June 2, 2011

{Travel} His vs Her Lunch in Toronto

Happy June! We're back from a last-minute trip to Toronto. I have an exciting new opportunity coming up (more details to come!) so we took advantage of my free time and snagged a flight deal to visit with my friends and family this past long weekend.  Along with wonderful home-cooked meals, we enjoyed going out with friends to a couple new eateries in Toronto. Like our previous trips to Chicago and Toronto, we each "chose our own adventure". My husband opted for Sunday brunch at Parts and Labour (recommended to us by local food blogger Suresh Doss of Spotlight Toronto) while I selected Monday's"workday" lunch at Camros Organic Eatery.
My husband is not a fan of brunch - unless there's craft beer or lots of meat.  It's the latter that made him choose Parts & Labour, a sleek restaurant located in a former hardware store.  We met up with my friend and the three of us sat down at the communal tables to share a couple of dishes.
The P&L: Fried egg over potato hash, pork belly, and a pancake with maple trotter sauce ($15 CAD)
Sweet and salty mix together to make this rich and satisfying dish.  This was the perfect dish for us to share - I loved the sweet maple trotter sauce (like a maple syrup) mixed with the fluffy pancake and crispy potato hash, while my husband loved the runny egg and pork belly. 
Ploughmans:  Mennonite gypsy sausage, 10 year old cheddar, country pate, baguette slices, bread and butter pickles (the carrots were pickled too), Granny Smith apple, and hard boiled egg ($18)
According to Wikipedia, "A ploughman's lunch (often just called a ploughman's) is a cold snack or meal originating in the United Kingdom, served in pubs, sometimes eaten in a sandwich form."  To me, it seemed like a deconstructed picnic lunch. I particularly enjoyed the sharp white cheddar with the tart Granny Smith apple.  My husband devoured the country pate and savory sausage.

Overall, though the brunch seemed a little pricey, the food was wonderful.
After all of that meat, I was happy to choose our next lunch at Camros Organic Eatery in downtown Toronto.  Outside, the space seemed like any office retailer, but inside felt warm and nurturing to me.  The food is served cafeteria-style.  You choose the number of items you'd like (1-4) and select amongst both hot and cold items. My husband and I decided to share a plate of 4 items ($11.99 CAD) and looked over the organic vegan choices.
Spinach, Chick Pea and Plum stew; Raw Beet and Carrot Salad
The stew reminded us of a chick pea dish we often make at home, but we never would have thought of adding plum to it. The plum added a subtle sweetness to the hearty dish. I really loved the fresh and crisp salad filled with shredded beets, carrots, diced apples, walnuts, and a lemon/olive oil dressing. The flavor was sweet and tart - I'm definitely going to try making this salad at home!
Raw Kale Salad; Red Rice Ball
The raw kale was tender and marinated in lemon juice, apple-cider vinegar and oregano, mixed with beets and carrots. We both enjoyed this fresh salad of hearty greens and will also try making this salad at home. We were really excited about trying the red rice ball as the rice balls were highly recommended. It's made with Basmati brown rice with beets and lentils.  The rice ball was drier than I expected. Our favorites were definitely the salads.  
"Cheese" cake ($7.95)
There's no cheese (nor sugar, or tofu) in this vegan cake - it's made with nuts, dried fruit, spices, and dates. Truthfully, this slice of cake was good, but it wasn't cheesecake.  It seemed more like a mix of decadent fruit cake and energy bar.

Overall, we were not completely full from this meal (to be fair, our server recommended 3 portions per person) and my husband did supplement our lunch with some Toronto street meat. The menu changes daily and the bill can quickly add up, but I really liked the food here.  It gave us a renewed inspiration for upcoming Meatless Monday meals.

After seeing each of our lunch choices, which once would you choose - meat or veg?
Camros Organic Eatery on Urbanspoon

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