Monday, September 13, 2010

Toronto Vegetarian Restaurant Tour- Fresh

I had two awesome nights of vegan food. Was it possible for a third night? Was I really that lucky?

Day three had rolled around and this was turning out to be one of the best work trips I have ever taken. My group decided to have a dinner at the CN tower in downtown Toronto and invited me. I respectfully declined for two reasons. One, I get severe motion sickness. I once got motion sickness from standing on a boat dock on a calm lake. Two, how could I pass up the plethora of vegetarian places in the city? Carol, one of the people that I was working with, also did not want to go to the CN tower and asked if she could come with me to a vegetarian restaurant. She is not a vegetarian, but loves the food. I gladly accepted.

The next place on my list was Fresh, which was also within walking distance from the hotel. Carol and I headed out. On our walk, we decided that we would each try different menu options and split our food. When we arrived, the place was packed! It is always exciting to me to go to a vegetarian place that it full with people.
I had a good feeling about this place. There was one table left and Carol and I sat down and started the daunting task of deciding what to order. The menu was a bit overwhelming, just as the previous two nights had been. Carol tasked me with helping her decide what to pick as I was the "expert." Me, an expert?

I began reading over the menu and realized that almost everything on the menu was vegan and those dishes that were not could easily be made vegan. To help our decision process, we decided to go with the "Prix Fix" menu. We got to pick a juice or smoothie, a starter, entree, and a sweet. Let's break it down.

We each picked our drink. I chose a drink called "all green" which contained cucumber, celery, parsley, kale, ginger, and lemon. Carol choose a drink called "antioxidant" which contained pomegranate, blueberry, and banana. Carol loved her smoothie. She thought it was refreshing. My juice was interesting. I did not feel like or dislike for the juice, it just tasted healthy.

Next it was on to the starter. I chose the spring rolls filled with rice vermicelli noodles, mushrooms, cilantro, carrot, and dipping sauce. Carol chose curried chick pea dosas filled with curried chick peas and vegetables. She also decided to get a side order of quinoa-battered onion rings. The dosas and the spring rolls were excellent, but the onion rings were amazing! They had the perfect amount of crunch on the outside and sweet, soft onion on the inside. I had never had an onion ring like this before it was the best onion ring I have ever dined on and quite possibly the best onion ring in the world. I am not kidding! Carol agreed.

I was not sure anything could live up to the start of the meal. As we finished up our appetizers, our main entrees came out. I ordered the buddha on brown basmati rice. The dish came with a Thai peanut sauce on marinated tofu cubes, tomato, cilantro, cucumber, bean sprouts, chopped peanuts, herbs, and spices. Carol ordered enegry on soba noodles. Her dish came with marinated tofu cubes, coconut curry sauce, chick pea and vegetable stew, cucumber, tomato, red onion, sunflower sprouts, and tahini sauce. I took one bite of mine and my mouth instantly was delighted by the peanut sauce. I love peanut sauce, but this was the best peanut sauce I had ever tasted. I could not figure out what was different about it, but I did not want to stop eating. Carol's dish was delicious. The flavors worked wonderful together. I liked hers, but I liked mine even more. I could not get enough of that sauce! I was full before I could finish and decided to take the rest to the hotel for breakfast the next day (they boxed up my food in a compostable container!). I could hardly wait for breakfast, it was going to be awesome.

As if the meal so far was not enough, we still had dessert on the way! Carol said that I could have her dessert as she was staying off of sweets. Could this day get any better? All of the dessert choices were vegan. Score! I picked one cashew chunk and one chocolate chunk cookie. I was too full to enjoy them at dinner, so I also took them back to the hotel for later. I could hardly wait for later. Well, later came around and I decided to try the cashew chunk cookie. I took one bite and yet again, I was in heaven! I had never had a cashew cookie before, but could easily say that this was in the top five best cookies I have ever had. It was made with cashew butter! Hello- cashew butter on its own is heavenly, but cashew butter in a cookie? I think I found the definition of bliss! The chocolate chunk cookie was also divine. Nothing could compare to the cashew cookie though.

The verdict. I am not sure I could have liked this meal any better. Like I said, I think I found the definition of bliss. I had so many bests at dinner this night. The best onion ring I have ever had, the best peanut sauce, and the best cashew cookie. Mind you, these were all vegan and my comparison went back even to the non-vegan versions of these foods. So, even compared to the non-vegan counterparts these options were worlds better. I say this because so many people think that vegan food is lacking in taste. The key word is "think" here. I might write to this restaurant and beg them to come to North Carolina,

No comments: