Vaades is an Indian restaurant in the lower Lonsdale area that I found through a brochure that mentioned their vegan options.  Whenever a restaurant mentions this, I always have to go try it.  Their menu has a V next to each item that can be made vegan, and there are quite a few Vs.  (This doesn't show up on their online menus though.)

For starters, they have vegan samosas filled with potato and peas.  They came with a tamarind chutney and a cilantro chutney.


They have a "make it a meal" option that comes with what you see below (except that I substituted roti for the naan bread, as the naan is not vegan).  The small veggie curry is coconut milk based.

This was $4.95 and was practically a meal on its own.  Do note, though, that they don't have a substitute for their honey salad dressing, so if you don't eat honey, they will bring it to you dry!  Some oil and lemon or vinegar would be a nice suggestion.

We got a baigan bartha (roasted eggplant with peas, onions, and cilantro) and a black lentil stew.
Here's another look at the baigan bartha:
What I liked about this restaurant -- aside from the many Vs on their menu -- is that mild means mild.  I'm pretty wimpy when it comes to spices, so I really appreciate this!  However, do be sure to tell them you are vegan so that your food is not prepared with cream or butter.  This goes for the roti too -- they will put oil on it for you instead of butter.

On my three visits to Vaades, I found that I had to check with them a couple of times to make sure that what I was getting was in fact vegan.  They did put a curry in front of me one time that had cream in it.  Another time, the black lentil stew was unavailable because it had been made with cream that day.  However, they will always have other vegan curries to chose from, and I always leave satisfied and with a substantial amount of leftovers.

Vaades is located at 149 West 3rd Street, across from Pasparos Taverna, and they stay open late (10 pm Sunday to Wednesday and midnight Thursday to Friday).
 
 
This summer, I found a bakery near the Second Narrows Bridge that makes some gluten-free vegan sweets.  Although the Sweet Tooth Cakery's menu differs each week, they consistently have two or three different vegan cupcake flavours, scones, cookies, and other sweets as well as hot dog buns, bagels, and baguettes.  They also take special orders for vegan cakes and have a beatiful cake-decorating portfolio.  Here is a sampling of some of the desserts I've brought home.

Mini carrot cake with maple icing

Vegan rice crispy treat - made with vegan marshmallows

Chocolate cupcake - they have two or three cupcakes each week such as maple, coconut, and others

Raspberry jelly roll and cinnamon bun
Although everything I've tasted so far has been great, the cinnamon bun was my favourite.  I think this is in part because they toasted the pecans, a simple step that wins me over every time.  I've tried gluten-free goods that did not hold up texture-wise -- not the case here.

Although Sweet Tooth Cakery is a little off the beaten path for me, these dessert options are still fairly close to home.  They are located at 2055 Old Dollarton Road, which is about a 5-10 minute walk from Phibbs exchange if taking public transit.
 
 
I was thrilled to be asked to participate in the blog tour for Miriam Sorrell's new cookbook, Mouthwatering Vegan.  Miriam is from the UK, currently lives in Malta, and is of Greek heritage.  These influences are evident in her work, and she uses some interesting and unexpected flavour combinations.  This massive volume (which is endorsed by Sir Paul McCartney!) is a welcome addition to my bookshelf. 


Fresh, ripe figs meet essence of rose in this beautifully coloured drink.  The Fig and Roses Smoothie also has a little hint of spice.  I didn't have rose syrup, so I used rose water and a bit of maple syrup.  On a hot, muggy day after toting groceries home up a hill, this cool drink left me feeling revived.

I combined a few dishes from the book for dinner during a recent visit with my parents.  The Spicy Greek and Indian Pinto Bean Dip marries mint with cumin and cardamom, which I would not have thought to put together into a dip.  It turned out to be a lively dish that I will certainly make again, especially given the large bag of fresh mint from the garden that my dad gave me to take home!  For the first time, I tried roasting an eggplant over a gas flame for the Moroccan Smoked Eggplant Dip.  I also made the Beta Feta, which my mom incorporated into her own Greek salad recipe.  The creamy, tangy feta mingled with the flavours from the dressing perfectly.  My mom was surprised to learn that it was made without using any tofu, but rather cashews.

I also wanted to try the Vegan Swiss Fondue while I was at my parents' house, as I do not own a fondue pot.  We used an electric wok, which worked really well.  Flavoured with nutritional yeast, miso, and white wine, this cashew-based fondue was incredible.  Sharing a fondue was a fun way to connect with my family, whom I don't see as often as I would like.  I plan to return to this recipe again and will be purchasing my own fondue pot (or electric wok) for exactly this purpose!

