Project Fish (Toronto) for delivery

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

Sushi isn’t really known to be comfort food - in fact, it’s what I turn to when I’m needing a ‘lighter meal’. Still, there is one type of sushi that I would consider to be comfort food and that’s when it’s prepared aburi-style: rice topped with protein and a generous layer of mayonnaise that is blasted with a blowtorch so that the mayo seeps into the protein. Usually, it’s finished off with one or two ingredients to give it that final flavour and garnish.

Comfort sushi is what you’ll find at Project Fish. Their oshi aburi served as a single order or part of a platter. At first glance, I wouldn’t have thought jalapenos would pair nicely with salmon, but in the salmon oshi ($14) it adds a bit of crunch and peppery bite that cuts through the otherwise rich fatty salmon. I could have done without the cracked black pepper, which adds a gritty hard texture and would suggest sumac, a spice that’s zesty but could melt into the background, as an alternative.

The small platter ($38) is a great option if you like variety.  There’s three pieces of the salmon oshi and that evening also included:

  • Saba oshi - cured mackerel simply adorned with miso aioli. It’s decent, but some pickled or fresh green scallion would have brought it to another level.
  • Basil shrimp oshi – while you can’t really taste the herb amongst the all the other ingredients, I did like the chopped black olives that complimented the sweet shrimp with a salty finish.
  • More aburi shrimp arrives in an unpressed form. Although it looks really like the oshi, Project Fish adds truffle oil into the mayo to create a decadent bite.
  • All the rich flavours are balanced off with simple salmon nigri, a spicy cooked fish roll that has quite the powerful kick of heat, and pieces of lightly sweetened tamago that could even double as dessert.

With 23 pieces of sushi and a small container of edamame, the small platter could almost feed two if you are not too hungry - add on another roll, appetizer, or oshi if you’d like a more fulsome meal. Plus, I love that fact that it comes in an environmentally friendly paper box instead of all that plastic that needs to be thrown away.

The Neo Tokyo roll ($18) tempted my husband but wasn’t a hit for me. I’m not sure why they added ‘Tokyo’ to the name … with the sweet and slightly spicy gochujang sauce slathered over it, I would have thought ‘Neo Seoul’ roll would have worked better. Or perhaps even ‘Neo Dallas’ roll as it seemed borne from an eclectic diverse neighbourhood from the American south: there’s the Korean gochujang sauce but also a spicy jalapeño relish, and possibly even habanero mixed with the tobiko so that you get a spicy kick.

There was just too much of surimi or fake crab meat salad and not enough other ingredients to round out the maki. The tempura bits should have added crunch but were soggy with all the condiments and I couldn’t taste any of the cucumber that was mentioned on the menu. Overall, it was just too saucy and soft for my taste.

Oh well, sometimes you can’t win them all. Luckily with our overzealous ordering there was so much food that I didn’t need the Neo Tokyo roll to leave me fully comforted and satisfied.  

Overall mark - 7.5 out of 10


How To Find Them
 Location: Toronto, Canada
 Address: 16 Park Home Avenue
 Website: 
 Delivery: store delivery, Uber, Doordash, Skip the Dishes
Referral Discount Codes
 Support the blog by using my referral code
 UberEats: use eats-ju6ta to get $5 off a $15 order 
 SkipTheDishes: click link to get $5 off a $15 order
 DoorDash: click link to get $20 off

Follow me on twitter to chat, be notified about new posts and more - https://twitter.com/GastroWorldBlog
____________________________
Gastro World's Grading System

  • Anything under 5 - I really disliked and will never order again
  • 6 - 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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Parmigiano Trattoria (Toronto) for delivery

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

Every time I have a craving for eggplant parmigiano ($18)Parmigiano Trattoria is where I go to get a fix. They are wizards with the dish, taking thinly sliced eggplant and coating it in finely crushed breadcrumbs to create a delicate crispy crust. It’s then smothered with enough mozzarella to give it that lovely pull and baked in a fresh marinara sauce. The smell of fried eggplant and tomato sauce that wafts up before the first bite… just try not to salivate.

