Where do I want to eat when I want someone else to cook for me?
The answer for this post didn't come easily at all, but if I had to pick...
I would absolutely have to pick The Tasty. Debuting earlier this year as a highly anticipated Philly vegan diner, The Tasty has gained momentum and is now traveling at warp speed into the realms of plant based deliciousness. They've expanded their already amazing offerings to specialty coffee drinks, baked goods, and seasonal specials. Everything on their menu echoes what one would find at a regular diner in and around the area: sandwiches, waffles, omelets, breakfast sandwiches, pancakes, salads and appetizers. It's immensely satisfying to be able to go eat brunch or breakfast somewhere when, as a vegan, eating those meals out is very difficult at mainstream restaurants.
I can only picture my sad breakfast options at other diners: fruit cups, dry toast, bagels, and maybe oatmeal if it's made without milk or butter. I guess you can technically count hash browns, but they are so often contaminated by shared cooking surfaces that they don't really appeal to me anymore. 😥
So when I visit The Tasty (pretty often), I usually go for veganized omelets or tofu scrambles of delicious veggies, non-dairy cheese and vegan meat subs. These aren't items I use at home very often, so I figure why not go all out if I'm not cooking? 😏
I snapped a photo for you of their spinach and soysauge omelet. It's absolutely to die for if you like savory spices, caramelized onions, and fresh spinach glued together by vegan mozzarella and pillowed by the most soft and fluffy egg-free omelet you've ever dreamed of. I think it's a mixture of chickpea flour and tofu judging by the texture, but I could be wrong! 😜
If the omelet isn't enough food, they pile home fries on the other half of the plate for good measure. They're crispy and soft at the same time, just the way I like them. They're also seasoned with something wonderful, so every bite you take is going to be a good one. There are many more amazing dishes on the menu that I've had before. Here are a few of them to tempt you: vegan mozzarella sticks, Caesar salad, breakfast burrito, PB&J french toast, biscuits and gravy, tater tots...you get the idea.
Heading over to Philly yet? I'll be back next week. 😉🐷
I had to give you some close ups...mmmm.
The second photo shows a huge glorious piece of caramelized onion. 😍👄
There are also lots of awesome things to look at inside and outside of The Tasty. Their sandwich board is always on point, which you can see from the first photo I featured. They also have a parade of dogs walking outside when it's nice out. You can't beat that.
Inside, there are whimsical decorations that seem to be things that you may find in either your grandmother's house or your friendly punk's house. There are also some cute handmade art pieces like this adorable clock.
The winking toast is everywhere, too. I like to think that they're congratulating me on my meal decision. 🍞😉
They also serve coffee in mismatched mugs that you might find in your own cupboard, which is a nice homey touch. The staff and owners are very friendly too, so make sure you say hi and ask for their recommendations! This place is just about as comfortable as going to a friend's place for brunch (or whatever meal you choose).
Next time you're in Philly, make sure to give The Tasty a try. Try not to order the whole menu at once. 😜
What would I take on a vegan road trip?
Macro Bars are my absolute favorite of all vegan packaged energy bars. Believe me. I've tried almost all of them. I've also had my phase with some of the best quality ones out there for the price. A little more than a year ago, I finally decided to commit myself to Macro Bars.
I had tried them in the past and loved them, but always found them to be a bit too pricey for me. However, after buying other brands that barely filled me up or left me with a sugar crash, I decided that paying the extra however many cents was totally worth investing in Macro Bars.
These babies are not only delicious, but they're filling! For a vegan on the go, this is an important quality in a bar. If you can't fill up on one of these in between meals, you will be miserable and starving. I've managed to run 8+ hours on just one of these bars alone. They really are a meal replacement, especially if they contain protein.
I decided to try to create my own Macro Bar at home. The ingredient list is pretty short and simple, which is another reason why I love them. They don't have any artificial fillers, soy isolate, or any preservatives. They're very easy to digest and they come in many different flavors to suit your mood and palate. They even have nut-free flavors for those with allergies! ^_^
Whether you're in the car for short or long periods of time, I think having these in your back seat will be a good comfort. Instead of having to stop at a fast food place and order questionable french fries, you can munch on one of these and be totally satisfied for hours! Plus, they're delicious and kind of taste like a peanut butter cup!
