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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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Stay Tuned: SO DELICIOUS giveaway!

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So I have been obsessed with coconut milk recently and believe me when I say So Deli­cious makes an amaz­ing coconut milk. I’ve been using it a lot in my morn­ing smooth­ies but it also is great with chai tea, in soups, pump­kin pie, and in sauces. Because I am cuckoo for coconuts, it is with great excite­ment that I announce that the week after Cana­dian Thanks­giv­ing, Oy Vegan will be giv­ing away a VIP coupon for a free So Deli­cious prod­uct to five lucky read­ers.  Stay tuned for more details!

Oy Vegan!

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Toronto Vegetarian Food Fest 2014 Roundup!

Happy Sep­tem­ber all!

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The Toronto Veg­e­tar­ian Association’s Veg Food Fest is always a treat. This year was no dif­fer­ent. There were awe­some talks, tasty food demos, many new and cool ven­dors, and scan­dal! The scan­dal I’m refer­ring to is the Field Roast- Cana­dian Gov­ern­ment scan­dal. Please com­ment with your opin­ions and any news you’ve heard on that front. All I know is that Field Roast wasn’t allowed to bring their new prod­ucts over the boarder for the food fest this year. At their booth they left this sign:

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Why isn’t Field Roast allowed to sell their prod­uct on the Cana­dian mar­ket? Are they a threat to the sausage indus­try in some way? In what way are reg­u­lar sausages health­ier than vegan ones? It’s all very scan­dalous if you ask me. So buy your Field Roast now because they may not be restocked in your local Cana­dian retailers.

Luck­ily, there were many high­lights at the Veg Food Fest this year– so many it was hard to nar­row them down!

Nev­er­the­less, here are Oy Vegan’s top five highlights:

5. I was thrilled to see Hot­beans and Through Being Cool Vegan Bak­ing Com­pany team up as a food ven­dor in the world café this year. I noshed on the vegan Mac n’ Cheese bur­rito with home­made potato chips. It was ridicu­lous (in a good way).

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4. The open­ing night panel ‘Nutri­tion Myths Debunked’ fea­tured Dr. David Jenk­ins, Ginny Messina RD, Dr. Tushar Mehta, and Marni Wasser­man mod­er­ated by Lisa Pit­man. It was highly infor­ma­tive as the pan­elists explained many of the mis­con­cep­tions about soy cit­ing many med­ical stud­ies and explain­ing them in depth. They also explored stud­ies about gluten intol­er­ance, how much B12 we need, and oth­ers. Dr. Jenk­ins gave every­one an inside look at what the peo­ple of Oki­nawa, who have the longest life expectancy in the world, eat. Many of my mis­con­cep­tions about soy were addressed. The bot­tom line? Eat­ing soy is good for you and has many health ben­e­fits! Woo hoo!

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3. The cin­na­mon babka from Sweets from the Earth. I have to admit…I have a soft spot for Sweets from the Earth. So much so that I had them do the desserts at my vegan wed­ding. Their treats are amaz­ing and they are very nice peo­ple. All their sweets are vegan and kosher cer­ti­fied. They also have a nut-free facil­ity and a gluten-free facil­ity so they have a num­ber of very tasty nut-free and gluten-free options to offer. If you haven’t tried their desserts, def­i­nitely check them out!

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2. New prod­ucts that I’m excited about! There are a bunch of new prod­ucts show­cased at the food fest this year. Here are the ones to watch!

- Buchie & Sash and their dairy-free cream cheese was extremely tasty. Their prod­ucts are cur­rently sold in west end health food stores and are hope­fully com­ing soon to the east end!

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- The Hon­est Leaf and their line of teas for healthy liv­ing. I’ve been lov­ing the Detox tea, the Serene tea, and the Slim tea.

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- Nongshim’s Soon Veg­gie Noo­dle Soup was giv­ing away free noo­dle soup and prizes at the food fest. I’m always a fan of a quick noo­dle soup. This one has a lot less of the crap you find in most brands and it’s vegan!

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- So Deli­cious and their line of coconut milks and coconut ice cream. I love the peanut but­ter swirl!

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- Yam­Chops coconut bacon. This stuff is hella good.

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1. Veg’to’pia. An exhibit that looked at the evo­lu­tion of veg­e­tar­i­an­ism through­out his­tory and Toronto’s role in the vegetarian/vegan com­mu­nity world-wide. Made me proud to be vegan and Torontonian!

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1.5. Spe­cial shout-out to the new doc­u­men­tary Cowspiracy. Check out the trailer below.

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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Green Tea Chatz. Episode 1. THE BEST VEGAN COOKBOOKS!

Wanna know what the best vegan cook­books are??? Check out today’s episode of Green Tea Chatz!

From her large col­lec­tion, Jamie show­cases her favourite vegan cook­books from over the years high­light­ing some of her favourite recipes in each cookbook.

 

 

Do you agree with her selec­tion? Do you dis­agree? Com­ment below!!!

Oy Vegan!

 

 

 

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Happy 2014!!!

Wish­ing you all a happy and healthy new year filled with excite­ment, love, bal­ance, com­pas­sion, and magic! The pics below were taken at Ele­phant Nature Park on my recent hon­ey­moon in Thai­land. It’s a beau­ti­ful ele­phant sanc­tu­ary just out­side Chi­ang Mai. I hope to share more about vegan Thai­land in the upcom­ing months. Here’s to less­en­ing the suf­fer­ing of our fel­low earth­lings in 2014!

