Wednesday, September 28, 2011

A Gentle Lunch At Garden Grille

On a rainy Friday, my dad and I headed down to Pawtucket, Rhode Island to grab some lunch at Garden Grille before seeing Contagion at the Providence Place (a huge shopping center in Providence). We overestimated the time it would take to get there from the suburbs of Boston, allowing for a full hour, when it was a mere 35 minute drive. Thus, we arrived at 11 am, just as they were opening, and the restaurant was empty. We were seated promptly and given ample time to look over the menu.

We first ordered some nachos ($10) made vegan with daiya cheese.

These nachos were delicious. The daiya cheese melted perfectly and had a lovely seasoning to disguise its usual odd aftertaste. The guacamole was my favorite part of the dish, as it was so smooth and had a rich avocado flavor. The combination of salsa and jalapenos added a nice heat and spiciness. The beans added a wonderful softness and gave the nachos a more savory taste. I was not a huge fan of the glob of sour cream, as it matched the real thing too well, having a bitter, off-putting flavor.

Next, our entrees came out. My dad ordered the Tofu BLT ($7), while I ordered a wrap ($7).

I first tried my wrap.

The wrap was amazing and tasted like thanksgiving stuffed in a tortilla. This dish was just oozing with flavor from the slightly bitter cranberry sauce to the succulent apple chutney to the savory tempeh sausage chunks. There was also a creamy, slightly salty cashew cream sauce, which greatly enhanced the wrap, giving it a subtle cheesy taste. There were also some wonderful textures, with the soft and slightly chewy tempeh and the crunchy lettuce pieces. There was an accompanying salad that was enjoyable but did not go very well with wrap. The dressing was too tangy and bitter and seemed more fitting for an Asian dish.

Next, I tried some of my dad's BLT.

I found this sandwich to be equally delicious. I was surprised that Garden Grille was using tofu instead of tempeh as a bacon substitute, but it actually worked very well. The strips of tofu bacon were greasy and crispy, mimicking its meaty counterpart almost to an exact. The juicy tomatoes and lettuce pieces added an additional crunchiness. The chipotle aoili took the sandwich over the top, as it was so creamy and moderately spicy with a hint of garlic.

Overall, I really enjoyed the meal. Everything was so flavorful and it really hit the spot. I love that the menu consists of comfort food, yet is very creative and innovative. I also really like that the faux meats are handmade and they aren't using generic alternatives like gardein and tofurkey (although I do love those too). The prices are also very reasonable, considering the high quality food. We used a coupon from the Entertainment Booklet, which took $5 off. The meal came out to about $22 after the discount. I wish I had known about this place before, as it is truly a gem. I cannot wait to return on my next visit.

Monday, September 26, 2011

A Great Dinner At Grasshopper

No trip is complete to Boston without dining at one of my favorite vegan chinese restaurants, Grasshopper in Allston, MA. This restaurant has so many great memories for me, since it was one of the few restaurants around when I went vegetarian at the tender age of thirteen. I love that it still thrives and the food is just as good as the first time I visited. This restaurant is not only comfort food for me, but a constant reminder of the struggle I faced becoming a vegetarian. Grasshopper was pivotal in helping me realize that vegan food can taste delicious and there are adequate meat substitutes. On my previous visit to Grasshopper, I indulged in a lovely array of traditional chinese delicacies. This current visit was equally amazing and the food was very flavorful.

First, we all had bowls of hot and sour soup ($4).

Grasshopper's hot and sour soup was fantastic. It was very tangy and was quite spicy with just a hint of sweetness. The vegetable pieces were so soft and delicate and the tofu chunks had a very savory flavor.

Next, we had the House Special Assorted Appetizers ($9).

I am a huge fan of sampler plates because I can never make up my mind about what to order and I love being able to try everything. This appetizer sampler was perfect because it featured a wonderful variety of textures and flavors. The vermicelli rolls were very soft and gooey with a slight licorice taste. The fried wontons, spring rolls and dumplings, on the other hand, were very crisp and crunchy, with a more meaty flavor. The fried bean cakes were the perfect in between, having a lovely balance of slightly sweet and savory and having a softer, more luscious interior. The salad was terrific, coated in a creamy dressing, yet it tasted very light and refreshing.

