World Vegan Month - Conclusions and what we ate!

I must begin by making the following confessions and corrections regarding my World Vegan Month participation!
1) I am not a real vegan (other than this month). I call myself a "weekday vegetarian" but decided to go all in for this month.
2) I ate yogurt for breakfast on November 1 before I actually realized that it was World Vegan Month (fail).
3) A and W stands for Allen and Wright and not Albert and Walter. I started the month blogging about their plant based burger and made that mistake. I am not the only one who had that idea. Where do you suppose it came from?
4) On Nov 7, I did willingly and knowingly participate in Vanfoodster's Dumpling Fest during which I did eat meat. In my defense, I declared in advance that I was going to do so because I already had tickets (still a fail).
5) While attempting to participate in Vanfoodster's Sandwich Challenge, I did knowingly and willingly eat cheese at Saj&Co. (fail)
6) If I see another 'bowl' on a menu, I will scream.
7) I believe more vegan restaurants need to install deep fryers!
8) This one I confess in advance. Berts Electric (2001) Ltd is having their annual Christmas party at Glow on November 30. I will not even be attempting to avoid temptation.

I feel pretty good. I lost about 3 pounds this month without trying (I could lose a few more to be honest). I ate a lot of vegetables and that really is the key. I didn't snack much in the evening either. I stuck pretty close to my "walk 10 kilometers a day" thing.
Lots of restaurants have vegan choices (If you are not following the blog or my Instagram feed, then I can't help you!).
Vegan at home is not so complicated. Think ahead. Make several portions of a dish and freeze!
Some general things we learned include the following: Jackfruit is not a substitute for meat nutrition wise, but it has substance. It is meaty, like in these tacos.

Vegan cheese is not my favourite thing and kind of reminds me of processed cheese. They are kind of similar in texture and melt-ability!. This can be sort of a guilty pleasure from time to time. Choose the Soya because there is at least some protein.
Oh my god, avoid the Tofurky. The Yves ground meat is not terrible just don't think of it as hamburger. You can make a decent taco with it or spaghetti sauce.
You can cook a lot of tasty, healthy stuff at home without meat, cheese, eggs or those meat substitute products. Concentrate on whole grains and pulses like many of the  great world cuisines do. (OK. Cheese was my biggest temptation and a fried egg on top would have improved a lot of things) If you use meat, use it as an accent rather than your main source of calories.   
This is not just about health. No matter what you think, turning off the lights, getting a low flow shower head or driving an electric car is not going to solve global warming. I will say it again, 50% of all global warming gasses are from animal agriculture. You food bloggers and Instagramers might want to consider what you can do to educate people. 
To be honest, I have no horse in the race. I am 57 and have no kids. I am concerned about my nephews but I have no children or grand children who will bear the real brunt of global warming. Unless of course you are planning to throw in with the current president of the United  States who thinks the majority of real climate scientists are just full of crap.
Eat less meat! Encourage others to do the same! Meatless Monday is a start but try a lot harder! It is also not about organics (a first world privilege) Study some real science and come to the side of GMOs and non organics. That is what will save the world!
What do you bloggers think about nudging your readers and followers towards a few more earth friendly food choices? (For God's sake, please watch Cowspiracy on Netflix).
And just in case you think that I am preaching to you from my high horse, I will confess that tomorrow I plan to eat fried chicken. After that, next week, we will be back to eating more healthy for the planet!

