Edmonton – Loma House – Road Trip 2014

I’m now a year behind on these posts about our 2014 road trip across North America, but I’m going to keep chugging along. They’re stories I want to tell, there are pictures I want to share, and they are memories I want to remember later. You can see some of the past & present posts on this lovely map on Pinterest. On one of our last few days we went over to Loma House – primarily because they were open on a Monday, unlike nearly everyone else, and I’ve heard good things from local vegos online. We were hoping to check out Padmanadi on this visit, but sadly it just didn’t happen. I didn’t particularly enjoy the experience, and so I have been avoiding writing about it – but that morning we were woken up with the sounds of jackhammers outside of our downtown hotel at 7am. So the mood surrounding the visit wasn’t high, and there are some negative factors with my experience and my day. I also don’t do particularly well with heat, and it was around 30. So, take my thoughts with a grain of salt. @CityofEdmonton I’m amazed that construction & jackhammers are permitted to begin at 7 am. Can you tell me what the noise rules are in #YEG? — MeShell (@mdgee) July 28, 2014 That said, service was friendly, JC’s meal looked pretty good. I ordered a big bowl of Hot and Sour soup, which was okay, but not what I was looking for. On a normal…

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Vegan Bar in Edmonton – 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 onion cake, and add thinly sliced seasoned seitan donair, pour in some garlic sweet sauce, lettuce and tomatoes, and turn it into a sandwich. Brilliant. I don’t know how I feel about baked green onion cakes vs fried ones, but this sandwich totally worked out perfectly. Some of my Edmonton…

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Double Greeting Wonton House – Edmonton – Roadtrip 2014

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 specify that you want the vegetarian version of whatever it is your ordering, especially if you’re just writing numbers down like we usually do) You’ll notice that there are two shanghai noodles, but both have the same numbers – and default will result in a meaty noodle dish. That said,…

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Edmonton – Ethiopian Vegan Buffet at Abyssinia Restaurant

Shortly after arriving in Edmonton for a brief visit, hanging out at home and with my parents’ cat Misha, my mom and I decided to head over to Abyssinia Restaurant, a Ethiopian restaurant in East Central Edmonton, just a bit north of the downtown core. Abyssinia is an Ethiopian family restaurant in Edmonton that serves a variety of meat and vegan dishes everyday, and offers a totally vegan buffet twice a week on Wednesday & Friday evenings between 5-9pm. I couldn’t help but think if this place was in Toronto it would have been PACKED full, especially on vegan night. But instead there were a couple tables occupied, but otherwise, it was not so busy. Service was helpful and friendly, and they told us all about the food they had to offer. So many incredible dishes, like kei misir wot (spicy lentils), alicha misir (turmeric lentils), gomen (chopped spicy greens), tikel gomen (cabbage & carrots), fosolia (green beans, carrots, and potato), kik wot, okra, sweet potato dishes, fresh green salads, and all the injera (made with corn, buckwheat, and teff flour) you could ever eat. I piled my plate full of everything, sampling a bit of this and that of whatever drew my eye. There is something especially so fantastic about Ethiopian food – the spices, the flavours. It’s warming and comforting, and while dishes are similar between restaurants and rooted in tradition, every chef has their own unique style. They make it their own, and I was really delighted by what…

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Blue Rose Vegan Baking Co. & the Vegan Snack Attack – Edmonton

After our visit to Clever Rabbit on our Roadtrip Adventure – we decided to check out a little market that was happening down the street called Eden’s Market. There were a variety of vendors, but we made a B-line to Blue Rose Baking Co, because I’ve followed the owner, Sarah Louise and her blog The Cozy Vegan on The Twitters since before she moved to Edmonton from Calgary. We bought a four pack of cupcakes to share with my parents later in the evening (p.s. they were a big hit.) Sadly, since our visit Eden’s Market has closed permanently due to lack of traffic, which is too bad, because I liked that they were also supporting the Youth Emergency Shelter Society with their market. On a more recent visit to Edmonton I had the wherewithal to pre-order a Vegan Snack Attack box from The Mercury Room and Blue Rose Baking Co. And I highly recommend you do so too. My visit coincided with the 100% Gluten-Free box, so I was a bit hesitant, but it turned out alright and delicious in the end. These two talented local vegan bakers and makers have teamed up to create Edmonton’s very own vegan snack attack box – every box features handcrafted treats both savoury and sweet, with something for everyone in the box – which is true, I ordered a Valentine’s Day special delivery box for my parents earlier this year – and they seemed to really enjoy it too. For myself though – I ordered the Notorious B.I.G box, which…

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Breakfast at Home and Clever Rabbit – Roadtrip 2014

I’m still writing about our Summer Roadtrip in 2014 – so far in our story we had just arrived in Edmonton the afternoon before, and planned to visit my parents for breakfast the next morning. My parents had just come back from a trip to Poland, so I was looking forward to seeing pictures and hearing a few stories about their trip too. (also – I like souvenirs.) My mom also made us waffles – but I didn’t have the wherewithal to take a photo until the last waffle as you can see above in all of its glory. Over the last few years my mom has become an especially incredible vegan cook (because she follows a primarily plant based diet) – so it’s always nice to come back and get a tasty home cooked meal. It’s actually quite tough being away from my parents, flights to Edmonton from Toronto are usually quite expensive, and it’s not always easy to find time to get away, so I was happy to visit back in the summer of 2014 and also a month or so ago. We’d see each other again a few times on this visit, but it was nice to have breakfast with the family like old times, and have JC join us. They of course told us about their beautiful trip to Poland, where there was more vegan friendly stuff than you might expect – which was especially relevant to my mostly-vegan mom. Places like Krowarzywa – a vegan burger spot and Veg…

