Hanlan’s Point and Vegetarian Haven

Well, it was another beautiful day in Toronto, and the perfect day to go to the beach. So a friend and I took the ferry over to Hanlan’s Point, which is this great little area where you can surround yourself with greenery. Unusual signs like the following appear: It was so unusual, I felt like I had to snap a picture of it. I’ve gotten so accustomed to seeing KEEP OUT, STAY OFF, BE KIND, BE COURTEOUS, DON’T, etc, that being invited to do something was nice. Hanlan’s Point is also were one of Canada’s two clothing optional beaches is. Both times I’ve been there have been fun, but it’s way more fun going with a friend. Plus as she very accurately mentioned… it’s nice not to have to carry around a wet swim suit afterwards. I had a super fun time swimming and napping on the side of the water. But I have to admit, initially it is a bit awkward for me to start removing clothing outside, eventually I have to remind myself… most people there just don’t give a damn what I look like. After the clothing optional beach fun we headed back into the city, where I met up with another friend for dinner. It was time to visit the restaurant that everyone has been telling me about. Vegetarian Haven. (17 Baldwin St, Toronto.) It’s a nice little bistro right next to the Toronto Vegetarian Association and you can pick up Vegetarian Guides for Toronto at…

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Never a dull day.

Well, it’s never a dull day here, summertime means festivals, and festivals mean I’ll be there if I can. Unfortunately, there are so many, that I can’t go to all of them. I actually missed seeing something that I would have been really interested in (Zinedream!), because I didn’t know about it until too late. I hate when that happens! Anyway, I started the day off by forcing myself out of the house into the 30 degree weather, and catching the last day of FanExpo. So much fun, Sunday was a great day to go because there weren’t any reentry lines. The only line I stood in was the line for the escalator (no kidding), and it wasn’t as bad as Saturday. Someone told me about PS Kensington (otherwise I wouldn’t have had any idea) so I wandered over there from the Metro Convention Center and on the way stumbled upon the Chinatown festival, so I had to stop and take in some of the entertainment. I kept walking down Spadina, until I was drawn to St. Andrews Street by the beat of Jamaican drums. I walked by the Vegan Bake Sale the the first time without paying any attention to it. I thought… all these delicious treats couldn’t possibly be something I’m interested in. Then as I got to Kensington Avenue there was a sign saying “VEGAN BAKE SALE”. I backtracked and picked up some S’mores cupcakes. Yummy. They had already sold a lot by the time I arrived…

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Toronto: Poutini’s, FanExpo and Breakfast from Sadies

I did not come to Toronto for FanExpo, but it just happens to be serendipitously going on while I’m here. I waited in line for about an hour and a half to get a ticket for me and a friend. I had a wonderful time once I got in there, but there are few things I hate more than standing in lines. It was very cool to see Adam West, Felicia Day and Julie Newmar in the flesh though, I walked by as they were signing autographs yesterday. It’s such an interesting crowd, especially with so many different (somewhat) nerdy past times in one space. We went again today, but the lines were so ridiculous we ended up getting frustrated and went home. It was a true case of not being angry, just disappointed. Yesterday I went to Poutini’s (1112 Queen Street W) for Vegan Poutine! The poutine is made with white daiya cheese and a mushroom gravy, and dark fries. They even have a gluten free gravy. I walked in there and they were blaring some rap and eventually this dubstep remix. Vegan poutine and rap/dubstep meant I was extremely happy. They are cash only, so that was a little inconvenient but there was a bank machine with a nice old service fee(1.75) available in the front. I’m planning on heading back there before I leave, next time I’ll try the “layered” one, it’s a bit more expensive but involves more cheese.

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Toronto: CN Tower and Rancho Relaxo: Deep Fried Ice (soy) Cream, need I say more?

Last time I was in Toronto I didn’t go up to the CN Tower, and I felt I was missing out on an important (/tounge-in-cheek) tourist experience. So I finally went up and it was awesome. I love heights, and the views were incredible. I’m glad I finally went up. That makes the third high place I’ve been to, for the first time, on the second visit to a city in a year. Seattle Space Needle, Stratosphere in Las Vegas, and now the CN Tower in Toronto. It’s been a (somewhat) good year for that sort of thing. On the way home I was caught in a freak downpour. I’ve decided that for the remainder of my time in Toronto (however long that is) I’m going to carry around an umbrella in my purse just in case. No more getting soaked to the bone! Edmonton has an unpredictable climate, but Toronto has also been a mixed bag. We went to Rancho Relaxo (300 College Street, Toronto) for dinner, Vegan Chimichangas, they were good, a bit meatier than I like, but I’m not super fond of fake meat products in the best of times. I’m fairly certain that they used daiya because the cheese was melty. Then for dessert I tried the deep fried soy ice cream. There was no way of getting a nice picture of it, it doesn’t look particularly good when it is visible, and the lighting was terrible (and the photographer, i.e. me, was being lazy). BUT…

