April 28, 2011

Grilling season

So the weather has started to get slightly warmer in Chicago and we've finally been able to use our new grill.  Yes, vegans can grill. And not just vegetables.  

Here are some of my favorites...

Kebabs made of Gardein chicken, red and green peppers, onions + cherry tomatoes - brushed with Earth Balance and lemon pepper seasoning, served over rice.  It's such a simple dinner but so flavorful and filling.

Pizza made with peppers, onions, olives + Follow Your Heart mozzarella.  Grilled to perfection on a pizza stone - there is truly nothing like homemade pizza.

And Chicago dogs with Smart Dog hot dogs.  If you've never had a vegan hot dog on the grill...you are seriously missing out.

April 25, 2011

Plum Bistro

For our last dinner in Seattle, it had to be Plum Bistro. I’d heard so much about this restaurant and couldn’t wait to partake.
We started with the Avocado Roll – brown rice & nori roll with avocado, carrots, asparagus, lettuce, vegan cheese, chipotle mayo & sesame seeds. A great way to start, much more complexity and depth than any other Avocado Roll I’ve encountered.
We also shared a Romaine salad filled with crispy tempeh, freshly baked croutons, lemon, red onion and vegan caesar dressing. I absolutely cannot resist a vegan creamy dressing.

And you can’t visit Plum Bistro without experiencing their Spicy Cajun Mac ‘N’ Yease. Spicy, creamy and extremely comforting. Vegan awesomeness.
Lovely food and a lovely atmosphere.

April 22, 2011


My first dinner in Seattle was outside on a lovely evening at Japonessa. They have several kinds of vegetable nigiri, including Sweet Roasted Red Pepper and beautifully presented Avocado Cucumber.  This was my first experience with nigiri and I loved it! 
I also ordered the Spicy Tomato Tofu. The sauce is spicy, filled with tomatoes and onions and just plain delicious. I did ask them to make sure there was no fish sauce in the dish, just to be on the safe side. Fish and eel sauces commonly sneak into many vegetable and tofu dishes.  I wish I had a knack for identifying specific ingredients in dishes because I would love to make this sauce at home on a regular basis!
Also, Happy Earth Day!!!  There's nothing better you can do for our Earth than going vegan.  If that's too much right away, reduce your meat consumption.  Make vegetarian your goal.  Once you're there, I promise you will WANT to go vegan.  It may take time (it took me 26 years!!!) but you'll get there.  If you're at all skeptical, please let me know.  I would be happy to send you more information :)

April 20, 2011

Cyber Dogs

Cyber Dogs was highly recommended to me from a vegan friend. 
It is both a restaurant and internet cafe with a very bright interior.
They have several kinds of veggie hot dogs with various toppings and offer both vegetarian and vegan options. I went with the El Bandito, complete with chili, homemade vegan cheese sauce, avocado, salsa and fresh green onions. Everything about this hot dog was incredible – the flavors, the texture, the combinations. Above all, the cheese sauce was out of this world. 
And clearly, the portion sizes are enormous.

April 18, 2011

Pike Place Market

I was in awe when I walked into the Pike Place Market. It's such a lovely open air market with fruits, vegetables and flowers galore.  I happened to be there on a Wednesday, when they had even more local vendors set up outside.
Gorgeous bouquets of flowers...for $5!!!
Oranges, apples, pears, avocados, yams...
 Apricots, plums, lemons, lychees...
Lettuce, cabbage, cucumbers and beets...  
Garlic, leeks, tomatoes, peppers...
 Bananas and donut peaches...
 Curious looking romanesco cauliflower...
 Raspberries and queen anne cherries...and on and on and on.  Truly the best market I've ever seen.
There are also several restaurants inside of Pike Place. My husband and I stopped at The Athenian Inn for a quick lunch. As soon as we walked in, it was strangely familiar to me. Then I noticed the red plaques on the counter...this is where Rob Reiner and Tom Hanks filmed part of Sleepless in Seattle, one of my favorite cheesy, oh so sappy movies.  

'Hello Diane...take a look at these swatches'.
We started with the Roasted Garlic Hummus with fresh vegetables and pita.
And I ordered a vegan version of the Greek salad, perfect fuel for walking around a new city.