I chose one of my favorite flavors to recreate (and their most popular): Protein Pleasure (peanut butter chocolate chip). It's abolutely delicious, rich and decadent without being too sweet. Sounds like a winner to me! If you have a peanut allergy, definitely sub the peanut butter/peanuts with sunflower butter/seeds. That sounds like it would be just as delicious. You can go ahead and save me one, too. ;)
Homemade Macro Bars
Yield: about 8-10 bars (depending how you cut them)
Free of: Soy*, Gluten, Nut*
*Sub soy-free chocolate chips and seeds/seed butter
Today's Vegan MoFo prompt intersects with another promotion I'm contributing to: Nuts.com is featuring healthy tailgating snacks! This recipe is a big of flavor with a combination of my favorite spices and low sugar, gluten-free, healthy fats that will be your best friend when you need something healthy on the go. I know how frustrating it is being stuck anywhere without something healthy to eat that's readily available. I always try to travel with trail mix or other whole food snacks to satiate my hunger until the next meal. Why not add some amazing fall spices in while you're at it? ;)
The spices I'm featuring today are: caradamom, cinnamon, allspice, cloves and ginger. These spices are always in my pantry at the ready for use in baking, cooking, sprinkling, you name it. I'd probably say that cinnamon is my absolute favorite spice of them all. But, since I've been making a lot of things with just cinnamon in them, I wanted to mix it up a little! I mixed all the spices that I like from masala chai with the addition of allspice, which I love! I like to use allspice in savory dishes sometimes as well, especially in chili, curry, and sometimes pho broth. When I mixed all the spices together and toasted them in the oven, they gave off an amazingly warm aroma that reminded me of the holidays. What a great thing to look forward to! ^_^
I guarantee if you whip these rice and nut clusters out at a game, bring them to a get-together, or give them to a friend as a gift, everyone will be blown away by how amazing they smell. Go ahead and share them with everybody. Spread the healthy love! <3
Spiced Rice & Nut Clusters
Yield: 3-4 cups
Free of: Gluten, Refined Sugar, Soy (You can substitute mixed seeds for the nuts if you need to! It will be just as delicious!)
My post for today is brief: simple & sweet.
When I eat fresh produce at the end of the summer, I like to keep my recipes uncomplicated. I like to use the late summer fruits and vegetables as quickly as I can. This way, my dishes stay fresh and flavorful and nutritious. The chill of autumn is already in air where I live, so I'm glad I could savor a little bit of summer before I transition into more hearty cooking methods.
This stacked salad that I made is just a hodge podge of fresh ingredients that I found: local organic heirloom tomatoes (they're wonderful!), olive oil marinated baby kale, raw red onion and raw garlic all nestled in between layers of the easiest chickpea salad I've ever made. Chickpea salad is one of those recipes that vegans love to bring to summer barbeques or picnics because it's easy, fast and totally versatile! It's also an easy sell to those who aren't vegan: it's chickpeas in a may-like dressing with some diced veggies! Who could say no?
Well, people who don't like chickpeas, I guess...
My chickpea salad is only 4 ingredients! Well, it's technically 5 if you count water.
This recipe calls for no super-processed ingredients and is very healthy! It's also oil-free but still super creamy. I love the base dressing. I first learned how to make it from binge watching Naturally Delicious by Ann Gentry when I first became vegan. I found her show on television one day and was so stoked that I had "discovered" a vegan cooking show. Little did I know, Ann Gentry is a huge deal. I did learn quite a bit from her instructions. This recipe is my top take-away!
It's a bit of a "dressing hack", if I can say those two words together without sounding too dorky. ^_^'
Easy Chickpea Salad
Serves: approx 4-6 people
Free of: nuts, sugar, oil, gluten, soy*
*Use chickpea miso if you need! The more chickpea, the better, right?
Late Summer Sangria
Yield: Approx. 5 cups
You may sub the red wine for an alcohol-free wine, grape juice, or other juice of your choice!
Feel free to mix up the fruits, too!
About a month ago, my boyfriend and I took an amazing trip to Colorado and Utah. We only dabbled in Utah for a short while and mostly stayed in Colorado. Most of our trip consisted of driving which is why my photos are landscapes, landscapes and more landscapes! Since it was my first time exploring the inland part of the Western U.S., I was a bit in awe of the drastic differences in climate that I experienced. I remember experiencing some form of snow at least once a day during the week that we were traveling. Some days would drop 20 degrees and then spike back up again. Rain followed us through the mountains and often turned to snow or sleet. The desert was the most interesting, as it was dry, sunny, and hot with a cold breeze. I loved it!
