i deal coffee on Sorauren – Indie Coffee Passport Stop – Coffee Monday

We’ve been working our way through the Indie Coffee Passport but I’ve only gone back to one of the spots repeatedly, and it’s this one. Of course – it’s also somewhat in my neighbourhood so that helps. i deal coffee on Sorauren Ave was once called Balluchon. Now, It’s basically the same place, but better. Overall, I like the atmosphere, I like the staff, and I feel comfortable sitting around for an hour or so with my coffee or tea, or muffin, or whatever. It’s off the beaten (walking) track, but there are usually a couple people sitting inside, and a few people coming in and picking up coffee or bread to go. The staff is friendly. Service has been nice every time I’ve gone in. Every one of the folks that works there seems to be decent, knows how to make a coffee, and i deal coffee seems to have a really good team going on. I guess that’s why I keep going back for more. 221 Sorauren Ave is also home to Prairie Boy Bakery, so there are almost always fresh loaves of bread available. All prepared sandwiches I’ve seen when I’ve walked in have had cheese or meat on them, but vegan baked goods (cookies or muffins) are usually available. They have a variety of loose-leaf teas and coffees, both in bean form and immediately drinkable. They also have soy and almond milk at no extra charge if you are anything like me, and want your coffee a…

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Amani Earls – Indie Coffee Passport

We’ve managed to visit a few Indie Coffee Passport stops around the city, but our very very very first one together was at Amani Earls in The Junction. Last month, we opted to walk the hour or so over to the furthest west spot on the Indie Coffee Passport 2013/2014 map on the first day of snow. It was also a good excuse to go outside, and it seemed like the perfect excuse to go to Pho Huong for vegan pho, and visit Bunner’s on their third anniversary. If you’ve seen the vegan restaurant/Indie Coffee Passport stop map I put together, it’s only logical that we would visit both of these places with the Amani Earls trip! Like all of the Indie Coffee Passport participating cafes this year, Amani Earls is a newcomer to the Toronto coffee scene. They opened up in June of last year, and it’s is a cozy, but simple space with lots of large pieces of art on the wall (at least when we went in – there was work by Brice Hall) and some bar style seating at the front, and a collection of tables, benches and chairs in the back. When we walked in, there was one person typing on a computer in the space, and the server – but of course, it was a Decemblizzard, so barely anyone was outside. They have a variety of the usual cafe coffee options – espressos, Americanos, lattes, cappuccinos, macchiatos, and teas. I noticed they were brewing…

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Things I Love Thursday – Soy milk at Tim Hortons, probably other stuff.

I mentioned this on Facebook, but earlier last week a friend us a picture from the new Tim Hortons in Liberty Village. A Tim Hortons location with soy milk. I wasn’t able to go check it out for myself until yesterday where JC and I have a standing Wednesday lunch date. The same friend that passed on the news initially, said that there was a new sign. A less exciting sign, but we opted to check it out anyway after lunch. We walked over to the Liberty Village Tim Hortons and saw the sign our friend was talking about. See what I mean? Neither of those interest me. I wondered if the soy was gone – so I asked, and the manager just happened to be there, and we asked about soy and they had a bunch (in case you’re curious, they’re using Silk Original flavour). He mentioned that their location, as well as a couple of others, were doing the soy thing independently. Corporate was okay with it, but not making it a regular thing (yet.) So of course, I got an iced capp. Post by Vegan In Your City. It’s sort of surprising to me that I would even write about Tim Hortons, the grand corporate entity that still dominates the Canadian coffee market. In all honestly, I am more likely to walk over to Balzac’s or Uma when I feel like getting a cup of tea or coffee, since I like the feeling of going into a…

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Cabin Fever Collective – Indie Coffee Passport 2013/14

