Weekly Feature: The Grad Lounge – Sweet Potato & Black Bean Soup, Channa Wraps, and Memories of Wet Boots

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There isn’t a story behind the sweet potato and black bean soup (other than it tastes good!), but there’s certainly one behind the channa wrap.  The channa wrap and I were introduced and acquainted during the cold days of winter 2008.  I was a first year masters student out on the picket line during a strike at school and the channa wrap…well, the channa wrap was merely a warm tortilla with stuffing just waiting to be eaten.  It was a tumultuous relationship from the get-go.  

On those bitter cold, dreary days, the food truck that provided us with these warm morsels of chickpeas for lunch was like a heavenly godsend, a desert oasis if you will.  On other days when I was tired of staring at the same traffic light and trudging along in repititive circles, the channa wrap was a sad reminder of how much I wanted pizza.  That and a warm, dry pair of boots.  I would hold my channa wrap in my mittened hands, sneer at it and think, “I am not in the mood for you today, I have a pool party going on in my boots!”  But that was then and this is now and I am in a much better place.  For one thing, I haven’t crossed that old picket crosswalk in over two years.  And for another, I chucked those wet wafer boots out.

Given our turbulent relationship, the channa wrap and I haven’t been reunited till now.  And I gotta say, the channa wrap tastes much more heavenly when you’re sitting down, enjoying a nice relaxing lunch, and you’re not cold to the bone.  Along with the vegan chili and veggie burritos, the channa wrap is a great vegetarian and vegan permanent, everyday menu item.  One of the things I really like about The Grad Lounge is how they provide a number of healthy vegetarian and vegan meals.  Anyone can claim they’re vegetarian by eating nothing by bread, pasta, and starches, but it’s a much bigger task eating vegetarian in a healthy, nutrient-rich way.  To my vegetarian friends and readers, you know the situation.  You’re at a place and all you can find on the menu is a veggie burger and fries.  Not your idea of a healthy, fulfilling, or satisfying meal.  Vegetarians and vegans alike can eat here without having to make sacrifices on health or waistlines. 

The wrap is full to bursting with soft chickpeas, onions, herbs, and spices, bathed in curry sauce with coconut milk.  It’s soft, warm, hearty, and flavourful with that little bit of curry kick.  You don’t realize just how filling this is until you eat it but let me tell you, it packs a punch and for $4.95 each, that works for me.  I love my legumes, so I had me a bowl of sweet potato and black bean soup to go along with my channa wrap and that rounded out my vegetarian meal quite nicely.  The hungarian mushroom soup has to be my favourite soup at The Grad Lounge, but this sweet potato and black bean soup was really good too.  They have a rotating daily selection of soup and from what I’ve seen, a lot of the soups are stocked with veggies and protein-rich beans, lentils, and other legumes.

Twas a warm, welcoming reunion between me and channa wrap.  Go chickpeas!


The Grad Lounge is located at 166 South Ross at the York University Keele campus.  The Grad Lounge’s summer operating hours are from 11:30pm-6:30pm, Monday to Friday.  It is a graduate student space on campus, so please ensure that if you wish to come here that you are either a York grad student with ID on hand, or that you are accompanied by a grad student if you aren’t one.