I recently got a copy of In Bibi’s Kitchen, and I ran through it to see which recipes were vegan or easily veganizable (replacing milk/eggs). I realized as I was making my list that it might be helpful to other people considering the book.
I think it’s a beautiful cookbook whether you’re vegan or not – but reading through it, I also found it fairly vegan friendly, and it’s also full of rich stories of countries and places and individuals (especially grandma’s) that live in or with heritage from 8 countries in Africa.
The book was enjoyable to read through without having made anything yet – the discussions of foodways in Africa – in the way that it explores the intersection of food in culture, traditions, and history. They look at spice ways and historical colonizer impacts and influences and more.
On to the recipes! If it’s listed below, it’s vegan by default or with only small modifications as indicated.
Chapter One – Eritrea
Kicha (Eritrean flatbread)
Zebhi Hamli (Stewed Spinach)
Shiro (ground chickpea stew)
Shahan Ful (Mashed Lima’s with Onions, Tomatoes, and Chiles)
Buna (Eritrean coffee, with description of coffee ceremony)
Chapter Two – Somalia
Xawaash Spice Mix (pronounced HA-wash)
Sabaayad (somali flatbreads) – this one has whole milk in it, but I would like to try making the recipe with some higher fat soy milk or coconut milk
Somali Cilantro and Green Chile Pepper Sauce
Canjeero (Sourdough Pancakes)
Bariis (Basmati Rice Pilaf with Raisins)
Shaah Cadays (Somali Spiced Tea with Milk) – this has milk, but I believe would be easy enough to make with a plant based milk.
Chapter Three – Kenya
Kachumbari (Tomato and Onion Salads)
Mango Chili Sauce
Ma Penny’s Mukimo (Mashed green split peas, corn, and potatoes) – this calls for butter, but you know what to do.
Sukuma Wiki (greens with tomatoes)
Ma Wambui’s Mikimo with Onions and Greens
Kunde (Black-eyed Peas and Tomatoes in Peanut Sauce)
Basboosa (semolina cake) – this one calls for eggs and buttermilk, but I know we can do it with some egg replacer and some soymilk+lemonjuice
Fresh Carrot Drink
Chapter Four – Tanzania
Ndizi Kaanga (fried Plantains) – this calls for butter or ghee, but you know.
Quick Stewed Eggplant with Coconut
Date Bread (calls for eggs and butter)
Kaimati (Crispy Coconut Dumplings in Cardamom Syrup)
Chapter Five – Mozambique
xima – smooth cornmeal porrige
Mbowa – Leafy greens in coconut sauce
Piri piri sauce
Chapter six – South Africa
Chakalaka (spicy vegetable relish)
Imifino (wild greens with corn porridge)
Iced Rooibos Tea with Orange, Cloves, and Cinnamon
Chapter Seven – Madagascar
Mofo Gasy (Yeasted Rice and Coconut Pancakes)
Carrot Salad with Vinaigrette
Tsaramaso Malagasy (Traditional malagasy white beans)
Lasary Legioma (Tomato Relish)
Mofo Akondro (Banana Fritters)
Ginger Spritz (this is a drink that calls for honey, but would be easily replaced with agave or maple syrup, or simple syrup or apple honey, you get it.)
Chapter Eight – Comoros
Sweet Pea Soup with Coconut and Ginger
Ambrevades au Curry (Curried Pigeon Peas)
Sweet Vermicelli Noodles with Cardamom and Butter – yes, you see that butter in the title, but it’s so easy to replace it with some margarine or some vegan butter.
Watermelon Juice with Lime Ginger and Mint.
As you can see, In Bibi’s Kitchen offers lots of options for vegans, including several main dishes, desserts, and sides. I am looking forward to trying all of these. If and when I do, I’ll update this post.
If you’re looking to buy In Bibi’s Kitchen, especially in Canada definitely check out A Different Booklist or your local bookstore.
Hello, hope you are doing as well as possible. It’s been a heck of a few months, and I know many of us have been impacted in a variety of ways. It’s hard to imagine how drastically things have changed in a short period of time – I like to think we’re all in this together, and that it will be over someday, but I know that it hasn’t been impacting people equally. Shout outs to the people keeping us healthy, keeping us fed, and keeping the city moving.
We are lucky that we live in a city where a variety of online/socially distant grocery options already existed before people had to pivot to offering them. We’ve been doing an online order – grocery pick up thing for a few years, if only because synchronizing our schedules and wrangling a toddler made grocery shopping challenging in the best of times.
Anyway, I’ve been worried about a few small businesses making it through this, and I also wanted to share a few suggestions for sources of some levity during this time. If it’s accessible to you – support local stores and shops, some are doing pickup, some are open, and some are doing delivery. I’ve felt so much more comfortable going into my small local store than larger chains right now.
At some point during the pandemic we completely stopped shopping at Loblaws and related chains (this may have coincided with their removal of pandemic pay/hazard pay to their staff.) but in Toronto there are a variety of options.
First of all, if you haven’t signed up for one of FoodShare Toronto‘s produce delivery boxes, you might want to consider it. They’ve just recently added Alternative Grounds fair-trade coffee, and they also have a couple of different loaves of vegan-friendly Spent Goods bread available that can be delivered at the same time as your produce box.
I love that they have a variety of choices – just fruit, organic or conventional, smaller or larger amounts, and I find their prices very reasonable – especially because it is all delivered. We get a conventional box every week, along with some bread.
Anyway, here is a list of folks in no particular order that I think are doing great things, doing their own delivery or curbside pick up, and folks that I hope, with all of my heart and wallet, will do well, and make it through.
I will keep updating as time and inclination allows! If you know someone who would be helpful to include on here, please feel free to post them in the comments or send me an email or IG message if you want to!
Grocery and Produce Delivery
Fruit and Veg To Go
Fruit and Veg To Go is a business that started up during the pandemic – delivering bags of produce and grocery items. They have a variety of great options – including rice and peas bags, bean bags, special Jamaican produce bags, and more. They’re not exclusively vegan, but lots of great vegan options.
The Sweet Potato
The Sweet Potato is a great grocery store in the Junction neighbourhood in west-Toronto. They have a wide variety of vegan specialty products, organic produce, snacks, body and home care items. They offer delivery and pick up options, as well as in store shopping.
To be honest, the pandemic has made me appreciate them even more than I did before, as a responsible place to shop with a commitment to transparency and public health.
Comfort Toronto (if you click this link, you get 10$ off, and I get 10$ off) ) is a service we’ve been using for a few years, and it’s a great way to get Costco stuff without having a membership. They don’t have every Costco item on their site, but they do have many of them. You can also visit them directly.
If you follow me on Instagram, (which if you don’t already, you should do, I am great,) you will know how much I love Mugi foods. They’re completely plant based, and their food is amazing – fresh flavours – dishes like massaman curry, pad thai, khao soy and more on a rotating menu. They have also been open for just a tiny bit under a year, and their food is amazing.
I thought it was super cool how they posted their options once a week on Instagram or Facebook, but now it’s pretty straightforward to order. You can order over the phone ((416) 535-3886) or through many delivery apps.
Home of salads, soups, and smoothies (as well as delicious giant cookies) this plant-based Roncesvalles spot is doing a bunch of great meal kits, selling produce and pantry staples and fancies.
I made a giant pot of their delicious Be Well Soup, and had plenty to eat and share. (they’re also nice folks, they’ve posted the recipe for it online too)
Wandering Deli is offering pick up at their store on Toronto’s West side. They have a beautiful variety of great cheeses that change with the seasons and cheese-maker inclinations, including a variety of havarti-homages, strong flavoured kale leaf wrapped chevre beauties, brie, and more.Check out their shop and pick up on the weekend.
Sorry I’ve Got Plants
They’re selling meal kits, dressings and dips, produce and grocery items.
They’ve been doing this for a while, but have added a few more options to their online store and more frequent deliveries. You can get delivery for a fee ($8 or less) or pick up from their Roncesvalles location.
Every couple of weeks the folks from FatChoi post a meal you can pre-order for pick up on their instagram account. You prepay via e-transfer, and select a time for pick up on Friday. They have a really great socially distant pickup where you pick a time-slot ahead of time and they clearly communicate how you get your order while protecting both yourself and their staff.
We have ordered this regularly since they started and it’s always been wonderful.
Hummingbird Eats makes incredible Jamaican Vegan patties and meals. They do deliveries to Penguin Pickup Locations around the city, and home delivery to some locations in the GTA. I have gotten these a few times, picking up from a penguin pick up site, but have not yet done home delivery.
