Rolltation Sushi Burritos

Okay okay so I’m really late on this sushi-burrito food trend thing. But I’ve finally tried one from Rolltation at University and Dundas so I can stop feeling so behind the times.

I picked up one for me and one for Mr. Spoon for a quick lunch date during a work day. I was able to order ahead online and just pick it up on my way to meet up.

Rolltation Sushi Burrito Cut in Half | thelittleredspoon.com

I got the one called Fruity Tofu but there is also the option for you to build your own.

Tofu | Green Lettuce | Red Pepper | Carrot | Sweet Corn | Purple Potato | Diced Mango | Pickled Ginger | Avocado | Sesame

These things were pretty good!

Pros: you get to eat a giant sushi burrito. It’s filled with things I love like avocado, tofu, potatoes and other veggies. It was pretty filling but I didn’t feel gross after eating it, which is perfect for lunch (kinda healthy but kinda still indulgent is my kinda jam).

Cons: eating this WILL mess up your lipstick BIG TIME. In fact, don’t wear lipstick when you’re eating this. Don’t even wear your favourite shirt because you’re basically sure to spill everywhere. The ends of this thing aren’t tucked in on itself like an actual burrito, it’s just left open like a sushi roll which means there will be a big mess. Kinda tricky to eat. This is NOT first date food. Or even third or fourth or fifth in my opinion… Mr. Spoon and I have been together for 4 1/2 years so we are at the point in our relationship where we can eat sushi burritos in front of each other… but during the first like 6 months of our relationship? Oh golly I might’ve been a bit shy about slopping avocado and soy sauce all over my face while also clawing the dropped fillings from my sushitto out of the bottom of the container and scooping it into my pie-hole. Maybe you would be cool with that. Different strokes.

Also con: not cheap. But staying current with the foodie trends in downtown Toronto usually isn’t. With tax and tip two of these burritos came to like $30.

Rolltation Fruity Tofu Sushi Burrito | thelittleredspoon.com

Anyway I’ve gotta say, the sushi-burritos were pretty good. Aside from the insane messiness that goes along with trying to eat one of these things, I did like it. Although next time I’m craving sushi I will probably just buy sushi… But this is one of those things that’s just begging to be eaten once if only for the novelty.. And of course it makes for a great instagram photo

Rolltation Fruity Tofu Container | thelittleredspoon.com

Have you had a sushi burrito? Were you also reduced to scooping up the slop that fell out of your sushitto with your bare hands like a deranged drunk person even though you were sober in the middle of a weekday? Let me know your experience in the comments!

Apiecalypse Now Pizza

Apiecalypse Now! You may remember this bad-ass vegan pizzeria and snack shop from such blog posts as Apiecalypse Now! and Veg Food Fest 2016. Maybe you also heard of this place because they’re runner up for Best Pizza Place in Toronto according to the 2016 NOW Readers Poll – and that’s not best vegan pizza place, folks, that includes ALL pizza. They’re also runner up for best vegetarian restaurant in Toronto.

We went back for another visit while my (vegan ) sister was passing through town cause I love showing people this place, was craving that tasty pizza goodness and wanted to try the poutine I spied on their menu. I also reeeally wanted to try the Deceitball (Meatball) Sub on the Grains, Grains, Grains Menu but ended up being too full to try it all. Guess another trip is in order…..

Grains Grains Grains is a small sister-startup-shop inside of Apieclypse and offers a selection of vegan sandwiches that change monthly. The Deceitball Sub: Brenton’s slow-cooked organic marinara sauce, vegan meatballs, melted vegan mozzarella, on a buttered and toasted baguette. Optional pickled jalapeno peppers to top it off.
Uhh yeah I think that’s worth a subway ride and $8.50 to me. Who’s down for a sandwich and poutine pig-out day?

If you go to Apiecalypse, you gotta get a slice of pizza. Like, their bakery is tops, but you cannot miss these pizzas, people. GET SOME PIZZA. And some snacks. Just get some pizza, snacks, sandwiches, desserts and maybe a pizza to take home with you, too. Just listen to my wisdom here, okay?

Here we have (top to bottom): Reunion Tour, Fat Mac and Pig Destroyer Destroyer slices along with creamy garlic and ranch dipping sauces.

Reunion Tour: local organic tomato sauce, savoury marinated mushrooms, garlic artichokes, red onions, sweet cherry tomatoes, fresh baby spinach, house cashew ricotta cheese.

The Fat Mac: ground not beef, shredded dill pickle, diced vidalia onion, vegan cheddar cheese, iceberg lettuce, sesame seed crust, vegan fat mac sauce.

The Pig Destroyer Destroyer: house creamy garlic sauce, house hot sauce, hickory bbq soy curls, seitan-rizo crumbles, not-ground beef, garlic artichokes, vegan bacon bits, vegan pepperoni slices, vegan mozzarella, vegan smoked gouda.

Vegan Poutine: fresh cut yukon gold fries, Brenton’s famous vegan gravy + mozzarella shreds, vegan jack, vegan smoked gouda or vegan jalapeno cheese
(We went for jack cheese here. It was decent, definitely not that similar to a real curd, I think it was Follow Your Heart brand which is slightly soft and better than Daiya texture. Still satisfied my poutine craving though, next time I’ll go for a Supreme Poutine )

Vegan Mozzarella Styx: three battered, panko coated deep fried golden cheezy sticks, served with organic local tomato sauce dip. These were REAL crunchy and GBD – Golden, Brown, Delicious… Decent texture too!  They were great.

Aaaand after the three of us crushing all that food, we decided we obviously had to take home a large Fat Mac pizza for late night snacks and pizza breakfast leftovers… How could you not?

Unfortunately like 10 UberEats orders in a row got placed minutes before we were able to order at the counter so it ended up taking quite some time to get our pizza. But the people working there were SUUUPER nice and apologetic about it (tbh we didn’t mind that much but we were full and tired and ready to change into sweatpants), they ended up throwing in two free dips and another order of mozza sticks to make up for it! How sweet is that!

