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Baked Goods

Through Being Cool Vegan Baking Co.

Posted by Sarah Ratchford / Posted on October 4, 2013

Through Being Cool Vegan Baking CoThrough Being Cool Vegan Baking Co.'s whole name is essentially a big lie. They're not through being cool, at all. The new bake shop opened at Bloor and Lansdowne on Sunday, with people lined up through the huge space and out the door.

Owner Amanda Somerville says she wasn't prepared to face such a crazy situation on day one. Up well before any male chicken would ever dream of, at 3 a.m., she was sleepy on opening day, but in a contented sort of way.

Through Being Cool Vegan Baking CoThough Through Being Cool has just come into existence as a full-fledged storefront (Somerville has been in business for a couple of years, supplying treats to the likes of Sadie's Diner and Hot Beans. As far as her new venture goes, though, there are some clear favourites already. She kept making batches of vegan pizza buns, only to watch them just as quickly march out the door. Homer Simpson-worthy doughnuts were a hit as well. I took the liberty of trying one as an undeserved Sunday afternoon treat to attempt to cure my hangover, and it almost worked. The thing was near-miraculous. Perfectly drizzly icing sugar, rainbow sprinkles, pinkish tint, doughy as fuck and fried to perfection.

"I want to bring a new understanding [to vegan food] and show other people it's not just rabbit food," says Somerville, resplendent in a floral apron.

Through Being Cool Vegan Baking CoAside from the doughnuts, treats on offer span the spectrum to include just about anything a person with a sweet tooth could desire. Scones, whoopie pies, and cookies, all made lovingly by Somerville from her own recipes, beckon from behind the glass display case. She does preserves, too, and on her shelves you'll find everything from tangy homemade barbeque sauce to spicy catsup and an assortment of pickles.

Through Being Cool Vegan Baking CoThere are even a few gluten-free options on the menu, such as vegan mac n'cheese and cabbage rolls, if that's more your bag. TBC also carries gourmet dog treats (!) from The Brothers Boston, and tea from Herbal Infusions.

Through Being Cool Vegan Baking CoAnd though the focus is on the goods, and not the coffee, TBC does offer up a good brew if you want it. They pull a very autumnal Americano for me, made with beans from Anchored Coffee, which Somerville brings in from Dartmouth, NS. It claims to taste like graham cracker, milk chocolate and concord grape. I taste everything but the grape. The Americano is near-perfect, but I have to say a coffee isn't the same for me without dairy milk—almond doesn't quite cut it.

Through Being Cool Vegan Baking CoBut Somerville does make her own syrups in flavours like pumpkin spice and vanilla bean, and she'll have cold brew available next summer.

Somerville's creations are undeniably great, and the atmosphere is soothing. The space used to be home toToronto Free Gallery, so there's a ton of natural light and crisp white walls, perfect for displaying vintage photos and knickknacks decorating the space.

Because the space is so lovely, I wish it had seating of some kind. Somerville tells me she's not zoned for that, but says she'll likely look into it in the future.

Through Being Cool Vegan Baking CoFor now, she's just enjoying where she is. It took all summer to transform the space from a barren gallery to a fully-functioning bakery, and Somerville worked hard, installing floors and tiles in her kitchen herself. With the help of some friends and designer Dana Seguin, that is. She caught Bloor and Lansdowne in the prime of the gentrification process (read: before it's fully underway), and she says it's exactly where she wants to be.

"I feel pretty honoured to be part of the change."

And make sure to bring your change—TBC is cash only.

Through Being Cool Vegan Baking CoPhotos by Jesse Milns



Sarah / October 4, 2013 at 09:44 am
+1 "doughy as fuck", -1 "catsup".

