Thursday, June 2, 2011

Vex in the City: Part 1 Kindfood

Taste of the food >< >< >< ><(Very good)
Look of the food >< >< >< >< >< (The cupcakes rock!)
Environmentally-Responsibility >< >< >< >< (I did not get to ask the owner about this one but they use reusable utensils and dishware. Plus their food is organic and non-genetically modified (non-GMO).
Health Savvy (organic food, do they know a lot about the food or the plant-based foods, intentionality, informative, resourceful)
>< >< >< >< ><
Hospitality/Warmth >< >< >< >< >< (The guy at the cash was soooo patient with these two women who were in front of me in line and had lots of questions and thoughts. He took his time to speak with them as did Kelly Childs, the owner, when I spoke with her after closing time. I did not book an interview with Kelly but she took the time to chat.)
Décor/Vibe >< >< >< >< >< I do not remember too much of the music but the decor is cheery and colourful and my photos do not Kindfood justice.
Added Perks >< >< >< >< >< Yes, I got a referral to another restaurant that I'll be reviewing (HOT BEANS). Plus, I got a free Dulce de Leche cupcake.
Ethical and Community-Minded >< >< >< >< >< Kindfood has a community info board plus they participated in Veggielicious organized by Toronto Vegetarian Association. They also teaching vegan cooking classes and give lessons on youtube.

Price (for a full meal including side and drink)

As the weather is getting warmer and summer approaches, the urban dweller wishes to find a spot to dine. Typically this is a patio or some fine establishment where one can enjoy a good meal. If you are vegan, meat- and dairy-free meals aren't that easy to find so sometimes you find yourself wandering like some aimless vampire trying to secure a victim.

You do have a few options however. You can either find dishes at strictly vegan or vegetarian restaurant and occasionally at a regular restaurant like Magic Oven Pizza. Some cities like New York or San Francisco seem to have like a gazillion (is that a word?) vegan places to eat. Others like Toronto have a few eateries like One Love (see my post called Soup), Live, Fresh, Annapurna, and other one-word names. And some cities like St. John's, Newfoundland have only one vegetarian restaurant (The Sprout).

It can get frustrating when the search for a vegan meal is a long one and your stomach is growling. When you finally give in to a nice restaurant with a patio, you are more annoyed that it does not have any vegan option so you have to end up eating pita bread with hummus and bean dip as a meal. (And the overpriced pita bread has cheese baked on and tzatziki as well. That's what happened to me yesterday. Venting.) So in response, I'm starting a series called Vex in the City. "Vex" is an old English word which means to annoy, torment, irritate, or distress. In Jamaican patois, when we say someone is "vex'" it means that they are pissed off. And when you are vegan and cannot find a suitable vegan meal, it can be frustrating. ("A hungry man is an angry man," from Bob Marley's song 'Dem Belly Full But We Hungry'.) So I am starting this series of posts to highlight some of the best vegan locales to dine.

I've already mentioned the names of a few places like those mentioned above and some of which I discussed at length in previous posts like One Love and The Sprout. I will a write a bit more of a structured, semi-regular series called "Vex in the City". (Awesome if I do say so myself. I was going to call it Vegs in the City but the pronunciation would be all screwed.) Right now, beyond sleeping, my energy level permits me to perform two main activities: writing and food (eating it, preparing it, discussing it, photographing it, writing about it), I thought, "Hey, why not add promoting vegan restaurants to the list.") And even though my appetite is returning in dribs and drabs, why not make it all about food right now?

So my first installment of Vex in the City is a cute little place called Kindfood. And it's so fitting that this is the first Vex in the City post is Kindfood since the very first book to inspire me to become vegan is called "The Kind Diet". I learned about Kindfood originally through one of those facebook ads linking me to their facebook page. I was automatically intrigued by their concept-- awesome looking vegan cupcakes that tempted me, regular posts, and updates, and smoothy-making lessons on youtube. From reading the Kindfood blog, holistic nutritional information, and website visits, I became an instant fan even though I hadn't tried out their food yet.

So while I was in Burlington for the Thyroid Cancer Canada Patients' Forum, I remembered Kindfood might be in the city and just might be downtown close to the Patients' Forum. (Unfortunately, I only had salad at the forum since the sandwiches were not vegan, so I was starving.) So I called 411 from a payphone in Sears at a shopping mall asking for the phone number for Kindfood. I called and I was instantly greeted with this friendly male voice at the other end. "You can't miss us. It's bright green and pink building."