When I cracked the plastic lid off the black container and glanced at the four hefty slices of the parmigiano that smell was such a nice reminder of the dine-in days. Indeed, the crispy edges on the eggplant where no where to be found after steaming during delivery, but the tomato sauce was as delicious as ever, though needed a bit more salt. Somehow the portions were even bigger, the parmigiano accompanied by another container filled with sautéed vegetables and spaghetti. It was if Parmigiano Trattoria was welcoming me home with two meals.

There was more than enough for two in the baked chicken pasta ($18) as well. This arrived closer to the typical al dente with the chicken and pasta coated in a creamy tomato cheese sauce as well as roasted peppers and spinach thrown in to lighten up the dish. While it tastes creamier than other rosé-sauce pastas, it doesn’t feel heavy. Possibly because Parmigiano Trattoria thins out the sauce.

The good thing about getting all your food at the same time is the ability to combine dishes. I found the garlic shrimp ($12.50) a little plain on their own but combined with the spaghetti with tomato sauce instantly enhanced both dishes.

While the romaine in the Caesar ($9) salad was starting to pinken at the edges, the lettuce was still crisp and juicy. This salad does take some prep work as you’ll need to toss it with the dressing yourself. But it does keep it from getting soggy and allows you to control how much of the thick house-made dressing you want to add - It’s fairly flavourful so I’d gradually build up to taste.

As I write this post, the patios have just opened in Ontario. Let’s continue this momentum and get to the next stage when we can dine indoors again. That’s when I can finally return to Parmigiano Trattoria and have their beloved eggplant parmigiano in all it’s freshly baked glory.  

Overall mark - 7 out of 10


How To Find Them
 Location: Toronto, Canada
 Address: 3186 Yonge Street
 Delivery: Uber and Doordash
Referral Discount Codes
 Support the blog by using my referral code
 UberEats: use eats-ju6ta to get $5 off a $15 order 
 DoorDash: click link to get $20 off

Follow me on twitter to chat, be notified about new posts and more - https://twitter.com/GastroWorldBlog
____________________________
Gastro World's Grading System

  • Anything under 5 - I really disliked and will never order again
  • 6 - 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!


Is That It? I Want More!

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Good Food meal kit delivery 2021

It’s been a couple of years since I’ve used a meal kit company – a service that delivers all the ingredients (except staples like oil, salt, and pepper) required to create a hearty meal in about thirty to fourty five minutes. When the pandemic hit, these services became even more popular, a promise for families to continue to get gourmet meals without venturing into supermarkets. As I started to get junk mail and magazine inserts promoting a huge array of companies, the intrigue set in… how have they changed since I’ve last used them?

First off, I tried Good Food, one of the newer entrants established in 2016 and claims they are Canada’s #1 meal kit delivery company.

Meal Choices and Pricing

With a choice of 18 recipes each week, it’s a company that has the least options. Somehow it didn’t hurt my experience as I found their pictures and descriptions more enticing, even with a smaller selection it was difficult to narrow it down to three. They try to help the process along with various filters (easy prep, low carb, family style, brunch, excluding certain ingredients, etc.) and when all else fails, they also sell ready-to-eat meals, combine and dine (a sauce that gets added to rice or pasta), and even a host of grocery items.

Prices are in the middle of the pack at $11.95 a serving (assumes 3 meals per week for two people) or $72 a week. Although, they do have a fair number of recipes with premium ingredients, which tacks on a supplementary cost that can raise the final box total.

Customer Service and Ordering

I was a little miffed that I had to call in to cancel my service (most allow you to manage this online), but they were quick to answer and cheerfully cancelled the subscription without giving me a guilt trip. Punctuality may be their downfall as out of the two weeks I used Good Food, the second delivery didn’t arrive during the stated 12-hour window (8am to 8pm) and finally came at 9pm. I’d suggest your delivery the day before you need the meals just to be safe.