I also ate some pretty interesting food while on the road. We stayed in a different place for each night, which gave us plenty of opportunity to explore local food options (or, eat Asian fusion for 3 nights in a row because that was the best vegan option in town). Luckily, we found some awesome markets (and the ever-faithful Whole Foods) on the road that supplied us with breakfast, snacks, etc. I'm glad I can highlight some of the food gems that we found on our trip for you. Hopefully this will entice you to visit the area one day...it's amazingly beautiful. It's definitely somewhere I'd love to go again.
Vegan Adventures in Colorado & Utah
The Beet Box Bakery & Cafe
The Beet Box is such an amazing cafe which quite an unassuming appearance. When I first found their menu online, I freaked out. "This is what I would make for my own cafe!" Boy, was I totally right.
The pastries the Beet Box keeps in their case are different from day to day. They always make everything fresh and in house, including their breads. The first thing I got was a sandwich as I was famished from not eating on the plane ride (yes, this was our first stop after getting off the plane!).
Yes, I was quite pleased with my decision. This is a delicious sandwich that I wish I had created. Gluten-free bread, hummus, onion, radish, apple, cucumber and butter lettuce. My God.
Among the other delicious things we ate there (a total of two trips, I promise!) were cinnamon scones, a strawberry fruit tart, roasted beet sandwich, curry cauliflower croissant, and a cashew cheese mushroom panini. Definitely a spot I would hit up any time of day if you're in Denver looking for vegan eats.
Happy Leaf Kombucha
Up next is a small kombucha bar and cafe in Denver called Happy Leaf Kombucha. Their cafe was amazing in its aesthetic. Their bar and tables were all rustic woods. The art on the walls was the most impressive that I've seen for sale locally in a long time. We stopped in here to get a light snack and some kombucha, since I'm a big kombucha fan. I'm used to drinking GT Dave's , which is delicious, but it isn't on tap!
I must say I was a huge fan of Happy Leaf's product. The kombucha was totally clear and very easy to drink. It didn't sting as much as any other bottled kombucha I've had before. The flavor was subtle as well without too much sweetness.
We ate some homemade hummus while we were there, which was delicious and fresh. They had a soup on special that day as well. It was spicy, smooth, and not too overpowering. A great find.
City O' City
One of the most impressive vegetarian restaurants I've ever been to, hands down, is this wonderful place. City O' City had a great vibe. It was hip, casual yet smart, modern yet comfortable, and inventive yet accessible in their food and beverage offerings.
We went here for dinner the very first night we spent in the city after coming in on the plane that morning. We had received a recommendation for this place and we were so hungry that we went over immediately. After dark, the restaurant dims the lights for a very private sensual feel. This place is kind of magical; I just don't know what else to say.
The first time I ate at City O' City, I got a savory waffle for dinner because why not?! Waffles are things that I seldom make for myself, but I really do love them. I was definitely not disappointed. This waffle was insane. It was a dense, almost cornbread-like batter with thinly peeled spring vegetables on top that had been sauteed lightly. To top the whole thing off, they poured a vegan cheese fondue over everything. The cheese was thin in texture so it didn't overwhelm the dish at all. Genius.
The second time (yes, we went here twice as well) we went to City O' City was the very last day on our trip. We stayed in Denver for the entire day because our flight was overnight, so we took our time with breakfast. Always a treat.
I couldn't help myself. I got a waffle again! This waffle was the WoW (waffle of the week!!!). It was a cinnamon raisin waffle topped with granola, vegan cream cheese, and orange peel. Absolutely to die for. Oh, and we also found Sasquatch. This place has everything you could ever want, so just go and enjoy. <3
During our travels through the mountains and desert, we had to eat on the go a lot. I'm sure you all know how tricky this can be for plant based eaters and those with dietary restrictions. We had a surprisingly easy time finding things! There were an abundance of Asian restaurants in every major town we drove through, which always had at least a few vegetarian options. Some places were better than others. These summer rolls were one of the better things we found. ^_^
We also had to make some stops while driving for snacks. We were so lucky to find small and big businesses that offered vegan options for quick food. Oddly enough, we consumed a lot of freshly pressed juices on our trip. I was afraid I wouldn't be able to eat many vegetables while on the road. What a worry wort.