So with those directions, passing the busy lakeshore, and historic buildings, I found Kindfood.

I entered the restaurant and I thought, "Oh my gosh, I'm in California." Well, I've never actually been to California but I would imagine this place to be it or someplace in the southwestern-U.S. I admired the fluorescent green exterior and the hot pink sign, the neon Aztec art and the orange walls, the wooden floors, tables, and chairs with colourful cushions on them. This place is so cute! There were all the famous cupcakes on display, a refrigerated grocery area, and lots of interested customers who came by out of curiosity.

I ordered the KIND burger and Moroccan quinoa salad. I love the descriptions of food in menus so I've posted them with the meals below. I took one bite of the open face burger (which I put together) and said mmmm... real food. The tempeh was warm and just the right texture to enter the comfort food category and I loved the chewy gooey Daiya. This was a burger that I didn't need to put ketchup on since I so much wanted to taste "real food". The quinoa salad had a fresh and lightly sweetened Moroccan flavour.

The waitress was friendly and very familiar-looking (she was in the smoothie lesson).

Kelly Childs & Erinn Weatherbie from Kindfood making a Superfood Smoothie

I noticed that a lot of people came in but because it was five minutes to closing time and the kitchen closed, they had to be turned away. But I noticed that almost all of them didn't seem disappointed because they were still able to buy the cupcakes. Oh yeah! Vegan cupcakes are gaining in their fame and Kindfood is definitely known for them.

I so much wanted to sample one of these delectable treats so I ordered a Dulce de Leche cupcake to-go.

One thing I noticed about this staff is how "invested" in the food they all seemed. They served you with sincerity and a smile and I could tell that they really believe in their work. They were not just selling food here but good, quality healthy food and if you read their "modus operandi" on their menu it states:
high-quality, wholesome, 100% plant-based and animal-free.
nutritionally dense, brought in fresh from local farmers, foragers and
artisans. It’s Natural and Organic, lovingly made with no additives,
preservatives, herbicides, fungicides, pesticides or GMO‘s.

So I got the feeling I was also taking medicine. Not Buckley's-type of cough syrup but a more holistic, nutritious, delicious and kind medicine. ('Let thy food be thy medicine'-- Hippocrates.)

I got a few moments to speak with Kelly, the owner of Kindfoods. Kelly is a petite tanned, California-blond woman who used to be a bodybuilder. (She still is in great shape.) I told her about how cancer played a part in becoming a vegan. This will sound cliche, but it's so refreshing to talk to someone who "gets it" and Kelly really does. We discussed the advantages to becoming vegan and how it can help to regress diseases. We talked about THE CHINA STUDY. We talked about njera (Ethiopian flatbread) and she recommended some great vegan places to eat in Toronto. (She suggested the HOT BEAN in Kensington Market but unfortunately I forgot my camera the day I went there but I'll definitely be back.) I loved our chat and will definitely come back to KINDFOOD perhaps for a cooking class, some famous cupcakes, or a chat about veganism and holistic nutrition. Once you know all of this stuff, you can't go back.

There it is KINDFOOD in Burlington, ON.

Neon Aztec sign.

Window of goodies.

The famous vegan cupcakes. That day, there were Red Velvet, Chocolate Mint, Dulce de Leche, chocolate chip cookie sandwiches filled with creme, and even doughnuts.

My KIND Burger (grilled tempeh with Daiya cheese, tomato, romaine, with home-made vegan mayo all on a multi-seed sourdough bread) and Moroccan Quinoa Salad (w/ garbanzo beans, black beans, olive oil, garlic, onions, raisins, carrots, mint, cilantro and ginger) Yum!

The view from my table.

Kelly Childs and I in front of KINDFOOD.

Mine all mine! I tried to keep my Dulce de Leche cupcake so safe and still in its plastic casing. I drove carefully on the highway for about one hour from Burlington to Toronto as to not mash up the frosting. Almost made it and then five minutes from home, the container shifted when I applied my brakes. No doubt, I still got the taste. Yummy! The frosting is like the texture of a sweet caramel marshmallow.

1 comment:

Kelly Childs said...

Thank you Nadia!! I apprecicate the wonderful coverage on our little gem, Kindfood. Be well!!