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2011 Roundup: Extreme Vegan Eating in the US, Canada & Mexico

2011

Goodbye 2011, hello 2012! I can’t believe how fast 2011 went. In contrast to 2010, last year I felt very much like I was rooted in Ottawa. But looking back at my photos I’m realizing I did get out of town quite a bit.

Halfway through 2011 I stopped making time for blogging (see my new baby, Vegan Cuts), and forgot to tell you about some of the fun places I went and delicious food I devoured. So how about we play catch up with a photo roundup of Vegan Backpacker’s adventures in 2011…

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Vegans on a Camping Trip

Vegan S'Mores

John and I recently went camping at Algonquin Provincial Park in Ontario Canada. It was our first time camping together, first time camping as “adults” and first time camping as vegans. Luckily, we went camping with another couple who had enough gear for all four of us. Not having to think about packing sleeping bags, tents or tarps meant we could focus all of our energy on packing food. We decided to keep our cooler stocked with traditional camping eats, like s’more supplies, burgers, hot dogs, sausages and enough veggies to make some sweet kabobs.

Making s’mores over the open campfire was definitely a highlight. We made them using Dandies vegan marshmallows, dark chocolate squares and digestive biscuits. It would have been nice to use graham crackers but we couldn’t find any that were made without honey. Despite all of our substitutions, the taste of the s’mores was not compromised! We were delighted to discover the vegan marshmallows melted and toasted up just like the old fashion kind.

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Vegan in Montreal for a Long Weekend

Viva Vegan Shop in Montreal, QC

Viva Vegan Store in Montreal, QC

Whenever there is a long weekend, John and I try to escape Ottawa and go on a mini vacation. We did just that a few weeks ago when we hopped on a Greyhound bus and headed to Montreal for a few days. Since my last visit, which I think was almost two years ago, a few new vegan spots have popped up. My favourite new addition is the Viva Vegan Store. This place is a little slice of Canadian vegan heaven. They’re well stocked with all kinds of rare goodies (rare to us deprived Canadians), like Field Roast products and Eli’s Earth Bars.

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Vegan on a Business Trip: Edmonton, AB

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.

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Vegan on a Business Trip: Toronto, Ontario

boardwalk chocolates

boardwalk chocolates

Hey, lovelies! It’s been awhile!

In May I went to Toronto not once, but twice. I usually make it there a few times a year and am always eager to check out the city’s new vegan restaurants, as well as old favourites. One place I always like to visit is Panacea, Toronto’s all vegan store. They’re well stocked with vegan treats and I couldn’t resist picking up a bunch of chocolate goodies, including a box of vegan truffles made by Boardwalk Chocolates. If you have a chance to try anything made by Boardwalk, don’t pass up the chance! I brought these chocolates back to Ottawa and John and I savoured every single one. My faves were the White Cashew (cardamom cashew ganache dipped in white chocolate) and Peanut Butter Cloud (Ontario peanut butter and marshmallow topped with roasted peanut).

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Vegan on a Business Trip: Victoria, BC

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.

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A Very Merry Vegan Holiday Season for Chocolate Lovers

Sidecar For Pigs Peace

Late July Dark Chocolate Covered Peppermint Sandwich Cookies

Pardon me as I interrupt our usual programming to bring you a post that’s a little less about travel, and more about just how awesome it is to be vegan this holiday season.

Once upon a time, many years ago, it was “hard” to be vegan. I have never known such a time. I started my vegan journey four years ago and have always had access to all of the staples I needed (vegetables, fruit, grains, nuts and seeds), as well as vegan alternatives to milk, cheese, meat and candy. In recent years, the selection has only gotten better. After spending some time in Victoria, British Columbia and Seattle, Washington, I discovered that local vegans are spoiled with choices, even when it comes to holiday treats.

I know the festive goodies I’m about to share aren’t available all around the world, but we do have some amazing online vegan stores that ship far and wide to bring vegan products to people who don’t live near well stocked supermarkets, health food stores and restaurants. If this includes you, be sure to check out Viva Granola, an online vegan store that ships worldwide, Vegan Essentials and Cosmo’s Vegan Shopee.

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A Business Trip to Kitchener, Ontario – Vegan Style

Kitchner

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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Home is Wherever I’m With You

Home

Home

Where do John and I live? For the moment, London, England in a posh flat with a friend we met in Bolivia. Yesterday, it was a converted water tower in Leiston, England, a small town two hours northeast of London. It’s taken me awhile to get used to this concept, that home is where I am today. It’s been four months but it’s finally starting to sink in. My thinking on this subject was sparked by Edward Sharpe and The Magnetic Zeros. They have a song called Home. Have a listen, it’s pretty magical.

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Panacea: Canada’s All Vegan Grocery Store

Panacea

Panacea Vegan Grocery Store

Did you know there’s a vegan grocery store in Canada? Panacea in Toronto, Ontario is an all vegan grocery store that’s actually bigger than Food Fight in Portland, Oregon. It’s been around for two years but I visited it for the first time in April. They have tons of vegan food, cookbooks, body care products and clothing. And everything is vegan! I couldn’t take pictures of everything in the store but did manage to make note of some of the most interesting vegan finds.

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