Sunday, 29 June 2014

magic oven [toronto]

Retrieved from the plane and escorted via PT to my home for my stay in Toronto, I gathered with my international girl gang at Magic Oven on Danforth Avenue in Toronto. Magic Oven is a delightful pizza restaurant that caters to a variety of diets (including vegan and gluten free), lets you modify anything as much as you wish, and allowed us to ask a million questions and stay for a long time as we drank wine and ate pizza.

Despite the presence of several good looking vegan pizzas on the menu, I decided to build my own. I went for a wholemeal base, with tomato + garlic sauce, daiya, sweet potato, thyme roasted mushrooms, and something infused spinach (I can’t remember, it was three days ago). It was so gooooooood. It was a really happy introduction to Toronto’s vegan food. 

There was also vegan cake and vegan mousse available but regrettably I was too full to even consider it. 

No pictures because you know what pizza looks like. 

798 Danforth Ave (and other locations)

Stairs everywhere. CC payment at table. Okay lighting. Super accommodating. We have started calling it Magic Coven and I like it. Would eat there again. 

Thursday, 26 June 2014

the wallflower [vancouver]

I found out about The Wallflower by accident, trying to find somewhere to eat in downtown Vancouver. Immediately I knew it was something I wanted to try: their vegan shepherd’s pie, the internet said, was EXCELLENT. (And it was)

Overwhelmed by choice, E helped me out by suggesting we share a small poutine, which we did: as first poutines go, it was pretty excellent. I spent some time asking questions about how it compared to actual poutine and what an actual poutine contains (the closest I ever come is the Lord’s French Canadian), and A, an unrepentant meat eater and on-off resident of Canada for some time, says that it was pretty close. 

I also ordered a small mac and cheese, and, of course, the vegan shepherd’s pie. I couldn’t finish either, and I was worried I had made a mistake, but oh, my quokkas, I had not. The leftovers went into the fridge but they didn't remain there for very long, and it was with great delight that I ate them (and am thinking about that mac and cheese even now).

The shepherd’s pie was heavy and meaty and filled with mushrooms and something ground, and gravy, and topped with a crispy, cheesy potato. The filling was peppery and spicy, and I usually hate pepper but it worked perfectly with the filling so I couldn’t help but want more. The mac and cheese was cheesy and creamy and I wanted to eat more but I also wanted to save it for my lunch the next day! 

The side salad was fine but covered in a grossly sweet vinegarette. Ugh. The salad did not come home with me.

SO GOOD. RECOMMEND. Don’t look too closely at the wallpaper: it’s covered in wall flowers. The decor is oddddd but the toilets are nice and non-gendered. Service is pleasant. 

2420 Main Street

No bookings same day. Make sure you specify when you’re ordering vegan and they’re so good for it. Non-gendered toilet. Payment at the table, not sure about entry. Wide passage; booth seats available. 

Tuesday, 24 June 2014

bandidas taqueria [vancouver]

Arriving at 11:00 on a Sunday morning we were in for a 15 minute wait for our party of 3, but after a little wander down the street (and an opportunity for me to look inside a Dollar Tree store) we were seated and served and out of there by 12:00 and I was pretty impressed. 

I couldn’t find this on the website but I was super excited to get to Bandidas Taqueria to discover it can all be veganised! At which point I struggled and struggled, and it was with some difficulty that I picked the muffins (two corn bread muffin tops, topped with guac, cheese, and fried tofu), to which I added roasted sweet potato + potato and veggie sausage. Please note: where the menu says ‘yams’ it lies; it means sweet potato.

THIS WAS SO GOOD. I have been thinking about these corn bread muffins all day, thinking about making them when I get home, thinking about going there again, thinking about how much I love salsa and corn and guacamole and everything that this dish chooses to be.

Also they don’t do takeaway unless you bring your own; they emphasise their bike parking; their toilets have notes about bikes on them. And their cocktails sound delicious. If I had been with drinkers, I would have had something, never mind it being 11:20 when we ordered. 

Outside, we saw this ghost; maybe zie was hungover from haunting in the shortest night of the year. 

2781 Commercial Drive

Website says lots of bike parking out front but there could be more. Step to enter, noisy, hard to navigate. Visited in daylight so not sure about lighting. Can get there on PT as it’s close to Commercial-Broadway Station. 

Monday, 23 June 2014

3G Restaurant [vancouver]


We went to 3G in Vancouver and when we arrived at 11:30 on a Saturday morning it was EMPTY so I was unsure but Alex and Liz assured me it would be good and it was. 3G is a vego Chinese restaurant with clearly labeled vegan options (good work). 

3G is fill in the boxes rather than come around with trolleys; we picked a selection of yum cha and lunch items, though a few (GLUTINOUS RICE WITH CHICKEN) were unavailable. From the yum cha menu we went: prawn dumplings (steamed), fried bok choy dumplings, fried tofu skin, sesame balls, char siu bao, fried meat puff and spring rolls. From the lunch menu we got chicken drumsticks and a fried noodles dish. 

This was a lovely start to my first full day in Vancouver. The chicken was very crispy, and surprisingly made of gluten rather than tofu skin (as I’m used to). The tofu skin fried was a highlight, it was like a murtabak in many ways, so light and crispy and filled with something delicious.

Baozi was light and fluffy and not too doughy, a nice ratio of dough to char siu. 

The sesame balls and the meat puff were not my thing, made of that really chewy flour that I haaaate enduring at yum cha. 

Only one photo because you know what yum cha looks like: it looks like fried and/or steamed things. YES. 

3424 Cambie Street

Ordering at the table, toilet hard to get to, no step to enter (I think? Maybe). Menu in English + Chinese characters. Not really much GF. 

Sunday, 22 June 2014

vegan about the world: the naam [vancouver]

First meal on the Great North American Adventure (more a medium-sized adventure, I guess, three cities in three weeks) was at The Naam, a 24 hour vegetarian restaurant in Kitsilano, Vancouver.

SO MANY OPTIONS. Also my mind is blown by it being 24/7 vego food. I went for the Asian Noodle Bowl, because a) noodles and b) you could get it with tempeh. I was awfully confused by the addition of grated beetroot to the raw toppings upon it (the grated carrot made more sense) (WHY RUIN THINGS WITH BEETROOT), but the broth was beautiful and I loved it. 

I also got a blueberry soy shake (with tofulati ice cream) and we got two pieces of pie to take home with us. The pies we selected were the Noh Pie (no sweet, no eggs, no dairy, no wheat, banana-date-nut cream pie) and an apple blueberry pie. These were super tasty! The Noh Pie was more like a cheesecake kind of thing (best cold), and the apple blueberry had a lovely crust and was not too tart. 

The atmosphere is very laid back and casual, and it's exactly the sort of place I'd expect to be down the road from a weed shop.

2724 West Fourth Ave
open 24-7
Accepts cards

One step to enter; didn’t check the toilets. (Alex says “accessible is not a word I would use to describe it”)