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Arriving in Edmonton – Roadtrip 2014

I’ve been eagerly awaiting the arrival in Edmonton on the Summer Roadtrip recap. Because I want to add to my roadtrip recap posts with some of the other lovely spots I managed to visit on a more recent Edmonton visit (last month.) After we left Lloydminster, the drive went by quickly, and as we passed through Refinery Row (a concentration of oil refineries in west Sherwood Park,in Strathcona County just east of Edmonton) it was like there was a sign up that said “Welcome to Alberta” (which of course there was, but just shortly outside of Lloydminster) and oddly enough – a sense of arriving home. The Edmonton cityscape is still one of my favourites, with the Hotel MacDonald perched on the edge of the beautiful river valley, and the variety of buildings downtown, so driving into the city, even from a distance, is still familiar and comforting. I realized at some point that whenever I would leave Toronto, and come back, I’d get that same sense of comfort and “home” when I saw the CN Tower poking up from my highway vantage point. I have three homes in my heart, and the first one is Edmonton. First stop was checking into our hotel downtown (The Coast Terrace Inn), we had arrived just before the new downtown location of Earth’s General Store (EGS) was to open – conveniently on the other side of where we were staying.  EGS was at one time was a totally meat-free Edmonton grocery store (since we were…

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Street Art, Sunsets, Strombo, Shelter Pet Project – Things I love Thursday

Today’s Thing I Love Thursday list it brought to you by the letter S, and the number 4. I’m currently in Edmonton visiting my parents, which is really nice, and just a couple of days ago I was taking in the sunshine and warmth of Los Angeles and Southern California. So, there are lots of things to love, and it’s been a great couple of weeks. Here goes the list: Travelling I’m grateful that we were able to go enjoy both ExpoWest and see a few of the California sights and restaurants while we were visiting, and I’m grateful that I was able to go home for a night before flying off to Edmonton. I love our sweet troupe of cats, including the temporary members of the household. To everyone that doesn’t think cats express love without ulterior motives, I’m not convinced. Our cats love us. They came excitedly to the door when we came home, and it’s not about food – because they always have food and water available at all times. Great Street Art/Activism. This “Not Your Mom, Not Your Milk” was stenciled outside a grilled cheese restaurant by misteruncertain on Sunset Blvd in Los Angeles. I was delighted to see it. An Ocean Sunset with JC I was happy this week to be able to put my feet into the Pacific ocean again and watch as the sun appeared to slowly fall into the sea as we stood watching on the Santa Monica Beach, cool waves splashing against our…

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Where ever you go, there you are. Last month in Edmonton.

The wonderful thing about revisiting places, especially places you used to call home is being able to see how a place, community, city, town, has evolved over time. I try to keep conscious of the things that keep Toronto special, but I know living here I might not acknowledge the gradual positive changes that have occurred (but I’m pretty sure I do –  since I still vacillate between thinking “I’m from Toronto” when people ask, to thinking “I’m not from around these parts”.) I was in Edmonton last month, not for the most ideal of reasons, but I made the best of it, balancing urban exploration, vegan food, and spending time with family – pretty successfully if I do say so myself. I got the opportunity to visit the Edmonton River Valley, one of my favourite parts of Edmonton now that I don’t live there anymore. We used to walk through the River Valley at least once a month when I was a kid, if not more, but I didn’t appreciate how special the area was until now. In some ways it’s like High Park – a beautiful green oasis within the city – that I also don’t visit nearly enough despite living a very short walk away. There were visits to food truck festivals – like What the Truck. Stops at some of my very well loved Markets  – like the Old Strathcona Market, Earth’s General Store, and the outdoor City Market on 104th street in Downtown Edmonton. New-to-me…

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Edmonton Visit – Vegan Night at Narayanni’s Restaurant

Whyte Ave is like Vancouver’s Commercial Drive, Toronto’s Queen Street (or maybe it’s The Danforth…), Calgary’s 17th Ave, or Saskatoon’s Broadway Avenue. Every city has that street, at least one, that you know as The Street (or Avenue) that people go for arts, foods, shopping, and assorted randomness. I can remember walking around on Whyte Ave with my mom when I was little, and then later when I was a punk in high school, and then later still when I just lived in the area. To this day, it’s still one of those places where vastly different groups can intermingle, sometimes with positive results, sometimes with not so positive results.  Narayanni’s Restaurant is tucked behind Whyte Avenue, so it’s got the benefit of being easy to get to by public transit (and still has parking) but it’s also off the busy street (parking!) We went to one of Narayanni’s special “Vegan Nights” which is going on every Tuesday during the month of May. It was a bargain at $15, and it sounds like they do a regular Vegan night every month (but they might do it more often if encouraged by attendance). Normally Narayanni’s is a vegan friendly, but not exclusively vegan, South African Indian restaurant. And run by the same folks that started Block 1912 cafe right on Whyte Ave. Narayanni’s, named after the owner’s granddaughter, has been open since 2010, and regularly offers a variety of vegan and gluten free items at their buffet. The atmosphere is a blend of casual…

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