May 31, 2012

Amanyara 2012

I'm really excited about my next few posts. I've highlighted Turks + Caicos (Provo in particular) over the past two years, and this year is no exception. 

My husband and I were married there four years ago, and we visit every year for our anniversary.

One of our favorite spots for dinner is Amanyara. This is definitely a splurge. It's a secluded spot and very much off the beaten path. It's an unbelievably gorgeous hotel, with an incredible restaurant that's open to the public.

When you arrive, the view is stunning.
The entire property glows at night.
For dinner, they always offer multiple vegetarian options, some of which can be veganized.

Their avocado roll with sesame is, of course, vegan as is. And quite tasty. 
The Thai Green Curry (also vegan as is), made with coconut milk, was my entree of choice. It's filled with green beans, hearts of palm, potatoes, carrots and peppers and served with jasmine rice. Such great flavors paired with crisp fresh vegetables. If you don't like spicy, don't eat the red peppers on top!

The dishes are not marked gluten-free, but there are no obvious signs of wheat or gluten. Be sure to check with the chef, but I think you could definitely find some stellar gluten-free options here!
For dessert, they offer some stellar house made sorbets, with flavors changing all the time. At this point in the evening, it was too dark for photos. However, you can see last year's sorbet here. This year, we tried Red Raspberry + Lemongrass Lime. Amazing.

May 28, 2012

Probar fruition

Probar recenly sent me some samples of their newest bars, fruition. They're all vegan, gluten-free and filled with oats, dates, cashews, omega 3s and chia seeds.
At first, I wasn't sure how I would like these bars. I was afraid they'd be overly sweet or lacking in complexity. However, I absolutely loved them. They've become my favorite pre or post workout snack.
I tried all of their flavors - Lemon, Peach, Chocolate Orange, Strawberry, Cherry, Cran-Raspberry and Blueberry. My favorites are Peach and Chocolate Orange (with Strawberry at a close second), but all of them are seriously tasty.
If you'd like to give them a go, visit their site, use the code 'BLOGGER' during checkout and you'll get 40% off your first order. Woo hoo!
You can also like Probar on facebook for their latest news and updates.

May 25, 2012

Meli Cafe + Juice Bar

On my birthday last week, my husband and I went for breakfast at Meli Cafe + Juice Bar in Chicago's West Loop. They have several vegan options on the menu plus lots of fresh squeezed juices and smoothies.

I hardly ever get to eat french toast, so naturally I went for the Vegan French Toast with fresh berries, bananas and agave syrup. I'm trying to limit the amount of wheat/gluten I eat so the gluten free bread was perfect.

Please keep in mind, if you don't need or want to avoid gluten, go for wheat bread. Gluten free bread doesn't always exactly satisfy the wheat lover's palate. However, when you're going for an uber-healthy anti-inflammatory diet, it's always so nice to see both vegan and gluten-free options on the menu.
They also offer vegan pancakes, a salsa benedict with grilled tofu, a grilled tofu and vegetable wrap, 3 grain sliders and polenta with fresh fruit. I love seeing this many vegan options on a traditional breakfast menu!

May 21, 2012

Boiler Room

My birthday was last week, so to celebrate I went to Boiler Room with some very good friends (3 vegans, 1 vegetarian and 1 hopeful pescetarian in case you're wondering).
Boiler Room is filled with all recycled/repurposed/reimagined decor.
And this was my first visit, but as far as I know they only show extremely high quality entertainment. While we were there, this included The Naked Gun and Police Academy 3.
Now for the pizza. We ordered two vegan pies. First, green peppers, garlic, Upton's Naturals seitan pepperoni and Daiya mozzarella. It was incredibly tasty...I love garlic on a pizza.
Second, pineapple, Upton's Naturals seitan bacon and Daiya mozzarella. The pineapple was so sweet, almost caramelized. Amazing.
I would have to say this pizza definitely makes my top 5 in Chicago. I'll be posting my other favorites very very soon...stay tuned!

May 18, 2012

Lifethyme Natural Market

My lovely friend, Kate, has recommended Lifethyme Natural Market (in the West Village, NYC) for fresh smoothies, juices and vegan treats for quite some time now. I happened to walk by a couple of weeks ago, so I stopped in for a quick peek.
The market itself is great, but the prepared foods section is where it's at. 

There are vegan and gluten free options galore. If you're looking for something savory, they have some great looking pies...Hummus Pie, Quinoa Pie, Sunrise Pie and Deep Dish Pie to name a few.
For sweets - cakes, cookies, muffins, pudding, parfaits...the list goes on. Some vegan, some gluten free, some raw, all clearly marked.
I chose their vegan, gluten free Raspberry Cream Cheese Muffin, which turned out to be the perfect bite after strolling around the city all afternoon.
I will definitely stop back to try one of their pies...they looked delicious!

May 15, 2012

Candle Cafe West

I'm back from vacation and I have some great photos from Turks + Caicos, but first I have a couple more posts from my New York trip two weeks ago...

You're probably familiar with Candle Cafe and Candle 79. Well, now there's a Candle Cafe West on the upper west side on Broadway between 89th and 90th. The upper west is my neighborhood in New York and I couldn't be more thrilled that I now have a Candle within walking distance.

I was working nearby, so I ordered takeout for lunch. The Soba Noodle Salad was a great choice - ginger grilled tofu, shiitake mushrooms, edamame, carrots, daikon, red cabbage, sugar snap peas, and sesame seeds, served over mesclun with creamy wasabi dressing.

Since lunch was fairly light, and I don't get Candle very often...
I ordered dessert...Chocolate Mousse Pie. It was delicious!

May 9, 2012

On Holiday

I'm off to Turks + Caicos to celebrate my anniversary...I'll be back next week!

May 7, 2012

Angelica Kitchen

My very first visit to Angelica Kitchen was last week. I stopped by for lunch on Tuesday afternoon and decided on two appetizers.

First, the Curried Cashew Spread made of raw cashews, sprouted chickpeas, freshly ground curry powder and unpasteurized miso, served with crudite and herbs. I love the consistency of blended raw cashews, and they're such a healthy alternative to most sauce and dip bases (like cheese or heavy cream).
Next, I tried the Agrarian Salgado - baked rounds of mashed Yukon Gold potatoes and herbed seitan, with a parsley-almond pesto center; topped with dill-tofu sour cream and garnished with piquant marinated kale. These were incredible. You can't go wrong with mashed potatoes, and the dill-tofu sour cream was the perfect complement.
I loved the entire menu at Angelica. Everything felt extremely fresh, healthy and unprocessed. Next time I will definitely try the Olé Man Seitan!
By the way, isn't their website beautiful?!

May 3, 2012

Blossom Cafe

Earlier this week, I had dinner at Cafe Blossom on New York's upper west side. It's an especially great spot for dinner. Great ambiance, amazing food and the perfect neighborhood for exploring at night.

This visit, I had their Pistachio Crusted Tofu with root vegetable crepe, truffle crème, frisee salad and beet dressing. The flavors were incredible together and the crepe was nothing short of extraordinary. The chewy texture of the tofu paired with the spongy texture of the crepe create such an interesting contrast. And the sauces are so lovely. The truffle flavor is subtle, not overpowering in any way.
Their desserts looked phenomenal (including Lula's Sweet Apothecary ice creams!) but I was too full to partake. Next time...

May 2, 2012

Quick trip to NY

I'm in New York for a few days...I'll be back tomorrow with pics of all of my amazing finds!