Sunday, April 29, 2012

A Sweet Meal At Streets Of India

It's always fun to eat at Streets Of India in Encino, especially in the late evening, when the restaurant is nearly empty and quite cozy. I dined there with two friends recently and we had quite the feast. We ordered a lovely variety of dishes, which ranged from sweet to spicy.

We started out the meal with Samosas ($4).

The samosas were very tasty, as usual. The outside was perfectly fried and crispy, while the inside was filled with a delectable potato concoction. The seasonings were fantastic.

Next, we had the Panipuri ($4).

This is a wonderful appetizer and one of my favorites at Streets Of India. The puffs were light and airy and slightly crispy. The interior was both sweet and spicy and had a lovely soft texture. The cheese-like topping was slightly bitter.

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

These were an Indian version of potato pancakes. The batter was mildly spicy and had a slightly crispy exterior. The interior was soft and easy to chew. The accompanying bread was wonderful and had a buttery flavor.

Next, we had the Gobi Manchurian ($9).

This dish was amazing. The cauliflower was deep-fried and very crispy. The onions and bell peppers were well-cooked and very soft and easy to chew. The vegetables were coated in a succulent glaze. The sauce had a subtle sweetness but was very spicy.

Next, we had some unknown vegetable curry, which was given to us in place of our order of Uttapam. I am not sure why we received this instead, but I am assuming the cashier either made a mistake or they were out of the Uttapam.

The curry was very good. The sauce was creamy and had a buttery flavor. The vegetables were well-cooked and there was a lovely taste of lentils that made it very hearty.

Lastly, we had the Vegan Chicken Korma ($9).

This dish was delicious and came accompanied with a wonderful dal. The dal was very hearty and had a mild spiciness. The chicken korma was fantastic and was very rich and creamy. The chicken was slightly chewy and savory.

Overall, I really enjoyed the meal. Everything was flavorful and perfectly spiced. I liked that there was a balance of sweetness and spiciness, so my mouth did not feel an intense heat after eating. The total of the meal was under $20 with our $25 gift certificate. I cannot wait to dine here again.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Farewell, Fresh East

It brings me great sadness to write this post, as it was my last dinner at Fresh East in West Hollywood. I had received an email from Google Offers that the restaurant was suddenly closing its door for good, so I rushed over there to use my voucher I purchased for $10 for $20 worth of food and drink. I have had mixed experiences at this Asian fusion restaurant, but overall I enjoyed their concept of having healthy and quickly prepared food. On my last visit, I didn't want to take any chances trying anything new, in fear my last meal would be subpar, thus I ordered my favorites.

I started the meal with a melonade ($2).

The melonade is the perfect compliment to any meal. It is not too sugary and has a fruity flavor. The sweetness of the melon is natural and refreshing.

Next, I had the Avocado Rolls ($7.50).

The avocado rolls were very delicious. The exterior was slightly crispy to match the soft, luscious avocado filling. The avocados had a rich flavor and were delicately seasoned. The plum sauce was succulent and balanced out the spiciness of the rolls beautifully.

Lastly, I had the beloved entree, Spicy Garlic Noodles with tofu ($9).

This dish was fabulous. The noodles were nice and slurpy and were not too greasy. They were coated in a lovely garlicky sauce and were quite spicy. The tofu was lightly fried and had a wonderful, meaty texture and taste. The vegetables were sauteed well and were soft and easy to chew. The dish was very flavorful and filling.

I am so sad this place is closing but I am happy my last meal was superb. I will greatly miss Fresh East, especially since their food was so reasonably priced. With my Google Offers voucher I only paid $10 total for this fantastic meal. My hope is that they will reopen in the future, with even better food.

Monday, April 23, 2012

MMMazing Meals From Macro-Mediterranean Part 2

After an amazing week of food from Macro-Mediterranean meal delivery service, we decided to order more food for the next week. The Daily Candy voucher came with a wonderful $15 off code that we took advantage of. Since we needed to place a minimum order of $55 for free delivery, we ordered 5 dishes at $11.50 each. Thus the order total came out to be $42.50. 

