The Girl Who Ate Everything

Blogging about food and whatever since 2004.

Toronto: Day 6

Kat and I arrived in Toronto on Saturday around 5PM. Or...a little bit later, probably. While waiting in the Sheridan bus shelter to head to the GO station we weren't even sure if it was worth going in so late, but without any planning it ended up being the most interesting day of the week. Things turn out that way sometimes.

crazy car
Crazy car

I directed us to Kensington Market, an area just west of Chinatown known for food and shops and pot. ...Probably more for food, but there are stores there that you definitely won't find in NYC. It vaguely reminded me of Camden Town in London, a colorful mishmash of...lots of stuff that you don't usually find elsewhere.

Unfortunately for us, this area is kind of dead on a cloudy Saturday afternoon. Oops. Well, we still had a nice quiet stroll around the area.

date scone
Eat it

I foisted a date scone upon Kat from Cobs Bread, the first bakery we came across during our meandering. Although I had only asked for one scone, the woman gave me two. I BEAT THE SYSTEM! The scone wasn't the crumbly kind but the soft, bready biscuity kind. The date chunks made up for the lack of sweetness in the rest of the bread, which I suppose was the idea or else it would've been too sweet. Mm, carbs!

Chocolate Addict
Chocolate Addict

Chocolate Addict across the street sounded like a good place to go, except it looked somewhat...closed.

Not open!

Same with Alchemy Bakery, which despite the "WE'RE OPEN" sign had a locked door. A man who arrived just after us also disappointedly turned away from the empty bakery. Pastry-less. Bread-less. Love-less.


Without a destination in mind, we simply wandered around, or rather I dragged Kat around and she followed without complaint since I was the one with the map. We passed some cute looking houses...

Portugal Village
Portugal Village

...And Portugal Village, where we failed to find many Portuguese shops. Or maybe we didn't look hard enough.


We passed a Canadian dumpster. I liked the signage.

that needs repairing
Clinton St

We passed a street sign that looked like it belonged in the Canadian dumpster.


While walking down College Street we ran into Soundscapes, where I ended up impusively buying stuff since I can't go to an indie music store without buying something. That might be why I tend to avoid them. I suppose other people have the same problem with shoe stores or bookstores or [insert something specific] store. Oh, I have the same problem with bakeries...yeah...

We wandered some more. An attempt to visit Kensington Organic Ice Cream failed without the exact address (we were on the right street, just didn't walk far south enough) and dreams of eating ice cream flittered away...and then self destructed just a few feet in front of us in a metaphorical shower of blood and screams. Or something kind of horrifying.

But then I saw the most beautiful mural ever.

one of the best murals evah

AH-HA! AHHH!! Okay, maybe this wasn't a beautiful mural by average standards, and maybe the bulgey-eyed cow looked like it wanted to eat babies, but it was eye-catching and reinstilled the dream of ice cream into Kat and me.

The Big Chill
The Big Chill

To the left of the mural of awesomeness was the storefront to The Big Chill, the solution to our ice cream problem. The small interior was warm, homey and as colorful as the mural without the crazy cow. I don't recall what all the ice cream flavors were, but I think they were mostly standard except for a blue-colored one that was supposed to taste like cake batter. I skipped that.

chocolate with toffee and chocolate covered caramel somethings
Mm, scoop!

My scoop of milk chocolate ice cream with toffee swirls and chocolate covered caramel somethings (not the exact name, but as close as I think I'm going to get) with a complimentary topping of whipped cream and baby Oreo cookie was satisfying. Creamy and sweet, you know. Not something that stuck in my mind as remarkable, but better than average. Ice cream doesn't have to be remarkable—it just has to, you know, not suck. I wasn't hungry enough to finish the entire cup (I ate my last Chinese bakery bun that morning) but Kat did it for me.

cookies n creeeammm
More ice cream

...After she finished her cup of cookies and cream ice cream. I'm a great influence on my friends, eh?

separate yer trashes
Environmentally friendly

Make sure to throw out your napkins and your cups in the correct receptacle.

