Monthly Archives: July 2011

Avocado, toasted walnut, smoked tofu, arugula and beet Carpaccio sandwich on Sourdough topped with lemon garlic olive oil

beet, arugula, smoked tofu, walnut, and avocado sandwich with potato salad

Beets are a simple, delicious, and nutritious food, but after hearing the comments on this beet sandwich I realized that not many people know how to prepare beets the way I do. It’s really easy! Beets are not that intimidating. People think it is difficult to pair things with beets (Malloreigh doubted that this sandwich would be good, but it was in fact very delicious) but this was a really fantastic combination.

Beet Carpaccio

A “carpaccio” is officially thinly sliced raw beef or fish, but it’s just too good of a term for thinly sliced beets. It’s not really a carpaccio but we’ll call it that anyway.

Don’t peel the beets before you boil them – leaving the skin on helps to seal in the nutrients, which would otherwise be partially lost through boiling. If you’re using both red and golden beets, boil them separately to maintain the colour. As you may know, red beet juice will stain anything and everything it touches bright pink.

Separate the beets from the beet greens. Boil them whole in a pot filled with water over medium-high heat until a fork can easily pierce them – about 30 to 45 minutes, maybe longer.

Once the beets are boiled, let them cool – drain them into a colander and run cold water over them to speed this process. The skin should slough off easily, but if it doesn’t, use a paring knife or sharp vegetable peeler.

Now, your beets are ready to slice. Use a mandolin slicer to slice them thinly or use a sharp non-serrated knife.

Sliced beets will keep in the fridge for at least a week if you put them in a resealable container, but they are also pretty easy to eat in one sitting.

Beet Carpaccio Sandwich

This beet sandwich was simple and delicious. Sliced avocado, lightly toasted whole organic walnuts, thinly sliced smoked tofu, fresh arugula, and sliced beets were dashed with fresh ground pepper. The sourdough bread I used was drizzled with lemon and garlic infused olive oil. It was served with a side of potato salad.

Fine Vegan Dining in Vancouver: Where to Take a Date

There are plenty of vegan-friendly spots in Vancouver, but most of them are on the casual, “funky” side. Sometimes, you want a fancy meal – maybe it’s your anniversary, or you want to impress your parents. Kaylie and I are asked fairly often where a vegan can take a date for a good meal and a decent drink. We promise that all of the following restaurants won’t play obnoxiously loud hip-hop, have terrible service, or smell like nag champa.

The price points noted below are for, approximately, a complete meal including a shared appetizer and dessert, and one entree each, plus a bottle of wine or some cocktails and tip.

Radha – Main at Union – $80

Note: RADHA IS CLOSED for the time being. Visit their website for updates.
Radha has a seasonally changing menu as well as a menu of constants. They have a raw special every day and always have a raw dessert as well as two non-raw dessert options. Their menu is primarily made up of organic, seasonal vegetables. Every dish is delicious, creative, and beautifully presented, and the beautiful brick-and-hardwood space has a gorgeous view of the city from its Main Street facing windows. For a set price, you can mix and match one appetizer, one entree, and one dessert. They also have a great organic, vegan wine list, as well as kombucha and some other fancy mixed non-alcoholic beverages. On Fridays and Saturdays expect chilled out live entertainment.
The catch? It’s only open 6 – 10pm, Wednesday through Sunday.

Grub – Main at 28th – $80

This incredible concept restaurant is a tiny hole in the wall with a patio. They have a decent drinks list and one of their selling features is three different types of Pimm’s punch. The thing that makes Grub so special, however, is that they offer one appetizer, entree, and dessert daily from each of a number of categories – seafood, chicken, beef, vegetarian, and vegan, for example. So if you visit Grub, you will only have one choice, but it’ll be creative and beautifully presented. You won’t have the same thing twice there, plus your dining companions can choose to eat non-vegan if they’d like to.

Nuba – Cambie and Hastings, or at The Waldorf Hotel, McLean and Hastings – $50+

Easily the least expensive establishment on the list. Nuba has multiple locations but it is their Hastings Street restaurants that are best for a date. Service is impeccable and non-intrusive, and the menu is very vegan friendly. The food is Lebanese-style. For a date, I’d recommend getting mezze platters of three of the vegan options and sharing – there’s something about sharing food that facilitates conversation and connection. Their drink list isn’t cheap but is very creative. The baklava here is loaded with butter, but they do occasionally have vegan desserts, as far as I know.