You might have seen my post on this year’s Indie Coffee Passport <3 Edition, what’s new this time around, and my map of Vegan Eats paired with Indie Coffee Passport locations. Cabin Fever Collective on Bloor was my first stop on the Indie Coffee Passport list in December of last year (p.s. that’s 2013.) I was trying to buy a few passports for JC and myself, as well as JC’s brother & his partner for our annual family gift exchange, but several of the coffee shops I stopped into were all sold out. I called Cabin Fever, and… success, they still had a few left. And they took cash, debit, and credit. Perfect. For me the biggest benefit of Cabin Fever is that they’re close to me, I know, that doesn’t help you, but I really like it. It’s about a ten minute walk to Bloor, and then, there it is. If you’re taking transit Keele Station is the closest subway stop, but it’s also reasonably close to Dundas West Station. On my first visit, I met one of the owners (who is very friendly) he runs the place with his wife, he told me that they’d been open for almost exactly one year. Their space seems to focus on records, tea, art, coffee, and other creative paraphernalia (& in that order). They have a couple of bookshelves near the entrance with some really cute or interesting products, one of which was locally made and vegan-friendly Baked Soap Co. As…

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Holiday Meal Fun 2013

If you happen to be celebrating Christmas today I hope you have a merry one – if it’s just another day, I hope it’s awesome too! We’re in Orlando this week, but the day before we left I whipped up a little mini dinner for JC and I. Or, it was supposed to be a mini dinner, but those plans didn’t quite work out, as I started making potatoes, acorn squash, green beans, vegan bigos (a traditional Polish fried sauerkraut stew) and a very large bowl (but smaller than usual) of Sałatka Jarzynowa (another traditional Polish dish – this time a cold salad with lots of vegetables) that has become an important part of my holiday celebrations. I also cooked up the Vegetarian Holiday Roast we picked up from an Ohio Whole Foods on a previous visit to the USA a couple of weeks ago. It’s made by Five Star Foodies, a company based out of Cincinnati, and since it wasn’t something we could buy in Toronto we wanted to give it a try. This roast was pretty amazing, and I’ll have to get into it a bit more on a future lazy vegan Friday post. But it’s a couple of pieces of seitan, stuffed with onion celery stuffing, and wrapped in yuba (tofu sheet). They also provided a thick cooking gravy. But I also made a huge pot of my own. Another item we picked up while in the USA (though this might actually be available in Canada as…

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Beautiful food at Ursa in Toronto

We finally checked out Ursa after many months of thinking about it, but failing to make it happen. It’s close to our old house, but it took a spur of the moment decision after last Friday’s Bit Bazaar party at Bento Miso to actually eat at Ursa. We were drawn in by promises of their homemade silken tofu, and at least one vegan entree on the menu. No reservations, meant we had to sit at the bar, which, to me actually seemed like a great thing. A beautiful wood table, well lit, a full view of the space and what was happening in the kitchen, with the added bonus of having the friendly bartender nearby to take our order. We started with drinks. An Anchor Steam for JC, and a Ursa Cocktail for me. I ordered the Ursa Cocktail solely because it said it was inspired by “The Toronto” the mythological cocktail that I haven’t seen on menu anywhere. And I was delighted. I love when it’s obvious people take creating food and drink seriously. The bartender at Ursa (it was Robin Goodfellow the night we were there) really takes it seriously. A drink becomes art, and flavours become meaningful and worth mentioning. As a creep sitting at the bar, I watched him make several drinks, and every time, the attention to detail, the ritual of creating was there. It set the stage for the rest of the evening, because as I’ve found with most places I’ve eaten – if you take…

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There’s Snow Place Like Home.

As anyone in Toronto knows, it snowed for most of the day on Saturday, and some of the day on Sunday. It wasn’t a surprise, but it was a surprise, as we always hold out hope that the protective Toronto Umbrella will shield us from experiencing any weather. One thing I was especially looking forward to doing this weekend was to go to Cedar Row Farm Sanctuary for the Hope for the Holiday’s event , but unfortunately, the weather made that impossible. Our rental car sat in the driveway, unused, accumulating snow, while we watched the highway traffic reports get worse and worse about an hour or two before we planned to leave. (it didn’t help that the rental car was not equipped with snow tires.) That said, in a strange way, while it’s occasionally inconvenient, I still feel cheerful when snow and winter appears. If you had asked me what I thought of winter five years ago, I probably wouldn’t have been so positive, but the snow feels like home (I am from Edmonton after all.) The moment the weather got below 5C here, I felt invigorated, in the some kind of reverse hibernation state. Time to get things done. Time to eat fruit and vegetables. Time to run. We opted to do something with our day, and challenge the fairly normal, natural inclination to hide out. We both dusted off our snow boots, and put on mittens and jackets. I briefly considered putting on the winter coat I…

