Springtime at Mela Café – Bright Watercress Spring Salad & Vegan Banana Cream Pies

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It figures that I would create and post some of my cheeriest scrapbook pages on one of the most atrocious spring weekends.  As I was cutting out scraps of cardstock and snipping ribbon at my kitchen table early afternoon, I turned around to look out the window and saw the sky raining rice krispies.  Or as a meteorologist would say, tiny bits of hail.  I even did a double take when I woke up this morning and saw a light layer of snow on my neighbour’s rooftop, which melted within an hour into a wet mess.  If it’s any consolation, I have pretty things like ribbon and metal brads to show off and pictures of yummy food! 

Even though this meal wasn’t part of Veggielicious (since this was from March), what I’m showing you all today could very well be something you could eat when you go to Mela Café this week, depending on the selection they have for the day.  This is the last week of Veggielicious which runs until Sunday, April 24th.  Mela’s price fixe of $15 gets you a delicious vegan dessert and two of the following, your choice: panini sandwich, soup, and salad.  If you haven’t seen my post about their amazing vegan eggplant paninis, check it out here!  And to help fill in the blanks and give you all an idea of what their salads and desserts are like, I have pictures of their bright watercress spring salad and vegan banana cream pie dessert!  This meal was so much fun.  I brought my best friend here during her spring break and it was the first time I had a salad and dessert here (the other times I had the eggplant panini and their famous ravioli!), so I was super excited! 

I mean, it shouldn’t come as a surprise to me anymore, but every time I come here I am blown away at how light and delicious everything is.  I KNOW everything here is awesome, but there’s always something that throws me for a loop, keeps me on my toes, whether it’s the fusion of different flavours or textures.  With the eggplant panini, it was the contrast between the crispy breaded eggplant and the sharp, fresh flavour of basil leaves.  With the ravioli, it was lightness of the tomato sauce and the airiness of the ricotta.  And with the salad?  The bright, refreshing flavour of the olive oil.  It just blew me away.  I swear, a bright green spring salad is not a salad unless it tastes like this.  Oh my goodness.  For one thing, I was chomping on the bit with my green beans.  I love green beans so much.  The spring salad was a fresh mixture of green beans, chopped celery, Shanghai bok choy, cauliflower, watercress, and chick peas. 

Let’s put it this way: I don’t like cauliflower.  Besides regular bean sprouts, it is quite possibly the only other vegetable that I do not like.  If it’s mixed in with a steamed vegetable medley, I’ll eat it, whatever, but it’s not my cup of tea.  This salad, with the olive oil, made me like it and inhale it.  This salad was THAT good.  There are varying types of olive oil dependent on how ripe the olives are when pressed, where it’s been harvested, the level of acidity, that kind of thing.*  Based on the grade of olive oil, you can judge whether or not it’s appropriate to used cooked or uncooked.  The (extra virgin) olive oil had this bright, fruity flavour to it that just took the taste buds on a tailspin.  SO YUM 😀

And of course, a meal is not complete without dessert.  At least no meal in my book!  My best friend and I were noshing on our food (me with my spring salad and her with a plate of ravioli which I recommended.  She loved it so much and said she could eat 3 plates of it, ha!) and were contemplating going back to Pusateri’s gourmet market down the road in Yorkville for a dessert.  We saw the vegan banana cream pies and chucked that idea straight out the window (sorry, Pusateri’s, but you got ousted!).  There was no way in hell we were going to pass on fresh, homemade desserts at Mela.  And I’m so glad we didn’t. 

This dessert was divine.  My best friend and I could have eaten 4 of them.  It had the bold banana flavour that you’re used to getting from fresh baked banana bread, the texture and consistency of thick custard pudding, and piped vegan cream and toasted coconut on top.  We were so busy mmming over it that I completely forgot to ask Roberto what was in it.  Oops.  I’ll get on that for next time, promise!

This was such a memorable, happy foodie outing.  I was out with my best friend for some amazing eats, I was eating at a place that I felt so comfortable and at home at, and I was among some of the nicest, most genuine and generous people I’ve met since I started this blog.  This blog has opened up a whole new world to me, allowing me to meet people I’d otherwise never cross paths with and to do what I love to do so much: take pictures, scrap, and eat!  I’m so lucky for everything I’ve been able to see, eat, and experience and I’m really grateful.  And to show his gratitude, Roberto (owner of Mela) was a real trooper with all the pictures and even posed for one himself! 😀

Enjoy the last week of Veggielicious, everyone!

*****

Mela Café is located at 7 Yorkville Ave., north of Cumberland St. and just west of Yonge St.  Their regular hours are from 10am-5pm, but they are open on Thursday and Friday during Veggielicious until 8pm.

*= source from TLC Cooking

Scrapbooking materials used: emerald green, grass green, neon green, cobalt blue, and beige cardstock (Recollections); powder blue scalloped patterned paper (Colorbok); journalling tags (Darcy collection by Anna Griffin); brown and white polka dot alphabet stickers, spring time alphabet stickers (K&Company); spring themed metal brads (Amy Butler for K&Company); chipboard patterned embellishments (Winners Homesense); spring time flower and snail ribbon (Sweet Little Fairies by Michael’s); sewing buttons; medium scallop circle paper punch (ek success); aluminum foil.

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