Vegan MoFo: 30 Days of Vegan Travel – Day 6 – Staycation – in Toronto, Ontario

Well. I said I wasn’t going anywhere this weekend, and I was serious. On the bright side, the weekends are a beautiful time to enjoy the city I do live in. So what happens in Toronto on a Saturday? One of my favourite things in the city, the St. Lawrence Market! While other farmers markets are closing shop (because it’s getting pretty chilly out) this one can keep on keeping on. It’s a great place to pick up heirloom tomatoes (and carrots!), fresh herbs, unique spices (that I’d have a hard time locating elsewhere), fresh bagels, & raw creations from Cruda Cafe. And yeah, I know it’s open throughout the week, but Saturday is my favourite! I briefly wandered around the Distillery District this afternoon with a couple of friends, I have to make a note to check out the farmers market there next year. It is a national historic site, with the most amazing Victorian industrial architecture, full of arts and culture. I must go back, and I must go back soon. There is this amazing juxtaposition between modern arts and culture, with this overwhelming feeling of HISTORY, like I stepped back into a time long ago. I’ve been told that Balzac’s Coffee Roastery (Distillery District, 55 Mill St, Toronto, On) is THE place for coffee in Toronto. There I was in the neighbourhood, and did I pick up a cup? Sadly no. Shamefully (really, I’m ashamed) my belly was already full of a venti chai latte. Did I…

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Vegan MoFo: 30 Days of Vegan Travel – Day 5 – Charleston, SC – The Holy City

Today I’m feeling like taking a vacation somewhere lowkey, warm and relaxing, but still with a rich history and decent arts community. So I decided on Charleston, South Carolina. It is a cloudy 3C (37F) in Toronto this morning and Charleston is much warmer. I want to be somewhere where I can say “it’s not the heat, it’s the humidity.” It’s known as The Holy City because of a large number of churches dotting the lowrise cityscape. Another thing I found interesting about the city is that it’s been billed as “the best mannered city” in the United States and won a lifetime achievement award for manners. Resources Forbes – The Best of Charleston Charleston City Paper – A good place to find local events and information. Happy Cow Things to eat. The Sprout – Organic Cafe and Juice Bar – They have one heck of a delicious looking menu. I’d be very excited to check this one out. They have entrees and desserts. Yum Fast and French Gaulart & Maliclet French Cafe (98 Broad St, Charleston, SC) – Ah, a french restaurant with vegan options! The O’Vegan Sandwich sounds yummy (Tapanade on Toasted Canadian Rye bread. With soup or tossed salad) Brent’s On Broad (19 Broad St, Charleston, SC) – There are hummus and veggie sandwiches, I like this place primarily because it’s very close to Waterfront Park, and I imagine I’ll wander there at some point. Daily Dose Cafe (1622 Highland Ave Charleston, SC) – Word on the…

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Vegan MoFo: 30 Days of Vegan Travel – Day Four – Orlando, FL – The City Beautiful – In honor of the shuttle launch

Well, the Space Shuttle Discovery Mission STS 133 was going to launch today from Kennedy Space Center, but was pushed back to Friday due to weather conditions. I’ve always wanted to see a shuttle launch, but I haven’t had the opportunity, so in fantasy internet vacation land I’m pretending to be there. Orlando, FL is reasonably close to the Kennedy Space Center so seems to be the best destination, especially since while I am an unabashed nerd, I’ve also always wanted to visit Walt Disney World and EPCOT Center. It’s one of those things I’ve never outgrown. I blame watching Mickey Mouse Club as a child. Of course, when in Orlando… there are also a bunch of other silly/fun/random things to do in addition to those two. Resources: Orlando VegGuide yelp.com Happy Cow VegBlogger – From Daytona Florida Transit Information The Central Florida Transit system is called LYNX. They have a trip planner, so that’ll make getting around easy. It’s 4.50 for a single day pass. or $2 one way. Where to stay I’m partial to these two, but they both have separate things going for them: Orlando’s Palm Lakefront Hostel (4840 W. Irlo Bronson Hwy 192 – Kissimmee, Florida) (19$/person for a dorm room or 36$ for a private room for 2) they have wifi Buses (for about 2$) out to places I’d want to see inexpensive. is a hostel Imperial Swan Hotel (7050 South Kirkman Road Orlando, FL) Has a decent location. Is not a hostel, but is…

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Vegan MoFo: 30 Days of Vegan Travel – Jour Trois – New Orleans, Louisiana – Eating Vegan in the Big Easy.

