Vegan on the range.

         I spent the weekend on a mini adventure in Northern Alberta. Part of it was spent in the Lake Baptiste area and part of it was spent wandering around the hills in Athabasca. It’s so beautiful to get out of the city every once and a while, and forget about time.          We were greated with pleasant weather the entire time out there, the nights were cloudy but while there was not much opportunity for stargazing, it was perfect for wandering. There is something so awe inspiring and humbling about watching a sunset into a body of water. I can never quite find the words.          Vegan options were sparse in Athabasca, as far as I could tell. We didn’t do much walking around town, but dropped into the Riverhouse Cafe (5002 43 ST, Athabasca, Alberta), and I had one of the best soy vanilla lattes I’ve had in a while. I watched her make it with soy milk, but the foam was an unusually frothy consistency (which can be hard to achieve with soy) They did not have any vegan dessert, but were full of gluten free options, and the owner seemed like the type of person that would make vegan dessert if there was even a bit of a demand for it.          I felt strangely uninterested in cooking all weekend. There was something about being in the middle of the woods, with no concept of time,…

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Padmanadi

A friend and I took a little visit to Padmanadi a few days ago. Whenever we go, we don’t mess around, and order about three dishes to share. This time was no different. We had a hard time deciding what to order, well… between three dishes as per usual. The spicy chicken, the spicy shrimp, the lemon ribs and the lo hon chow mien. The Tom Yum soup was a given of course, but part of me really wanted to try the shark fin soup again… maybe next time! There are two dishes I love above all other’s at Padmanadi. The Lo Hon Chow Mien, and the Panacotta (made with coconut cream… yummy.) So we had to order it. The portions have decreased from the giant plate of noodles, but I feel like they’ve increased in veggies so I’m quite happy with it. I’m always interested to see the presentation of the Panacotta, because it’s never looked the same twice. During this visit it was in a nice little dish topped with raspberry coolie with a side of peach sauce. I was happy they didn’t put sprinkles on it like last time. I contacted Guru, a relatively new Indian restaurant in Edmonton (opened in December), to find out if there were any vegan options. They replied quite promptly to my email, and yes! There are two dishes that can easily be modified to be vegan, and one of the roti’s is vegan. Hopefully I’ll get the chance to check it…

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I was hungry, and I found the Remedy.

I went to the VOA sponsored presentation by Brenda Davis on Thursday. I’ll admit I went there with the feeling that I would just be hearing a lot of the same old same old information. But I was genuinely impressed and greatly enjoyed the talk. It was an amazing turn out. The lecture theater was PACKED, some people were even sitting on the stairs. I took a few notes, but mostly just took in the information. I picked up a copy of her Becoming Raw book, because I was interested to hear more about her thoughts on enzymes and the theories behind being raw. So far it’s been educational. I admired her dedication to explaining things in a fair and scientific way. Here are a few random things I found interesting: – Most seaweed isn’t a good source of B12. The dehydration process converts true b12 to analogues that can actually facilitate a deficiency because the analogue interferes with the absorption of the true B12.  If you consume dehydrated seaweed you may have a false normal reading when you get your blood tested for b12 deficiency. The normal test doesn’t distinguish between the inactive b12 analogue and true b12. – Special requirements for Canadians for vitamin D are higher and range between 400IU to 1000IU daily because of how little sun we get in the wintertime. – Eating a 100% plant based diet 1 day a week reduces your carbon footprint more than eating a 100% local based diet 7 days…

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Famoso Pizza – Vegan options(?)

