No matter how healthy many of us eat, everyone has their junk food weakness whether it’s sweet or savoury. Some feel weak in the knees in the face of pizza, some salivate at the mention of ice cream sundaes, and some will do anything to get their hands on a basket of fries. I’ll be honest with you guys: I have a weakness for good old fashioned grilled cheeseburgers. And turkey burgers. With cheese, relish, pickles, mushrooms, peppers, and garlic mayo. I don’t eat them often though. The word “rarely” comes to mind, actually. Twice a year, tops. For me, as much as I enjoy it, these type of cravings are just cravings and they come and go.
Aside from having a sweet tooth, I shy away from junk food as often as I can. The last time I had a soda was over 10 years ago in high school (and I can’t remember the time before that), I despise fried chicken with a passion, and I try my best not to put myself in a situation where I have to resort to choosing something to eat from a fast food chain. Like I said, I allow myself to have a cheeseburger type of day maybe twice a year but that’s about it. I even carefully think about how to schedule my dessert and sweets eating throughout the day and/or week – what you see on the blog isn’t in real time most of the time! This lack of burger eating on my part clearly explains why my Burger Book catgory has been 1) relatively devoid of burger bliss (if I may quote the latest A&W commercial), and 2) more focused on vegetarian and vegan burgers!
I am LOVING the versatility and deliciousness of vegetarian and vegan burgers in all its different forms: soy, grain, tofu, potato, you name it. The veggie burgers I’ve had in the last year have all been delicious and they’ve all been so different. There’s the juicy, breaded tofu burger from Kale and the potato-like mushroom onion burger from Fresh. Another veggie burger to add to the mix? Earth & City’s raw, vegan nut burgers!
I approach Earth & City’s food the same way I approach the menu at Fresh: try everything! Or at the very least, something from every food category on the menu. So far I’ve had the pleasure of having Earth & City’s spring roll wraps, vegan pizza, nori rolls, macaroons, tarts, raw and vegan brownies, and even a raw peanut butter date square. I can now say with absolute conviction that their vegan nut burgers are my favourite of all favourites. I cannot get over how much I love them! My favourite foods from Earth & City then are as follows (in no particular order): nut burgers, nori rolls, and brownies.
Their nut burgers ($6, tax inclusive) are amazing and to me, they’re more delicious than any meat burger could ever be! The vegan nut burgers are giant round patties made of raw, almonds, sunflower seeds, honey dates, and flax seed that have been pulsed and pulverized, mixed with dried basil and oregano, organic olive oil and lemon juice, white balsamic vinegar and sea salt, and topped with either a sundried tomato or creamy pesto sauce, and sunflower sprouts with slices of local organic tomatoes at times. The heavenly burgers sit on a giant collard green leaf “lily pad bun” and are then munched on and inhaled by people like me.
I had one of their pesto nut burgers at a Lunchtime Office Market at the ING Direct Cafe and I could not stop thinking about it for days, even weeks, afterward. I was most surprised by the texture – it was simaltaneously smooth and slightly crunchy! The smoothness comes from how well the ingredients are thoroughly incorporated throughout the burger patty and the slight crunch comes from the ground up sunflower seeds and almonds. It’s not crunchy like a potato chip. It’s more like if you were to grab a handful of rolled oats and stuffed them in your mouth. They’re smooth and flat so you’re not actually crunching on them persay, but you can feel that texture as you chew. THAT’s what eating the nut burgers are like, only with a million times more flavour. The ground almonds and sunflower seeds in the burger give it body and bite. The burgers are SO incredibly soft and moist (the moistest burger I’ve ever had!) and the flavour is phenomenal. It’s savoury without being salty, the pesto is creamy and heavenly, and the sunflower sprouts and collared green give it leafy crunch and a burst of garden freshness.
I love that my nut burger experience was so fantastic, but I’m in a really bad predicament now because all I want to do is go to every market that Earth & City are at so I can pick up another burger! Just think, you’re getting a burger that’s rich in protein, calcium, and fibre, AND it’s delicious beyond comprehension. I guess my obsession with these burgers isn’t the worst thing that could happen. It leaves me naughty room in my diet and belly to gorge on their raw vegan brownies.
Earth & City is a local raw and vegan food business operating at farmers’ markets across Toronto year-round. They are currently at 3 markets, with more during the late spring and summer months. You can find them at the Centre for Social Innovation (Bathurst location at 720 Bathurst Street south of Bloor) on Tuesdays from 11:30am-1:30pm, the ING Direct Cafe (at Yonge & Shuter street just north of Queen Street) on Thursdays from 11:30am-1:30pm, and at The Stop market at Wychwood Barns (76 Wychwood Ave. near St. Clair Ave. West and Christie Street) on Saturdays from 8am-1pm.