Archive for the ‘$$’ Category

Flying Apron (Seattle)

Vegan-friendly

Cuisine: Bakery
Tofu puffs: 3.5 out of 5
Price range: $$
Time visited: Once
Location: 3510 Fremont Ave North (between N 35th Street and N 36th Street)
Hours:  Monday to Wednesday, 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.; Thursday to Sunday, 7 a.m. to 8 p.m.
Contact: (206) 442-1115
Website: http://www.flyingapron.com/

Flying Apron - OutsideWe have to admit that the last time we visited Seattle, we skipped the Flying Apron. This was entirely due to us having read several reviews in which patrons complained about the so-called dubious quality of the bakery’s goods. Now, this was three years ago. We’ve no idea if Flying Apron has improved spoon over spatula since then or if it was always good. It’s possible that the negative reviews were from peeps who simply didn’t know what to expect of gluten-free baking.

We will also admit that it was really silly of us to have avoided Flying Apron. It’s good, you should go there, and you’ll probably end up staying a while. They have free WiFi too, so if you’re not the people-watching patio-sitting type you’ll definitely appreciate cosying up with a tea and a cookie and your laptop at one of their indoor vintage tables.

As with our review of Mighty-O Donuts, we say that Flying Apron is vegan-friendly, not 100% vegan, because they offer cow’s milk for those patrons who would like it in their coffee and tea. For those of us who would rather not drink cow’s milk, there’s the more palatable options of soy, rice, and almond milks available. Their delicious feast of offerings include sweets, savouries, soups, salads, and house-made breads that are all vegan and entirely gluten-free.

Chocolate Chip Cookie - Flying Apron

Chocolate Chip Cookie

Since we were still pretty full from breakfast the morning we visited Flying Apron, we indulged in just two treats: the pecan cinnamon roll and the chocolate chip cookie. Usually it’s pretty tough for us to judge a place having tried only a few of their foodstuffs. But the roll and the cookie were more than good enough to make it certain that the next time we’re in town Flying Apron will be at the top of our to-visit list.

The chocolate chip cookie, made from brown rice flour and potato starch, had a great crispness and held together much better than other gluten-free cookies we’ve had. Not everyone likes their cookies crisp, but this particular cookie has great dunking potential. It didn’t have that home-made taste, as if it had been made in your own kitchen. It did, however, have all the taste of a well-made bakery-bought cookie that was worth every penny we paid for it.

As for the pecan cinnamon roll, it was denser than we would have liked due to the chickpea flour used in the dough. This denseness wasn’t really a bad thing at all; it’s just a result of the nature of the gluten-free ingredients that were used. In retrospect, we had no idea there was any chickpea flour at all in the roll, and this is something we would usually notice (chickpea flour has a flavour neither of us is fond of). The roll was toothsome and had the perfect smattering of pecans and icing sugar. And it held together just as well as the cookie while having a perfectly moist crumb, which you might know is a bit of a feat if you’ve ever tried to bake gluten-free.

Pecan Cinnamon Roll - Flying Apron

Pecan Cinnamon Roll

We also tried their coffee and ordered a soy mocha latte. The beans Flying Apron uses are from the Ballard-based Seven Coffee Roasters. While we’re not sure if it was the chocolate syrup or soy used in the drink or the way the barista made it, the coffee was regrettable. It lacked almost any coffee taste and was pretty weak. We’re sure this can’t be what their coffee is usually like, because a lot of people in the bakery were happily knocking back cups of it.

At the moment we give Flying Apron a hopeful 3.5 out of 5 tofu puffs because we’ve been there just once. We’re sure the next time we visit the bakery will get an enthusiastic 4 out of 5 puffs.

Hillside Quickie (Seattle)

100% vegan

Cuisine: American
Tofu puffs: 3 out of 5
Price range: $$
Time visited: Twice
Location: 4106 Brooklyn Street (@ NE 41st Street)
Hours: Monday, 12 to 5 p.m.; Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday, 12 to 7 p.m. (brunch served Saturdays from 12 to 4 p.m. only); closed Thursdays and Sundays.
Contact: 206-632-3037
Website: http://www.hillsidequickie.com/

Hillside Quickie - OutsideHillside Quickie is easily the greasiest greasy spoon we’ve ever been to, vegan or not.

