Las Vegan

Panacea Eco Shop

Posted in Groceries by karoumy on November 18, 2011

Update: Panacea is closed

Panacea is was the only vegan store in Toronto.

panacea store shot

The store

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Lunch at Live Food Bar

Posted in Restaurants by karoumy on November 17, 2011

I don’t have much to say about Live Food Bar. The food is good but it’s pricey. $14 for a small sandwich on a gluten free bun that comes with a couple of pickles and vegetable chips is pricey.

live lunch menu section

The BBQ Tofu and Burdock

BBQ Tofu and Burdock

BBQ Tofu and Burdock, $14

I finished it in about 7 bites.

live table

A table and a tree

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Armenian Kitchen in Scarborough

Posted in Restaurants by karoumy on November 12, 2011

Don’t let the name fool you. This is a Lebanese restaurant. Apparently, the current owner bought the popular restaurant from Armenians and never changed the sign or the decor.

armenian kitchen the room

Inside the Armenian Kitchen

And it shows. The interior is nothing like what most restaurants look like today but it doesn’t matter because you’ll be coming here for the food.

I usually order many small plates and if others want meat they can order a side dish of anything on the menu. If you’re there with a larger group you can order large sizes of some dishes. This makes dining with non vegetarians easy. They also have a vegetarian combination plate that can be made vegan.

Lebanese food doesn’t have secret ingredients and dishes are always prepared separately.

Here are the dishes we ordered on a recent visit.

armenian kitchen hummus

Hummus, $4.50

This is hummus. Dressed with a little olive oil, paprika, parsley and hot sauce.

armenian kitchen fuzzy baba ghanouj

(Fuzzy) Baba Ghannouj, $4.99

The Baba Ghannouj is good. I usually prefer Hummus but this one is that good. It’s not bitter at all and has a smooth taste.

armenian kitchen tabouleh

Tabouleh , $3.99

As far as I can tell the Tabouleh is hand-chopped. This is one of those dishes that takes a while to make so I always appreciate it when it’s made by hand.

armenian kitchen falafel

Falafel, $4.99

Falafel is served hot, fresh out of the fryer. If you ever see it pre-cooked somewhere leave immediately and eat a handfull of sand which will probably have the same texture.

armenian kitchen fries

Housemade Fries, $1.99

Ahh yes, traditional Lebanese french fries. I don’t know why but french fries are a part of Lebanese cooking. These ones are housemade and can be ordered with a spicy sauce and garlic.

armenian kitchen bread

Warm Pita bread

The bread is grilled and served warm.

armenian kitchen lift

Pickled turnips (lift)

armenian kitchen my plate

My plate

All the above dishes plus a soda, mint tea and a soup that aren’t pictured came to around $35 including tax and tip.

Check out Armenian Kitchen for good quality Lebanese food at a reasonable price.

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Urban Herbivore at Urban Eatery

Posted in Restaurants by karoumy on November 8, 2011

Urban, Urban, URBAN!

Herbivore’s menu offering at the new Eaton Centre food court is simple. Sandwiches, salads, bowls and fresh juices.

urban herbivore the board

Herbivore: The Board

I went with a grain bowl and a fresh grapefruit juice.

urban herbivore grain bowl

Grain Bowl, $8.40

Let’s see. I got tempeh, kim chi, beet salad, artichoke hearts, black beans and cucumber salad on quinoa with a tahini dressing. You can get nuts on it too if you like crunchy whatever sprinkled all over your food.

Overall, everything was good. The tempeh was a little oily. And next time I will ask for the sauce on the side or on the bottom with the quinoa since it made everything taste like sauce.

For me, Herbivore’s appeal is it’s ability to balance healthy and flavourful food. I like that.

It’s great to have another option in that area where your friends or business associates can eat their meal choice next to you. There are also plenty of stools available for when you’re alone and want to grab something quick.

The food court feels like nicer version of an airport food court. The food is served on real plates and bowls. You still have to bus your own table, there are reminder signs everywhere.

urban herbivore drink close up

Fresh Grapefruit Juice, expensive.

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Vegan Brunch at the Windsor Arms

Posted in Restaurants by karoumy on November 7, 2011

UPDATE April 30, 2013: Doug McNish hasn’t been cooking there for a long time now and it shows. The food isn’t the same. I haven’t been and I have no plans on returning. It’s unfortunate. On the bright side, Doug has posted his vegan benedict recipe on VegNews. It takes a while to prepare but it’s worth it. It was the best item on the menu.  

The Windsor Arms is now offering a vegan brunch menu created by Doug McNish.

The Wynn hotel’s vegan menu immediately came to mind when I read the news on Twitter.

The second thing that came to my mind is my uncle Pierre. I dragged him to a popular vegetarian brunch last year when he was visiting Toronto. He complained about everything: there was no A/C, the server didn’t care, the place looked dirty and the food was just ok. I called him to tell him that we would be brunching in style the next time he visits.

