vegan eats: reconnaissance in Toronto

I had grand intentions of exploring the vegan cuisine scene in Toronto – but a few factors got in my way: work (had to be done), extreme heat (who can stand walking to the other end of town in 44 degrees?), and the proximity of Fresh restaurant to my hotel (YUM).

This is the restaurant that stole my heart: http://www.freshrestaurants.ca/main.asp. I’d heard much about the mega life salad from my good friend, and I had made a few dishes from their cookbook before, but this was the first time I got to actually sit in the restaurant and sample all they had to offer.  I love that they have different sauces – white pinto beans marinated in pesto sauce, then combined with nuts, marinated tofu, a variety of veggies and homemade dressing, it’s so many good flavours to enjoy! This place is make-you-feel-good food. I got to detox after a night out with the liver cleanse juice drink for breakfast, and satisfy my craving for dessert, coffee, a smoothie, and lunch all in one drink: a raw chocolate, espresso, mint, banana and almond milk smoothie.  I’m actually regretting not remembering to go back and try the chocolate cake dessert, because apparently it was even better than the carrot cake, and the carrot cake blew my mind!! The icing was perfect! I also took a few friends there with me, full blown meat-eater friends, and the consensus was that the black bean burrito was D-E-L-I-C-I-O-U-S!  I won’t bore you with the play by play of all the meals I tried, but just take my advice: vegans and non-vegans alike, this place is a winner. Will they please open a franchise in Vancouver?

I did try a few other vegan places. On my second to last day in TO, I had forgotten to pick up my muffin the day before from Fresh to eat for breakfast (see? I was so addicted to that place!), so I madly searched for a vegan restaurant that was open that early that I could get another carrot juice from (*ahem* for a liver cleanse… again) and cabbed there so I could grab it before I had to be at my conference.  Cruda Cafe (http://www.crudacafe.com/) is in St. Lawrence Market, which, had I had more time, I would have loved to explore more. Since I was just a tad hungry haha, I got a large juice, a raw black bean burrito, and a blueberry cashew tart. Can I just interrupt this for one second – I love being an adult and being able to eat dessert for breakfast. Just saying. Plus – when it’s raw vegan dessert, it’s actually healthy!! Anyhow, was a good breakfast. Hit the spot. It was a bit messy.

I will also give a shout out to the Hyatt restaurant King Street Social that was taking part in a Summerlicious set-menu event around Toronto, which, despite having zero vegan options on their regular menu, had a vegan/vegetarian option as one of the three meals you could get in this promo.  I had a watermelon cucumber soup, made an exception for the vegetarian tomato basil gnocchi, and mango  sorbet with fresh berries for dessert.  Tasty food, and reasonably priced since it was part of this deal.

There were so many other places in TO that I had wanted to try, but just didn’t have the opportunity to. Can’t wait to go back and try Feel Good Guru, among others.

Happy eating!

xx Kristin

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