Hot Off the Grill: Fresh Corn on the Cob and Baby Yukon Potatoes at the Queens Quay Farmers’ Market

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I may not be an avid beach bunny, but I love being by the water and I feel super lucky that Lake Ontario is so close by.  I get excited taking the ferry to and from the island, I love being around Harbourfront, and there’s no other feeling like sitting on some rocks when it’s gorgeous and sunny out and watching the tide and waves crash in and out.  I recently went to Ontario Place to snap a bunch of photos, knowing that most of it would get eventually get torn down to make way for a newly renovated park, and my favourite part of the day was plopping myself down by the rocks, looking out at the water, feeling the wind whip through my hair, and not having a damn care in the world. 

The Queens Quay Terminal outdoor farmers’ market is quite possibly the closest waterfront market in the city and spending time here really allows you to soak up summer in all its glory.  It’s literally steps away from the harbour and its the perfect way to spend a breezy afternoon.  Peruse the farmers’ market, pick up some fresh food, grab some ice cream, and sit by the water.  It doesn’t get much sweeter than that.  And speaking of sweet, the freshly shucked grilled corn was definitely the highlight of yesterday’s Queens Quay market!  Even though I didn’t have any (I had already eaten ice cream beforehand, oopsie), it was mouthwatering just to watch the corn get fired up with its awesome grill marks and then wrapped in foil for others to eat.  At $1 apiece, this is definitely going to be on my “must-eat” list the next time I go!

Even though the Queens Quay farmers’ market is on the smaller side, there’s still great stuff to check out: a giant pie and pastry table with plenty of samples (and a very adorable apple print tablecloth!), maple syrup goodies with chocolate maple cookie samples (cue drooling), a fascinating grain cake popping machine that pops out giant discs that look like rice cakes (if you’ve seen these at T&T supermarkets, you know what I’m referring to!), fresh baked bread, mounds of strawberries, giant bell peppers, buckets of zucchini and potatoes, and oodles of other fresh vegetables!  I do wish though that there was less wasteful plastic product packaging and all; it’d be great if the pies were packaged in cardboard boxes and if less plastic was used for the samples.  I really need to bring produce bags in addition to my canvas totes because I cringe whenever I’m given a plastic bag for my veggies.  Face palm moment. 

I was very happy yesterday to pick up a giant pint of beautiful and adorable Yukon Gold baby potatoes though!  I have never met a potato I didn’t like.  These were small and cute as a button and my mum squealed when I came home with my prized spuds.  When I phoned her asking her if she wanted me to pick up a few pints of raspberries, she protested when I told her I had already bought potatoes because we apparently we had some regular-sized ones waiting for us at home.  She changed her tune when she saw how cute they were though 😀 

I’m really looking forward to seeing how many different things I can bring home by the end of the summer.  Then the fall stuff will come along and that’s a whole ‘nother project!  On all of my market treks I’ve picked up different goodies each time and it’s so much fun seeing what each market has to offer!  I’ve picked up vegan coconut oatmeal cookies at Trinity Bellwoods, French bread and bell peppers at Nathan Phillips Square’s Fresh Wednesdays, apple buttermilk muffins at Sick Kids Hospital, vegan brownies and magic squares by Jen’s APieCalypse Now at U of T’s market (blog post forthcoming!), and baby eggplants at East York Civic Centre.  And that’s me putting myself in an invisible strait jacket!  There have been sooo many delicious baked goods and beautiful fruits and vegetable that I’ve had to pass up, just because I really need to limit myself on purchases if I’m visiting markets every week!  I’m totally smitten with my baby potatoes though and we’ll see what we end up making with them over the Canada Day weekend.  Potato salad?  Roasted spuds?  Plain boiled potatoes with a little butter?  Oh, potatoes, how I love you 😀  Have an amazing start to the long weekend, everyone!

*****

The Queens Quay Terminal Farmers’ Market is located at 207 Queens Quay West, right outside the Queen Quay Terminal shopping and dining centre.  They will be there every Wednesday from 3pm-7pm until October 26th.

