Restaurant Review: Graze Food & Drink

October 19th, 2013 Comments off

I had heard about a new vegan restaurant called Graze a few months back but hadn’t been out to try it. I follow their posts on Facebook and noticed a contest where you could win dinner for 2 if you signed up for their newsletter. I never win anything but I thought I would sign up anyway as I am always looking for new vegetarian restaurants in Vancouver. A few days later I got an email saying I had won so we quickly booked a dinner for the following Wednesday.

Graze Menu

 

We started off with drinks. The majority of the wines were from BC which I always like to see and we ended up selecting Merlot. As we were looking through the menus, the waitress gave us a bit of a background on the restaurant saying the owner didn’t necessarily start out wanting to build a restaurant but has been a vegan for more than half of their life and a lot of the food on the menu now were things they cooked at home regularly. This gave the menu quite a home cooked, comfort food feel to it.

For appetizers, we went with daily soup which they thoughtfully split into 2 bowls so myself and I partner could share. We also ordered the Fry Board which contained root vegetable chips, pickled beet fries, and crispy spiced chickpeas served with a coconut garlic aioli. The veggie chips and chickpeas were crispy and the beets were a bit of a surprise as they looked like mini fries but were actually pickled. The dip was creamy and had a slight coconut taste to it as I believe that coconut milk was the base but not overpowering at all. I have a bit of weakness for anything fried or pickled (with both of these being a vehicle for dips and sauces) so I was on cloud nine.

For mains, we spoke to the waitress about options and she recommended the crepes for a lighter option and the perogies or macaroni & cheese for a heartier meal. Since I won the dinner, I got to choose so we went heavy comfort food all the way with BOTH the perogies and the mac & cheese. Go big or go home!

Graze Mac & Cheese

The mac & cheese was made with brown rice pasta in a smoky coconut cheddar sauce, crispy eggplant, mushroom & toasted nut crumble over a potato pave, seasonal vegetables. The sauce was super creamy and amazingly non-dairy. The highlight, though, were the yam & eggplant perogies with sautéed oyster mushrooms, crispy shallots, pickled beet shred, crisp smoky eggplant & mushroom strips, smoky coconut cheddar sauce. All served with sour coconut cream, and spicy tomato jam. So many wonderful flavours mixed together.

Graze Perogies

We were so stuffed after all of the delicious food, we opted to not go for dessert as well although I would have liked to try Ice Cream Sandwich with the mocha black velvet cake, lavender caramel, and seasonal fruit coulis.

Whether you are a vegan or not, you should definitely try this place. The food was amazing and the staff was super friendly, efficient, and knowledgeable. The decor was simple and clean, with vintage style lighting. It felt more upscale than a lot of vegan restaurants tend to be.

Graze Restaurant

About Graze Food & Drink

“We are committed to an organic, sustainable & compassionate philosophy. Our all-plant-based menu, including all of our wines, beers & spirits, incorporate as many locally and organically produced ingredients as possible. Building on this foundation, we also grow our own herbs & vegetables, collect rainwater for our garden, compost our kitchen waste, reduce our power consumption, solar heat our hot water, are very particular about our paper and cleaning products and are always looking for ways to do even more.”

http://www.vegetarianrunner.com/archives/vegetarian-restaurant-graze

 

Categories: Blog Posts, Restaurant Reviews Tags:

Vegan Recipe: Lime Lentils

July 18th, 2011 No comments

Lime Lentils

Great cold as a salad or warm over rice!

Ingredients

  • 2 cups green lentils
  • 6 cups water
  • 2 whole cloves of garlic, peeled
  • 1 cup green onions, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons vinegar (rice, balsamic, red wine)
  • 1 tsp grated lime peel
  • 2 tablespoons lime juice
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • salt, to taste
  • 3 tablespoons parsley, finely chopped

Directions

  1. Rinse lentils and discard any foreign material (i.e. rocks)
  2. Combine lentils, water and 2 whole cloves of garlic
  3. Bring to a boil over high heat
  4. Reduce heat, cover, and simmer until lentils are tender (25-30 mins)
  5. Drain well, remove garlic and let cool for 15-20 mins
  6. In a large bowl, combine lentils and green onions
  7. In a jar with a lid, combine oil, vinegar, lime peel, lime juice, minced garlic and cumin
  8. Shake well then pour over lentils
  9. Mix lightly then season with salt to taste
  10. Add parsley and stir
  11. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour to let flavours mix
Categories: Blog Posts, Salads and Dressings Tags:

Nutrition Review: Elevate Me! Bars

March 6th, 2011 No comments

Recently I received a variety pack of ‘Elevate Me!’ energy bars (in Cocoa Coconut Cluster flavour) from Impact Magazine to try out. Elevate Me! Energy Bars are natural protein and whole fruit energy bars.  And are a natural alternative to synthetic protein bars, blended for people who read ingredient labels! Each 66 gram bar (divided into o 3 pieces per bar) is:

  • box cocoa 300x113 Nutrition Review: Elevate Me! Barsgluten-free, wheat-free
  • 24% protein (whey isolate)
  • cold-formed, not baked
  • low-fat, high fiber

 

They contain no added sweeteners, preservatives or flavours and come in 8 deliciously unique flavours.  All of the flavours start with a base of whey protein isolate, date, and organic raisins.  A variety of additional ingredients are added to make up the different flavours.

So?  How do they taste?

The answer is, pretty darn good actually.  They have “raw” and homemade flavour to them and a dry but chewy consistency.  The addition of coca to the Cocoa Coconut Cluster makes them taste more like treats tha

n a healthy protein bar.  I like that they are portioned into 3 pieces so that you can easily match the nutritional information to the amount you have eaten.

One bar was a great pre-workout snack that leaves me feeling satisfied and not stuffed.  I also tried portions of the bars as a post-workout snack or when I needed something between meals.  The compact bar made them a great meal on the go.

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Ingredients: whey protein isolate, dates, organic raisins †, apples, cranberries (cranberries, cane sugar, sunflower oil), almonds *, organic coconut ††, organic fair trade cocoa †††

 

 

Becoming Vegetarian: One Way to do it!

February 9th, 2011 No comments

My path to becoming vegetarian started when I was in high school (over 17 years ago!  Eek!).

I had never really liked the taste of fish (thanks mom and dad for boiling it!) so that was out from the start. To this day, I am not sure if I have ever tried things like oysters or other shellfish.

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I am also a huge animal lover and found that every time I tried to eat meat, I would think about the animals and their families and sometimes even start to cry (don’t worry, I cry during TV commercials too).  My parents loved that.

The end of me eating chicken came when my family undercooked it one day and it made me ill.  Don’t ask me to go into details.   :)

The last thing to give up (and the hardest) was beef… I loved spaghetti and beef jerky.  No, really… I used to eat about $12 of beef jerky in one sitting… I think it was the salt.

The Final Straw

One day, I went with a friend to see the movie Alive. Have you seen it? It is the one where the soccer team crashes in the Andes and end up eating each other (sorry to give away the ending!). I walked out of the movie theater and swore to never eat meat again!

My parents had a hard time with it at first but they were supportive. They were making 2 separate meals and there were not a lot of meet alternatives out in the market. Their idea of vegetarian included beans… with pork in them.  Or, picking the meat out of meals.  :)   My dad also thought it was funny to chase me around the house, trying to touch me with frozen meat while I screamed as only a teenager can.

To start, I didn’t like vegetables so my diet consisted a lot of crackers and cheese, Kraft Dinner, and instant noodles… Don’t worry, I did get some vegetables… pickles count as vegetables, right?  Looking back, I realize that my being lethargic all the time may not have been attributed to me just being a teenager.

It has taken years for me to understand the link between eating properly and my overall health and energy levels.

Does anyone else out there have any interesting stories or challenges with becoming vegetarian?

Goals: Time To Get SERIOUS!

