December 27, 2012

City Winery

After a late meeting a couple of weeks ago in Chicago, my husband and I stopped in City Winery for a bite. In the same building, they house a restaurant, winery, bar + theatre.
Their Dipping Flight consists of hummus, white bean-garlic + muhammara with seasoned pita bread. The muhammara was my favorite - it's packed full of flavor.
They also offer a Marinated Tofu with amba sauce, pine nuts + caramelized pearl onions. Ask for extra sauce on the side, if you're like me and in all instances think the sauce is the best part.
You can see their show schedule here. In addition to performances, they also offer wine making classes and wine pairings.

December 25, 2012

m henry

Last weekend, my husband and I ventured to Andersonville (just north of Chicago) for brunch. m henry is a constant when talks turn to the best breakfasts in the city. 

Jorge's Black Bean Cakes can be made fully vegan (the black bean cakes are vegan, but they're typically accompanied by eggs and chorizo). The vegan version has masa tortillas topped with scrambled tofu, soy chorizo and adobo sauce. It is one the best breakfasts I've had in a long time.
 Definitely worth the trip to Andersonville!

December 24, 2012

December 20, 2012


My friend Susan (of Fried Tofu) and I had a very late dinner (I think it was around midnight!) last week at mercadito in Chicago. 

We started with a guacamole trio. We chose the granada - pomegranate, tomatillo pico de gallo and habanero, the calabaza - butternut squash, roasted chile serrano, pico de gallo and spiced pumpkin seeds, and the poblano - potatoes, roasted poblano, tomatillo pico de gallo, epazote and crispy potatoes. All three were delicious but the granada was my favorite, I loved the sweetness of the pomegranate seeds.
We then shared the pastor tacos with soy sauce marinated zucchini, grilled pineapple and chile de arbol salsa.
And the calabacitas tacos with the same soy sauce marinated zucchini, black bean hash, pico de gallo, avocado and tomatillo salsa.
Both were seriously delicious, but again the sweetness of the pineapple won out for me. Go figure. The staff was very helpful with vegan options, and the menu is extremely vegetarian friendly, showing a V for any items that are or can be made sans meat.

December 19, 2012

Chicago Diner . Logan Square

Chicago Diner now has a second location! Their Logan Square restaurant is much more convenient for me, so I've been there twice in the past two weeks...
Both times I ordered the Potato Skins. I can't help myself...vegan cheese, bacon bits, tomatoes + green onions. So so good.
On my first visit, I also had the Soul Bowl with quinoa, sweet potatoes, tofu and brussel sprouts with a side of chimichurri. Note: this is very filling. You do not need a starter when ordering this dish. However, as I mentioned, I couldn't help myself.
On my second visit, I had the Buffalo Chicken Salad with ranch dressing. The seitan has a great texture and the buffalo sauce is crazy good.

This location was also furnished/built with mostly reclaimed items and materials, which I love.

December 17, 2012

Vegan Gift Guide 2012 . Everything Else

These gifts may fall under 'everything else', but are some of my favorites. 

Artisan Vegan Cheese cookbook - for most vegans, cheese is what we miss most (including me!) and making vegan cheese has to be one of the greatest joys in a vegan's life.
Speaking of cooking, this cookbook looks so amazing...and perfect for the holidays. My mom's birthday was just last week and a lovely friend made her a pie from Vegan Pie in the Sky and topped all of our gifts.
Tom's makes a handful of vegan shoes, and they are uber-comfy.

Josie Maran cosmetics has a list of all of their products that are vegan and luckily their bronzing argan oil is! Seriously moisturizing with a hint of color.
Urban Decay has some killer vegan products - like these Lip Junkie lip glosses.
I love this print from Herbivore - What I Eat.
And finally, Colorado Whiskey + Stout Bars by Desiderio Chocolates. Chocolate ganache and caramel...mmmmmmm.

Vegan Gift Guide 2012 . Apparel

When it comes to vegan apparel, t-shirts in particular, I have a few favorites... 

Vaute Couture - maker of beautiful wool-free coats, also makes some really cool t-shirts, tanks and sweatshirts.  

Gnome Enterprises does great graphic tees, I just bought this one for myself!
Here are some others from Gnome that I love...

And Herbivore always offers great graphic tees and sweatshirts.

Most of these shirts, or similar designs, are available for women, men + kids, and make awesome gifts.

December 11, 2012

Vegan Gift Guide 2012 . Subscription Gifts

If you're looking for something that will last longer than a box of chocolates, here are a few ideas that might be up your alley. 

