Lazy Vegan Friday – So Delicious CocoWhip

I’m in New York City right now, and one of the things I love doing whenever I’m in the USA is finding products we don’t have in Toronto. A few months ago I started seeing So Delicious‘ CocoWhip appearing on friends’ and bloggers Instagram feeds and knew… I must try some. So my opportunity came this week when I saw one of the varieties (the regular variety with the blue label, as opposed to “light” in the pink label) at a Whole Foods (the one at Columbus Circle) in New York City. It has always been strange to me that “non-dairy” whipped toppings would have dairy ingredients like casein, a milk protein, (usually in the form of sodium caseinate) or other things, but it’s nice to have a similar product from So Delicious that is actually 100% dairy free. I’ve had some disappointing experiences with non-dairy dairy-filled whipped toppings, so here is hoping So Delicious brings this product to Canada sometime soon. Especially since MimicCreme has disappeared from our shelves (Since the company closed in November 2013 due to no longer having access to an appropriate production facility), and sometimes I just want an easy to use tub of whipped topping…

Read more

Piebird Vegan Farmstay & Cottage

We spent a technology free(ish) weekend at the PieBird Birdhouse Cottage last weekend. Piebird is a vegan Bed & Breakfast, farmstay, and farm sanctuary in Nipissing, Ontario – now the furthest North in Ontario I’ve been so far. They share their land with cats, chickens, goats, and a couple of turkeys. We had a lovely time. I say technology free(ish) because we still used our phones in airplane mode as cameras, and we were still using things like stoves and fridges. This might not seem like a big deal, but JC and I are attached to our phones, for work and daily life, so around 48 hrs without any internet wasn’t difficult, but it felt noticeable and quite relaxing. On our way north to PieBird, we stopped in Barrie and grabbed a couple of Boon Burgers to go. The cool thing was that I was able to order our meal in the car on the way, without calling, with the boon burger mobile app (available for both iOS and Android). Once we got into Innisfil, I placed our order, the app gave me an estimate of how long it would take, and we drove over, picked up, and were back on our…

Read more

A Final TILT for Vegan MoFo – Things I Loved – Soup, Salads, and Pumpkins.

I’ve enjoyed looking through all the posts and thoughts and recipes throughout Vegan MoFo, having all the blogs collected together on Feedly has been pretty great, and while I’m still (STILL) lamenting the loss of Google Reader, feedly does a decent job of aggregating RSS feeds, and I like that it’s integrated with a bunch of other services I like to use. I woke up feeling terrible this morning, I had to scrape myself out of the bed cocoon I had created with pillows, and try to get in motion, because I tend to follow one of Newton’s law’s of motion, this one especially: An object that is at rest will stay at rest unless an external force acts upon it. Even sitting up makes a huge difference in how I’m feeling, and I feel better when I’m moving around, than when I’m laying in one place being miserable. But it was tough. JC was kind enough to pick up some ginger, and then chopped it up, and boiled it in a pot of water, with some slippery elm bark blended beefree honee, and a splash of cayenne in an attempt at shortening the duration of these crummy feelings. Also, I…

Read more

A revolving restaurant in Winnipeg? – Prairie 360

On our last evening in Winnipeg, we had to check out Prairie 360, a revolving restaurant in downtown Winnipeg. Yes, a revolving restaurant in downtown Winnipeg, Manitoba. We went to Prairie 360 as a part of July 2014’s Ciao Winnipeg organized Eat Winnipeg prix fixe special. Prairie 360 does have other vegan food on their regular menu, but the special dishes narrowed it down, and it was a pretty great deal too. First of all, you have to get up there, in a elevator that doesn’t quit, we were seated near the window, with lots of room and comfortable seating, and probably one of the best views of Winnipeg – facing the new (and increasingly controversial) Canadian Human Rights Museum. It’s a beautiful and weird looking building, and we had a great view of it, and all of Winnipeg from up on high. I’ve had some negative experiences with revolving restaurants before, so I was a bit nervous about seating  – but we were arranged thoughtfully, and it wasn’t packed, so we got to enjoy the view and our own little private zone. They start with bread and butter (but brought us a dish of olive oil when we asked.)…

Read more

Minnesota – Hard Times Cafe

So continues our VeganMoFo cross country road trip adventure! Ever feel so incredibly out of place, and yet feel a pull from some nostalgic core about a place? Well, that’s how I felt about Hard Times Cafe the moment I walked in. I’ve never been much of a punk. I lived in a punk house, and we had punk shows in our living room, but I never really fit in. At least aesthetically. Still don’t. Luckily, it didn’t really matter. As we walked a little further into the lounge at the Hard Times Cafe there were a whole bunch of different people in there. From entire families, to college kids, to a mad scientist looking type reading a big book, and then there was us. Canadian tourists fresh out of visiting the Mall of America. Don’t worry about fitting in, come in for the food. I ordered a Jolt Cola when I walked in and took a menu for JC and I to look at. What happens is you look at the menu, write down your order (except for drinks) on a piece of paper (per person – write your name on it), tell the cashier your drink order, and pay for it at the…