January 19th, 2011 No comments

It has been way too long since I last posted. Christmas happened then I got busy with all the stuff I am trying to do this year. There are a lot of things going on and I am super excited about all of them. In terms of fitness, I have taken it a bit easy since Stormy 50 Mile in August and am itching to get back to some serious training. I have big goals this year and got off to a great start by getting a gift certificate for Performance Coaching @ Challenge By Choice. Sweet! With this and the much needed break, I am sooooo friggin’ motivated right now!

Here are my major fitness related goals:

  1. Get faster. Yes, I realize this is very vague but I guess what I actually mean is that I want to take this year of training and racing very seriously.
  2. Run a 100km race. I don’t think should be too much of a stretch seeing as I did 80km in August but, thinking back to goal #1, I hope to race it rather than “complete” it. We shall see how that goes. :)
  3. Run a staged race, preferably around 6 days. This may not happen until early 2012 (there is a race in Costa Rica I am drooling over) but since you can’t just jump right into these things, I am starting to think about it now.
  4. Get more involved with running-related “things”. Again, fairly vague and not really the physical side of running. The idea on this one is to see if I can find something that combines my passion for running with a job/business.

There, I said it. It’s is on paper so now to make it happen. :)

Categories: Blog Posts, Running Tags:

Race Report: Gunner Shaw 10Km Cross Country

December 12th, 2010 No comments

So, I did the Gunner Shaw 10K Cross Country last weekend. I had no plans to do it until I decided on the morning of that I should give it a try.

As you may or may not know, I am not super fond of (a) distances shorter than, say, a marathon and (b) running fast (c) running on any other surface other than a technical trail. “Why did you sign up then?”… I can hear you asking. Peer pressure? Boredom? Curiosity? Whatever it was, it worked and I headed over to the start to sign up about half an hour before the race started.

My running career started on the road and has since progressed to the trails. I hadn’t even really heard much about Cross Country and what it was all about. Once I found out, I was intrigued. Grass, trail, hills, mud, streams (and sometimes ponds) and sandy beach. Ok, I like to get muddy so why not?

The day of the race was beautiful. It was sunny and actually pretty warm for a December day. I headed to the start line with a few friends I had found there and found myself very near the front. Then I panicked. These people looked fast! I and serious! We inched back into the crowd a bit in an attempt to not get trampled when the gun went off.

Everyone started out fast. I guess this is what you have to do when there is only 10km to do. No taking your time, stopping for breaks, walking up hills… noooo… just GO!

I kept a pretty good pace through the run but I could definitely tell I was pushing it (and was going to be very sore afterwards). We ran through mud and sand and grass. I felt alright for the first half but was starting to get VERY thirsty. Note to self: plan for a race by not drinking so much the night before and make sure to carry water, even on a 10km.

By the 3/4 mark, my energy was starting to drain. If someone had told me that nausea and shortness of breath were part of it… I may have reconsidered!

The race was 2 loops of 5km which has it’s pros and cons. Pro? You know how much distance you have remaining and know what the course is like. Cons? You know how much distance you have remaining and know what the course is like. :)

I saw the finish line come into view and picked up the pace cause everyone else was. Man, that hurt! It took me a few minutes to recover but once I did, I realized that I actually quite enjoyed the race. It hurts but it is short term… and I am a sucker for punishment. I am totally doing this race next year!

Haney To Harrison (100Km Relay): Race Report

November 11th, 2010 No comments

I was asked by a friend of mine, Katie, to join a Haney to Harrison team.  Although I am usually not much of a road runner and I hate having to push myself to go fast, I thought it would fun to be a part of an all-woman team (one of three that was being organized for the group).  There were 3 teams in total: We Run Like Girls, We Run Like Girls Too, and We Run Like Girls 3.  Since I only knew one girl going into this, I made 28 new friends all in one day!

