Some Toronto Vegan Businesses Doing Delivery/Pickup during Covid19 Social Distancing.

Hello, hope you are doing as well as possible. It’s been a heck of a few months, and I know many of us have been impacted in a variety of ways. It’s hard to imagine how drastically things have changed in a short period of time – I like to think we’re all in this together, and that it will be over someday, but I know that it hasn’t been impacting people equally. Shout outs to the people keeping us healthy, keeping us fed, and keeping the city moving. We are lucky that we live in a city where a variety of online/socially distant grocery options already existed before people had to pivot to offering them. We’ve been doing an online order – grocery pick up thing for a few years, if only because synchronizing our schedules and wrangling a toddler made grocery shopping challenging in the best of times. Anyway, I’ve been worried about a few small businesses making it through this, and I also wanted to share a few suggestions for sources of some levity during this time. If it’s accessible to you – support local stores and shops, some are doing pickup, some are open, and some are doing delivery. I’ve felt so much more comfortable going into my small local store than larger chains right now. First of all, if you haven’t signed up for one of FoodShare Toronto‘s produce delivery boxes, you might want to consider it. They’ve just recently added Alternative Grounds fair-trade coffee,…

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Basil Box – Tasty, Fast & Fresh

I had the opportunity to go to The Basil Box for the first time this week, and I really liked it. I checked out their website in advance and noticed they had a bunch of great looking vegan sauces, and a tasty looking tofu option – I was really happy to see how easy it was to order a vegan meal with them. Everything is clearly labelled V for vegan-friendly, and everything is gluten free by default. It was quick and easy to order and I think it would be a decent option for our whole family (toddler included). First you chose a base – which can be brown rice, jasmine white rice, rice noodles, mixed greens or a mix of a couple different bases. When I was ordering I went with the long grain jasmine rice, but for my next bowl I would probably do rice and mixed greens. Next you pick two veggies (all of the options are vegan by default) so there are sauteed peppers, roasted onions and peas, lemongrass corn, roasted edamame, and charred sweet potato. I was tempted by that sweet potato, but went with edamame and sauteed peppers for a colourful mix. They have one main vegan protein option – a coconut curry tofu, which is a nice pressed extra firm tofu marinated in one of their own Basil Box made curry pastes and coconut milk. The owner mentioned they are testing a couple other vegan protein options, so there might be more in…

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Toronto Vegfest 2019

We made it to Toronto’s Vegfest, this will be my 8th year attending. I think I might have missed a year somewhere along the line, but I’m there pretty much every year. The past week was spent cottaging in Muskoka, and we got back mid-way on Saturday so I wasn’t sure if we’d make it this year. Plus if I’m going to be honest with you, I was kind of avoiding it – it’s a big and busy festival with lots of people, but we did make it, and grabbed some good food. These aren’t all the highlights of our time, but it’s some of the stuff I tried, bought, or saw at VegFest. First of all, Wandering Deli was at VegFest this year, and I wanted to mention that Wandering Deli is going to open a vegan cheese shop. There is an Indigogo campaign, so you could click over there and check it out. View this post on Instagram Our first vegfoodfest Saturday went pretty well! Chatted with so many new folks, saw some beloved market regulars come out, finally met some other much admired cheesemakers, had the best helper ( thank you so much to our former biz partner and forever friend James for helping us today!!!) The future of this winding path is looking pretty lovely. #hooorayforvegancheese A post shared by Wandering Deli (@wanderingdeli) on Sep 7, 2019 at 7:29pm PDT I’ve been happy to follow along with their cheese making journey (as a happy customer) for…

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Udupi Palace – Consistently Great & Kid Friendly

