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Thursday, 23 March 2017

Root 8 - Beamsville

5041 King Street
Beamsville, ON

905-563-1155



I was super excited to hear about an all vegan restaurant coming to Beamsville and Root 8 did not disappoint. The restaurant has a real cafe feel to it with its turquoise distressed wood decor.





The menu consisted of salads, wraps, bowls, chili, panini, and little dishes of mac and cheese, and tofu nuggets.  There is also a smoothie and juice menu, along with daily specials that included a hummus tray, french onion soup, and a burger with all the fixin's on the day that I went.

I ordered the panini with sweet peppers, zucchini, portobello mushrooms, spicy mayo, and mozza cheese (cashew cheese). I also enjoyed a chocolate, almond butter 'muffin' for dessert. Loved them both. I ordered take-out so I cannot speak to the wait-staff's attentiveness, but I was thoroughly charmed by the person who took my order. She was informative about the menu items and friendly without being intrusive while I waited.

Panini with sweet peppers, zucchini, portobello mushrooms, spicy mayo, and cashew mozza cheese.

Chocolate, almond butter 'muffins'

Plus, in keeping with their environmentally friendly philosophy - I received this lovely take-out bag and will, in future, receive $1 off my meal if I bring it in. Great idea.

$1 off my next meal if I remember to bring it in


Parking is free in this mall.

Hours:
Saturday, Tuesday, Wednesday: 11am - 6om
Thursday, Friday: 11am - 7pm
Sunday, Monday: Closed

Hours will be extended in the summer.

How To Connect:
Facebook
905-563-1155

Monday, 20 March 2017

What Vegans Eat

Much as some of would like, we can't eat out all the time. It isn't practical, and frankly, a lot of the time, I enjoy my own prepared food better anyway.

I start off with a general plan so that every Monday I do some version of soup and a sandwich or salad, every Tuesday is a rice/grain bowl, etc. I find that this theme-based menu makes it a lot easier for me to plan.

So here is a sample menu with some of the recipes linked up for a typical Monday to Friday dinner meal plan.

MONDAY - soup with sandwich or salad

Slow cooker white bean soup and Mediterranean vegetable sandwich.

Slow Cooker White Bean Soup - Budget Bytes


TUESDAY - rice bowl (or other grain)

Red beans and rice, and roasted veggies (leftover from Monday's sandwich prep).

Red Beans and Rice - Budget Bytes


WEDNESDAY - pasta or rice dish

Creamy lemon asparagus pasta, oven-roasted broccoli/cauiflower/fennel.

Creamy Lemon Asparagus Pasta - Minimalist Baker


THURSDAY - potatoes and veggies

Roasted sweet potato medley, balsamic mushrooms, and garlic broccoli.


Garlicky Broccoli - The Woks of Life

FRIDAY - bread/pizza/tortilla/pastry

Pizza, kale salad with garlic dressing.

Kale Salad - Minimalist Baker


SATURDAY

Out somewhere. :)

SUNDAY

Everyone fends for him/herself.

Thursday, 16 March 2017

The Black Forest Inn - Hamilton

Black Forest Inn
255 King Street East
Hamilton, ON

905-528-3538



If you ever heard of or been to the Black Forest Inn, you are very likely to be surprised to see a review about it here, and not just because it's located in Hamilton. This restaurant is super heavy on animal products and normally I would not be found in this type of restaurant. However, due to family circumstances, this is exactly where I ended up.

I called ahead, on three separate occasions to try to talk to different people about vegan options, because each time I was completely unsatisfied by the options. Or lack of. And I didn't get the feeling that anybody cared that I was going to be attending lunch and not really going to be able to eat anything.

There was one single menu item that was available to me as a vegan: vegetable plate. It is listed on the menu with a fried egg, so obviously I skipped that, still quite uncertain as to what to expect. Well, I was most pleasantly surprised. The vegetables are cooked with margarine, and I was promised that it was vegan.

My plate was overfull and contained cabbage, mushrooms, carrots, sauerkraut and the most flavourful potatoes I've had in a long time. I almost couldn't finish it (almost), and I completely enjoyed it.

Having said that, I want to be very clear - there was no hope of having coffee or tea unless I wanted to drink them black, and the dessert menu was not even close to being vegan friendly. I could have started with a salad and a vinaigrette, but the salad was a meagre iceberg lettuce version that I could not even bear to try.

