Montreal 2016 – Aux Vivres

As part of our pre-baby adventures we visited Montreal. I was about 37 weeks pregnant when we went, so it was a bit of a nervous trip (because going into labour in another province where people speak French, scared me a little), but it also felt like a necessary one (at least from a wanderlust perspective.) We took the Megabus down, which seemed like a good idea when I booked the tickets, but less of a good idea when I was trying to arrange myself and my belly behind the table we had reserved. It was much too crowded – live and learn. Much like some of the other cities I keep returning to, Montreal is very familiar. There is always something new, but ultimately the city still has the same energy, the same streets, the same language. I went to the University of Montreal during a pretty formative year one summer, so our visits are usually a blend of some of my old favourites and trying to visit whatever is new in town. Aux Vivres is one of my old favourites since my first time in Montreal, and it’s been incredible to watch them grow from a relatively small restaurant & cafe to doubling in size and adding a grab and go deli/grocery area. I still remember the first time I ordered the BLT sandwich on chapati from them. It was 2007 – and coconut bacon wasn’t a thing like it is now and it was mind blowing. During those two…

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Weekend in Detroit

I’ve needed to get out of town. Somewhere new(ish). Somewhere interesting. But still something close enough to drive to on the weekend. So we decided to visit Detroit last weekend. When we left Toronto it was windy and rainy, as we continued on the highway it got worse and worse. Visibility was low, you could see large commercial trucks weave into adjoining lanes with nearly every gust of strong winds. It was no joke. When we pulled into the Ingersoll En Route, it seemed like our trip was over. It was windy, raining heavily, and a lot of cars didn’t seem to be driving with consideration for the weather.  We grabbed a couple of teas and dry toasted everything bagels from Tim Hortons (yes – they’re vegan [most of the time]) and decided to spend the night somewhere close by, maybe Ingersoll, maybe London. Probably not Detroit. At least not that night. I booked us a night at a hotel in London and we started driving there. The road seemed a little calmer, and a little less hectic. Traffic wasn’t as tight. When we got to the hotel, a computer glitch meant we hadn’t been booked in that night, but a week later. And they were totally full. Whoops. We took it as a sign to keep going. The only negative part about the full hotel (other than the 3 hours more of driving) is that it guaranteed we would definitely be missing London’s VegFest on Saturday. When we got to the Windsor-Detroit…

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Roadtrip 2014 – Alberta – Waterton Lakes National Park

I’m continuing my series of posts from our Summer Roadtrip in 2014, you can see some of the past & present posts on this helpful map on Pinterest, or just click on the Roadtrip 2014 tag to peek at some of our past summer adventures sightseeing and eating delicious vegan food across Canada and the USA. After we left Head-Smashed-in Buffalo heritage site and Vulcan nerdville, we drove on the hour or so south to Waterton Lakes National Park. It was cloudy and blustery in the afternoon when we left Calgary, countering the very hot day we’d had the day before, and the wind was escalating as we moved southward – it turned out that the day we were there was the windiest day of the entire year. I get a bit nervous in National Parks during storm conditions, but mostly we were trying to get there before sundown (which shouldn’t have been hard since it was still one of the longer days – sunset was nearly 10pm officially) but the clouds made it less obvious. I spent a nonzero amount of time during the trip checking out sunrise and sundown levels, especially when we were planning on setting up camp through our travels. Conveniently, google has a feature that lets you just type in sunset or sunrise and it will give you that information for whatever location you’re in. As we entered Waterton Lakes National Park, and checked in at the ranger station and got our site pass, it started to rain heavily. Like…

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Roadtrip 2014 – Vulcan, Alberta

