Hellcrust Pizza - Vegan Options

All of a sudden, it occurs to me that vegan pizza is not such a rare commodity anymore. There are a lot of small chains, and single outposts, not to mention Pizza, Pizza and Panago, that offer plant-based alternatives now. I might have to stop running all over the lower mainland just because I heard there was vegan pizza. That won't stop happening though until we have at least tried Hellcrust Pizza.

So there are a few of these around, but I wasn't paying attention until I realized that there are some vegan options on the pizza menu. Admittedly, I kind of like the name of this place.
So we ordered a couple of pies and took them home to try them. The first was the Vegan Sinister Pepperoni. In this case, the pepperoni was by Field Roast and was good. Everything else was tasty enough also including the crust and vegan Mozzarella. We like this semi-evil theme that seems to run through the menu.
The vegan Veggie Saviour is pretty basic. We ordered it because, as you may know, my wife likes pineapple on pizza. This one also had spinach and red bell pepper. It was perfectly acceptable.
The really impressive thing about Hellcrust is the prices! All the vegan pizzas are one size and $14.99. I have come to expect to pay more. The smallest size at Panago is $15.25  Also, there are 7 different vegan pies to choose from and 14 Metro Vancouver locations. Not bad!

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

Happy Veggie World - Vegan / Vegetarian Grocery

So, not a restaurant but we got a coupon for a couple of free products (and we love free products) at the Planted Expo and so headed to Richmond to take a walk through this little store.

As I have said before, I am a lentil and rice (or bean chilli and quinoa or whatever), fruit, vegetable and tofu kind of guy. We are not big consumers of plant-based meats but they are kind of a fun treat sometimes. Just like omnivores might like a trip to MacDonald's but without the cruelty and heart disease! 
I might have gotten a little carried away here as there was so much to choose from! Our hosts were enthusiastic and let us know that their website would be up and functional soon!
So, as I said, too much stuff but really, we had to make the trip all the way to Richmond worthwhile. What would we try first?
We made some rice and tried both the vegan Kung Pao Chicken and the vegan Citrus Ribs. I know its redundant to keep saying vegan but I don't want to leave any potential doubt as the food itself looks very meatlike. They were both delicious as well! There was a nice meaty texture and the sauces were amazing. I didn't stop using animal products because I didn't like the taste but so that I wouldn't be responsible for someone having to kill or mistreat an animal, so don't be surprised if I am enthusiastic about something that is close to what I used to enjoy..
The Spicy Lion''s Mane Mushroom Soup was very spicy! It was Szechuan peppercorn spicy and left us sweating and with numb tongues! In addition to a fair amount of mushrooms, there was tofu, some veggies and garlic and a decent broth. I would get this again as long as I could take a shower after!
The vegan Black Pepper Steak was another dish that paired best with rice. Like the chicken and ribs earlier, the' beef' itself was a very good faux meat and had a decent texture. 
We have had Omni vegan products before, in fact at Kirin Seafood Restaurant. We took some of their fish filets and made pretty tasty sandwiches this time! Grilled in a sandwich press with tomatoes, arugula and vegan cheese. Nice!

We still have a lot more at home to try including fish-flavoured tofu, tempeh and vegan fish balls, not to mention a couple of cans of Omni 'tuna'. There is a lot more in the store that we just couldn't take with us but we will eventually! We're very happy to know about Happy Veggie World. 

Chau Veggie Express, Granville Island - Vegan Market Eatery

We almost completely missed the Vancouver International Jazz Festival again this year but  at least showed up for one performance. We were delighted with the young people (as well as the organizers and mentors) of the Vancouver Youth Jazz Orchestra. They played on Sunday afternoon at Performance Works on Granville Island.

