#VeggieTravels to London, England

The second stop on our recent vacation was to London, England. It was a return visit for both of us so we were more than happy to spend a bit of time doing some more “local” type activities (apart from the London Eye which neither of us had done before so we were happy to ride in Rugby World Cup themed pod at sunset!)

Our second day in London was completely curated by Deliciously Ella and her Guide to London’s Best Health Spots. Who better to take advice from then a local vegetarian blogger turned cookbook author and soon to be restauranteur!

  For breakfast we ventured to 26 Grains. I was eager to go, but also a bit skeptical – this place only serves porridge! But the combinations and options (sweet, savoury, warm, cold) were fantastic and I was completely sold. Maybe it was the adorable little courtyard (Neal’s Yard) near Covent Garden, maybe it was the beautiful sunny morning, but there was something special happening.
  Also the decor was A+ – loved the rustic wood, chalkboards, flowers and communal seating. It felt like a place where you were instantly at home. I enjoyed the Hazelnut and Butter porridge (I think I was so overwhelmed I went back to the first option!) which was so yummy. Brent went the savoury route and had the Egg & Kale and was equally happy. I have had many thoughts since about the need for Ottawa to have a porridge-only place – I mean it is winter here for most of the year right….

26 Grains #VeggieTravels Report Card

Décor and Atmosphere: A+

Variety of Options: A

Quality of Food: A+

FINAL REVIEW: A+

And these bowls kept us filled up well into the early afternoon as we made our way across the city (and through the Tower of London) to the Borough Market.
 I love farmer’s markets – and what a great way to experience a city. There was a ton to see! And just on the perimeter was Ella’s suggested lunch option – Wok It.

  We eat a lot of stir frys at home (a great way to use up things in your fridge) so I start to crave them pretty quickly when on vacation. And this spot did not disappoint. The portions were enormous! Lots of great options and yummy sauces (and funky wallpaper!)
  We both had a variation on the Veg Pot but with different sauces (B got the black bean bbq and I had the coconut curry). His sauce selection was better than mine but these cool cups of noodles were both gobbled down quickly. 

WokIt #VeggieTravels Report Card

Décor and Atmosphere: A

Variety of Options: A

Quality of Food: A

FINAL REVIEW: A

We weren’t planning to make a special dinner trip out on this same day, but when we started to get hungry and figured out what part of the city we were in we realized that we were just around the corner from Mildred’s – the dinner suggestion from Ella – and how could that not mean it was meant to be?

We almost missed it with some exterior construction underway, but inside they had their recipe book (which we flipped through and I’ve made note of some I want to go back to in the future) and I snapped a shot of the sketch of their normal entry.
  This place was popular! Very very minimal decor, but you could tell it was much-beloved by many of our surrounding diners.We started with a small plate of the rose harrisa hoummus, smokey babaganoush and chargrilled flatbread (Yes, just yes). For our mains we shared both the halloumi burger with chargrilled aubergine, harissa and tahini in flatbread and the black bean and tomatillo rice buritto with ranchero sauce and grilled cheese, smashed avocado, sour cream and pico de gallo. The food was all good and there was variety, but nothing too unique or special – I would describe it as a very good vegetarian restaurant, but not somewhere to go out of your way towards.

Mildred’s #VeggieTravels Report Card

Décor and Atmosphere: B

Variety of Options: A-

Quality of Food: A

FINAL REVIEW: B+

Playing Catch-up

Coming back from vacation is always a challenge – especially when you catch a bug on the return trip as I did last week. Jet lag, a weakened system and many many emails at work has left me just trying to keep up, but I do want to make sure I get in at least one post each week!

My future #VeggieTravels will be coming soon, but first what’s cooking this week?

After being on the road I was craving some good home-cooking!

For breakfasts this week it’s been Coconut almond flaxseed muffins from Hip Foodie Mom. I had greek yogurt in the fridge and used that in place of yogurt which left these muffins very hearty and dense (probably too much actually). The taste is good though – I’ll be making them again sometime with more fluid or regular yogurt.

Our lunches have been a mix of Chickpea Salad sandwiches/wraps from Oh She Glows (one of my all time lunch favourites) and Sweet Potato Minestrone with Chickpeas and Pesto from Sunday Morning Banana Pancakes. So yum. I had never thought of adding pesto to soup and it gives so much flavour and smells fantastic. The chickpeas and noodles make this really hearty as well.

For Sunday dinner I made this Lentil and Mushroom Loaf with Savoury Potato Filling found on Buzzfeed from Heathen Vegan. The site and formatting is pretty rudimentary (and hasn’t been updated since early 2012), but the results were great. Just because there isn’t a pretty picture doesn’t necessarily mean it’s not worth trying. Sometimes when you’re craving home-cooking you want something familiar and a Sunday night loaf like this is just the key. I believe I called it “Fall on a Plate” Here’s my photo to give you a bit of an idea.

fallonaplate

 

Calgary #VeggieTravels

I have returned to the beautiful fall colours in Ottawa after a whirlwind, exciting, delicious, and exhausting vacation.

