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Restaurant Review: Yamchops

I heard about Yam­chops this past sum­mer and it is a real shock that I wasn’t able to make it there until a few weeks ago. That being said, it was well worth the wait!

Two words: vegan lox.

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Are you kid­ding me?! Amaz­ing! Yam­chops can be described as a veg­e­tar­ian butcher, mar­ket, and juice bar all rolled into one. When you walk into the Col­lege and Grace area store­front, you will be warmly greeted by one of the delight­ful staff and, if you’re lucky, a mem­ber of the Abram­son fam­ily will rec­om­mend some of their fab­u­lous in-house ready-made dishes that you can take home or sit down and eat.

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It really does feel like a deli counter, but instead of dead ani­mals, you have the option of choos­ing beet burg­ers, sweet potato Yam­chops, Indone­sian grilled tofu, and many other mouth-watering dishes.

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I believe this is the only place in the city, per­haps in Canada, that serves Vegan Chik*n Shawarma! …And let me tell you, it is fab­u­lous! Another star is their Kale Cae­sar salad with coconut ba-con.

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Owner, Jess Abram­son, fel­low veg­gie Jew, spoke with us about her vision for Yam­chops explain­ing it as a place where one can come and grab some pre­pared foods and also shop in the vegan mar­ket at the back of the store. She also kvelled about her line of cold-pressed organic juices made in-house called AuJus. These juices are really tasty. I’ve tried a lot of juice bars around the city, and these ones really stand out. We tried Salad Days and BBQ Apple Pie and were thor­oughly impressed.

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So if you are in Toronto and haven’t vis­ited them already, take a trip to 705 Col­lege Street (Just west of Mon­trose on the South side) and give Yam­chops a try. I promise, you will leave with a smile.

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Excit­ing news! Yam­chops caters! Have an upcom­ing simcha/ spe­cial occasion/holiday?

Give them a call: 416–645-0117 or e-mail them: talktous@yamchops.com

All photo cred­its: Sasha Arfin

Oy Vegan!

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Vegan in Miami Beach

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Just returned from a quick get­away to Miami Beach with my hus­band. Though it was brief we had an awe­some time. We laid on the beach, swam in the ocean, vis­ited the Jew­ish Museum of Florida, danced to some Samba, caught a drag show on Ocean Drive, and had some very tasty vegan eats!

Here’s a top 5 list of the best vegan food in Miami Beach:

5. Sushi Samba

Sushi Samba Miami Beach on Lin­coln Road is a Peru­vian, Brazil­ian, and  Japan­ese fusion restau­rant and good news for us veg­ans as there’s a sep­a­rate vegan menu! You just need to ask for it when seated. This place is a bit pricey as it is in the touristy area of Lin­coln Road but the ambiance is fun and the servers are very friendly. We ordered a num­ber of dishes off the vegan menu. They were quite good. We also ordered drinks. Watch out for the cock­tails, they really make the bill add up!

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 Sushi Samba inte­rior. They have out­door seat­ing as well.

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Tofu dish with mushrooms

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Egg­plant skew­ers on Peru­vian corn

 

4. Tray­more at Met­ro­pol­i­tan by COMO

We had the plea­sure of stay­ing at a newer hotel, for­merly known as the Tray­more, now called Met­ro­pol­i­tan by COMO. It was a beau­ti­ful bou­tique hotel in the Art Deco style with a pri­vate beach and a fab­u­lous menu with many vegan items. Ask for their COMO Sham­bala menu. While not com­pletely vegan, it fea­tures a num­ber of well­ness juices and  raw and gluten-free options. The staff at this hotel was super friendly and accom­mo­dat­ing. If you let them know you’re vegan, they will make sure to make you some­thing fab­u­lous. There are three vegan options for break­fast, one being the scram­bled tofu which I ate two of the three morn­ings we were there! Also, try the Mus­cle mylk. It seri­ously tastes like cin­na­mon toast crunch.

