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

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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)
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P is for Pesto-Perfect! Pesto White Beans Brown Rice Bowl and Puree of Green Vegetable & Pesto Soup at Fresh

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I have missed Fresh so much.  Sometimes you don’t even realize just how much you’ve missed something until you come back to it.  After several months of withdrawal, I finally snagged my Fresh fix over the holidays and introduced yet another category of menu items to my happy belly: soups!  After a year of delicious meals here it’s hard to believe my lips never touched even one of Fresh’s vast, amazing menu of vegetarian and vegan soups, but all of that changed when I strolled in for lunch on a chilly winter’s day (which is saying a lot considering our winter has been incredibly mild thus far!) just before the new year. 

I was a girl on a mission: to slurp and spoon my way through a bowl of Fresh soup heaven.  Luck was on my side that day because I had a hankering for pesto (who am I kidding – I always want pesto) and the vegetarian gods answered my prayers with a Puree of Green Vegetable and Pesto soup option!  It couldn’t have worked out more perfectly.

All three Fresh locations in Toronto serve two soups daily.  The selection changes every day and depending on the location, the choices may also slightly vary.  For example, one soup might be present at all three locations on a given day, while the 2nd choice might be different at one or two of the other locations.  All of Fresh’s soups are vegan and they incorporate everything from beans to vegetables to herbs to spices, resulting in a very large breadth of flavour, texture, and colour. 

There are 32 different soups currently presenting on their rotating soup menu (I counted them on their online menu!), and some of these soups include curried red lentil stew with zucchini, baby lima beans, and sage; leek and potato with rosemary; mushroom and eggplant stroganoff with toasted caraway seeds; and puree of curried yam and apple.  Needless to say, it is going to take me a very long time to try even five of their soups, much less all 32!

 

On their own, soups can either be ordered in a cup size like the one I chose ($3.50) or in an entree bowl size ($6), and can either be accessorized with a toasted organic whole wheat pita on the side ($2.50) or with grilled cornbread for $3.  If you’re looking to jazz things up with a salad, Fresh offers a soup, cornbread, and salad combo (small $9, large $11.50) where you can order a cup or bowl of soup alongside two slices of grilled cornbread and an Eat Your Greens! salad, which is chock full of cabbage, sunflower sprouts, edamame, cucumber, parsley, cilantro, Protein Boost crunchy munchines and nuts, and salad greens.

Straight from Fresh’s menu of soups and ingredient list, my Puree of Green Vegetable and Pesto soup consisted of “onions, leeks, garlic, mixed green vegetables (broccoli, kale, bok choy & swiss chard), zucchini, green peas, parsley, basil, black pepper, cayenne, pesto (contains pine nuts & sunflower seeds), sea salt, canola oil & vegetable stock”*, and out of all of those ingredients, the pesto, black pepper, cayenne, garlic, bok choy, and green peas came through the strongest for me.  It was deliciously thick without being goopy and I absolutely loved the crunchy topping of pine nuts and sunflower seeds on top!  The contrast in texture was perfect because the puree was smooth enough that you couldn’t tell which vegetables were floating where but thick enough that you could distinctly taste a mixture, a fusion.

It was a pesto-perfect lunch with my Puree of Green Vegetable and Pesto soup and my next installment of build-a-bowl fun.  I put together a bowl of brown rice with kale slaw, goat cheese, grilled tofu steaks, pesto white beans, and house dressing.  There ought to be a disclaimer or a little warning sign that comes with these ingredients that says, “WARNING: these delicious foods may cause addiction and physical signs and/or symtoms of hunger cravings and extreme enjoyment of food such as drooling and constant exclamations of the word “YUM!” 

This is by far the most delicious combination I’ve put together through build-a-bowl (my phrase, not theirs just to be clear!) and I would eat it 100 times more.  The kale slaw provides the crunchiness, the goat cheese for the creamy richness, the pesto white beans for that bit of starchy protein and body, and the grilled tofu steaks for that “meaty” savouriness that is just out of this world.  Fresh does grilled tofu so amazing and it drives the tofu lover in me batty because it’s so good.  And like I mentioned in my last Fresh post, the house dressing is to die for.  I order a side of this dressing and splash the entire little bowl of it into my rice bowl and mix it into the brown rice and other ingredients and it just heightens all the other flavours and textures.  It is one of my all-time favourite things at Fresh.

Now that I have a Fresh soup under my belt, I’m almost at the point where I’ve tried every food category on the menu, so we’ll see what the next several amazing meals will bring in 2012!

