Best Thing To Do On A Rainy Day In Toronto?

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Meet up with a sweet group of gluten free and/or veg bloggers of course!

On Saturday I had the pleasure of hanging out with Ricki from Diets, Desserts and Dogs, Maggie from She Let Them Eat Cake, Kristen from Peace Love and Muesli SANY5018and Lisa from Vegan Culinary Crusade along with Kristen’s sister and a blog reader named Amy. I had met Ricki and Lisa really briefly the Vegetarian Food Fair (either last year or the year before) and despite having mutual friends, paths that cross and frequent interactions on Twitter, we had never had much of a chance to actually connect.

The venue was Fressen and boy was it ever a rainy day! I have only been to Fressen once before and I was wondering if it was going to wow me more than it did the last time around. We arrived at the restaurant a wee bit soggy and dishevelled thanks to the rain, but spirits were still running high! We realized quickly that they were only serving their brunch menu, which meant a few more limited options that usual. SANY5014SANY5015On the griddle side of the menu there was only one option that was gluten free (the corn fritters) and it didn’t really excite me, so I opted for the tapas option. Given the rain I decided to go with the sweet potato/coconut/ginger soup and the jicama and mango salad.

While we waited for our food, Ricki bestowed us with gifts:SANY5013Homemade walnut cacao nib butter! Wow, was it ever delicious. Ricki even made me believe that maybe I need to give stevia a fair chance…

I had an awesome time engaging in conversation with the girls while we waited for our food. Topics ranged from other veg restaurants in Toronto, choosing whole foods over processed gluten free products, cookbook controversy and of course the blogging and Twitter world. I loved hearing more about Lisa’s adventures at the 105 Degrees Academy after drooling over the pictures of her dishes over the last few weeks. I also had a really lovely chat with Maggie about the death of a parent since she had read my last post. The blogging community is always so supportive and sweet and I was delighted by the easy flow of conversation like we had known one another for longer than reality would admit.

We waited awhile for our food, and after a bit of organization, everyone received their dishes. Soup and salad for meSANY5019SANY5021and a variety of salads and other tapas for the girlsSANY5023SANY5022I apparently scored the last of the jicama and mango salad, which was quite refreshing. The soup was good, although coconut was really the dominant flavour and I wondered just how much coconut milk had been used in the soups’ creation. Everyone enjoyed their tapas and variety in the dishes, but after waiting awhile for our food, a lack of gluten free options (including no gluten free bread for dipping the various tapas spreads in) and being hit with a 17% built-in gratuity on our bill that they were unable to split, we mused that perhaps next time we would go somewhere else for a meet up.

After we parted ways, Lisa and I wandered into Kensington Market as she was on a mission for some Canadian gluten free products for a blogger exchange and I wanted to pick up a few things. I ended up with a giant bush of sunflower sprouts SANY5024and Lisa found some yummy goodies from Sweets from the Earth, Live and other local establishments with gluten free goodies.

I couldn’t have asked for a better way to spend a rainy Saturday afternoon in March. It is amazing to be surrounded by passionate, like-minded women who share common interests and a love for great food! I’m happy to have made some new friends and have been enjoying every bite of Ricki’s walnut butter. I can’t wait to do it again!

Have you ever attended a blogger meet up? How was your rainy Saturday?


LizNoVeggieGirl said...

What a fun meet-up!! And so lovely of Ricki to bring the nib butter - her recipes are phenomenal, so no doubt it was delicious :)

Rainy Saturdays are great for dancing!

Ricki said...

It was so great to meet you (*for real*!!) and everyone else at the meetup! I think you summarized my reaction to Fressen perfectly as well. Oh, well, next time we'll go somewhere else! I couldn't have chosen a better group with whom to spend that rainy afternoon. :D

Maggie said...

Such a perfect post Ashley. I definitely couldn't have summed it up better! You're so sweet. And I am so happy that Ricki connected us through this meet-up. Here's to our next date...somewhere else! Next time I'm coming to Kensington with you!

Anonymous said...

The soup was really yummy. I'm sorry I missed a trip to Kensington, I've not been in ages. Though we had fun at Lululemon.

Lauren said...

Sounds like a fun time! I love being with other like minded people! And that walnut butter sounds amazing!

LauraA said...

I can't believe I didn't know Ricki of Diet Dessert and Dogs is a Toronto blogger! I love her blog! Sounds like a great day.

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