A Vegetarian Par-tay! Coming Together With Friends at King’s Café

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“Food is our common ground, a universal experience” – James Beard

King’s Café in Kensington holds some really wonderful memories for me.  I first wrote about this fantabulous Chinese vegetarian restaurant on Christmas eve after spending some quality stuffing-our-face-and-bellies time with my bestie, Melissa.  And I am so happy that I have another amazing memory from here to tuck away in my mental time capsule (and my scrapbook!).  Over a month before the holidays even started, I got the opportunity to meet some of my beloved online friends who were coming in from out of town for a weekend in Toronto, friends that I had known and conversed with for years through my computer screen but had never actually seen or met in person.  So on the first weekend of November, I got together with a great group of friends for some awesome veggie eats and a day out on the town!

This get-together was so, SO much fun!  We ate.  We gabbed.  We laughed.  We snapped a gazillion pictures.  And most importantly, we sat and relaxed and enjoyed a fantastic meal among friends.  I don’t know about you, but as I’ve gotten older, it has become increasingly difficult to hang out with friends in a group, with friends being out of town, in school, working, and just  plain busy with the day-to-day.  People can’t make it, people bail, whatever the reason, it takes a lot of effort to co-ordinate a meet-up.  I mean, sure, times with friends one-on-one and with your significant other mean a lot.  At times it’s even hair-pulling trying to co-ordinate time for that!  But there’s something to be said about getting a group of friends together and enjoying each’s other company; it’s a heart-warming feeling and you realize how much you miss it and cherish it when you’re in it.

And I loved my food SO MUCH!  I drank the most amazingly delicious vanilla milkshake ($4.25)  in my entire life at King’s Café oh my lordy!  It was sweet, creamy, and smooth and quite possibly heaven in liquid form *wiggles with glee*. 

As for solid food, we all ordered lots of different things: Richard had the veggie ginger chicken, Wini had some hot n’ sour soup with her meal, a few friends ordered bento meal sets, my friend Maree ordered the spicy eggplant dish, and I ordered the sweet n’ sour bites ($9.99), yuuuummmm.  The sweet n’ sour bites were made from TVP (textured vegetable protein, made from soy) and were mixed with tons of deliciousness: green and red bell peppers, mushrooms, snow peas, and pineapple chunks in a sweet n’ sour sauce.  To go along with it, a warm bowl of purple rice!  In terms of texture, the bites reminded me of those soft tofu poofs that my mum buys sometimes at the Chinese supermarkets.  The portions are hearty and very satisfying.  And because I eat slow (and talk a lot, haha), I was the last person hacking away at her meal when everyone else was already finished, whoops! 😀

Believe it or not, this was only the 2nd time I had ever been to King’s Café!  Surprising considering how much I love it here, right?  I don’t know why I never got around to coming back more, but I’m happy that the times I have come have all been sweet and memorable.  The very first time I came here was back in the 2007, right around the end of August.  My beloved friend Jen and I were exploring Kensington and stumbled on this eatery and loved it from the get-go.  And you can bet that I’ll be back many times to come 😀 

*****

King’s Café is located at 192 Augusta Ave. in Kensington Market (accessible from both Dundas and College St, just west of Spadina) and is open at 11:30am seven days a week until 9:30pm from Monday-Saturday, and until 9pm on Sundays.         

Scrapbooking materials used: moss green, golden rod, and white cardstock (Recollections); patterned paper (DCVW); black and white polka dotted epoxy alphabet stickers (atd); coloured alphabet stickers (K&Company); Asian food stickers (Decole Style, Kamio Japan Inc.; Jolee’s).

A thank you to Wini for allowing me to use her cute photo as the focal point on the first page 😀

Dreaming of a White Christmas – The Quiet Serenity of King’s Café

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Merry Christmas and happy holidays everyone! ❤  I am sitting here at my laptop in a blanket burrito at 9pm on the eve of Christmas, technically 3 hours away from Christmas Day, watching my brother play hockey on his PS3, reliving glorious sports moments of the year being shown on tv, and relishing in the wonderful day I spent with my bestie, Melissa, just 2 days ago.  Whatever stresses we may be feeling, whatever bad feelings we may be harbouring, this is the time to put them aside, even if just temporarily.  It’s a time to reminisce and a time to savour.

Aside from The Distillery District, Kensington Market is one of my favourite neighbourhoods in Toronto and King’s Café is a wonderful Chinese vegetarian restaurant in the middle of the all the Kensington action on Augusta Ave.  Accessible from both Dundas and College St., it’s a beautiful restaurant with heart-healthy foods and drinks and a delicious bounty of vegetarian options.  It’s open, it’s spacious, and it has this wonderful fresh, quiet, serene quality to it that makes eating a meal here so relaxing and enjoyable.

There is SO much to choose from in the menu: dim sum, rice and noodles dishes, curry, tofu, veggie chicken steak, sushi, the list goes on for miles.  While perusing the menu, I was SUPER ecstatic to find out that they had a special “winter menu” for the season!  And was the little paper insert in the middle ever adorable with the cute picture of a little King’s Café winter house down by the bottom! *cue excited squeals of “it’s so cuuuuuute!” from me*.  I am easy to amuse and easy to please.  Just give me paper.  You know me, I can’t resist seasonal things so with an excited squeal, I happily began scoping out my options.

With giddy anticipation, I chose the veggie chicken steak with orange sauce while my bestie, Melissa, went the dim sum route with the green leaf sticky rice and pan-fried radish pastry squares (law back go in Chinese).  The food was beautiful, fresh, and so yummy-yum-yummy!  My dish came with 4 veggie chicken steak rounds bathed in tangy orange sauce with spears of fresh asparagus and a colourful, fresh green salad with spring mix greens, cucumber, carrots, orange wedges, apple slices (which I actually gave to Melissa because I’m allergic to the fresh flesh of apples), and red grapes. 

The veggie chicken steak rounds were moist and so flavouful and about the size of your palm.  The orange sauce had just the right amount of tang to it and wasn’t overly citrusy and the salad made me smile; how Chinese of them 🙂  My mom and dad tell me all the time how much they love the Chinese style salads with chunks of fruits and vegetables in it like potato, pear, and apple and it’s the little details like those that really scream out to you.  I say this all the time, but you eat with your eyes and when you see something so colourful and pretty on your plate, with the freshness of it just wafting from it, it makes you happy.

One of the sweet waitresses gave us these fried vegetable fritters to try and OH.MY.GOD.  They were crunchy, crispy, and seasoned to the most amazing salty perfection you could ever imagine.  And to end off the meal?  A sweet and rich square of cranberry cheesecake with crumbles on top, sitting prettily on an adorable seashell shaped dish.  This meal was amazing and King’s Café continues to score major brownie points on quality and freshness and judging by how much several of my friends love it too, I know I’m the only one who sings its praises!

I love that it has such Chinese flair to it and I also love that its in Kensington, a neighbourhood with so much character and a passion for market freshness.  King’s Café also has a fantastic selection of teas, not just on the menu, but in the actual restaurant where you can quietly browse and shop.  The restaurant is located at 192 Augusta Ave (accessible from both Dundas and College St, just west of Spadina) and is open at 11:30am seven days a week until 9:30pm from Monday-Saturday, and until 9pm on Sundays.

Merry Christmas to those who celebrate, and best wishes to everyone for a happy, memorable holiday!

*****

King’s Café is located at 192 Augusta Ave (accessible from both Dundas and College St, just west of Spadina) and is open at 11:30am seven days a week until 9:30pm from Monday-Saturday, and until 9pm on Sundays.