Next, we had the Sweet and Sour Tofu, Chicken Fingers with Pineapple, Celery and Onions ($8.50).

This dish is one of my favorites as it combines fried soy chicken with soft, well-cooked vegetables covered in an elegant sweet and sour sauce. The chicken fingers are the best part, as they are so perfectly deep fried. The coating is crispy and the tofu interior is soft and easy to chew. The sauce is so tangy and succulent and the vegetables and soy chicken sop it up very well.

Next, we had the House Special Nest Crispy Taro Nest with Assorted Vegetables, Veggie-Chicken, Beef and Seafood ($13.45).

This dish was so innovative and different from the entrees I typically order at Grasshopper. The "nest" was composed of crunchy, fried noodles and the interior consisted of a wonderful mixture of well-seasoned sauteed vegetables and savory pieces of soy chicken, beef and seafood. The soy meats were so real tasting and the seafood added a slightly fishy flavor that was a little off-putting. Nevertheless, the sauce was very scrumptious and had a beany taste with notes of soy sauce.

To satisfy our sweet tooth, we indulged in a piece of vegan cheesecake with blueberry sauce ($3.50).

This cheesecake was so decadent and had a sweet flavor and was very creamy. It had a slight saltiness that perfectly resembled cream cheese. The blueberry compote added an even sweeter taste and was so heavenly.

Overall, I really enjoyed the meal. I truly treasure Grasshopper and it's definitely a nostalgic experience for me. I am so happy that they've survived so long, especially in an area that has never been very vegan friendly. With our $25 gift certificate, the meal only cost $35 (for three people). The portions at Grasshopper are huge and we had enough leftovers for another meal. I love that the food at Grasshopper tastes very authentic and the soy meats mimic the real deal so well. This is a great place to bring an omnivore, especially one that loves a good deal. I cannot wait to return on my next visit to Boston.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

A Dreamy Breakfast At Caravan Of Dreams

About once a year, I visit New York City, one of my favorite places in the country. It just so happens that there are many amazing vegan restaurants scattered throughout the city. I was faced with a difficult decision to make that I rarely face: which restaurant do I dine at? I found the options to be overwhelming and prayed that I made the right choices.

On a Sunday morning, my parents, sister and I headed to the Village to dine at a lovely restaurant called Caravan of Dreams. For brunch, they offer a pre-fix menu for $16, which includes a choice of sangria or fresh-squeezed orange juice, coffee or tea, salad and an entree. My sister, mom and I chose the french toast, while my dad opted for a tofu scramble, replacing toast with a blueberry pancake for $1.50 extra.

First, my sangria came out.

The sangria was very fruity and had a strong taste of wine. It was sweet with a subtle tartness. The alcohol was fairly strong and I felt it absorb into my bloodstream almost immediately. It left me with a nice buzz, which may have helped me enjoy my brunch even more.

The rest of my family raved about their orange juice. They were surprised about how fresh tasting it was, even more pure and sweet than the overly processed orange juice they are accustomed to.

Next, I had some tea. It was brought out in a large pot, which provided several generous servings.

I opted for an herbal chai tea, which was very refreshing and uplifting. It had a slight sweetness to it, with spicy undertones. It balanced the sangria out very well.

Next, our salads came out.

The salad was very good, consisting of slightly bitter greens and sweet, juicy tomatoes. The vinaigrette was very light, which was perfect for this first meal early in the morning.

The service was very bad and our entrees had been sitting out for quite awhile before the waiter finally brought them to our table. Thus, the meal was cold and although it was very delicious, it would have been way better if it was served hot. I first tried my french toast.

This french toast was delicious and quite possibly the best I've ever had. The bread had a great consistency and was very thick with a slightly eggy flavor. It was very moist and felt delicate in my mouth. There was a decadent layer of vegan nutella spread on, giving it a rich, chocolatey flavor. The pieces of juicy strawberries and bananas took the dish over the top, adding even more sweetness. In addition, there were toasted pieces of slightly salty, crunchy hazelnuts, which added a wonderful contrast to the softness of the french toast and fruit slices.

