Things I love Thursday on Friday – Edmonton Edition. Earths General Store, The River Valley, Yoga, Food.

There are so many things I love, and so many things I could be talking about, but this week, I’m relishing my time in Edmonton. It’s been a little under a year since my last visit, and at some point last month I realized I missed my family & friends, and it was time for a visit. So there has been food, and fun, and lots of catching up. I’ve really enjoyed it. Everything is novel, and I’m a tourist in my hometown. I’m comparing notes, I’m remembering old haunts, and realizing they are completely gone. I’m discovering new and interesting places, and old and interesting places, and exploring the city through a whole new lens.

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Edmonton – Farmers Market, Clever Rabbit, West Edmonton Mall. Where else?

Yesterday was our first full day in Edmonton and we filled it up with a whole bunch of Edmontonriffic activities. Starting the day off bright and early (or just normal in Toronto) we went over to the City Market Downtown / 104th Street Farmers Market to take a look at what’s changed (and what’s stayed the same.) It seems to have almost doubled in size since I was last here, (and can I say how cool it is to be able to look back 2 years and see when I was here last… nearly exactly 2 years to the date) and even though it was a rainy Saturday morning, there was a decent crowd. Many of the same vendors were there, but just as many new-to-me ones. The one vendor that had really sparked my interest in going to the market this weekend – the cookie lady, Bloom Bakery, that oh-so-many people recommended wasn’t there today. But on the bright side, I got to see a friend working at the market I might not have seen otherwise.

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Edmonton – A few hours into our week.

JC and I are in Edmonton now. Our trip on Air Canada was uneventful, and food less. They promote a vegetarian panini, with red pepper hummus, but failed to have it on the flight. Vegan options are next to non-existent in their “On Board menu” so it was almost exciting to see something vegetarian (beyond the usual nuts or potato chips) mentioned. No such luck. They could totally hook us up with a roast beef baguette though, oh boy. I think if demand is high enough that they sell out of things like these, then maybe they should cut down on the roast beef, and increase the number of vegetarian options they carry (since more people can enjoy those.) But I’m biased, of course. Anyway, It’s been nearly two years since I’ve been back to Edmonton, and I’ve been looking forward to it. Edmonton is a really special city, and I appreciate the memory of it quite a bit. It doesn’t get enough credit for the quality community and city it is. I love Toronto, but Edmonton will always have a piece of my heart. Lots of green space, the river valley is amazing, the public parks are awesome and loved, bike trails, an art gallery that looks both unique and ridiculous, and a city powered by passionate volunteers (that when I was in the province, did so because they wanted to, not because it was mandated as part of the school curriculum like it is in Ontario.) It also sounds like a lot has…

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Failing the 21$/day Vegan Challenge.

To find out more about the 21$/day vegan challenge, and why, please visit Vegan Hope. Especially this post. Let’s just straight out say it, it can be expensive to eat healthy. It can be even more expensive to eat locally or organically. One walk through the grocery store, and you can see, cheap simple carbohydrates vs expensive fruits and veggies. A visit to the farmer’s market can be mindboggling when you look at some of the prices of fresh vegetables or prepared items. I’m not knocking them, I do see the value of supporting local organic farmers over supporting large multinational corporations, and I love my weekly walk through at the farmers market because I love the atmosphere and  I love talking to other people that are passionate about food. But it can get pricey very quickly. My last few days have been interesting. Monday morning I went over to Superstore, and picked up a few things with the budget in mind. My thoughts primarily focused on getting adequate protein and carbohydrates. I thought that was interesting because I looked at fruits and vegetables as an indulgence rather then a necessity. What did I buy: – organic cornmeal muffin mix (1 package makes 12) – $2.50 – organic couscous (it was the same price as the regular kind) – $2.50 – a large package of extra firm tofu – 1.89 – Pasta – 1.97 – can of spaghetti sauce – .99 – zucchini – 1.29 Taxes were about 7 cents, the plus…

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Edmonton International Fringe Festival, Remedy, Block 1912

I’m back in Edmonton safe and sound. It’s been a bit of an adjustment to try and slow down to the pace of being “home,” however I came back right as the Edmonton International Fringe Fest started up and so there is always something to do. Edmonton lives up to it’s name as Festival City in the summer time, it’s too easy to forget about that when it’s cold and snowy out. In the last few days I have lost a dear friend, one that has traveled with me all across Canada (well, from Vancouver to Montreal and everywhere in between), New York City, and the Pacific time zone. The digital camera I use to take the majority of my photos, my Panasonic DMC–FX10, has finally died after years of mistreatment. Thankfully, it didn’t happen until after I got back to Edmonton, but nevertheless I’m sad about it. So what was my first food stop here in the city? Remedy of course! It was time for a piece of cheesecake. I’m not going to lie, there is a certain level of satisfaction in having one of the last pieces, and my friend and I did so. It was back to being delicious as before, this time Mango & Raspberry, but they had it labeled as something else, Hot Cake, I think. One thing I enjoy about Remedy is their sense of humor, just looking at some of the names (of the non-vegan cakes) is amusing. My friend had one of…

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Padmanadi Brunch and Downtown City Market

