Persia Foods - Vegan Options

I am a different kind of nerd. I don't care for video games or tech or the stock market. I am a bit of a science and skepticism nerd but weirdly, a grocery store for people with a different cuisine or culture is totally absorbing to me (food nerd?). I will often purchase food because I just don't know what it is, just to taste it and figure out what to do with it.

The North Shore has a large Persian population (not sure of exact numbers) and there are several Persian grocery stores along Lonsdale and elsewhere locally. This place, Persia Foods is on Marine Drive and caught our eye. I could not help myself and we ended up coming home with a bag of groceries that just happened to be vegan and mostly from Iran.
This bread is not from Iran but the recipe probably is. It was warm when we bought it but surprisingly made it home with us and didn't get devoured in the car. We toasted some in the oven and spread it with various things including the fig jam that you will see in a moment. This is not the first time we have purchased Persian bread and we love it!
From the pickle and jam aisle (I'm not sure if they called it that), we bought some fig jam as well as pickled garlic and pickled bandari. The latter is a spicy mixture of eggplant, tomato paste, cauliflower etc. which we love! The garlic is very good also but curiously is jarred in semi-peeled heads.
There were a lot of these little tinned concoctions and I could have come home with many more varieties (next time). There was a wonderful stewed eggplant mix which we polished off fairly quickly and a spinach and plum mixture which was a little sweet and very tasty as well. In the middle is dessert.
The dessert is a saffron cake or pudding which tasted a bit medicinal to us. We're not sure if that is the way it is supposed to be or if it is the consequence of being in a can. At any rate, we will avoid it in the future.
Other cool things we bought were halva, dates, a quince, a couple of fried noodle soups and a dried herb mixture for making Ghormeh Sabzi, an Iranian herb stew. We have made it before using the dried herbs and beans etc., and it is easily veganized and rich and delicious. We're not really sure where everything is from other than the halvah is from Greece while the soups, herbs, and tins and jars are all from Iran.
I love exploring new cuisines and while Persian food and culture is familiar to Vancouver, there is always more to discover and we love that there were so many products made without animal inputs.

Wild Trails Coffee - Vegan Cafe

The all-in vegan joints are few and far between compared to places that provide a few vegan options. Don't get me wrong; I appreciate that whoever is in charge is at least thinking about people who choose to eat plant-based for the planet's sake and because they have decided not to have their dinner murdered. When though, someone has the morals to choose not to serve animal products at all, I admire them greatly.

Located on 14th Street E just a block or 2 east of Lonsdale, WTC's website recommends some documentaries, most available on Netflix that will change your mindset if you are open-minded. The website certainly gave us an idea of what we would find when we showed up. Inside this cozy, eclectically decorated cafe you will find coffee, baked goods, sandwiches and smoothies that got there with zero animal cruelty involved!
We started with some very good coffee and tried a breakfast sandwich that was also very good. It seems like vegan cheese is getting better day by day and that to me is the most important element when you take your "mcmuffin" plant-based. In addition to the cheese and English Muffin, there was tofu egg and a vegan pepperoni (or similar) which has my mouth watering even now. All finished in a press, this was definitely worthwhile!
We also ordered a Panini (sorry...panino) but somehow, my picture is terrible....need to check that more carefully. So I have posted a second pic of the breakfast sandwich. The panino was vegan turkey with cheese and tomatoes on ciabatta and toasted. It was also very good being warm and melty and the turkey had some decent flavour. I could eat those for lunch regularly (or the breakfast sandwich for that matter).
In addition to really good coffee and sandwiches, WTC will whip up a smoothie for you or serve baked goods from To Live For or Bonus Bakeries.
There is a window bar and a few stools or comfy chairs where you can enjoy your goodies and coffee and another one outside if the weather is nice. Just one thing, our hostess told us that at least once a day someone is rude to her because she runs a plant-based business. We feel like that is disgusting behavior that we would otherwise attribute to narrow minded people with MAGA hats but should not be a part of our Canadian culture. Grow up! In  the meantime, we will be back when we are on the North Shore.
Food                             4 out of 5
Vegan options               5 out of 5
Comfort                        4 out of 5
Service                         4 1/2 out of 5
Value                            4 1/2 out of 5 

