Sudbury, Ontario – Tucos Taco Lounge

When we travel, we often travel for food. Our anniversary was a couple of weeks ago and we went and celebrated the day of with a fancy tasting menu dinner at Alo restaurant. But I think we were both feeling a little flighty, I know I was, and I wanted a change of scenery for a couple of days. Two years ago, JC and I celebrated our not-honeymoon in a cottage up in Tobermory and the Bruce Peninsula. It was easy to fall in love with the area, when we were both basking in our love for one another, but it’s hard not to when the leaves are beautiful shocks of red, gold, and orange – mixed in with evergreens, and fresh crisp air. So we answered the call of nature, but decided to spend it in the Sudbury area. If Ancient Cedars Cafe had been open – we probably would have found a way to pass through Tobermory again, but we had the good sense to check if they’d be open in advance – nope. Closed for the Season as of the week before. Someday we’ll make it out there in time. Someday. We arrived on Saturday afternoon after an easy 5 hour or so drive from Toronto. The day before there had been reports of snow flurries on the highway, so we were a little nervous, but other than being a little chilly, it wasn’t that bad out there. We’d see some snow later in the evening, but nothing before. I…

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Roadtrip 2014 – Calgary, The Coup, and Phil and Sebastian.

I’m continuing my series of posts from our Summer Roadtrip in 2014, you can see some of the past & present posts on this helpful map on Pinterest, or just click on the Roadtrip 2014 tag After Drumheller, we drove on to Calgary, with a brief stop at an incredibly windy power station along the way. The weather was stormy, but it was easy to see why there were so many wind turbines out in the fields. Our first stop was The Coup – a lacto-ovo-vegetarian restaurant that’s been serving meatless meals in Calgary since 2004. It was a frequent enough stop for me, when I still lived in Edmonton, and it’s changed and evolved a bit over time, but has maintained a very similar vibe. It was nice to pop in and see it again with JC. We got a seat right away, I’m sure coming in on a Tuesday evening helped, and started with some cocktails and the pseudo sushi. Which was yam, green onion, marinated tofu, with pear and ginger rolled up in organic brown rice, served with a spicy soy sauce. But they have something new on the menu since we were there that’s pretty fantastic looking – something called Waffle Sushi. You should check it out! Any time I’m at a restaurant or bar with a spicy tomato based cocktail, I order it, so I had a gin smoked tomato mary. It was fun – I liked the pickled bean with the capers, and anything with a spicy smoky tomato wins…

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Drumheller, AB – Royal Tyrrell Museum – Roadtrip 2014

After we got our car serviced for the first time – since we finally hit our first 8000 kms, over half of which was done on our road trip and ate breakfast at Cora’s with my parents, we hit the road. I’m continuing my series of posts from our Summer Roadtrip in 2014, you can see some of the past & present posts on this lovely map on Pinterest, or just click on the Roadtrip 2014 tag Despite what you may think, and sometimes now living in Ontario, I get to hear all the misconceptions from people that have never even visited (or have only been to one city) – Alberta is a beautiful province. You can go from river valleys, to mountains, to deserts with cacti, to parks, and glaciers, and more, and we drove through so much of that in the span of a few days. Drumheller is approximately 3 hours away from Edmonton (and just under 300km), and we (kids that lived in Edmonton) would occasionally bus down there on school trips. It’s also a family friendly road trip destination, so I’ve been there a few times before (especially when paired up with a trip to Calgary or Banff.) This was the first time JC had been to the Royal Tyrrell Museum, so I was looking forward to showing him around and exploring the museum together. The Royal Tyrrell Museum is Canada’s only museum dedicated to the science of palaeontology and houses one of the world’s largest displays of dinosaurs, and…

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Edmonton – Loma House – Road Trip 2014

