Tag Archives: desserts

Vegandale Festival Review 2019




AterImber.com - The Veg Life - Vegandale Festival 2019 Review - Vegan Power Sign

That’s right! Three years, baby! This is my third year in a row going to the Vegandale Festival in Toronto and I am still pumped about it! I don’t think the novelty will ever wear off of getting to go to a place where I can try whatever I want, and not have to ask about ingredients, or read the label before putting it in my mouth. (Save for cinnamon)

I was recently talking to one of my friends, and they made a joke about since this is my third year going, I could ‘take a break’ from going next year. Uhmm… what?

AterImber.com - The Veg Life - Vegandale Festival 2019 Review - Vegan Sign 1

That’s when it hit me: other people can walk into any place and order whatever they want, without looking at the ingredients list, or worrying about what’s in a product. They can walk in, order what looks good and leave. So, it makes sense that people with that ability don’t even really think about how exciting that can be. They have no idea, that’s their ‘normal’, so they don’t understand the hype.

How boring are other people’s lives? They can just… do stuff without thinking about it? That’s such a foreign concept to me! But I definitely wouldn’t have it any other way. I love getting to be excited about things others aren’t. It’s like I’m a child discovering how awesome the world is all over again. Who wouldn’t want that?

But enough about me – time to get to what you came here for: the food!

AterImber.com - The Veg Life - Vegandale Festival 2019 Review -Art Installation 2

This year, I was fortunate enough to get to try 20 things (instead of last years’ 17). There’s always over a hundred vendors, and while I feel like I get a pretty good mix of things, I’d love to eventually get to try half of them.

As always, these reviews will be written in the order that I tried the food. (And not in terms of what I liked best)

Okay, let’s get started!

These Wingz – Half N Half Wings with Mac N Cheese

AterImber.com - The Veg Life - Vegandale Festival 2019 Review - These Wingz Half N Half w/ Mac N Cheese - vegan food, food reviewer, vegan festival

First up, is These Wingz wings and mac n cheese. I got the special, 6 wings (half BBQ, half buffalo) with the mac n cheese. The wings were massive. Not just in size, but they were thick. As. Fuck. It’s hard to tell in the picture, but they were definitely the thickest thing I got at the festival. They were also the most expensive ($16).

The wings were good, they tasted kinda seitan-y, though I’m not sure if that’s what they were made out of. They had a good, chewy texture, but the breading on them (and their size) made them hard to bite through. And, trying to rip pieces off with the small plastic fork I got (no knives were available) didn’t work that well, either. I’m pretty sure I accidentally flung sauce in my hair from trying to rip a piece off.

The mac n cheese wasn’t that good. The noodles were over-cooked, and just tasted like the wing sauce. It didn’t taste like there was any cheese on them at all.

 

Parka Food Co. – Broccoli Burger Mac

AterImber.com - The Veg Life - Vegandale Festival 2019 Review - Parka Food Co. Broccoli Burger Mac - vegan food, food reviewer, vegan festival

I know, I know, a little ridiculous I got another mac n cheese after literally just buying one, but I was intrigued by the name: Broccoli Burger Mac.

This one was way better than the first. For starters, this one actually tasted cheesy, and it had battered broccoli pieces on top. Gave the mac n cheese a good crunchy aspect. The cheese sauce actually kinda tasted like pasta salad to me – it had that subtle vinegar after-taste that pasta salad gets. This was a great dish to try for $11. I’m still not entirely sure what an aioli is, but the pink one that was drizzled on top of this dish was good. The sign said it was just their Parka Aioli, so I’m not entirely sure what’s in it (or why it’s pink), but it was good.

The only thing I didn’t like about this dish, is that the top of it was dowsed in parsley. There was way too much sprinkled on top of the broccoli and mac n cheese. The entire top was almost completely green!

 

Peas and Thank-You – Chick’N Parm

AterImber.com - The Veg Life - Vegandale Festival 2019 Review - Peas and Thank-You Chick'n Parm - vegan food, food reviewer, vegan festival

A chick’n parm. I’ve never in my life had a chicken parm. I’ve seen them in movies/heard about them – it’s a chicken cutlet with tomato sauce and parm – but I was really hyped when I saw this on the menu at Peas and Thank-You. It was only $10, so I figured why not? And boy am I glad I did. This was probably the best thing I tried at the festival in terms of the actual ‘meal’ things. Although, it didn’t have actual parm on it. It had some kind of sauce (I’m assuming [hoping] it was cheese sauce) but I thought the ‘parm’ on the sandwich would’ve been… y’know, actual parm flakes. The sauce actually tasted closer to Veganaise then cheese, but maybe that’s just what parm tastes like?

The chick’n patty itself was great – though it was a little too hard to bite through. I think maybe it was fried too long? But once you got passed the initial bite, it had a great flavour and wasn’t as hard to chew and get down. And the bun? Oh, man! I think it was a ciabatta bun? I don’t know, but I loved the bun. They didn’t do anything special to it – I believe it was just toasted – but it added such a great depth to the sandwich. They do pop-ups at different events, and I really, really hope that they come back next year! (Or do another pop-up in Toronto)

 

Not Your Mother – Rocky Road Ice Cream

AterImber.com - The Veg Life - Vegandale Festival 2019 Review - Not Your Mother Rocky Road Ice Cream - vegan food, food reviewer, vegan festival

This was the favourite dessert I tried, hands down. Rocky Road ice cream? Do you guys know about Rocky Road ice-cream? It’s chocolate ice cream with brownie pieces and marshmallows. Marshmallows!

I cannot believe I’ve never tried Rocky Road ice cream before. It’s my new favourite ice cream flavour. Even though it was hot and I had to drink most of it, it was still my favourite dessert. I don’t know what it is, but there’s just something about chocolate and marshmallows that holds a very special place in my heart.