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Toronto: Fressen

I finally did what I came to Toronto for a couple of days ago and that evening a friend and I went to Fressen (478 Queen Street West,) a fine dining kind of vegan restaurant. It was rated one of the hippest vegetarian eateries in North America by VegNews and I can see why, it was very hip, and looked like a great place to go on a date. We parked in the back, and I loved the little mural on the back of the restaurant (probably because it features a cat,) in addition to the other graffiti and wall art in the alleyway. When we walked in the restaurant was mostly empty, but we lucked out because shortly after we sat down it filled up. It’s too easy to get overwhelmed with options at entirely vegan restaurants, the limitations imposed when there are things I just will not eat on other menus make it so much easier to choose something. This menu was no different. There are three sections, appetizers, tapas, and entries, so we just ordered something from each category. The assorted olive plate was delicious, though I don’t think I’ve met an olive plate I didn’t like. One of the green ones tasted as though it were soaked in vermooth, but that could have just been me. There were pimento stuffed ones, and my favourite as usual were the kalamata’s. Plum and vodka cold soup. I forgot to ask what kind of plum it was, but it…

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Toronto: Sadie’s Diner, African Kale Stew, and Sorbetto!

This morning we went over to Sadie’s Diner (504 Adelaide Street W, Toronto) for Brunch. Everyone seems to love the place, but both times I’ve been there, I haven’t been very excited about it. Either way, it was great to hang out with old friends and new friends. I had the breakfast burrito and uncharacteristically only finished half of it, though I am looking forward to eating the rest of it (maybe tomorrow for breakfast.) It was a tortilla stuffed with refried beans, salsa, lettuce, soy cheese (I’m thinking it was diaya because it was melty) and their tofu scramble. On the plus side, the potatoes were totally great, and I love that there is hot sauce readily available (which went great with the burrito because it needed some spice.) I remember having an awesome smoothie there two years ago, but I skipped it this time. Later I went to the Eaton’s Center (I need a new camera,) walked through the Art Gallery of Ontario for a few hours, walked through “The World’s Largest Bookstore” (it’s not really the world’s largest bookstore anymore) and took in the Filipino Making Waves Festival in Younge-Dundas Square. It’s great being in Toronto. My friend was telling me the one thing about being here, is that there are always ten-plus things to do on a regular basis, he’s right! Next weekend the FanExpo is happening right here in Toronto, and I want to be there. To top it all off, my host’s cooked for me.…

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First Day in Toronto – Cruda Cafe, Gourmet Vegetarian Restaurant, and a Vegan Danish Bakery

Well I got in to Toronto yesterday morning (5:30 am!) and one of my friends insisted that I stay with him and his wife (it wasn’t hard to convince me). It is so much nicer than sitting at a hostel. Usually I love hostels, but I think the morning would have been awful. I would have either had to stay awake until check in (at 4pm) or tried to beg for an early check in. Plus it’s so great to be with familiar folks. I’m glad I cancelled my reservation because I would have missed out on a lot! This trip was entirely too last minute for me and it’s upset my urge to plan quite a bit.  A couple places I know I would like to visit are the Royal Ontario Museum (ROM) and the Art Gallery of Ontario (AGO) both of which I missed the last time I was in Toronto. And of course another visit to Naked Beach can’t be missed, just because it exists. After I finally woke up (at 11am) my gracious hosts took me over to St. Lawrence Market (92 Front Street E), which is open Tuesdays through Saturdays as a normal market, but on Saturdays it also becomes the venue for a Farmer’s Market and increases the number of stalls. So much great stuff to choose from. If you’re looking for heirloom tomato’s that’s the place to go. So much cheaper than the San Francisco and Edmonton Farmers Market, it was really surprising.…

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Failing the 21$/day Vegan Challenge.

To find out more about the 21$/day vegan challenge, and why, please visit Vegan Hope. Especially this post. Let’s just straight out say it, it can be expensive to eat healthy. It can be even more expensive to eat locally or organically. One walk through the grocery store, and you can see, cheap simple carbohydrates vs expensive fruits and veggies. A visit to the farmer’s market can be mindboggling when you look at some of the prices of fresh vegetables or prepared items. I’m not knocking them, I do see the value of supporting local organic farmers over supporting large multinational corporations, and I love my weekly walk through at the farmers market because I love the atmosphere and  I love talking to other people that are passionate about food. But it can get pricey very quickly. My last few days have been interesting. Monday morning I went over to Superstore, and picked up a few things with the budget in mind. My thoughts primarily focused on getting adequate protein and carbohydrates. I thought that was interesting because I looked at fruits and vegetables as an indulgence rather then a necessity. What did I buy: – organic cornmeal muffin mix (1 package makes 12) – $2.50 – organic couscous (it was the same price as the regular kind) – $2.50 – a large package of extra firm tofu – 1.89 – Pasta – 1.97 – can of spaghetti sauce – .99 – zucchini – 1.29 Taxes were about 7 cents, the plus…

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