John's Pan Pizza, Steveston - Vegan Options

Here is something interesting to try! Zero in on an area on Google Maps where you would like to eat a meal (say, Steveston). Then in the search bar, enter "vegan". You will probably be surprised by the number of restaurants whose names pop up on your screen. Of course, some are not vegan at all other than offering a green salad or having a previous review which said, "not a place for vegans!" but some may actually have some plant based options on their menus. We discovered John's Pan Pizza in Steveston this way. We had intended to check out the new Garry Point Grill and thought we could visit John's as well.

There are a couple of tables and a window counter bar inside but it was way too hot on this summer day to be comfortable. We managed to grab the one small outside table.
It is easy to find the vegan offerings here both on the printed menu and on the website version. We started with the Vegan Green Pizza which featured pesto, artichokes and garlic and was frankly an excellent pizza! The crust was decent and the Daiya cheese was melty and very good. It was also wonderfully garlicky! We would drive out of our way (except that this would not be the environmentally friendly thing to do) to eat this.
Next up was the Vegan Chicken Pizza. The basis for this one was similar with decent crust and cheese, good tomato sauce and a few veggies (not a big fan of green pepper). However, under the heading, "what were they thinking" comes the vegan chicken. The staff did not know what kind of "chicken" this was so we have no one to blame for it but it was comparable to over cooked and dried out French fires. Throwing this on top of the pizza added nothing to it. At the very least this should have been marinated or sauced to give it some kind of flavour. This was a sold fail.
We decided to try the Vegan Lasagna as well. Now admittedly, it does not say that there is vegan cheese on this lasagna (we know that they have Daiya in the kitchen so we took it a little for granted) and it turned out to be basically, sauce and noodles....We decided to take it home and add our own cheese. There was nothing wrong with the part that we were served but we were more than a little disappointed. Another near miss as the cost of the Daiya cheese is obviously greater than serving a decent product.
I try not to crap on places especially if they are making the effort to serve food to the plant based minority. I somehow hope that more and more people will make plant-based choices when they are available for the sake of the animals and the planet but John's needs to try a little harder. Still the Vegan Green Pizza was great! Maybe just a few tweaks will help.
Food                                  2 1/2 out of 5
Vegan Options                  3 out of 5
Comfort                             3 out of 5
Service                              3 1/2 out of 5
Value                                 2 1/2 out of 5

Garry Point Grill & Fish & Chips - Vegan Options

Was it about a year ago that Pajo's at Garry Point Park closed? At any rate, it was replaced by Garry Point Grill and Fish & Chips and I happened to notice that they had some menu choices that Pajo's didn't have namely vegan items. We happen to love Steveston and arrived Saturday in the middle of the Steveston Grand Prix of Art which we certainly could have spent more time absorbing had we anticipated it. Even with an event ongoing and it being a beautiful summer day, Steveston is still accessible with plenty of parking and places to eat.

Busy as it was, GPG seems to be well organized and we did not have to wait long for our order even though everything was freshly made. We were able to score a picnic table in the shade but be prepared to sit in the grass or on the beautiful beach to enjoy your eats.
We started with a Taco Salad. This was refreshing and pretty tasty. Black beans provided the substance and some tortilla chips provided the taco part. Other than that there were the usual suspects including corn, greens and lettuce. Sorry for the colour rendering! Between the sun and reflections and so on, it was a little tough even to make this presentable! It looked better in person.
The Chicken Strips and Fries were what you'd expect. These strips seemed to be tofu based and were pretty good. They were just nicely salty and even a bit crispy. My wife was not super keen on the fries but they are fish and chips appropriate and so that's what they serve.
They also serve a vegan Garden Veggie Burger. This was a commercially made patty (maybe Yves?) but not bad. I almost prefer this on a burger compared to a "meat " patty. It had some nice char and a bit of cumin taste. Rice and vegetables seem to be the main part of the patty and it was pretty tasty. The bun was good and it came with the usual condiments.
The Tempura Green Beans were a very pleasant surprise. Crispy outside but still pretty firm inside and tasting like green beans. Nicely done!
So it's not the most brilliant vegan eats we've ever had but we don't expect it to be! It was actually pretty good by fast food standards. We're just impressed that a beachfront food stand is giving some thought to feeding the vegans when most places stick with the high profit guaranteed sellers like hot dogs and fries and fish and chips. Thanks GP Grill!
Food                          3 1/2 out of 5
Vegan Options          3 1/2 out of 5
Comfort                     NA
Service                      4 out of 5
Value                         4 out of 5

