Sunday, October 30, 2011

A Fruity Meal

On a hot day in Downtown LA, I found myself craving something cold. I found myself dehydrated after spending most of the morning outside, thus I opted to find something refreshing to drink. Luckily, I had texted myself a 50% off voucher for a Mediterranean restaurant called Night Toast Cafe from Scout Mob, and used the coupon for a fruit smoothie. Any of their smoothies could easily be made vegan by using apple or orange juice or water as a base. I chose the aruba smoothie, which consisted of strawberry, banana, mango and orange juice.

The smoothie was delicious and very refreshing. It had a creamy consistency despite not having any dairy in it and the taste of strawberries was dominant. It was not too sweet, yet satisfied any craving I had for a dessert.

I would definitely recommend this cafe if you are in the area. It's not any place I would drive to, but the smoothies are great and they have a small selection of vegan food. Many of their salads and sandwiches can easily be made vegan by substituting tofu for chicken. The smoothie normally cost $4, but with the Scout Mob voucher only cost $2.

Friday, October 28, 2011

Quite The Feast At Streets Of India

Streets of India is perhaps my new favorite Indian restaurant. Unfortunately, they aren't vegetarian anymore and added real meat to their repertoire, since they sadly believe there is a demand for it. Nevertheless, their food is top-notch and they are one of the few Indian restaurants that I know of that incorporates faux meat into their dishes to please vegans and carnivores alike. Furthermore, pretty much any of their menu items can easily be made vegan with an easy substitution of coconut milk for the dairy kind. I recently dined there with three friends and we ordered an immense amount of food.

We began with two appetizers: samosas ($4) and panipuri ($4). We divided the two samosas in half, so we could each have a taste.

These samosas were delicious. They were perfectly deep fried and crispy on the outside and the interior was filled with a mildly spiced, delectable pea and potato mixture. The accompanying sauces were perfect in adding sweet and spicy flavorings to the already tasty appetizer.

Next, we had the panipuri.

We had never heard of this before, so we were a little surprised when we saw it come out. The puffs were very airy and had to be cracked open to be filled with the stuffing. The mixture was mildly spiced and a little salty. The taste of corn was dominant. There was an accompanying sauce that added more heat to the appetizers. This dish was very different from anything I've had in the past and was quite enjoyable.

Next, we had the Jackfruit Masala ($7.75).

I am a huge fan of jackfruit and Streets Of India's version is top-notch. The texture was very meaty, yet was soft and easy to chew. It had a lovely bitterness and was coated in a scrumptious tomato sauce. This dish was the spiciest and packed an intense heat. Luckily, the dish came with brown rice, which toned it down a bit.

Next, I tried the soy Chicken Korma Curry ($8.75).

This dish was also very delicious. It was very creamy and had a rich tomato flavor. The spice was moderate and the seasonings were wonderful. The soy chicken was amazing, adding a lovely texture to the dish and a savory flavor. It also wasn't too chewy, as so many faux meats can be. The rice worked really well with this dish, sopping up the sauce perfectly.

Next, I tried the Saag Palak with soy lamb ($8.50).

This dish was the most mild of them all. The spinach was soft and soaked in a creamy sauce, loaded with flavor. It was perfectly seasoned and very tasty. The lamb worked very well with the spinach, adding a slight crunchiness to the dish and providing a meaty flavor.

To accompany the curries and help cool my mouth down from the spiciness of the meal, I had some naan bread ($2). Typically this bread is not vegan, but they used a whole wheat bread in place of their usual one.

The bread was pretty good. It had a light spice and was soft and slightly chewy. I would have liked for it to have had a little more flavoring and perhaps have been coated in a light oil.

Lastly, I had the Masala Dosa ($6.75).

The dosa was superb. The crepe had a subtle sweetness and was soft and delectable. The interior was mildly spiced and had a wonderful curried potato mixture. The chutneys and sambar soup added even more flavor, taking it over the top.

Overall, I loved my meal. The great thing about dining with a small group is that you get to try so many dishes. It very rare that I enjoy every dish I try, but I truly loved everything we ordered. The food is so flavorful and wonderfully spiced. With our $25 gift certificate, it cost us each $6 total. This is seriously an amazing deal. I cannot wait to return again soon and try more of their scrumptious food!