The first dish I tried was the Potage. 

This dish was lovely and tasted very hearty. The broth was very flavorful and tasted of beans. The chickpeas and kale were soft and delectable, while the kale was slightly chewy. 

Next, I tried the Homestyle Lentils. 

This dish was also very delicious. The lentils were very savory and the broth had a meaty taste. The vegetables were cooked very well and lightly seasoned. The broth had a mild spice and a wonderful curry flavor. 

Next, I had the Cottage Pot Pie.

This was my favorite of all the dishes. The layer of cheese was fabulous and was so creamy and divine. It was salty, yet had a subtle sweetness. Beneath it was a savory mixture of carrots, peas and broccoli, which were perfectly cooked and seasoned. This dish was so flavorful and scrumptious, I only wish we had ordered more of it. 

Lastly, I had the Paella. 

This dish was also very good. The rice had a soft, creamy texture and was delectable. The various beans have it a savory taste and a wonderful bitterness. 

My mom ate the last dish, Cashews over Curried Quinoa and really enjoyed it. She described it as being mildly spiced and very flavorful. 

Overall, I enjoyed the food just as much as the previous week. Everything was flavorful and hearty. Best of all, it was very healthy and I felt fantastic after eating each dish. I would definitely order from them again on another trip to Boston and highly recommend the company to those who reside in the Boston area. 

Saturday, April 21, 2012

MMMazing Meals From Macro-Mediterranean Part 1

During my trip to Boston, we decided to try out a fairly new meal delivery service called Macro-Mediterranean. We heard about it through a deal on Daily Candy for $120 for a week's worth of food. This also included a discount on a future purchase. Since I am a huge fan of food delivery, I was excited to see how this compared to my California favorites, Vegin' Out and Rawvolution. There was a good amount of food that was delivered. In total, there were 14 entrees and 14 side dishes. Since there were three of us eating it, we made it last about a week.

First, I tried the vegetable soup.

This soup was delicious and very hearty. It had a slightly beany flavor and was very savory. The broccoli chunks added a lovely bitterness.

Next, I tried the miso soup.

I've never been a fan of miso soup, yet I still tasted a bit of this. I did not really like this much, as it tasted fishy and did not have enough flavor. It also had a slightly fungal taste from the mushrooms.

Next, I tried the mixed vegetables.

This was pretty good. The vegetables were sauteed and cooked well and delicately seasoned. The sauce was very minimal, although it was quite tasty. I would have appreciated a more generous coating of the sauce and a bit more seasonings.

Next, I tried the Kitchiri.

This was delicious. It tasted very hearty and was both sweet and savory. The lentils were not too overpowering, but were mixed well with the onions, cabbage, celery, and parsley.

Next, I had Iaio's Stew.

This was also very good. It had a wonderful sweetness from the tomato-pineapple broth and the beans were soft and delectable. There was a mild spiciness that made the dish even more flavorful.

Next, I had Arroz Tres Delicias.

This was one of my favorites. It tasted very eggy and was a bit reminiscent of a tofu scramble. This was seasoned very well. I normally do not like carrots, but I really enjoyed these. The broccoli was also very well cooked and was not too chewy.

Next, I had the Tuscan Quinoa.

This dish was pretty good. The quinoa was nice and fluffy and the vegetables were cooked well. There was also a wonderful seasoning and spice. The tomatoes added a subtle sweetness that was a great contrast to the bitterness of the zucchini.

Next, I had the Stuffed Polenta Square.

This was delicious. The texture was crispy on the outside and soft on the inside. It was also very flavorful. The beans gave it a savory taste, while the broccoli added a slight bitterness. The polenta itself had its own subtle sweet flavor.

Next, I had the Frijoles Rancheros.

