My amazing wife Skye got me a trip to Toronto for my birthday present this year so that we could visit all the vegan restaurants and stores (and see Louis CK perform at the Air Canada Centre). Here’s how it went!
Okay, this was actually the night before Day 1, but I had to include it because it was so darn tasty. On the way to our airbnb we stopped into Apiecalypse Now, the fully vegan and organic pizza place. I got a slice of the “Pig Destroyer Destroyer” and Skye got the “Buffalobotomy”. They were both so amazing. Better than any vegan OR non-vegan pizza I’ve ever had. We also had a spread of vegan groceries from the Fresh and Wild Market that Skye had ready for us at the airbnb, including a the perfect Italian vegan and organic red wine called CIAO.
For breakfast we went to Hibiscus where I enjoyed a vegan cheddar chutney pecan pear crêpe and melon smoothie. The cheese was very flavourful and surprisingly sharp for a vegan cheese.
Next door to Hibiscus is a cute little vegan bakery called Bunners where I picked up a vegan Jos Louis (called a Josephine Louise). Again, delicious. As you’ll learn, I’m not hard to please when it comes to vegan food, as long as it’s animal-free, it’s good to me!
Next up was one of my absolute favourite parts of the trip, visiting TOT the Cat Café! We got to play and chill with some adorable and adoptable rescued cats and kittens as we drank coffee (I had a warm cider instead). Skye immediately started crying when we entered the cat area because “kittens make me emotional”.
That evening we didn’t have time to go out for supper since we had tickets to see Louis CK, so instead we stopped into a local convenience store called Gardenview, where I got over-excited by all the specialty vegan items that are impossible to find at home. We ended up making some mouthwatering nachos.
Our first stop on day 2 was SOMA chocolatemaker where we found three vegan options: candied organe peel dipped in chocolate, and two types of truffles. They definitely hit the “dessert” spot. I also picked up a zesty juice from Greenhouse Juice Co. called “Wake Up” that did just as advertised.
Our next stop was the first vegan butcher shop in Canada, Yamchops. We picked up some plant-based “ribs” and “beef strips” that we enjoyed later back at the airbnb. It was truly indistinguishable from real meat, which was a bit scary but awesome.
These next two were a bit of a walk but totally worth it: The Imperative Vegan Boutique and Doomie’s Vegan Restaurant. Both adjacent businesses are run by the same owners, and are unapologetically vegan offering a 100% plant-based experience like no other.
The Imperative is a boutique with vegan themed t-shirts, buttons, and other cruelty-free paraphernalia along with vegan clothing, skin care, and gift items. Skye and I both picked up t-shirts and I got a vegan taco patch for my new jean jacket.
There was a huge mural on the wall at The Imperative showing what they hope to turn this section of the street into, a vegan oasis. This vision was very inspiring to see.
Next door at Doomie’s we enjoyed the heck out of some vegan drinks (including a dangerous Caesar) and delicious vegan fare, including jalapeno poppers, a vegan “big mac”, and deep fried oreos. I could literally feel my arteries clogging, but it was worth it because of how familiar yet different it was.
Downstairs they have a vegan “selfie room” where the walls are covered with Vegan Sidekick comics. Of course we took advantage of this with our matching vegan t-shirts (designed and hand-printed by fellow NL Vegan Krissy Breen).
For Brunch we stopped into Bloomer’s vegan cafe, where I got a pulled jackfruit sandwich and caesar salad. It’s really hard to find jackfruit back home, so I enjoyed having it prepared nicely for me. The caesar salad brought me back to my non-vegan days when I thought all salads needed creamy dressing and croutons.
Side note: It was at this point that I realized that taking pictures of our food before we eat it has become so natural that it’s in a way the new “saying grace” before enjoying a meal.
Skye has been talking up Hogtown vegan to me for months, so I was super excited to try them out. Our appetizer was “shiitake fried clams” at which point I started to worry about how much deep fried things I’ve eaten on this trip. That worry obviously didn’t last long because for a main I ordered a taste of home: the “phish and chips”, with poutine on the side. So greasy and so satisfying. Skye had a Philly cheesesteak with mac and cheese on the side. I feel like I should be putting “vegan” in front of all these items, but I’m sure by now you get the point.
For dessert I couldn’t resist ordering the deep-fried banana split. My face says it all.
It’s probably a good thing that this trip ended when it did, otherwise I might have literally exploded from all the vegan goodness. We didn’t have much time this day since I had to catch a flight home, but we did manage to stop into this cute little outer-space themed vegan diner called Cosmic Treats. Our server was super friendly and helped us pick out the best menu items. I had a chicken pot pie with a sausage stew and Skye had spicy mozza sticks. For dessert we shared a cinnamon bun, which is probably the first one I’ve had in about 6 years. It was so warm and chewy and sweet, I was in heaven.
And that was the end of our trip! I hope you enjoyed the recap and get to visit some of these places someday. They’re definitely worth experiencing and supporting, and you’re guaranteed to leave inspired like I was to keep promoting veganism and keep taking pictures of every single thing you eat!