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MM: Macrobiotics, Victoria Style :)

One of the things I love the most about living in Victoria, are the many many MANY healthy eating options. There are just so many cafes, bakeries, healthy restaurants, and markets. Foodie heaven, for sure.

Macro Monday: Macrobiotics in Victoria

Restaurants & Cafes

I haven't even come close to trying all the Dainty Pig friendly places to eat...but here's a list of some of favourites so far. Rest assured there will be multiple followups to this post.

Kissako Green Tea Cafe
http://www.kissakogreenteacafe.com/

kissako.JPG
  • A cute, small, family style cafe in Oak Bay. As the name suggests, you can get a mean cup of green tea here. I'm talking high quality Japanese Matcha, made properly...you know, so it isn't bitter, and froths perfectly.
  • The food is great: straight up Japanese Macrobiotic food. I've tried the kinpira, miso udon, age dashi tofu, and veggie gyoza. All were the best versions of those foods that both T & I have ever tried, anywhere...even in Japan.
  • They also have a substantial brown rice veggie sushi menu!
  • They also have lovely desserts like green tea roll cakes & daifuku...which, if you're a red bean dessert fan like me, will be your remedy for Japanese food homesickness.
  • Bonus: the place is very cute inside, and so are the owners -- they are very friendly!
  • Another bonus: priced very fairly.

Rebar Modern Food Cafe
http://rebarmodernfood.com/

Green veggie curry with tofu, lime & peanuts :)

Green veggie curry with tofu, lime & peanuts :)

Barley Miso

Barley Miso

  • Right in the heart of downtown, in Bastion Square, Rebar is a Victoria classic. Rebar has it all: plenty of vegetarian, vegan, and macro friendly options.
  • I like it because you can get simple stuff like a basket of steamed veggies and brown rice with a side miso soup...or you can get all fancy with soba salads & green curries, or you can get your sweet comfort food like tempeh reubens and yam fries.
  • Their vegetarian dishes are really great (so I've heard), with some of the best veggie burgers and miso gravy fries in town.
  • They also have a great fresh juice selection, and they have chosen awesomely funny names for their juice creations - you'll have to visit to see for yourself.
  • The atmosphere inside is funky, and also relaxing & chill. The price is a bit more than others on my list, but it's worth it.

Green Cuisine
http://www.greencuisine.com/

Macro Takeout :) Β 

Macro Takeout :)
Β 

  • This gem is tucked away in the lower part of Market Square downtown.
  • They are basically a vegan self-serve buffet (but highly Macrobiotic)-- with eat in or takeout options.
  • The menu rotates daily (you can check before hand online) but there is always a couple of soups, cornbread, pickled veggies, salad options, steamed veggies, and tofu, seitan, or tempeh dishes. Often as well, are cold noodle salads like soba or Mediterranean pasta salads. There are usually stews and bean patties or falafels too. Toppings include gomaisho (sesame salt), and various oils like flax and olive oil, and seasonings like nutritional yeast and roasted pumpkin seeds.
  • Then of course, is my favourite part about this lovely place: the treats. SO MANY wonderful treats to choose from, all are vegan, and most are Macrobiotic. This is like finding a needle in a haystack. Seriously, so lucky to have this place here for when the sweet craving strikes and I don't wanna bake. There are daily cakes -- often cheesecakes or mousse cakes, and fruit crumbles. But my favourites are the baked goodies, like the brown rice peanut butter cookies, or the oat & hemp seed bars. Their spelt blackberry muffins are great. And if you want a really decadent treat, try their brownies or their "not nanaimo" bars.
  • Also a bonus, they make their own pickles, sauerkraut, tempeh, and amasake...you may have seen them before in larger chains like planet organic :)

Sakura Japanese Sushi & Restaurant

sakura brown rice sushi
  • A cute place tucked away on Yates street (right by The Market on Yates grocery store). It really reminds T & I of a homestyle country Japanese food.
  • The menu has lots of different brown rice veggie rolls (all delicious), and various bento boxes and donburis. Along with the rolls, the miso is fantastic, and one of my favourite things to get is the ginger tofu & veggies donburi. Super yummy!
  • Another bonus: free barley tea with your meal.

