Tag Archive for earls

Vegan Wings in Vancouver

I don’t really miss meat. And if you look around, meat substitutes have come a long, long way! The Beyond Burger took Canada by storm last year, and it’s been a really exciting development in the vegan/vegetarian space, though I, personally, am not a huge fan. They are so much like meat! Too much so for me. 

But there are a few things I sometimes still get cravings for that are hard to find good substitutes for. Bacon, for example (I pick up MorningStar whenever I’m south of the border), chicken and waffles (I had an okay vegan version last year in Toronto) and chicken wings. 

Vegan Wings in Vancouver

There’s something about a plateful of spicy wings with a creamy dressing and a beer… it’s feel good food, and meant to be shared with a friend. 

So, I set out to research who had the best vegan wings in Vancouver. 

The good news is, lots of restaurants are hopping on this particular bandwagon, even chains. 

I should just say that the vegan wing trade is divided into two camps: Cauliflower and Soy. Cauliflower makes a perfect substitute for chicken wings. It’s exactly the right size and shape, and is still hearty and strong enough to stand up to a good beer-battering and deep-fry. The other alternative (I’ve tried these and prefer the cauliflower) is a soy version, wrapped around a wooden stick. You can buy these frozen from Happy Veggie World, and they look much more “authentic” than the cauliflower version. 

Okay, let’s go! 

Vegan Wings in Vancouver

MeeT 

Vegan Wings Meet on Main

My number one pick for vegan wings in Vancouver is MeeT. They have two locations, Main St and Gastown, and this is a winning combination. They start with cauliflower, beer-batter it, deep fry it, and then serve it to you on a plate doused in thai chili sauce. I could eat this for days. 

What’s Up Hot Dog? 

Vegan Wings Whats Up Hotdog

This little hole-in-the-wall in East Van hosts a weekly vegan wing night on Mondays. Get there early, there’s a lineup and for good reason. A basket of vegan wings is just $5, and there are 10 varieties to choose from; from plain to sweet to set-your-mouth-on-fire to Asian-inspired. It’s the best deal in town, and it’s also the best variety, but i do notice that the quality of the wings can vary. 

3G Vegetarian & Panz Veggie

I have long loved Panz since it was located in the West End, but it’s now relocated to Frasier St. I was always so impressed by how yummy the food was and how meat-like they were able to get some of the textures. Both 3G and Panz serve the soy version of the vegan wings, so hit them up if you want to try this option. 

Earl’s

Vegan Wings Earls

Earl’s is a pretty big, mid-priced chain, and they are really making an effort to include more plant-based meals on their menu. To me, this makes sense. It’s a popular and easy destination for groups of friends, so by including vegan options, they make themselves more open. Their cauliflower wings were tasty, sauced very reminiscent of a traditional buffalo wing. 

Rolling Cashew

Vegan Wings Rolling Cashew

This food truck (you can mostly find it near the new Emily Carr/MEC campus just off Main St) is run by Chef Thibault, and everything on his truck is at least vegetarian, if not vegan. This is a sweeter vegan wing, cauliflower-based. They also host beer and wing nights on Wednesdays at the food truck commissary in the Industrial park just off Main St. 

The Black Lodge

This Twin-Peaks themed bar on Broadway just off Main is warm and charming. I’ve been for drinks and quite enjoyed it, but I haven’t yet been back for their seitan drumsticks. 

The Emerald

I’ve long been a fan of Rachel Zottenberg. This tattooed badass is behind a few of my fave eateries in the city, all of which have yummy vegan options. The Rumpus Room, The Narrow, and newly-opened Key Party are all great examples of places that make eating fun and communal. The Emerald has two cauliflower-based wing options on their happy hour menu: a spicy szechuan, cooled by an accompanying blue cheese dip, and an Asian-inspired version with a peanut sauce (sauces may not be vegan–be sure to ask). 

