Mac and Cheese Monday at The Acorn

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As someone who writes about food on a fairly regular basis, I understand the importance of language. When you’re trying to communicate tastes and flavours to an audience, the words you select to describe a dish can either make it the best plate in the restaurant, or a complete culinary fail.  That said, there are some foods, some tastes, and some experiences that even the most carefully chosen words cannot do justice to.

Enter the ladies seated next to us at The Acorn two weeks ago, when we attended the second Monday of the restaurant’s new initiative in honour of the Meatless Monday movement: Mac and Cheese Monday. With each dish they received, they took a few bites, conversation fell into silence, and could say nothing but:

“ God.”

“ Whoa.”

I have eaten at The Acorn many times, and this is often the similar reaction that I have. In the few years the restaurant has been open, owner and GM Shira Blustein has managed to gather some of the city’s most creative chefs, innovative bartenders, gracious staff members, and combine them into a vegetarian/vegan restaurant that is unique, builds menus in perfect correlation to the seasons, and ultimately, created a business that appeals to those who love good food, both vegetarian, vegans, and meat-eaters alike.


Mac and Cheese Monday is just the icing on the cake. Every week, a new version of the comfort food classic will be featured, in addition to regular menu items.  Each week, the recipe will change, incorporating seasonal additions, local ingredients and new flavours. This dish will be available exclusively on Mondays. If the mac and cheese of the week is vegetarian, there will always be vegan and gluten-free options available.

The featured dish on our night was vegan, and featured kabocha squash, macadamia nut and nutritional yeast “ cheese”, panko crumbs, pea tips, and pickled butternut squash.  Anyone who has prepared vegan mac and cheese knows how crucial an ingredient nutritional yeast is, a factor which re-iterated itself in the decadence of this dish. Macadamia nut cheese serves as a creamy, satisfying base, the pea tips added an interesting variance of texture, and the pickled butternut squash was unexpected, unique- and additive.

Sandwich the mac and cheese between the infamous vegan kale Caesar salad with tempeh croutons, and (ideally) two desserts: raw cashew mango and vanilla cheesecake with almond coconut crust, mango and lime, and cardamom powder; topped off with spice parsnip cake with walnuts, pralines, golden raisin rum, roast pineapple and kola nut syrup.

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This ain’t yo mama’s Kraft Dinner. The Acorn has struck culinary gold yet again, and as the winter weeks advance and the temperature drops, I could think of no better reason to be nestled inside every Monday, with a bowl (or two) of (vegan) Mac and Cheese at your side: the ultimate partner in crime.


-Zoe Peled // @zoemarg





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