Monthly Archives: July 2010

Vancouver Vegan Restaurant Review: Organic Lives Living Food, Quebec and E 2nd

Oh man. Food coma. Raw (excuse me, “living”) food coma. This afternoon we were invited to a 7-month-young raw, vegan, organic restaurant at Quebec and 2nd called Organic Lives, where the owner, Preet, treated us to a five-course meal on the house. We ate entirely too much (you can do that with raw food?!) and now I feel like either napping or running a triathlon… I’m not sure which.

This is an incredibly long review so if you don’t want to read it, here’s the nutshell: It’s really good, the food is amazing, their trading practices are A+, I want to shop there for groceries all the time, but the atmosphere is a little too sterile for my tastes. Get the Oh My God Coconut Cream Pie. Or read more: Continue reading

Become our fan on the Face Book!

We now have a Facebook fan page – if you like us, become our fan! If we get to 1,000 fans we get to have a sweet URL. Thanks, friends. We are really proud of all of you for enjoying vegan food.

Tonight Kaylie is making roasted tomato, garlic, and basil soup to be served with fresh homemade foccacia… I know… you wish you were coming for dinner.

Vancouver Vegan Restaurant Review: Robson Street: HON’s House of Noodles (and White Tower)

Jeffery Simpson photo

The Robson Street HON’s has a vegetarian kitchen. Hurrah, right? Well, maybe. The place is a giant cafeteria with weird noises and fluorescent lights. The service isn’t bad, but unfortunately, the food is.

I’ve been there a total of four times and each time I visit the food is overpriced, bland, and filled with rehydrated mushrooms instead of anything worth eating. The vegetables are obviously frozen-and-boiled or canned, with very little texture or flavour. The faux meat is scarce. I can’t believe I paid $11 for rice noodles, dried mushrooms, and 3 pieces of hydrated bean curd. The spring rolls are okay, but it’s hard to go wrong with deep fried wheat product. Their dim sum is passable – if you get there during lunch hours.

Honestly, if you’re on Robson and you’re wondering where to get some vegan food, skip HON’s and walk 1/4 of a block further to White Tower – a Greek restaurant that’s been around forever and is open until 3am on weekends. They have some of the most incredible homous I’ve ever tasted, and they serve it with fresh, hot pita, kalamata olives, and cucumber. Other than homous, their vegan offerings are pretty pitiful (there’s a vegetable pasta that’s vegan-friendly and is okay, but not incredible) – but truly – the homous is worth a visit. Especially late at night after you’ve had a bit to drink.

An Open Letter to JJ Bean Regarding Their Vegan Chocolate Zucchini Muffin

Brooks Reynolds Photography

Dear JJ Bean,

Thank you for faithfully selling what has come to be my favourite vegan muffin in the world. Your chocolate zucchini muffin is almost without exception sold out unless I come very early in the morning (which is rarely), but whenever I do manage to buy one, I enjoy it thoroughly, in all its greasy, oversized, holy-unhealthy delight. Yes, I know, people like to mislead themselves by thinking that vegan = healthy, which is probably why those fuckers eat all the vegan muffins. This may well be your best muffin, not that I would know because I’ve only tried it and the very berry. It’s incredible with a soy macchiato or fresca medici (as if I needed more sweet). I appreciate your institution and the run-down, torn-clothes, too-much-coffee-not-enough-sleep hipster look of each and every one of your employees.

Too bad you discontinued the vegan sandwich.


An Open Letter to JJ Bean Regarding Their Vegan Very Berry Muffin

vegan very berry muffin
RachaelRayForever‘s Photo

Dear JJ Bean,

If you ever decide to discontinue your vegan muffins I will sob uncontrollably. A JJ Bean muffin and cup of coffee in the morning are a perfect combination to start my morning off right. I could consume this treat once a day or once a month, but it will never get old. Thank you for being a coffee shop that serves excellent coffee as well as a vegan treat I can enjoy in the morning like a completely normal patron. The exit of this muffin would not make the trip to JJ Bean worth it to me, considering you have no internet and most of your employees are fatigued, apathetic and overall unhealthy looking. I’m sure the only reason they survive is due to the vegan muffins.  Thanks JJ Bean!



New Mexican Meatballs

mexican meatballs

On a bed of sautéed, chili spiced mushrooms, onions and yellow peppers. Garnished with fresh lettuce, BC tomatoes, lime, salsa and topped with homemade New Mexican red chile sauce.

Since red chile (or red chile sauce) isn’t typically available anywhere outside New Mexico, a sweet chipotle sauce would suffice as an alternative.

I almost didn’t put this recipe up, but it was really too good not to share. If you can’t find soyrizo I would suggest experimenting with pressed tofu and chipotle, cayenne, taco seasoning, chili powder… That sort of thing. Everyone loves my meatballs.

(Click through for the recipe.) Continue reading

Sunflower Paté

So last night I made eleven different sunflower patés in an effort to find the perfect combination of flavours. I can’t divulge yet which ones are the best – actually, I haven’t tried them all – but what I can do is give you the base recipe. This will give you a basic, delicious, creamy sunflower paté that’s perfect on crackers or sandwiches, and to which you can add any flavouring you like.

