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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Things I Love Thursday – Cookbooks & Friends

What about January? I could complain about the cold, a standard Canadian past time, except I find it familiar, and almost pleasant assuming the wind is to a minimum. I like the familiar crunch of my boots on the snow and the cement when the temperature gets to a certain low level. And I like knowing that in this hustle and bustle of a big city, there are other fellow prairie ex-pats living here that feel the same way. On with the Thursday list: Jadłonomia Over the past two months I’ve been attempting to get a vegan cookbook for my mother and her birthday earlier this month, sure this would be easy, if not for the fact that it required more effort than just ordering it from amazon and being done with it. Jadłonomia – a Polish vegan cookbook, was not on amazon at all. It’s not in a local bookstore (at least not local to me), and I had to dust off some cabinets in my brain to read a few Polish websites to successfully place the order. And when there are technical difficulties in another language, things become extra fun. Emails are exchanged, as I provide both English and Polish text, in hopes of being understood in one language or another – occasionally hearing nothing back, occasionally not being sure if people just don’t understand what I’m writing (in either language) but eventually, everything comes together. A fortuitous and almost serendipitous post and tip by a fellow fan on…

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Tuesdates with Bloomers

Cobb Salad from Bloomers

I’m in New York City until next year, so I’m missing my usual Tuesday Bloomers Visit. (it’s capitalized because it’s turned into a thing.) Bloomers has been open for several months now (since August), and ever since they launched their lunch menu a month or so ago, I’ve been going every Tuesday to get some work done (they have free wifi and a decent amount of power outlets), grab some food and have a few coffees. I’m not the only one that does this, but I’m not sure if people just go all the time, or they also follow a Tuesdate schedule. I see some familiar faces and it’s kind of neat to have a place like on my side of town, that just happens to be vegan, and comfortable. There are three booths, and several tables, both high top and regular. There is a slight height variation to get into Bloomers, and the door is not automatic, but it does appear wide enough for a wheelchair to get in. Restrooms are in the back and on the main floor. So every Tuesday, around 12 – 3pm I’m sitting at Bloomers with my laptop, always a coffee, and maybe a lunch item or more recently a mocha. The service is always friendly and welcoming, and it’s not just me – I hear them being nice to absolutely everyone that comes in, even when there is the occasional person that leaves in a huff because they don’t have dairy milk (this has happened once…

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Toronto Vegan Gift Guide 2014

Every year I really like putting together some of the fun or special things I see in December, there are also a lot of great general vegan gift idea lists that come out around this time, and I will link to them at the bottom of this post. Many vegan businesses and bakeries have special menus available, so you will also see those collected on this page as well as I find them. If you celebrate anything in December, I think it’s especially worth looking locally to find special thing for the special people in your life. We have this amazing community of creators and crafters, bakers and makers, and organizations that are worth supporting this time of year. So this year, yet again, is my totally biased, occasionally random, list of local/GTA/Vegan Gift ideas. You’ll see some repeat names from last year, because they’re still still awesome, but you’ll also see some new faces (because the vegan business community has grown further in 2014.) There are also a variety of holiday themed markets which I will attempt to collect if they have at least one or two vegan-friendly/vegan- enthusiastic vendors. I welcome your suggestions for other local vegan friendly businesses and organizations to support, please add them in the comments (and I will update this post) or feel free to send me an email. And here we go. Jewellery/Clothing I really like this stamped “herbivore” necklace from Vegan is Beautiful, a new vegan online store selling t-shirts, long sleeve…

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Hope for the Holidays at Cedar Row Farm Sanctuary

Oh beautiful wonderful Cedar Row Farm Sanctuary. I cannot recommend visiting a farm animal sanctuary enough. Even if you’re busy, it’s worth making the time to visit these peaceful places of what could be. Cedar Row is one of those truly idyllic farms where animals are loved and treated with respect and have sanctuary. Especially if you are feeling burnt out or feeling a bit down about life or the world or anything along those lines. It’s a place of healing, and that’s not just limited to the non-human animals that live there. Whenever I visit, I learn something. Something about myself, something about the way people, and especially children, interact with animals, or something new about the personalities of the animals that live there. It’s peaceful and centering to just visit and just be. Sitting down with a turkey or watching Chickpea watch me with her deep soulful eyes. I learn to avoid the goose. I’m reminded of how much I like goats – and of course, how much I relate to them. And I leave knowing that while we can’t save everyone, the animals at Cedar Row are safe. They are loved. They have a place to exist and knowing that is so valuable. Knowing that there are people out there that care and that there are people out there that  can make a difference (and we can too.) If you can’t attend share the event on facebook or donate to Cedar Row to help them keep doing the wonderful work they’re…

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This month in Toronto Vegan Crowdfunding

There are 2 Toronto Vegan Businesses looking for support right now. (Are there more? Please let me know.) Nona Vegan Sauces I’ve written about one of them before a whole bunch and my love of their sauces – First of all – Soul to Bowl Sauces is now Nona Vegan Foods The creator and owner of Soul to Bowl, Kailey Gilchrist, is trying to expand her business, increase the shelf-life of her product, while unfortunately also needing to re-brand due to someone else staking claim to the Soul to Bowl name. Sadly, this means there will not be any adorable Nonna cartoons on their labels (at least for now,) but at least there will still be sauce. Personally, I don’t like change, but the new labels are slowly growing on me. But it’s not about me. I’m going to buy it whatever the label says, so if it attracts new people to the product, I’m happy. Besides… don’t judge a sauce by its cover or something. It’s what’s inside that counts, and what’s inside is delicious. Reasons why you should support this campaign: Like I said, the sauces are delicious, you’re supporting a young, Toronto-based entrepreneur, build a business with a wide ranging appeal. It’s not just a vegan product, it’s also great for people with allergies (as long as those allergies aren’t nuts!) as these products are egg-free, gluten-free, and dairy-free. Plus, have I mentioned the sauces are delicious? I want to highlight the Sauce 4-Pack for $35 perk because it’s probably my favourite, and is a…

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