*****

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)

Getting My Mango and Tofu On – The Mango Tango Burrito at Freshii!

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I look a little silly cradling my burrito half like a baby, but when my food is yummy, I take great care in ensuring all of it ends up in my tummy as opposed to on the floor or on myself.  Well, that, and because I just needed a way to get the burrito in the photo with me!  I love burritos and I love how making them and eating them are one of the easiest and healthiest ways to get all my protein and veggies into a single meal.  I’m crazy about rice and beans and stuffing things like chickpeas, avocado, peppers, cheese, and spinach into them.  And don’t even get me started on the sauce!  I mop up my sauces real good and a burrito just isn’t a burrito unless there’s guacamole, sour cream, or some other delectable dressing to dunk it in. 

I’m a huuuge fan of the fish, shrimp, and veggie and bean burritos at Burrito Boyz, but haven’t really ventured out to other places around the city to try out others.  I always want to, but there’s so many things I always want to eat that sometimes it goes on the backburner until I’m reminded of one and think, “hmm, that burrito looks scrumptious.  I want to stick my face in it”.  I wasn’t kidding though when I said I was afraid of soiling myself with my food; one of my earliest memories of eating tacos and burritos was unfortunately dropping rice and sauce on my dress at the age of 5.  However, I have since replaced that exasperating experience with many happier ones, like the times when I would have build-a-burrito night for dinner at home and have bowls of chopped peppers, tomatoes, ground meat, rice, cheese at my disposable, and the heavenly meals at Burrito Boyz.

This burrito was the first item I tried from Freshii’s Social Menu (mains ranging from $7.29-$9.99), which debuted back in August at all Freshii locations and it was also the first time I tried one of Freshii’s burritos in general.  After being seduced by brown rice Freshii bowls for over a year, it was time for a temporary change of scenery and lucky me, there was a special menu to work with!  Freshii’s Social Menu was introduced over a month ago and the menu features a number of different combinations voted in and recommended by social media followers on sites such as Twitter and Facebook.  This menu not only highlights what some of Freshii’s biggest fans love, but it also attests to the proliferation of social media as a tool for businesses to communicate with consumers, gauge likes and dislikes, reciprocate feedback, and to build relationships across borders.  More and more, businesses are using social media outlets to promote their image and brand and to engage consumers in different ways.  For example, Freshii has used Twitter to ask followers about menu items to add and to pass along promotions and news among other things.  Freshii’s Social Menu thus reflects a very current and relatable mode of communication and creative process.

Freshii’s Mango Tango burrito had my name written all over it: brown rice with avocado, roasted red pepper, melted Jack and cheddar cheese, grilled tofu, and a mango, tomato, roasted red pepper, and cilantro salsa all wrapped in a grilled whole wheat tortilla.  It goes without saying that I loved the combination of avocado, roasted peppers, and cheese, but what totally made this burrito a hit for me was the tofu!  You’d think the tofu would be standing in the wings with a supporting role, but the tofu shined in this one.  The tofu was cut into cubed chunks and it was so good because it didn’t taste rubbery and it had this great warm, nutty flavour to it.  It added another dimension of taste and texture to the burrito and it was my favourite part of the whole thing. 

Some people might think burritos are child’s play to make, but they really aren’t because you need a balance between wet and dry foods.  Too much of things like tomatos and cucumber makes for a gross, leaky burrito and not enough means you’ll end up eating nothing but dry rice and tortilla.  The avocado added creaminess to the rice and tortilla, the tofu added body and nuttiness, the peppers and mango added moisture, and the cheese added its natural saltiness.  I also loved how the tomato and peppers in the salsa didn’t overpower the mango.  Throughout the entire burrito I got little bursts of juicy mango flavour and I only wish it was more than a salsa and instead ginormous chunks!  It was great and I enjoyed it even more after getting a side of blue cheese dressing to dunk my burrito in!  Their blue cheese dressing goes fab with this and as usual, I cleaned it all off.  And I didn’t make a mess the entire time.  Win-win 😀

*****

Freshii in Toronto serves 12 locations in the city with one also serving Mississauga.  Click here for a list and map of specific locations, as well as more information on Freshii’s menu, goals, and mission statement.  The Yonge and St.Clair Freshii is located at 1560 Yonge St., just north of St. Clair Ave. on the west side of Yonge.

