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 Post subject: Re: The Vancouver Island Thread
PostPosted: Wed Jul 03, 2013 10:54 am 
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Vegan Vegan Vegan Vegan Vegan
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Location: Halifax, NS
I just flew home from Victoria last night - man I was impressed by the vegan food in that city! The Pink Bicycle had amazing burgers, I got vegan pizza at the Joint, Cafe Bliss had freaking incredible milkshakes, Green Cuisine was awesome and most places had vegan dessert options. Re-Bar was awesome too! I miss the food already!


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 Post subject: Re: The Vancouver Island Thread
PostPosted: Tue Aug 13, 2013 4:48 pm 
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So Totally Yiffy

Joined: Sat Mar 05, 2011 7:58 pm
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Hi - heading over to Vancouver Island & Salt Spring next month and would love your recs where to visit & eat.

Visited (live in London) a couple of years ago but had no car and just did a day in Victoria & two days in Ganges. Going to be brave and hire a car this time! Got 4 days in SS and 2 days to tour round VI before heading to Olympic national park.

Really excited as fell in love with SS (live music in Moby's was a higlight - & Babs Buns but was veggie then and can't remember how vegan friendly it was) and looking forward to seeing more of the Island - and don't know where to start with VI!

Any suggestions of where to visit would be fab - VI looks enormous and don't want to be on the road the whole time - is there an area we should limit ourselves to within easy reach of Victoria? Saw vijitas recs a few pages back - are the falls you recommended close to Victoria?

Thanks Lucy x


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 Post subject: Re: The Vancouver Island Thread
PostPosted: Tue Aug 13, 2013 6:10 pm 
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Vegan Since Before There Were Vegetables
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Location: Wolfville, Nova Scotia
Salt Spring pretty much sucks for restaurant food, but there is a lot of vegan goodness to be had at the health food store in Ganges (Natureworks), the Saturday Market, and the other farmer's market (which used to be on Tuesday, but I think it is Wednesdays now?). So hopefully you have somewhere to cook! The best restaurant was Market Place Cafe, that had barely anything vegan on the menu but the chef was amazing and would make me wonderful meals, but sadly they closed. Barb's Buns isn't vegetarian, but there are some options. It's really busy and the service is sloooooow, but that's Salt Spring for you. All their bread has honey, btw. Salt Spring Island Roasting cafe usually has a tasty vegan soup and sometimes a vegan baked good. Harbour House are really nice about veganizing stuff, even though it won't be the most exciting thing you've ever eaten. Arigato has cheap veggie sushi and the best owners. Pomodoro's will make you a vegan pizza (I think they have Daiya now but their cheeseless pizzas are much better because they spoil you with toppings). Morningside in Fulford is...an experience. If you like raw vegan sweets you'll find them here, as well as some sandwiches (though the menu is really cheese-filled which is odd because the owners are vegan), and a variety of non-dairy milks for coffee. There's a vegan peanut tofu wrap at Treehouse that's passable, but the live music every night is nice.

Salt Spring is not for eating out as a vegan, but if you hit up the market there are some great finds like an organic vegan onigiri vendor, a lady who mills her own flours by bicycle power and makes all sorts of vegan goodies, both savoury and sweet, a delicious falafel vendor, tofu smokies, preserves, an AMAZING bread baker who always sells out before 10 am, raw food vendors, a sauerkraut and vegan kimchi vendor, and of course the best of the island produce.

Climb or drive up to the top of Mount Maxwell! If you like wine, Mistaken Identity just north of Ganges is wonderful and their wines are organic and vegan. The two wineries on Fulford-Ganges Road are also worth a visit. At the Salt Spring Island Vineyard you can buy a local vegan tapenade and the aforementioned AMAZING bread and sit by the pond in the sun drinking wine. It's pretty much the best thing ever.

For a pretty off-the-beaten-path amazing beach that tourists don't know about, drive north of Ganges on lower Ganges road past the golf course, turn left on Baker (and be amazed by some of the freaking amazing properties the North islanders have!), all the way till you can't go any further. It is a gorgeous beach and nice and private save for the random person with a cute dog and TONNES of eagles.

That is Salt Spring in a nutshell. :) Driving up to Fernwood is nice too, and a dip in one of the lakes is glorious if you go early/late enough because the public beach areas get pretty crazy. Oh and if you like art and you will have a vehicle, do the studio tour!

