SeitansMinion's Profile

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Loud Music in Restaurants

I used to work at a pub that served a good lunch during the day, but began to fill up with young happy hour and after-work drinkers at about 4pm. The music during lunch was inoffensive and at a light volume, but as the crowd increased later, so did the energy and volume of the music. It fostered an environment where people felt happy and felt like drinking and socializing. And believe me, it wasn't TOO loud - as a bartender I will go and turn down the music if I or other servers have problems hearing the guests when they order or want to chat.

A group of elderly men chose my bar as their watering hole, and the seats on the bar that were directly below a speaker. Day in and day out, they would show up and order pints just as the room was becoming busy, upbeat, and yes, louder, and every day they would make sour faces and tell me to turn the music down. Why on earth would I turn the room into a mausoleum and drive away all the young office workers who were spending money, laughing, and talking so that five hard of hearing, grumpy old men could carry on a conversation over their one pint at their seats below the speaker?

Why they chose my bar I still don't know. :)

Apr 04, 2012
SeitansMinion in Features

Vegan coming to Edmonton

I'm a longtime vegan who lived in Edmonton up until January of 2011... slim options in/around the mall but these are my recommendations:

In the mall:

Cafe Levi on Europa Boulevard is a little kiosk that has some good hummus, pita, and other Israeli vegan offerings. Not all vegan, but a few substantial not-a-salad kind of items.

Harvey's is fast food in one of the food courts, and they have a decent veggie burger that is vegan, including the bun. You get to customize your own toppings, so there won't be any confusion with the "no mayo" thing.

Tokyo Express sushi is... fast food sushi at yet another food court within the mall. I find that any avocado maki is decent, and cheap too.

Boston Pizza, sit down restaurant on Bourbon Street in the mall has vegan pizza crust and sauce, so you can build your own yummy veggie pizza with no cheese. Decent.

Close to the mall:

A couple Indian restaurants stand out that are really close to the mall-

New Asian Village, on 100 ave and 171 or so St - They have a buffet at lunch and dinner, and I've always had good luck with asking someone to point out what's vegan on the buffet. They seem knowledgeable every time I've been in, and there has always been at least a few delicious things to eat.

Daawat, in Mayfield Common - same as New Asian Village, slightly more vegan friendly and less use of ghee, but a little less tasty, but that's just my opinion. Both are good options.

La Shish Taouk in Mayfield Common has some wicked falafel, it's a casual eatery where you can sit in a decent atmosphere or do takeout. Good sides too.

In general:

There are a few chain fast foodish restaurants where you can get decent vegan food if you're stuck with coworkers - Extreme Pita, Opa! (greek food), TacoTime, Taco Del Mar, Mucho Burrito....

And, of course, if you have the luxury of time and cab money, visit Padmanadi in Chinatown. Amazing food, staff, everything. I've rarely eaten so much that it's uncomfortable, but I have on many an occasion there. :) Also, Remedy Cafe by the university, great coffee and South Indian vegan food. They even have vegan cheesecake! But these are a bit of a drive from the monolithic Mall. If you're stuck at West Edmonton Mall, you have to make do, but there are options.

Good luck!!

-----
Taco Del Mar
420 2 St SW, Calgary, AB , CA

Mucho Burrito
11658 Sarcee Trail NW #104, Calgary, AB T3R 0A1, CA

Padmanadi
10740 101 St NW, Edmonton, AB T5H 2S3, CA

Jun 04, 2011
SeitansMinion in Prairie Provinces

Nourish Bistro?

Stellar. You should go! It's vegetarian, but most dishes can be modified to be vegan or gluten free, and everything is clearly labelled on the menu. The atmosphere is fun and homey, and you need to get the nachos. Everything on there but the kitchen sink, and so so good. I'm not kidding! There were pickles, strawberries and quinoa on there, among other things, the time I went. It all worked!

May 15, 2011
SeitansMinion in Prairie Provinces

Graduation Gifts by College Major

I actually bought my engineer father a little coffee cup hotplate years and years ago and he used it every day while poring over schematics.

May 15, 2011
SeitansMinion in Features

Asafoetida/Hing in YYC?

Thanks, Scary Bill! I'm vegan, but I passed on the info to my bf who is definitely a carnivore, and he is making a trip on Wednesday to check out the bison. I forsee a few bison on the grill soon, especially since it's been nice out :)

Mar 13, 2011
SeitansMinion in Prairie Provinces

Asafoetida/Hing in YYC?

Thanks for all the advice!! I'm going to check out all those places, I love exploring new groceries!!

Mar 13, 2011
SeitansMinion in Prairie Provinces

Asafoetida/Hing in YYC?

I've searched the prairie board, but no notes on where to buy powdered hing in Calgary - I'm new to the city but I've explored a couple little grocers and no luck so far.

Anyone know of a good Indian spice market/grocer that stocks hing?

Thanks!

Mar 12, 2011
SeitansMinion in Prairie Provinces

Heading Up To Jasper

Went to Jasper for two nights on the May long weekend, and had fantastic food. My boyfriend is an omnivore and I am vegan, but we both had great meals.