It’s become increasingly more important to me that a place be kid friendly when we go out to eat as a family. That can’t be surprising, we have a three year old, and since he was born, our eating habits have changed. Sometimes that involves eating at home more often (also including delivery), sometimes that involves suffering through long waits and an impatient tiny human. It’s not like we’re not feeling impatient too, it’s just easier to pretend you like waiting when you’re a adult. There is one place in the city that stands out as having nearly everything we want, while still allowing us the experience of dining out – Udupi Palace. We rarely go to the east end (though there are more and more reasons to do so) but Udupi Palace is worth the drive/transit ride. They have a great little kids play area that is probably suitable for anyone under the age of 6, lots of high chairs of various sizes, they have a changing station in the back, the staff are kind and patient with children (and adults), and the food is awesome. Every time. I have this bonus fondness for Udupi because we went there a lot when I was pregnant too – the spicy rassam was exactly what I wanted to eat during the third trimester. Plus JC reminded me that it was also one of the first restaurants I took him to when we met – and one he had never been to,…

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Vegan Hanukah Menu Planning

I spend a lot of time thinking up ideas for special events at our house – and I tend to go a bit overboard. We are a family of three, and very rarely, are we accompanied by my in-laws. They have additional dietary restrictions to consider that can be a bit more challenging to accommodate – non-vegan keto – so when we eat together, it takes a little bit of planning to make sure everyone has something to eat. It’s also kind of fun working with additional restrictions because it changes things up, and usually makes us try something new. We’ve been doing a couple of things to try and encourage family to come over, so instead of dinners, we try to do breakfasts or brunches and invite people over when they’re less likely to have other things going on. Vegan Hanukkah Brunch Tofu Scramble Bagels Lox (carrot or tomato) Quick pickled purple onion Potato Pancakes Zucchini Cauliflower Pancakes Macaroons Vegan cheese plate A bunch of cream cheese – Miyokos (we picked some up from Summerhill Market in Toronto), Tofutti, and maybe some homemade cashew based.) I like the idea of help yourself buffet style brunch. Put a bunch of serving dishes out with food on them, some plates, and people find a place to sit and chat around the house. Tofu Scramble – If you follow me on instagram or facebook, you know my endless love for Hot for Food’s Perfect Tofu Scramble, it is always excellent. The combination…

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Toronto – Rosalinda

Rosalinda opened earlier this year in May, and I’ve been a handful of times. Sometimes just to grab a snack and a drink at the bar (totopos!), sometimes with friends, sometimes on a date, sometimes with a group. It’s good for all of those things. And Rosalinda has turned into one of my favourite fancy-casual type places in the city. Seating is ample (138-seats) – the space feels huge – especially by Toronto restaurant standards. If you go during the day, it’s full of bright natural light, and a mix of pretty green fake and (maybe?) real plants throughout the space. Lots of windows, lots of intimate corners to sit in. They have these great mini booths for two people, and bigger booths at the back, and I feel like the seats are well spaced. Last month someone I knew sat next to me, and we were spaced far enough away that we didn’t realize it until one of us got up and came back. The food is always good. Every time. I’ve never had anything that I felt wasn’t well thought out – though I don’t love everything, that’s personal preference, not poor execution. At this point I’ve tried most of the menu, and I find myself gravitating towards the same things. Appetizers My favourite appetizers to share (or not share) are the mushroom potato flautas and the chilaquiles rojos. Over and over again, these two have stood out. They’re both beautifully spiced and flavourful with a great combination…

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Quebec City, PQ – Wandering, History, & Les Gourmandes Louca

While we were in Quebec City, we stayed at a lovely airbnb and enjoyed the sights and sounds of old Quebec. There are some incredible urban climbs in Quebec City, but thankfully you are rewarded by the  accompanying grand views of the city and the St. Lawerence river. We got a lot of exploring done – even during our relatively short visit. On our first day there, we visited the Governors Promenade, which also has a 300 step staircase where you can see a beautiful view of the river, and of Levis, the city across the St. Lawerence. We wandered through Vieux- Quebec, and it’s so easy to enjoy the old and winding streets, full of history and incredible architecture. Just walking around without a specific destination in mind is a pleasure, because you will inevitably stumble upon something that sparks your interest. This area is also home to several National Historic Sites, a UNESCO world heritage site, and the majestic Chateau Frontenac (which is a hotel you can even stay at if you want to be in the middle of everything, and a few hundred dollars a night.) Randomly, there were Dali sculptures being displayed and sold outside (in case you’re wondering… we didn’t buy any of them…) When it was time to grab a meal somewhere, we decided to check out Les Gourmandises LOUCA, a zero waste, vegan restaurant and grocery. They have reusable containers you can take for your to-go items, a variety of bulk foods, and…

