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 kitchen space, so I wonder how well the program goes in real life, but regardless, I’m glad it exists. There are so many awesome groups in Detroit doing inspiring work that we can learn from, and I can’t possibly list them all, and I’m sure many of them don’t even…

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The Toronto Vegan 100 – My Grand Total: 80(so far)

Toronto’s Vegan 100 is a curated list of some of the unbelievable vegan dishes suggested by discerning local vegans who shared their favourite dishes, memorable meals and unforgettable finds put together by Lisa from Vegan Culinary Crusade While I might not agree with absolutely all of these items as the best that Toronto has to offer, I think it’s a great list and a great way to start your vegan explorations in the city. I remember doing the Portland Vegan 100 a few years ago, and I really liked it, so I asked Lisa if she’d be cool with the same kind of repost. Here’s how the PDX Vegan 100 worked: 1) Copy this list into your own blog, facebook or website, including these instructions. 2) Bold all the items you’ve eaten. (Like this) 3) Cross out any items that you would never consider eating (or wouldn’t eat again). (Like This) 4) Link your post back to the original. 5) Pass it on! Here it goes. Toronto’s Vegan 100 1. Apiecalypse Now’s Chili Mac n’ Cheese 2. Apiecalypse Now’s Dunkeroos 3. Apiecalypse Now’s Pulled Not Pork 4. The Atlantic Vegan Tasting Menu 5. Bahn Mi Boys’ Tofu Tacos 6. Bello Bio’s Tiramisu 7. Belmonte Raw’s Peanut Butter Chocolate Thimble 8. Belmonte Raw’s Strength Juice 9. The Beet’s Grilled Cheese with Apple Butter (with Daiya) 10. The Beet‘s Vegan Mac n’ Cheese 11. The Bickford Flexitarian’s Fried Vegg Sandwich 12. Boreal Gelato‘s Strawberry Sorbetto (as an aside, do try the vegan salted caramel gelato from these folks) 13. Buddha’s Vegetarian‘s General Tao’s Chicken 14. Bunner’s Cinnamon Buns…

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Weekend Roadtrips are Fun. part one: London. (Chil Frozen Yogurt)

I’ve been wanting to visit Michigan again for a while. It’s been about two years since our last visit to Detroit, and this weekend seemed like the perfect opportunity since we were planning on being in London, Ontario for the Anarchist Bookfair this past weekend. This of course makes sense if you’re not an agent in either of the involved boarder crossing agencies. Neither Canadian nor USA agents appreciate the amazing bounty of vegan goods that we can find a mere hour or two away from Canada, or why we’d bother going over just to visit three whole foods locations and any hippie market we could find. Or maybe they would – but we haven’t yet found the need for cross border declarations of veganism, but maybe if they put it on my passport it would explain why we drove 4 hours away from home to buy food. The original plan was to drive down to London to check out the anarchist bookfair and hopefully add to my zine library (which is ample) and go back home. But eventually that evolved to stopping in Detroit for a few hours. Which eventually turned into spending the night in Ferndale. After a quick walk through of the bookfair, I realized I had most of the zines on offer, but one thing that was super cool and interesting and beautiful was comic/art book called Red: A Haida Manga by Michael Nicoll Yahgulanaas. There is a video about the book here: If I ever see it again at…

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Cedar Row Farm Sanctuary – Summer of Peace

Every year, Cedar Row Farm Sanctuary holds a Summer of Peace event, and every year, I try and go. Last year I went on a TVA organized bus while JC was in Japan, but this year, since we got a car around a month ago, we could actually drive there ourselves. I never thought of myself as a car person, and still don’t, but I can finally see some of the benefits of having one. Normally, driving anywhere would involve booking a car early (even from ZipCar) – especially on a weekend – and planning everything well in advance. On Sunday, we decided to leave at the last moment. As spring turned into summer, and just before the Vegan Pop Up I was hit with a mean head cold that has knocked me out for a week or so. Somehow, I held out for a few days so I wouldn’t be totally sick for vegan pop up, but whenever I do that, it just hits me twice as hard. Even an hour before we left we were still debating whether we’d end up going or not because I was feeling pretty rotten, but we went anyway. It was nice to be able to just make that kind of decision on a spur of the moment. It’s always worth it. Cedar Row is one of my favourite places to go. A farm sanctuary just outside of Stratford, Ontario, and home to rescued pigs, goats, cows, donkeys, chickens, cats, and more, it’s a…

