vegetarian Archives - WestCoastFood



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.

Coast Protein peanut butter bars
Coast Protein peanut butter bars

Crickets constitute the largest portion of the world’s edible insect market. “The combination of sustainability and nutrition makes a switch to using crickets as a natural protein source a great fit for people,” says Dylan Jones, entrepreneur and CEO of Coast Protein, “I wanted to create bars and powders because of the need for more all-natural products in the convenient protein/snack market. I think most people are looking for more real food that fits a fast-paced lifestyle. Our products fit that lifestyle.”

Coast Protein - Cricket Nutrition

The case for farming and consuming crickets is rather compelling. Here’s the thing – crickets are not only one of the highest sources of protein and nutrients, they are more environmentally sustainable than conventional livestock.  As an example, when comparing protein per pound with cattle, crickets have a much lower impact on the environment. They take up a much smaller footprint of land to breed, consume about 2000x less water, generates 100x less greenhouse emissions, and use 12x less feed. Interestingly, cricket farms produce almost no waste.

The benefits of consuming crickets are extensive. They are a whole food and a complete protein with 9 essential amino acids and chock full of iron (more than spinach), calcium (more than milk), vitamin B12 (more than beef), and Omegas.  Crickets are low in calories and an excellent source of lean protein containing about 65% protein by volume; almost 3x more protein than beef.

Cricket Towers
Image courtesy of Entomo Farms

Coast Protein uses Canadian human-grade crickets sourced from Entomo Farms in Norwood, Ontario, considered the largest edible insect farm in North America.  The crickets – Achetus Grillis varietal – are raised humanely with a free-range approach and cricket condos. The critters hop from feed station to station, freely, then are harvested at the end of their natural life cycle – about 6 – 8 weeks.

Coast Protein -Smoothie
Protein-packed chocolate smoothie

Aside from being healthy for you and healthy for the planet, crickets taste good and makes for a flavourful base ingredient.  According to Jones, some people describe the taste of milled crickets as nutty – like roasted almonds or fried mushrooms. Coast Protein adds milled crickets to 3 flavours of protein powder (vanilla, peanut butter,chocolate) and 3 flavours of energy bars (chocolate chip, cranberry and peanut butter).

The energy bars are ideal for anyone craving a high protein snack. Each bar contains about 30-40 crickets, approximately 12 grams of protein.  The powders (20 g protein per serving) can be added to a variety of recipes, including smoothies, cookies, shakes, sauces and soups. Coast Protein products are gluten-free, dairy-free, non-GMO and contains no refined sugar or artificial preservatives.

Coast Cricket protein powders

Asked why the company is called “Coast Protein”, Jones explains, “the idea of building a values-based business was to characterize my beliefs about sustainability and the future of food. I am from Vancouver, and have grown up on the coast, the famous ‘west coast lifestyle’ has definitely shaped the way I think about business, food, and everything in between. By naming the business Coast Protein, we’ve made a stand on our values and what type of business we want to build. It is easy to make a protein/energy bar, it is very difficult to make products that follow strict values and rules, but if more companies took stands on their product offerings, we’d have better products and better food systems in the world.”

Coast Protein takes their commitment of making a positive impact on the environment one step further by being a member of 1% for the Planet.  They have pledged 1% of their annual sales to support non-profit environmental organizations in the global network.

“We’re growing very fast, so keeping that growth sustainable is the number one goal,” says Jones about Coast Protein’s future, “we’re also opening up new retail markets in Ontario and LA which requires a lot of time and detail to ensure it goes well. As we grow the business, we want to ensure that we’re still developing new products that follow our values and provide quality food for our customers.”

Coast Protein
The Coast Protein team

While crickets may never be the new lobsters of the culinary world or solve all the food problems, the adoption of insects in more cuisine is growing in Canada. The nutritional and sustainability benefits of this non-conventional protein are too good to ignore. So, don’t be bugged by eating crickets as it is one of the healthiest foods on earth.

Coast Protein Inc.


All images are courtesy of Coast Protein, unless noted.

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.