Reheating the Fat Mac pizza was a bit of a challenge, since we didn’t want wilted nasty lettuce, we opted to eat it cold and it was just as delicious. This was all in the name of research, of course, so I could figure out how to make us a copycat of this pizza at home… Then again my memory is already slipping and maybe we’ll have to get another pizza to do more research. Who knows how many sessions this could take…..

Glassroots Visit

Mr. Spoon and I were visiting London, Ontario to attend our friends’ grand opening of their new lifestyle boutique on Dundas Street called Love Alchemy. We had a wonderful weekend and during our time in London we knew we had to visit Glassroots again for lunch!

We warmed up from the cold walk over with some hot mulled wine. Yum! Made us feel so cozy. (Drinking gløgg and feeling hygge is so trendy right now )

We decided to split a mammoth sized Everything Platter. Sooooo good. Holy smokes, people. You gotta go try this place if you haven’t already! As soon as the table next to us saw this come out of the kitchen they immediately stopped the server to ask if they can have what we’re having! And I can’t blame them!


Check this spread: (Clockwise from 12) House-made toasts, pickled beets and red onions, pickled carrot slices, we weren’t sure what the white one was (cauliflower spread? garlic? pate? sauerkraut? dunno but it was good), more toasts, candied orange and apple slices, Nuts for Cheese Super “Blue”, Un-Brie-Lievable and Chipotle “Cheddar” Wedge, olives, Field Roast sausage, pickled celery.

The pickled celery was soo tasty. What a great idea, I had never tried pickled celery before, but I love pickles and I love celery so I loved pickled celeries! So crisp and refreshing.

We scarfed this board down so fast! Even though we were pretty full after sharing a Large platter between the two of us, we wanted to try a few more things so we both ordered an entree as well. If we weren’t so dead set on having a cheese and charcuterie platter we could’ve opted to get a couple lunch combos which were a great deal. (I would say maybe next time, but I’d be lying… cause we love snacking on cheese, pickles, toasts and veggie sausages )

I ordered the Breaded Eggplant Sandwich on herbed focaccia. Heavenly. Perfect. Couldn’t be any tastier. I could only fit half the sandwich in my stomach so I brought the other half back to our hotel to have for breakfast the next day. So worth it.

Yesss yes look at that tasty crispy yet soft breaded eggplant, marinara sauce, melted mozzarella and fresh lettuce.

Mr. Spoon got the Chili Cheese Burrito. I tried a bite and it was really good! Nice smoky, cheesy flavour.

The menu at this place changes every single week – so if you wanted to eat what we had it’s already too late! But trust me that you CANNOT GO WRONG here with any choice you make. EVERYTHING is good. In fact, put yourself in the chef’s hands and order the tasting menu. Trust.


Great beverage menu! How did we ever pick what to drink? I could’ve gone for anything… White wine, Almost Famous Caesar, The Dude Abides, Booch Cocktail.. They all sound good!

So much vegan wine! And the only All-Canadian wine list in the city. That’s really cool.

Afterwards we headed to the Tea Haus to split a pot of Silver Needle (2 Doves) white tea at Covent Garden Market. It was very light with a hint of lemon aftertaste. Great tea. I’ve been getting pretty interested in teas lately and picked up a whole ton of samples from the Toronto Tea Festival last month – sheng and shu pu’ers, oolongs, white, black, green – you name it, I sampled it! Let me know if you guys are interested in high quality loose leaf teas, too and maybe I’ll eventually post about a few of my favourites.

Birthday Food

This year my wonderful adoring boyfriend made sure I had the best birthday ever so after spending the morning getting a relaxing and heavenly couple’s massage, our bodies were ready to eat a mountain of vegan food and make googly eyes at each other for the rest of the day.

Tbh these aren’t my best photos but I still wanted to share a few quick snapshots and remember this day forever so here we go:

Mr. Spoon brought me to Ramen Isshin for some vegan ramen for lunch! After the life-changingly good ramen we had in San Fran, we wanted to see if we could recreate that magic here in T.O.

So he told me to order whatever ramen I thought looked the most delicious, AND whatever ramen I thought looked the second most delicious and make both of them vegan and he would eat whichever one I liked less, so I could try TWO ramens and eat my favourite one! That’s real love, people!!!!

I ordered the Shoyu ramen for myself with egg-free vegan noodles and we both added corn and bean sprouts.

Vegetarian Shoyu Ramen – Isshin Shoyu nori, bamboo shoots, sauteed shiitake mushrooms, button mushrooms. wood ear mushrooms, green onions & thin wavy noodles

For Mr. Spoon I ordered the Red Miso ramen.

Vegetarian Red Miso Ramen – Isshin Red Miso blend, bamboo shoots, wok fried ground tofu, green onions, wood ear mushrooms & thick twisty noodles

His was a little spicier and had less mushrooms. We both agreed more mushrooms = better in most cases. But luckily it turned out that we each preferred our own ramen over the other’s so I was happy about that.

Also the service was FANTASTIC here, everyone was SUPER nice and polite and we felt really welcomed. I definitely want to come back!

Overall I wouldn’t say it beat the ramen we had in San Francisco’s Japantown but it was still a darn amazing lunch! I was so surprised when Mr. Spoon told me we would get the spend the WHOLE ENTIRE DAY just being together as the two of us and that we were going to share a bunch of tasty vegan food and do a bunch of fun things together that he’d planned out weeks ago I couldn’t ask for a better present!

After lunch we visited the ROM to see the wildlife photography exhibit and went home for a little break until we were hungry again for dinner. Mr. Spoon had made a reservation at Planta, chef David Lee’s new fancy vegan restaurant in Yorkville! So funny because literally just days before this I was mentioning how I wanted to go, but he ALREADY KNEW and had booked a table like a month ago!

To start we shared some kimchi-stuffed dumplings that were served with hot sesame oil. These were sooooo good. They came out super crispy and piping hot. I could’ve eaten way more of these little guys, they were super addictive and had a great savoury flavour.