This was one of my favorites and I found myself wishing there was more. The bean concoction had lovely Mexican spices. The sweet, juicy tomatoes balanced out the heat. The olives were soft and slightly bitter. The creamy mash underneath was so scrumptious and had such a heavenly texture. It was a little salty, with a slightly sweet taste, almost like goat cheese.

Overall, I enjoyed the food. Everything was very healthy, yet still was flavorful. The food worked well for lunches and stayed fresh the whole week. At $120, it was a little expensive, although I think it was worth it, considering the high quality ingredients used. I would definitely recommend this service.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

A Pleasant Meal At Prana

It's hard to find raw food in Boston, but a lovely raw fusion restaurant opened fairly recently in Newton, MA. This restaurant has an elegant atmosphere and the menu is equally divided between raw and cooked vegan food. On my last visit there, we used a Groupon voucher for $15 for $30 worth of food.

We began the meal with the Pear & Pecan salad ($14).

This is one of the best salads I've had as a vegan. It had everything in it, from nuts to cheese to fruit. The faux cheese mimicked goat cheese perfectly, from it's creamy texture to subtle sweetness. The pecans were toasted perfectly and had a sugary coating. The pears were crisp and juicy. The dried cherries added an extra sweetness to the salad. The dressing was sweet and slightly tangy and complimented the salad very well.

Next, I had the Zucchini Lasagna, warmed ($16).

The lasagna was delicious. The zucchini noodles perfectly mimicked lasagna noodles. There were layers of spinach, which added a lovely crunch and bitterness. The house "cheese" really took the dish over the top, as it was so creamy and salty. The tomato sauce added a wonderful sweetness to balance the saltiness out. The accompanying salad was fantastic. The lettuce was very crisp and the vinaigrette was light and refreshing. The cauliflower and green bean side was also really great and was seasoned very well. 

Next, I tried some of my mom's dish, Pesto Primavera ($16).

The zucchini was used to make a spaghetti-like pasta, which was slightly slurpy, yet crunchy. The almond and cashew cream sauce was very scrumptious and was garlicky, creamy and salty. The spinach added an extra crunch and the bell peppers provided a lovely sweetness. 

Next, I tried my dad's dish, Curry Rubbed Tempeh Cutlet ($17).

This dish was superb and one of my favorites. The tempeh was glazed in a mildly spicy sauce and was soft and delectable. The root puree was very flavorful and had an excellent mushy consistency. The spiced coconut sauce was fantastic and was very creamy, with a subtly sweet taste. 

Overall, I really enjoyed the meal. The food was not only delicious, but was served in an aesthetically pleasing way that made each dish look mouth-watering. Prana shows that food can be healthy and tasty and we all left satisfied, yet uplifting. The menu items are a bit too expensive, yet the Groupon made it more reasonably priced. Nevertheless, I cannot wait to return on my next visit and try more of Prana's enticing menu items. 

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Keeping The Peace At Peace o' Pie

Peace o' Pie in Allston, MA is the most amazing pizza place I have ever been to. First, it's completely vegan and they have tons of options, including various sauces, faux meats and cheeses. Everything I have eaten there has been delicious. Second, they have tons of deals, from groupon vouchers to their spectacular "Reverse Happy Hour", in which you can purchase a pizza of any size on the last hour of business and get a pizza of the same size for free. On my previous visit, we used a Boston Dining Card, which gave us $10 off the purchase.

First, we had the medium BBQ Chick'n pizza ($18).

This pizza was delicious. The dough was perfectly crispy and the toppings were so heavenly. The BBQ sauce had a lovely spice and a wonderful smoky flavor. The chicken pieces were slightly chewy and savory. The caramelized onion slices added a subtle sweet and bitter taste. The daiya cheese was melted very well and mimicked real cheese beautifully.

Next, we had the medium Neapolitan pizza ($16).

This is one of my favorite pizzas and we order this every time we dine at Peace o' Pie. The tomato slices are very juicy and sweet and work perfectly with the salty crumbles of tofu ricotta. The basil adds a wonderful spice and takes the pizza over the top.

