I’ve talked about a lot of different food situations on the blog. Situations and predicaments like food tunnel vision, constant cravings (cue K.D. Lang’s song here), and food snobbery among many others. I have a new one to add to the hungry mix: food remorse, and not in the sense you’re probably thinking. I’m talking about the feeling of remorse that washes over you when you pass up something delicious and it ends up haunting you in your dreams. Well, maybe it’s not that extreme, but definitely enough remorse to have it occupy a good portion of your stomach and brain for days afterward. It’s when you wish with all your heart that you had taken advantage of the opportunity right in front of you to eat whatever it was you wanted to eat but just didn’t. I know we all go through those moments (who hasn’t walked by that bakery storefront or burger joint and wished they could stuff their face?), but it’s insult to injury when you mope about passing up something delicious, healthy, and affordable and reasonably priced. This is the absolute worst and I know the feeling all too well.
Thus, when I went to last week’s first Lunchtime Office Market at the ING Direct Cafe at Yonge & Shuter, I couldn’t help myself. I grabbed an edible hummus and veggie bowl (after paying for it, of course!) and devoured it along with my other lunch time goodies. After seeing these gorgeous, rainbow bright edible cabbage bowls made by Jesse of Luscious Dips at the CSI Lunchtime Market at Spadina my last time there, I couldn’t bear the thought of passing them up a second time. So I didn’t.
With a hungry tummy and a happy heart, I enjoyed a bright and fresh, hearty lunch at the ING Direct Cafe courtesy of Luscious Dips and local fish and seafood extraordinaire Hooked Inc. There were plenty of food choices at the market and it was hard to narrow it down to just two things. I knew I wanted something hearty to go along with my edible cabbage bowl ($4) and as soon as I saw the hot, steaming pot of fish chowder at Hooked’s station, I knew I had my lunch decided. The fish chowder ($5) was a savoury, flavourful, spicy (but not too spicy) mix of celery, sweet potatoes, carrots, greens, and big, chunks of flaky fish and it was like winter cabin comfort food in a cup. It was incredibly filling and satisfying and unlike anything I’d had before. I really loved the broth and could totally see myself enjoying the chowder with some crusty bread or as filling in a fish taco. I had been craving fish chowder for weeks prior to the market so it was like my food prayers were being answered!
My lovely edible cabbage bowl full of bright veggies and vegan dip balanced out the heartiness of the soup and brightened up my palate. My cabbage bowl was stuffed with cucumber slices, julienned red bell peppers, a big dollop of Luscious Dips’ vegan beet hummus dip, and a handful of delicious corn chips made by Mad Mexican, a business in the west end of Toronto specializing in wholesome, all-natural Mexican food products. Jesse of Luscious Dips always has Mad Mexican’s fabulous corn chips on hand with her at the markets and depending on the market, you can pick up a bag of them at her table. The edible cabbage hummus bowls are absolute genius. It’s healthy and less wasteful save for a napkin that you may or may not end up using. And it just looks beautiful.
Thanks to my lunch, I have become absolutely obsessed with Jesse’s dips! They are amazing and I cannot stop thinking about grabbing containers of each and every single flavour she makes! Knowing how much my mum loves beets, I purchased a container of the beet hummus ($5) to take home and embarrassingly enough, I’ve been chomping at the bit more than she has. It is so delicious and so versatile. You can use it as a dip for raw vegetables, for nachos, for tortillas, or as a sandwich spread. This past weekend, I made myself a vegetarian sandwich using baby spinach, avocado, and mozzarella cheese and spread the beet hummus on my bread and oh my goodness it was absolute heaven. So much so that I accidentally just typed the word “hummus” in place of heaven, realized my mistake and backspaced to fix it. Oops. I’m totally head over heels for the stuff and I am ecstatic to see what Jesse brings to the next market.
I loved my lunch and I’m so excited to see what other menu items and fresh eats all the vendors will bring in the coming markets. My sights are set on Earth & City’s nut burgers, more dips, Chocosol’s tortillas, and maybe a pie from Yorktown Pie Company. The possibilities are looking delicious and endless.
The Lunchtime Office Markets by Alimentary Initiatives take place on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays. The markets are from 11:30am-1:30pm and the newest market is located at the ING Direct Cafe at 221 Yonge Street at the corner of Yonge & Shuter across the street from the Eaton Centre every Thursday.