The Fall Harvest Series – Sweet Potato & Rosemary Omelettes and Corn Bread at E.L. Ruddy, Part II!

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I feel like such an idiot.  I’ve never had as many food flub-ups as I’ve had over the last two weeks: going to places only to find out when I got there that they were closed for renovation, finding out after I was seated that an a la carte wasn’t available and that apparently, it was only all-you-can-eat (thankfully, I was able to explain the situation and exit as gracefully as I could), and finally, that certain meals were only available during certain parts of the day and unfortunately, not the part of day I was there!

Which brings me to Veggielicious.  I was over the moon excited when I found out about Veggielicious.  I skipped out on both Winterlicious and Summerlicious this past year so I was hell bent on getting in at least two Veggielicious meals.  I pored over all the menus and promotions, made my choices, and was raring to go.  Little did I know that I would end up feeling like an absolute fool over it.  For months now I’ve wanted to try E.L. Ruddy.  Vegetarian brunch?  All over it like peanut butter on jelly!  What better time to try them out than during Veggielicious?  My heart sunk to the soles of my feet though when I found out last week that their Veggielicious special was a dinner-only special.  I was there at 11am when they opened.  And I made the same mistake yesterday when I tried to make up for my Veggielicious booboo at another destination.

I wanted to cry.

Here I was, jibber-jabbering about Veggielicious on the blog, on Ate by Ate’s Facebook page, and to people in general, and in the end?  Nothing to show for it.  I’m so sorry guys.  This will teach me a lesson for the future to cover my bases a little more carefully, that’s for sure.

BUT!  There’s always a but!  Just as I was about to start weeping over my stupidity and rotten luck, I had a light bulb moment.  Here I was feeling so dumb over my oversight that I wasn’t appreciating what was right in front in me.  Sure, I was incredibly disappointed about not being able to do Veggielicious but I had a whole menu of other amazing food choices to take advantage of, ones that would tie into the Fall Harvest Series, Veggie Eats, and Weekend Brunch series perfectly.  And in the end, I’m posting about great, permanent menu items that can be enjoyed any time, not just during a once-a-year food fest.  So, I’m not feeling as heartbroken about it anymore because I have some fabulous food stuff to show you all!

E.L. Ruddy, located at 1371 Dundas Street West, serves vegetarian and vegan brunch on the weekends with a seasonal item and special introduced to the menu every week.  The cafe is cozy, artistic, and eclectic with its 70s style tables, bright orange paint, exposed brick walls, floor-to-ceiling bookshelves, and cute dining and table accessories like sugar pots with collectible spoons!  It’s a small space (less than 20 people at a time, folks!) with a very dedicated menu that caters to both savoury and sweet tastebuds and cravings: simple scrambled eggs or marinated tofu with home fries, salad, and toast; eggs or tofu with beans, salsa, and homemade corn bread; granola with the works (wheat-free rolled oats, quinoa flakes, dried fruit, and so much more; spelt waffles with sweet marinated strawberries, maple syrup, and whipped cream, and more.

It’s a menu that really speaks to the diversity of vegetarian, vegan, and/or gluten-free food by utilizing seasonal ingredients and wholesome foods.  There’s a real sense of warmth and comfort in their food that just makes you happy when you look at it and when you eat it.  And, menu prices are tax inclusive!  If it says $12, it’s $12 flat.  I have to tell you, that makes everyone’s life a whole lot easier when you’re calculating the bill!  Menu prices are $7-$13 for main dishes, $4 for brunch cocktail specials, and $1 for substitutions and/or additions.

For this brunch meal, I did something pretty unorthodox: I ordered something sweet potato and something rosemary.  Now, I’d like to think of myself as a non picky eater and pretty easy going with my food choices.  I write a food blog after all!  But there are things that I don’t enjoy as much.  And sweet potatoes and rosemary are two such things!  Why did I choose something with both then?!  I saw the omelette with maple-roasted sweet potatoes, rosemary, and aged cheddar with home fries, salad, and toast ($12) and I didn’t want to shy away from it simply because it contained things I normally didn’t love to pieces.  It sounded like such a delicious dish and it was so perfect for the Fall Harvest Series, so I dove into it.  And I was not disappointed in the least!

My green mixed salad was topped with a handful of roasted pumpkin seeds and I substituted the toast with the homemade corn bread.  I fell SO in love with it and it completely made my tastebuds appreciate sweet potato and rosemary in a whole new light.  I always felt like sweet potato and rosemary were both too woody in taste and in some cases, a little bland.  This omelette was delicious though and the egg complemented the flavours so well!  I got savouriness, cheesiness, warmth, comfort, crunch, everything.  I loved the pumpkin seeds with the salad, the home fries (potato coins) were so moist and yummy, and the corn bread?  Out of this world!

