Toronto – Rosalinda

Rosalinda opened earlier this year in May, and I’ve been a handful of times. Sometimes just to grab a snack and a drink at the bar (totopos!), sometimes with friends, sometimes on a date, sometimes with a group. It’s good for all of those things. And Rosalinda has turned into one of my favourite fancy-casual type places in the city. Seating is ample (138-seats) – the space feels huge – especially by Toronto restaurant standards. If you go during the day, it’s full of bright natural light, and a mix of pretty green fake and (maybe?) real plants throughout the space. Lots of windows, lots of intimate corners to sit in. They have these great mini booths for two people, and bigger booths at the back, and I feel like the seats are well spaced. Last month someone I knew sat next to me, and we were spaced far enough away that we didn’t realize it until one of us got up and came back. The food is always good. Every time. I’ve never had anything that I felt wasn’t well thought out – though I don’t love everything, that’s personal preference, not poor execution. At this point I’ve tried most of the menu, and I find myself gravitating towards the same things. Appetizers My favourite appetizers to share (or not share) are the mushroom potato flautas and the chilaquiles rojos. Over and over again, these two have stood out. They’re both beautifully spiced and flavourful with a great combination…

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VeganMoFo 2018 – Potato Kibbeh

One of my favourite indulgences is books. Especially kids books, and one of my favourite places to get them is Another Story Bookshop on Roncesvalles in Toronto. Yesterday I popped in to pick up a pre-order, and a few other books for our son, on the way out by the check out – on their fantastic and ever changing cookbook wall – they had Vegan Recipes from the Middle East by Parvin Razavi, so I bought it. Flipping through was delightful, there were lots of colourful pictures and mostly straightforward recipes, and broken up into 6 sections by regions of the middle east. There are desserts and drinks and mains and appetizers, and they all look inviting and attainable – but what immediately jumped out at me was the Potato Kibbeh (on page 100), and I just knew I’d be making it today. I started the day off by throwing a bunch of potatoes in the instant pot so I could steam them for a few recipes I have planned for this week. The recipe for Potato kibbeh was easy to follow – I left the skin on the potatoes and mashed them, then mixed them with soaked bulgar wheat, grated onion, spices, and threw it in the oven for about an hour. It was delicious – the cinnamon and mint flavours were subtle, but swirled together with the onion and danced on my tongue. The bulgar potato combo was texturally fun, as was the crisp crust of the kibbeh.…

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Vegan Mofo 2018 – Let’s Talk about Moon.

I’d like to dedicate this whole post to someone that has helped my family eat better for nearly an entire year. Have you checked out the meal plans from Things2Eat? Because if you follow me on instagram, you may notice me mention this a few times – since I am a super fan and it has changed my life for the better. There were days when I would spend hours (not joking) trying to find a recipe that speaks to me, only to bail and order delivery because I got annoyed with the copious options, and an inability to decide on just one thing. That or we didn’t have the one special ingredient needed. And needless to say, that was frustrating. Then, around a year ago, the things2eat blog comes along, with great recipe ideas, and if you sign up for her newsletter, she even includes a shopping list and a weekly plan of attack for the whole thing. Life. Changing. We just wait for Moon’s email on Friday – with a shopping list, and load up click and collect, and voila. We’ve got most of the ingredients we need, for the meals we want to eat, and can start prepping on the weekend, or make food day by day. I appreciate the people that share recipes a whole bunch, but someone distilling recipes down into a cohesive weekly meal plan? For free? That’s just heart eyes all the way out. So I recommend you follow along and definitely sign…

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Vegan MoFo 2018 – Potato Pancakes

