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Food & Drink

Does this Mean I am a…. Vegetarian?

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Many of us make promises to ourselves  that we will take better care of bodies, make healthier choices, be more diligent with exercise or perhaps just make some kind of positive change that will benefit us in life.

Achieving balance is something I am constantly striving for with the daily choices I make. Whether it is the choice to work late, not exercise, collapse like a lump on the couch for the evening or the choice to clean the house, get some errands done and make a nutritious meal. However, sometimes we are provided with the gift of balance that comes in a way that we don’t always expect.

I grew up eating fabulous homemade meals (Indian and Western) thanks to my talented mother. I grew up with the understanding that yes you could eat a meal without meat and feel satisfied and healthy. As a kid, I loved a simple meal of dhal and rice and appreciated my mom’s flavorful curries with potatoes and vegetables. But yes, I enjoyed meat. In fact, my mother’s chicken pulao with yogurt and chutney on the side is my all time favorite! Those delicate yet savory spices make my mouth water….it’s my comfort.

The first time I made a non-meat dinner for my husband he looked at his plate and said, ‘There’s no meat in here?’. I answered in the affirmative. He responded, “Well I don’t think this will fill me up.’  He loves chicken and I quote, ‘Chicken is the best food in the world.’  Oh, and don’t forget the cheese. We both loved cheese. This particular evening, he ate his chickpea curry as he happily eats anything I put in front of him (thank goodness) and luckily he was full. But I knew the next night, the man required some meat in his meal. Two nights of no meat?! Scandalous.

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This guy enjoys chicken and fried clams. Fierce.

Fast forward to January 2014.  A routine check up revealed he had abnormal high cholesterol. The doctor said that he had the cholesterol of ‘an obese person of your age’. We both have a history of heart disease in our families; and my mother suffered a heart attack in her 50s. This news was a life-changing moment. How do we take control?

So…. we both made the change to a more plant based vegetarian diet (minimal dairy).

The decision can be simple when you are hit with the news that you are not healthy even though you feel like you are doing pretty good with exercise and food choices. But why did I make the change even though I didn’t have high cholesterol? I did it because (not necessarily in order of importance): #1. I do the majority of the cooking and #2. I saw this as a journey towards better health for the both of us. #3 We had nothing to lose, except of course, meat  🙂

Then it was a matter of figuring out this new world of vegetarianism. The first thing we did was start educating ourselves through online resources and documentaries. Forks over Knives provides research and information supporting the concept of a whole-food plant based diet to aid in the reversal of health issues and the health benefits of Superfoods . Next, we visited our local organic grocer. We are lucky that we have one nearby, Organic Grocer in Newton. We filled up our cart with lots of nutritious foods and it was exciting to imagine the possibilities. That evening we enjoyed a homemade, hearty and delicious vegetable stew.

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Vegetable Stew adapted from the Curvy Carrot

I’m not going to lie, the first two weeks were not easy. In the midst of this I also decided if I was giving up meat, I may as well give up coffee (gasp) during the week. I felt hungry yes, but I tried to prepare myself as much as possible. I had snacks in my desk of nuts and seeds and got some  herbal teas to enjoy from Teavana at Central City mall. Was I craving meat? No, not necessarily, I realized my body was probably in shock with the sudden change. It was saying, ‘what are all these new things you are filling up with and how do I digest this?’ By the third week, I was feeling much more settled.

Since then, I’ve been experimenting with finding recipes and ways of preparing food that are practical and nutritious.  I really don’t want to be in the kitchen for 2 hours preparing a meal after long hours of work on a weeknight. Cooking and preparing meals in a vegetarian way has been a new and fun discovery. We are experiencing and learning how to think differently about the food we consume and it’s impact on our health.

Eating out is different than it used to be. Instead of chicken, ribs, hot wings and more chicken, we are having fun discovering vegetarian and vegan restaurants. It’s been a road of new experiences. It’s also great to know that some of our favorite chain restaurants have vegetarian and vegan options – something I never really contemplated before.