Pre-Race

As per usual, my pre-race anxiety led to roughly 2 hours of sleep on Friday night.  I had packed early on in the day:

  • Brightly colored shirt?  Check!
  • Bathing suit for hotsprings afterwards?  Check!
  • A bottle of wine with a screw-top for quick and easy drinking?  Check!
  • A “going-out” outfit for the dance at the Agassiz Agricultural Hall (with a name like that, it’s GOT to be classy… I just know it!)
  • Oh yeah… and I guess my running gear would be useful…  check…

I made sure I was relaxed (nothing says “relax” like a friendly poker game!) and ready to go to bed early.  But, of course, I made myself stressed by worrying about getting up at 4:30am.

I got picked up in front of my place at 5:05 and myself and 3 other girls immediately made a run to the nearest 24hour Tim Horton’s.  This is where the fun began.  We met a couple of very sketchy guys there who had obviously been up all night (and had a lot more fun than I did being awake).  The guy nearest to me felt the need to let us know that they had been out partying because he had been training for some martial arts tourney and hadn’t had alcohol or drugs (yes, drugs) for 2 WHOLE months!!!  They were now making up for lost time and it it was time for us to get out of there… :)

We made our way to Haney for the start of the race.  It was still very, very dark and foggy out when the race was about to begin but we sent our first set of runners out anyway.

The Race

There was a staggered start to the race but our teams all started at 6:30am.  I was in the first set of cars that were going to get runners from the first 3 legs of the race where they needed to go.  My leg was the 3rd one… 15.2km with a steep uphill to start and a long downhill for the rest.  I started at about 8:40 and even though I had peed just before the start, I had to go for the majority of my run.  I spent a lot of time scanning the side of the road for a place to duck in but it was not meant to be… with our bright yellow shirts, I wasn’t sure I would be able to hide very well.  Other than this minor issue, I had a great race!  Felt strong and thought I was moving at a pretty good clip.  I spent the last part of my leg passing (and being passed) by members of the “mullet-ed” blue man group.

74364 10150102813840041 505645040 7786106 302377 n 300x200 Haney To Harrison (100Km Relay): Race ReportHow they managed to run in those things is beyond me!  And, the fact that they wore these costumes for the remainder of the day (including to the dance that night) is whole other story…

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I finished my leg in 1:13:13 then our group hopped in the car to head back to to the hotel to get warm, eat (and get caffeinated) and enjoy the hotsprings. Since all teams were in contact throughout the race, we found out the predicted finish time for our first group and headed to the finish line to cheer on our teams. All teams ran strong and we had an excellent, all-girl, florescent cheering squad.  Congrats again to all our teams!

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The Dinner and Dance

Once all of teams crossed the finish line, we headed back to the hotel to hang out, start drinking, and get ready for dinner at the local

Harrison pub.  I had a blast meeting and getting to know the rest of the girls.  What an all-around amazing group!  Dinner was a lot of fun (how can it not be with 28 girls plus a bunch more relay teams… and alcohol?).  Katie and I shared Nachos (we deserved it!) and what was supposed to be a salad sans meat.  Now, you tell me… does cut up iceberg lettuce with 2 slices of tomatoes and cucumber count as a salad?  I am pretty sure something got lost in translation with the waitress (on one of the busiest nights of the year… I was glad I wasn’t the one dealing with the madness!).  Whatever… order more drinks and move on.  :)

After an entertaining meal, we made our way to the “dance”.  Wait, I have a question for you… what do you get when you take a bunch of rowdy runners, add alcohol, throw them into a hall in the

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middle of nowhere , and crank the cheezy music?  Mayhem!!!!!  Wow, all I can say is that it was a show all to itself.  Now, I didn’t stay until the end but I can imagine that things wen’t downhill from there… fun!!!!

I am still amazed at the level of organization needed to coordinate, not one… but 3 teams!  If I had to organize teams, race packages, coordinating outfits, hotels, cars, etc.  I am pretty sure my head would explode.  Leah, the volunteers, and everyone that helped out, I can’t thank you enough for the effort you put in for this race… you rock!!!  To all the girls I met and got to know, I had a blast!  You are all amazing!

3 Days Later

… and I am still sore!  Holy friggin’ hamstrings!  I think it is time to head back into the trails for a while.  :)