Wild Rice – Pender at Abbott – $60+

Wild Rice has quite a few vegan options, and while their menu changes every so often, they have a commitment to a dairy-free kitchen, so their vegetarian options are always vegan – they’re clearly marked. They also serve fish and chicken. They provide for tofu substitutions on some chicken dishes. This place is pretty hip and has a drink list to match; it’s also a bit more upscale than the other restaurants on this list, as far as clientele goes.

Vij’s – West 11th Avenue at Granville – $100+

Vij’s is an upscale Indian restaurant that is called the best Indian food in Vancouver by anyone who’s eaten there. There are several vegan items on the menu, and the staff is extraordinarily knowledgeable about vegan options. Most of the amuse bouche items that are passed around to waiting patrons are vegan as well – which is a good thing, because Vij’s doesn’t take reservations, and arriving any time after their 5:30pm opening time guarantees a wait of up to a few hours. Trust us – it’s worth it. The food is carefully, beautifully prepared. Each dish is a work of art with years of expertise behind it. If you want to save a little bit of money and time by sacrificing a bit of quality, visit Vij’s Rangoli next door.


Photo from Nuba at The Waldorf Hotel

Vegan Mischief in the Globe & Mail, Canada’s Only Decent National Paper

We’re in today’s Globe & Mail! How exciting! Read the article online here – or harass my parents for one of the 5 copies of the paper they probably picked up. (Love you, Mom and Dad!)

“I just want to make beautiful food, that non-vegans will enjoy, with a lot of care and love in it,” says Ms. Barfield, who plans to open a proper restaurant after graduating from culinary school.

And she does make beautiful comfort food, all from scratch. Her cheese-flavoured perogies with a lovely caramelized crust, faux-bacon bits and rich dairy-free dill cream would impress even the most old-fashioned Ukrainian. Her Montreal-style smoked seitan sandwich (slow-cooked for 24 hours, then roasted and thinly sliced) is a marvel of creativity. Poutine hash with vegetarian ricotta, wild mushrooms and truffle oil packs more flavour than most versions in town.

If you missed it, “Ms. Barfield” is Kaylie, who will be posting her ricotta recipe shortly. Hol-ee macaroni is it tasty.

Store Review: Got Nice Shoes

In March, 2011, a new addition to the tiny-but-growing community of Vancouver vegan retailers opened: Nice Shoes, located at Fraser and 19th in East Van. It’s an all-vegan shoe store owned and operated by a lovely lady named Joanne.

Now, I am not as much of a shoe junkie as many of my friends are, but I just could not resist buying shoes from this place. Both times I’ve purchased shoes from Nice Shoes, my buying decision felt really easy – probably because there wasn’t any guilt associated with it. I knew that by purchasing a product from this store, it’d be undoubtedly 100% vegan, and at the same time I’d be helping out a local business owned by a member of my own community. It felt much better than buying shoes from the mall stores, which, even if they’re not made of leather, probably use non-vegan glues and whatnot. And I liked it a lot more than buying shoes from American vegetarian shoe retailers, for both monetary and nationalistic reasons.

My first pair of shoes from Nice were these adorable Steve Madden lace-up Oxfords in tan with striped ribbon laces. They also came with some tamer tan laces, but I obviously love the striped ones.

06-365-06-03-11

Then, just the other day, I bit the bullet and bought a pair of high-heeled lady shoes, because I am getting a bit too old to wear paint-spattered canvas flats with fancy dressed. I apologize for the photo, it’s kind of ridiculous, but I couldn’t help but play sexy pin-up in these killer Chinese Laundry shoes.

classless

Anyway, obviously I love Nice Shoes, and I just wanted to make sure that as many Canadian (and Vancouver) vegetarians knew about this place as possible. Support your local vegan community and buy hot shoes while you’re at it!

(Got) Nice Shoes – Vancouver vegan shoe retailer

Product Review: Handcrafted Vegan Bakery Bagels

So the other day, Amanda from Handcrafted Vegan Bakery, a local custom vegan baking service, posted that she was selling a half-dozen bagels in whatever flavour we requested for $5. What a deal! I could not resist buying a half-dozen bagels for that ridiculously low price. I requested sesame bagels so I could eat them with a variety of toppings – but I ended up sharing them with friends, anyway, so I guess I have so buy some more.

When I saw Amanda to get the bagels from her, she mentioned that custom orders had been coming in for exciting flavours like jalapeno and cheddar Daiya; she mentioned that she would have to charge extra for fancy things like that, since Daiya is about $5 a bag. Good to know. Anyway, I really recommend these delicious, handmade bagels. She also does a variety of other types of baking, including the best scones I have ever had, so check out Handcrafted Vegan Bakery if you live in or around Vancouver.

handcrafted vegan bagels with vegenaise, tomato, chive, and pepper