Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Vegging Out: Veggie Sandwich at Friends and Neighbours

Veggie Sandwich

I returned to Friends and Neighbours Cafe (10834 82 Avenue) yesterday for another late lunch. This time I tried the veggie sandwich, which included a load of soy bacon, spinach, avocado, and tomatoes with red pepper spread on a toasted whole wheat bagel. The sandwich was not exactly as described: the menu said there was also grilled tofu, and made no mention of the red pepper spread, but the soy bacon was plentiful and the spread worked overall to bring the flavours together. For my side I picked the hash browns, which are really more like home fries. A note to vegans: the bagels and buns used for sandwiches at Friends and Neighbours are pre-buttered (margarine, actually). However, I could not taste it and would not have known about it at all had I not asked. Still, this may be an issue for some of you, so I thought I should mention it.

Breakfast for Lunch: Tofu Scramble with Soya Bacon at Friends and Neighbours

Tofu Scramble with Soya Bacon

I went to Friends and Neighbours (10834 82 Avenue) a long, long time ago, and recently started dining there regularly for pho (the restaurant is divided into two sections: pho/Vietnamese and Western, although one can order from either menu on either side). However, I decided to venture into the regular menu, which features a huge variety of vegetarian items. For a late lunch last week I had the tofu scramble with soya bacon. The tofu was chopped up to give a texture like scrambled eggs, with lots of white onion. The "bacon" was plentiful, crispy, and seasoned. It did not taste as much like bacon as other bacon substitutes I have tried, but it had a great flavour and is somewhat addictive. My only criticism would be that the onions in the scramble should have been cooked longer, as they were still very strong. I would possibly ask them to hold the onions next time. The meal was also served with a generous portion of pan-friend hash browns and two slices of toast.

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Mushroom Pie at Cafe Blackbird

Mushroom Pie

Cafe Blackbird is located in the Crestwood neighbourhood where Jeffrey's Cafe was located for many years. Cafe Blackbird has kept the wine bar, redone the interior slightly, and totally revamped the menu. The small menu of sandwiches and salads are featured on a blackboard, along with the soup of the day, the savoury pie of the day, and a few other items. A variety of baked goods are in a display case. The menu was developed with help from Culina and the coffee from Iconoclast Coffee, as well as other local businesses. There is still live music, and the place has a neighbourhood charm to it. A sandwich will run you about $9 while a soup and sandwich combo is $14.

I had the featured pie, which was creamy mushroom. It was small and rich, with lots of mushrooms in a flaky pastry. I did not realize from the description on the blackboard that there would be cheese in it - this was a problem for me. It was also served with sweet chutney, which I did not understand flavour-wise in context with the pie. I also found the price to be a little high given the small size of the pie. The best part of the meal, for me, was actually the coffee. It was fresh and aromatic. I would definitely head back here for a coffee in a heartbeat. As for the food, I hope in the future there is more of a selection and that the descriptions are better presented.

Hakka Noodle at Naanolicious

Hakka noodles at Naanolicious. #yegfood

Naanolicious is well known as my go-to place for post-libation nourishment on Saturday evenings. I had the opportunity to try a few bites of the Hakka Noodles, an Indo-Chinese fusion vegetarian dish that is essentially a vegetable stir fry in a spicy, savoury sauce with elements of teriyaki and ginger. A very bold flavour, if I ordered this for myself I would add chicken and ask that the heat be turned down just a touch.