Crave Healthy Habits (Richmond-Adelaide Centre)
Crave Healthy Habits now has a much larger breakfast and lunch takeout counter on the concourse level of the Richmond-Adelaide Centre, a significant step up from its small start-up King St. location in the Financial District .
This particular location in the PATH boasts a sweet "take a book, leave a book" shelf and a cute chalkboard wall with encouraging phrases and tips for staying fit. A group of friends founded the brand with the goal of promoting a wellness lifestyle that encompasses all aspects of physical and mental health in addition to healthy eating.
In keeping with the socially conscious, feel-good vibe of the brand, Crave also gets involved with the community; it's partners with the Canadian Cancer Society, has started a charity called #screwhunger (inspired by #fuckcancer ) that feeds residents of a Good Shepherd homeless shelter and is even hiring staff from a local women's shelter.
Just about everything on the menu is gluten-free and vegetarian-friendly. Because boxes are prepared to order, modifications can be made for vegans and those who might have allergies to certain ingredients.
Breakfast boxes feature different combos of oats, yogurt and fruit, and recently four kinds of artisanal toast ($4.50-$7.50) using Fred's Bread combined with various toppings (hazelnut spread with banana and pecans on sourdough; smoked salmon, goat cheese, black pepper, olive oil and dill on espresso bread) were introduced.
For lunch, there are soups like lentil ($4.42) and roasted pumpkin ($5.31), but the main focus is on "steamed" and "cool" boxes, whose recipes and accompanying dressings were developed in collaboration with Chef Jono . Steamed boxes are actually "par-steamed" (between raw and steamed) in order to retain the crunch and nutrients of its ingredients.
Each box comes with your choice of grain as a base (quinoa, brown rice or a mix of both)
and two preservative-free, made-in-house dressings on the side that are chosen to complement the ingredients in the box. Chicken breast ($2.10), salmon ($3.10), tempeh ($2.10) or tofu ($1) are optional protein add-ons.
Names tend to have playful pop culture references, and
Director of Public Affairs Salma Hamidi jokes about calling the next box the "What What" so customers will have to say, "Can I get a What What?" when ordering.
The One ($8.19), a steamed box, already creates a "Who's on first?" ordering schtick ("Can I get The One?" - "Which one?" - "The One!" etc...). Containing corn, chickpeas, edamame, asparagus, mushrooms, wild rice, feta cheese, dried barberries and oregano with lime juice and extra virgin olive oil dressings, it gets nice (and necessary) hits of salt from the feta.
Californication ($8.19) is an Asian-inspired steamed box made up of Napa cabbage, snow peas, corn, rainbow peppers, alfalfa sprouts, peanuts, sesame seeds and coriander with honey sesame and Thai peanut dressings. It has a nice crunch and the side sauces are tasty, especially when mixed together.
For fans of places like IQ Food Co. and Kupfert & Kim , Crave is another good option to add into the weekly lunch rotation. It seems to be expanding and improving upon its offerings and operations with each new addition, and a location in the TD Centre will even have its own seating.
Photos by Hector Vasquez