June 30, 2011

Summer Vacation

I'm off for a couple of weeks to NYC and Ohio to visit friends + family...oh how I love summer!

You can keep up with my eating adventures on Twitter while I'm traveling.
Photo source : May Dae

June 28, 2011

El Nuevo Mexicano

El Nuevo Mexicano is a traditional Mexican restaurant in the Lakeview neighborhood of Chicago. They recently added an extensive all vegan menu. After watching this adorable movie at a nearby theatre, my husband and I stopped in for a bite.

Their vegan menu is awesome. Appetizers, entrees, desserts, the works. I ordered the Flautas de Verduras, three flautas filled with grilled vegetables, potatoes, Upton's Naturals chorizo and Daiya mozzarella topped with chipotle and tomatillo salsas. They're served with a mixed green salad with mango and jicama and rice or quinoa. I also ordered a side of guacamole - it's especially cooling with the spicy chorizo.  

I can't say enough good things about this dish. Spicy, crunchy, sweet and seriously filling. I LOVE that they added ten vegan options to their menu. That's huge! Hopefully other restaurants will follow suit.

June 24, 2011


So the other day I turned on the tv and caught the movie Julie + Julia just as Julie was making an incredible looking bruschetta. It looked so good that I just had to make it for myself the next day.
This bruschetta turned out to be the best I've ever made. It went something like this:

1 medium red tomato
1 medium yellow tomato
2 cloves of garlic
1/4 medium onion
2 extra large basil leaves
splash of white vinegar
Fleur de sel + black pepper to taste

I took slices of sourdough bread and browned them in a pan with a mix of Earth Balance and olive oil and then topped with the tomato mix...perfection!

June 22, 2011

Pret a Manger

I first encountered Pret a Manger in London about ten years ago, now they seem to be in every major US city. They have really great vegetarian and vegan selections and they have a drink that I love called Yoga Bunny Detox.
Their shelves are packed with sandwiches, salads, wraps, snacks and all kinds of drinks and smoothies. They also carry soups, chips and granola bars at the counter.
Vegan items are clearly marked.
I chose their Light + Crunchy Summer wrap, filled with beets, cucumbers, carrots, lettuce, avocado, tomato and hummus. I always get a side of their Balsamic Vinaigrette to go with any sandwich or salad I'm having - it's one of the best balsamics I've had.
Depending on location, they also serve sushi, hot wraps and various desserts.

June 20, 2011

The Parker Palm Springs

The Parker Hotel is a great spot for Sunday brunch in Palm Springs. The hotel itself is such a nice place to explore, both inside and out.

Norma's is their restaurant that serves brunch. Outdoor shaded seating is highly coveted so get there early.
I ordered their Crunchy Pecan + Macademia Granola with fresh berries and soymilk. They also feature a different smoothie everyday, and most can be made without yogurt to make them vegan.
And after brunch, wander around their huge outdoor space. You'll find various shops, several pools...
A lemonade stand...
And lots of quiet areas to relax.

June 17, 2011

Palm Greens Cafe

The Palm Greens Cafe is another regular stop for me in Palm Springs. For breakfast, the Blueberry Buckwheat Pancakes cannot be beat. These pancakes are incredible - fluffy, sweet and really filling. Earth Balance and maple syrup are served on the side. If you're really famished, you can get a tofu scramble and veggie bacon to accompany your pancakes as part of the Breakfast Platter.
The Grilled Tempeh Reuben is one of their killer sandwiches, made with sauerkraut, vegan cheese and Russian dressing on rye bread.
They also have lots of great wraps, including the Chicken Caesar Wrap. Vegan chicken, lots of cool lettuce, carrots, tomatoes + homemade caesar dressing.
Also check out their Date Shake, a traditional PS beverage.

June 15, 2011


Koffi is located directly across the street from The Ace Hotel + Swim Club in Palm Springs. Whenever I stay there, I always visit Koffi for a much needed caffeinated beverage.

They offer soymilk in all of their drinks, including their frozen options. A frozen soy latte on a hot day in the desert is nothing short of divine.

June 13, 2011

Fresh Grape Salsa

While in Palm Springs, we always visit with our good friend, Brad. He has a really charming house with a great outdoor area.
On our last visit, we had a get together with some friends and it was a feast of all types of salads and salsas. Pasta salad with grilled veggies, corn salsa, pico de gallo and grape salsa.

Our lovely friend Wendy brought the refreshing grape salsa. I love fruit salsas, they bring just the right amount of sweetness to savory vegetables and herbs. It's perfect for summer picnics and cookouts.  Thanks for sharing your recipe with us Wendy!

