by Paula E. Kirman
Cafe Mosaics is located on Whyte Avenue near a variety of eclectic business and places to eat. In recent years when Whyte has been infiltrated by commercial chains, Cafe Mosaics has remained a mainstay, especially amongst Edmonton’s ‘alternative’ communities: the artistic, activists, and the like. Its small, intimate layout, regular rotation of local art, and alternative country/folk blaring overhead, only adds to the atmosphere of independence.
<img src="images/feature_articles/cafe_mosaics_r1.jpg" height=200 width="267" border=0 alt="Cafe Mosaics Dining Room" align="left" hspace=5 vspace=0>Another reason, probably the most important, of why Café Mosaics remains a popular Whyte eatery is because it is one of the few all-vegetarian restaurants in Edmonton. Many menu selections are vegan (or could be prepared that way if you ask your server) – no dairy or eggs. The ample menu has sections for breakfast, lunch, dinner, and even kids. Prices range from $4-$6 for breakfast items, to $9.50 for all sandwiches (the largest section on the menu, containing Mosaics’ famous felafel, fried chickpea balls served in pita), to around $10 for dinner entrees. Beverages include fair trade coffee, canned pop, juices, and homemade fruit smoothies.
Tofu is a main ingredient of many menu items at Cafe Mosaics – indeed, it is the establishment’s “white meat.” Most of the dishes feature tofu in one way or another, like the grilled tofu sandwich with tangy red pepper sauce, and peanut butter and tofu for the adventurous. Standard items one would expect in a diner have been “vegified.” Breakfast items have veggie sausage; pizza can have veggie bacon as a topping; instead of scrambled eggs there is tofu scramble.
<img src="images/feature_articles/cafe_mosaics_r2.jpg" height=250 width="181" border=0 alt="Cozy Table For 2 at Café Mosaics" align="right" hspace=5 vspace=0>We started our meals with salads. I had a small size spinach salad for $6, which was a decent assortment of leafy spinach, tomatoes, mushrooms, onions, hot peppers, and hard-boiled eggs. The dressing, despite touted on the menu as “hearty” was a clear, extremely mild garlic vinaigrette. Most of the flavour punch came from the onions and hot peppers.
My companion had a large Greek salad, which was an ample portion for $9. Full of feta, onions, and olives, he said the dressing was also on the blander side, with the olives having a dryer texture than what he was used to. Accompanying both salads was a small piece of garlic toast, which was dark, dry, and extremely hard. It was sort of like an oversized crouton.
Our main courses arrived just as we were finishing our salads. I had the veggie tofu loaf dinner, which was a takeoff on meatloaf. It was an ample portion of loaf covered in mushroom gravy – thin and liquid, but filled of mushroom chunks. On the side were roasted potatoes with dill, and house salad: a variety of chopped vegetables in a raspberry vinaigrette topped with pumpkin seeds. Both entrees were much more robust and flavourful than our starters.
<img src="images/feature_articles/cafe_mosaics_r3.jpg" height=200 width="267" border=0 alt="Another view of Cafe Mosaics dining area" align="left" hspace=5 vspace=0>Tofu in and of itself has very little flavour. It can also be on the soft side. As a result, the loaf was very seasoned and mixed with vegetables as filler. The “slice” was not bound together, and appeared to be more a of a “scoop.” Fortunately, it tasted better than it looked. Very unique taste and texture, and quite filling.
On the other side of the table was served pasta with Portobello mushroom sauce. My friend described the meal as “a good mix of flavours.” A hearty portion of fettuccini bathed in a creamy sauce full of chopped Portobello mushrooms, with a more lightly toasted piece of garlic toast on the side.
We had no room left for dessert, but if we had, we probably would have gone for the vegan chocolate cake. The other choices were several varieties of fruit crisp.
Cafe Mosaics is an excellent choice for people who want to explore vegetarian cuisine, or are just in the mood for something different. The prices are affordable and the place highlights the traditional cultural climate of Whyte Avenue.
10844 82 Avenue
Phone: (780) 433-9702
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