Saturday, June 30, 2012

Karmavore The Vegan Shop, New Westminster BC

Location: 610 Columbia St, New Westminster, BC V3M 1A8, Canada
From Vegan Gastrobot
Karmavore was a little bit out of the way in New Westminster, but it sounded amazing so we tried to fit it in. The only time we had was Sun morning so we had a very tasty sweet breakfast. First up was an ice cream sundae! They were out of chocolate, we had ordered the swirl, and so they gave us the vanilla with chocolate sauce for free. This was amazing! I love soft serve and wish we had this in Seattle. It was creamy and tasted just like normal soft serve to me.

From Vegan Gastrobot
Next was a plain croissant and a daiya croissant. The plain croissant was Raymond’s favorite, but it was missing something to me….I couldn’t quite figure out what was missing. It was flaky and light, and good, but something was off for me. The Daiya croissant was much better – still flaky and the cheese gave it a nice flavor. They were both flaky like croissants should be, but a little denser maybe? I don’t know. I did like the cheese one a lot.

From Vegan Gastrobot
Finally we had a cinnamon bun. This was so disappointing…it needed way more cinnamon. It didn’t really have much flavor which is surprising. I definitely would not get it again; it was dry and just not good.

Overall – I really liked the store/bakery set up. The soft serve was amazing so definitely get that! Also, the croissants were not bad. They also have cupcakes from Edible Flours which are amazing so they have lots of treats. Plus some shoes and other apparel and grocery items. Definitely worth a stop if you can manage it.

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Wild Rice, Vancouver BC

Location: 117 W Pender St, Vancouver, BC V6B 5N2, Canada
From Vegan Gastrobot
I was very excited to check out Wild Rice in Vancouver as the menu intrigued me. They list themselves as modern Chinese cuisine, and the menu had a few vegan options that looked like we would have a fancy dim sum supper. First up we tried the smoked tofu and shitake mushroom radish cakes. When these came out they looked just like triangles of fried tofu. On the plate were marinated mushrooms and onions. Raymond loved the marinated mushrooms, and though while they were tasty the texture I just cannot do. Mushrooms are disgusting. The radish cakes had a nice light smoky flavor and were very crispy on the outside and just really tasty.

From Vegan Gastrobot
Next up Truffle salt tofu and cauliflower puree with peas. The puree had coconut milk in it as there was a hint of coconut. The cauliflower added a nice hint of sweetness, the tofu was tasty, but didn’t have a lot of flavor. Wild Rice seems to use a lot of balsamic instead of soy sauce with adds a nice unique flavor to their dishes.

From Vegan Gastrobot
And finally the Yam & Rosemary Potstickers. These were really sweet, but you could not taste the rosemary at all. These were not at all what you expect from a potsticker - there are not any of the normal veggies in it and they are really sweet instead of savory. I really enjoyed them.

Overall – if you have time and a reservation (unless you show up later in the evening) stop in for a small bite. The items were tasty and different from your standard Chinese cuisine.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

The Foundation, Vancouver BC

Location: 2301 Main St, Vancouver, BC V5T 3C9, Canada
From Vegan Gastrobot
I remember years ago when I lived in Bellingham, WA and we would go up to Canada all the time I used to go to The Foundation quite a bit. I wasn’t vegan then and I didn’t really remember what food they had, but I put it on the list for old times’ sake (and because Raymond had never been). All of the reviewers seemed to rave about the nachos, but I couldn’t remember if this was an all vegan place. Unfortunately they do not have vegan nachos. Oh well. We ordered the vegan chocolate fondue served with bananas, pears and strawberries. There was a ton of chocolate and we didn’t even get close to earing it all with the fruit. The chocolate was super dark and rich and even if we would have had more things to dip into it I don’t think I could have eaten much more since it is was so rich, but very tasty.

From Vegan Gastrobot
We also tried the east van town – black beans, banana, cocoa, and lime sauce served over rice with salsa. This was so good! I thought it sounded kind of…not so appetizing with all of those flavors together, but it worked surprisingly well. The bananas went well with the black beans and cocoa, the salsa was fruity so it added some sweetness as well and paired well with everything else. Really tasty – I might have to try and recreate it at home.

