Winterlicious 2016 – Vegan Options

Vegan Options

Winterlicious happens every year in Toronto and is a great way to get out there during the colder months and try a new restaurant with a fixed price menu for lunch or dinner. Of the 200 participating restaurants this year, four offer 3 courses of vegan items for either lunch or dinner and one offers a vegan menu for both. I do like that Winterlicious offers a vegan filter on their site, but I do not really care about seeing the other menu items, since I have no interest in eating them. And of course, comparing a fruit plate with a fancy multistage dessert is always a bummer, so why not just not even look at it. I put together this list last year, and people seemed to find the whole endeavor helpful, so here is my attempt for Winterlicious 2016. Winterlicious has been on since January 29th, so there aren’t many days of Winterlicious left – it ends on February 11th, so get out there! Avoid disappointment and do confirm with the restaurant that they are still offering these things –  you can find information about all of these places and their current listings on the Winterlicious site. I’ve ordered…

Read more

Vegan Brunch at D-Beatstro

DBeatstro Brunch

D-Beatstro is a community space, art gallery, cafe, event venue, and restaurant that opened a little over a year ago in the old Bike Pirates space. It’s has a relaxed friendly atmosphere, and a nice addition to Bloordale, and right across the street from the magical Through Being Cool Vegan Bakery. They have prioritized being both physically and financially accessible, especially for people throwing events. Which speaking as someone that likes to organize the occasional event – physically accessible event venues are something that are sorely lacking in our city. I’ve watched D-Beatstro improve and grow their offerings and options over the last few months and it’s been great to see them grow into having a really solid menu, kitchen, and coffee set up. As with any business, the beginning can be tough, and when you hit the ground running like these folks did and make improvements on the fly in that DIY style (and if not, you will likely fail) it can be stressful and not without hiccups. This community space, cafe, restaurant, and more, has managed to do that, and excel at it.  I mention this especially if you visited them in the absolute beginning, and didn’t go back…

Read more

The Purple Carrot – Vegan Meal Kit Box

We ordered a box from The Purple Carrot earlier last week. I’ve been curious about it, because despite a genuine love of food – I’m a lazy cook, or just an avoidant cook. Anything that proposes an option for us to have an easier time cooking dinner at home is something I’m interested in learning more about. One of their biggest name supporters and co-founders is Mark Bittman, and he’s also involved with recipe development, recipe testing, and also using his connections with fancy chefs all over the world to create or share interesting plant based recipes with subscribers. Currently, the box is only available in the USA. There were some rumors of a vegan meal kit in Ontario brewing last year, and I’m happy to say details have finally been released. So if you’re local, check out the Meal Kits from Globally Local. So what was in the box? Large biodegradable insulated box liner 3 large non-toxic ice packs – reusable, or drainable. 3 meal kits with ingredients with detailed full colour recipe cards. A sheet with a little story of why each dish was included this week, some pictures from real humans that made things from the Purple Carrot boxes, and a carrot…

Read more

#Veganuary 2016 – Do you need help?

Veganuary and an offer of support and help

Dear You, Are you interested in trying to go vegan for 2016 or even just to try it out in January 2016? There are lots of resources out there and I’ve collected a few of them on this page. Also, please feel free to email me if you have any questions or need support along the way, especially if you’re in Toronto, since that’s where I live, and that’s one of the main cities I know. (but this is an open offer to anyone anywhere.) I went vegan in the late 90’s. I was young and living in Alberta, which even to this day has a bit of a reputation of being meat-heavy (though Edmonton is amazing for vegan options). It was a bit strange to be the only vegan I knew in real life, but that’s still not a completely foreign experience for people even with our changing world. Veganism is more and more common, and it’s easier to find food and friends than ever before, but you can still encounter resistance or misunderstanding and it can be frustrating, especially in the beginning, when you discover that many people, including people you respect and love, don’t see the world the same way…

Read more

Lazy Vegan Friday – Vegan Egg from Follow Your Heart

Vegan Egg

We’re in New York City for the holidays again, and paid a visit to Haymaker’s Corner – an all vegan grocery store in Brooklyn, NY. We had pre-ordered a holiday meal from them, and some stuff from Vegan Treats – and luckily, the night before, they also got in a shipment of Follow Your Heart’s new(ish) Vegan Egg. I also ordered two boxes from Rabbit Food Grocery in Austin and had it shipped to NYC. At the moment if you wanted to order it to Canada, Vegan Essentials and Food Fight Grocery are the only two places I’ve seen offering this product with shipping to Canadian addresses. Like I mentioned when reviewing The Vegg, I never liked cheese, which seems like the ubiquitous missed vegan item (though that’s changed with all the amazing alternatives) but I have missed the occasional scrambled or over-easy egg. Of course – never enough to consider eating a non-vegan egg. So when I saw this product appear online during the Supply Side West convention in Las Vegas earlier this year, I was pretty excited to find out more. The Vegg is great for those over easy eggs yolks I was missing (with some spherification), but did not work out quite as well…

