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Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Kensington Natural Bakery :: Vegetarian Take Out

Healthy Take Out

While not a potluck hit, I liked the vegan pumpkin pie enough to sample other dishes from Kensington Natural Bakery. The concept is appealing - according to the website, "no chemicals, additives, artificial colours or preservatives are added" so I thought I'd try one of their sweets...and liked it so much that I grabbed some food to go.
Update:: Also tried their cookies

Kensington Natural Bakery
Verdict: Tasty treats, just okay but healthy meal options
Take-away for lunch/dinner
Price: ~$8 per meal

Apple Danish
This pastry was really sweet, drizzled with honey, and quite tasty with slices of apples.I wouldn't have known it was a vegan treat. It was satisfying and pleased my sweet tooth's craving. 

There is a wide variety of vegetarian and vegan options to eat on the spot or take out. I grabbed a few items to go, and ate them for lunch/dinner that week.
Tofu Banquet  ($4.50 with salad) 

Tofu, mushrooms, green peppers, hot peppers, onions, mozzarella
Tofu Lasagna
This was a tofu-lasagna topped with marinara sauce with a side salad. I wish there were other fillers (i.e. eggplant, peppers), but I liked the texture quite a bit. There was a generous helping of mozerella throughout the bake, which will please cheese-lovers. I found that it was missing a "kick" so I put a bit of Delish Bajan Red Hot Pepper Sauce that I bought in Barbados. Yummy! Delish is such a fitting brand name :-)
Vegan Dumplings
Toast the dumplings

I first tried a couple of these after nuking them in the microwave - the filling was tasty but the wrappers were rubbery. However, I popped the rest into the toaster oven for a bit and they greatly improved! Crispy and hot - these were a great snack. This was my favourite item out of the bunch.

Hot & Spicy Tofu Satay
Tofu, green and red peppers, onoins, pineapple, tomato paste, chili powder, vegetable oil
I wasn't a fan of the texture of the tofu. The inside was overly squishy and moist for my taste, while the outside was too chewy. Also, I ended up seasoning it a bit more with pepper to up the "spice".

Ratatouille ($1.75/100g)
Eggplant, green and red peppers, celery, cooking onions, tomato, garlic, chili pepper powder, sunflower seeds
This was a decent saucy version of ratatouille. The label claimed that it was "hot and spicy!" but I found it a little less seasoned than I would've liked. It reminded me of a hearty pasta sauce that I often make in my slow cooker. I mixed this with a bit of brown rice and enjoyed it with some fish. It was really not much different than my baked veggies with tomato sauce.

I ended up mixing the rest of the ratatouille and spicy tofu satay with some spaghetti squash:
Mmm...I love squash. Favourite thing to cook this time of the year.
I found that it was still packing flavour, so I added some dry jalapeƱo flakes and it improved the dish immensely.

With the exception of the vegan dumplings, I found that there was a missing element to these dishes: spices! Everything seemed to need a boost. However, someone did make a passing comment about how eating "naturally" also means training your palette to not need spices so perhaps this is exactly what Kensington Natural Bakery is aiming for.

I am already a very simple cook who uses little salt, additives, and focuses on fresh ingredients whenever possible. For instance, when I bake pears & apples I might use a little pat of brown sugar and honey - but not always. Similarly, when I bake vegetables in bulk, I like adding pasta sauce, lemons, or jalepeno peppers for extra flavour. Perhaps that is why I found the food tasty, but not impressive enough to go back on a regular basis. It's similar to my home cooking, but without the punchline!

I can see myself recommending it for friends who don't have time to cook, or stopping in when I'm especially busy and want something healthy for the week. However, since I will feel the need to fiddle with the dishes to really enjoy them, I won't be inclined to return anytime soon.

Either way, while not bad, I don't see myself making this a regular stop for lunch or dinner. However, I would like to return to try some more of their sweets. That way, I can tell myself that it's a little healthier than average as I gorge on more pastries...

Kensington Natural Bakery
Verdict: Tasty treats, just okay but healthy meal options
Meal: Take-away for lunch/dinner
~$8 per meal

Tried their pumpkin pie:
Kensington Natural Bakery
Verdict: Okay Pumpkin Pie - wish it was more spicy, but still good & a healthier alternative
Meal: Dessert
Price: $8.50/pie


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