If you think I go out to eat nearly everyday… you’d be right. Since I’ve been in Edmonton for less than two weeks, seems like people want to spend time with me. It’s been really nice to hang out with my old friends (and some new ones) and check out some of the places I never got around to visiting in the past. I’m looking forward to using the VOA Vegan and Vegetarian Diner’s guide to find other hidden treasures. A friend and I went to Famoso Pizza (11750 Jasper Ave NW) yesterday. He loves the place (and is a mostly carnivorous omnivore) but I was interested because they have a rice and oat based “Vegan-Rella” on their menu, AND they have received various awards (top pizza place in Edmonton 2008, 2009. Top Pizza in Canada, 6th place at the International Pizza Challenge in Las Vegas.) So it was time to check it out first-hand. I liked the set up: casual, seat yourself and order at the counter. I ordered the only vegan friendly pizza on their menu (the Margherita) which has cheese, basil and olive oil with a campania tomato sauce. It was tasty, but plain. Luckily they had a container of red pepper flakes available and I doused my pizza with it. The sauce was great, and although the cheese was a bit strange (the consistancy of watery melted mozzarella), I would love to try another pizza just with more toppings. But it’s a bit pricey, especially since the “vegan-rella” adds an additional two…

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Remedy and La Shish

Edmonton keeps me busy. I had a wonderful run through the river valley yesterday, did a bit over 7 kilometers. I had only intended on doing 5 but it was so nice out I didn’t want to turn back. I feel oddly like a tourist in this city, everything is slightly unfamiliar and new. Of course I mean that in a good way, because it’s like discovering the great parts about my home city all over again. A friend and I went to La Shish Taouk (224 Mayfield Common, Edmonton AB) yesterday evening, I’ve had the vegetarian combination plate there before and really liked it, but for once in my life, I wasn’t feeling hungry. I ordered a large glass of fresh carrot juice though and I did pick at the falafel plate and the sauteed veggie plate my friend ordered. They have a really decent selection of vegan and vegetarian foods, and if you miss smoking indoors they also have flavoured apple or grape shisha (I’m not a smoker, but I’ve tried the apple and it was pleasant.) Sometime later in the evening we went over to Whyte ave, tried to go to Cafe Dabar, but the moment we started walking up to the place the “Open” sign was switched off! Darn. Remedy was still open, so we headed over there. I’m starting to really like that place, and I keep wondering why I didn’t go there more often when I lived in the university area. They had a…

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Happy Mother’s Day!

I skipped the VOA potluck today, and spent the day with my mom instead. Happy Mothers Day! We tend to go to Europa Cafe in West Edmonton Mall for brunch on Mother’s Day, but this year we went elsewhere. Normally it’s a decent place where my mom and I can have a selection of cold salads, and my dad can still have his meat and cheese dishes. But I am so glad we missed it this time. We walked by, and it was heavy on the seafood, and not so heavy on the salad or the other normally vegan friendly options. We have an old standby at West Edmonton Mall… Boston Pizza. Now, I know I’ve mentioned the Californian before, and I’m sure I’ll do it again. “Back when I was young, there was a vegan pizza right on the menu…” Alright, I’m done being nostalgic. But there was actually a vegan pizza on the menu at BP’s a few years ago. They took it off the menu when they changed their menu because they said demand wasn’t high enough, but I sincerely wonder what the demand would be now if they offered it. So many people are switching to soy, cutting out dairy, and/or trying to live healthier lifestyles. We ordered (shockingly!) the Vegetarian without the mozzarella, and… it tasted like pizza. Give it a try sometime, you might even be pleasantly surprised. Looking at the rest of the menu I was disappointed. There aren’t any sauces (other than the pizza…

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Padmanadi and Remedy in Edmonton

Another great food day in Edmonton. A friend and I went to Padmanadi (10626 97 St NW.) I had an unusual urge to go there. It probably had something to do with thinking about the Mother’s Day buffet (which I am NOT going to today.) We ordered a few things I haven’t had in a long time: the curry chicken, roti canai, and my favourite, the Tom Yum soup. My dining companion suggested adding coconut milk to the Tom Yum soup and I was pleasantly surprised by the flavour. He said it was similar to a thai soup called tom kai gai. Basically in my general opinion, you can’t go wrong with coconut milk. I’ve never added it to something and said to myself “Oh, I wish I hadn’t done that.” It’s just that good. Admittedly every time I go to Padmanadi, I compare it to it’s first or second year of operation and am disappointed. Once upon a time the tom yum soup was in a ridiculously large pot, with fake shrimp, and other bits of fake seafood. But I’m working on forgetting about it, because it’s still a great place to go, especially if you don’t know any different (and even if you do.) We had a super weird looking panacotta, but it was also pretty fantastic. It’s worth trying at least once (a visit.) Later we dropped by Remedy (8631 109 Street NW) for a late night snack. I haven’t had a great experience with their vegan…

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Saskatoon, Vulcan, Calgary, Edmonton.