Having first visited the Quickie location in the U-District in the fall of 2008, we recently returned for a second chow-down with eager expectations. Our memories of the towering sammiches seemed almost legendary, and the moment we walked in it seemed that not a thing had changed.

For those of you who cringe at less than sparkling prep spaces in restaurant kitchens, we’d advise you not to look to closely at the grill behind the counter at Hillside Quickie ’cause it is greasy, lemme tell ya. (And if you’re bothered by this kind of thing, well, you’re probably not reading this or any other restaurant reviews anyway.) The thing is, there are some places where the all the hoity toity stuff like decor and crisp table linens matter less than the food. When the Spoonies visit a greasy spoon, we don’t expect it to be pristine.

Where the food is concerned, you’d better be plenty hungry when you visit. The servings are as generously sized as they are (sometimes) oily, and even we have been hard-pressed to finish our meals. It may even be a good idea to split a sandwich or a sub with a friend, ’cause not only will your lunch be cheaper but you’ll avoid feeling a bit sick like we have after making our way through just half of a sammie.

Hillside Quickie - InsideThe mac & yease, served as a rather pricey $4.99 side order, is amazing. If you can get past its wee bit of oiliness, that is. We’ve thought long and hard as to how it’s made since it’s one of the best we’ve ever tried. Looking at it, the lumpy sauce doesn’t look at all appetizing. It doesn’t even taste like the typical mac & cheese most vegans are looking to recreate. But as soon as this onion-laden comfort food hits our mouths, the sauce melts into a perfectly creamy, lip-smacking medley of flavours reminiscent of a comfort food-like casserole. There are several other interesting sides we haven’t tried yet, like the Hush Puppies and the Many Types of Fries – apparently there is a fry menu that has somehow escaped our notice during both visits. We can, however, vouch for the delicious and perfectly seasoned potato salad frequently layered in the shop’s sammies, which is also available for purchase in to-go containers.

Although there are burritos, salads, burgers, wraps, and dinner entrées on the menu, we go to Quickie’s for the sammies. Amongst the offerings we’ve tried are the Freemont Philly Sub, the TLT with Tofustrami, the Seitan Sandwich, and the Flaming BBQ Burger. The sandwiches and burgers cost between $7.99 and $8.99, which, without any added side dishes, makes for a decent and moderately priced meal.

The TLT Tofustrami - Hillside Quickie

The TLT Tofustrami

In a cooler near the entrance, there are tasty-looking pizza slices wrapped up for take-out. And, if you find yourself totally enamoured with the tofu, tempeh, and seitan used in many of the shop’s creations, they’re all available for purchase by the pound to take home with you. On Saturdays only, several tempting brunch dishes are available at the U-District location. Most of the options are savoury, though there is a Waffle Sundae on offer, which seems over the top with its sides of mac & yease and country fried “steak”.

While they have great flavour, our main complaint about the sammies is that the grilled bread slices are often way too oily. On our second visit, the bread quickly fell apart once we tried to pick up the sandwich halves. This is mostly because there is so much stuff piled into the sandwiches, including entire Romaine lettuce leaves folded in half. Our hands, and faces, ended up covered in mayo, crumbs, and oil. Also, the seitan is also pretty oily too, though it has a good texture that isn’t too chewy. And we think the creamy, rich mayo is house-made since it has pretty much no salt or other seasonings in it that we can taste.

If we lived in Seattle, we have to admit that Hillside Quickie is not a place we’d frequent too often. The oiliness of the food makes it far too rich to eat very much of it, though it is a place with food that must be tried. We enjoyed our first visit more than the second, though we might go back when we’re craving really greasy spoon-style food.

