Food in the Forest: pilgrimme

pilgrimme on Galiano Island is a foodie dining out discovery.  It may be off the beaten path, but even so, it’s not easy to get a reservation.  It has been voted in Canada’s 100 TOP Restaurants for good reason.  I called a couple weeks in advance and was considered lucky to get a table for four during my recent stay on Galiano.  And what a dining experience it turned out to be.

plgrimme, the restaurant.  It’s worth the ferry ride over.

For years, Galiano remained a well-kept secret, its charms known mainly to the farmers and artisans who called it home.  The cozy wood cabin previously existed as a much loved French restaurant for years before present owners Leanne Lalonde and Jesse McLeery put their name above the door.  Leanne had previously worked for Rosewood’s King Pacific Lodge in the great bear rainforest where she first met Jesse.

Jesse made the inspiring journey to Denmark to spend the winter in the kitchen of Copenhagen’s acclaimed Noma, a two-Michelin-star restaurant . Returning west with new ideas and a reinforced vision, Jesse, with Leanne, opened pilgrimme working with the growers and artisans of Galiano Island.  Everything is made fresh from scratch, locally sourced, farm-to-table, creatively plated and extremely tasty.  Even the ceramics are made on the island.  They have a nicely curated wine list too.

Some of the shared plates created especially for us

Here’s the thing that impressed me the most.  The restaurant created an all vegan menu which was absolutely delicious because out of our group of four people, two and a half of us are vegan.  I must admit that I had my reservations about that at first because I thought that vegan food would be less tasty but everything turned out to be surprisingly excellent.  As good or better than anything I’ve had in a restaurant all year.  And it made me change my mind-set.  In a perfect world we would all be vegan and everything would be better off.  Although I’m not quite ready to totally live up to that.  I’m not perfect just yet.



Simply Satisfying – Vegan Chocolate Chip / Coconut Cookies

20140321_121356These vegan friendly cookies are yummy enough for non-vegans too.  They do not include the usual suspects (dairy such as  butter, or eggs) nor refined sugar and all-purpose flour that are commonly used to make cookies.


They include:

1 cup instant oatmeal (or rolled oats)

½ cup coconut flour

½ cup whole wheat pastry flour

½ tsp. baking soda

¼ tsp. fine seasalt

Sprinkling of ground Cinnamon (about ¼ – ½ tsp.)

¾ cup firmly packed dark brown sugar (I used organic dark cane)

1/3 cup canola oil

¼ cup almond milk (I used the unsweetened version)

2 tsp. pure vanilla extract (or 1 ½ tsp. & ½ tsp. of almond extract)

½ cup vegan semisweet chocolate chips (like Sunspire –

½ cup of unsweetened coconut flakes (optional)

Note: For my first batch I used a combo of Ghirardelli milk & semi-sweet chocolate chips that were on hand.

Preheat oven to 350 F.  Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.

In a large bowl, whisk together oatmeal (or oats), pastry flour, coconut flour, baking soda, cinnamon & seasalt.

In a medium bowl, whisk together brown sugar, oil, almond milk, vanilla (or combo of vanilla & almond extract); pour mixture into the batter and stir until combined.  Stir in chocolate chips and coconut flakes.

For each cookie, drop 1 Tbsp. (or 2 Tbsp. for bigger cookies) of dough 2 inches apart onto the baking sheets.  Note: Some of the dough might fall apart as you try to drop it – just roll it in your hands a little to shape it before putting it back on the sheet.  It will still bake okay.

Bake for about 15 minutes. Let them cool slightly before moving them to a plate or tray.  ENJOY these delicious guilt free cookies.

You can try substituting peanut butter instead of the coconut flakes or even adding a bit of natural peanut butter to the mix.  I haven’t tried this yet but it definitely sounds good.

Do you have a great vegan cookie recipe you’d like to share?