Bistro Verde – Bacon and Steak Edition

Bistro Verde at Nordstrom

Bistro Verde at Nordstrom – Breakfast view of the Art Gallery

Nordstrom recently opened in Vancouver to huge crowds.  You’d think that these people had never seen a department store before.  I decided to give it a few weeks to settle down before setting foot inside the store. A few weeks after opening, the store is still pretty insane on weekends. I went on a weekend, and lived to tell about it.  My credit card wasn’t overly happy after the experience, but the Nordstrom reputation for customer service is in tact.  The lady that helped me in the Shoe Department was outstanding. If you’re in need of shoes (and who isn’t), ask for Li Ming in Women’s shoes. Nordstrom Vancouver apparently has over 450 pairs of shoes in size 5 and under. I suspect that I will be visiting often.

So what does shopping have to do with dining out with allergies you ask?  With the new store opening, Nordstrom has also opened Bistro Verde,  a full service restaurant inside the store.  Continue reading

Apple Danish Heaven

Galiano Island, BC

Enjoyng summer on Galiano Island, BC

Hello readers.  Did you miss me?  It has been quite a gap between posts.  I’m sorry.  I’ve enjoyed the spectacular summer that we’ve had here on the West Coast. Now that it’s officially Fall, the days are getting shorter, and the weather is getting cooler.  I suspect my indoor time will increase and I’ll have plenty of time to post a few things.

When I think of Fall, I think of apples, weird right?  These days we get apples all year round, but for some reason I always enjoy them more in the Fall.  Although, I do have a slight allergy to raw apples.  When I eat certain varieties, I get a tickle in my throat and an itchy palate. I still haven’t figured out which ones are the worst ones for my allergies, so I rarely eat them raw.  However, the apples that come from my cousins apple trees out in Langley seem to be okay for me to eat.  Not sure why though. Could it be the type of apple, or that they are organic with no pesticides?  I have no idea.  But when my cousins send me apples, I always enjoy them.

Did you know that one of my favourite things to eat is apple pie?  Non-dairy, egg-free pastry of course.  I cannot resist a nice apple pie with flakey pastry, perfectly cooked apples, and just the right amount of cinnamon, sugar and lemon.  Although don’t get me wrong…I am not the baker in this scenario.  My mom bakes me apple pie. Lucky me!

Apple Danish from Edible Flours

Apple Danish (and doughnut) from Edible Flours

Getting to the point of this post…One day I happened to go in to Edible Flours, because I felt like one of their cinnamon buns (which I’ve posted about before, here).  They didn’t have any cinnamon buns, but they did have some apple danishes that looked interesting.  I thought at first they were mini, square apple pies.   But no!  Apple danishes. Of course I had to try them.

The photo isn’t the best, but that’s because soon after this photo, I basically devoured all of them.  Yes.  ALL four (in the photo, there’s one hiding under the doughnut). In my defense the apple danishes weren’t that big, so eating four wasn’t too hard. :)

So what do the apple danishes taste like?  One word.  Delicious. The pastry envelope was excellent.  Many flakey layers, and crispy and light. The apple filling was perfect too.  Not overly sweet or sticky,  and not overly spiced with cinnamon.  The apples were nicely cooked too (not mushy (overcooked), or spongy (under-cooked).  The small amount of sweet glaze on top provided the perfect amount of sweetness. This is probably the BEST dairy and egg free dessert I have eaten.

But what about that lonely doughnut you ask?  It is a doughnut shape, but I wouldn’t say it’s like a “normal” doughnut.  I found that it was too dense, but at the same time it was really moist (not in a good way).  I felt that the chocolate icing on top was what gave the doughnut a taste.  The icing was too sweet for my.  Not sure if I would try it again.  Perhaps I might like the other flavours better.

If you’re looking for dairy-egg-nut free treats, check out Edible Flours.  Not all of their products are nut free, so please read the ingredients that they provide for each item.  The staff are so nice, they will answer all of your allergy ingredient questions.  The bakery is vegan, so I’m pretty sure that the dairy and egg would not be a problem. I’ve also written about their birthday cakes.

BA – Bacon Analyst

BaconI am a BA.  A Bacon Analyst. Becoming a BA isn’t easy. It takes years of hard work and practice. Honing one’s skills in selecting, cooking and most importantly, eating bacon. As a BA, I’ve managed to figure out the best workflow to prepare bacon so that the result is perfection. Anyone can be a BA, but it takes someone with the ability to pay attention to detail and specific process.

