Monday, April 18, 2011

New Gluten/Dairy-Free Espresso Bar

The Primal Grind Espresso Bar promises "everything for the modern hunter-gatherer" and delivers. Tucked neatly into the front of the Academy of Lions cross-fit gym, just West of the newest trend-tastic Ossington strip, you will find Toronto's newest best-kept secret.  Open for just over a month and boasting 100% gluten/dairy/sugar-free drinks and treats, I simply couldn't resist checking it out.  On a lazy Sunday afternoon, I was lucky enough to sit down with owners Clinton and Freya and talk shop about the cafe's roots in the "Paleolithic Diet".

Freya is also a personal trainer at Academy of Lions and started eating "Paleo" two and a half years ago; Clinton followed suit about a year later.  The diet focuses on the nutrition of meat, vegetables, eggs and nuts.  All of The Primal Grind's treats supplied by new bakery Primal Indulgence follow these principals, which makes them gluten, dairy and sugar free; not to mention fabulous!  We started with a cup of Toasty Almond Tea and a latte made from Almond milk: sublime.  Lattes are made with unsweetened almond or coconut milk and taste as good as they sound.  We also enjoyed a sample tray of four of the cafe's featured treats.

First up was the Apricot Nut Ball, a chewy little treasure featuring coco nibs with no added sweetener.  Fun fact number one: the only sweetener added to any of the nibblies at Primal is natural honey, but I challenge anyone to decipher what is and isn't "sweetened": its all so delicious!  Beside the Nut Ball was the Macaroon, also with coco nibs for an extra bit of heaven.  Then came my personal favourite; the Chocolate Banana Muffin.  The muffin had a great texture of chewy walnuts, and more of those delectable coco nibs to put it over the top in the guilt-free indulgence category.  I followed Clinton and Freya's advice to "save the best for last" with the Chocolate Zucchini Spice Loaf; a spicy, spongy, sweet and satisfying slice of bliss.  Fun fact number two: with the exception of a bit of coconut flour in the Spice Loaf, everything is flourless!  How Primal Indulgence creates such perfectly textured little treats without the aid of flour quite literally boggles my mind.  And how The Primal Grind is able to create the most creamy and satisfying lattes without the use of dairy, will certainly boggle yours!  But don't take my word for it, you'll just have to see for yourself!   

"I went there when..."
When buzz about this place hits, its gonna hit BIG!  Be the first in your crew to check out this hip little spot, so one day you'll feel all cool 'n stuff when you get to say "I was going there when..."The Primal Grind Espresso Bar is located inside The Academy of Lions cross-fit gym at 1245 Dundas Street West in Toronto.  And speaking of cool 'n stuff: Primal Block Party!  The Primal Grind's Grand-Opening Event: Saturday May 14th.  Get there!  Get fueled! Get Primal!
***Note: Primal Grind Cafe is now located at 150 Lesmill road


  1. Great review! Glad you liked the treats!
    And actually, no almond flour in the spice loaf - a bit of coconut flour. Yummm.
    Drop by soon for the lemon squares (pretty divine if I do say so myself).
    (Primal Indulgence gal)

  2. Thanks so much for the comment Kathryn! I didn't even know there was such a thing as coconut flour! Amazing stuff! You have some great treats, and yes, I will have to swing by for the lemon squares...From what I hear, they may need a review all-their-own!


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