I did enjoy the text notification feature where they let you know the box is on the way (at about the hour out point) and you can then click the link to track the van in real time. It’s a good option for those living in condos or those who don’t like having the box sit too long at the door.

It’s the only company that delivers 7 days per week in my area (Toronto) and if you pay $9.99 a month, you can skip managing ordering each week and just get them to deliver the next day whenever you desire. In most major cities, you can also pay a one-time $6.99 fee for next day delivery as well. This makes it great for individuals who find it difficult to place an order ahead of time or need to travel unexpectedly.

If you do sign up for the weekly subscription, you can pick recipes for the next four weeks and skip deliveries up to three months in advance.

Ease of Cooking

Maybe it’s the recipes I chose, but I found most required at least three pieces of equipment - a sheet pan for baking something, a pot, and a frying pan. Luckily, those who cook in my household don’t need to do dishes.

Their sheet pan meals cut this down to one item - the only problem is their recipe calls for a large restaurant sized sheet pan. For those who have large ovens you can easily rectify this by purchasing a new high lipped pan. But for those with an older oven *raises hand* or live in a condo with smaller ones, good luck fitting everything onto one sheet pan. I sensed it already after seeing how much more space my chicken and potatoes occupied compared to the recipe card.

In the end, I prepped the veggies on another sheet, but had to guess how much additional cooking time to add using two sheets. Using the higher range of the cooking time worked perfectly. It did mean the chicken probably lost an extra infusion of flavours but the potatoes turned out crispier than they otherwise would have been as well. So, all in all, a win.

The Taste Test

I really enjoy their spice blends, which adds tons of flavours to the meal. Each recipe generally also incorporates a sauce/condiment and a fresh garnish (green onion or parsley) so put together makes for a tasty dish with many layers of flavours.

A great example of this is the smoky BBQ spiced pork chops with potato and bean salad where the pork chops and salad both use the spice blend. The meat also gets finished in a sweet smoky BBQ sauce and the dressing for the salad combines creamy mayonnaise, more of the seasoning spice, and a thick zesty vinaigrette. The final finishing of fresh scallions in the salad gives it a burst of freshness and has become a side I’ve recreated for other nights.

Even the rigatoni alfredo is enhanced with lovely marinated artichokes that helps give the otherwise creamy sauce a nice hit of acid.

Environmental Factors

All the spices, condiments, and herbs does come at a cost – Good Food uses way more plastic than other delivery companies. It probably doesn’t help that they put ingredients in bags that are much larger than necessary, like these green beans that end up only occupying a third of the packaging.

Conclusion

If only Good Food wasn’t so plastic laden, they would have been my top choice of the three I tried in 2021. Yet, I can’t get over all the waste that’s created, especially if this is a service that’s supposed to be every week – god help our planet.

While my finished products don’t necessarily look as good as their stylized pictures, it nonetheless tastes like a gourmet creation. Good Food, just know that potato and green bean salad has left a mark in my recipe repertoire. 

If the above has intrigued you, sign up and try a week for yourself. Goodfood is offering Gastro World readers $40 to go towards their first two orders for new customers. Just click on this special referral link to go to their website.

Also check out the larger post for my comparison of other meal kit delivery companies. 




How To Find Them


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Ramen Raijin's frozen ramen (Toronto) for delivery

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

Before COVID, when someone mentions “instant ramen”, a square of hard dried noodles is what comes to mind. That goes into a pot of boiling water for about five minutes and a powdered soup gets prepared, sometimes enhanced with another packet of dried seaweed and vegetables. Many are spicy, but you’ll need to find a delicate balance of the soup base to water… one false move will leave you with a kick at the back of the throat. I don’t know about you, but sometimes I literally cough when too much powder is added.

Then COVID hit and Ramen Raijin reinvented the concept of instant ramen. Theirs is a frozen circular disk that literally incorporates everything – the broth, noodles, and various toppings that are a far cry from the rehydrated vegetable fragments. In about the same time it takes to boil water to create the dried version, the frozen disk goes into a pot until it melts and is heated through.