You will need a food processor or blender for this recipe!

Sunflower Pate Ingredients

1 small or 1/2 large onion, diced
1 stick celery, chopped
1 large or 2 small carrots, diced or grated
1 medium-sized potato, cubed
2 – 5 cloves garlic, to taste; use more if you roast it beforehand
1.5 tbsp olive oil
1 cup sunflower seeds, unsalted
1 tbsp soya sauce (or 2 tbsp Braggs)
1/4 cup nutritional yeast (optional)
1 cup vegetable stock (or one cube veg bouillon & 1 cup water)
Salt and pepper, to taste
Spices – marjoram, thyme, rosemary, bay

Preheat oven to 350F. Combine all ingredients in a food processor and blend until nearly creamy. If your food processor is crappy like mine, you might want to soften your onion, carrot, and celery in a frying pan with a touch of oil or water first, and you could boil your potatoes for a couple of minutes.

Pour your sunflower mixture into a loaf pan and cook 40 – 60 minutes, or into muffin tins and cook 40 minutes. You’ll know your paté is ready when you shake the pan and the mixture doesn’t jiggle. If you overcook it a bit, no problem; you’ll just have a delicious crust on your paté.

Important: if you get salted sunflower seeds, omit soya sauce and salt, and probably nutritional yeast too. I recommend using unsalted sunflower seeds so you can control the flavour more.

Recommended Additions

– Roasted red pepper and roasted garlic (blend these in)
– Yam (blend this in)
– Mushrooms (diced & softened in a pan, and added after the blending stage)

Shallot and White Wine Mushroom Polenta topped with roasted Broccolini, Asparagus and fried Sage.

This recipe was whipped together while on a trip in San Francisco. The inspiration came from an hour of roaming around Trader Joe’s and the need to combine ingredients for dinner as well as for the Anniversary lunch I was to make the next day.

Featured Flavours: White Wine and Shallot button mushrooms, and Fried Sage.

yam, pinto bean, and rice burger on herb bread with mango, avocado, green chile, and crimini mushrooms

yam, pinto bean, and rice burger on herb bread with mango, avocado, green chile, and crimini mushrooms

The third in our series of attempts to make the perfect veggie burger patty. This one’s rice, yam, and pinto beans – it was okay, but blander than our last two tries. The bread was made from scratch, based on a recipe in Sarah Kramer‘s The Garden of Vegan. Once we perfect that veggie burger patty you’ll see a recipe, but until then…

Vancouver Vegan Restaurant Review: The Foundation, Main St and East 7th Avenue

The Foundation is a Vancouver vegetarian institution. It’s relentlessly popular – there are lineups pretty much every night and no, they don’t take reservations. It’s also relentlessly badmouthed, for a number of different reasons. Still, we all keep going there; we all keep pouring our money into Foundy and enjoying what we get out of it.

The best thing about this place is that it’s cheap. Lunchtime entrees run about $7 – $8 and supper is around $10. You get a tonne of food for your money – I’ve never still been hungry after eating at The Foundation – and the drink specials are cheap and excellent. They serve local beer at decent prices, and have a soup special (invariably vegan), a “restless” side dish, and a nacho special every day. Unfortunately, the nachos are smothered in dairy cheese, but that’s part of what makes The Foundation so popular. Try the sangria – pricy but incredible on a late spring day, or really, any day.

The word “vegan” doesn’t really appear on the menu, but when the servers are asked, they’ll usually tell you that unless something obviously isn’t vegan (if it says “cheese” right on it), it is. That’s not strictly true. After maybe three years of eating at this place, I found out that their veggie bacon is made of egg whites, and most of their curry sauces contain honey. However, if you send your order in and say it’s vegan, the kitchen can probably sub for maple syrup.

The service at Foundation is… well… it varies. So does the quality of the food. And sometimes you sit there for 45 minutes starving your head off before you’re served. The music is really loud and it’s always hip-hop. The place is packed with too-cool hipsters, and they’re not half as cool as the people who work there. You have to wait in line for 20 minutes sometimes. There are obnoxious quotes on the walls about making the world a better place.

Still, I love The Foundation. Their yam dip is incredible, the homous is even better, and for a dollar more you can combine them into the YAMMUS plate (my invention, c. 2005 – you’re welcome). Some other favourite choices: The Tropic Option is a spicy fruit curry with mangos and bananas and strawberries; it’s my #1. The OPPP is a peanut-pesto-pasta delight, vegan, delicious, with broccoli. The Serial Salad is grains and fruit and salad and is incredibly satisfying. Also, try the Mango Forte, the Pa-Pasta-Ya (my friend Tara, who cooks at Foundation, eats this when she craves Kraft Dinner [Mac’n’Cheese]), the Sesamum Salad, and, if they have it (they rarely do), the Vegan Sugar Pie. Nuff said.

Conclusion: I have some friends who refuse to go to The Foundation because of the awful service, the awful atmosphere, the awful people, or some combination of all three. I totally understand that. However, I still visit at least once a month and have for years, and that’s not likely to stop. Plus, they’re open til midnight on weekdays and 2am on weekends. Perfect for after-drunk nosh. Stay strong, vegans, and don’t order those nachos.