Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Montreal-You've Redeemed Yourself,Even Though You Didn't HAVE To...

but you didn't have very great vegan baked goods.
let's start with the best.

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Yesterday morning(yesterday b/c it's 3am now) my cousin took me to Le Cagibi,and it was cute,wonderful,cozy and warm,and I wish I had known about it before I was supposed to leave in two hours.It's actually a vegetarian restaurant(I didn't know until I just went to the website)and they had great espresso.Triple espresso for $2.50!And I wasn't expecting it,but I asked if any of the baked goods were vegan and the counter attendant girl said yes.Then she said "that one is,the peanut butter chocolate square." So I bought 2.I brought one with me to Toronto,and they're awesome.A chewy,dense,moist oatmeal chocolate chip base with super sugary peanut butter frosting and chocolate swirl in it.Nothing totally mind blowing,but I'd say it's better than the amazing Red Mango peanut butter chocolate bars I had it NYC which were awesome(and everyone else thinks/thought so too).
Also,I was super excited becasue the vegan sweets department of Montreal seemed to be lacking.AND IT WAS PEANUT BUTTER!!!I hadn't had a peanut butter dessert yet in Montreal,and this really made up for it.Yay Le Cagibi!

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Also,I drank a lot of coffee in Montreal.I also met my Uncle Ben who I'd never met,and he's around 90 years old,but has amazing hearing,walks a lot,stayed out past 10pm,and wanted to take me to Le Commensal,but I said Aux Voivres would be better(even though I had gone 2 nights before with Priam,my cousin) because Le Commensal is bleh food.So we met there at 6,I was earlier than him,and freaked out b/c they aren't open Mondays.Who isn't open Mondays?Jerks.So when Ben got there,I apalogized,and we walked on Mount Royal to Artjava.Glad we did.

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that's a soy chai latte.holy crap,i used to love soy chai lattes and need to drink them more often.well,i probably won't,it's better when they're special n stuff,but still.
we were there for almost 3 1/2 hours.We both had 2 lattes.Glad we did.

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i usually just get espresso or drip coffees,but I guess if i'm being treated...

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The first night I got to Montreal my cousin took me to Aux Vivres,an all vegan,busy,happening,casual,'fast food but healthy and also sit down' restaurnt.Brandy told me that I HAD to try the carrot cake and that it was the best carrot cake she'd ever had and that she'd had a lot of vegan carrot cakes,and at the tiem I said the Native Foods one was my favourite,and she said I really had to try Aux Voivres carrot cake.

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It was very good cake.Yes,the cake,I would say,was awesome.Superb.BUT that's the cake.The frosting was a let down.Too tangy and citrus-y.Trying to replicate cream cheese?No wonder,I heard their cheesecake is tofu-y.Anyways,It was still delicious,but the frosting failed and therefore made it not the greatest.
I tried a lot of other stuff there,though.

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a truffle.good.nothing crazy.

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Banana Chocolate Pie.It was very good.Though tasted a lot like cherries.Very very sweet.and rich.Oh,and they gave us a tiny serving.wtf?

our server said "like James Bond"

"like james bond"

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Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookie.Great cookie.I mean,it's pretty heard to screw up an oatmeal cookie,but it was above expectations.Yummy.Soft and chewy,with crunchy edges.Mmmm.

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Ginger Cookie.I got it for free and the man sang a little song and did a on-spot jog to show me what he meant by 'little man' which was,in fact,referring to the gingerbread man.Then he gave me the cookie for free because it was the last of things in the 'to-go' section.It was too cake-y.But the flavour was alright.I didn't finish it,though.

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coffee beans in the sugar?

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they give you coconut milk to put in it.
and it was just espresso-who puts anything in a little espresso?!
anyways,the coconut overpowered the little bit of espresso.

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after Aux Voicres(we went there Saturday and Sunday evenings)we went to Casa del Popolo (Saturday) and I liked it a lot b/c they were playing a really good mix of Kate Bush,not just 'Hounds of Love'.Also,an Americano was cheap,and after and hour I didn't finish mine,but I got free steamed soymilk(vanilla!) to add to the rest of my cold coffee.Then we went to see No Age
montrealfoods 040,which I was really excited about,and got to meet some of Priam's buddies.

found this at the health food store.never seen it before,and looked french.it was delicious!

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found this there,too.SO NASTY.gross.tasted like rancid mango.yeah.

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Ben told me I had to go to Cafe Rico,and that they ahd great fair-trade coffe.They had fair-trade everything,and very good coffee.Surprisingly really cheap too.I whole heartedly approved,and tried to go again yesterday morning,but they opened at 10 which was later than when I went by.

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this is like a 'bread' made from peanut butter,sesame seeds and sugar.It's like a big candy tortilla.Priam showed them to me and gave me some as a parting gift.They're soo good.

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One night I stayed there from midinight until 8:05 am doing a scratchboard etching.The next day was crazy.But eff them,because they don't have soymilk!Neither did the place across the street!Ugggh.AND my internet wouldn't work there.