And there’s no guessing games with Raijin’s spicy tonkotsu ramen ($12). The spicy-miso pork broth has enough chili to flood your mouth with flavours, but the fiery finish is subdued, and the miso adds a lovely creamy finish.

Perhaps it was all the tightly packed vegetables (corn, slivers of cabbage, bean sprouts, and green onions) and the extra minced chicken mixed into the soup base, but the spicy tonkotsu did take a couple minutes longer to prepare than the non-spicy version so the noodles ended up being a less chewy than the other.

The noodles in the Hakata tonkotsu ramen ($10) turned out perfectly and Raijin’s Hakata-style rich pork broth was just as creamy and umami laced as anything you’d find at a restaurant. Something about the freezing process makes me like the pickled ginger more, it’s mellower and melts into the broth nicely. It’s all finished with a rather thin slice of pork belly cha-shu, kikurage mushroom, green onion, and enough sesame to add a nutty finish to the soup.

Will the frozen ramen overtake the delivery and takeout options across the city? While close to the “real deal” they are still missing some of the beloved toppings like a gooey onsen egg and the crispy fresh toppings that can make it sing. The additional garnishes are easy – you can easily get a dried seaweed snack pack and finely chop scallions – but the elusive egg is more difficult. Raijin provides a recipe with the order confirmation to allow home cooks to recreate them at home. But all the work for one or two eggs … let’s just call me lazy.

To augment the meal, as the lone slice of cha shu isn’t the most substantial, Raijin offers extra pork or a host of frozen appetizers, some care of Zakkushi on Carlton just down the street. The yakitori momo ($8.50) goes bag and all into boiling water for five minutes and then you’re presented with four skewers of juicy chicken yakitori. The sauce is waterier than the lovely glaze you’ll normally find at restaurants, but in a pinch these will do.

Before placing an order, ensure your freezer has some room as for deliveries there’s a minimum $50 order size (about five ramen) and a $7 delivery fee. If you create that room if your freezer, the delivery fee is waived for a $100 purchase.

I love and value the ingenuity entrepreneurs have shown during this crisis. Dried instant ramen, you’ve been disrupted. 

Overall mark - 7 out of 10


How To Find Them
 Location: Toronto, Canada
 Address: 24 Wellesley Street West
 Delivery: store delivery

Follow me on twitter to chat, be notified about new posts and more - https://twitter.com/GastroWorldBlog
____________________________
Gastro World's Grading System

  • Anything under 5 - I really disliked and will never order again
  • 6 - 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!


Is That It? I Want More!

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Grandeur Palace 華麗宮大酒樓 (Toronto) for takeout

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

One thing I loathed about Grandeur Palace was their ridiculous wait times. I would channel my inner Zen master while waiting for a table on weekends. It was a test of patience that I rarely had, so while I really enjoyed Grandeur’s dim sum, it’s a restaurant I hardly visited.

Then COVID struck and now Grandeur’s pivoted to “all day” dim sum and from 10am - 3pm, essentially the normal brunch hours, any small, medium, or large dishes are $3.88. No trying to order before 11am, when the special pricing is normally in effect, there is now five blissful hours to get your dim sum hit.

The only small hiccup is getting an order placed, which essentially means going old school and calling in. Of course, there’s always the trusty delivery apps, but you’ll be paying a premium – the $3.88 dishes will instead range from $5.85 to $7 before all the ancillary charges. So, get used to redialing starting at 10am and after a dozen tries, you’ll hopefully get through.

As with all my other dim sum experiences, takeout and delivery just isn’t the same. As soon as the lid is lifted and the steam escapes, the dish starts to wilt - it’s as if the protein packed dumplings are a plant. The wrapper on the steamed shrimp chive dumplings starts getting sticky and hard (although Grandeur smartly places them further apart, so they don’t meld together). They’re just as huge as normal, but the filling is skimpy on the chives, so they end up tasting like har gow.

While still the size of a golf ball, the shrimp sui mai loses a lot of its juices so they’re much harder than at the restaurant and sits in a shallow pool of liquid causing the wonton wrapper to become soggy. But when you haven’t had one of these pork dumplings in a few months, it still tastes awfully good, despite the sad state.