Bonus: The Stranger Wings Pizza from Virtuous Pie. Okay, okay, it’s not vegan wings per se… but it is, hands down, my favourite pie in the city. It’s basically vegan wings on a pie, with a blue cheese drizzle, on top of a supremely perfect pizza crust. If you haven’t tried this pizza yet, get the to a Virtious Pie! 

What have I missed? What’s your favourite place for vegan wings in the city? Comment below and let me know! 

 

Earls Fall Menu

A couple months back, I had a truly dream-come-true experience.

I’m a huge fan of Top Chef. I’ve seen every episode of every American and Canadian Top Chef, and I’ve watched a bunch of the spinoffs, too (the Canadian version, sadly, has been cancelled, but Top Chef Chicago started last night). I’ve had the opportunity to interview and eat the food of former contestants like Trevor Bird, Curtis Luk, and S3 winner, Matthew Stowe.

The Women of Top Chef Canada

But in August, I got to attend a fundraiser put on by Les Dames d’Escoffier, and it was hosted at Earl’s Yaletown location, in The Loft. The food that night was prepared by the women of the last season of Top Chef: Dawn Doucette, Lauren Marshall, Karin Moulin, Gabriela Neda, and Shelley Robinson. The food was wonderful, but was was more amazing was getting to chat with these awesome women chefs.

Two of the gals are locals–Shelley is the Executive Chef for Coast Hotels, and Dawn is the Product Development Chef for Earls.

Earls Chef Dawn Doucette

Last week, I got invited back to the scene of the crime, along with some of Vancouver’s Food Bloggerati, to preview Earls Fall Menu.

First off, let’s start with cocktails. There were three, including a twist on a Moscow Mule, called Cabin Fever (garnished with a pine cone! Adorbs!), the Bee’s Knees, served in a bear-shaped glass (this one went down very easy) and Clover Club #4, which comes with a stencilled message of fabulousness.

Earls Salmon Salad

The starter was a Salmon Salad: twice-glazed with a Szechuan lime glaze, alongside a slaw made with soba noodles, zucchini, carrots, and red pearl onions, dressed with a tamarind-sesame dressing. It came nestled in a swirl of cilantro-yogurt sauce. I was most impressed with how juicy and perfectly cooked the salmon was. It’s tough to serve 45 perfectly-cooked portions at once.

Earls Spatchcock Chicken

Next up: Spatchcock Chicken. This was my favourite (other than dessert, natch!) course of the night. It included what was, again, an incredibly juicy half chicken, with a bit of a spicy glaze. It also came paired with a slaw. I was less crazy about the miso sauce–it was a little intense all on its own.

There was another meat course, as well, served family-style: steak with asparagus, salad and truffled fries. Fantastic in its simplicity, and I could have eaten the fries all night.

Earls Burger

We also got a preview of two new burgers on the menu. The first was a two-handed, hard-core, meat-lover’s dream, with two patties, mushroom jam, bacon, and then draped in layers of Earl’s own, house-made, smoked beer cheddar. There’s something for vegheads, though, as well: a Mediterranean falafel burger, garnished with baba ganoush, homemade hummus, and feta.

Earls Chocolate Bar

Finally, the crowning glory: dessert. This was simply called a Hazlenut Chocolate bar, but oh, glory be–it was so much more. I was super full by this point, but yet I still managed to eat the entire thing. The Hazlenut Bar was a thin slice of a rich chocolate ganache, but it had a crispy, light crust, which added a welcome and fantastic textural element. It sat on a pool of caramel sauce, and alongside was a scoop of vanilla bean ice cream. My favourite part of the dish, however, were the dehydrated mandarins. I’ve never had anything like them before–packing the sweet citrus punch of an orange, but with the crispy texture of a chip.

Photo of Ariane Colenbrander & I by Cathy Browne, Horsing around with Don Genova

Photo of Ariane Colenbrander & I by Cathy Browne, Horsing around with Don Genova

Earls is a locally-owned joint who are doing their utmost to source local ingredients, and to create simple, delicious comfort food that makes you feel good. And their fall menu did just that.