The last remaining days in Saskatoon were pretty uneventful. I went to Keo’s on 2nd again, this time with my mom. I was a little nervous taking her there because in the past she didn’t like anything too unusual, or atypical. But she loved the massaman curry just as much as I did, and wondered how I could eat the pad thai in all of it’s hot spicy glory. I spoke with the owner’s son, and found out that there was a sibling restaurant in St.Albert (a suburb of Edmonton) but he wasn’t sure of the name. I’m guessing it’s probably Thai Mekong Restaurant (506 St. Albert Road, St.Albert, AB). So I’ll try and check that out soon. I got into Edmonton on Saturday afternoon, so I missed the Worldwide Vegan Bake sale that was happening at Planet Organic, but I did end up following tradition and going with Jen to Double Greeting for a quick evening snack. We decided to go to Calgary the next morning. While in Calgary we stumbled upon Le Chein Chaud. My normal go to place, Buddah’s Veggie house has turned into a meat veggie “Fusion” restaurant, so I was less interested in heading out there this time. So we were walking down 4st towards 17th, and there it was. The Chicago is vegan without modification. The consensus was that the veggie dogs were undercooked, but the toppings almost made up for it. We decided to drive the two hours to Vulcan, just because… we were already in Calgary……

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Leaving Saskatchewan aka, love letter to saskatoon

So today will be my last day in Saskatchewan. Having been here for several years, I’ve both loved and hated this city (those feelings often corresponded with the weather.) But after a while, when I said “I’m going home,” that meant Saskatoon, not Edmonton. This post has nothing to do with being vegan really, it’s heavy on the Prairie part though. Saskatoon is a city with opportunities for great things. Not that it has the potential to be great, but it is, you just have to actively seek out the awesome things that are happening here. There have been a few occasions where I’ve looked for equivalent activities availible here in Saskatoon in other and bigger cities, only to find them lacking. Maybe the city’s small scale makes these things possible. I wont miss the cold weather, but I will miss quite a few things. I will miss walking across the Broadway bridge towards downtown and looking at the Bessbourough Hotel as it reflects in South Saskatchewan River after watching a Rosebud burlesque performance or attending a poetry slam at Lydia’s or going to a raw food pot luck. I will miss the public discussion groups held by CIHR, Cafe Scientifique, where people gathered (in crowded rooms) and shared ideas on topics like harm reduction, food safety, mental health. I will miss the being able to participate in SWITCH, a student driven project offering after hours care in the core neighbourhood (a project I haven’t seen in many other cities.) I will…

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Keo’s Kitchen on 2nd

A friend and I went out to Keo’s on 2nd (129 2nd Ave N, Saskatoon, SK) last weekend. I’m not sure when they opened the downtown location, but the original Keo’s location (which doesn’t exist anymore) was the first restaraunt with vegan options I ever went to in Saskatoon. So I have some very fond memories related to eating there. This visit didn’t disappoint. At first they weren’t sure where to seat us, so we started out at the bar, but we ended up getting a table. The Broadway Ave location (1013 Broadway Ave, Saskatoon, Sk) can get really busy in the evenings, so I wasn’t sure what to expect with this one. I like their semi open kitchen set up, there is slightly less mystery about what’s happening back there. It was fantastic to be able to see them prepare my meal. We ordered the massaman curry with extra veggies, the pad thai with tofu, and the vegetarian spring rolls to start. I appreciated our server’s suggestion of adding tofu to the pad thai rather than putting it in the curry dish (he said it would probably get soggy, and I can see how.) Luckily my dining companion likes spicy food as much as I do, so we got it all hot. However, you have to specify your spice level, otherwise they bring it out mild. We forgot to specify, despite talking about our mutual love of spice, and why we liked it, for a good ten minutes, and ended up with mild…

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