Forget about the deep fried savoury glutinous dumplings with meat. Any crispiness disappears, and it becomes a sticky chewy ball. I have no one to blame but myself – of course anything deep fried would be a disappointment. But I so wanted a bite of that five-spice laced pork with the slightly sweet chewy wrapper. At least the flavours were still on point.

The steamed rice noodle with shrimp was the dish that’s closest to what you’d find at the restaurant. They’ve always made it a bit thicker, so it held up to the travels and the consistency and texture remained consistent.

Strangely, the glaze on the honey sauce beef short ribs ($7.68) sort of melts off, leaving the top pieces lacking flavours and the bottom soaking in sauce. Do yourself a favour and open the takeout container upside down so that the sweet sauce recombines with everything. It’ll taste a lot better.

Following traditions, I had to finish the meal with the stir-fried lobster e-fu noodles ($18.88). Grandeur doesn’t skimp on takeout, really packing the noodles into the container so it’s not the easiest to portion out without having lobster fly everywhere. If I were the restaurant, I’d add a bit more savoury sauce to cover everything since the noodles will get soft regardless – it would allow the noodles to stay untangled.

Perhaps the lobster e-fu noodles aren’t ordered with as much gusto in takeout as the crustacean didn’t taste the freshest – not rancid or off, just not nearly as clean as normal.  

While I’m glad it was an efficient meal from Grandeur – call to place an order, arrive at the stated time, go to the cashier area to tell them your number and pay, then bring the receipt to the takeout table to collect your order – the saying “good things come to those who wait” creeps into my mind. While the dim sum was passable, it wasn’t great. Who would have thought I’d actually miss the days were I would have to stand in line for 30+ minutes for a table? What I wouldn’t give for a test of patience now.

Overall mark - 7 out of 10


How To Find Them
 Location: Toronto, Canada
  Address: 2301 Brimley Road
 Delivery: Uber and Skip the Dishes
Referral Discount Codes
 Support the blog by using my referral code
 UberEats: use eats-ju6ta to get $5 off a $15 order 
 SkipTheDishes: click link to get $5 off a $15 order


Follow me on twitter to chat, be notified about new posts and more - https://twitter.com/GastroWorldBlog
____________________________
Gastro World's Grading System

  • Anything under 5 - I really disliked and will never order again
  • 6 - 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!


Is That It? I Want More!

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Me Va Me (Toronto) for delivery

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

Me Va Me locations have been popping up around the city as quickly as it takes to say their cheerful sounding name. Serving an Israeli Middle Eastern menu, their most famous item is the laffa a thin chewy bread that’s a cross between a tortilla and freshly made pita. Restaurants are equipped with a taboon clay oven so that these can be made fresh and on location.

The falafel laffa ($11.95) wrapped up several airy chickpea fritters, which arrived warm with delivery and would have been amazing if eaten fresh and hot. They go nicely against the cooler sauces that I incorporated plenty of for maximum flavour - hummus, tzatziki, tahini, and hot sauce! With all the condiments, there was a chance the wrap would arrive soggy. Yet, lettuce helped form a layer between the bread and the other ingredients and added a nice crunch to the wrap.

After enjoying all the great flavours in the laffa, the lacklustre chicken shawarma plate ($17.75) was a let down. It comes with a sizeable portion of slightly dry chicken, tons of grilled vegetables, and a dense cold dry pita … but then only one measly tahini sauce to flavour everything.

Having had my fair share of shawarma plates, most places provide at least two condiments - tahini and garlic sauce - and many even have extra sides like pickles, beets, and tabbouleh. Instead, Me Va Me serves theirs with a huge side salad, which while great value isn’t the tastiest. I’d much rather they eliminate the salad and provide things that would enhance the overall plate instead.