Kinton Ramen - Vegan Options

After soaking up some sunshine quayside while enjoying coffee from Shipyards Coffee and some surprisingly good apricot bread from Cobbs (vegan btw), we got ourselves ready for dinner. It still being winter we had planned for ramen and stuck to the plan despite the beautiful weather because really, ramen can be wonderful at any time!

Kinton Ramen is on Lonsdale at the top of the hill. We considered walking from the Pinnacle Hotel but in the end, thought better of it. Parking was no problem however and free on the street. Love free parking! We were seated right away having arrived at 5:30ish but there was a lineup by the time we were leaving.
We started with the Veg Gyoza. These were deep-fried and served with a sweet chilli sauce. We detected maybe a touch of peanut butter in the house-made sauce. These were our favourite bites of the evening. 
Kinton offers 4 vegetarian ramen types but we learned in advance that these could be served vegan. Our server was good enough to inform us that the bamboo shoots were prepared with fish sauce (which seems weird and management later informed us that it is not someone confused?) and we were able to substitute something else. Mharie ordered the fat noodles which were fine. The fried bean curd was slightly sweet which was quite tasty also! A slightly peppery broth and some corn, wood ear mushrooms and green onions and we had a nice bowl of soup.
I ordered the Veg Miso Ramen with the thin noodles. Pretty well the same as the Shoyu but saltier. In fact, toward the end of the bowl, the broth became too salty. It's not like I have never had miso ramen before. Still, I enjoyed the noodles, tofu and wood ear mushrooms.
KR is a nice little cafe with pretty sharp decorative wood on the wall, an open kitchen and a nice high ceiling. For whatever reason, there were obviously too many servers working and they were desperate to find something to do. As a result, someone filled up our water glasses every 5 seconds. It reached the point where it was causing me to laugh which could have been construed as disrespectful....not intended. It was an enjoyable meal with too-salty soup that I'm not even sure is vegetarian unless your server warns you.
Food                     3 out of 5
Vegan options      3 out of 5
Comfort                3 1/2 out of 5
Service                 3 out of 5
Value                    3 out of 5

Cornelia Fine Tacos - Vegan Options

So we decided to spend the weekend in North Vancouver. There we experienced something that we had forgotten was even a thing, namely sunshine. I'm not sure if it was the only place in the valley that was sunny but I will always remember it that way. We stayed overnight at the Pinnacle Hotel at the Pier and so spend quite a bit of time loitering around The Shipyards and the Quay soaking up the sun like a couple of lizards. It was wonderful. We were also able to enjoy some plant-based eats on the North Shore including tacos at Cornelia Fine Tacos.

Located on Pemberton Avenue, conveniently below Pemberton Door and Window, we had the place to ourselves when we arrived Saturday just before noon. Ordering is at a kiosk just inside the door and pretty easy to navigate. Our hostess volunteered her services and clarified a couple of items which was helpful. 
We placed our order and paid at the kiosk. A few minutes later our order chugged out of the kitchen on a tray on a repurposed sushi train (not really) and waited for us to gather it up. This would be an efficient system when they are busy but it was just fun for us.
We shared a 4 pack of tacos as there are 4 vegan tacos on the menu. They each offered the option of flour tortillas but we stuck with the corn which were frankly amazing. Some were a little sparce for toppings but each was "meaty" in its own way.
In no particular order (as I can't remember which was which), we had Jackfruit Mole, Mushroom Pibil, Tofu Picadillo and Vegan Chorizo. We both kind of leaned towards the chorizo as being our favourite but they were all tasty.
The real star of this show was the Vegan Chorizo Quesadilla. I usually ignore that part of the menu at Mexican joints as, you know...cheese, but CFT has Violife cheese in the kitchen just waiting for vegans to happen by! This was the most melty and rich vegan cheese that we have tried (we found it at Whole Foods later) and made this a first class quesadilla! Highly recommended!
I'm not 100% sure if the churros were vegan but this was for my wife who loves the things! They usually are vegan but sometimes include butter. Between the hostess and myself, we just got confused and couldn't answer the question for sure. Anyway, tasty according to Mharie.
Cornelia Fine Tacos is a pretty cool place with an interesting history that you can read about on their website. The dining room is bright and beautiful and I even noticed a variety of molcajetes under the counter that were tourist worthy. Pretty solid vegan Mexican food for you North Shore types!
Food                              4 1/2 out of 5 (all about the quesadillas!)
Vegan Options              4 1/2 out of 5 (see above!)
comfort                          4 out of 5
Service                          4 out of 5
Value                             4 out of 5

