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Voyages: Starfresh Modern Diner

Voyages: Starfresh Modern Diner

Starfresh Modern Diner in Burnside is a restaurant that switches up their dishes daily but promises one constant – smooth sailing for vegan, vegetarian, and gluten-free diners, all while keeping it exciting for carnivores like myself. If you call Burnside home but don’t think there’s enough fresh food, the owners are right there with you – it’s why they started this place up.

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As for the philosophy behind the food, they like to keep things simple – keeping it very close to traditional comfort food while ensuring everything is as fresh and healthy as possible (think wholesome salads, hearty soups, and classic diner sandwiches with local ingredients).

As soon as you enter, the staff eagerly greet you from behind the counter. The lime green walls, upholstered seats, and wooden tables keep things easy on the eyes while the large windows and mirrors allow for lots of natural light to fill the space. It’s bright, it’s tight, and it’ll make you wonder if you’re in a diner or in the comfort of your own home.

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The Turkey Club is the first dish today, and it all starts with the turkey being roasted fresh every morning. From there, it is laid on a toasted ciabatta bun and topped with romaine lettuce, tomato, bacon, havarti, and a dab of mayo. My taste buds rejoice as the combination of earthy chicken and salty bacon grace my palate, followed by the bright blast of fresh veggies. While the sandwich has a lot of substance, it’s not heavy in the way turkey clubs usually are. For a simple dish, it is surprisingly delightful to dig your teeth into, but then again, if it ain’t broken, don’t fix it.

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Next up comes the Power Salad complete with spicy tofu, yam noodles, cabbage, toasted hemp and sesame seeds, peanuts, and almonds. Doused in a self-proclaimed “addictive” peanut-shallot dressing, the dish packs a sweet, spicy, and salty punch reminiscent of Thai cuisine. Now I’m not much of a salad guy, so when I do eat them, they must have some type of animal-derived protein on top to satisfy me (yeah I know, I’m the worst), but after one bite of this, I’m hooked. With its diverse assortment of fresh and invigorating ingredients, it will keep even the most meat-centric carnivores entertained.

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To end things off in style, I conclude with the Blue Plate Special Weekly Bowl. As the name implies, the ingredient line-up changes every 7 days, and today’s creation finds artful layers of toasted coconut California brown rice, zucchini, marinated tofu, and spinach avocado-cashew slaw piled high. Creamy, nutty, and zesty all at once, this dish would have been more aptly named the comfort salad, because I am just about ready for a nap.

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As I begin to withdraw into the warm bliss of fullness, I suddenly remember that every blue plate special comes with soup, salad, or dessert. Since I am riding the comfort food wave today, I go with Creamy Potato soup. Along with the silky potato broth, a generous serving of shallots and Balderson cheddar is added in to the mix, guaranteeing you are transported straight to flavourtown. If you are ever feeling under the weather or are just craving a warm pick-me-up on a rainy day, this is the dish for you.

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For the cherry on top to the amazing experience I have just had, the fine folks at Starfresh hand me a power cookie as I walk out the door. I liken it to a dense banana bread that has been half-dipped in chocolate and laced with raisins – except it’s gluten free, vegan, and has no refined sugar. A sweet without refined sugar…and they said pigs couldn’t fly.

Whether you spend your days working in the business park or you just happen to be passing through Burnside on your way somewhere else, make sure you stop into Starfresh for a quality, homestyle meal you will not be quick to forget. I know I’ll be back soon, and I can’t wait to see what will be on the menu next time.

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