Bathrooms were an adequate size and very clean.  Decor was Austrian/German and looked old and outdated, but again everything seemed very clean.

Parking was available in a city lot across the street, as was street parking.

They do not take reservations.

Hours:
Monday to Thursday: 11:30am-9pm
Friday and Saturday: 11:30am-10pm
Sunday: 11:30am-9pm

How To Connect:
Website
Facebook
Instagram
Twitter


Monday, 13 March 2017

6 Ways to Use Aquafaba

If you haven't heard about all of the fabulous uses for aquafaba, you might be surprised at all of the cool things that you can do with it. First of all, what is this stuff? Well, literally it translates to water bean. Not so literally it is the thick liquid that is leftover from cooking beans. I must admit with some embarrassment, that I have always rinsed away this gold mine thinking that I was doing a good thing by reducing the sodium. I have recently reconsidered.


Soup:
When making soup, don't rinse those beans. Dump the entire can in (or the beans and the cooking water if you're doing it old school). The aquafaba adds great body to a broth soup making it taste and feel that much more decadent.  Bianca's Kitchen has a yummy-looking vegetable soup recipe.

Breading:
When making your favourite eggplant parm, dip the eggplant (or any other veggies) into the aquafaba prior to breading for a crispy result. Don't have your own recipe? No worries, head on over to Veginspired.

Whipped cream:
Super easy: aquafaba + cream of tartar + vanilla + sugar = whipped cream. Check out Peta's recipe here and start enjoying more desserts.

Binding:
When I first switched to a vegan diet, I have to admit that making veggie patties was a real adjustment. I couldn't get the egg substitutes to work well for me. Step in aquafaba and suddenly it's easy. Use 3 tablespoons of aquafaba for every egg that you wanted subbed. Glue and Glitter has a great-sounding squash patty recipe here.

Mayo:
I have yet to try this out, but it is definitely on my list. I have visions of adding in extra garlic or chipotle powder, maybe some onion powder (not all at the same time) and creating new versions. Foodal has a recipe for you here.

Butter:
I love the idea of making my own butter so I don't have to contribute to the hideousness of the palm oil industry. Nina's game changing vegan butter can be found here.

There are thousands of sites you can go to for further reference, but one of my favourites for beginners is Aquafaba FAQ. Check it out for explanations and recipes and directions to the facebook page where they talk about nothing but aquafaba. 

Thursday, 9 March 2017

Hippocrates' Daughter - Grimsby

1 Mountain Street
Grimsby

289-235-8841



This little vegan gem recently (July 22, 2016) sprouted up in downtown Grimsby, thrilling the vegan and vegetarian community. The decor is eclectic and fun with mismatched tables and chairs, tables sawn in half and hung on the wall for decoration, and a huge window for people-watching.

On this Friday night, 10 people from the Niagara Vegan group met to enjoy the new menu. A menu that no longer contains any oil and covers everything from apps, bowls, and sammies to main salads, entrees and desserts. Check it out here.

 The first time I ate here, it was taco Tuesday. I had a pulled jackfruit taco and a fish taco. Both were amazing, but the fish taco (my first) made me into a lifetime fan. The portions were hardy, fresh, and delicious.



This time, I had the beanloaf with mashed sweet potato and spinach. The loaf was moist and held together well. It had a subtle sage and fennel flavouring, topped off with a ketchup glaze that added a nice sweetness and pop of tomato flavour. The mash was delicious and creamy.

The rest of the gang ordered the Kevin Fakin' Burger (black bean patty, cheese, portobello bacon), the mac and cheese (the recipe for which could not be pried out Aisha), and the Laughing Buddha bowl (chickpeas, avocado, sweet potatoes, spinach, marinated cabbage, and tofu fried rice topped with turmeric tahini dressing). When the food arrived, the noisy room silenced. Everyone was eating, concentrating on all of the flavours, and very happy.

For dessert, we were offered date squares, brownies, and an off-the-menu treat of chocolate chip bars. I tried the chocolate chip bars which had a real blondie feel to them, and they were amazing. Soft, chewy, full of vanilla and chocolate flavour. The date squares and brownies were also very moist and flavourful.

Hippocrates' Daughter is located in downtown Grimsby with street parking available, in addition to the mall parking across the street and the lot behind Giant Tiger. All easy to find and less than 5 minutes' walk.

