St. Catharines, ON
Mandy, the Vegan Hippie Chick, is an absolute doll. I know, I know, that shouldn’t matter when we’re talking about eating vegan, but it had to be said. I met her at the Sweet Street Cafe located in the St. Catharines library building, and she made me the best lunch. If you enter from the James Street side, the cafe is right there, housed in a greenhouse-like vestibule that is airy and light (see below). Check out the cute cafe-style table and chairs in the photo above. Adorable.
The Sweet Street Cafe has other offerings, but Mandy takes care of the vegan items. Today there were veggie wraps, eggless salad sandwiches, and raw protein balls. I opted for the sandwich and, ahem, balls. Wowza. That’s what I am actually going to say about it - wowza.
The sandwich was on the freshest of bread and full of flavour. The not-so-secret ingredient is chick peas. I’ve made this at home, but not nearly as delicious as this one. The protein balls came in pumpkin, walnut and almond. Of course I had to have one of each. These were sweet without being sickening and really filled me up. I was only able to eat two, and saved the other one for later. I also had a coffee with soy milk. It was exceptionally good. I wished I had bought the larger size.
The menu changes so it’s best to check her Facebook page for the daily specials and when she will be at the cafe. Typically she is there most days, but her schedule can vary.
Parking is street as well as several lots in the area, one right at the library, underground parking at the library, and the market lot. I didn’t have any trouble finding a spot at noon on a weekday, $1.50/hour.
Washrooms were the library washrooms; sparse, utilitarian, but very clean.
In addition to the cafe menu, Mandy also has a catering branch, and she also sets up a space at the St. Catharines market (typically Thursday and Saturday). Her catering menu includes appetizers (zucchini fritters, stuffed mushrooms), burgers (quinoa, lentil), flat breads, salads (caesar, creamy potato), soups (potato leek, quinoa minestrone), mains (lasagna, shepherd’s pie), savoury pies (tortierre), and sweets. Oh my, the list of sweets is amazing: brownies, cakes, croissants, pies, cookies, and muffins. Plus, she will deliver for free in the Niagara region on all orders over $150.
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