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 Fresh fruit

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Scram­bled Tofu

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Inte­rior at Tray­more Restaurant

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Lobby at Met­ro­pol­i­tan by Como

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Relax­ing on the beach!

3. Maoz Vegetarian

Maoz Veg­e­tar­ian is a falafel grab n’ go chain that I’ve vis­ited in other inter­na­tional loca­tions. A few years ago we ate at Maoz in Ams­ter­dam. It’s clean, kosher, and very tasty. I ordered the falafel salad combo with avo­cado and egg­plant. Then I was able to serve myself from a big salad bar to add top­pings. Things that are vegan are clearly labelled as such which is nice. They also have fresh juices and vegan desserts.

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Inte­rior of Maoz veg­e­tar­ian with salad bar

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Falafal Salad. I really loaded up the toppings!

2. Indo­ma­nia Restaurant 

Indo­ma­nia is a small local restau­rant located on 26th Street just south of Collins Avenue. It’s an Indone­sian Dutch restau­rant that had such amaz­ing reviews that we decided to check it out on our first night in Miami. They had a lot of veg­e­tar­ian options and all we had to do was let them know we were vegan and they were able to make us a plethora of dishes. We ended up order­ing the veg­e­tar­ian (made vegan) Rijsttafel which means rice table. It was com­posed of about 20 dishes and they were all fab­u­lous! I highly rec­om­mend this place. The flavours were beau­ti­ful and reminded me of south­ern Asia. The décor was trendy and com­fort­able and the servers were lovely.

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Gado Gado, yel­low rice, and white rice with coconut shavings

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Corn frit­ters, tofu and tem­peh skewers

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Another close-up. You can see the sam­bal here.

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So tasty! 

1. Esco­pazzo

We ate at here on our final night in Miami Beach. Located on Wash­ing­ton Avenue, I had read about chef Gian­carla Bodoni who we had the plea­sure of meet­ing after our meal. Esco­pazzo fea­tures organic Ital­ian fine din­ing.  We called ahead and asked if they could accom­mo­date veg­ans and they said, “absolutely!”. We ended up order­ing the 5 course vegan tast­ing menu with wine pair­ings. It was truly deli­cious. We asked them to sur­prise us and we were extremely impressed by what we received. All the ingre­di­ents were fresh, the dishes well-seasoned, the por­tions were just right and the wines were amaz­ing. The servers were atten­tive, out­go­ing, and knowl­edgable. The chef was lovely and we talked to her about our meal. The food here really reminds me of the food I had in Italy; fresh and deli­cious. I highly rec­om­mend Esco­pazzo if you’re in the Miami area. It’s also a short walk to Ocean drive if you want to make a night out of it after din­ner, which we did.

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First course– Avo­cado and tomato tartare 

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Sec­ond Course– Broc­coli soup with vegan cheese

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Lovely wine pairings!


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Third course– Pasta with mushrooms

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Fourth course– Pesto risotto

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More wine pairings


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Dessert– fresh straw­berry sorbet

All in all, it was a lovely trip! If you’re look­ing for some­thing vegan in Miami Beach, I would def­i­nitely check out the restau­rants on this list! There were some places that I wasn’t able to visit that I def­i­nitely will the next time I come.  I’ve heard that Choices Organic Café in down­town Miami is good. Also, if we had had more time, we might have dri­ven to celebrity-endorsed Sub­lime Restau­rant and Bar in Fort Laud­erdale as well.

Oy Vegan!

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Restaurant reviews: Vegan Israel — Tel Aviv

I’m back from the holy land, a lit­tle jet lagged and full of fab­u­lous vegan food!

After lead­ing a won­der­ful young adult Taglit Birthright Israel trip with Canada Israel Expe­ri­ence, I  stuck around in Tel Aviv for another 9 days to enjoy the sights, sun, and eats.

Here are Tel Aviv’s top 10 vegan and vegan friendly spots that we vis­ited (in no par­tic­u­lar order):

1. Bud­dha Burg­ers- We ate here almost every day for lunch or din­ner. This really is a vegan restau­rant in every sense of the mean­ing. The vibe here is very relaxed. The walls are adorned with posters, stick­ers, and inspi­ra­tional quotes encour­ag­ing vegan activism, and adver­tis­ing events.

