Get Real !

135 Ossington, at Argyle


One Sunday afternoon after my crazy 32 km run, i met up with Aaron for brunch. We met up at LIVE, a recently upgraded “4 seater cafe to 30 seat restaurant” but found out that it was closed for brunch during the month of August. SHITE. We met up at Dupont and Spadina and we were hungry. Luckily, Aaron had his car so we drove down Ossington since Aaron knew that there would be great brunch opportunities along that street.

He suggested Sweaty Betty’s, a cool sounding name for a brunch place, but we could not find it. We actually stumbled upon “Get Real!”- a cool, hip, and small cafe tucked away in the Dundas and Ossington neighbourhood. Upon walking inside, we found out that it was in fact a vegetarian cafe that served brunch. PERFECT.

Get Real! just opened last January 2005 and it is still in the “baby stages” of development. The fact that it was 2pm made us one of the only patrons in this cafe so we had top choice of seats in the small and quiet back terrace. Get Real! is a calm and peaceful cafe with a simple one-page summer brunch menu and I suspect they also serve a simple dinner and lunch as well. I guess the paper menu allows them to experiment with food and change items often, not being held down to commit to the same food every week.

We started with a coffee for Aaron ($1.50) and a latte for me, double shot of Espresso, extra hot, and soy milk ($3.00). Get Real!’s actual cafe is pretty small, with about 3 tables at front, 2 tables in the middle area, and about 6-8 tables in the back terrace/patio area. The decor is very simple and earthy, in a light green motif that resembles the colour scheme of garden plants. Very bright, cheerful, and airy. Staff are very pleasant, friendly, accomodating, and helpful. No pretentiousness here. They serve their water with a slice of cucumber, maybe a little eccentric but not pretentious.

For our meals, I ordered the Spanish tofu scramble- crushed tofu with tumeric with red pepper, chives, and spices with multi-grain toast, roasted bombay potatoes, and a side salad. I replaced the potatoes and multi-grain toast with more salad ($8.50). Aaron ordered the Mayan omelete ($10) – with eggs, a side salad of organic greens, bombay potatoes. His omelete came with Mayan chipotle salsa with pine nuts and peptitas, avocado and cheddar with scallions and fresh cilantro. He really enjoyed his meal and he said he could really taste the fresh herbs. We both agreed that our meals were light and refreshing and very fresh. My scramble in particular had quite the zesty flavour. For a side Aaron ordered multi-grain toast with fresh basil and diced tomato cheddar melt with a balsamic drizzle ($4.00).

Other toast combinations include a choice of multi-grain toast or bagel with organic peanut butter ($1.50), Molly B’ organic jam ($1.50), Mendel’s cream cheese with fresh dill, cranberry, and cucumber ($4.00), and apricot and mango salsa with melted brie and fresh mint with vanilla extract ($4.50).

Some summer brunch dishes include: Vegan Organic granola with wild blueberries, milk/soy milk, or yogourt ($5.00), Jamaican Fruit Salad ($6.00) with fresh pineapple, mango, kiwi, and jicama, in an avocado, lime, cilanto, and mint and cumin dressing, the English breakfast (baked beans in an herbed tomato sauce on multi-grain toast, with roasted bombay potatoes, worchestershire marinated in tofu strips and a side of organic greens), an omelete with Asian sesame, baby bok choy, and mixed mushrooms with sliced ginger, marinated daikon radish, and black sesame seeds and lime ($10.00) . Savoury crepes include a Mediterranean crepe with spinach and feta with roasted red peppers and nutmeg ($9.00) and a Provincial crepe with asparagus, and lemon tarragon tofu with pea seedlings in a black pepper and soy drizzle ($9.00). For the sweet tooth, try the fruity explosion of spelt flour Belgian waffles ($7.00)- blueberry and cinnamon waffles with maple glazed plaintain compote, fresh blackberries, strawberries, peaches, and shaved chocolate.

Open Monday to Friday 10 am to 7 pm. Brunch Saturday and Sunday 10 am to 4 pm. Serves fair-trade coffee. Beautiful back terrace. Quiet, calm, and serene ambiance. No political, pretentious bullshit like “we’re a vegetarian restaurant so we’re better than anything else”. Not overpriced like typical Toronto brunch places. Wait staff are humble and nice. Many ingrediants on the menu are organic. Average mains are $7-$10. In addition to brunch, they also sell healthy, vegetarian “grocery-type” products, beverages, prepared meals, and snack-type items. Accepts all cards.