Shredded Kale Slaw Is the Delicious Newbie in Fresh Town! The Love For Kale Continues On, Part II

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The love for kale continues on!  Yesterday I introduced the Italian raw bowl from Fresh to the blog (and to those of you who haven’t stuffed your face into it yet!), with its delicious crushed kale chips, basil pesto sauce, and zucchini noodles.  Today, my foodie love letter goes out to Fresh’s shredded kale slaw because it is absolute heaven in my mouth and if I could, I would sneak into their kitchens and eat their entire supply of it!  By the bowlful.  And then pass out from delicious happiness.  And then probably wheeled out in a wheelbarrow by kitchen staff.  It would be so worth it. 

Their shredded kale slaw is another newbie in Fresh town and from what I gather from other Fresh enthusiasts is that it’s already made quite the impression!  The side order of kale slaw comes with all burgers and wraps and replaces the cabbage slaw (which had chopped celery, red onion, and vinegar dressing) that was on the old menu.  I was in conniptions after I ate it for the first time last month and I am so glad this new side order is here to stay!  Cabbage coleslaw, I will always have fond memories of eating you with my grilled vegetable and basil pesto wrap filling on greens and with my mushroom onion burger.  I loved you too, but it’s time to say goodbye as I go on with my life with the new kid in town.

Farewell, cabbage slaw

I went full out GREEN this time with my build-a-bowl fun and ordered sides of kale slaw, sunflower sprouts, edamame beans, and Fresh’s signature house dressing with a warm bowl of brown rice.  Fresh is such a fun place for me to eat at because I try things I’ve never eaten before, I enjoy foods I don’t eat on a regular basis, and I get to learn about tasty combinations of foods I never would have otherwise thought of putting together.  I had sunflower sprouts for the first time here months ago and aside from times I eat yummies at Freshii, the only other time I eat brown rice is at Fresh and that’s simply because I eat steamed white rice at home and other places. 

You can tell how extensive Fresh’s menu is because after eating here a number of times, I have still have plenty of meals and foods I haven’t tried yet!  I’m still working my way through it and yet to try a Fresh weekend brunch, soup, salad entree, or smoothie!  Mixed fruit juice, yes, smoothie, no.  This was my first time having their brown rice and in combination with the kale slaw, sprouts, edamame, and house dressing, I shovelled the rice into my mouth and ate every last grain.

Fresh’s house dressing was the biggest surprise for me.  I knew it would be good, but I had no idea that it would be THIS good!  Made with a mixture of flax and sunflower oil, apple cider vinegar, lemon, dijon, garlic, and tamari (ingredient list taken from the menu), the house dressing is one of a number of dressings and dips that come with salads and as individual additional sides to any meal for an extra $1.  The flavour of the dressing is amazing.  Think of it as dressing with a subtle savouriness to it without the harsh tang from straight up vinegar or lemon.  The sunflower oil gives the dressing body while the apple cider vinegar gives it that sweet and sour taste that adds a kick to blank canvas foods like rice and plain noodles.  The shredded kale slaw itself is tossed with a bit of vinegar dressing of its own so the whole meal was just bursting with flavour and texture with the nutty, starchy flavour coming from the edamame beans and the crunchiness coming from the sunflower sprouts and kale.

I’m really excited to feature kale in my upcoming ‘5 Great…’ series on the blog and with so places utilizing the versatility of kale in their dishes, there’s bound to be some great hidden gems and showstoppers around the city to showcase.  The kale slaw at Fresh totally has my vote to be in the top 5.  It’s not fancy, but that’s the beauty of it because food doesn’t need to be fancy pants to make an impression.  All it has to be is fresh and delicious and made with love.  And of course, enjoyed with love.  No contest here.  I just might order two sides of it next time.

*****

Ate by Ate currently has 8 blog entries on Fresh.  To view all the Fresh goodness and scrapbook layouts, click 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)

Soba Noodles, Pesto White Beans, and Delicious Slices of Grilled Red Peppers and Avocado: Build-a-Bowl Fun at Fresh!

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*Even though I’m uploading this post today, on the morning of August 23rd, it was actually written the night before, so don’t be confused by my usage of tense and my reference to time* 

I’m writing this post with a heavy heart after finding out this morning that Jack Layton, leader our federal NDP party and former Toronto city councillor (among many other things), passed away from his second bout of cancer.  Even after so many exuberant years in his career in politics in our beloved city, there were so many things I felt he could have continued to accomplish and I wish so much that he could have lived to see and enjoy allthe fruits of his successes and accomplishments.  I get teary-eyed every time I see the news footage displaying the chalk message mural for him developing at city hall, and all the flowers and messages that have been left for him at his office. 