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Okay,Montreal was beautiful,people rude,it was freezing,and going into the subway(which is expensive!) is crazy because yr all bundled up b/c it's so cold outside but there it's BOILING in there.and I had a great time and really really like it there.Great city!

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So I might as well post some tester cookies I made at Priam's parent's huse(aunt marg and michael) before going to Montreal...

cranberry walnut thumbprints.

Cranberry Walnut Thumbprints
so these are testers from isa and terry's forthcoming cookie book.
okay,when i think of thrumbrpints i think of 'simple treats' and healthy,granola-y,but still nummy,just more nourishing cookies,that might as well be a muffin.but terry told me that these are decadent holiday cookies.
and yeah,they are.
1)the doough is cinnamony and soft,with a fantastic chew.
2)toasted walnuts make anything good,not that these needed to be 'made good';i made some without walnuts.
3)cranberry sauce is awesome.i guess daniel didn't really ruin it when we were younger.

so basically here we have a sweet,cinnaom-maple-y or i guess wintery is what i'm looking for,soft,chewy cookie base,filled with slightly tart but sweet cranberry sauce and rolled in walnuts which get all toasty and delicious after baking.5 stars.

oh and my aunt marg loooved them.
and she had never heard of putting jam in a cookie.she thought i was a real innovator.and she's not dumb!
she kept calling them lovely.

though,michael burned the second pan of them b/c he didn't know they were in the oven and turned it to 450 degrees to make pizza.then he over cooked his pizza and marg said it was too hard to chew.oy.

cranberry walnut thumbprints.

jellied cranberries.

and with the cranberry love and carrot cake talk,here's a carrot cake I never posted about from mid-October which I made for Ben'd dad's birthday...

carrot cake with toasted hazelnut/cream cheese frosting decorated with walnuts,cranberries and white chocolate chips

decorated with cranberries,white chocolate,and walnuts.

carrot cake with toasted hazelnut/cream cheese frosting decorated with walnuts,cranberries and white chocolate chips

Ben said this in the e-mail about it "My parents said it was the best carrot cake they'd ever eaten. My dad even ate 2 pieces (something he would never ever do). "

okay,that's all.I'm back in Toronto now,but will be in Vancouver again as of Friday.I went to Jet Fuel again today in the hour I had between arriving and meeting my uncle.Dreamy.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Vegan in Ontario;Nutella,Coffees,Peanut Butter Fudge(recipe!!!)and more...

So since October 23rd I haven't been in Vancouver.I flew to Toronto,went to Brantford,back to Toronto,then to NYC,back to Toronto,and now i'm in some little village near Kirksfield which is about an hour away from Peterborough which is about an hour and a half from Toronto.North East.My dad's family lives all over Ontario and I'm doing important school stuffs so I'll leave it at that why i'm here.Besides,Ben says he hates when food blogs get all personal and 'twitter-y' and that they should be about food and why should he care about yr life.Okay,well when he said this I thought that when he said "twitter-y"" he was just using some silly word/variant of "chit chat" or "chittery",y'know all chatty and stuff,but as it turns out 'Twitter' is an actual thing where people can read about yr life and know what yr doing every 5 minutes,and that you just ate an ice cream sammich,yr on yr way to get yr hair cut,or that yr cat is spewing battery acid from it's stomach and not even have to really know you.Well,I scould care less if a food blog is personal or not,as long as it's interesting.And I show great stories.

So Brantford.The backwater town where my Grandama lives,where my dad grew up,and where I was staying for about 6 days,with my Grandma who just broke her hip.Eating was slim pickings there,and I didn't want to cook anything really because I didn't want to stress my Grandma out at all or make any mess or be in the way and all these points were proven to be correct assumptions when I decided to make cookies on the last night and she freaked out that the oven was preheating because it was on but nothing was in it and she thought the house was gonna burn down....
so thank god for vegan nutella!


only $2.99!


only 7 ingredients and none of them are weird/gross/hydrogenated/artificial!


you make me feel...


like a natural woman...
i mean,of course there was peanut butter around,too.mmm.



though my favourite way to eat it was mixed with peanut butter in medjool dates.mmmm.


European chocolate was abound,too...


I will also mention that,strangely enough,Brantford had a fair-trade organic coffee house.It's called Blue Dog.Even weirder is that it's like 2 blocks from my grandma's and the only things near it are a corner store and a bunch of pharmacies.Weird,huh?
Anyways,they had really good coffee!Their espresso wasn't too strong,but it was super smooth.Not too short,and not too tall either,which seems like a problem at quite a few coffee places.I went there everyday and really enjoyed it.
So much that I bought some of their beans to make at my Grandma's.


though,she freaked out and looked like she might have a heart attack when I told her they were $8 a bag and that they came in a bag,and not in a tin.and weren't $3.50.But I explained to her what fair-trade was and she kind of understood.

Then I went back to Toronto.
Two days after Halloween my uncles,his fiancee,ava and I went to a punkin patch/park/farm thingy.
I saw a lot of goats,we rode a train,and bought squash.And pickles and jam!


who DOESN'T like pickles and peanut butter?!


red currant.


Uncle Mike is really into music.He took me to see the Smashing Pumpkins.Ain't nuttin' w/o d'arcy.

smashing pumpkins

though i had a great seat.


