The Weekend at the Vegetarian Food Fair (and TIFF!)

Saturday was a beautiful day for the Vegetarian Food Festival put on by the Toronto Vegetarian Association in Harbourfront Center. It remained bright and sunny until really late in the day. I got there early, right before it really got crowded, and snacked on a bunch of things (perhaps too many things…) Sunday was a little less pleasant, but still drew a great crowd. There was some great entertainment going on while I was meandering my way through the stalls. I really loved Two of Us (made up of Larra Skye and Kevin Zarnett) they did Accoustic Beatles Renditions and were very very good. I also saw a bit of lightsweetcrude and it was great too. Sweets from the Earth was there with an impressive selection of desserts, and I think over the course of the weekend I sampled a little bit of everything I hadn’t tried before (so, the caramel bars, a cookie and a bit of the gluten free chocolate brownie.) I talked with the people at the Ontario Vegetarian Food Bank (located at 2400 Midland Ave. Unit B5, in Scarborough), which sounds like such a great idea! The only one of it’s kind in North America. I found it incredibly disheartening to hear that someone had broken in to their location recently. Sounds like they are always looking for volunteers, so I think that might be something to consider. Both days I had something from the King’s Cafe booth, Sunday I picked up a sesame roll, a…

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A Daytrip to Niagara Falls

Last Sunday I went with four international couchsurfers for my first real visit to Niagara Falls. The only other time I saw them was on a night run to NYC in passing. I was happy to go with other newcommers because I got the impression from talking with other Torontonians that one of the greatest wonders of the world had become commonplace. Now, I understand the feeling, in that going to Banff was not nearly as appealing as it seems to be to some of these eastcoasters. Nigara Falls is not particularly vegan friendly, or at least I didn’t get that impression. I might go down again just to try it again and do more exploring around the city, but I didn’t get the chance. Happy Cow has a couple of veg friendly restos listed, the friendliest place sounds like Sahara (6225 Thorold Stone Road, Niagara Falls, On) I’ll be honest, I went to one of the most unvegan places in the Clifton Hills Tourist District: Wendy’s. I was hungry, grumpy and tired. I had my standard baked potato, with some chives and some hot sauce. Yup. Most menu’s I checked out had really limited options, I’m sure they were veganizable (or not…) but my potato kept me going for a few hours. One of my fellow travellers needed to cross the rainbow bridge to enter the United States, and while she did that the rest of us walked along the edge towards the whirlpool. It was neat, but a…

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Everything and Everything – More Poutine, but not much else.

Well, the last few days haven’t been devoid of activity, I’ve just been entirely too tired to post about them. That and not much food was involved, beyond my new favourite: Poutini’s (Late night dubstep and vegan poutine! Can’t go wrong there) I made a long awaited visit to the Ontario Science Center. As with every science center it was full of children, and that seemed to be the centers target audience, but as always, I had a great time. My friend and I went up on stage experience static electricity during a demonstration. While I really enjoyed my temporary static hair style, I don’t think I could pull if off on a daily basis. We also went into the Harry Potter exhibit. I have to admit, my science center buddy had to twist my arm a little to get me in there. Not that I don’t like the Harry Potter series, I just couldn’t see any reason to go. But I’m glad we did. Unfortunately no cameras were allowed, but they replicated parts of Hogwart’s Academy and had a few props from the movies (some of which I still haven’t seen.) It was an interesting experience all around. We both wondered how it related to science, but upon exiting we noticed there was a demonstration about “potions”. And it all made sense. I visited the Green Room (296 Brunswick Avenue) in the Annex on Friday night, and while my date was certain it was vegan friendly, it wasn’t. Vegetarian…

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Hanlan’s Point and Vegetarian Haven

