Secret Banana Juice Extraction Methods Uncovered

May 14, 2007

Toronto probably has the most diverse foods in the world. But, as we’ve discussed in earlier posts, fruit juice selection is limited. Wandering around fruit juice stores you might wonder why you never see banana juice. Perhaps banana juice is too costly to make, or perhaps demand by beer enthusiasts for banana juice-beer combinations just isn’t big enough.

Luckily for us, India’s Bhabha Atomic Research Centre (BARC) is directing its resources to uncover the secrets of banana juice extraction. Here’s what they have to say:

“Banana is the most abundant fruit crop grown in India. Banana production in India accounts for over 20% of total banana produced in the world. A comparatively short post-harvest shelf-life of banana coupled with a dearth of sufficient and good quality transportation as well as storage facilities leads to perishing of 35-40% of this highly nutritious fruit before it reaches the consumer. One effective method of reducing this huge loss would be to extract the juice out of the fruit before it perishes and preserve it. As of now, no commercially established process is available to achieve this. A novel lab-scale process has been developed at BARC for extraction of juice from banana and production of banana powder as a by-product.”

While we thought therecreationalvegan’s Quantitative Science Branch (QSB) would first develop this technology, we are happy that it will only be a matter of time before banana juice floods the Toronto market.



May 11, 2007

My stove (click to enlarge).

My stove

Notice of Retraction

May 9, 2007

Some readers may have noticed that at approximately 11:55 pm E.D.T. today, Vegetarian Haven’s VfM (Value for Money) ranking on this website dropped by one-half avocado. This change comes as a direct result of increased competition in vegan food production from China. Following visits to a trio of low-priced vegan restaurants in Chinatown (namely Buddha’s Vegetarian Foods, Full Moon, and Bo De Duyen), it became clear that an immediate revaluation of VfM rankings on this website was necessary.

Although protectionists will likely clamour for subsidies to rankings for restaurants outside of Chinatown, we believe that interventionist policies such as these would undermine competition in the market place and would be detrimental to consumer welfare. As a result, we have elected to allow VfM rankings to adjust flexibly to changes in market conditions. We apologize for any inconvenience that this may have caused for our readers.

Kensington market lime prices

April 29, 2007

Wandering through the fresh produce stands of Kensington market, I can’t help but think: ‘What the hell is the deal with lime prices’? Conventionally grown (i.e., not organic) limes range from 5 for $1 to 15 for $1, depending on shop. These same limes sell for 3 for $1 at Loblaws.

So how do shopkeepers sell limes for $0.07 a piece. My guess is that they run their business on ‘razor-thin’ margins. Some might even sell limes for no profit just to get passers-by into the store. And who uses 15 limes, anyways? Whatever the real story is, I know one thing: Kensington market is the gin and tonic lovers dream.


Recipe: Dijon-Dill Tofu with Udon

April 23, 2007

To celebrate Earth Day, I made this dish on Sunday for vegetable95. It’s simple, tasty, and nutritious. I served steamed red chard on the side.


– Block of firm tofu

– 1/3 C dijondijontofu.jpg

– 1/3 C water

– 1/2 tablespoon dried dill

– 1+ tablespoon of maple syrup

– 2 medium cloves garlic, minced

– 2 medium green peppers, chopped

– Handful of cashews

– Udon noodles


Squeeze out water from tofu. Cut into small squares or triangles. Mix dijon, dill, garlic, and maple syrup. Then add water. Marinate tofu for 30 minutes. Empty sauce into dish and fry tofu until (very) lightly browned around edges. Put sauce back into dish and add green peppers and cashews and cook until done.

While cooking the tofu, boil water and cook udon noodles. Rinse noodles when done. Fry noodles in tofu dish for enough time to get noodles creamy.

Served vegetable95 and therecreational vegan, which is probably equal to 3-4 pedestrians.

Restaurant Review: Buddha’s Vegetarian Foods

April 22, 2007

Buddha’s Vegetarian Foods may just be the most depressing restaurant in the GTA. It looks like a hastily converted bathroom: grey tile floors with white tiles partway up a white wall, all basked in the chilling glow of fluorescent lights. The only music during my visit came from the hum of a nearby refrigerator.

Feeling fairly hungry after a long day at the office, I ordered a wonton appetizer, a small corn and tofu soup, and a noodle dish. The soup came first, and I was shocked to find out that “small” at Buddha’s Vegetarian means “approx. 1 litre”. Perhaps something was lost in translation. A heap of noodles with meagre amounts of bok choy, mushrooms, and tofu soon followed. Wondering how one person could possibly be expected to eat so much, I began to wonder if I was the subject of some strange joke.

Already stuffed to the bursting point, I began to hope that the waitress had forgotten the wontons. No such luck. I was presented with no less than a dozen of them, each one the size of a pancake. Unable to even make a dent in the meal, I left the restaurant with a large doggy bag.

As one might expect, there was a volume/quality tradeoff. The soup was bland, the main course contained equal parts noodles and salt, and the wontons were pedestrian at best.

Suffice to say this restaurant is not rated great by the Recreational Vegan1, unless of course you are either a sumo wrestler looking to put on some weight, or perhaps a hungry family of four with $15 between you. Fortunately there are no shortage of alternatives, as Buddha’s Vegetarian is nestled directly between the wonderful 668 Café and Full Moon restaurants (reviews forthcoming).

1 This review is based on a single visit to the restaurant. The usual small sample caveats apply.

Rankings (out of 5 avocados):

Deliciousness: avocado_full.jpg

VfM: avocado_full.jpgavocado_full.jpgavocado_full.jpgavocado_full.jpgavocado_full.jpg

Fruit in meal: No

Ambience: 0

Buddha’s Vegetarian Foods, 666 Dundas St. W., Feed a family of four for $15.

Restaurant Review: King’s Café

April 18, 2007

King’s cafe: 95% vegan

As a restaurant that proudly proclaims 95% veganism on its menu, one would expect King’s Café to be the perfect restaurant for economically rational %95 vegans. The restaurant was put to the test with a recent lunch-time visit.

Located in the hippy heartland of Toronto (i.e., Kensington Market), King’s Café serves vegan asian fusion cuisine with a sprinkling of hippy revisionist history. According to the menu,

“Vegetarian diets have been with us since ancient times. In face [sic], our body is designed to eat grains and fruits. Modern man suffer [sic] illnesses that were unheard of ages ago. And one of the reasons for this is due to diet.”

While the recreational vegan supports a return to the superior diet and health of our vegan gorilla ancestors, the making of such claims without the support of proper econometric analysis is regrettable.

As for the food, the restaurant serves a wide variety of beautifully presented dishes. The soups are especially noteworthy, with their delicious broth and generous portions. However, many of the entreés are not entirely compelling, lacking the creativity of competing restaurants such as Vegetarian Haven on Baldwin.

dumpling noodle soup

Rankings (out of 5 avocados):

Deliciousness: avocado_full.jpgavocado_full.jpgavocado_full.jpgavocado_full.jpg

VfM: avocado_full.jpgavocado_full.jpgavocado_full.jpgavocado_full.jpgavocado_half.gif

Fruit in meal: No

Ambience: avocado_full.jpgavocado_full.jpgavocado_full.jpg

King’s Café, 192 Augusta Ave., 95% vegan. Average main less than $10.