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Ate by Ate’s 200th Blog Post! Celebrating the Memories & Great Times With Cupcakes From Dessert Lady

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It’s the blog’s monumental 200th post! 😀  I know it might have made more sense to celebrate the 100th, but I kind of made an oopsie and didn’t realize it until it was too late.  I’m so excited though that this is the 200th post!  When I started the blog, I was a little worried that I wouldn’t be able to keep up, that I would fall off the wagon and stop blogging altogether if I let complacency and laziness set in.  I knew I wanted to make my food scrapbooking a focal point and I knew I wanted to post about a variety of things so that there would be a little something for everyone to take away.  It’s not that I was necessarily doubting my ability to write food posts (I can talk anyone’s ear off about food), it was more so an anxiousness about keeping the inspiration fresh and genuinely being excited and loving what I talked about.  The last thing I wanted was to feel “bored” or to come to the conclusion that there was nothing else out there to inspire me.  You all know there’s never too much love for cupcakes though!  To celebrate this milestone, I present to you delicious cupcakes from Dessert Lady in Yorkville!

Dessert Lady is a bakery and chocolatier located on Cumberland St. in Yorkville that also serves ice cream and sorbet.  They deliver, take phone and in-store orders, and they also do catering.  They bake extravagent cakes (think special occasion), birthday cakes, pies, tarts, cookies and shortbread, chocolate truffles, biscotti, and of course, cupcakes!  What’s really great about Dessert Lady is their prices.  If you’ve kept up with the cupcake posts, you know that many of the cupcakeries in Toronto price their cupcakes around $2.50-$2.65 on the lower end.  While Dessert Lady has 3 tiers of cupcake pricing (which I will explain later on in the post), their cupcakes start at $2.00.  I KNOW.  How awesome is that?  Even if the $2.00 ones are basic flavours, it’s still worth mentioning and duh, eating.  Because we all know that if we can get a delicious cupcake for $0.50 less, we will.

My two picks: roasted pineapple coconut with vanilla buttercream frosting (because you all know how much I love coconut!) and a chocolate cupcake with raspberry frosting, both priced at $2.50 each.  And if you’re wondering, the adorable tiny nautical dish is mine.  Yes, that’s right, I have dishware with me when I take photos.  Well, I kind of bought it that day and thought it would be adorable to use it, so technically I’m not a crazy girl who carries around dishes with her.  Technically.  And the reason why I have the cupcakes photographed the way that I do is because photography is prohibited in the store.  Sigh.

The cupcakes are beautifully frosted and decorated.  The piping is very clean and the attention to detail is adorable.  The pineapple coconut cupcake is frosted with vanilla buttercream with toasted coconut flakes on top, dried sweet pineapple studded throughout the cake and -get this- there’s a little flute of white chocolate on top! 😀  The chocolate cupcake with the raspberry buttercream is a simple one, but really, top notch stuff. 

Although I loved them both, I have to say that the raspberry chocolate knocked it out of the park.  This even surprised ME.  You’d think that I would like the pineapple coconut more because, well, it’s me, but the raspberry chocolate was all sorts of awesome.  Their raspberry frosting was SO fruity and the tartness of the raspberries wasn’t tamed down with an overabundance of sugar.  You can literally SEE the texture and composition of the raspberries in the buttercream.  Their cupcakes are soft and their buttercream frosting is light and whippy, but not “buttery” in that filmy, greasy way.  It has enough thickness and body to it that it actually tastes like creamy frosting in your mouth as opposed to something melty and thin in consistency.