As for Vancouver Island, if you only have two days, you might want to just stay in Victoria, but that depends on what kind of experience you are looking for.You can do a day trip to Qualicum falls from Victoria, but it's a bit of driving. Alternately if you're coming from Salt Spring you could take the Crofton ferry and then you're closer. Another nice nature day trip is to the Sooke potholes, which is about a 30 minute drive east of Victoria.

I love writing travel guides. :) Have fun!


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 Post subject: Re: The Vancouver Island Thread
PostPosted: Tue Aug 13, 2013 7:14 pm 
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Drunk Dialed Ian MacKaye
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Location: vancouver island
Yeah, you'll lose a lot of your time for exploring if you make it up-island, though it's gorgeous here. Nanaimo, Qualicum Falls, Parksville, etc - all brimming with beautiful beaches and lush forest and waterfalls and mountains. If you decide to make it up that way, I think I posted a page or two back about what's nice over here, though I'd be happy to post it again. Anyway, I think you could easily enjoy your time just visiting between Salt Spring and Victoria, so I'll leave suggestions to our Victoria/SS PPKers.

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 Post subject: Re: The Vancouver Island Thread
PostPosted: Wed Aug 14, 2013 2:19 pm 
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So Totally Yiffy

Joined: Sat Mar 05, 2011 7:58 pm
Posts: 34
Thanks so much guys!

Is there another island you would recommend as day trip from Salt Spring? And any bars in Ganges (where we're staying) you recommend - went to Moby's every night on last visit? Their open mic night was fantastic. I think we'll just play it by ear on VI. A guy at work lived there years ago but all his recommendations reflect the fact that he was working for a helicopter co - not drivable in a couple of days!

Finally, the SS Fall Fayre is on while we're there - not a fan of livestock shows but looks like it might be fun - is it worth spending a day there?

Thanks again!


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 Post subject: Re: The Vancouver Island Thread
PostPosted: Wed Aug 14, 2013 2:47 pm 
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Vegan Since Before There Were Vegetables
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Location: Wolfville, Nova Scotia
We went to the fair once. Other than some interesting humongous zucchini--it was pretty dull. But if you want to get a feel for the tight knit SSI community, it's kind of an interesting event. Out of the four pubs in Ganges, I'd recommend Moby's. Harbour House (across the street from Moby's so same view), isn't really a pub/bar, but we'd go there for a drink. Shipstones has a nice view of the harbour and a great patio but ugh, I know too much about the internal stuff there. The Local is not at all recommended. Salt Spring Inn isn't bad except there isn't really a view, but who cares because there is a resident cat!


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 Post subject: Re: The Vancouver Island Thread
PostPosted: Wed Aug 14, 2013 3:40 pm 
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So Totally Yiffy

Joined: Sat Mar 05, 2011 7:58 pm
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We're staying at Harbour House! I LOVED their goats last time so hope they're still there. My mum's got pet sheep and it felt like a home from home with the goats coming up for a chat and a scratch. Great food too, their sourdough was fantastic. I think we'll stick to Moby's then - enjoyed the Salt Spring IPA (better check that's vegan though - if not grateful for any local brew recommendations).

Might check out the Fayre then. The best feel for the community we got last time was sitting on the local bus as it did its rounds - so many interesting characters and conversations and such a friendly and helpful driver.


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 Post subject: Re: The Vancouver Island Thread
PostPosted: Wed Aug 14, 2013 4:28 pm 
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Vegan Since Before There Were Vegetables
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Location: Wolfville, Nova Scotia
They've planted a beautiful garden and get most of their produce from there, so it is really nice! The goats were still there last time. Oh you are making me miss living on Salt Spring. For every time I lamented not being able to eat good vegan food other than a falafel or a salad, I still more than appreciated the beauty and solace of the island. It's a pretty magical place.

You can take a short trip to Pender. I love Pender! They have hitchhiking stops (like bus stops, but free!), so you shouldn't bring a car for the full experience. :) The B&Bs there are much more affordable than Salt Spring too.


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 Post subject: Re: The Vancouver Island Thread
PostPosted: Wed Aug 14, 2013 4:59 pm 
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So Totally Yiffy

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Cheers, love the sound of the hitchhiking stops - the one thing I'm worried about getting a car this time is that you're in a bubble and don't have all the opportunities to meet local people like you do hanging out on the bus! Actually am more worried about left hand drive car as never did get the hang of it when drove from Portland to Olympic NP last time. So will be great to have a carless day on Pender.


