In the past week, I was graciously invited to a tasting event hosted by TAO Organics and Nativ Media. While the food was complimentary, my review will remain genuine and accurate to my personal experience here regardless.
TAO Organics is an all organic, plant-based, and gluten-friendly cafe that welcomes anyone who is open to a healthier lifestyle. Owner and chef Agathe Mathieu embarked on her raw vegan journey in 2003, and soon saw positive changes to her family’s physical and mental health. There were also dramatic drops to their overall waste and consumption, which was influenced by a more simplistic lifestyle based on mindful and necessary purchases. Years later, Agathe opens Café By Tao to offer Vancouver a vision of a low-waste, low-consumption, plant-based world. Conveniently located by Lonsdale Quay, the cafe is near a myriad of other local shops, restaurants, and bus stops.
When I arrived, I was welcomed by the staff with kind smiles. The cafe felt relaxing and inviting with its natural, wooden decor, small hanging terrariums, and shelves of organic products. The light poured in like water from their large windows and illuminated the colourful chalkboard menu overhead.
To begin our meal, my group was served savoury sample platters consisting of their most popular menu items – Rawsagna, Rawkin’ Pizza, Nori Roll, Kracklin’ Kale Chips, and a Mango Salsa Quinoa Bowl.
The Rawsagna has layers of zucchini noodles, marinara sauce, nut cheese, spinach, and marinated mushrooms. The bright marinara sauce and savoury mushrooms dominated the dish, and it was surprisingly easy to slice into.
One of my favourite things on the plate was the Rawkin’ Pizza. Chiffonade kale, julienne carrots, cauliflower, and marinated mushrooms are placed on a wheat-free, sprouted buckwheat crust and topped with dill nut cheese and sweet chili sauce. The crust had some chew to it, and the slice echoed the composition of a thin-crust pizza.
For those who are new to raw food and love avocados, then I would suggest the Nori Rolls and the Kale Chips. The Nori Rolls are made of sea pâté, avocado, julienne carrots, bell pepper, and spinach, wrapped inside nori (seaweed) paper. If you think it’s an odd combo, don’t worry, you mostly only taste the creamy avocado with a hint of sweetness from the carrots. The Kracklin’ Kale Chips are oven-roasted kale chips with vegan seasoning on them. I would describe the flavour akin to cheese, and they’re pretty crispy and more healthy for you than regular chips – win-win! You can buy a bag in many organic grocery stores or regular supermarkets like Whole Foods and London Drugs I believe.
For those who have more appetite, you can always order their Mango Salsa Quinoa Bowl, which is made with sprouted quinoa, chiffonade red lettuce, dill nut cheese, and mango salsa, with your choice of falafel and sauerkraut or a burger and kimchi. Personally, I am a fan of anything with mango in it, so it was an obvious favourite! The bowl tasted so refreshing, fruity, healthy, and colourful.
Along with our meal came a trio of cleansing juices – the Super Detox, the Immune Boost, and the Green Clean. The Super Detox contained carrot, orange, kale, celery, beet, and ginger, and it had a strong ginger flavour to it. A sweeter, less ginger-heavy alternative is the Immune Boost, which has carrot, turmeric, and ginger. This one tasted like a sweet carrot juice and was actually quite pleasant. My favourite of the the three is the Green Clean, which is a blend of carrot, orange, kale, celery, beet, and ginger. It is the easiest to drink and tastes like apple juice.
Next up’s the good stuff – the desserts! We were served a platter of an array of sweets that they offer – the Lemon Blueberry Coulis Cake, Mesquite Bar, Lucuma Parfait, and some of their house made chocolates. The Lemon Blueberry Coulis Cake is made with young coconut meat and a blueberry coulis, and tasted just like a cheesecake, but way lighter in texture and not as rich in flavour.
I found the Mesquite Bar to be really interesting, with a very light and sweet, caramel-like flavour from the mesquite, cashews, walnut, and shredded coconut crust. I have never tasted mesquite before, and discovered that this legume is actually a super-food!
The Lucuma Parfait is the absolute best thing to get here! Made with raspberry coulis, walnut and date crumble, bananas, and cashews, the texture is similar to a pudding and reminds me of overnight oats. I like how it’s not too sweet or rich. The crumble gives more texture to the overall smoothness of the parfait, and the raspberry coulis tasted so fresh.
Finally, to end our meal, we finished with a handful of adorable, house-made dark chocolates that are expertly sweetened with maple syrup and maple butter. Once they hit your tongue, they melt immediately upon contact into a decadent, creamy, bittersweet cocoa bombshell with a hint of maple sweetness. Yes, please.
Thank you to TAO Organics for their patience while a bunch of us manically took photos at their lovely cafe during this event. Also a thank you to Nativ Media for inviting us. It was quite an interest first tasting event, and I am so happy to have participated!
- Organic, quality, local ingredients
- Plant-based menu
- Gluten-friendly selections
- Raw vegan food
- Lovely owner and staff
- Low-waste cafe
- Near Lonsdale Quay and other shops
210-150 Esplanade W (above the Shoppers Drug Mart)
North Vancouver, V7M 1A3
Tues – Sat 8:00am – 8:00pm