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 creation of the Plant Foods Council – a trade association of  food manufacturers who make vegan products similar to traditional animal products such as meats, milks, cheeses and butters. The goal of the Plant Foods Council is to work to update Canadian food labelling regulations and promote the health and ecological…

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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 so meaningful. I used to happily say I lived on the Internet, but as time has passed, I have to admit that while I live in both worlds simultaneously, I’m finding the real life connection and conversation thing to be just a bit more fulfilling. I am so grateful to…

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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 Thai version of pad thai. No matter where we go for pad thai it’s always different, but in many ways always the same. This one was nice and saucy, with good noodle separation. I ordered spicy, but I didn’t realize they also had a “Thai spicy” level – next time…

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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 have a few weeks to put together a gift box of vegan fun items. I suggest we keep the gift limit to $20. 5) You’re not limited to food – other ideas are teas, soaps, homemade gifts, etc. 6) Send me pictures, post pictures on instagram with the tag #veganfoodswapTO…

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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 my mental “To Eat” list and moseyed on my way home. Finally, a friend and I paid them a visit for the first time a month ago, I had the Spicy Curry Soy-Shrimp. It’s meant to be eaten with rice, but I skipped that so it didn’t seem like much…

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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 or a box meal (served on either rice or kale.) I went with the box meal on rice – grabbed some extra hot sauce and harissa from the counter and also a bottle of cherry chia kombucha from Smash Juice Bar. Service was fast and friendly, they answered my in…

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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, seasoning (salt, dried cane syrup, yeast extract, dried onion, spices [rubbed sage, lack pepper, bay leaves], dried carrot, dried parsley, natural extracts of black pepper, turmeric, pea starch. Service was super nice too. They made a point of saying “That makes them totally vegan” when I asked for it without…

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V’s Caribbean Vegan Vegetarian in Toronto, ON

Around a month ago JC and I visited V’s Caribbean Restaurant – Vegan Vegetarian a bit late this evening, just a bit before closing (they close at around 7pm) but they still had a bit of food left so they put together a container for us, and we were really happy about it. The food was delicious and hearty, with rich satisfying flavours. This week, I went back again with a friend, and had a full and amazing plate of food – The Pong Special (named after one of their chefs) which is the perfect plate for indecisive or hungry people that want to try a little bit of everything V’s Caribbean has to offer (and I highly recommend it so you can find your own favourites!) Almost everyday – the folks at V’s post their menu for the day on Instagram – so if you follow them, suddenly when they open there is a series of posts of their various mouthwatering stews and other dishes. Today they had: Cauliflower & Lima bean stew Curry TVP (textured veggie protein) chunks Steamed/fried callaloo Curried chickpeas & potatoes Maple jerk tofu (which was straight up incredible) Creamy fried Bammies (aka cassava) and steamed okra Basmati rice & peas Spiced baked mash potatoes (omg) Mixed veggies  (onions, cabbage, broccoli, brussels sprouts, peas, carrots, more) Desserts – like vegan donuts Soups – porridge and pea soup At the moment – they are cash only, but it sounds like they plan to have debit eventually. They’re currently open Tuesday…

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Smash Juice Bar – Grand Opening – April 20th

JC and I decided to check out Smash Juice Bar for lunch on their grand opening today. Along with raw, gluten-free and mostly vegan (one item has honey in it) packaged foods (everything is well labelled), they’ve also got a nice variety of juices, kombucha, non-dairy milks, and cold press coffee. It is a nice addition to the area that’s becoming increasingly vegan friendly (with spots like Kupfert & Kim, IQ Food Co, Superfood Eateries, etc) which I couldn’t have said with much enthusiasm a few years ago. Transit accessible, walkable, and it shares the space with the newest location of Rose City Kitchen (which is vegan friendly too – hello falafel) and Clockwork Coffee (which made me an excellent soy latte today.) JC and I shared the Mediterranean Wrap and the Zucchini Linguini, plus a couple of drinks, a Refreshing Smoothie for JC, and a Cherry Chia Kombucha for me. I was pleasantly surprised by how light the Mediterranean wrap was, and the wrap balanced being strong enough to contain all the veggies and hummus, with being light enough to be easy to bite into. Ingredients: Carrots, ground flax, tomatoes, hummus, cabbage, kale, sea salt, spices  I liked the mediterranean wrap, but my favourite in terms of lively flavours was the zucchini linguini. It was well seasoned, the noodles were fresh and everything came together wonderfully. We’re generally not “raw food” folks, but you can almost never go wrong with zucchini noodles. Ingredients: zucchini, tomatoes, hemp hearts, olive oil, lemon juice, garlic, fresh herbs,…

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2 Vegan Kickstarters – April 2015

Every week the folks at Vegucated post about This Week in Vegan Crowdfunding –  which is cool and useful, and I enjoy that they do a regular roundup of some of the vegan projects happening. Demetrius, one of the producers of Vegucated, also put together a great collection of tips on how to “Crowdfund Your Vegan Business” recently (on a new vegan business focused website.) So, that ground is covered. I suggest checking them out weekly, and supporting what you can. As for me, I wanted to highlight two crowdfunding campaigns that I was particularly keen on, and if you follow me on facebook or twitter, you’ve probably heard about these a bunch already. Driftwood Magazine Here is their kickstarter What is Driftwood Magazine? “Driftwood is a celebration of what is possible in a vegan world. It’s a place to see other vegans and celebrate our world with and through each other. Every issue will be filled with stories of vegan travel adventures, profiles on people, the arts, and advancements and issues in the global vegan community. Unlike most vegan magazines, Driftwood concentrates on people through culture and the arts. This is reflected in high-quality, visually stunning images. Our print publication is on quality paper, making Driftwood a collectible piece rather than a disposable magazine.” Why am I into it? I think we are ready for a non-intro-to-vegan lifestyle & travel magazine, and that’s what I see Driftwood as. It’s a life and travel magazine, that just happens to be vegan. And I dig that. A…

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