Next up we (okay, I) wanted to split the veggie burger. I read a rave review about how great the burger here is, how the chef flew down to NYC to try the Impossible Burger and decided to perfect his own recipe to give it a great taste and even better texture. I know every vegetarian and vegan has probably had a lackluster, disappointing veggie burger in their life from some non-vegan restaurant where it’s their only option. This is not that. This is an amazing veggie burger that every other crappy veggie burger aspires to be like. It DID have a great texture, was loaded with the perfect toppings and there was even “mushroom bacon” on top, which okay, to me and Mr. Spoon, really tasted more like smoked mushrooms which we LIKE, but not much like bacon (which I’m fine without anyway).


The lighting was pretty low in this place and I was ready to get eating so like I said, not my greatest photos of all time but I hope you can at least get an idea of how tasty and meaty this thing looked. And that’s not even getting started on the FRIES, people….. They were fan-freaking-tastic! I originally had meant to ask to substitute the “spiced fries” that come with the burger for some truffle fries (because… birthday… treat yo self, right?) but I’m glad that I forgot to ask because the spiced fries were CRAZY good! They were gone at the speed of light, I’m telling you. Plus that means we get to come back some time soon and try the truffle fries on another occasion so, win-win.

Mr. Spoon definitely agreed the veggie burger was a hit! And of course, he liked the fries as much as I did, too. I’m so glad I ordered the burger and I will definitely be wanting to eat it again (although I wanted to try all kinds of other things on the menu too! too many tough decisions!)

I also thought we should split an order of the truffle macaroni and “cheese”. It’s hard to go wrong with truffles, right? Right.

I mean, okay, so this macaroni won’t really be going down in the memory banks for all time (it was nowhere near as good as the burger) but it wasn’t bad either. If anything I think it needed a bit more salt (I say this as a salt addict) which was nowhere to be found on the table. The cheese sauce I thought was kind of.. only okay. A little grainy in texture and maybe not as rich and fatty as I was expecting. And as far as I could tell the truffle-ness wasn’t super infused into the sauce, it was just kind of sprinkled on top so getting a bite of truffle was good but it didn’t overpower me with the truffle-y goodness which is usually what I go for.

Overall it didn’t blow me away but don’t worry, none of it went to waste. Down the hatch and onto dessert!

Since we had a bottle of prosecco with our dinner the server asked us what we were celebrating. When she found out it was my birthday they brought this cute little candle in my dessert. How sweet.

This was the “Chocolate Terrarium” with all kinds of good stuff in there. I can’t even remember what it was, I think like bits of sponge toffee, pomegranate, raspberry and maybe two kinds of chocolate. Like a fancy mousse with lots of toppings on it.

It was good, slightly bitter because of the dark chocolate in it. I used to tend to go for sweeter, milk-chocolate so this would not usually for me but I liked it.

The other dessert I wanted to try was the lime cheesecake with pistachio and raspberry sorbet. Yum! I had a huge mega-sized piece of vegan chocolate chip cheesecake with Mr. Spoon at Whole Foods a few weeks ago and it made me realize I actually like vegan cheesecake a LOT better than the real thing. I just don’t like the taste of real cream cheese mixed with sugar and never really have – not on carrot cake, or as any kind of icing or in a cheesecake. Which is maybe kind of weird because I always liked real cream cheese on my bagels (now I like vegan cashew-based cream cheese the best, yum ). But now I’ve discovered vegan cheese cake and I think I’m hooked. They’re just so light and fluffy and you don’t feel so disgusting after like I used to feel after eating dairy. I think even non-vegans should try vegan cheesecake and see how delicious it is!

Of course as far as I know there’s no vegan Uncle Tetsu’s cheesecake (YET!), that’s another story, but this will definitely help your cravings if you’re a fan of desserts or cheese.

We ended the night with shots of Limoncello. Cheers!

Ramen Isshin Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Planta Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Doug’s Public Kitchen

So last weekend a couple of friends from university and I went to Doug’s Public Kitchen for Sunday brunch, a vegan restaurant in North York close to Glencairn subway station.

I’d seen some photos of his vegan eggs benedict online a few weeks ago and immediately knew this place had to be next on my hit list.

Public Kitchen Popcorn | thelittleredspoon.com

Right away when we sat down we were given menus, a water jug with a piece of charcoal in it, and this delicious popcorn topped with cheesy nutritional yeast.

Tastes just like the popcorn I make at home. I could eat popcorn at every single meal, no joke. Just ask Mr. Spoon and he’ll tell you what a corn addict I am. Me eating an enourmous 10-cup mixing bowl full of popcorn topped with butter-flavoured olive oil, pink himalayan salt and nooch (and not sharing) is like a nightly occurrence at our place. In fact it’s kind of a weird night if I DON’T eat a giant bowl of popcorn to myself. So you can safely say I approve of any place that’s going to bring me popcorn to my table as an amuse-bouche.

Public Kitchen Mimosas | thelittleredspoon.com

The Public Kitchen Mimosa $9 (2oz)
freshly squeezed orange juice, lemongrass kombucha, sparkling prosecco wine, fresh raspberries
 We ordered a round of mimosas to celebrate getting together and a couple of upcoming birthdays. We all agreed the kombucha was an interesting touch.

Public Kitchen Mimosa | thelittleredspoon.com

Tbh I didn’t think there was enough booze for $9 a glass (hard to get day-drunk 2 oz of prosecco at a time…) but it was definitely delicious and refreshing.

Public Kitchen French Toast | thelittleredspoon.com

Coconut Crusted French Toast $16 – doug’s signature gluten-free french toast, warm maple syrup, vanilla maple yoso coconut yogurt drizzle, ground ceylon cinnamon, tempeh bacon

Our gluten-free friend went for the french toast with GF bread. Oh man it was SO tasty and GBD – golden, brown, delicious! The coconut crust was a really nice touch and it had a great flavour and texture. Didn’t even miss the gluten.

The tempeh was pretty good too, not the star of the show (I’m pretty sure every vegan has their own tempeh bacon recipe they’ve “perfected”) but pretty solid.

