Why currants are better than raisins

April 14, 2007

In a discussion on the relative benefits of currants and raisins, vegetable95 claimed the superiority of raisins.

Simply put, vegetable95 doesn’t know what he’s talking about when it comes dried grapes. The currant (specifally, the Zante currant) is small and sweet. It is, for it’s size, intensely juicy, almost requiring a bib. It’s size-to-sweet-juice ratio is exactly why the currant is superior to the raisin. The raisin is inefficient, and is a perfect example of what juice economists call the juice diseconomies of scale with respect to fruit size.

So what’s with vegetable95’s love of the large raisin? Perhaps he’s overcompensating for something?



Restaurant Review: Urban Herbivore

April 11, 2007

Nothing says Sunday afternoon Kensington market like a light meal. And nothing says light meal like a vegan soup, salad, and/or sandwich. Urban Herbivore, in the heart.png of the market, is a great stop before hitting the fruit stands. Upon my last visit, I was delighted with the barbeque tofu sandwich I ordered. They have hearty soups and relatively filling salads, and combinations are available. The restaurant itself has a clean feeling to it, a toned down version of Fressen, who share owners. Seating involves bar style seats by the street-facing window and a large square wooden table. In terms of VfM, it’s not soup and salad prices. Expect to pay minimum of $8-10 for a bite. That said, ingrediently speaking, it’s not soup and salad quality.

Rankings (out of 5 avocados):

Deliciousness: avocado_full.jpgavocado_full.jpgavocado_full.jpgavocado_half.gif

VfM: avocado_full.jpgavocado_full.jpgavocado_full.jpg

Fruit in meal: No

Ambience: avocado_full.jpgavocado_full.jpgavocado_full.jpg

Urban Herbivore is located at 64 Oxford St. (at Augusta) in Toronto’s Kensington Market.

Restaurant Review: Annapurna

March 29, 2007

The Indian restaurant Annapurna has the distinction of being the oldest vegetarian eatery in Toronto. It is also by far the kookiest.1 The restaurant is run by a cult which worships the Indian mystic Sri Chinmoy. Judging by the naive slogans stamped on sugar packets and the plethora of propaganda magazines which are sometimes forced upon patrons dining alone, the cult’s primary goal seems to be world domination through mind control, happy thoughts, and vegetarian cuisine.

The food is plentiful and cheap. The Indian Assortment provides an obscenely large dinner for $17. Unfortunately, price is an indicator of quality in this case and the food is only a few notches above cafeteria level. But for strong-willed individuals with sufficiently robust tinfoil hats, huge appetites, and a limited budget, this restaurant is highly recommended.

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: avocado_full.jpgavocado_half.gif (for a pleasant tackiness)


Words of Wisdom from Sri Chinmoy: A moment’s love can and shall make the world perfect.

Annapurna, 1085 Bathurst, ovo-lacto vegetarian and vegan dishes. Average main less than $10.

1 In fact, the restaurant is more or less uncontested in both fields following the closure of Hey Good Cooking.

Harper Fails to Invest in Juice Diversification

March 21, 2007

For immediate release

Toronto- therecreationalvegan is saddened by the fact the Canadian government has ignored calls to diversify the country’s fruit juice manufacturing sector. The government failed to support the move in the 2007 budget. Resolution 2007-01 was forwarded to Prime Minister Harper in an effort to put the public spotlight on the lack of variety on our nation’s juice shelves.

“Today is a dark day for juice” said vegetable95. “I thought today was going to be a turning point for our country – a day that would reverse year after year of the regular medley of orange, grapefruit and cranberry juice. No such luck.”

therecreationalvegan is also concerned about Canada losing out in the international juice market. “Azerbaijan, South Korea, and Australia are pushing ahead with juice variety”, said vegetable95, noting that Azerbaijan’s Bling Bling 100% Pomegranate Juice has hit Canadian stores with widespread approval. “We hope members of the House amend the budget to ensure juice remains a national priority”.

On eating insects

March 20, 2007

In a continuation of our campaign against speciesism, and as a daring protest against inequality/injustice, last week the authors of the Recreational Vegan decided to eat chocolate covered insects. We received a wide range of responses from our colleagues at the office, ranging from cries of outrage over seemingly abandonded vegan principles, to outright disgust, to girlish screams from otherwise manly men. Unfortunately, the point of the exercise – that all animals should be treated equally – seemed lost on the audience.


The novelty candy, which was received as an anti-Valentine’s Day gift, was not without its non-vegan charm. However, the larva and crickets which comprised the filling had been dried, resulting in an overly grainy texture. In my opinion, candy should be juicy, and this was definitely not the case here.

To find out more about the candy, the Recreational Vegan conducted a phone interview with the candy’s manufacturer, Hotlix Candy. Sadly, Hotlix staff refused to speak about the production process. Although they insisted that their crickets are treated humanely, this is impossible to independently verify. As a result, we cannot strongly recommend this product for ethical reasons. Also, the chocolate has milk in it.

Vegan Artist Profile: Julie Doiron

March 16, 2007

New Brunswick-based bilingual singer songwriter Julie Doiron has recently released her newest album, “woke myself up”. She plays with a band (Eric’s Trip) on this album, as opposed to the one woman show, which allows for the critical little bit of angry rock out. But, for those Rush fans, this is still a folk album. Overall, I’m a huge fan of Doiron. Her lyrics continue to be cute, clever and honest: “Don’t wanna be loved by you/and I never wanna be in your bed/and I never wanna be in your books/but I might play music for you.”

I saw her perform twice on recent appearances in Toronto, and I’m sorry to say I was disappointed. She tended to get nervous (even though she’s been playing 15+ years) and ended up chatting a lot, which prevented a longer set of music. That said, I won’t stop buying her CDs. Her previous disc “Goonight Nobody” is a must-have, and great introduction to Doiron. For those interested in listening to one of her French albums, “Desmorais” is perfect for a quiet and relaxing evening.

I learned at the last show that she is a vegan. On one of her moments of endless chatter, she spoke about the veganness of beer, a subject I’ll let the reader explore.

Julie Doiron’s albums are available at Soundscapes (for about $15) or wherever good music is sold. You can listen to some Doiron songs by searching her name on CBC Radio 3.

Workers of the world unite

March 14, 2007

Did you know that in 2003 155 billion bees were exploited in the United States alone?1 Not only is the honey which bees need for their own purposes appropriated for human use, but countless bees are maimed in the process. The Recreational Vegan‘s bee expert (read daughter of hobby bee keeper) declined our request for an interview to discuss this interpretation of honey production. We interpret this as an indication of agreement by aquiescence.

More recently, hundreds of millions of bees have been disappearing from their hives across 24 states. This is entirely unlike anything that has been seen before in that dead bees are not found in the hives – the bees just disappear. Scientists have put forth a variety explanations for this unprecedented colony collapse such as viruses, fungi, and even poor nutrition. However, none of these explanations addresses the impact on bee behaviour of abysmal working conditions, or why dead bees are not found in the hives. Much more likely is that the bees have finally organized and are taking collective action against their employers until working conditions improve.

The Recreation Vegan would like to take this opportunity to express its solidarity for worker bees. We urge bee keepers everywhere to improve working conditions for the honey producing masses. This exploitation of bees must end.

1 Source: Vegan propoganda website. WARNING: This website depicts scenes of violence against honey bees and may offend readers with developed moral sensibilities.