Can't wait to try this place, nice work Amanda!
mrs potato / October 4, 2013 at 10:58 am
donuts = nOOOO moreeee!!

dog treats = yippee!
laur / October 4, 2013 at 11:20 am
LOVE the maple garlic mustard! So glad TBC is now open in my hood!
Inez / October 4, 2013 at 11:40 am
Yummy!! My friend and I were there this day! I can attest to the deliciousness of everything :)
Cyril Sneer / October 4, 2013 at 11:53 am
doughnuts. It's always doughnuts.
Alyssa / October 4, 2013 at 11:55 am
The best vegan donut I've ever had, and I've tried a LOT! One of my new favourite spots in the city without a doubt
Carrot Top / October 4, 2013 at 12:07 pm
Vegan donuts? I thought you just use oil to make donuts; what are they regularly made of? Bacon and ground beef? I had no idea that vegan donuts were rare because I assumed all donuts are vegan.
Amy / October 4, 2013 at 12:49 pm
The "butter" tart was FANTASTIC.
Amy / October 4, 2013 at 12:51 pm
I think that prices are a bit steep though, at $4 a pop. I guess that will keep me from eating too many!
Logan / October 4, 2013 at 12:55 pm
The pretzel + the maple garlic mustard = AMAZING
saves the day / October 4, 2013 at 01:27 pm
reference to the Saves the Day album?
Al replying to a comment from saves the day / October 4, 2013 at 02:46 pm
Pretty sure it's referencing the Devo song.
D / October 4, 2013 at 03:17 pm
Should there not be full disclosure on such a positive review that the author is Facebook friends (possibly close friends?) with the owner?

Also, nostalgia for bad pop punk or not, this is a horrible name for a business that should make an easy decision for any curious passerby.
hop replying to a comment from Carrot Top / October 4, 2013 at 04:11 pm
Blayne replying to a comment from D / October 4, 2013 at 04:24 pm
No you a creepy weirdo. Just makes you seem like a bitter jerk. Who checks for conflicts of interest in a blogTO article about a new bakery?
RollinonD's / October 4, 2013 at 05:22 pm
INEZZ - poster girl - what it do - heha
RollinonD's replying to a comment from Inez / October 4, 2013 at 05:23 pm
INEZZ - poster girl - what it do - your famous - heha
Lauren replying to a comment from D / October 4, 2013 at 05:35 pm
It is possible the owner friended the author AFTER writing the story/visiting the bakery... as a former reporter, I got lots of friend requests from people I did stories on after I interviewed them, etc.
Michael replying to a comment from Blayne / October 4, 2013 at 05:43 pm
How is it a creepy weirdo thing to do? That's a huge over-reaction.

I'd actually like to know if the writer was close friends with the owner, because these articles usually are some great (and sometimes deserved) ads for these stores and bring a lot of business.

I'd be pretty miffed if I found out that there was some influence on the review. I'm not saying it was in this case, nor that full journalistic standards are required on a Blog site, but appropriate and fair disclosure would be nice.
Michael replying to a comment from Michael / October 4, 2013 at 05:45 pm
Sorry, forgot to add that I know credit card companies are the equivalent to the Evil Empire, but as someone who despises carrying around cash and change, it's annoying when a place is cash only.

I was set to go try it out until I read that. Now I either have to go and make sure I have cash, or just not go. Probably the latter.
Accounting 101 / October 4, 2013 at 07:09 pm
Cash only?!
Love to see how much they're claiming as income come tax time.
So easy to cook the books with cash.
The biz is so cheap they can't/won't pay merchant fees? Whateves. They won't have me as a customer. And I'm sure I'm not the only one they'll be turning away, with debit card in hand. They've alienated more than half the spending demographic.
Jessica L / October 4, 2013 at 08:40 pm
These were the BEST doughnuts I've ever tasted in my life. And the cinnamon bun was mouth watering. It's so amazing to see a young person put so much hard work and effort into a cruelty free business. The neighbourhood has needed someone like her to come along. I personally can't wait to see what else this talented being comes up with.