They played Count Basie to Duke Ellington tunes as you would expect but with a couple of Soundgarden and Steely Dan tunes thrown in as well. The future of jazz in Vancouver seems secure even if everything else in the world is going to hell!
Of course, we had to eat also. In the market, Chau Veggie Express is an all plant-based eatery. We have been to their main outlet on Victoria Drive so knew that we could count on some tasty eats here.
Obviously, salad rolls are a mainstay when eating vegan Vietnamese and we have had more than a few but these Namahata Rolls came with a lemon dipping sauce which was more than interesting! Even the rolls themselves were souped up with shredded bean curd, crispy shallots, mung beans and quinoa. This could be your affordable vegan meal on Granville Island all by itself at only $7!
The Midnight Swim Bowl was served on a wild rice blend with lots of goodies (tofu, mushrooms, veggies) and topped with a spicy peanut garlic soy mushroom sauce! It came with lots of greens which I swept to the side for the sake of the photo. This was substantial and delicious!
Noodles served as the base of the Rice Fields Bowl (rice noodles) with dark soy garlic mushroom sauce. Again lots of veggies made this a substantial tasty bowl that filled us up but without the heaviness that comes with a filling carnivore meal. We felt content that we were eating our veggies too!
This one came with a side of savoury Lychee-Date Broth which was delicious not to mention interesting and a bit of a departure for us as far as soup is concerned!
Granville Island, especially the market, is generally a madhouse on the weekend. I always think that it is a good idea to go but am in a hurry to get out once we arrive. We are happy to know that there is a rock solid place for us to get sustenance without having to ask a lot of questions and holding up the inevitable line! The menu is broad and with a fair bit of variety including vegan ice cream. Nice!

Food                            4 out of 5
Vegan options             5 out of 5
Comfort                       3 out of 5 (not their fault - food court madness)
Service                        4 out of 5
Value                           4 1/2 out of 5

Grounds and Greens, Fort Langley - Plant Based Cafe

Our first visit to Grounds and Greens was June 1, 2020, and at their White Rock cafe (obviously). Everyone remembers what was going on at the time in the world and it was our first time visiting any restaurant after a period of months when all dining rooms were closed. G and G had just opened and would succeed despite those most difficult of circumstances. Not only did they succeed but they have thrived to the point where they have expanded and opened their Fort Langley location! We are delighted to have them closer to us but also that a fully vegan cafe can prove so popular!

I'm sure most specific signage is coming soon but for now look for Plant-Based Cafe at 9124 Glover at 96 Ave. The menu at the new place is mostly the same as at the White Rock location but this time, we were influenced when ordering by our This Is Plant Curious membership. The discount offers buy 1 breads main and get the second free! Whether you are vegan or not, you should check out This Is Plant Curious although, I hope they have an app next year!
We ordered a Brekkie Wrap which featured a tofu and spinach scramble with black beans, hummus and all sorts of good stuff. The side Caesars Salad was a treat as the Caesar dressing which is usually not a plant based thing, was spot on. It set us off on a week of trying to make vegan Caesar dressing at home!
The Boujie Bread was a knock out! Sourdough bread, house made ricotta, and a mix of sauteed mushrooms, garlic confit and a truffled apple honey (yes, vegan). I was so impressed by the sweet element and how it just brought the whole toast thing to a surprising level.
Mharie was eyeing this muffin with the impressive topping of cream cheese icing in the bakery case so we decided to have some dessert! Unfortunately, as we were getting ready to do it some damage, we remembered to ask whether it had flax seeds. You see, Mharie is very allergic to flax seeds and I have an unimpressive record of remembering to ask. It's not like it comes up often, but a healthyish  muffin might be one place....so the muffin became mine and we got her a cookie!
And an impressive cookie it was but not white chocolate as we originally guessed. Still vegan marshmallows are also a bit of a rarity and we enjoyed the cookie.
So a lovely lunch was had by all and then we went for a stroll to the Langley Farmer's Market where we bought some mushrooms form Myca Farms! I expected a sunny Saturday afternoon in Fort Langley to be a bit of a traffic and parking nightmare but don't be afraid! It was actually not to difficult to find parking a little off the main street. The folks at Grounds and Greens are enthusiastic including the owner/chefs Mannel and Ben. These two places are worth a drive whether you are vegan or not!

Food                             5 out of 5
Vegan Options             5 out of 5
Service                         5 out of 5
Comfort                        4 out of 5
Value                            5 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...