View from Renee's apartment

While walking eastward back to Chinatown, Kat suggested I call Renée to see if she had any dinner plans. She kind of did, but they were plans that we could weasel ourselves into! Woohoo! While her food loving friend Taku was making his way towards her apartment with his car, Renée suggested Kat and I walk to her apartment so that we could all take advantage of Taku's car by getting him to drive us to Little India. Oh god, we wouldn't have to walk all night! Sweeeet.

Crazy looking entrance
Crazy looking entrance

Taku took us to Pakastani/North Indian restaurant Lahore Tikka House, which initially looked more like a lively outdoor wedding reception than a restaurant.

so many people liiights
A fraction of the seating area

There were loads of seating inside and outside of the restaurant, which apparently had been in construction for a year...or two...or more. The maze you walk through to get from the entrance to the back seating area takes you past lots of interior seating, more waiters than I've ever seen in one restaurant (or maybe I kept seeing the same ones over and over again and they just happened to move very quickly) and most interestingly the kitchen. I couldn't gather much from my 5-second glimpse of the crowded, hectic space aside from a mountain of cut up pieces of dough that would be turned into naan, but that alone was pretty awesome. I can still see it now...the bounteous blobs of white dough...

in the TENT of ...FUN

Although we were first seated in a shadowy area right outside of the tent, basically the worst place to sit if you want good photos of food (and with a table of three photographers you bet we wanted semi-good lighting), we moved to the main tented area after Kat and Renée spotted an open table.


We were first given some complementary salad stuff, which sat untouched until the real food came.


OH GOD, GLORIOUS NAAN! Poofy bread pillow of my dreams! I quite like naan if it's hot and fresh with soft fluffy innards. No complaints here.

butter chicken or something
Butter chicken

The naan played a crucial role in sopping up the sauce of the butter chicken. I can't describe Indian food well since I don't know what's in it. All I know is that this dish was tasty. Creamy. A little spicy. With tender chicken bits. Awesome. Yeah.

...I think I'm better off just showing you photos of what I ate.

beef n chicken n stuff
Beef and chicken and stuff

I think this was a sizzling platter of beef kabab and chicken tikka breast served with onion and pepper. The beef kabab was made of ground up beef mixed with spices (naturally I don't know what they were), a little dry compared to the other meatstuffs.

rice of tasty
Tasty rice

My favorite dish was the lamb biryani, a magnificent heap of rice and tender, moist lamb chunks all evenly covered in some tasty...something...SOMETHING TASTY. Something addictive. Something that made me want to eat half of the platter. And hell man, I was the last one going at it. When everyone else had given into the boundaries of their stomachs and put down their forks in defeat, I foolishly thought, "THE RICE IS NOT DONE YET, I MUST KEEP EATING, IT'S MAH DUTY!" So I did. ...And later felt a bit unwell, as illustrated by my low moans of digestive failure while we walked to the car and as we rode in the car and maybe a little after that. But assuming I wasn't going to die that night, I knew I would get through it. It was totally worth the pain.

we ate it

We did a good job, don't you think? Nearly every morsel of food went into our bellies. Because it's good stuff. Cheap too if you have a lot of people. And you should go with a lot of people since the picnic tables were made for feasting.

I probably would've eaten less had I known where we were going for dessert.

...Okay, maybe not. But at least I would've known what to expect.

crazy decorations
Dutch Dreams

Taku took us to Dutch Dreams for dessert, which at 11 PM still had a long line of people out the door waiting for personal buckets of ice cream. The tiny shop didn't make for a fast moving line, but we figured the people were patiently waiting for a reason. The wait wasn't so bad; it gave us the opportunity to soak in the slightly bizarre decorations slapped onto the store over the year. Such as the looming, scuffed-up head of a red-nosed man with beady blue eyes peering over us from the second floor. Euh...eeuuuhhh...

We're almost in!

At around 11:10 we had made it to the entrance. a little bit more...


BWAHA, we made it and were greeted with crazy random stuff hanging from the ceilings and off the shelves. I love crazy random stuff. The pot pouring out the Canadian flag was a nice touch.