Lastly, I had a Vanilla Rose Cupcake ($4) for dessert.

The cupcake was really small, but tasted wonderful. It was perfectly moist and the rose water frosting did not overpower the vanilla. It was sweet, but not too sugary.

Overall, I really enjoyed the meal. Peace o' Pie truly knows how to make great pizza that pleases both omnivores and vegans alike. The food was very satisfying and not too greasy, as many pizzas can be. I cannot wait to return on my next trip to Boston.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

A Truly Fine Dining Experience At True Bistro

It wasn't too long ago that I dreaded my trips to Boston, since it has always lacked good vegan cuisine. This changed recently with a sudden increase in vegetarian/vegan restaurants, particularly True Bistro, Boston's first all vegan fine dining restaurant. The restaurant has a small, elegant set up that perfectly matches the exquisite food. I dined there on my trip to Boston, using a voucher I purchased from Bloomspot that cost $35 for a meal for two. Since there were three of us, we ordered a couple extra dishes and shared it all.

We began the meal with House-made ravioli ($8).

This was fantastic. The ravioli was soft and doughy and easy to chew. The inside was filled with a lovely mixture of spinach and cashew cheese. The cashew cheese interior was phenomenal. It had a rich, salty flavor. The sauce was oily and garlicky and complimented the ravioli pieces very well.

Next, we had the Boston lettuce, roasted beet, cashew chevre, toasted walnuts, champagne vinaigrette ($9).

This salad was amazing. The beets had a lovely sweet flavor and the faux goat cheese had a rich, nutty taste with a subtle sweetness. The toasted walnuts were very crunchy and were perfectly salted. The lettuce pieces were very crispy. The dressing complimented the salad very well, as it was very light and not overpowering. 

Next, we had the Grilled romaine heart, French lentils, sun-dried tomatoes, mustard, croutons ($7).

This is my dad's favorite dish here, so we order it every time. The lettuce is nice and crispy and the lentils are soft and taste very hearty. The dressing is slightly bitter. The accompanying baguette slices are crunchy and work well coated with the delectable lentil concoction.

Next, we had the House-made french fries ($6).

These are the best French fries I've had in my life. The are slightly crispy and are not too greasy. They are perfectly salted and lightly coated in a truffle oil.

Next, we had the Seitan Piccata ($17).

The seitan was very meaty and was slightly chewy. It had a savory taste. It was generously coated in a lovely lemon and white wine sauce, which gave it a wonderful bitter flavor. The broccolini and mashed potatoes were great additions to the dish. The mashed potatoes were very creamy and garlicky and the broccolini was soft and well-cooked. 

Next, I had the Crusted tempeh ($17).

This dish was also very good. The crusted tempeh was the best part. The tempeh pieces were perfectly cooked and were very crispy. The coating was divine and was perfectly salted. The cannellini beans, braised artichokes and shaved leeks were wonderful additions and were well-cooked and beautifully seasoned. 

For dessert, we had the Napoleon ($8).

This was wonderful and almost like a strawberry shortcake. The white chocolate mousse was very light and airy, yet was very creamy. It had the texture of cool-whip, yet had a richer flavor. The phyllo dough was crispy and slightly sweet. The strawberries were sweet and luscious and sopped up the mousse perfectly.

We also had and Ice Cream Sandwich ($4).

This was also delicious. The cookie pieces were soft and moist and had a rich chocolaty flavor. The vanilla ice cream inside was very creamy and was not too sweet.

Overall, I loved the meal. Everything tasted delicious and the presentation of the food was superb. The discount greatly reduced the price of the meal, which was worth every penny. I have found that True Bistro is fairly priced, considering the high quality of the meal and the elegant atmosphere. I will definitely return on my next visit.  