I tried some of my dad's dishes, which were equally tasty. I first tried some of his blueberry pancake.

This pancake was very interesting, as it was made of spelt flour. It was very fluffy and had a sweet, luscious taste.

I also tried his tofu scramble, which was way different from any tofu scramble I've ever had.

The tofu was very fluffy and mimicked the texture of eggs almost to an exact. The vegetables were sauteed very well and were soft and easy to eat. There was a subtle taste of soy sauce, which made this dish a cross between a scramble and stir-fry.

Overall, I really enjoyed the meal. The food at Caravan of Dreams is top-notch and one of the best breakfasts I've ever had. I love that the dishes are both innovative and sophisticated. As a vegan, I rarely get the chance to eat nutella, so this was such a treat. While the meal was fairly expensive, it was very reasonably priced for its high real estate location. The pre-fix menu is quite a deal, as it is only $3 more than the a la carte entree and includes a salad and two amazing drinks. This could easily cost at least twice as much if the items were ordered separately. I definitely recommend this restaurant for a relaxing brunch before exploring all the city has to offer. I hope to return the next time I venture to NYC.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

A Delightful Meal At Dosa Temple

Indian food is one of my favorite cuisines, so I always leap with joy at the opportunity to eat it. One of the best Indian restaurants I've eaten at is in Ashland, MA and is called Dosa Temple. Since it is completely vegetarian, the food tastes very authentic and is even patronized mostly by Indians. While their specialty is Southern Indian, they also have delicious Northern Indian and Indo-Chinese dishes. On my last visit to Boston, I made sure to dine there, taking full advantage of their discount featured in the Entertainment Booklet. On this visit, we took advantage of another discount they offer, saving 5% off the bill by paying with cash. This may not be the greatest discount, but since the food is already inexpensive, it made the bill even more reasonably priced.

First, we each ordered a bowl of the rasam soup ($2).

The soup was delicious. It was very spicy and had an excellent tangy flavor. The taste of tomatoes were strong, adding a subtle sweetness to balance out the spiciness.

Next, our appetizers came out. We were upset to discover that the samosas have dairy in them and cannot be prepared vegan. I am hoping this is a new development, as we ordered them last time. Luckily, there were many other enticing appetizers on the menu to satisfy my samosa craving.

We first had the Mixed Vegetable Bajji ($5).

This was wonderful and one of my favorites from my previous visit. The fritters were coated in a delectable batter that had a savory taste and were perfectly deep fried. I could barely make out which vegetable was which, save for the chili peppers, which had an intense heat. These reminded us so much of onion rings, without the oniony taste.

Next, we had the Gobi 65 ($6).

This was very similar to the bajji, although the batter was thinner and the cauliflowers were not as deep fried. The cauliflower pieces were very crunchy on the outside, with a soft and delectable interior, almost resembling the consistency of popcorn. These were even spicier than the other fritters, with a tangy flavoring.

Next, we had a Green Salad ($3) to cool down our mouths.

This salad is a must for any spicy meal. It was so refreshing and the vegetables were very crispy and fresh tasting. There was a delectable seasoning and the vinaigrette had a light citrusy flavor. I love the addition of the chickpeas, as they were a lovely contrast to the other vegetables and added a slight beany taste.

Next, we had the Temple Special Masala Dosa ($9).

This was excellent and definitely a highlight of the meal. The dosa was already precut into six pieces and the potato mixture was evenly distributed. The crepes were so luscious, with a slightly sweet flavor, which beautifully matched the smooth, moderately spiced curried potatoes. The accompanying chutneys worked very well with the dosas, adding a wonderful contrasting sweetness.

Next, we had the Vada Curry ($9), which I enjoyed so much on my last visit.