Ramen Danbo - Vegan Options

Line-ups are the norm at Ramen Danbo and we have wandered down Robson Street and felt sorry for the folks out in the rain. This is our first visit to RD on W Broadway and they have a new and better system for getting a table which might now be in place on Robson as well. At the front door is a tablet to enter your name, the number in your party and your phone number. It will tell you wait times, update you and call you when the table is ready. The only confusing thing was that the phone call letting us know our table was ready, originated in Ohio. Some clever person suggested that this was a Yelp hub as the system seemed to be a Yelp platform thing. Anyway, we hung out in Mark's and looked at jeans and t-shirts for a while until our table was ready (sooner than we expected).

This is a small and cozy little place and it's hard not to listen in on your neighbour's conversations but it's worth squeezing in for very good ramen.
We started with pan-fried vegan Yaki Gyoza. These were pretty tasty and when you sauce them up with whatever sauce is at the table including the chilli oil, this is a satisfying experience.
We also had Soy Chashu Donburi. They did a pretty good job of the chashu. Not too surprising but a bit of teriyaki-type flavour on what might have been soya chaap or seitan. Not sure why we didn't ask but it was quite good.
Mharie had the vegan Shio Ramen. The broth was quite good. We don't feel like we're missing out by not having the standard tonkatsu broth. It seems like they have taken care to make it stand up well as the option. There are several pieces of thick fried tofu that were also very good. Some may think that tofu is bland but it is very good when marinated as it is a clean palate to soak in flavour. Not surprisingly, the noodles were wonderful and you can top up your bowl (for a small price) if your noodle consumption outstrips your broth consumption!
I had the Curry Vegan Ramen which is apparently a limited-time winter special. I ordered the Rekka version and asked for it medium hot but worked up a sweat anyway. We tried the vegan soft-boiled egg. It was interesting but not something that I would go out of my way for. We're guessing soy-based. The texture was curious as the white was very soft (like silken tofu) while the yolk could have a miso paste base. Still, we loved the soup!
I can't think of a ramen joint where the service is not good and this is no exception. It was very accommodating, quick and friendly. A very good experience with some nice warming food on a rainy Vancouver day!
Food                           4 1/2 out of 5
Vegan Options            3 1/2 out of 5
Comdort                      4 out of 5
Service                        4 1/2 out of 5
Value                           4 1/2 out of 5

Uncle Faith's Pizza - Surrey - Vegan Options

Plant-based pizza can be challenging. As a food that is essentially cheese-centric, just deleting the animal products sort of effs up the experience and should be called something other than pizza. On the other hand, many cheese knock-offs (sometimes referred to as cheez) are acceptable and bring the same experience to the eater without bringing suffering to the supplier (i.e.cows). Uncle Faith's Pizza has vegetarian pizzas on their menu which, when you opt for vegan cheese become...vegan.We tried 3 and were quite impressed.

