Firmly Rooted: Celebrating London’s Established Vegan Eateries

We’re spoiled in London with many exclusively vegan spots to enjoy fabulous food. Perhaps more than our fair share compared to other cities, but we’re not complaining one bit. We love to support and encourage them…we watch their every move and get so excited when they shine. These passionate business owners are on a mission to put an end to animal cruelty, one awe-inspiring and liberating vegan forkful at a time.

Without further ado, let’s take a look at vegan hotspots for eating, drinking and living the green dream…

For those of us with a sweet tooth, The Boombox Bake Shop knows no bounds when it comes to ridiculously delicious vegan cupcakes. We featured this thriving business in this post shortly after they moved to a bigger location mid-2017 to meet growing consumer demands. It’s hard to imagine London without Boombox. 

Plant Matter Kitchen threw open its doors in early 2016 and has been a force to be reckoned with ever since. This beloved Wortley Village restaurant serves up breakfast, dinner and lunch. Did you know they are now offering the wildly popular Beyond Burgers?! They also host monthly charity dinners for like-minded organisations in our community. See our feature blog post here.

While we were still outright dazzled by Plant Matter Kitchen, sister restaurant Plant Matter Bistro launched downtown in 2017. The Bistro is a sophisticated fine dining experience, serving lunch and dinner using organic and locally sourced ingredients whenever possible. It’s absolutely geared for the foodie in us!

Then the next thing we knew, this year The Ground Up Cafe teamed up with The Plant Matter family to create Plant Matter Cafe. This Richmond St. location focuses on breakfast (opening at 10 am), soups, wraps, salads, pizza and baked goods. And did we mention the amazing coffee, offered with a variety of plant-based milks? 

Curley Brewing Company, a vegan craft beer café, is re-opening its doors soon at a new location: 1634 Hyde Park Road. We can’t wait for their small batch brews, as well as house made soups, salads, sandwiches, baked goods and kombucha.

Globally Local is on a mission to veganize the fast food world. They started with Canada’s first all vegan fast food restaurant, then with Canada’s first all vegan drive through. And wherever Globally Local sets up its wildly popular food truck, there are sure to be long line ups for its iconic Famous Burger.

London not only has an amazing array of vegan eateries but is also home to companies that sell exclusively vegan food. Here’s a look at what’s been going on lately:

In addition to the highly rated vegan cooking workshops, Naturally Vegan now has a “Little Vegan Cheese Shop” at the Covent Garden Market at Sacred Earth. Seven days a week, you’ll find a variety of cheeses there like Fauxmagerie Zengarry, Sheese Cheese, Main Vegan Deli and VegNature. 

Yoda’s Kitchen is back, better than ever! There’s not only private catering services, but also a delivery service of meals and snacks called Yoda’s Little Green Food Co. Then there’s monthly pop-up restaurant events, and in-home cooking classes. Such joy…

London’s beloved Nuts for Cheese knows no bounds. These delicious hand-crafted cashew-based cheeses can now be found at a multitude of stores across Canada.  Go Nuts for Cheese!

Main Vegan Deli’s tagline, “Convenience with a Conscience” speaks to us. This company offers artisan nut cheeses and deli meat alternatives at a growing number of locations in Southern Ontario. In London look for their products at V Spot (see our blog post featuring V Spot here) and Naturally Vegan’s Little Vegan Cheese Shop. You can also shop online. Have you tried their Dill Havarti or Chive and Onion Chedd-ahh? How about their Bakon or BBQ ribs? We’re getting hungry just thinking about Main Vegan Deli. 

21457350_227014697829686_6040449692946719118_o.jpg

The goal at Great Veggie Bites is to help people and the planet become healthier by providing a plant-based menu of truly classic comfort foods. We're talking cabbage rolls and 'Big Phil' Philly CheezeStakes, to give you an idea. And they deliver right to your door (for free in London and the Strathroy area)!

Whew, that's it for now! London's options are awesome, right? We're very grateful for all these amazing vegan businesses and the courageous, dedicated entrepreneurs behind them. And we're confident that their successes will continue to build as we march forward toward a more compassionate future. 

