April 26, 2012

Union Sushi

I recently had dinner with some friends at Union Sushi in Chicago. They have a separate all vegetarian menu with lots of items that can be veganized.

To start, the Agedashi Potato. Purple potato “tater-tot,” daikon, ginger, green onion + vegetarian broth. Make sure to let your server know you're vegan, they'll make sure it's vegan friendly. And...it's amazing. 
Next, I tried the Grilled Tofu with miso balsamic sauce and rice puffs. I love that this savory dish looks like dessert. It's grilled on an open flame robata grill and served on a skewer.
For sushi, I chose the Pickle Roll with oshinko, gobo, tamago pickled cucumber, green onion, pickled red onion + black sesame... 
And the Sonoma, with lettuce, red and yellow bell peppers, green and red onion, toasted pine nuts + miso-balsamic. They were both incredible and extremely refreshing (no avocado rolls here!)
I also tried their Japanese soda in pineapple. Perfect for me, because it's not as sweet as our typical sodas.
If you're craving dessert, the Coconut Cream Pie from Karyn's Cooked is a short walking distance away :)

April 24, 2012

Dunlay's on the Square

Seeing a veggie burger on the menu doesn't normally do much for me. However, I'm always intrigued with a made-fresh-daily-not-from-a-box veggie burger. Dunlay's on the Square, in Chicago's Logan Square neighborhood, has just such a burger that is vegan if ordered without the bun. I know what you're thinking...but honestly, I really enjoy this burger with just lettuce, tomato, onion, ketchup and mustard. (And isn't just about everyone trying to cut down on their wheat/gluten intake anyhow?) It's made with rice, beans, walnuts, soy sauce and sweet potatoes. Really great flavor combinations.
If the weather is warm, they've got a great outdoor patio.

April 23, 2012

Lula Cafe - Dinner Edition

One of my favorite cozy spots for dinner in Chicago is Lula Cafe. They have a great ambiance and really great food.

My drink of choice is the Fresh Ginger Ale by Bruce Cost with bits of real ginger and pure cane sugar.
To start, they have a lovely Maki with cucumber, avocado, scallion, spicy red pepper and spinach.
For entrees, they have some amazing vegetarian and vegan options.

The Chilled Peanut Satay Noodles are my personal favorite. They're topped with marinated tofu, seasoned pickles, pickled onions, shredded cabbage, nori, fresh herbs and lime. There's also a side of sesame oil and hot sauce that complement the dish perfectly.
The Tineka is a fabulous sandwich made with indonesian spiced peanut butter on whole grain sourdough with tomato, cucumber, red onion and sprouts. It's really incredible. (I apologize for the image quality, it was especially dark that evening).
And finally, the Chickpea Tagine. Roasted maitake mushrooms, sweet and sour sweet potato, and caraway cracker, topped with lemon infused fennel and squash.
For dessert, they also serve a vegan sorbet that changes often. When I was there last, I believe it was Raspberry Rosewater.

You can also see my post on Lula's breafkast here.

April 20, 2012

Birchwood Kitchen

A couple of weeks ago, I stopped by Birchwood Kitchen with a few friends for a quick dinner. Luckily, my friend Susan is also vegan, so we got to try several sandwiches.

We shared the Chickpea Sandwich, filled with marinated chickpeas, preserved lemon, red pepper, garlic carrots and greens. This was so satisfying, especially for a cold sandwich. The lemon really comes through and gives it the perfect amount of pop.
We also shared the White Bean Burger (vegan when ordered without the aioli). It's topped with grilled asparagus and fresh greens. It was such a nice twist on the usual black bean burger and the asparagus was killer.
They also offer several vegan salads and a Portobello Chili. All around a really cute place with really refreshing, clean food.

April 18, 2012

Flying Saucer

Flying Saucer has recently become one of my favorite breakfast spots in Chicago. They have two amazing vegan dishes on their menu, and several that can easily be veganized.

Their Tofu Sweet Potato Hash is filled with golden fried tofu, sweet potatoes and lots of fresh kale.
If you prefer something a bit sweeter, they have quite possibly the best pancakes I've ever tasted. I normally never go for pancakes (this could be because you don't see vegan pancakes all that often), but I decided to give these a try. I can't even put into words how good they were. They're topped with powdered sugar, vegan margarine and maple syrup. I ordered mine with a side of sliced bananas.
They have some great vegan lunch options too. I will definitely make a follow up trip in the very near future to try the Vegan Pastrami sandwich!

April 16, 2012

Prasino - Dinner Edition

I finally had a chance to have dinner at Prasino a few weeks ago. 

They have a great outdoor patio on Division St, and when the weather is nice in Chicago, it's packed.

