Do you ever travel to cities or countries and your main priority is food?
This happens to me when we go to our old home – Toronto, Canada.
Toronto’s Downtown Entertainment District is home to a cluster of vegan and vegetarian restaurants – not what you expect from the Canadian culture of eating poutine, hot dogs, ribs and burgers!
I walked past Fresh on Spadina every time I went to pilates and yoga. It would take all my strength not to go in an undo all the good work I’d done for the day at the studio.
On our most recent trip to Canada, we stayed with family out in the deep suburbs (it almost gives me shivers to type the words “deep suburbs”), far, far away from downtown. All I wanted was one day or night downtown to get some of the food I so badly missed from Fresh.
Finally, we trekked into downtown from the deep ‘burbs. It was 35 degrees Celsius; unseasonably hot in Toronto for Fall. To me, this was heaven, and I was happy to be seated outside on the patio at Fresh. Most of the sensible Torontonians were inside, however, and the restaurant was abuzz with chatter.
North Nomad is not fond of vegan food whatsoever, but can usually find something on a vegan or vegetarian breakfast or drinks menu so that he doesn’t make me self conscious eating alone at a restaurant while he sits opposite me! On this occasion, he orders the Rainbow Fruit Smoothie, 16 oz. It arrives, and it’s ENORMOUS – which is a good thing on this stinking hot day. It’s a pretty shade, and made with raspberry, orange, banana, strawberry, and blueberry. It’s a healthy, filling, and refreshing drink which North Nomad finishes in its entirety.
I ignore my waistline, and order a starter, a vegan friendly local beer, and a “bowl” as a main – all for myself! The quinoa coated onion rings are a thing of beauty, the likes of which I’ve never had anywhere else. It’s a large starter, which would be good shared between 2-4 people, but I remind myself I don’t know when I’ll get a chance to eat these again, and eat the entire serve while I drink my beer. I am not one to waste food! They are piping hot and deliciously crispy. Still the best onion rings I’ve ever had.
My main arrives, with extra house-made hot sauce. I do recommend using the hot sauce with any bowl. It’s spicy and delicious, and adds an extra layer of complexity to bowl dishes. I’ve chosen the Tiger Bowl, as I can’t go past Fresh’s crispy tofu cubes. Keeping in mind my quinoa rings and beer, I ask the waiter for a size recommendation. I’m glad I’ve gone with his suggestion of a baby size, as it’s still big enough for me! With grilled napa cabbage, crispy tofu cubes, Fresh’s 3*6*9 dressing, chili oil, red peppers, whole roasted cashews, sesame seeds & green onions layered on a choice of brown basmati rice or soba noodles, it’s a hearty and flavoursome dish.
Usually I’d finish off with a vegan dessert, but I am STUFFED. Until we meet again, Fresh…!
Location: 147 Spadina Avenue, Toronto, Canada.
Other Toronto locations: 326 Bloor Street West, 894 Queen Street West, and 90 Eglinton Avenue East.