My husband’s goal is to get tested again in a few months to see the effects of this change. My goal is to have a healthier diet and focus on feeling good about the food choices we make everyday. Nobody is perfect. But if I can do the best that I can today, it helps the people I love, the environment and the planet.

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Daman was raised on a farm so he’s right at home. Last year at the local Aldor Acres Farm

So, this is my first post on this journey. I know there are many of you out there who perhaps have contemplated a vegetarian or vegan diet or just want to incorporate more meatless meals into your routine. Whatever your motivation, I hope you will stay tuned and share your thoughts. We’ll swap recipes, share successes and challenges, discover restaurants and all the ups and downs that keep food life interesting. No judgment here- meat eaters, vegetarians and vegans unite! Life is all about curiosity and discovery. My husband is the last person I would have ever thought would decide to become a vegetarian. Anything is possible. Here’s to the gift of health!

Fatima was born and raised in Surrey. She is a yoga fanatic and loves aromatherapy. Her professional experiences are in Community Development, Communications/Marketing, & Human Resources. Fatima has been an active volunteer within the community for several years. With a passion for the creative and a love for the entrepreneurial spirit, Fatima is excited to bring something new to our city.

Food & Drink

This Surrey cafe offers a delicious Bombay brunch

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Bandra Cafe
Marco Ovies / Surrey604

Tucked away on the edge of the Strawberry Hill Shopping Centre is Bandra Cafe, one of the best places for brunch in Surrey. It offers unique menu items that are not only full of flavour but are pretty just to look at. If you’re looking for something different than your basic pancake breakfast, this is the place for you. 

Bandra Cafe serves Bombay-style cuisine that is chock full of flavour and spice. On our visit, we ordered the Bandra Benny and it did not disappoint. Just like your standard eggs Benedict it came with poached eggs, bacon, and hollandaise sauce, but was served on top of chili-cheese toast. It gave it the perfect kick that you wouldn’t normally find in an eggs Benedict, setting Bandra Cafe apart from all the other brunch spots in the city. On the side, there were crispy potato wedges and some sliced avocado. 

Bandra Cafe

Bandra Benny (Marco Ovies / Surrey604)

We also ordered their dalgona coffee, which we had never tried before. It came with whipped coffee on top of steamed milk. Our waiter politely helped us out and instructed us that we needed to stir the drink (we had just gone right in for the sip and it left us with a coffee mustache that wasn’t noticeable until we got home). The drink both looked impressive and tasted great. 

Bandra Cafe

Dalgona coffee (Marco Ovies / Surrey604)

But Bandra Cafe doesn’t just do eggs Benedict. They also serve kanda poha (a popular Bombay breakfast with flattened rice, onions, peanuts, herbs, and spices, topped with coconut and sev), Kheema Par Eedu Skillet (kheema, potato salli, fried eggs, and pav bread, described on the menu as the “Bombay breakfast of champions”), and even a vegan platter (avocado, grilled tofu, vegetables, and salad with tahini almond dressing). You can also order small bites and drinks to share if you’re coming to visit later in the evening with friends. 

The cafe itself is very modern looking with a plant wall at the entrance with a neon sign that reads “Good Brews, Good Bites.” The service was excellent and we’re excited to go back again to try the rest of their menu. 

Bandra Cafe is open Monday to Thursday from 11am to 10pm, and Friday to Sunday from 11am to 11pm. 

Bandra Cafe

 

Address: 7310 #110 120th St.

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Food & Drink

6 of the best sushi restaurants in Surrey

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best sushi restaurants in Surrey
Sushi from Sushi California and Sushi Street (@sushicalifornia_surrey; @sushistreet_surrey / Instagram)

There are so many different sushi spots in Surrey that sometimes it can be hard to choose. That’s why we’ve created a list of the best sushi restaurants in Surrey to satisfy your next sushi craving. 

 

MaguroGuy Sushi and Grill

 

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MaguroGuy has an excellent assortment of sushi and delicious Japanese dishes. We’d recommend visiting for their lunch special Udon Set which comes with a dynamite roll, tuna, salmon, and ebi nigiri, tempura, Seafood udon (small), and a green salad.