Delivery foods from this plant based deli – We ordered a few times in their first incarnation, and it was a quick and easy process. They now have a variety of vegan meats for sandwiches and pizza and more. They are also now shipping in Toronto, throughout Canada, and to the USA. Check out their website.
A frequent sight at farmers markets around the city, Chocosol has direct trade chocolate and coffee available for no-contact bike delivery and they ship too. We’ve taken advantage of their big bag of coffee deal several times throughout the pandemic.
You can buy things in bulk and save big or in their usual package sizes. Check out their shop for more information.
On Pause / Pending / Unknown
As this list has ebbed and flowed, places have opened and closed. I’d like to keep a record of some of the businesses on pause, and follow up with them every once and a while.
EastEnd Vegan (on pause until June 1st)
Almond based vegan cheese spreads, based in the east end of Toronto, but delivering around the Toronto area weekly. Check out their webstore.
Urban Acorn (on pause)
Urban Acorn has started offering a biweekly Vegan Supper Club online – you can chat and eat with a bunch of other people on zoom or instagram, or skip the video call and just eat whenever you want to.
They also have a variety of tasty vegan things on their online store available for delivery or pick up, including croissants, Jamaican-style patties, and a housemade plant-based highland blue cheese.
They’re delivering weekly within the GTA and Hamilton, Burlington, and Mississauga. You can also pick up your order from the Baby Point area Check out their shop here
It’s hard to ship pizza, but you can order shortbread and a few other treats for delivery all over. Check out their website. They have been selling out of cookies often, but keep restocking. Apiecalypse is closed temporarily. Looking forward to whatever comes next.
I had the opportunity to go to The Basil Box for the first time this week, and I really liked it. I checked out their website in advance and noticed they had a bunch of great looking vegan sauces, and a tasty looking tofu option – I was really happy to see how easy it was to order a vegan meal with them.
Everything is clearly labelled V for vegan-friendly, and everything is gluten free by default. It was quick and easy to order and I think it would be a decent option for our whole family (toddler included).
First you chose a base – which can be brown rice, jasmine white rice, rice noodles, mixed greens or a mix of a couple different bases.
When I was ordering I went with the long grain jasmine rice, but for my next bowl I would probably do rice and mixed greens.
Next you pick two veggies (all of the options are vegan by default) so there are sauteed peppers, roasted onions and peas, lemongrass corn, roasted edamame, and charred sweet potato. I was tempted by that sweet potato, but went with edamame and sauteed peppers for a colourful mix.
They have one main vegan protein option – a coconut curry tofu, which is a nice pressed extra firm tofu marinated in one of their own Basil Box made curry pastes and coconut milk. The owner mentioned they are testing a couple other vegan protein options, so there might be more in the future. (and I want to try them.)
There are five sauces to choose from – but I went with the one with the most fires next to it, since I like everything spicy, and got the Penang Curry, and it was a great choice. I though it was spicy without being overpowering or overwhelming – though of course your mileage may vary.
Lastly, there are a few box toppers – I chose pickled vegetables (how could I not) and sriracha spiced pumpkin seeds. They also have roasted sesame seeds, crushed peanuts, herbs, chia seeds, and fresh Thai chilies.
For snacks/dessert: they have a Chiang Mai trail mix which has a nice mix of sweet and salty flavours as well as a sweet mango rice parfait which is coconut rice pudding topped with a mango puree (and of course, I’m mentioning them because they’re both vegan.) I took a pack of the trail mix home and it made for a great mid morning snack.
I tried two of their drinks – the Pineapple Rose Soda, which was magical and my kind of flavour profile and the mango ginger ale which was had a lovely gingery bite to it. I liked it, and I will be back.
We made it to Toronto’s Vegfest, this will be my 8th year attending. I think I might have missed a year somewhere along the line, but I’m there pretty much every year.
The past week was spent cottaging in Muskoka, and we got back mid-way on Saturday so I wasn’t sure if we’d make it this year. Plus if I’m going to be honest with you, I was kind of avoiding it – it’s a big and busy festival with lots of people, but we did make it, and grabbed some good food.
These aren’t all the highlights of our time, but it’s some of the stuff I tried, bought, or saw at VegFest.
First of all, Wandering Deli was at VegFest this year, and I wanted to mention that Wandering Deli is going to open a vegan cheese shop. There is an Indigogo campaign, so you could click over there and check it out.
