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Archive for the ‘Restaurant Reviews’ Category

The Naam
2724 West Fourth Avenue
In Kitsilano near the beach

The Oh So Great Naam, I would say!! If the fact that I tell you it’s great is not enough, here’s a fact: Jo and I ate there a total of 4 times in one week! They are a totally vegetarian/vegan joint with vegan desserts! How often do you find multiple vegan choices for dessert!? How about NEVER!! I just wish I had had the forethought to take photos…alas.

This place was so great, even a month later I’m wishing I had a slice of Shakti cake, or the Hot Apple Crisp a la mode, or a cup of the High C tea…or the sesame fries…oh, the sesame fries! It gets quite a queue during peak meal hours. Luckily we always made it in time to beat the rush (although sometimes by not much). Ok, so aside from eating sesame fries at every meal, the other items which we enjoyed were:

*a small Naam Salad (that turned out to be not so small, but how can you feel bad about eating a big salad – unless there was a mixup and they gave me a large salad when I was thinking I was getting the small, but I’m not complaining) with Naam dressing (the dressing was ok, they went a bit heavy on it, but that could’ve just been the day because other salad dressings weren’t as overly dressed); I also had a Naam side salad but ordered the Poppy Seed dressing…super good; as was the lemon-thyme dressing. Didn’t try the Miso-ginger…sorry.

*Chili – It was super super good! It was definitely spicy, and coming from a spicy gal…it’s not for those faint of palate. But I would call it more of a black bean spicy soup instead of a chili – in Texas chili is a very distinct type of dish.

*Potato-Leek soup was one of their soups of the day. And it was oh, so good! It wasn’t pureed like I’m used to having PL soups. It was kept brothy and so delicious!

*Jo had a chickpea curry and it was quite scrumptious.. I can’t remember the exact name..but it was a ‘curry of the day’ dish.

*the Naam Burrito Wrap – I love burritos! And this one was filled with all good veggies, plus teriyaki sauce and peanut sauce. Of course, not being a tofu fan, I got it without tofu.

Plus, they also had live music every night! It was great!! Anyone whose in the area should go! Now!! I know it’s on the list if I ever get back to Vancouver…

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Sejuiced
1958 4th Avenue West
Vancouver, BC V6J 1M5, Canada
(604) 730-9906

Ok, so not technically a big restaurant..more like a quaint smoothie and veg joint. It’s totally vegetarian/vegan and has such wonderful fresh fruit smoothies. They also have a Chai Chiller – which is a frozen blend of chai, banana, coconut milk, and soymilk. I never thought a banana in my chai would be as tasty as it was. Jo and I got the Hummus Wraps, and when we bit into it, we had a momentary freak that there was some dairy thing (like sour cream or yogurt), but it turned out to be tahini! Whew! They had multiple vegan goodies for dessert, but the pièce de résistence – the Bliss Balls! A vegan ball of bliss coated in vegan blissful chocolate! I don’t even remember all what it was composed of, I remember dates and various nuts, maybe coconut, and it was coated in vegan chocolate! Oh so joyful and blissful – it definitely warmed the cockles of my heart and filled me with the joys of spring!!

This Bliss Ball isn’t usually all crumbly, those are remnants of the slice of Shakti cake (from The Naam) I carried home on the plane – in the same container as my ball o’ bliss.

I have no doubt that everything on their menu is super tasty!

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Ok, so it’s no secret that I fell in love with Canada (I suppose more accurately, Vancouver BC). There’s only one other city that I’ve ever fallen in love with, and that is New York City (although Prague did tickle my fancy). I think NYC seduced me with all it’s intensity, fast paceness, unbelievable shopping and eating, but Vancouver gently courted me with wonderfully smelling flowers, laid-back nature, endless smiles, and vegan cake. It’s been over 10 years since I’ve been so seduced by a city that I’ve decided that, in addition to the upcoming reviews of all the wonderful places and food we experienced, I shall graciously post a top ten of my personal favorite things from Vancouver. Now, there were many things I loved, and some couldn’t make it to a top ten even though they were great (it could’ve easily been a top 20 or 30 list) – which just goes to show how great those that made it are! And when you get to the top 5, they are pretty much all #1’s..but somebody has to be #1. There is a very small standard error in calculating these top 10 since they were all so close in the running!