The curry was just as flavorful as I remembered it. It had a lovely mixture of spices and seasonings. The lentil balls had a very nutty flavor and were very soft and crumbly. The sauce was amazing, with a wonderful succulent taste, which lingered in my mouth for quite a while. There were undertones of tomato and coconut flavors, providing an excellent contrast to the spiciness of the lentil concoctions.

Lastly, we had the paratha bread ($3), Dosa Temple's only vegan bread option.

The paratha bread is definitely the best Indian bread I've eaten, even better than my beloved non-vegan naan bread, which I miss very dearly. This definitely works as a suitable replacement for naan, as it is very pastry-like and soaked in oil. It also works perfectly to balance out the flavors of each dish and soaks in their spices very well.

We all really enjoyed the food on this visit, although I am still sad at the samosa situation. I really wish Dosa Temple would make this vegan, since I always order samosas at Indian restaurants. This meal left me feeling incomplete without one. Nevertheless, everything was so tasty and just as I remembered it on my last visit. The meal came out to about $40, which is a very good deal for three people. In addition, we ended up having lots of leftovers, since the portions seemed even bigger this time. I cannot wait to dine at Dosa Temple again on my next visit to Boston.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

A Peaceful Dinner At Peace O' Pie

On my second night back to my hometown of Boston, I headed to Peace O' Pie, one of the few completely vegan pizzerias in the country. This place is a true gem, offering an array of faux meats and cheeses. They can pretty much veganize any pizza you desire and make it even tastier than the non-vegan version. Furthermore, it's totally guilt-free, as they use the highest quality ingredients. Since Peace O' Pie is nestled in a college town and caters primarily to poor college students, they constantly have deals and specials. On my last visit, we used a Buy With Me voucher for $8 for $16 worth of food and drink.

First, we had a large The MD pizza ($20).

This is one of my favorite pizzas at Peace O' Pie. The tomato sauce is laid on very thinly and has a sweet flavoring. The toppings accompany one another perfectly, from the savory chunks of juicy soy sausage to the soft, garlicky zucchini pieces to the slightly salty, luscious caramelized onion strips. The pizza definitely has a smoky, meaty flavoring with a lovely sprinkling of spices. The daiya cheese is beautifully melted and mimics dairy cheese perfectly in its ability to stretch.

Next we had a medium The Neapolitan pizza ($16).

This pizza was equally delicious. It complemented The MD very well, as it had a sweeter flavor. The tomatoes were very juicy and fresh tasting. The crumbles of homemade tofu ricotta had a lovely subtle sweet taste with a hint of saltiness. There was a wonderful basil seasoning mixed in the ricotta that added a light spice.

Overall, I loved the meal. I seriously want to export Peace O' Pie to Los Angeles so I can enjoy their food year round. Their pizzas are so flavorful and the bread is perfect, being both doughy and crispy. My non-vegan parents also really enjoyed the meal. The pizzas did not taste vegan at all and could easily fool any meat eater. The best part of Peace O' Pie is definitely their affordability, as they are so reasonably priced with or without a deal. They have specials every day, with the best one being a Reverse Happy Hour, where you can buy a pizza and get one free. With our deal voucher, we spent about $36, which included drinks. I cannot wait to return for some more delicious pizza.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

A Beneficial Dinner At Better Life

One of the greatest joys of being a vegan is being able to share my love of food with others. I love taking on the role of a mentor and helping others through what is often a difficult transition of becoming vegan. I was given the opportunity to help a friend of mine completely abstain from animal products. The easiest way to do this was to dine out at some of LA's finest restaurants. Of course, this included venturing to one of my favorite raw food restaurants, Better Life in Santa Monica. My friend had heard about the restaurant, but had no clue the restaurant was fully vegan. It's funny how some restaurants don't specifically label themselves as "vegan", thus drawing in many diners that would most likely not eat there if they knew otherwise. 

Nevertheless, the restaurant was empty when we arrived. Given it was fairly late on a week night, I was not very surprised. My friend eyed the cheesy kale chips and picked one up to take back to her carnivorous family. We looked over the menu for a while, despite that I pretty much have it memorized by now. 

First, the soup and salad that came with our entrees were brought out. I first tried the celery soup.

