I live in the Lower mainland in beautiful British Columbia and I am always on the look out for new Vegan or Vegan friendly joints that will actually appeal to the Hubs and I and huge bonus marks if the Kid can eat there too. Here’s a secret, there sadly really aren’t that many. However, this one falls into the “doh!!” category because I have walked by and heard about a newer take out place in the Kitsilano area called The Noodlebox but had never bothered to go in. Last weekend I was fortunate enough to attend a fan-freaking-tastic yoga conference on Vancouver Island (Victoria Yoga Conference to be exact) and on one of our lunch breaks my friend suggested we just grab something from “The Noodlebox”. Of course, I had to ask, is it the same as the one in Kitsilano and she said yes. (Duh…). So off we went!
Sigh. It was amazing!!!! Veggie options galore! Add Tofu to anything!! Pick your spiciness level!! Noodle or rice?? White or Brown!? OMG!??! Why haven’t we eaten here before!??! They even had a kids menu!!!! I have to say that this is quite rare in Canada in any restaurant you actually want your child to eat in. They also offered Ocean Wise seafood and plenty of meat and egg add-ons for those who are so inclined. Plus the portions were HUGE. A plus when you’ve just completed two, one hour power yoga classes.
I picked the Spicy Peanut Noodle Box but added Tofu and got brown rice instead of noodles (they have Gluten Free options as well if that is an issue for diners). It was PACKED with tofu, veggies, spicy peanut sauce, crushed peanuts, chopped fresh herbs, some green onions and some sprouts. It was the perfect meal and I’m not going to lie, I freaking LOVE the old school Chinese food take out boxes. I’m cheesy like that.
I literally can’t wait to go back. And next time I’m taking the Hubs and Kid. They also have locations in Calgary and I wouldn’t be surprised to see them enter the East Coast market some time soon too. Keep an eye out people!!
So to cap off our family vacation in southern California we spent a weekend at my sister’s house near Burbank. One of her favorite places for brunch is Bea Bea’s. I had been there once before with her and the Kid and remembered it being pretty great, plus they had vegan pancakes. Don’t have to ask me twice.
The awesome thing about the menu is that any of the dishes (pancakes) could be made with the vegan pancake batter! There are like a trillion to choose from (okay, like a dozen) and they all looked SO good. Now I didn’t ask, but I am going to make an educated guess that the ones with super heavy dairy based toppings don’t actually work as vegan dishes. But there were so many that would work that it wasn’t really a big deal.
I decided on the apple cobbler vegan pancakes and they were ginormous and really tasty!!!
The Kid got the french toast (bigger than his head!) and the Hubs got some meaty thing with a side of french toast and everybody was pretty pleased with their dishes. They were also super kid friendly with colouring available and very reasonably priced options for the wee ones.
I do find that this is a major problem in Canada. Very few restaurants have kid’s menus and or kid’s sized portions available. My son is four. He is not a big enough eater to justify ordering him is own entree, however, he is big enough that I don’t want to share with him.
Canadian restauranteurs? If you’re listening, please add a kids menu. PLEASE.
Anyways, it was a super busy spot but it was worth the wait. Will go back to try the pumpkin pancakes. Yum…
Vegan friendly Disneyland? Oh yes. Yes!!
Now don’t get too excited. The vegan options are not exactly plentiful and widespread but they are there. It’s a good start and the park actually has a huge number of healthy options. Especially in the snack department. There are small snack shacks that have fresh fruit (apples, grapes, strawberries and mango spears) as well as giant pickles, apple chips and hummus/pretzel dippers. It was awesome to have those options available throughout both parks and we took advantage a number of times.
What about meals? Breakfast is easy. Downtown Disney has a Jamba Juice. Grab a smoothie and oatmeal made with soymilk. Of course, if you’re like us and cannot start a day without a coffee, there is a starbucks in California Adventure that offers soy milk and the coffee shop on Main Street near the entrance to Frontierland also had soy latte options. Can’t go wrong with a Mickey soft pretzel either.
