A visit to the St. Albert Farmers Market. And things entirely unrelated to veganism.

Bright and early yesterday morning I went over to the 2010 opening kick off of the St.Albert Farmer’s Market. It was a beautiful day to go wandering through the stalls and see what interesting things were hiding around every corner. We arrived shortly after the opening ceremonies at 10 am, but as with nearly every Farmer’s Market, it was packed right from the beginning, with all the clever folks hoping to find the best of everything. I love that there is a Park and Ride from St.Albert Center direct to the Farmers Market. It’s such a great idea and wish more places would encourage the use of public transit in such a fashion. There were a few things that stood out for me from the 200+ vendors: Guasacaca salsa  (email) With a name like Guasacaca, I thought everything would contain avocados, but sometimes a name is just a name, no avocados to be seen! I picked up an amazing cilantro based salsa/chutney from the guys at Guasacaca Salsa. Simple ingredients (Cilantro, garlic, parsley, oil, vinegar, peppers, chilli peppers), and full of flavour. They had four different varieties of Salsas, two green ones with cilantro and varying degrees of hotness, a roja (a red one with tomatos), and a curried one called Hurry Hurry. All of them were delicious, but since I prefer sharp spicy flavours the Hot Green one won out. The Roja, had a subtler flavour with an interesting finish. Luckily, they had samples available!  Ukrainian Homemade Bread and Baking (780-4741111) I…

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The most negative and disappointed post. The Remedy is cheesecake.

A friend and I went to Bliss Baked Goods (14208 118 Ave Edmonton, AB) yesterday morning. I was extremely excited at the prospect of vegan croissants or even just a meal at this dairy-free kosher bakery. I heard about it from the VOA dining guide a while ago and wanted to try it out ever since. However, I left disappointed, as on the day we went in, the only vegan item were danishes, and well…. I can get vegan danishes from the grocery store if I wanted them. Eventually I’d like to pre-ordering 6 vegan croissants (if they still make them) but not any time soon. After the sadness of another day without vegan croissants passed, we went to Whyte Avenue in search of some new good food. Cafe Beirut was new to us, another place for quick cheap Lebanese cuisine. Which is good to know, because I had a terrible experience at Sabzy, one of the other places for hummus, tabbouleh, etc on Whyte. There are very few times I have left a restaurant because the service was so bad, that was one of those times. We ordered the Falafel Platter, and it was good, but the consensus was that it wasn’t spectacular. Though for what it was, let’s just say it was great. The service was friendly, it was prepared quickly, and presented nicely. Next time I’m in there I’ll try the baba ganouji. I was interested to read that the owner of Cafe Beirut once upon a time owned the…

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Home cooking and more Daiya. A visit to Lemongrass.

I think one of the major reasons I’ve been vegan with ease for so many years is the fact that something simple like a bit of avocado, tomato and spinach thrown together can get me salivating. Food doesn’t have to be fancy to be delicious, but I’ll admit that sometimes the aesthetics of what I’m eating comes into play. If I go out to eat, the enjoyment increases tenfold if care and attention was put into the presentation. To me it just feels like it is an extension of the care and attention that (I hope) went into preparing a meal. But if I’m eating at home, the colours that really effect me. Fresh bright leaves, ripe tomatoes, avocados, fruits, vibrant juices, just looking at them makes me feel good. I already know that love and care was put into cooking or preparing something, when I’m home, and cooking for myself, so I don’t necessarily need to see it in the final product. This morning I had a hankering for a Mock Tuna Salad Sandwich (based on Neal Barnard’s recipe in Food For Life, which again, I am proud to mention, is my mother’s book, not mine. Vegan contagion win!) My night time work schedule has me existing in a different time zone, so my stomach operates on different hours. 4am is a perfectly reasonable time to be preparing a meal. It was, of course, delicious. I melted up some more daiya cheese today for my mini snack of nachos (on my…

