Vegan Bar in Edmonton – Arcadia

arcadia

On my most recent visit to Edmonton (earlier this year), I had the opportunity to visit Arcadia, which is this great vegan bar just on the new fun street of 124. Over the past few years, 124th has really expanded in terms of vegan offerings, starting up with Clever Rabbit, and one of the first homes of Sailin’ On Vegan Food Truck (at the 124 Grand St Market.) So Arcadia has since expanded their menu from the night I was there, but luckily, they still have the incredible sandwich I had. The Green Onion Cake Donair. I’ve had a hard time conveying to non-Edmontonians what a “green onion cake” is, and why it’s so special. Most of the time in my travels and everywhere else, I’ve encountered a thin pastry like scallion/green onion cake similar to a paratha. In Edmonton it’s more of a salty doughy cake with diced green onions in it. It’s not flaky. It has a good density. There is such an obsession with these delicious cakes, there is even someone living in Edmonton with the GreenOnionCakes.com domain, that started a petition trying to make it the official dish of Edmonton. So, take a couple of large green…

Read more

Memories of Sadie’s Diner in Toronto

Sadies

We ate our last meal at Sadie’s Diner last weekend. Sadies is was a vegan-friendly meatless restaurant that had been open since 2006, but now it’s closed. I’ve always seen it as an institution in Toronto and was a little surprised it wasn’t open even longer, but it probably helps that I have never known a Toronto without Sadie’s. Sadie’s Diner was one of the first vegan-friendly restaurants I went to in Toronto on my first 48hr visit to Toronto back in 2008, and was one of the first spots I visited when I arrived in 2010 (on the post-university “visit” that has extended to the present.) Known for their all-day-breakfasts, bright teal diner tables, and a huge wall of Pez (the owner Al is a serious collector), this spot did more than serve food – it was home to fundraisers, and art shows and community meetings, and more, and I hope that there will be other local vegan businesses that pick up the torch on the Vegan-Food-For-Charity front, because that level of thoughtfulness and community involvement will be missed. I remember the very first Chili-For-Charity fundraiser I attended (which was also the first time JC and I went to Sadie’s together) back…

Read more

Rochester, NY – Vive Bistro and Bakery

bread

We spent a weekend in north-west New York State, around Niagara Falls, Buffalo, Hamburg and Rochester. We were in Rochester last summer at the end of our massive Summer Road Trip, but of course, I still haven’t posted about that part, since it was on our way home – so, I have nothing to link to yet! Oops. This time around we went to a few spots around Rochester – Lori’s Natural Foods Market, Vive Bistro, & Pour Coffee Parlour. Lori’s Natural Foods (Genesee Valley Regional Market Authority, 900 Jefferson Rd,) is a very vegan-friendly market, and the largest independent grocery store in Rochester, NY. They have a fantastic selection of various veg products that you might not see at your local  NY Whole Foods or Wegmans – for example we picked up one of the new NY style Daiya Cheezecakes (which I’ve had before during ExpoWest, and I’ve been told will be launching in Canada in the Fall), large packages of Primal Strips vegan jerky, assorted Miyoko’s Creamery Cheeses, Earth Balance potato chips, and so much more. They also have a great selection of fresh produce. They also carry local vegan items like stuff from Pudgy Girl Bakery, and they carry products…

Read more

So Delicious Dairy-Free Cashew Ice Cream

so delicious cashew ice cream

You’ve probably seen one or two of these new So Delicious Cashew based ice creams appear around the city. If not – they’re popping up everywhere – check the fridge at your local grocery. So, last week I received a box of three So Delicious Cashew Ice Creams (or, sure,  CFIA, “non-dairy frozen desserts”) –  Creamy Cashew, Salted Caramel Cluster, and Dark Chocolate Truffle. And two of the new-to-Canada CocoWhips. The package was hand delivered by a courier, and contained dry ice and branded So Delicious gloves – for safety, of course, and my own personal joy – they may or may not also be perfect for gardening. Anyway. I tell you this because it was an exciting package to receive, and to let you know that I’m already a fan of many of the So Delicious products, and to disclose any potential biases I have. You decide! I’ve tried and reviewed the CocoWhips before, while I was in the USA, so for now, I’m going to focus on the ice cream for this post – however, I do want to see if there are any difference between the countries and products (since those kinds of variations really interest me.) On to the Ice…

Read more

Niagara VegFest – 2015

Niagara Veg Fest Sign

Niagara VegFest kicks off the Vegfest season for me. I realize there is the Toronto Raw/Vegan Festival that same weekend, but driving down to the Niagara VegFest is always a nice opportunity to visit a few spots around Niagara Falls, NY too. The nice part about our occasional drives down to southern Ontario and northern New York State is that St. Catharines and the route to it and the area around it has become so familiar (in a good way.) We knew there was parking near the St. Catharines Farmers Market building just down the street at this massive (and free) public parking lot (so if it keeps happening in the same spot, and you didn’t know about this, now you do!) We arrived while things were already in full swing, and the first person I saw was photojournalist Jo-Anne McArthur at her booth with cards and prints of her incredible work. She was also selling copies of We Animals, which is a beautiful and incredible touching heartbreaking powerful book I’m glad to have read the night it was launched. Jo-Anne is also working on a new project with Dr. Keri Cronin (who happens to be one of the founders of Niagara VegFest) that you should check…

Read more

Field Roast Apple Sage Sausage – Then and Now.