Oh...and i will happily pay cash to buy everything in your store. Those banks don't need anymore money. :)
Ootsie / October 4, 2013 at 08:40 pm
Accounting 101 you are a joke, Place was lovely and merchant machines create long and slow lines, go to a bank machine you cheap bean counter and get cash
Amy replying to a comment from Accounting 101 / October 4, 2013 at 08:53 pm
I'm sure they don't care. No one likes serving a self important dick.
Dom / October 4, 2013 at 08:59 pm
This place is rude as jude, man. Everyone complaining about "cash only", well yeah, in this day and age of tapping your credit card to pay for things credit would be a very convenient and smooth option to keep that line moving super fast. HAVING SAID THAT, and as someone who is not friends with the owner or author, rest assured this place is great for trying out tasty and delicious comfort food. I'm always on the lookout for cool places to check out in Toronto, was recommended to try this out via a friend, and was not disappointed. Rock and roll, man!
Al replying to a comment from Accounting 101 / October 4, 2013 at 09:27 pm

Accounting 101 ? I highly doubt you're an accountant. You're implying that by taking only cash a business can simply not show some of their sales as there is no record of it but the fact is that any storefront business can do that. I don't know of a single brick-and-mortar business that accepts only credit cards and no cash at all. I'd say most small businesses probably bring in about 50% of each so please explain to me why this business in particular is any more likely than any other to "cook their books" as you claim.
dan hurst / October 4, 2013 at 10:02 pm
Love this place, and in the name of full disclosure I am friends with Amanda, but she is the best baker I have ever met. Wow it was pretty easy to write something positive. I'm gonna get on with my life now.
Me replying to a comment from Carrot Top / October 4, 2013 at 11:27 pm
For people on trendy hipster fad diets, EVERYTHING has to be special for them.
Yvonne / October 4, 2013 at 11:38 pm
I hate vegans. get a life.
Dev replying to a comment from Yvonne / October 5, 2013 at 12:01 am
Yvonne wins. She's told us all.
Jade Perry / October 5, 2013 at 12:16 am
Best pretzel I've ever eaten!
ella / October 5, 2013 at 01:45 am
seriously? complaints about cash only at an indie cafe/bakeshop? everyone needs to take a breath and relax. the city is full of these types of places, and if you're seriously going to let plastic come between you and some.of the best eats Toronto has to offer, that's on you.

TBC has some of the most delicious baked goods I've ever had, vegan or not, and is definitely worth checking out. pizza buns forever!!
Cameron Maveal / October 5, 2013 at 03:29 am
"The banks are the evil empire, yet that is all I use. Therefore, I will not be attending said business." - Troll Bank Manager
Stacy / October 5, 2013 at 10:39 am
Two types of people on the internet in these comments. Awesome people stoked for a Vegan Bake Shop, and losers who nitpick at things that are taking a break from masterbating using lard as a lubricant. (I bet they think I'll bother reading and wasting my time on replying to their rebuttals). The third type of people who are not commenting: people have lives and don't waste their time trolling the internet (they can either be stoked or not stoked on a vegan bake shop we'll never know because they don't waste their time tearing people down). F*ck you to the bank managers and the conflict of interest losers. This is essentially a magazine not a newspaper with current events that affect your lives.
jameson / October 5, 2013 at 08:24 pm
lots of coffee shops are cash only..honestly anyone complaining about that wouldn't go to a place like this anyways so I doubt the owners would care!

I am also curious what the zoning is that they can't have seating inside...I'm sure a simple minor variance would do the trick. it takes like 4 weeks

Michael replying to a comment from Beth / October 6, 2013 at 02:14 am
Yeesh, talk about vitriolic comments. I would like to state for the official internetz record that I am not a bank manager, nor am I a self-entitled dickwad. Although I do have a dick.

I'm also pretty pro with using a credit card. I pull it out of my wallet, tap it on the fancy machine, and go. I like to think that I'm a teensy bit faster than someone scrounging for change.

But I really do take issue with the idea that someone complaining about cash-only "wouldn't go to a place like this". I enjoy coffees and pastries and locally made goods. I don't enjoy being death-stared when asking to pay with plastic. More and more lately with these small businesses I've been made to feel like I'm Stephen Harper when I pull out my credit card. I was happy to purchase from you, don't make me not want to come back.

And before you talk about bank fees harming businesses, do your research. A $3 item paid with plastic on most credit cards would result in $0.04 being paid by the merchant. 100 transactions a day would be $4 lost by the business. If $4 a day makes or breaks your business, you've got bigger issues.

Anyways, I actually did have cash and was in the neighborhood and tried a donut. It was nice.
garth / October 7, 2013 at 08:38 am
"Anyways, I actually did have cash and was in the neighborhood and tried a donut."

