Food Day.- Or Vegan Options within walking distance of the University of Alberta

Yesterday was a food day. We went out to the Garneau area and started out at Kyoto Japanese Cuisine, went to Phobulous (so my friend could get some non-vegan Vietnamese coffee)  then a visit to Remedy for a piece of vegan cheesecake, across the street to Transcend Coffee for a Soy Flat White, a quick snack at Kabuki, and finally a late dinner at Blue Plate Diner downtown.

Spinach Goma-ae

Kyoto Japanese Cuisine is pretty minimal on the real vegan options. Most of their sushi contains mayo (but you can ask them to skip it.) They bring out miso soup with every meal, but I was told it contained shrimp, so of course, none for me. We ordered the Spinach Gomaae, a flash steamed pile of spinach, slathered in a sweet peanut sesame sauce. The menu has items marked as “Vegetarian” with a little green sushi piece, but based on the Tamago (egg sushi) with that symbol, that definition likely includes lacto-ovo items. This wasn’t the last Gomaae of the day, so it was interesting to be able to compare them.

Chili Chocolate Cheesecake from Remedy Mint Chocolate Cheesecake

I’m going to skip talking about Phobulous for the most part, the vegan options are limited to two items on the menu, and considering the amazing other places in and around the Whyte ave area, if I had the choice, I’d just go somewhere else (Unless you feel like having a rice bowl with tofu and spring rolls).
Remedy was great as always, we got there just as he was plating a Chocolate Mint Cheesecake, and a Chili Chocolate Cheesecake. I have to say, after the amazing cake that was the Chocolate Peanut Butter Banana cheesecake, everything else pales in comparison. That said, I liked the texture of the chili chocolate cake, more of a firm consistency, than the mint, it had a sharp spicy finish that hit you after you swallowed . The mint was a bit of a surprise, because I went for a bite with the expectation of that synthetic stereotypical mint flavour, but he used REAL mint. It made me think of eating actual mint leaves, and I mean it in the best possible way. The commitment to fresh real ingredients is really apparent and appreciated. 
Soy "flat white"

I’ve been meaning to check out Transcend coffee ever since I returned to Edmonton (and because they had a twitter) so it was nice to cross the street and grab a coffee. They have a decent variety and nearly everything can be made with soy and with absolutely no issue. We shared a Soy Flat White, it’s a slightly different prep process than the standard Cafe Latte, and it was pleasant with a mild bitterness. I love the interior, it’s got a clean white minimalist look to it. Feels straight out of Dwell magazine (or perhaps an unhappy hipster blog photo.) Every other table had a light green flower in a small glass vase (which I don’t know the name of) that added to that chill minimalist vibe.
Spinach Goma-ae BBQ Asparagus

Since we were making the rounds anyway, we walked over to Kabuki, and my friend got another Spinach Gomaae and BBQ Asparagus. Really nice atmosphere. I felt like I was in a different city, in a different place. The spinach gomaae was different here, not just in arrangement but the peanut sesame sauce had a strong flavour from the white and black sesames (maybe it was actually gomasio, I lack a sufficiently refined palate.) The BBQ asparagus was beautifully arranged, but simple, and for three pieces of salted asparagus, $6.99 seems a bit much.

I’m not sure what I expect when I go to Blue Plate Diner, but I went in with optimism. We got the Lentil Nut Loaf without the mashed potatoes, and the Green Onion Cake. The Green Onion Cakes were great, but the Lentil Nut loaf was a flavourless slice of Eh. To make it palatable we poured some sambal oelek on it and added pepper and salt. I feel like I shouldn’t have to do that. Oh well. I love the atmosphere in there, and that it’s open late downtown while not being a bar or lounge. No pictures because it’s way too dark in there, and I refuse to use flash in there!
I missed the City Downtown Farmers Market this weekend, but I’m hoping to check out the one in St.Albert soon.

3 Responses

  1. Hi MeShell!
    I'm a friend of Wissam's and we were hanging out on Saturday and he mentioned your blog so I thought I'd look it up! I am a complete, total, food-blogoholic. I love nothing more than reading about everyone’s culinary adventures, restaurant reviews and researching food issues. Your blog is really great, there are a few that I follow in Edmonton but are not vegan/vegetarian. By the sound of your blog, we frequent many of the same places. My husband and I were at the Brenda Davis event as well! We were the suckers that arrive late and had to sit through the entire presentation on the stairs. The presentation was well worth the discomfort though!
    Thanks very much for promoting and showcasing all the local businesses that support a more compassionate lifestyle.
    I look forward to meeting you! I’m sure we’ll have loads to talk about!

  2. Hi Natalie.

    Thanks for your feedback and the website suggestion. I hadn't seen it before, and I've since passed it on to friends online too!

    I think I remember you two at the brenda davis talk, because I thought to myself… that doesn't look very comfy! ha ha ha. But it was so awesome how packed it was! 🙂