10. Granville Island Public Market (farmer’s market): such great breads, and the fruits were sublime. In the regular shopping area, there was a wonderful Hat Shop (Edie Hats) that Jo and I spent several hours in playing with hats… (This pic recognizes both mentions here: the hat, which was a bday present to me from Jo, which Jo is wearing, and the wonderful fruit seen by Jo eating from a basket of strawberries we got as part of a picnic lunch after another day of kayaking)
9. Chocolate Art (on 4th) – a chocolate shop with a plethora of vegan options!! Plus, they combined two of my favorite things: chocolate and shoes. They had a high heel shoe made of chocolate..filled with chocolate truffles!!! Sadly, not vegan 😦 .
8. South Main shopping area and Kitsilano Beach shopping area (various shops, but Receptive Earth on Main had a wonderful bamboo dress that Jo bought and I got some great rings, and Karma on 4th had some great sales on yogawear)
7. Jared Fontaine at Adrenaline Tattoo (on 4th) – He was mesmerizing – I think it might have been the way he looked at me with his big brown eyes and the straw fedora he was wearing was totally working for him…Mmm, yummy eye candy 😉
6. The Rose Garden in Stanley Park
5. Tie: The taxis are hybrids and Sesame fries from The Naam
4. Bliss Balls from Sejuiced (on 4th)
3. Aloo Chat Salad with Mango-Vinaigrette and Tamarind dressings (individually, of course) from Mysala Bistro
2. Tandoori fries from Mysala Bistro
1. Shakti cake from The Naam

Honorable mentions: The lack of fear for adding spice to the spicy dishes in any restaurant we ate in. The Noodle Box on 4th – great Japanese noodles, and they know what a vegan is. The cherry tomatoes in the black bean salad at Everybody Loves Veggies (healthy vegan fast food). The sale at Karma on 4th – lets just say I spent enough to get a free canvas tote bag. The cute guy (name unknown, not the same guy Jo thought was cute) at the kayak shop (EcoMarine) that helped me out of my kayak the first time… The Apple Crisp and the High C Tea (full of lemon balm, nettle, rosehips, cinnamon, and orange peel..so good) at The Naam. Canadians love of 80’s music and extremely happy demeanor. And finally, the seagulls aren’t nearly as ugly and annoying as they are in Corpus Christi!

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Mysala Bistro
980 Granville St, Vancouver
Tel: 604-688-2969

This was probably hands-down the BEST Indian food I’ve ever consumed (and I’ve consumed alot)! The vegetable curry was outstanding! Jo and I ate there twice, and the second time we went, the vegetarian dish listed on the menu was not vegan, so the chef made us the vegetable curry off the menu! Our waitress (and I assume the night manager on the second visit) was absolutely great (that’s not to say that our first waitress wasn’t)! She made sure they didn’t put butter on the naan, and since they were out of the mango-vinaigrette dressing and chickpeas (strange, I know) she comped the salads and an extra order of the tandoori fries! Oh, the tandoori fries… Now, I’ve had quite the share of french fries in my time, and these were absolutely the BEST fries I think I’ve ever had the pleasure of eating… The vegetable Samosas were small in size, but not small in flavor. The chickpea salad (Aloo Chat) with tamarind dressing was so good! The first time, Jo and I were under the impression that yogurt was IN the tamarind dressing, so we got the mango-vinaigrette. It was so good! A smooth vinaigrette of pureed mango without being too sweet. And the potato croûtons..oh, the joy. And I’m rather glad they were out of the mango dressing on the second visit because we were informed that the yogurt was drizzled on top and not actually in the dressing itself, so we tried the tamarind dressing. It knocked my socks off AND put a bee in my bonnet!! It also made a great dipping sauce for the tandoori fries. We also tried a couple wines. I got a red from Spain – it was that perfect level of dryness that I love since I’m a fan of drier wines like Chianti Classico; Jo got a local BC red – it was super smooth without being too sweet and syrupy. Both types were offered by the glass.

This place is super vegan friendly – in the regard that once you say you’re vegan, they are more than happy to accommodate! I give it the “Sara Stamp of Approval” and I’m sure Jo stamps as well!! I would recommend this place to anyone in the Vancouver area. And since it’s not totally vegetarian, your omni friends will love it too!

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