Vegetarian raw dessert in Vancouver
Audrey Wong | Image By Leigh Righton

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 a healthy, plant-based approach.  Opened since 2013, Living Lotus currently serves up ganache, macaroons, candied nuts, and brownies in her regular product line. Everything is hand-made without baking and are gluten-free, vegan and soy free.

Raw vegan brownies and treats in Vancouver
Raw vegan chocolate chai brownies | Image by Leigh Righton

Living Lotus’ small-batch artisan products are healthy in their simplicity, combining clean raw foods to yield complex and exquisite flavours. By not baking ingredients, the desserts are also more nutrient rich. Main ingredients often include cacao powder, coconut oil, coconut shreds, coconut nectar, sprouted nuts, spices, dates, and blueberries. Every ingredient used serves a nutritional purpose and everything is certified organic, and local when possible.

Instead of refined sugar, Wong uses coconut nectar and Medjool dates as the alt-sweeteners, both are diabetic-friendly.  “Coconut nectar is extracted from the blossom of the coconut palm while it is still on the tree. It is a completely sustainable sweetener.  I chose to use it because it is a low glycemic sweetener. The glycemic index is how fast a food will spike your blood sugar level. Coconut nectar is 35 on the glycemic index. In comparison, white sugar is 67. In order for a food to be considered low glycemic, it needs to be rated 55 or lower,” says Wong. “Dates are high in a fibre called beta-D-glucan. This fibre slows the rate the small intestine absorbs sugar, keeping blood glucose levels even.”

Living Lotus - Vegan, Raw, Vegetarian desserts in Vancouver
Image by by Leigh Righton

Wong explains that her treats do not have any added stabilizers, gums, food additives or preservatives. “They are very clean, so you can feel good about eating them. We source the highest quality ingredients, so you are getting the best nutrients possible while still being able to have a treat. When we make the desserts, we use methods to keep the nutrition and/or boost the nutrition of the ingredients used. An example of these methods would be dehydrating or sprouting,” says Wong.

Living Lotus - Vegan Raw desserts in Vancouver
Image by Leigh Righton

The process of sprouting nuts is time intensive, but Wong tells me it’s worth it to make them healthier. “Sprouted nuts are better for you because they are easier to digest. Sprouting gets rid of the enzyme inhibitors and phytic acid. These two can block nutrient absorption,” she says. To sprout nuts, she soaks them in water for 6-8 hours (depending on the variety) then they are dehydrated for 2 days. Sprouting nuts helps to boost sweetness and can improve nutrition by up to 20%.

Vegan Raw desserts in Vancouver
Coconut is used in many of Wong’s sweets | Image by Leigh Righton

Using coconut is also a healthy choice. According to Wong, “Coconuts have a very long list of benefits. They are high in dietary fibre, iron and healthy fats. The oil in coconuts are a medium chain fat, which means that the fat does not get stored in your body, but it gets used right away. I think it is important to mention the quality of the coconut products that we use. The coconut oil is cold pressed quickly after the coconuts have been harvested. The oil is unrefined, and unprocessed. This is done to preserve all the nutrients.”

All the recipes are developed by Wong and her deliciously healthy treats include 8 flavours of Gganache (earl grey, dark, salted, orange, chili, lavender, mint and smoked), 3 flavours of macaroons (chocolate, vanilla and blueberry) which are dehydrated to make them perfectly crispy on the outside and chewy on the inside, 2 flavours of candied nuts (pecans and chili lime almonds), and chocolate chai brownies using a made-in-house chai spice mix with organic spices.

Living Lotus products can be found in 25 stores in British Columbia, including Radicle Juice, Eternal Abundance, Green’s Market and Donald’s Market (New Westminster, Commercial Drive and East Hastings).  Made-to-order specialty items that are not available in stores can be ordered and picked up at Wong’s facility, such as cakes, truffles, tarts, and more new creations.

Living Lotus - Vegan Raw desserts in Vancouver
Image by Leigh Righton

For the food-curious, Wong also offers a 3-hour hands-on All Things Chocolate Workshop at her professional kitchen in Strathcona (inside Makerlabs, East Vancouver) where participants learn how to temper chocolate and make three chocolate recipes. “We deep dive into the science of chocolate, where chocolate comes from, and the health benefits of chocolate.  This is a vegan and refined sugar free workshop,” says Wong.

With Living Lotus’ indulgent treats, you don’t have to skip desserts because you think they’re bad for you. Go on, be treated and be healthy!

Living Lotus Food & Nutrition

Photos by  Leigh Righton, courtesy of Living Lotus Food & Nutrition

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.

A completely plant-based board

Blue Heron Creamery opened in Vancouver in early 2018 to block-long line-ups and a sold-out shop. The nut-based cheeses are so popular that Blue Heron is currently only open one day a week, for five hours. During that time customers often line up for their turn in the tiny storefront, and by the time they’re closed they can pretty much turn off the refrigerator – everything is gone.

When I sat down with McAthy and asked about her cheeses in comparison to “real” cheese, I clearly mis-spoke. “What is real cheese anyways,” questioned McAthy with a challenging grin, “a lot of cheese makers wouldn’t call a lot of what we buy at the grocery store ‘real cheese’.” Peruse the cheese aisle with that in mind and you’ll see what she means. Refrigerators are full of processed spreadable “cheeses” and other products that are made to taste like cheese but have never been fermented or cultured.

“I wanted to make real, non-dairy cheese, and I didn’t love the recipes I found. There was no troubleshooting advice, so I started looking into the methodology of how dairy cheese was made and applied that to cheese made with other proteins.”

Shore cheese by Blue Heron

Dairy cheese is made by culturing the animal fats and proteins found in milk. To make the non-dairy cheese at Blue Heron, McAthy and her small team cultures fats and proteins found in other places, such as coconut milk, walnuts, cashews, almonds and other nuts. The result looks and feels the same as dairy cheese, with its own variety of tastes – some being close in taste to mild diary cheeses such as brie. Others have a flavour all their own, such as Cormorant, a black ash-covered cashew and coconut milk cheese with a sharp taste, sweet coconut notes, and a spreadable chevre-like texture or Shore, a smooth and mild cashew cheese made with caraway and whole pink peppercorn.

Burrata classic cheese by Blue Heron

“If you look at the name of cheeses – some are named for the culture that creates it, not the milk. Camembert, for example, is from the penicillium camemberti culture. I can use that same culture to make a camembert with cashews and coconut” says McAthy. “I’m also using the same culture in a cambazola I’m working on.”

Is there a flavour difference between Blue Heron’s cheese and dairy cheese? Of course, but there’s also flavour differences between the myriad of varieties of dairy cheese as well. Whether you’re looking to replace dairy cheese or you’re interested in cultivating some new flavours into your platters and recipes, plant-based cheese is real, and it’s delicious.

Blue Heron Creamery
2410 Main St.
Vancouver, BC

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 onions. Prices range from $5.75 to $16 – and definitely don’t miss out on Monday Madness, when poutines are half price!

Spud Shack Poutine


Anny’s Dairy Bar

722 6th Street, New Westminster

The Anny’s experience is as close as you’ll come to Montreal without the plane ticket. Steamies, maple cones, smoked meat sandwiches and poutine abound at this Sixth Street eatery. All of Anny’s poutines are made with authentic cheese curds and thick, hand-cut french fries. Oh, and meat-free poutine sauce. Snag a regular at $6 or a large for $8.


Cockney Kings Fish & Chips

6574 East Hastings Street, Burnaby

All-you-can eat fish and chips may not evoke visions of Quebec, especially at this English-style restaurant in Burnaby, but don’t think they’ve forgotten about us comfort food lovers. You can poutine your chips in your fish-and-chip meal without going back to red meat as Cockney Kings always makes their poutine with a meat-free gravy sauce. Have it on its own for $6.25, or upgrade your chips for just $2.50.