 

Sushi Mori

What makes Sushi Mori so special? Well for starters there is a tree in the middle of the restaurant. They also make some great sushi and have plenty of specialty rolls to try like their Spicy Sunflower Roll which has crab meat, cucumber, avocado, and prawn tempura covered with spicy salmon and topped with tempura flakes, shredded red beet, spicy mayo, and aioli sauce.

 

Kami Sushi 

Kami Sushi is the best place to grab a filling and affordable lunch. The best thing to order is one of their lunch combinations that are available from 11:30 to 3:30 pm. We love their combo B which comes with four pieces of sushi, three pieces of their Reno roll, four pieces of the spicy love roll, and tempura udon for $19.95. You get a great assortment of food for a great price. 

 

Sushi California

Sushi California has a great assortment of different rolls, potentially the largest selection in all of Surrey. They have over 67 different rolls you can choose from, and that’s not even including nigiri or any of the other things on their menu. The only other sushi spot that could compete is the next one on our list. 

 

Psi Sushi & Roll

Psi Sushi & Roll is another Surrey favourite that has plenty on their menu. They also have some very unique rolls like their Flying Unicorn Roll which has crabmeat and cream cheese and is deep fried with melted mozzarella cheese. 

 

Sushi Street

 

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If you’re searching for your next picnic meal look no further than Sushi Street. They offer these sushi boxes that can feed one to four people that are perfect to take with you. We’d recommend trying Street Box #2 which can feed up to four people and has a Crazy Roll, Dragon roll, Dynamite roll, Philadelphia roll, Chicken wings, Edamame, vegetable sticks, and five kinds of special sauce. 

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Food & Drink

You can order a whole box of sushi from this Surrey restaurant

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Sushi Street Surrey
Sushi Street serves delicious Japanese takeout by the King George Skytrain Station

If you’re looking for the next great sushi spot, look no further than Sushi Street. Located close to the King George Skytrain Station, this place should be your go-to for sushi takeout. 

Sushi Street specializes in only takeout and offers quick and delicious Japanese cuisine. They specialize in bento boxes, sushi combos, and ready-to-eat foods that you can just grab and go. But probably the coolest thing they offer is their sushi boxes.

 

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You heard right, sushi in a box. They offer two different boxes that can feed anywhere from 1 to 4 people. Their Street Box 1 which can feed one to two people has a crazy roll, Philadelphia roll, dynamite roll, chicken wings, edamame, vegetable sticks, and four kinds of special sauce. 

If you’re looking for more food you can get the Street Box 2 which feeds three to four people and has a crazy roll, dragon roll, dynamite roll, Philadelphia roll, chicken wings, edamame, vegetable sticks, and five kinds of special sauce. This is the perfect meal to grab on your way to a picnic over at Holland Park across the street. 

But don’t worry, you can also order individual rolls if you’re just eating for one. They also serve inari which is sushi rice packed into a tofu pouch topped with all sorts of sushi ingredients. We’d recommend ordering the Inari Unagi or the Inari Spicy Salmon. 

 

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While Sushi Street does specialize in takeout, they do have some seats inside to sit down and enjoy your food. But regardless of whetheryou eat in or take out, we promise you’ll love the food. Be sure to visit this new Surrey hidden gem soon!

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Food & Drink

This Surrey restaurant is serving up “monster burgers”

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Fab Burgers
Fab Burgers Inc. makes some of the best burgers in Surrey (@fabburgersinc / Instagram)

Located in the heart of Newton is Fab Burgers Inc., the home of Surrey’s “monster burgers.” What is a monster burger you may ask? Well, it’s about as intimidating as it sounds. 

Fab Burger Inc. has six monster burgers on their menu, and one of their most famous ones is the Fab Meaty Muncher which comes with breaded crispy chicken, a beef patty, chicken bacon, cheddar cheese, purple slaw, pickles, tomatoes, an onion ring, and their signature FAB sauce. It’s piled high and requires some maneuvering to be able to take a bite. 

