Oh, Hot Beans. If it was possible (and not super creepy) to have a crush on a restaurant, Hot Beans would be my new secret resto bf (marry me!). As is, I’ll have to stand for it being my new fave vegan eatery in Toronto. Ever since my friend Ross (Vegan Eats) spilled the beans (ha!) that he was opening up a vegan take-away taco and burrito shop in Toronto’s Kensington Market, I’ve been beyond stoked. I love tacos. I love burritos. I love all-vegan eateries, and I love the idea of something a little different on the vegan front here in T.O.
I was less than stoked to learn that their opening week coincided with my trip down to NYC, however. But no matter! What better way to cure the blues and blahs of an epic 12 hour bus ride than to hop straight off that bus and run straight to vegan tacos and donuts! That’s right, friends. Not only is Hot Beans serving up delish tacos, burritos, and crazy good vegan coleslaw – they’re makin’ donuts! Good ol’ yeasted donuts! Don’t even ask me when the last time I ate one of those was, because I couldn’t tell you. So while I won’t exactly be making this a regular habit, I had to stuff one into my starving face. It took every bit of willpower I posses to not eat the donut before tacos, but I managed.
Here’s a little run down of what I did stuff into my face. The menu is super small and to the point, which I love. Three taco options, three burrito options. I went with tacos because, uh, they’re tacos and I love them more than air? And also because I could pick two different types of taco, thus trying more of the menu! Aha! I’m always pleased to have my indecision rewarded!
I went with a yuba “chicken” taco, and a jackfruit “pulled pork” taco. COME ON! The yuba was for sure my favourite, chewy litle strips of “chicken-y” marinated bean curd, topped with pico de gallo, cashew sour cream and cilantro salsa. Seriously the bomb.
|yuba “chicken” taco|
I’m pretty sure I’ve never had jackfruit before, but I’m also pretty sure I’ve heard of other vegans using it as a “pulled pork” fake-out, so I was really curious to get in on this. Aaaaaaand I loved it. Not exactly a “meaty” texture, which is fine with me because I don’t eat meat in part because I don’t like meat. It’s just a kind of soft texture that soaks up a yummy barbeque sauce quite effectively. Two for two, Hot Beans tacos.
|jackfruit “pulled pork” taco|
For a side, I was convinced to try the creamy vegan coleslaw, loaded with homemade vegan mayo, because seriously. When was the last time I had a creamy coleslaw? Exactly. Childhood. This was a total surprise hit of deliciousness. No offence to the Hot Beans beans & rice side, but I’m going to be goin’ back for more coleslaw action next visit.
|creamy, delish coleslaw|
Then there was my old friend donut. The flavours vary by the day, and this day happened to be caramel glazed. “Tastes like Krispy Kreme” was the sales pitch. Much like jackfruit and actual pulled pork, I’m pretty sure I’ve never had an actual Krispy Kreme donut, but they are legendary so take note if you buy into this legend! All I can say (and all I need to say), is that this was a fucking delicious, straight-up glazed donut. Chewy, not too sweet in the doughy part, and just sweet and crispy enough on the outside. You know how I said I wouldn’t be making these donuts a regular habit? That’s going to kick in after a go back and try a couple other flavours, asap.
One of my friends opted for the TVP “beef” taco, which I snagged a bite of and I have to say – definitely the tastiest, best seasoned TVP chunk I’ve ever encountered. I’m stoked to go back for some burrito tasting – there’s a seitan “chorizo” calling my name. It’s time to break the great seitan fast of 2010-2011, and this seems like the way to go!
You may have also noticed a little ramekin of sauce nestled next to my coleslaw up there – these guys are also making some seriously yummers habanero hot sauce, so if that’s your jam, make sure you load up! It’ll kick your butt a little bit, in the best way.
In conclusion. Everyone go to Hot Beans, NOW. 160 Baldwin @ Spadina, in Kensington Market. Go go go go go. And if you want a donut (and you do!), go early, they’ve been selling out!
In other news, I’m coming back tomorrow with a recipe for some “hot beans” of my own – some easy, warm, nourishing baked beans. I’m on a comfort food kick lately, in case you couldn’t tell. Winter’s last hurrah is nagging at me, what can I say. I’m ready for some warming temps and some cleansing, nutritional spring cleaning. But we’ll work up to that. In the mean time, let’s eat tacos and beans!