Monday, February 21, 2011

One Love Vegetarian

416 535 5683
854 Bathurst St.
Closed Sundays & Mondays

After moving to the Annex area last year, my sister, her boyfriend, and I have been having a great time checking out all of the incredible food the area has to offer. No matter how much I enjoy hanging out with my sister and her boyfriend, I have to admit, my favourite part about our get togethers is meal-time, getting to try out all of the different cuisines from around the world all tucked away in the buzzing Annex. With it's lime-green sign and vibrantly painted walls, One Love Vegetarian was a place that caught my attention immediately. We're pretty big meat eaters in my family, so despite my interest in trying One Love, I kept getting side tracked with the thought of pulled pork burritos and jerk chicken. Finally the day came when I was ready to give One Love a try. My sister and I had both read an article about One Love's BBQ Tofu Stir Fry that left us salivating, so off we went to experience our first taste of Jamaican Vegetarian Cuisine.

Mainly a takeout joint, One Love is pretty small with a few tables for eating in. The kitchen is exposed allowing you to see all of the delicious dishes being prepared. Although there isn't anything particularly striking about the decor of the place, the atmosphere is fantastic. From the moment you walk in, you can feel the positive energy flowing through the restaurant, which may be due to the incredibly friendly and gracious staff, whom I have never seen without a smile. You can also always count on a killer soundtrack to be playing while munching on your food. Whether it's Bob Marley, Ottis Redding, or even some Wu Tang, One Love always has you feeling groovy!

Although I have only tried one dish on the menu, I have nothing but rave reviews for that one, mind-blowing, knock-your-socks-off dish! One Love's BBQ Tofu Stir Fry is so delicious I find myself craving it on a daily joke. I would be heading over there right now if it wasn't a Monday (they're closed Mondays and Sundays). My first glance and bite of the dish were admittedly a little disappointing. My first thought was that the dish needed sauce....boy was I ever wrong. Served on a bed of basmati rice and beans, tofu, sweet red peppers, snap peas, Vidalia onions, and carrots are coated in so much flavour from what they call their "tantalizing sauce," that all you need is a quick toss with your fork to immerse all that flavour and moisture into the rice, acting as your sauce. It's easy to see why One Love chooses for you to do this little step on your own, as the presentation is simple yet beautiful, allowing diners to see the all of the fresh ingredients that go into the dish. The stir fry is perfectly finished with slices of creamy avocado and sweet fried plantain, adding even more flavour and texture. This dish is so good that no matter how many times I say I'm going to try something new there, I always go back to my BBQ Tofu Stir Fry. I promise you, next time I'll switch it up! I've had my eye on their Seasoned Jamaican-Pumpkin-Filled Roti for a while now.

I have also had my eye on the delectable treats they keep displayed at the counter. Not only 100% vegetarian, One Love alsJustify Fullo serves up a selection of gluten free cookies, brownies, and cupcakes. I hate to say that I haven't tried any of their sweet treats yet, but that'll change soon!

Because all of the produce is purchased fresh the morning of, One Love runs out of some of their dishes at times and has been known to close early now and then due to this. So if you're planning on grabbing some take-out later in the evening, give them a call in advance to make sure they set aside what you want.

I've been to One Love quite a few times now, but I've always been timid of trying their Home Brewed Ginger Beer. The last time I went I overheard a women rave about how fantastic it is, her face contorting in ginger beer pleasure! I immediately ordered a small glass. With fresh lime, organic cane sugar, and a garnish of a lemon slice and mint leaf, my ginger beer arrives looking like a big tumbler of refreshing goodness. At first I was taken aback by the powerful flavour of the drink and the unique way the drinks flavour changes with time on your palate, but by the second sip I was in love! A glass of that on the coldest of days and you're still sure to be transported to a tropical destination upon each sip. You can't visit One Love without grabbing a glass of this! One Love also serves a selection of other juices like organic raspberry lemonade and mango strawberry lemonade, and of course, everything is fresh.

One Love is hands down one of my top cheap-eats in Toronto! You can always count on big flavour, a great experience, consistent quality and fresh ingredients. This Valentines day I decided my one love really is One Love!

Listening To:
I Shot The Sheriff - Bob Marley & The Wailers

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