Baby Dahl Roti Shop - Vegan Options

I intended to post about single vegan items on menus within walking distance of Commercial Street Skytrain Station (just to show you can grab something mid-transit) but Patso was M.I.A. and then Baby Dahl Roti Shop turned out to have a couple more menu items that were plant-based (I thought there was only one thing). Commercial/ Broadway Station is an area where a vegan could actually linger for days and survive but we will do this one place at a time. 

BDRS is just a few steps east on Commercial (from the skytrain station) and just shy of the legendary plant-based spot, The Burrow. There is Caribbean food obviously, and run (as near as I can tell) by a first-generation Canadian-Caribbean woman whose parents are from the Islands. I was lucky enough to arrive when some of her family members (including pre-first-generation Canadians) were visiting and I rudely inserted myself into the conversation. They seemed like wonderful warm family first people!
The main thing to try is the Veg Curry with Rice and Peas. This was great as the Vegan Twosome has already attested! If you're not already doing so, follow them all over the place including on YouTube where they review a vegan place somewhere (mostly Vancouver) every Sunday. To be honest, I would not have known about BDRS if it weren't for their video. The greens turned out to be spinach and were wonderful as were the chick peas and potatoes. Served with hot sauce on the side that very nearly blew my fool head off! Be careful with that stuff.
It turned out that their "street food" items were also vegan so we tried them all starting with the Aloo Pie. Nice pastry, warming and satisfying filling, I liked this a lot.
Next up where the Pholourie. I had never heard of them but they are a simple dumpling of flour and probably chick pea flour and a tamarind chutney dipping sauce. Very nice.
Apparently, Doubles are quite popular here (and in the Caribbean) and its not hard to see why. Pictured above with one house made flatbread folded back to reveal the chickpea curry, this was another warming and satisfying taste of the Islands very suited to Vancouver's rainy weather.
I keep saying Caribbean but since all the Googled descriptions of the street foods say that they are from Trinidad and Tobago, I think that might be the more correct description of this place but it would behoove me to get confirmation. At ant rate this is a friendly and comfortable place to get a vegan meal to dine in or to go. Thanks BDRS for making the vegan option available!
Food                             4 out of 5
Vegan Options              4 out of 5
Comfort                         4 out of 5
Service                          4 1/2 out of 5
Value                             4 out of 5

Banter Ice Cream - Vegan Options

We're willing to run all over the place to get plant-based ice cream. So imagine how happy we were to learn that Banter Ice Cream in Abbotsford (one berg over from our own) serves it!

Banter is located in the back of what used to be the Abbotsford Branch of the Fraser Valley Library. I remember as a youngster, consulting the encyclopedias (remember those from before Google?) in that sad worn out building. Now repurposed, the building makes people happy by dispensing some pretty good small batch house-created ice cream, some of which is even plant-based.
So that we could try all 3 vegan flavours, we ordered a cone and a 2-scoop cup. The ice cream is not what we would call expensive considering the quality at 5.25 for a single scoop and $7.50 for a double ($1.25 for a waffle cone). My wife was keen on trying the Coffee Caramel Crunch, which was great!
For the cup, we tried the vegan Chocolate (always on their menu), and Blueberry something (maybe lemon?) which I can't remember. These were also very fine. You would never know you are not eating dairy ice cream (which begs the question, why would you eat dairy ice cream?). We are completely impressed!
Considering we are well into Autumn, we still needed to wait a few minutes but it was worth it. The menu always changes (month to month) but chocolate is a standard and at least one if not two other plant-based concoctions will be available. Our server was friendly and helpful! Thanks, Banter!
Food                      4 1/2 out of 5
Vegan Options      3 1/2 out of 5
Comfort                 4 out of 5
Service                  4 1/2 out of 5
Value                     4 1/2 out of 5

Highway Cafe Pop Up at To Live For Bakery - All Vegan, All the Time

So this is less of a food review and more of an adventure story....well not really an adventure story either...just a story. Through social media, we learned that Highway Cafe from Pemberton would do a food truck pop-up in front of To Live For Bakery on Nanaimo Street in Vancouver on Sunday from 12 to 8. "We're in", we exclaimed, "it sounds like fun!" We have never actually been to the Highway Cafe (nor even to Pemberton, I am embarrassed to say). So we suited up and showed up at 3 ish!