I love raw soups, especially the ones at Better Life and was excited to try this. It lived up to my high expectations. It was very cooling and had a lovely, creamy consistency. It was lightly spiced and the taste of celery was strong. The soup had a very subtle sweet taste, that balanced out the saltiness very well. 

Next, I tried some Oriental Salad.

The salad was very good and had a mild spice. The vegetables were very crunchy and were coated in a tangy sauce. There was a light soy flavoring, that gave it a lovely salty taste. 

Next, our entrees came out. First, I had my favorite dish at Better Life, the Manicotti Rolls ($11.75). No trip at Better Life would be complete without ordering this delicious dish.

The manicotti rolls were just as cheesy and creamy as I remembered them, from the rich, nutty ricotta cheese to the perfectly salted parmesan topping. The zucchini slices were soft and slightly crispy, mimicking, manicotti noodles perfectly. The tomato "sauce" added a wonderful sweetness to the dish, taking it above and beyond.

Next, I had the Fiesta Platter ($13).

This dish is great and I love that it combines so many wonderful flavors on one plate. The tuna and salmon concoctions taste very similar, although the tuna is a little creamier and less spicy. Both have a very nutty taste. The fried beans is similar to the salmon, especially its texture, although has a little more kick to it. The guacamole is one of my favorite sauces, having a more sweet, luscious flavor. I also love the bruschetta, which is a garlicky pesto sauce coating a thick crunchy cracker topped in a heavenly tomato mixture, with a sprinkling of parmesan. 

Lastly, we tried the Supreme Nachos ($11.75), which were recently added to the menu.

This dish was very interesting and had similar flavors to the Fiesta Platter. The "cheese" sauce was very creamy, although it seemed more like a dressing than a sauce. The consistency was a little too thin, but quite tasty. There was a generous dollop of fried beans, which added a lovely spice to the dish. There were also pieces of crunchy crackers, which had a subtle onion flavor. There was so much lettuce, this resembled a salad more than a nacho dish. 

Overall, I really enjoyed the meal. While I find Better Life's food to be delicious, I would love their flavorings to be more varied from dish to dish. Many of the dishes start to taste very similar, especially after eating there fairly often. With the $25 gift certificate, we each spent about $17. This is a great price for the amount of food we got, especially since we had a lot of leftovers for the next day. My friend also enjoyed the food and raved about it. Almost immediately after we left, she was already planning what she would order on her next visit. 

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Another night at Amwaj

Another night, another meal at Amwaj restaurant. I cannot proclaim my love enough for this amazing vegan-friendly establishment, and I find myself constantly craving their delicious food. On my most recent visit, I introduced a friend of mine to their food, who had been dying to go since I raved so highly about it. I was so excited to see her reaction, as she took her first bite into each delectable dish. It's a little corny, I know, but I love exposing others to wonderful food and it's a big part of the reason why I started this blog.

We started out with two appetizers. First, we had the Amwaj Peppers ($7) and then hummus ($6).

The Amwaj Peppers are definitely Amwaj's signature dish, hence the usage of their name in the dish. The flavors were seriously incredible, from the savory, well-spiced rice concoction filling to the luscious, sweet molasses topping. The peppers were boiled to perfection and were soft and juicy. The basil topping added a delightful spice to the dish, taking it above and beyond.

The hummus was also quite a treat and a lovely way to begin the meal.

The taste of tahini was strong and the consistency was so smooth and creamy. There was a light flavoring of pepper and a delicate cilantro garnish. In addition, the center of the dish was filled with a glob of oil that complimented the hummus wonderfully. To accompany the hummus, there was a slightly warm pita bread and crunchy, spicy chips. The chips were perfect on their own and tasted a bit odd with the additional spices of the hummus. The pita bread worked very well with the hummus and completely sopped up the flavor.

Next, our main dishes came out. First, we had the Vegan Pesto Chicken Tortellini ($14).

