Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Top 10 Vegan Eats in Calgary

Calgary may lack an exclusively vegan restaurant but there are still some great vegan dishes available. The only way we will increase the vegan options is by letting restaurants know we want them and celebrating those who already provide them. If the Wynn restaurant and hotel empire in Las Vegas can provide a vegan menu at each dining establishment, surely we can increase the options in Calgary! So if you find a great vegan dish let the owner know you appreciate it and tell your friends too! If you want a venue to add some vegan options send them an email or message them on twitter.

Here are the top 10 things I've eaten lately:

1.) The Treehouse Sandwich from Calgary's wonderful vegetarian eatery The Coup, is a staple of weekend brunch (or weekday lunch). The vegan version of the sandwich is smoked tofu and an amazing basil pesto mayo on hearty fresh bread. It comes with soup, salad or hash browns. I always opt for the hash browns with a side of garlic aioli.

2.) The flavourful  Gado Gado from Kaffir Lime, is a great weekend meal when checking out the Kingsland Farmer's Market. (It is located in the market food court).

3.) We were very spoiled by the NYC all vegan sushi place; Beyond Sushi, and have been on the hunt for a Calgary spot with decent vegan options. We recently checked out Sushi Motto and were very happy with the five different vegan rolls offered. They included; avocado, cucumber, vegetable, shitake  mushroom, and Inari (bean curd pouches). There are some vegetarian soups listed as well that could potentially be made vegan (ask your server).

4.) The tofu parma sandwich from Community Natural Foods Cafe is delightful. They veganize the normally vegetarian sandwich by using Daiya vegan cheese. The sandwich is pared well with the  moist, in-house made cupcakes, complete with decadent frosting. The cupcakes are sold in 4 packs in the cooler by the Cafe and flavours include vanilla, chocolate, lemon blueberry and carrot cake. You can also special order vegan cupcakes and whole cakes.

5.) Who doesn't love a critter free hot dog? Check out the great vegan hotdogs from Fat City Franks. I top mine with cilantro sauce, fresh cilantro, hot peppers and the homemade relish. 

6.) We were pleasently surprised to learn that Brulee Bakery often has vegan options on hand (and can do special orders). Check their facebook page to hear about specials. We indulged in the morning glory muffins, chocolate chestnut cakelet, and orange almond lavender cakelet. Beautifully presented and delicious! 

7.) The new kid in town is Tutti Frutti Yogurt. We checked them out on opening weekend and were pleased to see four vegan options; soy based peanut butter banana, soy based chai latte, blueberry sorbet and lychee sorbet. You fill your own bowl and then visit the topping centre to add your extras. There were several vegan friendly toppings including fruit, nuts, fuzzy peaches candy, Oreos, and the agar based bubbles (similar to the ones in bubble tea but these ones kind of pop). Plus they had Ghirardelli chocolate sauce, which appears to be vegan. 

8.) We managed to secure a table at Anejo, the very popular mexican restaurant. We thoroughly enjoyed the fresh, table side made guacamole and fire roasted salsa, plus the black bean burritos.

9.) One of the difficult things to find as a vegan is decent pizza. Famosa delivers great vegan pizza topped with Daiya cheese. (Apparently Avatara Pizza also offers vegan cheese and I look forward to checking them out soon). 

10.) The salty, spicy faux dry ribs from Buddha's Veggie Fusion Cuisine.

And a bonus entry! It is well worth the drive to nearby Cochrane to check out the Thai all vegetarian paradise, Thai-Onzon. I particularly like the peanut satay appetizer. They have a great selection of appetizers, noodle dishes and curries. Many of their selections are gluten-free as well. Plus they have vegan desserts.

So what are your top vegan-friendly eats in Calgary? You can also check out other reviews of vegetarian/vegan friendly spots in Calgary on HappyCow.