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Daiya Vegan Cheese

In case you haven’t heard, Daiya Cheese is here in Edmonton. You can pick it up at Earth’s General Store (on 82 ave and 96 st.) The new location is right before the bridge over Mill Creek ravine. When I went in it was $17/kg (which, I believe makes it the cheapest vegan cheese in the city, and on par with reg. cheese pricing.) I’ve also heard there will be new packaging soon, so it may be available in other stores. (But I think I’ll stick with Earth’s General Store for my Daiya needs. I love them.) I picked some up on Thursday, and the first thing I did when I got home was make nacho’s. I sliced up a tomato, an onion, some olives, and sprinkled some “cheddar” and some “mozzarella” on top, threw it in the microwave, and made fresh and spicy Pico de Gallo to go with it. It was yummy as expected. It really melts! I first tried Daiya back in November or December from Food Fight Grocery in Portland and I was really amused to find out that Daiya was actually produced in British Columbia, Canada, but was available south before it was available east of there. The most important thing about this cheese, at least to me (beyond the fact it doesn’t have animal products in it), is that my parents LOVE it, and omnivorous friends have also been very positive. It’s so close to the real thing that I think it might have some serious potential to…

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Food Day.- Or Vegan Options within walking distance of the University of Alberta

Yesterday was a food day. We went out to the Garneau area and started out at Kyoto Japanese Cuisine, went to Phobulous (so my friend could get some non-vegan Vietnamese coffee)  then a visit to Remedy for a piece of vegan cheesecake, across the street to Transcend Coffee for a Soy Flat White, a quick snack at Kabuki, and finally a late dinner at Blue Plate Diner downtown. Kyoto Japanese Cuisine is pretty minimal on the real vegan options. Most of their sushi contains mayo (but you can ask them to skip it.) They bring out miso soup with every meal, but I was told it contained shrimp, so of course, none for me. We ordered the Spinach Gomaae, a flash steamed pile of spinach, slathered in a sweet peanut sesame sauce. The menu has items marked as “Vegetarian” with a little green sushi piece, but based on the Tamago (egg sushi) with that symbol, that definition likely includes lacto-ovo items. This wasn’t the last Gomaae of the day, so it was interesting to be able to compare them. I’m going to skip talking about Phobulous for the most part, the vegan options are limited to two items on the menu, and considering the amazing other places in and around the Whyte ave area, if I had the choice, I’d just go somewhere else (Unless you feel like having a rice bowl with tofu and spring rolls). Remedy was great as always, we got there just as he was plating…

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Best Cheesecake Ever.

Okay, the other day, I consumed what I believe was the best cheesecake I’ve ever eaten. Maybe I’m exaggerating, but I looked through my memory banks, at the prevegan days (cheesecake factory, homemade, little bitro cakes), compared it to the former Best Cheesecake Ever from Wink (which existed once upon a time in Vancouver) and still, this one is the winner. How can it not be, with a creamy peanut butter banana chocolate filling, and a thin layer of peanut butter on the bottom chocolatey crust. Chocolate Peanut Butter Banana Cheesecake from Remedy. There isn’t anymore. We took the last two slices on Sunday. But if you happen to walk into Remedy one day, and see this… you should get a piece. The heck with all other cheesecakes. I want this cake for my birthday.

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Edmonton City Market and a Raw Food Potluck

 Saturday was the perfect day to head out to the Edmonton City Market, a warm and sunny morning, with only the occasional cloud in sight.  It seemed quite busy to me, but I have no previous weeks to compare it to. Finally checked out the LimeGreens booth, and it was full of samples(!!!). They had already run out of Chocolate Macaroons by 10:30am, but if the sample I tried was any indication, they are worth waking up early for. My friend and I both found the kale chips too cheesy. Of the drink samples the mango lassi and chai were my favourites (but they have a great variety to choose from.) J picked up a sweet spicy Chai smoothie, and I debated getting a Mango Lassi (normally a yogurt based Indian drink), but decided it was too early in the morning for something so rich. Funny since I ended up finishing the remainder of my friends Chai anyway. The fiesta olives booth was really busy, which is usually a good sign, but we skipped it. I picked up a bunch of bulk olives recently from a nearby Lebanese grocery store anyway, so I’ve got my olive source for a while. There are two other sources for vegan olive tapenade; Bamboche Wold Cuisine, and Truffle-licious. I think the one from Truffle-licious was my favourite hands down, but it might have something to do with a minorly annoying comment related to veganism from the Bamboche vendor (related to veganism and honey. I…

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Vegan Iron Chef PDX. Other stuff.