What we showed up to find was an enormous crowd. I have seen lineups before but a little quick research told us that the wait was 3 hours from getting in line to food! Now I was less annoyed than amazed! The vegan community in Vancouver is clearly not small and that makes us happy! Rumour has it that this will happen again but with different anticipation and organization.
The good news was that while the lineup for the truck was crazy (and I'm sorry but I don't do 3-hour lineups for anything less than Rolling Stones tickets) the wait to get into To Live For was quite manageable. 
So we went inside, ordered a latte, a cute little cupcake and a Pumpkin Soft Serve Ice Cream Cone, and people watched.
While vegan ice cream is not uncommon, we don't see soft serve very often so this was kind of exciting! It was very good!
Since making the plant-based truth known to the people is my chief responsibility, I humbled myself and asked someone else if I could take a picture of their food! LOL. They confirmed that they had waited a total of 3 hours and that the food was delicious. So maybe a trip to Pemberton is in order. I had actually tried to form a group to rent a bus for the field trip when we first arrived and realized the length of the wait!
So it looks to me like a trip to Pemberton is absolutely in order. At the very least, a trip to Whistler should include the 30 minute detour from Whistler to the Highway Cafe!

The Pie Hole - Vegan Options

If a place lingers long enough on our list of places that we want to visit, without our getting there, there is a chance they will open a branch closer to us! Welcome to Langley, The Pie Hole! I will continue to procrastinate in the hopes that more vegan-friendly places move to the valley!Located on Fraser Hwy in the former Pink Avo location, The Pie Hole is a place where you can enjoy a meal or dessert in the cafe or pick up a frozen pie for later! I decided to do both.

They have seasonal pies including this Holiday Pie which is appropriately full of mashed potatoes and vegan sausage. The crust was amazing also. In the cafe, they do not heat these with a microwave as the crust stays nice and flakey. This was comforting and warm and made me want to take a nap as Thanksgiving meals tend to do.
The in-house selection is quite good (more in a separate pastry case) and should satisfy vegans or omnivores alike. The small pies (5" as above) are around $13 while the big pies are $46 and probably a better deal for a larger group (I did not do the volume calculation!). I chose the smaller pies so that I could try more!
At home, we baked the vegan Pizza Pie (60 to 90 minutes from frozen) and then semi-destroyed it by trying to remove it from the pan too soon! This was a big hit for Mharie and me as it was cheesy and rich and even had some vegan pepperoni. Very pizza-ish with no compromise and again the pie crust was excellent.
Kind of a weird choice of layout for the photograph, but I wanted to show just how much pie the Vegan Apple Pie provided. It was very good and with a little plant-based ice cream (should have used a slice of vegan cheddar) was the best dessert that we have had in a while!
I feel like having a few pies in the freezer may be a good idea for occasions when we are too lazy to cook. I advise cooking 2 at one time just to reduce the electricity required per calorie of food (90 minutes can be a long time). I am not sure about thawing them first but it might be worth enquiring. Thanks, Pie Hole. See you again soon, no doubt.
Food                       4 out of 5
Vegan Options        3 1/2 out of 5
Comfort                  3 1/2 out of 5
Service                   4 out of 5
Value                      4 out of 5             


Spent Grounds Coffee Roasters- Vegan Cafe and Store

Spent Grounds Coffee Roasters made it onto our list by being included in the latest This Is Plant Curious deals book, our favourite source for new and interesting vegan and vegan-friendly places to visit. As coffee roasting is one of their main raisons d'etre, they set up shop south of Langley in the industrial park near 28th and 192nd. There, they can roast weekly to their heart's content without disturbing the neighbours!