New Places to Eat Green in the Forest City Area!

Have you noticed some of the fun new veg-friendly restaurants sprouting up lately? Eating vegan out has never been so easy, or so tasty. We're excited to share some highlights from three new spots...two in London and one is neighbouring Stratford. They are absolutely drool-worthy!

Origins Co.

Welcome Origins Co.! Origins coffee shop opened its doors in January in London, at 140 Ann St. near Richmond and Oxford. With predominantly vegan fare on the menu, we're excited for this friendly and health-conscious grab-and-go coffee shop.

If you are looking for a warm drink, they've got a custom blend organic coffee, and a portion of every Origin’s Custom Blend coffee sales help support the Strathroy Woman’s Rural Resource Centre for abused women. Soy lattes are divine; almond and coconut milks are also available. For tea drinkers they offer a Matcha Green Latte as well as organic, Fair trade pesticide-free blends. Then there's the Golden Turmeric Latte! It sounds delicious.  

Origins offers vegan and gluten free fresh juices, smoothies and smoothie bowls, as well as Boho bars and doughnuts, kosuma bars, brownies, date squares, cookies, mini muffins, pad Thai salad and power bowls. 

Peter Cuddy, the owner, hails from Organic Works Bakery. Consistent with his vision and values, Origins offers quality ingredients that are ethically harvested, non-GMO, organic and locally sourced where possible and all in a convenient grab & go format. Note that they have ample free parking. 

Their large outdoor patio and walk-up takeout window will be opening soon!   

The Planet Diner

The newest kid on the block is The Planet Diner! It’s in Stratford and opened only a couple of weeks ago. With their tagline, “Where Herbivores can bring their Carnivores”, this little diner aims to meet people where they are in their approach to eating. They are making it easy for guests to experience delicious plant-based alternatives to meat, dairy and eggs.

Their specialty is satisfying comfort food, especially brunch. Even brunch for dinner! As in a vegan, gluten free benny, on sautéed-onion crispy polenta with marinated grilled tomato and house made cashew hollandaise sauce. Count us in. Or there’s a loaded burger or saucy pulled pork sandwich. But save room for the plant-based baking! And other desserts like the Naughty Waffle: warm waffles drizzled with chocolate sauce, a scoop of deliciously creamy cashew ice cream, strawberries and coconut whip. Need we say more? 

The Planet Diner collaborates with local growers and as many of the Stratford area resources as possible. In a city renowned for its culinary culture, we foresee The Planet Diner filling a much needed spot for vegan and gluten-free options. It strives to create a relaxed and welcoming atmosphere with the aim of welcoming us back, time and time again.

V Food Spot

This downtown London vegan gem has become entrenched in the hearts of customers in an amazingly short period of time. It’s a take-out only food spot specializing in plant-based comfort foods. Think perogies topped with cheese sauce, tempeh bits and caramelized onions with a side of sour cream. Or their beloved Rueben sandwich. How about some decadent French onion soup to warm our souls?

They also sell fabulous donuts, house-made sauces and dips, along with Main Vegan Deli products.

Happy vegan eating everyone!

Plan your visit to VegFest London 2017

It's Almost Thyme for VegFest London!
Saturday, November 11 from 10 am - 6 pm

Get ready for the best-ever VegFest London...we've grown! We have more space, more vendors and more speakers than ever before. And we want to help you maximize your VegFest experience (awesome food definitely included). Read on for our tips and tricks for navigating the big day...

WHAT TO BRING

New this year, and in keeping with the festival's theme of Community + Compassion + Plants, please consider bringing a vegan non-perishable item for donation to the London Food Bank. Examples include canned beans, canned fruit and vegetables, pasta and rice. We'll have a drop-off location at the event. 

We encourage everyone to bring their reusable shopping bags and containers for your food and drink that you purchase.  Also some of our vendors will only be handling cash sales, so if you plan to shop bring some cash. There are two ATMs onsite too. On your way in you can pick up your program so you can be sure you don't miss a beet.

 And VegFest is even more fun with friends. So bring your whole squad and strike a pose at the Purdy Natural Photo Booth.

COME EARLY - SWAG BAGS FOR FIRST 500 ATTENDEES

Sweet coupons and goodies fill these awesome bags and the first 500 attendees at VegFest London will get one. You'll have to arrive early though as these go fast.

WHERE TO FIND US

This year, VegFest London will take place at the Metroland Media Agriplex, Western Fair District at 845 Florence Street in London. There is ample free parking. Need directions? Click here, we've got you covered.

ADMISSION

Admission is $5 - children 12 and under are free. Pay by cash or credit. 

HONOURING REMEMBRANCE DAY

 

At 11:00 am our event will pause in honour of Remembrance Day. 
Wear a Poppy. Donation boxes will be on site in support of the Poppy Fund.

veronica-ivanov-14394.jpg

FUN FOR THE WHOLE FAMILY

Thanks to our friends at Rebirth we have a whole area dedicated to kids, filled with face painting, colouring and more. The children's area is open all day from 10 am - 6 pm.

ENJOY EXPERT SPEAKERS & FOOD DEMOS

All guest speakers and cooking demonstrations will take place on two stages in the Metroland Media Agriplex. Seating is limited for each of the sessions so arrive early. Click here to learn more about our speakers.

Carrot Stage Schedule
11:15 am - 12:15 pm: Robert Cheeke ~ Plant Based Muscle: Build a Better Body on a Plant Based Diet
12:45 pm - 1:45 pm: Teresa Ford ~ Plant Based Nutrition: Eat to Thrive
2:15 pm- 3:15 pm: James Aspey ~ A Vow of Silence for the Animals
3:45 pm - 4:45 pm: Animal Rights Activism Panel
5:00 pm - 6:00 pm: Gene Baur ~ Living the Farm Sanctuary Life

Beet Stage Schedule
11:15 am - 12:15 pm: Chef Yoda Olinyk ~ Easy Ways to Eat More Plants (and Get Your Kids to as Well!) Food Demo
12:45 pm - 1:45 pm: Harold Brown ~ The Humane Myth
2:15 pm - 3:15 pm: Sam Turnbull ~ Fuss Free Vegan Cooking
3:45 pm - 4:45 pm: Dr. Linda Plowright ~ Food For Thought: The Importance of Nutrition for Mental Health

Special thanks to Glenn Whitehead and Jenna Goodhand our festival emcees. Learn more about Jenna and Glenn here.

OVER 140 VENDORS

Over 140 vegan food and product vendors, health and wellness vendors and animal sanctuaries and rescue organizations, such as Purdy Natural, Booch Organic Kombucha, Plant Matter Kitchen, Boombox BakeShop, Rescue Dogs vegan hot dog cart and two awesome food trucks Globally Local and Sweet Teeth Vegan, all in ONE PLACE for this ONE DAY! Check out our full vendor list here.

Come hungry and ready to shop. If you feel like you need a break along the way, visit the Booch Lounge or our dining area.   

 

See you on November 11!

We believe in a kinder world & we know that you do too!

 

Why Community, Compassion, Plants?

For many of us, the road to veganism is a journey. We take different paths and progress at a pace that makes sense for us. We learn a lot along the way. It is an evolution. Some of us initiate the change for one particular reason, and later find ourselves connected to and motivated by a different reason. It is the nature of this peaceful, meaningful and empowering approach to living.  If you haven't noticed by now, our festival motto is community, compassion, plants. Though the plants connection might be obvious, we thought we'd share the important WHY behind our festival and motto...

cow.jpg

Animal rights

Since the use of animals is unnecessary for humans, people motivated by animal rights seek to avoid all forms of exploitation of, and cruelty to, animals for food, clothing or any other purpose. They recognize the individual beings behind every animal slaughtered for human consumption.

An unbelievable 70 billion farmed animals are reared annually worldwide and 6 million animals are killed every hour. It has been extensively documented that factory farmed animals, who are sentient beings, commonly suffer based on the methods by which they are raised and slaughtered. 

There are animals who die as part of the animal industry and who will never be available for people to eat. The culling of male chicks as part of industrialized egg production industry is an example of animals who are dying needlessly. Millions of unwanted male chicks – the offspring of egg-laying hens – are discarded every year because they do not lay eggs and are thought to be too small to be raised profitably for meat. Since they have no economic use to the industry, the chicks are often culled without anesthesia by methods including maceration and suffocation.

At VegFest you'll be able to meet and connect with farm sanctuaries and animal rights organizations. You’ll see here that we have an outstanding line-up of animal rights speakers, plus an Animal Rights Activism Panel discussion.

health.jpg

Better health

Half of all North Americans are dying due to cancer or cardiovascular disease.  You probably know someone who has suffered from these diseases. Their quality of life may be diminished, they may be living in fear, and are likely relying on multiple medications to get them through each day. Now imagine a world where the incidence of these two devastating diseases was significantly reduced. This is possible through eating a plant-based diet focussed on unprocessed food, including fruit, vegetables, whole grains, legumes, nuts and seeds. 

The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates here that a third of cancer deaths are preventable through five lifestyle choices, one of which is high fruit and vegetable intake.  WHO also indicates most cardiovascular diseases can be prevented if we address behavioural risk factors, including an unhealthy diet.  

And that is just the beginning.  Think type II diabetes, Alzheimer’s, rheumatoid arthritis and depression. There is a growing body of scientific evidence linking plant-based eating to the prevention, treatment and even reversal of these and many other common and disabling illnesses. WHO notes that a healthy diet includes fruits, vegetables, legumes, nuts and whole grains. Interestingly, animal products are not included. The healthiest and longest-living populations in the world are plant-based. 

At VegFest you'll be able to sample and taste plant-powered cuisine and even listen to talks on various aspects of diet and health given by Dr. Linda Plowright, Robert Cheeke and Teresa Ford.  Check out the speakers schedule here.

forest 2.jpg

Concerns about the environment

You may have heard that 97% of climate scientists agree that there is a global warming trend and that human beings are the main cause. Surprisingly, eating a more plant based diet is one of the most effective things we can do as individuals to positively impact the environment. Reasons are related to increased water use and greenhouse gas emissions with animal agriculture. Animal agriculture is tied to the destruction of the amazon. And land is used more efficiently when growing plant-based food compared to meat production. Links to the research and science behind this information is here.

We'd love to know, what's behind your WHY? What made you choose vegan?

Vegstock 2017: An Event to Remember

Food and drinks.jpg

What a perfect way to spend a beautiful summer day!  With over 500 joining in the fun, Vegstock was a resounding success...an awesome party with a purpose.  In case you hadn't heard, Vegstock was London's inaugural vegan 19+ food and drink event held August 26 at Life of Leisure Surf + Social Club.  Drinks and nosh were enjoyed among friends, with live bands lending to the truly positive vibe.  All net proceeds will support our growing and 100% volunteer driven festival, VegFest London, which is coming right up on November 11 at the Western Fair District.   

A big thanks to those of you who came to enjoy and support Vegstock and everything it represents.  It was fantastic to see all your smiling faces!  Check out more photos on the VegFest London FB page.

And many thanks also to our amazing vendors, who rose to the occasion and filled our bellies with all those infinitely tasty (and vegan!) food and alcohol treats.  Here's to you Sweet Teeth Vegan, London Brewing Co-Op, Globally Local, Henry of Pelham, Real Pops, Nickelbrook Brewing Co., Railway City Brewing Company, Creekside Wine. and Anderson Craft Ales.

And our special appreciation to vendors who were also event sponsors: The Boombox Bakeshop, Plant Matter Kitchen and Life of Leisure Surf + Social Club.  Last, but not least, we're grateful to The Kerouacs, Olivia and the Creepy Crawlies and Nate & Trish or Whatever for their musical talents, enjoyed by all.  

See you again soon at VegFest London!

Vegan.jpg