We did order a couple of their dips, but they didn’t impress and reminded me of the prepared ones found in supermarkets. The fried eggplant ($3.95) started off nicely with big chunks of smoky eggplant, but the ketchup-like sauce they incorporated into the dip made everything way too sweet. Meanwhile, the babaganoush ($3.95) had so much mayonnaise added that it would be better classified as eggplant aioli. This is definitely not something you’d want to just eat a spoonful of plain.

Their laffas are by far the star of the menu. In the end, Me Va Me wasn’t a complete bust, but is a one hit wonder.

Overall mark - 6 out of 10


How To Find Them
 Location: Toronto, Canada
 Address: Various locations
 Delivery: Uber, Doordash, Skip the Dishes
Referral Discount Codes
 Support the blog by using my referral code
 UberEats: use eats-ju6ta to get $5 off a $15 order 
 SkipTheDishes: click link to get $5 off a $15 order
 DoorDash: click link to get $20 off

Follow me on twitter to chat, be notified about new posts and more - https://twitter.com/GastroWorldBlog
____________________________
Gastro World's Grading System

  • Anything under 5 - I really disliked and will never order again
  • 6 - 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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Chris Jerk Caribbean Bistro (Toronto) for takeout


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

Have you ever encountered a situation where you’ve lived in a neighbourhood, but felt you overlooked an area and now wish you discovered it sooner? For me, it’s Huntingwood Square, a strip mall at Birchmount and Huntingwood in Scarborough.  I must have driven by the plaza hundreds of times while traversing Huntingwood trying to miss the busier arteries. Little did I know it’d be home to some well-loved authentic mom-and-pop places, one of them being Chris Jerk Caribbean Bistro.

And when I say Chris Jerk is known and loved, I’m not kidding. The weekend crowd is well documented online, so I thought I’d be smart and visit on a random Tuesday instead. Arriving ten minutes to 11:00am, before the restaurant opened, there were already a couple of cars parked around the entrance. By 10:55am, someone started a line. Before the doors even opened, there were ten people queued up. All on a regular Tuesday.

Chris Jerk serves up an array of Jamaican food, but there’s a couple of surprising things on the menu like the shawarma plate and even more popular shawarma poutine. It seemed a little out of place, but then I learnt about Chef Taylor’s background at Me Va Me and the menu made more sense.

Even so, I didn’t feel like shawarma. What had me salivating was the other meals I’ve seen, substantial well-rounded meals. Unlike most places, the containers aren’t merely filled with rice, peas, a protein, and perhaps a tong of coleslaw. At Chris Jerk, each meal also arrives with vibrant buttery stir-fried vegetables and sweet soft fried plantains. It’s a full-sized affair where you’re bound to have leftovers.

As soon as I saw the large pieces of oxtail ($16.95) I was ready to dig in - you’re lucky there’s any pictures that’s part of this post. Boy was it tasty: thick and meaty with more than enough of the lovely gravy to mix into the rice and peas. While it was tender, it wasn’t braised so long that it fell off the bone. You could still pick up each piece and get a bite of meat and jellied cartilage all together.

I wasn’t quite sure how I felt about all the chickpeas accompanying the curry chicken ($12.45) but, in retrospect, the crumbly legumes with the juicy chicken were a nice combination. Despite the vibrant yellow hue of the sauce, the spices weren’t too powerful. Everyone seemed to ask for hot sauce on the side, something I’ll pick up next time to add a bit more heat to the dish.

In fact, nothing is overly spicy. Even the jerk chicken leg ($3) was rather tame tasting like barbeque chicken with a jerk element, equally sweet to spicy. I’m glad we only purchased a side order as it would have been a disappointment – when one orders jerk chicken you want that hit of flavours, this was not it.  

If you ever visit Chris Jerk and see a line-up, don’t get too scared. It moves fairly quickly with their order, pay, leave phone number, and get out of the store system. In about 15-20 minutes when your meal is ready, you’ll get a call. At that point, head back into the cash register area and the fragrant to-go package is presented. Good food takes time, and these hearty meals are worth the time. 

