Arriving in Edmonton – Roadtrip 2014

I’ve been eagerly awaiting the arrival in Edmonton on the Summer Roadtrip recap. Because I want to add to my roadtrip recap posts with some of the other lovely spots I managed to visit on a more recent Edmonton visit (last month.) After we left Lloydminster, the drive went by quickly, and as we passed through Refinery Row (a concentration of oil refineries in west Sherwood Park,in Strathcona County just east of Edmonton) it was like there was a sign up that said “Welcome to Alberta” (which of course there was, but just shortly outside of Lloydminster) and oddly enough – a sense of arriving home. The Edmonton cityscape is still one of my favourites, with the Hotel MacDonald perched on the edge of the beautiful river valley, and the variety of buildings downtown, so driving into the city, even from a distance, is still familiar and comforting. I realized at some point that whenever I would leave Toronto, and come back, I’d get that same sense of comfort and “home” when I saw the CN Tower poking up from my highway vantage point. I have three homes in my heart, and the first one is Edmonton. First stop was checking…

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Roadtrip 2014 – Lloydminster Vegan Food – Wok Box

dandan tofu udon noodle box from wok box in lloydminster

I’m still writing about our Summer Roadtrip 2014 adventure when we ate our way through the USA and Canada. After one final morning in Saskatoon, we drove on towards Edmonton. On Highway 16/aka Yellowhead, the natural midway point between Saskatoon and Edmonton has always been Lloydminster, which is a city that exists in both Saskatchewan and Alberta, it’s a decent place to fill up on gasoline, and grab a bite to eat. The weird thing about Lloydminster is that the Alberta-Saskatchewan border is delineated in the middle of the city, by a series of huge metal posts all the way down the street. Vegan options beyond going to a grocery store or Nutter’s Market are minimal, and in years past I was limited to wendy’s baked potatoes drenched in hot sauce, potato related things, or a smoothie, but on this visit I spotted a Wok Box and we rejoiced – especially since it would be the first time JC had ever visited the wonders of Wok Box. Wok Box does exist almost all over Canada (including a few locations in Ontario – Oshawa and London), but it’s still mainly a west-west central thing. But they’ve been a vegan-friendly spot since the…

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Griffin Takeaway – Roadtrip 2014 – Saskatoon

I’m still travelling back in time on our Summer Roadtrip, back in July and August 2014. After we had left our lovely AirBnb in the morning and were ready to head out of town, we made three final stops in Saskatoon before driving on to Edmonton via Lloydminster. First, I visited with a Saskatoon friend and fellow volunteer and animal lover I hadn’t seen in a few years. While I spend a lot of time communicating with people online, it’s quite nice to actually get some face time in, especially since we were in town at the same time. Plus, I got to see her friendly walkable rescue spokescat Joy, again which was also great. Later JC & I visited Dad’s Organic Market – which is a great market that seems to have expanded since I lived in Saskatoon. They have a variety of organic, natural, and vegan-friendly goods. There were a few unexpected finds there – like a package of vegan gluten free perogies from local Saskatoon company Raduga Foods (unfortunately, our cooler wasn’t quite cool enough – so I never got to try them.) Finally – we went to Griffin Takeaway – which was incredibly exciting, because it opened shortly after I moved away,…

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Roadtrip 2014 – Honey Bun Cafe – Saskatoon

This is just a quick post in a series of posts about our 2014 Roadtrip around North America. At this point, we had driven from Toronto, through Michigan, taken an extended stop in Chicago, IL, and driven on through Wisconsin, Minnesota, North Dakota, stopping in Winnipeg, MB and Riding Mountain National Park. Our time in Saskatoon is winding down with only a couple more stops before heading on toward Edmonton. When I lived in Saskatoon, I attended a few sessions of the Rosebud Burlesque school of dance and fun, and one of the nicest things I got from those classes was connecting with people I hadn’t ever met before and lasting friendships. Conveniently, one of those pals saw I was in Saskatoon and gave me the heads up about Honeybun Cafe having some vegan stuffed buns that day. So of course we went, and picked up two of that day’s Featured Stuffed Bun – the Roasted Yam and Black Eyed Pea Chilli Stuffed Bun. They had non-dairy milk (for an extra charge) for coffee. We whipped out our computers and hung out for a while, connected to their wifi. It was tough to find a plug in, at least ones…

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Roadtrip 2014 – The Mendel Art Gallery in Saskatoon

I’m playing catchup on our writing about our 2014 Roadtrip around North America. At this point, we had driven from Toronto, through Michigan, taken an extended stop in Chicago, IL, and driven on through Wisconsin, Minnesota, North Dakota, stopping in Winnipeg, MB and Riding Mountain National Park. Our time in Saskatoon was winding down, and one thing I wanted to show JC was the Mendel Art Gallery – a place I viewed as a refuge from the blahs, and the occasionally rough Saskatoon winter. A place to see new and old art, a good source of regularly good fancy coffee (at Museo), and the lush greenery of the conservatory space. Sadly, as I found out while I was there, the Mendel Art Gallery is closing this year, on June 8th, 2015. I’m glad I go to see it at least one more time, because I do have a lot of great memories of that place. I’m hopeful that the Remai Modern centre will still touch on some of those enjoyable qualities – but that’ll be more apparent when they open up in 2016. Unusually, the gallery isn’t very pro-camera, so I couldn’t take any pictures of the other exhibits –…

