I arrived just a few minutes before 8 AM, and decided to wait outside Bake Code's patio area to observe the hype surrounding this recently-opened Taiwanese bakery.
"...I haven't tried Chatime's so I'm not sure." stammered the guy.
My eyes shifted towards the girl.
"Theirs is made with milk and ours is made with cream!" was her desperate attempt to defend.
I was astonished by the fact that neither staff member was able to provide a decent answer - neither response would have persuaded me to try the drink had Chatime not been a twenty minute-walk away. (I mean - skipping earning Vicinity points for overpriced bread?! I don't think so!)
Soon, the tiny plate contained more crumb than croissant; it was clear that I was making a mess simply by trying to enjoy my purchase. All self-conscious woes aside, I stabbed the top and proceed to take a large bite, caveman-style. The crumbs showered down, some landing back on the plate, while a few stray pieces bouncing onto the table.
At this very moment, the girl called out the name of my order in a somewhat urgent tone. I rose to obtain it, struggling to brush off any remnants of the item I had been munching on and stealthily wipe away potential sections of my mouth that had been smeared with chocolate.
Her words were acknowledged, and I grabbed a lid before setting the extremely full cup of Iced Sea Salt Coffee down beside the half-demolished croissant.
I wished to cap it and swirl the components together in hopes of lightening the taste, but the girl had been too generous – the lid would not fit over without the milky, synthetic Cool Whip-like layer oozing out from the sides. It was getting to be a very messy start to the day.
I sipped the iced coffee while marching on, and was instantly struck with the most unpleasant sensation.
THE COFFEE WAS SOUR.
Bake Code’s Iced Sea Salt Coffee is easily the most disgusting drink I’ve tasted in my lifetime.
The Chocolate Croissant was decent in terms of taste and texture, but was a challenge in itself to consume without creating a mess. Not an ideal snack for those commonly on-the-go, nor particularly budget-friendly at $2.90 each, it’s unlikely I’ll ever set foot in the bakery a second time (unless someone is treating me).
That being said, my overall impression of Bake Code is unfavourable to say in the least. Failing to produce their standard selection of merchandise by opening time indicates a distinctive flaw in management, whereas workers with limited knowledge regarding a popular and exclusive drink are simply just unacceptable. The concept of merging a European bakery with Taiwanese flavours and techniques is unique on its own, but the shop itself was a poorly-executed plan. Location-wise, they’ve filled the niche for early morning coffee-goers and bread-lovers, but I anticipate their prices to lead to a major setback sometime in the future. When there are better deals present in the neighbourhood, I fail to see students and office workers giving Bake Code precedence over tried-and-true options.
Fast-forwarding some five hours later to mid-afternoon, I set on a more leisurely journey to explore hidden gems along Yonge St.
A friend had posted quite an attractive photo from L’Opera previously, and so I crossed the street to check it out.
The Earl Grey Mille Crepe Cake arrived first, served atop an unblemished white plate (no chipped dishes were spotted here!) and with a layer of film still wrapped around the perimeter. Heed was taken to unveil the layers without damaging the cake’s delicate balance. An orange mug that had been filled to the rim with a foamy green beverage was set down a few minutes later.
View the full album HERE !
An appreciation for consistency was developed upon noticing the consistent usage of swirls. From the curling branches of the tree painted along the entranceway to the shop logo to the film which my Mille Crepe Cake had rested on, they were everywhere. These are the types of details that earn a weighty score in my books.
Slightly taken back, I responded, “Yes.”A smile creeped up on the edges of my mouth. “Was it really that obvious?”
A subtle nod was directed in my way.
L’Opera provided a comfortable environment for me to catch up on my social media access, in addition to offering a variety of sweet and savoury snack options. Besides the minor food flaws, there was only one other area I found to require improvement: the bathroom.
Departing from the premises and walking my way up to the Finch station, I stopped by M Brand to pick up a skincare product, fangirling about K-Pop (and specifically Jackson of GOT7) with the sales rep during most of my short-lived stay.
It was brought to my attention via Zomato that a new bubble tea shop had opened in the area. Normally, I would pass on experimenting with such openings as they are generally associated with poor food quality and inexperienced staff making desperate attempts to adjust. However, I-Migoo was different in that they hailed from Zhuhai, China instead of Taiwan (aka bubble tea republic).
Thankfully, the items were handed over within an acceptable time frame, though I’m convinced that I bore a scary resemblance to a chicken with its head cut off as I sprinted for the bus stop immediately after.
Though saddening, the best part about my visit to I-Migoo was this partitioned bag, as everything else went downhill from their point of unveiling.
Two overpriced pieces of Curry Chicken Wings were found to not even be curry-flavoured at all – the label read “Cajun-style”, and was of an undeniably hot nature. It turns out that the girl had completely misheard my order and punched in an alternative selection.
Strawberry Coconut Flavour Milk Tea was nothing more than a sickeningly sweet, powdery liquid taking on an artificial strawberry flavour mixed with strawberry jelly. Their priciest option, the Golden Mango Coconut Flavour Milk Tea, was no better - the same unauthentic milky flavour was present, but in a mango-flavoured variation paired with mango jelly.
Thanks, but no thanks, I-Migoo. I'll be sticking to Green Grotto for their properly seasoned Salt & Pepper Chicken bites instead.