Above: Bud­dha Burger with soy cheese

Above: Wall at Bud­dha Burgers

Above: Salad from salad bar

High­lights: the bud­dha burger with soy cheese. Amaz­ing! The schnitzel cheese burger is also good. The lasagna is tops. I also enjoyed mak­ing my own salad at the salad bar that is fully equipped with count­less veg­gies, tofu, sprouted lentils, and even vegan shawarma made from sei­tan. A great place to meet other veg­ans and hang out with the res­i­dent restau­rant cat.

There are 2 loca­tions in Tel Aviv. Check out their menu in Eng­lish.

2. Vegan Shawarma- Great totally vegan spot to grab some quick super tasty vegan com­fort food!

Above: Cheese­burger, vegan shawarma, and pizza with olives and mushrooms

High­lights: cheese­burger, pizza with soy cheese, schnitzel on a bun, and of course, the clas­sic vegan shawarma.

Loca­tions in Tel Aviv, Beer­sheva, and Haifa.

3. Taam Hachaim- Nice space on Ben Yahuda run by mem­bers of the Hebrew Israelite com­mu­nity. Tasty food that is 100% vegan and organic.

Above: Humus platter

Above: Side salad

High­lights: Lasagna, humus plat­ter, fresh sal­ads, stir-frys with rice, and fresh juices.

Check out the Eng­lish menu.

4. Mezze - This is a very cute veg­e­tar­ian restau­rant on Echad Ha’am that we vis­ited on new year’s eve. The food was fresh and mediter­ranean inspired.

High­lights:  Mush­room wal­nut and cashew pâté served with organic rye toast, vine leaves stuffed with rice, herbs, and nuts served with cashew cream, black rice with pump­kin and tofu, and the quinoa cucum­ber cran­berry salad served with pome­gran­ate tahina dressing.

Check out the Eng­lish menu.

5. Orna & Ella - This hip vegan-friendly bistro on Shenkin is pop­u­lar so try call­ing in advance and mak­ing a reser­va­tion to avoid dis­ap­point­ment. The vegan options are clearly marked on the menu. The dishes we enjoyed were really stel­lar. Though we never expe­ri­enced it, we heard that they serve a tofu scram­ble for brunch!

Above: Antipasto platter

Above: Vegan choco­late bounty

High­lights: antipasto plat­ter, pome­gran­ate tofu with herbed rice, baked cau­li­flower and tomato in tahina with rice and lentils, and for dessert the vegan choco­late bounty.

6. MizLaLaThis is the urban casual younger sis­ter of fine din­ing restau­rant Catit. Mizlala fea­tures the inven­tive cook­ing of Chef Meir Adoni. We went here on our last night in Tel Aviv. This is a place to see and be seen and is a favourite of Israeli celebs such as model Bar Refaeli. We called ahead and let them know we were vegan. They cre­ated meals for us when we arrived. The staff was extremely atten­tive to us and wanted to know if we were enjoy­ing our food and if it was sat­is­fy­ing us from a foodie stand­point. The flavours really were out­stand­ing. This is a more expen­sive place for Israel, but a lovely spot for a nicer dinner.

Above: Cucum­ber, Mango, tomato, corian­der, dark quinoa, and vinaigrette 

High­lights:  Salmon ceviche with­out the salmon– Mango, cucum­ber, tomato, tapi­oca, dark quinoa, corian­der, and vinai­grette. This dish is extremely flavour­ful and totally worth it!

Check out the Eng­lish menu.

7. Café Biren­baumThis veg­e­tar­ian kosher café on Naha­lat Binyamin was our go-to break­fast spot while in Tel Aviv. We went here almost every morn­ing! I miss the salad bar!! Run by two sis­ters, Café Biren­baum has been busy serv­ing Tel Avi­vians since 1962.  It’s very busy so I rec­om­mend arriv­ing early. The salad bar is all you can eat and fea­tures a major­ity of vegan sal­ads that are fresh and tasty. Biren­baum is a must-visit for a healthy, fill­ing, vegan breakfast!

