Burrata Pizzeria - Vegan Options

Welcome to the neighbourhood, at last! I noticed that Burratta Pizzeria had put up a shingle probably over a year ago, in the window of one of Aldergrove's downtown business spaces. But then for month after month...nothing! I know that it can take a while to get a business up and running but apparently, getting through the Langley red tape (Aldergrove is a part of Langley) can be a bear. Of course, that's just one side of the story.

Nevertheless, here they are finally, with vegan pizzas on the menu! And not just one vegan pizza but six! So we ordered a couple for takeout. As we waited for our pizzas, we chatted with the boss who told us that in addition to BP's Vancouver location, they are also a part of the group with Reggiano Pizza's two locations (and one more to come in White Rock).
The first was the Vegan House Special and I would say it was moderately special. Artichokes,  roasted red pepper, Kalamata olives and even sundried tomatoes graced this pie. Reasonable leoparding on the crust (on both) and pretty decent melty vegan Mozzarella rounded it out. It is definitely Aldergroves best vegan pizza, so far.
The other was called Vegan Delight. Mharie preferred this one which came with roasted garlic, spinach and Beyond Meat. I expected the vegan meat to be ground meat but it was actually small pieces of vegan pepperoni or ham maybe? Is it possibly a substitution as they were out of  Beyond Ground?  I was a little less enthusiastic because of the meat on this one. I may enquire about it. I asked for the olives to be on the side as my wife is not a lover of olives. I am so didn't mind adding them at my leisure.
So, pretty good pizza and pretty friendly folks. There are a couple of tables inside but its more of a take out joint. Thanks for finally making it to Aldergrove!

Food                     3 1/2 out of 5
Vegan Options     4 out of 5
Comfort                NA
Service                 4 out of 5
Value                    3 1/2 out of 5    

Paliotti's Westside - Vegan Options

In a recent Insta post by Vegan Supply of Vancouver, they asked, "What is your favourite place for vegan eats?" (or words to that effect). I scanned the list of responses and knew them all except that someone listed Paliottis Westside. I had never heard of this place and how was that possible? A quick look at their website confirmed the near best possible answer. They had a complete and separate vegan menu! 

It was immediately moved to the top of our list and we got ourselves to Maple Ridge again, this time to PW on Lougheed Highway between 207 and 210. Vegan Italian is somewhat rare because of the reliance on cheese for many dishes. In fact, the non-vegan thing I miss the most is Taleggio, a wonderful semi-soft Italian cheese which unfortunately comes with a side of cruelty that I have chosen to do without. At PW, we hardly noticed the absence of dairy (or meat obviously).
We could easily have filled up on the wonderful complimentary warm focaccia and vegan butter but exercised some restraint so we would have room to try a few more things.
As usual, I ordered too much but some things would travel home well and reheat and other dishes are meant to be eaten right away. The Vegan Calamari were of the latter category. These deep-fried oyster mushrooms were crispy and surprisingly not greasy or oily! The dipping sauce was refreshing and perfect. Delicious!
We will need to return here often to get a real sample of the many things on the menu but I like to start with the basics. This Margherita Pizza was very well done! The crust...excellent. Tomato sauce...nicely acidic and fresh tasting. Basil...it was there in pesto form but I would have liked a taste of the fresh stuff. Vegan Mozzarella and babybel cheese....it was tasty but there could have been more. Overall, we weren't complaining!
Of the many pastas, we decided to try the Spaghettini Carbonara the first time around. It was quite luxurious and featured vegan bacon and vegan egg (not sure what that was) and it certainly tasted like a Carbonara. The Alfredo sauce was spot on.
As I messaged with @miss_erin (who named this place as a favourite) she told us to make sure that we saved room for cheesecake! This turned out to be wise counsel as the Vegan Blueberry Cheesecake was a winner! It was another one of those dishes where you would never know the difference! We loved it!
So we packed up all our leftovers and waddled out determined to return! As we were playing "Spot the Vegan" we correctly identified a young family who we would see only a week or two later at Planted Expo! Anyway, Palliotti's Westside is a great find! Thanks, Miss_Erin! And thanks to our enthusiastic servers! They were not vegan but appreciated the quality of the plant-based offerings and their vegan customers!

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

Planted Expo Vancouver Part 2 featuring Elmhurst Farms

Just like Joe Manson who while allegedly a Democrat, worked against climate change mitigating legislation in the US because he was more concerned about his coal mining voting constituents (and their votes), Ron DeSantis has worked against lab-grown meat because he is allegedly concerned about his farmer constituents (again...and their votes). It is hard to convince people of the need to change for the sake of the planet that their children and grandchildren will have to live on if you go anywhere near their wallets or their voting base. Then again, a lot of people just don't like change. It was good enough for my granddaddy, it's good enough for me! The problem is that there are a lot more of us now and without some serious change...well onward into the abyss..