When will vegan Rocky Road ice cream be available for purchase in pints from a store?

Seriously, if you make vegan ice-cream, get on it. Please.

 

Globally Local – Hot Buffalo Chick’Un Burger

AterImber.com - The Veg Life - Vegandale Festival 2019 Review - Globally Local Buffalo ChickUn Burger and Fries - vegan food, food reviewer, vegan festival

Ah, Globally Local. They’ve been my favourite thing the past two years, and I feel a little bad about giving that title away, but my reason for giving the title away is two-fold:

  1. This burger is pretty much the same thing I tried last year, just with buffalo sauce coating the patty.
  2. The chicken parm was way more exciting and tasted better.

Don’t get mad, Globally, I still love you guys and cannot wait until you open your location here next month! But, I do wish that you had added something else on the festival menu to try.

The fries were great, too. Thick cut and fried fries I think are my weakness. These ones, and A&W fries are the best fries I’ve ever had. (… So far.)

 

Main Vegan Deli – Lobstar Roll

AterImber.com - The Veg Life - Vegandale Festival 2019 Review - Main Vegan Deli Lobstar Roll - vegan food, food reviewer, vegan festival

Main Vegan Deli… what can I say? They were at the festival both previous years, and the first year I went I actually got to try a sample of their cashew cheese. I was hoping I’d get to do that again this year (or that I’d maybe actually get a ball/block to take home), but alas, they changed their menu.

This year, they had a ‘lobstar’ roll and a no-kobe sammy. Now, I’ve never really been that much of a fan of seafood. Before going vegan, I’d never eat it. It was gross to me. So, naturally, since going vegan, I haven’t tried any seafood faux products. Why would I if I didn’t like the real thing, right?

So, keeping that in mind, I didn’t really like this. It was mushrooms and their ‘seafood sauce’, so I figured it shouldn’t be too bad. I like mushrooms, after all – I don’t know what it was, it wasn’t exactly bad, but this was definitely not my favourite thing. I think it might’ve been the texture that the mushrooms were. They were slightly rubber-y, but also slightly slimy. Not chewy rubber-y, just… rubber-y.

I got my (non vegan) mom to eat it, (I couldn’t finish it!) and she said it ‘tasted like the kind of lobster you get from a can’. Take from that what you will.

I was actually really disappointed that I didn’t like this – I had loved their cashew cheese, and was hoping they might’ve been like Globally Local, in that I would just like everything.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m definitely not writing them off. Next year, if they bring their cashew cheese, or have some other type of sandwich (that’s not seafood) I’ll try it.

Bring it on!

 

Meltwich – Poutine

AterImber.com - The Veg Life - Vegandale Festival 2019 Review - Meltwich Poutine - vegan food, food reviewer, vegan festival

I love poutine! This one was a little lack-luster though. The fries were pretty basic, seemed like they were just regular frozen french fries, and the cheese shreds didn’t melt! At all. I took the picture, mixed it up, and then nothing. They tasted good, but they didn’t melt. I don’t know what happened, but that definitely made the dish not as good as it could have been.

That said, the gravy more for made up for the lack of melted cheese. It was a nice, rich, brown gravy and oh man, if they were just selling jars of that, I definitely would’ve bought one.

All in all, this poutine wasn’t anything spectacular (it was called the Classic Poutine) but regular poutine is still good poutine in my book. It doesn’t need to have chick’n or bacon bits or anything fancy for it to be good.

 

Vegtago – Nacho Cheese

AterImber.com - The Veg Life - Vegandale Festival 2019 Review - Vegtago Nacho Cheese - vegan food, food reviewer, vegan festival

This was the first free sample I got at the festival. This cheese, while it’s great that it’s dairy-free, soy-free and nut-free, it tasted a little too sweet to me. If you gave this to me, and asked me to guess what it was, I would not guess ‘nacho cheese’. It tastes closer to pureed vegetable.

I’m not entirely sure if it’s made out of carrots, (the picture on the sign was a carrot), but it reminds me of my failed attempt at making cheese out of carrots and potatoes.

That’s not to say that it taste bad – I would definitely eat it in a different setting – but for something that’s supposed to be a nacho cheese, it misses the mark.

 

Magnum – Classic Bar

AterImber.com - The Veg Life - Vegandale Festival 2019 Review - Magnum Non-Dairy Classic Bar - vegan food, food reviewer, vegan festival

This was the second free sample I got at the festival, and I have to say I was not disappointed. When I went, the lady at the counter said they were ‘down to Classics’. I was just excited I was getting a full sized ice-cream bar for free!

At this point in the festival, I was starting to feel a bit sick, so I do regret to say that I didn’t finish the whole bar. It’s the only thing from the festival I didn’t finish that I wasn’t able to take home.

With that said, it was pretty good. I don’t quite know how to describe it, but the chocolate coating on the outside of the bar had an odd ‘heavy’ feel to it. As soon as I bit it, that’s what I felt. I don’t know if that’s the right word for it, but it’s happened with other chocolate before, and that’s the only way I know to describe it. After that initial heavy/weighty feel, it was pretty sticky, too. Like, dry-out-your-mouth sticky. Similar to when you eat a spoon of peanut butter and immediately feel like you need to drink some water.

I don’t know if that’s just something that happens depending on the cocoa content or whatever, but it’s definitely something I don’t like in my chocolate. It shouldn’t make you thirsty.

AterImber.com - The Veg Life - Vegandale Festival 2019 Review - Magnum Non-Dairy Classic Bar - vegan food, food reviewer, vegan festival

The ice-cream was good, too. It was just basic vanilla ice-cream. Nothing too fancy, as this was the Classic Bar, but it was still good.