Now I shall splodge you with lots of photos. My writing really isn't going anywhere at this point.

pretty waffle cones
Pretty waffle cones

While I don't usually go for waffle cones, these were too pretty/excessive to pass up. Also, the sweet smell of fresh waffle cones kept being pumped in our direction. I had a craving.

iiice crreaaam
Some ice cream

Here was a part of the ice cream freezer.

mm, menu

And a list of the ice cream flavors, subject to availability.

frozen yogurt menu
Frozen yogurt

They also have more flavors of frozen yogurt than I've ever seen in my life.


There was a photo of a scary looking kid hanging on the shelf facing the freezers. Why? I...I don't know. Maybe he's the owner's kid. Maybe he really likes the ice cream shop. I would feel wrong making fun of innocent youth on the Internet, can't deny that he looks a bit maniacal, an impression that is only heightened by the smudged chocolate around his mouth.

Renee photographing her cone of doom
Frozen yogurt of doom

Renée's hazelnut frozen yogurt dangerously hung over the side of the giant waffle cone container. If you're wondering what's on top of the frozen yogurt pile, the frozen yogurts and ice creams are topped with whipped cream and chopped fruit unless you'd rather not have them. But that'd be crazy. CRAZY.

eat the massive amounts of ice cream NOW
Ohhh, more ice cream

Taku's ice cream cup looked like an inside-out ice cream cone with the ice cream in a cup and the whipped cream and fruit-filled cone stuck in the middle. I don't understand this configuration, but it's less messy than holding a cone.


...Okay, just a little less messy. All of us suffered from "hands covered in rivers of melted ice cream/frozen yogurt goop" by the end of the night.

raspberry frozen yogurt
Kat's cone

Kat's cone of raspberry frozen yogurt looks like it has two flavors, but the top swirl is just whipped cream. With chocolate sauce drizzlin's. Oh yeah.

And what about my cone?

one scoop?
One scoop?

I ordered a chocolate almond-dipped cone with a scoop of mango and strawberry ice cream. That's one scoop, folks. In the parallel universe that is Dutch Dreams, one scoop is the size of a small moon. I knew I was in for something crazy when I saw someone else with a one scoop cone and it looked more like one pint. Why so much ice cream? Whyyyyy? And how did they get the whole thing to defy gravity?

I am a mess
I look like a mess

Renée took the above photo of me with a mouthful of ice cream goo (and some of out outside the mouth as well). What's harder to see are the trickles of melted ice cream flowing over my fingers and the sticky residue left by the melted ice cream I already wiped off my hands. This is some messy stuff. Is it good? It's pretty good—the strawberry ice cream contained chunks of fresh strawberry, while the mango was disappointingly mild with the mango flavor—but the ice cream didn't leave much of an impression. The non-fruit flavors may be better.

ceiling wall of stuff
Ceiling and Renee sitting against the wall in the back eating area

I suppose the main draw is the excessiveness—the huge portions, the wide selection of flavors and cones, the complimentary whipped cream and fruit, the random cool stuff hanging all over the shop. Even though I didn't love the ice cream, I loved the shop itself and was happy to visit it. If given the chance I would love to go there again, although I would try the frozen yogurt instead of the ice cream.

I hope you didn't expect me to finish the whole cone. It just wasn't happening. Nuh uh. I think I ate more than half of it, but not by much. I don't like wasting food, especially when it's ice cream, but if all you can think of while staring at your food is, "OH GOD, WHY WON'T THIS END?" it's probably time to put down the fork, or spoon, or cone of ice cream.

In conclusion, I ended the night with failure. But what an awesome night it was. A night of massive face stuffage with three awesome people. Kat and I were very thankful that we got to eat with the aid of Renée's and Taku's, and Taku's car. Cars are great, especially when you don't have to drive them!