Well, it was another beautiful day in Toronto, and the perfect day to go to the beach. So a friend and I took the ferry over to Hanlan’s Point, which is this great little area where you can surround yourself with greenery. Unusual signs like the following appear: It was so unusual, I felt like I had to snap a picture of it. I’ve gotten so accustomed to seeing KEEP OUT, STAY OFF, BE KIND, BE COURTEOUS, DON’T, etc, that being invited to do something was nice. Hanlan’s Point is also were one of Canada’s two clothing optional beaches is. Both times I’ve been there have been fun, but it’s way more fun going with a friend. Plus as she very accurately mentioned… it’s nice not to have to carry around a wet swim suit afterwards. I had a super fun time swimming and napping on the side of the water. But I have to admit, initially it is a bit awkward for me to start removing clothing outside, eventually I have to remind myself… most people there just don’t give a damn what I look like. After the clothing optional beach fun we headed back into the city, where I met up with another friend for dinner. It was time to visit the restaurant that everyone has been telling me about. Vegetarian Haven. (17 Baldwin St, Toronto.) It’s a nice little bistro right next to the Toronto Vegetarian Association and you can pick up Vegetarian Guides for Toronto at…

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Never a dull day.

Well, it’s never a dull day here, summertime means festivals, and festivals mean I’ll be there if I can. Unfortunately, there are so many, that I can’t go to all of them. I actually missed seeing something that I would have been really interested in (Zinedream!), because I didn’t know about it until too late. I hate when that happens! Anyway, I started the day off by forcing myself out of the house into the 30 degree weather, and catching the last day of FanExpo. So much fun, Sunday was a great day to go because there weren’t any reentry lines. The only line I stood in was the line for the escalator (no kidding), and it wasn’t as bad as Saturday. Someone told me about PS Kensington (otherwise I wouldn’t have had any idea) so I wandered over there from the Metro Convention Center and on the way stumbled upon the Chinatown festival, so I had to stop and take in some of the entertainment. I kept walking down Spadina, until I was drawn to St. Andrews Street by the beat of Jamaican drums. I walked by the Vegan Bake Sale the the first time without paying any attention to it. I thought… all these delicious treats couldn’t possibly be something I’m interested in. Then as I got to Kensington Avenue there was a sign saying “VEGAN BAKE SALE”. I backtracked and picked up some S’mores cupcakes. Yummy. They had already sold a lot by the time I arrived…

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Toronto: Poutini’s, FanExpo and Breakfast from Sadies

I did not come to Toronto for FanExpo, but it just happens to be serendipitously going on while I’m here. I waited in line for about an hour and a half to get a ticket for me and a friend. I had a wonderful time once I got in there, but there are few things I hate more than standing in lines. It was very cool to see Adam West, Felicia Day and Julie Newmar in the flesh though, I walked by as they were signing autographs yesterday. It’s such an interesting crowd, especially with so many different (somewhat) nerdy past times in one space. We went again today, but the lines were so ridiculous we ended up getting frustrated and went home. It was a true case of not being angry, just disappointed. Yesterday I went to Poutini’s (1112 Queen Street W) for Vegan Poutine! The poutine is made with white daiya cheese and a mushroom gravy, and dark fries. They even have a gluten free gravy. I walked in there and they were blaring some rap and eventually this dubstep remix. Vegan poutine and rap/dubstep meant I was extremely happy. They are cash only, so that was a little inconvenient but there was a bank machine with a nice old service fee(1.75) available in the front. I’m planning on heading back there before I leave, next time I’ll try the “layered” one, it’s a bit more expensive but involves more cheese.

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Toronto: CN Tower and Rancho Relaxo: Deep Fried Ice (soy) Cream, need I say more?

Last time I was in Toronto I didn’t go up to the CN Tower, and I felt I was missing out on an important (/tounge-in-cheek) tourist experience. So I finally went up and it was awesome. I love heights, and the views were incredible. I’m glad I finally went up. That makes the third high place I’ve been to, for the first time, on the second visit to a city in a year. Seattle Space Needle, Stratosphere in Las Vegas, and now the CN Tower in Toronto. It’s been a (somewhat) good year for that sort of thing. On the way home I was caught in a freak downpour. I’ve decided that for the remainder of my time in Toronto (however long that is) I’m going to carry around an umbrella in my purse just in case. No more getting soaked to the bone! Edmonton has an unpredictable climate, but Toronto has also been a mixed bag. We went to Rancho Relaxo (300 College Street, Toronto) for dinner, Vegan Chimichangas, they were good, a bit meatier than I like, but I’m not super fond of fake meat products in the best of times. I’m fairly certain that they used daiya because the cheese was melty. Then for dessert I tried the deep fried soy ice cream. There was no way of getting a nice picture of it, it doesn’t look particularly good when it is visible, and the lighting was terrible (and the photographer, i.e. me, was being lazy). BUT…

