Brunch at Cosmic Treats, Toronto

This weekend we finally checked out Brunch at Cosmic Treats. I haven’t been in there since they opened, but JC brought me a few of their baked goods shortly after they opened. and I liked ’em. But we decided to actually go and eat inside since they are so much more than a candy and ice cream shop. Kensington showed its friendly face to me in the street with a random stranger bullying me on the sidewalk. After that, I was ready to just go home and stay home for the day or week. But instead we walked into to Wanda’s Pie in the Sky and drank soy lattes while I pretended to read books for about two hours before Cosmic Treats opened for brunch. Cosmic Treats opens at 11:30 am, and we stood there like hungry cats in the rain (except there was no rain, and you should really keep your cats indoors at all times anyway) until a line up of other hungry people formed behind us. I considered scratching at the door, but resisted. They let us sit a bit sooner than they were ready, and the restaurant filled up steadily after the door opened. But frankly, I liked them a lot and I think they could be busier. We started with a couple of hot chocolates with marshmallows and the Sweet Chili Heat Doritos encrusted fried tofu. Which was delicious as you might expect. It came with a bbq sauce. I ordered the All Day Breakfast, which…

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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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Memories of Sadie’s Diner in Toronto

We ate our last meal at Sadie’s Diner last weekend. Sadies is was a vegan-friendly meatless restaurant that had been open since 2006, but now it’s closed. I’ve always seen it as an institution in Toronto and was a little surprised it wasn’t open even longer, but it probably helps that I have never known a Toronto without Sadie’s. Sadie’s Diner was one of the first vegan-friendly restaurants I went to in Toronto on my first 48hr visit to Toronto back in 2008, and was one of the first spots I visited when I arrived in 2010 (on the post-university “visit” that has extended to the present.) Known for their all-day-breakfasts, bright teal diner tables, and a huge wall of Pez (the owner Al is a serious collector), this spot did more than serve food – it was home to fundraisers, and art shows and community meetings, and more, and I hope that there will be other local vegan businesses that pick up the torch on the Vegan-Food-For-Charity front, because that level of thoughtfulness and community involvement will be missed. I remember the very first Chili-For-Charity fundraiser I attended (which was also the first time JC and I went to Sadie’s together) back in April 2011 – for ARK II, an organization I’ve since joined as a director. It was my first time meeting the folks involved with ARKII and learning more about what they do. I even won a wallet and a t-shirt from the raffle. Anyway, farewell to Sadie’s, and best wishes…

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Double Greeting Wonton House – Edmonton – Roadtrip 2014

When I went vegan a few decades ago Double Greeting Wonton House was one of the vegan-friendly Asian restaurants that was open super late and open almost everyday. My dad and I would go after he finished work, my friends and I would walk over at 11 pm, and get something to eat, and I suppose it still has a certain legacy within my social circle. I don’t know how truly vegan friendly it is, so your comfort level may vary, but of the dishes I keep ordering, I’ve been assured they are. We’ve kept going back for over 10 years out of a blend of nostalgia, and enjoyment. In that time, it hasn’t changed much if at all. The neighbourhood surrounding it hasn’t changed much either, though on our most recent visit I noticed there was a lot more construction than I remember in the past, so I imagine that can be a blend of good and bad. My go-to dish has changed over time, but the last few years I’ve wanted the sweet corn on rice, and my friends tend to order the shanghai noodles and the mushrooms mushrooms mushrooms on rice. Of course, the important thing to specify that you want the vegetarian version of whatever it is your ordering, especially if you’re just writing numbers down like we usually do) You’ll notice that there are two shanghai noodles, but both have the same numbers – and default will result in a meaty noodle dish. That said,…

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Notes from VVCIII – Science is Awesome – Matt Rusigno

I wanted to share some of my notes from day one of Vida Vegan Con and some of the talks I attended. On day one – I went to Matt Rusigno’s talk Science is Awesome! – Why we don’t need to exaggerate health claims about veganism.   Matt Rusigno started off by telling us that with everything he says he’s coming from an ethical vegan perspective, but has concerns about  concerns about the positioning of veganism and ridiculous health claims, and will tell us a few things we might not agree with, but things that are based on the current available scientific evidence. Difficult truth: Reality is that there are people that have had great results from paleo. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26003334 Nutr Res. 2015 May 14. pii: S0271-5317(15)00097-4. doi: 10.1016/j.nutres.2015.05.002. [Epub ahead of print] Paleolithic nutrition improves plasma lipid concentrations of hypercholesterolemic adults to a greater extent than traditional heart-healthy dietary recommendations. There is very little research comparing vegan athletes vs non-vegan athletes, and very difficult to design a study showing clear connections (how to define vegan vs non-vegan, starting point in fitness, etc) Looks at The Potato Diet – 60 days of potatoes Result was weight loss. Cholesterol, blood glucose all went down. Other ridiculous diets – like twinkie diet, and more. (also had positive impacts on some basic bio measurements like cholesterol, blood glucose, etc) Dangerous and ridiculous facebook page shares – energy frequency food vibration pyramid (whut?!) We’re very influenced by our own experiences and often actively seek out evidence that supports…

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Edmonton – Ethiopian Vegan Buffet at Abyssinia Restaurant