Since Portland was once upon a time my home away from home away from home, and I was planning on moving there some day, I still feel this happy vegan connection to it, despite the fact that I’m no longer thinking about moving there. Tomorrow is PDX’s inaugural Vegan Iron Chef, and I wanted to try and catch some of it while it’s being live streamed here at 5pm PST, but I’ll be at a Mexican themed raw vegan potluck instead. I didn’t realize that Concordia University (in Montreal) had an Iron Chef competition earlier this year. Considering how fantastic the food was nearly everywhere I went in Montreal, I can imagine how great it was. Looks like they are hoping to make it an annual event, so looking forward to following it next year. I picked up fresh garbanzo beans today, mostly out of curiosity, than necessity. But they have a very distinct flavour to them. I’ve never made anything with them previously, but I think I’ll buy more and make a raw green hummus out of it next week. I’ve still been going out to eat more often than I should, primarily to Remedy and La Shish Taouk (in Mayfield Common). La Shish is my favourite sit down place, mostly because of the fresh pita bread, hummus and baba ganouj, and it helps that it’s on the west end, open late and close-by. I introduced my dad to the place last week, and he liked it quite a bit. We…

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Cheesecake from Remedy Edmonton… again

It was a cold terrible day for CityChase on Saturday. I finally experienced what my friend calls “Vancouver Winter,” where there are never enough layers to protect you from the humidity, rain and sleet, and the only escape is going inside. But the event ended on a positive note, it warmed up slightly, and my fingers regained feeling, so that was nice. The lunch provided by the organizers was of course meat and cheese based, and that wasn’t much of a surprise. I had listed vegan as a dietary restriction, so I’ll just assume that is why we got so many bananas and oranges at our station. The most important thing to me, was that the participants were having fun, and it seemed like they were having a heck of a time in spite of the rain. After I was done at my ChasePoint (which was the Mitsubishi Car-eoke one at the City Art’s Center) I went over to the Over the Top Fashion Swap at the Winspear. I didn’t go for the clothing swap, but I wandered around the vendor’s section to see what homemade goods people were selling. I’m so glad I went because one thing that caught my eye (surprise, surprise) was Kerstin’s Chocolates (10139 – 112Street, Edmonton, AB). They have several vegan dark chocolate options that I know of, such as some of the Cocophilia bars, but there might be more. They were selling a Chocolate Coconut Cup there, but she stepped away from the booth so…

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Not going out to eat for a while… maybe.

Well, after the last few weeks of overindulgences, I’m feeling a bit like a homebody. I’d rather prepare simple dishes for myself, friends and family, than go out and have someone do it for me.  It also doesn’t help that most of the people I typically eat with are doing juice/master cleanses right now. And I have no interest in joining them. Our weather has been alternating between picnic friendly, and rain lately, but I still have the urge to get a few people together and have a nice traditional style picnic (well, as traditional as possible while still vegan.) potato salad, raw veggies, sandwiches, pita chips with hummus/guac/salsa, cupcakes, lemonade and iced tea. Or by using some of the suggestions from Mark Bittman’s 101 ideas for picnics. (peach tomato salad!) Next week there is a Raw Food Potluck here in Edmonton, and I’m trying to decide what to make for it. (It’s happening on Saturday June 5th, 2010, email rawveganedmonton@gmail.com to find out more information.) I’m leaning towards a lasagna type of dish (or maybe an artichoke pate stuffed tomatoes). Ever since I made the salad with raw zucchini a month or so ago, I just want to use it again… in something… anything. I picked up a few varieties of organic heirloom lettuce, and small container of black kalamata olives. I’m going to end up making my own tapenade (with olives, garlic, fresh basil, capers and olive oil) today, at least as a mini snack. I still want…

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