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Toronto: Fressen

I finally did what I came to Toronto for a couple of days ago and that evening a friend and I went to Fressen (478 Queen Street West,) a fine dining kind of vegan restaurant. It was rated one of the hippest vegetarian eateries in North America by VegNews and I can see why, it was very hip, and looked like a great place to go on a date. We parked in the back, and I loved the little mural on the back of the restaurant (probably because it features a cat,) in addition to the other graffiti and wall art in the alleyway. When we walked in the restaurant was mostly empty, but we lucked out because shortly after we sat down it filled up. It’s too easy to get overwhelmed with options at entirely vegan restaurants, the limitations imposed when there are things I just will not eat on other menus make it so much easier to choose something. This menu was no different. There are three sections, appetizers, tapas, and entries, so we just ordered something from each category. The assorted olive plate was delicious, though I don’t think I’ve met an olive plate I didn’t like. One of the green ones tasted as though it were soaked in vermooth, but that could have just been me. There were pimento stuffed ones, and my favourite as usual were the kalamata’s. Plum and vodka cold soup. I forgot to ask what kind of plum it was, but it…

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Toronto: Sadie’s Diner, African Kale Stew, and Sorbetto!

This morning we went over to Sadie’s Diner (504 Adelaide Street W, Toronto) for Brunch. Everyone seems to love the place, but both times I’ve been there, I haven’t been very excited about it. Either way, it was great to hang out with old friends and new friends. I had the breakfast burrito and uncharacteristically only finished half of it, though I am looking forward to eating the rest of it (maybe tomorrow for breakfast.) It was a tortilla stuffed with refried beans, salsa, lettuce, soy cheese (I’m thinking it was diaya because it was melty) and their tofu scramble. On the plus side, the potatoes were totally great, and I love that there is hot sauce readily available (which went great with the burrito because it needed some spice.) I remember having an awesome smoothie there two years ago, but I skipped it this time. Later I went to the Eaton’s Center (I need a new camera,) walked through the Art Gallery of Ontario for a few hours, walked through “The World’s Largest Bookstore” (it’s not really the world’s largest bookstore anymore) and took in the Filipino Making Waves Festival in Younge-Dundas Square. It’s great being in Toronto. My friend was telling me the one thing about being here, is that there are always ten-plus things to do on a regular basis, he’s right! Next weekend the FanExpo is happening right here in Toronto, and I want to be there. To top it all off, my host’s cooked for me.…

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First Day in Toronto – Cruda Cafe, Gourmet Vegetarian Restaurant, and a Vegan Danish Bakery

Well I got in to Toronto yesterday morning (5:30 am!) and one of my friends insisted that I stay with him and his wife (it wasn’t hard to convince me). It is so much nicer than sitting at a hostel. Usually I love hostels, but I think the morning would have been awful. I would have either had to stay awake until check in (at 4pm) or tried to beg for an early check in. Plus it’s so great to be with familiar folks. I’m glad I cancelled my reservation because I would have missed out on a lot! This trip was entirely too last minute for me and it’s upset my urge to plan quite a bit.  A couple places I know I would like to visit are the Royal Ontario Museum (ROM) and the Art Gallery of Ontario (AGO) both of which I missed the last time I was in Toronto. And of course another visit to Naked Beach can’t be missed, just because it exists. After I finally woke up (at 11am) my gracious hosts took me over to St. Lawrence Market (92 Front Street E), which is open Tuesdays through Saturdays as a normal market, but on Saturdays it also becomes the venue for a Farmer’s Market and increases the number of stalls. So much great stuff to choose from. If you’re looking for heirloom tomato’s that’s the place to go. So much cheaper than the San Francisco and Edmonton Farmers Market, it was really surprising.…

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