Vega Shake and Go at the Airport

Airport Smoothie

Last week, I had a chance to visit Victoria, British Columbia, a beautiful city on the west coast of Canada. I traveled there for work but found some time to dine out and sample the local vegan options. I left Ottawa early on Wednesday morning, heading to the airport before having any breakfast. Before hopping on the plane, I tore open a vanilla Vega Shake & Go Smoothie packet, mixed the powder with some water, gave it a shake, and voila…I had a protein drink to get my day of travel started. This is really the only way to go when you can’t bring liquids through security. There’s a Booster Juice at the Ottawa airport but I try to avoid soy milk when I can.

Eating Vegan in the Airport

Organic Nature Bars

Organic Nature Bars

While I was waiting to board the plane, I did a little tour of the Ottawa airport. No new vegan options to report, just these Organic Nature Bars by Break-a-Way Snacks, which have been around for a few years. Most of the shops in the Ottawa airport stock nut and seed mixes by the same company. I don’t think I’ve ever had a chance to try them because I usually pack my own snacks. Still, it’s very nice to know they’re there as a backup.

Tim Hortons Bagel with Coconut Butter

Tim Hortons Bagel with Coconut Butter

After a little over five hours in the sky, two movies and one Larabar later, I landed in the Vancouver airport. Before making my connection to Victoria, I picked up a 12 grain bagel from Tim Hortons. I asked for a toasted bagel with no butter. I then proceeded to slather it with butter, but not the regular stuff. I had a packet of Artisana Coconut Butter stashed in my carry on bag, which I used to turn this boring bagel into a tasty snack. FYI – The only vegan options available at Tim Hortons are bagels, soup rolls, sandwich buns and the elusive oatcake cookie which I haven’t seen in years. You can of course order the sandwich bun with cucumber, tomato and lettuce. The prices are low enough that it’s not a bad deal if you’re in a bind. And there’s a Tim Hortons in pretty much every airport in Canada.

Vegan Travel Snacks

Vegan Travel Snacks

Vegan Travel Snacks

A few days before my trip, I stocked up on snacks at one of Ottawa’s health food stores. I packed several energy bars, made by companies like Larabar, Raw Revolution and ProBar. I also took along some raw cereal made by a local company, Vega smoothie packets, and a dehydrated curried apple couscous meal by Outdoor Herbivore. These came in handy while I was working and unable to leave the hotel.

Cafe Bliss

Cafe Bliss

Cafe Bliss

After two flights, I landed in Victoria ready for some real food. I finished my work duties and headed to Cafe Bliss, a raw vegan cafe that has beautiful, healthy, unique food. This is one of my favourite restaurants in Canada. My first meal there was the “slow tart,” which sadly I didn’t snap a photo of (I went to yoga beforehand and didn’t have a lock with me to protect my beloved camera…not that yoga people steal, but I’m a bit protective of my fave gadget). The menu described it as: Slow Tart (this is not a fast tart) – herbed pine nut ricotta, spinach, cherry tomatoes, caramelized fennel in a squash & walnut tart shell. Turst me, I’m sorry I don’t have a photo of this beautiful creation to share.

Raw Vegan Olive and Pear Pizza

Raw Vegan Olive and Pear Pizza

The next day I returned to Cafe Bliss for lunch, camera in hand, and enjoyed a slice of their raw pizza with a side salad. The pizza crust was topped with spinach, olives, pear, arugula pesto and macadamia parmesan. I also had a side salad of greens, beets, sprouts and carrot with a tahini lemon dressing.

Raw Vegan Tiramisu

Raw Vegan Tiramisu

On my last day in the city, I returned to Cafe Bliss (I said it was one of my fave restaurants in Canada!), but this time for dessert. The previous day I’d overheard some chatter about making raw vegan tiramisu. Well, I knew I couldn’t pass that up! Despite the fact that the portions were huge and priced at $8.00, I couldn’t live without trying raw tiramisu. I wasn’t let down! This towering, layered treat was light, despite the high nut content, and perfectly sweetened. From what I could tell, there were two nut-based layers, separated by a layer of chocolate and topped with coconut icing, a dusting of cocoa powder and a single cocoa bean. It was a romantic eating experience that I savoured over the course of two days.

Cafe Bliss
www.cafebliss.ca/
556 Pandora Avenue
Victoria, BC, Canada
(250) 590-5733

Green Cuisine

Berry Muffin and Chocolate Brownie Cookie from Green Cuisine

Berry Muffin and Chocolate Brownie Cookie from Green Cuisine

A block over from Cafe Bliss is another one of my favourite places to eat in Victoria: Green Cuisine. It’s a pay-by-weight vegan buffet that also has an impressive dessert case. Two dessert cases, actually. On this visit I treated myself to a brown rice berry muffin and a chocolate chip brownie cookie. One baked good for dessert, and one for breakfast. Yep, I’m spoiled!

