Las Vegan

Graceful Vegetarian Restaurant Dim Sum Menu

Posted in Restaurants by karoumy on April 29, 2013

Here is the latest Dim Sum menu I have for Graceful Vegetarian Restaurant. It changes from time to time but not usually by much. Here’ a post with pictures of some of my favourite dishes. Most of the items on the menu are vegan but it never hurst to ask if you’re not sure. If you give off a vegan vibe they might ask you if you order something with eggs.

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Dim Sum at Graceful Vegetarian Restaurant

Posted in Restaurants by karoumy on April 29, 2013

Graceful Vegetarian Restaurant is my favourite restaurant.

I’ve been eating there for years. The food is always perfect, the atmosphere is nice and the service is great. Living in Toronto you get accustomed to good Chinese food (Indian as well, saving that for other posts).

I’ve also been fortunate enough to try other vegetarian Chinese restaurants in other cities and finding vegetarian Dim Sum isn’t that common. Toronto has other Vegetarian Dim Sum restaurants as well but they don’t come close.

Dim Sum is served every day from 10:30am to 4pm. Parking can get pretty crazy on the weekends since it’s right behind Pacific Mall. Try to go during the mall’s off hours. Either way it’s worth it.

Here are some of my favourite dim sum dishes.

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Kingyo Kyoto Style Shojin

Posted in Restaurants by karoumy on January 29, 2013

I had a chance to go back to Kingyo. In my previous Kingyo post I mentioned the Kyoto Style Shojin dish that was sold out on our first visit. This time it was available so we ordered it.

It came out in two boxes of little bowls with different vegetables served cold. Very simple and good. I don’t exactly remember what everything was but the pictures should be enough to figure it out.

Kingyo-Shojin-Box-2

Kingyo-Shojin-Box-1

Kingyo Toronto Serves Vegan Food

Posted in Restaurants by karoumy on January 3, 2013

Kingyo is an Izakaya restaurant in Cabbagetown. It’s also the Toronto location of a Vancouver restaurant. This makes it part of two trends that I was previously unaware of.

Kingyo-Toronto-Seats

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Crab, Chicken and Shrimp, OH MY!

Posted in Restaurants by karoumy on January 2, 2013

Le Commensal is now a regular restaurant.

The news came through the Toronto Vegetarian Directory Update for January 2013. You can read all about their so-called move from vegetarian to flexitarian here.

Mr. Tremblay, President and CEO, is correct that this will upset people. It’s disappointing. I was not aware that the other branches of Le Commensal were no longer vegetarian as of October of 2012.

I cannot lie. I probably wouldn’t have noticed if it wasn’t for the directory update. It’s been a while since I visited Le Commensal. I wouldn’t take that to mean anything since the last time I walked by it seemed busy.

The vegan options in downtown Toronto have expanded while Le Commensal has stayed the same. Their menu hasn’t changed significantly in 10+ years.

They, along with other older vegetarian restaurants, seem stuck in hippy-er times when most vegetarians wore Patchouli and Birkenstocks. And talked to crystal rocks.

Today’s vegetarian wants excitement when dining out. We want the beauty of a well-presented balsamic-reduction drizzled plate. Or a deep fried piece of mock meat with fat sauce. Boiled seaweed and baked tofu is home cooking. It’s basically communism to suggest that restaurant meals be equal to home-cooked meals for vegetarians. We have celebrity chefs too, ya know.

And the price tag is hard to ignore for cafeteria food. Even hospitals are moving away from that.

Businesses understand that the vegan market is a captive one. Simply adding one  item to a menu with the word vegan on it will bring out vegans. And that’s great. However, I’m not sure how many vegans actually still eat at Le Commensal. It seems like a gateway restaurant. When was the last time you heard someone say “Commensal is the best!”

It’s a compromise restaurant, isn’t it? You’re downtown and there aren’t that many other options. But downtown has changed. We’ve got a Vegan Restaurant in the Eaton Centre. And many ethnic and fast food restaurants with vegan options in the area.

They boast in their press release that the chickens they serve are family-farm raised (whatever they think that proves). And that their marine animals aren’t on any endangered lists. They are obviously not writing that for the hardcores who are already critical of their inclusion of dairy in their menu. Ingredients that are completely unnecessary with today’s vegan recipe technology.

Vegan restaurants like Ottawa’s Zen Kitchen seem to easily attract non-vegans. The last time I was there the table next to me was going on about the joy of eating Foie Gras. No one at that table was vegan. So why the move in the opposite direction?

Anyways, why even bother. I’d probably just go to Chipotles for cafeteria-style eating when I’m in the area. This post is mostly an excuse to vent.

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Simon’s Wok

Posted in Restaurants by karoumy on October 20, 2012

Simon’s Wok has been an east end staple for a long time. It’s a small communist looking space on the edge of Chinatown East (Or China 2, whatever).