Overall mark - 8 out of 10


How To Find Them
 Location: Toronto, Canada
 Address: 2570 Birchmount Road
 Delivery:  Uber
Referral Discount Codes
 Support the blog by using my referral code
 UberEats: use eats-ju6ta to get $5 off a $15 order 


Follow me on twitter to chat, be notified about new posts and more - https://twitter.com/GastroWorldBlog
____________________________
Gastro World's Grading System

  • Anything under 5 - I really disliked and will never order again
  • 6 - 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!


Is That It? I Want More!

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Hattendo (Toronto) for delivery

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

In 1933, amidst a major earthquake and tsunami that left over 1,500 people dead and 7,000 homes destroyed, Kaoru Morimistsu decided to open Hattendo in Minatomachi, Hiroshima with the hopes of bringing some joy to the population, in an otherwise devastating time.

It’s not the over-the-top type of joy like a loaded funnel cake or deep-fried Mars bar. Instead, their signature cream buns ($3.69 each) are delicate sweets. Think of their joy as a gentle reminder to take time out for yourself and a sly wink that it’s okay to have a small treat.

The original custard version is the lightest of the bunch and tastes barely sweetened. Surely this can’t even be bad for you when the solid bun seemingly turns into pillowy air that disappears in several bites.

One step sweeter is the azuki bean cream bun where the fluffy cream is laced with finely blended red bean, so you get a hint of the flavours. It’s nothing like the rich thick paste you find in other azuki products, the milky cream is still the star.

I expected the matcha cream bun to the powerful with its vibrant green hue, but in Hattendo fashion, the green tea flavours were restrained. The filling did have a slight bitter finish, but so mild that if I didn’t know I was eating I wouldn’t have pegged it as being a matcha bun - there wasn’t that traditional grassiness that you get from the product. True matcha fans may be disappointed.

For a real indulgence, the chocolate cream bun will taste the most decadent, with the filling having a rich chocolate mousse feeling being denser and creamier than everything else. As the heaviest of the buns, you’ll want to leave this for last if you’re having multiple buns, which isn’t a difficult task as these palm sized buns seem to disappear so quickly!

Our household enjoyed the hazelnut cream bun ($4.19) the most – one of the specialty flavours for the warmer weather. A winning combination of luscious sweet cream and earthy nutty hazelnut, it had a surprisingly strong taste for something that looked so light. I also enjoyed the little bits of nut sprinkled throughout the filling that added a nice texture against all the soft elements.

You can enjoy a full meal from Hattendo since they serve two savoury products as well. The tamago burger ($5) takes their cream bun and fills it was a finely chopped egg salad. Interestingly, the bun’s whole flavour and texture changes and becomes denser, sort of like a brioche hamburger bun that smells more like milk than butter. It’s tasty, but the egg salad could use a pinch more seasoning considering the thicker bun.

The egg salad sando ($6) is more balanced since the crustless white milky bread is so light. It’s absolutely delicious with the delicate minced egg salad sandwiching a lovely soft boil egg. If you like egg sandwiches, you must try the sando.

The jury’s out on the matcha annin tofu ($4.95), while I thoroughly enjoyed the dessert’s silky texture, the combination of almond tofu with matcha is an acquired taste. I did, however, love the reusable glass container it’s served in. If you’re a Maison Riviera petit pot yoghurt fan, you’ll want to check these out – and bonus, the lid is already included.

It's almost as if the ghost of Kaoru was channeled in June 2019 when Hattendo expanded into North America opening in Toronto. Somehow, they knew people outside of Japan would need some joy as well. With the COVID fatigue setting in, I needed a pick-me-up. And since Hattendo also delivers, it’s a sweet smile you can send to yourself or loved ones.

Overall mark - 7 out of 10
Disclaimer: The buns were complimentary. Rest assured, as noted in my mission statement, I will always provide an honest opinion.


How To Find Them
 Location: Toronto, Canada
 Address: Multiple locations
 Delivery: store delivery and Uber
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Gastro World's Grading System

  • Anything under 5 - I really disliked and will never order again
  • 6 - 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!