Dessert Lady prices their cupcakes using 3 different tiers/categories: Premium ($3.00), Contemporary ($2.50), and Classic ($2.00).  Taken from their menu, premium cupcakes include the following flavours:

  1. carrot cupcake with walnuts and cream cheese frosting
  2. coffee cupcake with walnuts and pecan crumble frosting
  3. red velvet cupcake with cream cheese frosting
  4. rich fudgy chocolate cupcake with mocha buttercream frosting
  5. spicy mango cupcake with tangy lime buttercream frosting

 Contemporary cupcake flavours (priced at $2.50 each), are the following:

  1. chocolate cupcake with chocolate buttercream frosting
  2. chocolate cupcake with raspberry buttercream frosting
  3. pumpkin cupcake with cinnamon buttercream frosting
  4. roasted pineapple coconut cupcake with vanilla buttercream frosting
  5. tangy lemon cupcake with raspberry buttercream frosting

And finally, the classic cupcake flavours (priced at $2.00 each):

  1. banana cupcake with vanilla buttercream frosting
  2. classic chocolate cupcake with vanilla buttercream frosting
  3. classic vanilla cupcake with vanilla buttercream frosting

I love the prices are so reasonable and in line with so many other cupcakeries around the city.  The fact that they offer several flavours at $2.00 is a bonus.  I know quite a few people who aren’t into fussy, complicated, flashy flavours (unlike me of course, ha) and prefer simple vanilla and chocolate.  If that’s the case, this is a steal for you and it’s very worth it because they are yummy. 

In my opinion, I’d wouldn’t pay too much attention to red velvet, just because other places sell that flavour at a less expensive price.  Even if it’s amazing, I know I can also get an equally amazing red velvet cupcake for less somewhere else.  The only blip in the 3-tier pricing arrangement I can see is when you purchase half a dozen or a dozen and you want to mix and match BETWEEN tiers.  There’s a set price if you purchase half a dozen classic cupcakes, for example, but you run into trouble if you don’t want all 6 to be from that one category.  In a case like that, I can only assume that you’d have to pay for each cupcake at its individual price, unless of course they’re willing to cut you a deal.

Thank you to everyone who follows the blog and enjoys the posts.  I hope everyone’s enjoyed the scrapbooking aspect of it and the stuff I’ve chosen to write about thus far.  It’s been so much fun in so many ways and I’ve met some wonderful people and made some really sweet friendships because of it.  Here’s to another 200 posts 😀

*****

Dessert Lady is located at 12 Cumberland St. in Yorkville on the north side of the street, west of Yonge St. and north of Bloor St.  They are open 6 days a week from Monday-Saturday (they are closed on Sundays and are only available for consultations by appointment) and are open for business at 10:30am on all 6 days.  If you are interested in seeing other cupcakes from Dessert Lady (and other cupcakeries in Toronto in general!), check out Alexandra’s blog, Vivid Memories where she documents her cupcake tour of Toronto!

Quite Possibly the Last Grad Lounge Feature – Saying Farewell With Spicy Tomato Dill Soup

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It’s true, this may very well be my last Weekly Grad Lounge post.  The Grad Lounge will be closing up shop for the summer after this Thursday (June 30th) and seeing that I’m no longer a grad student, the chances of me reporting back with more good eats from here come September are slim to none.  I’m sad that I won’t be able to make any more weekly posts because it’s been so much fun, but most of all, I’m sad that I won’t get to eat here and see the people who keep this place running like clockwork on a consistent basis anymore.  There’s no guarantee that I’ll have the job of my dreams (or any full-time job for that matter) by the time September rolls around, but even so, it’s looking like this meal may have been my last here. 

I’m saying farewell with a bowl of hot, spicy tomato dill soup with lots of yummy dill and chives and creamed tomato with a crunchy side of baguette bread.  I slurped this bowl of soup up real good.  I love dill, I love chives, and because I don’t shy away from tomatoes and enjoy a little bit of kick in my food (and evidently in my soup!), this was delicious.  Dunking my crunchy bread into the creamy soup and crushed tomatoes was delightful.  I’m going to really miss getting excited over new menu items, walking in to find out that there are daily special menu items written on the chalkboard I haven’t tried yet (and consequently, haven’t blogged about yet), and having a homey place on campus to have a wholesome, great meal.

