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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Vegan MoFo 2018 – Lets talk about fries.

So french fries are a common inside joke in veganism, because once upon a time, it was the only thing we could eat out and about – and of course, it’s still occasionally the case. Impassioned online and offline discussions have happened related to fries and whether they are vegan or not, if the oil is shared, or McDonalds’s fries in Canada vs the USA, and whether they are healthy or should be included in veganism at all. Well, as you may already know, I think all plant based foods should be welcome under the umbrella of veganism, since food can be a joy and a pleasure as well as something that nourishes us. Fries can be wonderful. Fries don’t have to be a terrible joke all the time either – sometimes, they can be a happy one. My travels around have taught me that. Have you ever gone on a road trip and stopped at a chip truck in a small town? This wasn’t something I was familiar with living in the prairies, but once I moved to Ontario – chip trucks were a fairly common sight. And you could get fries – in a styrofoam box or paper bag, and eat it on the side of the highway while listening to the passing big rigs. Maybe big rigs are not your scene – but as I have learned over the past few months – some toddlers love trucks – and my toddler loves trucks, so watching them drive…

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VeganMofo 2018 – Day Zero – A Month of Potatoes

We travelled through Canadian potato country this summer – notably PEI and New Brunswick – which is not to say that other provinces don’t grow potatoes, just that when I think of Canadian potatoes, I definitely think of PEI first. We went to potato museums, and ate french fries, and baked potatoes, and potatoes every which way and it was my scene. Now, I love potatoes all the time, I there are so could eat them for every meal, for weeks, and never get tired, because they are so diverse and versatile and delicious. Potatoes have an important part of my cultural history and my dreams, and I want to celebrate that for the duration of VeganMoFo starting tomorrow. So for September, I’m going to talk about potatoes, and the various awesome things about them. If you’re interested, you can learn about how and where they grow, some methods of preparation that might be new to you, and a quick journey around the world of (vegan or veganized) potato preparations – including kopytki, potato pancakes, aloo tiki, potato curry, batata harra, spicy sour julienned potatoes , colcannon potatoes, papas a la huancaina, potato blini, babka ziemniaczana, gnocchi, atakilt wat, and more. I am also hoping to do a couple of round ups of some of my favourite potato related veganmofo posts (past and present.) I hope you’re as excited about VeganMofo as I am, and I am looking forward to reading and playing along. You can find me participating on…

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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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Montreal, PQ – Antidote Bouffe Végane

We were passing through Montreal on a road trip recently, and wanted to try something new. Our usual stop Sushi Momo wasn’t open until evening, and we wanted something we could take with us to go, so we could arrive at our next destination with the option of eating lunch. Voila – Antidote Bouffe Végane saves the day. (that said, I hadn’t heard of the weird stuff going on behind the scenes – hopefully they’ve changed the treatment of their employees for the better, because everyone there was lovely.) Service was friendly and quick, it was also bilingual, though the menu was not. We ordered a few things from their brunch menu, and waited in a lovely front sitting area in the sunshine surrounded by plants. I ordered the bagel au « saumon fumé tsé » which was excellent and came with hashbrown potatoes, a salad, and some fruit. JC got the B.L.T and he really liked it too, and our son really liked the pains dorés with apple caramel, but we didn’t grab a picture of that one. Antidote Bouffe Végane seems like a cool place to sit and eat, but we had to get rolling on to Quebec city.   Antidote Bouffe Végane 3459 Ontario St E, Montreal, QC H1W 1R4 (map) website | facebook | instagram They take cash, credit, and debit Entrance is accessible.

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Montreal – Cafe Dei Campi

I’ve talked about Cafe Dei Campi before, but it’s one of my favourite places to go to eat and have coffee in Montreal. We’ve gone there many many times since they opened in 2016, but only been to Montreal three times in that time. It’s just wonderful every time. They make vegan pastries, but have dairy products for coffee, but also make a damn good soy latte. Since our last visit, they added a nice outdoor patio – but we stayed inside. They also had dinosaurs for our son to play with, which was a great bonus. We ordered a variety of things, including a strawberry tart, cornettos, and a chocolate hazelnut filled beignet. But I was most excited for the cornettos as usual – they’re an Italian croissant-like pastry filled with an orange scented chocolate, and we had to take one of them to go. As an added bonus, especially if you have someone in your party that needs to burn off some energy, or you enjoy eating outside, you can visit Pere Marquette Park across the street – it’s got trees, benches, a skate park, baseball fields and other things to enjoy. Obviously, we will be back again to this wonderful place, and I recommend you try it someday too.

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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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Cambridge, Ontario – No Udder Vegan Ice Cream

We visited Cambridge and Guelph last month and it was a lovely little drive and visit – I’m not sure how we ended up at No Udder in Cambridge, but I’m glad we did. No Udder has been open since the beginning of June, and is a dairy-ice ice cream parlour with nut-free and gluten-free options. They’re in the front space of Nature’s Vibe, a health food and alternative health type space – but follow different hours. There was a nice variety of flavours, and the very friendly folks inside offered samples of all of them without hesitation. The three of us sampled a little of everything, but when I saw lemon and lavender on the list, I knew I’d be getting them – sample or no sample. The lemon had the most perfect flecks of lemon zest – it was the real deal in every way. Have you tried No Udder yet? (If you’ve ever had the ice cream from Fairly Frosted bakery at markets and VegFests around the province, you might have already enjoyed some!) No Udder 20 Ainslie St. N. Cambridge, ON (located in the front of Nature’s Vibe) (map) Facebook | Instagram They take cash, credit cards, and debit.

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Stratford, Ontario – The Planet Diner

We spent the day at Cedar Row‘s annual Summer of Peace event and it was beautiful as always but on the way home, we were wondering where we could go for a bite to eat. I asked around, and a friend  suggested we visit The Planet Diner in Stratford, Ontario, so off we went to check it out. The Planet Diner opened only a few months ago and it looks great. There is an outside patio, indoor diner style seating (complete with puffy red booths), and a fun kitschy decor. It features casual comfort food. They serve a primarily vegan menu, with a few meat-containing options available. It seems like they are generally dairy-free but if you have allergies, of course it’s best to double check (I didn’t ask). They have coffee, tea, cold drinks, juice, alcohol, and virgin cocktails too. You can take a peek at their menus on their website – they’ve got lots of options for everyone, including stuff for the gluten free crowd. We rolled in around 4ish, and there was street parking available nearby, there is also a green P around a block away. Their brunch menu looks delicious, but ends at 3, so we picked off the regular menu. We started off sharing the fries and gravy (default vegan) and a couple of drinks – I had a soy cappuccino (which was excellent) and JC got the virgin Caesar which was spicy and wonderful (I might have stolen a few/several sips.)   I had 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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