I had previously only made pesto with basil and pine nuts.  There are no fewer than eight types of pesto in this book.  I opened up my mind with the Sundried Tomato, Artichoke & Hazelnut Peppered Pesto.  I served it with marinated white beans and olives.  It was a quick meal to get on the table, reaffirmed my devotion to hazelnuts, and I will happily be eating leftovers for lunch at work tomorrow.

For an indulgent dessert, I made the Double Chocolate Coke Cake using Virgil's cola.  There was just a hint of cola flavour in this rich, moist cake. The thick chocolate cream cheese icing melts in your mouth.  Mysteriously, chunks of this cake kept disappearing out of the fridge.  Perhaps unsurprisingly, this was actually the very first recipe I tried from the book.

The book also boasts a hefty chapter on curries.  I made the Roasted Eggplant, Mango, and Coconut Curry.  I had time to prepare the curry sauce while the vegetables were roasting, so it turned out to be a quick dish to put together despite being made from scratch without curry paste.  The added sweetness of the fruit in the curry is quite pleasing and eliminates the need for chutney.  I used a Malaysian curry powder, which was on the milder side.  (I also threw in a can of chickpeas for some added protein, which made it into a complete meal with some brown rice.)
Photo by Miriam Sorrell

With permission from Random House Canada, here is the recipe.

Roasted Eggplant, Mango & Coconut Curry
Serves 4

This is such a simple concept, and yet so effective. Roasting the eggplant and zucchini creates another dimension of flavor, which, combined with the fresh, fruity bouquet of the mangoes and the aromatic lime zest, takes life to another plane! I garnish this delightful curry with some almonds and chopped bananas, and serve it with poppadoms and lightly spiced rice pilaf.

1 large zucchini, diced into 1-inch (2.5-cm) cubes
1 medium eggplant, diced into large cubes
olive oil
salt to taste
1 tsp (5 mL) ground cardamom
1/2 tsp (2 mL) ground coriander
1/2 tsp (2 mL) ground cumin
3/4 tsp (4 mL) ground cinnamon
3/4 tsp (4 mL) turmeric
1/2 tsp (2 mL) chili powder
1 tsp (5 mL) medium or hot curry powder
1 large onion, roughly chopped
1 1-inch (2.5-cm) piece fresh ginger, grated
1/2 tsp (2 mL) lemongrass powder (optional)
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
2 cups (500 mL) thick coconut milk
1 Tbsp (15 mL) agave or maple syrup (optional)
2 cups (500 mL) mangoes, peeled, pitted and chopped into large pieces (make sure they are juicy and sweet)
zest of 1 lime

1. Preheat the oven to 375°F (190°C).
2. Place the chopped zucchini and eggplant in an ovenproof dish. Drizzle on some oil and sprinkle with salt, and bake for about 30 minutes.
3. Check if the veggies are ready by sticking a thin skewer in them—if there’s no resistance, and if they have browned a little on the outside, they’re ready. Turn off the heat, but leave them in the oven until your sauce is ready.
4. Meanwhile, heat a drizzle of olive oil in a saucepan set over medium–low heat. Fry the spices for 20 seconds or so, until they sizzle. Then add in the onion, stirring for a couple of minutes, followed by the ginger, lemongrass (if using), more salt to taste and garlic (be careful not to burn it).
5. Add 1 cup (250 mL) of the coconut milk, lower the heat and cook for 2 or 3 minutes.
6. Add the remaining coconut milk, and allow the mixture to simmer, but not boil, for 10 minutes.
7. Turn off the heat and leave the saucepan uncovered for a few minutes, then add the agave (if using), and blend with a handheld immersion blender until smooth.
8. Taste for salt, and add more if needed.
9. Turn on the heat to low, add the mangoes and lime zest, then the roasted veggies, and stir gently. Serve immediately.

Copyright © 2013 by Miriam Sorrell.


Be sure to check out the previous blog tour posts at The Vegan Cookbook Aficionado and Veg Coast and tomorrow's stop at 80 Twenty.

Note:  Although I received a complimentary copy of MouthWatering Vegan, the opinions expressed are my own.
 