Sen Zushi
http://www.senzushi.com/

japanesefood1.JPG
japanesefood3.JPG
  • Excellent, excellent Japanese food.
  • They have many macro friendly options, including brown rice & delicious udon (which they import from Ehime, the prefecture where I lived for 2 years) which you can order with natto! but in all reality, their specialty is sushi, and they do it amazingly well! Probably the best sushi I've ever had.
  • On the winter menu, you can order tofu veggie nabe (a wonderful hotpot) and it was so good!
  • This place gets BUSY FAST...so make a reservation

Be Love
http://beloverestaurant.ca/

belove.JPG
  • Right on Blanshard & Fort, downtown.
  • Be Love just opened up recently, and we've been quite a few times!
  • Really awesome space, cool design, friendly staff, and mouthwatering desserts.
  • I would say the restaurant is definitely slanted more to the raw foods lifestyle (lots of juices, raw crackers and raw breads), but they definitely do have enough cooked food options that I can't stop going back.
  • They have a macro bowl on the menu, made with quinoa, seaweed, lots of veggies, sauerkraut & flax oil -- it's delicious & I've also had an amazing polenta dish :)
  • Their desserts are pretty insane...raw cheesecakes like no others!
  • They also have some really neat drinks like Mu tea soda
  • The price is mid-range. Similar or a little less than Rebar.

Bakeries

Fry's Red Wheat Bread
http://www.frysbakery.com/

frys.JPG
  • Worth the trip out to Esquimalt in a heart beat, as it is definitely the best bread I've ever eaten. It doesn't hurt my belly...that's the most important thing...but it tastes phenomenal (also SUPER important!).
  • All of their breads are fermented naturally aka natural sourdough...and they do it right! They use whole grains and the red wheat is very tasty!
  • They have great special creations, like the time I was lucky enough to snag a wholegrain loaf that had kabocha in it!
  • They make great breakfast breads too, with hazelnuts & raisins
  • And for the treat lovers out there, their pastries look out of this world. Their german pretzels are soooo good too :)

Wildfire
http://www.wildfirebakery.ca/

Vegan Sandwich to go <3

Vegan Sandwich to go <3

  • On Quadra street.
  • These guys also do all natural sourdough bread, and they have lots of SPELT flour sourdough breads, which is pretty cool
  • They have some awesome take-out sandwiches...or you can stay in and enjoy a coffee and a delicious vegan ginger blueberry spelt muffin or some toast made with your choice of bread.
  • There are many vegan goodies to choose from (just ask) & I've been told that their absolutely stunning vegan chocolate cake is to die for.
  • The granola they make is also super yum, with all turkish apricots, hazelnuts, and orange zest

Fol Epi
http://folepi.ca/

  • A really neat gem tucked away in Esquimalt
  • Awesome design, and delicious organic bread (well, the one time I've tried it - I should go back soon!).
  • They make some really good looking treats too - like macarons, & individual pastries and tarts.
  • I've heard they make really great pizza too!

Ingredients & Groceries

Ingredients Health Food & Apple Cafe
http://ingredientshealthfood.com/

  • I stumbled into this place my mistake one time, and sure am happy about it! It's right downtown along the water on Store street, and is the bulk store of your dreams, combined with a cute cafe and a space where people can teach small groups classes
  • The prices here are some of the best I've seen in the city!

Niagara Grocery
http://getfreshwithalocal.com/

  • On Niagara street (you guessed it), in James bay.
  • This was another lucky find on a walk a few months back.
  • They have a great selection of everything: natural pickles, tofu, beans, organic veggies, nut/seed butters, jams/honey, milk alternatives, they carry Wildfire Bakery bread and other good breads, local ice creams, local vegan goodies, and plenty of organic chocolate, coffee and tea.
  • They also have a coffeebar, and a few tables.

