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By Sonu Purhar Nothing beats a creamy cold treat on a hot summer day – but unfortunately for us vegan and non-dairy folks, options are often limited. Sure, we can wander into an ice cream parlour with a hypnotizing array of flavours, but something in us dies a little when we spot the sad collection of ice crystal-studded sorbets in the corner. So, we’ve uncovered seven spots all around Metro Vancouver that churn genuinely delicious, adventurously flavoured vegan ice cream – nary a sad sorbet in sight. Enjoy! Umaluma Dairy-Free Gelato 235 East Pender Street, Vancouver and other locations Umaluma’s creamy plant-based gelato is available in stores across Metro Vancouver, though the trendy Chinatown shop offers a cool vibe where you can savour your flavour among like-minded dessert addicts. There are more than 35 options to choose from, including innovative daily specials – we like the Drunken Cherry, which combines…

By Gail Johnson Whether they’re red, green, mild, or feverishly hot, peppers are a coveted B.C. crop. Capsicums grow from March or April to November in local greenhouses, while the season for Fraser Valley field peppers typically runs from July to October. Either way, we’re now in peak pepper season, and Metro Vancouver chefs are doing all sorts of creative things with the vividly coloured veggies. Burdock & Co 2702 Main Street, Vancouver Chef/owner Andrea Carlson has been committed to making “farm-to-table” fare before that became a restaurant-industry buzz phrase. She stuffs a delicate grilled leek with mushroom and the moderately spicy cayenne chili pepper, topping the toothsome dish with olive-oil emulsion and smoked walnuts. Di Beppe 8 West Cordova Street, Vancouver A hit on the cicchetti—small bites—menu  at this Italian restaurant is tuna conserva, or confit, the fish bathed in olive oil, with olive and pickled piparra peppers (say that 10…

By Kristi Alexandra Here are five delicious places to go vegetarian and vegan in New Westminster. V Café 789 Carnarvon Street Set kitty-corner to New Westminster Station, V Cafe takes a cruelty-free approach to Vietnamese cuisine. For those who crave the comfort of a warm bowl of pho while enjoying a meat-free diet, V Cafe has got you covered. A large steaming bowl of vegetable pho in a vegetarian soup base, complete with broccoli, cauliflower, zucchini, mushrooms, tofu and meat-free protein will run you $9.95, while vegetarian and vegan banh mi baguettes are $6.60. We tried the vegetarian lemongrass “chicken” banh mi and it was virtually indistinguishable from the real thing. Soup and sandwiches aren’t the only thing vegetarian Vietnamese cuisine lovers can find, though. Explore V Cafe’s 8 different salad rolls, from the vegan California roll to the vegan smoked BBQ rib rolls ($6.60 per pair). Old Crow Coffee…

By Executive Chef Sam Fabbro from Amaranthus INGREDIENTS Red onion (1) Garlic (4 cloves) Olive oil (1 TBS) Apple cider vinegar (250 ml) Blueberries (750 g) Water (We use house-made vegetable stock at the restaurant) (500 ml) Smoked paprika (15 g) Brown sugar (125 g) Salt & pepper to taste DIRECTIONS Fine dice the red onion and garlic. Sauté in canola oil until they just begin to brown. Deglaze pan with apple cider vinegar. (Deglazing dissolves all the flavourful browned bits of sautéed vegetables) Keep on heat and reduce vinegar by half, then add the blueberries and water. (If you have it, sub the water for vegetable stock.) Add paprika and brown sugar. Simmer for 15 minutes to allow flavour to develop. Blend on high speed in a blender until smooth then season with salt and pepper. A note from the Chef: “At our plant forward restaurant Amaranthus, we call…

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 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…