Thursday, March 29, 2012

A Virtuous Meal At Veggie Galaxy

Upon my arrival to my hometown of Boston, my dad and I had a wonderful breakfast at Veggie Galaxy in Cambridge, a fairly new vegetarian diner. Since it was 7 am and I was sleep deprived and jet lagged, I was not particularly hungry, until the gorgeous food arrived out our table. I ended up eating most of my dad's breakfast, along with my own.

I started the meal off with Taza Hot Chocolate ($3).

This hot chocolate was so decadent and creamy and reminded me of the non-vegan version from my childhood. It was very sweet, yet had a subtle bitter taste. The chocolate flavor was very rich and so heavenly.

Next, I tried some of my dad's Tofu Omelette with seitan chorizo, roasted tomatoes, and caramelized onions ($9).

The omelette was delicious and had a fluffy texture. It had an "eggy" taste, which was greatly enhanced by the savory seitan chorizo and sweet onion and tomato pieces. The home fries were well-cooked and lightly seasoned and delicately coated in oil. The rye toast was crispy and lightly buttered.

Next, I had my own dish, the Stuffed French Toast ($7.75).

Stuffed french toast was also one of my favorites in my vegetarian days and extremely difficult for me to give up. I am so happy that Veggie Galaxy makes this amazing version, which is just as good, if not better than any non-vegan one I used to eat. The bread slices are nice and thick and coated in a sweet batter. Even better, they are stuffed with a succulent banana nut vegan cream cheese. To top it all off, there is a decadent slab of banana butter drizzled with a tangy strawberry sauce.

Overall, I loved the meal. Since it was so early, the restaurant was nearly empty and the service was fantastic. The waitress constantly checked on us to make sure we were enjoying our meal, which of course we were! With the $10 for $20 Google Offer voucher we used, the meal only came out to around $14, with tax and tip. I only wish this place would come to LA, so I could dine there every week!

Monday, March 26, 2012

A Radiant Week Of Raw Food

As a fan of both healthy food and food delivery services, I was thrilled when Euphoria Loves Rawvolution offered their amazing deal on Groupon for $60 for a raw box, which normally cost $120. I opted for a week that I was extremely busy and didn't have much time to prepare food. The raw food gave me the much needed energy to get through each day and be more efficient. 

First, I tried the nori rolls.

This was a gross between a spring roll and sushi. It tasted very fishy, which was a little off putting. I've never been a fan of sushi, so I did not enjoy this much, although the creamy sauce made it more bearable to eat.

Next, I had the Greek Pizza.

The pizza was delicious. The crust was very crispy, with an onion flavor. There were layers of creamy cheese and soft, delectable vegetables on top. The mixture of cheese and olives made the pizza very salty, while the tomatoes added a slight sweetness.

Next, I had the Tomato Basil soup. 

The soup was very creamy and had a wonderful sweet flavor. There was a lovely spice that contrasted the tomato flavor well. The soup was light and refreshing. 

Next, I had the Tabouli salad.

The salad was slightly crunchy and had lovely Mediterranean spices. It was light and enjoyable.

Next, I had the Cucumber Watercress Soup.

This soup was very cooling and refreshing. It had a slight bitterness and a subtly sweet flavor. Similar to the tomato basil soup, it was very creamy and had a perfect consistency.

Next, I had the Broccolini Salad.

I didn't really like this salad very much. It was pretty bland and did not have much flavor. It needed more seasoning or some sort of dressing. 

Next, I had the Mock Chicken Salad.

I've never been much of a fan of creamy salads, but I really enjoyed this mock chicken salad. It did not taste much like chicken to me, but it had a wonderful creamy and savory taste and the celery pieces made it very crunchy. 

Next, I had the burrito 

This burrito was fantastic. The lettuce was the perfect replacement for a tortilla and absorbed the flavors very well. There was a wonderful savory faux meat that was very spicy. There was also a creamy, nutty cheese, which added a slight saltiness. 

Next, I had the Santorini Sandwich. 

This was a little soggy from being in the refrigerator too long, but it was still very enjoyable. It tasted very similar to the Greek pizza, having a lovely creamy cheese spread and juicy, salty olives. The bean sprouts served as a wonderful topping and added a great crunch.

Next, I had the Apple Crumble.

This was a raw version of Apple Crisp. The apples were very succulent and slightly tart. It had a subtle cinnamon flavor. I do not normally like raisins, but these were sweet and juicy and complemented the apples well. 

Next, I had the Chocolate Coconut Brownie. 

The brownie had the perfect mixture of chocolate and coconut, with each complimenting each other very well. Neither overpowered the other. This dessert was the offspring of a coconut macaroon and a decadent brownie. It was very soft and luscious and had a rich taste.