Chomp Vegan Eatery

7-201 Morrissey Road, Port Moody

If you’re meat-free, gluten-free, and dairy-free, there’s still a way to get pleasure from poutine! Try out Port Moody’s “Fairground Poutine”, made with twice baked hand-cut potatoes topped with dairy-free cheese meatless gravy for just $9.25. Crave variety? Make it chili cheese fries for just a toonie ($2) more! Could anything sound more wholesome… and Canadian?


New York Fries

Various locations

Many know that poutine is definitely to be found in any SilverCity movie theatre across Metro Vancouver at a New York Fries kiosk, but few know the chain’s gravy is soy-based. Reach for that bucket of meat-free poutine rather than popcorn on your next movie outing and you won’t be disappointed! The “Veggie Works” isn’t a bad option either, complete with fresh green onions and tomatoes, sour cream, and cheese sauce. A small is $4.99 while a regular is just a loonie ($1) more!

Find New York Fries at Coquitlam Centre, Metropolis at Metrotown, Richmond Centre, Lougheed Town Centre, Tsawassen Mills, Guildford Town Centre, Pacific Centre and Oakridge Centre.

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.”

 Water Shed Arts Café Langley
A quiet moment before opening hours | Image courtesy of the Water Shed Arts Café

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 needs. There is a vegetarian focus, but the options are not restricted to only herbivores and gluten-free options are available upon request.

The aforementioned art on the Water Shed walls are all for sale, with new work and new artists rotating every few months. This concept drives back to Cornish’s mandate for inclusivity and community involvement. The space is also available for event rentals in the evenings, and Cornish generously offers customizable catering, private dining, open mic nights, and art show openings at Water Shed as well.

Water Shed Arts Café Langley
Image courtesy of the Water Shed Arts Café

I enjoyed lunch with Chef Cornish on that busy Friday afternoon-I devoured the grilled turkey and havarti sandwich (a hearty slice of turkey breast with artichoke spread, red peppers, spinach on cranberry bread) and bowl of the featured pumpkin soup (nourishing and savory), while she munched away on a gluten-free tofu burrito. We got deeper into the ethos behind Water Shed, her concept behind the food, and her inspiration for opening the bustling Langley bistro.

BT: Let’s talk more about your vision and mandate.

Jenn Cornish: We are a place that nourishes people in every possible way. And part of that is seeing people and knowing them, and knowing who they really are. This is a safe place, and a judgement free zone where people can connect and be themselves, and enjoy a place where they are able to connect with other people

Part of that is done with our visual arts display, as well as musicians that come and play here. But we also hold that mandate for every customer that comes through the door. Everyone has something that they offer to the world and we see that.

BT: What gave you the inspiration to open up a spot like this?

Jenn Cornish: My partner is a very creative and artistic person and that was a huge inspiration, and I am too – my palette is just food. I was in health care for over 15 years, so when I decided to get out of that field, I ended up falling into this opportunity of opening a cafe. I realized within the first few months that this cafe brings together every aspect of who I am.

BT: Is there a theme or concept for the food?

Jenn Cornish: There isn’t necessarily a theme, but everything is made with real, whole food, and completely from scratch. We want people to know exactly what is in their food, and that’s something that’s really important to me. I have an autoimmune disease, and how I’ve managed it is through food. So it’s important to me to offer food to people that they can trust.

BT: I know you offer catering services, and open up the space in the evenings for events. What else does Water Shed offer after hours?

Jenn Cornish: We do community feasts as well. So I pick a theme and make a meal, sometimes it’s family style, sometimes it’s plated, and we sell tickets for the night at different price points depending on the courses and the style. It’s a really fun long table feast.

BT: I love how balanced your menu to accommodate everyone.

Jenn Cornish: It’s really important to me to be mindful of being responsible when thinking about the world around us, and being aware of who we share the planet with. We have a lot of gluten-free options and vegan options, and if you look at our menu, it’s definitely veggie centric but we don’t exclude. We just try to make as little negative impact on the environment as possible. There’s been a lot of education, and we want to have a menu that is accessible to everyone, so no matter who you are and where you are in your diet spectrum, you can eat here.


The Water Shed Arts Cafe
#11 20349 88th Ave, Langley
Open Monday-Saturday

Visit to check out further information on events and catering.

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 are seven different services with sets of 8 or 13 pieces – afternoon demi tea, afternoon high tea, vegetarian demi tea, vegetarian high tea, pescatarian demi tea, pescatarian high tea, and a kid’s tea (6 pieces).  Each service is a lovely multi-stage experience.

Seafood lovers will especially adore the afternoon high tea and pescatarian high tea; the selection of mini canapes include: shrimp cocktail salad, steamed lobster delight, white wine seared scallop and smoked salmon lox brioche.

Of course, afternoon tea would not be afternoon tea without the elegant towers of savoury and sweet morsels, all done Soffee style, including: prosciutto pesto asparagus, caprese salad-bite, crème brûlée/pana cotta, chocolate tart, lemon tart, mini orange cupcakes and house tea scones…just to name a few.

All afternoon tea services include perfectly brewed teas from a large selection of premium Kusmi and the option of a house-made Soffee fresh fruit tea, which has been brewed for 12 hours with tropical fruits.  And coffee lovers don’t have to miss out as their extensive menu includes a full range of espresso-style drinks made with fair trade, organic coffee from a local Italian roaster.

In addition to keeping afternoon tea on point, Soffee Café offers the flexibility to reserve the tea services for any 2-hour seating period from 10 am – 4 pm, unlike some tea parlours in the city that have pre-set time slots.

Each offering at the café has a home-made quality and is artfully prepared onsite, except for their croissants. Organic and local ingredients are used whenever possible.

Aside from their unique afternoon tea services, Soffee Café also offers a contemporary a la carte menu with plentiful choices that has everyone covered – from morning baked treats and gourmet pastries to hearty sandwiches.

What stands out in their versatile menu is the substantial number of gluten-free items, such as their carrot ginger cake, chocolate zucchini bread, banana bread, chickpea brownie, and their energy bar.

The delicious spread of sweet choices is not limited to baked items.  Resistance is futile when it comes to the Nutella french toast, stuffed with Nutella and brandy-caramelized banana, or the compote french toast, loaded with their house organic berry compote.

Their popular lunch menu has a wide range of salads, grilled paninis and other savoury dishes. You’ll find it hard to decide between standout options like the spicy roasted pulled beef panini, ham & cheese French toast, and roasted pulled chicken crêpe.

All the personal touches, exquisite food and warm service are credited to a small team led by the owners, a mother and son duo – Sophia and Andy (right-hand side of image).

Soffee Café is located on 8th avenue, a short stroll off Granville Street. It’s one of the city’s hidden gems that is worthwhile discovering.

Want a taste of Soffee Café from your own kitchen? Try their gluten-free matcha coconut squares recipe!

Soffee Café
1426 West 8th Avenue
Vancouver, BC V6H 1E1

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.

Burgers galore for omnivores and vegetarians are on the Relish menu. Pictured is one of the veggie options.
Here’s a beefy burger option at Relish.
Welcome to 77k Freeze.

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.

Freezing ice cream with liquid nitrogen!

Custom ice cream for any taste.

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.

Onwards to Burnaby!

In the summer, you may find blackberries along the way.

If chocolate is what keeps your legs pumping, stop at the Rocky Mountain Chocolate factory (open weekdays) down Douglas Road and then hang a right on Still Creek Drive.

If you need a sugar jolt you can grab a handful of Mexican treats and a Jarrito from El Comal on the way down to take a rest at nearby Burnaby Lake.

Interior of El Comal.
Some of the Mexican treats available.

I would also highly recommend grabbing some of their made-fresh-daily soft taco shells and any other Mexican food you can manage to carry back on your bike to make dinner with.

Authentic Mexican ingredients to take home.

They hope to be re-opening their restaurant soon so phone ahead, as you may be able to eat lunch there too!  

Elsa Lourdes Nuñez Gleeson, owner of El Comal.

From East Columbia Street, turn down Holmes Street and onto Tenth Avenue on your way to New Westminster and you’ll find Paradise Vegetarian Noodle House, where Vietnamese food goes vegan.