Evil Dave's was the first night, and the atmosphere was warm and casually sophisticated, if that makes sense at all. The service was friendly, attentive, and knowledgeable without being intrusive, and provided a seamless experience. My boyfriend had the halibut on the server's recommendation, and raved about it. I had the coconut curry vegetables over rice noodles, and the dish was simple and well-seasoned, a perfect balance of sweet and spicy. Overall we had a perfect evening, sharing a half-litre of the house "Evil" red, and lingering over our meals.

We had wanted to try Andy's Bistro the second night as everyone had recommended it, but we arrived a little after the 9pm closing time, and the server directed us to Fiddle River. I had my doubts walking in as the decor is a little dated, more "old Jasper" with lacquered wood and mountain artifacts adorning the walls. The service was spotty and slow, but it could have just been an off night. The food made up for our concerns about the service as soon as it arrived - the omnivore boyfriend had the beef tenderloin special, wrapped in bacon and in a lobster cream sauce. (For the record, even disregarding my long-term veganism, I thought this sounded like an odd combination!) Apparently the combination worked, as the plate was met with bite after bite followed with exclamations of approval. The kitchen made me lentil-stuffed peppers over rice, a tomatoey dish with lots of French herbs. Excellent.

For breakfast, Coco's Cafe was our favourite - I could eat tofu scramble and the omnivore could indulge his egg and French Toast breakfast cravings. We also consumed way too many cups of the Oso Negro coffee, roasted in Nelson, BC. The cafe has counter service, limited seating, and a decidedly hippie vibe, but as we sat and relaxed, we watched a steady stream of people from all walks and occupations coming in for a quick bite or takeout. Always a good sign.

Overall, Jasper is more expensive than an average weekend of eating in Edmonton, but that's what is to be expected in the national parks. I was surprised that both of us could eat so well with our different diets - my boyfriend actually commented that I ate "real food" all weekend, as usually it's a salad for me if he has a meat meal. I was impressed with the way the servers seemed to be better-informed and aquainted with food restrictions and allergies, and general menu knowledge.

May 30, 2010
SeitansMinion in Prairie Provinces

A Check on Rude Behavior

It seems like Helena missed the point on the first question -
The annoyance seems to be in the fact that everyone has decided to forfeit the points on their individual credit cards in the interest of ease of payment for the entire group. One person "forgetting" cash as per the agreement allows them to scoop the points for the entire, much larger bill.

May 25, 2010
SeitansMinion in Features

On Servers Forgetting Orders

I am vegan, and my sister is celiac. When we go out to eat with a group of people and the server isn't carrying a notepad, I always sigh inwardly... I know that there's a 50-75% chance that she or I are going to have to send back our meals and wait 10 minutes for the correct ones, watching the rest of the group eat theirs.

We never make a fuss at restaurants, maybe quietly asking a question about ingredients, but usually just sticking with what we know is safe to order. Maybe we should become those annoying diners, announcing our restrictions and preferences loudly and demanding high-maintenance service... Maybe then the "without chicken, please", and the "hold the croutons" would stick in the server's mind.

Oh, and I was a server for 13 years - I have experience in everything from cocktail waitressing to bartending, to fine dining and banquets, as well as a brief stint at a restaurant with swinging wooden doors and chicken-fried steak on the menu. Tips depend on a pleasing, well-timed, and seamless experience for the diner (or drinker), and in order to avoid tables in my section swivel-necking to see where their side of dressing is, or wondering why their vodka tonic didn't show up with the round, I always wrote everything down.

Feb 26, 2010
SeitansMinion in Features

It's Not Stealing, It's Unauthorized Takeout

If everybody did this, it would put all buffets out of business. It's not fair to the other patrons, and especially not fair to the restaurant owner, who expects to be feeding you for one meal, not the whole bleeding week.

I get that there's an average factored into buffet prices - that one patron might eat four heaping plates of expensive items, and the next might just have one plate of salad, but stealing is not something the owner can factor into his prices. When costs start to go up due to this kind of behaviour, then prices go up for everybody, not just the degenerate who is eating day-old buffet chicken happily at home.

I realize that I sound like a curmudgeon, and the video WAS humourous, but if she knew the restaurant owner personally would she steal from him?

Would she eat at a friend's house and then raid the pantry in secret for dry goods and cans of soup? It was a dinner invitation, she just ate some of the dinner at a different time and location...

Feb 23, 2010
SeitansMinion in Features

What's the Difference Between Parchment Paper and Waxed Paper?

Um, soy does not contain gluten, guys. I wouldn't worry.

Jan 23, 2010
SeitansMinion in Features

Looking for Harissa - Edmonton

For those south-siders, I just bought a can of "harissa sauce" at the SS Italian Centre Shop on 51 Ave and 104A St. It is Cedar brand, a yellow can, and I found it with pickled peppers, etc on the bottom shelf of the aisle that faces the deli. On the side closer to the freezers. It was $2.98.

Haven't tried it though!