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 Post subject: Re: The Vancouver Island Thread
PostPosted: Wed Aug 14, 2013 5:17 pm 
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Location: Central Alberta, Canada
If you are going to have a car for some of your trip, I would highly, highly recommend heading up the sunshine coast via Sechelt...now, I'm giving away all of my good secrets here, but if there if any way you can make it to Powell River on the sunshine coast, just....do it! Nothing like it! I don't recall specific names, but there are vegan items in eateries there most. def. It's heaven And although Powell River is not technically an island, it is only accessible by fairy and has the "islans life" feel in spades!

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 Post subject: Re: The Vancouver Island Thread
PostPosted: Thu Aug 15, 2013 8:42 am 
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Vegan Since Before There Were Vegetables
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Location: Wolfville, Nova Scotia
1strangegirlbygolly! wrote:
it is only accessible by fairy

Best typo ever. <3


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 Post subject: Re: The Vancouver Island Thread
PostPosted: Fri Aug 16, 2013 5:54 am 
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So Totally Yiffy

Joined: Sat Mar 05, 2011 7:58 pm
Posts: 34
awww and the most disappointing - a trip where you get to meet friendly goats, fairies and freakishly large zucchini just sounds like the best ever.

Thanks again for all the recommendations - I'll report back . . . . . .


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 Post subject: Re: The Vancouver Island Thread
PostPosted: Wed Aug 28, 2013 10:01 am 
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Brain Made of Raw Seitan
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Location: Alberta, Canada
Sooo, me and Mr. Muggins have been kicking around the idea of moving to Vancouver Island. There’s nothing in the works yet, just discussions about how we’re done with Calgary and the Island seems like a great alternative. I’m not very familiar with any of the places there but we don’t think living in Victoria would be an option due to cost and the fact that we’d like to live somewhere a little smaller. We’ve been looking into surrounding areas like Comox Valley, Nanaimo, Sooke, Parksville, etc., I’m not sure if anyone on the forum lives in these areas but I was hoping for a little feedback. What are these areas like, are they very touristy? Is crime kind of high for the size? What’s the vegan community like (if there is one)? Are people pretty laid back or more pretentious/standoffish? I’ve got so many questions I’m not sure where to start, but any info you might have would be super helpful!

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 Post subject: Re: The Vancouver Island Thread
PostPosted: Wed Aug 28, 2013 11:29 am 
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Drunk Dialed Ian MacKaye
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Location: vancouver island
I live on the Island! In Nanaimo, to be specific. It's pretty laid back here. I find Nanaimo not to be touristy much, except maybe downtown in the summertime, and even then it's not bad. Parksville is definitely much more of a tourist spot. Gorgeous though. The beaches are fantastic, and there's a great night market in the summer. Nanaimo is close enough that you can easily go to the beaches there for an afternoon. Lots of raw food in Nanaimo (as well as Qualicum), easy to buy mostly any vegan specialty item available in Canada, there are definitely a few restaurants that can make some good vegan food, but not tons. Most of the coffee shops here offer both soy and almond milk (although Starbucks definitely only has soy). Nanaimo is awesome for outdoor adventuring - even just low-key, like walking around the lake, walking on the Waterfront/beach/etc. Lots of art/music if you know where to look. There's always stuff going on at the Port Theatre. It's also super central (Nanaimo, I mean), so if you want to go hiking/camping elsewhere on the island, it's not hard. Tofino is a 3-4 hour drive and makes a nice weekend away. I already mentioned Vic/Van being easy to get to. There are also all the islands to explore (Salt Spring, Gabriola, Denman, Newcastle). Oh, and I have no idea about getting anything vegan to eat (maybe go for a drink?), but there's a floating pub/restaurant in Nanaimo. ETA: And in Parksville, there's a vegan taco cart!

Not totally sure about the vegan scene here. I think it may be somewhat limited, but I'm not a part of it at all if it exists. (Also, we're right in the middle between Vancouver and Victoria, which definitely have vegan communities. Easy to get to either - a quick drive gets you into Victoria (1.5 hours usually), or a 2-ish hour ferry ride right out of Nanaimo gets you to North Vancouver.) ETA: There are definitely vegans here though. Just working in a coffee shop, I've encountered several, and worked with a couple.