Spicy lemongrass gluten at Paradise Vegetarian Noodle House.
Back on the bicycle and we pedal back to the Greenway an on to New Westminster next!

This is part of a 3-part series.

Part 1: Vancouver Olympic Village
Part 3: New Westminster’s Central Valley Greenway

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:

Image courtesy of Hippie Snacks

Hippie Snacks Coconut Clusters. Organic roasted coconut is tossed with crunchy, nutrient-packed pumpkin, sesame and sunflower seeds for an easy snack on the run. I like the Zesty Chili tossed on a salad for extra crunch, and the Nearly Naked flavour straight out of the bag.

Garden Chips. Raw, real vegetable slices with nuts and seeds in flavours like Snacking Stir Fry, Crunchy Coleslaw, and Roots Medley.

Image courtesy of Hippie Snacks

Gluten-Free Granola. Try the grown-up flavours like Brown Rice and Quinoa or Vanilla Almond.


Coconut Chips. Slices of young coconut are roasted to a satisfying crunch that’s a bit savoury, not cloyingly sweet, and great as a snack or on dessert or salads. The Tamari and Cracked Pepper or Coconut Bacon flavours are highly addictive.

Hippie Foods are at retailers like IGA, Whole Foods, Urban Fare and more. Visit for a complete listing.

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 finest gluten-free-vegan ingredients that are healthy, all natural, and soy free to make the most scrumptious sweet and savoury fare. All their products are handcrafted and baked at their 650 ft2 North Vancouver shop.

To achieve the right balance of taste and texture, Lisa has experimented and perfected their signature gluten-free flour blend (rice flour, potato starch, tapioca starch) that serves as the foundation for all their baking.


Made fresh daily, or by special order, the bakery offers a wide scope of elegant baked goods that have big home-made appeal and are both 100% gluten-free and vegan. Most of the ingredients are sourced locally, and where possible are organic.

Sandwich cookies with velvety icing – chocolate peppermint, ginger lemon, peanut butter or chai jam – are some of the many unique edible delights at the bakery. There are plenty of other sweet choices to satisfy any craving, including: gourmet cookies, pies, tarts, cakes, galettes, cupcakes, loaves, muffins, scones, energy bars, Nanaimo bars, and brownies. The sweeteners used are all organic and low on the glycemic index.

Savoury fans are treated to choices of pizza tarts, sandwich pockets and bagels in various flavour combinations. For a personal touch, bread (pumpkin flax, chia flax, plain and cinnamon raisin) can be personally hand-sliced by staff for home use.

The in-house granola is crispy, baked to perfection and packed with nutritious wheat-free oats, quinoa flakes, coconut flakes, pumpkin seeds, and more.
There are weekly and seasonally rotating features, such as pumpkin tarts made with a ginger crust.
There are weekly and seasonally rotating features, such as pumpkin tarts made with a ginger crust.
Baking fresh batches of gluten-free-vegan cookies at home is easy and convenient with the bakery’s pre-made u-bake-at-home cookie dough.
Baking fresh batches of gluten-free-vegan cookies at home is easy and convenient with the bakery’s pre-made u-bake-at-home cookie dough.
Lisa’s two daughters - Marley (age 16) and Sawyer (age 12) – enjoy helping out at the bakeshop in between school and extracurricular activities.
Lisa’s two daughters – Marley (age 16) and Sawyer (age 12) – enjoy helping out at the bakeshop in between school and extracurricular activities.
The Two Daughters Bakeshop team are committed to making high quality, healthful and flavourful baked products for everyone to enjoy, but particularly for the health-conscious community.
The Two Daughters Bakeshop team are committed to making high quality, healthful and flavourful baked products for everyone to enjoy, but particularly for the health-conscious community.
Customers, with or without dietary needs, come to the bakery from all over Vancouver.
Customers, with or without dietary needs, come to the bakery from all over Vancouver.
Make time to hang out on the bakeshop’s outdoor covered deck with an espresso drink and one of the many baked goodies.
Make time to hang out on the bakeshop’s outdoor covered deck with an espresso drink and one of the many baked goodies.