I’ve been happy to follow along with their cheese making journey (as a happy customer) for the last few years and it’s been cool to see them develop their brand, product, and get to this stage. They work hard, and make a great vegan cheese, I’m looking forward to seeing what’s next for them.
My first stop at VegFest was over at Nuts for Cheese, another great Ontario vegan cheese maker that is killing it. I’ve been eagerly awaiting their Black Garlic cheese wedge, but they were sold out. Mentioned it should be available at their usual spots (Sobey’s, Farm Boy, etc) soon, so I’ll keep my eyes open for that.
Next stop was EastEnd Vegan, they’re a Scarborough based almond based vegan cheese maker, and are available at YamChops and a variety of other spots in the city, including a few farmers’ markets. They had this awesome Jammin’ Jerk flavour that I don’t think I’ve seen in stores in the past, I wish I grabbed some more.
I wandered over to a new-to-me vendor called Chau Toronto, a project from an internationally trained chef (Chef Jane Tran) and bought some To-f#%ing Good Bao and some Vietnamese iced coffee with Chau-made condensed coconut milk. It was great, and I’m glad I decided to wait in the line that was forming first thing in the morning. Chau isn’t a 100% vegan thing, but they say they try to make vegan things at every event they go to.
JC had Lord of The Fries with S, but I missed out – seems like they were having a great day too! It’s amazing that the folks came all the way from Australia to share their stuff with us, but it’s A-OK by me – but I do wonder what it means.
I met up with JC and the small human at the Oat & Mill booth where they had ice cream that they really liked, and I didn’t try (though I had a taste of the blue one, because that’s what the kiddo was eating)
We talked to Tim at Culcherd, and it sounds like they’ve got a lot of cool stuff coming up including a bunch of new products.
I tried a few of their new butters (garlic and a cinnamon sugar one, both of which are going to be perfect on bread – though perhaps not at the same time…) They also have a new everything bagel cheese going on. I bought a few cheeses to go – I usually pick their butters up from Unboxed Market (they sell the cheeses package free/BYOP.)
Then I got in line for Apiecalypse, and waited my turn – I had my eyes on a slice of the frito pie pizza and some magic squares. I used to buy large quantities of magic squares from Apiecalypse Bakery in Mirvish Village in the annex before the buildings all got knocked down, and I picked up quite a taste for them. I havent’ seen them at the pizza spot on Bloor, but it’s a different focus – so whenever Apiecalypse is at a show, I’m excited to get a few.
Some bonus mentions: Nature’s Bakery was handing out samples of their Fig Bars, and the kid was very excited about them. They make for a pretty decent snack food to take with us on outings. There was also Three Farmers, which makes one of my favourite savoury snack foods.
The trouble with leaving VegFest to Sunday is that many vendors have run out of things – especially new vendors that didn’t know what to expect – but I think we had a decent visit and got most of what we were looking for.
It’s become increasingly more important to me that a place be kid friendly when we go out to eat as a family. That can’t be surprising, we have a three year old, and since he was born, our eating habits have changed.
Sometimes that involves eating at home more often (also including delivery), sometimes that involves suffering through long waits and an impatient tiny human. It’s not like we’re not feeling impatient too, it’s just easier to pretend you like waiting when you’re a adult.
There is one place in the city that stands out as having nearly everything we want, while still allowing us the experience of dining out – Udupi Palace. We rarely go to the east end (though there are more and more reasons to do so) but Udupi Palace is worth the drive/transit ride.
They have a great little kids play area that is probably suitable for anyone under the age of 6, lots of high chairs of various sizes, they have a changing station in the back, the staff are kind and patient with children (and adults), and the food is awesome. Every time.
I have this bonus fondness for Udupi because we went there a lot when I was pregnant too – the spicy rassam was exactly what I wanted to eat during the third trimester. Plus JC reminded me that it was also one of the first restaurants I took him to when we met – and one he had never been to, so it’s clearly a long term favourite.
Nearly the whole menu is vegan or veganizable, and I am still so surprised when veg people that live in Toronto say they’ve never been to Udupi Palace – so here is my pitch – not that they need it, but – go to Udupi Palace.
I think the one thing that makes Udupi Palace not the perfect place, and that’s the lack of accessible entrance – so that can make it harder for the whole family to eat together. There are about 6-7 steps down to get to the restaurant.
I went away to Montreal with a friend last month. We took the train from Toronto, and it was just a lovely little trip all around – it was the first time I’d been away from our son for so long, and it was nice to have a bit of time away, but still hard and a bit of an adjustment.