Not that any of us have ever stopped fighting for change or fighting for happiness and a better world, but his death today is a huge wake-up call, or at the very least a solemn reminder.  A reminder that our life is precious and every day is a blessing.  That there is no such thing as too many “I love yous”.  That we should never stop fighting for our happiness, the happiness of the people we love, and change for the better.  To quote the last part of a letter he wrote just days before his death, “My friends, love is better than anger.  Hope is better than fear.  Optimism is better than despair.  So let us be loving, hopeful and optimistic. And we’ll change the world.”  In a nutshell: be the best person you can be and find the most positive ways to live your life.

This blog is my labour of love, my sounding board, and my inspiration, and I will always be grateful for all the amazing things I’ve seen and done for it and because of it.  So with that in mind, here is today’s foodie offerings to fill our tummies and our hearts: noodles, beans, and delicious veggies for build-a-bowl fun at Fresh!  If you’re accustomed to eating here, or ogling their menu online, then you know that they have a nice long list of entree bowls with a choice of brown rice or soba noodles with a slew of proteins, vegetables, sauces, and herbs.  Take my Beach Bowl, for instance.  Soba noodles with mounds of grilled red peppers, sweet potato, avocado, sunflower sprouts, zucchini, sun-dried tomato, and lemon juice and olive oil.  AMAZING in every way.  The Beach Bowl is just one of many bowls on their menu and although I can only imagine how delicious the others taste, there are times where I just want to have some fun and create my own bowl!  Kind of like the Build-a-Bear workshop, only with food!

Fresh’s menu offers a huuuuge, long list of sides that you can pick and choose from as add-ons to meals, but I actually use the list to create my own custom-made Fresh bowl.  Each item is assigned a price (ranging from $0.50 to $4) so you can mix and match between and across categories (raw vegetables, steamed vegetables, proteins, cheeses, sauces, dips, and others) and choose ingredients to your heart’s content!  Everything from tofu steaks, sunflower sprouts, black bean filling, steamed kale and bok choy, goat cheese, napa, jicama, chick pea curry, zucchini noodles, and on and on and on! 

For this particular build-a-bowl fun lunch, I ordered soba noodles with pesto white beans and thick, delicious slices of fresh avocado and hot-off-the-grill roasted red peppers.  The pesto white beans are to-die for and the red peppers have that perfect char on them.  And I’m just a lover of soba noodles and avocado in general.  Since these menu items are technically on the add-ons and sides portion of the menu, each ingredient you order comes in its own little dish.  And then you have yourself a ball and mix everything together yourself.  Or you can eat the sides on their own, straight out of the dish.  Whatever floats your boat! 

Now, these photos were taken before Fresh unveiled their revamped menu last month, so although the ingredients you see here haven’t changed, the utensils and aesthetics are going to look a bit different.  Gone are the green chopsticks, in are the bright orange ones!  And their bowls are nice big white curved ones, which actually give quite a nice contrast to the bright colours of food. 

After creating this bowl, I became hooked on wanting to create more.  The options and combinations are endless!  It’s so much fun and it’s such a cute way to get creative and healthy with your food.  And it’s great way to pick and choose based on your budget and the size of your appetite.  Not to mention, you get to put together a meal with everything you love – can you say happy taste buds and tummy?!  I’ll never stop eating my way through their menu, but this is a really awesome way to inject a little creativity and even more fun into eating here.  And that’s what food is all about: genuine love, making it fun, making it your own, and feeling good inside and out.

*****

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)

“Let’s Enjoy Food” – The Joy of Freshii

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If you recognize this photo, it’s because I have it posted in my “For the Love of Food” page up on my menu bar 🙂  This photo was taken at my favourite Freshii restaurant location (Yonge St. and St. Clair) and it epitomizes everything I feel food should be about.  Food is about enjoyment, relaxing, and nourishing every part of you and because of our hectic day-to-day lives, I don’t think we take that time for ourselves enough.  You take things to go and rush off to your next appointment, you eat and work at the same time.  Heck, sometimes you may even skip a meal because you’re “too busy”. 