Kat and I got home close to 2 AM and had to walk home from the GO station since we figured the buses had stopped. Hooray for public transportation! I'm not sure how long the walk was, but at least 30 minutes and at the rate that we were walking, probably more. All I remember was Kat at a certain point saying, "10 more minutes," and seemingly 5 minutes later repeating, "10 more minutes."

parking lot
Damn, it's empty

The above photo is of the parking lot of the mall Kat and I went to on my second day in Canada. Hooray for emptiness! And darkness! And full use of our limbs!

The next day was spent in Oakville, so this ends the Toronto adventures. It was a fun four days. I don't know when I'll be back in Toronto, but someday...I'm sure. There's just so much more to EAT. And do.

But mostly eat.


Cobs Bread
172 Baldwin Street, Toronto

Chocolate Addict
185 Baldwin Street, Toronto

Alchemy Bakery
287 Augusta Ave, Toronto

572 College Street, Toronto

The Big Chill
367 Manning Street, Toronto

Lahore Tikka House
1365 Gerrard Street East, Toronto

Dutch Dreams
78 Vaughan Road, York


lauren / September 4, 2007 12:26 AM

Loved the ice cream shots! I never comment but I luuuurv reading your the way, cake batter ice cream can actually be amazing. There's a store in lenox, MA called SoCo's and every once in a while they have it. Literally tastes like cake batter. SO YUMMY.

Harry / September 4, 2007 4:13 AM

You were here in Toronto? Why was I not informed? Was it something I did? Or something I said? Was is it the fact that I've been a lurk and you did not even KNOW of my existence? :)

Ya, it can be a bit of a challenge getting around Toronto and surrounding areas if you gots no wheels. Nevertheless, you've been to places here that I've never seen nor even knew existed! Now my stomach commands me to search these places out. I cannot defy.

That biryani looks so freakin' good. I do loves me biryani! I was pleased to read that you dutifully finished it off. What a trooper! A trooper of digestive ... DOOM! Or something like that. Nice pics!

Anyways, yours is one of my favourite food blogs to read. Your writing style is funny and keeps my attention. A very good thing as I've got the attention span of plankton. [stares into distance]

Eat on! (b^__^)b

B / September 4, 2007 5:09 AM

I think you should rename toronto posts 'pictures of ice cream and gelato with a few things we ate before' time.
Kinsington market has such awesome food! Its too bad it was so dead when you went.

Hand to Mouth

Christina / September 4, 2007 12:22 PM

Mmmmm, Indian food. I want to make curry! And naan.

Wow, those are some tricked out waffle cones! Whenever I go to an ice cream shop that makes their own waffle bowls/cones, the smell is so strong and waffle coney that I can't help but to not get one!

Such a great picture of you! Rare is it that we get to see the mastermind behind this stellar blog.

Molly / September 4, 2007 2:43 PM

Holy crap, I think I will go to Toronto just to check out Dutch Dreams! Did you see the photo of the "Superb Royal Dutch Baked Alaska" on their site? Oh MAN. I want ice cream so badly now... or at least fancy frozen yogurt.

And thanks for linking to your music blog! I had no idea you had one. Now we can stalk you all around the internet. Um... I'm creepy. :)

chasgoose / September 4, 2007 3:35 PM

Indian food is a harsh mistress. Basically the key ingredient in everything is WAY MORE BUTTER THAN ONE HUMAN SHOULD CONSUME IN A 24 HOUR PERIOD. It usually takes my tummy like 30 minutes to comprehend what I am putting in it so I never really get an accurate reading of how full I actually am. I always try to stop just short of "full" and NEVER DO and then I cry in Indian food stupors of GI distress. But its totally worth it.

ParisBreakfasts / September 4, 2007 4:46 PM

It all looks terrifically excessive and tasty.
Who'd a thunk Toronto would be so...wacky is the only word I can think of.
I particularly liked the blue faux Delft-tiled ice creme cups at Dutch.
You "beat the system" at GOM too.
There's just something about you Robyn, that makes servers want to give you more I guess.

roboppy / September 4, 2007 6:17 PM

Lauren: Thanks for commenting! I've had cake batter ice cream once, perhaps. And it was...okay...not good enough for me to want to eat again, but good for one time. :)

Harry: I was lurking in your own backyard! I hid the announcement in another entry, not that you should have to read every entry top to bottom (I dunno if I'd wanna do that), but be careful, you may miss something. ;) My attention span is something like that of a plankton's too.