This pasta was delicious. It was quite evident that the pasta was homemade, and it had such a soft, doughy texture. The interior was even more delectable, with a garlicky, creamy pesto sauce coating slightly chewy pieces of soy chicken. The sauce worked perfectly with the savory filling, adding a contrasting sweet flavoring. I normally do not like tomato sauce, yet I really enjoyed Amwaj's version. It was very smooth and had a slightly creamy consistency.

Lastly, we had the Asparagus Artichoke Quiche ($9).

Sadly, this is the first dish at Amwaj that I did not enjoy very much. I think this can be attributed to the fact that the dish did not resemble a quiche at all, but rather a mediocre casserole dish. The crust was way too hard and difficult to eat. The interior was flavorful, but had an odd consistency that was too pasty. In addition, there were many mushrooms interspersed, which gave the dish a fungal taste, despite my picking out most of them. The accompanying salad, however, was the highlight of the dish. The vegetables were very fresh and crunchy and were coated in a light, refreshing, moderately spiced, lemony vinaigrette.

Overall, I really enjoyed the visit.  Having been to Amwaj several times now, I can honestly say the food is consistently flavorful and the service is outstanding. I really hope they can improve the quiche and make it actually taste like the real thing. Nevertheless, the meal was terrific and so perfectly spiced. It was quite a deal with the $25 gift certificate and only cost about $10 a person (with tax and tip). I cannot wait to go back next month and try more of their amazing food!

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

A Wholesome Deal At Whole Foods

Whole Foods is one of those places that I both love and hate. I love the variety of foods they carry, especially hard-to-find vegan products. Yes, I often wish their selection was even bigger, but I am thrilled to be able to purchase vegan cheese, cookies and even whipped cream all at one store. The laziness in me often heads straight to the prepared food department to fill up a container with delicious vegan salad concoctions. I hate that everything is so damn expensive. I realize that it's organic and high quality, but it is discouraging in this economy to have to pay that much for food.

Today only, Whole Foods is offering up a deal for $10 for $20 worth of anything at their store. You could easily use this on vegan beauty or food products, as they carry such an array of lovely goods.

                                    50% off Whole Foods

This deal will help make Whole Foods more reasonably priced, as very few of their products can actually be deemed affordable. They do have occasional sales, but even so, the discount is barely significant. I will probably be using this deal to stock up on my favorite faux meats and cheeses. I cannot wait to use it!

Saturday, September 10, 2011

A Very Brownie Sundae

One of the most difficult things for me to give up as a vegan was dairy products. I recently saw a documentary that chronicled the reasons why dairy is so delicious and addicting. Learning about the casomorphin drug that is present in dairy products instantly reminded me of my horrible cheese addiction not too long ago. My addiction for ice cream sundaes was almost as bad, and it was so difficult to give up. I never thought that I would be able to have the creamy, decadent concoction drizzled in a warm, luscious syrup.

Enter Kind Kreme, a marvelous (almost) vegan ice cream parlor serving up drool-worthy ice cream sundaes. Even better, their Studio City location was recently featured on Scout Mob, offering up a 50% off coupon. Of course, I made sure to take advantage of the deal, and headed over as soon as it was posted. I ordered my favorite brownie sundae with mint chocolate chip ice cream and caramel latte ice cream. The scoops were very generous and coated in a salted caramel syrup and topped with generic oreo cookie pieces. This was all on top of a soft, gooey raw brownie.

The ice cream tasted very heavenly and I love that it was not overly sweet. The mint chocolate was my favorite, having a lovely sweetness with a hint of spice. The caramel sauce, however, was a little too sugary and overpowering. The oreo cookie pieces were a great contrast to the smooth ice cream, providing an extra crunch. It also enhanced the flavors, adding a nice chocolatey taste. The brownie was the star of the show, having a rich, chocolate flavor and perfect consistency.