 
A vegan scramble is now available for brunch in North Vancouver.
I was excited to see that The District offers a vegan brunch item, which is even labeled as such on the menu.  Although I was fully expecting the vegan scramble to contain tofu, that was not the case.  It really is "sauteed vegetables and breakfast potatoes", as the menu says.  The meal very substantial though, with sauteed zucchini, mushrooms, spinach, onions, and raw avocado and tomatoes.  Crispy, salted hash browns nestled under the veggies were accompanied by District's own tomato relish, which contains tomatoes, garlic, and basil.
The District does not currently offer vegan lunch or dinner options; however, the fact that they now serve a vegan dish for brunch is encouraging.

The District can be found at 13 Lonsdale Avenue.  Brunch is served on weekends starting at 10 a.m.
 
 
This is the continuation of my epic food journey in Portland.

Portobello Vegan Trattoria

After hearing so much talk at Vida Vegan Con about how amazing Portobello was and how difficult it was to get in, I thought I would try my luck at a reservation for one at the bar.  I did, in fact, manage to get an online booking for the following evening and noticed that the next reservation for one was three days away, so I considered myself lucky that I had the opportunity to try their food while I was in Portland.

I decided to splurge on the tasting menu, which included an appetizer, two entrees, and a dessert.  Given that I had been snacking on samples and buffets at Vida Vegan Con all day, this was probably not the wisest choice.  Well, you only live once, and it was worth it!

I started with the Giardinera salad, which had fennel, cauliflower, and beets marinated with thyme, with a Moscatel vinaigrette dressing.  To drink, I had a Bella mocktail, which was made with gewϋrtztraminer juice (a grape juice based on a wine), mint, and soda water.  Both the salad and drink were light and refreshing.
For the next course, I chose the gnocchi with spring vegetables (snap peas, pea vines, and asparagus) in a parsley sauce.  The gnocchi had been recommended to me earlier that day, and this dish was a lovely mix of textures and flavours.
For the third course, I chose the cauliflower steak with chickpea panissa (a lightly fried morsel which remains creamy on the inside).  These were accompanied by caramelized fennel and chimichurri sauce.
At this point, I asked the server if the meals from the tasting menu were full sized or smaller than just the regular meals alone.  I wondered if I had just eaten three full-sized meals!  She replied that they were about two thirds the size; not to worry, I had only eaten about two meals.  She asked if I would like some time to breathe before she brought my dessert, to which I appreciatively responded in the affirmative.

The tiramisu was my dessert of choice.  It was exquisite, and I did somehow manage to eat the entire thing.
Note that their menu changes every few days based on what is in season and available from their local farmers, so you may not find these exact dishes depending on when you go.

Veggie Grill

I received a complimentary meal from Veggie Grill, which is a chain fast food joint that is entirely vegan.  They use Gardein blends that are exclusive to them.  I had a "crab" cake burger with spiced tartar sauce and a side of sweet potato fries with a chipotle ranch sauce.  I had never tried a vegan mock seafood before, and this was a good one to try without being overwhelmingly fishy (seafood was never something that I actually missed), and it seemed to be a higher quality of fast food.  I think that if there was a Veggie Grill or similar in North Vancouver, I would visit often.

Sweetpea Baking Co.

On my last day in Portland, I went straight to Sweetpea Baking Co. to try their breakfast.  I had biscuits with gravy, spinach, tomato, and fried tofu.  This was a really fulfilling meal and one that I think I will try to replicate.  I was also pleased that they offer hazelnut milk as one of their milk options.
Sweetpea is part of the vegan mini-mall, but the rest of the stores were closed when I visited.  I will definitely check them out next time I am in Portland.

Yes, Portland has other attractions besides food...

I can't end my Portland post without recommending the elegant Japanese Gardens.  It is a very calming and beautiful space, so definitely make time for a visit when in Portland!




If you missed my first post, it is here:  Vegan Eats in Portland, Part 1.
 
 
I am writing from the vegan paradise of Portland, where I have been attending the Vida Vegan Con food bloggers' conference.  The conference is now at an end, but was an incredible experience to attend lectures given by some of my favourite vegan cookbook authors and other vegan personalities and to meet so many like-minded people.


Aside from the duffel bag of freebies I will be lugging home, here are some of the meals in which I have partaken.

DC Vegetarian food cart

I was expecting Portland to be warmer than Vancouver, but it was raining and comparatively cold when I got here.   Luckily for me, my hotel is only a few blocks from the vegan-friendly DC Vegetarian food cart, where I found this tempeh bacon cheeseburger.  It came with Vegenaisse and Daiya and was a satisfying burger for $5.

