Every Summer, my family takes a week vacation somewhere. This year, we went to Toronto, ON, Canada! It was my first time using my passport and leaving the United States, so I was pretty excited (even if the flight was shorter than going to the West Coast).
This was actually my second trip being gluten & dairy free. I don’t have an allergy or an intolerance to either, but I prefer it and definitely notice a difference whenever I eat something that doesn’t fit into either category. Being gluten & dairy free is easy when I am cooking for myself, but a little more challenging when it comes to restaurants and eating with other people. If I was traveling alone, I would go to vegan & other health conscious restaurants, but not everyone in my family is on board with those, so I have to make a lot of compromises (usually in the form of salad with added grilled chicken).
That being said, I don’t ALWAYS want to eat salad and grilled chicken. It’s the easiest option, but part of the fun of going on trips like these is getting to eat foods that I typically wouldn’t, and I definitely have salad for one if not two meals a day in my regular life.
Before the trip, I did my research. I made a list of all the restaurants I HAD to eat at in Toronto- which essentially means places that I can’t eat at in the United States. Obviously, I knew that I wouldn’t get to eat at every single one, but it was good to have a list just in case we were in the area around a meal time.
1. The Press Organic
A hidden gem in the Kensington Market area of Toronto, The Good Press Organic was amazing. I saw it when we were walking, and thought to myself “That looks so cute!” We walked inside, and I was right. The shop was filled with plants (for sale!) and ceramics. The menu was simple- raw desserts, juices, homemade milks, and smoothies. I went for the “Raw Chocolate” smoothie bowl & topped it with banana slices, shredded coconut, and almond butter. It tasted like a chocolate milkshake… I kid you not… and it was incredibly thick!
Here’s another shot of the plants for sale… I wish I could have purchased some to take back with me!
2. Bunner’s 100% Vegan & Gluten Free Bakeshop
Another hidden gem of the Kensington Market area, Bunner 100% Vegan & Gluten Free Bakeshop was a DREAM come true! Although I don’t have allergies per say, I still try not to have gluten and dairy. This usually means that I don’t have desserts like Ice Cream and things like that, because they irritate my stomach and I don’t always find the brands like I like while away. The desserts at this place were UNREAL and fit into both boxes (yay)! It was one of the foodie-places on my list, so I am SO glad that we stumbled upon it on accident while exploring!
When I saw that Bunner’s had Cinnamon Buns… I knew I HAD to get one. Seriously can’t remember the last time that I had a cinnamon roll, and this one did not disappoint at all! The icing was fantastic and the bun itself was the perfect texture. I have no idea what it was made out of, but definitely felt like almond flour of some kind.
My dad is a big red velvet fan. He also said that a red velvet cupcake would look “baller” on my “gram” so I snagged a photo of his treat, too. Look at that frosting pillow! Also, he’s not gluten or dairy free, and actually said it was amazing!
I think a vegan & gluten free shop is so cool! I always see one or the other, but not always both, so this was a great find. 100/10 recommend this to anyone and everyone.
3. Local Public Eatery
After arriving in Toronto, we went to our AirBnb and unpacked. We were hungry, and didn’t have a rental car, so we walked to a local restaurant that was about a 1/2 mile away. Let’s just say- Local Public Eatery was GOOD. Ordered their House Made Veggie Burger on a lettuce wrap with cucumber, pickles, onions, and sweet potato fries! Highly recommend this place if you’re ever in the area. It’s also a bar, and it looked like it had a good variety of selections, we just didn’t have any alcohol when we were there.
We loved it so much, we actually went back a second time. I got the Harvest Salad without cheese & dressing on the side that time! The salad came with grilled chicken, greens, radishes, avocado, roasted beets, sunflower seeds, apple pieces, and an apple cider vinaigrette. I honestly loved it, maybe even more than the veggie burger that I had the first time!
4. Earl’s Kitchen & Bar
One of my parents’ friends lives in Toronto, so we met her for dinner one night at Earl’s Kitchen & Bar. This meal was an example of a restaurant where nothing on the menu really “spoke to me” so I went for a salad with grilled chicken. This salad was actually really awesome: grilled chicken, field greens, cucumbers, tomatoes, and roasted pumpkin seeds! I also ate this meal at 9:30pm at night… which is 4 1/2 hours after I usually eat dinner. No need to sweat about it, my body knows what to do with food!
5. Virtuous Pie
I had been itching to try Virtuous Pie since we arrived in Toronto… plant-based pizza? How could I not?! It took me a second to figure out which one I wanted to try, but I went with the Ultraviolet: walnut & arugula pesto, cashew mozzarella, oven dried tomatoes, caramelized onion, and pine nuts. I am someone who usually can’t eat too much at once, and I took this baby DOWN. This means that it is definitely a one-serving type of pizza. Highly recommend if you’re in Canada- they don’t have one in the states!
One pleasant surprise of our trip was DEFINITELY the Freshii at Niagara Falls. We used to have a Freshii where I live, but it closed years ago! I was super excited to see one, especially in a location where I wouldn’t have expected to see healthy options at all! I chose the Umami Bowl & added tofu: kale, cucumbers, mushrooms, edamame, avocado, carrots, hemp seeds, cabbage, and the tofu!
A grocery store? Yes, a grocery store! My family’s vacation hack: grocery store trips. We usually stay in Airbnb, so there isn’t a continental breakfast or anything. Instead of going out for every meal, we treat breakfast as a “normal” meal and everyone picks up things at the store that they like to eat for breakfast. We get thinks like: bread, eggs, peanut butter, fruit, oatmeal, almond milk, deli meat, etc. For breakfast after my workouts this trip, I opted for peanut butter & banana toast, hard boiled eggs, and fruit!