restaurant spotlight

Restaurant Spotlight: Bandidas Taqueria

This post is written by our HeWe ambassador, Serinda Kong.

Affordable legitimate vegetarian Mexican food. All-day breakfast. Soon to be 24 hours. What more could you ask for?  Bandidas Taqueria is a dainty little restaurant that was built by friends and family. They are dedicated in making as little impact as possible on the environment by using compostable packaging, purchasing locally and re-using old furniture and equipment. You can tell this is an East Van favourite by the long lines that stretch out the door and down the block. Unfortunately, they don’t take reservations, but the food is definitely worth the wait!

You’re able to take a look into the kitchen and watch the cook roll, press and griddle corn tortillas fresh for your plate. There is a rustic feel to the restaurant and the gas-lit candles spark endless conversation. We sat and chatted for 3 hours!

Let’s taco-bout it!

Let’s taco-bout it!

The menu is very extensive! It was extremely difficult to decide what to order, but I decided to try two tacos: the Leona Gayle & the Stella. The smoky-sweet chipotle organic tofu in the Leona Gayle was very tasty and gave a nice contrast to the pinto beans and lettuce. The butternut squash provided a unique texture to the Stella taco and was quite filling, considering I had a late lunch. I will be back to try the other tacos!

Wolf & Goats burrito bowl  $9.50: Fresh guacamole, purple cabbage, pinto beans, roasted tomato salsa, cheese & sour cream. Yummy in the tummy.

Wolf & Goats burrito bowl $9.50: Fresh guacamole, purple cabbage, pinto beans, roasted tomato salsa, cheese & sour cream. Yummy in the tummy.

Our table also sampled the “Wolf & Goats” burrito bowl, fajitas and Shopie’s poblano. Emily’s burrito bowl looked like a never-ending volcano of cabbage, sour cream and guac. Deee-licious! Leon wasn’t sure how to eat the Pablano (the huge pepper you can see in the photo), but the beans were really delicious. You could taste the pepper that was infused in the beans.

Sophie’s Poblano  $12: A roasted poblano pepper stuffed with butternut squash and pinto beans. Baked in enchilada sauce and cheese. Served with two handmade corn tortillas and your choice of either beautiful side salad OR beans and rice.

Sophie’s Poblano $12: A roasted poblano pepper stuffed with butternut squash and pinto beans. Baked in enchilada sauce and cheese. Served with two handmade corn tortillas and your choice of either beautiful side salad OR beans and rice.

Of course we can’t forget dessert. Bandidas offers four different types of desserts from vegan ice cream to chocolate quinoa cake! Our table was feeling dairy so we ordered Earnest’s salted caramel and chocolate vegan ice cream.

Here are a few recommendations that are healthy at Bandidas!

  • Mrs Cohen's Breakfast Soup: Tortilla soup, finished with slices of avocado, tortilla chips, feta cheese, cilantro and two poached eggs.
  • Breakfast Tacos: On handmade corn tortillas with black beans, caramelized onions, scrambled eggs, ranchera sauce, cheese and sour cream. 
  • Doe's Breakfast Salad: Two fried eggs on a bed of fresh spinach, roasted red pepper drizzle, goat cheese, balsamic dressing and roasted yam-potato hash. 
  • Two or three tacos with Tortilla soup.

P/s: The most ordered item on the menu is the Ronny Russel Baked Burrito.

If you’re looking to try mexican food not from Chipotle, Bandidas Tacqueria should be on your list! Stop by on your way off the 99 B-Line as the scrumptious food and the hip atmosphere will leave you wanting more. We are giving out a $25 gift card for those of you who want to try out the food in Bandidas, just follow the instructions below and you'll stand a chance to win it. Good luck!

Bandidas Taqueria

Address:  2781 Commercial Drive

Phone number: (604) 568-8224

Website: http://www.bandidastaqueria.com/

Price Range: $10-$20/person

 

Restaurant Spotlight: Wild Rice Market Bistro

This post is written by our sassy HeWe ambassador, Angela Liu.

Just a day after an epic Chinese New Year feast, my dad and I were cruisin' down the New Westminster's River market, hoping that the light afternoon walk would help us digest the food we had the day before. But as luck would have it, we found Wild Rice Market Bistro instead! So, continue our walk or indulge in delicious food? 

Obviously we went in. (There wasn't much resistance from either of us to begin with... )

Wild Rice offers an Asian Fusion style menu which features a variety of revamped and chic Chinese dishes that shed a whole new light on the Chinese cuisine we think we knew. From their crispy wonton tacos to their vegan "butter chicken" to their callebaut chocolate pudding, Wild Rice is far from your average Chinese takeout!

