Ever heard of Sweet Jesus, one of the most photogenic soft-serves on Instagram? Despite it being it a chilly March night just above freezing temperature, we found the crowd at Sweet Jesus undeterred by the weather. While waiting in line, customers with happy faces and large cones were often the target of envy by the people in queue. If our friend hadn’t insisted on lining up, I would probably be the person who walked past the line and laughed at the people all hung up over an ice cream cone in this Canadian weather. But there I was, going bonkers over ice cream.
As Sweet Jesus is an extension of the restaurant, La Carnita, the lineup crowded in front of the washroom area of the Mexican dining house. You’d sometimes get customers squeezing through the patient pack to do their business in peace. I wouldn’t say it’s the most sanitary or aromatic place in the world.
In about 25 minutes or so, it was finally our turn. The server took my order efficiently with a few taps on her tablet, and hollered at the next customer while I was still waiting to pay.
Death by Hot Chocolate
Before our drinks and cones were ready, the barista (all by herself) created this opulent enchanter and set it on the white marble counter. The contrast of colours reminded me of an ebony princess decked in her wedding gown, her dark skin glowing with a youthful radiance. Though I did not get to taste the drink, I quickly snapped a photo of this black beauty. Look at that succulent swirl of dark chocolate whip cream on top! The Oreo cookie rim, the rich milk chocolate shavings… ah, the royal princess of chocolate has descended. Next time, she will be mine 😉
The interior of the ice cream parlor resembled a vintage underground shelter. I can basically capture the entire store with two photos (I’m using a 22mm too, not even wide-angle lens). I made out about 3 women behind the counter making the cones, not counting the barista solely in charge of the drinks.
The soft-serve machines they used appeared high-tech and professional. From what I could see, the area behind the counters was clean and orderly. Containers filled with toppings were neatly stacked in the corners and colour-coordinated. Though it would be of great benefit to the store and its customers to hire more people, the small space dictates limited personnel. I guess we all just have to wait for our share of ice cream.
Lemon Coconut Cream Pie (Pimped Out Cones)
After waiting yet again for another 10 minutes, I finally had my hands on a Sweet Jesus cone. At first glance, this lemon coconut cream pie seemed pretty plain. The grouping of similar-coloured toppings definitely did not make this look inviting. To my surprise, the mixture was pleasing and delightful. Bits of sour curds pleasantly balanced out the sweetness of vanilla soft serve, and was the most refreshing choice among my friends’ cones. Warning: the graham cracker crumble that the ice cream was generously rolled in proved awfully filling, and I only ended up eating about half of the cone in the end. You see, every pimped out ice cream was as big as a grown man’s face. A meal on its own, I’d say.
Burnt Marshmallow Latte
My good friend had the good sense to share one drink and one cone between her and her partner. The latte consisted of toasted marshmallows, burnt marshmallow concentrate milk, chocolate, and graham cracker crumble – very much like s’mores. This is one drink I would love to get before work on a cold morning! Monday blues? Drinkable s’mores will make that go away immediately.
Krusty the Cone
Though I’ve been a fan of cotton candy since I was a sprightly child, Krusty the Cone was promptly deemed too sweet for me. Props to being creative with flavours though! Never did I imagine having cotton candy AND ice cream together. This would be enjoyable for someone with a sweet tooth. Being the most Instagram-worthy cone out of all the ice creams, Krusty was more appetizing on the eyes than on the mouth. Doesn’t it just look dreamy?
Cookies, Cookies, Cookies and Cream
Wow, now let’s get to the heaviest meal of the night. Cookies, Cookies, Cookies and Cream lived up to its name. With Oreo cookies, Fudgee-O cookies, chocolate chip cookies, and cookie dough, it was a full-blown cookie mess. It looked as if an accident happened on aisle 7 and packs of cookies exploded. My partner’s fondness of sweets quickly took a down turn after spending 20 minutes trying to finish the cone. Did I already mention it was a messy eat? Talk about all the cookies that were dropped; Hansel and Gretel could have made it home.
We walked out of the store clinging tightly to the heavy soft serve cones, hoping not to drop $6.50 on the floor. Despite the cold, more people gathered and the line extended out of the ice cream parlor. With no place to sit as we stood outside the shop, we were living advertisements for Sweet Jesus; plenty of people eyed our cones in astonishment (“it’s huge!”). The bleak wind kept our ice cream from melting, but did not make the experience enjoyable at all. We ended up going to the Tim Horton’s nearby, and I got a steep tea to warm up.
Downtown Toronto has its fair share of specialty ice cream shops and Sweet Jesus is among them. Sweet Jesus performed to its Instagram fame – the ice creams were a treat for the eyes and photograph extremely well with little to no filters. Nevertheless, appearance will only get you so far. I felt like they were selling the toppings instead of the ice cream itself, since the vanilla soft serve tasted quite plain against what were supposed to be “garnish”. The ice cream wasn’t particularly creamy, milky, or airy, so it was a bit of a disappointment. In such a large size, the cloying sweetness of the ice cream made finishing the cone impossible. Perhaps meant to be shared between 3-4 people instead of 1-2, I found myself regretting my decision and only eating the toppings. The cone itself was equal to a boring McDonald cone. For $6.50 a piece, a waffle cone would surely bring up the quality, not to mention elevating the whole eating experience.
Sweet Jesus, Toronto http://www.sweetjesus4life.com/
In terms of innovative flavours, Sweet Jesus has done a spectacular job. Knowing its primary customers to be of a younger demographic, SJ plays to their appetites and liking of sharing food pictures accordingly. It was a fun experience being crazy about ice cream again and talking about it enthusiastically with friends, but when it comes to palate satisfaction, Sweet Jesus has yet to make me say “Sweet Jesus! That was delicious!” Regional: 7.5/10; Worldwide: 7/10.