Saj & Co. - The kitchen of Neo-Nastalgia

Well here I blew my World Vegan Month 2018 but frankly, I could have easily stayed true as there are vegan choices at Saj&Co. I just had to try the Labneh though....and that led to a taste of the roast beef that we got for Marie. Saj&Co is one of my favourite new restaurants that I have tried in a long time. Funky and cool with amazing music (I am listening to Le Couleur as I write this) and eclectic decor (I was pretty sure that I would find Nietzsche on their book shelves but instead there was decor and architecture). I usually arrive home with some extra thumb and feet photos but this time I managed to delete my best ambiance photos.
You will just have to look on Google or Yelp (Sorry! Was that out loud?) The food though is the main thing, correct?
We started with the Labneh ( a sort of pressed yogurt cheese) Plate, which was delicious . I have fallen stupid in love with the house recipe flatbread of rye and buckwheat dough. It is amazing! On the side were pickled vegetables, cucumber and tomato and some mighty fine olives.
We also tried the Folks Full. Same but with house cooked Fava beans. Fava could be my favourite beans in the world and this dish was full on vegan! Could have used salt but picture me weak in the knees anyway!
Don't be upset with Marie but she doesn't get the vegan thing (so far). Saj& Co does accommodate the viscous carnivores in our midst (OK. I am usually one also). The Hummy Yummy includes roast beef, white cheddar, wonderful hummus and a refreshing hit of lemon from somewhere! 
We finished up with a Baklava looking thing that was in a container on the counter tempting the hell out of us! Honey, phylo and I'm just not really sure what else but don't pass this up!
This is kind of a tiny place but so cool and so friendly. A saj by the way, is a domed flat top (?) which I do not have a picture of (see above). We will update this review as I am feeling warm and fuzzy about what we enjoyed tonight. Do you think of Lebanese as falafel and shawarma? I love that stuff but Saj&Co proves there is so much more!
Saj&Co Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

World Vegan Month - Chickpea

The end of World Vegan Month is fast approaching. We have managed to visit 8 places in Metro Vancouver that accommodate or specialize in plant based diets and we have discovered several more that we will try in the future. We don't claim to have done much to save the world, but we feel good and have tried to spread the message through this humble blog and on Instagram. Remember, if you haven't already read it here, that more than half of all global warming gasses are produced by the animal agriculture industry. Yes, we like our meat but it is not to contributing to the well being of the planet that will be inherited but your children or their children.
Any way, it turns out that Chickpea is our favourite. This is a funky upbeat place on Main not far from King Edward, offering an all vegan menu but they own a deep fryer! That seemed to make the difference to us this month! I am done with bowls!
This menu is a bit of a challenge with all its possibilities. Choose your style of mean first, then choose you main and any sides. Chick Pea Fries were one of our sides and they truly hit the spot. Served with a sweet chili sauce and mango sauce, these were a nice change from French fries. For our mains, we first chose Kasum (deep fried cauliflower with mushrooms and lemon garlic sauce) served as a pita.
A tasty variation on a falafel sandwich, the garlic sauce was strong and brought it altogether. Make sure you have plenty of napkins! For our second main, we chose Sabich (deep fried eggplant with chick peas and sweet potatoes) which we had served as a hummus plate.
Not surprisingly, they killed it on the hummus. It was excellent and this was a wonderful plate. My only criticism of the whole meal was that the eggplant was not particularly hot out of the fryer. I feel like it waited some for the other meal components. As one of our sides, we chose their pickled veggies and we loved them! Who knew that you could pickle turnips?
Finally a side salad came from somewhere.
I'm not sure what it belonged to but the dill pickle was amazing and we liked the crunchy deep fried chick peas that topped the salad. I feel like we barely scratched the surface at Chickpea with several other tempting items waiting for our return! Our most enjoyable vegan meal in Vancouver this month.
We recommend Chickpea for healthy, delicious, guilt free eats!
Chickpea Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

World Vegan Month - Rolling Cashew

Their web site steered me a little wrong but I was determined! I drove to the old East Side Market location (my fault) then, as directed by their web site, to what turned out to be their night time parking location (when not serving) on Industrial. I finally found the new East Side Market location. They were parked outside the market which meant I did not have to pay the entry fee like we did at the old location (pretty annoying previously since I wanted food and not crafts).
We tried a couple of things starting with "Crokets"!
These are like deep fried mashed potato macaroons and are served with a garlic cashew sauce. This was very good.
We also tried their Thai Cashew Cauliflower Wings (which we have had and enjoyed before) which are served over Jasmine rice and with a side salad. These were sweet and sticky and not too spicy (we chose medium spicy) and were very enjoyable! The cauliflower was meaty and a good vehicle for the sauce. The pine nuts sprinkled over were a true bonus!
On a previous visit, we enjoyed the toasted sandwich served on very good foccacia with mushroom pate, cashew cheese, and some sauteed vegetables. More tasty eats. Rolling Cashew has a brief but all plant based menu that provides a healthy alternative to the usual. Nice folks too!
Rolling Cashew Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

