Food Truck Friday: Vegan Extremist

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Name of your food truck?

The Vegan Extremist

Owners names?

Jeff Merkel

Why did you start a food truck?

Ambition and opportunity.

What do you serve?

Curry. Vegan curry. Curry is our specialty and our selling point. Our mission is to introduce people to vegan food that is beyond boring veggie burgers.

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Your favorite items on the menu?

We’ve done a lot of cool things this summer, but my favorite has to be the Singapore Rip & Dip. I grew up in Singapore eating Roti Prata, so to recreate it as a vegan dish and introduce it to Canadians was a great experience.

The most popular item on your menu?

Our signature dish is the Indian Chickpea Curry. It’s a crowd favorite, and although we rotate our menu often, we always have this dish on the menu.

Most underrated? Which do you wish people would take a chance and try?

The spicy pickle! Although it is just a side to be added to your dish, it adds a whole new dimension to the experience. Salty, sour, and hot – if you haven’t tried it yet, add it to your dish next time.

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Craziest food truck story/experience?

Probably when we just started and were doing curbside in Hamilton, trying to pull into the only legal parking spot, blocking traffic and driving on the wrong side of the road. We definitely had some crazy days back then.

But nowadays, we’re so used to working 50 hour weekends that I’d say the entire food truck experience is a crazy story.

Where can people find you?

All over the Toronto area at festivals and events, and we will soon be rolling up curbside in Toronto!

Do you have a store/restaurant etc. as well?

We will soon! Keep your eyes peeled!

Whole Bowls by Allison Day

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I will honestly admit when I see cookbooks that focus on diet specific topics I generally pass them by.  I am the furthest from vegetarian there is and fortunately I don’t have a gluten sensitivity.  However when I had a chance to check out fellow blogger Allison Day’s (from Yummy Beet) new book Whole Bowls I took a moment to really think about why I should ( instead of should not) cook from it. Three things came to mind:

Whole Bowls (2 of 4)

Radicchio with Beets, Sweets and Classic Balsamic Dressing

First reason is the idea of recipes designed to be assembled tidily in your favorite bowl or plate. Each and everyone of Allison’s recipes are stunning to look at.  And she tells you how you can personalize them , adding or subtracting things or making parts ahead of time if you are super busy like I am. My slightly OCD personality loves these things.

Eat your Greens Salad With Chickpea Croutons and Green Goddess Dressing.

Eat your Greens Salad With Chickpea Croutons and Green Goddess Dressing.

As the title of the above recipe states and my second reason to opening this book is that I do in fact need to eat more greens. Reds. Oranges. Yellows. You get the picture.  I had planned on a weekly salads and veggies project for the New Year that has failed epicly so I was pleasantly surprised that simple recipes like this can help me along. And this dressing is outstanding.  The recipe makes much more than you need so it was perfect for veggies stick at lunch the next day and (sorry vegetarian friends) the best hot wings dip.

Double Grain Wild Mushrooms Risotto

Double Grain Wild Mushrooms Risotto

And the final reason is all about supporting my fellow writers and cooks.  It’s a tough world out there and any help we can give each other makes our community brighter. And by pushing aside my bias towards vegetarian based dishes and realizing I can still enjoy meat and the recipes in the book I have added healthy recipes to my repertoire. Delicious, gorgeous recipes.

I’m not the only one placing this cookbook front and center on my shelf. Check out what my friends are saying. And thank you Skyhorse Publishing for my wonderful copy.

Aimee (Simple Bites)

Charmian (The Messy Baker)

Jenny (The Brunette Baker)

Louisa (Living Lou)

Kelly (kellyneil.com)

Mardi (eat. live. travel. write)

Mairlyn (mairlynsmith.com)

Jan (Family Bites)