My husband and I started with the sun-dried tomato hummus - the flavor changes daily. It's served with crisp vegetables, whole wheat pita and lavash crackers. 
Next I tired the Miso Glazed Tofu, with rice, julienned vegetables and ginger carrot sauce. I really loved this dish - incredibly flavorful and substantial, but not heavy in any way.
They also serve some great drinks, including micro-brewed kombucha, housemade sodas and fresh juices. You can see my post on Prasino's brunch here.

April 13, 2012

Blokes & Birds

My husband and I recently stopped by Blokes & Birds for a quick bite. It's located in the Lakeview neighborhood of northern Chicago.

They don't have many vegan options, but there are several salads that are either vegan or could be made vegan and an outstanding vegetarian curry.

It's filled with organic cauliflower, tomatoes, mushrooms, onions, peas, basmati rice and a korma curry sauce. It's very mild, but still extremely flavorful. It's perfect for lunch or a light dinner.

April 9, 2012


When you hear Austin TX, you might not immediately think of sushi, let alone vegan sushi. However, I had some of the most amazing sushi there.

Uchi is located in south Austin, with a second location called Uchinko in Rosedale.
Let your server know about any dietary restrictions and they'll happily accommodate. 

The Tomato Katsu, or panko fried green tomatoes are heavenly. The normal sauce contains roe, but they're just as amazing dipped in soy sauce.
The Fried Tofu can also be altered to be vegetarian (omitting the bonito shavings and using a vegetable based broth). I like to keep the broth separate so the tofu stays crispy. It's perfect with the fresh green onions.
The bond sushi roll is filled with gobo, avocado and sun-dried tomato, wrapped in soy paper and topped with black sesame. The sun-dried tomatoes were such a nice and unexpected flavor, adding sweetness and texture.
The Nasu was my absolute favorite. It's Japanese eggplant with lemon miso served on top of rice. It's charred to perfection and so flavorful.
Everything I tasted was incredible. On my next trip, I'd love to try Uchinko. I hear they have amazing fried brussel sprouts!

April 5, 2012

Whole Foods - Flagship Edition

Another one of the highlights of my Austin trip was a visit to the Whole Foods flagship store

I made sure to visit for breakfast, as The Lazy Smurf highly recommended the breakfast taco bar (more on that later).
The store is beautiful. It's extremely open, airy and inviting. The bulk section is at least three times the size of my local Whole Foods.

And the prepared food section is gigantic.

The vegan options are plentiful and all clearly marked.
I prefer savory breakfasts, but if sweet is your thing, the vegan donuts look phenomenal. Apple fritters, glazed, raspberry filled, chocolate glazed, coconut glazed, cinnamon sugar and chocolate...mmmmmm.
Now...the taco bar. First, you stand in line (there will most definitely be a line). Then you'll choose your tortilla - spelt, corn or flour (white or wheat). Next, the hot ingredients. For vegetarians, this means potatoes, scrambled tofu, or vegan chorizo. And finally, the fresh vegetables, sauces and salsas. 

I chose a wheat tortilla, filled with potatoes, vegan chorizo, pico de gallo and guacamole.
Holy cannoli - I LOVED this breakfast! And it was only $3.

April 4, 2012

Easy Tiger

Easy Tiger is a fairly new restaurant in downtown Austin. They specialize in baked goods, sausages and sandwiches.

Quite awesomely, they have a wonderful house-made vegetarian sausage, made with beets, lentils, brown rice, flax seeds, pumpkin seeds, herbs, smoke and peperonata. (If you're vegan, order yours on a baguette instead of the pretzel bun).
A side of braised red cabbage is the perfect addition.
If the weather's nice, you can enjoy your eats outside by the water and play some ping pong.

April 2, 2012

Sweet Ritual + Daily Juice

Sweet Ritual is a vegan ice cream shop in Austin. Their soft serve is made from soymilk, coconut milk, sugar and natural flavors.

When I stopped by a few weeks ago, they had a special Nutter Butter Sundae. Peanut butter chocolate soft serve, homemade chocolate and peanut butter sauces, peanuts and chocolate chips, topped with a Nutter Butter cookie. It was incredible. It's a large portion too, I couldn't finish even half. Their shakes sound pretty awesome too!
If you're looking for something a bit healthier, you can grab a freshly made juice from Daily Juice. They share the same space.
You can choose from their extensive list of juices and smoothies or create your own. The Pineapple Popeye would be my first choice.
You can also visit Juiceland's two locations in Austin for amazing fresh fruit and vegetable juices. As I understand it, Juiceland and Daily Juice were one and then split off into two. Both menus look incredible.