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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 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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Food & Drink

You need to visit this new Surrey Mexican restaurant

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Salsa and Guacamole
Salsa and Guacamole serve delicious Mexican classics (@salsa_andguacamole / Instagram)

Located directly under the famous Old Surrey Restaurant is Salsa and Guacamole, Surrey’s new Mexican restaurant. 

If you’re looking for some authentic Mexican delights in a chic and modern atmosphere, then this is the place for you. We’d recommend trying their chilaquiles, which is a recreation of the owner Paola Hein’s grandmother’s recipe. They’re corn tortilla chips dipped in either red or green salsa with melted Tex-Mex cheese and sour cream on top. 

You also can’t go wrong with ordering one of their tortas, which is a sandwich made of a Portuguese bun with the option of chicken or beef and sour cream, cheese, guacamole, mustard and beans. It also comes with a small side of their tortilla soup. 

If you’re not feeling like eating a huge meal, you can opt to just go for drinks at their “Cantina.” Like any good Mexican restaurant, they have an assortment of tequila, but they also have some more interesting creations. We really like Jo’s Margarita which comes with just a touch of tajin. They also make delicious carajillos which are coffee-based drinks mixed with liquor 43 and a splash of milk (the milk is optional). 

But no night of Mexican food is complete without an order of churros, and Salsa and Guacamole does some of the best in Surrey. You can have your churros filled with either Nutella or dulce de leche. While it’s not the most traditional take on churros, you have to admit it’s delicious. 

Salsa and Guacamole got its start as a business selling salsa and guacamole (as the name suggests). But now they’ve expanded to include a wide range of foods, and promise to keep adding to their menu. 

You won’t be disappointed by this new local Surrey restaurant, (we promise) so be sure to try it soon. 

Salsa and Guacamole

Address: 13483 72 ave, Surrey

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Events

Car-Free Day makes its way to Surrey

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There will be plenty of delicious food, music, and family-friendly activities (Josh Howard / Unsplash)

Car-Free Day is coming to Surrey Saturday, June 11. This event will turn 137 street into a car-free paradise with tons of local merchants, musicians, and family-friendly activities. 

Stores that are located alongside 137 street will open up patios onto the street, while there will also be plenty of other vendors and food trucks like Gary’s Kettle Corn, Tornadopotato, Wakwak Burgers, Japadog, JJ’s Hot Cobs, Taco’N Todo, The Little Snowflake Factory, Lemon Heaven, and Roasted Revolution.

This year’s event will host performances by Ashleigh Ball, daysormay, Meltt, NADUH, The Jins, Peak, Á’a:líya, Tess Anderson, DESTINEAK, Vancouver Street Dance Festival, City Entertainment, Robin Reddy Show, Mom Bop, Matt Hen, and more!

 

 
 
 
 
 
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There will also be family fun activities like balloon twisting, jugglers, and face painting alongside some more grown-up activities like a beer garden.

Car-Free Day is organized by Translink and aims to educate people on the future of transportation. As the name suggests, people are encouraged to take transit, bike, walk, car-share, car-pool, or use other methods of electric transportation. There are bike racks on the sidewalk to park your bike but there will be no street parking for those who choose to car-share or car-pool. 

Car-Free Day takes place Saturday, June 11 from noon until 8 pm.

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Food & Drink

These are the best patios in Surrey for summer

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These places are perfect to grab a drink and appies while enjoying the sun (@salylimonsurrey; @dominionsurrey / Instagram)

Summer is quickly approaching, and that means patio season is almost upon us. But don’t worry, you don’t need to head over to Vancouver to enjoy some great restaurant patios, Surrey has plenty of great places. So here’s our list of the best patios in Surrey for the summer.

 

Sal y Limón

 

 
 
 
 
 
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Taco Tuesday anyone? Sal y Limón serves up all of your favorite Mexican foods like tacos, tortas, chimichangas, quesadillas, and burritos. They have a large outdoor patio for you to bring your whole family or friend group out. 

 

Clove — The Art of Dining

 

 
 
 
 
 
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If you’re looking for some fine dining in Surrey that also has a patio, look no further than Clove. They take “inspiration from India’s ancient cooking methods” and incorporate it with a “modern flare.” If you want to treat yourself, then this is the place for you. 

 

The Sunflower Cafe

 

 
 
 
 
 
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The Sunflower Cafe is one of those places that has been there forever but is still a hidden gem. At first, there doesn’t appear to be a patio but if you head on out through the back door you’ll enter this beautiful little garden area with some seating. Grab a coffee, one of their pastries, and enjoy the beautiful summer weather. 

 

Crescent Coffee House

 

 
 
 
 
 
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If you’re looking to switch things up instead of visiting Sunflower Cafe you can head over to Crescent Coffee House. They serve your typical cafe eats alongside hot and cold coffee beverages. Their patio isn’t as nice as Sunflower Cafe but they do have plenty more drink options like their iced beach berry teas. 

 

The Roadhouse Grille

 

 
 
 
 
 
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The Roadhouse Grille is an old-school restaurant known for its homestyle cooking. They’ve been in the neighbourhood since 1997 so you know the food has to be good. This is the type of place where you need to try their specialty King George Burger that comes with mozzarella cheese, bacon, mushrooms, lettuce, tomato, red onion and a pickle all served on your choice of bun. Their patio also has a glass roof so you don’t have to worry about the weather either.

 

Hooked Fish Bar

 

 
 
 
 
 
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With a patio right alongside the water, Hooked Fish Bar is a very popular destination for patio-lovers. They serve delicious seafood like fish tacos and mussels. Be sure to book a reservation in advance because this spot fills up quickly on the weekend when it’s nice out. 

 

Dominion Bar + Kitchen

 

 
 
 
 
 
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Dominion is known for its “New Canadian” dishes and drinks, which can be best described as elevated pub food. We’d recommend ordering a couple of appetizers like their calamari or Korean fried cauliflower with a couple of drinks to share among your friends. They’re also open for brunch so if you’re looking for a patio-breakfast date then this is the place. 

 

My Shanti

 

 
 
 
 
 
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If you’ve ever wanted to dine in a garden, then My Shanti should be your next patio destination. Their patio is filled with plants and is the perfect spot to hit up with your friends. So the next time you’re craving some Indian cuisine, be sure to visit My Shanti.

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