I’m continuing my series of posts from our Summer Roadtrip in 2014, you can see some of the past & present posts on this helpful map on Pinterest, or just click on the Roadtrip 2014 tag to peek at some of our past summer adventures sightseeing and eating delicious vegan food across Canada and the USA. After we left Calgary, we had two stops in mind before heading over to Waterton Lakes National Park. First of all, we had to go to Vulcan, Alberta. The town was actually named by a surveyor for the Canadian Pacific Railway in the early 1900’s, after the roman god of fire – but since then, they’ve capitalized on it’s name with Trekkie tourism. (since for those not in the know – Vulcan is the planet where vulcans are from, an extraterrestrial humanoid species that tries to live by reason and logic, rather than emotion, in the Star Trek universe.) We didn’t get there on a particularly busy day, a Wednesday afternoon, but the Vulcan Visitors Centre was open and we got to wander around and take pictures in the museum. The staff seemed pretty bored, just generally tired of weirdos like us, they were nice enough as we wandered around gleefully looking at some of the silly or ancient things in the store/museum space. We bought a few postcards, and mailed them off at the Vulcan Post Office, but if you do find yourself passing through or visiting, you’ve got to get a picture with the Enterprise, just outside the…

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Sudbury, Ontario – Tucos Taco Lounge

When we travel, we often travel for food. Our anniversary was a couple of weeks ago and we went and celebrated the day of with a fancy tasting menu dinner at Alo restaurant. But I think we were both feeling a little flighty, I know I was, and I wanted a change of scenery for a couple of days. Two years ago, JC and I celebrated our not-honeymoon in a cottage up in Tobermory and the Bruce Peninsula. It was easy to fall in love with the area, when we were both basking in our love for one another, but it’s hard not to when the leaves are beautiful shocks of red, gold, and orange – mixed in with evergreens, and fresh crisp air. So we answered the call of nature, but decided to spend it in the Sudbury area. If Ancient Cedars Cafe had been open – we probably would have found a way to pass through Tobermory again, but we had the good sense to check if they’d be open in advance – nope. Closed for the Season as of the week before. Someday we’ll make it out there in time. Someday. We arrived on Saturday afternoon after an easy 5 hour or so drive from Toronto. The day before there had been reports of snow flurries on the highway, so we were a little nervous, but other than being a little chilly, it wasn’t that bad out there. We’d see some snow later in the evening, but nothing before. I…

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Roadtrip 2014 – Calgary, The Coup, and Phil and Sebastian.

I’m continuing my series of posts from our Summer Roadtrip in 2014, you can see some of the past & present posts on this helpful map on Pinterest, or just click on the Roadtrip 2014 tag After Drumheller, we drove on to Calgary, with a brief stop at an incredibly windy power station along the way. The weather was stormy, but it was easy to see why there were so many wind turbines out in the fields. Our first stop was The Coup – a lacto-ovo-vegetarian restaurant that’s been serving meatless meals in Calgary since 2004. It was a frequent enough stop for me, when I still lived in Edmonton, and it’s changed and evolved a bit over time, but has maintained a very similar vibe. It was nice to pop in and see it again with JC. We got a seat right away, I’m sure coming in on a Tuesday evening helped, and started with some cocktails and the pseudo sushi. Which was yam, green onion, marinated tofu, with pear and ginger rolled up in organic brown rice, served with a spicy soy sauce. But they have something new on the menu since we were there that’s pretty fantastic looking – something called Waffle Sushi. You should check it out! Any time I’m at a restaurant or bar with a spicy tomato based cocktail, I order it, so I had a gin smoked tomato mary. It was fun – I liked the pickled bean with the capers, and anything with a spicy smoky tomato wins…

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Drumheller, AB – Royal Tyrrell Museum – Roadtrip 2014

After we got our car serviced for the first time – since we finally hit our first 8000 kms, over half of which was done on our road trip and ate breakfast at Cora’s with my parents, we hit the road. I’m continuing my series of posts from our Summer Roadtrip in 2014, you can see some of the past & present posts on this lovely map on Pinterest, or just click on the Roadtrip 2014 tag Despite what you may think, and sometimes now living in Ontario, I get to hear all the misconceptions from people that have never even visited (or have only been to one city) – Alberta is a beautiful province. You can go from river valleys, to mountains, to deserts with cacti, to parks, and glaciers, and more, and we drove through so much of that in the span of a few days. Drumheller is approximately 3 hours away from Edmonton (and just under 300km), and we (kids that lived in Edmonton) would occasionally bus down there on school trips. It’s also a family friendly road trip destination, so I’ve been there a few times before (especially when paired up with a trip to Calgary or Banff.) This was the first time JC had been to the Royal Tyrrell Museum, so I was looking forward to showing him around and exploring the museum together. The Royal Tyrrell Museum is Canada’s only museum dedicated to the science of palaeontology and houses one of the world’s largest displays of dinosaurs, and…

