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By Kathy Mak Before you say yuck to cricket protein, you may be surprised to learn that a large portion of the world and most cultures are consuming edible insects by choice, a practice known as entomophagy.  For centuries, feasting on insects as a source of nutrition has been common in Asia, Africa and South America. The concept of eating bugs as an alternative protein has more recently started to make sense in North America. And one of the companies banking on bugs is Coast Protein. This New Westminster start-up is on a mission to normalize eating crickets as a viable, sustainable and healthy food source in various types of cuisine. Currently, they make edible cricket-based protein bars and powders that are available in 225 stores in Canada, of which there are 175 locations in British Columbia and 120 in the Lower Mainland. Crickets constitute the largest portion of the…

By Kathy Mak Audrey Wong is the force and founder behind Living Lotus, a Vancouver company focused on satisfying your sweet tooth with dreamy desserts that have better-for-you, rawsome ingredients.  Without turning on an oven, Wong is crafting an array of luscious plant-based desserts made from minimally processed whole foods that are packed with nutrients but gluten-free, vegan and devoid of chemicals, additives and refined sugar. Uniting delicious and nutritious – as sustainably as possible – has long been a priority for Wong who has been a vegetarian for over 26 years and a vegan for five.  Her mindful-eating interest turned to raw foods in 2007, inspired by Matthew Kenny’s book, Raw Food/Real World.  While gluten-free and vegan foods are becoming more commonplace, Wong found few options for dessert alternatives using only whole foods. After studying raw nutrition culinary arts, Wong made the leap to start a dessert company with…

By Alexis Baran What if cheese wasn’t made from dairy? Would it still be cheese? This cultured snack favourite can be buttery, sweet, herbal, earthy, pungent, bitter, footy, even barnyardy. It’s one of the few foods that people will gladly eat even (or especially) when visibly laced with thick blue mold and it is a staple of modern dining. For centuries it’s been made using cow, goat, sheep and other animals’ milks – but who’s to say milk is the only thing that can create a fantastic cheese? The assumption that animal milk must be the base for cheese is a notion that Chef Karen McAthy, the founder of Blue Heron Cheese, has been challenging. She’s aiming to change how consumers, as well as the food regulators, think about these wheels of flavour, all from her store and creamery on Vancouver’s Main Street. Blue Heron Creamery opened in Vancouver in…

By Kristi Alexandra Newly yoked vegetarians may have a hard time breaking their ties with Canada’s favourite comfort food, but good gravy – going meat-free is no reason to quit poutine altogether! We did the legwork to find the best vegetarian poutines beyond Vancouver so you can split a meal with your meat-eating friends, guilt-free! Bon Appetit, as the French Canadians say. Spud Shack 352-800 Carnarvon Street, New Westminster Breeze into this New Westminster’s poutinerie by way of the Skytrain for a healthy handful of meat-free options. The Spud Shack creates all ten of their poutine dishes with meat-free gravy, including “The Original.” If you’re looking for a few more twists on this classic Eastern Canadian dish, try out The Big V–loaded with vegetarian chili, sour cream, cheese, and green onions. The buffalo chicken poutine also comes with a vegetarian option, complete with Frank’s Hot Sauce, ranch, and green…

By Brittany Tiplady Just off of the Trans-Canada highway, nestled into the heart of Langley, is a little cafe with a big vision. The space is simple and humble: white accents and lofty ceilings with exquisite art adorning the walls. On a Friday afternoon The Water Shed Arts Cafe is buzzing with customers, “it’s a busy day!” I note to Jenn Cornish, chef owner and operator. “Oh, this is nothing!” she says. “It gets really busy here.” The Water Shed Arts cafe may seem like a typical suburban haunt to the untrained eye, but that’s far from the truth. Cornish has created a safe haven; The Water Shed mandate is “to set the table for humanity where everyone is loved, welcomed, nourished and celebrated,” and that’s exactly what she does. The menu is generous, chock-full of locally sourced ingredients and hearty whole foods that cater to all tastes and dietary…

By Kathy Mak After a spot of shopping in the vibrant South Granville strip of Vancouver, step around the corner to find Soffee Café, a dining haven nestled away on a quiet side street. Behold one of the city’s more laid-back, cozy afternoon tea experiences.  You’ll feel right at home in this quaint parlour-style café serving a tempting selection of handcrafted sweet and savoury fare, along with Afternoon Tea services done differently. What makes Soffee Café memorable is its relaxed charm and enticing array of in-house made food.  Step inside and you’ll discover comfy interiors adorned with antiques aplenty and an eclectic mix of flowery china.  You’ll quickly settle into this inviting space that feels more like an intimate living room than a café. The vintage ambiance sets the scene for an elegant, but unpretentious, afternoon tea experience that forgoes etiquette for a fresh twist on a posh tradition.  There…

