Saturday, August 29, 2009


[POST EDITED - because clearly the date was prior to August of last year! Indeed, three of us went to Toronto in July 2009. In October we were, well, elsewhere.]


Three of us visited Fressen in Toronto last month - and once again I have to say what a great vegan restaurant this is. When we first visited Fressen some years ago, it had a different style of menu - the usual first, second and third courses we know at most restaurants - but since then it has adopted a wonderful 'tapas' or small-dish way of presenting its remarkable creations, served 'family style' for sharing. This means that one can sample more dishes and at the same time tailor one's order to the appetite.

We started with a wonderful sweet potato soup (their daily special) and then pressed on to three more savoury dishes and a dessert. The photos may be a little blurred because honestly it was an effort to keep the other two out of the food while I snapped one or two photos of each with my cell phone - well, you can imagine.

At the top of this item is the Moroccan Stew, described on the menu as "Stewed sweet potato, onion, carrots and chickpeas in a cumin infused tomato broth," which I think was my favourite, except perhaps for . . . .


This excellent dish was "Rice flour wrapped squash ravioli (w) with basil and creamed sesame butter, sautéed with leeks and basil in a tomato and olive oil sauce." Wonderful. Another winner, but how about . . .


This dish was from the 'crispy' section of the menu (they love to designate their dishes according to texture) and is described this way: "Sliced shiitake and crimini mushrooms mixed with shredded spinach in cashew cream wrapped in a filo pastry puff." Talk about a taste sensation!

After those dishes we didn't feel we could manage anything more - but our server announced a wonderful chocolate dessert (see below) with fresh fruit - and it defies description except to say that the chocolate came in two textures - mousse and not-the-mousse, was exquisitely flavoured and had the freshest of fruit to accompany it. It was a struggle but we made the sacrifice and finished the lot. Indeed I very nearly didn't get to photograph it.

And, oh yes, we accompanied the meal with a nice bottle of organic red wine.

With a meal like that under our belts early in the trip, everything else would have to seem like an anti-climax. My dh and did, however, have a delightful if hurried lunch at Commensal. This restaurant is vegetarian, but dishes are clearly marked as to whether they are vegan or have dairy or eggs. We chose to sample curried dishes, with me being more greedy than my spouse. As a result, the plates look a little strangely arranged (by us - Commensal is a self-serve restaurant, priced according to weight), mine somewhat light on vegetables.

Here you go, for what it's worth:

A final note on eating (I'll skip the meals we didn't particularly enjoy!) - for my first time ever I breakfasted on vegan sushi from a stall downstairs in the Eaton Centre, where we'd gone to accommodate the carb cravings of the third member of our party. It's a good thing the sushi places aren't open around home early enough for breakfast or this could get to be a serious addiction. I've enjoyed sushi many times of course, but there's something about starting the day that way that seems to defy all sorts of rules I was raised with - which I suppose was part of its delight. Must remember this trick for next time!!!