After the five hour train ride into Central Station, we walked over to LOV for a late dinner. It was a Friday night, so unsurprisingly, they were busy, but luckily could accommodate us after only a short wait. We basically ordered one of each of their appetizers – i.e., just living the dream.
For me, the standouts were the nachos and the french onion soup. But I liked the brussels sprouts quite bit too. If you live in Toronto, you might be interested to know that LOV is opening a location here as well (aiming for May 2019 at King & Portland.)
After we took advantage of the beautiful weather and walked over to our AirBNB and went to sleep in preparation for an action packed tomorrow.
I’d made reservations at Le Parloir for afternoon tea earlier that week, and it was lovely. Like really lovely. To get there we walked through Parc la Fontaine, and saw people enjoying the day – there is a great looking hill for tobogganing and some random pieces of public art like this Acorn Slingshot.
The funny thing about taking a vacation away from my son, S, was that I kept looking for activities to do with him for the next time we visited together. I made a note of the places we ate that had high chairs or changing tables, even though S doesn’t use them anymore.
So Le Parloir is a cozy tea room, with lovely old wooden tables, and welcoming decor. Every table but ours was full when we walked in, and everyone seemed eager about their tea setting. So was I.
We started with tea – they bring by a basket full of tea samples you can smell and look at. I picked my usual Earl Grey, which was lovely. But in retrospect I wish I would have branched out a bit – or at least tried my old standby lapsang souchong which they also had available (which if you’ve never tried it, has a smokey, almost whisky type flavour.)
Soon it was time to eat. We’d gotten strawberry cream tarts, two cupcakes, a fluffy biscuit with preserves, a pudding type thing, small cucumber sandwiches, marinated roasted mushroom sandwiches, beet hummus, tofu salad, and another sandwich.
They were all lovely though I was especially fond of the fluffy biscuits and tofu salad sandwiches!
Afterwards we kept walking on to our next destination – we were going to go get facials and do the water circuit at Bota Bota – but conveniently, could pop in to Invitation V on the way there. (we would end up come back here again the next day to grab food before our train – it’s close to the via rail station, and has great options.)
I ordered the ceasar salad with a side of fries and I have no regrets. The thing that really stood out about this was the yuba/tofu skin pieces. It seemed herbed and seasoned and pressed into a form then diced. Really innovative, and I feel like that doesn’t happen very often – at least not with things I’m already familiar with like tofu skin. I was glad to have ordered it.
The next time I ordered their omelette and it was something exceptional too. I was expecting just some chickpea thing, or just some tofu thing, but it was so much more. I will definitely come back there sometime.
All in all, a lovely little whirlwind trip to Montreal, and it was nice to check out so many new-to-me places. We were sort of forced to branch out – two of my previously favourite places were closed for holidays – Cafe Dei Campi and Sushi Momo (including their new delivery/take out spot).
Are you wondering what to do with it? I am here for you. Here are 10 of my favourite instant pot recipes.
We have had an instant pot for a few years, and at first, I was totally scared of pressure cookers, but the instant pot made it easy and fun. Having one helped us make food that was deeply satisfying and flavourful with a quarter of the time or effort (or without much of the advanced planning required for using a slowcooker.)
I’m especially keen on the more soupy/stew-y type meals, but you’re not limited to that with the instant pot or other pressure cookers, there are a wide variety of recipes to choose from.
1. Vegan Richa’s – Lasagna Soup
I could just make a list of all of my favourite Vegan Richa recipes for the instant pot, but that would be silly because I haven’t had one I didn’t like. They’re always amazing, and every single one is full of flavour and with varying levels of ease. You can also check out her own list of 20 Vegan instant pot recipes.
This lasagna soup is something we go back to often. It’s super easy, fast, and doesn’t take much planning or work. It is one of the best things to just throw in the pot, and get on with your evening, but it’s also great for any level of advance meal planning too.
Be vigilant about getting this off pressure when the time is up though – the noodles may not survive it!
I’ve been lucky enough to enjoy several different bowls of vegan gumbo in New Orleans, and I’m always looking for that hearty thick delicious flavour. I like that this recipe doesn’t need any packaged meat analogues to be tasty, but if you were looking for a sausage to add, the tofurky andouille fits right in.
Oatmeal is boring right? Why would you need help with that?