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Grubbin' It Up With Vegan Thai

I am a huge lover of Thai food, so I always get secretly excited to eat Thai food. I have frequented many of the vegan Thai restaurants in LA, so I was excited to try a new one called Bodhi Vegetarian. My expectations were even higher for this restaurant, since it did not have the word "vegan" in the name, as the majority do. Thus, I downloaded the GrubHub app on my phone and automatically received $10 off my first purchase with the app. Since I was not in Bodhi restaurant's delivery range, I made the short drive to West LA to pick up the food. The small restaurant was empty when I arrived and my takeout bag was sitting alone on the counter. It was fairly late on a Sunday, yet I was still a little worried that this may be a sign that the food was subpar.

When I arrived back home, I dug into the bag to empty out the contents. I first had the spring rolls ($5.25).

I was not a fan of these spring rolls. They were a little too soggy and were crispy at all. The interior was pretty bland and lacked much seasoning. I would have loved them to have had some faux meat to provide more texture and flavor. The dipping sauce, however, was very tasty and sweet and had a lovely consistency.

Next, I had the entree, yellow curry with soy chicken ($9) along with steamed brown rice ($1.50).

The curry was delicious and perfectly spiced. The sauce was very scrumptious and had a subtle sweet taste. The juicy pineapples and bell peppers gave the dish an even more succulent flavor. The soy chicken was a little too chewy, but still mimicked the real thing pretty well. It was great in adding texture to the soupy dish.

The curry worked very well mixed in with the brown rice. The rice really sopped up the flavor and added a crunchiness to the dish.

Overall, the food was pretty good. I've definitely had way better vegan Thai and would not make the trek for this restaurant. The food normally is pretty expensive and doesn't seem like it's worth the cost. With the GrubHub deal, I only paid about $7. It was pretty good, considering the food last me two meals.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Veg Time With Vegin' Out

Mondays are an exciting day, when you have a huge order of food coming your way. Since Mondays usually suck, it's great that Vegin' Out delivers a week's worth of food on that day and gives me something to look forward to. A couple weeks ago, I used a Gather Green voucher I had purchased a few months ago for $58. I purposefully chose a week that consisted of many menu items I hadn't tried before. This provided much excitement and anticipation for me. The menu that week had a lot of variety, consisting of a lovely representation of cuisines from Mexican to Indian and featured an array of vegetables and proteins. The food was innovative, tasty and healthy.

First, I had the Sambar soup.

This soup was wonderful. It had a great lentil flavor with a mild spice. The tomato chunks added a subtle sweetness. I would have preferred for the soup to have been a little spicier and have more of a kick to it. Nevertheless, it was very hearty and enjoyable.

Next, I had the Chana Masala With Cauliflower.

This dish was a great accompaniment to the sambar soup, although I ate them at different meals. Chana masala is one of my favorite Indian dishes and I love Vegin' Out's take on the entree. The tomato paste gave it a rich flavor, enhanced by the various spices. There was a hint of ginger. The chickpeas and cauliflower were soft and easy to chew. The rice absorbed the curry very well and added a slightly crunchy texture to the dish.

Next, I had the Kale Salad With Sun Dried Tomato Vinaigrette.

This was my favorite of all the side dishes. The kale was very soft and well-massaged. The tomatoes were sweet and juicy. There were lovely toasted seeds that added a crunch to the salad and gave it a slightly salty flavor. The vinaigrette was scrumptious and had a sweet flavor with a hint of tanginess.

Next, I had the Braised Tofu In Peanut Sauce.

This dish was delicious. The peanut sauce was very creamy and heavenly. The tofu chunks were delectable and had a savory taste. The peas and carrots were also cooked very well and were soft and juicy.

Next, I had the Sesame Broccoli.

The vegetables were soaked in oil with a light sesame flavoring. They were slightly soft and crunchy with a salty taste. The spices were reminiscent of Chinese cuisine and the dish worked great as a refreshing lunch.

Next, I had the Enchilada Bake.