First of all, I want to say that the majority of the pictures in this blog post were not taken by me (hence why they have names other than MeShell on them.) They are taken from the pool of creative commons license photos on flickr. If one of these is yours and you don’t want it used on my blog, please let me know and I’ll take it off right away (and please remember to change your license settings on flickr). Yesterday my roommate was cooking a spicy gumbo that filled the condo with the heavenly aroma of spices and slowly simmered vegetables (including okra, one of my absolute faves). Today I feel like going to New Orleans more than ever, I wonder if it is just a coincidence… Worst of all, I checked how cheap a bus ride would be from Toronto… sigh. Or even a direct flight… Mardi Gras in New Orleans 2011… A girl can dream right? Knowing me, I think pretty much anything is possible at this point. On surface, New Orleans seems like an unideal destination if you’re vegan or vegetarian, and in a lot of ways… it is. Especially if you want to actually eat something at a restaurant, which as it happens, I enjoy doing a lot. I’ve heard from a variety of sources that there are next to no options in the French Quarter, but I am pretty stubborn, and I always like to hold out hope that I’ll hunt something down.…

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Vegan MoFo: 30 Days of Vegan Travel – Day Two – Toronto, Ontario, Canada

Boy, I feel like I should have broken up my New York post into three parts or something. Phew. So, I’m living in Toronto now, it’s the biggest city in Canada, and all around a pretty swell location. First of all, Toronto has a well connected transit system (aka the TTC) (and as of a few weeks ago you can use google maps to plan trips in and around the city, welcome to the future!) but if you are using the TTC to travel around the city costs can add up quickly (each trip is $3 dollars, no stopovers allowed.) There is a 10 dollar day pass that’s worth every penny. If I only had ONE DAY to explore and eat in the city first stop would be brunch at Sadie’s Diner and Juice Bar (504 Adelaide St. W Toronto,ON). I’ve had an on-again off-again relationship with Sadie’s, and the food can be hit or miss depending on who’s cooking. When it’s good, it’s great, and when it’s not good, it’s still okay but nothing special. The Breakfast Burrito is a yumfest (on a good day) or the french toast. They also have really great vegan cupcakes (most of the time). My friend is very into the Tofu Club and always orders a smoothie (and I agree that the smoothie is a good call.) After filling up on good breakfast food, I would head over to the Royal Ontario Museum (100 Queen’s Park, Toronto, ON) (aka ROM), it’s an amazing…

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Graaaaaiiiiiins – Toronto Zombie Walk and a prezombie meal of Root Vegetable Soup from Linux Cafe

Yesterday was a great day to be near Cristie Pits park. The streets were full of Zombies, and if I had the wherewithal to have planned ahead, I would have dressed up in my best vegan zombie gear and shuffled along the street in search for “graaaaaains”. Unfortunately I didn’t have the wherewithal or the inclination, so I went and snapped a few photos instead. This was one of the sights right at Christie Pits park.

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Vegan MoFo: Coming soon! And Stuffed Collard Green Rolls with Black Rice mmmm.

I’ve been trying to think of a theme for next month’s Vegan Month of Food (aka, VeganMoFo) and I’m having a hard time narrowing it down. But I think I’ve come up with something that I’m going to have a really fun time doing, and it fits in with one of my favourite things to do! You better believe I’m being vague. Come back on November 1st for the first edition of whatever it is I’m doing. Either way, I’m so excited. A few days ago I was talking with my mom while wandering through the grocery store and I was looking at all the nice big leafy veggies like kale, swiss chard, collard greens, and she gave me the idea of using one of those in the place of cabbage in one of my old favourites, cabbage rolls! So I bought a bunch and forgot about the collard greens in the fridge for a a week or two. Today seemed like the day to make something with it. I didn’t follow a recipe, but there are lots of great ones for Collard Green Rolls, though I’m partial to this one. I boiled some water and steamed the collard green leaves for a few minutes. Made a filling of black rice, TVP, scallions, onions, garlic, black pepper, chopped collard greens, chili peppers and a touch of salt. Then I poured some tomato sauce all over it, and left it simmering on the stove for about ten minutes. Total yumfest. Next…