Grape Salsa

1 cup seedless green grapes, quartered
1 cup seedless red grapes, quartered
3/4 cup finely chopped peeled English cucumber
1/4 cup finely chopped Vidalia or other sweet onion
1 tablespoon chopped fresh cilantro
1 tablespoon finely chopped seeded jalapeƱo pepper
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
1/4 teaspoon salt


June 10, 2011

Ace Hotel + Swim Club

Whenever I visit Palm Springs, I stay at The Ace Hotel + Swim Club. Each Ace location has a different vibe, and Palm Springs is all about laid back. Here are a few pictures from around the hotel...
They have two pools, an enormous hot tub, a dog park, spa, communal fireplaces + awesome bikes to rent.
Each room on the ground floor has a large patio with your own personal outdoor fireplace.

King's Highway, the hotel restaurant, offers lots of veggie options, including a Black Bean Burger Vegetarian Chili and a refreshing Heirloom Tomato + Watermelon Salad.
The Vegan Southwest Tofu Scramble is filled with multi-colored peppers and red onions. Perfect with multigrain toast and their incredible berry jam.

These sea anemone-like flowers bloom all along the fences.
Their pool area is a great place to spend a sunny afternoon.
And they'll deliver their many veggie options to you poolside. The Mezza Plate is my snack of choice. Hummus, baba ghanoush and tabouleh served with crisp pita and cucumbers. There is feta on the side, for sharing with any non-vegans you might be dining with.

Their hot tub is the hottest I've ever encountered. It is so relaxing and cozy when the temperature drops at night.
And on my last morning in PS, this gorgeous hummingbird let me get close enough to take these pictures.
Her wings are moving so quickly they're a blur.

June 8, 2011

Native Foods Palm Springs

I've made several trips to Palm Springs over the past couple of years for work and I've come to absolutely adore Native Foods, a vegan restaurant chain in southern California.  I've eaten there many times and loved everything, these are just some of the highlights.

Since I'm always working when I'm in town, I eat mostly takeout in my hotel room at The Ace Hotel + Swim Club.  I'll have more on this fabulous hotel later in the week.
The Native Nachos are amazing. Corn tortilla chips topped with black beans, Native Taco Meat, Native Chipotle Crema, Native Cheese, salsa fresca, and guacamole, green onions and cilantro. There are simply too many good things going on here.  It's like sensory overload, in the best possible way. No entree needed, these are more than enough!
The Chili Cheese Fries are lightly seasoned and topped with vegan chili, Native cheese and pico de gallo.  They have several variations on their Native cheese, all of them made with cashews, seeds and nuts.
The Baja Surf Tacos were the first vegan fish tacos I've ever tried and they are still the best.  Crispy battered homemade tempeh covered with surfer sauce, salsa fresca, shredded cabbage and guacamole. 
The vegan cheese, taco meat and sauces are not overly processed, they are all made fresh and with quality ingredients on site.  Even when eating chili cheese fries, you can feel good about it here!

Some of my other favorites are the Chicken Run Ranch Burger, Spicy Buffalo Wings and the Soul Bowl. You can find all of the Native Foods locations here.

June 6, 2011

Loving Hut Chicago

As you might know, Loving Hut is the largest growing vegan restaurant in the world.  They feature a 100% vegan menu, with non-GMO ingredients and organic whenever possible.  Having visited several locations with complete satisfaction, I was really excited to visit my local Chicago location

An Iced Chai Latte is the perfect beverage in summer, made with soymilk of course.  I love the gradient from tan to brown.
Sweet and sour sauce is one of my weaknesses.  They add a twist with their sweet and spicy sauce, served with crispy vegan chicken and brown rice with a side of cucumbers and apples.  The sauce is delicious and with the crunchy texture, you can't go wrong. 

Great experience at LH Chicago, and the drive from my apartment up Lake Shore Drive is an added plus!

June 4, 2011

Organic Vegetarian Night at La Taberna

La Taberna Tapas in the University Village neighborhood of Chicago is now offering an Organic Vegetarian Menu every Wednesday night. 

I stopped in a few weeks ago and had two really great dishes.  I started with an Arugula Salad with Red Onions, Oranges, Walnuts + Figs.  An arugula salad with fruits and nuts never gets old to me, I love the flavor combinations.
And I am never one to turn down a Vegetarian Paella.  Lots of fresh vegetables and herbs with just the right amount of saffron and lemon.

I love that restaurants are taking notice that Vegetarian/Vegan food is the best and easiest way to go green. They also have numerous vegetarian dishes that could easily be altered to be vegan.

June 1, 2011


Sprinkles is an adorable cupcakery with multiple locations across the country.  I recently visited their Chicago location and fell in love with their designs.  Check out their flavor decoder here.

This is the line out the door...this is normal.
They only have one vegan cupcake, but it's awesome.  Red Velvet with an icing that has a lovely hint of coconut.  I took my vegan parents there this weekend and they were both blown away.
They also sell their mixes at Williams-Sonoma stores if you don't live near a location.  The lemon mix is killer!