Saturday, February 4, 2012

Vex in the City: Part 19 Strictly Roots in Harlem

Uptown Top Rankin' by Althea and Donna
This was my favourite song to perform in my reggae band, Unique Vibes. The last time I performed this song was with my fiance at my sister's wedding in New York. It was so cool to see my family and relatives up on their feet dancing to this song.

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.)
D├ęcor/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)

I love the motto of this place:

We serve nothing that crawls, swims, walks, or flies.

Nice to know that I can find vegan food in Harlem. My first stop was review of vegan food in Harlem was at the Uptown Juice Bar this past summer. Strictly Roots in Harlem is my second installment and it is Jamaican, keeping in with my island vibe. I was at this place one month ago (early January) and I hate writing restaurant reviews so far after I ate there. It becomes tougher to remember the details. (I can blame it all on my laptop being in need of repairs (the keyboard and touchpad were not working) and in the shop for two weeks afterward. Then I needed to re-upload all of the programs back on to my computer. Ooh fun!) For example, I had a nice chat with the owner and I can't for the life of me remember his name. One look at these photos and I remember how delicious the food on that beautiful sunny day with mild temperatures. And the food is Jamaican- and American-style vegan soul food at it's best (and greasiest). This place exuded hospitality with a number of folks who came by to drop off flyers, "shoot the shit" (talk), and grab a vegan lunch on-the-go. I liked the honour's easygoing laid back style and he is social. We talked for a few minutes and got to know each other a little bit. One of the guys in the restaurant recognized my accent immediately and asked if I was Canadian. "Yes," I said proudly. It's so nice when abroad folks recognize your accent immediately. I used to think I didn't have an accent since the Canadian accent I have sounds so boring. It's not like a Quebecois (French-Canadian) or Newfoundlander accent which has a very distinct sound. My late aunt said that I sound Canadian with a Jamaican slant. My uncle used to say I sounded "white". When I was in Detroit, this man told me I sounded British and I have also been said to sound like a valley girl. Ah, regional accents! Anyway enough about that let's get to the food!

The red seats and tabletops, green plants, and brickwork gave this restaurant a nice warm vibe.

It was hard to select from the buffet but I settled on what I wanted to try the most. Here you see: Shepherd's pie, plantain, callaloo, fried tofu, and curried TVP

My favourite was the fried tofu which reminded me a lot of the one I make at home. It was crispy and savoury with not too much grease.

The shepherd's pie was also tasty. The topping was light, moist, and creamy. The filling had a mild sweetness like barbeque sauce.

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