Edible Flours Vancouver

April 29th, 2015 § 2 comments § permalink

Edible Flours, Vancouver, Canada

2280 West Broadway

604-734-8351

~$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).

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Cowgirl’s Baking NYC

December 8th, 2011 § 3 comments § permalink

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” »

Cinnamon Buns A Vegan Recipe

November 25th, 2011 § 12 comments § permalink

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.

Continue reading “Cinnamon Buns A Vegan Recipe” »

BabyCakes New York City Vegan Bakery Review

November 23rd, 2011 § 28 comments § permalink

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” »

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