Public Kitchen Triple Decker Sandwich | thelittleredspoon.com

Triple Decker Brunch Club $17 – choice of sprouted grain or thornbury gluten-free bread, creamy garlic mayo, cornmeal and fennel seed crusted tomato, crisp smoky sprouted tofu, tempeh bacon, avocado and lettuce, choice of house salad or herbed home fries

The Triple Decker club sandwich looked pretty tasty too. We all tried to share a bite of this one and ended up making a huge mess since our jaws don’t unhinge enough to fit this huge sammy. But even with the mess it’s basically a vegan’s dream sandwich – a jacked up avo BLTT (bacon, lettuce, tomato, tofu). Yum! You know I’ll always eat a crispy fried tomato and anything slathered in vegan mayo.

I didn’t try the home fries because I was getting too full from eating the heck out of my own food and sharing bites of everything else on the table but they look tasty don’t they?

Public Kitchen Eggs Benedict | thelittleredspoon.com

Vegan Benedict $19 – choice of gluten-free or sprouted grain english muffin, crisp cornmeal and fennel crusted tomato, herbed white wine and garlic spinach, seared smoky sprouted tofu, runny soft poached vegan egg yolk, hollandaise sauce
 Now THIS……. this was the life-changer right here. My eyes practically bugged out of my head when this arrived at my table. It’s been a looong time since I’ve indulged in a decent brunch out at a restaurant. If you would’ve asked me a few weeks ago I might’ve said “well, what’s the point? I can make tofu scramble and tempeh bacon and flaxseed-blueberry pancakes and green smoothies at home. Sure it’s nice to go out but I used to go get brunch for the egggggggz, man”
But now that I know I can still get “eggs” benny as a vegan… that brunch drought is over. Holy smokes.

Public Kitchen Yolk Porn | thelittleredspoon.com

#veganyolkporn Dear lord…… let that vegan yolk wash over me….. yaaaaaassssssssss

It was SO REALISTIC guys. I think you have to go experience this for yourself to believe it.

Okay so the “egg white” is basically a piece of fried tofu with a dip in it so the yolk can rest gently on top. The yolk I have no idea what the heck it’s made of other than vegan wizard magic, dream particles and good vibes. It had a little skin and everything. I poked that yolk with my fork and it resisted the slightest bit and then oozed out that yellow sunshiney goodness just like the real deal.

And that vegan hollandaise? I don’t even need to know. Just smother me in it. I’ll take a bath in it. I’ll wash my hair in it. If you’re also a vegan who was once an eggs benny addict you need to try this for yourself. Heck, if you’re an omnivorous CURRENT eggs benny addict I still think this stands up. AND you get to think about how you saved adorable little chicks from being ground alive by not supporting the egg industry. It’s a win-win, people.

Public Kitchen Vegan Benedict | thelittleredspoon.com

Look at those layers! And omg the textures…………. You can taste the love for vegan food and the care and attention that went into making this dish with every bite. Seriously.

Underneath the “egg” (in order): the crusted tomato (sooo crunchy and juice and good), garlic spinach, and sprouted-grain english muffin. You could also go for a gluten-free muffin and I’m sure you would hardly notice because everything is smothered in amazing golden hollandaise sauce anyway. The muffin is just a hollandaise-delivery system at this point.

Public Kitchen Coffee Sugar | thelittleredspoon.com

Almond milk and coconut sugar that was served with our after-brunch organic, fair-trade coffees.

Public Kitchen Dessert Platter | thelittleredspoon.com

We (okay, really just I) couldn’t help ourselves and also went for the Dessert Platter $11 – made weekly by Chef McNish. This one featured some sesame balls, goji-stuffed cookies, peanut butter fudge and pumpkin spice cheesecake.

Everything was really tasty even though we were basically all too stuffed full of brunch to be able to finish. I thought the cheesecake was the best, and I think everyone agreed the goji cookies and peanut butter desserts were pretty darn good too. Personally the sesame ones weren’t my favourite but they were a nice balance since they weren’t too sweet and went well with the coffees.

Overall my impression of Doug’s Public Kitchen was outstanding. I genuinely loved everything that came to our table. The service was warm and welcoming, the food was incredible and I can’t wait to come back to this place and bring even more people to try a next-level vegan brunch.

It was definitely a little bit pricier than say, going to a greasy diner and getting chicken eggs and wonderbread toast. That is true. But this is REAL food – it’s crafted with heart and soul, it’s sourced locally and organically whenever possible and it’s completely ethical and cruelty-free. You don’t have to support the cold, cruel and environmentally catastrophic meat industry to get your breakfast fix. You can support chefs like McNish who spread a positive message about real, healthy, compassionate food and watch local vegan businesses like his thrive. To me that’s worth a couple of extra bucks.

Doug's Public Kitchen Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

San Francisco

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San Francisco! What a lovely city! Of course, Mr. Spoon and I got there just in time for the first rain of the season. It poured on us for the entire first day we were there and was overcast for most of the rest of the weekend.

SF GG Bridge with Flag | thelittleredspoon.com

Riding on the upper deck of the tour bus in the wind and rain while speeding across the Golden Gate bridge was crazy, freezing cold and somehow still lots of fun.

IMG_1003

We suited up in our ponchos and tried to stay dry for the next 2 hours while we toured around the city. A weekend is definitely not enough time to explore this super cool city, there was so much more we wanted to do and see! But luckily we did get a lot done while we were there.

IMG_1006

Luckily we did get a few short hours of sunshine on the Saturday morning before it got cloudy and overcast again. We went out for a wonderful long walk around downtown, China town and Japantown in the city.

SF Union Square Lights | thelittleredspoon.comUnion Square was packed with tourists like us but was definitely beautiful.

SF China Town Gate | thelittleredspoon.com
The gate to Chinatown. I think we started our walk too early because most of the shops were closed when we went, but we did get a chance to pick up some cool post cards and take a look around this vibrant neighbourhood. Apparently San Fran Chinatown is the biggest Chinatown outside of Asia and the oldest in North America. Pretty interesting! Looked like there were a lot of amazing restaurants and adorable little shops to check out.