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Edmonton – Loma House – Road Trip 2014

I’m now a year behind on these posts about our 2014 road trip across North America, but I’m going to keep chugging along. They’re stories I want to tell, there are pictures I want to share, and they are memories I want to remember later. You can see some of the past & present posts on this lovely map on Pinterest. On one of our last few days we went over to Loma House – primarily because they were open on a Monday, unlike nearly everyone else, and I’ve heard good things from local vegos online. We were hoping to check out Padmanadi on this visit, but sadly it just didn’t happen. I didn’t particularly enjoy the experience, and so I have been avoiding writing about it – but that morning we were woken up with the sounds of jackhammers outside of our downtown hotel at 7am. So the mood surrounding the visit wasn’t high, and there are some negative factors with my experience and my day. I also don’t do particularly well with heat, and it was around 30. So, take my thoughts with a grain of salt. @CityofEdmonton I’m amazed that construction & jackhammers are permitted to begin at 7 am. Can you tell me what the noise rules are in #YEG? — MeShell (@mdgee) July 28, 2014 That said, service was friendly, JC’s meal looked pretty good. I ordered a big bowl of Hot and Sour soup, which was okay, but not what I was looking for. On a normal…

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Vegan Bar in Edmonton – Arcadia

On my most recent visit to Edmonton (earlier this year), I had the opportunity to visit Arcadia, which is this great vegan bar just on the new fun street of 124. Over the past few years, 124th has really expanded in terms of vegan offerings, starting up with Clever Rabbit, and one of the first homes of Sailin’ On Vegan Food Truck (at the 124 Grand St Market.) So Arcadia has since expanded their menu from the night I was there, but luckily, they still have the incredible sandwich I had. The Green Onion Cake Donair. I’ve had a hard time conveying to non-Edmontonians what a “green onion cake” is, and why it’s so special. Most of the time in my travels and everywhere else, I’ve encountered a thin pastry like scallion/green onion cake similar to a paratha. In Edmonton it’s more of a salty doughy cake with diced green onions in it. It’s not flaky. It has a good density. There is such an obsession with these delicious cakes, there is even someone living in Edmonton with the GreenOnionCakes.com domain, that started a petition trying to make it the official dish of Edmonton. So, take a couple of large green onion cake, and add thinly sliced seasoned seitan donair, pour in some garlic sweet sauce, lettuce and tomatoes, and turn it into a sandwich. Brilliant. I don’t know how I feel about baked green onion cakes vs fried ones, but this sandwich totally worked out perfectly. Some of my Edmonton…

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Rochester, NY – Vive Bistro and Bakery

We spent a weekend in north-west New York State, around Niagara Falls, Buffalo, Hamburg and Rochester. We were in Rochester last summer at the end of our massive Summer Road Trip, but of course, I still haven’t posted about that part, since it was on our way home – so, I have nothing to link to yet! Oops. This time around we went to a few spots around Rochester – Lori’s Natural Foods Market, Vive Bistro, & Pour Coffee Parlour. Lori’s Natural Foods (Genesee Valley Regional Market Authority, 900 Jefferson Rd,) is a very vegan-friendly market, and the largest independent grocery store in Rochester, NY. They have a fantastic selection of various veg products that you might not see at your local  NY Whole Foods or Wegmans – for example we picked up one of the new NY style Daiya Cheezecakes (which I’ve had before during ExpoWest, and I’ve been told will be launching in Canada in the Fall), large packages of Primal Strips vegan jerky, assorted Miyoko’s Creamery Cheeses, Earth Balance potato chips, and so much more. They also have a great selection of fresh produce. They also carry local vegan items like stuff from Pudgy Girl Bakery, and they carry products from Eat Me Ice Cream (which make a dairy based and coconut milk variety of ice creams), they also have vegan friendly grab-and-go items in their cooler. If you’re in the neighbourhood, I totally recommend visiting the market. Lots of fantastic stuff to see and try, with the added bonus…

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