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Vegan Wednesday At Vee Vee

I recently discovered that a quaint, little restaurant in Jamaica Plain, MA has a three course prefix Vegan menu every Wednesday that differs from week to week. About a week and a half ago, I decided to try it out, curious how well an regular omnivorous restaurant could turn up vegan concoctions. We called ahead to find out if the menu was good, which really meant that there were no mushroom dishes. Thankfully, there weren't, so we headed over there for a lovely dinner.

We began with the first course, an Avocado and Beet Salad with a sherry vinaigrette.

The salad was fantastic. The beets had a wonderful succulent glaze and were soft and luscious. The avocados were also perfectly soft and ripe and had a rich flavor. The lettuce was fresh and crispy. The dressing was light and had a subtle sweetness, complementing the tastes of the beets and avocados very well.

Next, we had the main course, which was a bulgar with kale and butternut squash.

This dish was also fantastic and very flavorful. The bulgar was nice and soft and worked well with the sweet, juicy butternut squash pieces. The kale was slightly bitter and well massaged and a great contrast to the butternut squash. The seasonings were excellent and a light, scrumptious sauce took it over the top.

Lastly, we had Coconut Cake for dessert.

The cake was very soft and moist and was not too sweet. It had a wonderful coconut flavor. The strawberry compote was fantastic and added an extra sweetness to the dessert.

Overall, I really enjoyed the meal. Everything was very flavorful and I really liked that they were so creative with vegetables. It was great to have a meal that was healthy and tasty. The portions were also very good and we left feeling satisfied. The meal cost $25 a person (not including tax and tip). I think this was a very good deal, since entrees at the restaurant typically cost around $20. I would definitely return on another trip to Boston.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

A Great Feast At Grasshopper

Grasshopper is one of my favorite vegan restaurants in the Boston area and I always make sure to dine there on every trip. The food is impeccable and the prices are equally fantastic. I love that you get a lot of food for your money and I always leave the restaurant beyond stuffed, with yummy leftovers for the next couple of meals.  On my most recent visit, I dined there with my parents and brother.

First, we each had some hot and sour soup ($4).

This is one of the best hot and sour soups I've had and definitely tastes very meaty. There are delectable pieces of tofu and chewy chunks of seitan pieces. The broth is tangy with a subtle sweetness. It has a rich "beef" flavor. The soup is the perfect way to begin the meal and it is very hearty.

Next, we had the House Special Assorted Appetizers ($9), which is also a must for every meal at Grasshopper.

This consisted of some lovely deep-fried delicacies, from fried wontons and dumplings to spring rolls. One of my favorites is the spongy vermicelli rolls that have luscious, slurpy noodles and soft pieces of tofu. It tastes a bit like licorice, but in a good way, of course. The sauces compliment each appetizer well, from the sweet plum sauce to the slightly bitter, thick bean sauce. 

Next, we had the Lo-mein noodles with "beef" ($9.50).

This lo-mein is one of the best I've ever had. As a former hater of Chinese noodle dishes, I am a huge fan of Grasshopper's, as their version is not greasy and feels light in my stomach. The noodles are soft and slurpy and have a slightly doughy consistency. The vegetables are stirfried well in a light, flavorful soy sauce and are soft and easy to chew. The "beef" tastes very savory and is slightly chewy, closely resembling the real thing.

Lastly, we had one of our favorite dishes, The No Name ($12.45).

I'm guessing this dish is called "The No Name" because there is no name that describes how amazing it is. The seitan pieces were spongy on the outside and slightly chewy inside. They perfectly mimicked chicken fingers in their consistency and taste. The sauce was delectable and was both sweet and tangy and perfectly spiced. The sesame pieces added a slight bitterness and give the dish a wonderful crunch. The broccoli pieces added a wonderful saltiness to the dish.

Overall, I really enjoyed the meal. Everything was so flavorful and thankfully not greasy at all. I truly enjoy dining at Grasshopper and I always look forward to going there on my visits to Boston. With the $25 gift certificate, the meal only cost around $35 for four people.