For the last few years, I’ve managed to visit Toronto, Ontario at least two or three times per year. I’ll jump at almost any chance to go, knowing I can see family and eat at some of the city’s great vegan and vegetarian restaurants. There are a lot of restaurants to choose from but I always find myself returning to the same places again, and again. This time, I wanted to scope out somewhere new. I decided on Hibiscus, a small restaurant in the Kensington market. Their menu is vegetarian with lots of vegan and gluten free options. Their primary offerings are daily salad and soup specials, as well as crepes and baked goodies. I don’t understand how they have been around for four years and I’m just discovering them now. I was totally missing out!
When I sat down and had my first look at Hibiscus’ menu, it took every bit of my will power not to order a crepe for lunch. I wanted one so bad but knew I’d feel better if I went for the soup and salad. To me, crepes seem better suited for weekend brunch or hangover recoveries. There were some tempting options though, like banana and vegan nutella, and chutney, pecan and pear. Some how, I found the strength to pass. Wow.
As good as the crepes sounded, I’m so happy I went for the soup and salad special. This is my idea of a perfect meal. The salad wasn’t some boring bed of greens with veggies, it was a bowl full of small portions of nine different vegetable, bean and grain salads. Way to keep it interesting, Hibiscus! There was marinated tofu, sweet potatoes, quinoa, bean salad, broccoli, green beans, carrots, beets and tofu ricotta. On the side, there was a flax and sunflower seed raw cracker. The soup was a beet and squash blend, served in a cute little mug. Everything was super fresh and well seasoned. I felt extremely nourished after finishing.
Feeling like I’d made the healthy choice for lunch, I figured I’d have enough room in my tummy to order something sweet for dessert. They had a display case full of tempting vegan and gluten free options to choose from.
For me, any vegan dessert that combines peanut butter and chocolate is pretty much irresistible. The peanut butter and chocolate chip square was the obvious choice. It was pretty awesome, especially considering this was my first meal out since leaving South America, where vegan desserts were relatively scarce. The square was super rich, almost like eating a block of peanut butter with a few crispy rice puffs and chocolate chips mixed in. The top and bottom were baked but the insides were nice and squishy. It was the perfect way to end the meal and celebrate my return to Canada where vegan food is in abundance.
238 Augusta Avenue (at Kensington Market, north of Baldwin St)