The meals were supplemented with crackers, which served as a wonderful snack.

The crackers had various flavors, from onion to sesame. They were very crunchy and tasty. 

Overall, the raw box was fabulous and very satisfying. Surprisingly, I did not find myself craving cooked food during the week. In addition, I felt very energetic and more lightweight. I would definitely recommend purchasing the raw box and hope to buy it myself again soon. 

Thursday, March 22, 2012

A Smooth Deal At Cafe Rivva

Cafe Rivva, a hidden gem in Brentwood, is having a deal today for $8 for $16 worth of smoothies and/or froyo. I am a huge fan of their vegan options.

Their kale shake is a must and is the perfect blend of sweetness with just a hint of bitterness.  Their smoothies are so refreshing and work well as a meal replacement for days you need extra energy. I cannot wait to return and have more of their delicious options!

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

An Excellent Deal At Evo Kitchen

Evo Kitchen, formerly Pizza Fusion, in Hollywood is having an excellent deal today. For $12, you can get $24 worth of food and drink.

While I have never dined there, I have heard fantastic things about their food. They have many vegan options, including salads, sandwiches and pizza, and they even have brownies and gelato for dessert! I am super excited to try out their food. I am eyeing their pizzas with daiya cheese. I cannot wait to report back. 

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Good Times At Golden China

I can now proudly admit that I dine at Golden China in Culver City religiously, usually once a month when I can use a $25 gift certificate. My last visit was just as amazing as all my previous visits.

We started the meal with some egg-free Egg Rolls ($5).

The egg rolls were perfectly crispy and just a little oily. They had such a lovely, salty flavor and the vegetables inside were cooked very well.

Next, we had the beloved Hot and Sour Soup ($6.55).

I cannot get over how delicious this soup is and how many portions are provided. This soup could easily feed six people. It was perfectly spiced and tangy and the tofu pieces so soft and luscious. The broth had a meaty taste, despite being vegan.

Next, we had the Vegetable Chow Mein ($8).

This was actually more like lo mein, than chow mein, thus the name was quite deceiving. Nevertheless, this was fantastic. I've never really liked noodle dishes, as they have a tendency to be overly greasy, but this dish was very light on the oil. The noodles were very soft and slurpy and coated in a scrumptious soy sauce. The stir-fried vegetables added a slight crunchiness.

Next, we had the vegan Mongolian Beef ($11).

This dish was wonderful. The faux beef was slightly chewy, but not too tough. It had a savory and salty flavor. The sauce had a beany taste and was mildly spicy. The vegetables were cooked very well and were nice and soft.

Lastly, we had the vegan Orange Chicken ($11), which did not look like orange chicken at all.

This dish was superb and one of my favorites of the night. The faux meat had a similar texture to the beef, but was a little softer in the center. The vegetables were soft and slightly crunchy. A scrumptious sauce delicately coated the dish, providing a tangy flavor with a subtle sweetness.

Overall, the meal was fantastic, as usual. This place does not disappoint. I am thankful that this place exists, as I cannot tolerate most Chinese restaurants, since the food is usually way too greasy for my sensitive stomach. I always leave Golden China feeling satisfied, yet not ill. With the discount, the meal came out to less than $10 a person (there were three of us all together). I cannot wait to return again soon.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

A Mediocre Dinner At M Cafe

M Cafe is one of those restaurants that I really want to love. It's quaint and has a relaxed, cafe-like atmosphere, yet is a bit pretentious. The food is overpriced and the portions are quite small. Nevertheless, when they had a deal on Groupon recently, I was excited to return after not having dined there for about two years. I headed over to the Beverly Hills location for a healthy meal.

I began with a small vegetable soup ($4).

The soup was definitely small and barely worked as an appetizer for the meal. The taste was also very odd. It reminded me of the "Franks and Beans" my mom used to make me from my meat eating childhood days. It was very salty and savory, with a bitter taste. The carrots were very soft and chunky and made up the bulk of the soup.

Next, I had the main course, the Hummus and Falafel Wrap ($11).

The wrap was good but was a little dry. I poured some of the accompanying yogurt sauce in it, but the ingredients were so packed together, it didn't disperse very well. Nevertheless, the falafel was perfectly cooked and was nice and crunchy. I could not taste much of the hummus, but the little bit I did taste had a lovely flavor. The wrap came with a choice of a side and I chose the Scarlet Quinoa salad. I regret choosing this salad, as it was pretty bland, with a subtle taste of beets. The quinoa salad did have some potential, it just needed a lot more seasoning.

To end the meal, I had the Chocolate Cake ($6.50), which I ended up taking home since it was way too much to have for one sitting.

The cake was so heavenly and delicious. The frosting was a smooth ganache, which had a rich, chocolate flavor. The cake itself was very moist and dense. It was also not too sweet, but was still decadent.