I also grabbed a fair amount of kombucha from the store in addition to those that I got on tap. What can I say? I'm addicted to it.
My boyfriend is kind of a barista (like, kind of). ;)
So, while we traveled, we tried different coffee shops in search of delicious espresso and coffee to keep us energized. Just like with the Asian restaurants, some of the coffee shops were better than others. We found some surprisingly good cups of coffee while on the road, though. It was such an exciting moment to find one that really hit the spot. Some of the notable shops we found were Corvus Coffee and Deja Brew among others.
About a year ago, I visited my very fist Voodoo Doughnuts location in Portland. I am certianly a lucky gal to have the pleasure of visiting another location a year later. The Voodoo in Denver seemed to have a slightly larger selection of vegan doughnuts, although it could have just been the time of day that we dropped by. My boyfriend got a fruit loops doughnut (I mean, genius again) and I got a maple cream filled doughnut. I was a bit overwhelmed so I didn't finish the whole thing, but man did I enjoy it!
Overall, I'd say my first experience in Colorado was a success. I got to eat a lot of amazing food, spend time with an amazing guy, and see some amazing natural sights. I climbed stuff, soaked in a hot spring, met some buffalo and horses, met up with some friends, and generally had one of the greatest trips of my life. I'd do it again in a heartbeat!
Here's until the next time that I travel! I won't keep you out of the loop, I promise! In the meantime, go to Denver. It's a rad place. ;D
Well, I'm back. ^_^
I apologize for being so absent for the past couple of months! I found myself wrapped up in life after the holidays came to a close and my blogging has suffered as a result. For that, I am sorry...
The good news is, I haven't stopped cooking! I have managed to remain active on Instagram to prove that I'm still alive and munching. As the snow melts, I've found that my palette has changed dramatically. I'm craving light, crispy vegetables like sweet peppers, scallions, and bean sprouts among others. The winter has proved to be long, cold, and dark. I'm through with heavy food! (For now... ;D)
I'm beginning the new season with a light yet satisfying dish with all the flavor in the world. I mean, I can't promise you all the flavor, I suppose. I can, however, promise you as much flavor as I can. And right now, that's quite a bit.
I created this dish (and am still reinventing it often) based off of a delicious plate of food I ate one night in Savannah. I visited this beautiful city in the middle of January while the North East got slammed with a snow storm. I enjoyed a temperate climate, palm trees, noodles, and some good company. (Although, I did come home to a snow shovel. It was still totally worth it!)
I went to a local Asian fusion restaurant called the Flying Monk Noodle Bar. This place is lively, bright, colorful, and hip. The dishes are inspired by all different Asian cuisines. The dish that I made here is a take on their curry noodles, which were so insanely addictive. I may or may not have eaten them more than once in one night... >_>
These noodles were also modeled off a recipe that I found in a massive noodle cookbook/Bible (The World's Best Asian Noodle Recipes). The recipe is called Singapore Mei Fun noodles. I've had a mild obsession with rice noodles lately and I like to put everything with them. This dish is wonderful because it can literally be a junk pile for any and all vegetables that you have lying around. Carrots on the ground? Into the noodles!
The best part of this whole dish is the fact that it is so flavorful. I added and entire tablespoon of curry powder into it...along with many other spices. Feel free to dial back the spice level by omitting the red pepper flakes and (maybe) cutting back on the curry. But, I mean, they're called curry noodles for a reason. If the noodles aren't enough for you, eat more. If you're still hungry after that, maybe consider preparing a protein of your choice to go along with (tempeh, tofu, seitan, edamame, beans, etc.). Oh, and a bottle of sake or soju is always cool too. ^_~
Curry Rice Noodles with Pan Seared Portabella
Yield: approx. 4 servings
Adapted from: Singapore Mei Fun Noodles, The World's Best Asian Noodle Recipes
For an entire week, I forgave cooking (with one exception of steaming some greens) while I traveled to Oregon for a bit of a spring break. My family decided to reunite for my grandparents' 60th anniversary to show our love and support and, of course, to have a good time! For the first half of the week, I spent my time in the beach town of Newport, which is quaint and serene. After that, my immediate family and I stayed in Portland city proper, where I proceeded to die and reappear in vegan heaven!