Our first stop was Calgary, Alberta where a new creative idea dawned on me… as a traveller in the past I have occasionally researched a vegetarian restaurant to check out, but since both of us travellers are eating meat-free I invested a bit more time pre-trip to planning a few stops and figured I should share this knowledge with all of you. So my new #VeggieTravels section is born!

This realization happened about half-way through an incredibly yummy lunch at the Calgary restaurant The Coup. This one was recommended by local friends and is a self-described modern, ethical  vegetarian restaurant.

The Coup is located on 17th Avenue which I’m told is the “cool” part of Calgary (I was not there long enough this time to confirm!). The decor has that ethical modern vibe as well – lots of older repurposed furniture and fixtures, lots of wood and metal, and my favourite detail were the long boxes of herbs right along one end of the bar.

IMG_3621

chow mein unplugged

 

 

I mentioned that my realization came halfway through my meal which is why I have to apologize that these food pictures were taken midway through (okay, this might not be the only time this happens… sometimes a traveller is hungry, yo!).

I  thoroughly enjoyed my lunch – the chow mein unplugged. Loads of veggies, very tasty sauce, great portion size.

 

 

 

 

 

 

falafel quesadillas

falafel quesadillas

 

 

My partner in crime/life gobbled down his falafel quesadillas. What a fun and unique idea. They had plenty of that at The Coup – we also started with the eggplant sleeping bags (hilarious name, great food) and the mushroom baklava which was right up my alley.

We also brought two meat-eaters along who also enjoyed the food and experience (including a tofu sandwich!) which is always a good sign for a veggie restaurant. There were lots of different options for every type of eater.

 

 

 

 

latte and oatmeal ice cream sandwich

latte and oatmeal ice cream sandwich

My lunch was finished up with a latte and oatmeal ice cream sandwich (my first experience with tofulatti) as well as a bite of the lemon cashew coconut “square”. These were both fantastic! Light and decadent and a perfect conclusion.

#VeggieTravels Report Card

Décor and Atmosphere: A

Variety of Options: A+

Quality of Food: A

FINAL REVIEW: A

Home is where ever I’m with you

I have been a bad blogger lately, but there is a good reason….

We bought a home!

Time to say goodbye to our fun little condo, but I’m looking forward to having more space and potential projects. All of the time I was spending on pinterest and instagram looking at weddings has been replaced with homes and DIYs. So addictive! I’ll have to add a few new links to my favourite blogs page soon.

I’ve also made some good food over the past few weeks…. Starting With the spiced chickpea wraps with tahini dressing from Thug Kitchen. Their book has some good recipes based on what I’ve tried so far (this one and the smoky maple tofu marinade) and plan to try in the future. The language is amusing at first, but becomes a bit tedious – but that won’t stop me from getting some vegan yum.

 

      

 

And that second one may not look as appetizing, but it was tasting great: tofu chickpea stirfry with tahini sauce from the kitchn. Super tasty!

This week I picked up my friend Shannon’s CSA box while she was out of town and there was a lot of asparagus to use so we had some eggs florentine with asparagus for breakfast this morning. Our CSA box will be starting in the next two weeks and I cannot wait. I’ve also wanted to try it out – lots of fresh local produce – and cooking challenges. Can’t wait!

 

And the others:

  • Taiwanese cold sesame noodles from Vegetarian Times magazine. Similar to the cold pad thai salad from last time (B preferred), but I preferred this one. I think it was all about the texture. I have had a lot of great veg recipes from VT over the years – I always look forward to reading a new issue.
  • Chickpea Sliders from Take A Megabite. Her pictures are always so cute and the food is good too. I made these full size (and they still stayed together!) and without the adorable pink buns – next time!
  • Pineapple guacamole from Gimme Some Oven. Pineapple makes everything better. And this tasted like summer!
  • Chatelaine shared some unique spins on coleslaw for the summer. I tried the honey-lime one and loved it, especially when I had all of the ingredients already on hand.
  • This one’s been on my list to try for lunches for quite awhile – Almond-flaked tuna salad from Oh She Glows. It was alright, but I much prefer the similar Chickpea version from her cookbook.
  • I wish I’d taken a photo of this Crispy Baked Peanut Tofu from the Minimalist Baker. Not only did it taste delicious, but we scarfed it down between talking to our realtor about selling the condo and having someone knock on our door and want to buy it. So I’d call it Lucky Crispy Baked Peanut Tofu ;D
  • Buy too many tomatoes at Costco? This Skillet Tomato Casserole with White Beans and Croutons from Well Plated by Erin will fix that problem. It was really good. This was my first visit to her blog and I will be back.
  •  Another new-to-me blog, Delightful-Delicious-Delovely, shared this Spicy Vegan Chinese Eggplant recipe that was super-good. Our new place is close to a great smelling Chinese restaurant so this might be a good alternative to have at home when the air smells tasty.