With the National Capital Vegetarian Association’s Annual General Meeting coming up this Fall, we are looking for volunteers to join our Board of Directors. If you are interested in promoting and sharing the vegan lifestyle with others in the Ottawa-Gatineau area, why not apply?
No experience is necessary—just a desire to promote a vegan lifestyle and help foster a vegan/vegetarian community in Ottawa, and, although Board Members are expected to be dependable and have enough time to contribute, the specific time commitment can vary depending on your own availability.
We are currently looking for volunteers to fill the following positions: Treasurer, Volunteer Co-ordinator (the Volunteer Co-ordinator could be a general volunteer or a Board Member), and other Board Members. The NCVA needs people to join the Board of Directors in order to keep the organization running, so please don’t hesitate to ask e-mail us with your questions about these positions should you have any.
be passionate about sharing a plant-based lifestyle with others, promoting a plant-based lifestyle, and increasing the accessibility of vegan food in the Ottawa community
be able to attend the majority of the NCVA’s monthly meetings with other Board Members (usually the meetings take place on one Sunday evening per month) and respond to e-mails in a timely manner
be able to take on various NCVA-related tasks (which will vary depending on the Board Member’s specific position, interests, and availability)
The NCVA holds potlucks and events, has an active Facebook group, and offers memberships that allow our members to receive discounts at certain businesses around Ottawa. We aim to make a vegan lifestyle more accessible for those in the Ottawa area.
Volunteering as a Board Member gives you the opportunity to have a say in the direction that the NCVA takes in coming years—and it also looks great on your resume!
If you are interested, please contact us via Facebook or send us an e-mail.
It took close to 20 volunteers and nearly 1,000 vegan cookies, but the NCVA recently participated in the Go Green Expo at Lansdowne Park with some pretty fabulous results.
Aside from Veg Fest, the Go Green Expo was one of the biggest outreach events that the NCVA has ever participated in. It was a two day event, and it attracted thousands of visitors. During most parts of the event, the NCVA table had at least several visitors at any given time. And, Ottawa was introduced to the NCVA’s friendly helper, Pea in a Pod.
We sold quite a few of our “Eat like you give a damn” t-shirts, and added a number of new members. But the best part was having the opportunity to tak to dozens, if not hundreds of people about the NCVA and living the veg lifestyle in Ottawa. Our volunteers came away totally enthused.
“WOOHOO! It was fun!” wrote one of the NCVA’s newest volunteers, Madeleine.
“Had so much fun and met such great people at Go Green today! Everyone loves vegan cookies!” wrote Julia on Facebook.
“Had a great time with the NCVA at the Go Green Expo- and met some nice new volunteers,” opined President Josh.
NCVA volunteers Erin and Deb also put on fabulous afternoon food demos, a lovely and cruelty-free contrast to the meat and dairy demos given in the morning. On Saturday Deb Gleason demoed Veganize Your Brunch: Learn How to Prepare French Toast, Omelets & Tofu Chocolate Cheesecake and on Sunday Erin O’Sullivan was going to demo A Vegan Dinner: Spicy Peanut Soup, Curried Vegetable Pie & Orange Sweet Potato Cake With Raspberry Sauce, but ultimately modified to better fit the half hour time frame.
NCVA volunteers also handed out lots of 1/4 page leaflets encouraging people to come to Veg Fest on May 1.
The first Thursday of every month is the only chance Ottawans have right now to enjoy dinner at Credible Edibles, a primarily lunchtime cafe located on Hinton Avenue north of Parkdale. That means this Thursday, Feb. 3.
As part of the 1st Thursdays Art Walk in West Wellington Village, Credible Edibles, which itself will feature a collection of fresh new art from local artist Stephanie Guimond. The Art Walk occurs every 1st Thursday, leaving the Great Canadian Theatre Company (GCTC) lobby at 7pm. For more info on the Art Walk, click here.
Credible Edibles’ Table d’hote vegan menu includes:
* Moroccan red lentil soup
* Spinach and sundried tomato salad in red wine vinaigrette
* Mexican tacos topped with fresh salsa and creamy guacamole
* Maple apple walnut cake
* Fair trade coffee, tea or hot spiced apple cider
The cost is $24.95 per person, and don’t forget–NCVA members get a 10 per cent discount at Credible Edibles!
Reservations are available between 5:30 p.m. and 8:00 p.m. and can be made in person at Credible Edibles (78 Hinton Avenue North), by phone, 613-558-7569 or by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org
For VegOttawa’s review on Credible Edibles, click here.
