A Rainforest Cabana Weekend Brunch – The Tex Mex Tortilla Scramble & The First Visit to Fresh on Crawford!

3 Comments

To all Fresh enthusiasts: have any of you noticed something missing from my Fresh posts?  I’m serious!  This is truly not a rhetorical question and while I certainly don’t expect any of you to go back and comb through my entire Fresh history, I’m genuinely asking because a glaring, unintentional omission exists and I’m just very curious to know if anybody else has picked up on this!  I’ve featured Fresh bowls, brunch, appetizers, plenty of brown rice, soba noodle, and vegetable goodness and even a burger in between scrapbook layouts.  However, the Fresh party on Ate by Ate will never be complete without this missing puzzle piece and I’m delighted to announce that the missing piece is has been claimed! 

After 10 gloriously delicous posts on Fresh over the course of a year and a half, I finally made my way to their Crawford location!  And that, my dear foodies, was the missing member of the Fresh family.  I know, it took me long enough!  Fresh serves 3 locations in Toronto and after 10 visits, my time at Queen and Crawford finally came and it was wonderful and fantastical and foodgasmic all at the same time.  It also helped that I celebrated this monumental occasion with my favourite meal of the day: brunch!  Before we get to the good eats though, let’s do a little rundown of the Crawford location in all its glory.   

One of the things I love most about Fresh is their decor and aesthetic.  The colours are bright, colourful, and fresh and all 3 locations have their own unique style and atmosphere.  Bright green paint and big mirrors adorn the walls of the Queen and Spadina location while pops of acid bright pink and orange, and beautiful wallpaper reminiscent of pretty scrapbook paper, decorate their Bloor St. spot.  Both locations also have cute restaurant-front awnings patterned in their signature colours of blue and green. 

Fresh on Crawford?  Let’s just say what Fresh on Crawford lacks on the outside is made up for on the inside ten times over.  The inside is beautiful.  It’s sleek and contemporary and it has such a hip yet tranquil spa-like quality.  Being inside makes me feel like I’m eating in a lush green rainforest cabana.  Wooden accents, anthurium plants, exposed brick wall on one side, and lots of green all over beautify the space.  The juice bar is lined with bar stools, brightened up with potlights (and look at the mountains of bright yellow bananas!), and in plain view from the seating area which I absolutely adore.  I really like this location and it’s anyone’s guess as to why it’s taken me so long to come here!  Located at 894 Queen Street West, it’s also the only location out of the three that has a full-fledged outdoor patio.  The Queen & Spadina location does have a tiny one out in the front, but the one at Crawford is the real deal!

Now, onto the foodgasmic moments of brunch!  I made myself a promise after my first weekend brunch at Fresh.  I promised myself I would go back and devour their Tex Mex Tortilla Scramble because in the beginning, I couldn’t decide between their Full Breakfast and their Tex Mex Scramble and actually felt a pang when I opted for the Full Breakfast first.  I know I probably would have felt the same way about the Full Breakfast had I chose the Tex Mex one first, but either way, I made good on my promise and had their Tex Mex Tortilla Scramble ($11) a few weeks ago with aged cheddar cheese and a side of garlic mayo. 

THIS IS THE BREAKFAST OF CHAMPIONS.  OH.MY.GOD.  Imagine eleventy billion exclaimation points inserted here!  Their Tex Mex Tortilla Scramble is comprised of savoury, crunchy melt-in-your-mouth corn tortillas underneath a mountain of tofu scramble, thick wedges of avocado, diced tomato, shredded lettuce, green onions, cilantro, and warm brown rice and creamy, spicy black beans.  The option of adding aged cheddar or vegan cheese is available for an extra $2, so I gladly added some cheddar to my tex mex mountain and had myself a field day stuffing my face with mouthfuls of creaminess, crunchiness, juiciness, and all around amazingness.

Each and every single part of this brunch dish worked in tandem and there was so much great flavour and texture.  The crunch came from the savoury corn tortillas, lettuce, and green onion, the creaminess came from the avocado and the spicy black beans, the tomatoes brought some juiciness, and the added crumbled aged cheddar just took the entire dish above and beyond with its nutty creaminess.  The scrambled tofu?  Wonderful.  It was smooth, it was super silky, and it had a delicious herb flavour to it.  And the brown rice brought the dish together with warmth, wholesomeness, and heartiness.  It was truly one of the best meals I have EVER had, hands down.  I enjoyed the Full Breakfast the last time, but the Tex Mex Tortilla Scramble blows it out of the water.  If you ever have any doubts as to which brunch meal you should have at Fresh, don’t.  Have this one and enjoy it until you are happy in the tummy and rolling down the road afterward.

