Cinnamon Buns A Vegan Recipe

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Cinnamon Buns

This vegan cinnamon bun recipe uses everyday ingredients and can be prepared the night before.

Maybe it’s my prairie upbringing—but I have a little bit of a love affair with flour. From standing in fields of wheat and watching sun filter through golden sheaves, to running across rolled barrels of hay; I think about long summer days, never ending skies, and the yellow colours of Fall every time I run my fingers through the floury clouds of grain on my pastry board. Whether I’m turning out pizza, pastry, or bread, whether it’s buckwheat, spelt, or “white,” I always think about where flour comes from, and can barely choke down my anticipation.

When I close my eyes and think of home, this is what I smell: first flour, then yeast, and finally the sweet smells of sugar, and baking bread. Maybe, on a good day, this inner symphony is joined by gracenotes of cinnamon and vanilla. And mabye it’s because Cinnamon Rolls bring all of these great smells together that I love them so much. Long before I’d bit into a galette des rois, or had an affair with madelines, I gave my heart to a prairie classic, brought over from Northern Europe, and spread all across North America. Simple ingredients, and simple preparation—extraordinary results. Cinnamon Rolls made at home or from the county fair are nothing like their mall food-court or grocery-store brethren—biting into one should be all grain no chaff, all gold and no dross.

Which is why I was, perhaps, a little tough on BabyCakes’ Skinny-Bun in my review earlier this week. Cinnamon Buns are a little bit sacred to me—so much so that I was a little devastated as my own first efforts to come up with a perfect vegan version failed over a decade ago. Years of tinkering later, I’d like to think I cracked it. The key was actually always scaling back: taking away steps, not adding too many things—and most importantly, using quality ingredients. Make these with a fresh, local, organic flour, and they’ll transport you home.

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BabyCakes New York City Vegan Bakery Review

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NYC Review Header

BabyCakes NYC (with locations in Orlando and L.A. – Ships orders from online website)

From $40 a pie to a few dollars for a whoopee pie

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

It’s a sunny morning in New York’s late fall. Cold weather last night, but the sun warmed resin bench I’m sitting on casts warmth up into my thighs, and with coffee from my favourite East Coast coffee shop—Roasting Plant—steaming away in my face, I feel oh so content and alive. But I’m also a little at a loss.

Pastry is particularly close to my heart. Elaborate wedding cakes covered in delicate icing sugar flowers, gingerbread castles with delicate spun sugar and stained glass windows—my mother is one of the world’s best bakers. I vividly remember afternoons spent together in the kitchen as she tried to pass on what she knew to an impatient kid that just wanted his sugar high. To this day, I enjoy little more than a quiet day in a sun-lit kitchen, turning out my favourite foods: tarte aux sucre, croissant, strawberry rhubarb pie, or cinnamon rolls.

All of this is to say I have high standards for pastry. As I sit and stare at a box of sweeties from Hollywood-star favourite Babycakes, I wonder, is it just me, or is this just not up to par? Continue reading “BabyCakes New York City Vegan Bakery Review” »

Top 5 Vegan Cities

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Picture 1 of 5

You'll notice a distinct lack of parrallelism here—I know, I know, India is a whole country, while the rest of the places on the list are cities. Here's the deal, if I were to make a list of the top 10, 15, or even 20 cities for vegetarian eating, they'd all be in India, and I don't think that that's quite fair. India truly is a vegetarian paradise, and can be a vegan heaven with a little patience and fortitude. Obviously there are all the vegetarian classics, from channa masala to potato curry—but from the Portuguese infused flavours of Goan cuisine, to great pizza at beachside hippie hangouts, it's not just about the curry either.

Food Highlight: Yard long dosas served on the worlds biggest thali trays.

My Secret Favourite Thing:
The Calico Textile Museum in Ahmedabad might not make every itinerary, but it ought to. The giant wheel on India's flag? It's a spinning wheel, and this is both one of the best textile museums in the world, and a rare chance to learn about an artistic tradition at the heart of Indian identity.

Candle 79 Review

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Header image for New York reviewsCandle 79

$120 for two, with beverages

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

Rarely has whim led us so perfectly astray. A brisk afternoon gives way to a sudden downpour, and our stroll down Lexington turns into a dash for cover. We head for the first bit of awning in sight—a bit of corrugated scaffolding, and find ourselves directly in front of Candle 79. It’s just turned five, and though it’s early for supper, the warm saffron smell of the restaurant wafting out into the street pulls us inside.

Perhaps it is early, but it’s also almost fully booked. The Maître D’ asks if we has a reservation, and her eyes widen slightly at our audacity as we shake out our umbrellas and confess to having none. We shoot her a pathetic and desperate look. I can feel water from the rain running from my hair onto my face and squelching in my shoes. Our pitiable state softens her heart: “Can you eat within an hour?”

She has a table that’s turned over early and isn’t booked ’til 6. What beautiful happenstance. Continue reading “Candle 79 Review” »

Gong De Lin Review

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Beijing's Forbidden City and Gong De Lin's InteriorGong De Lin
2, Qianmen Gong Daije, Chongwen District

$60 for two, with tea

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

Exploring new cities in search of great vegan restaurants is a true passion of mine, but as temperatures drop and I drag my partner along windy snow-swept streets, her heeled feet clacking in the snow, I feel a sense of doom closing in with the long shadows of the setting sun. We’re looking for one of the world’s oldest vegetarian restaurants, GongDeLin, and I’d ask for directions, but we’re on one of those strange streets you seem to find only in capital cities—multi-lane roads cut through government office after government office, each one squat and monolothic. Finally, just as the street opens onto a ring road, we see a lone cycle rickshaw creaking towards us.