If you have more specific questions, let me know! I've been in Nanaimo for five years, and my partner grew up here, and also knows Parksville/Qualicum quite well from working there lots. Feel free to message me too, if there's anything else you want to know about. Good luck!

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 Post subject: Re: The Vancouver Island Thread
PostPosted: Wed Aug 28, 2013 7:27 pm 
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Vegan Since Before There Were Vegetables
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Location: Wolfville, Nova Scotia
Yay! I live on the Saanich Peninsula now (in Brentwood Bay, which is just north of Victoria but close enough to make Victoria extremely accessible, but I've lived in downtown Victoria, way out in Sooke doing the commute to Victoria, and on Salt Spring Island being an islander. I really like the Cowichan Valley (Duncan, Cowichan Lake, etc) too as well as Parksville/Qualicum beach. I totally nominate Sooke though. It is absolutely gorgeous, and you are just a windy road away from Victoria where there is a super thriving vegan community. When we lived there (about six years ago) we rented a beautiful house on seven acres with forest, water, and mountain views for $700/month! It was amazing and totally worth the price I paid for commuting (it wasn't very safe in the winter and when I commuted by bus it would add anywhere from 2-4 hours on to my work day). There are really good housing finds. I didn't much get involved with the community at all there since I was spending most of my time in Vic but it's an eclectic mix of charming rednecks (the dive bar Buffy's was our favourite hang-out), hermit artists/hippies (we probably fell into this category), and young families. It's not particularly touristy compared to all the other places you mentioned. Tourists come for the potholes in the summer but usually island tourists go north instead of east of Victoria. The grocery stores suck (though they are probably better now), but we used SPUD which is an organic box delivery program which carries everything from frozen vegan ravioli to gorgeous produce to nooch.

And north of Nanaimo is really fun too! Coombs! Qualicum falls! (aka my favourite place on earth). Vegan taco shop! I would totally move up there if I could find work there.


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 Post subject: Re: The Vancouver Island Thread
PostPosted: Thu Aug 29, 2013 9:31 am 
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Brain Made of Raw Seitan
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Location: Alberta, Canada
Thanks for all the info! Are there many job oppourtunities out there? We originally were thinking of getting involved in the tourism or food service industry, but even just taking a quick look online, it seems a little saturated. Of course we're all gung ho about moving there but the question of "what would we do?" is kind of an important topic. Did you guys find it difficult to find jobs there?

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 Post subject: Re: The Vancouver Island Thread
PostPosted: Sat Aug 31, 2013 7:30 pm 
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Location: Wolfville, Nova Scotia
Tourism and service jobs are aplenty! It's the other jobs that are hard to score. You're competing with students for serving jobs, which is kind of an easy win unless they want you to look 19 and you don't have any experience. There are some neat off-the-beaten track tourist jobs too. I cleaned parks French Beach, worked at zip-line company in Sooke, and now I work at a cider in Saanichton.

Resort jobs really like hiring couples, too.


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 Post subject: Re: The Vancouver Island Thread
PostPosted: Sun Sep 29, 2013 6:32 am 
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So Totally Yiffy

Joined: Sat Mar 05, 2011 7:58 pm
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Had an amazing time on SSI & Vancouver Island. To the extent where as soon as I got home I looked up how easy it was to get a working visa from UK. I'm too old!!

The weather was incredible for entire two weeks so everywhere looked even more beautiful than last time I went. Loved the Fall Fair - the land where it's still 1967! You were right Vijita, zucchini are a BIG deal - the zucchini races were the main event.

Favourite place to eat was the Treehouse Cafe, also loved the live music there. Jukebox Social were one of best bands I've heard for a long time. There is also a 'awesome' raw food place which was good.

Harbour House was OK but really needs a refurb, the bathroom was not great at all and either smelt damp or of bacon (drifting in from air vent - hmmmmmm) at all times. But driving round the Island, came across Salt Spring Spa where you can rent these super cute pods which all have a wood burner and sea view. So instead of leaving SSI, stayed for another couple of days in one of those. If I had my way, would still be there! Highly recommend those for anyone visiting SSI.