In the last few days, I’ve made three different types of pancakes. On Friday, our son asked for pancakes for breakfast, so I made a few. One of our favourite recipes for regular pancakes is the “Perfect Pancakes” from Isa Chandra Moskowitz’s Vegan Brunch. After finding it online a few times, we eventually had to pick it up, as it’s full of wonderful ideas for breakfast. These pancakes are fool proof, straightforward, and I suspect anyone can make them and have them turn out incredible. Since I was making pancakes anyway, I decided it was the perfect time to make potato pancakes while I was at it. So I grated a few potatoes, rinsed and pressed them to reduce moisture, and put them in a bowl. One of the things I like to do with potatoes for pancakes is to grate them in two different ways – because potatoes are great at binding themselves together (heyo starch) – so I use the biggest side on a box grater for three potatoes and then the finest side for one. Then I add about 1/4-1/2 cup of chickpea flour, salt, pepper, and a touch of garlic or onion powder – followed by a 1/8 of a cup of the pancake batter put into a hot pan. And voila, we’re in potato pancake town. BONUS I have been reading No Kimchi For Me by Aram Kim to our son quite often lately, and at the back of the book there is a recipe…

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VeganMoFo – Potato Lasagna

There are a couple of things I’ve been especially looking forward to making this month, and one of those things was a potato lasagna. But not one where it just happens to be an ingredient, but one where the potato is really centred in the dish – where you take slices of potatoes, and pretend they are noodles. Maybe that’s just a potato casserole, but I’m going to call it lasagna anyway. JC once made an incredible rustic bread lasagna from a recipe on Vegan Yum Yum and ever since my lasagna definition has expanded to include zucchini noodles and beyond. Having access to a mandolin makes this dish easier, but you can definitely just thinly slice up potatoes – but the thickness is important because the potatoes have to be around 2.5 mm or less to properly cook through once you’ve got several layers going. We picked up a 10 pound bag of potatoes when we were in Prince Edward Island last month, which I consider the home of excellent Canadian potatoes, and I was excited to use them in this tasty dish. The nice thing is that if you cut up too many slices for your pan size, you can always just mix the potato slices with some garlic salt, oil, and roast on a flat sheet with the lasagna, and everyone is a winner. This lasagna is topped off with Somer McCowans wonderful cashew mozzarella, which you can find on her recipe for individual pizzas – but you…

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Veganmofo 2018 – Baked Potato Soup

I love baked potatoes, I love soup, I love baked potato soup. It’s a creamy flavourful and thick soup that just feels like a warm hug on a cool day. Just waiting to be made in the fall as the days get cooler and shorter. But of course, it’s September in Toronto and that means it’s still just under 30 degrees celsius (that’s 80F if you’re using it) so this soup is ahead of its time today, but I’ve been thinking about this soup for weeks and it just couldn’t wait for another day. This recipe is inspired by the work of Guy Fieri and his fully loaded baked potato soup, but obviously veganized. It’s not terribly complicated, but can be, depending on how you’re feeling – I started by washing and roasting the potatoes, because they take the longest to finish – around 45 minutes – and it gave me time to do other soup related tasks. Baking them is absolutely worth it though – the added complexity of flavour is a delight. Vegan Magic is a vegan bacon grease type product made in Toronto, and available worldwide. To find out if it’s available near you, check out their website, but if you want to make your own, The Gentle Chef has you covered too with his recipe for Bacun Grease. One of the things that I like to do with soups that allow for it, is to add mashed beans for extra protein – especially in a soup…

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Quebec City, PQ – Wandering, History, & Les Gourmandes Louca

While we were in Quebec City, we stayed at a lovely airbnb and enjoyed the sights and sounds of old Quebec. There are some incredible urban climbs in Quebec City, but thankfully you are rewarded by the  accompanying grand views of the city and the St. Lawerence river. We got a lot of exploring done – even during our relatively short visit. On our first day there, we visited the Governors Promenade, which also has a 300 step staircase where you can see a beautiful view of the river, and of Levis, the city across the St. Lawerence. We wandered through Vieux- Quebec, and it’s so easy to enjoy the old and winding streets, full of history and incredible architecture. Just walking around without a specific destination in mind is a pleasure, because you will inevitably stumble upon something that sparks your interest. This area is also home to several National Historic Sites, a UNESCO world heritage site, and the majestic Chateau Frontenac (which is a hotel you can even stay at if you want to be in the middle of everything, and a few hundred dollars a night.) Randomly, there were Dali sculptures being displayed and sold outside (in case you’re wondering… we didn’t buy any of them…) When it was time to grab a meal somewhere, we decided to check out Les Gourmandises LOUCA, a zero waste, vegan restaurant and grocery. They have reusable containers you can take for your to-go items, a variety of bulk foods, and…

