Sunday, October 29, 2006

Dinner With Kleo

I was really excited to try this restaurant. Vegetarian Haven is actually a vegan restaurant. Kleo and I were happy to be able to pick ANYTHING off the menu and not have to ask if it had "bad" ingredients.

Jim, who is usually OK with eating vegan and rather adventurous when it comes to food was being a bit of a stick-in-the-mud and was going to choose a boring spaghetti dish. He later confessed he just wanted to sit and have a beer more than anything, but the restaurant doesn't serve alcohol. He eventually loosened up and decided to try something different. You'll see his dinner below.

As a "side" option, I saw "salmon". Oooo, how exciting! When I ate meat, salmon was one of my favorites and I sometimes still miss the taste so I had to try it. It tasted like a very lightly smoked salmon (I always preferred mine poached. My grandmother made it kick-ass) and was good enough but not like the real thing. Of course the texture was off. All in all, it was worth a try and I would eat it again, but it wasn't "salmon-like" enough to fool anyone.

The menu at this place is packed full of so many dishes we had a hard time choosing. It was a case of "I think I'll have this. Oh! Wait! Maybe I'll get this instead. Didn't see that. That sounds good. Maybe I'll try that." Needless to say it took a while to decide what we wanted.

I was hungry and after my salmon taster I was ready to eat. I started with a salad that had a nice vinaigrette dressing. Kleo and I shared that. Jim was outside with my phone checking the web for a hockey score. He's not much of a salad eater anyway. (Just now, I was checking out the restaurant's website and I see they have a salad called Cleopatra salad! I wish I'd seen that when we were there because I would have so ordered it!)

Then came our main courses.

This is Kleo's plate. She opted for Shanghai Chow Mein. It came with tofu "ham", shitake mushrooms, peppers and lots of other tasty stuff. On the side, cauliflower, broccoli and some baby bok choy. Mmmm! She let me have a taste and it was really, really good.

Jim chose "Seafood" Shanghai Chow Mein. It came with some of the "salmon" and "King Prawn". I was very interested to see what he thought of mock seafood because we've never tried it before. He didn't like the "salmon" (so I ate it!) but said the "prawns" were very close. He ate almost his whole meal except for his broccoli. Bad boy!

I got the special of the day which was Zesty Cutlets made from seitan. The sauce was like a sweet & sour with little pineapple chunks. It even had "skin" on it to make it seem more chicken like I guess. On the side were some delicious skinny little noodles that I just love, and some cauliflower and broccoli. This was so incredibly good and the sauce was so delicious I wanted to pick up my plate and lick it clean. But I held back. Wouldn't want to embarrass Kleo.

We were all pretty full, but the dessert showcase was calling us. We thought we'd just get one dessert and share it. The waitress brought over a dessert menu and it didn't take long for us to decide what we wanted. All of us agreed in about 30 seconds - Chocolate Fudge Cake!

Holy doodle! This was chocolate heaven. The cake was so dark and dense and every once and a while, I'd get a nice chunk of chocolate on my fork. The icing was creamy and chocolatey and not too sweet. It was utterly perfect.

The staff were wonderful. Very friendly and chatty and one of the waitresses said this was her favorite restaurant and she was so glad to be able to work there. I got that impression with all of the staff.

On our way out I spotted some cookies for sale for take-out. I got one for me and one for Kleo.

These are spelt chocolate chunk cookies and they were awesome. Nice and chewy with very good quality chocolate in large chunks throughout the cookie. I liked mine so much I went to the website to see if I could order some or if they had cookies for sale somewhere close to me. No such luck! I guess I'll just have to go back to Vegetarian Haven.

We left the restaurant and headed back to the subway. Along the way we passed a bread factory and the smells coming from that place were sumptuous, I just wanted to stand there and breathe it all in.

We grabbed the subway and went back to Union Station and as we pulled in the platform was crowded with people in their hockey jerseys. Game was over and the Leafs lost in a shoot-out. Crap!

