Friday, August 27, 2010

Vegan in Toronto: Everything Else (with footnotes)

tofu wrap at C'est What

I just wanted to wrap up these Toronto posts so we can move on into the future next week. Because why dwell on the past, really? This post is just a mish mash of the other noteable vegan adventures that were had.

Above, you'll see a tofu veggie wrap from C'est What on Front Street. C'est What has been there for about a million years. As soon as we sat down my mom said the last time she'd been there was taking me and and friend to see another friend play music when I was too young to go to bars unchaperoned. I remember it well. Because of that particular night, I spent a lot of my teenage years dreaming about hanging out in bars like C'est What with my Perfect Musician Boyfriend*. C'est What is also featured as a setting in the novel that I wrote, though I don't think I mention it by name. So really, that place occupies more space in my imagination than almost anywhere else in Toronto.

C'est What has a surprisingly excellent vegetarian section on its menu. My mom had quesedillas and I had a vegan tofu veggie wrap. The last time I was there, when the Man of Science and I came to Toronto for his cousin's wedding, I had the lentil stew, which was so delicious it lives on in my memory to this day. My sandwich this time was surprisingly good, and I say surprisingly because generally I do not enjoy a) wraps, and b) roasted vegetable sandwiches. The tofu in this sandwich was immensely flavourful and the vegetables were cooked perfectly**.

I should have taken a few more photos of the interior of the restaurant because it is supremely cosy. There is a fireplace with a circle of cushioned benches around it that would be the perfect place to drink pints in the winter. Thumbs up for that. I would happily return the next time I'm in Toronto and in search of a hearty, health lunch.


On Saturday night we went to a play starring Lois Lane, Paige Michaelchuk, and the Philadelphia Cream Cheese Angel (Margo Kidder, Lauren Collins and Linda Kash, respectively), which was excellent. Because the play was at the Panasonic Theatre on Yonge Street, I thought Fresh on Bloor would be a good choice for dinner.

Does anyone else still refer to Fresh as "Juice For Life"? I don't know when they changed the name, but I always call it Juice For Life and everyone seems to know what I'm talking about.*** But my mom was confused when we walked into a restaurant called Fresh when I had been talking about going somewhere called Juice For Life.

Whatever you call it, what I like about Fresh is how consistent it is. The food is never mind blowingly creative, but it is always good. The menu is large enough to not be boring, but it's also comforting that it never really changes. I usually try to pick something different each time I go. This time I got "The Powerhouse" (pictured above) which was tasty and full of protein, which is nice when you're traveling and not sure where your next tofu is coming from.

Mom had chicpea dosas from the appetizer menu and the portion was generous enough to be a light meal. She liked it very much. It's also worth mentioning that the restaurant was really packed and crazy, but the service was still prompt and attentive. And they had more than one dessert to choose from. I got a chocolate lavender cupcake, which you may recognize from my new blog header. It was a really good cupcake. Not dry or flavourless like so many cupcakes out there in the world. It was actually the perfect dessert because it was sweet enough to be a treat, but not too sweet and not too big. So it didn't cancel out the good feelings related to the healthy dinner.

chocolate lavender

One other Toronto item to report, not food related but quite exciting. While poking around The Bay with my mom on Friday, I accidentally found a pair of vegan boots!

non-leather boots

My problem with a lot of non-leather shoes and boots is that it can be hard to find ones that are comfortable and well-made. Anyone can get their unbreathable vinyl boots from Payless, but please. I am a person who was dumb enough to spend the first half of my life wearing Chuck Taylor sneakers every day and as a result I can no longer wear cheap shoes without wrecking my neck and back. Fun! Anyway, these boots are made my Browns, and they are comfortable and well-made and they don't make my feet feel terrible. And no cows were harmed in the making of them, so that's good too. Win win!


*Who never really materialized. Imperfect Musician Boyfriends, well, they were readily available.

**Anyone else unable to hear that phrase without it being in Gordon Ramsey's voice?

***In a similar vein, last night Adam and his cousin Andrea and I were discussing a vegetarian restaurant in Ottawa that is now called "Perfection, Satisfaction, Promise" (gag) but used to be "The Painted Potato". As a result of this, people who've lived in Ottawa for a long time usually refer to the place with some kind of mash up of those two names, my favourite being my friend Fiona's version: "Peace, Love, and Potato".

This Time Last Year: Vegan Polenta and Green Tomato Salsa


Laura said...

Oh, I miss Toronto! I call it Juice for Life - didn't know it changed. I also didn't know C'est What was still around. That was a haunt during highschool/university some 20 (cough cough) years ago. Loved this post, and the nostalgia. Thanks. :)

Kat said...

I still call it Juice For Life...I have a hard time remembering it is now called "Fresh". Plus the one on Spadina that I used to go to is right by a grocery store with the same name. Confusing?!

The last time I ate at Fresh/JFL I had the powerhouse (what I always get). Oh, also, I totally embarrassed Ole by crying throughout our lunch as I explained to him how disappointed I was in him and his "wife" for shutting us out and that having a kid with autism is really fucking hard and it would be so wonderful if he stepped up to the plate and participated in my life. I didn't see him for a whole year after that. Huh.

ciaochow said...

I fell in love with it when it was Juice for Life on Queen St. Now I have switched and call it Fresh. On Friday I had the Green Goddess bowl and there was just no room leftover for that chocolate lavender cupcake. Darn.

Perfection, Satisfaction, Promise. Gag indeed. The Painted Potato was such a cute name.

tweal said...

I've still never been to Perfection, Satisfaction, Promise - hopefully one day soon.

Nice boots. It is hard to find well made shoes that aren't leather, but sometimes Winners has some great deals.

Ok I think I said this before but I really really really need to get to Toronto so I can eat at all these fabulous places you keep mentioning. Well, and to shop. Of course.

HayMarket8 said...

Toronto seems to have a lot of options! very cool. That cupcake looks pretty awesome!

Jessica @ Lima's Vegan Kitchen said...

Looks like you made out well!

Pauline said...

"Perfection, Satisfaction, Promise" (gag) but used to be "The Painted Potato".

Why did they change the name? New owners? I've never been there but would like to try it. :)

P.S. I like your boots! It can be hard to find vegan alternatives to belts, shoes and purses that are well made and not too crazy expensive!

Kara said...

Hey! You're linked on the website (for the Toronto Vegetarian Association). Your blog title isn't right, but the link works. Cool!

Right on the homepage.

awesomeveganrad said...

i've enjoyed your toronto posts! i've never been to canada, but it's nice to know that if i ever end up in toronto, i'll have plenty of vegan options that look pretty rad.

Melisser; the Urban Housewife said...

I want to go to Toronto! Cute boots.

XUP said...

I love C'est What? My best friend and I used to hang out there pretending we were cosmopolitan when we first moved to the big city after university. I usually try to squeeze in a visit there when I'm in town, too. Ahhhh...fond memories...

Lesley said...

Dude! The painted potato changed it's name again! I was just by there a couple weeks ago. It's something super wavey davey but I don't remember what.
Anyhow. I wonder if they still make that awesome mushroom gravy... I haven't been back since I managed to get the recipe from a friend.

Anonymous said...

found your site on today and really liked it.. i bookmarked it and will be back to check it out some more later