As far as meals go, I had two absolutely delicious meals, one in each park. Carthay Circle in CA didn’t have anything vegan on the menu but were able to prepare me a lovely vegan tomato soup as a starter and an amazing (and crazy filling) portabello burger that was loaded with caramelized onions and sauteed mushrooms. It was super tasty and served with some awesome crispy french fries. The service was also outstanding. And all of our meals were fantastic there. They were even able to sub out the meat in the kids tacos for mushrooms and the server said it was a brilliant idea and would be suggesting it to others in the future. Ya. I’m awesome.
The other amazing meal we had was in the Disneyland Park at Carnation Cafe. There we shared the deep fried pickles (and full disclosure, I’m not certain other things that contain meat were not fried in the same oil so if that’s important to you, ASK!) and the sauce was most likely NOT vegan, so be aware! They did however have a vegan burger on the menu that I have had before and LOVED. This time it was a bit salty which I did point out to the server. It was still good and I was still thrilled to have a fully vegan option right on the menu. Plus the Kid had the do it yourself PB and J sandwich which was shaped like a goldfish cracker and looked to be whole wheat and served with veggie sticks and fruit.
I think this is your best bet for a quick(ish) table service dinner right in the park that has something for everybody. For a housemade vegan patty, you can’t really go wrong with this one. Plus, our friends Kid has a strawberry allergy and the chef actually came out to chat with us even though it wasn’t a problem or issue. Just standard practice. Well played Disney. Well played.
Have you ever had a meal and thought, okay, I could literally eat this every single day of my life. FOREVER.
I have been wanting to try Native Foods Cafe for a few years now. Every time I’m in L.A, traffic is so horrendous that I just don’t get there. This trip I put my foot down and insisted that we eat dinner there. I dragged my family and our friends there and made them try something different so that I could try as many dishes as possible. As it turns out, what I picked for myself was literally the tastiest thing I have ever ordered at a restaurant. EVER. Plus, Native Foods is 100% vegan AND they make everything themselves! Everything! Not only was my dinner fan-freaking-tastic, but the dessert I chose was easily the yummiest vegan dessert I have ever had.
For dinner I got the Wild Jackelope BBQ Sandwich. Holy mother of god. It was so good. It’s quite rare to find jackfruit on a menu in these parts. This was by far the best preparation that I’ve ever had. It was perfectly cooked and had a hint of heat with a bit of a kick and worked perfectly with the slaw. I could have eaten two of them. This might be my last meal should I ever be in a position to require a last meal… (here’s hoping it doesn’t come to that….).
Our friends ordered the chili that came with cornbread that literally tasted like cake. Sweet, yummy cake. I would have eaten that for dessert. And they got a healthy tofu bowl that had asian flavours. They said everything they had was awesome. I concur.
I hmmm’ed and haaaa’ed about dessert. The peanut butter parfait looked awesome but so did the oatmeal sandwich cookie. I asked the lovely young lady at the till and she said both are awesome and I decided since I was on vacation I could throw caution to the wind and get the cookie. I made the right decision. It was out of this world. The Hubs looked at me the next day (I ate it the next day while he was out doing something) and was horrified that I hadn’t shared with him. He got the tacos and LOVED them. So much so that he said he would have ordered another order if he were a bit hungrier. Win. YOU MUST GO. NOW. There are locations on both coasts now. I am hoping and praying every day that Seattle will host their next location. I will drive two hours. Every weekend. Seriously.
Where have I been? Well funny you should ask!
It was family and friend vaca time for us and we took the Kid down to San Diego, Disney and Los Angeles for a week.
If you live in the southern Cali area, well, I hate you. Sorry…but I really kinda do.
I had so many amazingly fabulous meals that I can really only highlight the super crazy good ones. But if you live in, are going to be visiting, or need a great vegan foodie road trip, this blog’s for you! I will be adding a review every few days for the next few weeks. Stay tuned. There are some gems!