Isn't licensed.

Hours:
Tuesday to Saturday - 12pm to 8 pm
Closed Sunday and Monday.

How to Connect:
Facebook
Website
Instagram
Twitter

Monday, 6 March 2017

10 Awesome Accidentally Vegan Snack Ideas

For the most part, I try to reach for fresh veggies and fruits when I'm looking for a snack, but sometimes, I just want a cookie or a candy or chips without spending a small fortune on a specifically veganized product.

Here are some of my favourites:

FRITOS
Both original and BBQ are vegan-friendly.



Barbecue, Classic, Deli Style Original, Dill Pickle, and Lightly Salted are all vegan varieties.



Stick to the hard candies. Watermelon is my absolute favourite.



These are fun treat.



Mmmmm,...buttery goodness without any butter. I could eat an entire box in a sitting. Ahem.



Stay away from the Parmesan Garlic and the Sour Cream & Chive and all of the rest are deliciously vegan. I love the Cracked Pepper. Yum.




When I first adopted a plant-based diet, I nearly cried with delight (and relief) when I found out that Oreo cookies are vegan.



Stick to the dark chocolate - 70%, 85%, or 90%.



For a more comprehensive list of accidentally vegan snack foods, check out PETA's list. 











Thursday, 2 March 2017

Kully's Original Sports Bar - St. Catharines

223 St. Paul Street, St. Catharines
905-684-1771

Kully's Original Sports Bar



We wandered into Kully’s after our initial restaurant choice was discovered to be closed for lunch, so I hadn’t prepped and called ahead and mapped out a plan. That’s something I always like to do, given a chance. No worries though, Kully’s did not disappoint.

This was a just a quick lunch, and I noticed a veggie wrap on the menu that looked close to vegan. Though it listed goat cheese, I was assured that sans cheese, it was vegan. The wrap was pretty good, made with peppers, onions, roasted beets (nice unique touch), and a balsamic vinaigrette. I prefer my wraps to be warm, so I should have asked, as this is served cold. Still, it was delicious and filling. The fries were exceptionally good, obviously hand-cut, and cooked to perfection just slightly on the dark side.

Some of the other choices that could be made vegan:

Kully’s classic salad - romaine, iceberg, spring mix, cherry tomatoes, roasted red peppers, balsamic dressing - $8.99 (ask for no croutons and cheese)
Stir-fry - peppers, onions, mushrooms, broccoli with rice and teriyaki sauce - $11.49
Veggie burger - black bean and veggie patty with lettuce, tomato, onion, pickle (hold the Kully’s sauce) - $11.49
 - Additional burger toppings: grilled onions, grilled mushrooms, jalapeƱos, banana peppers, and avocado at $0.99 each

House-cut fries - $4.49
Kettle chips - $5.99
Sweet potato fries - $5.99
All three of these come with dips, but none of the dips in the restaurant are vegan. Ketchup or vinegar are probably your go-tos.

When I called it was also suggested that the white pizza could be made vegan by dropping the cheese option. A note to keep in mind is that the red sauce for the pasta and pizza both have parmesan cheese right in the sauce and so, obviously, are a no-go.

Kully’s is a typical sports bar - “Let’s raise a glass to the game.” Though the lunch crowd on Monday was moderate, I can imagine that game days in the city are hopping. If that’s your thing (or perhaps more poignantly, if that isn’t your thing), you might want to check the schedule of the local teams, especially the Ice Dogs, to see if there is a game or not before booking your reservation.

Kully’s decor is classic: deep rich woods accented by ebony chairs and fixtures. TVs abound so everyone in the bar gets a good view of the game. Walls are adorned with the smiling faces of athletes (Wayne Gretzky, Muhammad Ali, Joe Montana, and Michael Jordan, to name a few), plus a wall-sized chalkboard near the front windows shows what’s happening every night of the week. And something is always happening here.

Hopefully, you fill up on your entree because there is no dessert option there at the present that could be made vegan. Also, they did not have any non-dairy creamer or milk for coffee or tea.

Washrooms: Sorry, didn’t need to check them out here.
Parking: Street parking, pretty busy.

Hours:
Daily: 11am - 2am

How to Connect:
Facebook
Twitter
Instagram
Phone: 905-684-1771