Ogenki Sushi Fusion - Vegan Menu

Ogenki Sushi Fusion has been on our list for a long time but the temptation of using another coupon from our Plant Curious Plant Based Deals Book is what finally got us here. Located in another vegan restaurant nest on Main Street, near E. 28th (Chickpea adjacent) we arrived just after opening time and had our choice of seats. 

OSF has a whole separate printed (or online) menu that is strictly vegan and we love that! There are so many fewer annoying questions for the staff that way.
Our server was quite enthusiastic about the Vegan Beef Teriyaki Roll and she was not wrong. The "beef" (which makes another appearance later) was quite amazing. The texture was almost a little to close for comfort to real beef but the teriyaki flavour was the stand out. It was quite delicious and this was my favourite roll.
I initially rejected the Philly Roll suggestion as I have always rejected cream cheese in Japanese food as it is just too un Japanese to be acceptable. Then I realized that vegan sushi is a bit of an un Japanese thing to start with so why am I being a snob? Too be honest, it was really tasty! It was fatty and creamy and nicely offset by a little wasabi. The Ogenki Roll was Mharie's favourite with yam tempura, more vegan cream cheese and fine and crispy potato shoe strings on top.
We had to try their Vegan Crab Oshi. This was another creamy and rich sushi item and even included the typical torching and jalapeno.  It did not however taste too much like crab. That's not necessarily a bad thing as it was still a nice experience between the textures and the Aburi sauce (mayo forward).
We tried a couple of nigiri pieces as it seems that all the vegan sushi places like to create vegan tuna and salmon nigiri. You can see from the photo that they looked amazing! The salmon (carrot) was pretty good although no one would mistake it for actual salmon. The tuna on the other hand was straight-up tomato. It was not a bad thing but if you measure success by approximation to tuna, it fails. I think tomato nigiri should be its own thing!
Finally (and guaranteeing that we would have leftovers to go), we tried one of the vegan Bento Boxes. This one feature more Teriyaki Beef with sides of tempura, rice, cucumber maki and a salad. A very good deal at $16.95 and gave us a taste of their very good tempura.
Ogenki seems to occupy 2 spaces and I'm not sure why they keep the wall in the middle. Maybe it is load-bearing! Still it was comfy enough and our server was enthusiastic and helpful. There are a lot more items on this vegan menu to try and we will try to get back some day. Our Plant Based Deals coupon got us one free special tool which was a pretty good deal!
Food                                 4 out of 5
Vegan choices                  5 out of 5
Comfort                            3 1/2 out of 5
Service                             4 1/2 out of t
Value                                4 out of 5

My Shanti - Vegan Options

We last visited My Shanti in March of 2018 (so many restaurants, so little time) in our pre fully vegan days. You can read about it by searching on the web version of this blog. Vikram Vij is one of the heroes of the Vancouver restaurant scene and specifically an amazing promoter of excellent Indian food (and this is one of his restaurants; that is the point). I am not sure if My Shanti had vegan options on the menu 5 years ago or if they have evolved as all restaurants should to the point of making plant-based cuisine available.