I know there are quite a few people who adore the corn bread from Fresh and while Fresh is one of my favourite places to eat, theirs has nothing on the corn bread here at E.L. Ruddy!  The corn bread here is amazing.  It’s moist with that signature crumbly, corn grit texture that makes it so yummy without being too crumbly.  It holds its shape well and together with the salad and pumpkin seeds, it tasted extra fabulous.

While I’m still sad that I missed out on some terrific Veggielicious specials, I’m happy that I was still able to fully enjoy a space and its delicious food for the first time.  I’m excited to come back for more, I’m excited to see what other seasonal yummies they’ll have to offer as the months go on, and I’m definitely looking forward to more of that corn bread!  Vegetarian and vegan brunch is something I love posting and writing about and the fact that it fits into the Fall Harvest Series so nicely is win-win for me, Veggielicious or not.

*****

E.L. Ruddy is a vegetarian and vegan cafe with gluten-free options located at 1371 Dundas Street West between Dufferin Street and Dovercourt Road, at the corner of Rusholme Drive.  They are open 7 days week for weekday dinner and weekend brunch: 5pm-11pm Monday to Friday, 11am-11pm Saturday and Sunday.

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Happy First Day of Spring! The Aunt Jemima Experiment, 2nd Edition: Fruit & Nut Pancakes!

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Happy first day of spring everyone!  😀  For the first weekend in goodness knows how long, I didn’t need to wear winter boots and let me tell you, it felt soooo good.  Even though there was still a bit of chill in the air, it was beautiful this weekend.  The snow waved goodbye (and I happily waved back), the sun has been out all weekend long, and I’ve been bouncing off the walls with giddy excitement and anticipation for the new season.  So giddy I wiggled along to Rod Stewart’s “Do You Think I’m Sexy” and The Archies’ “Sugar Sugar” in the car.  Oh yes.  And spring just makes me feel so much more productive.  My mum and I cooked like crazy, I started and finished another murder mystery novel from my favourite murder mystery series, did some hardcore scrapbooking, went through some recipes, and spent some quality brother-sister time watching the hockey game last night.  It’s been a fab weekend. 

This morning I accompanied my mum to our favourite bakery and deli in Markham to pick up some fresh bread and pastries, and headed back home to make a yummy Sunday breakfast!  After we tried the Aunt Jemima buttermilk pancake mix two weeks ago and gave it a thumbs up, we’ve taken quite a liking to it and since that first time, I’ve been thinking of as many pancake fillings and combinations as I can!  This is one of the things I love about food.  You start with something basic and simple – a blank canvas –  and add your own flair to it, creating your own little masterpiece.  It’s so inspiring and it’s love straight from the heart.  This week’s pancake combination: banana buttermilk (just like the first time) with nuts and dried fruit!

I call this my banana-trail mix combination.  Mashed bananas mixed into the pancake batter (3 bananas for 2 cups of pancake mix with 1 1/2 cups of water), and a mix of dried fruit and nuts sprinkled on the pancake batter as its cooking in the pan, and more when the pancakes are done, with a dusting of powdered sugar and a drizzle of honey!  I sprinkled a mix of cashew pieces, pumpkin seeds, golden raisins, and dried cranberries for mine.  It’s perfect for me because I love dried fruit (with granola and yogurt especially) and it forces me to get some nuts into my diet.  I’m not the biggest lover of nuts and it’s only been recently that I’ve grown to like almonds.  The jury’s still out on all the others.  The fruit and nuts tasted great with the pancakes!  Awesome texture and crunch and a hint of sweetness from the fruit and honey.

I’ve been asked how my mum and I get our pancakes to look the way they do.  We experiment the same way everyone else does, but what works for us: 

  1. set your stovetop to medium heat.  It doesn’t take long for pancake batter to burn, so you want to be able to let your pancake hang out for a little bit before flipping in order for the edges to crisp and for the pancake to brown, so medium heat will allow you to do this without burning.  If your heat dial has numbers, we put ours between 5 and 6.  When bubbles start forming on the surface and the oil around the edges start dancing, flip!
  2. use vegetable oil.  Olive oil does not do the job.  Olive oil is good for low-heat cooking such as sautéing, but for this, stick with vegetable oil.  Drizzle a bit after every 2 pancakes
  3. we just use a soup ladle to scoop the pancake batter 🙂  Nothing fancy.

Yay for breakfast and happy spring everyone! ❤