Writing these weekly posts has been awesome; it’s given me focus, a way to get inspired, and a way to show everyone just how important The Grad Lounge has been to me during the course of my grad student career.  And to think that there are still menu items I haven’t blogged about yet!  I really hope someday I’ll be able to pick up where I left off and post more Grad Lounge meals here and there, but for now, it’s good-bye.  Thanks for the memories (and of course the delicious food!), it’s been amazing.

*****

The Grad Lounge is located at 166 South Ross at the York University Keele campus.  They will be closing for the summer THIS THURSDAY (June 30th) and will be open from 12pm-5pm for the next several days, so drop in to get your last fix of the summer and to give Mike and Paul a big thanks for all their hard work.

Weekly Feature: The Grad Lounge – The Epitome of Brunch in a Swiss & Smoky Bacon Quiche

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I think I’m in love with the concept and idea of brunch.  The thought of little sandwiches, crusty bread, panini, pies, quiches, pastries, omelettes and other breakfast foods makes me salivate with visions of bakeries and cafés dancing in my head.  I wake up early in the morning (most of the time at 6:30am so that I can get a good jump start to my day) and by the time 8am hits, I am ravenous and I am shoving blueberries and bananas in my mouth like it’s my last meal on Earth.  So for a hungry girl like myself, a mid-morning meal with the works fits the bill for that growling tummy of mine.  

Lunch and/or brunch has always been my favourite meal of the day.  I look forward to lunch more than I look forward to dinner.  And even though I adore traditional breakfast foods, I love that breezy relaxed feeling that goes along with a great lunch and/or brunch.  Having been in university and grad school for a combined six and a half years, I would get through my days by looking forward to my lunches.  I would contemplate where to eat, what to eat, and when to eat.  It was always the highlight of my day and it made those god awful 12-hour typing days just slightly more bearable.

Even though this was a lunch time meal at The Grad Lounge, it had brunch written all over it and I think it may have even bumped a meal off of my current top 5 list of favourites because it was THAT amazing and delicious.  The amazing swiss and bacon quiche with side spring mix salad and crusty baguette wedge.  I gotta say, The Grad Lounge kills it when it comes to their quiches and pies and I don’t even care that quiches are slightly fattening because of the pie crust and egg/custard/cream/milk composition; they’re mouthwateringly good and I would choose a quiche meal over a rice one or sandwich/wrap one any day.  THAT’s how much I adore these.  I’ve had two of The Grad Lounge’s quiches and pies thus far: 1) cheddar broccoli quiche with grilled zucchini and 2) sweet potato and mushroom pie.  I loved them both, but this swiss and bacon one just knocked it out of the park, so much so that I didn’t want to finish my meal because I didn’t want the yumminess to end. 

While the cheddar broccoli quiche was softer and airier and more tofu-like in consistency, the swiss and bacon one was denser and more “solid”, almost like a thick slice of pizza with egg.  It was cheesy, eggy, and full of smokiness from the bacon, and the green onion and chive flavour was a great complement.  We do eggs at home this way a lot, scrambling them with some green onions or chives and sometimes adding bacon crumble into the mix. 

Egg in and of itself is a blank canvas.  Unless you season it, it’s bland so it works perfectly for dishes like these where you can really go crazy with adding things and working with combinations of foods and flavours (things like spinach and feta, broccoli and cheddar, and in this case, swiss and bacon).  The flavour of the baked egg doesn’t end up competing and clashing with other foods.  The cheese flavour was very subtle, but very well done as you can see the cheese bubbled and browned perfectly off the edges.  The whole dish just worked and the crusty baguette wedge was a really nice touch too.  This right here is the epitome of a fantastic brunch dish 😀 

*****

The Grad Lounge is located at 166 South Ross at the York University Keele campus.  They will be closing for the summer THIS THURSDAY (June 30th) and will be open from 12pm-5pm for the next several days, so drop in to get your last fix of the summer and to give Mike and Paul a big thanks for all their hard work.