Above: Salad from the salad bar

High­lights: The salad bar– fea­tur­ing over 20 dif­fer­ents sal­ads such as quinoa salad, sweet potato salad, orzo and mush­room salad, lentil salad, cel­ery herb and apple salad, kim­chi cucum­ber salad, pesto pasta, beet salad, and  (my per­sonal favourite) the mini sweet potato latkes.

8. The Chi­nese WallWe were on a des­per­ate mis­sion to find Chi­nese food in Israel as it is a favourite cui­sine of ours. While most estab­lish­ments are not open late night like in Toronto, there are a num­ber of yummy restau­rants open nor­mal hours of oper­a­tion. The Chi­nese Wall is a kosher restau­rant run by a Chi­nese fam­ily that con­verted to Judaism. It fea­tures a num­ber of dishes that are vegan friendly– just let your server know.

Above: Chi­nese tea

High­lights: Veg­etable dim sum, Tofu and rice noo­dles in brown bean sauce, and the Szechuan tofu with rice.

9. Giraffe Noo­dle Bar- Asian cui­sine with vegan options. Just let your server know and they will have sug­ges­tions. You can also order for deliv­ery if you want a low key evening.

High­lights: Veg­e­tar­ian Maki, Pad See Ew (ask for it with­out egg)

Loca­tions all over Israel.

Check out the Eng­lish menu.

10. Thai HouseA super tasty Thai restau­rant. This place is near and dear as it’s the first meal I had after my engage­ment! This is a another pop­u­lar Tel Aviv estab­lish­ment on Bograshov, so call ahead to make a reser­va­tion. The décor is bam­boo and bud­dhas and the food feels a lot more authen­tic than most Thai restau­rants out­side of Thailand.

Above: Papaya salad

High­lights: The Papaya Salad, Pad Thai with tofu (minus egg, shrimp), Browned rice noo­dles– with Tofu (veganized)

Check out the Eng­lish menu.

Above: pub­lic bench on Hertzl Street

I have to say there is a strong cur­rent of veg­an­ism sweep­ing the coun­try. I could really feel it when I was there. Just say , “Ani Tivonit (F)/ Tivoni (M)” (I’m vegan) and peo­ple seem to under­stand. I even had some great con­ver­sa­tions with peo­ple in the street about veg­an­ism. I hap­pened upon about 15 peo­ple in front of Dizen­goff cen­tre mall who were leaflet­ting about ani­mal rights. I even brought home a pin that says “basar” (meat) with a big bloody cross through it. This coun­try is really pas­sion­ate about many things and veg­an­ism is fast becom­ing one of them!

In the end, it was an incred­i­ble, unfor­get­table trip to Israel. Tel Aviv and the Brown Tel Aviv Hotel will for­ever be in my mem­ory as the place where I was pro­posed to and the place where I ate my fill of deli­cious food!

Oy Vegan!

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A falafel a day keeps the doctor away…

Eat­ing Vegan in Israel was not as chal­leng­ing as I might have thought. Blog­ging while lead­ing a Birthright trip was what proved to be impossible!

Apolo­gies for the multi-week hia­tus but I was incred­i­bly busy bus­ing around Israel, rid­ing camels, sleep­ing 3 hours a night, and eat­ing my fair share of hummus.

Shirel and I on a camel in the Negev. Photo cour­tesy of Jaclyn Adler

What a trip! Eat­ing vegan in Israel is totally doable. In the morn­ings, I usu­ally ate veg­gies and toast. For lunch, I usu­ally ate falafel. If you want the best falafel ever, you have to come to Israel! The falafel is always fresh and well sea­soned. The top­pings are also fresh and flavour­ful and the pita is light and fluffy. Best of all, it’s totally vegan. Falafel is a way of life in the holy land. Peo­ple eat it all the time, so there are places that only sell falafel.

