Ever since I first heard of Doomie's Home Cookin' I was definitely intrigued. It sounded like vegan comfort food to the extreme, and the fact that they created a vegan Big Mac was enough to get the word around. When I heard it was coming to Toronto, I realized it would be open just a few months before I arrived. I kept it on my radar and was finally able to visit Doomie's Toronto--hungry, and ready for anything.
Walking along Queen Street my friend and I almost missed it because I was expecting to find the logo I had seen from the Hollywood location, and from the outside the Toronto one looks more like a small theater, which definitely gave it a very cool vibe.
We walked inside to what was an interior that was definitely nicer than most fast food restaurants, and we were greeted by very friendly staff, which is always a a big plus.
After browsing the menu, it was fair to say my friend and I were definitely overwhelmed. Fried avocado, mac 'n cheese bowls, burgers, BBQ pulled pork, tacos, chicken waffles, 12 different types of fries, shakes, and so much more to choose from! I should also note the menu has a gluten-free and soy-free section too. The waiter definitely didn't help when he told us that although it was not on the menu, there was another option available--the notorious and very popular vegan Big Mac.
Luckily for me, my friend was very interested in trying (and sharing) the vegan Big Mac with a side of garlic fries, and that allowed me to opt for something different. I ordered the fried chicken burger with pesto fries, and the two of us, based on a mixture of hunger and naivety, somehow decided that ordering an appetizer of fried mac 'n cheese balls was a good idea. That plate came first, with two different dipping sauces--dill ranch and barbeque. Hot, tasty, and definitely filling, we realized this may affect our ability to finish our main meals:
Soon after (and I appreciated the waiter allowing us to actually finish our appetizer) our main meals arrived. A very intimidating Big Mac, and an incredible looking fried chicken burger arrived, and we were both excited and a little nervous. My friend had no idea how to even begin with her massive and tall burger, and I opted to watch her try before trying mine. After successfully managing to get a bite out of her Big Mac, she noted it was "as close to the original as possible" and couldn't believe how well they made it. I jumped on the chance to try it myself, and it was definitely delicious and everything you would want in hardcore comfort food. I just had never tried the original, so I took her word for that part.
Then it was my turn! I took a bite out of my burger, and right away appreciated the fact that it was actually crispy on the outside and moist and juicy on the inside. While it was not as tall as the Big Mac, it was definitely still hard to get a full bite, and after a few bites, I had the dreadful realization that I was already getting very full, but I soldiered on.
While both main dishes were delicious albeit very heavy, I also want to make a shout out to the fries. Mine were a bit too oily by the end, but the top layers were nice and crispy and the pesto touch was very appreciated. My friend's garlic fries were exceptionally great, and when they say "garlicky", they really mean it. Be prepared for some full on cloves in there.
We had originally come thinking we would also split a dessert, and I had heard good things about the deep fried Oreo. Somewhere between eating our main meals and my friend giving up any hope of finishing hers, we telepathically agreed the idea of adding another fried item to our meals was not even up for discussion. It would have to be saved for another time.
One thing to note--and be prepared for--is how messy the food ends up being. I can say I am definitely a little embarrassed at how many napkins I ended up having to use (I was no friend to the environment that day), but I also didn't come to a vegan comfort food restaurant with the idea that I would really be utilizing cutlery. When I officially threw in the towel and knew I could not eat even one more of my pesto fries, I decided to just skip any more napkins and go directly to wash my hands in the bathroom. It was then that I saw the awesome stick figure cartoons that decorate the entire downstairs area, and the fact that I told my friend "I will be right back" ended up being a big lie. There were so many witty cartoons on veganism, animal rights, and so much more, that I want to come back and just read them all.
And then, going up the stairs, this was a pretty cool thing to notice:
In the end, I enjoyed my experience at Doomie's, and it got the stamp of approval from my friend who eats meat and has tried the original Big Mac. The only negative aspect was how full I felt afterwards, and the following fried food-based stomach ache, The particularly humid day I decided to eat heavy fried foods on did not make the situation any better. The experience just reminded me that comfort foods should remain a treat, not an every day thing. But we will definitely come back soon to try the deep fried Oreo!
All photos by Patil Halajian