First Look: Feel Good Guru, a temple to vegan food at Trinity Bellwoods Park
By Anna Silman
Feel Good Guru's raw pizza (Images: Anna Silman)
Moira Nordholt, owner and founder of Feel Good Guru, wants to have the greenest business in Toronto. At her new Queen West store and restaurant, which specializes in a tantalizing tongue-twister of “hyper-local super-awesome organic plant-powered food,” this vegan virtuoso is on a mission to change people’s notions of what it means to eat healthy, one meal at a time.
“I wanted to change people’s perceptions of healthy food fast,” says Nordholt, sipping on a startlingly fuchsia beet-based drink called the RedJoice ($8). “And I had the idea of being able to get a burger or burrito that wasn’t stuffed with processed foods or animal products, but still being able to walk away with something satisfying and really comforting.”
At Feel Good Guru, which opened last Thursday just across from Trinity Bellwoods Park, everything is organic, everything is vegan and almost everything is raw. But that certainly doesn’t mean it’s wimpy or insubstantial, and Nordholt’s menu, filled with hearty, plant-based takes on traditional fare, is designed to prove that healthy and satisfying aren’t mutually exclusive.
Nordholt points out the Earth burger ($15), which features a patty made of hemp seeds, sprouted grains, sunflower seeds and veggies, served in an herbed yam bun and coated with tahini garlic sauce, house mustard, cucumbers, tomato, pickle and sprouted nut cheese.
“Meat eaters who have it are really surprised because it’s really substantial, and it looks like a real burger,” explains Nordholt. “It’s one of those things that if you’re really hungry after a yoga class you’d want to chow down on.”
There’s also the a raw pizza ($13, pictured above), with a sprouted-quinoa buckwheat crust topped with market veggies, fresh herbs, house-grown micro greens and hemp seed basil pesto with a rosemary-rubbed sprouted nut cheese.
Add to this her unique takes on falafel ($14) — made with sprouted chick pea and quinoa falafel balls — and the taco ($13), served in a red cabbage leaf with spicy nut meat, as well as a host of salad and noodle-based dishes, and you find yourself forgetting that meat is nowhere to be seen on the menu.
Those looking for a lighter nibble will be able to choose from a range of guilt-free desserts, such as cocoa cream pie and raw carrot and apple muffins, as well as a number of freshly-made fruit and veggie juices in electrifying rainbow shades, including our favourite: Gorgeous Green ($8), made with cucumber, celery, parsley, green apple and ginger. Park-dwellers will soon be able to stop in and pick up their very own picnic kits ($16), served in a three-layered stainless steel picnic box with a nourishing mixture of greens and grains.
Yet walking around the store, it becomes clear that Feel Good Guru is no mere food retailer. Rather, it’s a self-enclosed system, complete with its own garden, on-site composting and sustainable recycling methods.
At the front of the restaurant, you’ll find an “edible wall” full of micro greens and herbs that Nordholt and her team grew themselves, featuring spearmint, arugula, wild kale, sprouted pea-shoots and more. Meanwhile, in the back, the team grows micro greens and wheatgrass indoors, the latter of which Nordholt plans to use in a “healthy happy hour,” featuring shots of wheatgrass every day at 10 a.m.
“We’re trying to keep this ‘virtuous circle,’ as Richard Branson calls it, by keeping it all contained,” Nordholt says.
Shots of home-grown wheatgrass to replenish our fluids after a big Queen West night out? Now that sounds like a virtuous circle to us.
Feel Good Guru, 917 Queen St. W., 647-748-5800