I hope you try out some new stuff. Get yerself some biryani...and top it off with ice cream. And then fast the next day.

B: Yeah, that sounds about right. Ice cream and gelato are the main dishes!

Christina: Why do waffle comes smells so good? Better than regular waffles! The smell doesn't just signal waffle cones but the ice cream that goes inside it! Bwahahaa.

The mastermind behind this blog is a messy eater. -__-

Molly: I just looked up the photo. ZOMG. That's amazing...and I want it. Kinda.

Ah, I don't update the music blog much, but I hope you enjoy reading it!

Charlie: BUTTER! That would explain why everything tastes awesome. I loves me some butter. So does that make butter chicken super buttery ...chicken? It was pretty awesome.

I can't usually get an accurate reading of my fullness either. Like ever, whether or not there's loads of butter involved. The bo ssam comes to mind...just wouldn't stop stuffing chunks of pork into my mouth...oops.

Carol: Toronto is pretty wacky, yup! Kind of makes NYC feel not so wacky and just dirty. :P

Oh they gave everyone loads of ice cream at Dutch Dreams, which was scary. Can you imagine eating that much Grom gelato? I think you wouldn't like it after such a big portion. Soooo cream...overload....

N / September 5, 2007 12:17 AM

Robyn, I love how your photography makes even humble-looking Styrofoam-clad meals look pearly and appealing.

I have to take issue with someone's comment about Indian food being all butter, though. It's not (although butter is awesome and I would never, ever attack it), and conflating restaurant buffet offerings with all the incredibly varied culinary practices in a gigantic country is totally confusing to me.

Bangsil / September 5, 2007 12:40 AM

Oh my...Robyn...
How can that humungus size of ice cream exist on Earth? Just impressive.
The waffle cones are beautiful!

The picture where you are holding the ice cream cone is so cute. You look so happy ^^

mia / September 5, 2007 11:50 AM

Ohhh... you are a bad, bad, BAD girl! Surely you must know there are no ice cream places to be had where I live in Central NY.. and to see all those yummy, overflowing icecream cones as I sit here at my desk STARVING... well.. you know..

Just plain WICKED *grin*

Been lurkin' for a while but Love your blog girl :)

Marsha / September 5, 2007 1:54 PM

Just FYI, that child in the picture with ice cream all over his chin looks pretty much like your average child enjoying himself - not especially maniacal. They all look that way when they are having that sort of fun. Just to lessen your fears should you ever see one in real life.

I want to go to the Indian place - maybe get married there. Or make my daughter get married there. Or something to live up to the festive decor.

roboppy / September 5, 2007 2:16 PM

N: Can't overlook the styrofoam! It has done so much for the human race! And for take-out food!

Maybe Charlie gravitates towards the buttery dishes or he happened to watch someone make Indian food with a bucket of butter. :| Me, I HAVE SEEN NOTHING...sadly...well maybe once I saw a guy making the bread and pulling skewers of meat out of an oven.

It's more likely I got really full from overeating than from fat content. Or both...

Bangsil: It shouldn't exist! Something is wrong with it, really. But tasty too.

I was happy and mildly horrified by my ice cream in that photo.

Mia: Well, if you get a giant waffle cone and stick in a pint of ice cream you can kind of recreate the magic! :D :D :D Not that I would suggest doing it.

Thanks for delurking!

Steamy Kitchen: ...YOU HAVE HAD ONE TOO MANY!

I think the winking teddy bear might be drunk too.

Marsha: Ohh I dunno, I've seen photos of myself as a happy kid and I've seen other happy little kids and so far haven't seen one that looked quite like that dude up there. Not that I'm saying there aren't other kids who look like that when they eat ice cream, but...OH GOD it's because I'm Asian. I'm gonna blame my lack of displaying explosive happiness on my Chinese oppression. (I'm half joking; it's not happiness I squelch as much as other things, HAHAHA HAHAHA oh god...[sob]...[undoes sob])

I want that Indian restaurant's decor all over my room.