Falafel in Zichron Ya’akov

On occa­sion, for lunch, I would spring for pasta with veg­gies or pizza with­out cheese. They’ll make it for you at Big Apple Pizza in Jerusalem if you order at least 2 slices. Din­ners usu­ally con­sisted of salad and some sort of veg­e­tar­ian main. Because I was with my birthright trip we always ate kosher. So when it was kosher meat — I didn’t have to worry about dairy in the veg dish. (Kosher law pro­hibits the mix­ing of meat and dairy.)

A few nights I had cous­cous with a veg­gie stew on top. The veg­eta­bles in Israel are super fresh and flavour­ful so it was a real treat. The only thing to watch for is egg because even though Kosher Parve excludes dairy, egg doesn’t fall under the dairy category.

What is Parve you might ask?

Def­i­n­i­tion: Parve is a Hebrew term (pareve is the Yid­dish term) that describes food with­out any meat or dairy ingre­di­ents. Jew­ish dietary laws con­sid­ers pareve food to be neu­tral; Pareve food can be eaten with both meat and milk dishes. Fish, eggs, fruits and veg­eta­bles are parve. Source

The good news is, you can find a lot of tasty ice cream and desserts that are parve! One of my favourites were the water­melon popsicles.

Eat­ing Parve Ice Cream in Tzfat

Eat­ing a water­melon pop­si­cle in the old city, Jerusalem

Luck­ily, after those beau­ti­ful 10 days of birthright fun, I was able to hang out in Israel for a few more days on my own. Dur­ing that time,  I vis­ited a few of the country’s veg­gie estab­lish­ments. One notable one was Vil­lage Green Veg­e­tar­ian Restau­rant in Jerusalem on Jaffa Road.

I came here with an old friend who I vol­un­teered with in Eilat in 2007 to grab some veg food and catch up on the past 5 years of our lives.

The food was great. They had a huge selec­tion of sal­ads, both hot and cold, which you could mix and match and pay for accord­ing to the weight of your plate.

They had a fab­u­lous baked tofu salad that was delight­ful as well as home­made sei­tan that was seri­ously tasty.

I really loaded up my plate with sal­ads at Vil­lage Green. Pic­tured here is brown rice with peanut gin­ger sauce, baked tofu, sei­tan salad, cucum­bers, roasted pota­toes, pasta, lentil salad, and more!

I was also excited to find out that there is a whole plethora of veg­gie restau­rants in Israel. Espe­cially in Tel Aviv. Unfor­tu­nately, the days I had to myself in Israel fell over Shab­bat and Shavu­out, so most places were closed. But I am def­i­nitely going to explore these restau­rants and vegan cul­ture when I return.

I had my eye on Bud­dha Burg­ers and Taam Hachaim in Tel Aviv. I actu­ally went to Bud­dha Burg­ers one day and they were closed because of Shavuot.

So, all in all, Israel is vegan friendly. You just have to know how to ask about your food. I look for­ward to try­ing out more of Israel’s vegan and veg­gie restau­rants when I return. Until then, I’m going to work on per­fect­ing my own home­made falafel. Wish me luck!

Next year in Jerusalem!

Oy Vegan!
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Oy Vegan takes London! Restaurant Review: Manna

Here it is! The final install­ment of Lon­don restau­rant reviews. We did visit some oth­ers while we were there, but these were the best!

It just so hap­pens that the old­est vegan estab­lish­ment in Lon­don is also the best! Manna has been open for forty-five years accord­ing to the owner, whom I chat­ted with after my meal. You wouldn’t know it from the looks of it. The décor is mod­ern and upscale. And the food is… well, superb.

We came for brunch with friends and were so impressed that we came again that evening for din­ner with dif­fer­ent friends! For brunch I ordered a full tra­di­tional Eng­lish break­fast. It was lovely. It came with beans, fried mush­rooms, scram­bled tofu, grilled toma­toes and pota­toes. It was hearty and well sea­soned. A great way to start a full day of sight­see­ing downtown!