SF Ramen Yamadaya Building Outside | thelittleredspoon.com
Japantown, about a 40 minute walk away from Chinatown, was really the main attraction for me though. After seeing the long, snaking lines outside of the ramen shops near our hotel, I knew there was going to be an amazing ramen scene in this city. And I figured the best place to get my fix would be in Japantown. Also I figured I’d be able to check out the Japanese dollar stores, grocery stores, stationery stores and whatever the heck else cute stuff caught my eye. I loved this great little neighbourhood and wished we had more time to explore every little nook and cranny of it.

SF Ramen Yamadaya Window Display | thelittleredspoon.com
What we did have was enough time for lunch after exploring for an hour or two. We saw this place Ramen Yamadaya with this cute window display and we decided to go in to check out the menu.

SF Ramen Yamadaya Ramen Rules | thelittleredspoon.com
They didn’t have the full menu posted outside the shop, but they did have this chalkboard with some tips on eating ramen outside in the hallway. This noodle shop was upstairs from another restaurant, and there was already a bit of a line forming when we got there. We wrote our names on the list and waited about 10-15 minutes for a table.

SF Ramen Yamadaya Mr Spoon Pork Ramen | thelittleredspoon.com

I believe Mr. Spoon got a kakuni shio ramen with pork belly. His looked great and came with lots of tasty toppings and some nice soy sauce poured in.

SF Ramen Yamadaya Mr Spoon Pork Ramen Spoonful | thelittleredspoon.com

Mr. Spoon really enjoyed this ramen! He doesn’t normally like hard boiled eggs but said the one in this ramen was really good and well-seasoned. I mean that yolk is basically pornographic.

It definitely got me thinking about the time I had a delicious vegan ramen egg at Veg Out in London, Ontario before it became Glassroots. Margaret the chef made a delightfully realistic hard-boiled “egg” out of agar agar powder, coconut milk and black salt with some kind of mashed squash as the yolk and oh my lord it was an EXPERIENCE let me tell you.

Let’s just say this bowl got slurped down fast!

SF Ramen Yamadaya Vegan Ramen | thelittleredspoon.com
I ordered the vegan ramen and was soooooooo so happy! I can hardly even begin to explain how wonderful this ramen was! This photo does NOT do the ramen justice, okay, but I was really focused on slurping all that food into my mouth as fast as possible. I regret not taking more/better photos but I do not regret stuffing my damn face into this bowl like there was no tomorrow.

The toppings were: bamboo shoots, corn (added for an extra $1), fresh arugula, chopped wood ear mushrooms, spinach, scallions and sesame seeds.

I think at this point most of the people who read my blog are my friends and family, so, like, non-vegans. But I’m sure all of you have no trouble picturing this sad, grey, vegan existence where all you can find at “regular” restaurants is a pathetic undressed salad and soggy french fries. Okay, sometimes you’d be dead wrong because I can usually find or cobble together some kind of decent vegan option, but sometimes you wouldn’t be far off. Sometimes, like the time I went to get ramen in Vancouver this summer with my siblings, you’re just served a bowl of basically tasteless, thrown-together, half-assed noodles and watery miso broth with, like, no toppings.

This is not that ramen. This is life-changingly good vegan ramen, okay? Like, literally after we finished eating at this place I asked Mr. Spoon if we can just up sticks and move to San Francisco. Because that was probably the best lunch of my entire life. I mean if we moved, we could explore more San Fran neighbourhoods. And live in a cute, perfectly adorable little pastel-coloured townhouse on a rolling hill (okay, probably not cause they cost like a million dollars but whatever). And we could toot around the city on little cherry red Vespas….

But most importantly, we could eat our way through all the ramen joints in the damn city and never have to wear a fricking parka again. I think that sounded like a good idea. So that’s like 50% a joke and 50% kiiiinda real.

ANWYAY. So what made this ramen so fricking amazing is that from the first slurp, I could tell that this place actually CARED that their vegan customers had a great bowl of soup in front of them. The broth was out of this world. It was fatty. It was salty. The noodles had the perfect texture and mouthfeel. It was tasty in all the best ways. Everything was deeply flavourful and seasoned just right. I’m almost crying just thinking about it… *wipes tear* The toppings were so great. I personally would have never thought of throwing a pile of fresh, peppery arugula on top of a bowl of ramen but the contrast in taste and texture and the brightness it brought to the soup was just amazing. And you cannot skip the corn. Add the corn.

Holy moly.

Seriously, I want to go back and eat it all over again. Apparently this place is a little chain around the SoCal area. So you could find it in a couple of other cities, too.

Ramen Yamadaya Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato
(The rating on zomato for this place is way lower than it should be – the place had a line halfway down the staircase so it’s obviously very popular!)

SF Fishermans Wharf | thelittleredspoon.com

Later in the day we went for a walk around Fisherman’s Wharf. There was a sign for fresh-made beignets so…. I mean, who can resist a warm, freshly made beignet on a chilly day? Not us.

SF Fresh Made Beignets | thelittleredspoon.com
Yes it was a bit of a cheat, but sue me, I’m on vacation. I’m not perfect.

SF Fresh Made Beignets | thelittleredspoon.com

We both ended up absolutely covered in powdered sugar after eating these. Worth it.

SF Alcatraz | thelittleredspoon.com

We sat on the pier while eating the beignets and looked out onto Alcatraz. Spooky!

There were sooooo many tours and ferries going out to the island. It sounded like a lot of fun but we were really limited on time so maybe if/when we go back we’ll check it out next time.

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Our first night in SF we saw the long lines at the ramen shops and although we were really tempted to wait to get in, it was cold and raining and we decided to walk down the street to a Thai place to share some noodles.

When we got there we ended up splitting some apps (REALLY crispy, delicious spring rolls and deep fried tofu) and deciding to skip the noodles and go back to our hotel room to eat disgustingly good American junk food for dinner.

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SF Birthday Cake Junk Food | thelittleredspoon.com

SF American Junk Food | thelittleredspoon.com

SF Matcha Oreos | thelittleredspoon.com
Snack-sized matcha oreos.

SF Postcard Houses | thelittleredspoon.com
The “painted ladies” aka “postcard row” of perfect, adorable Victorian houses near Alamo Square.
SF Skyline | thelittleredspoon.com
The skyline is so pretty!

