Friday, September 9, 2011

Raw on the Road: London and Toronto, take 2

Whether you're from there or just visiting, everyone knows that London is a pretty conservative town. Generally, conservative town = not super vegan friendly. Every time we go there, I tend to kind of forget about that, probably out of some sort of denial. However, if you know where to look, there are a fair number of organic and veg-friendly options. Especially if you choose to go the DIY route, their health food stores stock some very decent options: downtown London hosts the London Food Co-op, Wortley Village's Quarter Master Natural Foods, and the East End has Lyn-Dys (they are a bit pricier).

Even more exciting, we discovered Organic Works' new location, a mostly vegan and gluten-free bakery and cafe for all your yummy bread/baked good needs. We even got to meet the owner, Peter, who took us on a quick tour of the bakery! A foodie's dream come true! (If you're not in London, you can still find their stuff in most cities in the province and I would definitely recommend you try them!)

Restaurant-wise, you're pretty much limited to Veg Out, and while I'm grateful for the option, I'm honestly not crazy about the place. I always leave the place thinking "meh, that was nice" in the way I know I do when my options are slim and I'm making the best of it. Maybe I've been spoiled by the veg-friendliness of Ottawa and DC, maybe I just have a snobby palate, or maybe they're honestly simply not that great, who knows.

Despite that, we did manage to take a few friends and family members out there this week, so I'll leave it to pictures to tell you how it went:
The first night out, I had their raw collard roll appetizers "filled" with a date-nut mix, veggies and a really nice spicy cilantro chili lime sauce. While I know it was just a starter, the rolls had so little filling in them, that I was still pretty starved. To make up for it, I partook of a bit of Andrew's sweet potato corn soup featured in the background (then munched on more veggies when we went home).
Andrew raved about his chickpea-nut burger, which he got with sweet potato wedges. He also got me a side of raw coleslaw I loved so much that I scarfed it down before it was photographed. He also got it the second night we were there with some pretty fantastic sweet potato cornbread.
I wasn't willing to go hungry again that second night, so I opted for their tempeh BLT sans bread and over a bed of greens instead. I was really grateful they obliged but the tempeh was super salty (and remember, I like salt)!

Once again, were it not for Veg Out, we'd have nowhere to eat out in London, but meh. The one thing they do do really well are sides, their raw coleslaw, wedges and cornbread are amazing. So brownie points for effort and side dishes for sure!

The non-plussed feeling I got from London motivated us to add a couple extra hours to our return trip to go back to Toronto's Live on our way back home today. Just like the first time, it was soooo worth it. This time, we actually had the chance to eat there, and enjoyed some time on their back patio.

Andrew started with a pretty wicked protein smoothie with all sorts of superfoods (bee pollen, spirulina, maca, etc) and a kombucha.
Then I had the most fantastic curry noodle bowl, which included my beloved kelp noodles, peas, tomatoes, spicy almonds, green coconut curry and micro greens. I could seriously have eaten ten bowls of this... Actually, I did get another order to go for dinner tomorrow! I already can't wait...
Andrew had their raw tacos, which made for deliciously messy finger food. I was pretty impressed by them too!
I think Live is easily my favorite raw food restaurant in Canada as of yet. Obvious deliciousness aside, my top reason for loving them most is that their food has never left me feeling overfilled or draggy, like many other raw restaurants have. The latter often tend to be heavily nut-based or less optimally food-combined than Live. Plus, everything there is perfectly portioned, so fresh, and the staff is always really friendly. Truly a vibrant living food experience!

And of course, no epic restaurant outing is complete without desert. We tried their raw tiramisu, which may have actually been one of the best tiramisus in my life. It even beat many versions of the real deal. I'm not even usually a raw desert person:
On that note, we've been sitting on the bus for 8 hours now and just got to our final destination! We're home! Yay! Have a great weekend!

3 comments:

  1. Hi  there,  I live in London,  and I know just how hard it is to find vegan options.
    Two other restaurants you could try are  Zen Gardens and Jambalya. They are both  Vegan!

    ReplyDelete
  2. Thanks so much for the heads up! I'll definitely check those out when we're there next time :) I always like having more options!

    ReplyDelete
  3. Okay, this is about the 8th time I've read about "Live" in the last month!  The next time I go to Canada, hitting that restaurant is going to be my PRIORITY!  Especially after this shining review of yours... So glad you had a nice trip, Chantal! :)

    ReplyDelete