Above: Tra­di­tional Eng­lish Breakfast

Then we couldn’t resist order­ing dessert. We ordered the banof­fee tri­fle which is a pop­u­lar British dessert. This tri­fle was com­posed of cubes of dark choco­late cake, bananas, sliced almonds, tof­fee sauce, and cus­tard. It was all topped with whipped cream. If you served this to a non-vegan, they would have no idea. It was amaz­ing. It also hap­pens to be gluten free!

Above: banof­fee trifle

Later, for din­ner, we ordered a vari­ety of dishes. For starters we ordered the spiced jerk tofu, plan­tain & sweet potato kebab and the raw maki rolls. Both were delight­ful. I espe­cially like the wasabi pea coulis driz­zled all over the plate that accom­pa­nied the maki rolls. The jerk tofu was well sea­soned and the plan­tain was scrumptious.

Above: Raw Maki Rolls — raw ‘riced’ parsnip, car­rots, beet­root, and avo­cado, served with tamari, pick­led gin­ger and wasabi pea coulis

For our mains, we ordered the root veg­etable tagine, the organic spaghetti and veat­balls, the chef’s spe­cial pasta and the ravi­oli, which I ordered. The ravi­oli were big­ger and fried. They were stuffed with wal­nut and wild mush­room paté and cov­ered in a fen­nel cream sauce. They were deli­cious.  I also tried the other dishes. I espe­cially like the chef’s spe­cial pasta. It was in a cream sauce as well with fresh yel­low bell peppers.

Above: root veg­etable tagine — served in a roasted pump­kin bowl, topped with bean curd sesame falafel, warm quinoa & pis­ta­chio tabouleh, harissa & minted yoghurt and pitta bread

Above: organic pasta of the day

Above: organic spaghetti & veatballs

Above: ravi­oli — a crisped ravi­oli filled with wild mush­room & wal­nut pâté with fen­nel cream sauce, sun­dried tomato pesto & bal­samic reduction

Finally, we were stuffed but we couldn’t resist order­ing dessert. We ordered the fruit salad and the petits fours. The fruit was super fresh and flavour­ful and the soy based vanilla ice cream was delec­table. The choco­late truf­fles were rich and deca­dent. I was espe­cially impressed with the Ital­ian style almond cook­ies. Some had a bit of pre­serves and oth­ers were plain. The con­sis­tency of the cook­ies were fab­u­lous. They were chewy and per­fectly sweet. A great way to end an incred­i­ble meal.

Above: Fruit salad with vanilla vice cream

Above: Petits Fours– a plate of truf­fles, choco­lates & small biscuits

You can read more of Manna’s menu here.

The friends we brought for din­ner are non-vegetarians/ veg­ans and they were rav­ing about the food. They said they wanted to come and bring other friends. This is what good upscale vegan din­ing can do. Manna is the per­fect place to bring non-veggies and impress the heck outta them. Any­thing to make the lifestyle more attrac­tive is a great in my opinion!

Manna was the per­fect end­ing to our stay and I highly rec­om­mend it to any­one and every­one vis­it­ing Lon­don in the future. We need more restau­rants like this in Canada and around the world. Let’s knock the culi­nary socks off non-veggies and show them what vegan eat­ing can really be: deca­dent, ele­vated, and healthful.

Oy Vegan!

Manna is located at 4 Ersk­ine Road, Prim­rose Hill, London

Clos­est tube sta­tion: Chalk Farm

Hours: Tues-Sun 6:30pm-10:30pm/ Sat-Sun 12-3pm

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Oy Vegan takes London! Restaurant Review: Itadaki Zen

Japan­ese food and the term ‘vegan’ aren’t com­monly uttered in the same sen­tence. When I was in Japan last year, it was quite dif­fi­cult to find food that didn’t have fish in it in some form or another. So it might sur­prise you to know that in the heart of Lon­don, near King’s Cross tube sta­tion there exists a Japan­ese restau­rant that is com­pletely organic and vegan!