Prasad

For dinner I went to Prasad, which shares a space with Pearl Yoga and seems very health conscious and mindfully prepared.  All of the food is organic, wholesome, and natural.  They offer many different bowls, but the size of the bowl is huge, and I didn't want a ton of grain after that burger!  The Soul Salad has spinach, chipotle tempeh, slow-roasted tomatoes, and avocado, sprinkled with toasted pumpkin seeds.  The dressing was a garlic tahini with red chili vinagrette.  I am a fan of meal salads, and this one was very filling.

The drink was a strawberry basil lemonade.  I would never have thought to add basil to strawberry lemonade, but it was awesome and refreshing, and I would go back for another one.

I went back to Prasad for breakfast on Friday morning and had their most popular oatmeal bowl, the Rogue Oatmeal.  This is made with peanut butter and cacao nibs with bananas throughout.  It is made to order, which takes a bit longer, but I appreciated the freshness of the meal.  They added the hemp seed at my request.  Again, this was a very filing meal, and if they offered half sizes, that would have been more appropriate for me.  I had a coconut milk apple cider with it, which was warming, sweet and homemade.

Sonny Bowl food cart

For lunch, I went to the all-vegan food cart Sonny Bowl and had The Three.  This was a small rice bowl with yams, barbeque soy curls, kale salad with tahini dressing, and radishes.  It was an appropriate amount of food, and I felt that this was $4 very well spent.

Sizzle Pie

Sizzle Pie is an iconic vegan-friendly pizza joint in Portland where everyone lines up to buy a slice.  I had the Spiral Tap, which has marinara sauce, caramelized onion spread, and nutritional yeast.  This was different from any pizza I had tried in Vancouver, and I really liked the savory flavour with the slight sweetness of the caramelized onions.  The crust is also amazingly thin.  As well, I had the Rabbit Salad, which came with a vegan ranch dressing, but unfortunately there were far too many hot peppers on this salad for me!

Voodoo Donuts

I had a maple donut with Bavarian cream filling.  Luckily I got a short line-up, but apparently people sometimes wait in line for over an hour for Voodoo Donuts.  Good thing we don't have a Voodoo Donuts near Vancouver -- it's dangerous!
More Portland eats to come!
 
 
It's my favourite meal of the day, and not just because I only have it on weekends.  I love going for brunch, even if it means standing in line for 20 minutes to be seated.  I do wish I could write a post like this about vegan brunches in North Vancouver, but I have yet to find a place that serves vegan pancakes, waffles, or scrambled tofu.  (I did write a post about some awesome raw crepes though.)  Fortunately, there are several places in the Vancouver area that serve up vegan brunch.

Bandidas Taquiera

Bandidas is the place I have gone most often for brunch, and I always get the Lester's Benny made vegan.  Sometimes I think I want to try something else, but this is so good that I can never resist ordering it yet again.  Lester's Benny consists of two cornbread muffins topped with squash and tofu (in place of eggs), yams and onion, vegan cheese (subbed in for feta), smothered in roasted tomato salsa or salsa verde (I like one of each), with a side of beans.  Their potatoes are equally good and are accented by entire cloves of roasted garlic.  I had the side of veggie bacon with this, but I really didn't need it -- the meal is amazing without adding any fake meats, and it is already a ton of food.

Bandidas is located on Commercial Drive and serves brunch daily until 3:00.

Rhizome Cafe

Rhizome is in the Mount Pleasant area and serves brunch on weekends only.  It a very welcoming and diverse cafe with a deep sense of community and the arts.  People are encouraged to sit for as long as they would like and work on knitting or crafts or participate in a variety of events.  One thing I like about Rhizome is that they always have a meal that is available by donation (usually a lentil stew) which ensures that anyone can afford to eat there.

The meal shown is the kamut-banana pancakes, which were flavoured with lemon and sweetened with maple syrup.  Sadly, the owners are planning to move to Toronto and are currently looking for a buyer, so fingers crossed that this tasty breakfast will remain available.

Sejuiced

This is such a healthy and wholesome meal.  I am always impressed by the large amount of fresh produce that accompanies the tofu on the plate.  The dressing is apple ginger.  I could taste coconut milk, which I love, in their scrambled tofu.  Another highlight was the vegan garlic bread. 

Being in a juice bar, I had a Morning Glory juice with this (lime, orange, carrot). 

Sejuiced is in Kitsilano and serves breakfast on weekdays until 11:00 and on weekends until 3:00.