I loved this sundae, although it ended up being a little difficult to finish. Afterward, I felt a sugar overload. Luckily, since it was raw, my body digested it fairly quickly. I ordered the small size, which I could have easily shared with another person. The sundae, normally cost $10, but with the discount only cost $5, which is quite a steal. I will definitely return, as this is one of my favorite ice cream spots. I am anxious to try more ice cream flavors and perhaps even venture to new sundae varieties.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Second Chances At Fresh East

I am a huge believer of second chances and thus after my subpar experience at Fresh East a few months ago, I decided to give them another chance before writing them off. They recently had a deal on Gather Green for $10 for $20 worth of food, which I was sure to take advantage of. I headed back there last week on another late night, as my stomach growled with intense hunger. I noticed their menu was even larger than my last visit, with tons of vegan options. I opted for Chinese food this time, hoping they would do a better job with this cuisine, as I had found their Indian food to be very bland.

I started out with the Avocado rolls ($7.50).

These were delicious. They were such a unique take on the traditional spring roll. The avocado filling was soft and creamy, with a subtle sweetness. There was a lovely seasoning and touch of salt that worked very well. The roll itself was deep-fried and very crispy. The accompanying sauce complimented the rolls perfectly, adding a delectable sweetness with a mild spiciness. These rolls were very filling and could have easily been made into an entire meal.

For my entree, I had the Spicy Garlic Noodles with tofu ($9).

I have to admit, I was very worried about how this would taste. After my last experience with Fresh East's entree, I expected this would lack much spice, despite its name. I am so happy to say that this had such a lovely, garlicky flavor, with a hint of soy sauce. It had a moderate spice, with a very subtle kick to it. The vegetables were stir-fried nicely, with a delectable seasoning and were easy to chew. The tofu was my favorite part of the dish, as it was lightly fried and slightly chewy. It made the dish taste savory and was a great compliment to the slurpy noodles.

To wash everything down, I ordered a melonade ($2).

I am a huge fan of lemonade, especially the flavored kind, so I am so glad that Fresh East offered this on their menu. The drink had a lovely sweetness with a hint of tartness. The taste of melon was very strong, but was cooling and refreshing.

Overall, I really enjoyed the meal. I am so happy that I gave Fresh East a second chance, as I never would have tried these amazing food items. I was beyond stuffed from the meal and surprisingly was unable to finish everything. I had to box up some of the food and have it as leftovers for lunch the following day. Thankfully, the food kept in my fridge and the food tasted even more flavorful the next day. With the voucher, I did not have to pay anything on top of the $10, which was a very good deal. Even better, I was able to make two meals out of it, which essentially came out to $5 a meal. I cannot wait to go back and try more of their vegan items. Here's to hoping that this meal was not a fluke and my next one will be just as tasty.

Monday, September 5, 2011

A Relaxing Evening At Euphoria Loves Rawvolution

Euphoria Loves Rawvolution is one of those places where you really need to be in a good mood and have lots of positive energy. You also need to visit their cafe on a day when you have nothing else planned and know that you will spend hours there, whether you like it or not. I went fairly late in the evening, around 8 pm, after a relaxing yoga session. I had the entire night free, so I decided to take advantage of the lax service and lose track of time. It was a little frustrating that the waiter ignored me, but I took to my cell phone and conversed with others. Finally, he came to my table and I placed my order.

About an hour later, my food came out. I'm not quite sure why it took so long for me to get my food when the restaurant was not that busy and the food is not even hot. I understand that raw food takes way longer to prepare than cooked food, but I figured they did much of the preparation ahead of time.

I first dug into the Coconut Jerky ($6).

The jerky was very delicious. It was very chewy with a slightly sweet flavor. The seasoning made it taste very savory and meaty. It had a mild spiciness, with a light curry flavoring. It had such a great texture and truly mimicked the real deal.

Next, I had my entree, the Red Enchilada ($12.50).

The enchilada was amazing. I could not believe that it was raw. Nevertheless, the wrap was a little crunchy and a little difficult to cut into. The flavorings were perfect and there was a nice contrast of sweet and savory flavorings. The mango salsa was so lush and juicy, along with the smooth guacamole. The cashew cheese was very creamy, with a light seasoning and touch of salt. The chili was so spicy and left an intense heat in my mouth. Unfortunately for me, the waiter did not return to refill my water glass while I was eating this, thus my mouth was on fire for a long while.