SF Skyline Hills | thelittleredspoon.com

The hills are just beautiful. Some hills were trickier to navigate than others but they were all unique and interesting. We definitely got our cardio in on this trip.

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Of course Mr. Spoon wanted to stop at In-N-Out Burger in Fisherman’s Wharf. Apparently these double-double cheese burgers were really good. They sure look tasty! If only they made veggie burgers. I had heard of a little petition going around to get a veggie patty at In-N-Out but I’m not holding my breath. There’s like two things on the menu.

SF In N Out Fries | thelittleredspoon.com
At least the fries were vegan! Yum, they were very crispy and delicious. I added some salt and they were just right for an afternoon snack.

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For our last morning in the city I wanted to try out a local delicacy – expensive hipster toast. Apparently it’s something San Francisco is known for so I scoped out this little local cafe near our hotel and we trekked over.

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There was the cutest little “parklette” taking over one of the street parking spaces outside of the cafe. There were a couple of wooden benches and lots of pretty greenery where people were sitting and enjoying their Matcha Chai lattes and Milk ‘n Honeys with cardamom.

SF Farm to Table Hipster Toast | thelittleredspoon.com

I got the “Daily Toast” for $8 – “Thick slice of fresh Pain De Mie topped with house mixed marscapone and local farmers market fruits.”
So, yeah, a bit more dairy which is cheating but it was sooooo cute and delicious, I couldn’t not. I would’ve gotten a vegan option if there was one, but I just couldn’t leave SF without trying an overpriced piece of toast topped with artisanal, local, blah blah.

It was good! Now, time to re-create it at home using non-dairy cheese.

SF Farm to Table Hipster Toast Bitten | thelittleredspoon.com

Farm:Table Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

So those are the (mostly food-related) highlights from our visit to San Francisco!

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Have you visited the city? Any recommendations on where to eat next time we go? Hit me up in the comments below and let me know what you thought of our tasty adventures in the Bay area.

Buk Chang Dong Soon Tofu

Buk Chang Dong Soon Tofu Hero Shot | thelittleredspoon.com

Recently my mum and I (and Shaggy) were near Christie Pits Park around lunch time on a beautiful weekend at the end of summer and thought – we need to have a picnic in this park on this gorgeous sunny day.

Well, I’ve wanted to try Buk Chang Dong Soon Tofu since moving to Toronto and my mum is up for anything, so we decided to walk over and get some takeout to bring back to the park.

Picnic Table | thelittleredspoon.com

Shaggy and I waited outside on a small bench while we ordered a mild #6 from the menu – Vegetable Soon Tofu + Dolsotbab. ($7.97 + tax) It was ready very quickly and they brought it right out to us in a plastic bag with some spoons, chopsticks and napkins. Cheap, quick, easy, delicious – that’s my kind of food!

We found a cute little green picnic table in Christie Pits park and laid out our feast.

Picnic Table Graffiti | thelittleredspoon.com

Some cute graffiti on the picnic table. You can tell I didn’t write this because of the grammatical errors although I support the sentiments expressed.

Buk Chang Dong Soon Tofu Food Laid Out | thelittleredspoon.com

Oh god, this was SO GOOD. Let me just go ahead and stare at this picture for a while. In fact you can take your time and zoom in, here. It’s worth it. I’ll wait.

It was so much fun sharing all the banchan (side dishes) together. We had such an amazing little picnic! I can’t recommend this place enough and the fact that it’s beside a park and extremely close to the subway station just makes it even better.

Ready for some close-ups?

Buk Chang Dong Soon Tofu Bean Sprouts | thelittleredspoon.com

I believe on the left was kongjorim, or braised soybeans, which had a nice toothy texture. Almost like they were slightly undercooked. I liked this slight al dente kind of chewiness, my mum wasn’t as much of a fan. Regardless they had a great flavour that was savoury, sticky and a little bit sweet.

On the right is kongnamulmuchim, or marinated bean sprouts. These were really nice to add that crisp, fresh, watery crunchy texture.

Buk Chang Dong Soon Tofu Bap | thelittleredspoon.com

The dolsotbab (cooked rice) was great, it had beans in it and was tinged slightly purple which was interesting. We fed some to Shaggy with a little broth poured over his and he loved it, too.

Buk Chang Dong Soon Tofu Soup | thelittleredspoon.com

Of course the Vegetable Soon Tofu soup is the star of the show, here. It included mushrooms, zucchini, broccoli, onions and the most delicious soft tofu I have ever tasted. It was silky smooth, creamy white and had a melt in your mouth amazing texture. 10/10 would slurp that tofu down the hatch again any day.

The veggies were great as well, perfectly cooked, good proportions of everything, beautiful colours and everything was fresh and delicious.

There was also a raw egg popped into the soup which my mum slurped up. In the restaurant the soup is served in a hot stone dish which is very, very hot and continues to cook the food inside it. If you let the egg sit for a few minutes it would continue cooking, or you could poke the yolk and mix it around. If you’re vegan like me, you could just ask for it without the egg like I plan to do next time.

Buk Chang Dong Soon Tofu Kimchi | thelittleredspoon.com

In this container we had traditional kimchi which was super tasty and not too spicy at all, and I believe on the right side is musaengchae which is a sweet and sour shredded radish salad.

Can you believe I’d never tried kimchi before? I was nervous because I’ve heard kimchi can sometimes be very spicy, but this kimchi was very mild! It had a great flavour that was kind of sweet and spicy and pickled. Very well-rounded and interesting.

Buk Chang Dong Soon Tofu Bottom of the Bowl| thelittleredspoon.com

I wish I had a picture of a scoop of that wonderful delicious tofu on it’s own but I was so busy scarfing everything down once we started eating that I couldn’t stop myself! Towards the end of our meal we ended up mixing everything together and eating with our spoons like a stew.

You will have to try this place for yourself to understand just how dreamy soft and silky that wonderful tofu is. Don’t be intimidated if you have never tried Korean food before – the menu is only one page and I doubt you can go wrong here. Just eat everything that gets served to you and you won’t regret it.