The Seitan Sandwich with Mac & Yease - Hillside Quickie

The Seitan Sandwich with Mac & Yease

Hillside Quickie 2008

The Freemont Philly Sub (back) and the Flaming BBQ Burger with mac & yease (front), November 2008 (Stephen Hui)

Bandidas Taquiera

Vegan-friendly

Cuisine: Vegetarian
Tofu puffs: 3 out of 5
Price range: $$
Times visited: 5
Location: 2781 Commercial Drive, Vancouver
Hours: Sunday to Thursday, 10 a.m. – 11 p.m.; Friday & Saturday, 10 a.m. – Midnight; Brunch daily until 3:00 p.m.
Contact: http://bandidastaqueria.com/

Veganized Huevas Rancheras - Bandidas

Veganized Huevas Rancheras

We first discovered Bandidas back in early 2009, a few months after they first opened their doors on the Drive. After having discovered a huge number of vegan-friendly brunches in Portland, we were pretty darn excited to find out about an all-vegetarian Mexican-style brunch spot right here in Vancouver.  Be warned, however, that if it’s the weekend and you have your heart set on brunch, you’d better show up when they open or be prepared to wait awhile (and maybe even wait outside, regardless of the weather).  Bandidas’ is immensely popular and is nearly always packed, especially on the weekends.

There are quite a few brunch spots in the city, though not too many of them are all that vegan friendly or offer decent vegan options. (Yes, we know about The Perch, and of their vegan brunches – we plan to check them out very soon.) Unlike many brunch spots we’ve been to both in and outside of Vancouver, Bandidas is one of only a very few that offers brunch 7 days a week. This is pretty fantastic since anyone visiting Vancouver can be assured of having a warm and satisfied belly any day of the week.

Vegan French Toast with sausages and bacon - Bandidas

Vegan French Toast with Yves sausages and bacon

For vegans, pretty much any dish on the brunch menu can be veganized, with eggs being replaced by a butternut squash and organic tofu scramble and Yves veggie bacon strips and sausages available as side orders. They also use Daiya in any dishes that call for cow’s milk cheese. We’ve tried their Huevas Rancheras, The Hicks Benny, and the Breakfast Burrito, most of which are all delicious and all made using fresh, house-crafted corn tortillas.

The best thing of all about Bandidas is that they have not one but two explicitly vegan options on their brunch menu: The Vegan, a scrambled tofu plate with veggies, pinto beans, and ranchera sauce, and Vegan French Toast.  While we have had better French toast elsewhere, we’ll take the French toast at Bandidas since it’s all we can get in Vancouver. (Again with The Perch – we’ve heard they *might* have a vegan French toast option at their Saturday brunches, and if they do, we’ll let you know.)

Bandidas used to craft an almost amazing house-made vegan sour cream, which we would have liked even more if it weren’t for the fact that they used a vanilla-flavoured soy milk to make it.  We’re told that the recipe was difficult to make consistently, and now they use a pureed tofu and lemon juice sour cream with their vegan offerings.  They also offer honey butter for their vegetarian customers, with an so-so vegan alternative being made with margarine and sugar.  Even though the servers at Bandidas are pretty quick to make the switch between vegan and non-vegan condiments, be sure to ask for the vegan “honey” butter when you order corn bread (yes, the corn bread is vegan too!).

Breakfast Burritos with Daiya - Bandidas

Breakfast Burritos with Daiya

Brunch aside, Bandidas also offers tempting lunch and dinner options.  They’re fully licensed, featuring a bar stocked with several local wines and brews. For the teetotalers and straight edgers, there are organic teas, organic coffees, and virgin drinks, including our favourite: Ella’s lemonade, served in a mason jar just like many of their other beverages.

We like their Los GLD nachos so much that Bandidas’ creation has forever changed how we make nachos at home.  We’ll admit that we haven’t been to there so often for lunch or dinner, though we have had the Ronny Russel and the Leona Gayle hand tacos. We have to confess that we like the hand tacos at La Taqeria better, although the hand tacos at Bandidas are decent nonetheless.