It was time I wrote a post about bacon, since it is one of the foods I can eat without any concern for allergy.  Granted, it is not the healthiest food to love, but when you are allergic to SO many things, you really need to celebrate the things you CAN eat. Continue reading

Oat Bars in the Wild

Freeyumm Blueberry Oat Bars

Freeyumm Blueberry Oat Bars

The weather in Vanouver has been spectacular in the last month, and we have been spoiled with the early Summer weather.  My thoughts turn to outdoor activities. I’d love to one day hike the Wedgemount Lake Trail.  Its a hard hike so not sure when (if ever) I will attempt this.  I probably need to do a lot more exercise to get in shape first, and more importantly, i need to find someone who will go with me.  Although, if it requires camping, that might be a problem, because I am not the camping type.  I know I am missing out on a LOT of amazing trips, by not loving the camping life.  Maybe one day I will get over it…I’ve heard the Wedgemount trail is worth the effort. Perhaps I should start with a Garibaldi Lake hike which seems more reasonable as a one day hike.

In anticipation of actually doing some hiking this summer,  I’ve been looking for allergy friendly granola-type bars that I can take along on hikes or bike rides for a quick snack. After I tried the Freeyumm brownie bites, I thought I would give one of their other products a try since I as looking for “granola bar” type snacks. Continue reading

Yummy Cinnamon Rolls

Edible Flours Cinnamon Roll

Edible Flours Cinnamon Roll

This post was instigated by a craving for a baked goods.  Of course my allergy trifecta makes satisfying the craving a bit tricky.  If I was a “non-allergic” walking into any bakery would have been a no-brainer.  In my case I had to think about where I could go to find something both tasty and allergy safe.

I decided to head down to Edible Flours to check out what they had to offer.  I knew that they make vegan cakes and other baked goods that would likely be free of dariy, eggs and nuts, but I had not gone to the storefront to check it out.  Located on West Broadway and Vine (near the London Drugs).

Its a tiny storefront.  In their baked goods case they had a few options available that day.  The day I went to visit, they had a few cupcake options as well as some cinnamon rolls.  According to the lady at the counter, they don’t make everything that they list on their website everyday. Each day is different, so you never know what they might be baking for the day ahead.  However their most popular item is the cinnamon roll ($3.75).  Edible Flours makes TWO types of cinnamon rolls. A gluten-free version, and one made with flour.  I chose the version with flour, since I am not allergic to gluten.  The ingredients are listed on cards so that you can see exactly what’s in it.

I cannot remember all the ingredients in the cinnamon roll, but most of the time I scan for my trifecta and both version are dairy, egg and nut free.  Some of the ingredients that I do remember are: wheat flour, rice milk, vanilla, vegan butter (Earth Balance), sugar.  The gluten-free version had potato starch, and rice flour in place of wheat flour.

I was so peckish that I could not wait to take the photo before I took a bite of it.  So pardon the bite missing in the photo. This allergy safe cinnamon roll looked better than the regular cinnamon rolls I have seen in bakeries. Usually the normal ones look overly glazed with way too much sugar.  This one looked perfect.  The top looked layered and pull-apart doughy like a cinnamon roll should look.  The sugar glaze on the top looked like it had the perfect amount of sprinkled sugar and cinnamon. I was expecting that the texture would be a bit like bread. But it was actually not as dense as I thought it would be.  The flavour was really good.  The perfect combination of cinnamon and sugar, without being overly sweet.    The top was crunchy because of the melted sugar and cinnamon.

This is the second time I have been pleasantly surprised by Edible Flours.  The last time as when I had a birthday cake from Edible Flours. Next time I will have to try their cupcakes…a good excuse to go back for some sweet (allergy safe) treats

The Vegan Cheese Pizza Experience

Last week I ventured into pseudo cheese territory by trying a vegan cheese pizza.  The pizza I tried was of the frozen variety, the Daiya Mushroom and Roasted Garlic Pizza. I haven’t eaten cheese since I was maybe 6 or 7 years old, maybe I was even younger.  I can’t remember what dairy cheese tastes like, nevermind what it should taste like on a pizza.  I don’t think I have ever eaten real pizza before.  So, as I was eating the Daiya pizza, it dawned on me that I had nothing to compare it to. Is THIS what pizza is supposed to taste like? Does the Daiya cheese taste like the real thing? I was at a loss.

Daiya Mushroom & Roasted Garlic Non-Dairy Pizza

Daiya Mushroom & Roasted Garlic Non-Dairy Pizza

I felt I needed to get a second opinion.  One of my best “does-it-taste-like-the-real-thing” tests is to have non-allergic people try the food in question. It is the true test of “substitute” foods. I did this with my birthday cake, a couple of years ago.  Trying the same taste test for pizza seemed reasonable. I took the Daiya pizza over to some non-allergics for a try. Continue reading