This place was very affordable, we were both able to share one veggie dish and all the side dishes (and were full after) for about $12. (that’s including tax and a tip)

I will definitely be visiting this place again and bringing Mr. Spoon with me, who loves spicy Korean food.  It’s very easy to get to on the subway, and you can swing by Apiecalypse Now on your way back to Christie Station to grab some vegan donuts or soft serve for dessert

Buk Chang Dong Soon Tofu Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Cactus Club Cafe

Cactus Club is a chain from out West that I saw during my recent visit to B.C.
They’ve recently opened a location here in Toronto in the financial district. Mr. Spoon and I decided to stop in for a leisurely, light Sunday lunch as we were walking past.

We immediately noticed as we walked up that they have a rooftop patio so we asked to be sat up there since it was a lovely August day with lots of sunshine and not too much humidity. Luckily I was wearing a nice dress so I didn’t feel too underdressed. The waitresses were walking around wearing very form-fitting matching dresses and all looked very put-together with heavy makeup and fully-done hair so I’m glad I didn’t stand out too much. Mr. Spoon mentioned he felt a little too casual rolling in with a T-shirt on but there were plenty of other people wearing very casual clothing for their Sunday brunches.

Cactus Club Summer Drinks | thelittleredspoon.com

We decided to sample some cocktails, Mr. Spoon tried the “Summer Smash” which is gordon’s dry gin, cucumber, thai basil, ginger, lime and soda. Now I’m not a gin person, I thought this drink was pretty good but I wouldn’t be able to finish it. Mr. Spoon finished two. Nothing like a nice cool, refreshing drink with cucumbers and booze in it to sip while you’re relaxing in the sunshine and warm breeze, right?

Cactus Club Bellini | thelittleredspoon.com

I tried the Passion Fruit Bellini – smirnoff vodka, passion fruit and sparkling wine. Apparently these drinks are part of a promotion and are only available for their “98 Days of Summer” drinks menu.
It was really good, more of a thick slurpee consistency than what I was expecting. The flavour was great, a nice bold fruit flavour and I could barely taste any alcohol. It did give me a bit of a brain freeze, though, and I thought the presentation was beautiful but a bit impractical. (I may have accidentally knocked that short, poorly balanced straw out with my hand while talking. Twice.)
Cactus Club Edemame | thelittleredspoon.com

We wanted to split some munchies and keep it simple. The prices were pretty steep at this place as well (I was having sticker shock looking at the menu) so we wanted to just sample some stuff. There was a limited menu for Sunday lunch. Some stuff that could be made vegan but not really too many options. Nothing I’m not used to.

The edemame here was perfect, not a single bad one and a good sized portion. I think it could have used a touch more salt but that’s just me talking.
Cactus Club Truffle Fries | thelittleredspoon.com

We also shared some truffle fries with truffle, herbs, grana padano, garlic aioli. Of course Mr. Spoon ate the ones with the cheese on top and I dug around for the naked ones underneath.

What can I say? A girl can’t resist a nice salty, crispy, truffle-y french fry. They were absolutely heavenly. Good enough that it made me wonder if maybe this place would be worth coming back to eventually.

However I did get a very strong whiff of pretentiousness from this place. Of course it’s a chain restaurant from the West coast situated in the heart of the financial district in downtown Toronto, so without a doubt they are catering to people with a LOT of money. And I think they are very successful at doing that. It seemed that a lot of the other guests were there to blow a huge stack on a boozy Sunday lunch in a private booth in a glamorous restaurant just to prove they could. I’m sure the rest of the (expensive) menu is very delicious, but I didn’t get that welcoming feeling that I was among other foodies enjoying food. I felt like a regular person surrounded by rich people who enjoyed spending money just to show that they could.

I suppose there need to be restaurants like Cactus Club Cafe in the world. I don’t have anything negative to say about my experience there, in fact I quite enjoyed everything about it, I just got the feeling that I did not belong in that world.

What do you think? Would you fit in at a place like this? What’s more important to you in a restaurant – atmosphere, food, drinks, service or something else? Leave a comment and let me know.

Cactus Club Cafe Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

The Hogtown Vegan

So many wonderful vegan comfort food spots in Toronto, not enough time to try them all! I finally got myself over to the Vegan Hogtown on Bloor (between Dufferin and Ossington) after living downtown for almost a year. Vegan chicken and waffles? Mac and cheese? Chili cheese fries? Yeah I definitely knew I had to hit this place up at some point and I’m glad I did.

Hogtown Vegan Menu | thelittleredspoon.comHogtown Vegan Apps Menu | thelittleredspoon.com

We decided to try the fried shiitake clams, nachos, and fries supremacy.

 

Hogtown Vegan Beverages Menu | thelittleredspoon.com
As for drinks, we drank whatever on tap that was on special that night. I forget what it was but it was a local craft brew and I do remember it was quite good and reasonably priced.

Hogtown Vegan Sandwiches Menu | thelittleredspoon.com

So many choices! I love a good vegan philly cheesesteak or pulled pork sandwich but we opted to order off the (non-sandwich) entree list not pictured here.

Hogtown Vegan Cutlery and Water | thelittleredspoon.com

Nothing fancy for the cutlery and water.

Hogtown Vegan Shitaake Clams | thelittleredspoon.com

The fried shiitake “clams” were delicious. They came with a chipotle ranch dipping sauce that disappeared quickly. We really love shiitake mushrooms so these were probably the hit of the night.

“Why bother calling them clams? They’re just fried mushrooms. Why not call them that?” Mr. Spoon wondered.

I don’t know why, I guess it’s just part of the shtick. Why call any vegan food anything, really? I know some people hate when vegan food is named after what it’s meant to resemble, especially when it’s not a super accurate recreation. Why call it “pulled pork” when it’s really pulled mushrooms? Well, why call pork “pork” when it’s really a pig? Who knows why, that’s just what people call it. I’m fine with people naming vegan food after “normal” food (obviously) but I guess it’s not for everyone.