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Oy Vegan!

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Banksy takes NYC by storm with his piece Sirens of the Lambs

British graf­fiti artist, Banksy, com­ments on the hor­rors of the meat indus­try with his recent art piece Sirens of the Lambs in which he sent a slaugh­ter­house trans­port truck full of scream­ing stuffed ani­mals dri­ving around NYC’s meat­pack­ing dis­trict.
A genius idea and a very effec­tive piece of art in our opin­ion here at Oy Vegan.


It’s this type of cre­ativ­ity that makes peo­ple stop and think. Way to go, Banksy!
Do you agree? Let us know by com­ment­ing below!

Oy Vegan!

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Toronto Vegetarian Food Festival Top 5!

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Pic­tured above: Sport­ing the new Oy Vegan Tee at the Toronto Veg­e­tar­ian Food Festival!

Arriv­ing at the Toronto Veg­e­tar­ian Food Fes­ti­val thrown by the won­der­ful peo­ple at the Toronto Veg­e­tar­ian Asso­ci­a­tion is always a treat. Row after row of booths sell­ing vegan prod­ucts, food, and rais­ing aware­ness about issues of ani­mal wel­fare adorn Toronto’s Har­bourfront. That famous Christ­mas carol comes to mind ‘It’s the most won­der­ful time of the year!’ and despite some rain on Sat­ur­day, Oy Vegan attended everyday.

There were many high­lights for us here at Oy Vegan and it was hard… but some­how we man­aged to nar­row it down to a top 5.

Here goes!

5The food from Karma ChaMEA­Leon Food truck. This vegan food truck came all the way from Hamil­ton for the fes­ti­val. Would LOVE for them to come to Toronto per­ma­nently!! Just sayin’

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Pic­tured above: Jamaican Jerk Jack­fruit Tacos from Karma ChaMEALeon

4The panel of heroes that spoke about ani­mal activism and their fab­u­lous ani­mal sanc­tu­ar­ies in New York State. Check out Kathy Stevens’ Catskill Ani­mal Sanc­tu­ary, Jenny Brown’s Wood­stock Farm Ani­mal Sanc­tu­ary, and Gene Bauer’s Farm Sanc­tu­ary. I look for­ward to read­ing all of their books!!!

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Pic­tured above from L to R: Kathy Stevens, Gene Bauer, Sonia Faruqi, Jenny Brown, and Sayara Thurston.

3. Meet­ing Chef Roberto Mar­tin. Known for being Ellen Degeneres’ chef, Roberto Mar­tin made a super tasty ceviche out of hearts of palm. A very cool down-to-earth guy I must say.

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Pic­tured above: Roberto Mar­tin and I

2. I was also hon­oured to receive Chef Taymer Mason’s St. Maarten gift bag give­away fea­tur­ing a green sea­son­ing that she made in St. Maarten! She served up a super tasty lentil patty and an egg­plant and sea­weed accra that was mouthwatering.

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Pic­tured above: Top– Taymer Mason and I, Bot­tom– Lentil Patty and Egg­plant and Sea­weed Accra

1. Strong­man Patrik Baboumian break­ing the Guin­ness World Record by lift­ing 1213 lbs (550 kilos)! This vegan hero was so pumped from his amaz­ing feat that he screamed vegan power with all his might after walk­ing over 10 metres with 1213 lbs on his back. An unbe­liev­able moment and an unbe­liev­able guy. The video I took is a lit­tle shakey but cap­tures his speech at the end which touched every­one in the crowd just as much as the actual feat of strength that he per­formed. An amaz­ing moment that will go down in food fest history!

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Pic­tured above from L to R: vegan ath­lete panel fea­tur­ing Patrik Baboumian,

UFC fighter James Wilks, Iron­man ath­lete Roch Roll,  and for­mer Hockey player Georges Laraque. 

I would also like to send a spe­cial shout-out to Sweets from the Earth for their Cin­na­mon Babka. It was unbe­liev­ably tasty!!!

As well, we want to shout-out Green Zebra Kitchen for their de-constructed Tem­peh Rueben Bowl. Yum!

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Pic­tured above: Green Zebra Kitchen’s de-constructed Tem­peh Rueben Bowl

I also want to com­mend the TVA for mak­ing this year’s event com­pletely vegan. It really made it acces­si­ble for every­one and I felt more com­fort­able and excited know­ing that I could eat any­thing I wanted! I hope this becomes the norm for the food fes­ti­val as it is a cel­e­bra­tion of a plant-based lifestyle after all!

Oy Vegan!

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A Reminder of our Uniqueness!

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Just a lovely reminder that we’re all like snowflakes, each of us unique.

Here are 10 Pho­tos to remind you that Jews don’t fit into a stereo­type (and never have).


Fully Jewish; Fully Chinese

 

Big up to Pop Chas­sid for their awe­some post!

Oy Vegan!

 

 

 

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Wha me eat!

Big tune!

Lov­ing this video by British-born Reg­gae artist Macka B which answers the age-old ques­tion posed to many a vegan, “What do you eat?!?!”

Enjoy!

Wha Me Eat by Macka B

Oy Vegan!

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