Itadaki Zen  even sources its veg­eta­bles from its own organic farm just out­side of Lon­don. We went there on a Fri­day evening when the city was really buzzing. After being seated, I was delighted to read their mis­sion state­ment as a vegan organic restau­rant on the first page of their menu. You can read more about their vision here.

There were many options rang­ing from tra­di­tional Japan­ese food to a few Korean options such as home­made Chap che (sweet potato glass noo­dles with veg­eta­bles and shi­take mush­rooms). I regret not order­ing it as it looked really deli­cious when I saw it come to our neigh­bour­ing table.

We ended up order­ing a num­ber of items à la carte instead of choos­ing one of their set menus (which looked tasty as well). I started off with Miso soup and we shared a salad.

Above: Tofu steaks with spe­cial sauce and salad with seaweed.

Then we ordered Tofu Steak in Yangyeom (a spe­cial home­made sauce) and assorted veg­etable and sea­weed tem­pura. We also ordered an assorted sushi plate and an udon bowl. Both were delicious.

Above: Assorted veg­etable and sea­weed tempura.

Each dish was expertly sea­soned. You could tell that they use fresh organic qual­ity ingre­di­ents. There was a beau­ti­ful sim­plic­ity to the dishes that let the ingre­di­ents speak for themselves.

Above: cucum­ber and mush­room assorted sushi

Above: Kabocha (Japan­ese pump­kin), jujube and chest­nut cake with vanilla tofu cream.

Lastly, we indulged in a dessert. Usu­ally, I don’t get dessert at Japan­ese restau­rants, but the Itadaki Zen muf­fin descrip­tion looked too good. I’m so glad we got it. It was del­i­cate and divine. The pump­kin cake was won­der­ful, not overly sweet which I appre­ci­ate, and the tofu vanilla cream was the per­fect accompaniment.

All in all, Itadaki Zen is a must for any veg­head in Lon­don. Read more of their menu here. The ambi­ence was lovely, the ser­vice was great and the food was top notch.

Oy Vegan!

Itadaki Zen is located at 139 King’s cross Road, London

Hours: Mon-Thu 18:00-22:00/ Fri,Sat 18:00–22:30

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Oy Vegan takes London! Restaurant Review: Inspiral

Who knew Lon­don had so many scrump­tious vegan estab­lish­ments? Actu­ally, I had an inkling. I mean, the term “vegan” was coined there after all.

So for all you veg­gie jet set­ters, I want to share some of my expe­ri­ences and reviews of the hottest veg­gie spots in Lon­don. Watch out for Ams­ter­dam restau­rant reviews com­ing soon!

After a short overnight flight across the pond, I was ready to eat some­thing fresh and healthy. Luck­ily, my boyfriend was already in Eng­land and was ready to eat! After drop­ping off my bags, we walked down Haver­stock Hill to Cam­den Town to a lovely vegan café called Inspi­ral.

Here you can choose from their hot food bar and fill up a small (£3.95), medium (£5.95), or large bowl (£7.45). The bar boasts dishes rang­ing from bean sal­ads, daal, and roasted parsnips, to scram­bled tofu, roasted mush­rooms, and quinoa. They also have cold sal­ads, and var­i­ous main dishes that you can choose from. I opted for the Spelt Crusted Chunky Veg­etable Rata­touille upon rec­om­men­da­tion of the girl behind the counter with Amy Winehouse-esqe black cat eyeliner.

Above: Spelt Crusted Chunky Veg­etable Rata­touille, steamed greens, mush­rooms, bean salad and vegan gar­lic mayo.

We set­tled down to eat at a table over­look­ing the river and Cam­den mar­ket. The food was flavour­ful and fresh. A relief and a com­fort after a day of trav­el­ling! They also offer a gen­er­ous dol­lop of their home­made vegan mayo on the side for dip­ping pur­poses. I chose the gar­lic mayo. It was light, fluffy and delicious.

