This guest post was written by Talia Boo, a vegan and a business woman living in Toronto, Ontario. She recently started a new job that has her traveling throughout Canada. She started a blog, Let’s See What Happens…, to document her travels and shares photos of the vegan food she finds along the way.

Living in Toronto for the past 17 years has made the transition to becoming vegan a lot easier than I ever expected.  The grocery stores have sections filled with vegan foods and there are health stores at every turn.  If I wanted to eat out I could have tofu scramble from Sadie’s Diner for breakfast, a BBQ tempeh sandwich from the Raging Spoon for lunch and the mega-life plate (organic greens, brown rice and marinated tofu) from Fresh for supper.  All  three of these restaurants are in my neighbourhood!

I recently took on a new position which requires travel throughout Canada and I found out it takes a little more creativity when the restaurant names, menus or even grocery stores aren’t branded with ‘vegan’ labels.  Fortunately, it hasn’t been that difficult!  Most recently, I was sent to Kitchener, Ontario for three nights.  Even though it’s less than two hours from Toronto, I had to rely on my knowledge for finding vegan options as they weren’t always pointed out to me.

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Picard's Peanuts

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Habanero or Garlic Peanuts anyone?

On the way to or from Kitchener, you’ll drive by Picard’s Peanuts in Morriston.  This was a great place to load up on high protein snacks to keep on the road!  I had to avoid the “Chip Nuts” temptation as I wanted to be healthier!

Vegan Options at Tim Hortons

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Tim Hortons Has Vegan Options!

A favorite stop for my coworkers is Tim Hortons.  They’re always good for a cheap and convenient lunch!  Unfortunately, this location didn’t have a vegetarian soup option and I already had toast and peanut butter for breakfast.  But, I ordered a large green tea and tomato and lettuce on a multi-grain bagel with mustard and no butter.

When traveling with coworkers who are not vegetarian or vegan, you don’t often get to choose the restaurant, so I’m not sure what kind of vegan restaurants Kitchener, Ontario has to offer, if any! I did fare quite well at the restaurants my coworkers chose… even at Swiss Chalet.

Vegan Options at Swiss Chalet

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Swiss Chalet Veggie Stir Fry

At most restaurants, veggie burgers are vegetarian and not vegan.  With this in mind, I was surprised to see a vegetable stir fry on the Swiss Chalet menu!  It was only after the day had ended did I wonder if they somehow used chicken broth in their recipe?  I have been unable to find out, but am optimistic it was prepared without.  It’s times like this when I miss clear vegan labels that spell it out for me!

Tip: I always carry walnuts or almonds with me to add protein to my meals

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Tofu Curry Stir Fry... Pub Grub?

Another surprise in Kitchener was to see a vegan option on the menu at an Irish Pub.  The menu offered a Tofu Stirfry and a Chicken Curry, the restaurant offered to do a swap and I had a very flavorful Tofu Curry!

Tip: Don’t be afraid to ask for a custom option… you’ll be surprised what you get!

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Penne Arrabiata at the Delta

Pasta with marinara sauce is sometimes my standby meal.  The hotel I stayed at offered a Penne Arrabiata.  I’ve learned from experience that although the menu doesn’t list it, the kitchen will add shaved cheese as part of the presentation. When I order pasta, I always specify no cheese to avoid disappointment and being in that awkward position of having to send my meal back.

No cheese please!

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Have the tahini sesame seed sauce instead of tzaziki, which is yogurt based.

Even mall food courts have vegan options.  Falafels have been my favorite mall treat but, this time they only offered a yogurt based tzaziki instead of sesame tahini, so I opted for hot sauce only.
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Buffet Breakfast at the Delta

I’ve shown you some lunch and dinner meals but skipped over breakfast because we ate in our hotel, The Delta Kitchener-Waterloo. They have a buffet, which usually includes oatmeal, chopped walnuts or almond slivers for toppings, as well as fresh fruit, toast, peanut butter and home fries.  I loaded my plate and took a photo before I started eating.  I opted for the peanut butter packet instead of the Blueberry jam because I’m never sure if they use gelatin (not vegan) or pectin (vegan) in their jellies.

Tip: Jams and jellies may have gelatin in them.  Opt for the peanut butter!