Traffic conditions were heavier than desired, inciting worry as we neared table readiness. Street parking is complimentary until 1 PM on Sundays, and I'm thankful for the city maintaining this policy. At 11:30 AM, upon receiving the text notification, I pulled up against the curb and dashed inwards. We had, amazingly, arrived just in time for the reservation and were seated promptly.
After some time with the laminated menus, our server approached once more for entrée selection. The bespectacled male with short, dark, curly hair appeared to be in a daze, unsmiling and emanating arrogance. He hesitated not in correcting my pronunciations of "challah", in which the "c" was discovered to be silent, and "focaccia", where the third syllable was "sha" instead of "shi-a". The former was was not available for pairing with the shakshuka on this visit, although the supposedly "made to order" focaccia was, at an additional $1.50.
Nearly sixty minutes would remain until then, though I wouldn't be waiting aimlessly in the meantime. Routing back south down Yonge, I would re-align the itinerary for a visit to Alminz Kakanin first.
Goodies were Alminz Kakanin were reviewed, admired, and tasted one by one.
- Interesting flavour with unexpected savouriness
- Granulated sugar resulted in excessive moisture by the third day
- Similar, if not identical, dough as the Sugar Twist, as it was both sweet and savoury
- Light dusting of icing sugar gives off a North American donut vibe, though the base is unmistakably bread-like instead of cakey
- Retailed in pack of 4
- Noted to consist of "milk and butter", yet was oddly reminiscent of Cantonese Coconut Buns due to their sweet, coconut-y filling.
- Best if sliced and eaten by the cross-section instead of lengthwise
- Fragrant and crisp to the touch once toasted
- Tri-colour, rectangular pieces
- Enjoyed the most for its strong coconuty-ness and smooth elasticity.
- Served with toasted coconut shreds
- Most similar to nian gao, or a less structured version of it
- Pale green hue covered with shredded coconut; Cassava
- Taste is mild and refreshing, but I can't quite pinpoint the ingredients
- Glutinous Rice; tasted similar to sweet rice dumplings
- Great texture and not too sweet
- Ranked third out of the kakanin box, though likely in second place if not consumed on a full stomach
- Pronounced "coot-chin-tah"
- Interesting texture and looser/more jelly-like that expected
- Strong notes of lye water on the second day; best if eaten fresh
Originally, the box did not contain shredded coconut for dipping, but YouTube research had instilled awareness of the traditional pairing and I made note to ask the cashier before departing. As per my coworker that had recommended the bakeshop, there is no particular reason as to why only sapin sapin is eaten with toasted coconut while the others called for the unsweetened, untoasted variation.
- Another interesting pick, as it was expected to be savoury because of the cheese, but it was actually quite sweet.
- Ube filling was minimal, but offered an interesting texture contrast
- Base bread roll was on the drier side, thus inclusion of ube restored suppleness
- Sponge is unbelievably airy and balances the custardy flan well. Flan was expected be of a looser consistency, but the Filipino rendition is definitely thicker and sweeter than Portuguese Crème caramel
- Surprisingly delectable - Hands down, my favourite pick of the haul!
- Caramel syrup is absorbed by the sponge layer over the subsequent days, resulting in a sugary, dampened crumb; best if consumed within two days
- Random white bit discovered near the circumference - likely unmixed batter; discarded for safety
- Small container (8 oz.) retailed for $5, while large (20 oz.) for $13
- Specified freshness period of 3 days, as preservative-free
- Exceptionally flavourful and aromatic; thicker than most halaya spreads I have chanced across in the packaged realm
- Tasty on its own, or when combined with a mildly-flavoured carb; coworker noted that it is usually just eaten by itself or spread on pandesal
- Leche Flan Ube Sponge (or even Leche Flan on its own)
- Sapin sapin
- Ube Halaya
with the unattained Cheese Pandesal being one of the primary items of interest for next time, whenever the opportunity arises.