Sure, they have coffee (I enjoyed a very good small medium roast Guatemalan) but they also have a nice selection of vegan pastries. I realized that earlier in the day would have meant more choice as their display case was almost empty but I have no regrets.
I have no regrets because I got the last Cinnamon Bun and it was amazing! Not sure if they do their baking in-house because I did not ask (dumb guy). The little Blueberry Pastry was also fine but the Cinnamon Bun....
The coupon in the Vancouver Plant-Based Deals Book (sorry. currently sold out) was for a free bag of coffee when you buy a large bag of granola as seen here with my unimpressed obligate carnivore housemate, Smokey.
Admittedly, I have not eaten granola in decades. I'm also not much of a breakfast guy but I found a little bowl of granola with some oatmilk to be a wonderful after work snack. This is big chunk granola with lots of oats and almonds and pecans. It is sweetened with maple syrup but it is not too sweet.
SR has a good range of vegan products at reasonable prices (considering their specialty nature) including a few that also show up in mainstream grocery stores at higher prices. I bought a bag of Butler's Soy Curls while I was there because they are convenient to have around. I enjoyed my brief conversation with the manager/owner who clearly knows her way around her chosen field. So a little off the beaten path (but not by much) they are nevertheless a good vegan resource in a part of the valley that is definitely not overserviced for those choosing to eat plant-based.
Food                            4 1/2 out of 5
Vegan Options             5 out of 5
Comfort                        4 out of 5
Service                         5 out of 5
Value                            4 1/2 out of 5

Harvest Community Foods - Vegan Options

Perched on the edge of Chinatown, Harvest Community Foods has been on my list of places to try for a long time. Not a vegan joint (sounds like it could be, but the bacon in the fridge dispelled that notion) they still have some nice plant based choices and are the purveyors of some very nice looking fruits and vegetables.

We arrived mid afternoon on Saturday and were able to order and be seated right away. Be aware that there are 4-2 person tables inside and 3 more outside but on a winter weekday, you might have to be content with take-out. 
There are a couple of soups, a noodle dish and a couple of salads that can all be vegan but what they lack in quantity, that make up for in deliciousness. The Kale Gomae doesn't seem mind blowing until you try their hazelnut-almond sauce. Amazing! This motivated me to buy hazelnuts on the way home and had me wondering why we don't eat them more!
There is also a Cabbage Salad with maple syrup and pumpkin seeds. Crunchy and refreshing, We thought maybe there was some lime in the dressing and it all worked beautifully!
We enjoyed more of their hazelnut almond sauce on the Rice Noodles. This dish came with lots of greens and some charred chili which lent just a bit of heat. Honestly we are in love with this sauce. It has the texture of a very crunchy peanut butter but with lost of crushed nuts on top for added texture and flavour.
Finally, we had their Ramen. This started with a squash and miso broth which was one of the richest vegan broths that we have tried. To make it vegan they gave us a choice of rice or udon noodles as their ramen noodles contain egg. I know that it is not always the case but many ramen noodles are  made with egg. Again, this came with a generous helping of greens and some nori. It was an excellent broth and we are happy that there was a vegan noodle option.
Its a nice little place, the folks are friendly and it is clearly more than just a cafe. HCF is part of a group that includes Burdock and Co. and a wine bar, GOBO. Both are meat centric and have nothing to offer if you are interested in cruelty free eating. Disappointing.  Considering the briefness of the menu here, we are impressed that at least half of the menu can be served vegan. Prices are very reasonable!
Food                              4 out of 5
Vegan Options               4 out of 5
Comfort                         4 out of 5
Service                          4 out of 5
Value                             4 out of 5


Rollzzy - Vegan Options

For some reason, I had it in my head that there was only one plant-based item on the menu at Rollzzy. It was going to be part of a tour where we hit up a few places that have only an item or two, and still find a way to get our calories! Then, lo and behold, they had a lot of items on their menu that were vegan! Then lo and behold again, they had run out of or didn't have those items! What a roller coaster ride! 

