“The 2016 Eco Gala will include the Environmental Commissioner of Ontario, Dr. Dianne Saxe, as our guest speaker, a delicious meal prepared by the Green Door, a silent auction and an opportunity to connect with the people and community groups growing the environmental movement. This event sells out every year and for 2016, we plan to have over 550 guests attend!”
This year, the NCVA will be sending 4 of its members to the Gala for a discounted price of $70 per person (the usual rate is $75 per person). Vegan food, prepared by the Green Door, will be served!
If you are interested in attending, please make sure you’re a member of the NCVA (that is, that you have a membership/discount card that is still current). If you are a member (or if you sign up for membership as soon as possible), you’ll be eligible to buy one of our discounted tickets for the Eco Gala! For more information about becoming a member, please click here.
Additionally, we are looking for volunteers who are not attending the event as guests but would like to help run the booth that the NCVA will have at the event. Contact us at email@example.com to let us know if you are available!
So as if there weren’t enough reasons to become a NCVA member, SimplyRaw Express’ Natasha Kyssa has gone and added another.
Unless you live in a cave, you are probably aware that longtime vegan guru Kyssa, along with her husband Mark Faul, will be opening her hotly anticipated (mostly raw) vegan cafe/take out counter in the lovely neighbourhood of Hintonburg. Kyssa has been a raw food consultant for what seems like forever, and the opening of SimplyRaw Express will fulfill a nearly lifelong dream.
Well, NCVA members can rejoice: Kyssa is offering us a 10 per cent discount on all food and drink purchases at SimplyRaw Express.
And have we mentioned lately that SimplyRaw Express is one of Veg Fest’s Silver level sponsors? Natasha and Mark really understand the importance of being a part of the community.
“SimplyRaw Express strongly supports the National Capital Vegetarian Association. As devoted vegans for decades, Mark and I are thrilled to support the community advocacy and awareness building efforts of the NCVA to introduce more people to a healthier, more humane lifestyle,” Kyssa says.
NCVA memberships are $20 for the year, and entitle card holders to discounts at a number of Ottawa establishments, including The Table, Cafe My House, ZenKitchen, Auntie Loo’s Treats, Green Earth and more. See the full list here. You can become a member online, or join at Veg Fest!
The opening date for SimplyRaw Express has yet to be pinpointed, but will be during the first half of May. Stay tuned to the NCVA Facebook page or SimplyRaw Express‘ website for details as they become available.
So what is this Vegan Challenge panel happening on Sunday, between 4:00 p.m. and 4:45 p.m.?
As you may have heard, the NCVA is holding a 31-Day Vegan Challenge through the month of May. There are already more than 30 participants signed up, which is pretty sweet!
At 4:00 p.m. the Veg Challenge panel will convene in the Corpus Christi School gymnasium (across the street from the Glebe Community Centre) and will be available to take anyone and everyone’s questions about the vegan lifestyle. It’s a bit of an all-star line up, and an opportunity to ask whatever questions have been on your mind.
Join NCVA President Josh “Flower Power” Flower, Wellness Warrior Coaching’s Deb Gleason, and Credible Edible’s Judi Varga-Toth for a lively and interesting Q&A discussion about plant-based diets. We encourage Veg Challenge participants to come to this event to have their questions and concerns addressed. But really, anyone can come to take advantage of this wealth of knowledge.
Even if you’re already vegan and know absolutely everything, consider roping your interested friends and family into going. At the very least they will be dazzled by the sunny dispositions and vast depths of insight of our panel participants.
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
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.
It’s currently a bit sparse, but it does include the menu, some resources, the address and hours of operation. This is useful, because I’m sure nobody likes showing up at a place to eat only to find that they’re closed!
So bookmark it, and check it out periodically for news and announcements.
I was feeling in the mood to be a bit fancy, so on Christmas Eve day I made a last-minute reservation online to go to ZenKitchen that evening with my partner.
As soon as we went in we were greeted by Dave, who exclaimed, “How nice to see you! I didn’t realize you were coming in tonight!” There’s nothing quite like a warm welcome to set a good tone for the evening. Later Chef Caroline came out and said almost the exact same thing, so that must make it true!
We ordered our favorite appetizer, a tapas plate with Zen salad rolls with Thai peanut sauce, dengaku tofu skewers, house pickles, kale and handcut potato chips. I love love love the tofu skewers, and saved mine for last. It was, as usual, wonderful. Personally, if there were an entree of appetizer that consisted entirely of the apple tofu skewers I would order it in a heartbeat. (Caroline?) The Zen salad rolls are also tasty, but since I really hate mushrooms I end up pulling them out (as discretely as possible of course!) and making a bit of a mess. I also opted to have warm apple cider to drink, which was a nice toasty treat on a cold night. We were treated to two amuse bouche items, some locally baked bread with white bean and butternut squash dip, and a second one, the description of which I can’t recall (but see the bottom for a photo!)
As is the norm at ZenKitchen, the server explained and offered the Four Course Chef’s Tasting Menu, but as someone who’s filled with a bit of anxiety over blind meal options I stuck to the menu. For my main course, I ordered the ravioli filled with pesto-cheese, with smoky tomato sauce and roasted vegetables. I’ve had it a few times now and it’s always delicious. It’s warm comfort food, and fairly filling. Yves had the Panko-crusted seitan medallions with a cranberry-teriyaki sauce, ancient grain pilaf, and Asian slaw. He was actually too full to finish it entirely, so I helped him out a bit.
Because he was full Yves passed on dessert, but I had been salivating over the mere thought of the Spicy Mexican chocolate cake with warm chocolate sauce, creme anglaise, and berry coulis all afternoon, so I would not be deterred. I have to be honest, I can’t really tell you if the cake was extraordinary or not; it was so very smothered in the divine warm chocolate fudge sauce that it didn’t really matter. I’m inclined to say it was good, but frankly that sauce is so decadent it could make cardboard appealing. Suddenly and irrationally Yves became very hungry and I had to share some, but I still got my fill. It was, as always, phenomenal. Every time I have it I am inspired to create my own spicy chocolate desserts at home, and true to form within 48 hours I was baking Mexican chocolate cupcakes. But they don’t compare, and I anxiously await the next time I can partake in Chef Caroline’s unreasonably delicious concoction.
After playing with the really cool sink fixture in ZenKitchen’s bathroom I returned to the table to find more chocolate; ZenKitchen’s homemade chocolate truffles. A perfect end to a delightful meal.
I don’t know exactly why I decided to name this post Mama Africa. It just seemed right somehow.
Perhaps it’s because the food at Sunday’s East Africa Meetup was so fabulous that I want to cast off my Pol-Irish-Canadian identity and reconnect with my African roots, distant though they may be.
Perhaps it’s because I associate “Mama” with family and our record turnout of veg-minded folk game me a warm familial, “Yes, we can change the world through unbridled eating” kind of vibe.
Or perhaps it’s because I ate so much that I subsequently appeared to be several months pregnant.
Whatever the case, Sunday’s meetup was a roaring success. There were about 30 people, and local Ethiopian food expert Shaun confirmed that the food that day was particularly fine. Being an idiot, I forgot my camera, so I can’t provide any shots of it. That’s OK, though, because, frankly, Ethiopian food tastes a hell of a lot better than it looks.
Luckily, Shaun had his iphone handy and was able to take this shot of the group:
Note Neil and I with our contraband spoons. We bad! (Just kidding, they offered spoons to the injera-impaired)
In addition to the amazing food, the company was awesome and the conversation lively. I refused to break JJ out of prison, learned about Sudbury loons, shamelessly plugged the radio show Animal Voices (animalvoices.ca!) and scoffed at the folly that is flavoured beer.
I did make a bit of a faux pas when I told a pair of Sudburians that their city looks like the moon. But in my defense, I thought it was a compliment. Like getting to live in space but without having to spend a lot of money or learn math.
Anyway, not much else to say except thanks to all attendees for continuing to make the NCVA meetups a success. They just keep getting bigger and better! I guess this will be the last one of the year, but Green Earth’s monthly Sunday brunch is not far off…
I’m still pretty new to Ottawa. It’s times like these when I attempt to get my feet wet in a variety of social scenes. Originating from Toronto, I was spoilt with the non-stop bombardment of social possibilities. Being vegetarian in Toronto was like being an official member of a popular club. Now in Ottawa, I’ve learned that to get my feet wet, I have to go to the water myself.
I was somewhat apprehensive at first, but mostly excited, to explore the world of the NCVA. Once I did, I realised that becoming a member was not only going to benefit me, but it was going to benefit many, and thus it was the right thing to do. Once I trained myself to stop calling the NCVA the “OVA” (which clearly doesn’t make sense from a vegan perspective), I was ready to fit in. That’s pretty much all it takes, because the organization is not-for-profit, volunteer-based, and vegetarian, whose mandate is to educate the public about the health benefits of a plant-based diet, and more generally, to improve public health. This is one group that could easily mesh well with my own set of ethics and beliefs and, for that matter, anyone else’s. Whether or not you are vegetarian, promoting health of the greater public and of yourself is a worthy cause.
And then there’s the whole social aspect. I often feel alone as a vegan in a meat-eating world (shameless plug). Generally, going to work, socialising with acquaintances, friends, and family, doing the groceries, or whatever, I started to feel like I was the only vegan out there and no one would ever understand me anyway. It still baffles me that people still think it is ok to mock or slam vegetarianism right to your face, as if they can’t see how the derision is prejudiced and discriminatory. But then I attended a NCVA event and immediately let out a sigh of relief–Finally! a place where I knew that I wouldn’t be made fun of for being culinarily different or more ethically sound. It was like my own personal vegetarian haven, where like-minded people admire and support me and my vegetarian lifestyle.
There was also the fact that with the NCVA, part of my social life could align with my morality, which is a great coupling. Being veg was always a great way for me to show the rest of the world that I care about animals (and the environment, and my personal health), but I was presented with the opportunity to take it a step further. By joining the NCVA, I realised I was supporting the greater cause of promoting a plant-based diet to the rest of the world. I was chipping in, wearing the badge, taking a stand! Coming out of the proverbial vegetarian closet was great for my social life, but I hope it also made it that much easier for anyone else who wants to do the same. Supporting the NCVA arguably equates to an increased vegetarian presence in Ottawa and thus a happier, healthier city.
Finally, this was my way of giving back to the community. Although nothing beats the warm and fuzzy feeling got from my childhood teddy bear (Mr. Fuzzy Wuzzy, if you don’t mind), a close second for me is always donating to a worthy cause. The best thing about donating to the NCVA is that I not only got the incredibly highly-sought after warm and fuzzies from the act of giving, but I also get a membership in return. I figured my $20 membership was a donation to something I cared about deeply, as well as an opportunity to connect to fun social events and new, like-minded people (and get great NCVA member discounts at great veg and veg-friendly restaurants in Ottawa!).
So, although I’m far from the poster child for the animal rights movement, nor am I saving the planet on a daily basis, I at least knew that, yes, I could make a small, but significant, difference just by being a part of the NCVA. I already felt like I was becoming more of an effective voice for those animals among us who don’t have one. The good news for you folks is that you can do it, too! You don’t even have to wait till the next NCVA event to land yourself a hot new membership. You can do it now right here from the convenience of your own home and at your leisure: ncva.ca/membership