After work this morning I hopped on the LRT, and sat at Credo Coffee with the other Early Birds waiting to swoop in on the Downtown Edmonton Farmers Market. I picked up a package of LimeGreens Sour Cream and Onion Kale Chips, and they were such a hit with the family (and pretty much everyone that’s tried them.) J and I tried a cherry chocolate smoothie with hemp seeds, and it was delicious, such a nice flavour from the raw cocoa. Another beautiful day in Edmonton, and perfect for visiting the farmers market. We stared longly at the Eva’s Sweet Waffles cart hoping that one day there would be vegan options, but it wasn’t meant to be (not yet?) So instead (and preferably) it was time to try brunch at Padmanadi for the first time. I’ve heard about it, I’ve longingly stared at the menu for weeks, but just never got around to going there. Luckly J was game, and off we went. Brunch was AMAZING. The ham and cheese omelet, with veggie ham, mushrooms, spinach and cheddar style daiya cheese, wrapped up in multiple layers of bean curd sheet. I don’t think I can recommend that people try this enough. Yum. We also tried the Traditional Eggs Benedict, with tofu egg on an English muffin, veggie salami sausage slices, tomato, and hollandaise sauce. This was pretty darn delicious, and looked beautiful, but the Ham and Cheese omelet was hard to top. I am so glad we went to Padmanadi for Brunch, it…

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Midnight Potato Salad

I couldn’t get to sleep last night after sleeping for most of the afternoon (working a night shift really messes with the sleep schedule) so it seemed like the perfect time to use up a few potatoes and make a potato salad. I love potato salad because it’s one of the easiest things to make. You can combine such a variety of ingredients and end up with something delicious and satisfying. I used up some (okay, all) of my spicy (red jalapeño stuffed) Fiesta Olives from the Alberta Avenue Farmers Market, a sprig of lovage from the Edmonton CIty Market and a couple of items from a local farm (2 scallions, 2lbs white potatoes, half a zucchini and a few sprigs of parsley, ) 3 pickles and poured in 2 TBSP of Braggs apple cider vinegar, 3 TBSP extra virgin olive oil and a touch of sea salt and freshly ground black pepper. There are a lot of recipes that call for mayonnaise or sour cream, but I tend to take it easy on those when I’m making this salad. When I want to make something rich and creamy, I end up using about a cup of veganaise, especially when I’m making something for omnivores, but this potato salad is nice and light, and my family really enjoyed it.

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Vegans can’t have Barbecues right?

I told a few acquaintances about going to a BBQ this week and they looked at me questioningly, and asked nervously… “well, uh…what did you have?” It felt like they were waiting for me to confess to my post-veganness; that I had ripped into a cow based burger, or some other similar thing. Of course not! A friend came back to visit Edmonton from the heaven that is Tofino, BC, and we all had a BBQ together. What do you eat if you’re vegan? Guess what, it’s nearly the same thing as everyone else. We had a raw broccoli and cauliflower salad with a raspberry vinaigrette. boiled and roasted cobs of corn. veggie burgers (regular and wheat free), roasted potatoes. Simple and delicious. I’m looking forward to arranging another barbecue soon, this time in one of Edmonton’s great big parks. Now tell me, does this look like an empty plate to you?

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New Stuff at Padmanadi (again)

It’s been a long time since I’ve ordered something new to me at Padmanadi, but it’s been a Padmanadi couple of days, since friends have wanted to see the new location, and who better to come along than me!? The first few visits years ago consisted of ordering a new thing on the menu every time, then I got into a routine of familiar favourites. Well, with the slightly new menu came new opportunities. Yesterday three of us tried three items that were new to us: The Hot and Sour Soup I’m just going to come out and say it. I didn’t like the Hot and Sour soup. I loved the cilantro on top, and it was still “good” but there was something about the flavour I just didn’t enjoy. It comes with veggie ham in it, and copious amounts of starch.   As I was eating it, I kept thinking… Oriental Veggie House’s Hot and Sour soup is still the best vegetarian version I’ve ever had. The Spicy Coconut Eggplant This was amazing. It has a little pepper beside it on the menu, but It wasn’t very spicy. Although the spice/pain receptors in my tongue could be dulled from overuse. One out of the three of us didn’t like it, and thought it was spicy and too squishy, but me and  else thought it was just awesome all around. A lightly spicy coconutty spicy flavour permeated the eggplant and made every bite equally tasty. I think it might be a new…

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Edmonton City Market

I had lofty goals to get out to the St.Albert Farmers Market this weekend, but decided that after a full 12 hour night shift, it was probably better to take it easy. So, a quick LRT ride and I was downtown bright and early, waiting for the bell to ring (which signifies the vendors can start selling). Considering the unpredictable weather, the turn out was decent right from the beginning, and as 9am rolled around the sun came out. Perfect! This time I was looking for some truffle olive tapenade and LimeGreen’s macaroons, unfortunately, man with the truffles was nowhere to be found, and there weren’t any macaroons at LimeGreen’s. Maybe next week! I made the best of it. Gave me an excuse to try a bunch of other things. As an aside, it looks like LimeGreen’s is doing an assorted nut milk/raw food delivery service, sounds like an interesting idea and I hope it does well! More information is at their website First stop was The Happy Camel, since I’ve been meaning to try some of their Za’tar flat bread for a while. It’s fluffy and delicious, and perfect with sliced fresh tomatoes. They have a nice red pepper hummus that’s vegan and also tasty. You can find them at most Farmer’s Markets in the city (and in St.Albert too) as well as their bakery/cafe in the Callingwood Shopping Center (6404-177 Street.)  Next I stopped by the Innisfail Growers, and picked up some Gourmet Asparagus Relish. I wish there…

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