Overall – if you are in the area I would stop in here. They have some unusual sounding flavor combinations that we found actually work. It does get really busy though in the evenings.

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Grub, Vancouver BC

Location: 4328 Main St, Vancouver, BC V5V, Canada
From Vegan Gastrobot
While looking through vegan options in Vancouver I came across Grub – they change the fresh menu often (maybe nightly?) and only have one vegan option on it. Normally that would be another eh – let’s skip it kind of place. I did however find a review that was so great it convinced me to give it a try. Their thought – yes there is only one vegan option for dinner, but it is the best vegan food ever! Okay I have to try this out. We came just as they opened and ordered the vegan entrée and dessert to share. The entrée that evening was White navy bean, artichoke and spinach filled cannelloni baked in rosemary cashew coconut cream, smokey vegetable and corn salsa, lemon arugula salad. Sure it sounded good. They brought it out and it looked amazing!! I tried the first bite…and the reviewer was right. This was some of the best food I have ever had. It was incredible! The only have one vegan option, but they do do it well. The filling was creamy and smooth, the veggies were nice and smoky (finally! Someone who can do smoked foods right!) the asparagus on top crisp, the sauce nice and creamy and…just everything paired so well together that it was incredible. I REALLY wish we would have been able to fit in another dinner here. If we go back this is a must stop on the list.

From Vegan Gastrobot
The dessert was chocolate and hazelnut layer cake with brulee bananas. This was a HUGE slice of cake. I was expecting a normal slice, but this would have been way too much for just me. The bananas on top were nice and caramelized and crunchy and really paired nicely with the cake and helped offset some of the dense richness and add a little sweetness. The hazelnut filling was almost like butter – dairy butter – which was odd but somehow it worked.

Overall – If you can definitely stop in at Grub. You will probably have to make reservations ahead of time as it gets busy, but it is well worth it. The one vegan option is amazing.

Friday, June 22, 2012

Sweet Cherubim, Vancouver BC

Location: 1105 Commercial Dr, Vancouver, BC V5L 2N1, Canada
From Vegan Gastrobot
I had wanted to check out the co-op and found a ton of organic and vegan places in the same area. I had looked up Sweet Cherubim, but decided against putting it on the list as we had already had too many places to go to and nothing shouted out to me as have to try. We wandered into the store though and then the restaurant just to spy since we were there and found a case full of vegan treats. They all looked amazing! We tried the Chocolate carrot cake cupcake which looked really good (and was a different flavor than plain chocolate or vanilla). This was…just not very good. I tried to eat it, but immediately spit out my first bite it was that bad. I couldn’t do it.

From Vegan Gastrobot
We also tried an oatmeal raisin cookie which I could eat, but it really wasn’t that good. It looked amazing, but I don’t know why it didn’t taste fantastic…we threw out most of it.

From Vegan Gastrobot
And last but not least we tried a chocolate shortbread bliss cookie. This was the only thing that I enjoyed that we ordered. It was like a shortbread cookie with some chocolate inside. Really crunchy and good.

Overall – I would not go to Sweet Cherubim. Most of the baked goods were disgusting, the lady was not at all happy or pleasant to us (we asked for the goods to go as we wanted to sit outside since it was sunny, and she just threw them in a bag with the cupcake upside down so the frosting was all smashed on one side and it was just very unnecessary). There are much better places to get food in Vancouver.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Fairy Cakes Cupcakes, Vancouver BC

Location: 3586 Fraser St, Vancouver, BC V5V 4C4, Canada
From Vegan Gastrobot
All vegan cupcake bakery? Yes please! We had to try out Fairy Cakes Cupcakes while we were in Vancouver. We tried the blueberry chocolate cupcake which was…not that good. The cake was dry, the frosting did not taste like blueberry….it just wasn’t good. We also had a chocolate chip cookie which was…alright but nothing special. I make better chocolate chip cookies at home.

From Vegan Gastrobot
And we tried a key lime cupcake as I love lime. This was citrusy, but the frosting was almost too sweet and the cake was way too oily. It was just not good. I was sooo disappointed as I would not go back here for baked goods. They just were not that good.

Overall – I would not recommend going here. The cupcakes were not very good, the cookie was just alright. I love supporting vegan places, but unfortunately this would not be a place I would stop by again, even if I were in the neighborhood and wanted a treat. The treats were just not good which makes me very sad.

Monday, June 18, 2012

The Wallflower, Vancouver BC

Location: 2420 Main St, Vancouver, BC V5T 3E2, Canada
From Vegan Gastrobot
The Wallflower was top on my list of places to try in Vancouver. It sounded like divey dinner food with lots of vegan options. We were there on a Sat around 11 and it was packed! We had to wait a while for a table, but that was fine since we were still kind of full from breakfast. I loved the atmosphere – this is another place that I would return to again and again (maybe for one of the shows they have in the evenings? Or just a few drinks and some vegan poutine). They had many vegan options clearly marked on the menu. We tried the Vegan Mac & Cheesey – this was incredible! Probably my favorite mac and cheese I have had. Not very oily, I don’t think they used a commercial mock cheese, super creamy and just yum! It was so creamy and cheesey that it reminded me of “real” mac and cheese. Highly recommended.

From Vegan Gastrobot

We also got the vegan breakfast poutine – veggie dogs, marinated tofu, daiya mozzarella, hashbrowns and gravy. This was also incredible!  There were big pieces of potato, the hot dogs tasted very much like real ones (or what I remember real ones tasting like) I think the gravy was a miso gravy and was amazing, there was not too much of the daiya cheese, and the crumbled tofu really pulled it all together. I would definitely get this again! Much better than the poutine we had in Toronto. So tasty and we were so full, but we ate every last bite.

From Vegan Gastrobot
The menu also lists vegan crème brulee which I had to try – I have never had a vegan version. While it did not have the caramelized sugar on the top to crack, I loved it! It was super light and creamy (I think it was a coconut milk base, but didn’t have a strong coconut flavor) with a super sweet sauce on top and was just amazing. The perfect end to a perfect meal.

Overall – I would highly recommend stopping by The Wallflower if you are in Vancouver. It was definitely one of my favorite places to eat in the city.

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Organic Lives, Vancouver BC

Location: 1829 Quebec St, Vancouver, BC V5T 1B1, Canada
From Vegan Gastrobot
After our failed attempt at breakfast at Café Deux Soleils we were still hungry so we ventured over to Organic Lives for a raw breakfast treat. First up was the cinnamon raison toast which is served with almond butter and blueberry jam (I mean here is the description from the menu: “If you miss the taste of toast and jam then this is just the right prescription for you. A bio-dynamically grown cinnamon that is pure in flavour and heart along with our Hunza Golden Raisins make this pleasure guilt-free. Fresh made jam from seasonal fruits and a dollop of almond butter will complete your craving.” Doesn’t that sound amazing? Well it does to me:) This was really delicious – super cinnamon-y which I loved, though it was really dry and hard for me to eat. It just dried my mouth out so much it was hard to chew and swallow, though the flavor was amazing. The jam was delicious, the almond butter was just so so to me – it did not have much flavor.

From Vegan Gastrobot
We also ordered the original pizza with no mushrooms. This was incredible! “Vegetable flatbread topped with our macadamia-pinoli cheese, mushrooms, red peppers, onions, olives, pineapple and drizzled with an heirloom tomato sauce and pesto” So good. The flatbread was light and crispy like a cracker, the cheese was creamy and delicious, the veggies crisp, the sauces complimented everything nicely. Exactly what I wanted in a raw pizza. Raymond commented on how I should make some of the vegetable crackers to take with us hiking – I should really try that out as they are amazing. This was served with a ceasar salad (“Herb-Infused Himalayan Pine Seed Dressing with Almond Croutons”). Raymond thought it tasted like blue cheese, I thought it just tasted like a creamy nutty dressing. He really loved the salad and I thought it was good, but not amazing.

From Vegan Gastrobot
We also order a dessert – You Had Me at Hello – a caramel cream tart. I thought it looked amazing, and it sounded amazing but…it was WAY too coconut-y for me. I really do not like coconut, but I will eat it if there is a light flavor, or like coconut milk in Thai curry and such. The only thing I could taste on this was coconut. Raymond really enjoyed it though so if you like coconut you could give it a try.

Overall – I would stop by here again and try out more of their foods. It took a while to get the food, but once we did it was delicious. This is how raw food should always be – tasty.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Cafe Deux Soleils, Vancouver BC

Location: 2096 Commercial Dr, Vancouver, BC V5N 4B2, Canada
From Vegan Gastrobot
There is something about Canada that they don’t wake up early there or they don’t like breakfast that I can’t figure out – in Toronto we had a hard time finding anything open before 11am which to me is lunchtime (early yes, but still lunch). I did find Cafe Deux Soleils listed as being open every day from 8am-midnight so I thought great! A breakfast place in Vancouver! And all vegetarian so they should have some good vegan options right? I mean I couldn’t find a menu, which usually makes me not go to the place, but everyone raved about their breakfast foods so it has to be good right? Boy was I wrong. We arrived around 9 and found that it was closed…so much for being open 8am-midnight every day! When they finally did open we ordered the only thing we were told that could be made vegan for breakfast – the tofu scramble (teriyaki tofu and veggies) with dry toast and potatoes. I am so glad that we only ordered one to share – it was sooooo salty! Like WAY too salty. Burn my mouth salty. The Teriyaki tofu…while the veggies were pretty good the tofu just sucked up all of the soy sauce and they used way too much of it so it was just a brick of salt. Might as well just pour the salt right into my mouth. It was not good and we were barely able to eat it. The potatoes were alright, the bread actually really good dry – the best part of the meal however I just looked up some reviews again and found that the marble rye which we were told was vegan might not be…..which makes me like this place even less than I already did. Maybe if you are vegetarian and eat eggs and cheese and such it is good, but if you are vegan I would stay away from here. They don’t have many options for vegans which is such a shame as it is an all vegetarian place…I always feel like vegans are vegetarians also so maybe you should have a few options for us as well? I don’t know. I really just had a very bad experience here and would not recommend going here (even if it is the only thing open around 9am).

Overall – Definitely DO NOT go here. The only breakfast item that is vegan is the tofu scramble which was like eating a pile of salt. Also they gave us potentially non-vegan bread with our food (based on reviews from others). If so then that alone would have been enough for me to never go back – I wouldn’t trust that I am actually getting vegan food.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Banditas Taqueria, Vancouver BC

Location: 2781 Commercial Dr, Vancouver, BC V5N, Canada
From Vegan Gastrobot
The last stop on our first evening of eating in Vancouver was Bandidas Taqueria. We were quite full by the time we got there, but wanted to try a few of the tacos. All could be made vegan by request. When we walked in I instantly loved it – this was the kind of place that if I lived here I would visit often. The atmosphere was comfortable, they are all trying to be as environmentally friendly as possible (they try to buy local organic items, reuse things, make you bring your own take out cup for coffee, etc) and the people were friendly, though the lady who greeted us was odd as she didn’t say anything just made odd gestures with her head. We recieved chipas and salsa as we were seated - I really liked the salsa, but could not eat very much of it sinc eI was so full already.

From Vegan Gastrobot
We tried 3 different tacos. First was the Ronny Russell which had roasted yams and onions, fresh guacamole, black beans, green salsa, purple cabbage and toasted pumpkin seeds (pictured bottom left). This had a light mellow flavor of yam and was good.

We also tried the Leona Gayle – smoky-sweet chipotle tofu with pinto beans, cheese, roasted red salsa, romaine lettuce and sour cream (pictured bottom right). I was very excited to try this one as I love smoky things – but like in DC the smoky tofu disappointed. I’m not sure why people cannot get the smoky tofu right – it is not that hard to make I do it all the time. This taco was alright it just didn’t have as much flavor as I thought based on what was in it. The salsa was very good however.

And lastly we tried Connie’s taco – walnuts ground, apple salsa, cheese and roasted red pepper sauce (pictured top). This was amazing! Definitely my favorite of the three..I could have eaten a few more of them. The walnuts lent a very delicious flavor to the taco and made it meaty, the roasted red pepper sauce was amazing, everything about it was so good. I would highly recommend this taco.

From Vegan Gastrobot
We also tried to get the small vegan chocolate cake but they were out so we got the two bite brownies instead. These were super dense and fudgy and good, but not what I was expecting for brownies.

Overall – I loved the atmosphere in here and if we had wanted drinks we could have hung out a long time. The tacos were overall pretty good, the chips and salsa was delicious, and I would definitely go back here again.

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Afghan Horsemen, Vancouver BC

Location: 1833 Anderson St, Vancouver, BC V6J 1J8, Canada
From Vegan Gastrobot
We arrived at Afghan Horsemen around 10pm so it was not that busy. They did have room in the area where you sit on the floor on cushions so we chose to sit in there. I loved the way it was decorated and you just relaxed while eating. There were 2 combination options – the vegan plate (which comes with baked rice with Kabuli topping (sautéed carrots, raisins & almonds), Dahl (lentil stew), cauliflower, Salata & Pakawra (batter fried potatoes), with a vegetarian sauce dip) or the vegan platter which came with all of that plus a plate of pita and hummus and is for 2 people. Since we were not that hungry we decided to share the vegan plate since it would be less food (it was still too much for us and we had some leftovers). The salata was like a cucumber salad I make with vinaigrette – mixed onions, tomatoes, cucumbers, mint flakes and cilantro dressing that was vinegary and delicious. The Pakwara was like a giant battered potato chip. The potato slices were incredibly thin and the batter was spiced nicely.  The cauliflower was cooked till it was falling apart and spiced very well – I couldn’t put my finger on what it tasted like but I loved it, especially with the red sauce that came with it. The Kabuli topping for the rice was carrots, raisons and almonds that were sweet with a hint of cinnamon and really quite good. Finally the dal was like a garlic paste. When I first tried it I couldn’t remember what it was supposed to be it just tasted like garlic and I thought maybe it was a topping for the other things. But it did grow on me until we had eaten the entire bowl of it.

Overall – Definitely check out Afghan Horsemen and get a vegan combination. All of the flavors were amazing and much different from other foods I have eaten.

Friday, June 8, 2012

Sushi Gallery, Vancouver BC

Location: 3770 W 10th Ave, Vancouver, BC V6R 2G7, Canada
From Vegan Gastrobot
I searched for vegan options in Vancouver BC and found Sushi Gallery with a vegan sushi menu. I didn’t know if we would be able to make it there as it closed at 9 so it would be close. Traffic was light and we were able to leave early so we made it just before they close and I am very glad we did. There was self serve tea and miso soup and they gave us a plate of edemame to start with.

From Vegan Gastrobot
We ordered the Vege Meat Teriyaki bento box with had tofu teriyaki, veg ggyoza, inari, tempura yam roll, and cold salad. The tofu teriyaki was tasty, but tasted more like gravy then teriyaki sauce. The veg gyoza I was not a fan of – they were pan fried flattened and the filling just wasn’t my favorite flavor. Maybe too much mushroom? The inari was delicious as always – sweet and tasty! I think that is my new favorite thing as it is so good. The tempura yam roll was supposed to be an avocado roll, but they were out of avocado so we got this instead. I really enjoyed the crunchy tempura coating and the soft rice combination and the yam gave it a nice flavor. The cold salad had a peanut sauce on and was alright. Really this was a lot more food than we thought it would be – the sushi roll itself would have been enough!

From Vegan Gastrobot
From Vegan Gastrobot
We also tried the Orchard roll (yellow bean sheet, banana, strawberry, kiwi with a peanut sauce. This was HUGE. We thought it would just be a normal sushi roll, but it was giant and so very delicious. I wanted to try it as I have never had fruit sushi and I am glad we did. It reminded me of a more delicious peanut butter and banana sandwich. So tasty. I would highly recommend this. The fruits were juicy and flavorful and it was just a wonderful combination of flavors.

Overall – I would recommend Sushi Gallery. Their vegan sushi rolls are amazing – especially the orchard roll.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Mirkwood & Shire Cafe - Arlington, WA

Location: 117 E Division St, Arlington, WA 98223, USA
From Vegan Gastrobot
We had a coupon from vegfest for Mirkwood & Shire Cafe in Arlington so we stopped on the way up to Vancouver to check it out. The space is multi-purpose – there is a small bar area, a stage for bands to play, a coffee counter and some tables and booths to eat at. The people working were very friendly and there were a lot of folks just hanging out inside and setting up for the show that night. This is a vegetarian restaurant, but almost everything can be made vegan with is nice. We ordered the chili burger with fries. The chili and the burger patty are house made which I like. The chili was pretty good – lots of veggies and beans though it didn’t come with much on the burger (though enough to make the sandwich messy). The burger patty didn’t have a lot of flavor by itself – just a black bean patty but paired with the chili it was tasty. The fries were just frozen reheated like you would get in the grocery store with a little bit of spicy seasoning salt.

From Vegan Gastrobot
We also tried the enchilada plate with house made green sauce. This was three corn tortillas filled with beans, soy taco meat, cheese and topped with enchilada sauce, salsa and sour cream. Served with tortilla chips. This was actually really tasty. The enchiladas tasted a lot like refried beans and the sauce was a little spicy but tasty. I like that a lot of the foods are house made instead of store bought, and then they add store bought things like the vegan cheese and such. This was all a lot of food and I would go back if I were in the area again.

Overall – Stop by and check out the Shire Cafe if you are in the Arlington area. The servers are friendly and the food tasty.

Monday, June 4, 2012

Lotus Vegetarian,

Location: 13872 Metrotech Dr, Chantilly, VA 20151, USA
From Vegan Gastrobot
After the super disappointing Sunflower restaurant I was a little iffy on trying Lotus Vegetarian. It was close to my friend’s house though and we needed a place to eat the last night of our visit so Lotus Vegetarian it was. We tried the radish cake and it was super good. It was a tad greasy, but in a good way. The flavor was light, but really good unlike some other ones we have had. The plumb sauce that was served with it complimented it well.

From Vegan Gastrobot
We tried the Curry Deluxe – Chunks of soy protein stewed with potato, zucchini, sugar peas, carrots, and cauliflower in a Japanese curry sauce. I love Japanese curry and this did not disappoint – the veggies were crisp, the sauce tasty, the mock meat were sliced and delicious.

From Vegan Gastrobot
We then tried the Vege Beef & Snow Peas – marinated soy beef sautéed with snow peas, carrots, jicama and lotus root in brown sauce. I don’t know that I have ever had lotus root before and it was quite good. This overall was really tasty – the beef was chewy like my favorite mock meats and all of the veggies were crisp.

Overall – if you are in the area and need someplace to eat definitely check out Lotus Vegetarian. It is in a strip mall, but the food is really tasty.

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Founding Farmers, Washinton DC

Location: 1924 Pennsylvania Ave NW, Washington, DC 20431, USA
From Vegan Gastrobot
I remember seeing that Founding Farmers
had a vegan menu that looked tasty so we stopped by for a late lunch on a Sunday afternoon. Not much was open in the area and it was packed. Luckily it was nice outside and I just wanted to sit and visit with a friend so we decided to sit outside and wait for a table. I am so glad we did! The food was amazing. First up we had the vegan patty melt – a gardein burger patty, caramelized onions, vegan cheddar, and homemade agave mustard on toasted rye bread. We chose asparagus as the side as well…asparagus is tasty! The sandwich was incredible! We had a patty melt the weekend prior at a place in Seattle and it was nowhere near as good as this one.  The bread was delicious and toasted perfect, the onions and mustard lent a nice flavor, the cheese was not overpowering, the burger was juicy and delicious. The asparagus was also amazing - sweet and tender and still crisp. It was cooked with a little olive oil with salt & pepper seasoning it and it was really really great.

We also tried the Chocolate Stout Farmhouse Waffle – cocoa waffle made with Sam Smith Oatmeal Stout topped with fresh banana slices and homemade vegan caramel sauce. The waffle by itself was not very sweet which was good. It paired nicely with the banana and the caramel sauce so they were not overpowering either – they all worked well together. The banana and caramel added the sweetness (the caramel by itself was incredibly sweet, but there wasn’t much of it so you just got a little bit sweet), the waffle mellowed it out…it was amazing.
Overall – Even if there is an hour and a half wait I would eat here again. The food seemed simple, but they did an amazing job of making the simple items better than any I have had before, like the side of asparagus. My non-vegan friend who ate with us was complaining about how long we were waiting, but even he thought it was worth it. Definitely go here if you can.