At Elmhurst Farms some serious changes have taken place. In 2017 Elmhurst which had been a dairy farm (with cows and everything) made the change to become a plant milk company! The man behind the change was Henry Schwartz at that point in his 80's. The dairy had been in his family for 90 years but he could see the light and recognized that that changes were coming. He saw that the health of Americans and the environmental impact of dairy could not continue. In his words the change seemed perfectly logical, even necessary. In my experience, guys in their 80s don't make such sweeping changes. They prefer to double down and eat more cheese! If it was good enough for my grandaddy, its good enough for me!
Mharie and I look forward to trying some of their products (they gave us a couple of coupons) beyond the tasty sour cream and latte that we tried at the show. Elmhurst was the story of the show as far as I am concerned! Look them up to learn more.
Of course, they were not the only great story at Planted Expo. We've come to think of the folks at K-SO as friends. They are the makers of some of the best vegan queso out there. It is available at Vegan Supply and elsewhere.
I was happy to see Little Vegan Treats represented. They are the people who have provided a vending machine in Seven Oaks Mall in Abbotsford that has nothing but vegan treats! If you are not aware, Abbotsford is old school (I know this because I grew up there) and the heart of the Valley's dairy industry. Vegans are relatively rare in that locale but there are definitely growing in number.
Feast And Fallow (one of our new favourite vegan eateries) was present and serving some excellent coffee.
Finally, under the heading of, "we can make anything vegan!", is Chiaviar. I will admit that I was never as big a sturgeon caviar fan as convention required (I liked the sushi stuff)  but this was not bad. Hint...it didn't really taste like caviar but the texture was interesting. Anyway, if you miss the real stuff and the cruelty that went with it, the plant-based version is here!
And before I forget, for those who dress a little more fashionably than we do, there was quite a fashion show featuring several brands and their wares. Cut out the leather, wool and silk and I expect that vegan fashion is quite challenging.
So again this year, Panted Expo was informative and kind of fun! We had some good eats, learned a lot and recommend that everyone show up next year!

Planted Expo Vancouver Part 1 featuring Dr Michael Greger

Finally, the weekend arrived for the Planted Expo! We had been anticipating it for a while and enduring the social media teasers from Toronto and Seattle as they had their shows first.

Don't look too closely at the photo above as you may notice last year's date somewhere in the details. I cleverly forgot to take a current photo. We arrived a little too late for a swag bag (first 250 only) but enjoyed this expo immensely anyway. I feel obliged to put up 2 posts as there was so much of significance starting with Dr. Michael Greger!
He is here on the heels of the release of his new book, "How Not To Age." All sales of the book this weekend are being donated to charity but I couldn't tell you which one. At least that way it didn't feel like the presentation was designed to flog his book although, I feel like I might have to get myself a copy.
The man presented a lot of information in short order at breakneck speed. This was not an anecdotal information presentation as each point was backed up by the studies that had investigated the various hypotheses. If I had to summarize, I would say eat your greens and really watch your salt! I'm pretty sure Dr. Greger announced that he is moving to Vancouver so lucky us. Maybe he will have more frequent local speaking engagements. If you are not familiar, check out his YouTube videos and web site.
The doctor's talk was the last thing on our agenda and though we had sampled everything that was to be sampled from the many exhibitors, we were still a little peckish and Veg-Out was present!
I know that this Bacon Ranch Chicken Burger is probably way over Dr. Gregor's RDA for salt but we will start not aging tomorrow! These guys make top-notch burgers, fries (sold out) and shakes and we don't see them that often so we indulged.
Working backwards from the end of our tour, a few of the impressive products we came across that will likely appear in our lives occasionally included Vinker making vegan Korean Fried Chicken! The double battering and double deep frying are the key to KFC (in addition to sauce) and they seemed to nail it. I was happy to explain the concept to a person who went vegan before KFC made its appearance in Metro Vancouver and she was impressed too! Just so you know, we don't do a lot of "fake meat" or other admittedly unhealthy treats but once in a while...
Pretty cool that Anh and Chi Restaurant had a booth. They have had vegan items on their menu for quite a while and they are on our list! Obviously, we haven't made it yet but we will.
We have already signed up for our Plant Curious membership for this year. This time around, rather than a book, we have an app. There will be changing offerings and there is a bonus for signing up early! We have loved the book the last 2 years and it gets better every time. We have found a lot of vegan eateries that we might never have known about!
Stay tuned for part 2 of this blog post which should actually be part 1. Another highlight of the show is an actual dairy farm (with cows) that changed to plant-based milk and products. Our heroes!

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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...