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Vegan Thanksgiving and a Trip to Nazareth Ethiopian Restaurant

Well, it’s that time of year again, it’s Thanksgiving (in Canada), and this time around, I’m all by myself. My family is back in Edmonton (celebrating with tofu steaks by the way) and work commitments made it difficult to leave town with friends. So while part of me thought, oh the heck with it, I’ll go treat myself to a dinner out… I decided to make something at home instead. I had a great time in the kitchen, four things on the go at one time. I started out by crumbling some tofu and spreading and pressing it in a cheesecloth layered colander, baking some cornbread and using the excess heat from the oven to dry bread that was going to go in my stuffing. While reducing a mixture of balsamic vinegar and red wine on the stove as the starting point for my cranberry sauce. I’ve mentioned before that I can’t follow a recipe without making massive alterations to it, and this was no exception. I made nearly everything (except the cornbread) from my own kitchen experimentation. The tofu turkey was loosely based on a recipe off of VegWeb. Though I made a few modifications, primarily because 5lbs of tofu would be a bit much for me and I didn’t use the pepperidge farm stuffing mix, partially because I couldn’t find it, and partially because I bought an amazing loaf of Calabrese bread and wanted to use it to make stuffing. For the baste I used olive oil, vegetable…

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First visit to King’s Cafe

I finally went to King’s Cafe (192 Augusta Ave) today after multiple recommendations from other people. I was in the neighbourhood after grabbing a soy latte from Dark Horse Espresso Bar so it made sense to head over to Kensington Market to grab a bite to eat. I had sampled some of their very delicious appetizers at the Vegetarian Food Fair last month, so I was excited to try an entree. Well… I had the Soy Fritters with Curry Rice, and I don’t know if it was just the wrong dish to order or what, but I didn’t think it was very yummy. Fried tofu gluten fritters with carrots, potatos, beans and cauliflower sounded so good! But maybe I need to temper expectations a little next time. The only thing I really enjoyed the flavour of was the potatoes, because they seemed to have taken on the most of the curry flavour, the veggies and soy/gluten stuff weren’t very flavourful. I needed some hot sauce for sure. At least it was on the Special Order menu so it was only 5.99, some of the other items were 10-13. I think if I do go there again, I’ll try their Hot & Sour soup, because I’m really missing that from Edmonton’s Padmanadi and Oriental Veggie House.

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Toronto: 3rd Annual Totally Fabulous Vegan Bake-Off and Nuit Blanche!

Oh Toronto, what a day! A Vegan Bake-Off and Nuit Blanche all in one Saturday! Yesterday in early afternoon I went over to the Harbourfront Community Center for the 3rd Annual Totally Fabulous Vegan Bake-Off presented by the TVA. A group had already stated gathering outside the gymnasium doors, and you could feel the excitement in the air (I’m sure it wasn’t just me.) There were 6 different categories: Vegan Bars and Bites Vegan Cupcakes Vegan Tarts and Treats Vegan Cookies Vegan and Gluten-Free Desserts Professionally Crafted Vegan Classics I decided (barely) to get a plate of Terrific Vegan Treats, though it was a hard decision, and I changed my mind three times after I gave one of the volunteers the fee (it was three dollars per plate sampled.) I appreciate that she didn’t give me a sense of irritation though it would have been justified. I was impressed with the selection of beautiful and delicious vegan treats. I shouldn’t be surprised but regardless of how much veganized amazingness I try on my travels I’m always amazed at the ingenuity evident from creative vegan bakers and raw foodists. That creativity was displayed to perfection with the spread at the Bake-Off. We started off with the Vegan Tarts and Treats plate. I can’t imagine how hard it must be to be one of the final judges for this competition. It was hard enough writing it out on an anonymous piece of paper. Though, that said I gave a few things a…

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