Field Roast

As you might know, last year in September, Field Roast’s tasty vegan sausages became scarce, and hard to find. Why was that? As JC and I learned at the Vegetarian Food Festival, the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) and Health Canada had taken issues with how Field Roast product fit within current food regulations, and banned them. Two things needed to happen before Field Roast would be allowed to sell in Canada again, they needed to: label their product as a “Simulated Meat Product” do a Protein Efficiency Ratio study, which at the time they believed required live animal testing. (they later found out there was an approved alternative that did not involve animal testing.) You can read the whole story here from Field Roast. Anyway, fast forward to 9 months later.  They actually did all of these things (using the non-animal alternative method of course.) They redid their labels, added pea protein, and a vitamin fortification mixture to meet Canadian regulatory standards, and announced they were coming back to Canada. You can read more about that over at the Field Roast Blog here. But they view these as temporary measures and this experience with the CFIA and Health Canada triggered the…

Read more

Things I Love Thursday – Being outside

vegan from sweet olenkas

Since returning to Toronto from Austin, I’ve been working on something, with a sense of both urgency and excitement that has also resulted in me being a bit of a shut in. I’m lucky that I’ve been able to work from home for the last year or so doing freelance web-development work, but a new, and more personal project is my current work in progress. That said, I’ve been dreaming of sitting outside, even with my laptop, and maybe a nice glass of tea, or a zevia. Today, was the first day I’ve done that for a while. Why the sudden change? JC and I have been trying to build an outdoor table for the last few days. We bought this Applaro table from IKEA this weekend. A semi impulse purchase after going to have a dinner of Veggie Balls in their dining area. Our existing outdoor table has been shifting with the weather, and had become pretty unstable (to the point where trying to rest both a laptop and a mug of tea was inviting disaster. So, step one, buy a new table. Step two involves actually putting the table together, and we both did it, but separately. I opened up…

Read more

Home After Austin – Good Bye Vida Vegan Con – Day one

swag bag vvc

It seems like only a week ago I was boiling in the Austin, Texas heat… probably because it was merely a week. How time flies by when you’ve got your head buried in a computer trying to get the final pieces together to launch a business. But more about that eventually. As we were driving down to Niagara VegFest yesterday, JC put my coffee in a Vida Vegan Con One mug, and I got all nostalgic. Heading to @niagaravegfest & feeling nostalgic about last weekend in Austin. This mug is from the very first @vidavegancon in pdx. The organizers really started something special with VVC, and I’m grateful to have been able to participate and to meet so many of you there. #vegan #vidavegancon A photo posted by MeShell (@veganinyourcity) on Jun 7, 2015 at 7:52am PDT It’s been a weird week, but mostly a productive one, despite being in a travelling daze for a few of those days. Looking back at the weekend in Austin – I’d say it was something special. Especially after some time to decompress and reflect. Getting the opportunity to meet and talk to so many incredibly wonderful people in the real world is powerful. It’s…

Read more

Double Greeting Wonton House – Edmonton – Roadtrip 2014

Mushrooms Mushrooms Mushrooms Double Greeting Wonton House

When I went vegan a few decades ago Double Greeting Wonton House was one of the vegan-friendly Asian restaurants that was open super late and open almost everyday. My dad and I would go after he finished work, my friends and I would walk over at 11 pm, and get something to eat, and I suppose it still has a certain legacy within my social circle. I don’t know how truly vegan friendly it is, so your comfort level may vary, but of the dishes I keep ordering, I’ve been assured they are. We’ve kept going back for over 10 years out of a blend of nostalgia, and enjoyment. In that time, it hasn’t changed much if at all. The neighbourhood surrounding it hasn’t changed much either, though on our most recent visit I noticed there was a lot more construction than I remember in the past, so I imagine that can be a blend of good and bad. My go-to dish has changed over time, but the last few years I’ve wanted the sweet corn on rice, and my friends tend to order the shanghai noodles and the mushrooms mushrooms mushrooms on rice. Of course, the important thing to…

Read more

Notes from VVCIII – Preventing Ex-Vegans. 10 Strategies to Maximize Long-Term Success on Vegan Diets – Ginny Messina

Preventing Ex-Vegans

Saturday Session – Preventing Ex-Vegans – 10 Strategies to Maximize Long-Term Success on Vegan Diets – Virginia Messina, MPH, RD Reasons People Stop Being Vegan Health concerns Not confident they’re meeting their nutritional needs Lack of social support Lack of convenience Missed taste of animal foods (meat/cheese) Didn’t see diet as part of their identity Found it difficult to reach purity (avocardo) Believed they could reach all of their goals without being veg. Helping People Stay Vegan Promote realistic benefits (relates well with Matt’s talk) There are accurate and legitimate benefits to eating a plant based diet – but some of those claims are exaggerated and many ex-vegans began to doubt the benefits of their vegan Vegans may have lower risk of cancer – but vegans still can and do get cancer, and a vegan diet cannot reverse cancer. A vegan diet is not going to make you look youthful forever – sets people up for disappointment (setting appropriate expectations) Promote ethics and ethical reasons behind following a vegan diet. The ethical and animal rights argument for veganism are unique, universale (or pretty close) and stickier. (because most people like animals – campaigns like Why Love One but Eat the Other?)…

Read more