Padmanadi in Edmonton, AB

Gado-Gado salad with peanut sauce, wontons and hot & sour soup

Last month I headed off to Edmonton, Alberta for a work conference. I’d been there twice before, but always missed the chance to eat at the city’s most popular all vegan restaurant: Padmanadi. This place serves a blend of Indonesian, Chinese, Thai, and Indian cuisine. They have a variety of mock meat dishes, traditional soups like hot & sour, and fried goodies including the wontons pictured above. These wontons were super tasty! Instead of having real or even fake meat inside, they were stuffed with carrot, bok choy, mushroom and pesto. They were served with a delicious plum sauce and quickly disappeared from our table.

Padmanadi Vegan Restaurant

Padmanadi in Edmonton, AB

lava cake & ginger beef

I’m not much of a soy meat lady, but having heard so many good reviews I was willing to give Padmanadi’s ginger beef a try. This dish is deep fried, crispy soy in wickedly good sauce. I have to admit I really liked it, even though I couldn’t eat a whole loft of it. I was dining with Stephanie and Matt, two non-veggie colleagues, and I think they liked it even more than I did. It was Stephanie’s first all vegan meal and she was not only impressed but maybe a little inspired to try more veggie options in the future… maybe.

The three of us were quite full after chowing down on all our shared dishes, but felt like we couldn’t leave without trying Padmanadi’s fancy lava cake dessert. This turned out to be a soft, moist cake full of warm chocolate sauce. It was paired with homemade raspberry sorbet and fresh berries. The cake base was a little plain and didn’t really rock my world, but by adding the hot chocolate sauce and sorbet they created a unique and tasty dessert that was fun to share in such lovely company.

If you ever find yourself in Edmonton, Alberta, definitely make the trip to Padmanadi (10740-101 Street, Edmonton, AB. Tel: 780-428-8899). In past years I’ve tried a few other places in town (Cafe Mosaics and the Blue Plate Diner) but it’s by far the best option I’ve discovered yet.

Conference Food at the Marriott River Cree

Polenta and ratatouille

polenta & ratatouille

Conferences are all about the food. Event organizers know this. If the food isn’t good, the attendees aren’t happy — no matter how good the speakers are! Lucky for me, the Edmonton Marriott at River Cree Resort is super accommodating and was able to prepare some really great vegan meals for me, including this polenta and ratatouille dish with grilled asparagus.

Fancy Fruit Dessert

fancy fruit dessert

The last time I was as the Marriott River Cree, I was served a fruit cup for dessert when everyone around me received big slabs of black forest cake. I was kinda bummed. This year, the chef totally stepped it up a notch! The vegan dessert option was still a fruit plate, but worlds away from the average melon-cantaloupe-pineapple-watermelon-strawberry-grape fruit cup that’s become a confusing year-round staple. The chef instead made red wine poached pears with homemade lemon sorbet and berries soaked in some amazing sauce. I was impressed, especially with the sorbet, and was sure to express my gratitude to the staff for creating such a lovely vegan option.

Thinking of conference food reminds me that the Vida Vegan Conference is coming up in just a few weeks. I can’t wait to see what the vegan conference organizers feed a hungry army of vegan bloggers… I imagine it’s going to be top notch vegan eats all around!