Read more

Toronto Vegan Holiday Gift Suggestions 2015

Vegan Gift Ideas

For the last few years I’ve been trying to put together a vegan-friendly gift guide, with a focus on local items and charities. Usually, I put out one post, with everything on it, but we’ve gotten so full of options, that yesterday I started with the Vegan Holiday Menus that are available in our dear city, and now on to the gift list. This is, of course,  not all encompassing, since it’s limited by what I’ve found myself, but I’ve tried to poke around as much as time allows. Please feel free to add suggestions in the comments. Gift Baskets I’ve seen a few prepackaged gift baskets around the city from vegan or vegan-friendly vendors. so I’d like to start with those (in alphabetical order) D-Beatstro D-Beatstro has a variety of fun looking gift baskets that are mostly priced under  $35. Packages that feature teas (blended by their in-house herbalist) or coffee or hot chocolate packs. There is something for everyone on your list, just pay them a visit.  Forbes Wild Foods This Gift Basket Includes: Single-source Ontario Maple Syrup, Pure Birch Syrups, Wild Forest Mix, Wild Balsam Fir, Wild Spruce Tips, Wild Mushroom Mustard, Wild Canada Plum, Wild Strawberries, Wild Saskatoon Compote. If you ever go to any of…

Read more

Toronto Vegan Holiday Menus, Events, & Meals 2015

Vegan

For the last few years I’ve been trying to put together a vegan-friendly gift guide, with a focus on local items and charities. Usually, I put out one post, with everything on it, but we’ve gotten so full of options, I’m just going to start with all the Vegan Holiday Menu’s I’ve found so far. Tomorrow I’ll post more gifty items and suggestions found and made around the city, I’ll also link to a variety of other general vegan gift guides from this year. Much like last year, and the year before that, and the year before that, we’re leaving the city for a little while over the holidays and to celebrate my birthday, but some of these locally made menus totally have me salivating and wishing I could get them earlier! Holiday Menus Several vegan bakeries and restaurants are offering special holiday menus this month – most are focused on Christmas, since pick up tends to be well after Hanukkah is over. All of this is subject to change, and for up to date information, please contact the restaurant/bakery/store directly. In alphabetical order: Apiecalypse Now! Pizza and Snack Bar You can pick up an order form in store, or print…

Read more

Another Pregnancy Post. Somewhere in the Second Trimester

Bath time

Well, as some of you know, I’m pregnant, and if you want to read about the fun of the First Trimester, it’s over here. I’ve set out to be honest in these pregnancy related posts (and every post), because I feel like I was so surprised by a lot of the things that happened during this time, so if I can be helpful to anyone out there, or make someone feel a little less alone, then I’m happy. I also want to remember this time in my life, because I know things are going to get even busier, and even more frenetic and it’s nice to be able to go back in time and read about past experiences with fresh eyes. Pregnancy is not all sunshine and roses. In fact… come to think of it, I’ve only gotten roses once, and they were unrelated to my pregnancy. I’m somewhere in the second trimester and that’s the time when things are supposed to get easier and energy is supposed to return, and you get an increase in appetite, and you can do more things, and just end up getting bigger along with your developing fetus. Well. You might have noticed I…

Read more

Weekend in Detroit

Michigo Deep Dish Pizza

I’ve needed to get out of town. Somewhere new(ish). Somewhere interesting. But still something close enough to drive to on the weekend. So we decided to visit Detroit last weekend. When we left Toronto it was windy and rainy, as we continued on the highway it got worse and worse. Visibility was low, you could see large commercial trucks weave into adjoining lanes with nearly every gust of strong winds. It was no joke. When we pulled into the Ingersoll En Route, it seemed like our trip was over. It was windy, raining heavily, and a lot of cars didn’t seem to be driving with consideration for the weather.  We grabbed a couple of teas and dry toasted everything bagels from Tim Hortons (yes – they’re vegan [most of the time]) and decided to spend the night somewhere close by, maybe Ingersoll, maybe London. Probably not Detroit. At least not that night. I booked us a night at a hotel in London and we started driving there. The road seemed a little calmer, and a little less hectic. Traffic wasn’t as tight. When we got to the hotel, a computer glitch meant we hadn’t been booked in that night, but a week later.…

Read more

Simple Pickle Soup – Zupa Ogórkowa bez śmietany

Pickle Soup - Zupa Ogorkowa

In the middle of the day last night I had this craving for Pickle soup. I started thinking about it, and then could not wait to get home and make it. JC and I stopped in to a grocery store to pick up a few white potatoes and a carrot (because I knew we had a bunch of onions and pickles at home), and I was ready to get cooking. Making this soup felt like I was running on some kind of deep genetic pickle soup knowledge when I got into the kitchen, because of course, zupa ogórkowa (ZOO-pah, Oh-goorr-Koh-Vah), is a thing I’ve eaten since I was a kid. I’m sure I watched my mom make it when I was growing up. Maybe even helped peel or chop potatoes (maybe.) This recipe is simple and perfect for preparing after a long day. Not too many ingredients, and doesn’t take too much time. It could conceivably serve four people, but the two of us ate all of it.   Ingredients: 3 small chopped yellow onions 2 small chopped rinsed leeks a splash of oil 1 medium sized carrot 4-5 diced potatoes, you can peel them if you want to (I didn’t)…

Read more