Take-out Diary #1: Ethos

I’ve been wanting to try out Ethos, the sorta-new vegan place on Orange Ave near Antique Row and Lake Ivanhoe, since it was recommended to me by my friends Fran and Joe, as well as a random vegan guy who was at Redlight Redlight when I went there last (see Beer and Cupcakes entry). If vegetarian restaurants get me excited, vegan restaurants fascinate me, as I’m interested in seeing what one can make sans diary and eggs. I mean, I know it can be done, and can be done often, but I want to know if it can be done well.

So, en route to taking Hao to work today, we called up Ethos for take-out. We managed to park on the street with no problem, just as two young women were about to speed away on mopeds, and popped inside.

The interior of Ethos looks incredibly homey, with plenty of wood accents. The design could have just as well been suitable for a neighbourhood pub or even a solid, reliable apothecary. Vegan cookies and other pastries were in a glass case, looking mighty tempting as we waited for the woman doubling as a server and cashier to bring our food out from the back and ring us up. We first saw her carrying a large tray loaded with good-looking food as she headed out to an outside patio area I didn’t investigate while we were there. The wait to be rung up wasn’t long, as the food was ready and wrapped in eco-friendly take-away.

Healthy TrioAfter dropping Hao off, I took my dish, the “Healthy Trio,” to my parents’ place in Oviedo for a late lunch. The description for my trio on Ethos’ online menu is “Black and green olive tapenade, homemade hummus, and tomato-mango salsa served with toasted bread, tortilla chips, and fresh seasonal veggies.” On the whole, I was very satisfied with what I had ordered. The tomato-mango salsa tasted more of cilantro than anything else, which isn’t bad considering I love cilantro, but I had expected more of a mango flavour. This very slight disappointment was more than made up for by the bread; it appeared to have been homemade, and I couldn’t figure out if it had olive bits or perhaps some other flavouring, but it was gorgeous with the olive tapenade. Carrots and celery were provided for dipping, although I’m not very fond of the latter, along with blue corn chips, which were great with the tapenade and the salsa.

Later on in the evening, I spoke with Hao, and asked him how he liked his Peanut Pasta Salad: “Rotini pasta, broccoli, red and green peppers, onions, and Thai basil, tossed in a mild peanut sauce and garnished with cucumber.” He wasn’t as fond of it as I was with my meal; “It was too dry.” Perhaps if there was more peanut sauce to spread around, it would have hit the spot, but sadly, the Peanut Pasta Salad missed its mark with Hao.

Next time, I hope to be able to eat in the restaurant, as opposed to taking food out, but if the need strikes, I know at least one item on the menu that’ll satisfy, which gives me reasonable expectations for the rest of the menu.

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