Food Writer & Banana Bread Master Erin Ireland Does The Dishes

We asked the local champion of the plant-based lifestyle (and maker of to-die-for baked goods) about her favourite eating and drinking spots.
Launch Map

Food Writer & Banana Bread Master Erin Ireland Does The Dishes

The Dishes is a new Scout column that asks Vancouverites to walk us through a map of their ideal day and night on the town. We’re talking breakfast, lunch, happy hour, dinner and late night cocktails. Tax and tip included.

For this edition we quizzed food reporter, recipe developer, champion of the plant-based lifestyle and maker of Vancouver’s favourite banana bread, Erin Ireland (To Die For), about her favourite eating and drinking spots around the city.

Good morning! What’s for breakfast/brunch?

Mushroom Ricotta Toast at TurF (a restaurant-gym-shop in Kits) with a house walnut mylk Moja Coffee latte. The ricotta is so delicious and creamy made with a base of cashews and the chefs are generous with the portion of buttery mushrooms. On thick toast, it just hits all the spots. Also, it almost seems strange raving about food from a gym-restaurant, but it’s seriously that amazing. If I had to eat out at one restaurant every day for a month, I think I’d pick TurF.

Turf 2041 W 4th Ave MAP

Where should we meet for coffee/tea?

Let’s walk to the Kits dogs beach and grab almond mylk lattes from Be Fresh (Cypress & 1st) on the way. Their almond mylk is insanely good — I want to buy it by the 4L (if you’ve only ever tried ‘boxed’ or mass produced almond milk, you will not believe the difference – night and day!). If you can’t tell, I’m more of a nut mylk connoisseur than an espresso connoisseur. Also, this little market is filled with local artisan edibles, so if that’s you’re thing you may want to have a look around.

Be Fresh Market 1900 W 1st Ave, MAP

Now we’re hungry again. What’s for lunch?

We’re going to Port Town for an amazing carrot “lox” toast (…just realizing I might be a toast addict?) at Roots + Fruits. I’m in awe over this recipe and how chef Chef Rumi Kawaguchi has transformed simple carrots (by steaming then marinating) into what tastes, feels and smells like smoked salmon. Along with nori shreds (which smell like the ocean), cashew-based dill cream cheese, capers, thinly sliced red onion and an amazing slice of Fife Bakery sourdough, the end result is one huge flavour bomb. Grab some of their chia pudding to go – also so good!


Who has you figured out at Happy Hour?

I love the idea of happy hour but for some reason only partake if I’m on a tropical vacation (margaritas and guacamole are always what’s on that menu). These days, my idea of happy hour is walking over to Blue Heron (a brand new plant-based cheese shop on Main Street) for a wedge or two of their incredible stuff. Chef Karen McAthy proves you truly do not need cow milk to make amazing cheese. She makes blue cheese, hazelnut asiago, cashew cheddar and so many more. Some are aged for several months. While there I’d also grab a bag of Laiki crackers (best!) to complete this perfect happy hour snack.

Blue Heron Cheese 2410 Main St MAP

What’s for dinner?

Cauliflower Steaks at Heirloom. Since opening, I’d say Heirloom has had their ups and downs, but oh boy, they are in a serious up right now with Chef Michael Ferreira at the kitchen helm. It’s really hard to go wrong when ordering off this menu, but his charred and seasoned cauli steak has my heart — it’s lathered with harissa ‘steak rub’ and served with a sweet tamarind raisin puree. You won’t leave a single morsel on this hearty and delicious plate.

Heirloom Vegetarian 1509 West 12th Ave. MAP

What’s for dessert?

I have several answers for this question but I’ve narrowed it down to two: 1) Drunken Cherry Gelato at Umaluma in Chinatown. This stuff is just insane. It’s not too sweet, it’s filled with nutty chunks (ahh, texture) and there are bourbon-soaked Amarena cherries riddled throughout. Definitely get a pint or two. 2) Amai Vegan Treats’ Chocolate Mousse. A non-vegan friend told me it was the best chocolate mousse she’d ever tried, vegan or not and I concurred. Just thinking of this mousse, with it’s unbelievable light, whipped texture, gets me excited. Find them at several shops around town including Vegan Supply in Chinatown.

Umaluma (Closed) 235 East Pender St. MAP

Where are you taking us for late night cocktails?

Lucha Verde, home of super creative margarita-style drinks and other cocktails, as well as my favourite tacos in the city. Serious hidden gem alert. I’m not the cocktail expert and am definitely mainly taking you here for the tacos (try the cauliflower, the jackfruit, the portobello and the smoked tempeh…yes, almost all of them), but the ‘Outshined’ with Cazadores Blanco, grapefruit, ginger and a citrus salt rim was very very easy to drink.

Lucha Verde (Closed) 1326 Davie St. MAP

There are 6 comments

  1. Erin Ireland should figure out what she is. An ethical vegan or a dietary.

    When it was “cool” to be an “Earl’s Girl” She was working at Earl’s Bar+ Kitchen serving steaks and taking down meat burgers dressed in extra small mini skirts and tight clothing for tip money.

    When it is “cool” to be Vegan “she’s a Vegan Spokes Person” .

    Sound’s like a flake to me who’s trying to make money from a lifestyle she she takes pictures of to post but really all we see is her trying to financially benefit rather be a part of something she might value.

    So now Barbie Earl’s is a holistic dietary or lifestyle vegan? She sure talks a lot about the diet but we’re not turning to Food Science grads, dietitians or nutritionists now are we? Nope.

    We’ve got Erin, who worked at a restaurant which has had sexism, racist and degrading views of people based it’s hiring practices which she could speak up for/against having worked there and promoted the culture at BUT there’s more Money and Fame is being a dietary advocate for a lifestyle, Erin might not even understand full.

    Ethical Vegans who buy things NOT made from Animal Products should be advocating for Animals.

    Dietary Vegans who just focus on diet should be advocating for diet. Of this group, try making famous a grad student at UBC’s Food Science program with a MSc or PhD in Food Science, Nutritionists and Dietitians for a Good Start.

  2. Wow, Randy, you sure sound like you have a chip on your shoulder.

    Are people not allowed to evolve? Erin worked at Earls 10+ years ago. Is she not allowed to change her views in that time? If you actually paid attention you would see that she works hard to educate herself and is very clearly an ethical vegan who advocates strongly for animal welfare and for the Earth in general. Mindful Movie Nights? Mindful Book Club? You think she puts these events on for her own good?

    There’s no need to be so judgemental of someone who is trying to better themselves and share their wealth of knowledge with those who are interested in it. If you’re not, then just go away, rather than name-calling and criticizing someone who you clearly know very little about.

  3. Randy is on point. She posted on her blog about veganism & all is mentioned was how many likes Jillian Harris (reality star!) got on Instagram for mentioning veganism. There are SO many better advocates for veganism out there. She’s another Van City trendoid.

  4. From a 2016 interview with Erin Ireland. Some vegan…

    The best way to source ethical meat is to know your farmers and their values. Since this is often not possible, look for labels like organic, cage-free and antibiotic and hormone-free. You can also ask your butcher if the animals were raised naturally, what they were fed (grass is ideal, as cows can’t properly digest corn) and whether the pork was raised in gestation crates (one of the biggest red flags).