ORGANICLICIOUS (258 Dupont, at Spadina, 416-513-0479) Complete meals for $12 per person, including all taxes, tip and a bottled juice. Average main $5. Open Monday to Friday 9 am to 6 pm. Closed Saturday, Sunday and holidays. Unlicensed. Cash only. Access: one step at door leads to a very small room, washrooms on another floor. Rating: NNNN Rating: NNNNN
Though its name doesn't exactly roll off the tongue and sounds like it should be the moniker of a food fest that celebrates offal, Jennifer Italiano's Organiclicious derives its handle from its preservative-free - and damned tasty, too - lineup of moderately priced sandwiches and salads.
Italiano burst onto the local resto scene three years ago with Live, a tiny four-seater that specialized in California-style raw vegetarian cuisine. Last summer, she expanded into larger digs next door to great success, with an extended card that included a few cooked macrobiotic casseroles to appease her fussy foodie clientele.
Just two months ago, she relaunched the original Lilliputian luncheonette as Organiclicious, a quick-stop take-away she hopes will attract a steady stream of George Brown students and other Annex denizens.
Wallpapered in Astroturf and decorated with postmodern plastic flowers, the diminutive space has somehow been increased to hold as many as six customers.
And though much of the fare on offer remains raw - a superb vegan Mexican-accented lasagna built of zucchini "noodles," creamy avocado guac', cashew "sour cream," "refried" sunflower seeds and smoky pumpkin seed mole ($4.25) - some of it has been in recent contact with a stove. Furthermore, a few are fishy.
Lavishly stuffed into nutty Alchemy Bakery multigrain buns, Italiano's two-fisted Happy tuna sandwich ($5/$7.75 with salad) finds its correctly canned albacore mixed with the additional crunch of carrot, Chinese celery and Spanish onion in dairy-free mustard mayo. Sides include salads of Middle Eastern-style millet rife with chopped parsley and ripe baby cherry tomatoes, frilly kale doused with a creamy avocado dressing and a light carrot 'n' sesame slaw in hemp oil and apple cider vinaigrette ($3.50/8 ounces, $4.50/12 ounces).
As usual, Italiano shines with desserts, particularly her strawberry gingerbread cupcake dolloped with lemony tofu icing ($2.25) and her brownie-like banana strudel topped with walnut brittle ($2.50).
Has healthy ever tasted this Organiclicious?