Enjoyable Health Food at iQ

iQ
Location
: 3401 Dufferin Street, North York (inside Yorkdale Mall)
Website: https://www.iqfoodco.com/

Though I hadn’t heard of iQ until very recently, they actually have nine locations as I write this, mostly downtown.  The whole place kind of comes off as a parody of a trendy health food joint, with various bowls and avocado toasts on the menu, but based on the bowl I tried, it’s actually pretty tasty.

iQ

I got the Steelhead + Veg bowl: “roasted steelhead trout, avocado, roasted sweet potato, steamed broccoli, cucumber, pickled onion, jalapeno, brown rice, chopped romaine, lime wedge, carrot ginger dressing.”

iQ

It’s not bad at all.  It’s got a good variety of tastes and textures, the dressing was nice and zippy, and the quality of the fish (which is served cold, like the rest of the ingredients here) is quite good.  I don’t think it’s going to blow anyone’s mind, but for something that’s so blatantly healthy, it’s pretty satisfying.

Top-Notch Sandwiches at Vilda’s

Vilda's
Location
: 209 Dovercourt Road, Toronto
Website: https://www.vildastoronto.com/

Sandwiches!  I think I’ve mentioned in the past that there are a few dishes that I think are the perfect food.  A margherita pizza, for one.  A great bowl of ramen.  And of course, you’d have to add sandwiches to that list — but is that cheating?  A margherita pizza is a pretty specific thing, but with all the different combos of bread and fillings, a sandwich can be about a billion different things.

Vilda's

Still, who doesn’t love a sandwich, particularly when they’re as great as they are at Vilda’s?

(That’s mostly a rhetorical question, but if you’ve legitimately never had a sandwich that you loved, then there might be something medically wrong with you.  Go see a doctor.)

Vilda's

I tried a couple at Vilda’s: the Duca di Zucchine, and the Tuna à la Mediterranean.  Both were very good, but the Duca di Zucchine (which the menu describes as “Hard-roasted, lemon-marinated zucchini ribbons.  A vibrant spread of garlic scapes and tahini.  Parmesan cheese!  Bacon AND mint?!  Together?  Yes.”) was the highlight.  The combo of the tender zucchini, the crispy/meaty bacon and the zingy vibrancy of the various sauces was extremely delicious.

Vilda's

The Tuna à la Mediterranean (“Cut up artichokes, whipped tuna, melted cheddar, olive-dressed butter lettuce and mayo”) was a bit less impressive, but still quite tasty.  This one tasted more like something I might be able to make at home (or more accurately, something I think I could make at home, but could never actually make at this level of deliciousness).  It was also a bit odd in that it was ostensibly a tuna melt, but featured cheese that was completely unmelted.  You’d think that this would be an issue, but it was delicious regardless.  It’s hard to go wrong with the combo of the creamy tuna spread and the crispy freshness of the veggies, not to mention the great bread.

A Solid Sandwich at Banh Mi Saigon

Banh Mi SaigonLocation: 1133 Dundas Street East, Mississauga
Website: None

It’s hard to go wrong with a good banh mi; it’s cheap, filling, and delicious.  And yes, Banh Mi Saigon serves a good one.

Banh Mi Saigon

The menu’s pretty basic — they have seven different types of banh mi, and they all cost $3.50.  I went with the assorted, which comes with the usual medley of Vietnamese cold cuts, pate, and pickled veg.

Nothing about it particularly jumped out at me, but for $3.50 for a hefty sandwich, it’s hard to complain too much.

Banh Mi Saigon

I will complain a little bit, though.  In particular, there’s so little pate that I couldn’t even taste it, the cold cuts were ho-hum, and the bread pretty much wrecked the roof of my mouth (though it was otherwise fresh and tasty).

Still, it was a tasty sandwich; it just wasn’t anything too mind-blowing.

An Amazing Vegetarian Sandwich at Black Camel

Black CamelLocation: 4 Crescent Road, Toronto
Website: https://www.blackcamel.ca/

If it weren’t for Toronto Life’s list of the best sandwiches in the city, never in a million years would it have occurred to me to try the roasted veggie sandwich at Black Camel.  I suppose I’m indebted to the list, because the sandwich was quite delicious.

Black Camel is a little take-out sandwich shop that specializes in tender, slow-roasted beef brisket and pork sandwiches (they also have chicken, steak, and a BLT).

I had assumed that the roasted veggie sandwich was more of a perfunctory, vegetarian-appeasing menu-filler than something anyone would actually want to order.

Black Camel

I was super duper wrong.  The veggie sandwich was just as good as their other offerings.  Maybe better.

The sandwich consists of roasted roma tomatoes, red pepper, and eggplant, with some peppery arugula for good measure.  It’s served on a soft, fresh bun.

Black Camel

You can choose from a variety of sauces; Toronto Life recommended the Charamoula sauce, which the menu describes as a “Moroccan-inspired mayonnaise [that] blends the flavours of garlic, cilantro, lemon juice, and smoked paprika into a one-of-a-kind topping.”  The list also recommended adding Fontina cheese, and who am I to argue with the list?

It’s a fantastic sandwich.  The veggies are all tender but not mushy, with a nice herby flavour.  They’re sweet, savoury, and absolutely crammed with flavour.

Black Camel

But it’s the Charamoula mayo that’s clearly the star of the show.  It’s zesty, spicy, and incredibly assertive without being overwhelming.  It’s one of those sauces that would make practically anything taste good; the fact that the veggies themselves are quite tasty is just a bonus.

The mild Fontina cheese adds a nice creaminess that only ups the richness from the silky mayo.  It’s a shockingly delicious sandwich.

Gross Meatballs and Tasty Dessert at Ikea

IkeaLocation: 1475 The Queensway, Etobicoke
Websitehttps://www.ikea.com/

Hot tip: Ikea serves chicken meatballs now, and you should absolutely, positively never order them.  You’re welcome.

They’re actually quite similar to the standard beef meatballs, which are junk — but tasty junk.  I wouldn’t want to eat them on a regular basis, but they’re not bad for what they are.

The chicken meatballs, on the other hand, are not tasty junk.  The flavour is basically fine; they taste a lot like the beef meatballs, but saltier and with a vague chicken-like flavour.

But the texture is horrific.  Remember those rubber Super Balls that would bounce and bounce and bounce?  I’m pretty sure these meatballs have most of the same properties.  They were so rubbery and horrible that I couldn’t even cut through them with a fork.

Ikea

On the plus side, I also had a slice of the chocolate caramel cake, and it’s surprisingly great.  It’s certainly not gourmet — it actually reminds me a lot of the brownies they used to serve in my high school’s cafeteria, but with the addition of caramel — but it’s rich and sweet and satisfying.  I think the next time I find myself in Ikea, I might just skip straight to the dessert.