Vegin' Out does an amazing job with their Mexican entrees, and this enchilada dish was no exception. The dish seemed like it would make a great breakfast, as the interior was a wonderful cheesy tofu scramble. The beans and spices gave the dish a savory flavor and the tomato sauce topping added a light sweetness.

Next, I had Green Beans With Caramelized Onion.

This dish was also very good. The green beans had a light oily coating and were soft and easy to chew. The toasted nuts were crunchy and slightly salty. The caramelized onions added a slight sweetness to the dish along with a wonderful bitterness.

Next, I had Lentil Pistachio Salad.

This dish was very hearty and flavorful. It had a great assortment of various beans and lentils and was well-seasoned. It also had a slightly nutty taste.

Lastly, I had the S'mores cookies.

This cookie was so different from any cookie I've had before, vegan or not. It had a graham cracker flavor interspersed with chocolate chips. There was a soft, mushy marshmallow in the center that was very gooey. This cookie was so heavenly when put in the microwave for several seconds. It was soft and luscious, with a very rich flavor.

Overall, I loved my meals from this order. Usually, there is at least one dish I regret ordering, but thankfully not this time. Each dish was very flavorful, yet was healthy and invigorating. At $58, this was quite the steal, as it lasted me approximately 10 days. I will definitely be ordering again from Vegin' Out regardless of whether they have another deal, although I am seriously hoping they will be featured on a deal site very soon.

Friday, October 21, 2011

A Spicy Lunch At India Sweets & Grocery

On my first day at my new internship at the Compassion Over Killing office in Torrance, I found myself with severe hunger pains at lunchtime. I wasn't sure what kind of food options were in the area, so I used the very helpful Happy Cow app on my phone. It informed me that there was a cafeteria-style Indian restaurant right down the street. I made the short drive from the office to find the small store fairly crowded. The cashier was very friendly and I requested an order of the lunch special to be made vegan. The lunch special was quite a steal at only $4 and included two dishes, rice and bread. The cashier pointed out which dishes were vegan (4 total) and I opted for the chana masala and cauliflower dish.

The servings were very generous and the food was filling. The chana masala had a lovely tomato flavoring and was quite spicy. The chickpeas were well-cooked and soft and easy to chew. The cauliflower was also delicious and had a wonderful ginger taste. The cauliflower was also cooked very well and was slightly chewy and delicate. The rice absorbed the sauces very well and had its own light seasoning.

The bread was the best part of the meal. It was fairly large and accompanied the curries perfectly, balancing out their spiciness.

The bread was beautifully grilled and soaked in oil. It had a lovely sweet flavor and was easy to chew. This is quite possibly the best Indian bread I've ever had.

I am so happy I found this gem of a restaurant. Unfortunately, it's all the way in Torrance, which is really far from where I live. Still, I hope to try more of their dishes, in addition to their dinner special that sounds amazing and only cost $5. This place is a must if you live in the South Bay.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

An MMMMazing deal at M Cafe!

Today only, M Cafe, a lovely macrobiotic cafe that has locations in West Hollywood and Beverly Hills is offering up a deal for half off their food and drink.

                              50% off Food and Drink

I am a huge fan of M Cafe and have dined at both locations several times. I love their breakfast enchiladas, burgers and specials. Their desserts are also top notch since they stock pastries from Babycakes! The best part is that their food is very healthy, yet does not taste it. This would make for a perfect lunch after window shopping, or even better after staging a protest at the icky stores on Rodeo that sell fur. Buyer beware, the place reeks of fish, since they unfortunately sell this. I would recommend sitting on the small outdoor patio. I cannot wait to use this and try some of their amazing menu items.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Even More Deliciousness At Doomie's Home Cookin

While I may not be a huge fan of fried, greasy food, I am in love with Doomie's Home Cookin's food.  My friend and I ventured to Doomie's on a Saturday night, with my previous visit from the week before on mind. I knew I had to try something different, but I had trouble making up my mind. There were so many great sounding menu items and I didn't have any specific cravings that night. My friend also debated about what to order and whether she should try something new or stick with the tried and true. After much discussion with one another and our friendly waitress, we finally made up our minds.

I ordered the Chicken Parmigiana pasta entree ($10). It came with a choice of soup or salad. Opting to be healthy to counteract the fattening entree, I chose the salad.