Not only is the atmosphere of Portland very hip and relaxed, but its food scene is trendy, adventurous and all-encompassing. You would be hard-pressed to find an establishment that did not have any vegan or at least vegetarian fare. Every neighborhood had its own personality and its own local restaurant scene to match. We tried to get a taste of everything we could, but there is only so much room in your schedule and your stomach. I'm going to highlight some places I went to that I would highly recommend to anyone who visits the city. There are so many other places I want to go...next time. ;)
There was a full breakfast/brunch menu which I took full advantage of. As a vegan living on the East Coast (with the exception of NYC), it's difficult to find decent breakfast or brunch options while dining out. Harlow delivered. They had a great selection of scrambles available with tofu or eggs over rice or quinoa. YUM. They also had house made granola, chia pudding, and pancakes. Needless to say...
These are lemon quinoa pancakes with cashew cream and strawberry compote. They were thin, crispy, not too sweet, and oh so tasty! I also got some house made ginger tea to go with...it was spicy and woke me the hell up!
Whole Foods Market PDX
If you're in need of groceries or a quick bite to eat, take a moment to visit Whole Foods in Portland. The store is beautiful and currently under renovation, which promises more beauty! There is an upstairs cafe, which I've never seen before in a WFM. It was a nice little spot to grab a coffee or fresh pressed juice. The vegan options were pretty good. I happened to spot vegan raspberry rugelach in their tea cookie case, which felt like I had found a rare gem. I had to have. I also bought a Brew Dr. Kombucha, which is a local brand of...you guessed it, kombucha! This is one of my favorite beverages on the planet.
I got yet another amazing breakfast at Mother's Bistro, a pretty well-known restaurant in the Pearl District of Portland. There were plenty of people packed in there on a weekday morning, which is a good sign. I was pleased to see that there was a hearty tofu scramble on the menu. The plate was too hefty for my stomach, but it certainly tempted me to overeat! There's a ton of flavor in this dish from the fresh veggies. The tofu was cooked well, too. I accompanied my meal with a pot of gun powder tea. Perfection.
If you're craving something sweet and cheeky, definitely stop into Voodoo Doughnuts. They've got a huge selection of freshly made doughnuts with attitudes and personalities of their own! Click on the link to their website to see their...creative offerings. =P
They have a good amount of vegan choices, both raised and cake doughnuts to satisfy anyone. I got a simple cake doughnut with chocolate glaze. Even when I could eat conventional doughnuts, I went for the plain cake variety with cinnamon or glaze. I never really got into the raised doughnut scene. This was quite delicious, though. It had a nice texture and a warming mix of spices running through it...mmm!
Our trip would not have been complete without some form of Japanese cuisine. My cousin recommended Biwa, a basement restaurant in a more industrial area of Portland. There were more warehouses and suppliers in this part of town. Biwa is almost hidden, which gives it an "exclusive" appeal.
The food is homestyle Japanese like ramen, grilled mochi, onigiri, and other restaurant staples like sashimi.
There are many items on the menu that can be prepared vegan by request. I loved their small tapas-like portion sizes. We all ordered a few things and then shared with each other. I also found a wonderful drink called a kombucha-hai, which is a shochu cocktail with...you guessed it again, kombucha! I can't get enough, I swear...
My last location is one that I do not have any photos of (sadly!). When we happened upon Sizzle Pie, I was sans camera, which is a terrible state to be in while traveling. My bad.
That didn't stop me from enjoying some of the best vegan pizza I ever hoped to encounter outside of New Jersey/New York! Sizzle Pie is doing something right! Their crust is thin, crispy, and well-seasoned. Actually, the entire pie was seasoned well. There was not one ingredient that was anything close to bland. My pie had vegan ricotta, artichoke, broccoli, spinach, and garlic. Oh goodness.
My mom was on the moon when she saw they offered gluten free crust. To her delight, the crust was amazing. She never has high expectations for gluten free pizza crust since it can be hit or miss in restaurants. But, like I said, Sizzle is doing something, or many things right. Bless 'em!
Before I left Portland, I was fortunate enough to score a vegan wrap at the PDX airport. Oregon even caters to vegans when they're leaving! I will truly miss this awesome city. I'm glad I could enjoy the culture even for a short stretch of time. I'm already planning my trip back in my head! Perhaps next time I'll visit a food truck...or five.
Until next time! ^_^
This is my very first food blog! I post revised conventional recipes of foods that I hold near and dear to my heart. My cooking here is all gluten-free and cruelty-free, but full of flavor and comfort.