I’m now a year behind on these posts about our 2014 road trip across North America, but I’m going to keep chugging along. They’re stories I want to tell, there are pictures I want to share, and they are memories I want to remember later. You can see some of the past & present posts on this lovely map on Pinterest. On one of our last few days we went over to Loma House – primarily because they were open on a Monday, unlike nearly everyone else, and I’ve heard good things from local vegos online. We were hoping to check out Padmanadi on this visit, but sadly it just didn’t happen. I didn’t particularly enjoy the experience, and so I have been avoiding writing about it – but that morning we were woken up with the sounds of jackhammers outside of our downtown hotel at 7am. So the mood surrounding the visit wasn’t high, and there are some negative factors with my experience and my day. I also don’t do particularly well with heat, and it was around 30. So, take my thoughts with a grain of salt. @CityofEdmonton I’m amazed that construction & jackhammers are permitted to begin at 7 am. Can you tell me what the noise rules are in #YEG? — MeShell (@mdgee) July 28, 2014 That said, service was friendly, JC’s meal looked pretty good. I ordered a big bowl of Hot and Sour soup, which was okay, but not what I was looking for. On a normal…

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Vegan Bar in Edmonton – Arcadia

On my most recent visit to Edmonton (earlier this year), I had the opportunity to visit Arcadia, which is this great vegan bar just on the new fun street of 124. Over the past few years, 124th has really expanded in terms of vegan offerings, starting up with Clever Rabbit, and one of the first homes of Sailin’ On Vegan Food Truck (at the 124 Grand St Market.) So Arcadia has since expanded their menu from the night I was there, but luckily, they still have the incredible sandwich I had. The Green Onion Cake Donair. I’ve had a hard time conveying to non-Edmontonians what a “green onion cake” is, and why it’s so special. Most of the time in my travels and everywhere else, I’ve encountered a thin pastry like scallion/green onion cake similar to a paratha. In Edmonton it’s more of a salty doughy cake with diced green onions in it. It’s not flaky. It has a good density. There is such an obsession with these delicious cakes, there is even someone living in Edmonton with the GreenOnionCakes.com domain, that started a petition trying to make it the official dish of Edmonton. So, take a couple of large green onion cake, and add thinly sliced seasoned seitan donair, pour in some garlic sweet sauce, lettuce and tomatoes, and turn it into a sandwich. Brilliant. I don’t know how I feel about baked green onion cakes vs fried ones, but this sandwich totally worked out perfectly. Some of my Edmonton…

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Rochester, NY – Vive Bistro and Bakery

We spent a weekend in north-west New York State, around Niagara Falls, Buffalo, Hamburg and Rochester. We were in Rochester last summer at the end of our massive Summer Road Trip, but of course, I still haven’t posted about that part, since it was on our way home – so, I have nothing to link to yet! Oops. This time around we went to a few spots around Rochester – Lori’s Natural Foods Market, Vive Bistro, & Pour Coffee Parlour. Lori’s Natural Foods (Genesee Valley Regional Market Authority, 900 Jefferson Rd,) is a very vegan-friendly market, and the largest independent grocery store in Rochester, NY. They have a fantastic selection of various veg products that you might not see at your local  NY Whole Foods or Wegmans – for example we picked up one of the new NY style Daiya Cheezecakes (which I’ve had before during ExpoWest, and I’ve been told will be launching in Canada in the Fall), large packages of Primal Strips vegan jerky, assorted Miyoko’s Creamery Cheeses, Earth Balance potato chips, and so much more. They also have a great selection of fresh produce. They also carry local vegan items like stuff from Pudgy Girl Bakery, and they carry products from Eat Me Ice Cream (which make a dairy based and coconut milk variety of ice creams), they also have vegan friendly grab-and-go items in their cooler. If you’re in the neighbourhood, I totally recommend visiting the market. Lots of fantastic stuff to see and try, with the added bonus…

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Double Greeting Wonton House – Edmonton – Roadtrip 2014

When I went vegan a few decades ago Double Greeting Wonton House was one of the vegan-friendly Asian restaurants that was open super late and open almost everyday. My dad and I would go after he finished work, my friends and I would walk over at 11 pm, and get something to eat, and I suppose it still has a certain legacy within my social circle. I don’t know how truly vegan friendly it is, so your comfort level may vary, but of the dishes I keep ordering, I’ve been assured they are. We’ve kept going back for over 10 years out of a blend of nostalgia, and enjoyment. In that time, it hasn’t changed much if at all. The neighbourhood surrounding it hasn’t changed much either, though on our most recent visit I noticed there was a lot more construction than I remember in the past, so I imagine that can be a blend of good and bad. My go-to dish has changed over time, but the last few years I’ve wanted the sweet corn on rice, and my friends tend to order the shanghai noodles and the mushrooms mushrooms mushrooms on rice. Of course, the important thing to specify that you want the vegetarian version of whatever it is your ordering, especially if you’re just writing numbers down like we usually do) You’ll notice that there are two shanghai noodles, but both have the same numbers – and default will result in a meaty noodle dish. That said,…

