Brunch at Cosmic Treats, Toronto

This weekend we finally checked out Brunch at Cosmic Treats. I haven’t been in there since they opened, but JC brought me a few of their baked goods shortly after they opened. and I liked ’em. But we decided to actually go and eat inside since they are so much more than a candy and ice cream shop. Kensington showed its friendly face to me in the street with a random stranger bullying me on the sidewalk. After that, I was ready to just go home and stay home for the day or week. But instead we walked into to Wanda’s Pie in the Sky and drank soy lattes while I pretended to read books for about two hours before Cosmic Treats opened for brunch. Cosmic Treats opens at 11:30 am, and we stood there like hungry cats in the rain (except there was no rain, and you should really keep your cats indoors at all times anyway) until a line up of other hungry people formed behind us. I considered scratching at the door, but resisted. They let us sit a bit sooner than they were ready, and the restaurant filled up steadily after the door opened. But frankly, I…

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Alo Restaurant – Anniversaries with a Vegan Tasting Menu

Last week JC and I went to Alo Restaurant to celebrate our 2nd wedding anniversary and the other exciting things going on in our lives: a promotion, a new and growing business, my growing belly (p.s. I’m pregnant), and so many wonderful little things that have added up over the last couple of years. It’s nice to be here in this place in life, and that seems like something worth celebrating. I like tasting menus because they tend to be indulgent, not in quantity, but in terms of showcasing a chef’s pride and work. Plus it’s fun to splurge on a fun meal and experience (Oh and The Process, The Process!), and I’m woefully indecisive so it’s perfect for me to have a variety of thoughtfully prepared dishes come out one by one (as long as they’re vegan). JC had had read a review in the Globe and Mail earlier this month that mentioned “vegan tasting menu available with 24hrs notice,” so he sprang into action, and thoughtfully made reservations for our anniversary while I was still wondering if we should do anything at all. Alo Restaurant has been open since sometime in July, and from the reviews I read before heading in, has been a wonderful and spectacular…

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Memories of Sadie’s Diner in Toronto

We ate our last meal at Sadie’s Diner last weekend. Sadies is was a vegan-friendly meatless restaurant that had been open since 2006, but now it’s closed. I’ve always seen it as an institution in Toronto and was a little surprised it wasn’t open even longer, but it probably helps that I have never known a Toronto without Sadie’s. Sadie’s Diner was one of the first vegan-friendly restaurants I went to in Toronto on my first 48hr visit to Toronto back in 2008, and was one of the first spots I visited when I arrived in 2010 (on the post-university “visit” that has extended to the present.) Known for their all-day-breakfasts, bright teal diner tables, and a huge wall of Pez (the owner Al is a serious collector), this spot did more than serve food – it was home to fundraisers, and art shows and community meetings, and more, and I hope that there will be other local vegan businesses that pick up the torch on the Vegan-Food-For-Charity front, because that level of thoughtfulness and community involvement will be missed. I remember the very first Chili-For-Charity fundraiser I attended (which was also the first time JC and I went to Sadie’s together) back…

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Field Roast Apple Sage Sausage – Then and Now.

As you might know, last year in September, Field Roast’s tasty vegan sausages became scarce, and hard to find. Why was that? As JC and I learned at the Vegetarian Food Festival, the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) and Health Canada had taken issues with how Field Roast product fit within current food regulations, and banned them. Two things needed to happen before Field Roast would be allowed to sell in Canada again, they needed to: label their product as a “Simulated Meat Product” do a Protein Efficiency Ratio study, which at the time they believed required live animal testing. (they later found out there was an approved alternative that did not involve animal testing.) You can read the whole story here from Field Roast. Anyway, fast forward to 9 months later.  They actually did all of these things (using the non-animal alternative method of course.) They redid their labels, added pea protein, and a vitamin fortification mixture to meet Canadian regulatory standards, and announced they were coming back to Canada. You can read more about that over at the Field Roast Blog here. But they view these as temporary measures and this experience with the CFIA and Health Canada triggered the…

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Home After Austin – Good Bye Vida Vegan Con – Day one

It seems like only a week ago I was boiling in the Austin, Texas heat… probably because it was merely a week. How time flies by when you’ve got your head buried in a computer trying to get the final pieces together to launch a business. But more about that eventually. As we were driving down to Niagara VegFest yesterday, JC put my coffee in a Vida Vegan Con One mug, and I got all nostalgic. Heading to @niagaravegfest & feeling nostalgic about last weekend in Austin. This mug is from the very first @vidavegancon in pdx. The organizers really started something special with VVC, and I’m grateful to have been able to participate and to meet so many of you there. #vegan #vidavegancon A photo posted by MeShell (@veganinyourcity) on Jun 7, 2015 at 7:52am PDT It’s been a weird week, but mostly a productive one, despite being in a travelling daze for a few of those days. Looking back at the weekend in Austin – I’d say it was something special. Especially after some time to decompress and reflect. Getting the opportunity to meet and talk to so many incredibly wonderful people in the real world is powerful. It’s…

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SukhoThai – Downtown Toronto