No. Instant pot oatmeal is awesome. You can do steel cut oats in a fraction of the time, you don’t have to babysit the oats at the stove, you can throw them in the instant pot, and just have a shower, or drink coffee and relax with your family. It’s a major time saver for us, and I’m a big fan.
So how do you do oats in the instant pot? Check out Hip Pressure Cooking for more information.
7. Evolving Table – Instant Pot Potato Corn Chowder
Chowda? Chowder? Chowdair? That’s you choice, but this chowder is great and flavourful, and perfect for a weeknight. I’d also recommend using an immersion blender for a couple of quick pulses to give it a thicker broth vs. the thickener suggestion. I also really like adding some 1/2-1cup of cooked chickpeas to this to add a bit more protein to the mix. Check it out from Evolving Table.
9. Instant Pot Pumpkin Walnut Chili from Pinch of Yum.
Another, but dramatically different chili recipe. Walnuts and Pumpkin isn’t really what you think of when it comes to chili, but this recipe really makes it work – warming and tasty, it’s perfect to spice up wintertime blahs.
I don’t know about you, but the first time I saw someone make a cake in the instant pot, I did a double take. But why not? Give it a try with this great chocolate cake recipe from Quick and Carry Bags!
Did you know you could make dairy-free yogurt in the instant pot? You can!
The second time we bought an instant pot, I made sure to get the one with the yogurt button – you can set it up for a day or so, and it takes care of the fermentation process for you. Get the recipe and instructions from the Detoxinista.
For more information about cooking vegan with the instant pot, my favourite judgement-free, anti-food shaming but vegan group is: Plant-Based Instant Pot People on Facebook. Lots of great suggestions, and lots of great advice.
Hope you find this list helpful, and let me know if you try anything!
I spend a lot of time thinking up ideas for special events at our house – and I tend to go a bit overboard. We are a family of three, and very rarely, are we accompanied by my in-laws. They have additional dietary restrictions to consider that can be a bit more challenging to accommodate – non-vegan keto – so when we eat together, it takes a little bit of planning to make sure everyone has something to eat.
It’s also kind of fun working with additional restrictions because it changes things up, and usually makes us try something new.
We’ve been doing a couple of things to try and encourage family to come over, so instead of dinners, we try to do breakfasts or brunches and invite people over when they’re less likely to have other things going on.
Vegan Hanukkah Brunch
Lox (carrot or tomato)
Quick pickled purple onion
Zucchini Cauliflower Pancakes
Vegan cheese plate
A bunch of cream cheese – Miyokos (we picked some up from Summerhill Market in Toronto), Tofutti, and maybe some homemade cashew based.)
I like the idea of help yourself buffet style brunch. Put a bunch of serving dishes out with food on them, some plates, and people find a place to sit and chat around the house.
Tofu Scramble – If you follow me on instagram or facebook, you know my endless love for Hot for Food’s Perfect Tofu Scramble, it is always excellent. The combination of nutritional yeast, soy milk, paprika, and shallots/onions is delightfully and subtly eggy, without needing any kala namak/black salt
Bagels – I absolutely love making bagels at home, but you don’t have to, there are several commercially available vegan bagels out there – like these ones from Silver Hills Bakery.
As for me, I have a regular goto recipe for my homemade New York style bagels from Sophisticated Gourmet. I know what the dough should feel like when it is ready. I can make it without even checking the recipe anymore. I’ve been dreaming about Pumpernickel Bagels lately, and I think I’ve found my goto for that with this recipe from (uh ironically[?] enough) Milk and Honey.
Lox – Carrot or Tomato or both? Your choice! Or use Sophie’s Vegan Seafood Smoked Salmon (which is available irregularly through various speciality retailers).
I’m really feeling this recipe from Delightful Vegans for the carrot smoked salmon the idea of blanching and roasting the carrots might seem a bit much, but it’s something that can be prepared a few days in advance.
I used a recipe from the Field Roast cookbook for tomato lox, but this Carrot and Flowers recipe (which also includes a recipe for cashew cream cheese) appeared well before that book and it looks great too.
Brisket – the BlackBeet Roast from Avocado and Ales – this is something you can make a bit in advance and then bake on the day with some carrots and onions. I wouldn’t make it on the same day you’re prepping other things.
Tori Avey’s Jewish Fried Artichokes are really calling to me this year, especially because we picked up a package of frozen artichokes during passover earlier this year and have yet to make use of them.