One of our only complaints with Bandidas is about the Mexican rice that accompanies the tacos and enchiladas.  Every time we’ve had it both the rice and the garlic used in the rice have tasted something akin to stale. We’re not sure if this has changed since we’re pretty hesitant to try anything with the rice in it again.

There used to be a much-coveted window table with two rocking chairs.  Sadly, the rocking chairs are no more, though additional seating has been added in the already cozy restaurant. There is also bar seating available with a view of the kitchen. And, Bandidas is kid-friendly!  There’s even a ramshackle bookshelf by the entrance with various papers, magazines, puzzles, story books and novels for both adults and kids.

The Vegan - Bandidas

The Vegan

Another thing we really appreciate about Bandidas is their love of bike culture. With an oft-crammed bike rack out front and vintage bike decor in the restaurant, Bandidas rides the sustainable line by using pedal power in lieu of a company car or truck. Although we haven’t yet seen it yet, they’re said to have a custom-built bike trailer they use to transport the restaurant’s food and equipment. And if you don’t ride a bike, Bandidas is easy to get to by bus or Sky Train.

Because Bandidas’ has a fairly small kitchen, their made-to-order food can sometimes take a bit of time to arrive at the table. Be patient with the servers, who are amazing in handling a very busy bunch of tables. They’ve always been nice, and are really good about checking to see if you’re happy and that you have everything you need.

Bandidas is the only place that gives us a reason to be up and out of the house before 10 a.m. on a Sunday and travel all the way across town with growling bellies. We hope they’re here for a long time to come, and to this we have to say ¡Bandidas de larga viva Taqeria!

Muffintop Corn Bread - Bandidas

Muffintop Corn Bread

 

Sejuiced

Vegan-friendly

Cuisine: Vegetarian
Tofu puffs: 2.5 out of 5
Price range: $$
Time visited: Nearly a dozen
Location: 1958 West 4th Avenue, Vancouver
Hours: Sunday & Monday, 9:00am – 6:00pm; Tuesday to Saturday, 9:00am – 8:00pm
Contact: http://www.sejuicedvancouver.com/

Outside Sejuiced

Sejuiced

You might be asking why we’ve been to Sejuiced so many times if we’re giving it only 2.5 tofu puffs? Well, because it’s so close to our apartment it’ll do the trick for when we’re really busy or simply too lazy to cook. After all, Sejuiced is better than some restos we’ve been to, vegan or not.

Having frequented a similar restaurant in Toronto called Fresh, at first we were excited to find Sejuiced. With some of the same items on its menu that Fresh has (and maybe not so coincidentally the same names for a few of the smoothies Fresh used to serve), Sejuiced seemed like it had promise. And really, it’s a pretty good place to go if you’re looking for simple, healthy food (minus the cheese, eggs, honey, and milk they also serve). Our appreciation of Sejuiced went up a few points recently when we discovered they were offering the one vegan cheese that could launch a thousand grilled sammies – Daiya cheese! But if you’ve ever been to Fresh, then you’ll have to knock down your expectations a few notches, because Sejuiced just isn’t there yet in both quality and tastiness.

To preempt the stuff we’re not so keen on, we’ll start with what we do like about Sejuiced. If you’re on the go and have nary a crumb for breakfast, their scrambled tofu breakfast wrap is delicious and filling (just beware of the ketchup – they make their own and put honey in it too).  Their burgers, like the Thai burger, are decent, especially if you’ve overloaded on sweets and other junk and have a craving for something that won’t make your insides groan with revolt. Their Power House yogi bowl is good, though it could use a bit more sauce over the brown rice. The grilled cheese and veggie sandwich is delicious with Daiya (remember to ask for vegan cheese instead of the cow’s milk cheese), and it’s perfect on a rainy day with a side of steamy soup.