Rollzzy is the newly opened offspring of Dilli Heights Cafe and Bistro which we like very much! So it seemed obvious we should show up at this place.
We ended up ordering 3 Kathi Rolls to go.  These are basically wraps made with flakey wonderful paratha bread. Their menu includes rice bowls and Indian burgers as well but they didn't have the vegan versions the day we were there. They were also out of the noodle roll and the Soya Chaap roll which would have been interesting. We have an excuse to go back!
Lighting on the street was a little unfriendly for my amateurish photography set up although there is a nice place to eat, if you don't mind the traffic, in front of this row of small joints on Robson anchored by Japadog.
So we brought them all home to take some pictures and to be honest, I can't remember which of these is which. What I do remember is that we ordered the Haryali Roll, the Chana Masala Roll and the Aloo Masala Roll. All 3 were somewhat similar but very good. 
They are all variations on a theme. They are all mildly spicy masala or curry or whatever Indian flavours. They are all substantial and cruelty-free. They were also all $9.99 but you can order a combo to make it into a meal for a pretty decent price.
The pains of getting a new place up and running were reflected by the missing menu items but also it seemed, by not enough staff. We weren't in a hurry but our order took quite a long time and the lineup of customers was stretching out the door (maybe too many customers was the cause and benefit of early opening days). At any rate, we will be back to try more. Thanks, folks!
Food                                  4  out of 5
Vegan Options                  3 1/2 out of 5
Comfort                             3 1/2 out of 5
Service                               3 out of 5
Value                                  4 out of 5

Little Bird Dim Sum - Vegan Options

Its been a while since we had vegan dim sum (a little more rare than it should be) so it was nice to figure out that Little Bird has some specifically listed items that are plant based. We headed for Vancouver on this surprise (did you know that it was a stat?) statutory holiday Sunday.

Located at 2958 West 4rth, it was one bus from Burrard Street Station for us. We arrived just before noon knowing that they opened at 11am. It was quiet on the patio and we thought for a moment that their holiday hours had changed but inside they were almost a full house!
Easiest order ever! LBDS using erasable marker and plastic coated menus and you circle the items you want. Since there are 8 vegan items on the menu, I made one big circle around them all! First to arrive were the springs rolls. They were crispy and hot and filled with mushroom. cabbage and tofu. Very nice!
Next up were the Crispy Bean Curd Rolls. You may have read about my bean curd/tofu skins experiments not long ago. We really like this as a medium for wrapping veggies and other goodies like tofu and bamboo shoots. They get nice and crispy as advertised.
We definitely got our veggies today. Why don't I buy Gai Lan more often for home? These were still nice and firm and served with garlic and a vegan mushroom sauce that is reminiscent of oyster sauce, for sure.
The vegan Siu Mai actually used Beyond Meat which worked well. There was also a touch of truffle on the top which everyone seems to do these days. We liked it. There was just a nice little freshness from water chestnut as well.
Also arriving in a steamer basket were the Fun Guo. Lots of the same ingredients but will a little bit of a different texture this time. Things that arrive in baskets feel most like dim sum to us! These are usually made with pork and I'm not sure if I have ever had them so that was interesting too.
Sticky rice cooked in lotus leaf is one of my favourite dim sum things. I am so glad that it works so well as a vegan dish. We love the lotus leaf flavour. There was a lot to this including (we didn't really notice) chick peas!
And Shanghai Buns. More of the same cabbage and various mushroom mixture but in a nice pan fried bun. Usually pork laden, with these no on has to die. 
Finally, Green Tea Sesame Balls for dessert! These were very tasty and I could have sworn, chocolatey. Now they may have told us that they were different today and I just didn't catch it, but the menu says matcha and not chocolate. They were delicious either way. Now admittedly, there was no way that we could finish this all and took a few items and some left over rice to go. After me making a fuss about bringing our own containers for leftovers, I totally forgot. We managed to jam everything into one container. lol.
A cozy little place, LBDS service is definitely a team effort. At least one of our servers figured out that we might not want the chili oil as it contains shrimp paste. Nice catch. Everyone was friendly and service was efficient. Prices are decent.
Food                            4 out of 5
Vegan Options             4 1/2 out of 5
Comfort                        4 out of 5
Service                         4 1/2 out of 5
Value                            4 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...