I’d definitely buy this if I wanted an ice-cream bar, but don’t go in with too high expectations. It’s pretty basic, and don’t forget to drink water with it.

 

Papabubble – Cherry Candy

AterImber.com - The Veg Life - Vegandale Festival 2019 Review - Papabubble's Cherry Candy - vegan food, food reviewer, vegan festival

First, I’d like to point out: these are hard candies. They only had a few squishy ones (that I didn’t try) on display, and this wasn’t it. I thought that it was a squishy candy, so I tossed it in my mouth and got a rude awakening when I chomped down on it.

That’s my bad, I will admit. Other than that surprise, the candy was pretty good! It had a very good cherry flavour, and while it did stick to my teeth a bit, what candy doesn’t?

I also tried one called ‘lychee’ which is a type of tropical fruit. That one was good too, it did taste fruity, but I definitely liked the cherry one better.

I had actually been debating about buying a whole pack of their candy, but since they’re in Toronto, I decided I could always do a more in-depth analysis of their offerings later.

I don’t think they beat out Squish candy, since Squishs’ candy is well, squishy, but they are definitely a close second.




Julie’s Joyful Kitchen-  Chocolate Caramel Almond Bar

AterImber.com - The Veg Life - Vegandale Festival 2019 Review - Julie's Joyful Kitchen Chocolate Caramel Almond Bar - vegan food, food reviewer, vegan festival

This is my second year reviewing Julie’, and I have to say, I’m a little disappointed. Last year, I got their chocolate cookie, which was good – pretty hard to mess up a cookie – this year, they were offering other types of cookies, or, this chocolate almond bar. I thought I’d be a bit adventurous and go for the bar. I’ve seen similar bars before but have always stayed away from trying them.

I should’ve done that this time, too.

For starters, I couldn’t even pick the thing up. The bottom layer crumbled into a million pieces the second I tried to. So I had to eat it with one finger swiping through the middle ‘caramel’ part. And to be honest, the caramel wasn’t very good. It just kinda tasted like almond butter, there wasn’t very much ‘caramel’ flavour in it. The chocolate on the top was good – it is chocolate, after all – but it was the same kind of dry-out-your-mouth as the Magnum bar.

This definitely didn’t make my favourites list, not by a long shot. If they come back again next year, I’d definitely want to try something else, but if that doesn’t go well, I’m afraid I’m gonna have to write them off. Which sucks, because they ladies running the booth were very sweet.

But yeah, I’m thinking that maybe Julie’s just isn’t for me.

 

Sweet Nutritionista –  Beet Brownie

AterImber.com - The Veg Life - Vegandale Festival 2019 Review - Sweet Nutritionista's Beet Brownie - vegan food, food reviewer, vegan festival

For a dessert that’s made out of beets this was pretty good. I absolutely hate beets, so believe me when I tell say you could not taste the beets in this brownie at all. You could’ve told me it wasn’t made out of beets and I’d believe you.

This was a wee bit dense though. Maybe if they had cut them a bit thinner it would’ve been more enjoyable. It was a biiit too much to bite off and chew at one time.

I would definitely love to try something else they have to offer at the next festival, or if I’m ever in Oakville, I’d definitely stop by.

 

Yves – Sweet Potato Meatball

AterImber.com - The Veg Life - Vegandale Festival 2019 Review - Yves Sweet Potato Meatball - vegan food, food reviewer, vegan festival

I’m not gonna lie, this tastes very sweet potato-y. I unfortunately don’t like sweet potatoes, so I didn’t like it. It had a hint of a weird spice I don’t like, that reminded me a bit of cumin. (Although I’m not 100% on if cumin is actually in them)

If you like falafel, you’ll definitely like these.

They had nuggets available as a free sample to try as well, but I unfortunately was 5 seconds too late, as the lady in front of me had snagged the last nugget.

Fortunately though, they were also giving out coupons, and I was lucky enough to get one of those, instead.

 

Glory Hole Doughnuts – Cookies N Crème Doughnut

AterImber.com - The Veg Life - Vegandale Festival 2019 Review - Glory Hole Cookies N Creme Doughnut - vegan food, food reviewer, vegan festival

Glory Hole was back with a way better doughnut than last years’!

Maybe it’s because it wasn’t as hot, so it didn’t immediately melt into a goopy mess all over my hand, but I definitely enjoyed this one better than the peanut butter and chocolate I got last year.

While it still had the classic ‘this is a doughnut!’ sweetness, it was also very light. The icing I think was just regular vanilla, and the cookie bits were pretty similar in taste to Oreo cookies (no matter what the sign said).

The only thing I didn’t like is when I bit down, the entire doughnut flattened and didn’t bounce back. It was like I let all the air out of the tire.

That happened to the one I got last year as well, so I’m not sure if it’s just a doughnut thing, or if I’m somehow not biting them correctly but yeah. If they could find a way to make them not do that, that would be great.

And since these guys are in Toronto as well, I’m looking forward to trying more of their offerings.

 

BZZSFREE – Apple Honey

AterImber.com - The Veg Life - Vegandale Festival 2019 Review - BZZSFREE Apple Honey - vegan food, food reviewer, vegan festival

Honey is definitely one of the things I miss the most since going vegan. I used to absolutely love it – not only for it’s taste, but also because it’s a great natural alternative to conventional medicine – so as soon as I saw this vegan honey company listed, I knew I just had to try it!

I was a little unsure of which flavour to get, as the sign said they had apple, pineapple and PMP (guava and something else I don’t remember). I just wanted to taste something that was closest to the real deal.

After speaking to the lady (who is beyond nice!) for a bit, she told me that the apple flavour is the closest to the real thing, so I decided to try that one. And boy am I glad I did!

It tasted so close to what I remember honey tasting like, I was blown away! It didn’t taste like apples at all! It was just as sweet, and even had the same sticky consistency!

I regret not buying a whole jar, but the lady said they were available to purchase online, and that they deliver to Toronto, so I’m definitely going to get my hands on some!

If you didn’t get a chance to check them out, or was a bit hesitant because of the flavours listed, you definitely need to try their apple flavour! I promise you won’t be disappointed.

I’m so glad they decided to come to the festival this year, and hope they come back!

 

Crazy D’s – Prebiotic Rockin’ Rolla Cherry Cola

AterImber.com - The Veg Life - Vegandale Festival 2019 Review - Crazy D's Prebiotic Rockin' Rolla Cherry Cola - vegan food, food reviewer, vegan festival

This was my least favourite thing from the entire festival. It tasted absolutely nothing like cherries. The ingredients say that there was actual cherry juice in it, but I couldn’t taste it at all.

This drink was spicy. It tasted like when you run out of bouillon cubes, so you try to make your own. So you get some water and throw ten different spices in it and then try it. That’s what it tasted like.

AterImber.com - The Veg Life - Vegandale Festival 2019 Review - Vegan Sign 2

This drink was an absolute no-go in my book. Which sucks because I was really looking forward to trying a cherry flavoured drink.

Their sign said it was supposed to have a bunch of health benefits and promote good digestion and stuff – I hate that they proved the old saying true. (Everything that’s good for you tastes bad)

I couldn’t even finish it, I had to dump it out when I got home. I felt bad for wasting it, but I couldn’t drink it. It was that bad. And tasted nothing like cherries!

Their other options were Ginga Kick and a citrus something. I went with cherry because I thought it’d be their best tasting one. Boy was I wrong!

 

If you like spicy drinks, you may like this, but if you want something that tastes like cherries? This isn’t it.

 

Tropic Love – Maple Luv Mini Pancakes

AterImber.com - The Veg Life - Vegandale Festival 2019 Review - Tropic Luv's Maple Luv Mini Pancakes - vegan food, food reviewer, vegan festival

Pancakes, whether big or small, there’s just something enjoyable about them.

These were light and fluffy, and so cute! They came ten per order, and were perfect with the right amount of maple syrup drizzled on top.

They weren’t really special, except that they were tiny. But I mean, a pancake is a pancake. I would’ve been really surprised if I didn’t like them.

 

WVRST – Soft Pretzel

AterImber.com - The Veg Life - Vegandale Festival 2019 Review - WVRST Soft Pretzel - vegan food, food reviewer, vegan festival

I have a soft spot for soft pretzels. I only tried them this year, actually. My first ever was from Through Being Cool (which unfortunately no longer exists!) and I instantly loved them!

They’re a bit salty to eat on their own (you’re apparently supposed to dip them in mustard? No thanks!), but have an amazing doughy consistency. It’s like eating just the thick crust from a pizza. I love soft, doughy breads, and these pretzels are no exception.

These guys also make sausages, (and are also in Toronto!) but I would recommend going there for the pretzels alone.

I’ll probably get around to trying their sausages, but the pretzels are an absolute must.

 

GTS – Watermelon Kombucha

AterImber.com - The Veg Life - Vegandale Festival 2019 Review - GTS Watermelon Kombucha - vegan food, food reviewer, vegan festival

This was better tasting than the cherry cola, but still not my thing. I’ve tried kombucha before, and I didn’t really like it. I think it’s the carbonation I don’t like. Same reason I don’t enjoy pop – the carbonation isn’t a good time for me.

The flavour was good, though I don’t know I would call it watermelon. It had that fresh, fruity taste like a watermelon does, but it didn’t exactly scream ‘watermelon’ flavour.

I would definitely get it over an actual pop, like Coke. But my first go-to would still probably be just water.

 

Sausage Party – The Big Mock

AterImber.com - The Veg Life - Vegandale Festival 2019 Review - Sausage Party The Big Mock - vegan food, food reviewer, vegan festival

This not-dog was pretty good. They said it was a ‘hand crafted vegan sausage’, so I’m not entirely sure if it’s seitan, or something else, but it tasted similar to the flax dog I had gotten the first year. Very wheat-y. It was good, except I forgot to tell them no mustard, and they put a bunch of onions on it.

Why is that a thing people do? Smother the dog in a million cubes of onions? Onions are not that good of a topping, I’m sorry. I’d rather it of just been straight lettuce with the sesame seeds and cheese.

AterImber.com - The Veg Life - Vegandale Festival 2019 Review - Vegan Pyramid

I was a little disappointed that weren’t nearly as many dessert vendors as there were last year. I would’ve liked to get a cupcake or some other desserts.

On the vendors list on the Vegandale website, Kelly’s Bakeshop was listed, but the site map I got that had the list of the vendors, they weren’t anywhere. I don’t know if they were going to come, and had to fall out, or what, but I was disappointed that I didn’t get to try their Salted Caramel Pretzel cupcake again.

Also, I thought I saw Bald Baker, but he wasn’t a vendor. He was pushing a stroller around, but looked a lot like him. I didn’t have the courage to go up to him and ask, so if you’re reading this: sorry for starring!

I’m so happy I got to go again, and I’m hoping I get to try even more foods next year!


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3 Year Veganversary





I can’t believe it’s already been another full year! It feels like just yesterday I was writing my 2nd Year Veganversary article – and now I’m already writing the next one? It’s crazy!

Again, it’s hard to know what to say in these posts – do I encourage you to go vegan with me? Do I talk about some of the hardships of going vegan?

Wait, I know. How about a quick food montage? Back before I was vegan, I basically ate the same three things over and over. But since I’ve been vegan? I’ve tried so many different kinds of foods, and even discovered some foods that I didn’t know existed before! (Like Nooch, seitan, oyster mushrooms and black salt)

I not only have expanded my taste buds by trying premade vegan products (like Daiya, Gardein and Tofurky), I also learned how to cook, and I’ve gotta say, I can make some pretty kick-ass things in the kitchen now, compared to the not knowing how to boil hot-dogs before.

Check out all the cool, new shit I learned how to make:

AterImber.com - The Veg Life - PETA SolFood Vegan's Spicy Fried Chicken Burger - seitan, vegan food, cooking adventures

AterImber.com - The Veg Life - Seitan Bites - vegan food, cooking adventures

This is literally wheat gluten, water (or vegetable broth) and spices. It’s magic! And tastes awesome. I love getting to spice the food right from it’s conception – it gives it so much more flavour, instead of starting with a whole, plain slab of meat and then only putting the seasoning on the outside.

Also, you can turn this into any meat you want – the way you spice it gives it it’s flavour. And, because you’re hand shaping, you can also make it look like whatever you want.

Need some chick’n ‘breasts’? No problem.

AterImber.com - Seitan Chick'N Vegan Recipe

Sausages? Sure thing!

AterImber.com - The Veg Life - Spicy Seitan Sausages - vegan food, cooking adventures

Need some wings? Got that too.

AterImber.com - The Veg Life - Buffalo Seitan Wings - vegan food, cooking adventures

What about burgers?

AterImber.com - The Veg Life - PETAs SolFood Vegans Spicy Fried Chicken - seitan, vegan food, cooking adventures

Yep! Still not a problem. These were actually the first time I made seitan, and was taken from PETA’s SolFood Vegan’s Spicy Fried Chicken recipe.

You could even just leave it together and make a roast out of it, if you really wanted.

The possibilities with seitan are damn near endless.

And it’s got 62g of protein/1C. So, y’know you don’t have to worry about dying from protein deficiency.

AterImber.com - The Veg Life - Meatball-less Sub w/ Taquitos - Vegan food, cooking adventures

Taquitos? I didn’t even know these were a thing before I discovered them at Good Rebel, and then learned how to make a homemade version.

Side note, if you live in Toronto, you should definitely check Good Rebel out. They’re small, but it’s like a vegan wonderland in there, they have so many products! Also, their egg and sausage breakfast sandwich is amazing.

AterImber.com - The Veg Life - The Vegan Zombie Mozzeralla Cheese Sticks - vegan food, cooking adventures

Mozzarella sticks is something I never had before going vegan, let alone know how to make. This recipe I actually got from The Vegan Zombie.

There are a lot of different foods I never tried until I went vegan. Not even just ‘typical’ vegan foods – like seitan, or durian (which admittedly I still haven’t had) – but ‘normal’ foods, like garlic bread, poutine, milkshakes – pretty much anything that had milk in it, I never tried.

AterImber.com - The Veg Life - Vegan Cooking Adventures - Sushi - vegan food

Uhm, hand-rolling sushi with no fish? Oh yeah, I did that, too. It was fun! And apparently because of my small hands, I was naturally good at rolling them.

AterImber.com - The Veg Life - HotforFood - HotforFood's Cookbook: 101 Recipes to Feed Your Face - Cauliflower Wings and Ranch dip - vegan food

These I made from my favourite vegan Youtubers, HotforFood. Lauren makes amazing vegan food videos, and makes a lot of ‘regular’ foods (ie burgers, wings, etc.) and not just salads. I highly, highly recommend you check out her channel, and that you buy her cookbook 101 Recipes to Feed Your Face. I was lucky enough to get her to sign it at this past years’ Vegandale festival and have made only a few things out of the book, (one of my favs is her Ranch dip) but am very excited to continue trying out more of her recipes.

AterImber.com - The Veg Life - Chocolate Cupcakes with Marshmellows and Chocolate Drizzle - vegan food, vegan cupcakes, vegan desserts

I learned how to make chocolate cupcakes from scratch, and was pleasantly surprised that my vegan egg substitute of applesauce for eggs worked! The last time I had tried this switch, I was making brownies, and it didn’t exactly work out.

AterImber.com - The Veg Life - Vanilla Cherry Pie Cupcakes - Vegan Food - vegan desserts

AterImber.com - The Veg Life - Chocolate Cherry Pie Cupcakes - Vegan Food - vegan desserts

I also invented my own Cherry-Pie Cupcakes after learning how to make the cupcakes above. I’ve made these the past 2 years for my dads’ birthday and he absolutely loves them. (These pictures are a bit ‘foggy’ because I had icing on the camera)

It’s not even just the foods I’ve learned how to make, there’s also a whole world of restaurants and pre-made foods I never would’ve discovered had I not got into veganism!

Pochiche Poutine - AterImber.com - The Veg Life - Vegandale Festival 2018

Poutine! It’s always a win. Look at that deliciousness!

Globally Local Crispy Chickn Burger - AterImber.com - The Veg Life - Vegandale Festival 2018

Globally Local I’m a fan of – and they’re not even available in Toronto yet! I had the great fortune of trying them at the festival both years, and neither was disappointing. (With the exception that they aren’t in Toronto!)

AterImber - The Veg Life - Hogtown Vegan - Unchick'N Ceasar Wrap - Vegan food

Hogtown Vegan is in Toronto, and this thing is amazing, too. It’s giant, delicious, and was actually the first time I ever tried seitan – and that was even before I went vegan! It’s since become my ‘regular’ order when I go there. Some of my other favourites of theirs is their poutine, mac n cheese and chick’n burger. I highly recommend you check them out as well, if you’re ever in the neighbourhood.

These guys I only tried once, but again, was blown away. The sandwich was awesome, and it saddens me that they’re all the way in Texas. Also, those were oyster mushrooms? Whaaat?

Kellys Bakeshop Salted Caramel Cupcake - AterImber.com - The Veg Life - Vegandale Festival 2018

Salted Caramel cupcakes are a must! I loved these so much and was very upset I was only able to buy one.

I won’t give you the total play-by-play, I’ll leave my food adventures on my Instagram. Also, if you want to check out the reviews I did of the above restaurant foods, you can find them here.

With all the awesome vegan restaurants opening, and all the new products that are becoming available, it’s becoming so easy to go vegan.

Also, if the food wasn’t enough to convince you, maybe this will:

AterImber.com - The Veg Life - 3 Year Veganversary - Vegan Calculations: animals, water, and forest saved

Whether you’re thinking about going vegan for the animals, your health, or the environment, you can’t argue with numbers like these. 1,000+ animals saved in the 3 years I’ve been vegan by doing nothing else but changing my diet? Can I get a hell yeah?

Being vegan is one of the most passive ways to help save the planet and animals that I can think of. You don’t have to go out and protest, you don’t have to talk about it. You can be a quiet activist and vote with your dollar.

With so many great options available, and so many stats outlining the dangers of not going vegan, I’m truly baffled that some people haven’t gotten on board yet. I mean, I haven’t been vegan forever, but I don’t think I ever tried debating that animal agriculture was good for the environment, or that murdering innocent beings was right.

Seriously, how are there still people who think veganism isn’t the answer?


Want to check out how much YOU save by being vegan? Do so here!

Want to learn more about veganism? Check out more tips here!

Vegandale Festival Review 2018




Vegandale Sign - AterImber.com - The Veg Life - Vegandale Festival 2018

I’m so excited I get to review this festival again. I’m hoping I’m able to go each year it’s on because I loved it even more then last year.

This year, the festival was both Saturday and Sunday, instead of just one day. A whole weekend of vegan food bliss – what could be better?

Vegandale Scenery Liza Simpson - AterImber.com - The Veg Life - Vegandale Festival 2018

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I went in this year with a game plan: bought my tickets in March, went right when it started at 11am, mapped out the best course based on the vendor map they gave us, and brought containers so I could bring the food home. I wanted to have a fool-proof plan of attack so I could try as many different things as possible. I was able to try 17 things this year, and – when compared to the 9 I tried last year – I’d say I definitely got a lot out of the festival. I was happily surprised when I was overly prepared – I went through four vendors in the span of a few minutes – I had to remind myself I had two entire days to try everything and to slow down and enjoy it. I was also happy that I brought too many containers this year, instead of last year when I wished I’d brought more.

I was also over-the-moon happy that some of my friends wanted to go this year, and one of my best friends said they’d happily come back next year with me! I’m so glad they had fun as well.

Vegandale Humour Sign - AterImber.com - The Veg Life - Vegandale Festival 2018

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The worst things about this year’s festival was the fact I got a bit sunburned (despite slathering myself in sunscreen every two hours) and the fact the festival grounds felt a lot smaller this year. I’m not sure if it’s because there were less vendors, or because it seemed bigger the first time with all the excitement of it being my first festival, but that was a bit sad to me.

Alright, that’s enough of a prelude, time to get to the food!

(Unlike last year, these are listed in order of what I tried first)

Southern Fried Vegan – Soul Bowl

Southern Fried Vegan Soul Bowl - AterImber.com - The Veg Life - Vegandale Festival 2018

Mac n’ cheese, corn and a big ol’ hunk of chick’n on top – what more could you want?

I have to say, I was a little bit hesitant about the corn in the mac n cheese (seriously, is that a thing?) but it turned out to be pretty good. The mac n cheese had a bit of a kick to it, and was creamy and cheesy. It wasn’t super stretchy cheese or anything, but was definitely a good sauce.

The chick’n was good too – it wasn’t chewy or squishy either. I’m not sure if it was seitan or not, but it had a good bite to it – wasn’t too hard, and definitely didn’t over-shadow the rest of the dish.

All in all, I’d definitely get this dish again if it was available. Wasn’t the best thing I had, but it definitely wasn’t bad either.

 

Island Noodles – Soba Noodles

Island Noodles Soba Noodles - AterImber.com - The Veg Life - Vegandale Festival 2018

 

 

 

 

 

 

I must admit, I’m a sucker for noodle dishes (one of my fav things ever is lo mein), so there was no way I was passing on these guys. Also, they came all the way up from friggin’ Hawaii.

Soba noodles are made from mostly buckwheat (I asked the vendor) and they closer to egg noodles then rice noodles or spaghetti. They were pretty good.

This dish was basically a vegan lo mien and I a million percent was fine with that. I like trying things that aren’t always weird/new, sometimes an old fav hits the spot the same way exotic foods never could. They also gave me the most giant-est piece of broccoli ever, which just made it even better.

If vegan restaurants here started offering this, or they came to Toronto, I would definitely grab this. If you’re ever in Hawaii, I recommend checking out this dish.

 

Compton Vegan – BBQ Jackfruit Ribz

Compton Vegan BBQ Jackfruit Ribz - AterImber.com - The Veg Life - Vegandale Festival 2018

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I’ve never had jackfruit before, so I knew this was something I definitely had to try, but wasn’t too sure what to expect.

The ‘ribz’ were soft-chewy. Y’know if you eat a soup with meat in it, (like chicken noodle) and the meat is really soft/falls apart as soon as you put it in your mouth? It was that soft, but you had to work to rip the piece off from the rest of it, and chew it for a bit after. It was an odd texture to me. Again though, I’d never had jackfruit so I’m not sure if that’s just the texture it is, or if they maybe overcooked it?

I have to admit, this was probably one of my least favourite things at the festival. That said, I don’t like BBQ sauce (or chips) so my opinion might be a bit biased. But based on the texture alone, I don’t think I’d get this again.

 

Pochiche – Poutine w/ Chicken

Pochiche Poutine - AterImber.com - The Veg Life - Vegandale Festival 2018

Fries + gravy + cheese = heaven

As you may or may not know, I have a dairy allergy, so I had my first poutine I believe two years ago now. This is a dish I loved as soon as I tasted it, and in my eyes it’s hard to screw up/make a bad version.

Needless to say, I liked this one. The chicken on top, I can’t remember what the lady at the booth said it was made of, but it had a bit of an off consistency. Not sure if it was because of the extreme heat or what, but it had a bit of an odd mouth feel.

It didn’t exactly add to the dish, but it didn’t really take away either. It was just a bit distracting from the cheesy, gravy-ness of the rest of it.

Lightlife – Smart Dog

Lightlife Hot Dog - AterImber.com - The Veg Life - Vegandale Festival 2018

This was nothing special, it tasted like a hot-dog. It didn’t have that distinctive ‘this taste like plants’ taste that the Yves ones do (not to throw them under the bus, I love their pepperonis and bologne deli slices!), but I mean, it’s a hot-dog. There’s not really anything exciting about it to say.

I feel bad about that though, the fact I don’t have much to say – I don’t want that to come off as me not liking the product. It’s good for what it is, definitely better tasting then the Yves not-dog I tried.

I’d buy this, and I’d recommend you buy/try them too.

 

Nanashake – Loaded Nana Pop

Nanashake Loaded Pop - AterImber.com - The Veg Life - Vegandale Festival 2018

This f*cking thing is probably the fanciest ice-cream I’ve ever had.

It was a chocolate peanut butter ice-cream bar that had coconut whip, caramel drizzle and almond and chocolate biscotti on top. It was awesome. I loved the chocolate and peanut butter, and the caramel swirls running through the middle of it. All that awesome-ness plus the cold-ness was definitely welcomed after walking around in the heat.

They’re in North York and it’s sad yet good that they’re so far away from me because if they were closer I would go there literally all the time. I still plan on going there, just less so then if they were say, five minutes away.

If you live in Toronto or are planning a trip down, I highly recommend you stop by and get this.

 

Ben and Jerry – Almond Chocolate Chunk Ice-cream

Ben and Jerrys Almond Chocolate Chunk Icecream - AterImber.com - The Veg Life - Vegandale Festival 2018

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ah, yes, Ben and Jerry’s… while they don’t have too many vegan flavours, the ones they do offer are pretty awesome. This was a pretty simple one – plain vanilla with chocolate chunks mixed in. Not better then their PB and Cookie one, but still good. The chocolate chunks are pretty hard (assuming because they’re frozen) so be careful when biting into them.

I have to hand it to B&J’s, they definitely know what they’re doing when it comes to making ice-cream. Especially now that they’ve jumped on the dairy-free band-wagon.

If you haven’t tried their non-dairy flavours yet, what have you even been doing?

 

Fairly Frosted – Chocolate Brownie Ice-cream

Fairly Frosted Chocolate Icecream - AterImber.com - The Veg Life - Vegandale Festival 2018

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Another treat great at cooling you off on a hot summer’s day.

This chocolate brownie ice-cream is just about as great as chocolate ice-cream can get. Again, this is one of those things that’s hard to get wrong.

The worst thing about this was they only gave out two scoops.




Globally Local – Crispy Chick’N Burger

Globally Local Crispy Chickn Burger - AterImber.com - The Veg Life - Vegandale Festival 2018

If you read my review of last year’s festival, you’ll know how much I loved their Famous Burger.

While I was excited to get my hands back on their Famous Burger, since I learned how to make Mac Sauce at home, I decided I should try something else on their menu. Lucky for me, they made the choice easy by only having the Famous Burger or this one.

I have to say, a breaded chicken burger with Miracle Whip and lettuce is one of those things you don’t realize you missed until you eat it again. And boy did I miss eating them! I’ve always liked them better then regular beef burgers, and it saddens me that there don’t really seem to be any vegan breaded chick’n burger options out there.

The worst thing about this burger was they put what tasted like Veganaise on it (or their home-made equivalent). I still bought one both days and got them to cut it in half so I could take half home.

When are these guys coming to Toronto???

While all the food at the festival this year was pretty close in terms of me liking it, this was still my favourite of the ‘real food’ things.

 

Mythology Diner – Funnel Cake Bites

Mythology Diner Funnel Cake Bites - AterImber.com - The Veg Life - Vegandale Festival 2018

This was by far the most disappointing dish I tried at the festival.

I’ve never had funnel cake before, so I was super hyped to try these, and when I did, well… They tasted like a soggy Tim Bit. When I bit into one, it just squished oil out into my mouth. Not very tasty. Also the strawberry sauce they put on top of them was a bit odd, I think because they were hot? Hot strawberries is taste I don’t like, apparently. I was definitely sad these sucked, probably because before my non-vegan friend had hyped up how great funnel cakes were before going, so I was that much more excited to try them.

I haven’t written funnel cakes off totally though, I’d still be willing to try them if there’s a vegan version somewhere else.

The powdered sugar was good though.

 

While Gold Sweets – Veg Puff

White Gold Sweets Veg Puff - AterImber.com - The Veg Life - Vegandale Festival 2018

Pastry was super flaky, I think it might of been layers of phyllo pastry. The vegetables inside had that spice that I can’t name but is similar in taste to samosas or Indian stews.

It also had a bit of a spicy kick to it. It was good, my only criticism would be either more of the vegetable stuffing, or less of the pastry. There were a few bites were all I had was the dry pastry in my mouth.

 

Sorelle – Chocolate Mocha Cupcake

Sorelle Mocha Cupcake - AterImber.com - The Veg Life - Vegandale Festival 2018

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Chocolate and mocha, what more could you want? It was as good as I assumed it’d be – the chocolate cupcake tasted like a chocolate cupcake, it was really soft and didn’t dry out even after I brought it home. The only thing I didn’t like about this was that there were these little silver balls sprinkled on top of the icing. They were very hard to bite through, like a rocket. Not that they were bad, they pretty much just tasted like sugar, but the rest of the cupcake was so soft, I think they took more away from the soft chocolaty cupcake then added, with the exception of making it look prettier. Especially since the cupcake got smushed in my bag, so it wasn’t like I could see where they were, either. I had to be careful when I was eating it.

 

Sorelle –  Chocolate Doughtnut

Sorelle Chocolate Doughnut - AterImber.com - The Veg Life - Vegandale Festival 2018

This doughnut, while it didn’t have a hole, it did have a small chocolate cookie held on top by a small (but delicious!) squoosh of vanilla icing. It was soft and moist, and super chocolaty, even one day after I bought it. The vanilla icing was awesome too. Maybe I haven’t had ‘real’ icing in a while, but it reminds me of the vanilla icing that’s used at Sobey’s. It’s hard to describe, but it wasn’t ‘light’ like the Betty Crocker Whipped Vanilla icing (yep, that’s vegan!) is, it was more ‘heavy’ but not in an unsettling way. It was good, that’s all you need to really know.

The cookie on top was hard on the outside but nice and soft on the inside. Everything a good chocolate cookie should be. And, it also wasn’t very ‘dark’ tasting, which was nice, since it wasn’t very bitter.

Sorelle has a location in Toronto, and I highly recommend you check them out. (As I know I will be)

Glory Hole – Chocolate Peanut Butter Crunch Doughnut

Gloryhole Chocolate Peanut Butter Crunch Doughnut - AterImber.com - The Veg Life - Vegandale Festival 2018

…. Sensing a theme? I subconsciously tried pretty much everything with chocolate in it I could get my hands on.

This tasted like the Nana Pop – chocolaty, peanut buttery and all full of goodness. It did get a little melty in the sun, but I was more then happy to lick the chocolate off my fingers.

These guys are in Toronto too, so I’ll definitely be stopping by to try some of their other creations. Keep an eye on my Instagram to keep up with my food trying adventures!

 

Kelly’s Bakeshop – Salted Caramel Cupcake

Kellys Bakeshop Salted Caramel Cupcake - AterImber.com - The Veg Life - Vegandale Festival 2018

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Hands down my favourite dessert. Which is saying something because all the desserts I tried were pretty bomb. (With the exception of the funnel cake bites) I knew as soon as I saw it this was gonna be my favourite one. I love caramel and chocolate, if you couldn’t tell.

Although the icing got smushed in my bag (I tried to be careful too!), it was the same kind of ‘heavy’ as the Mocha cupcake icing. I’d use the word ‘deep’ to describe it, but that’s not the right word. It was just good, even licking it off the plastic container didn’t dampen the flavour.

I highly, highly recommend you try this cupcake because it’s so delicious.

The display they had of their other treats looked awesome too, like their Chocolate Coconut cupcake. I unfortunately got to their booth on the second day when my money was running low, otherwise I definitely would’ve got another cupcake.

I’m so happy these guys deliver to Toronto because I am definitely ordering these again. (I may even get them for the upcoming holidays)

If you’re able to, you definitely have to try these – they’re amazing. Definitely my new favourite cupcake flavour.

 

Julie’s Joyful Kitchen – Chocolate Cookie

Julia's Joyful Kitchen Chocolate Cookie - AterImber.com - The Veg Life - Vegandale Festival 2018

 

 

 

 

 

 

My all time favourite types of cookies are the soft/melt in your mouth ones, and this cookie was one of them.

I ate this the Monday after the festival, and it was still super soft, you couldn’t even tell it was one day old. Soft and chocolaty is personally a weakness of mine. It was a bit bitter, but other then that, it was a chocolate cookie – pretty hard to not nail.

 

Yves – Spicy Italian Sausage

(I didn’t get a picture of this, because it was the last thing I tried before leaving, and it wasn’t really much of a picture – it was a piece of the dog in a little paper cup with a toothpick in the top.)

It tasted like a hot-dog, with a bit of a kick. It wasn’t anything special, like the Lightlife dog – they’re hard to review because it’s a spicy hot-dog. Not too much can be said.

I will say though, that I didn’t know they had these, or that they were vegan, so I’ll definitely be adding them to my shopping list. I like that I discovered these and the Lightlife dogs, it’ll be nice to switch it up from the Tofurky sausages.

Vegandale Scenery - AterImber.com - The Veg Life - Vegandale Festival 2018

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

All in all, I had a lot of fun at the festival, not only trying all the amazing food, but I was also lucky enough to meet Lauren Toyota from HotforFood. She was there signing cookbooks, so of course I had to get one.

HotforFood Cookbook - Lauren Toyota Youtuber - AterImber.com - The Veg Life - Vegandale Festival 2018

 

 

HotforFood Cookbook - Lauren Toyota Youtuber - AterImber.com - The Veg Life - Vegandale Festival 2018

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

(I also got a free water bottle with the purchase of the cookbook, but for some reason every time I tried inserting the picture of it it kept crashing the web-page.)

She’s my favourite vegan Youtuber, and it was amazing to get to see her in person. She was so kind, and seemed genuinely interested in the small convo we had, instead of other famous people who you can tell don’t really want to be there. I’m so grateful I didn’t miss her like I did last year.

This festival so far has gotten better with age, and I can’t wait for next year’s!


Like this review? Check out my other reviews here!