I knew the food was going to be good. Doug has a solid reputation. But would I want to pay a premium to eat at a boutique hotel’s restaurant? And would it be pretentious?

Stay tuned to find out.

The vegan brunch takes place at Prime restaurant at the Windsor Arms. A cozy room located on the south side of the building.

windsor arms the room

The Room. Who wouldn’t want to eat here?

After eating here, I don’t expect this room to be empty again. This was the soft launch and the word was not quite out yet.

I ordered The Works as did my refined hip hop aficionado friend.

windsor arms the works

The Works, $15

Scrambled Tofu with greens and seared mushrooms, home fries, tempeh bacon, black bean chili, sprouted grain toast and housemade sunflower miso butter. Wow. I probably would’ve been happy with just the tempeh bacon and sunflower miso butter but it was all good. In fact, it was great. But…

windsor arms vegan benedict

Gluten Free Vegan Benedict, $15

I was a little jealous of the Tofu Benedict that my capitalist friend ordered. I got to try a bite and it was amazing. He enjoyed it as well even though he’s not vegan.

So was it pricey and pretentious? Not at all. All the entrees on the menu are $15 which is comparable to the other brunch offerings in Toronto. And everything we ordered was satisfying. The serivce is amazing as well.

As far as vegan brunch goes in Toronto, this is the place. You are not going to find this level of service and food quality at this price anywhere. And you’ll be comfortable in plush chairs and warm surroundings.

Doug McNish and the Windsor Arms got it right. I look forward to making this my new brunch spot. My goal is to have a table here. I know, I watch too many mafia movies.

This is the kind of place you can bring your non-vegan friends whether they are ruthless capitalists or refined hip hop aficionados. I would even bring snobby uncles and other family members. I’m sure they’d enjoy themselves.

See the rest of the vegan brunch menu with gluten free options.

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Vegan Brunch Menu at Windsor Arms

Posted in Uncategorized by karoumy on November 7, 2011

Vegan Brunch Menu at Windsor Arms with Gluten Free options.

windsor arms vegan brunch menu

Windsor Arms vegan brunch menu

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Hot Chocolate at Xococava

Posted in Restaurants by karoumy on November 7, 2011

Xococava (pronounced chococava but I say zokocava because I have a French accent) at Yonge and Heath is a dessert shop that has a few vegan options.

Xococava at night

Xococava at night

On this cool autumn evening I had a traditional Mexican hot chocolate .

Hot Chocolate straight up

Hot Chocolate, straight up, $3.75

This is the perfect amount of chocolate to me. It wasn’t sweet but you could add sugar if you’d like. It had a bit of a kick to it. Traditional Mexican hot chocolate usually has cayenne and cinnamon.

Hot Chocolate straight up

Close up.

The space is funky too.

Broken plate wall

Broken plate wall

Xococava is easy to miss if you don’t know where to find it. It’s in behind the second cup south of Heath. Take a date or go alone and read from the pile of newspapers in the corner.

Xococava
1560 Yonge St.
(416) 979-9916
Daily 10am-10pm

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Vegetable Patty at Subway

Posted in Restaurants by karoumy on November 5, 2011

Subway is trying again to do a vegetable patty. The last one they did years ago had cheese in it so the new vegan version is already an improvement.

According to Compassion Over Killing the new vegetable patty is only available at a few locations across Canada. I visited the Yonge and St. Clair Subway location eager to try the new offering. I get excited when a large food chain offers a solid vegan option that doesn’t sound ridiculously exclusionary. “I’ll have the bacon cheese burger without the bacon, cheese or burger. Oh, and does the bun have eggs in it?”

The poster

The poster

I haven’t ate at Subway in a while. It used to be a better option near my old job. I would even hack the sub with mock deli meats.

Subway vegetable patty side view

Subway vegetable patty side view, $9.58 after taxes

So how is the veggie patty? Boring.

It has a decent texture, like a typical gluten-based Chinese mock meat. If you view it as a filler and dress it up with some mustard it might taste better. I had it with the Italian dressing and that wasn’t enough.

I tried a bite of the patty alone and it wasn’t good. Maybe the top view will give you a better idea of how it tasted:

Subway vegetable patty top view

The bits  of vegetables didn’t do anything for the flavor. After trying this latest attempt, I still believe that Subway should partner with an already established mock meat company like Tofurkey. Collabo!

Also, I don’t know when Subway started putting the “meat” on top of the vegetables like that or if this was a fluke but I didn’t like it. Am I supposed to eat it upside down?

If the vegetable patty will be available at all locations it will make for a good option in those parts of the world where there aren’t many satisfying vegan options. But at almost $10 I can get better food. I would probably choose Taco Bell over the Vegetable Patty. $10 will get you a lot of food at Taco Bell.

Subway. Eat Fresh.Or have a bland microwaved vegetable patty.

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