Archive for What I Ate

Vegetarian Tasting Plates

I would love to be able to say I know all the best veg place to eat in Vancouver, because I’ve eaten at all of them.

But I can’t guys. I just can’t.

You see, I’m just one girl, with one stomach, and we are quite blessed with an abundance of great vegetarian and vegan eateries in this city. On top of that, there’s new ones cropping up all the time.

Vegan Tacos La Cantina

It’s hard to keep on top of it all. I mean, sure, I can recommend the big ones; Heirloom, The Acorn, MeeT, etc. But I would like to be able to speak more intelligently about some of the smaller, lesser-known gems in the city.

So I was pretty stoked to get an invite to Richard Wolak’s (@vanfoodster) first Vegetarian Tasting Plates last week. I was equally as excited to discover I’d not been to any of the eateries on the list. Yeah. They were all new to me, although quite a few of them were ones that were on my list, but I hadn’t made it to yet.

It was a great opportunity to discover new favourites.

It’s worthwhile to note that at almost every place we went to, the options were overwhelmingly vegan. There were a few where cheese was an option, but you could keep it off, or choose a vegan cheese, and keep the dish vegan.

The Living Produce Aisle

Living Produce Aisle Microgreens

Yaletown isn’t really known for its plant-based options. The Living Produce Aisle is a really interesting business model that feels quite unique. They house many, many Urban Cultivators, some of which are growing microgreens for themselves, and some of which are producing for local restaurants. I’ve been a big fan of the Urban Cultivator since I discovered them a few years ago, and I wish I had enough kitchen space to own one. Here, you can get smoothies, juices, and grab some microgreens while you’re at it.

Firecrust Pizza

Firecrust Pizza

I used to work on Davie Street, so I was pretty familiar with the lunch offerings there, but since I no longer work in the neighbourhood, I get there shockingly little (especially seeing as I don’t actually live far from there). Firecrust was one of those places I’d driven past a million times and never gone into. They have a ton of vegan options. One of the things that’s most exciting about Firecrust is that they work with YamChops, so “meats” come from there. My Vegan BBQ Pizza was delicious, smoky, a bit spicy, a nice bite from the onions, and they make their own vegan mozza in house. I will be returning and bringing the kid.

Saj & Co

Saj and co

Right across the street from Firecrust is this weird hole-in-the-wall called Saj & Co. Malek Anouti, owner and chef, makes magic in a tiny little space that can hardly even be called a kitchen. The food here is Lebanese, and the joint is named after the saj, which is a domed oven on which Anouti cooks a flatbread to order. It’s kind of a reverse tandoor. When you order, he slaps one on the saj for you, so you get a fresh, hot flatbread with each order. Mezze plates include hummus, salad, and wraps/sandwiches, which are all super fresh, and tasty. I love how vegan-friendly Mediterranean food is. My favourite thing here was the squash hummus, which I will be attempting to recreate for my family’s thanksgiving dinner this weekend.

Davie Dosa

Davie Dosa

I was sad when Cafe Luxy closed. It was a favourite spot of mine for many years for delicious pasta. But then Sharv Ramachandran opened up Davie Dosa. If you’ve never had a dosa, it’s cool. I actually only just had dosa for the first time about a year ago, but I was immediately hooked. It’s a kind of pancake or crepe, made from fermented lentil flour, and then stuffed with vegetables. Maybe I didn’t do it justice with my description, but they are freaking delicious. Indian cuisine is another that loans itself so easily to being vegetarian and vegan, so there are tons of options for veg-heads here. One of my favourite things on the plate was medhu vada, a kind of savoury donut made with lentils. I know, it sounds weird, but just go with it. It’s delicious. The service, by the way, was really fantastic. I am looking forward to getting back again to try more on the menu.

La Cantina

La Cantina

Located just off of Granville in the heart of the Entertainment district, I imagine this Nacho Libre-themed cantina does a brisk business at 2 am. The place is frikkin’ adorable, with big murals and Mexican wrestling masks everywhere. The server spoke Spanish fluently, so that made me feel good, like I might be getting an authentic experience. There are 6 different vegetarian tacos to choose from, featuring meaty vegetables like jackfruit and portobellas, not just beans. The carrot tinga was spicy and good, and I also really enjoyed the more moderate smoky heat of the Poblano. It is such a fun location, it’s well worth a return visit.

Hooray! New veg options to love, Vancouver! Now get out there and support some local veg biz.


Rumpus Room 2.0: Nostalgia on Tap

When I was a kid growing up in Kits, we didn’t really have a rumpus room. We had a basement, yes, but my brothers lived down there. Our living room was where we hung out. Wood panelling?? For sure. Shag carpets: yup. Avocado appliances?? Ooooh yeah.

A few years back, when I still ate meat, I heard a rumour that a local eatery was serving up Chicken and Waffles. I sought them out on Main Street, and was delighted to discover every shade of goldenrod that decorated the interior of The Rumpus Room. There wasn’t really anywhere else in town (at the time) that you could get chicken and waffles, or where nostalgia was so blatantly celebrated. I was sad when they closed their doors.Brunch Rumpus Room

I was just as elated when they opened their doors again earlier this year in the old Foundation space on Main and 7th. Deep fried pickles for all!

Rachel Zottenberg, who also runs The Emerald, is the owner here. She’s a tattooed badass dynamo with a soft spot for comfort food, and the mission to make it accessible to everyone, even those with dietary restrictions.

Vegan, vegetarian and gluten-free options are all de rigueur on the menu, which celebrates the best of the past. Thankfully, there’s no green quivery jello salads in Tupperware ring molds with canned fruit salad and mini marshmallows trapped inside. Thanks for that less-than-stellar memory, mom. *shudder*

I recently brunched at The Rumpus Room, and of what’s on the brunch menu is available on the regular menu as well.

Root Beer Float

Root Beer float?? Yes, please! This one is non-alcoholic, but it’s worthwhile to mention that there are lots of boozy nostalgia options on the menu. They make their own infused vodka-infused gummy bears in-house. That’s right. You heard me. Vodka-infused gummy bears.

Ants on a Log Rumpus Room

Not your mom’s Ants on a Log: celery, peanut butter, chocolate chips, currants and thin slices of apple.

Deep Fried Pickles Rumpus Room

Deep-fried pickles and sesame fries. Guys, I really cannot put into words how tasty these two items are. The fries are done right; double-fried, and the pickle batter is so light and crunchy…. It’s the ultimate bar food.

Toasts Rumpus Room

Rachel says if anyone ever stays over at her house, she’ll likely offer them loaded toasts for breakfast. Here, you don’t have to choose between sweet or savoury. There’s avo toast with sprouts and a poached egg, but I was all about the peanut butter/ banana/ chocolate chip combo. If you want to kick your peanut butter up to the next level, order the Fat Elvis: a fried peanut butter, banana and bacon sandwich, topped with Frosted Flakes.

Grilled Cheese Toad in the Hole Rumpus Room

Another epic brunch sandwich: this one combines grilled cheese with a toad-in-the-hole. So, they make a grilled cheese on yummy sourdough, but then cut out the centre and cook an egg inside. This one is show with a side of chili, but there are 6 different sides you can choose from.

Beets the Kale Benny

Beets the Kale Benny: I get veggie bennies quite a lot, and they tend to often be the same. This one was refreshingly different. First off, it comes on waffles (from Damien’s in Steveston), not on an english muffin. These are herby cheddar chive waffles, topped with roasted balsamic beet rounds, sauteed kale, poached eggs, beet infused hollandaise and chevre. The beet-infused hollandaise is so pretty, and the beets are lovely with the chevre. 

Vegan Skillet

For the vegans! Hash browns topped with chilli, sautéed veggies and a tofu scramble garnished with green onions and black sesame. Hearty! 

What I love about this place is that it feels so communal. There are board games everywhere and barrels of monkeys (I got mine for my 6th Christmas) on every table. There are comfy chairs (okay, they’re a hideous shade of gold, but there ya go), and a chill atmosphere.

All in all, it adds up to a great place to hang with some friends, play some cards, have a drink or two, and a leisurely meal.

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