Showing posts with label croissant. Show all posts
Showing posts with label croissant. Show all posts

Grandma Loves You (Toronto)

Grandma Loves You started in 2015, in Germany, as a family business with Sarah and Artin Davoodi, Sarah’s grandmother, and a bun in the oven. When the Davoodis immigrated to Canada, they opened a second location in Toronto to continue the tradition.

Sarah notes Grandma Loves You (GLY) pride themselves on treating customers with care; they want everyone who walks in to feel like they’re being cared for and nourishes while outside of their home. You’ll find that in their overstuffed sandwiches (don’t all grandmothers just want you to eat copious amounts of food?) and the little hand drawn hearts on the packaging.

From the number of customers who visited during my Friday lunch trip, I can see the community is reciprocating the love and has made GLY one of Yelp’s top 100 places to eat in Canada for 2022. There were couples, friends, families, and construction workers abound tucking into handheld creations. One client even acting as an ambassador as someone was trying to decide between GLY and the pizza place next door - sandwiches all the way!

GLY offers an extensive menu of submarines, sandwiches, hotdogs, and croissants. It can be difficult zeroing in on a choice, so I asked Sarah about her favourite items, which includes the gourmet French dog, chef’s choice sub, meatball sub, and the new BLT sub.

Since Sarah loves the subs, I opted for the Chef’s choice ($12.99 for the pictured 6 inch) that’s wrapped in a crunchy soft roll reminiscent of banh mi bread. It’s stuffed to the gills with toppings… I had to press and really stretch out the jaw to get the first bites in. The grilled chicken is neutrally seasoned allowing the house made sauces to shine through, blending into the fried onions to give the sandwich a real savouriness.

Not normally a fan of black olives, they work in the creation, becoming lost in the other ingredients so that it just adds a bit of saltiness. Pickled hot peppers provide interest to the sandwich without too much heat, and the creamy avocado holds everything together. It’s a sub with a lot of different textures and flavours. In other words, my kind of sub.

Same with the gourmet French dog ($9.49), which I was worried would be too sweet. Luckily, the blueberry preserve is more fruit than sugar helping to blend the other ingredients together without becoming the prominent flavour. If anything, the freshly grilled salty wiener comes through the most, GLY uses the long frankfurter that is surprisingly juicy for being a thinner dog. It becomes a “French” dog from the addition of brie, which when warm melts into the ultra soft croissant.

Having a sandwich for lunch seems so normal and overdone, but somehow GLY creates ones that are delicious and sought after. And to Sarah’s benefit, I could sense their care. Of course, I was invited in to try their food, so she made sure to take a few moments out of the crazy rush to answer my questions. But I also saw her invite people to take a seat at a table outside and bring orders out – walking around and calling out names to find the food’s rightful owner. She could have made people wait around for their order, but then that wouldn’t be the loving grandmother way. 

Overall mark - 8 out of 10
Disclaimer: The above meal was complimentary. Rest assured, as noted in the mission statement, I will always provide my honest opinion. 

How To Find Them
 Location: Toronto, Canada
 Address: 1084 Yonge Street

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Gastro World's Grading System

  • Anything under 5 - I really disliked and will never go back
  • 6 - decent restaurant but I likely won't return
  • 7 - decent restaurant and I will likely return
  • 8 - great restaurant that I'd be happy to recommend
  • 9 - fantastic restaurant that I would love to visit regularly and highly recommend
  • 10 - absolute perfection!

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Bake Code (Toronto) for delivery

Note: Prices in post are based on regular menu prices and may be higher when using delivery services

Bake Code started their own online delivery system with a $3 service charge (for using the system), but no mark-ups on the products or extra delivery fees. Run through Door Dash, it’s surprisingly quick and in no time, we were tucking into Taiwanese baked goods.