They serve Vegetarian Chinese food which is sometimes greasy and sometimes westernized.  Simon Wok’s huge menu is the size of a typical Chinese restaurant. It can be daunting to try to choose items. It can also be hit or miss. The misses are sometimes probably too Chinese for a wstern palate, like the oddly smokey flavoured Special Plume Juice (served hot or cold, I tried it cold). Some of the other misses are probably just not what I was expecting. Or they were just ok.

Here  are some of my favourite dishes.

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Simon’s Wok Menu

Posted in Restaurants by karoumy on April 23, 2012

Here’s Simon’s Wok’s menu. I don’t think they ever change it.

simons wok menu page 1

simons wok menu page 1

simons wok menu page 1

simons wok menu page 1

simons wok menu page 1

simons wok menu page 1

Here’s a review.

Lunch at Live Food Bar

Posted in Restaurants by karoumy on November 17, 2011

I don’t have much to say about Live Food Bar. The food is good but it’s pricey. $14 for a small sandwich on a gluten free bun that comes with a couple of pickles and vegetable chips is pricey.

live lunch menu section

The BBQ Tofu and Burdock

BBQ Tofu and Burdock

BBQ Tofu and Burdock, $14

I finished it in about 7 bites.

live table

A table and a tree

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Armenian Kitchen in Scarborough

Posted in Restaurants by karoumy on November 12, 2011

Don’t let the name fool you. This is a Lebanese restaurant. Apparently, the current owner bought the popular restaurant from Armenians and never changed the sign or the decor.

armenian kitchen the room

Inside the Armenian Kitchen

And it shows. The interior is nothing like what most restaurants look like today but it doesn’t matter because you’ll be coming here for the food.

I usually order many small plates and if others want meat they can order a side dish of anything on the menu. If you’re there with a larger group you can order large sizes of some dishes. This makes dining with non vegetarians easy. They also have a vegetarian combination plate that can be made vegan.

Lebanese food doesn’t have secret ingredients and dishes are always prepared separately.

Here are the dishes we ordered on a recent visit.

armenian kitchen hummus

Hummus, $4.50

This is hummus. Dressed with a little olive oil, paprika, parsley and hot sauce.

armenian kitchen fuzzy baba ghanouj

(Fuzzy) Baba Ghannouj, $4.99

The Baba Ghannouj is good. I usually prefer Hummus but this one is that good. It’s not bitter at all and has a smooth taste.

armenian kitchen tabouleh

Tabouleh , $3.99

As far as I can tell the Tabouleh is hand-chopped. This is one of those dishes that takes a while to make so I always appreciate it when it’s made by hand.

armenian kitchen falafel

Falafel, $4.99

Falafel is served hot, fresh out of the fryer. If you ever see it pre-cooked somewhere leave immediately and eat a handfull of sand which will probably have the same texture.

armenian kitchen fries

Housemade Fries, $1.99

Ahh yes, traditional Lebanese french fries. I don’t know why but french fries are a part of Lebanese cooking. These ones are housemade and can be ordered with a spicy sauce and garlic.

armenian kitchen bread

Warm Pita bread

The bread is grilled and served warm.

armenian kitchen lift

Pickled turnips (lift)

armenian kitchen my plate

My plate

All the above dishes plus a soda, mint tea and a soup that aren’t pictured came to around $35 including tax and tip.

Check out Armenian Kitchen for good quality Lebanese food at a reasonable price.

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Urban Herbivore at Urban Eatery

Posted in Restaurants by karoumy on November 8, 2011

Urban, Urban, URBAN!

Herbivore’s menu offering at the new Eaton Centre food court is simple. Sandwiches, salads, bowls and fresh juices.

urban herbivore the board

Herbivore: The Board

I went with a grain bowl and a fresh grapefruit juice.

urban herbivore grain bowl

Grain Bowl, $8.40

Let’s see. I got tempeh, kim chi, beet salad, artichoke hearts, black beans and cucumber salad on quinoa with a tahini dressing. You can get nuts on it too if you like crunchy whatever sprinkled all over your food.

Overall, everything was good. The tempeh was a little oily. And next time I will ask for the sauce on the side or on the bottom with the quinoa since it made everything taste like sauce.

For me, Herbivore’s appeal is it’s ability to balance healthy and flavourful food. I like that.

It’s great to have another option in that area where your friends or business associates can eat their meal choice next to you. There are also plenty of stools available for when you’re alone and want to grab something quick.

The food court feels like nicer version of an airport food court. The food is served on real plates and bowls. You still have to bus your own table, there are reminder signs everywhere.

urban herbivore drink close up

Fresh Grapefruit Juice, expensive.

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