Tuesday, June 1, 2010

I Choo Choo Choose Chickpeas

I know you've all been on the edge of your seats waiting to hear what I was fed for my vegan meal on the train on the way home from Toronto. Aren't you? Of course you are.

I will say, first of all, that this meal was much less of a mystery than the made-with-something-other-than-eggs french toast that I was given on my other trip. First, there was salad:

train lunch

You can see that it came with a similar fruit plate to the breakfast I had previously, which was tasty once again. Still the issue with the non-vegan margarine, but that didn't really bother me much I just ate my bread without it. The salad was fresh and, while not exciting, nice to eat. Fresh greens while traveling are always appreciated.

The main course was curried chickpeas and rice:

train lunch

It amounted to a very satisfying lunch. I was less uncertain about the ingredients in this one, since it seemed like a fairly conventional curry. The train attendant even endorsed the meal as she handed it to me. "I like this one myself!" she said, "It's very good." It was a nice touch.

Again I forewent the offered booze, due to feeling a bit headachey and not wanting to make it worse. I'll have to wait until next time to get train-tipsy.

The rest of my time in Toronto was excellent too, thanks for asking. I got to hang out with my friend Fiona for two days (food highlights include her homemade hummus and some Tofurky sausages cooked in beer and onions) and then I went to visit my friends Nicole and Alex. Oh, and this guy:

happy Jake

That's Jake. Nicole and I took him for a walk to see some of the animals in High Park. Jake slept through it, but I got super excited about the llamas.

me and my llama

Then I had the song from Sesame Street about the girl who takes her llama to the dentist stuck in my head for days. That was my favourite Sesame Street video when I was a kid. I don't think I could think of anything better than being a kid in New York City walking around with my own llama. It still sounds pretty cool, actually.

Ahem, where was I? Right, Toronto.

Other food highlights that I forgot to photograph:

-Sandwiches from the very pretty Urban Herbivore. I picked up two sandwiches (barbecue tofu and a mix of seitan and roasted vegetables) for Nicole and me. We pronounced them both delicious. I was a bit taken aback when I was waiting for the sandwiches to be made because one of the staff had a young child with her and she picked him up and let him sit on the counter where the sandwiches were being prepared. I like kids a lot, but I'd rather not have their bums touching the same surface as my sandwiches. Is that uptight?

-I did get to Panacea, which was very fun to poke around in. I got myself some Italian Daiya cheese, some vegan Parmesan-type stuff, some marshmallows for Fiona (okay, and I ate some too), and an ice cream treat to eat on my way back to the hot, hot streetcar.

-Nicole took me out for breakfast at a cute neighbourhood restaurant called Mitzi's. I was gearing up for my usual potatoes and toast breakfast, but when I ordered that and Nicole asked about butter on the toast, the waitress said, "Oh, we have a vegan plate if that's where you're going." Score! The vegan plate ended up being some great potatoes, a quinoa salad, a green salad, and some toast. Not bad at all. I wish they'd had it on the menu, so I would have known to order it without having to be let in on the secret! Jake slept through most of the meal, but when he woke up he tried some toast and some potato and seemed to enjoy them both.

All in all, an excellent and relaxing vacation. The Man of Science and the pets all survived their week home alone, though judging from my survey of the kitchen upon my return, they primarily lived on diet gingerale and veggie dogs.


This Time Last Year: Lovely Vegan Eggplant Stew


ciaochow said...

What a nice way to cap off a great week, sounds like a really nice trip. Just as a week of gingerale and veggie dogs sounds equally great.

I don't think that's being uptight re: kid bum on counter. The same way I was grossed out at a shall-remain-nameless vegan Ethiopian place in Toronto where the chef's (?) 8ish-year old daughter delved into the display case and picked up a few items, putting them back down until she found the one she wanted.

Kid hands, like kid bums, see a lot of germs. Yuck.

Lauren (Clean Eats in the Dirty South) said...

Awe, sounds like you had a great time. I've always wanted to go to Toronto!
Though I have to wonder about the child sitting on the counter. I know in America (at least the people I know, perhaps?) people would complain, ask to see a manager, and then pick a fight and demand a refund and threaten to sue for some health violation. :P

The Voracious Vegan said...

Greens while traveling are definitely appreciated! I rarely get food that good when I travel, but then again, I'm always on a plane. Seems like trains are the way to go. I love a good chickpea curry, on a train, on a plane....I'm feeling kind of Dr. Sueuss inspired today....

XUP said...

I suspect the booze they serve on the train is just juice because I never feel the slightest bit tipsy no matter how much train wine I drink. I always found that suspicious

Mary said...

That train meal looks pretty good! And I had totally forgotten about Mitzi's, but I used to live near it. I'll have to put that on my list of places to eat when I'm back in Toronto in July (travelling by train too).

Jennifer (It Ain't Meat, Babe) said...

Ciaochow: Yes! Good. I feel validated in my gorssed-out-ness. Of course, I still ate the sandwiches, so obviously I wasn't that appalled.

Lauren: Funny, I was just talking about something similar the other day, asking my lived-in-American-for-years boyfriend if people in the States send back food in restaurants often. Because I almost never see that here. I was wondering if it is an American/Canadian difference!

VV: It is delightful to know you're getting a balanced meal. And it makes my luggage a lot lighter if I don't have to stuff it with water and food!

XUP: Ah, so I wasn't missing anything, then.

Mary: Mitzi's was so cute. And while my food was good, the non-vegan buttermilk pancakes with whipped cream looked pretty amazing too!

Lauren said...

I just stumbled across your blog and love it!
That train chickpea meal looks really good, I really want to recreate (and maybe use some brown rice and add some greens).

Midnite said...

Sounds like you got some fabulous treats on your trip. They're finally selling Daiya in Ottawa now! I saw it today for the first time.


PhotographyIsLife said...

You seem like someone I could get along with. :) I don't eat meat either. Anyway, I'm trying to get my photography out there. It'd be much appreciated if you might check out my blog and let me know what you think?? Oh, by the way I'm Kristin, haha. :D

Trinity (of haiku tofu) said...

lol about the kid's bum. i'm pretty gross, so I don't think the baby bum would bug me- unless it was bare ass or diaper on the counter. ;)

Jill said...

The train meal looks nice. I still can't believe VIA Rail serves vegan french toast. That's pretty cool.

Glad to read you made it to Urban Herbivore and Panacea.

Where's the photos of the vegan breakfast at Mitzi's!?

Amanda said...


I literally stumbled across your blog in search of how many grams of puffed quinoa are in a cup--odd, right? but anyway, just so you know--next time you're in TO and visit the park, the little cafe across from the park, ontop of High Park station (Cafe Novo) bakes up tons of vegan goods--one of the owners is vegan and believes that vegans should be able to eat freely wherever they go. I work there (can you tell?) and help out a bunch with the baking--about half of our fresh baked goods are vegan, and we'd be happy to tell you which if you asked! (Also, absolutely everything we serve is fair trade and/or local and/or organic.. including the soy for our lattes and our spro!)

sorry just always get excited when a vegan visits the cafe

Helen said...

OMG! Your meal looks edible and FRESH! Why can't air travel create and serve such simple / healthy meals.