I moved to Ottawa more than 11 years ago from a small town. While Ottawans like to think of Ottawa as being similar to a small town, to me it was a big and impersonal city where I was just another face in the crowd. It was a difficult adjustment, and it took many years for me to feel like Ottawa was my home. The girl who worked at the little bagel shop I used to frequent back home (this was in my pre-gan days) would see my car coming down the street, and start my order. It was always ready by the time I walked into the cafe. Now that’s customer service!
Back to Ottawa, I think it has helped to be part of a subculture. There are a limited number of businesses catering specifically to vegetarians and vegans, but it also presents the opportunity to develop relationships with many of the business owners and staff of the places which I patronize. Partly as a result of my work with the NCVA I am on a first name basis with many of the owners of veg-oriented business in Ottawa, which is a great feeling. It helps me to feel good about many of my consumer choices, because I know where my money is going; it’s often supporting the very community of businesses and people who support me as a vegan.
While it’s very difficult to follow the money trail for every purchase we make, I do try to support companies and organizations that are good to their workers, make an effort to operate and source ethically, and which give back to the community. I want to give a shout out to one in particular which is supportive of the veg community, and without their support, we may not have been able to put on two Veg Fests.
For many Ottawa residents—vegetarian or otherwise—their first encounter with plant-based cuisine occurs at The Table Vegetarian Restaurant. In fact, The Table serves some 400 people each and every day! But what diners and the public may not know is that not only is The Table a great place to eat, but its owner, Simon Saab, is an outstanding corporate citizen.
“From day one, my philosophy has been to give back to the community that we operate within. Sponsoring is a way of letting the people who come in, who enjoy the restaurant and the food we serve, know that I really appreciate their support of my business,” Simon says. “I do believe that if you give, you receive so much back.”
The Table is the NCVA’s biggest corporate supporter, including as the title sponsor for both Ottawa Veg Fests. When the NCVA first considered holding a festival, Simon was the first business owner to sign on. It’s largely thanks to The Table’s sponsorship that Veg Fest has succeeded, and remains a free event.
The Table has also sponsored other local events and publications, including the SimplyRaw festival. Simon says from a business point of view, sponsoring events like Veg Fest is a good way of keeping the restaurant’s name recognition up. “And from a personal standpoint, I really enjoy what I do.”
Simon’s family has a long history in the restaurant business, and he’s been a part of the industry for some 35 years. Ten years ago he decided to combine his interest in restaurants with his interest in a healthy vegetarian lifestyle.
“Vegetarian and organic have always been personal interests of mine, for more than 30 years. Since I opened the restaurant my commitment to the veg lifestyle has been very strong,” he says. Indeed, everything served at the restaurant’s buffet-style set up is vegetarian, and most selections are vegan. Some choices are raw, and/or gluten free. In the past few years the restaurant has focused even more on purchasing produce from local farmers.
“People are so much more aware of illnesses and what to do and eat to help themselves, a lot more than they were 15 or 20 years ago,” Simon says.
He says the recent addition of several new vegetarian and vegan restaurants in the Ottawa area has been complementary to his own business, and shows the high level of demand for plant-based alternatives in Ottawa.
The Table is one of the veterans: on July 24, it celebrated 10 years in business.
The NCVA is grateful to all of the businesses that have supported us, from sponsoring Veg Fest, to offering our members discounts, to buying advertising in Capital Veg News, to making product donations, and more. Without their support it would be an uphill battle!
The Table Vegetarian Restaurant
230 Wellington Street West, Ottawa
The NCVA has sent a Letter to the Editor to the Ottawa Citizen regarding the Ottawa Humane Society’s meat-laden menu for its annual Fur Ball.
From what we understand, there is not even a vegan meal offered for those attendees who do not wish to consume animal-sourced foods, which is a shame since vegans are often the most vocal advocates of adopting animals from shelters and rescues, spaying and neutering, etc.
We do not approach this issue with any combativeness; Many NCVA volunteers and members support the OHS, either financially or through adoptions. It is the NCVA’s goal to normalize and encourage the choice to not eat animals and animal products, and we simply feel that an animal product-free Fur Ball would be a positive contribution to that goal. It’s a win for everyone!
The National Capital Vegetarian Association (NCVA) is disappointed to learn that the Ottawa Humane Society is unwilling to consider a vegan menu, for its annual Fur Ball event.
Having a plant-based menu for the Fur Ball would be a hugely progressive move for the well-being of animals and for human and environmental health, and one that would no doubt be welcomed and praised by animal lovers. The resounding success of award-winning Ottawa businesses like ZenKitchen and Auntie Loo’s bakery demonstrate that there is a strong demand for vegan cuisine in our region, and that it can be every bit as delicious and satisfying as animal-derived alternatives.