While Jim grabbed a pretzel, Kleo and I hit the ladies room. Since I'm usually on the lookout for post-worthy bathrooms for
Alex I couldn't pass up the opportunity to take some photos. Now Kleopatra is even more famous!

It was getting late and Kleo had to catch a plane in the morning, so we started heading back. Along the way, we stopped at
Dominion so she could grab some Canadian maple syrup to take back to California. She also got a couple of packages of Maple Leaf creme cookies.

I didn't want my evening with Kleo to end. I had such a great time with her. It felt like we were old friends. We exchanged addresses, had some hugs and said goodnight. Luckily, with the internet, she's still pretty close. Thanks Kleo for your wonderful company!

The verdict on the Primal Strips - DELICIOUS!!


R2K said...

MS kelo :)

Anonymous said...

I seriously want to crawl through the screen right now and eat that chocolate cake. It looks incredible. Vegetarian Haven seems to be just that! So glad you had a nice time and nice food with Kleo.

Village Mama said...

I live in Toronto, but had not heard of this restaurant. Thanks for the intro Carrie!

By the way, "sweets from the earth" sells all sorts of vegan squares, my two faves are brownie and carrot cake - BUT, you can order large cake scale versions too! Yummers!!!

Gaia said...

Wow ! You sound like you had a great time at that restaurant. Whenever it takes forever to order because of all the wonderful things on the menu, it is always a good sign !
I think I would have loved what you had !
and the cake... looks like heaven !

Pamela said...

Hi Carrie, we ate at Vegetarian Haven once but actually didn't enjoy it all that much! I'd be willing to try it again sometime though. :)

In answer to your question on my blog, the way I decided which cupcakes to make first was pretty simple: I decided by which recipe I had all the ingredients for, out of all the ones I was interested in trying. I had everything I needed for cookies and cream, so I made them.

Tanya Kristine said...

i'm seething with jealousy. i want to come out too!!!

i'm glad you guys had a good time though. that's way cool. i love Canada. i want to live there.

Anonymous said...


What a great night that was. I have photos, too... and i'll be posting 'em in the next few days. (I took about 150 pix on my trip. ZOINKS!)

Again, thanks for showing me a GREAT time!

Anonymous said...

Wow. I'm so impressed. Going to an all-vegan restaurant always makes me feel blissful. I hope I can make a trip to Canada soon (I'm in upstate NY so the weather doesn't scare me a bit!)

Anonymous said...

Looks like you two had a great meal and a great time. I wish we could a have a Vegan Blogger Reunion

BrownieX said...

Pulp Kitchen is also good. I liked Vegetarian Haven but I think the no booze thing is rather shrugworthy. Not that I need alcohol at every meal, but it's nice to have the option.

Carrie™ said...

Brownie! Where have you been? Good to see you back in action.

Vicki said...

CArrie, this sounds like such a fun evening! Yeaah, for you & Kleo (& Jim - no spaghetti) doing up the VEgetarian Haven together. Food looks awesome, and the photo of Kleo @ the air dryer is priceless! LOL :o)

Anonymous said...

Hi Carrie

I'm so sorry I had to miss this evening. Things have been crazy over the last few weeks trying to wrap up this dissertation.

Vegetarian Haven sure has a lot of faux meats! I've tried their prawns and I really like them. All in all looks like a fantastic evening.

Hope you are enjoying your new job.

Anonymous said...

Hi Carrie! I love hearing more of your time with Kleo. Sounds like you had so much fun.

Veggie Haven looks like a great place! A Cleopatra salad!! They need to know how to spell it correctly though!

I just laughed so much at the photo of Kleo on the "bathrooms around the world" blog!! Lol! Yes, she's famous now! Lol!

You two are so cute and I'm glad you had a great time together!

Anonymous said...

That restaurant looks awesome!

How cool is that you and Kleo met up and got to hang out? I've met a few local bloggers here. It is great fun to meet up with people you have so much in common with.

Primal Strips are pretty tasty, though I prefer Tofurky Jerky. Can you get that in Canada?

Sounds like you are super busy at work. I've been quite swamped getting caught up after vacation. We also have a new office opening, so I'm twice as busy.

Take care.