The salad was really good, despite it containing standard ingredients. I would have loved for there to have been some fake cheese or something to give it a little pizazz. Nevertheless, the vegetables were very fresh and crunchy and the accompanying raspberry balsamic vinaigrette had the perfect mixture of sweetness and tanginess.

Next, my entree came out.

This was delicious. The chicken was deep-fried and oily and had a very savory flavor. It was bathed in a sweet marinara sauce and a slightly salty creamy cheese sauce. The cheese sauce was amazing and had a lovely rich taste. The pasta was smooth and slurpy and soaked up both sauces very well. The accompanying bread rolls were soft and warm, with a wonderful garlicky flavor.

My friend also enjoyed her meal, a mock chicken salad sandwich with chili cheese fries.

She let me try her chili cheese fries, which were very delicious. The fries were soft and delicate and were coated in a meaty chili. The cheese sauce was so rich and creamy and took the fries over the top. My friend described her sandwich as being perfectly salty and creamy, but unfortunately was doused in black pepper.

Overall, I really enjoyed my meal. It was quite satisfying and really hit the spot. I love the rich flavorings and that despite the chicken being so fried, I did not feel ill afterwards. I used an LA Voice deal voucher for $5 for $10 worth of food and my meal came out to $7 total. I will definitely be back to Doomie's and cannot wait to try more items from the menu.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

A Lethargic Lunch At Desert Rose

On a warm autumn afternoon, my friend and I met up for lunch at Desert Rose. We sat on the patio, which had a lovely breeze and despite being seated under an umbrella, I could still feel the heat of the sun on my skin. Although I arrived before 3 pm, since I placed my lunch order after 3, I was unable to order from the lunch menu. I was very disappointed, as I really wanted to try one of their sandwiches. Nevertheless, I took the opportunity to order some of my past favorites: the hummus ($6) and the Vegan Chicken Pizza ($16). My friend, who came later, ordered a salad.

First, my hummus came out.

This hummus is hands down the best hummus there is. It was so rich and creamy with a wonderful tahini flavor. The center was filled with a glob of olive oil, adding a lovely slightly bitter taste. The paprika seasoning worked perfectly, greatly enhancing the flavor and making it even more savory.

The accompanying pita was lightly toasted, soft and easy to chew. It sopped up the hummus very well.

Next, my pizza came out. This was even as delicious as I remembered it to be.

The pizza had a lovely meaty flavor, thanks to the chewy chunks of gardein chicken. The daiya cheese melted perfectly and was coated with a light seasoning that made it taste even more cheesy. The cilantro pieces added a lovely spice to the pizza. The dough was very crisp and easy to bite into. My only complaint is that there was too much tomato sauce, which didn't seem to work too well with the chicken pieces. It added a tart taste, with a very subtle sweet flavor. I would have preferred the tomato sauce to not be so dominant and to have been sweeter.

I really enjoyed this visit to Desert Rose. I was a little upset that I wasn't able to try a sandwich, but I guess this just gives me an excuse to dine there for lunch again. Since I used a $10 for $20 groupon, the total came out to around $14. I was overly stuffed, however, and ended up having to take some of the pizza to go. I cannot wait to return for both their lunch and dinner.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

More Golden Food At Golden China

It's weird how I usually am not a huge fan of Chinese food, yet am obsessed with Golden China. Last week, two of my friends and I headed back to our favorite Chinese joint, and enjoyed their delicious, greasy food. Seriously, this is the place you should dine at if you are having even a minor craving for oily food.

First, we had our beloved hot and sour soup ($6.55). No visit to Golden China is complete without ordering this soup as a starter.

The soup was even spicier than I remembered it to be. The flavor was very tangy and had a subtle sweetness to balance out the spiciness. The tofu and vegetables were so soft and luscious and worked very well with the broth.

Next, we had the pan-fried noodle dish with vegetables ($12).

I've never been a fan of noodle dishes at Chinese restaurants, but I am in love with this dish. The noodles were very crunchy, juxtaposing the soft, delectable vegetables. There was a slightly spicy, garlicky sauce  that gave the dish a lovely flavor.

Next, we had another one of our favorites: Kung Pao soy duck ($12).