Kathy / September 5, 2007 4:21 PM

bwahahaha. have been staring at the grand sichuan menu for the last hour...SO MANY OPTIONS! i'm getting hungry. am running out to get chocolate babka from Russ & Daughters. See you soon! :)

Athena / September 5, 2007 4:39 PM

Ice cream from Dutch Dreams are like meals unto themselves :) It's great that you were able to hit so many of the memorable spots.

Trivia: that's where Dave Chappelle takes Mary Jane for ice cream in the movie Half Baked.

Penny / September 5, 2007 4:45 PM

I think Robyn's headed for that one scoop.
That's no scoop! It's a space station!

I by default think in Star Wars. Someone help me.

Tina / September 5, 2007 11:04 PM

That's one scoop of ice cream of dreams. It's sick. It's maniacal...yet very appealing compared to what I had earlier today.

Come to think of it, after having that one scoop I don't think I need ice cream for another week. Or may be three days to burn some of it off.

jenn / September 6, 2007 12:30 AM

hi, it's jenn. lori's friend in manila. the one who makes the cake boards. :)

wow! u made me miss toronto and i was just there last month.

toronto really has a lot of exceptional places for foodies and chowhounds alike.

what caught my attention in this post was...Taku! I think he is my sister's friend.

SMall World!

Julia / September 6, 2007 7:36 AM

If a piece of naan loaded with well-made biryani and topped with drizzle of raita is not heaven, I just do not know what is! After seeing your pictures, first order of business was calling the local curry house and demanding immediate delivery.

S / September 6, 2007 3:38 PM

I wish you had referred to the cuisine at Lahore Tikka House as Pakistani instead of Indian--it would've been more courteous, seeing how the name of the restaurant prominently features the name of a PAKISTANI city.

Sorry, as a Pakistani, seeing Pakistani food referred to as "Indian" is a little irksome since biryani is more closely associated with Pakistan than India (though it's eaten there as well).

Anyway, aside from that overblown quibble, I love your food weblog (and photos). Your ice cream photos always look delicious.

roboppy / September 6, 2007 3:50 PM

Athena: It's the most nutritious meal ever! Or least! One or the other.

Penny: I'm afraid that there is no help for you. [pat pat]

Tina: I don't think I burned it all off yet. It just formed another layer of fat underneath my skin.

jenn: Whoa, you know Taku! Weiiiird. I guess there are only so many people who like food...and are Asian...and use the Internet....YAY!

Julia: I'd love more biryani, if I can just find a good source...

S: Sorry about that. I don't know anything about Pakistani food (to the point of having negative knowledge) so even though the restaurant says PAKASTANI food I thought it was safer to just say Indian. (Don't ask how that works in my brain!...uh...I guess cos we were in "Little India," although I suppose that's like calling a Chinese restaurant in Koreatown "Korean," except I wouldn't make that mistake because I know those cuisines better. Sigh.) I can only do so much cursory research before deciding, "ARGH, if I don't post this now I will cry/stay up for another few hours."

Anyhoo yeah, sorry. I like eating other types of cuisines, but I'm definitely more hesitant to talk about things I don't know about. I guess there's no other way to learn than to eat though!

Julia / September 6, 2007 11:19 PM

230 E 58th St
New York, NY 10022
Phone: (212) 339-0090 Their lamb biryani is great. Although working where you do, I'm sure your co-workers have a ton of recs. :)

Srin / September 11, 2007 3:53 PM

Hello, the tasty thing in the biryani is probably Zafran or Saffron, is that something you're familiar with?

Alex / September 26, 2007 5:23 PM

Oh my! I love your blog! It's funny I have connections to almost eveery place you wrote about. I'm a baker at Cobs and thanks for the glowing review on our scones! But I was REALLY happy to see Lahore Tikka in your blog and I'm glad you got to go there it's been one of my favorite "restaurants"for years (I grew up near there) and sooo many Torontonians don't know it exists! Thanks for giving them some well deserved publicity!

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