Well, good thing you ranted like an crybaby asshole then, huh?
Michael replying to a comment from garth / October 7, 2013 at 11:04 am
"Crybaby asshole"? That's disappointing. I was expecting a higher quality baseless insult.
lindsay / October 7, 2013 at 12:15 pm
Pretty "honoured" to be part of the gentrification process? This is all very unfortunate.
No / October 7, 2013 at 03:20 pm
You are almost all fucking buffoons and I hate you how does an article about a fucking bakery devolve into this display of idiocy
AG replying to a comment from No / October 7, 2013 at 08:22 pm
Yeah, pretty much just this. Probably the 905 or CityPlace condo bros making all the ridiculous comments here. Good job on opening up Amanda, I know how much hard work you've put in to this!
905er / Cityplace Bro replying to a comment from AG / October 8, 2013 at 10:35 am
Bro! Don't discriminate bro! I was all set to visit this place until I read that. Now I'll take my credit card and buy some good old Country Style Donuts.
L / October 8, 2013 at 05:02 pm
Oh look, people's opinions on the Internet. I think I'll have a re... ZzzzZzZzzzz
David / October 8, 2013 at 06:12 pm
I do not usually write comments but I needed to share my experience I had with this place today.
First, the owner is not customer friendly. Second the prices are outrageous, $3.10 for a donut and $4.50 for a pizza bun which were good but nothing exceptional...
Guaranteed, this bakery will close within the next 2 years...
LA / October 9, 2013 at 06:18 pm
Best pretzels ever. I am already addicted and they've only been open for a short time! And for this whole cash only convo: I think that places where you're spending a lot more, like a restaurant, having debit and credit card options makes sense. But a small little spot where you are most likely not spending more than $10 per transaction- cash only isn't that big of a deal, in my opinion, anyway.
jessica / October 10, 2013 at 03:30 pm
Instead of ranting about debit machines, let's talk doughnuts shall we?! I am as far from vegan as you can get but the doughnut (and pizza bun.....and jalapeno biscuit) I just ate were phenominal. All three of these items were far superior then any "non vegan" version I have ever tasted, and I'm looking forward to having the enchiladas and mac and cheese for dinner. TBC is going to turn me into a fat kid and I'm ok with that.

In other news, can't we show a little support for a young woman who has created a business and worked hard to build a name for herself? I'm sure Amanda has had many sleepless nights (or months!) and all for the sake of something she loves, so stop ragging on petty things and show a little love for someone who has busted their ass and made it this far. It's too bad we all couldn't be doing something we love like her!
Peter / October 10, 2013 at 04:30 pm
David, it's always good to know there is a psychic business analyst whenever the Internet needs one.
Heather / October 10, 2013 at 06:19 pm
I am so excited to have a quality vegan place nearby, let alone a VEGAN BAKERY. What the shit right?
So I finally went in today, very excited, and I hate to say it, but the gentleman who served me was lacking customer service pretty hard. I'll go back of course, but he kind of tainted the vibes. I hope he's just not a morning person or something (though it IS a bakery..)
lindsay / January 13, 2014 at 11:56 am
okay, back to the things that matter....

I am not a vegan yet I find myself popping into TBC constantly. Amanda is such a lovely person who works unbelievably hard. Her baked treats are amazing. Doughnuts, pizza buns, pretzels, mac & cheese... I've tried everything here, I've never been disappointed.
Kelly / January 23, 2014 at 11:16 am
Someone from my office just brought in a box of these and I got to try the Boston cream. One of the best donuts I've ever had. I'm excited to go check it out in person.
Hm! / February 6, 2014 at 04:03 pm
Price ranges? for doughnuts to food?
Janelle / April 5, 2014 at 11:05 pm
I love this place.
I go well out of my way to get treats there.
They have debit now. ANNNND not only their donuts are the best I have ever had, but their preserves, catsup, and perogies are amazing.

ALSO I am not a friend of the owner. But a patron, and a fellow vegan that knows a good baked good when she eats it.