The soy duck has the most perfect texture, being slightly chewy with a soft interior. The water chestnuts and peanuts added a wonderful crunch to the dish, complimenting the mock meat beautifully. The sauce was very scrumptious, with a slightly bitter soy flavor and mild spiciness.

Our last dish was something we hadn't tried yet: lemon soy chicken ($11).

The soy chicken was amazing. It reminded me a lot of chicken fingers, with a savory batter and soft coating over a slightly chewy, meaty interior. The sauce was equally delicious and had a tangy, citrusy flavor. The soy chicken pieces really sopped up the sauce well, absorbing all of the delicious taste.

Golden China is a true gem, tucked in a strip mall. I really wish more people knew about this place, as the food is so good and the staff is friendly and attentive. The vegetarian is also pretty extensive, featuring many innovative options. With the $25 gift certificate, we each spent only $11 (with tax and tip). I cannot wait to return.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Grub it up veggie style!

One of my favorite restaurant delivery services, Grubhub, is offering a fantastic deal until November 1st. If you download their mobile app, you get $10 off your order, no minimum purchase required! This can be used for pick up or delivery and there are tons of vegetarian/vegan restaurants participating.

                                       - Happy Eating

I cannot wait to use this. The only problem is deciding where!

Saturday, October 8, 2011

A Juxtaposition at Kind Kreme

Kind Kreme is one of my favorite places to get some delicious vegan ice cream. Last weekend, after a delightful dinner, I made sure to save room for dessert, since I wasn't too far from the Studio City location. Since I wasn't too hungry, I opted for the small soft serve with cacao nibs. The cashier was really generous and upgraded my small serving to a medium for free. Since I used a Scout mob voucher for 50% off, it only cost me $3 (normally it would cost $8).

The soft serve was very smooth and creamy. The chocolate and vanilla twist worked very well and both flavors tasted very rich. The cacao nibs were a perfect juxtaposition and the crunchy texture contrasted the smoothness of the ice cream wonderfully. The bitter flavor of the nibs also toned down the sweetness of the ice cream. I love that the soft serve was not artificially sweet, as so many tend to be, but had more of a natural taste.

I love Kind Kreme and am so glad they offered this deal. It's a bit overpriced normally, but I guess that's just because of the high quality ingredients. I know I'll be back soon, since this is one of the few places that has an immense selection of vegan ice cream.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Deliciousness At Doomie's Home Cookin'

I cannot express how happy I am now that Doomie's Home Cookin' has reopened. No other restaurant fills the void they left or provides such satisfying comfort food. While they were closed, I was able to eat some of their delicious food at their all you can eat buffet, but it just wasn't the same as being able to dine at their restaurant. I was excited to be able to once again enjoy their food this past weekend, as I heard that they were even better than before. After an invigorating dance class, I was famished and my food cravings were greatly intensified. Thankfully, I had the LA Voice Deals voucher for $5 for $10 worth of food.

While many of the menu items sounded enticing, I opted to eat one of my favorite sandwiches: the bbq pulled pork sandwich ($9). It normally comes with Doomie's wonderful mac 'n cheese but unfortunately they were out of stock. Thus, I ordered the soup of the day, butternut squash, to replace it. I also replaced the french fries that normally comes with the sandwich with onion rings for $1 extra.

The soup was delicious. I am so glad the soup of the day was butternut squash, as that has always been one of my favorite soups. It was so creamy and had such a lovely, sweet flavor. The sour cream topping was a great contrast and provided a slightly bitter taste.

When I first saw the bbq pulled pork sandwich on the menu, I have to admit I was a bit disgusted. Nevertheless, I love Doomie's take on every dish I've tried, so I knew I had to give this sandwich a chance before writing it off. I'm so glad I did. The bbq sauce was so tangy and perfectly spiced. The "pulled pork" was slightly chewy and had a savory taste. The pickles gave the sandwich a sour flavor that balanced out the subtle sweetness of the bbq sauce very well. The lightly toasted bun was soft and absorbed the flavors beautifully. The accompanying onion rings were so tasty, perfectly deep-fried and crispy.

I was too full to eat dessert, but knew I had to get something to go. After drooling over the desserts in the  case, I chose the fudgey brownie ($4).