If you’re not sure what to order, their bread box ($20) includes a variety of best sellers: different sausage buns, chocolate buns, coffee buns, and whatever their bread-of-the-month happens to be. It’s the most economical option, not only providing a slight discount over purchasing them separately but also a tax-free purchase as well. Normally, at bakeries if 6 or more items are purchased, the order is tax exempt. But, because Bake Code pre-packages them into bags, the tax is applied to everything except when they are then put into a box. Never thought you’d get a tax lesson at Gasto World huh?

My favourite item from the bread box is the roasted coffee bun ($3.50), consequently also the item that holds up the best as even after being two-days old it was still delicious. After taking it out of the bag, the bun felt harder – oh no, it’s stale, I thought. Nonetheless, it was still light and airy and tasted like a cross between challah and milk bread.  The coffee flavour comes from the brown topping (sort of like the “Mexico bun”), which isn’t overly strong. So, if you want a more intense coffee taste, eat the bun upside down so the crust hits the tongue first.

The baseball-sized black sesame QQ bread ($2.90) looks like a typical bun but as you tear the bread, you realize the glutinous rice flour is going to put up a fight. Once you get through, the centre is hollow, and the pastry reminded me of sweet dough crullers (ham geen bang) that’s served in congee restaurants. The QQ bread has the same light sweetness and chewy texture but without the oiliness. It’s also smells lovely, giving off a sweet nutty aroma.

Their ube croissant ($4.50) also smells wonderful, a mixture of sugar, butter, and taro … the promise of good things to come. Indeed, the ube custard is packed with flavour and the cream light enough that it doesn’t take away from the flakey air pockets in the bread. It is less buttery than a traditional butter croissant, more dessert than pastry.

Surprisingly, the taro mochi ($4.50), which sounded so good on paper - taro, puff Pastry, Korean rice cake – was my least favourite (but was one of my husband’s top choices). Apparently, it’s one you must eat on the first day as after 24-hours what I expected to be chewy mochi was just a lump of dough that tasted raw. Unlike the croissant, the taro existed more in colour than flavour. A hit or miss indeed.

Bake Code’s Denmark crust BBQ pork croissant ($4.90) is popular; despite placing an order the moment the North York location opened, a call advised there was only one left. I can see why it’s beloved: it incorporates big chunks of BBQ pork that’s sweet enough without being too sugary, there is the requisite buttery “pineapple” topping, and the dough is a mixture of croissant and bun. It’s perhaps the most decadent bun of the bunch and one that also tastes best on day one.

The lack of up-to-date inventory is perhaps the most annoying part of the experience and something Bake Code must rectify. My suggestion: hold inventory for online orders separately from walk-ins so that the system updates properly. Staff can always add to or reduce the online inventory (when swapping with the retail bakery) and update the backend system to keep it current. This would prevent people from ordering order items that are sold out already (or at least reduce the chances of it happening).

As noted, I placed my order as soon as the store opened and was told that there would be three missing buns. Since I had already purchased so many other items, there were no desired replacements, so I asked the caller to refund whatever they couldn’t fulfill. It wasn’t until later in the day that the staff member called back and told me they couldn’t process refunds and my only option was to have a credit on file with their North York store that I could use on a future online/in store purchase.

For anyone that knows me, forced store credits are something I despise. Sure, they are reasonable in situations where an establishment’s refund policy explicitly states store credit is the currency for returns (in that case, I rarely purchase from that brand), but to force me to get store credit when it was their inventory mismanagement is a terrible experience.

So, not one to take no for an answer, I was told that I’d have to contact head office to have the refund done.   

Fail number two for Bake Code: their “contact us” form on their website doesn’t work and they do not publish an email or phone number on their website. So, I resorted to contacting their “head office” through Instagram and Facebook, which appears to be manned by a PR agency that isn’t exactly the most timely at responding to messages and has no clue how to process refunds (not their fault).

After a week with no resolutions, I finally called back the North York store and asked for a manager. Thankfully, there was finally someone who understood that customer satisfaction is important. He reiterated that unfortunately they couldn’t do a refund, but we came to a mutually satisfactory agreement that they would deliver the three missing buns that day (and ended up throwing in a drink and extra buns for free, a great surprise). And that, is how it’s done.

