January 25, 2014

Dirt Candy

Last week, my favorite Chicago vegan blogger was in the city and we finally made it to Dirt Candy

We were both DC virgins, and had been looking forward to it for quite some time. The restaurant is tiny, so they fill up pretty quickly. If you're prepared to eat dinner at 5.30, you'll be much more likely to get a table. The first thing they ask when you sit down is if you're vegan. I love this, because sometimes vegetarian restaurants aren't super accommodating for vegans (strange, but it does happen). Luckily, Dirt Candy can make almost anything on their menu vegan without sacrificing flavor nor texture.

We started with the JalapeƱo Hugh Puppies with Maple Butter. You seriously can't go wrong with deep fried goodness dipped in sweet butter. I'm still thinking of all the things I could eat with maple butter.

For appetizers, we shared the Mushrooms - portobello mousse, truffled toast with pear and fennel compote...

And the Potato - warm potato salad, crispy Japanese yams, grilled sweet potato, olives, bitter greens and apples. Both were delicious and complex. I'm pretty picky about mushrooms, but I really loved everything in the Mushroom dish.

For entrees, we went for the Beets - salt roasted with Thai green curry, beet gnocchi and whipped coconut galangal cream...

And the Corn - stone ground grits, corn cream, pickled shiitakes, huitlacoche and tempura watercress. Again, both very filling and full of flavor. I like beets, but I don't love them. This was interesting but I definitely preferred the corn. I did really enjoy the coconut cream alongside the beets.

For dessert, it was the Ice Cream Nanaimo Bar with sweet pea, mint and chocolate. Mint chocolate with a hint of something else, very intriguing.

And the Popcorn Pudding with salted caramel corn. The caramel corn was delicious.

I love the trend of taking one ingredient and showing how many iterations you can have in one dish. It really highlights the magic of vegetables. 

January 10, 2014

Sivory . DR

Last month, the husband and I went to the Dominican Republic for vacation. 

We stayed at the Sivory Boutique Hotel, which was about 40 minutes from town (Punta Cana) and a $120 cab ride, so needless to say, we didn't venture out very much. 

But that was fine with us, we were looking for an uber-relaxing spot where we could just chill out and read a book on the beach. 

I don't have pictures of all of my eats, because of the choice of mood lighting in some restaurants in particular, but I will make sure to note all of my positive experiences. 

First, at our resort, I started most mornings with granola, soy milk and sliced bananas. 

Followed by a walk on the beach...

For lunch, I loved their Grilled Vegetable Stack, ordered without the cheese. Normally in a veggie stack, you have the usual - eggplant, onion, peppers, zucchini. This stack also included tomato, white potato and sweet potato.

A side of crispy plantain chips is always a good snack. 

By the pool, hummus with crispy beet chips, olives and tortillas was my go-to. 

Along with fresh coconut water. 

They have an Asian restaurant on site that has an amazing veggie stir fry. And if you let them know your dietary restrictions ahead of time, they're happy to accommodate. 

Next door, at the Zoetry hotel, they have three restaurants with great veggie options. Just let them know ahead of time. Also, a very strange thing we encountered was many hotels are not prepared to serve customers who are not guests of the hotel. So...again, ahead of time, talk to reception and you'll have no problem. You normally just have to pre-pay. 

It's definitely a more rustic beach experience than Turks + Caicos, our normal beach destination, but it was a very pleasant change.