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Now’s Best of Toronto – Veganed

It’s that time of year again, well, between now and September – to vote in NOW Magazine’s Best of Toronto Reader’s Choice. I was looking through some of the categories and I noticed something – more and more vegan businesses are cropping up in categories beyond the usual “vegan” or “vegetarian”, so I wanted to highlight the ones I’ve found. I have been posting about at least one business everyday on Facebook, complete with my case for why they should win, but I decided I should just wrap it up into one post anyway. I’m not telling you who to vote for. All I’m saying is that it’s worth checking out categories beyond “vegan” or “vegetarian” because so many fantastic vegan places are all over this year’s list. Voting closes September 12th, and winners will be announced in Now’s Best of Toronto Reader’s Choice issue out November 6th. I’m sure this goes without saying, but this list has not been endorsed by Now Toronto, and I’ve put it together without any biases beyond being vegan and liking tasty food. Table of Contents Best Bakery Best Bar Best Dessert Best Breakfast Best Brunch Best Caribbean Best Jamaican Best Caterer Best Cheap Eats Best Chocolate Best Cupcake Best Dessert Best Donut Best Vegan Best Vegetarian Best Pho Best Patisserie Best Korean Best Other Stuff

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Vegan Pop Up, Lunch, Health, & other Things I Love Thursday

There are a few things I’m grateful for this week. Supportive friends, sunshine, a really good batch of cold brew coffee, that all three of my cats are getting along (sort of), the house is covered in lush green ivy, and the garden JC and I have worked on has turned our first growing season in our new home into a really nice verdant and cozy space. The most incredible thing for me is that I took a picture of the house before I left for Edmonton a couple of weeks ago, and when I arrived back in Toronto I was surprised by the beautiful wall of green outside. 100 in 1 Day Toronto Tomorrow is 100 in 1 Toronto, which is an incredible event where people gather together, decide to make something happen, and take up space doing it. Click the above image to find out more about 100 in 1 Day Toronto Vegan Pop Up There is a Vegan Pop Up coming up on June 15th, and I’m happy to be involved in it. There is this incredible amount of excitement at having everything come together, and it’s only just under ten days away. We’ve got a really fabulous combination of little vegan businesses and some more well known folks – there will be a couple of vegan and/or animal focused local organizations attending, and proceeds from admission tickets are going to support a farm sanctuary (Cedar Row). We’ll have an animal care item donation box for All Creatures Rescue and a…

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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 enough despite living a very short walk away. There were visits to food truck festivals – like What the Truck. Stops at some of my very well loved Markets  – like the Old Strathcona Market, Earth’s General Store, and the outdoor City Market on 104th street in Downtown Edmonton. New-to-me…

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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 ultimate laziness, it’s best to only do one step, rather than the microwave + pan frying step. It only takes around a half an hour which is fast enough for me, though it’s nice to have options. So what did I think? I’ve loved this product at first bite, so…

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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 what it’s all about in my first taste of the Depanneur post from all the way back in 2012! The supper club isn’t all vegan all the time. Supper club memberships cost $40 and include the cost of the meal. Memberships are only valid for one day so the way…

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Lazy Vegan Friday – Gardein Good Start Breakfast Sandwich

Earlier this week I was wandering through Kensington Market in search of Gadein’s new Fishless-Filets that I had tried at ExpoWest, but my dreams were foiled, and replaced by new dreams – trying the (also new-to-me) Gardein Breakfast Sandwich. I found it in the Freezer section of Essence of Life, and haven’t seen it anywhere else (but if you have please share where in the comments!) Today was a lazy morning, so it seemed appropriate to crack open the box and try them out. One box had two breakfast sandwiches in it, and two slices of vegan cheese. While I usually avoid the microwave, I opted to follow the microwave instructions for maximum lazy factor and for science. The instructions for microwaving say to wrap it in a paper towel, and heat on high for 1 minute and 20 seconds. Then add the slice of cheese – and blast it for another 20 seconds. And voila, it’s on a plate, and has melted cheese on it. Ready to be eaten. For science. First impression: I LIKED it. I feel like’ I’ve heard some negative reviews of this combo, but I thought for what it was – a quick microwavable breakfast sandwich – it was surprisingly good. Actually, really surprising. The bread didn’t turn into mush, and was chewy like a toasted English muffin, the breakfast patty was tender and lightly spiced, and while the cheese wasn’t perfectly melty, it fit my requirements for what I remember of the flavour and texture…

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