Lastly, I had a scoop of strawberry ice cream ($4) for dessert.

This ice cream was the perfect choice for dessert and complimented my meal very well. It cooled my mouth down from the enchilada and was very refreshing. This was some of the best ice cream I've ever had, vegan or not, and was so creamy and decadent. The ice cream had a lovely strawberry flavoring, with a hint of vanilla. I love that the ice cream was not overly sweet and did not have an artificial, chemically taste that so many ice creams have. The accompanying strawberry pieces added an extra sweetness to the dessert and provided a lovely slightly contrasting texture.

Overall, I loved the meal. Everything was very flavorful and left me feeling very light and invigorated. I enjoyed that the food did not taste healthy, yet it was so fresh tasting and energizing. I found the food to be more inventive than my last visit and the use of spices and seasonings were done so beautifully. The service definitely needs to be improved, however. With a Gather Green voucher that I used for $10 for $20 worth of food, I spent about $15 total (including tax and tip). Euphoria Loves Rawvolution is a bit overpriced without a voucher, so I probably would not return again without one.

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Some Sweet Cake Pops At Sweet E's

A few months ago, I had a lovely experience at Sweet E's bakeshop with their mini vegan cupcakes. When I recently saw they had another deal for cake pops, I knew I had to snatch a voucher for myself. I had never heard of a cake pop before, but it sounded so delicious. Essentially, it's a combination of a lollipop and a cupcake and is just as amazing as it sounds. It took me three tries before I was able to get the cake pops, as Sweet E's does not always have the vegan ones in stock. It was totally worth the wait.

The cake pops came so beautifully wrapped that I could not bear to mess them up. I unwrapped them very carefully, so as not to ruin it too much. Underneath all the packaging were delectably decorated cake pops, emanating a sweet aroma.

I first tried the Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough. I ordered two of these.

This was delicious. It had a lovely chocolate frosting on the outside, with a soft, gooey cookie dough interior. The chocolate chips provided an even richer taste and were very crunchy.

Next, I had the Red Velvet cake pop. I also ordered two of these.

This cake pop was also very tasty. The frosting was sweet, but also had a slightly salty taste that balanced it out nicely. It mimicked a cream cheese frosting nicely. The interior was a fantastic chocolate cake, with a subtle taste of bean. I love that the cake pop combined both sweet and savory flavors that complimented one another perfectly.

Next, I had the Dark Chocolate cake pop.

This cake pop was very good, although it was a little too much of a chocolate overload. Nevertheless, the frosting worked quite well with the cake, as it wasn't overly sweet, but had a slightly bitter flavor. The sprinkles added a great texture, although I preferred the chocolate chips better.

Lastly, I had the Vanilla White Chocolate.

This was quite possibly my favorite of them all. White chocolate is my favorite flavor and I was so excited that Sweet E's carries the vegan version. The cake pop was so decadent and creamy. I could not believe it was vegan. The interior was just as luscious and was very soft and slightly gooey. The rainbow  sprinkled dots added an extra sweetness and a very subtle crunchiness.

Overall, I really enjoyed the cake pops. I love that the frosting was so rich and dense and the cake was moist and gooey. I also found the cake pops to be more enjoyable to eat than a cupcake and more flavorful than a lollipop. It truly combined the best of both. Normally, the cake pops cost $3 a piece, but with the discount they only cost $1.50 a pop ($9 in total). I will definitely be back for more and my hope is that vegan cake pops will go viral.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

New Stock Photo Site Launching Today

Today is a wonderful day for the vegan world. A completely vegan stock photo website is launching with high-quality, professional photos.  The site has a wonderful collection of photography and will even be offering custom photography to fit the needs of professionals and consumers alike. Even better, the photos are very affordable and there will be constant sales and discounts. Vegistock is striving to be socially conscious and thus will feature certain photos where the proceeds will benefit animal charities. All of the photos are also eco-conscious and use ingredients that are both local and organic.

Make sure you check out and sign up for the newsletter to ensure you will find out about all of the great deals on the site.