Get your slow food fast at the Wild Oat
Eating well is a daunting task when pressed for time and short on cash. Real food is often more expensive than the fluffy processed junk that makes its way onto our plates (or plastic foam containers) when we’re in a rush. It doesn’t help matters that healthy options are hardly the norm on restaurant menus – so much so that these exceptions must be pointed out with cutesy icons for fear they’d get lost amid their fatty fried friends. Not so at the Glebe’s Wild Oat, since their vegetarian menu features nothing but healthy choices. Even their sweets are made with nutrition in mind. They keep their flavours bold and their ingredients fresh, and they do it all for less than $10 a dish. It’s no wonder that the Wild Oat has long been a favourite of mine.
In the mornings I’ll sometimes indulge in one of their delicious whole-wheat cinnamon buns. As a student I used to grab a quick bowl of vegetarian chili, or a luscious curry between classes, rarely making it past the self-serve steam tray selections. They’re priced according to your hunger, starting at $3.95 a bowlful.
I recently decided to branch out from my old habits and give the other side of the Wild Oat a chance, where vegetarian lunch options can be ordered up at the counter and picked up when its ready. Although the crêpes looked exceptional, both my dad and I decided to opt for grilled sandwiches. We had a choice of three types of bread, including spelt, but settled on their hearty multigrain. We often take a loaf home from the bakery side of the restaurant, since it makes some of the very best morning toast, a simple pleasure with a cup of tea and your favourite jam.
My dad had the Apple Ease, filled with caramelized onion, cilantro, brie, apple and green onions. The gooey cheese was in perfect harmony with the apple, and the unexpected hit of cilantro kept it from being run of the mill. I selected the El Oaxaca, layered with black bean spread, sun-dried tomato tapenade, old cheddar, avocado, red onion and chipotle. The smokiness of the chipotle, the sharpness of the cheese and the creaminess of the avocado made for a satisfying combination, along with a glass of not-too-sweet iced tea. For under $20 for two with drinks, I’d say this place is a steal, but judging by the lunch rush crowd, that’s no secret.
817 Bank St.
Self-serve mains: $3.95-$10
Counter service mains: $4.25-$8.25
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