Bacon Jerky?

IMG_5564Last summer, I was at the store looking for some snacks to pack on a day hike. It’s not easy to find snacks suitable for hiking that do not have dairy, eggs or nuts. The energy bars, granola bars are usually packed with some sort of nut product, because nuts are the perfect protein snack for hiking. This poses a big problem for me.

If I am able to find a vegan snack bar, without dairy, it almost always has nuts in it. If I find a bar without nuts, it has some sort of dairy product in it. It’s difficult to find anything suitable. I literally stood in the granola bar and energy bar aisle reading the ingredients on all the boxes…

It won’t be much of a surprise then that I gave up and decided that beef jerky was the next choice for a high protein snack. I’m not allergic to beef jerky.  It usually doesn’t contain any of my allergens.

Browsing the jerky section, I found a few options. I tend to stick with the traditional plain or original versions because I don’t like added flavours. Most of the time beef jerky is too sweet for my liking.  I prefer very basic, savoury flavour.

Scanning the selection I came across Bacon Jerky, made by Jack Link’s. Of course I was intrigued. Bacon, as a jerky…was it possible?

No hesitation, into my cart it went!

Overall impressions – the high protein/fat combination that is good for re-fueling for hiking.  I was expecting a more crispy/crunchy texture, since that is what I associate with bacon.  The bacon jerky wasn’t either of these.  It was almost like cold bacon…yes, I know this sounds rather horrible, but it wasn’t.  It tasted like bacon, without the congealed fat that you might expect with bacon that is not freshly cooked.

This is the perfect go-to hiking snack for me.

Salt Spring Island weekend (of food).

IMG_5555A few weekends ago, I spent some time on Salt Spring Island, one of the Southern Gulf Islands between Vancouver and Vancouver Island.  It goes without saying that it was a spectacular location…like almost all of BC and Canada in general..but I might be just a tiny bit biased for the West Coast.

Since I was there overnight I thought I would jot down a few places that were safe to dine while I was touring the island.

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What? A dairy-free Croissant?

Dairy-free croissant - Edible Flours

Dairy-free croissant Edible Flours

That’s what everyone asks when I tell them about these dairy-free croissants I discovered at Edible Flours. I’ve been slowly working my way through the many allergy safe treats that this vegan bakery has to offer.  I’ve written about their cinnamon bun, their cake, and their apple danish in previous posts.

Let’s dive into the details of the dairy-free croissant.

I decided to try the croissant because I was craving a cinnamon bun, but the bakery was sold out for the day.  My fault really for leaving it for so late in the afternoon to go get one! My plan b ended up being the croissant.  Sitting there in the baked goods showcase… like a “real” croissant…all golden brown and flakey looking.  It was calling my name.

Upon closer inspection, there were actually two kinds that day – the “regular” non-dairy version, as well as a gluten-free one.  Since I am not allergic to gluten, I chose the regular one. On the ingredient card, it said that the croissant was dairy-free and non-soy.  I can’t remember all the other ingredients, but they were all allergy-safe for me.  No dairy, eggs or nuts.

I literally ran all the way home with the paper packet so that I could tuck into it.  Once I got home, I popped the croissant into the oven to give it a bit of a warm-up to crisp it up a bit, and put the kettle on for tea.

Just a few minutes in the oven, then this! Looks yummy right?  It was.

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the flakey goodness inside…

Now I have absolutely no way of knowing what a “real” full butter filled croissant tastes like, so my thoughts about this non-dairy version have nothing to be compared to.  So you’ll just have to believe me when I say that this was a pretty tasty treat.  In my mind, I think a real croissant would be light, flakey and airy in texture.  Not greasy or oily, yet rich tasting.  That is how I judged the non-dairy version.

It was as I thought it would be.  Light, and flakey on the outside. The taste was not oily or greasy, it was perfect.  It didn’t taste like butter, obviously, but it was still a nice light flavour to it. Savoury, but not salty. I am not even sure how to properly describe it.

I was pretty impressed with it.  I put it on my “must try again” list.

And the next week, I did.

I learned my lesson from the sold out cinnamon buns, so the next weekend, I pre-ordered 6 croissants to make sure that I would not be disappointed.

Test number two was going to be sharing these with “non-allergics” to get their take on the non-dairy croissant.

This batch of croissants didn’t quite look the same as the first one.  This batch of croissants was oddly huge in size, and a bit pasty looking (I didn’t take a photo).  Not golden brown and nicely shaped like the one pictured.  So I wasn’t sure if these were going to taste the same.  I put them in the oven again for a few minutes before trying them, and to my delight they still tasted the same as the first one.

I handed a few off to the non-allergics. They were also impressed with the croissants. They said that it wasn’t buttery like a real croissant, but texture wise it was pretty close to the real thing.  As for the odd size and colour of these croissants.  It was probably due to the bakery leaving them a bit too long to proof.  But as we all know, looks aren’t everything, its what’s inside that counts.

Edible Flours also offers other variations of dairy-free croissant.  They include a gluten-free version, a chocolate drizzle version, and a (vegan) cheese version.

The dairy-free croissant from Edible Flours, gets a 10 out of 10 from me. It really IS that good.  Go try it (even if you’re not allergic).

“Ice Cream” Treats

IMG_4724The weather has turned…less rainy, and the sun is out more often, so my thoughts are turning to cool treats for Spring and Summer.  Dessert of any kind, for me, has always been a challenge.  Although living in Vancouver, things are changing.  There more options now, with healthier eating, and more people turning to non-dairy or vegan diets.  I’m not a vegan, but I appreciate the options these places provide for those of us with food allergies.

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Happy New Year!

Happy New Year!

IMG_4136I’ve once again been delinquent in posting in the past couple of months.  I have been busy spending the fall and winter outside enjoying the lovely winter we’ve been having in Vancouver.  So far the snow up in the mountains has been spectacular, with perfect conditions and crystal clear blue bird days.  Its hard to not to want to be out there, rather than inside writing a blog post.

 

However, no excuse really.  So here’s some of the places that I’ve had the opportunity to try out in the last few months, and I promise to write about them all soon:

  • Glowbal – the new one at Telus Garden.
  • Wildebeest – all I can say is whoa…that was good.
  • Mosaic Grille – breakfast edition.
  • Edible Flours – more baked good delights.

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