Kensington market lime prices

April 29, 2007

Wandering through the fresh produce stands of Kensington market, I can’t help but think: ‘What the hell is the deal with lime prices’? Conventionally grown (i.e., not organic) limes range from 5 for $1 to 15 for $1, depending on shop. These same limes sell for 3 for $1 at Loblaws.

So how do shopkeepers sell limes for $0.07 a piece. My guess is that they run their business on ‘razor-thin’ margins. Some might even sell limes for no profit just to get passers-by into the store. And who uses 15 limes, anyways? Whatever the real story is, I know one thing: Kensington market is the gin and tonic lovers dream.

limes.jpg

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Recipe: Dijon-Dill Tofu with Udon

April 23, 2007

To celebrate Earth Day, I made this dish on Sunday for vegetable95. It’s simple, tasty, and nutritious. I served steamed red chard on the side.

Ingredients:

– Block of firm tofu

– 1/3 C dijondijontofu.jpg

– 1/3 C water

– 1/2 tablespoon dried dill

– 1+ tablespoon of maple syrup

– 2 medium cloves garlic, minced

– 2 medium green peppers, chopped

– Handful of cashews

– Udon noodles

Instructions

Squeeze out water from tofu. Cut into small squares or triangles. Mix dijon, dill, garlic, and maple syrup. Then add water. Marinate tofu for 30 minutes. Empty sauce into dish and fry tofu until (very) lightly browned around edges. Put sauce back into dish and add green peppers and cashews and cook until done.

While cooking the tofu, boil water and cook udon noodles. Rinse noodles when done. Fry noodles in tofu dish for enough time to get noodles creamy.

Served vegetable95 and therecreational vegan, which is probably equal to 3-4 pedestrians.


Restaurant Review: Buddha’s Vegetarian Foods

April 22, 2007

Buddha’s Vegetarian Foods may just be the most depressing restaurant in the GTA. It looks like a hastily converted bathroom: grey tile floors with white tiles partway up a white wall, all basked in the chilling glow of fluorescent lights. The only music during my visit came from the hum of a nearby refrigerator.

Feeling fairly hungry after a long day at the office, I ordered a wonton appetizer, a small corn and tofu soup, and a noodle dish. The soup came first, and I was shocked to find out that “small” at Buddha’s Vegetarian means “approx. 1 litre”. Perhaps something was lost in translation. A heap of noodles with meagre amounts of bok choy, mushrooms, and tofu soon followed. Wondering how one person could possibly be expected to eat so much, I began to wonder if I was the subject of some strange joke.

Already stuffed to the bursting point, I began to hope that the waitress had forgotten the wontons. No such luck. I was presented with no less than a dozen of them, each one the size of a pancake. Unable to even make a dent in the meal, I left the restaurant with a large doggy bag.

As one might expect, there was a volume/quality tradeoff. The soup was bland, the main course contained equal parts noodles and salt, and the wontons were pedestrian at best.

Suffice to say this restaurant is not rated great by the Recreational Vegan1, unless of course you are either a sumo wrestler looking to put on some weight, or perhaps a hungry family of four with $15 between you. Fortunately there are no shortage of alternatives, as Buddha’s Vegetarian is nestled directly between the wonderful 668 Café and Full Moon restaurants (reviews forthcoming).

1 This review is based on a single visit to the restaurant. The usual small sample caveats apply.

Rankings (out of 5 avocados):

Deliciousness: avocado_full.jpg

VfM: avocado_full.jpgavocado_full.jpgavocado_full.jpgavocado_full.jpgavocado_full.jpg

Fruit in meal: No

Ambience: 0

Buddha’s Vegetarian Foods, 666 Dundas St. W., Feed a family of four for $15.


Restaurant Review: King’s Café

April 18, 2007

King’s cafe: 95% vegan

As a restaurant that proudly proclaims 95% veganism on its menu, one would expect King’s Café to be the perfect restaurant for economically rational %95 vegans. The restaurant was put to the test with a recent lunch-time visit.

Located in the hippy heartland of Toronto (i.e., Kensington Market), King’s Café serves vegan asian fusion cuisine with a sprinkling of hippy revisionist history. According to the menu,

“Vegetarian diets have been with us since ancient times. In face [sic], our body is designed to eat grains and fruits. Modern man suffer [sic] illnesses that were unheard of ages ago. And one of the reasons for this is due to diet.”

While the recreational vegan supports a return to the superior diet and health of our vegan gorilla ancestors, the making of such claims without the support of proper econometric analysis is regrettable.

As for the food, the restaurant serves a wide variety of beautifully presented dishes. The soups are especially noteworthy, with their delicious broth and generous portions. However, many of the entreés are not entirely compelling, lacking the creativity of competing restaurants such as Vegetarian Haven on Baldwin.

dumpling noodle soup

Rankings (out of 5 avocados):

Deliciousness: avocado_full.jpgavocado_full.jpgavocado_full.jpgavocado_full.jpg

VfM: avocado_full.jpgavocado_full.jpgavocado_full.jpgavocado_full.jpgavocado_half.gif

Fruit in meal: No

Ambience: avocado_full.jpgavocado_full.jpgavocado_full.jpg

King’s Café, 192 Augusta Ave., 95% vegan. Average main less than $10.


Why currants are better than raisins

April 14, 2007

In a discussion on the relative benefits of currants and raisins, vegetable95 claimed the superiority of raisins.

Simply put, vegetable95 doesn’t know what he’s talking about when it comes dried grapes. The currant (specifally, the Zante currant) is small and sweet. It is, for it’s size, intensely juicy, almost requiring a bib. It’s size-to-sweet-juice ratio is exactly why the currant is superior to the raisin. The raisin is inefficient, and is a perfect example of what juice economists call the juice diseconomies of scale with respect to fruit size.

So what’s with vegetable95’s love of the large raisin? Perhaps he’s overcompensating for something?

currantheart.jpg


Restaurant Review: Urban Herbivore

April 11, 2007

Nothing says Sunday afternoon Kensington market like a light meal. And nothing says light meal like a vegan soup, salad, and/or sandwich. Urban Herbivore, in the heart.png of the market, is a great stop before hitting the fruit stands. Upon my last visit, I was delighted with the barbeque tofu sandwich I ordered. They have hearty soups and relatively filling salads, and combinations are available. The restaurant itself has a clean feeling to it, a toned down version of Fressen, who share owners. Seating involves bar style seats by the street-facing window and a large square wooden table. In terms of VfM, it’s not soup and salad prices. Expect to pay minimum of $8-10 for a bite. That said, ingrediently speaking, it’s not soup and salad quality.

Rankings (out of 5 avocados):

Deliciousness: avocado_full.jpgavocado_full.jpgavocado_full.jpgavocado_half.gif

VfM: avocado_full.jpgavocado_full.jpgavocado_full.jpg

Fruit in meal: No

Ambience: avocado_full.jpgavocado_full.jpgavocado_full.jpg

Urban Herbivore is located at 64 Oxford St. (at Augusta) in Toronto’s Kensington Market.