Edible Flours Vancouver

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Edible Flours, Vancouver, Canada

2280 West Broadway


~$5 USD/person for a couple of snacks

Restaurant Type : Fine Dining | Casual
Diamonds : ♦♦♦♦♦♦ (1/6)

When I heard that Edible Flours was opening, I was ecstatic.

I’d tried some ‘rice krispie treats’ from one of their Vancouver Farmer’s Market stalls way back in the day, and while I’d thought the prices they were charging were a bit dear, they were also quite tasty. The proprietors seemed friendly and engaged, the packaging was (and still is) simple but pretty, and at the time there was a real dearth of vegan baking in Vancouver.

And I love to bake, but sometimes I find my sweet tooth hard to keep up with.

Unfortunately, the whole experience is a bit of a let down. It was barely worth words, and it’s the kind of thing that makes me wonder if I should say anything at all.

But I will, not because I think anyone should care about my opinion, but because I guess, somewhere deep down, I have a deep-seated fear that people will start to associate vegan baking with the type of product that Edible Flours turns out: it’s just so mediocre. Cupcakes are bland, lumpen, and sweet. Cinnamon rolls are sugar sweetness set against cardboard. And the savoury offerings are even worse, my croissant is raw under the crust, and whats been billed as a cheesy filling is waxen and awful. Flavours, where present at all, are imbalanced, and nothing has the right texture, the snap of a good shortcrust, the flakiness of puff pastry or the crumb of perfectly baked, moist and delicious cake.

I feel like places like this continue to exist because people are so willing to compromise, and also because people set their expectations for vegan, and gluten free, and organic pastry so low.

But the truth is, that vegan pastry is possible. Many of the techniques used in a French pâtisserie are fully transferable to vegan, and even gluten free, or low sugar ingredients. And of course, the French don’t have a monopoly on pastry—what I am trying to point out is that baking, and pastry, are crafts, and there is a world of information out there. I just want Edible Flours to be better.

In the meantime, try Fairy Cakes which is alright, or hit the kitchen yourself (My Sweet Vegan, might be a good place to start).


Global Tribe Café Leeds

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Global Tribe Café, Leeds, UK

18 Swan Street, Leeds


~$30 USD/person with drinks (lunch)

Restaurant Type : Fine Dining | Casual
Diamonds : ♦♦♦♦♦♦ (0/6)

It’s not always easy being Vegan in downtown Leeds, though Hansa’s isn’t too far away, and Out Of This World stocks some decent grab-’n-go options. So, when we heard that Global Tribe, one of my wife’s favourite teenaged hang-outs, was opening a vegan cafe, we started to salivate.

We imagined nipping in for a quick bite in-between shopping at Blue Rinse and Wing Lee Hong, maybe in a warm grounded space, or somewhere airy and beautiful. A place channelling the beatniq-hippie vibe that had made us fall in love with the storefront almost despite ourselves.

Located up on the second floor, up a narrow staircase just to the right of Global Tribe’s primary entrance, the café is none of those things. We came, we saw, we chewed. All of our appetite was in vain. Continue reading “Global Tribe Café Leeds” »

An Ode to the Wayward Vegan Café

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Wayward Vegan Café, Seattle

801 NE 65th St, Suite C

(206) 524-0204

~$30 USD/person with drinks (dinner)

Restaurant Type : Fine Dining | Casual
Diamonds : ♦♦♦♦♦

I fell in love at the Wayward Café, sitting across from this Yorkshire lass I could barely understand, she tucked into the “Lost Souls” tofu scramble, while I meowed down on “The Wizard,*” a veggie burger par excelance, with tempeh bacon, just the right amount of mayo, and strangely delicious vegan cheddar cheese.

The both of us were participants at a writing workshop where grub was included—but oh what grub it was—I kid you not, the chef’s speciality was “Swimming Chicken,” and the only person worse off than us at the workshop, food-wise, was my garlic allergic vegetarian friend, who she kept on confusing with someone gluten-free. All of us with particular dietary requirements were starving, and so I asked the only other vegan at the workshop out—out for lunch I mean.

We walked up 15th Ave NE, past the University of Washington Bookstore, the head shops, and Sidecars for Pigs Peace (now Vegan Haven), it was 2:00 in the afternoon, 2012, the sun was shining down. You could smell Wayward half a block away. Continue reading “An Ode to the Wayward Vegan Café” »

The Spiral Diner — Dallas and Fort Worth, TX — Review

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The Spiral Diner, Dallas & Fort Worth

1314 W. Magnolia
Fort Worth, TX

1101 N Beckley
Dallas, TX


~$15 USD/person with drinks (dinner)

Restaurant Type : Fine Dining | Casual
Diamonds : ♦♦♦♦♦

Texas isn’t the first place that springs to your mind when you think of vegetarianism.

I mean, after driving past miles of ranch, and walking past the stockyards in Fort Worth, my partner and I are in righteous vegan mode. We’re hot blooded and pissed off as we stumble out of the car for lunch. Our doors slam, and dust billows up off the road in a red mist that perfectly suits my mood.

A few minutes later, after I sit down and order, and my sandwich calls me a JERK, but I love him anyway.

Spiral Diner Jerk Tofu Sandwich

Continue reading “The Spiral Diner — Dallas and Fort Worth, TX — Review” »

Plum Bistro Seattle Review

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Plum Bistro, Seattle

1429 12th Ave
Seattle, WA

(206) 838-5333

~$40 USD/person with drinks (dinner)

Restaurant Type : Fine Dining | Casual
Diamonds : ♦♦♦♦♦♦

Outside the open windows, the rain comes down in sheets. It pours across the pavement and runs in rivers along the curb. I sip my whiskey-laced horchata, and enjoy that particular coziness that comes at the expense of another’s misery. Someone is wading up the hill across the street, in thick rubber boots and gore-tex jacket, battened down, hunched over. Sopping wet.