Local Neighbourhood Markets

  • There are so many Markets here, it's a huge delight.
  • In the summer & fall, I was visiting Moss Street Market every Saturday, and stocking up on GREAT veggies!
  • There are markets all throughout the city, such as one in James Bay, Bastion Square...seriously, all over :)

Sakura

  • Same place as listed above...they also have a small grocery store attached where you can buy natto, soba, green tea, seaweed, organic miso, and other Japanese items!

The Market on Yates
http://www.themarketstores.com/

  • This grocery store has a surprisingly large selection of everything...you just need to dig a bit to find everything amongst regular items.
  • You can find ume products, seaweed, and a large selection of tofu here.
  • Also, there is a great coffee / tea section, along with lots of local chocolate.
  • They also have a pretty good bulk selection, and many organic fruits and veggies.

Ottavio
http://www.ottaviovictoria.com/

  • This is an amazing Italian market / cafe in Oak Bay.
  • If you're from Edmonton and love/miss the Italian Centre...this is the closest I have yet to find something similar, here in Victoria.
  • This would be the place for anything like olives, goat cheeses, olive oil, good quality pasta, chesnuts!!!, dried mushrooms etc.
  • They also sell one of my favourite brands of tea: Kusmi tea.

Places On My Radar That I Plan to Check Out:

Futaba
http://www.futaba.ca/main.html

  • This Japanese restaurant supposedly offers brown rice sushi, and gets great reviews

Victoria Public Market
http://victoriapublicmarket.com/

  • This public market at the Hudson, is relatively new, as far as I understand, and is inspired by the year-long indoor market at Granville Island in Vancouver
  • I can't wait to check out the regular vendors, for veggies and other fantastic products.

Fuji ya
http://www.fujiya.ca/aboutFujiya/fujiyastores/victoria.asp

  • I was recommended to check here for many Japanese ingredients I have been searching for :)

 

***And also some places very worth noting that I plan to get some of photos of next time and do a write up for are: Soltice Cafe & Bliss Cafe <3

Any and all recommendations are much appreciated!

To your delicious dining when you visit this haven known as Victoria,
xo Jess



 

 

Sweet and simple.

Here are few shots from my favourite place to eat.
It's a macrobiotic restaurant I found last year.
So yummy, and so sad to be leaving it when I go home!
I usually order the macro plate, unless the main dish is wheat gluten based
(unfortunate wheat allergy).

Tofu with fresh salsa on lettuce.

Really yummy pressure cooked rice topped with black sesame.

Miso soup.

Lotus Root and something else.... yum!

In the winter I was in a good swing trying new recipes from my macro book.
Lately though, I have been a bit busy, so I've been keeping the meals at home simple.
For grains: Brown rice, and sometimes quinoa, millet or oats.
In the veggie department: fresh spring salads or steamed veggies, and a few stir frys. 
Lots of greens, carrots, daikon, and broccoli.
For protein: some tempeh, tofu, or beans (often sauteed with greens).
Fat: sunflower seeds, flax, olive oil, chia seeds (thanks Dad!), or a sesame oil.
Simple foods are sometimes the best, aren't they?
Take some time today to breathe!

Sometimes you need to go to Kyoto to find the right pie.

So since my last post my guy and I have had 2 sets of parents visit.

So nice to see all of them, but for the last month our days have been a little too jam-packed.

But, it was so nice to get away and do a bit more traveling around here.

I have a great vegan guidebook to Japan, and I found this little gem of a restaurant in Kyoto:

Cute Sign out front.

Love the decor.

Those jars, my loves, are all filled with vegan and macrobiotic oriented cookies.  Pure heaven.

We had hoped to get the macrobiotic lunch set, but unfortunately it was a busy day and was all sold out.

I still left happy though.

I started with a salad:

And then had the curry with brown rice & fresh vegan bread:

They were all sold out of brown rice too---but hey, when the only choice left is fresh vegan bread, I know i'm not doing too bad at all ;)

Loved these chopstick rests. So pretty!!

The presentation of food in Japan is just ridiculous.

It is really so well done. In fact, it's one of the things i'll miss the most when I return home.