My first stop was The Mission Restaurant in San Diego. It was a pick that my cousin made. He lives down in that area with his wife and this is one of their favorite go-to brunch spots. I totally understand why. It was SO good. There was something for everyone and they were very accommodating with my veganization request to my order. I got the soy chorizo burrito and subbed out the egg and subbed in avocado. No crema for me and extra salsa because it was really yummy.
The Kid got a monster order of strawberry banana pancakes that looked really good and the Hubs got some meaty hash. Meh. No accounting for taste right? But at least everybody was happy with their meal. They had a pretty good selection of coffee drinks and I was able to get a lovely soy latte prepared just the way I like it. Overall this place was a solid A.
Check them out! They have a number of locations in the San Diego area. I am adding to the list of “must go again” as soon as possible. If you live in the area. Lucky you. Send me some???
Our last stop in Seattle was a place we happened to find in a magazine in Redmond, WA called the Pomegranate Bistro. The executive chef is a caterer and she opened up an awesome restaurant/food prep kitchen which makes for a very neat dining experience as you can see her catering facilities in behind the dining area. There seemed to be a nice bar area and take out area as well but we managed to call ahead and put our names down and really didn’t wait long at all for our table. The Kid had fallen asleep in the car away (urgh) so we weren’t really in a rush at that point.
What drew me to this place (since it was a good 15 minutes north of where we were staying) was that there was a vegan entree on the menu in addition to the regular meatatarian fare that the Hubs would gravitate towards. It was a vegan sausage with a veggie and bean ragu that was simply awesome.
I also fell madly in love with the plates the kids meals were served on. There is a lot of research out there that suggests that if allowed to serve themselves, children will take far less food than when their parents serve them. Not a huge wonder why obesity is such a plague on North Americans really. Check out these plates and take note that it was a white pizza which was served with fruit, veggies and a very small cookie.
Now I wouldn’t normally be too keen on the Kid eating what amounted to bread for dinner, but since we were on vacation I wasn’t too concerned. And honestly, I was just mesmerized by the plates. Most dinnerware for children is made of crappy plastic or melamine which is questionable IMO and these were ceramic. Naturally the first thing I did when I got home was find and order a set of two from a very cool website called uncommon goods. I am obsessed and sold a whole bunch of the Kid’s plates. How many plates does one child need anyways?
The desserts were also pretty awesome. I am 100% sure they had dairy. I made an exception on that one. They were pretty ridiculous and I hadn’t cheated at all so I let myself have that one.
Peanut butter and chocolate pot as well as bread pudding. YUM. If you are in this area, check this place out. If you are going to just be in the area, add it to your list of must eats!
Let me first say that after this weekend, the Hubs and I have decided it’s time for a little South Beach Diet action. I do the version where I just stop eating processed carbs and sugar. Which is really the way I should just eat. Alas, since that is CLEARLY not the case, let me explain how amazing the food was in Seattle. There are no words. It’s really foodie heaven. And even vegan foodie heaven! My last posts from Seattle highlighted my favorite go to restaurant Cafe Flora. Naturally we ate there and this time went for brunch and since the Hubs was ALL over it, I thought I would share again! Let me begin with the vegan cinnamon bun. Oh yes. I said vegan cinnamon bun. The Kid kept opening his mouth and saying “ahhh” hoping I would feed him some of mine.
The frosting tasted like that stuff you get out of a tub at the grocery store. I would have eaten that stuff with a spoon back in the day. I am not going to lie, I would have eaten this stuff with a spoon too. I think my whole family would have. It was sooooo good. Notice how there is already a bite taken out. I couldn’t get the shot in fast enough!
I had the southern style tofu hash and the Kid had the kid’s version. The Hubs proceeded in eating half of it! He doesn’t even like tofu. So he claimed! Luckily I have the Cafe Flora cook book and will be making it for breakfast this weekend.
The Hubs got the biscuits and gravy with a sunny side up egg. He was happy. I stole some of the biscuit and gravy just to taste and it was pretty good!
Overall, another fantastic meal at Cafe Flora. I think if I lived in Seattle I would just buy into this place and eat here every day. No…really….