Shortly after arriving in Edmonton for a brief visit, hanging out at home and with my parents’ cat Misha, my mom and I decided to head over to Abyssinia Restaurant, a Ethiopian restaurant in East Central Edmonton, just a bit north of the downtown core. Abyssinia is an Ethiopian family restaurant in Edmonton that serves a variety of meat and vegan dishes everyday, and offers a totally vegan buffet twice a week on Wednesday & Friday evenings between 5-9pm. I couldn’t help but think if this place was in Toronto it would have been PACKED full, especially on vegan night. But instead there were a couple tables occupied, but otherwise, it was not so busy. Service was helpful and friendly, and they told us all about the food they had to offer. So many incredible dishes, like kei misir wot (spicy lentils), alicha misir (turmeric lentils), gomen (chopped spicy greens), tikel gomen (cabbage & carrots), fosolia (green beans, carrots, and potato), kik wot, okra, sweet potato dishes, fresh green salads, and all the injera (made with corn, buckwheat, and teff flour) you could ever eat. I piled my plate full of everything, sampling a bit of this and that of whatever drew my eye. There is something especially so fantastic about Ethiopian food – the spices, the flavours. It’s warming and comforting, and while dishes are similar between restaurants and rooted in tradition, every chef has their own unique style. They make it their own, and I was really delighted by what…

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Breakfast at Home and Clever Rabbit – Roadtrip 2014

I’m still writing about our Summer Roadtrip in 2014 – so far in our story we had just arrived in Edmonton the afternoon before, and planned to visit my parents for breakfast the next morning. My parents had just come back from a trip to Poland, so I was looking forward to seeing pictures and hearing a few stories about their trip too. (also – I like souvenirs.) My mom also made us waffles – but I didn’t have the wherewithal to take a photo until the last waffle as you can see above in all of its glory. Over the last few years my mom has become an especially incredible vegan cook (because she follows a primarily plant based diet) – so it’s always nice to come back and get a tasty home cooked meal. It’s actually quite tough being away from my parents, flights to Edmonton from Toronto are usually quite expensive, and it’s not always easy to find time to get away, so I was happy to visit back in the summer of 2014 and also a month or so ago. We’d see each other again a few times on this visit, but it was nice to have breakfast with the family like old times, and have JC join us. They of course told us about their beautiful trip to Poland, where there was more vegan friendly stuff than you might expect – which was especially relevant to my mostly-vegan mom. Places like Krowarzywa – a vegan burger spot and Veg…

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The Thai on Bloor – Toronto

Thai food has always been one of those foods I gravitate towards – especially being vegan. Yes, everyone talks about hidden fish sauce, but it doesn’t happen often, and from what I’ve been able to tell most of the time when I go into a restaurant people have been honest with me (even if it means they lose a sale.) We live near High Park, and a relatively short walk away from Roncesvalles, which has a couple of vegan friendly Thai restaurants (The Friendly Thai and Thai Chef Cuisine) and since moving to the neighbourhood we hadn’t branched out much beyond those familiar two. One evening I walked by The Thai on Bloor from Keele station. It’s one of those wonderful stumble-upon a place on foot experiences that are so rare with the internet dictating so much of my eating habits these days – but The Thai had a big chalkboard sign outside, and one of the items was “Vegan Options Available.” Just this line was enough to make me feel optimistic, they used the V word, but looking at the menu got me feeling excited. A whole glorious vegan page of dishes, with some meats even. I put The Thai in my mental “To Eat” list and moseyed on my way home. Finally, a friend and I paid them a visit for the first time a month ago, I had the Spicy Curry Soy-Shrimp. It’s meant to be eaten with rice, but I skipped that so it didn’t seem like much…

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UFondue – Saskatoon, SK – Roadtrip 2014

I’m still travelling back in time on our Summer Roadtrip, in July and August 2014. We visited UFondue in the last few weeks of July 2014, and it was one of the last few spots we visited before driving on to Edmonton. One of the things people often seem surprised at, and I’m still a little surprised about is that Saskatoon has a fondue restaurant. Add to that, Saskatoon has a fondue restaurant with a vegan option for all four courses, and they didn’t just recently jump on the vegan bandwagon – they’ve offered a vegan fondue option for as long as I’ve known about this restaurant, which means since somewhere in 2007. I’ve gone here for fondue a few times now, and every time feels like we’re an anomaly and it feels kind of like there is an odd vibe around it, but they keep it on the menu so I have to assume I’m not the only one ordering it. Servers try not to be awkward about it, but they are awkward about it every time. Despite this, I had to go back with JC and show him this weird and wonderful experience that inspired me and an ex-gf to buy a fondue set once upon a time (that we actually even used several times afterwards too!) Way back when I lived in Saskatoon, UFondue was known as The Upstairs, but they’ve since changed the name and the interior. I like the changes –  it feels a lot more open, and takes advantage…

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Field Roast Vegan Chao Slices Giveaway (Canada Only)

Winner has been selected! I’m at ExpoWest and checking out all of the fantastic vegan products available, and one of my favourite things to do, is to give away stuff that’s hard to find (or not available at all yet) in Canada. So, here it is – I’d like to give you one flavour of Field Roast’s Chao Cheese Slices. I’ve tried these before, and plan on doing a full review in the future – but now I’m enjoying running around at ExpoWest, so for now, my one line review is: This is a versatile casual cheese slice – it’s great on bread, with apples, and has made a few appearances on some of my vegan cheeseboards in the past. If you want to follow along on my ExpoWest vegan product finding adventures, check me out on instagram or facebook. Winner has been selected a Rafflecopter giveaway Disclaimer: I did get a free package(s) of Field Roast Chao slices, but free reign on what to do with it. But… I like to share 🙂

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