Enjoy the goodness and comforting taste of gluten-free-vegan baking at Two Daughters Bakeshop. They are open daily, weekdays 10 am – 6 pm and weekends 10 am – 4 pm. Saturday is the only day that their mouth-watering gluten-free-vegan donuts are available. Tempting toppings include: chocolate, chocolate coconut, lemon, lemon coconut, and cinnamon sugar.


Get the recipe for Two Daughters Bakery’s gluten-free vegan brownies here!

Two Daughters Bakeshop
121 East 1st Street
North Vancouver, B.C.
Tel: 604.836.2229

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.

Image courtesy of Tasty Plants
Image courtesy of Tasty Plants

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.

Image courtesy of Tasty Plants
Image courtesy of Tasty Plants

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.

Image courtesy of Tasty Plants
Image courtesy of Tasty Plants

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 options out there for them,” says Kralj, “for this reason, we decided to make it easier by offering healthy prepared meals and products that they can pre-order on a weekly basis and consume at their own convenience.”

Image courtesy of Tasty Plants
Image courtesy of Tasty Plants

The Coquitlam farmers market is on Sundays in the summer at the Dogwood Pavilion Parking Lot (624 Poirier Street). Find Tasty Plants year-round at

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 a mixed green salad. Their vegetarian appetizers include plantains and fried dumplings. PG’s also brews their own ginger beer and sorrel.

1387 Johnston Rd, White Rock
604- 541 – 7289

Yucca Tree Café

For the best vegan and vegetarian friendly breakfasts and brunch in town, make a stop at the Yucca Tree Café. Yucca Tree Café offers plenty of healthy homemade vegetarian selections but a favourite among vegans and non-vegans alike is the Vegetarian Chili and Toast. Packed with beans, vegetables, and the right amount of heat, this meat and diary free chili is full of flavor.

1347 Johnston Rd, White Rock
604-536 – 3703

Punje Spice Indian Restaurant

As soon as you walk into Punje Spice Indian Restaurant, the aromatic savory scent of coriander, turmeric, and saffron is enough to get your mouth watering. The vegetarian menu at Punje Spice Indian Restaurant has familiar Indian vegetarian specialties such as Aloo Gobi, vegetable Korma, and Palak Paneer. Their Channa Masala, a chickpeas dish cooked with ginger, garlic, tomatoes, and a perfected blend of herbs and spices, is arguably the best in the city.

1558 George Street, White Rock
604-560 – 6284

Uli’s Restaurant

This waterfront eatery has been a town favourite for over thirty years. Located on the White Rock strip, Uli’s serves European inspired food made from fresh, high quality ingredients. Vegans, you won’t regret ordering a vegan version of Uli’s Paella – Uli’s take on this national Spanish dish uses founder, Ulrich Blume’s classic recipe. This flavorful rich dish is topped with sliced red peppers, onions, olives, celery, olives, and cilantro. Uli’s veggie burger is another meat-free favourite, which features a crispy house made quinoa patty topped with shallots, tomato, and a kick of Sriracha mayo, all served on a potato bun.

 15023 Marine Drive, White Rock
604-538 – 9373

Uli’s Paella. Photo by Lenée Son
Uli’s Paella. Photo by Lenée Son

Leela Thai

If you can’t go to Thailand, go to Leela Thai for a taste of authentic Thai cuisine. Leela Thai was voted “Best Asian/Thai Restaurant” five years in a row and they have tons of vegan and vegetarian options to choose from. All of the plant based friendly items are marked with a “V” on their menu. Try their gang dang, a spicy red curry cooked with fresh coconut milk, bamboo shoots, tofu, and Thai basil. Order a side of fragrant steamed jasmine rice to generously spoon your vegetarian curry over. For dessert, indulge your sweet tooth with sweet rice and fresh mango. Each bite will have you dreaming of the Ko Phi Phi Islands.