Hogtown Vegan Chili Cheese Fries | thelittleredspoon.com

The fries supremacy were pretty good. I wouldn’t say they blew my mind but they did all get eaten. Personally I don’t find yellow nacho cheese sauce all that exciting so perhaps we should have opted for the chili cheese fries that had different toppings. But we were already getting nachos with all the nacho toppings anyway so figured this would be fine.

Don’t get me wrong, they were good, and the cheese sauce and vegan sour cream were both pretty realistic. But even if these were vegetarian and I still ate dairy I probably still would’ve been a little “meh” on them. That’s just my personal taste and not a reflection on the dish itself.

Hogtown Vegan Nachos | thelittleredspoon.com

Nachos are where it’s at, though, am I right? I love a good nacho plate.I liked these nachos. What more is there to say? They were crunchy, thoroughly topped and there was guacamole. Maybe a bit heavy on the beans but otherwise A+

Hogtown Vegan Peppersteak and Dumplings | thelittleredspoon.com

Mr. Spoon’s dad tried the “Peppersteak and Dumplings” TVP (textured vegetable protein) steak and dumplings in a mushroom-beer gravy, with collard greens and sweet potato mash on the side. I have to say that’s quite a sloppy presentation. The steak, dumplings and gravy met everyone’s approval. Mr. Spoon thought the gravy might’ve tasted like a packaged mix of some sort, maybe it is, maybe it isn’t but at least it tasted all right. Everyone found the collard greens a little bitter but that’s just the way they are. I had some with my dish as well and found them okay, I just added a little extra salt.

The sweet potato mash was definitely quite sweet for me. I have more of a salty tooth than a sweet tooth but I think it was a good match for my dish of chicken and waffles, which came drenched in syrup.

Hogtown Vegan Caesar Salad | thelittleredspoon.com

Mr. Spoon ordered a caesar salad and it was quite disappointing. I don’t see many “fakin’ bits” or much “creamy Caesar dressing” in this picture but I guess there was a little bit… The thing is, this is a guy that really likes Caesar salad, he appreciates a GOOD Caesar salad, so to be served this… Well it seems a little half-assed, to be honest. I really hate to be harsh, especially to a vegan restaurant, but this was just gross and pathetic. Some of the lettuce (which you can’t see in this picture, it was buried) was wilted and rotting. Like, not just a little old but actually melted and slimy in some parts. And it wasn’t just a tiny bit, it was a fair amount of slimy lettuce. That’s fricking gross.

It took a while but we eventually flagged down our waitress to send it back. She did ask if he wanted a replacement but obviously he didn’t. I would expect a way better salad from a vegan restaurant to tell you the truth.  Even without the rotten bits, the presentation was boring, the salad was bland, the lettuce seemed like it was from a bagged mix, the almond dust “parmesan” on top was nothing special, there wasn’t much taste or pizzazz… What’s the point, really? At least the waitress took it off our bill but it was definitely a let-down.

Hogtown Vegan Chickn and Waffles | thelittleredspoon.com

I would say overall my meal was probably the best one. Slightly less sloppy, and definitely more interesting. I love a good fried veggie chicken. Here the texture was nice and crispy on the outside, tender on the inside. I liked the combination of flavours and textures on the plate. Getting a forkful with a little bit of everything on it was quite nice.

I’ve never had chicken and waffles before so I was really looking forward to this. Everything was really tasty and I definitely enjoyed it. The only problem is I was super full from trying all of our appetizers and sampling everyone else’s food (visiting a vegan restaurant is the only time when I get to sample other people’s food so I always take full advantage ) that I had to take most of it home for leftovers.

Hogtown Vegan Leftovers | thelittleredspoon.com

Luckily my leftovers were just as good for lunch the next day, maybe even better because the syrup had really soaked into the waffles and I drizzled a little extra on top. Yum.

Overall, though, I don’t think I would go back to the Hogtown Vegan after our first experience there. It was interesting and I’m glad I got to try it, I thought the prices here were pretty reasonable (except the $10 disappointing Caesar), even our pints were only $5 that day. However, the service was really not that great and we could’ve had a better time.

One thing that was annoying was we ordered three appetizers to share among us, and after a few short minutes (we weren’t even halfway through them) ALL three of our entrees came out as well. So the table was absolutely crowded with all of our dishes and all of the food was going cold before we could finish eating anything. This place is meant to be casual, but I’m sure this is still a pet peeve for anyone, regardless of whether they’re in a pub or a fine dining restaurant.

This place is really not that close to me either, so for me personally that’s a factor as to why I most likely won’t make the trek back out. I could potentially see myself popping in here for a beer and to split a plate of vegan nachos again but I wouldn’t tell someone from out of town “oh, you HAVE to go here!”

If you’re really keen on checking out their signature dish of chicken and waffles, I would say go ahead and try for yourself. I truly did want to like this place and maybe one day I’ll give it a second chance, but for now it’s not on my short list of places I need to go back to or tell everyone about.

Have you been to Hogtown Vegan in Dovercourt Park neighbourhood? Know a different cool vegan joint with kick-ass chicken and waffles? Leave a comment to let me know about it.

The Hogtown Vegan Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Sushi on Bloor

This place was so cute! Popped in for lunch on a work day and tried their lunch special. Right away we were served water, green tea, salad (not pictured but it was a basic iceberg lettuce salad), and miso soup.

Sushi on Bloor Lunch Menu | thelittleredspoon.com

I chose to order from this menu and got and Oyster Mushroom and Avocado roll from column A and a Sweet Potato Maki roll from Column B.

Sushi on Bloor Lunch Menu P2 | thelittleredspoon.com

You could also order non-sushi lunch meals but what fun is that?

Sushi on Bloor Miso Soup | thelittleredspoon.com

The miso soup was nice. Perfect temperature for sipping right away and I like a good amount of seaweed. Yum.

Sushi on Bloor Lunch Rolls | thelittleredspoon.com

The rolls themselves were great! This was the perfect amount of food for a quick work lunch. We had an hour break and were able to make it back just in time.

I would definitely go here again. It was quick, tasty, and definitely affordable. Check out Sushi on Bloor if you’re ever in the Harbord Village neighbourhood.

Sushi On Bloor Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato