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Hang on, brunchers, Trella not ready with the pancakes and french toast

In the time since this post was written, Trella restaurant has closed.

Hi all:

Just a brief note to tell you that Trella is not serving pancakes and french toast for brunch after all. Those items are proving a bit harder to work in, requiring new recipes etc. rather than simple swaps. We’ll see if we can get them back on the menu in the future. In the meantime, Trella still does have a some vegan breakfast options. But Cafe My House or The Imperial are going to have to give you your vegan pancake/french toast fix for now.

I’ll keep you posted!

A hella good meal at Trellla

In the time since this post was written, Trella restaurant has closed.

I was trying to figure out where to have my sweetheart take me for an early Valentine’s celebration, when Erin gave the core NCVA volunteers some exciting news: trendy Italian restaurant, Trella was going to join the NCVA’s newly launched Restaurant Outreach Program, and in a big way.  As I read over their new vegan menu, developed with Erin’s coaching and encouragement, my mouth watered.  It was true Italian favorites veganized… and I didn’t even have to cook!

Trella’s dining room. It’s actually a lot brighter than this photo would suggest.

Yves and I agreed we’d give them a try, partly because it sounded so delicious, but also partly to give them a test run before encouraging other people to dine there.  Trella is not someplace I’d ever been, or even heard of before they joined the outreach program. Quite frankly, I’d rather just go to places where a) I know they have lots of vegan options for me, because I have little interest in dining on limp salad, and b) I don’t have to ask a zillion questions.  In the case of Trella, Erin had already paved the way and given them the best vegan education she could.

But I have to admit. I still felt some pre-dinner anxiety.  What if they ran out of Daiya?  What if they used real sausage instead of faux? What if they had no idea what I was talking about when I asked for the vegan menu?

The Trella vegan menu, complete with NCVA leaping carrot.

It turned out my fears were unjustified. I was pleased to note that Trella is spacious, bright, and modern-looking, although, it wasn’t as busy as I’d expect it to be on a Friday night. I had made a reservation, and our table was already waiting with the vegan menu laid out for us.  I have been involved with the NCVA for more than four years now, and it was a thrill to see our logo, and little stickers with the leaping carrot, all over the menu.  I may have even squealed.  Restaurant outreach is something I’ve wanted to do for some time, but without enough volunteers it simply wasn’t feasible, at least not until Erin came along and made the project her own.  It was amazing and almost moving to see the fruits of her labour.

We forgot to take a photo until we’d eaten all but one piece. It came with four pieces.

It was equally amazing to taste the fruits of her labour.  Yves and I started by ordering their bruschetta as an appetizer.  But Trella wasn’t about to let us go hungry. Before we could even order the server brought us some buns (white and brown) with oil and vinegar to dip them in, garnished by olives which the server assured us they were vegan.  (Are some olives not vegan? I wouldn’t know, I don’t like them.) The bruschetta arrived, piled high with ripe and garlicky tomatoes.  We were off to a good start.

For our mains, we ordered two entrees to share: Tagliatelle Salsiccia (vegan pasta, vegan tomato sauce, roasted faux Italian sausage, garlic, roasted red peppers and shallots), and the Diablo pizza, topped with Daiya, hot peppers, artichoke hearts, grilled faux chicken, and onions.

The Diablo pizza at Trella, made vegan.

Oh. My. God.  It was absolutely fabulous. And I’m really glad too, because the server and the owner/manager presented the dishes to us with such hope in their eyes that it would have been devastating if the dishes were awful.  But they didn’t. They were amazing, and we savoured every single bite.  By the time we were finished we were almost explosively full, but I bet if there’d been more on our plates we would have just kept eating anyway.

Pasta garnished with a basil leaf.

Maybe it was just the novelty of eating a vegan pizza with vegan cheese, I don’t know. I’m afraid of over-stating how delicious my meal was, because I know that when expectations are raised it can often lead to disappointment. But we were very satisfied and satieted by our meal, and even tried to emulate the pasta dish for tonight’s dinner. It was good, but Trella’s was better.  Theirs had satisfyingly fat linguine ribbons and a perfectly tangy tomato sauce, and tofurky sausage medallions.  And I dread the next “pita pizza” I make because it definitely won’t have the same soft doughy crust that Trella’s pizza offered.

We didn’t eat dessert at Trella, as they don’t have vegan dessert (yet!)  We were actually too full for dessert, but that didn’t stop me from chowing on an Auntie Loo’s peanut butter and chocolate cupcake anyway.

Please, give Trella a try and show them that there is a need for omnivorous restaurants to have vegan-specific menu items.  I do recommend making a reservation, and giving them a heads up that you’ll be taking advantage of the vegan menu.  They’re totally new to this, and while they’re doing their best we can help them along as well.  They may not have people ordering off the vegan menu every day. Entrees are in the $12-15 range, and there is a $2 surcharge per entree, but I can hardly take issue with it as it fairly reasonably reflects the cost differential.  (That meat, with all its environmental, health, and other costs is cheaper than vegan alternatives is another topic altogether.)

Trella will also be serving brunch on the weekends. Stay tuned for a review from Erin in the coming days.

Trella Bar and Grill

345-A Preston Ave

Ottawa, ON

(613) 237-6767

Faux Mozzarella, now at Trella! Another Ottawa restaurant joins the Outreach Program

In the time since this post was written, Trella restaurant has closed.

I’m pleased to announce that yet another Ottawa restaurant has joined the NCVA’s Restaurant Outreach Program.

Upscale but unpretentious, Little Italy’s Trella Bar and Grill is a most welcome addition, offering diverse lunch and dinner menus, plus breakfast on the weekends.

The following is a list of all the vegan or “veganizeable” items that Trella will be offering as of Friday, February 11th, 2011. They are identified by the NCVA logo on the “vegan menu” – just ask your host or hostess for it when you arrive!

Keep in mind that small additional costs may apply on some items. Alas, our favourite fauxs can be pricey…

Appetizers:

Tomato and Basil Bruschetta (with vegan bread)

Grilled Veggie Stack (with Daiya cheese or tomato sauce)

Salads:

Mixed greens with vegan balsamic vinaigrette

Trella Salad (mixed greens, grilled faux chicken, red peppers, avocado, walnuts and artichoke hearts with vegan dressing)

Asian Salad (mixed greens, grilled faux chicken, orange slices, toasted sesame seeds, vegan citrus soy dressing and vegan Thai peanut sauce)

Pasta:

Tagliatelle Salsiccia (vegan pasta, vegan tomato sauce, roasted faux Italian sausage, garlic, roasted red peppers and shallots)

Tortiglioni alla Bolognaise (vegan pasta tossed in vegan tomato sauce with faux ground beef)

Pizza (with vegan dough, vegan tomato sauce, and Daiya mozzarella):

Giardino (zucchini, mushrooms, broccoli, diced tomatoes, onions)

Diablo (hot peppers, artichoke hearts, grilled faux chicken, onions)

Carne Amore (faux Italian sausage, faux pepperoni, faux ham)

Americana (faux pepperoni, mushrooms, green peppers)

Salsiccia (faux Italian Sausage sweet red onion)

Burgers and Sandwiches:

Classic Vegan Burger (vegan bun and faux beef patty)

Portobello Burger (vegan bun and Daiya mozzarella)

House Club (vegan bread, faux chicken, faux ham, lettuce and tomato)

Breakfast:

Vegan bagel with faux cream cheese

Vegan bagel with faux ham and Daiya cheese, served with vegan home fries

We’ll be announcing a meetup at Trella very shortly, so keep your eyes and calendars open. But don’t wait for us to check it out! And if you do, be sure to post a review in the “comments” section.

Also, do visit Trella’s facebook page. “Like” them and even post a thanks on their wall for giving Ottawa’s veg*n community such a warm welcome!

Mark your calendars: Veg Fest is coming on May 1

Yes, that’s right, planning for Veg Fest III is well underway! In fact, we’ve nearly sold out our exhibitor space already.

Many people have commented on the amazingly positive energy at Veg Fest.

If you haven’t been to Veg Fest yet, it’s a can’t-miss event not only for vegetarians and vegans, but for anyone leaning towards a more kind and healthy lifestyle. If you’ve already been, you probably don’t need to be convinced to come again!

The NCVA has brought a number of high profile speakers to Veg Fest, providing an important educational component to the event. To listen to the lectures from Veg Fest I and Veg Fest II, you can click here.

We’ve moved Veg Fest up a month this year, from the end of May to the beginning of May, to avoid conflicting with the multitude of other major Ottawa events occurring then. It will once again be at the beautiful Glebe Community Centre, 175 Third Avenue, just one block west of Bank Street, and will feature a silent auction with proceeds supporting the NCVA. Veg Fest is Sunday, May 1, and will run from 10 a.m. until 5 p.m. It is once again generously title sponsored by The Table Vegetarian Restaurant. Silver level sponsors include ZenKitchen, Rainbow Foods, Market Organics and Green Earth Vegetarian Restaurant.

For more details and a growing exhibitor list, visit our Web site.

Auntie Loo: A local cupcake legend.

NEW THIS YEAR! Stay tuned for more details about a cupcake contest, for which final judging will occur at Veg Fest, and don’t miss out on your chance to enter! Plans are in the works, and NCVA volunteers have teamed up with the legendary Auntie Loo, as well as Capital Cupcake Camp’s Ian Capstick to create an event intended to showcase the unparalleled deliciousness of vegan cupcakes.

Mmmm, cupcakes.

We’ll also need plenty of volunteers, so if you want to be a part of something great be sure to get in touch with us at ottawavegfest@gmail.com .

http://www.facebook.com/v/228439240296

Click on the link above to see NCVA president Pamela promote Veg Fest I on A Channel Morning.

Leave us a comment: What is your best Veg Fest memory?

Vegan eats across the pond. (Part 1 London)

By Amanda

My husband Shaun and I were in London and Paris over the holidays. This was our first time visiting these fine cities. We did our research and had a huge list of vegan friendly eateries that we were eager to try.

Part 1 First stop…London!

With Christmas, Boxing Day and the two bank holidays, many places decided to close from Saturday until Tuesday! This forced us to wander the streets of London trying to find something on our list that was actually open. We had no idea that such a huge city like London would completely shut down over the holidays…even The Tube was closed for part of our trip! The good thing was that while we were on the search for food, we got tons of exercising walking and building up our appetites.

The first place we found was an all you can eat vegan buffet called Jai. It was your typical Asian spread with noodles, rice, stir-fried veggies and mock meats. It was also very cheap at 5 pounds 50 for as much as your belly can hold. This restaurant chain is all over London with names such as Tao, Jao, Veg, Tai and various other three-letter words. For the price and the number of restaurants, it is a safe bet.

Jai Buffet

Next on the list was Vx. This is the cafe in the basement of SSOV. (If you do not know about SSOV, then I cannot tell you what it really is as it is top secret. OH NO, I have probably already said too much!! My cover is blown….) Here we found yummy foods provided by the companies Accidentally Vegan and Ms. Cupcake. We shared a bean burrito and a Seitan Cornish Pasty. Both were delicious but I highly recommend the Cornish Pasty because it screams London comfort food! Now, for dessert! If you know me, you would know that I love my cupcakes! (I have done cupcake hops of every city I visit, always on the search for the best vegan cupcake!) We tried 3 different flavours of Ms. Cupcake’s amazing cupcakes. We had a Pomegranate, Chocolate and Ferrero Rocher. They were some of the prettiest cupcakes I have every seen but the Ferrero Rocher was out of this world! Drool…

Bean Burrito and Cornish Pasty at Vx

Ferrero Rocher Cupcake at Vx

We found another vegan safety zone-Maoz. This is a chain of falafel joints in Europe but it has spread to New York City and that is where we first experienced its greatness! Maoz is like Subway for falafels but you get to add your own topping from the endless salad bar. They provide you with a pita filled with falafels and you go nuts adding toppings such as grilled cauliflower and broccoli, tomatoes, pickles, peppers, olives and many more toppings as well as various sauces. Shaun got the pita and falafels where I chose the pita-less option where you get falafels in a box and you can still fill up on salads. It’s great because with either option, you can eat up all your veggies and then go back for a refill. It is very good and definitely worth a visit for healthy fast food.

Maoz Messy Falafel

Maoz Salad Box with Falafel

While walking all over the city, we stumbled across a vegan buffet called Vantra. We opted for the take out option where you pay for the size of the take out box and stuff it as full to your little heart’s content….BUT you have to be able to close the lid! That’s their rule and they have a sign that says so! There were hot and cold dishes consisting of stews, curries, veggies, rice, noodles and salads. Many of the dishes were quite filling with potatoes and other root vegetables. Once, we got back to the hotel with our hot mixed meal, the food was a mix of mush but tasty tasty mush! If you do not like your food to touch, then this place is not for you!

Vantra Take Out Box

One day we were walking around again desperately trying find ANYTHING vegan that was open. Just our luck, a sign yelled to us….Sagar-Vegetarian and Vegan Indian Cuisine. It was cold out and a warm curry sounded like a great idea. We asked about vegan options and the waitress brought us a special edited version of the main menu that contained all the vegan options. What a great idea…a separate vegan menu! Shaun ordered a curry on rice and I chose a Potato Curry Dosa. Very typical South Indian food but I was quite happy with our random find!

Sagar-Red Curry

Sagar-Dosa

For the Grande finale…Mildred’s. We heard many things about this great vegetarian restaurant in London. It has been around since the late 1980’s and is often a crowd favourite. The menu has mostly organic items and the vegan items are clearly labeled. I went with the Mixed Mushroom and Porcini Ale Pie served with fries and mushy peas. Shaun had the Burger of the Day with fries and a basil “mayo” that was spectacular. Both dishes were amazing and now we see why this place is always so busy. For dessert, I went with the Cherry Chocolate Truffle with Fig Coulis and Shaun had the Tofu Coconut and Banana Cheesecake with Maple Syrup. The truffle was a rich pure chocolate pudding served in a dark chocolate rectangular box. I still dream of its chocolaty goodness. The cheesecake was probably the best that either of us has ever had and Shaun knows his cheesecakes! Overall, this was the best meal we had had in London.

Mildred's Burger

Mildred's Ale Pie
Mildred's Cherry Chocolate Truffle
Mildred's Cheesecake

Overall, London was extremely veg friendly but most places knew how to make their dishes vegan when asked. All you can eat buffets and pay by box size are quite common at the restaurants. This makes it very easy to load up for a big meal and the prices are very cheap too! I know there are many other vegan places in London but we were limited as quite a few were closed over the holidays. We could easily go back to London and not eat at the same restaurants but some of these are definitely worth going again and again!

Next stop…. Paris and Part 2 of our adventure.

Pub night/Café corner revival!

We simply need more meet-ups which involve either caffeine or alcohol, both of which gets people talking. I’m sure we can rally up a good number of veg heads to come to a pub night, now can’t we? For starters, the next (and first in a long while!) pub night will be held at the Clocktower Brew Pub, at 575 Bank St. on Thurs. Jan. 27, 2011. Come out and let’s make the veg presence known at a local Ottawa favourite.

Here are the details:

  • Location: Clocktower Brew Pub, 575 Bank St. (map)
  • Date and Time: Thurs. Jan. 27, 2011, 6:30 PM onwards

I will be making this an official Facebook and/or Meet-up event. Please RSVP to help us get an idea of numbers.

Hope to see you there!

Mat & Nat handbag sale in Montreal

By Kim

When most people hear about veganism they think food. It’s pretty easy to find food labeled vegan nowadays. Do you ever go shopping and find boots or handbags labeled ‘vegan’? It’s usually more challenging to find clothing and accessories that are completely vegan.

Cute pink Mat & Nat wallet!
Yesterday I went to Montreal for the Mat & Nat Sample sale. Mat & Nat is a popular Montreal-based company that specializes in making designer, eco-friendly handbags and accessories.
Mat & Nat clutch
I’ve always wanted a Mat & Nat handbag but didn’t want to splurge. I thought, why spend $200 on ONE handbag when you can get four at H&M for the same price? By the time they fall apart you are usually looking for a change anyway.The 90 per cent off regular price tag at the sample sale seemed like my kind of a deal. It was. I ended up getting a pretty sweet handbag, and a wallet. They even gave me a free clutch when I told them I came all the way from Ottawa!

Mat & Nat handbag
Unlike shoes or boots, I have usually been able to find stylish vegan handbags at most stores. One thing that I never really thought about was, what are the cheaper bags made from? They are usually constructed of PVC or some other less than environmentally-friendly material. Mat & Nat uses recycled bottles and non-animal products in all of their creations.

I recently heard an interview with the creative director of Mat & Nat on CBC. He said that they have a vegan-only lunch policy at the office and when they go out to lunch during work hours. Although that might be a little authoritarian, I think it’s good in keeping with their environmentally friendly lifestyle of the company. Most workplaces have a dress code in place, so why not have a food code?

If you are going to Montreal this week, you should definitely stop in at the sample sale and pick up a new handbag, wallet, or laptop bag (Mat & Nat products are not just for women!) at the sale price.

Men's laptop bag by Mat & Nat

The location is 333 Chabanel, Suite 505. Just off Autoroute 40 near the Saint Laurent/Saint Denis exit. Open 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. during the week and 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Saturday. After shopping, why not pop in to Aux Vivres (http://www.auxvivres.com) for a coconut blt wrap and a bombay banane smoothie for lunch! That’s what I did! 🙂

If you can’t make it this week, Mat & Nat products can also be purchased online: http://www.mattandnat.com/