World Vegan Month - Buddha Full

Next on our World Vegan Month passport was Buddha Full in the lower Lonsdale area. They were full blast into their Saturday lunch rush when we arrived. This is a bright yet rustic and warm space where you are made to feel welcome. Service is counter order and pick up. They were handling the long line well except that I noticed some stalls as customers were no doubt verifying the pedigree of their organic products. Menus are strategically located well in front of the ordering counter and I would suggest that we all try to make up our minds in advance to allow things to run smoothly!
We started with Pakoras. These were not quite what you would get at an Indian restaurant but where probably considerably more healthy and came with a tamarind dipping sauce. We liked them.
Next came the inevitable bowl. Bowls seem to be the theme at vegan restaurants which is fine but I feel like I could be assembling the same thing at home quite easily.
They had run out of Dal so we tried the Soul Chili Bowl. It was a tasty helping of vegan chili on brown rice, with spinach shredded Daiyo Cheese and cashew queso dressing. While everything was great, the shredded cheese was a little dry and of strange texture. Later in the day, we bought a couple of vegan cheeses for home testing. More on that later!
We also had a Tuscan Sausage Wrap which came with cashew pesto, more of the vegan cheese and spinach. The "sausage" was very good but there was only a small amount, shaved thin rather than in sausage form as we expected. More would have been a good thing. The side on this plate was wonderful shredded beets and carrots on greens and their house ginger dill dressing. The greatest thing about this vegan month is that I am eating a ton of vegetables and it feels good (I already eat a lot of vegetables!

We chose to pass on the selection of juices and smoothies but that is available, if that's what you want. We like Buddha Full. You can get a tasty meal in very good conscience in a friendly place.
Buddha-Full Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

World Vegan Month - Chronic Taco

Chronic Taco is another one of those places that I've wanted to try for sometime. I realise that it borders on fast food but I think they're at least a step up aren't they? At any rate, I saw on their web site that they offered some vegetarian and vegan options so one lovely Sunday morning, I decided to try some tacos.
I went to the New Westminster store which according to their web site opens at 9, according to Google opens at 10 and according to their sign on the door opens at 11 (heavy sigh). Somehow they appeared open at about 10:40 so I wandered in.
It's a pretty hip space with counter service and seating options from booths to high tables to the bar. I liked it there! Counter order of course and they build your tacos and so on to order. The vegan option consists of rice and beans in either tacos, bowls, burritos etc. They also have some tempting carnivorous protein options but we're not talking about that this month! 
So I ordered my vegan taco. Rice and beans (which forms a complete protein if that's what you are worried about) along with some decent guacamole, jalapenos, tomato, lettuce etc.Not a bad little taco for  4 bucks. 
I also ordered a burrito. Not much different except for flour tortilla instead of corn...and wrapped of course.
And I gave into the temptation of Crispy Taters. This feels a little too "Taco Time" to me but hey I am being good otherwise. Tasty little guys that I could make at home in the oven...and maybe I will. 
So Chronic Taco offers a basic vegan option without a lot of variation available. I prefer it to the A&W option as far as quick and easy is concerned and for my carnivorous friends, there is more decent chow to be had!
Chronic Tacos Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

World Vegan Month - Pearl Castle

After going to visit the lights at Capilano Canyon, we had planned to visit another vegan place on our passport but they had closed up early due to the holiday. Without a firm back up plan, and not wanting to phone a bunch of places to find something open, we took out chances in the Metrotown area. I was prepared to live on white rice one time to keep my vegan month going. At Pearl Castle, I knew that I could at least keep my partner happy and I could watch while I ate my rice (maybe with a few sesame seeds). To my great joy, they did have a couple of vegan items on the menu!
Located in Old Orchard Shopping Mall near Metro Town, Pearl Castle is a Taiwanese joint and definitely not a health food place, but with an extensive menu that offers a lot of our favourites!
We started with Deep Fried Tofu! Hot and salty with a sweet dipping sauce and kimchee on the side. I was in vegan heaven although I stayed clear of the kimchee knowing that it probably had salted shrimp in it. Not every vegan dish has be all super-foods (there is no such thing by the way), there are plenty of less healthy choices available and this is one of them and we enjoyed it!
I followed with Three Cup Abalone Mushrooms. It came with a side of rice and sauteed bok choi. The mushrooms were meaty and had nice chew but the sauce was a little weak to my tastes. Three cup chicken is a favourite of mine and it usually has a little stronger soy flavour. The mushrooms themselves were deep fried and maybe would have stayed crispy if they were served on top of the sauce rather than in it. Still I enjoyed them and appreciated the vegan option.
Marie, who is not strictly following the vegan thing except when she has no choice, ejoyed the Deep Fried Pork Chop set (as I looked on a little enviously - sorry vegans ). Rice, bok choi and a cold noodle dish accompanied.
Pearl Castle is a busy comfortable little place and part of a small and popular chain. The staff are friendly and efficient. Everyone will find something tasty to eat here!