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Edmonton – Ethiopian Vegan Buffet at Abyssinia Restaurant

Shortly after arriving in Edmonton for a brief visit, hanging out at home and with my parents’ cat Misha, my mom and I decided to head over to Abyssinia Restaurant, a Ethiopian restaurant in East Central Edmonton, just a bit north of the downtown core. Abyssinia is an Ethiopian family restaurant in Edmonton that serves a variety of meat and vegan dishes everyday, and offers a totally vegan buffet twice a week on Wednesday & Friday evenings between 5-9pm. I couldn’t help but think if this place was in Toronto it would have been PACKED full, especially on vegan night. But instead there were a couple tables occupied, but otherwise, it was not so busy. Service was helpful and friendly, and they told us all about the food they had to offer. So many incredible dishes, like kei misir wot (spicy lentils), alicha misir (turmeric lentils), gomen (chopped spicy greens), tikel gomen (cabbage & carrots), fosolia (green beans, carrots, and potato), kik wot, okra, sweet potato dishes, fresh green salads, and all the injera (made with corn, buckwheat, and teff flour) you could ever eat. I piled my plate full of everything, sampling a bit of this and that of whatever drew my eye. There is something especially so fantastic about Ethiopian food – the spices, the flavours. It’s warming and comforting, and while dishes are similar between restaurants and rooted in tradition, every chef has their own unique style. They make it their own, and I was really delighted by what…

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Breakfast at Home and Clever Rabbit – Roadtrip 2014

I’m still writing about our Summer Roadtrip in 2014 – so far in our story we had just arrived in Edmonton the afternoon before, and planned to visit my parents for breakfast the next morning. My parents had just come back from a trip to Poland, so I was looking forward to seeing pictures and hearing a few stories about their trip too. (also – I like souvenirs.) My mom also made us waffles – but I didn’t have the wherewithal to take a photo until the last waffle as you can see above in all of its glory. Over the last few years my mom has become an especially incredible vegan cook (because she follows a primarily plant based diet) – so it’s always nice to come back and get a tasty home cooked meal. It’s actually quite tough being away from my parents, flights to Edmonton from Toronto are usually quite expensive, and it’s not always easy to find time to get away, so I was happy to visit back in the summer of 2014 and also a month or so ago. We’d see each other again a few times on this visit, but it was nice to have breakfast with the family like old times, and have JC join us. They of course told us about their beautiful trip to Poland, where there was more vegan friendly stuff than you might expect – which was especially relevant to my mostly-vegan mom. Places like Krowarzywa – a vegan burger spot and Veg…

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Arriving in Edmonton – Roadtrip 2014

I’ve been eagerly awaiting the arrival in Edmonton on the Summer Roadtrip recap. Because I want to add to my roadtrip recap posts with some of the other lovely spots I managed to visit on a more recent Edmonton visit (last month.) After we left Lloydminster, the drive went by quickly, and as we passed through Refinery Row (a concentration of oil refineries in west Sherwood Park,in Strathcona County just east of Edmonton) it was like there was a sign up that said “Welcome to Alberta” (which of course there was, but just shortly outside of Lloydminster) and oddly enough – a sense of arriving home. The Edmonton cityscape is still one of my favourites, with the Hotel MacDonald perched on the edge of the beautiful river valley, and the variety of buildings downtown, so driving into the city, even from a distance, is still familiar and comforting. I realized at some point that whenever I would leave Toronto, and come back, I’d get that same sense of comfort and “home” when I saw the CN Tower poking up from my highway vantage point. I have three homes in my heart, and the first one is Edmonton. First stop was checking into our hotel downtown (The Coast Terrace Inn), we had arrived just before the new downtown location of Earth’s General Store (EGS) was to open – conveniently on the other side of where we were staying.  EGS was at one time was a totally meat-free Edmonton grocery store (since we were…

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