It had been a week when everything on every restaurant menu I happened upon seemed to be wrapped in bacon and doused with cream. And I appear to have jumped in whole hog. By week’s end, I was thinking a kale salad was in order. My goal was to find a lunch where there’d be no chance whatsoever of pig creeping into any proffered dish.
Simply Raw Express, newly delivered to the Hintonburg community by the wife and husband team of Natasha Kyssa and Mark Faul, seemed to me a safe landing. It’s a sunny spot, with a big open kitchen, shelves filled with goji berries, and chia seeds, and sprouting things, and though it seems to be used mostly for shopping and taking away, there are a few tables for eating in.
The taco I found in a plastic container in the fridge. My knee jerk reaction was to ask for it to be heated up. They must still be laughing at the raw food counter…
The brown crumbly bits in my taco had a remarkable resemblance to ground chuck. Not a bit: this was walnut “meat” (raw nuts mixed with spices and herbs) cradled in a taco of dehydrated corn, mixed with shredded cabbage, red peppers, onion, and tomatoes, on a foundation of spinach salad and sunflower sprouts, served with sour “cream” (based on raw cashews).
I braced myself for the troubles I tend to have with vegan raw food — “meat” with a mouthfeel of mealy hummus and sauces that have an artificial creaminess to them — but the package was remarkably tasty. It had some chilli heat to it, the walnut taco meat was nubbly and well seasoned, and the shell had a lively corn flavour, somewhere in the texture department between a crunchy taco and a soft tortilla. It’s rare the shell of a taco carries the day, but this one did. Even cold. Full marks.
Cost: “Raw Taco Supreme” $11.50
Open: Tuesday to Friday, 10 a.m. to 7 p.m.; Saturday and Sunday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Simply Raw Express, 989 Wellington St. W., 613-234-0806