In between the Brewer’s Plate (a celebration of local food and beer and fundraiser for the Greenbelt) last week and going home we grabbed dinner at Sukhothai near St. Lawrence Market. SukhoThai called to us with its sign, a combination of needing a substantial meal after pickling ourselves in local brews at the event for a couple of hours, and curiosity about what I’d find there. JC had visited Sukhothai before for lunch and knew there was at least one vegan dish on the menu. I asked our server when we sat down what our options were – and she said all of the curries could be made vegan (unfortunately, with the exception of my favourite style – the massaman), and all of the pad thai noodle dishes, just let them know. We started with the fresh salad rolls, which were filled with all of the deliciousness you might expect from salad rolls (like mango, lettuce, vermicelli noodles, basil, carrots) , and cut up in convenient two bite pieces. It was a great appetizer and I’d definitely recommend it (and I’ll certainly order it again). JC and I both ordered the Sukhothai Pad Thai, since it’s their “Sukh’ed up” Northern…

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Meet Up/Food Swap in Toronto

Once upon a time there was a Canadian Vegan Food swap, and it was fun to do a nationwide thing and trade with people that were complete strangers in other provinces and cities. BUT a friend (Sarina over at Earthgiven Kitchen) recently did a local food swap with a meetup group in Kitchener-Waterloo, and I thought it might be fun to try that as a little experiment here too. So. If you’re interested, send me an email with the following information: Your Name: Preferences: Favourite Colour: Allergies: Fun Fact: Blog/Twitter/Instagram?: I will partner you up with someone randomly, and we will meet up on June 4th between 6:30pm and 7:30pm at Bloomers, in Toronto to do the exchange OR you and your partner can pick a time that’s more convenient for you. Here’s how it works: 1) If you want to participate, send me an email with your information ASAP – No later than May 15th. 2) You don’t have to be vegan to participate, just interested in veganism, trying new foods and meeting a new friend! But the contents of your swap box/bag/etc must be vegan. 3) I will email each of your your swap partner’s information by May 21. 4) You…

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The Thai on Bloor – Toronto

Thai food has always been one of those foods I gravitate towards – especially being vegan. Yes, everyone talks about hidden fish sauce, but it doesn’t happen often, and from what I’ve been able to tell most of the time when I go into a restaurant people have been honest with me (even if it means they lose a sale.) We live near High Park, and a relatively short walk away from Roncesvalles, which has a couple of vegan friendly Thai restaurants (The Friendly Thai and Thai Chef Cuisine) and since moving to the neighbourhood we hadn’t branched out much beyond those familiar two. One evening I walked by The Thai on Bloor from Keele station. It’s one of those wonderful stumble-upon a place on foot experiences that are so rare with the internet dictating so much of my eating habits these days – but The Thai had a big chalkboard sign outside, and one of the items was “Vegan Options Available.” Just this line was enough to make me feel optimistic, they used the V word, but looking at the menu got me feeling excited. A whole glorious vegan page of dishes, with some meats even. I put The Thai in…

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Rose City Kitchen – Downtown Toronto Vegan Options

So when we went to the grand opening of Smash Juice Bar a few weeks ago, I hadn’t realized there were three businesses opening up. And I didn’t realize any of the others would have vegan options. I asked the folks at Rose City Kitchen on Twitter the usual question, which they answered quickly and helpfully. @mdgee @thebigjc Yes they are! #Vegan4Life #FalafelsForever — Rose City Kitchen (@RoseCityKitchen) April 20, 2015 JC and I had agreed we’d go back there together for lunch sometime, but the timing kept not working out – so he went earlier this week and got a falafel in a pita (and seemed to like it) so when I found myself in the neighbourhood today at the perfect (lunch) time of day, it looked like it was my turn for tasty falafel box. There is now actual seating (vs high top tables with no chairs) at Rose City Kitchen/Smash Juice Bar/Clockwork Coffee at 36 Toronto Street, so you can sit and relax (with long tables, bench seating, and chairs.) I ordered the RCK Original Falafel – which is humus, tabouleh, fresh cut fries(!!!), carrots, lettuce, garlic oil, and cherry harissa dressing. You can get it as a sandwich…

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IKEA Veggie Balls – Gronsaksbullar!!!

Well, they’re here, and I liked them. From the moment we walked into the IKEA on The Queensway in Toronto, it shaped up to be a positive experience. There was a big sign by the escalator in the entrance announcing the new veggie balls. We went over on the first day (April 27) to give them a try, it was weird to plan a trip to IKEA solely to eat at the Restaurant, a spot that hasn’t particularly been that exciting for me for the last few decades. But there we were. We arrived just in time to be sandwiched between crowds on either side. I don’t know how many of us were excitedly waiting for veggie balls – it may have just been a normal day at IKEA. But for me, I was looking forward to trying them, but I was also trying to keep my expectations low. I had some friends in the USA (where the veggie balls launched earlier this month) saying they weren’t that exciting or they needed more sauce, so that tempered my expectations a little bit. Ingredients:  Vegetable Balls – Chickpeas, green peas, carrots, red bell peppers, corn, kale, pea protein, onions, rapeseed oil,…

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