Read more

Weekend In Detroit – Detroit Vegan Soul

After a few hours in London, JC and I kept driving south to Detroit. A brief boarder crossing experience later and we were in the city again. I like Detroit, and I think it’s because it feels like it’s building itself up again, a movement of people trying to grow where they’ve been planted. With all of the community and collective projects that are going on, it’s one of those places where anything can happen, and it is happening, and that’s often a good thing for budding entrepreneurs or organizations trying to make things happen. Detroit has been on my radar especially for local group organized food policy and urban agriculture work. There are organizations that are doing exciting and inspiring work – as an example, check out Food Lab Detroit. They’re an organization that acts as a hub for existing organizations and business, and provides a space for Good Food entrepreneurs to collaborate and share information, knowledge, resources, and financial/emotional/other support. In partnership with others, they have a kitchen space for local entrepreneurs called Detroit Kitchen Connect. At least from talking with food makers here in Toronto, I know how tough it can be to find available and adequate commercial…

Read more

Where ever you go, there you are. Last month in Edmonton.

The wonderful thing about revisiting places, especially places you used to call home is being able to see how a place, community, city, town, has evolved over time. I try to keep conscious of the things that keep Toronto special, but I know living here I might not acknowledge the gradual positive changes that have occurred (but I’m pretty sure I do –  since I still vacillate between thinking “I’m from Toronto” when people ask, to thinking “I’m not from around these parts”.) I was in Edmonton last month, not for the most ideal of reasons, but I made the best of it, balancing urban exploration, vegan food, and spending time with family – pretty successfully if I do say so myself. I got the opportunity to visit the Edmonton River Valley, one of my favourite parts of Edmonton now that I don’t live there anymore. We used to walk through the River Valley at least once a month when I was a kid, if not more, but I didn’t appreciate how special the area was until now. In some ways it’s like High Park – a beautiful green oasis within the city – that I also don’t visit nearly…

Read more

Lazy Vegan Fish Friday – Gardein’s Fishless Filets

Gardein Fishless Filets

After last the lazy vegan Friday post about Gardein’s Breakfast Sandwiches, one of you wonderful readers were kind enough to tell me where I could find Gardein’s Fishless Filets (thanks Dan!) After my attempts to find it at Essence of Life were fauxfishless. So this weekend we took a little trip up to Fiesta Farms, a great independent grocery store at Christie & Essex Street, with lots of plant-based options, and checked out the freezer section. They had the Fishless Filets, and I filled up my basket. As a courtesy to other people – I did not take all of them, but I was tempted. After trying them at this year’s ExpoWest, I had some idea of what to expect from this product, but everything tastes a little different when you make it at home, so I was interested in seeing how it would translate when a non-gardein rep (me) was making them. Upon opening the package, there are six pieces of fishless filets, and, although they’re frozen, they look golden and brown already (but a little too hard to eat). I followed the baking instructions the three times I’ve made them so far, with positive results. I find for…

Read more

Vegan Pre-Passover Supper Club from Emily Zimmerman

Chag Sameach to those who are observing Passover this week. Yesterday was the first night of Passover, and we celebrated at JC’s childhood home with family and friends. There was lots of reading (though not by me), and lots and lots of delicious food. Passover retells the story of the Jewish people’s escape from slavery from the Pharaoh, and of course, for me, with my general focus on social justice ties in really well with conversations on the realities of oppression and slavery in modern times as well. So I’ll be reflecting on the world I want to be a part of this week, and actively continue to participate in activities that further those positive goals. However, the night before we had a pre-Passover style supper club with Chef Emily Zimmerman, cooking out of The Depanneur. We had a great feast of cozy hearty Jewish cuisine, and I snapped a few pictures along the way. It’s wonderful to eat traditional style food, where it’s all very similar, you have some idea of what to expect, but everyone has their own unique spin on things. If you’ve never been to a Rusholme Park Supper club, I give a basic run down of…

Read more

Awesome Vegan Stuff We Saw At ExpoWest – Part one – Meat

I went down to California last week to check out ExpoWest and soak up some sunshine. It was a pretty spectacular show and an amazing point of convergence for distributors, promoters, exhibitors, marketers, health professionals, and bloggers. I originally went without intending to blog about it. I was focused on finding out out about new products and their distribution schemes and availability – especially in Eastern Canada (consider that some foreshadowing to some potentially exciting future event.) I might also have misinterpreted the ExpoWest guidelines that said no photos (for non-press folks). But eventually, I couldn’t help it, there were so many exciting things there, that I wanted to share and started posting a  bunch on facebook, instagram, and twitter as I stumbled upon it (check out the #VegansAtExpo hashtag for a fun time.) Every time I asked a company rep if they were okay with me taking photos they seemed really excited and friendly about it, so that encouraged me to keep doing it. I cant even begin to cover all the cool stuff I saw, at least not in a single blog post, so I’m breaking it up into a few sections. First, I’d like to start with…

Read more