Jan 02, 2010
SeitansMinion in Prairie Provinces

Kai Edmonton

Interesting... I would like to try Kai for dinner sometime as my first time there was later-night drinks. My partner and I got hungry and ordered edamame, calamari, and sweet potato fries as the bartender had assured us the kitchen was still open, albeit with a limited menu. I had ordered the edamame and my partner the other two dishes, the fries as an afterthought, so when the dishes arrived I asked the server if the sweet potato fries were breaded (I have celiac disease). She cocked her head at me and laughed, saying "Oh, I don't know"! in a pretty little voice as she walked away. Not to demean servers, I served as a career for 11 years, but as a GOOD server I would have said, "I'm not sure, I will check for you." And done just that. She never reappeared, so I did not try the fries.

The food, though - the edamame was completely unsalted. No salt. Bland beans. According to my partner, the calamari was subpar, and the fries were atrocious, limp and mushy. He held one up and it sagged pathetically before my eyes.

So - if a restaurant is serving good food at dinner but going to a half-arsed and poorly cooked menu for the late-night crowd, why bother? I would rather not have the option of ordering food rather than expecting a dish on par with their regular menu. I have heard good things from friends who have eaten there at the dinner hour, but if I had to base my assumptions on the late-night fare, I would only go for drinks.

Dec 22, 2009
SeitansMinion in Prairie Provinces

How to Host a Turkey-Free Thanksgiving

@Dorian KTB: Thanks! Seitan and I go way back! ;)

And I think it's interesting that your family jokes about the "real" names of what they're eating. There are lots of vegans that would disagree with me, but I think that if you are fully informed about what you're eating and able to make that choice, have at 'er. The problem is that most people can't stand the thought of eating a "dead body" rather than "ham", or "blood" rather than "au jus". Words are powerful, and the fact that euphemisms abound in the world of food
shows that most people would be uncomfortable with their choices if they knew how they arrived on the plate.

So, kudos for keeping an honest and irreverent household! :)

Nov 07, 2009
SeitansMinion in Features

Restaurant Gift Certificates from Costco

I wouldn't say that they thought I was stupid, necessarily... the couple that owns the place are really nice and I'm sure the price difference was just a regrettable decision on their part that I'm sure has turned more than one person off. I had no interest in making a scene because we had received the certificate as a Christmas gift and were using it for a romantic in-town staycation. I didn't want the price difference to start our lovely night off badly, sometimes money isn't worth it.

Nov 05, 2009
SeitansMinion in Western Canada Archives

How to Host a Turkey-Free Thanksgiving

It's just a habit for me to use words like "corpse" to refer to the dead bodies of animals -a little bit of "call it like it is", I guess. Our culture has so removed the tidily packaged supermarket meat from its origin that when talking about my reasons for not eating meat, I try to jar people into connecting to the origins of it.

That said, this discussion was not the place for it. The debate was about something different.

Nov 05, 2009
SeitansMinion in Features

Restaurant Gift Certificates from Costco

Just a tip - I got a La Boheme gift certificate from Costco, and when I booked a room, they quoted us one price over the phone and when we presented the certificate for payment, they informed us that the price of the room was higher when using that certificate. I was very polite, but a little confused, because this seemed strange to me. They were kind and offered to split the difference even though I didn't ask and was prepared to pay the new, higher price.

So, with these particular certificates, it's not really a discount. Not sure if the price of one's meal changes if using the certificate as we didn't eat there, so this might still be a deal...

Nov 04, 2009
SeitansMinion in Western Canada Archives

How to Host a Turkey-Free Thanksgiving

I am vegan, and never made a peep at family Thanksgivings, just calmly eating salad and enjoying the company. A few years ago, I started hosting the family the weekend after "Turkey Day" for a "No-Turkey Day". My (small) family would enjoy both get-togethers and we would all be thankful for the bounty of food, both veg and non-veg. But then a funny thing happened... the last couple of years my family has preferred "No-Turkey Day", and now our holiday dinners are just me hosting a vegan spread. This came with no push from me, and I was surprised to see my carnivore family ASK to have a vegan Thanksgiving. I think I'm a decent cook *blush*, and it's such a compliment to have everyone devouring the hearty food I've put out. My mom doesn't even make a turkey at home anymore.

Bottom line - food is so wrapped up in tradition and emotion and is so personal that we have to avoid the battlefields and concentrate on what the holiday is really about: family, and thanks for the bounty of the harvest and gratitude for our place in this world. If a vegan family has invited you to share their meal, don't insist on bringing a corpse. And vegans, don't use a family gathering to hop on the soapbox and make everyone else feel judged. There are over 350 other days of the year to discuss moral choices. Coexist. :)

Nov 04, 2009
SeitansMinion in Features

Girls Who Hate Girly Drinks

The bartender was hedging his bets. If he had made her a strong, "kick-ass" whiskey drink, if she were like 95% of the female population, she would have sent it back. If I ever give a bartender free rein, I always specify that I don't like sweet drinks. Totally her fault.

Oct 28, 2009
SeitansMinion in Features