Metro explores the latest trends emerging on the West Coast of Canada.
Make friends with salad at Friendly
Food bites: New salad shop in Mount Pleasant a welcome edition.
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I lived in Mount Pleasant for years and the one thing I did think was missing was an easy grab and go salad/healthy bowl shop. The Foundation offered tasty vegetarian options (RIP those delicious nachos), but its closure has left a gap that Friendly hopes to fill.
Lisa Skelton, owner of the popular Wallflower Café and Smallflower gluten free bakery, took over the space from East Vanity Parlour (which moved to Hastings and Nanaimo). They turned the space at 2408 Main St. into a minimal diner that focuses on supporting local ‘friends’ – Say Hello Sweets ice cream, Zimt Chocolates, etc. – while serving food of their own.
I tried the molten broccoli tofu bowl ($11) and the avocado and mango salsa toast ($6). I’m not sure if it is intentional, but the tofu dish pays homage to the molten tofu and broccoli dish served at the beloved and now boarded up Foundation that was a Mount Pleasant institution.
It is served with brown rice, broccoli, wilted kale, purple and orange yam and tofu coated in black bean and sambal sauce, and then finished with a cilantro lime cream. The dish was served in a takeaway container (they are waiting on proper bowls) and was served cold, which I was a little surprised about. Nonetheless, the combination of the spicy black beans with the lime cilantro cream really balanced the spicy and fresh flavours. The combination of vegetables were hearty and made for a tasty bowl that I felt good to eat. My favourite was chomping into a piece of broccoli that had soaked in the cilantro lime cream.
I moved on to the avocado and mango salsa toast. The dish is a great between meals snack. Served on gluten free toast from Smallflower, topped with fresh sliced avocado and house-made mango salsa, which was sprinkled with chili flakes. The gluten free toast gave a vibrant nutty taste to the dish that was balanced by the creaminess of the avocado and sweetness of the mangos. I definitely tasted some lime squeezed in the salsa and mango with chili flakes is now my new favourite food combination.
I finished the meal with a scoop of Say Hello Sweets marshmallow dairy free ice cream and walked out of their feeling good about my lunch choice. Mount Pleasant is going through a major transition with rent prices blowing up and many favourite spots vacating. It’s an unfriendly time for the neighbourhoods small store owners, which makes Friendly such a welcome local edition to the neighbourhood.