Inside Sejuiced

Inside Sejuiced

Now, the biggest issue we’ve had with Sejuiced is the chalkboard and print menus. For some time after we started visiting there, there were no print menus that we ever saw, only a chalkboard menu. This means we never knew to avoid the ketchup in the scrambled tofu wrap. Of course, now that we know, we order the wrap sans the honey. However, we wish that they’d just get a ketchup without honey. We’re pretty certain it isn’t so hard to find a supplier with a decent vegan ketchup. Making this change would mean that a few more of the menu items could be vegan. Be sure to check out the print menu for items marked vegan, as the chalkboard menu is not marked as such and can be misleading. Also, a few of the smoothies have honey or other non-vegan ingredients in them, so be sure to read through the ingredients and ask to have your smoothie made vegan-style.

Another issue we have with Sejuiced is the salads that accompany the burgers. There aren’t any fries on the menu, which is actually a refreshing departure from standard menu fare. Instead, Sejuiced pairs their burgers with a too simple baby greens salad with a few slivers of sweet bell pepper and a Green Goddess-style dressing that seems like it has a little too much apple juice in it. We’ve been to far too many restos where the “salad” offered is a very sorry excuse for something that could so easily be better. And while Sejuiced steers clear of the dreaded iceberg lettuce salad, they really could benefit from putting a little bit more effort into their greens, as well as offer at least one other kind of salad dressing for those who aren’t into the sweetness of their current dressing.

Power House Yogi Bowl - Sejuiced

Power House Yogi Bowl

The menu offerings are pretty simple. There are rice bowls, wraps, soups, sandwiches, breakfast items, and desserts from local purveyors such as the lemon-vanilla Chi Cake created by Alan Munro, the rich chocolate-covered bliss balls and hearts from Sweet Cherubim on Commercial Drive, as well as a chocolaty Nanaimo Bar. There’s never been anything vegan on the menu we haven’t liked, though there is virtually nothing Sejuiced offers that couldn’t be made at home and likely for a cheaper cost. But the appeal is that Sejuiced makes everything for you, and if you’re not inclined to cooking in the first place, then you’ll appreciate what they have to offer.

As you can see from the photos here, there is seating for two at a bar table just outside the front window of the restaurant. The inside is very small with seating for a maximum of 14 people.  And there’s not too much line up or waiting room for those waiting for takeout.  Luckily, we’ve never seen it so busy at Sejuiced that we’ve had to wait for a table, and many people seem to be content with taking their orders to go.

If you happen to find yourself out and about on 4th Avenue with a grumbling tummy, then head over to Sejuiced for some nourishing, uncomplicated food.

(Oh, and we appologize for the lack of food photos – as it often happens we forget to take pictures of something before we eat it.)

Vegetable Soup with Grilled Daiya and Veggie Sammich

Vegetable Soup with Grilled Daiya and Veggie Sammich

Dharma Kitchen

100% vegan

Cuisine: Asian
Tofu puffs: 3.5 out of 5
Price range: $$
Time visited: Several
Location: 3667 West Broadway, Vancouver, BC V6R 2B8
Hours: 7 days a week, noon to 10 p.m.
Contact: 604-738-3899

Dharma Kitchen

Dharma Kitchen.

You know how some restaurants play their music so darn loud you almost can’t hear yourself talking to your friends? Dharma Kitchen is definitely not that kind of place. It’s a humble little space that doesn’t seem like it has much going on. In fact, if you’ve never been there, it’s unassuming facade can make it easy to miss. But, as the saying goes, never judge a book by its cover. Well, most of the time anyway. And this is very much the case for Dharma Kitchen. Hidden behind the modest blue exterior is an inviting, tranquil atmosphere. This tranquility is embodied by the very polite and attentive staff. Yeah, the place looks a little tatty, but simply put Dharma Kitchen is like a warm, fuzzy blanket, especially on drizzly, chilly Vancouver evenings, when all we wanna do is hibernate.

Dharma Kitchen differs from many Buddhist eateries in that its fare is not the typical Chinese cuisine laden with mock meats. And it uses both onions and garlic, unlike most strictly Buddhist eateries. The simple Thai-inspired menu offers rice bowls, burgers, salads, soups, fresh juice cocktails and smoothies, hot beverages, and a few desserts. It’s not fancy food, but the simplicity is quite refreshing if you’re someone who gets overwhelmed or indecisive when there’s too many options on a menu. And the prices are reasonable as well. A typical meal for two with entrees and chai will cost less than $30, including taxes and a 15% tip.

