Taste Test: Victor Barry helps pick the best options for pint-sized, plant-based eaters


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Victor was worried about dietary sensitivities with his girls because one of them suffered from eczema.

Are you and your family ready to go meat-free? We had chef Victor Barry of Piano Piano and the new restaurant Cancan — along with his two daughters, Sofie, age two, (left) and Charlotte, age three — sample the best kid-friendly vegan food from around Toronto. Which one tickled the toddlers’ taste buds? Read on. 

Mac attack 
Doomie’s, 1263 Queen St. W., $16
“OK, that’s trashy and delicious,” Victor says, slightly embarrassed at how much he enjoys this vegan burger. “It’s better than a Big Mac.” After declaring this option his favourite, his daughters follow suit. “But I can’t eat a whole one,” Charlotte laments. 

It’s been a slice
Pizza Del Arte, 1480 Bathurst St., $9 for medium
“I want pizza!” Charlotte says, excited to tuck into this vegan slice. Charlotte laughs after biting into it, but Victor is skeptical. “With a vegan pizza, why use cheese?” he wonders. “There are so many things you can put on pizza.”

Hot diggity dog
Planta, 1221 Bay St., $17.50
“This is a really cool idea,” Victor says of Planta’s vegan hot dog, which uses a baby carrot in the place of a frankfurter. “It’s very reminiscent of a ballpark hot dog.” Charlotte holds out a piece of the pickle to share with her dad. “It’s good, right?” she says. 

Flour power 
Fresh, 90 Eglinton Ave. E., $10
“I like a good flour tortilla,” Victor says. “But why is the squash deep-fried? Why is the kale not dressed?” He’s disappointed that this vegan taco with jalapeno and lime taco sauce does not make better use of seasonal summer vegetables. 

Golden opportunity
Sorelle & Co., 1050 Rutherford Rd., $8.50 
Victor appreciates the golden-brown crust on this gluten-free, vegan grilled cheese sandwich. “This is something I’d make for my kids at home,” he says, “but I couldn’t make gluten-free bread better than this.” The sandwich is done with a gold and brown challah bread and vegan cheese.

Playing chicken
Grasshopper, 310 College St., $5.50 
The girls can’t wait to dig into these meat-free “chick-un” nuggets. “Can we eat yet?” Sofie asks before digging in. “It reminds me of a grocery store chicken finger,” Victor says, nodding in approval, while Sofie keeps going back for more. 

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Nikki Gill is the managing editor at Post City Magazines. When she's away from her desk, you can either find her sipping on delicious teas or trotting the globe. Follow her adventures on Twitter @nikkjit.

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