*****

Fresh currently serves 3 locations in downtown Toronto:

  1. 326 Bloor St. West (right off the intersection of Spadina Ave. and Bloor St. West, just east of Spadina)
  2. 894 Queen St. West (at the intersection of Crawford St. and Queen St. West, near Trinity Bellwoods Park)
  3. 147 Spadina Ave. (near the intersection of Spadina Ave. and Queen St. West, a block south of Queen)
Advertisements

There’s Always Room for Mushrooms! The Mushroom Onion Burger from Fresh

4 Comments

You all can tell how much I love Fresh, right? 😉  After that first outing back during the holidays, I’ve fallen head over heels and I look forward to my next meal here after each time.  I love the variety of options, and I love taking photos and creating a scrapbook layout that speaks to the colours, flavours, and atmosphere of each unique foodie experience.  Call me crazy but I already have cardstock colours and scrapbook papers picked out in my head as I’m eating.  It makes me giddy when the decor reminds me of pretty patterned paper!  I seriously look at the menu online several times a week, daydreaming about what I might try the next time or a combination that will most definitely be yummy!  And don’t even get me started on how desperately I want need the cookbook in my personal library.  It’s a wonderful love and I’m completely amoured.

This was my first time eating at the Fresh on Bloor location (at the intersection of Spadina Ave. and Bloor St. W) and the 2nd time eating at Fresh, and because I know what a huge crowd Fresh draws in at any point in the day, I was there with Richard right when they opened at 11:30am.  Tummies, start your engines!  I was ready and raring to go!  I thought it would be fun to work my way around the menu, trying something from each category before rotating back again.  So since I had the black bean burrito the first time (on a bed of greens instead of in the tortilla), I picked out a burger to try the second time around: the mushroom onion burger, yay.  On a bed of greens again, without the bun.  Don’t mind me, it’s just my weird preference!

The same way the black bean burrito made me nom, nom, nom with happiness, the mushroom onion burger was SO DAMN scrumptious and yummy, oh my lordy.  I am HUGE lover of mushrooms, both raw and sautéed, and I love many different kinds: cremini, portobello, king oyster, button, etc. etc.  I eat mushrooms all the time at home and it’s one of those foods that give the most amazing flavour to just about everything.  The mushroom onion burger tastes like a cross between a delicious potato patty with veggies and herbs and a meaty burger.  Fresh’s burgers are made with almond, grain, tofu, and veggies and they’re super thick and so yummy.  It has this fantastic potato-like, crumbly texture with bold meaty, hearty flavour.  

This particular burger dish is served with thick slicies of beefsteak tomatoes, sautéed mushrooms and red onion, lettuce, a nice pile of alfalfa sprouts, and yummy vegan mayo.  The vegan mayo is made from miso, tofu, garlic, sunflower oil, and apple cider vinegar and has a delicious creamy subtle garlic flavour.  I added some aged cheddar cheese to my burger which is rennet-free and oh-so-delicious with the alfalfa sprouts and greens (I almost never pass on cheese, I love it very much) and I had myself a bangin’ awesome meal.  Oh!  And I can’t forget about the juice I ordered too.

 Fresh is also known for their ridiculously large selection of fresh fruit juice, protein shakes, fruit smoothies, wheatgrass shots and shakes, supplements, and a number of other cold drinks and espressos.  You can create your own juice by choosing a fruit juice or two (such as grapefruit, mango, apple, carrot, pomegranate, etc.), or having a fruit juice mixed with other ingredients such agave, coconut milk, celery, raspberry, maple syrup, cocoa and peppermint.  

Fruit juices specifically come in 2 sizes, a 16 oz. glass (like the one I ordered) and a larger 32 oz. one.  Juices start at $3.50 for one fruit juice choice and you add additional charges ($0.50 or $1 depending on what you choose, for extra ingredients).  I chose a combination of mango juice with coconut milk and mmmm, it was like my own version of a juicy, creamy mango lassi!  I was so excited to get some great pictures (getting here when Fresh opens has its perks, I got myself a window seat for that natural light I love so much!), to enjoy a wonderful lunch with my sweetie, and eat another truly delicious and satisfying meal here.

*****

Fresh currently serves 3 locations in downtown Toronto:

  1. 326 Bloor St. West (right off the intersection of Spadina Ave. and Bloor St. West, just east of Spadina)
  2. 894 Queen St. West (at the intersection of Crawford St. and Queen St. West, near Trinity Bellwoods Park)
  3. 147 Spadina Ave. (near the intersection of Spadina Ave. and Queen St. West, a block south of Queen)

Scrapbooking materials used: emerald green cardstock (Recollections); baby blue cardstock (DCWV); blue, green, and white floral and polka dot patterned cardstock (“Green Tea” stack, DCWV); magenta cardstock (Best Occasions); journalling tags (“Darcy” collection, Anna Griffin); brown and white polka dot alphabet stickers (K&Company); blue, white, brown, and pink flower stickers (Sticko); magenta adhesive gems.