Located at The Shops at Morgan Crossing, My Shanti is open for dinner every day but Monday. We were able to sit outside on the patio on this beautiful day.
Oh sure, we've had samosas before. We have never had Cashew, Date and Potato Samosas before. These were ever so slightly sweet from the date and a little richer than what we are used to. Also, as it happens it is a dish native to Lucknow (we love that the menu spans all of India and mentions the regions of origin of many of the dishes). The tamarind chutney was sublime and we would put it on anything!
Oh sure, we've had pakoras before. We have never had Jackfruit and Cauliflower Pakoras (actually maybe we have but not like this). The batter was moong dhaal based this time with a Kerala origin story. Also more wonderful tamarind chutney.
Next up was Dehli Style Eggplant Bharta with Sweet Peas. Flavoured with garam masala and topped with pickled ginger and cilantro, I would eat this every day. Rich and comforting, this was great with either rice or roti.
Finally, we enjoyed the Green Jackfruit Curry from Tamil Nadu (so our meal spanned India from north to south). The jackfruit was "meaty" enough that we did not feel like the dish lacked any substance. It could have been spicier but there was a little heat and I think they are obliged to cater to the heat tolerance of all kinds of people. Again perfect with rice and roti.
The roti was vegan-friendly which just meant that they didn't butter it! It did not need butter as we were using it to dip and pick things up!
The patio is lush with grape vines etc, and shields you from the bright sun (at least these days) and the adjacent road and creates a very pleasant area. Service is amazing as you might guess and our guy was very tuned in to the whole vegan option thing. This is not cheap Indian food but considering the quality and experience, was not nearly what we would call expensive.
Food                              5 out of 5
Vegan Options              4 1/2 out of 5
Comfort                         4 1/2 out of 5
Service                          5 out of 5
Value                             4 1/2 out of 5


Thai Away Home - Vegan Options

I recently read a review by a blogger about Thailiscious on East Hastings at Nanaimo. Sharing a website and menu somehow Thailiscious is part of the Thai Away Home group as is the Granville Street location which we visited. What jumped out at me from the review was a photo of the front counter with a handwritten sign that said "vegan menu." I was disappointed that the vegan menu was never mentioned in said review. As BC burns again this summer, a more plant-based diet is one of the things that can help mitigate climate change in general. I feel like food bloggers and restaurant review bloggers can bring some meaning beyond eating to their posts by drawing attention to it. That is our goal anyway.

So, we arrived one Saturday afternoon after a disappointing attempt to listen to free jazz on Granville Island. Can anyone tell me what happened to jazz in David Lam Park this year? It has been our Jazz Festival go-to event for years and all of a sudden, nothing!
It turns out that each of the Thai Away Home/ Thailiscious locations have some menu independence and so this location did not have a specific vegan menu but they do have some marked vegan-friendly menu items starting with the Crispy Tofu. This was reliably tasty and came with a Thai sweet dipping sauce with peanuts. Nice!
We're partial to Crispy Wontons and these came with a plum sauce. They could have come with a little more filling but the veggie filling that was there was not bad, maybe sweet potato or squash based.
Next up was the Tofu and Veggie Stir Fry with Thai Sweet Basil. It either came with rice or we ordered rice, I can't remember which. There was a little bit of a spicy sauce with this and the veggies were nicely cooked and had some crispiness to them. There was a nice variety as well although, the broccoli was past its prime.
Our favourite dish was the Pad Si Ew. Make sure they substitute non egg noodles and you are good to go with this. The noodles had some nice texture and the veggies were again good except for the broccoli. I'm not in favour of throwing away vegetables and I would eat these at home (or make sure they are used in time), but I'm not sure that I would feed them to customers. Maybe they had a supplier issue. Still overall a tasty dish again. 
There are a few other vegan-friendly dishes on the menu. We left satisfied and even had a few left overs to go. Our server was very nice and just attentive enough. I would call this branch of Thai Away Home a reliable spot for vegan eats on Grenville Street.
Food                                 3 out of 5
Vegan Options                  3 1/2 out of 5
Comfort                             3 1/2 out of 5
Service                              4 out of 5
Value                                 3 out of 5

House of Dosas, South Surrey - Vegan Options

It feels like it's been too long since we last went for South Indian food. I saw on the Daily Hive that House of Dosas was opening up in South Surrey which is a relatively easy Sunday morning jaunt for us compared to driving all the way to Vancouver to their original restaurant. The new location is near the corner of 16th and 152nd in White Rock, so there is no dealing with the insane summer Marine Drive traffic..

