The Fall Harvest Series – A Photo Spotlight on Vegetarian Weekend Brunch at E.L. Ruddy, Part I!

Leave a comment

Theses next two posts are dedicated to all vegetarians and vegans who skip the turkey on Thanksgiving and instead opt for yummy, filling vegetarian dishes full of fall flavour, vegetables, fruits, beans, nuts, and more!  I had one of the best weekend brunches last week and I’m actually surprised at how much I enjoyed it just because it involved a vegetable that I can kind of take or leave most of the time.  I’m so happy to be adding this one to the Veggie Eats category on the blog since it’s fall-inspired and perfect for the Fall Harvest Series!  Up until this point, I don’t think I’ve posted anything particularly fall seasonal as far as vegetarian and vegan brunches go so I’d love to highlight some menu items around the city some of you might be interested in checking out for the season for the next Confessions of a Brunch-Obsessed Foodie segment.  Enjoy the photos – full post and write-up coming tomorrow!


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.

Weekly Feature: The Grad Lounge – Sunny With a Chance of Meatballs!


I know the popular book and movie title is “Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs”, but it’s supposed to be sunny today so sunny it is!  My brother and I are like giddy little kids when it comes to meatballs because we love them so much, especially love turkey ones!  And although I have this weird food and eating quirk where I have to have even amounts of food on my plate (so I kind of eat my food in a circle or in a rotation), all bets are off when it comes to pasta and meatballs because my brother and I will both leave a few till the very end so we can enjoy the best parts for last, ha 😀  I loved this Grad Lounge dish, meatball goulash with egg noodles, yummy!  I normally eat meatballs with spaghetti, fusilli, or penne, so having it with egg noodles was a nice switch up for me.

Goulash is a traditional Hungarian soup or stew (which has also been taken up and incorporated into other European cuisines such as German, Austrian, Slovakian, and Dutch among others) made with meat (most often with beef, pork, veal, or lamb), onions, vegetables, and spices.  A number of goulash varieties are served with pasta and The Grad Lounge’s meatball goulash is served on a bed of egg noodles and made with ground beef, potatoes, sweet potato mash, onions, and carrots with caraway seeds, some garlic, and I believe thyme too.  The potatoes and mash and meatballs were super soft and yummy and made me giddy with meatball glee!


The Grad Lounge is located at 166 South Ross at the York University Keele campus.  They offer a number of daily specials in addition to their permanent menu, and provide numerous vegetarian and vegan options.

Weekly Feature: The Grad Lounge – Veggie & Bean Gumbo on Salsa Rice


I love learning about food.  Ever since I was a little girl, I would pore over recipes in my grandma’s Homemaker’s magazines and make food collages out of random magazine scraps and weekly supermarket flyers.  I never feel more focused, more driven, than when I’m photographing and scrapbooking, and something in me just ignites when I learn about ingredients and origins and histories, so really, I don’t know what the heck I’m doing in a liberal arts university program because hell, I should be out growing herbs and learning about spices at a culinary institute, ha!  I am fascinated by New Orleans and Southern Creole cuisine in general, so I was really excited to take photos of this veggie gumbo dish – and you know, it was just as wonderful eating it too! 😀 

Gumbo is a traditional Louisiana dish, a stew generally served over rice and in this particular case, purely vegetarian.  Not only do I love to eat, I love to know what I’m eating.  When I’m putting a spoonful of yumminess in my mouth, I think, “what in the world is in this that makes this so delicous?”    Some things are obvious when you taste them, while other ingredients are much more subtle and work behind the scenes to complement other tastes and to bring the dish together in a well-rounded way.  I can’t tell you how ecstatic I was when Mike and Paul, who run and cook for The Grad Lounge, gave me their ingredient notes (after I politely and sweetly asked for them of course!).  I think I stared at the paper for the whole day after they gave it to me.

The veggie and bean gumbo is chock full of sweet potatoes, okra, red and green bell peppers, onions, white beans, chopped spinach, and seasoned with black and cayenne pepper, ground cumin, oregano, thyme, and paprika.  The delicious veggie stew sits on top of a bed of salsa rice: white rice cooked in fresh tomato juice (from homemade salsa), and simmered with red onions, lime juice, oregano, chiptole pepper, and cilantro leaves.  And the dollop of sour cream is my own special touch as the coldness and tanginess complements the salsa flavour of the rice and vegetables and, well, I eat and love sour cream with everything!  The vegetables are fresh and juicy, and the salsa rice has this great bold flavour that continues to absorb from the gumbo up top. 

A defining feature of traditonal gumbo is the okra, and as weird as this sounds, I learned of okra from a Baby-Sitters Club book (written from Jessi’s perspective, Jessi being the African-American girl of the group) when I was a little girl!  (I’m not kidding).    And after doing a little research on Wiki, I was fascinated to learn that okra is what inspired the name of the dish: “ki ngombo”, the West African Bantu tribal word for “okra”.  It’s a joy expanding my knowledge and just being more aware of the food in front of me.  Learning about food has this amazing snowball effect for me where one thing leads to another and in this case, it’s learning about okra from my favourite childhood book series 🙂


The Grad Lounge is located at 166 South Ross at the York University Keele campus.  The Grad Lounge and GSA are hosting a Dinner & Dialogue event next Thursday, January 27th, from 5:30pm-7:30pm.  Free movie screening (Spike Lee’s “4 Little Girls”) and free food with some thoughtful discussion about the movie afterward.  All grad students are welcome!

As well, a HUGE thank you to Mike and Paul for being so wonderful and kind to me in taking the time to write out ingredients for dishes I asked about and sharing this information with me for the blog.  I really appreciate it.