Soaking Up the Sun and Good Food – Preparing My Taste Buds for Toronto’s Summerlicious!

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In a matter of two weeks, Toronto will be kicking off another summer of price fixe menus and good food with the annual Summerlicious event taking place from July 8th-24th!  The concept and execution is exactly the same as Winterlicious and the only difference is that it takes place in July every year.  I’m always excited to see which restaurants are participating and what their menus have to offer, especially now that they’ve made it a point to specify exactly which meals are vegetarian, vegan, and gluten-free.  It makes it much easier to figure out if a particular restaurant can offer you enough options to make it worth your while and this is particularly important if you’re going with a group of friends with varying tastes, diets, and lifestyles. 

Even though I love both Winterlicious and Summerlicious (and this year’s newest addition, Veggielicious!), I’ve actually only taken part for the past two years, going out for two Winterlicious outings and one Summerlicious.  I don’t go for the big ticket menus though and will always, always stick to the $15 lunch menus and $25 dinner ones.  In all honesty, even if I could afford the fancy pants places, creating parameters for myself with this budget helps in narrowing down my choices which means less hair-pulling when it comes to actually making a decision.  I have a hard enough time as it is because I’m so indecisive!

I’m really lucky to have had good experiences during the times I’ve taken part.  Never have I felt that a meal wasn’t worth it or that I made a bad choice.  I had a great Winterlicious lunch this past February at Amaya’s Bread Bar near Yonge St. and Lawrence Ave., a really fun time with my friend Sally the previous Winterlicious at Big Daddy’s Crab Shack & Oyster Bar on King St. West (no photos because my camera was unfortunately stolen not long after, ugh), and an AMAZING, memorable meal at Southern Accent (which is where the delicious photo up top was taken!), located in Mirvish Village.  My boyfriend and I have already made a decision that we absolutely MUST go back for another Summerlicious meal because it’s one of our favourite places to eat in the city.

I’m no expert on fine dining, but if I could offer any tips and opinions, these would be it:

  • Decide what your budget is.  If you’re new to the price fixe fest, it is overwhelming trying to decide what you might want to try and what you want skip.  The list of restaurants on the Summerlicious website specify what price points each of the participating restaurants are operating at during the duration of the festival, so at a quick glance you can either make a note or move on.  My budget has ALWAYS been the $15 lunch and the $25 dinner and I’ve never once strayed from it. 
  • Compare lunch and dinner menus at the same restaurant.  If you find a place you think you might like but you’re not sure whether to go for the lunch or the dinner or ditch the place entirely, read both menus and see what the similarities and differences are between them.  Chances are there may only be a difference in one main or a dessert and if that’s the case, the $10 or even $20 difference between lunch and dinner just isn’t worth it.  Look for variety between menus if you need to make a make-or-break decision.
  • Stay away from places that offer ho-hum, every day eats.  A place might make a mean Caesar salad, but you don’t need a price fixe menu to enjoy such a classic staple which you can enjoy any day of the week.
  • Piece together all 3 compenents of the meal (appetizer, main, dessert) and do some quick mental math to see if you’re actually getting a sweet deal.  If the main iself is normally something that runs close to $20 (or if appetizers and desserts go for $10 normally) and it’s being offered on a $25 price fixe menu, you know you’ve hit pay dirt.  This is one of the reasons why I LOVE Southern Accent during Winterlicious and Summerlicious because their mains sit around $18 on their every day, permanent menu, not to mention their food is just amazing.

If you plan on hitting up a place (or two…or even three, ha!), let me know what you’re contemplating!  As well, if you have past experiences you’d like share, feel free to leave a comment here as I love hearing about what others have to say about their meals!

*****

Southern Accent is a cajun and creole restaurant with beautiful New Orleans and southern inspired decor and amazing food.  They are located at 595 Markham St. in Mirvish Village near Bloor St. West and Bathurst.  The Summerlicious list of restaurants and price fixe menus can be viewed here.