1310 Johnston Rd, White Rock

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. A wealth of vegetarian and non-vegetarian tastes ranges from daal and paneer to butter or tandoori chicken, with plenty of rice and naan staples. Salads and desserts abound and spicing is moderate. Lunch buffet is offered daily while the dinner buffet runs Wednesday through Sunday evenings.

Agra Tandoori
Agra Tandoori

Arguably the most unusual, definitely affordable, and one of Burnaby’s best-kept-secrets, Govinda’s Vegetarian Buffet is served only between 12:30 and 2:30 pm. This tranquil little escape operated by ISKON (International Society for Krishna Consciousness) is adjacent to the Hare Krishna Temple on Marine Way. Healthy, all-vegetarian dishes are offered, with dishes changing daily and dining by donation (suggested $5 for adults).

At Agra Tandoori the weekday buffet (11:30am – 2:30pm, $9.95) reflects the restaurant’s creative, modern approach, with options roaming from tandoori chicken to goat and vegetable curry and more – with plentiful supplies of naan bread, salad and dessert. The setting is comfortable, and the service efficient but friendly.

An all-day Sunday buffet (12:00pm- 8:00pm) is a big draw for ex-pat Eastern Europeans at The Balkan House, which serves an array of southeastern Mediterranean fare, as well as sausages, meats and kebabs in a cozy, traditional hunting lodge setting. ($17.95 for adults, $9.95 for kids.)

For a more westernized take, EBO Restaurant at The Delta Burnaby Hotel offers an impressive Sunday brunch on some days and on holidays (such as Mother’s Day). This sumptuous smorgasbord spans a wealth of worldwide influences, ranging from typical North American breakfast items such as bacon and eggs to local seafood served both warm and chilled, as well as rotisseried meats and Asian specialties.

Next door at Grand Villa Casino, the buffet is on every day for dinner, lunch on weekdays, and brunch on weekends. Italy rules with an Italian spread offered every Tuesday from 4:00pm to 9:00pm, while on Thursdays the theme shifts to sunny Mexico—complete with $5 Margaritas.

If you are looking for a place to appeal to all your friends, your whole family, or just can’t decide exactly what you want, a buffet can be the way to go to sample your way through a meal until you’re satiated… or until you’re bursting full!

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:

Match Eatery & Public House

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.


The Terminal Pub

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.


Burger Heaven

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 extra kick in your step for the day. Good morning!


Greek Style Lamb Burger
The Castle Neighbourhood Grill
A lamb patty smothered in feta cheese, tzatziki sauce and then topped with diced red onion, cucumber and tomatoes.


Spud Shack

Effin’ Good Burger – Spud Shack
Spud Shack

This grilled prime rib patty is brushed with BBQ sauce and piled high with bacon and Monterey Jack cheese on a sesame kaiser with triple smoked onion mayo, 5-hour tomato jam (instead of boring ol’ sliced tomatoes), lettuce and pickles.


Mushroom Swiss Burger
River’s Reach

A classic, done right! An all-beef patty toppled with sautéed mushrooms and melted Swiss cheese.


The Met Bar & Grill

The Whiskey and Beer Burger
The Met Bar & Grill

A new twist on an classic idea with fresh made burgers, Canadian cheddar, crispy bacon, fried onions, and  our house-made original  Whiskey and Beer BBQ sauce! Deliciously messy as every great burger should be!


Burger Heaven

Mexican Meatless Garden Burger
Burger Heaven

For over 30 years Burger heaven has been piling it on for meat lovers, seafood fans, and vegetarians alike. This is one of their vegetarian options; topped with spicy jalapenos, salsa, lettuce, onion, tomato, and a dollop of guacamole.


The Hub

Crack Burger
The Hub

A sky-high burger that is full of peppery crisp. A juicy hand-made cracked peppercorn Canadian Angus beef patty topped with savoury pesto aoili, crunchy onion rings, jalapeño Monterey Jack cheese, fresh lettuce, tomato, and dill pickle on a home-style bun.


The Works Burger
Wally’s Burgers

We dare you! This diner burger has it all; a Wally burger patty, mushrooms, bacon strips, melted cheese, a fried egg, melted cheese, and even a wiener makes this burger one for the books.