This month I'm sharing my favourite food, favourite makeup product, and favourite shoes!
I was never a fan of actual beef, so vegan beef isn't really my jam either. I've made a list of my three favourite vegan burgers in Toronto - and they're all a little different than your average 'beef' burger.
It was only a matter of time until I wrote this blog post. If there's one thing I love in life, it's PIZZA.
Here are my three top pizza place in Toronto (in no particular order!). Just by chance, one is a completely vegan restaurant, one is a restaurant with a vegan section on the menu, and one doesn't have any vegan options on the set menu.
I LOVE to watch monthly favourite videos on YouTube, so I thought I would give it a shot! Am I going to become one of those people who are like, "I know I say this every month, but X month went by so fast!"? Who knows, we'll find out together.
If there was one restaurant that I knew I had to go to while in California, it was by CHLOE. I first heard of it when it was the opening weekend of their LA location, and it exploded on Instagram. Not only did the food look delicious, but their packaging was also adorable haha.
While we were in Monterey we stayed in the Hyatt Regency for two nights.
We normally wouldn't have paid for the buffet breakfast (it's just not worth it if the only thing you can eat is fruit haha...), but since it was offered to us for free we decided to check it out. I'm so glad we did, because it turns out they had more options than just fruit!
The biggest difference I noticed about restaurants in Los Angeles and Toronto, are the patios. Don't get me wrong, Toronto has some great patios...but the ones in Los Angeles are on a completely different level. In Toronto (or anywhere where it snows for a good portion of the year), giant patio's just don't make sense. It's wasted real estate for virtually half of the year. In LA however, outdoor seating is used year round and because of this most restaurants have huge, beautiful spaces to eat outside.
In August my boyfriend and I drove down from San Francisco to San Diego over the course of 10 days. We spent a weekend in San Francisco and then drove to Yosemite for the day. After that we stopped in Monterey for 2 nights.
Monterey was so beautiful, but there were forest fires so it was super foggy from the ash, and it even smelled like smoke in some places.
OHMYGOD is this place unreal.
First of all, it's adorable - look at the front of the restaurant....like this is where you park your car. So freaking cute.
The actual restaurant is simply perfect (unfortunately I don't have a picture of it - you'll have to go check it out yourself!), but the patio is gorgeous and it's really cool inside as well. We had such a hard time deciding on what to order, but ended up getting The Cubano Sandwich (marinated portobello, tempeh bacon, chipotle aioli, mixed greens, tomatoes, pickles, and mustard, on a whole wheat bun), and the Mac & Cheese (quinoa pasta with tomato and cashew cheese) to share.
With 270 locations, I was so surprised to have never heard of CPK before. I heard about it when I was watching a YouTube video from Mr. and Mrs. Vegan on healthy fast food.
When we landed in San Francisco I was excited to see that there was a California Pizza Kitchen literally across the street from where we were staying. By the time our flight landed (it had been delayed by hours), and we had checked into our hotel, it was 4am. We were so hungry, and went to bed dreaming about pizza haha.
Not a completely vegan restaurant - but they say that anything can be made vegan. We didn't actually end up ordering anything to eat (it was PACKED, and there were so many completely vegan restaurants nearby that we wanted to try), but we did get drinks! Attached to the side of the restaurant they have a small grab-and-go shop for drinks. I picked up a freshly squeezed orange juice and it was delicious! Next time I'm definitely going to try the raw hot chocolate.
The amount of vegan restaurants in New York City was INSANE. We were wandering around South Manhattan when we found this little Asian and completely vegan restaurant. I love Asian food, but I'm always very cautious because there's often fish sauce in dishes, so it was so nice to find a completely vegan one.
I ordered the mushroom soup to start (it was like miso soup, but with the addition of mushrooms - so good), as well as the pad thai. My boyfriend ordered the pumpkin soup with the bi-bim bap bowl with saitan. Both dishes were SO good, we both agreed that it was one of the best meals we'd had while in New York. Our waiter told us that once there was a family visiting from Finland, and they had lunch there every single day from a week!
I can't recommend this restaurant highly enough!!
Eating sushi as a vegan is generally pretty easy (just watch out for that sneaky fish in some miso soups...ew), so I never even thought about going to an all-vegan sushi restaurant.
Beyond Sushi absolutely blew our minds - not only is everything insanely gorgeous (seriously the most photogenic sushi I've ever seen - hands down.), but it was the most delicious sushi that I've ever had in my life. I thought I was getting over sushi, but this made me rethink everything I thought I knew about it - it was THAT good.
Not the best picture as I was STARVING and couldn't wait to eat it, but you need to check out their website. No trip to NYC is complete without a visit to them.
A friend of mine has recently cut dairy and eggs out of her diet and I'm so happy for her!! She's trying it for health reasons, but I'm hoping I can convert her once she learns of all the other reasons :) Her and her boyfriend watched Forks Over Knives the other night and she was so surprised that he wanted to eat more plant-based meals!
My friend has SO many questions, and it made me remember how little I knew when I first went vegan...so here are my top 3 tips for new vegans.
It's a nice feeling when you have the vegan landscape figured out in your own hometown...but what about when you travel!? It can be a little intimidating to think about at first but don't worry - here are my top 3 tips for travelling as a vegan!
Before I go anywhere I always check to see what my options are going to be like. I think that the number one rule of veganism is the same as girl scouts: always be prepared. There's nothing worse than assuming that you'll be able to find a vegan-friendly restaurant easily and then being stuck.
If you don't have the Happy Cow app, download it NOW. It costs 2.49 from the App Store, but it's SO WORTH IT. You can enter any destination and then you're able to search for either different types of cuisine, or you can search more generally. I always check to see what 'vegan only' restaurants there are in the area first, and then I'll check the vegetarian restaurants list. If all else fails, they even have a 'vegetarian-friendly' section - there's a comment section so you can read what other vegans thought about the restaurant and what they ordered . This app saved my life so many times when I was in New York City! There were an insane amount of vegan restaurants, but I wouldn't have known about most of them.
A quick Google search never hurt either. Search something like 'vegan restaurants in London', and see what comes up. Obviously larger cities are more likely to have vegan restaurants, but you'd be surprised!
2. Pack Snacks
Do you know how people always complain about the food at all-inclusive resorts in Cuba? Try being a vegan at one...
We went to Cuba last December, and we had very low hopes about the food options for vegans (...we were right). It wasn't a problem though, because we were so prepared. We packed a ton of Eat Nak'd and Clif Bars, 4 boxes of crackers with a jar of peanut butter, apple sauce, Vega protein packs (normally I'm not a fan of added protein but we weren't sure what we were walking into, so figured it was best to prepare for the worst), Oreo's, and fruit leather strips.
We ended up packing way more snacks than we needed (but no regrets, because it's way better to have too many than not enough), and survived on rice, beans, fruit, and the salad bar (and our snacks, of course).
Even if you're going somewhere more vegan friendly, I still always pack snacks. When you're exploring a new city the last thing you want is to stop and worry about where you're going to be able to find some quick vegan snacks.
*** Pack snacks in your suitcase, but also buy a few bars from the airport for the flight. You never know what snacks they'll serve on the flight - there's nothing worse than being hungry on a flight and not being able to eat anything.
*** If it's a long flight, I'll also buy a veggie pita or something like that from the airport. It's so risky to assume that there will be a vegan option served on the flight, so it's great to have something as a backup. And if they do happen to serve vegan option, then you have two lunches - bonus!
3. Grocery Stores
Grocery store will save your life. One time I was in a tiny village in Southern France, and I survived off fruit and bread from the grocery store - it was great. Not only is it WAY cheaper than going to a restaurant, but you can get exactly what you want. If you're lucky to be in a city where there's a Whole Foods, you've hit the jackpot. Just go to their food bar section, and go crazy! They always have things like rice, vegetables, fruit, falafel, salads, potatoes, guac, soup, pasta, etc.
Pictured below: One tiny example of the food bar at Whole Foods.
I'm pretty sure everyone has been to Lush, but I love it so much that I couldn't not mention it.
I think Lush is pretty special because all of their products are hand made, they're ethical buyers and they only use either recycled, recyclable, reusable or compostable materials. Lush is also 100% vegetarian (and I would say about 90% vegan - they do use honey and some milk in a few products), but it's really easy to tell if products are vegan, because they put a 'V' on the description sign (as you can see in the picture below).
I take a bath at least every other night (as the boy in About A Boy says, If I don't have a good soak at night, I'm useless in the morning), and about once a week I'll be fancy and use a bath bomb. Bath Bombs are probably what Lush is most known for, and they have about 20 different kinds (maybe more?). Drop one in your bath and watch your bath turn a different colours! My favourite bath bomb of all time is called Twilight (pictured below), and they describe it as a 'terrifically soothing and relaxing lavender bath' and that it will 'send you off to dream land'. The lavender is supposed to help make you sleepy, and it smells so relaxing and perfect.
My other favourite thing from lush are their bath melts. They're similar to bath bombs in that you put them in the bath with you, but instead of turning your bath a bunch of different colours, they are insanely moisturizing. I love using bath melts in the winter when your skin just needs a little boost of moisture! I've been obsessed with the You've Been Mangoed one recently, and it smells good enough to eat!
The Charity Pot lotion is really cool - not only is it a super moisturizing lotion, Lush also donates 100% of the cost to various charities. Since it's launch in 2007, Lush has donated over $10,000,000 to over 85 different grassroots charities - that's insane. So not only does your skin feel great, you can feel great about buying it! It's literally a direct donation to a cause. So many companies will donate a portion of the proceeds to charities, but I don't think I've ever seen one donate ALL of the proceeds. Way to go, Lush!