UF in Surrey is adjacent to the Surrey Place Skytrain station. We ordered take-out but there are a few tables and you can comfortably dine in.
My wife with the sweet tooth likes Hawaiian Pizza but the closest that we could come up with was the Veggie Lover Pizza with Pineapple (no vegan bacon here) and hold the black olives (not her thing). Not a terrible pie! Remember to opt for the vegan cheese which you can have at no extra charge and they are not cheap with it! Well done UF!
Next up was the Garlic Lovers Pizza again with the vegan cheese option (at no extra charge!). We opted for the thin crust on this one (Veggie Lover with Pineapple was a regular crust). Both of the crusts were quite good and a little on the crackery side rather than what we are used to. That's not a complaint as it was a pretty good pizza.
Finally, we had a Potato Pizza. Sort of a curious idea isn't it? I have had potato pizza in the past where the potato was in slices. This one seemed to have smallish cubes like some brands of frozen hash browns. This did not taste like breakfast specifically but many people love cold pizza for breakfast and this would be a perfect fit. We liked it a lot. It's notable that all 3 of our pizzas had a sprinkling of sesame seeds. We're not sure why that is but we kind of liked it.
We were thinking of Uncle Faith's as a takeout kind of place but there is actually quite a bit of room to sit and enjoy a slice. They have pizzas made up and waiting for you if you are mid-transit and just want to get something to fill the void. I wouldn't expect there to be any vegan pizzas on the warming rack though. Still, one of the better pizza chain joints that we have come across as far as serving vegans is concerned!
Food                                    3 out of 5
Vegan Options                    3 out of 5
Comfort                               3 1/2 out of 5
Service                                4 out of 5
Value                                   3 1/2 out of  5

Sweet Revenge Bakery, Langley - Vegan Options

I am more than a little excited about Sweet Revenge Bakery! The only downside is that tasty and calorie-rich wonderful pastries that are plant-based are now within 20 minutes of home and will be a constant source of temptation. Located at 64th and 196 in Langley SRBC is open 7 am to 8 pm,7 days a week. Parking is a problem however and you should be prepared to walk a few steps from whatever street parking you can find. I had already read some Google reviews and assumed that there was a Filipino element at the bakery as I saw ube (purple yam) mentioned. I was fortunate enough to meet the head chef on Sunday morning who is not only Filipino but has head chefed at Meet and Kind Cafe. Having developed recipes for both of those vegan restaurants, he has the experience and has more plans for vegan items at SRBC!

I was sold immediately as I sat down and tried arguably the best vegan breakfast sandwich that I have ever had! It started with an amazing plant-based croissant followed by a tofu egg with a secret 'eggy' spice mix. Topped with amazing shitake mushroom bacon and excellently melty cheese, reminiscent of American slices. In my defence, I took have of it home for my wife who was enjoying a rare sleep-in. The coffee was pretty fine as well but do not miss this sandwich!
I tried to order and take home one of everything plant-based on their menu / baked goods case, but I realize that what they have may change from day to day. Flaky, buttery and wonderful is how we both described these pastries. Mharie is an Almond Croissant connoisseur and this scored high on her list.
I waited around for a while to score the Strawberry Donut. If vegan donuts can be this good, why aren't all donuts plant-based? These were both wonderful but should be enjoyed judiciously owing to their calorie content! Still, a little bit of pleasure should come into everyone's life from time to time!
I didn't pay enough attention to the ice cream labelled as vegan. I'm not sure if we are talking sorbet or coconut-based ice cream but I will be back to check it out.
If this place was within walking distance of home, I would be here all the time! There are a few comfortable seats at small tables with big windows and nice bright high ceilings. Staff are enthusiastic and we will probably be back frequently just so that my wife can enjoy the occasional old-home week! If you can enjoy your baked goods without cruelty, why wouldn't you?
Food                            4 1/2 out of 5
Vegan Options             4 out of 5
Comfort                       4 out of 5
Service                        4 out of 5
Value                           4 out of 5


Kokomo, Port Moody - Vegan Restaurant

There are vegan eateries that emphasize healthy eating and vegan eateries that have deep fryers and both have their place. Veganism is not a healthy eating lifestyle. It is a lifestyle that avoids the exploitation of animals and cruelty. That being said, avoiding the Oreos and deep-fried vegan nuggets (as well as meat obviously) can be a pretty healthy way to live. Kokomo has healthy items on its menu but that taste good as well! We went to Kokomo in Chinatown several years ago but they have been successful and expanded to 4 locations in the meantime. We made it to the Port Coquitlam location last weekend.