Pearl Castle Cafe Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

World Vegan Month - Heirs Pears

The name of this place is based on the adage 'plant pears for your heirs'. To be honest, I don't know this saying but it make sense that many things you can do will benefit not only yourself but future generations. One of those things is obviously to eat in a sustainable manner. That is the idea at Heirs Pears although it does not serve strictly vegetarian dishes but offers carnivorous options.
Offering these choices to folks right downtown, Heirs Pears is located just off Granville on Nelson, in an airy high  ceilinged space with seating choices that include window front and outside. Marie has been patient with me, being less enthusiastic about the whole vegan thing, so I was happy that she could eat a piece of fish in good conscience, while I stuck to my vegan experiment guns! 
You pick your main, you pick any side or sides at the counter, then it is delivered to you when ready (there are also several sandwich choices, pastries and so on). Marie had a tasty Cod with Harissa and a Pickled Watermelon Salad on rice noodles with cashews and crispy garlic. The pickled watermelon was refreshing and interesting while a basil chili lime dressing brought it all together. Very nice!
I had their Vegan Sandwich. Peri-Peri "Chicken" salad which was yet another brush with the meaty jackfruit. Prepared with apple, celery, walnuts, mango chutney and vegan mayo, it was served on a very good ciabatta bread. A little messy and very tasty, I really didn't get peri-peri too much and I wouldn't have minded a little more heat. Still, not a bad choice. I came across this as Vanfoodster's Sandwich Challenge is taking place this month and two of the three choices are vegan and the third is vegetarian! Coincidence (as this is World Vegan Month)? I don't think so!
Prices are very good here! Marie and Iunched for just a little over $20. And there are other attractive choices including house cured duck pastrami and humbolt squid. A nice concept! Service was friendly and fairly quick. We recommend Heirs Pears!

Heirs Pears Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

World Vegan Month - Kokomo

Back on the vegan trail after a slight path deviation for Dumpling Fest, we tried another cafe off the Vegan Passport. Kokomo is located on Gore on the edge of Chinatown, which we found to be a sort of an out of the way location. They seem OK with that as their place and fare becomes more of a destination for sincerely hungry vegans and not just drop in traffic. Their menu is short and to the point with bowls and smoothies as the focal point.
We tried the All-Day Breaky Macro, a scrambled tofu dish with squash, roasted tempeh, cumin pickled cauliflower, greens and brown rice in addition to cilantro crema, hemp hearts, cilantro, green onions and sesame seeds. This was a tasty and undeniably a healthy way to start the day. Both the pickled cauliflower and tempeh provided interesting notes that are a little off the beaten path.
We also tried the Golden Laksa, a coconut turmeric broth with noodles, zucchini noodles, ginger fermented carrot and more greens. This was another tasty bowl, very subtle and refreshing. Here is where the folks at Kokomo rose above what might be expected. I completely forgot to mention that Marie is allergic to flax seeds (not usually and issue when we are at our usual Asian restaurants). Sure enough the crackers topping the Laksa contained flax seed (which they had already delivered to our table). They gladly prepared another bowl with out the crackers and packaged the first bowl to send home with us! A generous response, I would say.
Kokomo is a nice airy and bright little place with one lone table for communal eating. The folks here are friendly and interested in speaking about their venture! It provides another vegan option for people interested in healthy heating in good conscience.
Kokomo Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

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Are you guys eating again? At some point Marie and I became the kind of people who take pictures of everything we eat, whether in a restaura...