Tag Archive for virtuous pie

Mila Plant Based

I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: I’m grateful to live in a city that is bursting with an abundance of plant-based restaurants (click to see my favourite vegan dishes in the city).

Not just restaurants in a traditional vegan way. Don’t get me wrong, I love the Naam. But increasingly over the last few years, the vegan options in Vancouver are getting more diverse. We have high-end options now, like The Acorn, as well as myriad of comfort-food type places like Meet, The Arbor and Chickpea. And pizza! We have the best vegan pizza in Virtuous Pie.

Well! Good news, my plant-loving friends, because there is a new kid in town, and it’s great.

Mila Plant Based just opened at the end of September in the old Juniper space. They’ve kept the basic design and layout of the original restaurant, including that incredible bar. And they make good use of the bar with their fantastic cocktail list.

Owned by the same folks at Virtuous Pie, and helmed by Chef Jim Vesal, Mila takes a global approach to the menu, which I think is something unique in the city. Like, we have vegan comfort food, vegan pizza, vegan Asian. But the menu at Mila is from everywhere. There’s sushi and baos and pasta and burgers and sandwiches, which at first I think I found a bit confusing, but after eating the food, I didn’t really care anymore. A chunk of the menu does focus on Asian cuisine, a nod to the neighbourhood in which we find ourselves.

For me, the greatest compliment anyone can give my food is to say “I didn’t know that was vegan,” or “that doesn’t taste vegan.” I know, it’s kind of backwards, I admit, but my goal is always just to cook really good food, first and foremost, that happens to be vegan or vegetarian.

Mila Smoky Sour

Smoky Mila Sour

Every dish at Mila was like that. Vegan, all of it, but not so’s you’d know. Just delicious, well-made food that happens to be plant-based.

Mila Clover Club

Clover Club

We started, as you should, with cocktails. They have a beautiful bar and a great cocktail program. Instead of egg whites, they use a vegan foamer, and it makes for the prettiest drinks. There’s a wide variety of options here, traditional favourites like caesars and margaritas, but with a twist. For me, I couldn’t resist the Smoky Mila Sour, a combo of bourbon (I’m a sucker for anything bourbon), a smoky oolong tea syrup and a float of Ardbeg. A lighter and brighter option is the gin-based Clover Club, a lovely shade of pink, from the raspberry syrup. It’s also notable to mention they have an impressive line of whiskeys here.

When it comes to starters, there’s everything here from soups to salads to toasts to sushi.

Vegan Baos Mila

Tempeh Bao

We tried the tempeh baos. Pillowy soft rice baos enrobe a hoisin-glazed tempeh, and are garnished with house-pickled cucumber and onion, and topped with cilantro and crispy shallots for a textural component.

Vegan Aburi Sushi Mila

Aburi “Carrot Lox” Sushi

Probably my favourite dish of the day was the aburi sushi. Rice is covered with a carrot “lox,” and then topped with a creamy vegan mayo and torched. It is the perfect bite.

Mains include English “Fish” and Chips, Mexican tacos, an Italian pasta dish and a good ol’ fashioned burger (made with local TMRW Foods patties–my favourite of all the “fake meat” burgers out there).

Mushroom Tagliatelle Mila

Mushroom and Sausage Tagliatelle

We had the Fish & Chips and the Mushroom and Sausage Tagliatelle. The pasta was bonkers good. Homemade pasta with Beyond Meat sausage crumbles and rich, meaty mushrooms in a creamy cashew sauce–again–the kind of dish you’d expect to be loaded with butter, cream, eggs and cheese, and yet has none of those ingredients. It was immensely comforting and one of the best things on the menu.

Fish and Chips Mila

“Fish” & Chips

I was super curious about the fish. Turns out it’s made with a tempura-battered celeriac root. It’s pretty amazing, texturally, when you bite into it, how much it really looks like fish. It lacks the flakiness of fish, but it’s a pretty tasty substitution. The dish came with smashed, fried potatoes, a fabulous mango slaw, and of course, a vegan tartar sauce.

Apple Tart Mila

Apple Tart

Dessert for us was the month’s feature, an apple tart (also gluten free in this case) with a vanilla pastry cream and candied walnuts.

First off, I have to say, it’s incredibly wonderful to be able to walk into a restaurant and not have to ask any questions about how the food is cooked. I was safe to order anything off the menu with zero trepidation. That is such a good feeling.

Secondly, this is the place to bring your omni friends. They won’t feel weird about any of the food. It’s all incredibly recognizable, beautifully presented, and delicious. There is no lack here. There is no “doing without” or “going without.” There’s no sacrifice in eating here. Just really good food that happens to be plant-based.

I highly recommend you check out Mila Plant Based.

Mila Plant Based

185 Keefer St (in Chinatown)

Open every day for dine-in (with safety protocols), take out or delivery from 11:30 am to 2 pm and from 5 pm to 10 pm daily.

 

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! 

 

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