Indochine Bowl

The Indochine Bowl with miso gravy.

So, what about the food? Honestly, it might not knock the socks off most people. In fact, it could be said that The Naam has better comfort food than Dharma Kitchen, that is if you like your table grimy, your servers a tad disinterested, and your food run-of-the-mill. But Dharma Kitchen offers comfort food that is prepared with care and attention. That’s more than obvious when you finish your meal and, for a brief moment, feel serene and as if all is right with the world. Well, that’s how we’ve felt anyway. A bonus is that, like the Naam, Dharma Kitchen is one of those places you can bring a meat-eater to and they’ll probably leave just as pleased with their dinner as you are.

We highly suggest beginning your meal with a large steamy cup of their delicious soy chai. Like any masala chai worth its name, the Dharma Kitchen’s chai is perfectly spiced black pepper with a bit of lemongrass. Yes, we said black pepper and lemongrass. Never mind how weird that sounds. Just try it. We’ll bet you won’t be disappointed.

The appetizers, such as the Tamarind Soup, Dharma Miso Soup, and the garlic and lemongrass sauteed mushrooms are also light but tasty. They’re the perfect size to keep you from totally gorging on the main course, though we can say that, along with a drink and main course, getting an appetizer pretty much means no room for dessert. This is fine, though, if you aren’t a fan of pudding-like desserts. We’re particular fans of Chinese-inspired tapioca desserts, and the warm Banana Tapioca Pudding definitely won’t disappoint. Dessert like this is comfort food at its finest. If that’s not your taste, there’s also the equally tasty Sweet Rice Pudding with raisins, cinnamon, brown sugar, and coconut milk.

Blue Jean Buddha Bowl

The Blue Jean Buddha Bowl with coconut gravy.

As entrees go, our favourite by far is the Indochine Bowl with its mouthwatering marinated and grilled tofu, freshly grilled veggies, and perfectly savoury miso gravy. Dharma Kitchen’s miso gravy could win a kitchen brawl against the Naam’s miso gravy any day. The lip-smacking Buddha Bowl with its marinated tofu cubes, fresh veggies, and a Thai peanut sauce is also worth a try. Then there’s the Thai Burger with Thai peanut sauce, cilantro, bean sprouts, and green onions, as well as the Bengal State Burger topped with a curried peanut sauce, fresh spinach, and tomatoes. Burgers are accompanied by your choice of roasted potato slices or a fresh salad. We’ll admit that sometimes the “roasted” potatos leave something to be desired. We think they’re just boiled sliced potatoes that are browned a little under a broiler. So go with the salad instead—you’ll feel the better for it when thoughts of dessert come around. That said, the Blue Jean Buddha roasted potato bowl with sauteed bean sprouts and onions, marinated tofu, and your choice of four gravies or sauces is pretty good. The yummy Red Curry Tofu dish is large enough for two people and is laden with freshly grilled bell peppers, tofu, and mushrooms, all on a bed of freshly cooked brown rice.

Although the Spoonies are not big salad people, we have tried a few of the salads. The Dharma Salad is pretty good, and like many of the salads offered it’s large, fresh, and simply adorned with grilled baby portobello mushrooms, artichoke hearts, grilled eggplant, bell peppers, and zucchini with a tasty dressing served on the side. The Buddha Salad’s marinated tofu cubes, steamed spinach, and grated beet and carrot also make it worthy of a nosh. The salads are pretty much meals themselves, albeit light meals.

We know Dharma Kitchen’s not everyone’s favourite. It’s uncomplicated food in an uncomplicated restaurant. Go expecting it to be what it is, and you’ll enjoy it. The servings are decent sizes, and you’ll leave feeling plenty full. And since there aren’t too many 100% vegan eateries in town, this is one place where you can satisfy your hunger and not worry about what objectionable ingredients might be making it into your food.

