My chum and I went to Toronto a few weekends ago for our anniversary. He's a nerd (a very cute one) over ancient history, so, for him, the trip highlight was the King Tut exhibition at the Art Gallery of Ontario. For me, the trip was a big, fat food fest. A big, fat, vegan food fest! Whenever I visit Toronto, I consume more calories in a single weekend than I do in a full week at home.
Friday we went to Spring Rolls on Dundas for dinner which, when I was a poor and starving journalism student, is where I used to scarf down pad thai and basil noodles between Greyhound buses on my painfully long and stinky rides from North Bay to London! They have a vegetarian section on their menu which assures us that "all of the above dishes are free of dairy, eggs, meat and seafood". Always appreciated. I ordered salad rolls with hoisin dipping sauce as an app and Ho Fun noodles with deep fried tofu for my main. (pic above)
For lunch the next day, Lebanese! A veggie pita loaded with deep fried cauliflower and eggplant, pickled turnip, lettuce, tomatoes, tabouleh, hummus and tahini. I challenge all meat eaters to forego the chicken shawarma next time they eat middle eastern food and try this veggie alternative. It is to die for.
For dinner Saturday night, I brought my VERY good sport of a non-vegetarian boyfriend to Fresh on Bloor street. To start, we shared sweet potato fries and quinoa-battered onion rings with vegan garlic mayo to dip! These onion rings are thick! For dinner, he had a curried chickpea wrap (he didn't love it...I would have eaten it but he ordered it with cheese). I had the Beach bowl, which has really nicely marinated tofu steaks with avocado, sun dried tomatoes, roasted zuch and micro greens on soba noodles (pic above).
I am reluctant to admit this but....for dessert....I ordered a slice of soy chocolate cake, a cream-stuffed cupcake and a choco-lavender cupcake too. Don't worry, I only ate two of them that night. I saved the third for lunch the next day.
On Sunday, I FINALLY hit Panacea - Toronto's first and only all-vegan grocery store. My friends, I have been to heaven. Everything, and I mean everything a vegan wants to eat is there. All the best things that I can't get in North Bay were there - they even had DAIYA cheese! Normally they only allow one container per customer, but when I lamented my long drive from North Bay, they sold me two. I think they are the only place in Ontario selling Daiya in-store. Oh, and they carry some stuff from Sweets from the Earth Vegan Bakery. Best. Vegan. Sweets. Ever.
On the way home, we stopped in Muskoka and hit the Farmer's Daughter, where I always buy awesome egg-free pasta imported from Italy.
What a trip! Ancient history lesson, check. New dress, check. Romantic dinner for two, check. 2 per cent more body fat, check!
(Pic above - Chocolate Pecan Caramel by Sweets from the Earth)