Yummy yummy I want more plants in my tummy.  My dietary leanings of late are decidedly towards a plant-based diet. My children, husband, and I have been realizing health benefits and that keeps us on this path.

So now when I visit somewhere that I’ve been before, it’s a whole new adventure to find vegan options. And I’m loving it!!

I would highly recommend these five establishments in Vancouver, British Columbia where I dined recently. Click on the headings for more information.

The Acorn

Simply one of the best meals that I’ve had in a long time.  Yummmmm!

Elegant yet casual The Acorn on Main Street has been in existence for about three years.  This is vegetarian and vegan fine dining, and the prices reflect that.  Not over the moon but more special occasion dining than everyday.  In 2013 it was honoured with a top ten new restaurants in Canada designation by EnRoute magazine and the accolades continue.  Here’s mine.

hungryroad_veganvancouver-21As you can see from the menu (click here), the plates are carefully constructed with lots of delicious elements.  Vegetarian, vegan, raw and GF options abound.  I started with a glass of Syrah and it was a perfect sipping wine.  With my best friend, a Vancouverite, we couldn’t resist the artichoke and cashew paté served with perfectly salted taro chips.  She introduced me to artichokes when I was a teenager, and they became one of my favourite foods, so this appetizer choice was a no-brainer. With elegant presentation and flavour to match.  I would eat this again and again.

Likewise the Harvest plate, a delectable array of vegetables seasoned to perfection was glorious (hear me singing the word glorious). On this night the plate included brussel sprouts  slow cooked in toasted macadamia nut milk with caramelized shallots and spruce tips, confit purple potatoes (how I love purple potatoes), braised greens and festival squash.
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Although we were feeling pretty full by this time, we opted to share the banana dessert which was raw and vegan:  maple-pecan crumble, date caramel, coconut-vanilla cream, Zimt chocolate and chyrsanthemum sauce served in a cute little mason jar.  Fab. U. Lous.

hungryroad_veganvancouver-25My back wished for a more upright chair, the seat back had me leaning too far backwards for my comfort.  But this was easily remedied by not using the seat back; a healthier way to sit anyway.

Our server reported on the DL that one of the original chefs is opening another vegetarian restaurant with an emphasis on comfort food.  Can’t wait!

 

 Meet on Main

Vegetarian fried food at its best!

You don’t need to be vegetarian to LOVE LOVE LOVE the very casual Meet on Main.hungryroad_veganvancouver-20It’s my Vancouver-based daughter’s favourite vegan resto in Vancouver and she couldn’t wait to share the goodness with my other daughter and me.

She raved about the burgers, a definite specialty here, so that’s the way we all rolled.  But not before sharing the sweet chili cauliflower, battered deep fried florets with a sweet chili glaze and garnished with green onions and sesame seeds.  Five florets so we had to fight for the odd one left. Don’t miss this dish!hungryroad_veganvancouver-17

I had the BBQ and Blues burger but not being a fan of blue cheese they were fine with a substitution of DAIYA cheese.  I also substituted the regular fries for the garlic fries that come with a lemon aioli dipping sauce ($4 surcharge) because garlic is just so worth it.

Topped with two battered fried onion rings these burgers were massive.  They’re served with a side salad that I ate first to quiet my appetite, before delving into more deep fried food.

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Second location opening soon in Gastown.

 Cartems Donuterie

After Meet on Main, we agreed that our bellies had no room for dessert. But my daughter wanted to show us her favourite sweet treat place, a popular donut shop called  Cartems Donuterie, with two locations.  They always have some vegan options  and we opted for some smoky maple donuts and one fritter . The latter was my fave by far and after taking one bite in the car while driving I was a goner.  Every stoplight meant go for another bite. Oh man, it was tasty and fresh!

Heirloom

This bright and beautiful restaurant, Heirloom, was buzzing at brunch time on Hallowe’en and they warned us that the food would be a bit of a wait. For starters, I love it when there’s that kind of communication with customers.

We decided to enjoy a beverage while we waited for our food, and upon the server’s recommendation we both had the E3 algae live lemonade. Apparently E3 algae is a superfood loaded with vitamins and minerals. I’ll have to read up on that some more. It was fantastic.

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There were separate menus for the vegetarian and vegan options.  Thank-you for making our lives easier! My daughter had the Heirloom Hash which was chock full of goodness: grilled tofu, avocado, oven roasted tomato, bell peppers, yams, grilled red onion, and hash browns, on black bean puree, topped with chimichurri, and sunflower sprouts.

After her comments like “this is the best tofu ever” and “I can’t get over this tofu” I had to try a bite. She was right.  It tasted like beef! When we inquired about it, the sous chef came to our table and happily told us the marinade ingredients.

I had the California Hash and was equally enamoured. My plate was overflowing with organic Saskatchewan quinoa nut fritters, collard greens, yams, bell peppers, and hash browns, on creamy cilantro sauce, topped with seahorse dressing and pea sprouts. Again in super friendly fashion, when I asked about the seahorse dressing, the owner came to the table and listed all of the ingredients.

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This restaurant understands that people on a plant-based diet like lots of volume in their veggies and we really appreciated that.

As we left my daughter said if she were offered the choice of a last meal, she would want that meal again. High praise and her mother’s enthusiasm for great food!

MELU Juice and Health Bar

One of my daughters is working at this downtown juice bar, and the reason why I went there. She prepared and served me up a delicious cream of mushroom miso soup noodle bowl that was just what I needed on this wet and windy Vancouver day.hungryroad_veganvancouver-32 My other daughter had the curry yam brown rice bowl which she let me sample and I could have kept going with my spoon in her dish.  They’ve also got chia puddings, salads, and more.hungryroad_veganvancouver-27

And the desserts were yummmmmyyyyyy! We tried the So Fudgin Good Health Bar and the Lemon Razz Health Bar.  Both fantastic and oh, I can still taste the tangy lemony goodness of the latter.

Of course they’ve got a wide variety of creative juice concoctions like Black Magic, Grapefruit Heartbeat, and the Hulk. And as the weather gets cooler, don’t miss one of their fun hot drinks including the Cheer Me Up, Warm Me Up, Wake Me up, Build Me Up, and Pick Me Up.

(If you’re interested, my daughters each have their own recipe food blogs at www.carperaw.com and www.vegan-virtue.com)

Need to burn off a few calories after all this fine dining?  Do the Grouse Grind – more about that here.