Part 3: + 13 Lbs

This is the last post in the Toronto series – be sure to check out Part 1 and Part 2 first so you’re not entirely lost. But first, what do you think of the new look? I finally caved and signed up for Twitter to see what all the fuss was about. At least that’s what I tell most people. Secretly (well, not so secretly anymore), I did it so I could get free, round-the-clock comedy from my favourite comedians. If you’re reading Steve Martin (hahah yeah right): you are topical, delightfully literary (a rare feat when restricted to 140 characters), hilarious and I love you. I don’t care about the age difference, really. But back to my original point: I joined Twitter, felt empowered and “plugged-in”, and decided that One Lil’ Vegan needed a digital facelift. Hope you like it!

Back to our luscious Torontonian food. Sunday was beautiful and sunny, perfect for walking the streets of Toronto in search of food. You might think this is a set-up for a description of Toronto’s famous “street meat“, but alas, we didn’t partake on this trip. The veggie dogs and veggie fries AND GRAVY really are heavenly though, and I recommend them unreservedly (well, as long as you make sure the gravy’s ok beforehand – they’re not all vegan). Anyhoo, luckily we didn’t have to search far (you’re never far from anything in downtown Toronto). We found ourselves at Fresh, the other best-known veggie place in Toronto, and proceeded to eat our faces off. I had the best blueberry pancakes and herbed homefries EVAH, and the soy latte was pretty amazing as well. The only fault I could find was the floppy, rather lackluster tempeh bacon that could have been amazing if it had been cooked properly. Twice now in one short weekend I’ve had to suffer through undercooked tempeh/seitan, which is truly awful. These folks are professionals! They should know that the only good tempeh bacon is the crispy kind, and that anyone who knows tempeh bacon enough to order it will gladly wait the extra 2 minutes it takes to get a good crisp. I regret that I didn’t say anything to the server, though I think it was because I was hoping that this was a momentary lapse in judgement on the chef’s part, and that they don’t make a habit of serving soggy tempeh. I hope I’m right for the sake of tempeh bacon eaters everywhere.

We finally smartened up and skipped lunch, knowing what we had planned for Sunday night: a night in vegging in front of the Grammys (my sister had to check it out for work reasons – don’t ask). They were “interesting”, and I use the word interesting in the way folks use it when they can’t think of anything positive to say, but they don’t want to say something bad (e.g., “that painting is so interesting”). But what was on the menu, you ask? The non-vegans in the room got to have “gourmet” poutines from Smokes. For those of you who don’t know, Smokes is a fairly new phenomenon, bringing poutine made with delicious veggie gravy to the masses. The unfortunate thing is that it’s veggie, not vegan. Why, oh WHY haven’t they taken the simple step of removing the milk powder?! SMOKES PEOPLE, I have a request: please, please, please rethink the milk powder – you’ll make thousands of vegans very happy. Luckily for me there was a Thai restaurant called Pi-Tom right around the corner. The sticky rice with peanut sauce and subtly delicious pad se-ew (rice noodles with veggies, tofu and a soya sauce-based sauce — traditionally it comes with eggs but that’s an easy thing to omit) made me forget about the fragrant and decadent poutines that surrounded me (well, almost).

That’s it folks – the great, the good, and the “meh”. After all, nothing was bad (which is a pretty amazing feat); we just came across a few dishes that were poorly executed. That being said, I’ll spare you the details concerning my second and third VIA train meals (*shudder* it was a long train ride), though I’ll share a final lesson: VIA food is always bad, but it gets worse as the day wears on.

All in all, I’ve come home with a head full of ideas, inspired by the multitude of menus we perused over the weekend, and a heart full of love (and a little forgiveness) for Toronto’s chefs. I hope you’ve been inspired too, to either cook, travel or head out to that new restaurant you’ve been dying to try. Lil’Vegan out.

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