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.