 

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If that’s still a little too small for you, you can order their Sweet Temptation Burger which comes with three patties of your choice of chicken or beef (yes you heard right, three patties), topped with lettuce, sauteed onions, tomatoes, mozzarella cheese, and finished with barbeque sauce. It’s the biggest burger on their menu and definitely deserves the name “monster burger.”

But don’t worry, they also serve regular-sized burgers for those who don’t have a monster appetite. The Flamin’ Nacho Burger is a fan favourite and has a beef patty topped with fresh salsa, onions, jalapenos, sour cream, guacamole, nacho chips, and topped with cheddar cheese.

 

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If burgers aren’t your thing, Fab Burger Inc. also sells other foods like Chicken and Waffles and BBQ Lamb Chops which are marinated with their in-house blend of seasonings and sauces and served with fries, coleslaw, and a drink.

 

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So whether you’re craving a monster burger, or just want something on the smaller side to eat, Fab Burger Inc. has it all. Be sure to visit the next time you’re craving a good burger. 

Fab Burger Inc.

Address: 7320 King George Blvd #108

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Food & Drink

These are the best places to get coffee in Surrey

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best places to get coffee in Surrey
Whether you go to cafés for the atmosphere, food, or coffee, we’re sure there's a café on this list you’ll love. (@coffeemonster_official; @west_village_cafe / Instagram)

You can only drink so much Starbucks before you get sick of it. That’s why we’ve made this list of the best coffee shops in Surrey so you can switch it up. Whether it’s because of the great atmosphere or unique drinks, these are the best places to get coffee in Surrey. 

 

Coffee Monster

If you’re a student in Surrey then you need to visit Coffee Monster. It is the best place to get some late-night studying done. Every table has access to an outlet and it’s open until 10 pm. Plus, they have some delicious drinks like their Spanish Latte which you can order hot or iced. 

 

Bandra Cafe

 

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Bandra Cafe is one of the first Indian-style cafes in the Greater Vancouver area and has some exceptional drinks and eats to show for it. Bandra Cafe tries to copy the vibe of the area in Bombay with the same name by creating a similar atmosphere by having “dark wooden chairs and white table tops” and also by selling “dishes like salli chicken, kheema pan and mawa cake.” This is definitely a very unique cafe that you need to visit. 

 

West Village Cafe

If you’re looking for one of the trendiest cafes in Surrey, then West Village Cafe is the spot for you. With a very clean and minimalistic interior and some fancy food to eat, this might be the fanciest café in Surrey. Not only does West Village Cafe serve your coffee shop classics like lattes and pastries, but they also serve alcoholic drinks and food like tacos, a chimichurri salmon and vegetable bowl, local craft beer on tap, and more! If you’re feeling extra fancy you should head in for one of their Bailey’s coffees. 

 

Espresso Cafe

 

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Espresso Cafe is located in the heart of Newton and has a very homely atmosphere to it. From the fireplace to the home-style baked goods, there is so much to love about Espresso Cafe. We’d recommend ordering one of their filo spinach feta pastries which are delicious. They have an always expanding menu and plenty of specialty drinks on rotation so be sure to visit Espresso Cafe. 

 

The GrassRoots Cafe

The GrassRoots Cafe is a student-owned and operated café located on the Kwantlen Polytechnic University (KPU) Surrey campus. They serve “alcoholic beverages and KPU brewed beer on tap, delicious food, snacks, coffee drinks and healthy alternative options such as vegan and gluten-free meals.” They also host a bunch of different activities like slam poetry, movie marathons, and more! Plus, if you’re a KPU student you can get a 5% discount. 

 

Prairie Cafe

 

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When a café has been around since 1949, then you know it has to be good. Prairie Cafe offers some classic vintage breakfast and coffee. They do classic American breakfast as well as Asian dishes like chicken Teriyaki, wonton soup, and chicken pan-fried noodles. If you’re looking for a blast from the past then you need to visit Prairie Cafe. 

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