Slickity Jim's Chat 'n' Chew

Slickity Jim's should win an award for coming up with the name, "We Don't Need No Eggs and Bacon".  I get Pink Floyd stuck in my head every time I read that.  They put a different spin on their scrambled tofu by seasoning it with ginger, cilantro, and sesame oil.  Their potatoes were also really good with dill and just the right amount of salt.  You do need to tell them you are vegan or else the toast will arrive buttered.

They are on Main near 19th and serve breakfast daily until 11:30 on weekdays and until 3:00 p.m. on weekends.

The Naam

The oldest vegetarian restaurant in Vancouver, the Naam, excels in their dinner menu, and actually I prefer going to the Naam for dinner.  I had the vegan banana pancakes and blueberry topping, but I found that it lacked the flavour and colour of their evening meals.  I'm also including a bonus picture of the scrambled tofu that my friend had, which I have also tried before and subsequently bought a loaf of their caraway bread.

The Naam is in Kitsilano and serves brunch until 11:30 on weekdays and 1:00 on weekends.

North Vancouver...

I eagerly await the day that someone in North Vancouver will start offering some similar options to some of the above.  If that day doesn't come soon, other than continuing to travel to Vancouver for brunch, I may just decide to do something about it myself!
 
 
I was intrigued by the idea of the baked goods in the Great Vegan Bean Book and purchased the book so that I could try some of the protein-rich sweets from the chapters on breakfast and dessert.

Weekend Vanilla Belgian Waffles


First up was the waffle recipe, which had a can of pureed white beans in the batter.  (I used cannellini.)  I was a bit surprised that I was able to produce a successful waffle which didn't taste like beans, just vanilla and cinnamon.  They are not especially sweet (only 1 tablespoon of sugar in the recipe) but I made up for that with some blackberry sauce and fresh fruit.  With 8 grams of protein per waffle, these are a cleaner option to some of the 1,000 calorie brunches I like to make.

Vanilla and rose water pudding


This pudding contains 1 cup of red lentils!  I was unsure if the peppery lentil flavour would come through, but it did not.  I also used a vanilla almond yogurt, but I still needed to double the amount of sweetener called for.  The pudding is actually intended to be used in a parfait, but I chose to leave the cookie crumbs out and have it with fruit.

Pecan chocolate chip chickpea cookies


With a can of chickpeas, these cookies contain no oil.  They remind me of chickpea-based cookie dough dip; I can just slightly taste the chickpeas, but I don't mind.  They are dense and cakey cookies, and I am inspired to try them as power cookies with the addition of some seeds and raisins.

All of these recipes seem healthy without added oil, and most recipes in the book have soy-free and gluten-free options as well.  I look forward to trying more of these innovative recipes including some of the savory ones.
 
 
Fairy Cakes was at the farmers market at Lonsdale Quay today.  I've previously visited the Fairy Cakes storefront on Fraser near 19th, so it was very much a luxury to have all of these vegan treats to chose from here in North Van!


Fairy Cakes has several different cupcake flavours, including gluten-free options.  In addition to what you see here, I am in love with their coffee-flavoured cupcakes.


We bought some chocolate chip rolls, which were very similar to a cinnamon bun but stuffed with chocolate chips!  We also split a chai roll flavoured with different spices.  These rolls are fabulous, especially the icing.


Sadly, there won't be any more dates at Lonsdale Quay, but keep an eye on the Facebook page for future appearances in Dundarave and other markets this summer.
 
 
To my knowledge, Pasparos Taverna was one of the first restaurants in North Van to label a menu item as vegan.  The vegan moussaka has been on the menu for years.

Pasparos is a charming Greek restaurant on West 3rd Street between Lonsdale and Chesterfield.


I had a really pleasant spot to sit, overlooking the atrium.


Here's a look at their creamy, garlicky hummus.  I was a bit unsure about the flatbread, but the server confirmed with the kitchen that it is vegan.


The vegan moussaka is made with layers of eggplant and zucchini, textured vegetable protein in tomato sauce with spices, and a rich bechamel sauce that is soymilk based.

As you can see, this was a pretty loaded plate.  I would have liked them to be a bit less shy with the olives, but then again, I once ordered a plate of nothing but olives for lunch.  It's a bit on the pricey side, though I did have a substantial amount of leftovers, and I was happy to sit, surrounded by plants, and enjoy a vegan version of a traditional Greek dish.