We arrived just as they were opening and were seated right away. One of the things that really drew me to House of Dosas is that vegan menu items are clearly marked! There is no quizzing of staff including testing their understanding of the difference between vegetarian and vegan. We just ordered off the menu!
We started with the Rasam Vadai, mainly because we were unfamiliar with it. As our server told us, this would be a perfect winter dish. Vadai (or vada) are the wonderful savoury donuts we have had quite often that are legume-based rather than wheat-based. The rasam is a warming herbaceous soup with a nice tamarind slight sourness that goes perfectly with the vada. We will most certainly be back for this when the weather cools off but we don't regret ordering it even on this warm morning. 
Dal Makhani is a black lentil dish that is often vegan no matter where you go (you should still ask to make sure as butter or ghee show up at times). Served with rice and a plain dosa, this was creamy and smooth and felt almost buttery. The dosa was nicely crispy and went well with the dal. Don't panic as the yogurt-based dip in the photo was discovered (served in error) in time to save the world.
This Onion-Rava Dosa was a revelation and the source of much enthusiasm on the parts of both my wife and myself! The key word here is rava which is a dosa containing semolina and also rice flour and wheat flour. It was lacey as you can see from the photo and very crispy! Amazing and again, this was a new dish for us! Under the dosa is an onion-eggplant concoction that we scooped up with pieces of dosa. Delicious!
Finally, we tried the Mixed Vegetable Uttapam (believe me that a lot of this meal went home with us!). Sort of pizza-like but again lentil based rather than wheat for the crust. Nicely soft in texture and full of tasty veggies and Indian spices. A substantial and satisfying yet healthy dish.
The dining room here was cool and airy and comfortable. Our server was quite friendly and enthusiastic and offered some pretty good suggestions. Reasonably priced to begin with, HoD offers a Monday deal on dosa that is worth driving out of your way for! This has been our best restaurant experience in a long time and we tapped about it all the way home!
Food                             5 out of 5
Vegan Options              4 1/2 out of 5
Comfort                         4 out of 5
Service                          5 out of 5
Value                             5 out of 5

Slim's BBQ - Vegan Options

Back in my omnivorous days, I used to go to Memphis Blues Barbeque once in a while. At the time, some of the staff wore T-shirts that said "Vegetarian" inside a circle with a line through it. I thought that was pretty funny at the time! Slim's BBQ seems to have created a barbeque restaurant space where both vegans and non-vegans are catered to! "A cozy joint for vegan and carnivores to enjoy homemade BBQ together." We had to see for ourselves if this was really possible... And is anyone actually still vegetarian these days?

Located in what we have come to call, the Vegan Triangle of Broadway, Main and Kingsway, Slims has indoor and outdoor seating. We arrived Saturday and had our choice so we sat outside at a picnic table and enjoyed the sunshine.
They were still serving brunch so we decided to start with their Slim's Breakfast Tacos.
The vegan version featured Just Egg and Blue Heron Cashew Cheese in addition to a couple of very good salsas and side jalapenos. Each was served with 2 tortillas making it possible to actually pick up the substantial tacos. Really nice!
Admittedly, the only barbeque item that we tried was the Piled High Pulled Jackfruit Sandwich and even then, the jackfruit is not cooked on a barbeque but gets a barbeque sauce treatment. Still, this was a pretty good sandwich and jackfruit again proves to be one of the 'meatiest' things you can eat without killing something. It came with a side and we chose the vegan chili which was pretty tasty.
Finally, we tried the Nashville Hot Chick'n. It was a nice crispy chick'n filet that came with all the fixin's and had just a bit of heat. The vegan slaw that we ordered as a side was crispy and creamy. The only complaint we had were with the sandwich buns which were less than impressive. I blame this on the gluten-free crowd. Not the people who are actually gluten intolerant (a very small group) or those with celiac disease but the crowd of people who think gluten is bad for you when it really isn't! Ask your doctor instead of the internet! As Slim's could not stock regular, vegan and gluten free buns, they decided to stock regular and a gluten free bun which happens to be vegan. The result is that vegans are obliged to endure a sandwich which falls to pieces. Fortunately, we didn't mind finishing our sandwiches with a fork!
Slim's is a place with some character and some friendly helpful staff. There are quite a few more vegan friendly items on the menu that we can see ourselves trying on another visit. Thanks Slim's for making a place to bring people together!
Food                                 4 out of 5
Vegan Options                  4 1/2 out of 5
Comfort                             4 out of 5
Service                              4 out of 5
Value                                 4 out of 5