While we understand that keeping animals off the menu is not required by the OHS’ mandate, with its refusal the OHS misses an opportunity to send a consistent and overwhelmingly positive message. A plant-based menu unequivocally demonstrates that the well-being of all animals is a top priority for the OHS.
This isn’t about “caving in,” as the article puts it. There’s simply no compelling reason why OHS supporters would not thoroughly enjoy a gourmet meal that leaves animals off the menu, and many reasons why it would be a viable, progressive, and positive course of action.
This latest in my series of stupid blog titles is a nod to the fact that I have to drag my sorry arse up the painfully steep Booth Street hill to get from my house on Primrose to Chinatown on Somerset.
But it is very much worth the climb. You see, in addition to the fantastic mock meats about which Neil has recently blogged, China town is home to many other vegan delights.
Today I’d like to highlight the wonton. A wise man (Neil) once said that all things are better when they are wrapped in dough. Unfortunately, when we vegans try to live this truth we are thwarted by the numerous stupider men who decided put eggs in all the wonton wrappers stocked by mainstream supermarkets.
Happily, pretty much every one of the 80,000 or so grocery stores in Chinatown stocks vegan versions (an ironic exception is Phuoc Loi, faux meat destination).
They are in the refrigerator section, and look like this:
To ensure that you don’t get eggy ones, just harken back to your days of eating snow. Remember what your mother told you: White, “Ok,” Yellow, “No Way!” Or just read the ingredients.
There are lots of great wonton recipes on vegweb.com, but you hardly need one. Just finely mince (slapchop!) about a cup each of onion, carrot, celery, plus whatever other veggies you fancy; add some salt, pepper and spices (Chinese 5-spice powder is good) and cook over medium heat until soft. I strongly advise also adding some minced faux meat – preferably mushroom chicken, beef, or mutton. I used Nelakee’s “pork steaks” tonight and they were great, too.
Once the filling is done, put about a tablespoon into each wonton and seal the edges (just squish ‘em together – no water or anything needed).
Next, fry them in a bit of oil until each side is golden brown.
Finally, stir up a sauce made of equal parts water, soy sauce and fruit juice and toss in a few slices of garlic and ginger. You should have enough sauce that it will fill your frying pan about one inch from the bottom.
Pour the sauce into your pan, put the lid on, steam for 5 minutes, and serve. They finished wontons are best dipped in soy sauce or in a 1:1 mixture of soy sauce and vegetarian oyster or stir fry sauce. These items also available in most Chinatown shops.
First off, I must apologize to Pamela for what is going to be a very un-funny blog entry. My sense of humour is fueled by my bitterness and cynicism, both of which my fabulous lunch at Credible Edibles have temporarily suppressed.
I had to drop off their NCVA window decal (in honour of our new 10 per cent discount – see previous post), so Neil and I decided on an impromptu lunch date. As is our adorable and not-as-unhygienic-as-it-appears way, we got a single meal and shared everything.
“The Quattro” was a four course lunch consisting of soup, salad, sandwich and dessert.
First, the salad. I have the impression that it consisted of a nice variety of fresh vegetables, and probably dressing of some kind. I can’t be too sure, though, as my attention was wholly absorbed by what were probably the most delicious carmelized pecans the world has ever known. Sweet, with hints of what may have been balsamic vinegar and chili pepper, they tasted like Sahale Snacks, only made by god.
The generous portion of Senegalese peanut soup was also fantastic. The flavour seemed a fusion of African and Indian, while the texture was rich and velvety smooth, reminiscent of an Ethiopian stew.
The sandwich was Credible Edibles’ answer to the BLT: smoked dulse, lettuce, tomato and vegan mayo on whole grain bread (with lots of gomashio added from the little bowl on the table).
Neil and I had reservations about the dulse at first, having recently been traumatized by a fish-flavoured smoothie (courtesy of Vega’s ill-conceived dulse-rich “Smoothie Infusion”). The staff of Credible Edibles, however, apparently accustomed to such dubiousness, let us sample the smoked dulse before ordering. Though a bit twiggy, the taste was quite nice (more like a smoked salmon than a bacon analogue), and the assembled sandwich did not disappoint.
Finally, dessert. We opted for a blueberry green tea cookie. I chose it over the cupcake mostly for novelty’s sake. Frankly, it was a bit homely, with that dark and broody look that many vegan baked goods have right before they leave you with a mouthful of sand. But it turned out to be one of the best cookies I’ve ever tasted. With a soft, cake-y texture, it was substantial without being heavy, rich without being greasy, and sweet without being cloying. Seriously, this was Edelweiss’ shortbread calibre good.
Oh, I almost forgot the apple cider, which, like everything else at Credible Edibles, was markedly above average.
I’m running a bit long here, but I should also mention that the staff was friendly and very fast, and that the space itself has a great atmosphere.
My only complaint about Credible Edibles, I suppose, is that there are not more vegan options. On the bright side, though, owner Judi is moving towards veganism herself so she may expand the vegan offerings. And there’s no better way to encourage her to do so than to head over there for an awesome vegan lunch!
Credible Edibles, a local, eco-friendly business, has approached us to offer NCVA members a 10 per cent discount on their purchases.
“Credible Edibles is Ottawa’s first explicitly environmentally-friendly and healthy café and caterer. We aim to offer convenience without compromise. Busy people can get a healthy, earth-friendly lunch quickly and not too expensively,” explains its proprietor, Judi. “We opened on Earth Day 2009. We focus on unique, globally-inspired, locally-sourced seasonal menus which are 80 per cent vegetarian and 40 per cent vegan, as these are the most earth-friendly.”
Judi is a committed vegetarian and aspiring vegan, who wants to recognize and encourage others who are on the same journey. “I think the NCVA does great work and this is a way to support the organization,” she says.
In addition to the lunch time café Credible Edibles specializes in green catering for breakfasts and lunches. It uses no disposable items in our catering service. It also offers cooking classes, workshops and private consultations, and sells environmentally-friendly lunch time accessories.
Its menu features a mostly plant-based selection. For the winter months Credible Edibles is offering vegan choices including Senegalese peanut soup with ginger and fresh cilantro, red and napa cabbage salad with spiced pecans, local cranberries and apple, toasted dulse, lettuce and tomato sandwich, grilled veggie wrap, New Orleans-style Muffuletta, and many of its dessert options are vegan and/or gluten-free.
You may notice that there is some repurposing of blog content for the newsletter. Our blog content has been so good, we figured why not? We print 1,000 copies of each issue of the newsletter and it gets circulated far and wide, mostly through the City of Ottawa’s public libraries. Many of the people who receive it don’t know about the blog yet, or may not be blog readers. In fact, NCVA vice president Corrie Rabbe learned about the NCVA’s existence through picking up a copy of the newsletter, which is evidence enough that it’s a valuable thing to produce!
A special thank you to our newsletter supporters… The Table Vegetarian Restaurant, Rainbow Natural Foods, Green Earth Vegetarian Cuisine, Cafe My House, Credible Edibles, and The Green Door. Their advertising support is what allows us to print and circulate 1,000 copies. Also, thank you to volunteer Chantel who so competently and without complaint does the pagination and design.
Please feel free to print off a few copies and leave them wherever there are potential readers, including your omnivorous friends and family members.
After several months of planning, the NCVA’s Restaurant Outreach Program has officially been launched. This momentous occasion occurred last night when I handed over the first Restaurant Outreach info package to a server at Pubwell’s Restaurant on Preston Street at Elm.
So what is the Restaurant Outreach Program? Basically, it’s an attempt to get Ottawa’s omni restaurants to be more vegan-friendly. Our ultimate goal: to produce a list of dozens of Ottawa restaurants at which vegans can order off the menu with neither fear of hidden animal ingredients nor extensive discussions with servers and chefs.
How does it work: First, we developed an information package that explains what vegans are, why accommodating them is good for business, and how to add vegan menu items or veganize existing items. The info package is available on the NCVA’s Web site here.
Now, the distribution phase has begun! I am starting in Little Italy since that’s where I live, and will move on to the Byward Market, the Glebe, Westboro and beyond.
With any luck, Ottawa restaurateurs will heed the call to participate in our program in order to receive our support and publicity. Keep your eyes on the blog for news of new participants, who will also be listed in the Restaurant Outreach section of the NCVA Web site.
Now here’s the part where I ask for your help. Individuals interested in hand delivering info packages to restaurants in their area are invited to drop me a line at email@example.com. I’ll get the packages to you. All you have to do is hand them over with a smile, and keep track of which restaurants you gave them to.
I also invite everyone to have a look at the info package and to offer any suggestions at all for improving our chances of making this campaign a success.
Come on, Ottawa veggies! This is your town. This is your food. This is your chance to make marginally more bearable your meals out with bone crunching moms and dads, siblings and significant others, clients and coworkers! Viva la vida!