Overall, I found some of the meal to be enjoyable, while some of the food was just lacking. I do not find M Cafe to be very consistent, as I have had superb meals there and some that were mediocre. This one was definitely the latter. Nevertheless, I have always found the desserts to be delicious and worth the trip alone. I just wish that they would lower the prices, as the food is just not worth paying a premium for. With the Groupon voucher for $10 for $20, the meal totaled about $13.

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Staking Out Streets Of India

Streets Of India is one of those places I constantly find myself dreaming about, craving their scrumptious food. It's true that I dream about most vegan food, although Streets Of India is still one of my favorite places in Los Angeles. It does help that the food is inexpensive and they offer amazing deals. On my recent visit, my friend and I had our usual feast there, finding ourselves stuffed to the point that we almost needed to be assisted out of the restaurant.

We began the meal with an essential appetizer: Samosas ($4).

These were just as tasty as always. They were very crispy and perfectly deep-fried with a curried, well-spiced mixture inside. The sweet and spicy chutneys further enhanced the flavors.

Next, we had the Bhelpuri ($4).

This appetizer was incredible and so different from what I'm used to. There were crunchy pieces of puffed rice and a lovely mixture of sweet tomato chunks and bitter onion slices. There was a wonderful assortment of flavors and textures and it was quite spicy.

Next, we had the Vada Pav ($4).

These were fried potato patties and were very delicious. They had a wonderful soft, delectable texture and were easy to chew. The taste of potatoes was strong, with hints of spice and curry flavoring.

Next, we had the Gobi Aloo ($8).

This dish was fantastic. The cauliflower and potato pieces were cooked very well and were soft and easy to chew. They were coated in tasty sauce that had both ginger and tomato flavorings. It was very spicy and slightly bitter.

Next, we had the Vegan Lamb Vindaloo ($9).

Since I've never had real lamb, I can't attest to how realistic this actually was, but it was delicious. The soy meat was very chewy, as I imagine lamb to be and had a savory taste. The sauce itself had a rich, tomato flavor and was very creamy. It had a lovely combination of sweet and salty flavors.

We had a dal that came complimentary with one of the dishes and a rice with the other. The dal is a dish on its own, making it humorous that a dish comes with a side of another dish.

The dal was very soupy and had wonderful chunks of lentils and spices. It had a hearty taste and was quite spicy.

Next, we had a side of mango chutney ($1) along with some pappadum ($1.50).

The chutney was so sweet and luscious and would have worked perfectly as a dessert to end the meal. It was a great contrast to the intense heat of the dishes and even had notes of spice. It was smooth and syrupy, with chunks of mango, which complemented the crispy pappadum chips very well.

Overall, the meal was fabulous.  The food was top-notch, authentic and innovative. The servers were attentive as always, making sure we had everything we needed. With the $25 gift certificate, we each spent less than $10 for the meal. Talk about a feast on the cheap! I cannot wait to return again soon.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

A Clever Deal At Cru

Cru, one of my favorite raw restaurants in Silverlake is offering a deal today for $20 for $40 for food and drink.  I dined there over the summer using a yelp deal and really enjoyed my meal.

My favorite part of the meal was the raw chocolate tort, which was so rich and heavenly. Although Cru is on the expensive side, the food is tasty and healthy. Their specials are a must try, along with their innovative menu items. I cannot wait to return with this voucher.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Catching Up At Desert Rose

Desert Rose in Los Feliz is the perfect place to catch up with friends, especially non-vegan ones. Recently, I dined there for lunch with my omnivore friend, as they have many options to please vegans and non-vegans alike. The food is also healthy and delicious and can be enjoyed on the lovely patio. We went on a gorgeous summer-like afternoon, when the ambiance was perfect.

We began the meal sharing the Garlic Daiya Cheese Fries ($7), one of my all-time favorites.

The fries were warm and toasty and perfectly crispy. They were coated in a thin layer of oil, but weren't too greasy. There was a wonderful garlic seasoning that made them very flavorful. The melted daiya cheese was beautifully salty and stretchy.

For my entree, I had the Garbanzo & Edamame Salad ($10).

This salad was amazing. The edamame and garbanzo beans were so soft and juicy, with a wonderful salty taste. The tomatoes added a lovely sweetness to the salad. The fried tofu chunks were delectable and was crispy on the outside and soft and luscious on the inside. The balsamic glaze took the salad over the top adding a slightly sweet flavor with a hint of tanginess.

Overall, the meal was fabulous. Desert Rose is such a great place to feel good both while dining and after. The servers are so friendly and they help create a relaxed atmosphere. My only complaint is that they could definitely add way more vegan options, but the items they have are superb. With the $10 for $20 groupon we used, the meal came out to about $12 a person. I cannot wait to dine there again.

