Archive for What I Ate

Toronto: What I Ate

Although the purpose of my recent trip to Toronto was for business, I still got in lots of good eating!

I found Toronto to be very vegan/vegetarian friendly. There were lots of great options.

Here were a few I tried:

Dragon Fries Fresh Toronto

Fresh Restaurants: there are 3 locations of Fresh now in Toronto. It reminded me of something similar to Meet–vegan/vegetarian comfort food. I went to the location on Crawford, which is right by Trinity-Bellwoods park. It would be a great idea to grab takeout and then eat in the park on a sunny day. I was there with friends, so we were able to order a nice selection of stuff off of the menu, including ginormous crispy onion rings and Dragon Fries (kind of like poutine, but with miso gravy, no cheese and hot peppers). chickpea curry dosas Fresh TorontoMy friends shared a very large and filling bowl with tons of rice, veggies and tofu, and I had curried dosas with a chickpea filling. I especially loved the fresh little cucumber salad it came with. Surprisingly, here the portions are not huge, but very filling. They even have desserts, and you can get golden milk as well! I don’t know that I’ve ever been to a restaurant where you could order that. This place, I highly recommend!

Vegan Chicken and Waffles Hogtown Vegan torontoHogtown Vegan: On the recommendation of Two Market Girls, (and because I happened to be in that part of town, anyway), I searched out Hogtown Vegan. Weird name for a vegan place, I know, but this place is straight-up vegan junky/comfort food. Here, it’s all grilled cheese, mac and cheese, lots of southern influences. I went for one reason, though, and that was chicken and waffles. Now, I should say, before I stopped eating meat, I was kind of obsessed with chicken and waffles, so it’s been a while since I had them. Here, they are served southern-style, with collard greens and sweet potato mash. They were good! My only note was that I thought the chicken (not sure where they source it, but it’s soy-based) was a little dry. I thought the dish could have benefited perhaps from some gravy as well as the maple syrup. I loved the sweet potato mash.

The restaurant itself is diner-style, a bit dark and very hipster. But I would still recommend it!

Lettuce Wraps Planta TorontoPlanta: hands down, this was my favorite place to eat in Toronto. The room is goregous–I couldn’t stop staring! Open and light, huge ceilings, white tile, aquamarine and green touches–and the food was outstanding. I had the spicy lettuce wraps, which, although they were made of tofu, were actually really tasty, given the addition of gochujang. My only complaint was that I thought they could have diced the tofu a bit finer to make it easier to eat. But this place is my #1 pick for Veg in Toronto.

egan Tacos Mi Taco TorontoMi Taco Taquera: My hotel was down on Queens St, so I walked past this place a bunch of times, and on my last night in Toronto, I was pooped. I wanted something fast and easy. I stopped by Mi Taco because they were advertising that they sold vegan tacos made with their own seitan. The tacos were tasty, but I actually loved the seasonal vegetable one more than the seitan. The vegetables were crispy and that gave the taco a pleasant texture.

Ricardas Bakery Toronto

Ricarda’s: I ended up here a couple of times. Ricarda’s is a kind of hybrid restaurant/ bakery, and the first time I went in there was just for dessert. I loved the room. It was open and bright, and there were bikes every where. Ricardas happy hour torontoThey have a great happy hour, which I went back for, and had a really lovely glass of Niagara Gamay (how can you resist a wine called “Seriously Cool”??) and some of their homemade bread with a roasted pepper dip. I also tried some of their toasts, and which were perfection.

Whalburgers TorontoWhalburgers: Okay, okay, so maybe you’re wondering… what?? Seems out of character for me, right? Normally I’m all about the independent places, and stay away from big chains. But this place had been recommended to me by a friend, so I thought I’d try it. I had their veggie burger. The burgers here come as-is, and then you choose (and pay extra) for sides. I had the onion rings, which are thinly-sliced, battered and deep fried, more like what you’d put on a burger than a traditional onion ring. The whole thing was a giant disappointment. First off, the veggie burger was just sauteed portobellas, not even a patty of any kind. It was kinda tasty, but it lacked imagination or creativity. The onion rings were oversalted. There were TVs everywhere, which I guess is fine, because it’s right by the stadium, so it probably mostly identifies as a sports bar. Half of them were playing sports, and the other half were playing an ad for Whalburgers over and over and over again. In all honestly, this place felt way too “Whal” and not enough “Burger” for me. I would not recommend.

There were so many more places I wanted to go to! But 4 days was just not enough… I guess I’ll have to go back another time! 😉

What are your fave veg places to eat in Toronto? Let me know in the comments below!

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Truffled Cashew Cheese (Vegan)

A few weeks back, I had to travel to Victoria to give a presentation at Social Media Camp. It was a blast–I love going to Victoria. It’s one of my fave foodie cities. They have the second highest per capita number of restaurants there (second only to San Francisco), and they take their cocktails and brunches very, very seriously.

So it’s no wonder I love going there–it’s charming and beautiful and foodie friendly.

We were flying back to Vancouver via Helijet around noon, but had a little time, so my friend Chantal picked us up for brunch. She took us to Nourish, the cutest little place, housed in a heritage home in James Bay.

Cultured Cashew Cheese Nourish

What I loved about Nourish, besides the fact that it was incredibly charming, is that it was incredibly vegan and gluten-free friendly.

You can read Chantal’s review on Brunchcouver here, but I had this cultured cashew cheese that just knocked my socks off–and I’ve been trying to recreate ever since.

This is not a super challenging recipe, but my first batch left me feeling a little meh. So the second time around, I added everyone’s favorite secret ingredient: truffles. You have to be careful with truffles because they are so strong, they can overwhelm easily.

This is a cultured cashew cheese, as instead of using water, you use liquid that’s been fermented; in this case, either kombucha or the pickling liquid from sauerkraut (or both). Throw in some nooch and miso for umami, and the final result is decadent and creamy. The truffles give it that earthy, unctuous yumminess.

FYI, you really need a good blender for this–your magic bullet isn’t going to cut it. Literally.

Truffled Cashew Cheese

Truffled Cashew Cheese

Ingredients

  • 1 cup cashews
  • 3 tbsp nutritional yeast
  • 1 tsp miso paste
  • 1 tbsp plain kombucha
  • 1 tbsp sauerkraut pickling liquid (or use two tbsp of just one if that’s all you’ve got)
  • 1/2 tsp truffle salt
  • 1 tsp truffle oil

Method

  1. Place the cashews in a mason jar and top with water. Screw on the top and allow to sit overnight.
  2. The next day, drain the cashews and rinse them. Add them to the blender with the rest of the ingredients. Blend on high for one minute, stop, scrape down the sides, and blend on high for an additional minute at least. Cheese should be creamy and smooth.
  3. Line a 125ml ramekin with plastic wrap, and scrape the cheese into it. Smooth the top, wrap it up, and place in the fridge to set for 24 hours.
  4. Serve with crackers, bread, and additional sauerkraut.

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