Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Chili Addiction

Ok so here's the thing: I LOVE chili.  I love chili with or without beans, with or without TVP, with or without tofu, red, white, green, I love it all.  So imagine my excitement when I read Quarrygirl's post that there is a vegan menu at Chili Addiction.  Obviously Becca and I raced over to have a date night.

We ordered the vegan chili cheese fries, the chili cheese mac and the Quarry Girl burger.  Sorry about the quality of my iPhone pictures!  I couldn't get a decent shot of the chili cheese fries but here's the other two.  The chili mac was okay. Becca liked it a lot more than I did.  For me, it was really a bummer that they didn't melt the vegan cheese (I think it was Daiya) and the chili was a bit on the cold side.  The macaroni was hot as lava instead.  The whole thing was super salty so I only had a couple bites.  That didn't stop Becca from destroying it though.

The chili cheese fries posed much of the same problems.  The chili was luke warm and the cheese wasn't melted.  However, the fries were delicious and not as salty as the noodles so we both ate equal portions of this one.

The Quarry Girl burger was outstanding!  They make their own seitan there and I have to say that it's the best I've ever had.  It was meaty and chewy but didn't taste bland like some other vegan burgers (aka Boca Burger blech).  Then there was homemade sauerkraut that was awesome.  The real clincher for this $10 burger isn't even pictured!  I saw a small container with what I thought were cucumbers.  A little strange for a burger but hey, I like cukes.  Instead they were the most flavorful, homemade pickles ever.  They were incredibly fresh and just the right amount of salt and sour.

And I can't forget to mention the homemade condiments.  It says on the menu that they charge 50 cents per condiment but the guy didn't charge me after I asked for ketchup, which was fantastic.  However, if you're ordering to go, I would definitely ask for any condiments you expect to be on your burger or you will be disappointed.

Becca and I couldn't order desert because we were just too full as is evidenced by this:

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

New Native Foods!

So the amazing and wonderful Chef Tanya added even more incredible items to her menu.  What's even better is that today (Jan 11) 25% of all proceeds go to the Stray Cat Alliance!  Just when you think Native Foods can't get better...

So there are a ton of new menu options, including spinach artichoke dip, spicy meatball pizza and Italian Wedding salad and MUCH MORE!  I went there excited to try the meatball pizza and was debating between the lettuce cups and the spinach artichoke dip.  I asked the woman at the counter which app she preferred and she directed me to the lettuce cups.  Unfortunately the moment after I ordered the pizza, she was informed that they were ALL OUT!  So I quickly had to rethink my options.  She recommended the meatloaf.  I've never really been a fan of the original meaty version but she totally convinced me so I ordered.  Let me tell you: not a mistake.

So first up, the lettuce wraps.  I cannot say enough good things about them.  Usually when I want a great lettuce cup I have to go to PF Chang's (which incidentally is the only really good thing on their menu).  However, these were super satisfying.  They were a tad on the messy side because they were overstuffed with food but hey, I'm not gonna complain about having extra portion sizes of deliciousness.  The best part of these lettuce cups was the sauce. I don't know what voodoo magic Chef Tanya added to this but it was completely perfect. Seriously I could drink the stuff.

Then came the meatloaf.  As I mentioned, this has never been a favorite dish of mine.  However, upon first bite of this I was reformed.  The texture was spot-on.  I'm not sure what coats the outside but I think it's some kind of cranberry glaze which adds a hint of sweetness.  I usually don't love cranberry either but this was perfect.  Then add the fact that jammed into the middle is coconut mashed yams, well I think that's 'nuff said.  This dish blew me away.

I can't wait to go back and taste the other tasty new treats!

Bok choy and mizuna stir fry

So I received a green I'd never heard of called mizuna, which is apparently a Japanese green.  I decided to look up some recipes because my greens often go bad because I don't cook and eat them fast enough. I found this recipe at Epicurious.

  • 3 1/2 tablespoons soy sauce, divided
  • 4 teaspoons Asian sesame oil, divided
  • 3 1/2 teaspoons unseasoned rice vinegar, divided
  • 1 14- to 16-ounce container extra-firm tofu, drained
  • 2 tablespoons peanut oil
  • 4 green onions, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped peeled fresh ginger
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 4 baby bok choy, leaves separated
  • 12 cups loosely packed mizuna (about 8 ounces)

  • Ingredient info: Mizuna is sold at some supermarkets and at Asian markets
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Whisk 2 tablespoons soy sauce, 2 teaspoons sesame oil, and 1/2 teaspoon vinegar in bowl.
Stack 2 paper towels on work surface. Cut tofu crosswise into 3/4-inch-thick slices; cut each slice crosswise in half. Arrange tofu on paper towels and let stand 10 minutes. Pat top of tofu dry.
Heat peanut oil in large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add tofu and cook, without moving, until golden brown on bottom, 2 to 3 minutes per side. Transfer tofu to paper towel to drain, then place tofu on sheet of foil and brush both sides with soy sauce mixture.
Wipe out any peanut oil from skillet. Add 2 teaspoons sesame oil and place skillet over medium heat. Add green onions, ginger, and garlic. Stir until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add remaining 1 1/2 tablespoons soy sauce and 3 teaspoons vinegar, then bok choy. Toss until bok choy wilts, 1 to 2 minutes. Add mizuna in 2 batches, tossing to wilt before adding more, 1 to 2 minutes per batch. Season greens with salt and pepper. Add tofu to skillet. Toss gently to blend. Transfer to platter.

I gotta say it turned out amazing.  I didn't have soy sauce so I used Braggs Liquid Aminos and instead of peanut oil (because I hate the flavor) I used stir fry oil.  It was fantastic.  Just the right amount of salty and sour.  I will be using this method to cook my tofu from now on, although maybe my heat wasn't up high enough because it took much more than 3 minutes to brown each side. No matter though because it was awesome!

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Kansas New Year

So like last year, I joined Becca in Kansas for New Year.  I was thankful that her mother took her to Whole Foods in Kansas City before returning home to Lawrence so there was Gardein Seven Grain Chicken Tenders, Daiya cheese, whole wheat bread (albeit enriched) and Earth Balance.  I knew I wouldn't be in a total vegan wasteland.  However, one gets tired quickly of grilled cheese and chicken nuggets, not to mention my daily vegetable and fruit intake quickly raced to near zero.  Shock of all shocks that I am now sick because my body was unable to detoxify all the liquor and late nights.  So it goes for the new year.  This only reminds me why I must fully dedicate myself to veganism and caring for myself, even if that means making others uncomfortable.

I will say however that I got some kickass cheese-less veggie pizza from some place called Pizza Shuttle at 2 o'clock in the morning.  They make personal sized pizzas that were delicious and soaked up some of my new year's good cheer.

All in all, Kansas wasn't nearly as bad as I expected when it came to vegan food.  I think I was already starting to get sick so I had little to no appetite.  This helped when it came to choosing food since I didn't ever really want to eat (should have been red flag #1 that I was getting sick).  Mostly I stuck to Thai food since it's the healthiest and most vegan friendly option I could find.  I'm saddened to say that I couldn't try any of Yellow Subs on New Year's Day because they were not open :(