Tom's Dairy Freeze: Hot Fudge Soft Serve

The Great Toronto Ice Cream Sundae Challenge: Hot fudge soft serve

So one way I've managed to convince myself that eating ice cream everyday for two weeks isn't going to turn me into a pudgy, summertime slug, is that many of these places are a ways from the garden of urban elitism, in some cases far enough that I need to do some serious bike riding in order to get to them. Case in point--today's entry into the challenge: Tom's Dairy Freeze. After making my way west past High Park and the Humber River, I headed south to the Queensway and finally to my destination. Here's what was waiting:

ICE CREAM: 3/5

Tom's differentiates itself from the rest of the pack here by serving soft serve, the Kraft Singles of the ice cream world. Okay, okay, I know, unfair! But I'm not dismissing it; I grew up on Dairy Queen's dipped cones and in a secret-guilty-pleasure kind of way, I was looking quite forward to a bowl of the goop.

The question I had though is this: Is all soft serve created equal? Is Dairy Queen's international chain of soft serve proprietors able to maintain the same level of quality as a single restaurateur? After sampling Tom's wares the only answer I can come up with is--"I don't know."

The benefit of soft serve is that you just dump the ingredients in the machine and pull the lever when you're ready. Capiche, right?

Well, kind of, except that I couldn't help but think that this stuff was somehow better--denser, thicker, creamier. It was really good! I want to say more so than the competition, but it's been a while since I've stopped by DQ for a dip so it could have been my imagination. Regardless, I had the vanilla, but like any proper shop selling the stuff, you also have your choice of chocolate or twist.

TOPPINGS: 2.5/5

Again, in order to fulfill a little bit of nostalgia, I ordered my sundae with hot fudge. How else does one eat soft serve?

Now Tom's isn't the kind of place to expect house made sauces, this stuff is from the can or even more likely -- due to the volume they do -- the bucket. Besides hot fudge, there's butterscotch, strawberry, blueberry and a handful of others as well.

PRESENTATION: 3/5

It would almost seem unreasonable to serve soft serve in anything other than a plain and simple paper cup. It's that trademark turret you want, one that twists the ice cream ever upwards. It's not the vessel that matters, but the tower inside, and then of course it is drizzled with hot chocolate sauce.

VALUE: 4/5

There are three sizes of sundae - small ($3), medium ($3.75) and large ($4.70). I got the medium, which was plenty. Most people would probably do well enough with a small to be honest. The thing with ice cream, however, is that you can always find room no matter how much is there.

OVERALL IMPRESSIONS: 3/5

Tom's Dairy Freeze is a decent place to stop by if you're in the neighbourhood, but a bike ride all the way from Dufferin and Bloor? I probably won't be doing it again anytime soon. The thing is, it really is basically a Dairy Queen with a different name. Overall that's fine, and I'd prefer to support a local businessman over an international conglomerate any day, but I just wasn't that dazzled. To be honest, the best thing is the building itself: a cool 1950's style ice cream stand--f-yeah!

TOTAL SCORE: 15.5/25(62%)

Previously in this series:


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