it kinda feels like I could mix together meringue, whipped cream, and chocolate at home and wind up with largely the same result.
I’m almost certainly not giving the bakery enough credit, but I can’t say I’ve ever thought that about literally any dessert from a French bakery, so there’s that.
Location: 85 Hanna Avenue, Toronto
I don’t want to get too hyperbolic here, but I’m fairly certain that I’ve seen the pancakes from Mildred’s Temple Kitchen about four billion times on Instagram. They pop up on my feed at least once a week. It’s hard to get a big group of people to agree on anything, but everyone is quite unanimous regarding the greatness of the pancakes here.
They’re not wrong.
The pancakes (dubbed Mrs. Biederhof’s Blueberry Buttermilk Pancakes) have a really appealing balance of fluffiness and substance, with a lightly crispy exterior that’s unlike any pancake I’ve had before. The texture is almost like an incredibly light and fluffy biscuit.
It’s possible that something had gone a bit wrong, because I suspect they’re not supposed to be this crispy on their exterior (the bottom pancake in the pile was downright crunchy). And yet somehow it totally works.
The flavour is great, too — the pancakes are slightly tart from the buttermilk, with the perfect amount of sweetness from the blueberries and the maple syrup. The whipped cream adds a nice little punch of additional richness, and helps to bring all of the flavours together.
My only complaint? It’s an excessive amount of food. I wish there were a one or two pancake option, because these things are substantial, and they sit in your stomach like a ton of bricks. It’s great while you’re eating them, and unpleasant for the rest of the day.