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Toronto, ON – Vegan options at Farm’r

I recently had the opportunity to visit Farm’r, a local procurement centring, seasonal, farm-to-table style restaurant on the Esplanade. They have a great covered patio outside, and bright cheerful indoor seating, with great lighting. But what I really want to talk about is the food – because I liked it. A lot. We had the opportunity to try a variety of dishes, take pictures, and chat. One thing I love is hearing about food from the chef involved – and I was happy to hear a bit from Chef Kyle Webster on what each dish was about – he seemed especially keen on the Ontario grown quinoa and kale salad, so I was very excited to try it. Did you know that folks are growing quinoa in Ontario? I didn’t – while I knew about an initiative in another part of the country, finding out it is being grown right here is pretty cool. Here is what I had: Lentil and chickpea fritter sandwich Beets with pumpkin seeds (ask for this without feta) Ontario grown Quinta Quinoa and kale salad Marinated Summer Vegetables We also got to try some beer from Hendersons Brewery which was fun too – their beer is already familiar to us, and is all really enjoyable – though my favourite was the borderline molasses flavoured bourbon barrel aged dark beer. In case you’re curious, Henderson brewery beer is vegan. (Thanks barnivore.) So the lentil and chickpea fritters were  lovely with the tahini gravy – do not skip the…

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Away Kitchen and Cafe on College

The folks that have brought us the ever lovely Awai have a low-key plant based cafe brewing up on College – Away Cafe . They’ve been open for about a month, and it’s looking like a great space. You can sort of see the menu in the picture above, but it’s a nice mix of breakfast options, appetizers, soup, salad, and drinks. We went last week and tried a few things for a late lunch. I ordered the Porcini mushroom soup with a savoury rosemary scone. and JC had the empanadas. Also the soy latte I had was excellent too. There is a nice atmosphere, and it’s full of plants and whimsy. Also there are a couple of literal plant walls that are beautiful (and delicious). There is quite a bit of seating and free wifi. Away Kitchen + Cafe  680 College Ave (at Beatrice), Toronto (map) website | instagram

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Oakville check out Dar Nabati!

We decided to check out Dar Nabati‘s soft open today in downtown Oakville. It was just a nice day for a drive, and where better to go than a new vegan spot opening up in the area. Their grand opening is happening on April 27th, 2018, so pay them a visit if you can. (p.s. they will also be open for a sneak preview tomorrow, April 22nd, 2018.) So what is Dar Nabiti? Dar (دار) Nabati (نباتي) is open to some interpretation, but it’s something in the space of Plant based/vegan/vegetarian. It is a plant based cafe, with a middle eastern twist, so you will see wonderful things like shwarma, manakeesh, halloumi, bowls, and egg salad sandwiches, croissants, cinnamon buns, and more, but obviously all vegan. The space is super nice and cozy, with plants, and a really peaceful colour scheme. There are high tables and low tables, several fridges just waiting to be filled up for their grand opening, and some ethical body and home care goods. It was great to see one of my favourites – Just the Goods – there, because they make some wonderfully thoughtful and ethical vegan body stuff. They also had Spiffy Naturals candles and cleaning supplies and Sade Baron body care stuff so far! So what did we have? Philly Cheese Steak Ugh, this was so good. Shwarma (you can also get sides, but we just didn’t – but they did come with pickles which is basically just excellent anyway.) Gluten Cookies My son…

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