Gorilla Food

100% vegan

Cuisine: Raw
Tofu puffs: 3 out of 5
Price range: $$
Times visited: Way too many times to count
Location: 101-436 Richards Street, Vancouver, BC V6B 2Z4
Hours: Every day, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Contact: 604-684-3663; www.gorillafood.com

Gorilla Food

The entrance to Gorilla Food.

This review is a little one-sided. See, only one half of The Vegan Spoonies will eat at Gorilla Food. This is definitely not because there’s anything bad about the place. It’s just that some people don’t like raw food that much. That’s all good.

The original Gorilla Food was located just half a block north of its current location. It was a little takeout window that was perfect for cyclists and pedestrians. In the fall of 2008, owner Aaron Ash moved the restaurant to a larger space—a hip subterranean burrow with a decidedly cozy feel and earthy look. Below-street-level restaurants are unusual in Vancouver, but despite the radically different setting and menu options at Gorilla Food, this place attracts a diverse number of people—everyone from businessmen in suits and dreadlocked Rastafarians to punks and emo kids.

There is a small amount of seating, enough for about 15 to 20 people. Regrettably, the space is not really kid-friendly; there is little space to maneuver with a stroller, so you’ll have to pack it up before heading in. It may also be difficult for some people with accessibility concerns to get down the short but steep flight of stairs leading from the street into the restaurant.

As if it isn’t cool enough that a little raw-food vegan restaurant such as this is thriving in downtown Vancouver, Gorilla Food uses 100% biodegradable sugarcane-based paper containers and cups for most of its takeout food. And they use Dr. Bronner’s liquid soap in the bathroom! The hand soap is sort of a big deal when you think about it. We’ve been to many vegan and vegetarian restaurants that overlook the animal ingredient/animal testing aspect of products used in their bathrooms.

Thai Fresh Wraps

Thai Fresh Wraps.

Gorilla Food offers a decent selection of smoothies, fresh juices, sprouted snacks and crackers, appetizers, salads, and main courses. But keep in mind that its kitchen uses a lot of seeds and nuts, so this is not a good place for anyone with nut or seed allergies. Also—and we have to say it—this is not a place that most people we know like to eat at all the time. They say it’s the place they go when they need to feel more nourished and a little healthier. And it’s not cheap; the average price of most menu items is $6.50. And that’s not including a drink or dessert. Keep in mind that Gorilla Food accepts cash only, so don’t forget to arrive with cash in hand unless you want to leave with an empty tummy.

My favourite dish by far is the Thai Fresh Wraps. They are “Three collard leaf wraps filled with a sprouted sunflower seed and veggie pate, sesame seasoned coleslaw and served with a ginger raisin chutney.” They’re actually an appie, but I find them filling enough to eat on their own as a main. Another good main is the Veggie Burger. This is the best item to start off with for anyone new to this kind of cuisine. It looks impressive on a plate and is such an interesting combination of flavours and textures. The Falafel is surprisingly good, but I’d pass on the Green Taco and the Cashew Alfredo Zucchini Linguini—both of those dishes were oddly bland and too watery. And the pizza is an acquired taste, so it’s not the best item to start with.

Sprouted Chili Almonds

Sprouted Chili Almonds.

As far as appies and snacks go, the Sprouted Chili Almonds, the Sunny Ginger Nori dehydrated crackers, and the guacamole and crackers are hits. The guacamole is so creamy and perfectly seasoned with finely minced onions and lime juice that I wouldn’t miss a chance to get some.

The desserts are unusual, and by that I mean really good. There is a hemp-chocolate mousse-like cake not on the menu but that I frequently see in the dessert cooler. It’s lovely. The dark raw chocolate fudge, the Gorilla Biscuit, and the truffles (also not on the menu) are pretty yummy.

If you haven’t tried raw food before, this is a good place to introduce yourself to it. If you feel inclined to give it a go at home, Gorilla Food sells a small selection of staple items, such as cocoa butter, bulk nori and cashews, a spiralizer, and even raw-food cookbooks, to take home with you.