Emilio / April 21, 2014 at 12:35 pm
Not a fan of this place, it stunk, save your cash.
Vegan Goddess / August 26, 2014 at 02:07 pm
After many other disappointing "vegan" and "delicious" bakery experiences in Toronto left myself and my pony friends saddened, we found this place! We were super excited to try it out, especially with the glowing reviews...until they wouldn't let us pay for our order because we didn't have cash. Incredibly disappointed that they'd try to force that on us, but still we came back a few weeks later after one of our get-togethers to try this place with CASH IN HAND! For the most part, this place earns our vegan stamp of approval but the workers were so rude. They kept staring at us and made one of my friends so uncomfortable that it had to leave. These people seem to be very unfriendly towards MLP, transfat pansexuals. We won't come back and recommend the same for others!
Pamela / September 17, 2014 at 02:06 pm
I (vegan) went today with my friend (non-vegan) to try the coffee and treats. Upon arrival, the atmosphere is dark and depressing - and it's a sunny September day! There are no tables to sit at, and there is no signage for any of the treats (save for a sign on top of the display case that reads which donuts are available - so you have to continuously look up and down and guess which name corresponds to which flavour - irritating!). Counter staff didn't welcome us into the store. When I asked her to tell me what was in the display case, she pointed at things, told me what they were. No smile. When I asked if anything was gluten free, (not a silly question, some of their frozen meals were GF) I was told "No.", again, no smile, nothing.
I ordered the cinnamon bun donut, and, as much as I disliked everything about the place, it was really, really good. I wanted to hate it but it may be the best donut I've ever had.
Upon leaving, no one said goodbye to us.
All in all, it was a bad experience. I will probably be back for the donut, but I hope the owner and employees read these reviews, because I know I'd be a regular if you weren't all SO rude!
z replying to a comment from Pamela / September 28, 2014 at 09:49 am
Let me get this, you want someone to smile at you the whole time you are there? Wow! Needy much? They are not your freaking mom,and you are there to buy something!
For everyone who complains about the "bad service" i.e not smiling, get over yourself and enjoy the treats. If you don't like it go elsewhere! simple.
Pamela / September 29, 2014 at 09:56 am
Is it so much to ask for someone who is in customer service to smile at their customer? Guess so. And Z, I will be going elsewhere - isn't that obvious by my post?
z / October 8, 2014 at 02:45 pm
I think you should examine why you need the people you are buying from to smile at you. People are not machines that will be constantly smiling at you. Best of luck in resolving this sickness, and yes, it is a sickness to be demanding from strangers something like this.
z / October 8, 2014 at 02:51 pm
By the way pamela, I have gone on several occasions and they always greet me and say have nice day as I leave. I am thinking the fault lies with you? It is a great place don't come to tear businesses down. We want objective information not emotional cries.
MGG / December 5, 2014 at 12:46 pm
First, it's completely reasonable to expect friendly service and a smile. It's absurd to criticize someone for mentioning unfriendly service.

I went to TBC yesterday. I didn't have a problem with the service, and I thought the place was very nice though it seemed strange not to have any seating when there's so much space up front. Everything seemed very promising.

Sadly I found the actual food to be very disappointing.

I went for the doughnuts. They looked very nice, huge actually (too huge) and there were so many kinds to choose from so I asked for some recommendations from the lady working there. I picked up 4 doughnuts which I shared with some people I was able to try all 4 kinds.

The lady recommended the apple bourbon doughnut which was the first one I tried. I do NOT get it. It was too big, super squishy and filled with a completely unexciting apple sauce. I got no bourbon flavour. The only thing good about it was the candy on top.

Next, I had a bite of the eggnog (seasonal obviously) doughnut. It was really not good. The spices did not work and there was something actually kind of gross about it.

I did not like the cream filling in the Boston Cream at all and it was the same too squishy giant dough ball that I didn't enjoy.

The berry one I tried was the best of the 4. The icing was nice so I ate the top and through out the doughnut.

I'm so sorry, I like to support small businesses and it's cool that the bakery is vegan, but I just didn't like what I tried at all. I've had great vegan baked good from Bunners and Tori's so it's certainly possible. If I do go back to TBC, I'll try something other than a doughnut but I'm not really planning to go back.
Mandy / December 19, 2014 at 10:59 am
I went there yesterday and it is AMAZING!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!1

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