On my way to lunch at Green Earth for the second time, I stopped by Public for a drink. I noticed the cute cafe when I first walked by, and planned to pop in if I returned to the area.
The cafe was beautifully decorated with various seating options. After picking a spot, I browsed the english drink menu on the table. The chalk menu by the counter was in Japanese, so I walked over to translate it. I was curious about the daily specials, and discovered they offered lunch and baked goods.
I ordered an espresso soda and their freshly baked oatmeal chocolate chip cookie. I had never heard of an espresso soda before, but should’ve known to stick with a latte as I don’t usually enjoy carbonated drinks. On the plus side, the sweetener was served on side making it easy to add as little at a time. The oatmeal chocolate chip cookie was huge and delicious. While breaking off a piece, I noticed the table had a “made in Canada” stamp. The strange coincidence reminded me of home, but the brief moment passed as I excitedly returned to mapping out my trip to Uji.
If you’ve seen the highlights from last year’s Veg Food Fest then you know better than to read this post on an empty stomach. Though I bet the best eats of Veg Food Fest 2018 will still make your mouth water.
Hana James – Rise ‘n’ Blend: A Plant-Based Smoothie to Kick-Start Your Day
How does a smoothie demo last an hour? It does when the speaker shares must-know facts about the ingredients you should be using to upgrade your breakfast (read:anytime) smoothies. Hana also spoke about the innovative way she scaled Greenhouse Juice Co., and how she founded the successful Toronto-based company in the first place. As for the samples, Hana made a chocolatey Rococoa Smoothie.
Before heading to the next demo, I grabbed dinner at BRGR KVLT. As someone who doesn’t usually mix cheese and meat (yes, even as a vegan), I was surprised by how delicious the mac and cheese tasted with BBQ sauce. Does this mean I have to stop cringing when people top their mac and cheese with ketchup?
Tina Stokes – Vegan Cheese Making
Although I had no intentions of making cultured vegan cheese, by the end of the demo I was ready to give it a try. After learning about Tina’s fermentation process, a few extra steps seem doable and worth the health benefits. Not to mention the improved cheesy flavour compared to uncultured cashew cheese.
Knowing how crazy long the line up would be on Saturday and Sunday, I got my fix of Apiecalypse Now! on Friday night. Chocolate cake for dessert, and apple pie for breakfast. The apple pie would have probably tasted just as good heated in the microwave, but that would be an insult to the hard work gone into baking the perfect vegan pie crust. The extra few minutes in the oven were worth it.
Doug McNish – Veganizing the Classics
Since launching Mythology Diner, Doug has somehow gotten even better at making tofu scramble. He also let it slip that he is working on his next cookbook tentatively called “Veganizing the Classics”. Sounds like it’s going to feature some epic recipes.
Confession time: I’ve never eaten McD’s. Ok, I have had their sundae, and tasted a french fry. But that’s it. That’s why I didn’t get as excited as others did about Globally Local’s ‘Famous Burger’. This year though, I decided to give it a taste and was blown away. Believe the hype. The plant-based double cheeseburger tasted absolutely incredible. From the fluffy toasted bun, the secret sauce, all the way to the house-made chickpea patty. This burger was by far my favourite thing at this year’s Veg Food Fest. A close second were Globally Local’s BBQ wings which I devoured before taking a photo. Can someone please open a location in Toronto?
Taymer Mason – Pumpkin Everything: A Caribbean Vegan Fall
Thank goodness when Taymer says pumpkin she means all squash varieties. Peeling a butternut squash is just so much easier than preparing a pumpkin. The only soup I’m able to make is butternut squash soup, but turns out it pales in comparison to Taymer’s version. I can’t wait to try to replicate her recipe now that it’s suddenly fall weather.
Away Kitchen + Cafe
I followed the smell of freshly baked double chocolate cookies to Away Kitchen + Cafe’s ice cream case. Pictured is their blueberry lavender lemonade ice cream sandwich in an easy to share container. Favourite dessert award over here. Best part is that I can come back for more with their new Queen street location. Oh, and their Saskatoon berry kombucha is the first kombucha I’ve ever enjoyed drinking. House-made and also available in their cafe.
Naza Hasebenebi – The Art of Injera
This was my first time eating injera, but, as Naza promised, I don’t want it to be my last. Injera is a fermented flatbread which tastes like sourdough bread. I enjoyed it alone, and even more with Naza’s flavourful red lentil stew. I usually make my own curry powder, but the one she used smelled so good I had to take a picture of the container for future reference.
Sam Turnbull – Fuss-Free Vegan Cooking
It was great to see Sam back at Veg Food Fest, especially since her cooking style is perfect for vegan beginners. Sam takes crowd-pleasing recipes, like pumpkin pie and cheese balls, and veganizes them in minutes using easy to find ingredients. Truly fuss-free.
Amy Symington – Transitioning to a healthful, balanced plant based diet
Although this demo may sound like it’s only for new vegans, Amy’s nutrition advice served as a great refresher. I also enjoyed her encouragement of adapting recipes to your own tastes. Don’t be afraid to omit the cilantro, switch romaine lettuce to spinach, and add more chili flakes.
Amy Longard – Cooking with Seaweed
It took me a while to warm up to nori in sushi, and years longer to appreciate kombu broth. But now that I’m a fan, I was curious on how to use more seaweed. Amy used seaweed varieties I’ve never heard of in popcorn, miso soup, kale salad, and chickpea tuna. I was so excited to taste the samples that I completely forgot to take a photo of the colourful food. Now comes the hard part of tracking down Hana Tsunomata, kelp flakes, and dulse to recreate the delicious recipes.
Matan Volach – Edible IQ – Chocolate Dreams
Ever wanted to learn how to properly temper chocolate? No chocolate dream is too big with Matan. The chocolate hazelnut spread recipe was exactly what I needed. I’ve been craving Nutella for a while, and avoided buying a vegan version with just as much refined sugar and oil. Luckily I hadn’t resorted to making my own yet, because I would have never guessed how important it is to roast the hazelnuts first.
Veg food Fest 2018 was full of good food, and recipe inspiration. Now all that’s left is to attempt to cook them at home while waiting for next year’s event.