Sunday, June 12, 2011

Vex in the City: Part 3 Hot Beans

Taste of the food >< >< >< >< The TVP tacos that my fiance and I had from Hot Beans on Pedestrian Sunday were amazing. The tastes and flavours of the tomatoe-y and fairly authentic. I could tell they used a corn tortilla.
Look of the food >< >< >< >< >< The presentation of these tacos was totally photo-worthy. Unfortunately the first time I had TVP tacos I forgot my camera. The second time, I actually began eating them before I remembered to take the photo so one of the tacos looks totally devoured. Good signs of a great taco.
Environmentally-Responsibility >< >< >< >< >< Excellent job here. Hot Beans not only has a recycling bin for cans and bottles, it also has a composting bin. That's right! A compost bin in the restaurant so your left over crumbs will also be devoured by vermiculture. Plus, it's containers are made with paper and plant fibres while the forks are made with potato cellulose. What a model!
Health Savvy >< >< I don't really know this one. I didn't see evidence of that.
Hospitality/Warmth >< >< >< They were okay about me doing a blog. One person asked me what kind of blog and when I told him about the cancer, he seemed interested. They were not exactly chatty with me but they were friendly.
Décor/Vibe >< >< >< >< Simple and clean. The stools and benches give me the vibe that this is the kind of place you would come to eat and hang out for a bit and go. I loved the African American soul and blues music that was playing.
Added Perks >< >< >< I got a cup of water. (There is a pitcher of cold water with paper cups on a ledge. This was nice especially on the hot day it was.) They let me take pictures as well.
Ethical and Community-Minded >< >< I didn't see a community board but they did have a few flyers for Compassion week as well as some independently-published, photocopied books about how to become a vegan.

$0-$9 Will get you a main dish (e.g., 2 soft-shelled tacos) with a side

I love getting to Kensington Market any chance I get even if it is the middle of the week during the day. So when Kelly at Kindfood mentioned Hot Beans, a vegan restaurant was located on Baldwin, I had to make sure I was there. (They also have another website here.) Unfortunately, I forgot my camera (or the battery was dead). I can't remember, anyway after listening to Baque de Bamba perform their Maracatu Brazilian music, left and made our way to Hot Beans. My fiance did not order anything but I ordered the TVP soft-shell tacos. When the staff was finished preparing them, I was handed this compostable container full of the most perfect-looking tacos. So mouth-wateringly pleasant to the eyes. (If you look at the Hot Beans link, you will see photos to show what I mean.) It wasn't long until my fiance asked me for a taste and then we were both cramming yummy tacos into our mouths. We love the chips and salsa too. Then about a week later, I headed back to Hot Beans quite as a "spur of the moment" thing after buying some Jamaican produce at a Kensington shop. I decided to order the same dish. Mmm... mmm... mmm. The TVP morcels were pleasantly chewy and juicy. The taco is a bit of a messy eat as Hot Beans really fills the taco with lots of TVP, tomatoe-y sauce, and drizzled cashew sour cream. Yum! I once again ordered a side of corn chips with salsa. The corn chips were crispy but the salsa had a very limey taste. Maybe they added a little more lime that day. The pitcher of cool water was a nice added touch. Leaving this place inspired me to start a Restaurant Rating. I will visit this restaurant again. The food is that good. I can't wait to try their tacos with "pulled pork" (seitan) and green jackfruit (I've only had ripe jackfruit before and never when it's unripe). Plus, the staff make the foods right in front of you with fresh ingredients. They also serve up burritos and doughnuts. The fact Hot Beans is focused on just a few items, gives them plenty of opportunities to serve these foods up right.

The yummy soft TVP tacos with a side of corn chips and salsa. I gave the "Look of the Food" rating as 5 blue butterflies because it looked good until I devoured it. (I forgot to take the photos before I started eating it. The food looked so good, I just dug in.) I tried to get as close to the taco as I could with as little disruption to its picture-perfect form. But if you wish to see what the before photo looked like click here.

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