Green Cuisine

Green Cuisine

Green Cuisine
www.greencuisine.com/
560 Johnson Street
Victoria, BC, Canada
(250) 385-1809

Wild Fire Organic Bakery and Cafe

Butternut Squash and Fennel Soup

Butternut Squash and Fennel Soup

The Wildfire bakery also has some great vegan desserts and baked goods. But on this particular day I was only up for a light lunch. I had a bowl of butternut squash and fennel soup with a spelt sour dough roll. It was perfection.

Wild Fire Organic Bakery and Cafe
www.wildfirebakery.ca/
1517 Quadra Street
Vicoria, BC, Canada
(250) 381-FIRE (3473)

The Union Club of British Columbia

Spinach Salad

Fancy Spinach Salad

I love surprises, especially when they involve fancy, multi course meals. I attended a reception for work at The Union Club of British Columbia and was delighted that the chefs were able to come up with a creative vegan dinner menu. My first course was a spinach salad with a mustard vinaigrette and a few decorative beans and veggies.

Butternut Squash with Asparagus, Mushrooms, Kale, Israeli Couscous and Tomato Sauce

Butternut Squash with Asparagus, Mushrooms, Kale, Israeli Couscous & Tomato

The main course was super impressive! I’m sure a trained chef could rhyme off a long and hyphenated name for this dish but I’ll spare you the pretentiousness and tell you it was butternut swash with asparagus, mushrooms, Israeli couscous (that was pink for some reason), kale and tomato sauce. This is definitely one of the most interesting meals I’ve ever had at a work function.

Fruit is not Dessert

Fruit is not Dessert

OK, now for the sad part. Fruit plates…oh how I despise fruit plates. Fruit, arranged thoughtfully on a plate or in a martini glass is still fruit. And fruit is not dessert in this vegan’s book. Oh well, I was fully (literally) satisfied with the salad and butternut squash masterpiece.

ReBar Modern Food

Qunioa Wild Rice Salad with Black Beans and Lime

Qunioa Wild Rice Salad

With some hesitation, I had my last meal in Victoria at Rebar. When most vegetarians or vegans visit Victoria, this is the restaurant they go to. It seems to be the most widely known veg eatery in town. I’d dined at ReBar about two years ago on a previous work trip and had an OK meal. They don’t have a lot of vegan options, which makes me sad. But it’s definitely the fanciest place to dine out as a herbivore and the decor is really kitchy and cute. This time I tried their quinoa and wild rice salad with black beans, spinach, green onion and lime. It was really good, but I don’t like paying $15.00 for salad.

ReBar Modern Food
www.rebarmodernfood.com/
50 Bastion Square
Victoria, BC, Canada
Tel: (250) 361-9223

Leftovers for Breakfast in Vancouver Airport

Leftovers for Breakfast in Vancouver Airport

I can’t complain about the portion sizes at ReBar. I had enough leftover to warrant a takeout box and I ended up eating it for a second breakfast around 9:00 a.m. on my stop over in the Vancouver airport before the plane ride back to Ottawa.

Vegan in the Vancouver Airport

Vancouver Airport Food Court

Vancouver Airport Food Court

At the Vancouver airport, there’s a food court in the domestic departures lounge where you can find a few vegan options.

"Gourmet" Green Salad

"Gourmet" Green Salad

I spotted this boring “gourmet green salad.”

Vegetarian Samosas

Vegetarian Samosas

I also saw some vegetarian samosas at the Bread Garden, but I’m not sure if they were vegan. You can find veggie burgers at Vera’s Burger Shack, Cliff bars at Camden Food Co., and rice, veggie and tofu dishes at Rice Tales.

Vegan in the Victoria Airport

Victoria Airport Food Court

Victoria Airport Food Court

In the Victoria airport, there aren’t a lot of food choices. I was super happy to see that the only kiosk in the departure area (it’s a very small airport) had a few options.

Brown Rice Vegetable Sushi

Brown Rice Vegetable Sushi

I saw some brown rice vegetarian rolls.

Four Bean Salad

Four Bean Salad

They also had a four bean salad and a vegetarian wrap.

The Gift of Good Chocolate

OrganicFair Chocolate Bars from Victoria

Organic Fair Chocolate Bars from Victoria

John stayed home for this trip, so I picked him up a trio of Organic Fair chocolate bars as a treat. I think you can get these in Ottawa but they definitely don’t have all the flavours. It was too hard to choose just one so I ended up with three interesting varieties that combined dark chocolate with banana, coconut & lime; cranberry, blueberry, matcha, cinnamon & ginger; and clementine, sun dried fig & rooibos tea. With combos like this, it’s surprising I was able to limit myself to three bars!

So that’s what a three day business trip to Victoria, BC looked like for this vegan. At some point I’llĀ  have to write a roundup of the vegan spots we frequented during our month in the city. Until then, I hope this will be enough to make you want to visit. Remember, Victoria is just a ferry ride away from Vancouver and Seattle.