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Road Trip 2014: Nosh Eatery & Tap – Saskatoon

I’m currently catching up on my Roadtrip 2014 posts – This visit to Saskatoon happened in late July 2014, and this is still quite early on in our trip, but when we got back to Toronto at the end of August we had put thousands of miles on our new car, and seen & done some amazing and wonderful things. Nosh Eatery and Tap in Saskatoon was one of my favourite stops on our trip – mostly because it was incredible to see the caliber of food happening in a place that seems otherwise under appreciated, my dear old Saskatoon. Beautiful colours, fantastic service, creative plates, with a real appreciation for the versatility and functionality of vegetables. Vegan options were meaningful and exciting, and prepared with care for flavour and appearance. I had been watching Nosh from afar – because I still feel connected to Saskatoon despite no longer living there – so it was great to actually get to visit them in real life and have it live up to expectations. Menus might change, but Vegan, Gluten Free, Raw, Meat, Nut items are clearly marked, and there is something for everyone, but there is more of a lacto-ovo-vegetarian focus. We started…

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Seasoned Vegan – Amazing food in Harlem

On our last trip to NYC, we made a point to visit Seasoned Vegan – a soul food vegan spot in Harlem, just north of Central Park. We stopped in for dinner. Service was friendly, the atmosphere was cozy, with bench style seating and tables, pillows, and cool art on the walls. The first thing I noticed was the penny finished floor (check it out!) At this point, we had been following their progress for well over a year or so – when we spent a summer month in NYC in 2013 – Seasoned Vegan was just getting ready to open, but things stalled (regulatory things I believe) and it didn’t happen. Fast forward to now – they’re open, and seem to be thriving. The atmosphere was inviting and lively. Boisterous patrons near us were laughing, music was playing, and it smelled wonderful inside. To start they brought us a side salad to start off with. Lightly seasoned, but with fresh soft and crisp leafy greens (as part of our entree.) The Lemon Crusted Chicken Nuggets come in two sizes 8, and 20 pieces, and come with two different sauces – Jiggy’s Harlem Renaissauce (which is like a BBQ) and Uptown Tangy (which…

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Hello DF Mavens in St. Mark’s Place NYC

In December 2014, we were dropping off my laptop at a shop near St. Marks Place, for repair after a few failed attempts at finding a competent spot in Toronto ( by the way, I cannot recommend Simple Mac repair in NYC enough – they were amazing) When we just happened to walk by the new DF Mavens store/shop as they were setting up to open. I hadn’t known about this – and I saw the logo and thought… wait a second… no. This isn’t really here is it? But yes, it was real life, and a relatively big vegan ice cream shop was getting organized right before our eyes. The doors were closed – but looked like they were ready to open soon. I hoped to catch them before we went back home in a few days. Conveniently, we had to be back in the area to pick up my newly repaired laptop. I crossed my fingers we’d luck out and they’d be ready by then too. A day or two later we were back in the neighbourhood (picking up my macbook) – and the DF Mavens spot was bustling with activity and full of people. It was exciting to see a large totally vegan ice cream shop,…

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Beechwood Doughnuts Grand Opening in St. Catharines

This weekend we drove down to spend the day in St. Catharines. Why? Mostly because Beechwood Doughnuts was having their grand opening, but it just worked out that we could do a whole bunch of things in St. Catharines (besides eating donuts.) Beechwood Doughnuts is run by several of the folks that made the donuts at Rise Above, but if you had them before, as I found out this weekend,  they’re even more awesome now. JC got to play Magic at Phoenix Rising, a game store conveniently located just a few blocks away from Beechwood Doughnuts, and I got to hang out with a few mugs of coffee at Mahtay Cafe  &  the internet. (& checked out the photo exhibit in the community room.) Plus, this visit allowed us the opportunity to visit with a friend that lives in the city, where I was reminded I don’t dislike all dogs, just some of them (Gilda being one of the exceptions.) Starting at around 10:20, JC and I stood outside Beechwood Doughnuts, along with the brave soul that started the line. Until she showed up, I had been sitting in the care waiting for more people to show up. And more people showed up. By around…

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Birthday Birthday Birthday (mine)

I’ll get back to Toronto/Ontario stuff soon, but so far, I’m still reminiscing about NYC. Besides, I want to write about a certain vegan bar at some point… but it’s been too happenin’ for me to eat there. As of last month I am yet another year older. Which is of course something that happens every year… but this time I have (yet again) successfully entered into a whole new decade, which still feels like it means nothing much. But now I have to select an entirely new section on drop down boxes. And this number has so much baggage. Thinking back, it doesn’t feel like a significant amount of time has passed, though this year has felt like it’s passing by at a snails pace – for better or worse. Back to the less introspective navel gazing portion of my birthday celebration though…. once again, JC went out of his way to make my birthday special, despite my terrible act of waking up much earlier than usual and almost messing up the order of things. My actual date of birth – December 26th results in some regular complications because places close. Regularly. I woke up to hear JC leaving our temporary…

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