Curried Steamed Buns [V] : These homemade buns get a nontraditional twist with Wild Rice's yellow coconut curry slow-cooked root vegetable filling that is complemented with a side of sweet and spicy sauce and an Italian-inspired vegan pesto. The hot and fluffy buns come straight out of the steamer to your table so watch out for that creamy filling... it might just ooze right into your mouth at the first bite! Don't say I didn't warn you..

Vegan “Butter Chicken” [V] : The restaurant also offers an extensive selection of vegetarian/vegan-friendly dishes and this Chinese-Indian "butter chicken" definitely tops the list. Perfectly cooked organic coconut cream with tofu, potato and carrots, you'll definitely finish off the bowl of cilantro jasmine rice that comes with the dish. Did I mention they top it off with with their homemade pickled sweet 'n sour onions? Ohhh and flatbread... What's butter chicken without flatbread?

Spicy “Chicken” Kung Po [V] : If I haven't convinced you yet that this restaurant is worth a try, this dish will do the trick! Al dente rice noodles, smokey grilled tofu, fresh seasonal stir-fried vegetables, all smothered in a tangy yet savoury mix of rich coconut sauce and Ketjap Manis (Indonesian soy sauce), the noodle was divine. Sprinkled with spiced and twice-roasted peanuts... sorry mom, but Wild Rice knows it best when it comes to mastering the ultimate "chicken" kung po! (Still love you though <3)

P.S: Spicy “Chicken” Kung Po is 25% off on Mondays, you are welcome! ;)

More food pictures because... why not!

Okay, final shot at convincing you... 

Here are some of their "omg-this-is-so-good-it-can't-be-real" desserts that you have to try: 

  1. Gluten Free Chocolate Cake [V,G] : chocolate sauce and tre galli vegan vanilla ice cream
  2. Crispy Apple Dumplings [V] : dusted with cinnamon sugar, caramel drizzle and vegan ice cream
  3. Callebaut Chocolate Pudding [V,G] : with chocolate base and red wine poached pears
  4. Sticky Toffee Pudding : served traditionally with butterscotch sauce and tre galli vanilla ice cream
  5. Not a dessert but this restaurant uses local oceanwise ingredients in their food so... what are you waiting for?!

 

[V] : Vegan

[G] : Gluten-free

HAPPY EATING! 😎

And here's our $25 gift card giveaway from Wild Rice Market Bistro. Go for it!

Wild Rice Market Bistro

Address:  810 Quayside Dr. New West
Phone number: (778)397-0028
Website: http://wildricebc.ca/
Price Range: $15-$25/person
Special Items: Pork and Shrimp Dumplings, Vegetable Spring Rolls, Potstickers, Curried Steamed Buns



Restaurant Spotlight: Zend Conscious Lounge

This post is brought to you by Wendy Vazour Social Engagement Director.

Nestled in the heart of Yaletown, Zend Conscious Lounge is a botanical bar and restaurant that serves 100% plant-based foods. This is NOT your average healthy restaurant. This lounge is a space of community, where healthy food lovers gather and indulge in organic, dairy-free and gluten-free delicacies.  OKAY, I know what you're thinking: "C'mon Wendy, how can dairy-free and gluten-free food possibly taste good?!"  Trust me, I got you; just wait till you read my next paragraph!

Zend is super creative with their ingredients and food offerings.  They boast a nutrient dense menu that ranges from vegan quiches and chickpea patty wraps (!!!) to Garden of Eden salad and coconut chia yogurt.  Think about it: since everything is plant-based, you'll feel healthy and AMAZING even after eating a traditionally heavy dish like “cheese board” (yes, vegan cheese boards exist, my faith in humanity is restored). How could you possibly say no?! 

Jicama “rice” spiced shiitake sushi roll (Organic vegetables, orange miso and sweet &amp; sour tamari drizzle)

Jicama “rice” spiced shiitake sushi roll (Organic vegetables, orange miso and sweet & sour tamari drizzle)

Spiced corn and “defried” bean tacos (Guacamole, queso fresco, pico de gallo)

Spiced corn and “defried” bean tacos (Guacamole, queso fresco, pico de gallo)

Dayummm look at those avocados and tacos, BRB I'm taking a bus to Yaletown now! 😂

ANYHOW, remember how I was saying that Zend is a space of community?  They really are! Besides serving nutritious plant-based delicacies, the lounge also runs a talk series every Tuesday called #ZendTalks, which covers a wide array of topics ranging from health to entrepreneurship.  On Fridays and Saturdays, they also "turnip the beet" with live music and in-house Dj's.  Albeit no alcohol (I know I know, that's something us students are most concerned about), Zend has a specialty "shot" that is a crowd favourite.  The Zend "shot" is a kava-based beverage known for having incredibly calming, balancing and (natural) relaxing qualities.  Who needs alcohol when you have a deliciously nutritious alternative like that?!  

