Hollywood Gelato (1640 Bayview, at Manor, 416-544-9829) Cones $2.95 to $4.95, cups $3.95 to $4.95. Open Monday to Saturday 7 am to midnight, Sunday 8 am to midnight. Unlicensed. Access: barrier-free, women's washroom on same floor, 10 steps to men's washroom in basement. Rating: NNN Rating: NNN
The big smog is showing no mercy. Sidewalk gum is pooling, and even my nostrils are sweating. One of the quickest ways to obtain relief in our concrete bayou is to go get an ice cream headache at Hollywood Gelato in Bayview Village.
Hollywood's gelato and sorbetto are made daily in house using all-natural flavourings. With choices like cookies and cream, s'mores and double chocolate walnut brownie, this is, stylistically, a very un-Italian gelato experience. Provided you can accept Hollywood's uptown spin, the gelato is rich, dense and satisfying.
Mint chocolate chip is a deluxe take on the supermarket standard, irregular chunks of dark chocolate in its frosty, minty green. With a fantastic milk chocolate mouth feel, Valrhona chocolate is intense but not palate-crushing. Hazelnut offers full roasted hazelnut flavour but no bitter edge.
Coconut is a great ice cream flavour, and chunks of graham-cracker-crumb crust add flavour as well as novelty to Hollywood's coconut cream pie in a cone. Crème caramel may be a little too subtle to work in tandem with other flavours. Ruby peach sorbetto doesn't quite capture the taste of a ripe summer peach (at least not yet). Lemon sorbetto delivers a bright, clean shot of citrus - not too sweet, not too sour.
All of the above are scooped out by the very helpful and knowledgeable counter staff.
Beyond the cold stuff, there's a selection of baked goods and beverages. The iced tea and cappuccino (both $2.50, small) exemplify Hollywood's standards: fresh and flavoursome.
If only the decor were as good as the gelato. Why an independent producer of high-quality, small-batch products wants to look like a franchise doling out coffees at the airport is hard to figure. But don't let that quibble harsh your nibble. When Hogtown is so hot it feels like a pig roast, I say hooray for Hollywood.