Double The Salmon, Double The YUM! – Tempura Salmon & Twin Salmon Sushi Rolls at The Sushi Shop

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How exciting is it when your favourite sushi place introduces new menu items?  VERY!  😀  You all know how much I love The Sushi Shop and how I can eat their maki rolls till the sun comes up.  One of the many reasons why I enjoy eating here so much has to do with their consistent way of churning out new rolls and creative combinations.  Now that’s not to say that old stand-bys aren’t great; on the contrary, discontinuing best sellers and favourites is a big no-no for diehards like myself who would most likely cry or whimper about it on the subway ride back home. 

It’s really fun though to open up the menu to discover that there are FOUR new kinds of rolls you’ve never seen and tried before!  So long as they keep doing what they do best, it’s all in good fun and it keeps things fresh.  I loved the way they incorporated Valentine’s Day into their sushi by creating their Sweetheart sushi rolls in the shape of two halves of a heart put together.  It was just too cute and so creative and, lucky for me, they decided to add it to their permanent menu of rolls alongside their newest additions.

Not too long ago during spring, The Sushi Shop rolled out (no pun intended, ha!) a slew of new sushi rolls to add to their existing menu and being the sushi roll crazed girl that I am, I jumped at the chance to try some of them out.  They added

  • 1) the Volcano Sumomaki
  • 2) the Tokyo Sumomaki
  • 3) Tempura Tekka Hosomaki (tempura mixed with tuna) and finally,
  • 4) the Tempura Syake Hosomaki (tempura mixed with salmon).  

Given how I love salmon sushi the way Homer chugs down beer and scarfs down donuts, it made perfect logical sense to give the Tempura Syake a whirl, especially considering how crazy I am about different textures with my sushi.  I really enjoy Sushi on Bloor’s crunchy rolls (salmon with tempura bits and avocado) and I couldn’t imagine not being totally in love with Sushi Shop’s interpretation. 

The tempura in their rolls is just different and amazing.  I don’t know if it’s because the bits seem bigger and therefore crunchier, or if it’s because of the spicy mayo they use with the salmon and tempura, but the combination is SO soft and flavourful.  Even though my boyfriend and I would agree that that their tempura shrimp appetizer isn’t their strong suit, they nail it using tempura in their rolls.  Come to think of it, the tempura shrimp appetizer seems to be the only blip in their repertoire and not because it tastes bad, but only because they don’t measure up to other sushi places in the city in terms of size and portion and the like. 

Otherwise, their tartare is fabulous, their Fuji Bowls are delicious (my boyfriend loved his and reported back to me, ha), and their rolls are out of this world.  And to make it even more perfect?  Ordering the Twin Salmon maki (rolls with salmon, avocado, red masago, and light mayo draped with the most mouthwatering smoked salmon with black sesame seeds) with these new Tempura Syake rolls seals the salmon lover’s deal. 

*****

The Sushi Shop is located at the intersection of Yonge and Carlton St. (3 Carlton St.), with 2 other take-out locations serving the downtown core, one being in the GO train station concourse and the other near Maple Leaf Square at 25 York St (closed Saturday and Sunday).  According to Google map, there is also a location on Bloor St. E at 175 Bloor St.E (Saturday and Sunday closed as well).  For more info on their menu, promos, and shop, check out their official website here.

The Stuff Vegetarian & Vegan Dreams Are Made Of: The Long Overdue Kale Eatery Follow-up Post!

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As soon as Alex from Vivid Memories commented on my first blog post about Kale Eatery this morning, I thought to myself, “oh my goodness, has it honestly been SIX MONTHS since that first and only entry?!”  Guilty as charged.  Time has just passed by in a blur and here we are enjoying the last weekend of June and making plans on how we’re going to spend our Canada Day weekends.  I can’t believe it’s already been 7 months since I started Ate by Ate.  In some ways, it feels like old-hat, making blog posts every day about awesome things I’ve eaten and cookies I’ve baked, and getting into the routine of keeping up with as many food events as possible around the city. 