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Toronto, ON – Vegan options at Farm’r

I recently had the opportunity to visit Farm’r, a local procurement centring, seasonal, farm-to-table style restaurant on the Esplanade. They have a great covered patio outside, and bright cheerful indoor seating, with great lighting. But what I really want to talk about is the food – because I liked it. A lot. We had the opportunity to try a variety of dishes, take pictures, and chat. One thing I love is hearing about food from the chef involved – and I was happy to hear a bit from Chef Kyle Webster on what each dish was about – he seemed especially keen on the Ontario grown quinoa and kale salad, so I was very excited to try it. Did you know that folks are growing quinoa in Ontario? I didn’t – while I knew about an initiative in another part of the country, finding out it is being grown right here is pretty cool. Here is what I had: Lentil and chickpea fritter sandwich Beets with pumpkin seeds (ask for this without feta) Ontario grown Quinta Quinoa and kale salad Marinated Summer Vegetables We also got to try some beer from Hendersons Brewery which was fun too – their beer is already familiar to us, and is all really enjoyable – though my favourite was the borderline molasses flavoured bourbon barrel aged dark beer. In case you’re curious, Henderson brewery beer is vegan. (Thanks barnivore.) So the lentil and chickpea fritters were  lovely with the tahini gravy – do not skip the…

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Away Kitchen and Cafe on College

The folks that have brought us the ever lovely Awai have a low-key plant based cafe brewing up on College – Away Cafe . They’ve been open for about a month, and it’s looking like a great space. You can sort of see the menu in the picture above, but it’s a nice mix of breakfast options, appetizers, soup, salad, and drinks. We went last week and tried a few things for a late lunch. I ordered the Porcini mushroom soup with a savoury rosemary scone. and JC had the empanadas. Also the soy latte I had was excellent too. There is a nice atmosphere, and it’s full of plants and whimsy. Also there are a couple of literal plant walls that are beautiful (and delicious). There is quite a bit of seating and free wifi. Away Kitchen + Cafe  680 College Ave (at Beatrice), Toronto (map) website | instagram

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Oakville check out Dar Nabati!

We decided to check out Dar Nabati‘s soft open today in downtown Oakville. It was just a nice day for a drive, and where better to go than a new vegan spot opening up in the area. Their grand opening is happening on April 27th, 2018, so pay them a visit if you can. (p.s. they will also be open for a sneak preview tomorrow, April 22nd, 2018.) So what is Dar Nabiti? Dar (دار) Nabati (نباتي) is open to some interpretation, but it’s something in the space of Plant based/vegan/vegetarian. It is a plant based cafe, with a middle eastern twist, so you will see wonderful things like shwarma, manakeesh, halloumi, bowls, and egg salad sandwiches, croissants, cinnamon buns, and more, but obviously all vegan. The space is super nice and cozy, with plants, and a really peaceful colour scheme. There are high tables and low tables, several fridges just waiting to be filled up for their grand opening, and some ethical body and home care goods. It was great to see one of my favourites – Just the Goods – there, because they make some wonderfully thoughtful and ethical vegan body stuff. They also had Spiffy Naturals candles and cleaning supplies and Sade Baron body care stuff so far! So what did we have? Philly Cheese Steak Ugh, this was so good. Shwarma (you can also get sides, but we just didn’t – but they did come with pickles which is basically just excellent anyway.) Gluten Cookies My son…

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