Didn't get to Pender as ferry left at 6.15am which was never going to happen. Didn't get to the falls you recommended on VI either as spent too much time in Salt Spring to do any more than dash across from Crofton to Victoria to catch the ferry to Port Angeles. But stopped off in Duncan which was fab - Duncan Garage has fantastic veg cafe and saw some pretty interesting locals! Anyone ever seen the guy driving round his 'Hungry Circus' bus?! Apparently there's another who drives an ex-police car converted into a zombie catcher. Gutted didn't see him.

So envious of you pacific north westeners - you live in such a beautiful and interesting part of the world . . . . . I'm hoping that once the jet lag wears off I'll come to terms with being back in London again!!


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 Post subject: Re: The Vancouver Island Thread
PostPosted: Wed Oct 16, 2013 12:02 pm 
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Vegan Since Before There Were Vegetables
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Location: Wolfville, Nova Scotia
So glad you had a good time! It looks like awesome closed--can't say I'm surprised, but it's too bad! It seems like all the vegans I met on Salt Spring were REALLY into raw food (and many had the money for all the equipment/huge properties with big beautiful gardens). Broke vegans like me who are very much into cooked food have/had few options eating out, so that peanut tofu wrap at Treehouse and the soups at Salt Spring Roasting were huge staples! Oh and the falafel cart!

The SS Spa pod place sounds incredible!

I am happy you found time for the Duncan Garage. That place is super hilarious & awesome. I hope you got one of the vegan scones! I miss Duncan...it used to be our only affordable "escape" when we got island fever and we'd ferry to Crofton for a day of bookshop browsing, hot and sour soup at Nha Trang Maki, a winery visit, scones and hard-to-get veg groceries at the Garage, and refills for our water carbonator. Haha. Actually those were really lavish escapes come to think of it. But we made them so infrequent that splurging seemed okay!

So Victoria has a new veg (mostly vegan) raw and cooked restaurant by the people behind Cafe Bliss. I am excited albeit a little bit skeptical because Bliss is so expensive for not offering a more comfortable and higher end dining service, but it looks like this is what "one love" (all lower case, and no, not affiliated with Supreme Master) is going for (organic wines! Dinner service!). It's on Blanshard near the Royal Theatre/Pink Bicycle. They just opened.


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 Post subject: Re: The Vancouver Island Thread
PostPosted: Mon Oct 28, 2013 10:04 pm 
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Vegan Since Before There Were Vegetables
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Location: Wolfville, Nova Scotia
I am just super stoked to say that I have taken on a new role at work that has me on three-four day business trips up-island! And to Vancouver as well! YAY. I always wanted to be Death of a Salesman. No really.


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 Post subject: Re: The Vancouver Island Thread
PostPosted: Mon Jan 06, 2014 11:09 am 
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Vegan Since Before There Were Vegetables
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Location: Wolfville, Nova Scotia
By the way, be love is pretty okay. It's expensive, and all gluten-free so the only bread they have is raw crackers, and I'll be the first to complain about raw crackers but will also say that be love's are the best I've ever tasted.

I've tried cooked stuff only aside from the desserts (I had a turtle cheesecake and it was insane). The hearty bowl features huge hunks and not-very-seasoned tofu, a really boring miso gravy, not very well seasoned potatoes, and a big pile of greens which is probably the best part. The wild mushroom fettucini is getting better, and the mushrooms are fantastic. The hummus plate is actually really good because the hummus is Lebanese-style smooth and covered in smoked paprika and olive oil, and the olives served with it are warm and delicious.

The drinks are fun! I had a crazy sake bloody mary that was amazing. It had wakame and all sorts of cool shiitake in it, and was made with a house chilli vodka and freshly juiced spicy tomato mix. The bartender is really creative, and I don't mind the prices because the ingredients used for the drinks are really, really great, and since Victoria is suddenly becoming cocktail town because of Little Jumbo and places like that, the prices are competitive.

Everything is vegan except honey in some of the drinks, clearly marked. They also have a bunch of mead on the booze menu.

I had a bite of what sounded like it might be tasty (raw ZLT, zucchini bacon, lettuce, tomato, and cashew mayo on seed cracker bread), but it was too sweet and weird for my tastes. Still, they seem to be always really busy, which is great! The space is gorgeous and the staff are all the most beautiful people in the world, which I think is always kind of weird but whatever, maybe it's that raw food lifestyle glow?


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