Overall mark - 6 out of 10 

How To Find Them
 Location: Multiple locations in Ontario
 Delivery: store delivery, Uber, Doordash
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Gastro World's Grading System
  • Anything under 5 - I really disliked and will never order again
  • - decent for delivery and takeout, but there's better
  • 7 - this is good, for delivery and takeout
  • 8 - great for delivery and takeout, it's almost like you're in a restaurant
  • 9 -  wow, it's like I'm eating at a restaurant
  • 10 - I'd happily order this for delivery or takeout instead of dining in any day!

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Bake Code (Toronto)

Bake Code Toronto

Bake Code is a bakery that’s seen a lot of press with mainstream media and bloggers. Every time I see a picture of the glistening carbs, they beckon me to visit. In reality, it really shouldn’t have taken me so long to make it out to the store, given its proximity to my home, but the news of the fabled crowds and line-ups just didn’t sound appetizing.

After waiting for the hype to die down, I bit the bullet and visited early on a Saturday (about half an hour after opening), to be greeted by a relatively empty store but alas also empty shelves. Over the fifteen minutes I hung around, staff were gradually putting product out (albeit at a rather unhurried pace), an annoying experience as it was hard to determine what to purchase without knowing the complete choices.

Eventually, I had enough and settled on a selection of buns that were available. After hearing the praise for their mentaiko baguette, I was in luck that they had the mentaiko rolls ($1.70) on display. About the size of tennis ball they’re the soft eggy dinner rolls found in Asian bakeries topped with a layer of oily fish roe. Sure, the bun was sort of reminiscent of sushi, but admittedly not my favourite. 

Mentaiko Roll: Photo courtesy of Bake Code
If only the filling in the custard bun ($2.20) were sweeter it would have been fantastic. There was a nice ratio of custard to bun and baked with a wonderful caramel crust letting out that yeasty bread smell I love.

My husband enjoyed their ham crescent ($2.90), a crispy flaky croissant stuffed with a smoked ham and baked until it’s extremely crispy and flaky.  

Ham Crescent: Photo courtesy of Bake Code
The cranberry creamed cheese crown ($4.50) consisted of pillowy soft pull apart buns, the texture a cross between a ciabatta and kaiser, filled ample amounts of dried cranberry studded creamed cheese. With three to a crown, this is also a comparatively economical offering.  

I appreciate the unique selection Bake Code offers: from their website the selection of cakes and the pork floss bun sounds intriguing. However, as with all businesses, it’s hard to sell what’s not in stock... please Bake Code, make sure your product is ready when you open!

Overall, the first visit wasn’t as successful as one would hope – the available goods were decent but hardly as unique and amazing as I’ve been hearing. One day, perhaps I’ll make it out to the bakery again, this time here’s hoping the shelves will be full.     

How To Find Them
 Location: Toronto, Canada
 Address: 4910 Yonge Street

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Bake Code Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Catalonian Croissants (Barcelona)

After arriving into Barcelona at 8:00 am, or midnight from the destination we flew in from, we were determined to power through the day to reduce jet lag. What we needed was a strong cup of coffee and some breakfast.

Catalonian coffee or European coffee in general, is richer and more flavourful than what we're used to in North America. When you order it with milk, it tastes similar to a North American cappuccino (minus the foam).

Catalonian croissant (1)

Little did I know, but, even croissants taste different - likely as North American versions follow the French recipe.

Instead of looking like a horn, they are crescent shaped. The baking temperature and/or duration are higher/stronger as the tips of the croissant are crispy and resemble croutons. Rather than being somewhat savoury, Catalonian croissants are glazed with a sweet egg wash so that it ends up tasting like sweet challah bread (except with toasty tips). It's not as buttery but still hits the spot!

At less than 4€ for 2 coffees and 2 croissants these are an excellent breakfast options while travelling in Barcelona.

Photo Sources:
  1. Foods from Spain (,9459,35868_6863776_6912650_4539865_0,00.html)