Tag: Toronto Comfort Food

Cosmic Treats

Vegan Comfort Foods & Dessert Bar, Gluten Free Options
October 16
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I’m just going to start on a cliché note: A vegan dining experience changed my life. Really.

This experience went down at Kensington Market’s newest spot, Cosmic Treats. This restaurant and dessert bar is 100% vegan, with a sweet and savoury fare that is 100% not boring or your average “kale and chia” affair, says owner Elliot. He proudly looks around the place, explaining how he combined his 3 favourite things (“vegan food, the colour orange, and outer space”) to create a spot that is truly is his own. The menu is filled with familiar appetizers, main dishes, ice cream, desserts, and alcoholic drinks (including boozy milkshakes!).wpid-2015-10-16-04.43.51-1.jpg.jpg

We began with an ice cream float with sprite and birthday cake ice cream. The ice cream is cashew-based and had a nice firm consistency just like the dairy kind.
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The appetizer menu featured salads and gazpacho, but we felt sinful and settled on fried cheese sticks and the mixed root-vegetable fries with a spicy aioli. I was initially skeptical of ordering a cheese-based app since vegan cheeses can be hit or miss – thankfully this went beyond a hit and was a full home-run. The panko was crispy, the cheese was gooey, and the jalapeño havarti offered the perfect level of heat. The root vegetable fries had a nice rustic flavor, and we pretty much licked the aioli dish clean.

Next, we tucked into 3 main dishes.

First up, the barbecued tofu encrusted in Sweet Chili Heat Doritos: Yes, you read that correctly. Do yourself a favour and order this dish; you’ll never find tofu with this much personality again.

Second, the sausage and pepper sandwich: This sandwich featured Italian sausage (tofurky) and peppers, smothered in a delicious marinara sauce with sautéed onions. As a big sandwich aficionado, this really hit the spot and I was incredibly impressed with how savoury it was.wpid-20151010-899561208.jpg

Finally, a breakfast platter of blueberry pancakes, scrambled tofu, and hash browns: This platter was absolutely heaped with food, and would be the perfect hangover helper (or meal, in general) for any vegan or non-vegan alike. I’ve had my share of scrambled tofu and it’s not usually the greatest imitation of the real thing, but this was as good as it gets. (Pictured above)

It would be wrong to come here without trying the homemade ice cream and a baked good or two. We chose the Cupcake Sundae: Your choice of ice cream sandwiched between a chocolate cupcake with your choice of sauce, toppings, whipped cream, and maraschino cherry. We chose vanilla, chocolate sauce, sprinkles and marshmallows, and felt like happy little kids again. The pastry and ice cream were so rich, you truly couldn’t tell that you were eating something dairy or butter-free. The stigma of vegan desserts being either impossible or flavourless were completely shattered with our dessert course, and between mouthfuls we were already discussing which flavours we’d eat next.wpid-20151010-2087459619.jpg

Final Thoughts:

My taste buds were pampered, my expectations were exceeded, and my stomach was quite possibly stretched. I truly cannot wait to come back to Cosmic Treats and work my way through their impressive menu of comfort foods and sweet treats.

See the menu here:
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Written by TVJ writer Joanna G. 

The Hogtown Vegan

Restaurant, Vegan, Gluten Free, Comfort Foods
June 13
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The Hogtown Vegan is a restaurant that I’ve heard A LOT about before visiting it. Some of my friends love it; some hate it. My experience falls somewhere in the middle. I went in with low expectations as I had been warned that the food would be “too greasy”, but I was pleasantly surprised with the food. I actually didn’t think my food was greasy at all! 

My Hogtown experience did not start off well. We walked into the restaurant and saw the sign that asked us to wait to be seated, except nobody was around to seat us. After a few minutes, a server came over and showed us to our table. We did move tables afterward to a seat with better sunlight (hello… food photos!), so maybe that was where we got off on the wrong foot with our server. It’s possible that annoyed them, because there was one staff member in particular I found to be extremely rude. After what seemed like a lifetime of nobody stopping by our table to take our orders, I went up to the servers who were just
chatting away between themselves and kindly let them know we were ready to order. At this point, I just received a snarky “ok” and dirty look. 
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* I think now is a good time to intervene and tell you that I have worked in the service industry for many years. I understand what it’s like to have a long day. I also understand what it’s like to be extremely busy, so I always cut servers some slack. What I don’t understand, are rude servers. I don’t think there is ever an excuse to treat customers that way, especially if the restaurant is not busy. 

OK, on to the most important part: the food. I ordered the Gluten Free Southern Combo, which came with mac n’ cheese, garlic sautéed chard and “unpulled BBQ pork”. My friend ordered the “Unchicken and waffles”. Both platters were good – not excellent – just good. Credit where credit is due: the unpulled pork tasted as close to meat as I’ve had since I went vegan! It was a very well done imitation. To be honest, I don’t ever miss meat though, so this wasn’t satisfying some long lasting craving. I do give the unpulled pork a 9.5/10. My mac n’ cheese wasn’t anything special. I love a gooey, cheesy mac – and this tasted less cheesy, mixed with hot sauce. The noodles were overcooked, as well. To round off my platter, the garlic sautéed greens were lacking in taste and ‘umph’, if you will. 
My friend’s meal was much better. Her unchicken tasted like what I remember of chicken and her waffles were perfectly crunchy, dripping in good ‘ol maple syrup. Now that’s something I can wrap my head around! 

I was finally starting to enjoy my Hogtown experience when I asked our server if any of the deserts were gluten free – specifically the Fried Apple Pie (sounds so yum!). To my surprise (although I really shouldn’t have been surprised at this point), she snapped back that it had gluten. I asked what type of flour it was made with, as I occasionally indulge in a little spelt flour action, to which she snapped back annoyed “regular wheat”. I would think that asking about gluten free and wheat options is a pretty normal and common question in a vegan joint. I gave up at this point and returned back to my seat feeling a little deflated…

The Hogtown Vegan felt more like a bar to me, than a sit down restaurant. I do like how they had a drink menu filled with vegan drinks, as you never know when you just need a glass! It’s always good to be prepared with a place in mind. 

All this said, I’d like to give The Hogtown Vegan a 2nd chance. I’ll chalk up our service to a bad day and hope that my next experience there will be better.
Prices were average for vegan food. Both our platters were $14CAD and portion sizes were perfect. 

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