By Jackie Dives Commercial Drive is a hot spot for food and shopping. Head north from your ride along the Central Valley Greenway for plenty of food options.  At Commercial Drive and East 7th you can grab a casual yet stacked burger and beer at Relish. It has a bit of a cafeteria vibe, so if that’s not exactly what you’re looking for try Jam Jar. For a completely new experience head a few stores down to 77k Freeze, where they make custom ice cream to order. This is a gem for people who have particular allergies or eating restrictions, as you choose the ingredients and they freeze the ice cream on the spot using liquid nitrogen. As the Greenway goes through Burnaby it takes more of a backroad detour. Still, there are a few places to stop and grab some treats to-go that are nearby. If chocolate is what…

by Catherine Dunwoody You may be familiar with Left Coast Naturals, a Burnaby-based brand that started back in 1996. Owned by Jason Dorland and Ian Walker, they kicked off with a line of natural nut butters called Skeet & Ike’s that they sold on Granville Island Market on weekends. Things went well, the company ticked along for a long while, and then in 2005 they launched a variety of tortilla chips, named Hippie Chips, after the 60s hippie movement where people looked to raw, natural foods for better health. Hippie Foods has grown since then, and now is a whole line of healthy (and tasty!) snacks, cereals and cookies. See? Going way beyond granola. Though their granola is darn good. Here are some goodies to watch for in markets on Canada’s west coast. Bonus? All of these are organic, gluten free and non-GMO too: Hippie Snacks Coconut Clusters. Organic roasted…

By Kathy Mak These days, consumers wanting or needing gluten-free and vegan options do not have to miss out on delicious baked products, thanks to a growing number of specialty bakeries in Metro Vancouver and the Lower Mainland. But, the only decidedly all gluten-free and vegan bakery in the Vancouver area yet, is Two Daughters Bakeshop. They provide a large selection of oven-fresh, healthy products that are both gluten-free and vegan-friendly, without compromising on irresistible flavours. Tucked away in Lolo Lane, between 1st Street East and Esplanade Avenue, the cozy artisan bakery is located steps away from Lonsdale Quay on Vancouver`s North Shore. In 2012, Lisa Reichelt opened the bakery, dedicated to making gluten-free-vegan pastries, snacks, breads and desserts. It was inspired by her passion for baking and by her youngest daughter’s need for a celiac diet without eggs, dairy and gluten. Two Daughters Bakershop’s mission is to use the…

By Catherine Dunwoody Vegans and vegetarians will want to add Sunday visits to the Coquitlam Farmers Market to their calendars, from now until end of October. Jessica Kralj, owner of Tasty Plants, has a love for plant-based foods, and a knack for preparing a variety of delicious dishes, that she sells at the market. Originally from Caracas, Venezuela, Kralj offers fresh and frozen prepared meals plus brownies, cookies, bars, and snacks. Customers line up for her three bean and quinoa chili, enchiladas, curried chickpeas and cauliflower soup. Sweet tooth? Try the energy bites (2 flavors: dark cocoa-coconut and key-lime coconut), and vegan brownies. Tasty Plants does not use any animal products/by-products, supports BC farmers and suppliers, and is an environmentally friendly business. “There are so many health issues associated with the consumption of meats and dairy, as well as so many people with allergies to these products and not many…

By Lenée Son Wondering where to go for the best vegan and vegetarian friendly eats in White Rock? Finding meat-free options can be difficult when you’re not sure where to start, but we’ve got you covered. Whether you’re looking to eat veggie to save the planet, improve your health, protect the animals, or all of the above, one thing is for sure – these plant based meals located in this beach-side city are guaranteed to make your taste buds happy. PG’s Jamaican Takeout PG’s Jamaican Takeout brings the cuisine of Jamaica’s beaches to White Rock’s own beach. Their veggie patties are freshly baked and the turmeric-hued pastry crust is perfectly flaky. Biting into a veggie patty reveals the delicious filling, which is savory with spicy notes. On Tuesdays, PG’s special is their Veggie Roti stuffed with potatoes, bell peppers, and spices and served with a side of steamed vegetables or…

By Tim Pawsey Somehow, amidst the never ending tsunami of trends and the revolving door of openings and closings, the buffet endures. An array of tastes and flavours offered at a reasonable price is tempting to the eclectic diner and to parents of choosy children, but to really be a hit, a good buffet needs to not only offer variety but also be well tended, with dishes kept warm and replenished as needed. Perhaps because it remains a bastion of family dining, frequently served only on weekends, the buffet is the one holdover from times past that we not only tolerate but celebrate. In Burnaby, which neighbours Vancouver with a thriving community of families and multiculturalism, there are many to choose from, with a strong focus on international cuisine. In Burnaby, Indian buffets rule. Four blocks west of Metrotown, contemporary toned Saffron Indian Cuisine yields both lunch and dinner extravaganzas.…

New Westminster is packed with classic dimly-lit brick pubs, bright patios and friendly diners; all perfect places to chow down on a good ol’ burger and fries. Here are some of New West’s best-known burgers: The Manwich Match Eatery & Public House A 7oz flat-iron steak on a garlic French loaf topped with crispy onion strings, roasted grape tomatoes and garlic aioli – served medium rare or to taste. Cajun Chicken Sandwich The Terminal Pub A Cajun-spiced grilled chicken breast topped with aged cheddar, bacon, crispy onion strings, lettuce, tomato and a chipotle aioli. It is served on a kaiser buns that is freshly baked and delivered to by their neighbour, Pamola Bakery, at the River Market in New Westminster. Breakfast Burger (with an elk patty) Burger Heaven Mozzerella, a fried egg (like the Aussies do it) and bacon – try it with an elk patty for an…