I know what ya’ll are thinking …how did a person like me end up at Live Organic Food Bar? First off, I’m a little offended, I can eat rabbit food just like the rest of them, example: here. Secondly, I know, who am I kidding?! People like me do not eat at places like Live.
So how did I get here? Well, it all started with my sisters coworker Tommy, who has a lovely wife who cooks raw food at home, and since the three of us were stuck in Toronto for a whole week, we decided it would be fun to try something new. So off to Live we went!
Live offers 100% plant based, gluten and refined sugar free dishes. 95% of the menu is local or organic. They are proudly Toronto’s first Gourmet Raw and Vegan Restaurant. They offer an extensive food and drink menu and do a great job of dividing the “raw” items vs “hot” items on the menu. Our server was very knowledgeable when I asked about a million and one questions as well – which is always greatly appreciated!
As usual, I talked everyone into eating “Family Style”, this way I could sample more things on the menu. So, to start, my sister and I shared In the Pink ($6.90 12oz) – apple, pear, beet, lemon, ginger. This drink was everything you imagined: sweet, refreshing and over priced! LOL Just kidding, this was great and I would definitely order it again!
Next was the ‘Sample platter’ ($20) from the raw side of the menu. It included a sample size of four other main dishes. Descriptions were taken from the menu:
- Pizza : walnut squash crust, sun dried tomato compote, spinach, kalamata olives, ‘roasted’ red pepper, cashew feta, almond parmesan
- Ravioli: zucchini wrapped broccoli, sunflower ricotta, macadamia cheddar, sun dried tomato compote, spinach pesto
- Tostadas: corn tortillas, sunflower ‘re fried beans’, guacamole, corn salsa, ground spiced walnuts, cashew sour cream
- A Really crummy Falafel – couldn’t tell you whats was inside
After sipping on my drink and realizing how full of flavour it was, I was really looking forward to everything else. Unfortunately, the excitement stops there. The Sample Platter was really disappointing What they use for “bread” is just a puree of nuts that have been binned together to create sheets of “bread” so the “pizza” was just veggies on top of hard nuts. The tostadas and ravioli were just basically salads with a dressing. The sauces were all very flavorful but after the initial first few bites, it all started to taste the same. The three of us struggled to finish this one.
Tommy’s choice was the Tempeh Cakes ($17)- battered tempeh vegetable cakes over steamed greens and broccoli with crisp lemon peppers, fennel and zucchini. The tempeh cake was very similar to a potato cake and the crust on the outside was great. But everything on the plate had the same textures and the sauce was the only source of flavour.
The reason I was really looking forward to this visit was for the “coconut bacon” in the B.L.T ($15) – coconut bacon, greens, marinated tomatoes, spicy mayo with lemon fennel slaw and veggie chips. The menu says you get a choice of sesame bread or fresh collard greens but I don’t remember our server mentioning this.
When asked about the “bacon”, the server described it to us as thin shavings of coconut strips that’s been dehydrated and seasoned to taste like bacon. I was sold! Bacon & coconut? Two of my favourite things!
But what came out wasn’t at all what I expected. There were no “strips of coconut/bacon” to be found. Instead there were just crumbles and specks of something that resembled coconut which we all had to assume was the “bacon”. This dish also really brain $%^&ed me because I really was expecting a sandwich …not another salad! On the other hand, the dehydrated beet chips were fantastic!
Our last and final dish – which we all thought was going to be the most promising was the Rejuvenation Bowl ($15) – steamed greens, burdock, chickpeas, kimchi and an almond seed bread stick with a choice of brown rice, quinoa or kelp noodles, choice of tofu or tempeh, choice of creamy tahini or almond chili sauce. I chose to have it with the kelp noddles with tofu and the almond chili sauce.
The plating of this dish was absolutely beautiful! It looked super yummers, – but it wasn’t! The greens were incredibly bitter and overpowered everything else. There was no trace of an “almond chili sauce”, but on a positive note, the tofu was cooked well. This was my first time having kelp noodles and although they didn’t stand out in this dish, I would have them again, if prepared differently. Overall, this dish was a let down.
This experience has definitely made me realize that I can do vegetarian, and even vegan, but raw is definitely a no go for me. I am glad Tommy talked my sister and I into making the trip out and experiencing something new, because lets face it – I would have never done this on my own!
If you are someone who practices this lifestyle – this is a great place, doing great things in the community and they’re committed to their cause. But I personally didn’t enjoy it. I was expecting things to be more fresh and approachable. I think they’re trying too hard to turn “raw” food into something that “hot” food eaters will recognize like “pizza”, and “ravioli”. I don’t like my food to mimic other characters and prefer to have my veggies exactly the way they are – not constructed to resemble something else. The menu is absolutely huge and maybe the three of us just made the wrong menu choices…either way, I loved trying something new and no worries, I haven’t quite written off raw cuisine… yet!
Oh, and also, it was really damn expensive! Thanks Tommy for picking up the tab!
Live Organic Food Bar
264 Dupont St