April 15, 2011

Mighty-O Donuts

I recently made a trip to Seattle, my very first visit.  I had a few restaurants on my must-eat list, and on the top of that list was Mighty-O Donuts, a completely vegan donut shop.  You may have heard they just won the Donut Challenge on the Food Network (up against non-vegan donuts). 
The space is really charming and they have so many flavor options.
I decided on the Chocolate Raspberry + the Vanilla Strawberry with a soy latte. Is there anything better than that? The answer is no.
These donuts were full of flavor, wonderfully cake-like and a perfect start to a day of sightseeing.

April 13, 2011

Karyn's on Green Follow Up

Based on my previous posts, I think you know how much I enjoy Karyn's on Green.  I tried a few new things recently and I've been dying to share them.

They have such a lovely Tonics + Elixirs drink menu.  I've tried them all, and my favorite is the Clip On.  Strange name, but the combination of coconut water, lime, almond-spice syrup and orange is so refreshing.
Then my friends and I shared the Hummus Plate, served with raw crackers, marinated olives and tomato relish.  Perfect for sharing and the crackers have incredible flavor.
Then we moved on to the Aged Raw Cheese Plate.  Oh. My. Gosh.  There are three different types of cheeses, all of them unique and delicious, served with raw crackers, pear relish, arugula and grapes.
Cheese is something I miss.  I miss the flavor of hard aged cheeses, in particular.  These raw cheeses are not hard in texture, but they have that same aged flavor and all three truly tasted very different.  Love that!

April 12, 2011

Soul Vegetarian at Whole Foods

My local Whole Foods in Chicago has a great ready to eat vegan foods section.  One thing I particularly love is Soul Vegetarian's Mac and Cheese, BBQ Tofu and Collard Greens.  Everything comes together in one container and the flavor combinations are insane.  I may be slightly addicted to the Mac and Cheese.
Soul Vegetarian also has a restaurant on the south side of Chicago, which I'm hoping to visit in the very near future!

April 10, 2011

Ian's Pizza

Last Thursday night, I had dinner at Ian's Pizza in Wrigleyville.  Every Thursday night is Vegan Night and they offer 5-7 different types of vegan slices.  And they even keep it local, using Upton's Naturals and Teese cheese.

First up, a slice with Upton's sausage-style seitan and Teese Mozzarella. Great crust and the sausage has the perfect amount of spice and seasoning.
Then I moved onto a slice of Taco Pizza with Upton's Chorizo-style seitan, Teese Cheddar and Mozzarella, peppers, onions and tomatoes. This is one spicy slice.  It has so much flavor and a serious bite. 
And...a vegan chocolate chip cookie.  A perfect end to a Thursday night.

April 6, 2011


While I was in Nevada City, CA a few weeks ago, I had dinner with my good friend at Cirino's.  It's a cozy Italian restaurant downtown with the most amazing roasted garlic. 

Garlic is roasted whole with olive oil and spices and served with bread.  If you've never experienced garlic like this, it's actually milder than you would think.  All that time in the oven mellows the flavors.
For our main course, we shared pasta with olive oil, sauteed vegetables and herbs, and even more garlic.
Following our lovely dinner, we headed over to The Nevada Theatre to see The King and I.  I can't say enough about this town...so charming and quaint with incredible scenery.

April 4, 2011

Yellow Raspberries

Yellow or Golden Raspberries are one of my favorite fruits.  They usually pop up in grocery stores in spring, and they aren't around for very long.  I recently spotted them at Whole Foods and couldn't resist.  My parents used to have a yellow raspberry bush in their backyard and I have such fond memories of freshly picked raspberries in the summer.  They're very similar to red raspberries, but in my opinion, a bit sweeter.

April 1, 2011

Vegan Cream Cheese Review

This week, Galaxy Nutritional Foods sent me some of their new vegan cream cheese to try.  I love getting vegan eats in the mail!
I didn't want to make anything too involved for the Chive + Garlic flavor - I really wanted to taste the flavor on its own .  A poppy seed bagel seemed like the perfect canvas.  The chives are what really come through and since I prefer savory flavors for breakfast, this was ideal.  And it's great to serve to non-vegans.  You would never be able to tell this isn't traditional cream cheese.
For dinner the next night, I decided to make twice baked potatoes stuffed with plain cream cheese, broccoli, red peppers, chives and vegan cheddar.  My mom always used to add cream cheese to her mashed potatoes instead of sour cream, so I thought I would do the same.  The cream cheese flavor really pops and gives the potatoes a bit of a twist.  

These were incredible - and super simple to make.  And the ultimate vegan test...my omnivore husband adored them.  

With the leftover plain cream cheese, I'm going to puree it with fresh strawberries and eat it with graham crackers...one of my favorites from childhood :)