Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Native Reuben

Oh my gosh!  I just had the pleasant experience of taste-testing one of Chef Tanya's newest creations at Native Foods: the Reuben.  Please don't let the picture fool you. My silly iPhone camera does not do this masterpiece justice.  Seriously ever since the Meet Market closed, I've wondered where I could find a decent Reuben (although I will admit I make a pretty decent one myself).  The trick is the seitan, which I've never been a huge fan of.  However, I don't know what voodoo magic Chef Tanya has done, but it most certainly tastes amazing.  See for yourself.

Now my only (minor) criticisms are that this bad boy was a supremely messy eat.  Because there was so much Russian dressing, it was difficult managing to get it in my mouth and not on my skirt.  So remember that this is a minimum three-napkin kind of sandwich.  Next, there wasn't as much sauerkraut as I would have liked. However, I will just share that I am in love with sour foods so I usually overdo the sauerkraut at home.  So with this being said, next time -- and believe me there WILL  be a next time -- I will ask for the dressing on the side and extra sauerkraut.

I teamed the reuben with the dill potato salad.  It was good but not Flore good.  The potatoes were a little bit harder than I like so it felt sort of borderline raw to me.  But hey, I still ate nearly all of it so it wasn't all bad.

So there you have it. I have nothing but love for Native Foods.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Animal Acres!

This weekend I went to Animal Acres, which is a sanctuary for farmed animals.  Suffice to say, it was INCREDIBLE! I've added some pics of the most darling animals you've ever seen with horrific stories.  The rooster we called Bellbottoms because he looked like he was wearing bellbottom jeans.  Pinto is the big cow.  I fell in love with a white donkey named Tonk and there were the sweetest goats, Jenko and Kirby.  It was incredible see see how these people care for all these animals and how much love there was at the farm.  I'm sooo happy that a place like Animal Acres exists and plead for EVERYONE to donate today.

The incredible tour was followed by a delicious vegan meal of spaghetti squash with pesto, pesto and/or sundried tomato bread, green beans, watermelon and amazing brownies.  It was fantastic eating and really only added to a great day for Becca and me.

After Animal Acres, we decided Sunday Funday and went for a drink at Tony Darts Away, which was on our way home. This is a fun bar that has a decent vegan menu, although I'm not a huge fan of their vegan sausages. However, kudos to them for even providing them.  Tony's is great because they offer many vegan beers and will do flights of four for cheap.  Also, they will let you sample any beer you're curious about.  Now it can't get any better, right? Wrong!  What really separates Tony's from anywhere else is the fact that they have a ton of board games!  Everything from Uno to Yahtzee to Sorry to Clue.  It's fabulous.  Becca and I played a few rounds of Candyland, some Clue and practiced our beer trivia.  Ah such a good Sunday.  Unfortunately I had too much fun and spent much of the afternoon napping on my couch.  When I got hungry I ordered Cruzer's Pizza, which is right down the street.  They make the most delicious bbq chicken pizza and cheesy breadsticks with Daiya. Mmmmmmmm.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Labor Day Weekend

So we had a long weekend and oh how I already miss it. Sigh.  Every year at this time,  my family migrates back to Seattle, Washington for Bumbershoot, a three day musical festival with hundreds of acts, games, rides, comedy, films and more.  It is utterly divine and I enjoy myself every year.  I have gone consistently since I was in the womb, that's how much my family loves this.  Also, this year I got the added bonus of meeting my 9 day-old niece Jasmine, who is adorable and sweet. I so enjoyed meeting her. However, what I quickly noticed was that for a city that boasts being vegan-friendly, it was actually pretty difficult to find food, especially inside the festival.  I mean, Coachella has vegan options!  Why is it so hard for Bumbershoot to keep from cooking veggies in butter.  Even the Indian and Thai choices were usually either a. bland or b. cooked with meat or on the same grill.  It was a little crazy so I was forced to visit the QVC grocery store quite a bit and/or eat a ton of french fries.

However, one restaurant close to my hotel was Bamboo Garden Vegetarian.  This was a tacky-looking joint that served up the real deal.  All protein in this place was vegetarian wheatmeat.  This made me very happy and I ordered that hot and spicy chicken. It was pretty good, though a bit skimpy on the portion especially since my brother ordered the hot and spicy tofu, which came in a pie pan of goodness.

For the other two days of the festival, I mostly just ate fries and fruit along with some cotton candy (sometimes I just can't help myself.)  But this made me wonder why a vegan diet isn't more thoroughly represented here, especially since Washingtonians believe themselves to be on the hippy liberal side of things.  For next year, I'm gonna beg that they get some vegan vendors in the house.

I was ecstatic to get back home to LA.  I missed my cats and just the feeling of being home. Plus, I knew that I would have a disgusting litter box to clean so I'd rather just get it over with.  Sadly, the cold I picked up in Washington is lingering so today I had some vegetable soup from Whole Foods.  In Brentwood, they also feature a vegan curried chicken salad sandwich.  It comes on ciabatta bread with vegan chicken curry, spinach, shredded carrots and Veganiase.  I also threw on some cucumbers because I believe cucumbers and avocado make every sandwich special.  I had them heat it up in the panini press and gotta say it came out nicely.  Yes, the fake meat is a little chewy and I'm not a huge fan of the sporadicly placed raisins in the curry but overall it was a satisfying little meal and one I hope helps kick this cold's ass.

Thursday, September 2, 2010


I decided to finally make Chef Chloe's winning Cupcake Wars recipe.  I had some strawberries that will go bad if I don't eat through them quickly enough.  Though they did not turn out as beautifully as hers (I apparently didn't fill the cupcake wrappers up enough so they didn't rise as high.  Here's the recipe:

Chocolate Strawberry Shortcake Cupcakes
Secret Winning Recipe!

(Makes 12 Cupcakes)
 1 ½ cups all-purpose flour
1 cup sugar    
1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon salt
1 cup coconut milk 
½ cup vegetable oil
2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 teaspoon instant espresso powder 
Frosting, recipe below
1 ½ cups hulled and sliced fresh strawberries
Confectioners’ sugar, for garnish

1.    Preheat oven to 350 degrees F and line a 12-cup cupcake pan with paper liners. 
2.    Sift or whisk together the flour, sugar, cocoa, baking soda, and salt into a bowl. In a separate bowl, mix the coconut milk, oil, vinegar, vanilla, and espresso powder until smooth. 
3.    Pour the wet mixture into the dry mixture and mix with a fork or small whisk. 
4.    Divide the batter evenly among the prepared cupcake liners until each cup is 2/3 full. Bake for about 20 minutes, or until an inserted toothpick comes out clean. 
5.    Once the cupcakes are completely cooled, slice off the top 1/3 of each cupcake and slather with frosting and sliced strawberries. Place the top of the cupcake back on top and add an additional bit of frosting and sliced strawberries. Dust with confectioners’ sugar.

4 cups confectioners' sugar, preferably organic
1/2 cup refined coconut oil at room temperature OR margarine (recommended: Earth Balance Organic Soy-Free Non-Hydrogenated Buttery Spread)
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
¼ cup water

1.    Combine the confectioners' sugar, coconut oil, and vanilla extract in the bowl of a stand mixer. 
2.    Beat on medium-high speed until combined. With the mixer running, add 1 tablespoon of water at a time, until the desired buttercream consistency.

Here's what mine ultimately looked like.  And they were YUUUUUUUUUUUM!