Warm vegan nacho cheese dip (Pico de gallo, purple corn tortillas) - can I bathe in this now?&nbsp; 😂

Warm vegan nacho cheese dip (Pico de gallo, purple corn tortillas) - can I bathe in this now? 😂

As a fan of social enterprises myself, I dig the fact that 100% of Zend's profit is donated to ZAG Heartbeats, a partner driven philanthropic initiative that supports organizations like BC Cancer Agency, United Way, Vancouver Food Bank and Kids Help Phone.  This means that whenever you visit Zend, not only are you in for a great dining experience, you're also helping Zend give back to the community.  I love how they take their values so seriously and serve so much more than just healthy foods!

The wooden interior of the store gives it a classy yet cozy vibe,  and with all the effort they take to get the community together, I will definitely hit up Zend again. This is not just "another healthy restaurant." Whether you're vegetarian or simply curious about how the heck healthy food can taste so yummy, you should definitely check out Zend when hunting for a place to dine in Yaletown!

And of course, the moment you've been waiting for... *drumrolls* we're raffling off a $20 gift card so you can go experience Zend Conscious Lounge for yourself! Simply follow the steps in the Rafflecopter below to seize a chance to WIN!


Zend Conscious Lounge

Address: 1130 Mainland Street (Yaletown)

Website: http://www.zendlounge.com/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/zendlounge/

Instagram: @zendlounge


Restaurant Spotlight: Cafe Medina

This post is written by our very own HeWe ambassador, Vannie Hong.

Located in the heart of Downtown Vancouver, Cafe Medina is my go-to place to satisfy my insane cravings. Offering Mediterranean-inspired, hearty brunch meals, this place always promises fresh, locally sourced ingredients to achieve a balance between satisfaction and healthy dining.

Nothing beats the look of these scrumptious eggs first thing in the morning!

[ They are as fluffy as my post-christmas tummy four weeks ago.]

I LOVEEEE THIS DISH. Assembled with sherry roasted mushroom ragout, applewood smoked cheddar, spiced potatoes, and caramelized onions, Fricasse Champignon is a dish that can fill up the stomach without stretching your jeans ;’)  A side of house made granola would always be a great option to boost your daily vitamin C and fibre intake.  

If you are a hummus addict like I am, you will fall in love with this dish. Filled with harissa spiced beef & baba ganoush, topped off with tomato salsa, fresh eggs, and seasonal greens, the Harissa Burger elevates my happiness level instantly at all times.

As indicated by its name “La Sante”, which is French for “Health”, this dish is the ultimate balanced meal.  In addition to the sliced avocado, oyama charcuterie, tomato salad, and grilled ciabatta that comes with the platter, I couldn’t resist adding on an extra soft boiled egg and cheese... a little more balance never hurts!

Now for the real reason I come here…

Perfectly presented on a piece of focaccia with an avocado and tomato salsa that just melts in your mouth, the Medina bacon and Merguez sausage are the main reasons why I am still not a vegetarian! Complemented with their housemade hazelnut granola and greek yogurt, just sweet enough to bring out the flavours of the berry compote and fresh fruits, this is the dish to beat!

And lastly… TREAT YOURSELF.

You pulled through a long week = You deserve some sort of reward

Dessert Options:

  1. Blistered wood stone flatbread with mascarpone + black pepper honey

  2. A lavender latte. A lavender mocha. A lavender hot chocolate. (And yes you can get a lavender cappuccino too!)

  3. A waffle, or two. There are twelve toppings, but choose from raspberry caramel, milk chocolate lavender, and salted caramel. Thank you.

Remember -

Living a healthy lifestyle is great, but take a break if it is necessary!

In conjunction with the launch of our website, Cafe Medina has collaborated with us to give out a $50 gift card to dine in Cafe Medina!  All you have to do is follow the instructions in the Rafflecopter widget below to enter and win before February 9 @ 11.59PM.  Good luck!

Cafe Medina

Address:  780 Richards Street
Phone number: (604)879-3114
Website: http://www.medinacafe.com
Price Range: $20-$30/person
Special Items: Lavender Lattes,  Belgian Waffles, Paella, Fricasse