Speaking of Ben,I found this glazed nut mix at the Cabbagetown Organic grocery store.Of course I had to buy it,it's PB&J!!!
Well,peanut butter and jam straight from the jar is A LOT better.Sorry.Oh,and i'm supposed to be boycotting Sahale anyways because they were jerks to Ben and wouldn't have anything to do with Taste of Health and when I saw them at the Naturall Living Fair they acted like they never even heard of TOH.Whatever,I don't need to spend $5.49 on a back of processed nuts and dried fruit.Jerks.


with some work,you could really be a star...


Speaking of a little but of work and becoming a star,I'm madly in love with the man who works as barista at Jet Fuel coffee in Toronto.
He's kind of goofy,and he smokes,and he's probably a big stoner,and he's really cute and he has a great smile,and my coat was stuck and i looked all ridiculous and he was silly and was like "nice parka" and then like 6 people tried to help me fix my zipper and it was like an episode of Seinfeld,and eventually,after getting my second coffee,I broke one of the zippers off and felt like the Hulk.
Anyways,Jet Fuel had,probably the second best coffee i've ever had.I haven't been a coffee drinker for long,but I try out a lot of places,and drink a lot of coffee.Made up for lost time.
I had their espresso before,and when I got it Tuesday night,it was perfect.Perfect amount,too for a double espresso.Sweet,smooth,no tricks.Very dark.Also,there's no menu at Jet Fuel which apparently pisses people off,but so what,why are you ordering a decaf-skinny-sugar-free-caramel-toasted-marshamllow-latte-macchiato anyways?
It's simple.Espresso=$1,double=$2 etc small latte=$2 and a big latte=$3!!!And no extra for soymilk!
So for $5 on Tuesday I had a double espresso and a huge soy latte.And did I mention the latte was awesome?It was sooo light and fluffy,the foam was killing me.Seriously,I had never had foam like this.Yes,I have tasted a tastier latte(though there'll be A LOT more on that place in a seperate post)it was still delicious and had amazing foam.Hooray.And then when I was leaving,the barista guy,who was singing along to 'Sleep the Clock Around' when I came in,and continued to belt out songs from "The Boy with the Arab Strap" was howling the lyrics to 'This Must Be the Place'.I left him a present.


big latte-great foam!


Toronto has a lot of great coffee places.Way more than Vancouver.Yeah,Vancouver has some good coffee,but not as many cafes as Toronto,not as much personality,not as much diversity.Sorry.
I also had good coffee at Manic.Thye were also selling vegan cookies.


I usually don't drink lattes,but I heard the ones at Manic are special,and theat their baristas are very talented in the latte art department,and as you can see,they sure are.
I didn't have a vegan cookies from Manic,though I had a fabulous peanut butter cookie from the coffee stand inside Blue Banana,which actually comes from Cora Bakery,Brandy and I discovered the next day.



I usually wouldn't have boughten the cookie,but it was peanut butter.And I ended up buying them on 2 different occasions.They're really sweet and the middle is really dense and chewy.No,not a 'classic' or 'traditional' peanut butter cookie,but obviously good enough to have me buy it on two seperate occasions.


This is espresso at Tequila Bookworm which was good,with some nasty vegan truffle I bought at this coffee place two doors down from Cherry Bomb.Cherry Bomb had great coffee,too,but maybe it's best I didn't remember the company/bakery that makes these truffles.Gross.And the woman was like " there's tofu in them" all snottily.Jerk.


Spotted in Peterborough yesterday:



And let's end on a sweet note.Well,not that we haven't continually been on one...


Peanut Butter Fudge!
Though what you see above is a failure.It was yummy,but too hard and crumbly.I wanted to make more to bring to Sarah in Brooklyn,but it failed even more,but I remedied it by making a base of caramel,sprinkling failed fudge crumbs a top,a layer of peanut butter,and a coating of dark chocolate.Yeah,I really doctored that up.Anyways,in a quest to conquer peanut butter fudge,I kept tinkering and a my uncle's,first full day back in Toronto,did it!


softer,has chew to the bite,not crumbly.


look at those smooth insides!

here's the recipe:

Perfected Peanut Butter Fudge.
2 c sugar
1 c non-dairy milk
1/4 t salt
2 TB non hydrogenated margarine or shortening
2 t vanilla
3/4 cup peanut butter

over medium heat,boil the milk,sugar,and salt,stirring constantly for about 7-10 minutes.
add the earth balance and stir until gone,then let boil until it reaches soft ball stage,236 degrees F.
please use a large pot,the boiling mixture will rise and over flow if you don't.also,candy thermometers are great and cheap.an essential!
when at soft ball stage,remove from heat immediately and stir in peanut butter and vanilla,mixture will start to set,pour it into a greased pan.



so,that ain't all,like I had great homemade vegan ice cream at Hibiscus,black sesame(!!!) and pistachio(!!) and plan on going back,and really,I drank a lot of coffee.
I also enjoyed coffees at:
i deal
green avi
dark horse

oh and i bought a lot of cheap kate bush records.
toronto is nice!