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

Cosmic Treats

Cosmic Treats was another restaurant we visited during Veggielicious last month. It’s a cute little diner in Kensington Market. I was especially excited to try this place when I saw things like Dorito-encrusted tofu and deep-fried vegan candy bars on the menu… Uh, YES.

I dragged my mum and by boyfriend along with me for this one and I think we all agreed – this place is pretty cool.

For $22 there was a 3-course dinner deal on:

Your choice of beverage – Glass of house red or white wine, pint of beer or Kombucha.
Your choice of Entrée – Chick’un Caesar salad with homemade creamy dressing, croutons and fakin’ bits OR Frito pie – corn chips served with homemade chilli, pickled jalapenos and red onions, green onions, cilantro and Daiya jalapeno Havarti cheese (gf).
Your choice of dessert – Deep-Fried Go-Max! candy bar of your choice drizzled with homemade hot fudge sauce OR Far from Pedestrian Sundae – homemade cashew ice cream with your choice of topping, sauce, whipped cream and a cherry on top (gf option available).
Cosmic Treats Kombucha | thelittleredspoon.com
We decided two of us would order off the Veggielicous so we could try everything on it and one of us would order the Dorito-encrusted tofu and then everyone would taste a bit of everything.
To start off we all decided to share a bottle of kombucha and a pint of beer. This was the first kombucha any of us had had! We all quite liked it – it basically tastes like a lightly fizzy juice or soda. Kombucha is a fermented sweetened black tea that can be flavoured, we had mango flavour. They also gave us water in these crazy tilted glasses.
Cosmic Treats Frito Pie | thelittleredspoon.com

Frito pie – basically a bowl of chili and Fritos that’s served in a Frito bag. Pretty good and definitely an interesting presentation. Way too much cilantro for my taste but if I was ordering this for myself  I would have just ordered it without.

Cosmic Treats Chickn Caesar Salad | thelittleredspoon.com

Chick’n Caesar salad. I see what they were going for here, although the chicken strips were a little overcooked. The salad didn’t blow anyone away but it was still good.
Cosmic Treats Doritos Crusted Tofu | thelittleredspoon.com
The real star of the night was this Dorito-encrusted tofu. It’s crusted with Sweet Chili Heat Doritos – the only vegan flavour. It was delightful! Crunchy and delicious. This is the tofu to serve someone that “hates tofu” and thinks vegan food is “gross” – you will convert anyone with this.
Cosmic Treats Deep Fried Candy Bar | thelittleredspoon.com
Since this place is really known for their desserts, we had to try one of each of the desserts. For the deep fried candy bar, you just go to the shelves where they keep all their vegan candy (which is SO temping, oh man… just thinking about that now, I want to go back and buy some snacks and candy) and pick whichever one you want. There’s basically vegan versions of Mars bars, Reese’s cups, Mounds, all kinds. I decided to go for the Crispy Crunch style one which in hindsight isn’t the easiest to eat deep fried with a knife and fork since the inside is pretty flakey. I would recommend going for the peanut butter cups or something with a different texture but I would try any of those tasty candy bars, deep-fried or non-deep-fried.
Cosmic Treats Far From Pedestrain Sundae | thelittleredspoon.com
As for the sundae, you had your choice of two different (or the same) scoops of their homemade cashew ice cream, with choice of sauce, topping, whipped cream and a cherry on top.
We tried peanut butter and jelly ice cream, coffee ice cream and salted caramel bourbon sauce.
It was really good! The ice cream was very creamy and realistic-tasting. I’ve always loved vegan ice cream, even long before going vegan because I can eat a bunch and it doesn’t give me a stomach ache!

We had a great time at Cosmic Treats and enjoyed walking around the neighbourhood before and after our dinner. Service was great, the waitress was really friendly and the place was really cool.

I would definitely go back and bring someone who has never been here before to try the Dorito tofu.

Check it out next time you’re in Kensington Market/Chinatown or have a craving for some sweet vegan desserts.

Cosmic Treats Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato