Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Restaurant Review: The Reef

I love The Reef. I don't get over to them often enough but when I do, its always an awesome experience. I went last week with my cousin Josh. He's a big foodie as well, and loves trying all the cool spots I know. Lol Then he takes his girlfriend. :) You're Welcome.

Josh has never had Caribbean food before so I figured The Reef would be a great spot for him to check out before we venture out to all the other places I want him to try. I recommend the Jerk dish as that's the most famous Caribbean dish and its pretty much da bomb. I obvs get the Jerk Tofu, but Josh got the Jerk Pork Tenderloin. Being the big pigs that we are we got a couple of appies too. I wanted him to try as many items on the menu as possible. 

Plantain Chips
Plantain's are like banana's. There isn't much difference between the 2 fruits botanically except for the way they are consumed. Plantain's are used for cooking and are not as sweet as banana's. Plantain chips are pretty freaking yummy!!!

Chana Salad
This Chana salad is warm and done with a garam masala with a side of greens and roti. Its really tasty and they def don't skip on the chickpeas!!! :)

Jerk Pork Tenderloin
Not sure how this tasted but the Jerk sauce is amazing. Josh devoured it and was kinda sad when it was over. lol The meat looked pretty tender and juicy and there was the right amount of sauce. He seemed pretty satisfied with his dead carcass. Sorry vegans/vegetarians. LOL

The Jerk Bun
I've had the Jerk Tofu before which comes like my cousins meal with rice and coleslaw but saw this little gem. Its the jerk tofu in a bun with the coleslaw in it too!!! BOOM! lol It was so good! You have the option of getting a side salad or plantain chips. 

Another awesome experience at The Reef. If you haven't visited them you should. They have a pretty impressive selection of rum. And good drink specials. :) They have a location on Main Street (the one I go to), Commercial Drive and in downtown Victoria.

The Reef on Urbanspoon




Monday, July 23, 2012

Restaurant Review: Wild Rice

With every season change comes a menu change at Wild Rice. I'd have to say that this is my fave restaurant in Vancouver. The menu is not fully vegan but they have many dishes that are. They use local, sustainable and seasonal ingredients to create a fresh, inventive and visually pleasing menu to satisfy any palate.

I've been coming here since its opening in 2001. Since the menu changes every season, it never gets dull or boring. I've gone from a meat eater to a vegan and still been able to dine here. I love that! They keep the long time favorites on the menu such as the Kung Po and the Chinatown Sweep. Both of which can be done vegan. But then they transform the rest of the menu utilizing seasonal ingredients. I almost always get the Kung Po with the smoked tofu, but I wanted to try as many of the new dishes as possible. They did not disappoint!

Veggie Spring Rolls
 Delish, fresh and jam packed.

Grilled King Oyster Mushrooms
 Also served with polenta fries and a cashew ricotta. Which was to DIE for!!! Cashew ricotta is da bomb!! YUMMERS. This dish was my fave. I LOVE mushrooms and oyster mushrooms are so dericious.

Mapo Daofu
A deconstructed mapo daofu. At first we had no idea what to do. Andrew, the owner, just watched us looking at the dish. Asking each other how we think we should tackle it. Mix it all together or not. LOL We chose not. And just dished it out on our plates. It was very yummy. I'm not a fan of eggplant at all and neither is my friend Jimmy, but we both thoroughly enjoyed this dish. If was full of flavour and the presentation is obviously creative and eye pleasing.

Potato and Caramelized Onion Potstickers
Sorry!!! Bad lighting!! Not a good shot, but let me assure you they are not burnt. Just sauced up. I REALLY liked these. Anything with caramelized onions is A-OK in my books. Caramelizing really brings out the flavour of onions. Super tasty and a nice sorta perogy type spin on a potsticker.

SOOOO as you can tell, I really liked the menu change. I thought all the items we tried were pretty freaking phe-nom. We actually tried all the new vegan dishes. All that's left for me to try are the sides and one of the desserts. LOL  Can't wait for the fall season and see what Andrew and Chef Todd conjure up to please this palate. :)

Wild Rice on Urbanspoon




Friday, July 20, 2012

Edamame Tacones

A few weeks ago I went over to Victoria and tried Red Fish Blue Fish's Edamame Tacones. OMG so yummy!!! They are quite a far trek, a ferry ride away so I had to try to recreate them at home to get my fix. The filling is mushy edamame which is a spin on mushy peas. Mushy peas are en English dish of just mashed peas, usually with olive oil and salt and pepper. The ones at RFBF quite possibly had mayo (oops) but after looking around online, I don't see any indication of it. 

Edamame Tacones
Mushy edamame
Shredded purple cabbage
Sui choy
Green onions
Corn tortillas or Nori Sheets

Put 1-2 tsps of mushy edamame and the rest of the fillings and sauces into a corn tortilla or nori sheet, wrap and enjoy!

Mushy Edamame
2 cups cooked edamame
1 tsp grape seed oil
1/4 tsp sea salt
1 tsp chili flakes
1 tsp garlic powder
1/4 cup water

Put all ingredients into a food processor and pulse until mixed thoroughly. Edamame doesn't have to be completely mashed but its better when its not too chunky.  

PS obvs I used vegan mayo in this instance. :)

I wrapped the nori ones like cones, but the corn tortillas I got were too small. Or maybe I just put too much filling. LOL that's probs it, I'm greedy like that. I think some fresh basil or cilantro would be good and some pea shoots. Well there's a lot you could do with these little suckers. YUMMY!! That's all I gotta say. The creamy coconut dressing I make goes like amazing with it. Who knew that dressing was going to be so versatile. I can't wait to make it again!





Monday, July 16, 2012

Restaurant Review: Tera V Burger

Veggie burgers can really be hit or miss. I've had some pretty boring ones, more than I care to talk about. They're usually really dry because I say no mayo. Apparently no mayo means no sauce. No ketchup, no mustard, no BBQ sauce, nada. It really bothers me. Just because I don't eat meat doesn't mean I don't like tasty food. Jerks. ;)

You all know by now of my love....make that obsession with Loving Hut Express burgers. They are to die for. I heard about this Tera V Burger place and peeps say its good. Its not all vegan, but most can be made vegan. They want to make vegetarian meals more mainstream. They don't want to cater to just vegetarians/vegans but to meat eaters too. Just eating one day or even just one vegetarian meal a day can make a big impact on your health and the environment (if that's what you're into ;) ). 

So my friend Sean and I made the trip over to 2961 West Broadway to check these burgers out. And kinda do a comparison to our first love...The Loving Hut Express.

V for Vegetarian! lol Sean is by no means vegetarian or vegan. He just loves good, saucy food. Such a supportive friend :). Anyhoo, we both got a different burger and they offered to cut it in half so we could share. 

Fiesta and BBQ burger

Close up!
We both got the tempeh burgers. I never liked tempeh before but have been dabbling in it more and more. I'm digging it a lot actually. It was Sean's first time. We both enjoyed the burgers. And agreed that the BBQ one was the best. But I was a little disappointed that the cheese wasn't melted. You can't have a cheeseburger with unmelted cheese. Its just wrong and seriously unpleasant.

Other than that, I liked them. Saucy, tasty, good quality. The yam fries were awesome actually. And the combo we got was super filling. Came with your choice of drink, we got Boylen sodas. I hope they take care of the unmelted cheese situ cuz that's unfortunate. I read the Georgia Straight review and Stephen Hui said the same thing. They do use daiya which is awesome, but its best melted.

BUT nothing can compete with Loving Hut Express. They are still number 1....by a long shot. But this place would be my number 2 for veggie burgers in Vancouver. Anyone know of any other spots for a good veggie burger?

Tera V Burger on Urbanspoon




Friday, July 13, 2012

Restaurant Review: The Juice Truck

I have been dying to get down to Gastown and check out The Juice Truck for a while now but more so when I found out they had a smoothie called 'The Special'. It's got coconut water, coconut meat, coconut milk, vanilla, agave and lime. OMG. My coconut wet dream. *drool

 They are located at the corner of Abbott and Water Street in a red truck.  But on the weekends they could be in Kits or Gastown so follow them on Facebook or Twitter for up-to-date news. The service is super friendly and sometimes they give you samples. :) I got a sample of the Avocado Pineapple. Wow. I always forget how good avocado is in smoothies. I should stop that. 

The menu!

The Special
It sure is special!!! I had to actively stop myself from downing it in 2 minutes flat. It was SO yummy. The coconut water is obviously super hydrating and the coconut meat adds some texture. I also love that its not sweetened with white sugar. Its all quality here.

The Green
I went back a 2nd time and tried a Cold Pressed Juice. I got The Green which is cucumber pressed with kale, parsley, celery and lime. You can sub half the greens for green apple, but I didn't. Straight up. It was yummy! I thought it was going to be a lot more 'green' tasting but the lime seasoned it up quite nicely. It was a welcome surprise. I wanted something uber healthy and detoxifying which it def was but the lime added that little extra to make it amazing.

I'm pretty sure I'm going back today, so check my facebook or twitter, cuz I'm sure I'll be sharing that pic! I might get The Blueberry Matcha or The Hybrid or maybe The Special again. I just love it so much. Check them out if you're in the area!

The Juice Truck on Urbanspoon




Thursday, July 12, 2012

Picnic in the Park: vegan, gluten free salads

Every Tuesday for the rest of the summer there will be outdoor movies playing at Stanley Park. I LOVE to go watch these. The actual movie doesn't necessarily matter, its just the experience that I like. Its outdoor, different from the usual ways we watch movies and if you're on a date then its kinda romantical.

I whipped up a few salads to take down with us. I love having a picnic. I think its cute. :) It can get pretty chilly at night so bring extra blankets, a sweater, snacks and bevvies. 

Asian Sweet Potato Salad
1 large sweet potato, peeled, chopped, boiled
1.5 cups cooked edamame
1.5 cups corn
Handful Thai basil
1 cup creamy coconut dressing
salt and pepper to taste

Combine all ingredients in a big bowl and serve.
Creamy Coconut Dressing
1 small can low fat coconut milk (160ml, Organic)
6 tbsp stone ground mustard (Organic)
1 tsp Sriracha
1 tsp tahini (raw, Organic)
3 tbsp organic shredded coconut
Put all ingredients into a food processor and pulse until well combined. Season to taste.

I made this dressing before, which you can find here. This time I added some organic shredded coconut. That's the only difference.

SO yummy!!! 

I also put together a quinoa salad. There is no recipe for it. Just quinoa, sprouted mixed beans, carrot, celery, a little grape seed oil, sesame oil, splash of soy sauce, garlic powder, chili powder, chili flakes, 1 lemon juiced and some apple cider vinegar. I think that's it. And no idea on quantities. I was just throwing stuff in and tasting. Seeing how it all worked. It turned out yummy even though there is quite the mix of seasonings in there. 

Then I made my Avocado Kale salad. Which you can get the recipe here. The only difference is the fixings. I didn't use carrots, celery or mustard cuz they are in the other ones. All the rest is the same, which a few handfuls of grape tomatoes. I like making this one cuz you get to massage the kale. Its fun making food with your hands like that. I washed of course. 

Oh yah, I put a container of broccoli sprouts in it too. 

 There is also some hummus and rice crackers. 

My plate! Super nutritious and satisfying dinner. Lots of protein and fats to keep you full.

Lots of boys to snuggle with. ;)

This week was Zoolander. Which I haven't seen in years. So funny! Next week is Spaceballs. I'm pretty sure I've seen it but totally don't remember. Should be fun!

Check out the link for the movies here. Its a great time.




Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Vegan in Kelowna: restaurant review Lake Tai

This past weekend one of my girlfriends got married in Kelowna, so Kevin and I rented a car and went on a little road trip. The drive sure was beautiful and hot. :) Of course you already knew this, I posted my travel snacks and salad recipe already, but what you didn't get to see is the yummy vegan Chinese restaurant I found. Its called Lake Tai and is Taiwanese food. All vegan. 

 You can find it at 1958 Kiirschner Road. Its kinda off the beaten path, but many veggie restaurants are.

Pickled Cabbage
 She started us off with a little pickled cabbage appy. Light and yummy. No tricks here.

Beef and Broccoli
Essentially it was beef and broccoli. Can't remember what the menu called it. It came all in a bowl and then she dumped it into that scorching hot plate and it cooked a little further. Was pretty exciting. lol This was my fave dish. The beef looked so real and broccoli is my fave. The sauce was SO tasty. Rich and full of sensations. :)

Vermicelli noodles with veggies
Light tasting, nothing too strong. Went well with the broccoli dish. Yummy. I haven't had vermicelli noodles in a while so I was stoked.
Pan fried dumplings
I liked how these weren't closed on the ends. They didn't even spill out. Which would lead you to think there wasn't a lot of filling, but you would be wrong.

 A close up of the "beef". Looks pretty real hey?

Sorta like a cream puff but pineapple flavour and no actual cream. It was vegan and delish. It was still warm. Mmmmm
Enjoying every last bite. 

So if you're from Kelowna, passing through, or hanging out, go find Lake Tai and eat your face off. Vegan or not you will leave satisfied. Its just good food.

Lake Tai Restaurant on Urbanspoon



Friday, July 6, 2012

Mexican Quinoa Salad

I'm in sunny, hot Kelowna right now and of course I needed to get together some snacks for the road. Kevin and I hit the road around 2pm on Friday afternoon, luggage in the trunk and snacks in the back seat. Being so organized and vegan, I'm always prepared for a trip or outing of any kind. I look up places to eat, check out local stores and bring snacks. Invite a vegan on your road trip and I assure you won't be disappointed or hungry. lol

I showed this picture yesterday but here it is again. There's carrots, hummus, strawberries, grapefruit, almonds, clif bars and a Mexican quinoa salad. For which I will give you the recipe for. Other than the black beans and lime, I just used whatever I had in the fridge. I don't have a lot of veggies left cuz I've been going away so much (3rd wknd in a row) so I just wanted to use what's left. 

Mexican Quinoa Salad
1 cup quinoa, cooked according to package
1 can black beans, small
1 cup corn
1-2 carrots, diced bite size
3 celery, chopped bite size
1 lime, juiced
1 tsp chili powder
1/2 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp sea salt

Combine all ingredients and enjoy!!! Season to taste. Add some chili flakes and cilantro if you like. Cilantro would be amazing in this dish. 

Yummy! It was nice and light. The dressing was really fresh. Cilantro would be perfect but I didn't have any and am away so yah know. 

Hope you all have an awesome weekend! Mine has started off amazing. The drive was gorgeous. I think I got some sun on the drive and went to a great vegan Chinese restaurant in town. 




Thursday, July 5, 2012

Restaurant Review: Roaming Dragon Food Truck

After seeing a friends picture of one of the veggie wraps at Roaming Dragon it was imperative that I visit them and fast. lol And boy was it delish!!! Roaming Dragon is a Pan Asian food truck that serves some seriously yummy and creative dishes. They opened their "doors" in June 2010 and have already been featured on Eat Street!

I ordered 2 dishes cuz well, that's what I do, I eat. A lot. It was WAY too much food but I wanted to try more dishes and 2 is all I can handle without having to waste lots. And that is just wrong, sacrilege.  Good thing one was a salad. :)

Roaming Dragon 'chop' Salad
"Suichoy & Purple cabbage, Thai basil, mint, goji berries, coconut & pineapple, peanuts, pickled green mango, tossed with garlic-cilantro vinaigrette." This was a nice, fresh tasting salad. Duh, all salad should taste fresh. Lol But I mean that it's not bogged down by a really overpowering dressing. The dressing is light but flavourful. It is coated just the right enough that you taste it and it enhances the natural flavours of the veggies themselves. It also has peanuts, YUM. I also liked the basil leaves. I usually never eat them because they are so strong and overpowering, but I just felt like the basil went so well with the salad that I gobbled it up. Perfection. Plus fresh basil is super good for you. As are all fresh herbs.

Malaysian Lime-Chili Tofu Grilled Burrito
"Asian harvest slaw, peanut sauce, pickled purple cabbage & red onion, carrots & shitake mushroom, sweet soy, rolled in a flour tortilla." This was SOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO good! Omg. The sauce, holy smokes. I REALLY enjoyed it. I didn't waste one drop of it. lol The sauce doesn't sound like anything special, "sweet soy" just sounds like a sweet soy sauce, but don't let that fool you kids, this sauce is super yummy. And peanut sauce. There are so many flavours in this Asian burrito that I just couldn't handle it. 


Run to Burrard and Robson and hit up the Roaming Dragon food truck. I'm sure the non-veggie dishes are just as amazing. I know you can add tuna to the salad, but obvs I did not. And I'm pretty sure they have a new veggie wrap, but I didn't see it on the menu. I just heard via FB.....

I'm off to Kelowna for the weekend. My friend is getting married. Its gonna be fun! And super hot. Which is awesome of course, but I'm kinda sad I'm leaving Vancouver when its so nice out. We get so few of these days.  I have of course checked out some veggie spots to eat at and prepped some snacks.

I'll post the recipe for that Mexican quinoa salad tomorrow. Its yummy! So as you can see I've got strawberries, grapefruit, carrots, hummus, almonds, Mexican quinoa salad and a couple clif bars. Plus there will be water and my Vega One. :)

Roaming Dragon Food Truck on Urbanspoon




Wednesday, July 4, 2012


I thought I`d do something a bit different with this post. I figure this blog is not just my cookbook but like my journal. Its been over 2 years now that I`ve been vegan and its been an amazing journey. I have in no way been perfect. There`s been a slip up here and there. No meat, but I`ve had a few bites of fish and the occasional bit of egg or mayo. Sometimes unintentional, people tricking me, or I just didn`t know. I figure when you eat out, its a risk that you have to take. Every vegan will have there own thoughts on that, but that`s how I feel. I`m not too finicky. I also went to Thailand last year and just wanted to try a bite here and there. Although it was extremely easy to eat vegan in Thailand, there was a night where a friend from Burma cooked us a traditional Burmese meal that had fish, and well I thought it would be rude not to try a bite or 2. Not much though.

Health is amazing, energy is amazing and all those other benefits from having such a great diet are in fine working order. I in no way feel deprived or lacking of any nutrient of any shape or form. I feel fantastic! BUT lately, maybe because its summer and BBQ season, I`ve been feeling weak. In April I had some serious meat cravings (sounds dirty, I know lol) but I did not cave. I just bought and ate a lot of veggie burgers in hopes to trick my craving. It passed. I don`t have these cravings anymore, but in the back of my mind, I still think about it. Not meat, not dairy, not eggs, but seafood. Being Japanese decent, and living in Vancouver, seafood and sushi is a huge part of my life. Veggie sushi is delish and I`ve recently been introduced to a cool spot that does some really creative veggie rolls but sometimes I just want tuna. I also feel that you need to listen to your body, and when you're having a craving....its your body telling you something. It may not necessarily be for that particular food, but the emotion that it evokes.

There`s SO many good veggie options, but sometimes I feel like a burden. Take my recent trip to Whistler. Yah there`s a lot of options, but I don`t want to spend a fortune and go to a fancy place, or have to drive anywhere or walk 10 minutes from the main village and nor do I want to make a group of 10 people cater to me. So what did I do.....I ate 3 boring veggie burgers. No sauce. The Ingrids one was good, but still, no sauce. My friends are awesome and supportive, but when you're the one dragging everyone around looking at menu's it just kinda gets awkward.

I don`t want to stop being vegan, let`s get that clear, I just get tired sometimes. Sometimes its just exhausting having to explain myself and be so prepared. Looking up restaurants for a trip, looking at menu`s, packing lunches, snacks, etc. I LOVE to cook. And I LOVE to plan. Its just my nature, but I guess it would be nice to have some time off. Or someone to do it for me. Maybe that`s my issue. lol

I've never been the kind of vegan to be preachy or political. I could care less what anyone else eats, I only care what I put in my body. I think meat is delicious, I will always say it, but I don't want it in my body. More so dairy, that ish is toxic. I think maybe I've been eating out too much lately. Maybe that's what I need. To get back in my kitchen more. I've just been so busy, and going away on the weekends so much. Sigh.

Any thoughts or inspiration for me? DO you ever feel this way? Do you ever get tired? Do you have cravings? Have you ever cheated?

Sorry for babbling on but I just feel like I should show those readers who may be shaky sometimes that others do too, and its ok. We just gotta center ourselves and move on. Get back to basics I guess. Remind ourselves why we do it. Remind me please. :)

Thanks friends!!




Creamy Coconut Dressing

Every Sunday I go grocery shopping for the week and of course I pick up a boat load of veggies. Unfortunately I picked up waaaaayyy too much, forgetting about all the weekend getaways I've been doing. But thankfully, a lot of what I eat are greeny leafy veggies so they are easily steamed and chowed down. Since I had so many of them, I thought I'd just steamed them all and work on it over a couple days. Of course, you need something tasty to dress them with so I whipped this bad boy up. And dayum! DELISH.

If you stop by here often, you already know that I LOVE coconut milk. If you don't know, now you know....

Creamy Coconut Dressing
1 small can low fat coconut milk (160ml, Organic)
6 tbsp stone ground mustard (Organic)
1 tsp Sriracha
1 tsp tahini (raw, Organic)

Put all ingredients into a food processor and pulse until well combined. Season to taste. 

I threw together a bunch of asparagus, 1/2 bunch chopped kale (stems included), and 4 cups loosely packed spinach in my wok with a little water and steamed until bright green. Doesn't take long, so watch it. :)

I also had a bucket of mushrooms. Can't live without garlic mushrooms these days. I just sauteed about 12-15 sliced mushrooms with a little garlic powder and sea salt. 

Steamed greens with Creamy Coconut Dressing

All together now
For some added protein and fiber, I sprinkled some hemp seeds on top. Super yummy light dinner which you could use as a side next to some tofu steaks, beans whatever floats your boat. I took this for lunch.

I actually ate this dish cold, but this dressing is yummy warmed up too. I had lots leftover and tossed some quinoa, mixed sprouted beans and steamed mustard greens in it. YUM!!!

Simple is as simple does. 




Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Restaurant Review: The Eatery

Soooo, because I enjoyed The Eatery SO much the first time, I pretty much ran there. lol Well not literally. I got a ride. My cousin Josh and I like to hang out and eat food. Lol Who doesn't? He is pretty much open to whatever, he just wants to try all sorts of different places. So far he's loved em all, so whatever I suggest he's game. Love that.

Being of Japanese decent, sushi is obvs a first love of ours. We have frequented Shabusen MANY times before but that's just for a good ole fashion all you can eat sushi coma. When I went to The Eatery the first time, I immediately thought of Josh. He LOVES sushi a lot. 

We ordered another veggie platter called The Revolution. It had about 5 or 6 different veggie rolls. One of them wasn't offered anymore and another one had cream cheese, so we subbed those for diff ones. And then I ordered agedashi tofu and Josh ordered 2 extra rolls, filled with meat. 

Agedashi Tofu
Normal agedashi tofu, nothing special. It was good but because the rolls are so creative I thought there would be something diff here.

The Revolution platter
YUM!!! 2 rolls are pretty healthy but yummy. The rest are some taste explosions in your mouth. Super yummy sauces and flavour combinations. The rolls are so creative that you just have no idea where to start. I suggest a platter just to make things easier the first couple times until you get the lay of the land.
Miss Piggy and X Rated
Not entirely sure what they were but cool meat combo's like bacon, eel, salmon, tuna etc. I don't eat it but I can admire the creativity that goes into the rolls. 

Sorry for the flash, but its quite dark in there, so unfort its unavoidable. :( But just get there. Its not downtown, or even close but SO worth it. For reals.

The Eatery on Urbanspoon