Could any scene be more Seattle?

I love the West Coast and spent years living their full-time, but when I wonder why I left, it’s rain that reminds me.

Still, there are many worse places to be in the rain than drinking an aperitif at the Plum Bistro. It’s a bit strange actually, as I think about that word bistro . . . Continue reading “Plum Bistro Seattle Review” »

Vegetarian Lifestyle AKA JuJuBe Tree 枣子树 Restaurant Review : Shanghai

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Multiple Locations: Official Website (Chinese) Listings On Happy Cow

Shanghai, China

~$10 USD/person with drinks

Restaurant Type : Fine Dining | Casual
Diamonds : ♦♦♦♦♦♦

Even in the winter, where the night sky darkens early and fog roils from the Pearl River, Shanghai has it’s own luminesence. We’ve spent the day shopping, and my arms are full of parcels—stationary from Muji, a black velvet jacket that’s so outré that I probably should never wear it, and a Victorian styled dress for my friend. The street behind the mall is bustling. Though we are far away from the stately Bund district, and from the shiny new metro, the city sidewalks are teeming with people. Fellow shoppers, taxi drivers, and office workers swarm around us. We round a corner and—there—in the middle of glass skyscrapers and under neon is a branch of JuJuBe Tree, a successful chain of vegetarian restaurants local to Shanghai. Continue reading “Vegetarian Lifestyle AKA JuJuBe Tree 枣子树 Restaurant Review : Shanghai” »

Dosa King Bangkok Review

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Dosa King, Bangkok

153/7 Sukhumvit Road, SOI-11/1 (Near Nana Skytrain Station).

Bangkok Thailand

~$10 USD/person with drinks

Restaurant Type : Fine Dining | Casual
Diamonds : ♦♦♦♦♦♦

We debate taking a taxi. But then we remember that we’re in Bangkok, home to the world’s worst traffic. We’re in one of the many tiny little enclaves (sois) that are practically culdesacs, perpendicular to the main street. There are businesses all around us—but none of them is the one we’re looking for. It’s over 30ºC and we’re fainting hot and famished—but we persevere. We pass by countless tailors and a riotously garish fabric shop, walk over the blankets of street sellers hawking suspenders, ceramics, handkerchiefs and DVDs, are tempted by food stalls with smoking woks or heaps of pad thai.

We’re so hungy by the time that we arrive at Dosa King that we want to drink the chutney on the table, and start spooning up the pickle with our fingers. I imagine my fingers coated in oil and mustard seeds, skin burning from capsic acid, and it’s not a nightmare but a fantasy. Continue reading “Dosa King Bangkok Review” »

Cowgirl’s Baking NYC

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Cowgirl’s Baking
259 East 10th Street, New York, NY

A Few Dollars a Sweetie

Restaurant Type : Fine Dining | Casual
Diamonds : ♦♦♦♦♦♦

I don’t know the background of Cowgirl’s Baking—but as we approach, from the outside it looks like an episode of How To Make It In America is in progress.

The staff are having a fucking blast. A group of mad scientist teenagers, some in hotpants and others in torn jeans, are listening to indie rock and partying behind the counter when we arrive. We walk up almost trepiditiously through a crowd. We feel like shy wallflowers at a high school dance. I look down at my shoes and occasionally glampse at the goodie-case.

“Can I get you anything hon?” The girl behind the counter is fantastically attractive, and I feel even more like a slack-jawed country boy.

I look up—and truth be told, I want one of everything. I sort of stammer as I place my order. Continue reading “Cowgirl’s Baking NYC” »

5 Things I’ve Had Confiscated at the Border

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Maybe it’s because when I first started travelling I had a tendency to wear cordoury bell-bottoms, and vintage flowered shirts—but I used to have a hell of a time crossing borders (alright, it was definitely the groovy get-ups). After grueling interrogations, and all too often being ‘randomly selected’ for additional search, I finally learned to leave the outlandish outfits in the suitcase. But it left me with a bit of paranoia—I’m now very careful about what I bring across country lines. Here are five things I’ve had, or almost had, confiscated—crossing borders.

1) Vitamins
Never bring loose vitamins or medication with you, particularly to countries known for drug trade, or where control on drugs is extremely tight. I used to take all my vitamins and put them in those little day-of-the-week pill minders, being sure to have all my B12 dosed out. Alas, it can be hard to convince a border control agent that those little white unlabelled pills aren’t ecstasy, and I lost my B12 stash in South Asia; after being subjected to a physical search I wont soon forget (seriously, I’m still blushing).

This one is pretty easily avoided by bringing vitamins in their original packaging. Just keep in mind that many countries still rely on manual search, and your stash may be opened, hand inspected, or still refused entry. Continue reading “5 Things I’ve Had Confiscated at the Border” »

5 (Vegan) Travel Essentials

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Maybe this is so obvious that it oughtn't be included—but I still remember my first trip overseas: 1 pair runners, 1 pair sandals. Which might've worked out for a beach resort, but was totally inappropriate for the urban environment I went to. Even in India, there were places my casual shoes simply weren't welcome.

Whether you want to go out to a nice restaurant, or just want to walk around comfortably all day, a good pair of shoes that can cover both tasks is an absolute must. Look for something without a huge heel or a floppy sole and you'll be well kitted out. Pictured are vegan Fluevogs, with hand nailed Fluevog Air soles. My favourite travelling shoes, mine are npw rough around the edges—after 10 countries and two years, it's a wonder they're held together at all.

Add smart shoes to jeans and a v-neck T, and you're a hip style rebel. Runners and the same outfit, and you may not make it past the velvet ropes.

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