On my last night in Toronto, I was adamant that I had to make sure my last meal was at the venue most keenly recommended to me by Michael in terms of having the most interesting menu of near endless vegan comfort food – The Hogtown Vegan. Hopping on the subway and heading out to the outer reaches of Bloor Street West past Koreatown, Hogtown Vegan welcomes you with a dark cosy interior reminiscent of a smoky bar, but given the array of customers from hipster couples, college-looking kids, and whole families with little ones, it’s clearly a beloved dining option for all kinds of folks.
The menu is very extensive in terms of mock meat delights, to the point where I got far more indecisive than usual. Should I go with waffles and ‘unchicken’? Build my own Hogtown burger? The Philly ‘Cheesesteak’ comprised of seitan topped with pepper, onions and vegan cheese sauce on top of baguette? Eventually I narrowed the numerous choices down to the ‘unchicken’ Caesar wrap – breaded fried soy chicken, romaine lettuce, croutons, fakin’ bits, almond parmesan, and house made creamy Caesar dressing all squeeze together in a wrap. This was a hefty sized wrap, with breaded pieces of unchicken packed in tightly with a generous hand, there was barely any room for even the lettuce! The spice of the unchicken had a bit of unexpected heat to it, but otherwise it was quite good, although it was overshadowed slightly in my choice of side.
This side was poutine, which was a personal mandatory choice because Canada. These hot chips came topped with daiya cheese and mushroom beer gravy. As I hinted at earlier, for a side it was ENORMOUS, I was a little embarking on it, but taste-wise I had no worries. My experiments with daiya continued to be fruitful, with not only that full cheesy flavour being present without any hint of chemical taint, but it also went sufficiently melty to make a proper cheese experience. The mushroom beer gravy was rich and satisfying, and I feel I was quite valiant (or perhaps unheeding of my long-term health prospects) in finishing the whole serve. I certainly needed the aid of my glass of Southern Tea, comprised of bourbon, iced tea, agave and muddled mint.
Maybe I’d been getting too used to devouring salads and fresh veggies during the rest of my Toronto eats, but such a huge plate of delicious stodge sat a bit heavily with me than it would usually. Maybe my experience would have been more dynamic as part of a group of people being able to share a bunch of dishes together and experience more range, rather than as a lone diner. Maybe I was just sad at the prospect of leaving Canada! I do however really encourage Toronto visitors to experience Hogtown Vegan, it’s a really comforting spot, the staff were lovely and there is so much interesting mock-meat deliciousness available that you would really benefit from several visits rather than one. Just make sure you arrive very, VERY hungry.
The Hogtown Vegan
1056 Bloor Street West, Toronto
Ph: +1 (416) 901-9779