February 25, 2011
Nara is a great spot for dinner in downtown Kansas City. Their vegetable roll is made up of avocado, carrots, cucumbers and seaweed salad. Incredibly fresh with great textures.
They also have numerous tofu dishes, all made with Central Soy Tofu, a local company out of Lawrence Kansas. I chose the Grilled Smoked Central Soy Tofu with Kirin Onion Marmalade, Shitake Mushrooms and a Cold Soba Noodle Salad with Crispy Vegetables. The balance between the marinated tofu and the soba noodle salad was just right. A perfect and very filling end to a lovely day in KC.
Posted by sarah-mai at Friday, February 25, 2011
February 23, 2011
Last night I attended a screening of the new documentary, Forks Over Knives. I've been wanting to see a film about vegetarianism purely based on health reasons for quite some time...and here it is. Too often, people are automatically turned off to arguments for vegetarianism/veganism because of the ethical implications. There's no arguing with this film - it's based on scientific research and long term case studies.
The two primary physicians featured in the film are Dr. T. Colin Campbell and Dr. Caldwell Esselstyn. Dr. Campbell is the co-author of The China Study, the most comprehensive study ever done on diet and disease. And Dr. Esselstyn has helped countless people reverse heart disease, cancer and diabetes solely through diet and exercise.
The filmmaker also goes through a diet overhaul, lead by Matthew Lederman, M.D., and Alona Pulde, M.D. These two physicians help their patients get off of their medications, lose weight, lower their cholesterol, improve heart function and increase energy levels just by switching to a plant based, whole foods diet. I wish every physician could see this movie. I once asked a physician about some nutrition advice and she told me she really knew nothing about it, she'd only had one nutrition based class in school. I was in college then, and it was my first red flag that Western medicine tends to treat the symptoms and not the underlying issues.
There were lots of great sponsors at the screening - wellness centers, animal advocate organizations, organic juice suppliers and several vegan restaurants. Loving Hut, a vegan chain restaurant with a location here in Chicago, provided vegan spring rolls and cupcakes for the occasion. Who doesn't love a chocolate cupcake (especially an organic vegan one sweetened with unbleached sugar)?
Here's the trailer for the film. Check their website for screenings - if you have the chance to see it, please do!
Posted by sarah-mai at Wednesday, February 23, 2011
February 21, 2011
During the huge blizzard that hit Chicago recently, Wishbone was one of the only restaurants in our neighborhood that was open. Luckily, they have a great vegan option for lunch and a selection of fresh squeezed juices and non-dairy smoothies.
Strawberries blended with apple juice and ice, simple and lovely.
The Black Bean Cakes are vegan when served with Mango Salsa instead of the Red Pepper Sauce. They're full of bell peppers and spices and really filling. The Mango Salsa makes for a great alternative to sour cream or mayonnaise based sauces - lots of fresh flavors and non artery-clogging!
Wishbone has several locations in the city and they offer a handful of vegetarian items that can be made vegan.
Posted by sarah-mai at Monday, February 21, 2011
February 16, 2011
Being a vegan, going out for brunch is not always a pleasant experience. Normally, I eat toast and hash browns if they're prepared with oil or margarine, maybe cereal with soymilk if they have it. It's really nothing special.
When I encounter a vegan brunch, my heart sings. It's like when you encounter a vegan cupcake. It's so rare and completely awesome. Karyn's on Green is in my neighborhood in Chicago and seriously mind blowing. As I mentioned in my previous post, I'm just getting to know Chicago and finding a place like Karyn's is a huge score.
They have some really creative non-alcoholic 'mocktails'. One of my favorites is the Chairman's Cobbler made of green tea, pomegranate juice, ginger, fresh raspberries and blueberries, lemon and mint.
My husband ordered the Biscuits and Gravy with a wild mushroom and chorizo gravy and sage butter. I've never had traditional Biscuits and Gravy, but I cannot imagine them tasting better than this. The biscuits are soft on the inside with a lovely golden crust and the gravy is the perfect complement.
And to my sheer delight, they have Chilaquiles. This dish is normally served with lots of cheese and eggs. Karyn's serves their version with seared tofu, tomatillo salsa, mashed black beans + seasoned rice. This may be THE most flawless brunch I've ever had. The chips are crunchy and covered in tomatillo salsa, the tofu is seared to perfection, the rice is topped off with fresh green onions and the black beans are accented with pico de gallo. The entire brunch menu is off the charts, however, I don't know if I can go back and not order the chilaquiles!
Posted by sarah-mai at Wednesday, February 16, 2011
February 14, 2011
My husband and I are just discovering Chicago. Neither of us have ever spent much time here, so we're having a great time eating our way through the city. One thing I am definitely in search of is truly awesome vegan deep dish pizza. My first stop was Gino's East. It's very popular and frequented by tourists. Knowing nothing about the city or deep dish pizza, I thought this would be a good starting point.
So I ordered their Vegetarian pizza with asparagus, green and red peppers, mushrooms, onions, squash, eggplant and zucchini minus the cheese. (Yes, I was asked if I was sure I wanted it without cheese).