Located just off Barnett Hwy and Ioco Road, in the Thrifty's Foods area, you can park an hour for free under the grocery store. The area is a bit of a traffic zoo otherwise.
We started with a milkshake which admittedly does not sound overly healthy. This was Creamsicle flavour and really conjured up fond memories for me. It was a little on the thin side and not very cold for a milkshake though and I'm not sure if that was the intention. 
We were also intrigued by the Yogurt Parfait featuring Yoggu Yogurt. We saw this brand of yogurt in a grocery store at the disturbing price of $10 for 500g (hard pass). It is, however, excellent vegan yogurt and this particular parfait with granola and fresh berries was very good!
The Buffalo Caesar Wrap was also a winner. Made with soy curls marinated in some kind of Buffalo sauce, the 'meat' had a nice texture and flavour. With a healthy serving of assorted crunchy veggies and pickled onions and tofu feta, it is a meal unto itself. We would eat this anytime.
We also shared a Beet Poke Macro Bowl. This was a selection of all sorts of tasty things from marinated beets to pickled carrots and ginger, wasabi peas, furikake, and edamame all served over brown rice with spicy mayo and ginger miso sauce. A satisfying and tasty bowl with lots of flavours and textures, all for only $14. Very nice!
There seem to be a lot more items on the menu than when we first visited the original Chinatown outpost of Kokomo. Obviously, we like that. This is a small place if you are planning to dine in but it is bright and comfortable enough. The staff were friendly and enthusiastic about what they were serving.

Food                             4 out of 5
Vegan Options              5 out of 5
Comfort                         4 out of 5
Service                          4 out of 5
Value                             4 1/2 out of 5

Wild Oat Bakery & Café, Bellingham - Vegan Cafe

Metro Vancouver vegan YouTubers, Vegan Twosome recently visited and reviewed Wild Oat Bakery and Cafe in Bellingham. While I was intrigued, I always want to review other places just to get the word out on as many vegan eateries as possible. So we set our sites on Go Natural Foods, a Latin American cafe with a vegan/vegetarian menu. Google told us it was open until 6pm and led us to the front door! Oops! Not there anymore! I never follow my own advice to phone ahead. Good thing we had a backup plan!

Wild Oak is downtown near Oak and W Holly Street and street parking is available. We arrived just after noon on a Monday and there were tables available. Check out the menu, order and pay at the counter and the nice folks will bring you your food.
We were a little conservative on the ordering front. Mharie had decided on a BLT with a cup of soup on the side. This was a decent Tortilla Soup that hit the spot for a rainy Monday. The BLT was nicely toasted on sourdough bread.
We were kind of impressed with the coconut bacon. It's hard to say how they do that but it was salty and a little crispy like you want it to be!
The Chickpea Toona Melt was definitely worth the price of admission. Rye bread nicely grilled and buttery was the base for chickpea toona which was not as fishy (in a good way) as you might expect but provided a nice taste and texture. Melty provolone-style cheese, lettuce and mayo rounded out this very good sandwich. Served with a decent and very fresh side salad, this was a satisfying light lunch. Just right.
There are quite a few other tempting items on their menu including a Reuben and a Blackened Cajun Fysh Sandwich that we would like to try. If you're in Bellingham or passing through, this place provides some solid vegan eats. A nice cozy room and friendly service rounded out our experience.
Food                     4 out of 5
Vegan Options      5 out of 5
Comfort                4 out of 5
Service                 4 out of 5
Value                    4 1/2 out of 5

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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...