This brownie was so rich and lasted for four separate occasions. The name was fitting as it was very fudgey and gooey. It was very chocolatey and decadent. It wasn't overly sweet but still tasted very luscious. This dessert was so amazing and quite possibly the best brownie I've ever had.

My meal at Doomie's was very good and definitely hit the spot. I did not feel gross afterwards, as I so often do after eating fried food. Everything I had was so tasty and flavorful. In addition, the customer service was great and the waitresses were very attentive. With the deal, it only cost about $11 total. I cannot wait to return and am hoping they will be offering up another deal soon.

Monday, October 3, 2011

The Best Bakery Ever: Wildflour Vegan Bakery

It's not very often that I stumble upon a completely vegan bakery, let alone one that can hold its own to any respectable non-vegan bakery. I was so excited when I heard about Wildflour Vegan Bakery in Pawtucket, Rhode Island and knew I had to make the trip to pick up some baked goods. Luckily, we were already heading there to dine at Garden Grill, which is two doors down in the same strip mall.  The bakery is quite large and has cases of a variety of cookies, muffins, scones, cakes and cupcakes. They even offer vegan milkshakes and enticing healthy food to go along with their amazing baked goods. It was so hard to make a choice and since we had a groupon for $14 (purchased for $7), we had to purchase a generous amount of pastries. After much discussion, we settled upon three cookies ($2 each) and three cupcakes ($3 each).

On the first night, we ate the cookies (one chocolate chip and two peanut butter). Unfortunately, one of the peanut butter cookies broke in the bag, although it still tasted delicious.

The peanut butter was my favorite of the two. It was slightly crunchy and had a strong peanut butter taste. It was slightly salty, which worked perfectly to balance out the sweetness of the cookie. The chocolate chip cookie was also good. It was soft and gooey with a buttery flavor. The chocolate chips gave the cookie a rich taste, but it was not overly sweet.

On the second day, we had the chocolate peanut butter cupcake.

This cupcake was the best, hands down. The frosting was amazing and had a rich, peanut butter flavor. It was very succulent and had the most lovely texture. The cake was so moist and chocolatey, with a wonderful peanut butter flavoring. The interior was so gooey and heavenly. On top, there was a crunchy, chocolate peanut butter concoction, resembling a reese's peanut butter cup. It really took the cupcake over the top.

On the next night, we had the black forest cupcake.

This cupcake was also very delicious. The frosting was so creamy and very sweet, although not sickeningly so. It had a slightly buttery taste. The cake was very soft and moist and had a rich chocolate flavor. The best part was the cherry filling, which added a wonderful tart flavor to the dessert. The chocolate shavings and cherry topping were a great addition to the cupcake and made it so superb.

On the last night, we had the red velvet cupcake.

The red velvet cupcake seems to be the easiest cupcake to veganize, as it is the cupcake variety I see the most often at bakeries and cupcake shops. Wildflour's version is definitely my favorite of all the one's I've tried thus far. The frosting was so luscious and had a rich cream cheese flavor. The cake was also  wonderful, although not as chocolatey as the other cakes. The taste of cocoa was rich and decadent with a very subtle bitterness. I love that bits of the cake were sprinkled on top, as it helped ensure the cupcake was not too sweet.

I can honestly declare that Wildflour Vegan Bakery is the best bakery I've been to vegan or not. Surprisingly, my non-vegan parents said the same thing. I am so jealous of people who live in Rhode Island and would seriously consider moving there just so I could get Wildflour's baked goods every day. The menu items are quite affordable, given that they are made from high quality ingredients and are big portions. With the groupon, we only spent $8 total. It was such a great deal. I plan on returning on my next visit and stocking up on their delicious baked goods.

Saturday, October 1, 2011

A Green Gourmet Meal Deal

This weekend, a lovely gourmet vegetarian catering company called Large Marge Sustainables is offering a discount for a four course meal for two to be delivered to the comfort of your home.

                          50% off Gourmet Meal For Two

While I have never heard of this company before, I scanned their menu and everything sounds delicious and innovative. The menu is not completely vegan, unfortunately, but they do have some great vegan options. This would be a great treat for couples or maybe even a close friend. Either way, let me know how it goes!