Conscious Box offers a vegan box filled with vegan products from cleaning products to granola bars to candles...every month is different.
Vegan Cuts also has their own version with 5-8 different vegan products every month.
Gone Pie also has a monthly subscription program - you can choose 3, 6 or 12 months. Each month your recipient will receive some killer gluten free and vegan treats, which include cobblers, cakes, pies + brownies.
Wouldn't you love to receive one of these every month???

December 9, 2012

Vegan Gift Guide 2012 . Sweet Treats

I don't know about you, but I'm obsessed with gift guides. I love finding the perfect gifts for my family and friends, and I search high and low each year for everyone on my list. So this year, I thought I'd start my own all vegan gift guide. 

To start it favorite category...sweets.

Allison's Gourmet has some truly amazing treats. The Salted Confections Gift Set would be my first choice - Salted Chocolate Brittle, Salted Vanilla Caramels + Salted Chocolate Caramels.

Obsessive Confection Disorder has what they call a Cara-Mallow that looks crazy good. Vanilla Bean Caramels with a Sweet & Sara Marshmallow inside.
Lagusta's Lucious offers a Big Assortment with options like mint matcha creams, rosemary sea salt caramels, raspberry balsamic truffles and peppermint patties. Doesn't it look gorgeous?!
Vosges has a Lucious Vegan Truffle Collection with Coconut and Acai truffles, both made with coconut cream.

Babycakes NYC now sells baking mixes + frosting from their online store. I would go for their Chocolate Chip Cookie Mix!
You can also order a box of 5, 10 or 25 Mast Brothers chocolate bars. These chocolate bars are crazy good, no matter which flavors you get, and how lovely is the packaging?!
 Sticky Fingers' Peppermint Brownies would be the perfect dessert for the holidays.
And Vegan Treats is selling a dozen Red Velvet Cupcakes with Cream Cheese! Vegan Treats is one of my very favorite vegan bakeries.
I would be thrilled by any of these sweet treats. I'll be featuring even more vegan gifts later this week!

December 7, 2012

Midway travel snack

On my way to Omaha I found another new-to-me snack at the Chicago Midway airport... 

go picnic has a sunbutter + crackers ready-to-eat meal with multigrain gluten-free crackers, sunbutter, trail mix, tropical fruit bites and a double chocolate chip cookie. All vegan + gluten-free. Great travel snack - although slightly hard to find. They were located on the bottom shelf of Hudson News, somewhat hidden.

December 5, 2012

lot 2

While I was in Omaha, my husband and I had dinner at lot 2, a new-to-us spot in Benson.
They have several sides that are vegan or can be veganized, including Brussel Sprouts with candied lemon and chestnuts (hold the parmesan). Love the candied lemon.
For sandwiches, the Seitan Philly - jalapeno, mushrooms, onion + vegan worcestershire (hold the cheese) - is seriously delicious. Fries come on the side with housemade ketchup.
Benson is a great neighborhood - after dinner you can swing by the Waiting Room to catch a show or Beercade for some pinball.

December 4, 2012

An Evening

On Sunday I had the opportunity to attend one of the coolest events I've ever attended in Omaha. An Evening featured dinner by Isa Chandra Moskowitz and music by The Mynabirds
My good friend Jeannie and I arrived to a gorgeous scene...
With great attention to detail.

We started with Autumn Rice Paper Rolls with butternut squash, avocado, fresh mint, cilantro and a tamarind dipping sauce. I love fresh spring rolls and the squash was a really unique addition.
Then moved onto Curry Peanut Noodles with sauteed kale, grilled tofu, red bell pepper, scallion and toasted sesame seeds. I'm a sucker for peanut sauce and the kale was the perfect accompaniment.
Followed by a Root Vegetable Hot Pot, including shiitake mushrooms, coconut milk, lemongrass, ginger, lime and basmati rice. This is the ultimate cold weather dish - so comforting.

And to top it all off, a Warm Brownie with Homemade Coconut-Beet Ice Cream, including maple candied pecans and balsamic chocolate sauce. It doesn't get much better than this. The pink hue, the balsamic, the chocolate...
If you had any doubts about how much I enjoyed it...
And...The Mynabirds. I wish I could tell you how amazing Laura's voice is, it's so powerful and so fluid. And in such an intimate space, it was truly spectacular.
The event was to benefit Hear Nebraska, a non-profit that brings music all over the state. It was such an amazing night, full of good food, good people + good music. What could be better?