Food & Drink Awards 2019

Page 82 LUXlife 2019 Food & Drink Awards Start the day right, no matter what time it is, with a trip to Karine’s. Hidden away in the Village by the Grange food court, this undisputed gem of Toronto is a must-see if you’re in the area – and a reason to go if you aren’t. Here at LUXlife, we decided to take a closer look at this this not-so- closely kept Canadian secret, just to make absolutely sure it lived up to the hype. Across the road from OCAD University, hidden away in ‘The Village by the Grange’ food court, you’ll find a small business, run like a frenetic family breakfast bar, bestowing upon its customers a homely mix of delicious delectables. With the unbidden promise of providing an exceptional food experience, Karine’s internationally inspired, locally sourced, vegan, vegetarian, gluten- free all-day breakfast leaves no stone unturned in the quest to satisfy the most delicate constitutions and the fussiest eaters. It’s an experienced team that makes up Karine’s drawing on expert knowledge from working in a wide range of restaurants the world over. Far from keeping to specialisms, this knowledge is combined to make and create only the best food possible. The menus are designed to reflect the heritage and culture of the team, applied through the loving filter of fresh, seasonal Canadian produce. This highly talented team is bound together by effective communication, useful feedback and a love for good food. At the heart of the Karine’s lifestyle is a foundation in good nutrition, which leads to excellent food. The continued perseverance involved in adapting and customising the menus means that Karine’s team don’t shirk in the search for perfection, though some of their guests think that they’ve already reached it. Made fresh and made with love, it’s aston- ishing just how many options there are to tantalise your taste buds at Karine’s. With myriad delights on offer, it could overwhelm even the most stolid of customers. It doesn’t matter what you go for, every option is deli- cious. Our personal preference is for Karine’s Supreme, the vegan breakfast to end all breakfasts, with vegan French toast or pan- cakes to start with, a choice of protein, toast and a choice of sides, you’re sure to start the day thoroughly satisfied. If you fancy some- thing a little lighter, the familiar staple of granola and yoghurt is on offer, served with seasonal fruits and topped with honey and nuts. Like most items on the Karine’s menu, gluten-free and vegan options are available, and if you let your server know your needs, they’ll steer you in the right direction to find a meal that meets your expectations. It’s also worth noting that despite their well- earned reputation as a first-class Vegan locale, they still knock Eggs Benedict out of the park, especially when combined with Peameal bacon. When you go to Karine’s you’re welcomed in and treated like family. From first contact when making your order, with advice offered if you’re still unsure of what to get, all the way to finishing your delicious meal, a friendly smile and approach are always on offer. Certainly, it’s the eponymous and irrepressible Karine herself who leads the charge on this front. To her, every customer in the chaotic food hall is ‘Bebe’, repeat customers are greeted by name and she makes food suggestions with lightning speed. A personable attitude, good skillset and high energy approach to business allows Karine to lead her company from the front and set an example of what to do and how best to do it. Leading the company has led to making decisions that push the business in exciting new directions. Two of these are Treat by Karine’s and by Karine’s Catering, taking what has made such a splash in the food court arena and sharing it with others. Treat does exactly what it says on the tin, with delicious cakes, brownies and donuts baked fresh daily on the premises. All these delights are guaranteed to be dairy free, wheat free, egg free, with many sugar free and agave-sweetened. Using Fair Trade, organic and local ingredients wherever possible, the result of this investment is the best Vegan and Gluten-Free sweet treats on the market – sheer decadence, but utterly delicious. For those who want the taste of Karine’s, but at their own event, Karine’s Catering is the answer. From the perfect breakfast to appealing appetizers to Mezza, Lebanon’s culinary treasure. Providing the perfect solu- tion to feeding a large group, these multiple delicious small dishes can be enjoyed for hours and hours. The Lebanese people always believed in eating well and living well, Karine’s: Best Vegetarian- Friendly Eatery 2019 - Toronto