I love Freshii to death and it was about a year and a half ago when I first discovered it.  My boyfriend and I were taking a leisurely stroll around the Yonge & St. Clair neighbourhood two Hallowe’ens ago and I was intrigued by the bright green Freshii sign and the spiffy little menu screen outside the door.  I quickly scanned a few menu items and picked out a few words and phrases: “brown rice”, “spinach”, “burritos”, “lemongrass soup”, etc. etc.  I instantly thought, “good god, I need to eat here”.  And so we did.  And we’ve been happily squeeing over our Freshii food ever since.  And I mean squeeing.  I hug my warm little rice box and lay my cheek on it and sigh with contentment.  I am not embarrassed by my show of affection; it makes me happy 😀

Freshii is fantastic in terms of options.  It’s wholesome good food that’s healthy and energizing.  Think brown rice bowls, fresh mixed green salads (spinach, romaine, spring mix), soups in steaming chicken or lemongrass broth, burritos and wraps made with whole wheat tortillas, rice noodles, a gazillion fruits, vegetables, beans, and protein-rich add-ons for every meal, and frozen yogurt.  Even though I marked Freshii as a “veggie eat”, rest assured for those of you who enjoy meat, there’s plenty of meat options here too!  Freshii is all about customizing meals to fit your diet, your lifestyle, and your nutritional needs.  There are meals on the menu board for you to choose from, and you can also customize your meal by choosing a dish (for example, brown nice, salad, or soup) and checking off all the toppings and ingredients you want in it.  And this is where the fun part comes in!

The mini clipboard with menu paper and pencil!  Although I absolutely LOVE their “Bliss” bowl (brown rice with lots of yummilicious things which I will blog about another time), I also get so giddy creating my own meal, choosing all my own ingredients and toppings, and anticipating with glee how awesomely delicious it will be when it’s made.  Basically, you start off with either a salad, a bowl, wrap/burrito, or soup at the starting price.  Then you let yourself go NUTS with the ingredients!  There is a very long list of fruits, vegetables, and beans that you can choose without any extra charge and then you go about deciding what kind of  dressing or sauce you want (if applicable).  If you want other options such as meat and cheeses or extra sauce and dressing, you just add the extra charge designated by those lists.  Easy peasy!  So, what did I choose for this time?  Look below and you will see.

I was in conniptions over how delicious this was!  Not that I’ve ever eaten anything here that I haven’t loved, but I was just nom, nom, noming up the wall.  I had myself a brown rice bowl with black beans, sweet corn, roasted red peppers, spinach (I replaced the tomatoes I had initially checked off; totally worth it), mushrooms, cilantro, added avocado and blue cheese, and had it all dressed in extra virgin olive oil.  OH.MY.GOD.  I scarfed this heavenly box of brown rice, veggies, beans, and cheese down faster than my boyfriend did. 

I was hungry, it was so yummy, and I felt SO GOOD after.  The kind of good that makes you feel strong, energized, and ready to run a marathon.  Okay, maybe not a marathon, but I certainly could have flown up several sets of stairs Rocky-style.  And it blows my mind because it’s rice and, if you’ll recall from Monday’s post about Mela, rice and pasta and starches are filling and they can unfortunately lead to sluggishness and overall discomfort during the day with digestion and all.  Not with Mela and not with Freshii either.  It lives up to its name.  So fresh and so good.

Whenever I eat at Freshii, I have such a sense of contentment.  I sit down with my box of rice and enjoy my meal.  No rush.  No crowdedness.  Not to knock other locations, but I’m telling you, the most enjoyable spot to eat is the St. Clair one.  For one, there’s more than  just a bench bar to eat at.  For another, there are windows up at the front for nice sunlight to stream in (I’m not entirely fond of food courts and being stuffy indoors with lackluster lighting.  And yes, this partially has to do with my pickiness about pictures!).  It’s a great place to eat if you’re looking for healthy options that can be molded to your needs, and I’d say that most meals are under $10.  If you go wild with things like cheese and meat, you’ll probably exceed that price point, but if you’re solely vegetarian or vegan, you can definitely do a meal for about $6 or $7. 

As well, Freshii is environmentally conscious, providing recycling bins, biodegradable containers (you can bring in your own bowl too!) and providing food that is sustainable and environmenally responsible in its growth and harvesting methods.  It’s food with a conscience, a mission, and a statement and it tastes damn good.  I can’t wait to do more Freshii posts and share more photos and combinations with you guys.  I love it that much 😀

*****

Freshii in Toronto serves 11 locations in the city with one also serving Mississauga.  Click here for a list and map of specific locations, as well as more information on Freshii’s menu, goals, and mission statement.  The Yonge and St.Clair Freshii is located at 1560 Yonge St., just north of St. Clair Ave. on the west side of Yonge.