Deep dish pizza is very different from the NY pizza I'm used to. The crust is very buttery, although I've been told by many people that it does not contain butter. (I've also confirmed this with various recipes, but make sure and ask at each location as recipes vary). It's also flaky, more like a biscuit than traditional pizza crust.
I really enjoyed this pizza - my first experience with true Chicago deep dish. It was very saucy and full of flavor. Stay tuned - I've just started my quest for the best vegan deep dish in the city!
Posted by sarah-mai at Monday, February 14, 2011
February 11, 2011
Vegan Omaha holds an event every month or so where vegetarians and vegans get together at a local eatery (most of the time non-veg restaurants). The restaurants will actually feature an all vegan menu or buffet to accommodate everyone.
Crystal Jade hosted a recent event and set up an enormous buffet filled with tofu, vegetables, spring rolls, rice and noodle dishes, all 100% vegan.
Some of my favorites were Peanut Butter Tofu, Pad Thai, Volcano Tofu and of course Fried Spring Rolls.
And for dessert...vegan pumpkin cake.
And just in case you thought Omaha, Nebraska had a 0 vegan population...this is just one angle, I couldn't fit everyone in one shot ;)
Posted by sarah-mai at Friday, February 11, 2011
February 9, 2011
This summer, while researching places to eat in Kansas City, I stumbled upon Fresher than Fresh Snowcones. The minute I saw a picture of their food trailer, I had to seek them out. When the weather permits (May - Sept), they show up in various outdoor locations around the city (check their website for schedules).
Their snowcones are made from all natural, real ingredients. And if you're not into snowcones, I dare you not to love Fresher than Fresh. With flavors like Lime Mint, Pineapple Serrano and Blood Orange, you will completely change the way you feel about snowcones.
I chose Blackberry Lavender...very complex, not overly sweet, and so lovely on a hot day.
I do realize we're in the middle of winter, but it's so dreary that I thought we could all use a bit of sunshine today!
Posted by sarah-mai at Wednesday, February 09, 2011
February 7, 2011
d'Bronx Authentic Deli and Pizzeria is a well known eatery in Kansas City that just happens to have several veg options.
Their entire restaurant is a canvas for their customers' heart felt sentiments.
d'Bronx was a last minute stop on our way back home, so we took our sandwiches to go. When traveling, I always bring a healthy option with me, just in case!
Their Healthy Veggie sandwich has hummus, leaf lettuce, cucumbers, tomatoes and sprouts on a wheat roll. I ordered mine with balsamic vinaigrette, simply because it makes everything taste better.
For vegetarians, they have a Vegetarian Sub, an Eggplant Parmigiana Sandwich, and several kinds of veggie pizza. Next time, I'd love to try their pizza sans cheese. I love love love New York style pizza!
Posted by sarah-mai at Monday, February 07, 2011
February 4, 2011
The Filling Station is a really cute coffee garage in Kansas City that used to be an old gas station.
They serve breakfast and lunch, along with fresh juices and coffee.
I had the Hawaiian Trio juice made from pineapple, orange and apple juices and the Strawberry Pecan Salad. All very fresh and light, a great lunch while sight seeing around the city.
They don't have many vegan options on the menu, but several of their salads and wraps could be altered to be vegan. And they have a huge selection of freshly made juices.
Posted by sarah-mai at Friday, February 04, 2011
February 2, 2011
Over the past year and a half, I spent a lot of time in Omaha, Nebraska. As most of you know, Daily Grub is the only vegan restaurant there and by far the best restaurant in the city, in my opinion.
Here are just a few dishes offered over the past couple of months...
Dates filled with Vegan Macademia Nut Feta. Perfect for sharing as an appetizer.
Meatball Sub - Nut based Patties with Mushrooms and Onions, topped with Bell Pepper Tomato Sauce. Great combination of flavors and really hearty.
Cheese Grits and Sweet Potato Casserole with a side of Greens - this was my favorite. It's a perfect lunch for winter...wonderfully creamy, peppery and filling.
Grandma's Runza. I had never heard of a Runza before coming to Omaha, but apparently it's a very traditional dish here. It's made with sauteed onions, cabbage and beef or pork baked inside a dough pocket. This version is obviously meat free, but with really great flavors and a flaky crust.
Dessert isn't always served at DG, but when it is, it's amazing. This is a Caramel Apple Crumble with bits of hardened vegan caramel and a beautiful pie crust. I asked my dining partners to split one with me, but they all refused and proceeded to get their own.
If you don't have any trips to Omaha planned, hopefully these dishes will inspire your own cooking. I've found Daily Grub's menus to be so inventive that they make me think of cooking in a completely new way. I've also heard that a cookbook might be in the works!
If you do make it to Omaha, stop in and tell them I said hello!
My trips to Omaha will be pretty few and far between this year, but I have to say what an amazing city it is. I truly thought I might be the only vegetarian there, but to my surprise I met at least a dozen vegans who live there and who are continually helping to change the city into a very veg-friendly one. Just further proof of how prevalent veganism is becoming. Woo hoo!
Posted by sarah-mai at Wednesday, February 02, 2011