Well, it’s never a dull day here, summertime means festivals, and festivals mean I’ll be there if I can. Unfortunately, there are so many, that I can’t go to all of them. I actually missed seeing something that I would have been really interested in (Zinedream!), because I didn’t know about it until too late. I hate when that happens!
Anyway, I started the day off by forcing myself out of the house into the 30 degree weather, and catching the last day of FanExpo. So much fun, Sunday was a great day to go because there weren’t any reentry lines. The only line I stood in was the line for the escalator (no kidding), and it wasn’t as bad as Saturday.
Someone told me about PS Kensington (otherwise I wouldn’t have had any idea) so I wandered over there from the Metro Convention Center and on the way stumbled upon the Chinatown festival, so I had to stop and take in some of the entertainment.
I kept walking down Spadina, until I was drawn to St. Andrews Street by the beat of Jamaican drums. I walked by the Vegan Bake Sale the the first time without paying any attention to it. I thought… all these delicious treats couldn’t possibly be something I’m interested in. Then as I got to Kensington Avenue there was a sign saying “VEGAN BAKE SALE”. I backtracked and picked up some S’mores cupcakes. Yummy. They had already sold a lot by the time I arrived so the pickings were sparse, but beautiful.
Omega Creations in Toronto is aiming to develop a non-profit organization to promote healthy eating amongst children, their families and guardians, you can check them out on Facebook. Hooray for good causes. They were collecting donations for the Vegetarian Food Bank and have also been raising money for a Donkey Sanctuary in Guelph. I’m going to keep an eye out for future events, I’d love to help them with their goals (and they make it pretty easy with tasty desserts).
I wanted to visit Hibiscus (238 Augusta Avenue, Toronto) for something, anything, but I wasn’t sure where to start. Then I realized it was 5:30 and they’d be closing in half an hour. A quick order of non-dairy brownie ice cream and some iced white tea was satisfying. The chairs were all a hodgepodge of random outdoor furniture and it was cute, the ice cream was good enough, but I wasn’t excited about the tea. It was literally just tea with ice, somehow, I thought… sweet tea? Oh well, that was really my problem, not theirs.
I stopped for a moment to listen to few entertainers, so amazing how into the music everyone got (myself included.) Music sounds so much better outdoors. There was music for everyone, I had to stop and take in the folksy eastern european styled music, it really got people moving. There was also reggae, post-rock, salsa, whatever. Normally I don’t even like reggae, but outside, walking through Kensington Market, during that wicked hot day it was perfect.
After the tiny ice cream from Hibiscus I was still hungry so I stopped by Urban Herbivore (64 Oxford Street, Toronto) for sandwiches, but they were out of sandwich stuff (I’m assuming bread). As per the servers suggestion, I had a qunioa grain bowl with a carrot ginger sauce. I feel as though I might be a bit annoying when I walk into a place and ask people working, “So…what’s good?” I know it’s a subjective question, and that everyones taste is different, but I tend to lean towards feeling that if someone works somewhere, and still loves a dish, then it’s probably a darn good dish (assuming they actually eat there!)
I got it with Napa cabbage, pickles, black beans, shreded carrots and some marinated radish, it was quite a wacky combo, but very delicious. I really liked the carrot ginger sauce especially mixed with pumpkin and sesame seeds.
Then I started walking back to my temporary home, and on the way back I heard more drumming, different from the Jamaican sounds I heard earlier. It was the Trinidad and Tobago Independence Day Celebrations! The park was crowded with people enjoying food and music. I had to stop by for a fresh pina colada, there were people wandering around sipping out of fresh coconuts, I only noticed after I got my drink, otherwise I would have had some!
That night I visited Magic Oven for dinner, and forgot my camera, so I snapped some pictures with my cellphone. Magic Oven has a focus on fresh, local and organic ingredients, and has options for people with gluten intolerances. They have five locations around the city (so far?) but I went to the one on 6 Wellesley St. West. When I was looking for a place to eat, I noticed they had an online ordering system, which was kind of cool.
I ordered the tofu fingers to start, with a side of tandoori sauce. I’ve made them in the past, and I’m sure every vegan or vegetarian has at some point. It tasted a bit like a block of tofu cut up, fried, without any seasoning whatsoever. Perhaps my palate isn’t sensitive enough to detect the green tea it was soaked in, but the tandoori sauce saved it from being entirely boring. Coriander is a fabulous spice.
Then I ordered the individual sized Vegan Magic, with a tomato pesto sauce, zucchini,
artichokes, portobellos, and roasted peppers. It was pretty yummy, but if I go another time I’d probably order one with daiya just to see what it tastes like. I really like that they have a vegan section on their menu, and that they have Daiya available as one of the “normal” cheeses (i.e. not for an additional cost.)