Friday, March 2, 2012

Gobble Green: Not So Gobblin'

I recently used a Gobble Green voucher I purchased from Buy With Me for $99 for a week's worth of food. I was not very satisfied with the food that I received. While I love the idea of food delivery and am a frequent user, the quality was subpar and the food was way too bland. I hate to write negative reviews of vegan businesses, especially since Gobble Green is very active in helping animals, but I think their food service has the potential to be great if they made some changes. First, the food came frozen, which is not nearly as good quality as places like Vegin' Out, which serve fresh food. Second, the packaging was not environmentally-friendly at all, as there was a lot of plastic waste. Third, the food needed way more seasoning. Lastly, $99 was really not a good deal at all. This is how much it should cost normally. With a discount, it should be about $50. I cannot believe that people actually would pay full price! The portions also need to be way bigger, as they were barely filling as meals.

Many of the dishes were not labeled, which made it frustrating to try to figure out what I was eating. The ones that were labeled were smudged, making it difficult to interpret. I tried my best to decipher what they were.

First, there was the Mushroom Scramble.

I normally am not a fan of mushrooms, but the mushrooms were blended well and I couldn't taste them. This was one of my favorites, as it was both "eggy" and "cheesy". Nevertheless, it could have used more seasoning.

Next, I had the Vegetable Paella with "Chicken".

This was also pretty good. The sauce had a sweet tomato flavor and the "chicken" was slightly chewy and savory.

Next, I had the Tofu with Spinach and Broccoli.

This was also decent. The tofu was slightly chewy and the chickpeas were soft and delectable. This dish seemed like it was trying to be an Indian dish, but needed way more spices.

Next, I had the Blueberry Muffin.

I really didn't like the muffin at all. There were a few of these along with some Apple Carrot Muffins. These were not only tasteless, but were very rubbery. I'm sure if I had dropped it on the floor, it would have bounced all the way up.

Next, I had the Fettuccine Alfredo with Peas and Broccoli.

I wasn't a fan of the noodles as they were too soft and doughy. The sauce was slightly creamy and needed way more seasoning.

Next, I had the Cashew Pesto Pasta.

The noodles were slightly slurpy, but too soft. The sauce, nevertheless, was superb. It was very garlicky and slightly bitter.

Next, I had the Lemon Garlic Tempeh.

I really liked the tempeh a lot, as it had such a lovely texture, but the sauce was pretty gross. It was way too sour and tasted odd.

Next, I had the Sesame Tofu and Vegetables.

This was pretty good. The tofu was so soft and luscious. The sauce was slightly sweet and tangy. Similar to the other dishes, though, it could have used more spices.

Next, I had the Mac and Cheese.

The mac and cheese was decent. The noodles were nice and soft and coated in a layer of Daiya cheese. It needed a little more seasoning, especially salt.

Next, I had the Southwestern Salad.

This salad made a refreshing lunch. The dressing was very light and had a lovely mixture of beans and corn.

Next, I had the Vegetables in Creamy Tomato Sauce.

This was pretty good, although it needed to be way creamier. It had needed way more spices.

Next, I had the Biscuit.

This was disgusting. It was way too chewy and rubbery and had a rotten flavor. I hate wasting food, but I just could not eat this.

Next, I had the Eclectic Vegetable Curry.

The vegetables were soft and easy to eat, but the sauce needed way more flavor. It also needed to be way spicier.

Next, I had the "Chicken" Enchilada".

This was pretty good. It was one of the more flavorful dishes, although still could have used more spices. It was soft and cheesy and the "chicken" added a wonderful meaty taste.

Next, I had the Tortilla soup.

This was pretty good, although it didn't really taste like tortilla soup at all. It was more like a vegetable soup with a tomato flavor.

Next, I had the Breakfast Oatmeal.

I wasn't really a fan of this oatmeal. Even when I tried to drain it, it was just way too watery. It also needed to be way sweeter. I would have loved if it had some dried fruit or brown sugar.

Lastly, I had the Chocolate Chip Cookie.

This was the best of all and thankfully, there were a bunch of these along with some Snicker doodle cookies. I heated it up, so it was so soft and gooey. It was perfectly moist and had such a heavenly taste. If the rest of the food tasted as good as the cookies, this food delivery service would be amazing.

Overall, I would say Gobble Green is subpar. Some of their dishes are decent and perhaps if I had purchased some seasoning, I could have improved the taste of the food. Nevertheless, they seriously need to work on making their food more flavorful and also have bigger portions and a significant price reduction. I think Gobble Green has the potential to be great and show others how delicious vegan food is, but they still have much work ahead of them.