It’s stretch to say that Los Angeles and Toronto has too much in common. Sure, because of a weak Canadian dollar and the continued escalation of TIFF to entertainment elitism, Toronto could be considered the Hollywood of Canada. In addition, Canada, in particular Toronto, have exported numerous television and movie commodities to the City of Angels. Regarding food, there have been hints of an affair between California and Toronto cuisine in the last couple of years. First, there is California sandwiches, the very successful Toronto sandwich chain which, come to think of it, seemingly has nothing to do with the Golden state. Next there was Monticito, the Jonathan Waxman/Ivan Reitman partnership which fuses West Coast cuisine with science fiction comedies. The latest Cali spinoff in the Six is Doomie’s, the popular LA joint which didn’t have to claim a single animal product for inspection when crossing the border earlier this year. Doomie’s, unlike some of the other vegetarian or vegan places in town, doesn’t claim that their products are healthy. In fact, they boast about not offering salads on the menu. Instead, the theme centres around caloric-laden junk food including the flagship vegan Big Mac which mysteriously does not appear on the menu but is available (likely due to the carnivorous lawyers representing Ronald McDonald et al.).
It has a very modest storefront and a long narrow and equally modest interior. There are a number of seats at the bar and since I was solo (and the fact there wasn’t an available table in sight), I was seated there. The waitress was very pleasant and cordial and didn’t grill me about my normal food preferences. She wore her heart on her sleeve; actually it was a tattoo which may or may not have been a heart. I was driving so I stuck with pint-size pop but I was easier talked into the aforementioned sandwich. I was also coaxed into a upgrade of the side of fries to nacho fries which came complete with fake meat, fake cheese and real vegetables….a combo which ran me $20. I was pleasantly surprised. I’m not sure if the picture does it justice but the burger was probably twice the size of a normal Big Mac. The fake meat was far from extraordinary but the combination of ingredients (especially in the cheese sauce but keep in mind I have a strong affinity for fake cheese) certainly gave you that Big Mac feeling. It was like completing a chemistry lesson and then eating it. It was as messy too…on numerous occasions I felt like a two year old trying to eat that thing. The fries were those crispy coated ones but the added toppings made for a delicious side. I was lucky to get through half the offering.
I’m sure there is a laundry list of reasons why people choose to become vegan which may include the following:
- A recognition that meat production and consumption destroys the carbon footprint quicker than a Nascar race.
- Bambi is cute.
- Their satiety comes from peace in the soul as opposed to peace on the tongue.
- It’s the easiest way to fit into a size 0 set of Lulus.
- A past, existing of fear of a future health scare.
- In the case of a guy, he wants to get laid.
Doomie’s could address most of these (except 4 and maybe 5) but I saw 6 first hand when the guy beside me openly admitted he only came to impress his girl who came all the way from Kincardine to try the fare. Bravo buddy!
My experience at Doomie’s taught me a couple of things. First, vegan food does not always have to served with a side of political strife or judgement. A carnivorous fat dude can walk into this place and actually be encouraged to add fake sour cream to their fries. Second, there is a market for this stuff. It was 5 when I went and the place was packed and at $20 a for a burger platter the profits can roll in. Maybe I’ll jump on the entrepreneurial bandwagon and open a PETA pit and use my son’s chemistry kit to dream up dairy products that don’t taste like shit.
In Hollywood terms, Doomie’s would be like a Samuel L. Jackson movie (even the name sounds like a movie he could star in..and you can add a $20 burger to the $5 milkshake). It’s nasty, filthy and sometimes a bit confusing but makes a tonne of money in the theatre. This would be in direct contrast to the numerous Meryl Streep movies which get critical acclaim and win awards but are sleepy and boring and nobody other than Hollywood gives a shit. Once again, maybe my concept would work. The PETA pit could offer middle of the road food with a little edge and some odd humour. I wonder if Jason Bateman is around?