Windsor Ontario: Vegan reubens, poutine & donuts

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Text: Where to go for vegan food in Windsor, Ontario. Detroit River & Canadian flag.

Windsor, Ontario is known as the automotive capital of Canada. But it should be known as the home to seitan reubens, poutine, and pillowy vegan donuts.

Windsor Ontario border along Detroit River with Canadian flag in foreground.

Windsor Ontario border along Detroit River with Canadian flag in foreground.

Windsor, Ontario is a stone’s throw from Detroit, Michigan – just two miles away. So when we were eating our way through Detroit vegan restaurants recently, we had to go visit our neighbor to the south.

That’s right. While most of us in the contiguous 48 United States think of Canada as our neighbor to the north, in Detroit they look south to Canada.

How to get to Windsor, Ontario

Ambassador Bridge and Detroit River in Windsor Ontario.

Ambassador Bridge and Detroit River in Windsor Ontario.

There are two ways to get to Windsor, Ontario from Detroit – across the Detroit River on the Ambassador Bridge or through the Detroit-Windsor Tunnel.

The Ambassador Bridge is the busiest commercial crossing on the United States/Canada border. I’d heard that the tunnel was slightly faster, because large trucks aren’t allowed through it.

So we took the tunnel both ways. Although a tube is obviously less picturesque. 

When we pulled up directions from downtown Detroit, for some reason Siri said it would take over an hour to make the trip across the border. In actuality, it took about 20 minutes to get from U.S. soil through customs in Canada. Obviously waits vary depending on the time & crowds.

Speaking of customs, remember to bring your passport! That’s a must.

Windsor is popular with college students, because the drinking age is just 19-years-old there. It’s where Stephen Colbert was raised. (Although, he had less than flattering things to say about it.) Windsor is also home to Caesars Casino.

But we weren’t there for clubbing, Colbert, or casinos… We were there for vegan reubens, poutine, and donuts.

Nooch – a vegan eatery

Interior of Nooch restaurant in Windsor Ontario.

Interior of Nooch restaurant in Windsor Ontario.

Nooch opened in 2018. It is a fully vegan restaurant that specializes in classic comfort food.

(It’s no relation to Nooch Vegan Market in Denver or nooch of B supplement fame.)

Nooch is located in a strip mall, but the sleek interior has a cool vibe that makes great use of the small space. If you ever went to the old location of Modern Love in Omaha, it has a similar aesthetic.

While I usually prefer wine over cocktails, I had to grab the opportunity of having a vegan Caesar.

Caesar cocktail with lemon, lime, olives, and green bean.

Caesar cocktail with lemon, lime, olives, and green bean.

A Caesar is similar to a Bloody Mary, except that it usually uses Clamato instead of tomato juice.

Since Nooch is a vegan restaurant, obviously no clams were involved. (Except that I was happy as one after drinking it.)

The Caesar definitely had a spicy kick. (I adore spicy food, but I would have preferred the heat about 10% less, so that it would have been a little more drinkable.)

I loved the celery salt around the rim of the glass, plus olives & a pickled green bean to make it a cocktail that drinks like a meal.

Hand holding seitan reuben with poutine in background.

Hand holding seitan reuben with poutine in background.

As was foretold, I ordered the vegan reuben, which was loaded with seitan corned beef, sauerkraut, non-dairy provolone, and Thousand Island dressing. And of course, it was served on marbled rye, which is the cherry on top in the reuben sandwich experience.

As I was plowing into the second half of the sandwich David said, “Wow, that must be really good, because I can tell you are way past full.”

He wasn’t wrong. I didn’t know how well leftovers would keep as we had a full day of traveling back home ahead of us. But I couldn’t stand to think of it going to waste.

Vegan poutine on a platter with miso gravy, cheese sauce, and onions.

Vegan poutine on a platter with miso gravy, cheese sauce, and onions.

Adding to this dinner’s indulgence was a generous serving of poutine. The reuben comes with fries, but they can be upgraded for an additional cost.

You know what they say? When in Canada…

The fries were covered in miso gravy, house-made cheese sauce, and green onions. Some serious decadence.

Vegan Big Mac on plate with a pile of fries.

Vegan Big Mac on plate with a pile of fries.

Even though he’d recently gotten a “Big Mock” at Chili Mustard Onions, David pushed through with his MO to eat all of the vegan Big Macs available.

True to its name, it was made with two non-beef patties, special sauce, lettuce, cheese, pickles, onions, on a sesame seed bun. I snagged a bite, and it was terrifically good.

Vegan cherry cheesecake in to go container.

Vegan cherry cheesecake in to go container.

We were way too full for dessert. But we hated to miss out on the cherry cheesecake they had on offer. So we got it to go. And it made an excellent breakfast along with hot coffee.

Plant Joy – vegan donuts

Sheet trays lined with vegan donuts at Plant Joy in Windsor Ontario..

Sheet trays lined with vegan donuts at Plant Joy in Windsor Ontario..

The next morning, we were packed & ready to make the long drive home… except that we needed to wait until 11:00 when Plant Joy opened, so that we could grab some vegan donuts for the road.

By the time they opened their doors, quite a crowd had formed. And we were at the front of the line.

Plant Joy is a fully vegan donut shop that only recently opened a brick and mortar location. The owner, Jordynne Ropat, had been doing pop-ups and local events.

Cadry holding a box of vegan donuts in front of Plant Joy.

Cadry holding a box of vegan donuts in front of Plant Joy.

The donuts are fluffy, fresh, and massive. I’d say one donut had the volume of two standard-sized donuts.

We tried four different types of donuts – strawberries & cream, raspberry, chocolate, and coffee. The strawberries & cream variety was my favorite. But man, I’d happily eat any one of them right about now.

More to do & see in Windsor, Ontario…

For shopping & nightlife, check out the Walkerville neighborhood. We grabbed a glass of wine there after dinner, and it was bustling with people.

I had been hoping to visit Carrots N’ Dates, a plant forward vegan restaurant in Windsor. However, the timing just didn’t work out. Next time!

For more awesome eats in Canada, check out this post on vegan Vancouver from a trip I took last summer.

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