In other ways though, I still get that nervous, slightly anxious butterflies-in-the-stomach feeling every so often knowing I’m wearing my heart on my sleeve for the whole cyberworld to see.  It’s a weird feeling knowing that your passion is splashed across the internet available for the whole world to see and all you want is keep doing what you love to do and for others to love what you do too.  If you can believe it, I’ll be celebrating my 200th post in less than a week and all I can say is that there will be cupcakes to celebrate! 

Anyway, Alex’s comment was the sheer motivation I needed to kick my own butt in gear!  A follow-up blog post about Kale is long overdue and really, considering how much I adore Kale I should be blogging about this vegetarian and vegan heaven every week!  Now, for those who are familiar with Kale Eatery’s self-serve buffet, pay-by-weight arrangement ($2.40/100g), you might be thinking, “it’s self-serve buffet style, how many blog posts could you possibly do about this place?  Won’t you end up just posting photos of the same stuff and writing about the same food?”  Ah, au contraire my lovelies.  Of course there are stamples that are present on a daily basis including yummies like their fluffy, freshly steamed kale, brown rice, and garlic herb roasted potatoes.  However, there are newbies strutting their stuff on the buffet stage all the time on a rotating basis and I was delighted to make friends with these new eats!  Not to mention, Kale serves food outside of their pay-by-weight buffet including wraps, muffins and pastries, smoothies, and fresh juice.  I always gravitate to the buffet though because I love it that much. 

Thanks to FabFind and my friend Wini (who gave me the heads up about the deal on my Twitter), I snatched up 3 -count ’em THREE- $7 for $15 vouchers for Kale, one of which I used last week.  I’m not obsessed, I swear.  Just very…in love…with them.  *whistles*  Walking into Kale made my heart all sorts of happy.  I grabbed a dish and got to work!  Although I grabbed some of my usual stand-bys (steamed kale, portobello mushroom rice, and garlic roasted potatoes), I was so excited to plop a generous helping of never-before-seen-and-eaten eats onto my plate: curry vegetables (red and green bell peppers, zucchini, and carrots in a curry sauce), green lentil potato salad (with celery hearts and peas, YUM!), spicy hummus (which I generously slathered on my potatoes), and spinach quinoa salad with cranberries and mango.  

My heart still flatters at the thought of the green lentil potato salad and spinach quinoa salad, my two particular favourites and standouts from this meal.  The lentils and potatoes were so soft they melted in my mouth and the spinach salad was so bright and colourful and fruity.  It was just so full of personality and personality is exactly what the buffet has.  You can construct a colourful plate full of different textures and you truly get to take advantage of many grains, proteins, and vegetables that are either often overlooked or underused at other eateries.  We all know how boring it would be to see lettuce and tomatoes at a vegetarian buffet.  In fact, I think many of us would be downright infuriated with such bland, run-of-the-mill choices.  Being vegetarian forces you to be creative, especially with your proteins and Kale does a wonderful job of providing a huge selection of food that is actually nutritious and exciting to eat.

Bright green leaves of baby spinach with fluffed quinoa, real cranberries, and juicy diced mango made up the colourful spinach salad and chunks of creamy golden potatoes rubbed elbows with leafy celery hearts and delicious green lentils.  Lentils have become one of my favourite legumes (I thank my first year of grad school for introducing me to these morsels of yumminess) and I think they add great, crunchy texture to salads and rice, not to mention amazing flavour and thickness to soups.  I also adore real cranberries and don’t mind the natural sourness and tartness of them at all.  They were bright, fresh, KILLER salads and they made my meal that much more enjoyable.  Kale hit the nail on its head with these two salads because the combinations were creative and scrumptiously delcious.  This is truly what vegetarian and vegan dreams are made of. 

*****

Kale Eatery is located at 2366 Yonge St. (near the intersection of Yonge and Eglinton, just north of Eglinton).  Their website is up and running which you can check out