After Quebec City, we made a pit stop in Rivière-du-Loup – just to grab lunch and stretch our legs for the next part of our trip. Luckily, Café L’Innocent was there for us. It’s a funky artsy space with indoor and outdoor seating – and it’s conveniently located within a 10 minute walking distance of Parc des Chutes – a beautiful park with a waterfall (that is also a hydroelectric generator) and hiking trails for varying abilities.
We started our visit at the cafe and ordered some of their vegan things, they have things labelled on the menu as to what is or can be made vegan, and ordering was straightforward and our server was very helpful. JC went in before us to ask about vegan options and the server was enthusiastic and friendly about it, which made us extra happy to stay.
JC really wanted poutine before we, voila, they had a vegan one. It was a different take on poutine, and had VegNature chèvre slices on top (which is based in Quebec city) and JC liked it. I was too focused on my falafel burger to steal too much of his food.
I was really feeling the falafel burger, and the kiddo really like the hummus and falafel plate. We had our fill of the delicious food, and then went for a walk over to the nearby Park.
We went back to Rivière-du-Loup on the way back as well, and visited the same park – it’s just such a lush green and lovely spot to take a break or walk around. Peeking into the window at the generating station was pretty cool too, if you’re there for a while, or just passing through, these two spots were great.
460 Rue Lafontaine, Rivière-du-Loup, QC G5R 3C2 (map) facebook
Rosalinda opened earlier this year in May, and I’ve been a handful of times. Sometimes just to grab a snack and a drink at the bar (totopos!), sometimes with friends, sometimes on a date, sometimes with a group. It’s good for all of those things. And Rosalinda has turned into one of my favourite fancy-casual type places in the city.
Seating is ample (138-seats) – the space feels huge – especially by Toronto restaurant standards. If you go during the day, it’s full of bright natural light, and a mix of pretty green fake and (maybe?) real plants throughout the space. Lots of windows, lots of intimate corners to sit in. They have these great mini booths for two people, and bigger booths at the back, and I feel like the seats are well spaced.
Last month someone I knew sat next to me, and we were spaced far enough away that we didn’t realize it until one of us got up and came back.
The food is always good. Every time. I’ve never had anything that I felt wasn’t well thought out – though I don’t love everything, that’s personal preference, not poor execution. At this point I’ve tried most of the menu, and I find myself gravitating towards the same things.
My favourite appetizers to share (or not share) are the mushroom potato flautas and the chilaquiles rojos. Over and over again, these two have stood out. They’re both beautifully spiced and flavourful with a great combination of textures.
The flautas are crispy, stuffed with mushroom and potatoes, drizzled with a cashew crema, and topped off with a fresh savoury cilantro slaw, and resting in a poblano salsa. Yum.
We also had a couple of tacos to share. I’ve had the oluqueno-style smoked onion tacos before, and they are also quite delightful.
The Chorizo Verde Taco
With poblano tomatillo salsa and cucumber pico de gallo. This was a super delicious and spicy taco – made with crumbled tofu, and topped off with cilantro sprouts.
Jackfruit Pibil Taco
The jackfruit is marinated in citrus, and topped off with slaw.
Mixed Squash with pipián verde (a sauce made with pumpkin seeds) and puffed grains (which I believe are also the same as their chicharron, but crumbled.)
Spicy roasted carrots a with mole almendrado and a sprinkle of sesame.
I ordered the chocolate mousse and coffee to cap off the evening. I remember it being extremely thick and rich last time I shared it with a friend, but this time, it was still extremely thick and rich, just a little less so. Especially great with a big cup of Sam James Coffee though.
We also ended up with several plates of Churros, and almost ended up with more. It was just plates and plates of churros. Which was funny, because the churros are basically the only thing I’m not super excited about. Go figure. JC is quite into them, so don’t worry churro fans, they were not wasted. It comes with a banana caramel for dipping.
I’ve had a bit of everything over the last few months.
They have a variety of drinks, alcoholic, non-alcoholic, coffee, juice, nice sampling flights of tequila and mescal, and an ample wine list.
The flights of mescal were my favourite – and came with slices of oranges and chili salt.
p.s. they have a limited takeout menu posted on their instagram stories.
p.p.s watch out for the super heated vent outside, phew.
p.p.p.s they have a burger, I’ve never had it, but people always seem to order it a lot.