Vegan Pudding & Co.

Just a hole in the wall on Richards near Hastings, Vegan Pudding has (not surprisingly) vegan pudding and vegan ice cream to go. It is one of the featured places in our Plant Curious Plant-Based Coupon Book that we had never visited.

We showed up on a Saturday and got some puddings to go (that is your only options) and a cup of their vegan ice cream.According to their Instagram page, Secret Ice Cream was born as a secret menu item at Vegan Pudding! Sort of like animal style at In n' Out but cruelty-free here. Anyway, the ice cream was not cheap but it was delicious. We ended up eating it on our skytrain ride home (I wonder if you are actually allowed to eat on skytrain) as the melting factor came into play.

We got 6 puddings altogether and they all made it home to Aldergrove, As near as I can tell, there are 8 pudding flavours and 5 more soy pudding flavours. We tried Mango Vanilla, Green Tea Matcha, and Chocolate and enjoyed them all. Each pudding comes with a separate sauce packet which you add at time of consumption! They were all silky and tasty! The main ingredients are Kabocha squash, coconut milk and maple syrup which is really interesting. 

We also tried their Creme Caramel in what flavours, I do not remember. We watched them torch the topping before our eyes which was not as dramatic as it sounds. Unfortunately, that crispy topping was a little soft by the time we got home but still sweet and pleasant. You can get Vegan Pudding products at quite a few local grocery stores and even few restaurants. You should try them for a cruelty-free treat.
Food                      4 out of 5
Vegan Options      5 out of 5
Comfort                 NA
Service                  4 out of 5
Value                     4 out of 5


Manoush'eh - Vegan Options

This was not our first visit to Manoush'eh, nor were we using a coupon from our Plant Curious Plant-Based Coupon Book but it was our first visit to specifically scope out the vegan options at the small Davie Street eatery. With a gas-fired pizza oven, Manoush'eh cranks out some pretty special flatbread and that's what we were craving.

We arrived mid-afternoon on Saturday, at their quiet time which was good as we were able to grab one of their few seats. We ordered way too much as usual and enjoyed the delicious smells from the pizza oven as we waited.
First up was Sbanekh which I had just pointed at on the menu rather than trying to pronounce it. This was a triangular folded pie with a tart mixture of greens, onions and sumac. I loved it but Mharie was less keen on the lemony flavour.
There is nothing like the original and it is naturally plant-based! Thyme, sumac, sesame seeds and olive oil on their house-made flatbread all baked in their oven. It is simple and tasty.
In case you thought Falafel only comes in a pita, you need to try it on flatbread. Topped with a tahini sauce and some fresh veggies, this is a pleasant twist on an old favourite although it is maybe less portable than the pita version. Still we loved it.
No Lebanese meal is complete without Baba Ghanoug, truly our favourite of the Middle Eastern style dips. The smokey flavour from the roasted eggplant makes this very special and with the puffy pita fresh out of the oven, it's perfect.
This is another one of the places around town that make it easy to be vegan. What we ate here today are all dishes that are naturally plant-based and cruelty-free. We like dishes that replicate the meat experience because we did not stop eating meat because we disliked it. But we like even better the meals that never had to rely on animal products to be enjoyable. The folks that work here were very hospitable and made us feel welcome.
Food                                    4 1/2 out of 5
Vegan Options                     4 out of 5
Comfort                                4 out of 5
Service                                 4 1/2 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...