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Lazy Vegan Friday: Breaded Turkey-Less Stuffed Roasts from Trader Joes

Lazy Vegan Friday is where I talk about a prepared vegan product I’ve found somewhere in the world. Today it’s time to talk (not) turkey. On a recent trip to the USA we stopped into the new Trader Joe‘s in Buffalo, NY (1565 Niagara Falls Blvd) and saw these Turkey-Less Stuffed Roasts in the freezer section. Since it was the first day of our weekend road trip, we opted to leave it and pick it up on the way back. We never did. But some kind soul at JC’s work independently brought a package back for us that very same weekend. It’s good to have friends (especially ones that visit the USA occasionally and bring us treats.) Where do I begin with these stuffed turkey-less roasts? First of all I’d like to point out that on the back of the package it says it’s a product of CANADA. Why am I not eating this everyday? Why can’t I buy them and stuff my freezer with them and have nice little pods of not-turkey, stuffed with cranberry and other stuff? In short, I liked this whole bunch, and I would eat it again, and will buy it the next time I find myself at a Trader Joe’s (or find out who their Canadian source is – anyone have any hot tips?) (EDIT: Hot Tip has been received from Nicole – check out the Gardein Savory Stuffed Turkey in Canada – it looks very much like the same product.) This is what the two turkey-less…

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Things I Love Thursday – Local Vegan Toronto Gift Ideas 2013 Edition

For 2014 – please go here. There are lots of general vegan gift idea lists out there, so please do check them out (I’ll link to some of them at the bottom of this post), but it’s worth looking locally to tap into the great community of creators and crafters, bakers, makers, and ingenuous entrepreneurs that we have in our city. There are also some wonderful organizations to support this time of year, as well as food and products to buy, made right here in the GTA. So this year, yet again, is my totally biased, occasionally random, list of local/GTA/Vegan Gift ideas. You’ll see some repeat names from last year, because they’re still awesome, but you’ll also see some new faces (because the vegan business community has really grown in 2013.) I welcome your suggestions for other local vegan friendly businesses and organizations to support, please add them in the comments. Vegan Food Apiecalypse Now! With exciting news just around the corner, there are also APieCalypse Now!’s mega awesome gift baskets to take advantage of. Available in both gluten free and glutenlicious varieties, in large baskets and in small, you have a lot to choose from. The baskets are full of almost entirely hand-made things, made with organic locally grown flour, fair trade sugar, and horizontal trade chocolate from ChocoSol (They’re even on the Food Empowerment Project’s Chocolate list.) Check out what else is on offer in the ApieCalypse Now! online store. (you have until December 15th to pre-order the big stuff…

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The Indie Coffee Passport. Less than Three Edition

Since 2010, the Indie Coffee Passport has been helping me explore Toronto and all the independent cafe’s within it. I’ve found places I keep visiting, I’ve found places I never wanted to go again, but the important thing was that I got to check them out, and see parts of the city that I might not have ever ventured out to otherwise. The Indie Coffee Passport in Toronto is doing something different this year, and I think it’s a great change. This round started on October 1st, and is going on until April 2014, and they’re highlighting coffee shops in the city that have only been open for 3 years or less. I have fond memories of doing the Indie Coffee Passport by myself in the first few months of living in Toronto by myself, with new pals, and then later with JC in the early days of our dating life. It’s a lovely opportunity to explore the city, check out new places and neighbourhoods you may never have visited before, while also enjoying a delicious cup of coffee or tea. (Also, by the way, the Indie Coffee Passport makes a great gift!) Here are the participating coffee shops arranged by soy tax, or no soy tax. I’m going to define soytax as an extra fee for any dairy milk alternative. I’m not sure yet what kind of non-dairy milks these locations have, but I will designate the ones where you’ll have to pay extra for your non-dairy latte/fancy coffee/tea –…

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