And you know a trip to macro restaurant wouldn't be complete without dessert. This dessert made me think of all you lovely readers and bloggers.

For the record, this may have been my FAVOURITE dessert ever ordered. 

First, some kukicha tea in an adorable cup with a cookie happy spoon.

Absolutely gorgeous pottery.

Oh, what's this?

I'll give you a hint: inside there are two of my favourite things...

Kabocha + Adzuki Pie.

I ordered this thinking that there was no way I could go wrong. Those two flavours go great together.

I was happily surprised when I took the first bite:

It wasn't pureed or blended together at all!

Literally just a hunk of kabocha topped with adzuki beans. 

The whole wheat crust was barely sweetened at all. In fact, "normal" people wouldn't consider this a dessert at all.

But, it was perfect, because it didn't leave you feeling all yucky, like too much sugar does.

It was great. I need to recreate it as soon as I am back home in Canada with an oven.

They served it alongside homemade vegan caramel soy icecream.

And you know I couldn't leave with a little something either:

Especially when they wrap it in the cutest bag ever!

I'll show you what was inside next time.

Any nice eating out experiences lately?

Isn't it so nice...

to be able to eat out at a restaurant, where you DON'T have to be picky and ask for substitutions? Where they offer plenty of vegan, whole-grain, and macrobiotic based foods?
A few weekends ago, we went for a drive through the mountains to a Macrobiotic Cafe called Magnolia. It was a delightful drive, with twisty turny (turney?) roads, through bamboo forests and rice fields.
The cafe itself was easy to spot, a nice old western-style farmhouse. Behind it was a great view of the mountains. 
We walked in, and there was a nice gas heater in the middle of the room, with a kettle on top bubbling away to keep the room humid.

We sat at a thick wooden table, with comfy chairs. 
To our right was the small kitchen where we could see the two wonderful cute lady chefs cooking away. In front of them were some low-lying shelves and counters, lined with macrobiotic foods. Umeboshi plums, miso, whole-grains and their flours, unsalted nonoiled raisins, almonds, and cashews. Some dried seaweeds. Some kukicha tea, and soup stock. Wonderfully delicious tempeh... we had fun browsing while our lunches were cooking.
I decided on the Macro lunch plate. It came with: onion miso soup, brown rice, salad, beans, and some roasted lotus root and veggies. It was yummy yummy.
My guy chose the wheat-gluten sandwich and salad, and so did one of my friends. They said it was great!
My other friend chose the pasta, but I forgot to get a photo...oops!
For dessert, my friend and I both enjoyed the tofu and walnut cheesecake (to die for!). I forgot to snap a photo of dessert on our plates, but here they all are in the cooler.
My guy enjoyed the chocolate cake. I think this was the winner. It was so dense and rich, but not very sweet.
My other friend chose the special of the month: brown rice roll cake with strawberry and amasake. It was delicious! The cake was made of brown rice flour and was really spongy.
In my city in Canada there were no macrobtioic restaurants, and very few vegan only restaurants. And actually, I think in Canada in general, there are not many macrobiotic restaurants. For any Canadians out there...do you know of any macrobiotic restaurants in Canada? I love to visit Vancouver and the island, and maybe one-day I'll make the trek to Toronto.
In any case, Japan is a glorious place to eat out. They do food so so well in this country. I am located in what feels like the North West Territories of Japan (kinda isolated). But that being said, there are even two Macrobiotic restaurants within an hour of me! And don't even get me started on the big cities like Kyoto and Tokyo. For me, Kyoto was like a dreamland. So many delicious vegan and macrobiotic restaurants, and some kick-ass yoga. I will for sure miss the abundance of local foods, and the delicious cafes in this country when I return.
What are your favourite places to eat?
In Japan so far, my favourite restuarant was in Kyoto. It was called Biote.


Do you mind asking for special dishes and options when eating out?
I hate being picky, so I do my best to find something on the menu that I can eat with minimal requests. 
But, that being said...it is difficult sometimes to find things on the menu, and then asking for them, 
especially here in Japanese ;)