They also sell pre-packaged foods such as assorted tasty flavours of kale chips. Inspi­ral was a great vegan din­ing expe­ri­ence and very well priced for Lon­don. Need­less to say, we came back to eat here a few more times before leav­ing for Holland.

Oy vegan!

Inspi­ral is located at 250 Cam­den High St, London

Hours: Mon­day to Thurs­day 9:00 — 22:00/ Fri­day — Sat­ur­day 9:00 — 2:00 (late)/ Sun­day 9:00 — 23:30

near­est tube: Cam­den Town

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Oy Vegan Restaurant Review: Vegan Brunch at the Windsor Arms Hotel


When I heard there was a vegan brunch at the Wind­sor Arms Hotel in down­town Toronto, I couldn’t believe my ears! Where in this city can you find an upscale healthy vegan brunch?


Well, under the guid­ance and vision of exec­u­tive vegan chef Doug McNish, the Wind­sor Arms Hotel has had new life breathed into it with a vegan brunch menu that runs every Sun­day in the hotel’s Prime restau­rant. The restau­rant is also run­ning a vegan lunch and din­ner menu through­out the week!

Need­less to say, I just HAD to go try out the vegan brunch the moment I got wind of it.

I ordered the Vegan Bene­dict. The tofu was smokey and the egg­less hol­landaise sauce was incredible!

Jared ordered “The Works” which, lucky me, I got to taste.  Each com­po­nent was packed with flavour. The pota­toes were art­fully sea­soned and the tofu scram­ble was, seri­ously, the best I’ve ever had.

Then, dessert! The choco­late brownie was rich and divine.

All in all, it was a great expe­ri­ence! Upscale vegan din­ing is excit­ing for so many rea­sons. One being now you have some­where to bring some­one you want to impress! Whether it be for a spe­cial occa­sion or a busi­ness meet­ing, now Toronto has a fine din­ing restau­rant where being vegan isn’t a spe­cial request, it’s an upscale experience.

(Chef Doug McNish and I)

Thanks to Chef Doug McNish and the the staff of the Wind­sor Arms Hotel for a lovely Sun­day brunch experience!

Oy Vegan!

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Oy Vegan Restaurant Review: Hogtown Vegan

So fel­low oyvegan.com-er Jared and I vis­ited Hog­town Vegan for din­ner on a Sun­day evening last month. When we walked in we were pleas­antly sur­prised by the cozy atmos­phere. The restau­rant pro­vided a warm refuge from the brisk fall air. We also noted that it was almost full, an impres­sive feat for a Sun­day night in the restau­rant biz.

Our server was friendly, knowl­edge­able and totally into the food, which, as a food lover, is always excit­ing. We ordered the chipo­tle mac n’ “cheese” to start and the reuban sand­wich and unchicken burger to share for our mains. The burger and the sand­wich came with a choice of fries, caeser salad, or sauteed col­lard greens. We ordered the salad and the greens.

The mac n “cheese” was deli­cious. I’m not sure how they did it, but the “cheese” sauce was superb. One of the best fake cheese sauces I’ve ever had. Both sand­wiches were lovely. I espe­cially liked the reuben which was com­prised of their own home-made sei­tan, a slaw of sauer­kraut, alphal­pha sprouts, gar­lic but­ter, and horse­rad­ish mayo on pumper­nickel rye. This is their sig­na­ture dish if you’re won­der­ing what to get. I highly rec­om­mend it!

The price point was also very rea­son­able. $11 for a sand­wich with a side of super tasty vegan caeser salad or gar­licky col­lard greens (which I couldn’t stop eat­ing). We left feel­ing sati­ated and pleased with our expe­ri­ence instead of bloated and lethar­gic like most peo­ple feel after a trip to a diner. So, if you’re look­ing for com­pas­sion­ate com­fort food, look no further.

Oy vegan! gives Hog­town Vegan 2 kosher thumbs up!

Jamie

Hog­town Vegan in Toronto is located at 834 Bloor St W. Hours: MON-FRI 5pm-11pm SAT/ SUN 11:30am-11pm  Con­tact: 416 901 9779

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