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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Lazy Weekend, Snowy Weekend

I didn’t spend my weekend quite how I wanted to – we were going to go for a work visit at Cedar Row on Saturday morning, but as we looked out the window, and checked road conditions we ended up staying home because of heavy and projected snowfall. I’m not sure if we were over cautious, but I hope to attend a future one sometime. The night before I picked up a long pair of purple galoshes, hoping they’d be perfect for digging around in the mud. I guess I’ll have to wait to find out.   If you’re not sure what happens at a work visit, there are a variety of tasks to do, cleaning the sheds, the goat barn, getting rid of some of the poop and shovelling it into a wheelbarrow, taking it to a pile at the side of the house, and doing it over and over again. It’s hard work, but it feels meaningful, helpful, and the time passes quickly because while you’re scooping shovelfuls of shit, you are also talking to people and laughing and just generally having a good time. Occasionally one of the animals comes up and wants to know what you are up to in their house. It’s definitely worth going to one of the work visit/potluck combos if you’re able to. At the moment, the next work visit is not yet posted – but you can check out the Cedar Row website for their work visit calendar. Mid afternoon I realized I…

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Things I Love Thursday – Chilis on Wheels, maybe other things

So I’ve had a busy & short week this week because Ontario’s new Family Day holiday that happened this past Monday. JC and I spent the weekend mostly inside, with the exception of going to Sadie’s Valentines Day prix fixe diner (which by the way, was the first time this month we’ve gone out to eat – it’s a whole new world.) Like last week, my obsession with puffins has not gone away, if anything, I started looking for more information about them, including a visit to the Royal Ontario Museum to see if they had any puffin information. (& also to visit the Douglas Coupland Exhibit.) Chilis on Wheels A friend shared the story of Chilis on Wheels today and it was easily the nicest and best thing I read all day Michelle Carrara and her son delivering warm chilli to hungry people in Brooklyn and lower Manhattan. I’m especially touched by this because she’s working with her son to help people without losing sight of the larger systems involved in inequality and hunger. Post by Chilis on Wheels. She identified a hole in the existing support network and is actively working to fill it. That she’s using vegan chilli to fill that void doesn’t hurt either. She’s currently doing a fundraising campaign so if you’d like to support it, you can find it over here. That’s all for now, but I hope you’ve had a great week!

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Things I Love Thursday – These posts. Snow. Puffins. Basketball.

Snow Last week it snowed heavily, or as heavy as it gets in Toronto, so I went out there with my (well – JC’s) trusty blue shovel and got to work first with our sidewalk and walkway, and then I move on to some of the rest of the neighbourhood or whatever I have time for that day. You see, I like shovelling. I like winter. I like snow. I like when people are able to walk or move along the sidewalk with ease. But after shovelling for around three or four hours, and working my way back to my house, one of my unfortunately nearby neighbours came out of his house and told me I was wasting my time and that the city would take care of it. It took me a second to even comprehend what he was saying. Maybe it was exhaustion, but I just felt fucking awful. I walked home dejected, after feeling pretty happy getting the sidewalk near Sorauren park cleared off and a far-away friend had told me about a less mobile friend that could use some de-snowing, and then I could just walk around shovelling people’s front sidewalks that hadn’t been done yet. But here I was feeling choked up over this jerk, who probably was just trying to save me the trouble, but instead made me feel like a stupid chump that then felt even dumber for going home and crying about it. It was like I was in kindergarten and I…

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Top 4 List of Winterlicious Vegan Options in Toronto

Winterlicious is an annual event in Toronto and it’s kicking of on January 30 – and goes on until Feb. 12. It’s a great way to encourage people to go out and enjoy the various spots in the city during the colder months. This year will see more than 200 top restaurants throughout the city offer a three-course menu at three price categories (lunch $18, $23, $28 and dinner $25, $35, $45). Of the 200 plus restaurants throughout the city participating five restaurants are offering vegan Winterlicious special prix fixe menus. Of those 5, some of them look pretty exciting, but I’ve put all of them on this list for the sake of information. While I think it’s great that people and places are trying to incorporate vegan menu items into their offerings, I’m not longer excited simply to be acknowledged, there are some incredible vegan options in this city, even at non-vegan restaurants, so I was surprised they didn’t showcase their talents in plant-based cuisine. (Perhaps next time veggielicious rolls around?) I’m feeling a bit sarcastic, but sorbet and berries or a bowl of fruit as the vegan dessert option is so last decade, I can get that at Cora’s for breakfast, but some of these talented chefs and restaurants? What are you up to? I sincerely hope that some of these offerings are more exciting than their menu description is conveying, and I still look forward to seeing what these individual restaurants come up with, especially if I found the menu listing…

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Things I Love Thursday/Friday -Bowlritos

I started writing this on Thursday, and then Friday appeared, and ended. But I’m still posting it. We’re working on a few things over at the JorEl house, and most of those things are good. In grown up news we recently bought some pretty spiffy new appliances to replace the old ones that came with the house. This week has been spent dealing with that – because unfortunately SOMEONE (me) failed to measure the narrowest part of the doorway. So we were well on the road to New Appliancetown, the old ones were removed, and just as they brought over the new ones… nope. Too narrow. So we got someone to come in and hack off part of our door and drywall. Seems like the perfect time of year to do it (just jokes – it’s not). But… we’re one huge leap towards being able to do our own laundry again. And while the laundromat is fun and all (& wash and fold), I miss that fresh fluffy warm blanket out of the dryer feeling. Tomorrow is the day. Tomorrow. I hope. Hope is no longer needed. Mission accomplished. We have grown up appliances and I’m genuinely excited to use them. JC was delighted by the fact that they make sounds when we open them. We’ll see how long this delight lasts. My review copy of JL Fields’ new book Vegan Pressure Cooking arrived in the mail, which is exciting in general, but even more so, when paired with the…

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Porter House – Our First Visit to Toronto’s New Vegan Pub

Porter House has been packed for weeks, ever since they opened in late December last year, but we lucked out on Monday and got a table right away. The trajectory of our evening was kind of funny – JC and I met at the UofT for an event on racism and the last municipal election but it was too full (for us) so we left (but followed along on twitter.) JC suggested Hot Beans – we drove over and it looked closed, with stools on tables, so we were homeward bound. If not for the fateful decision to go down Dundas, our evening might have looked completely different. But as we moved closer to the Brockton/Rusholme area… again, JC had a good idea – Why not Porter House? Why not? The other few times we’ve tried to go – it’s been really busy, which is good for them, not so good for us. They don’t take reservations, so what you see is what you get. But what about Monday? Well, as we found out, it was a good time to get in there, when we arrived at 6:30ish, there were seats available. We took a peak at the menu – you can see it online – and ordered a couple of the on-tap options – JC got the Amsterdam Vicars Vice and I went with a West Avenue Heritage Dry Cider.  I like cider, so I’m an easy sell, but I was pretty blown away by the complex flavours of JC’s…

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