The driver pulls down his scarf, revealing a curious face. You can tell he wonders what the hell we’re doing in the middle of nowhere.

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Pure Lotus Review

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Beijing Header ImagePure Lotus
Holiday Inn Lido Beijing, 3rd Floor (Jichang Rd & Jiag Tai Rd)

净心莲 [ 朝阳首都机场蒋台路丽都假日饭店三层 ]

$100 for two, with silver-tip jasmine tea

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

I’m in the lobby of a Holiday Inn, but it’s like no other Holiday Inn I have been to before. Opulent. Marble floors and panelled white walls, deep upholstery, a business centre that’s actually doing business, and all around me an expatriate complex rises up into the sky. A red faced man in a linen suit with a Harvard pin is shouting horrible Mandarin into a cellphone the size of a thimble, and I’m sliding my bank card into a bank machine after waiting in a line that curled up the hall.

Could I be anywhere in the world? Perhaps. But as the machine spits out Yuan from my Canadian bank account, this is all so distinctly one of the new Beijings—a business district built at the city’s edge to facilitate western business moving into China, a glossy new version of a hotel chain that might be mediocre anywhere else in the world, and a palpable buzz in the air that makes one feel as though they are truly near the centre of the Earth.

I’ve travelled here a rather large distance by train and taxi to eat at Pure Lotus, which is perhaps the most (literally) spectacular restaurant in China. I feel a sense of anticipation and apprehension, for although I can’t deny the authenticity of this monied milieu-it’s not one I associate with great food. Thankfully, I’m in for a huge surprise…

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Travelling Vegan/Vegetarian In China

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The Great Mosque

This article starts off with context and goes on to provide several resources. To jump direct to the resources, click here.

There is a saying that’s popular in our home: Travel for knowledge, even all the way to China. It’s an old, old, saying, a hadith that has it’s roots in a time when Xī’ān was home to one of the world’s greatest Islamic universities. I think it’s still just as relevant today as it was hundreds and hundreds of years ago, speaking not only to the distance and exoticism of the world’s oldest empire and the challenge that it poses to the traveller; but also to the potential reward.

China. 中国

From the Daoist philosophers and poets, from literati art to the revolutions, it has a special place in my heart, and in my cultural landscape. When I had the opportunity to spend a few months there, I jumped at the chance.

It was one of the best experiences of my life, from standing on the Great Wall like every other tourist, to navigating my way to obscure archaeological sights.

Seeing intricate bronzework and some of the earliest script helped deconstruct the Eurocentric bias of my upbrining—I felt a thrilling vertigo as I reoriented myself to the world.

It was also some of the best eating I’ve ever done. Street hawker noodles, trendy hot-pot spots, ornate tea houses, and beautiful formal restaurants—the food I ate there creeps into my dreams, and has trickled slowly into my kitchen. I plan on sharing some of these experiences here over the coming months. But I wanted to start with some thoughts on traveling vegan in China. Let me start by rephrasing that old adage:

The vegan food in China is well worth travelling for. Continue reading “Travelling Vegan/Vegetarian In China” »

Il Margutta Resto Arte Review

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Il Margutta
118. Via Margutta Roma

€120 for two, with wine

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

Our excitement builds as we walk down Via Margutta—echoing the footsteps of Gregory Peck and Audrey Hepburn—on our very own Roman Holiday. We’ve been eating our way through the best Vegetarian Restaurants in Europe, from Saf and Black Vanilla in London, to Cookies Cream in Berlin. And we wonder anxiously: What will Rome have in store?

The narrow cobble-stoned street hits our sweet-tooth exactly, antique shops and fine furniture, tiny galleries and a few coffee shops. All perfumed with the scents of a Roman evening, orange trees, coffee, petrol and wine. It’s the perfect aperitif for an evening of fine dining, and we take one last long inhalation before stepping into Il Margutta.

Unfortunately, that breath will be the highlight of our evening. From worn out, but still garish decor, to poor service and barely alright food, Il Margutta disappoints. Continue reading “Il Margutta Resto Arte Review” »

Millennium Restaurant Review

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Millennium Restaurant
580 Geary Street  San Francisco

$150 for two, with drinks.

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

The first voice we hear as we enter the restaurant, is not the welcome of our hostess, but the shrill exhortation of a fellow tourist—

“C’mon Honey. This is where the celebrities eat! We’re like, eating the same food as Jennifer Anniston!

It’s not the most auspicious beginning, and our server flushes, even as the corners of her mouth turn up in a smile.

We’re at the podium of Millennium, and the room in front of us has such effortless LA chic that it looks and feels like a place that celebrities might hang out—at least those with good taste and an appetite. Continue reading “Millennium Restaurant Review” »

Fairmont Lifestyles Menu Mini-Review

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Fairmont’s new Lifestyles Menu makes it easier for vegans across North America to eat at Fairmont Hotels—and the food isn’t bad either.

Continue reading “Fairmont Lifestyles Menu Mini-Review” »

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