Friday, September 28, 2012

A Fresh Meal From Fresh Brothers

A few days ago, I ventured to the newly opened Fresh Brothers in Brentwood for some delicious pizza. I have eaten pizza from the Redondo Beach and Marina del Ray locations and have had great experiences at both places. I was excited to order pizza from the Brentwood location to see how it measured up to the other locations. I was not disappointed at all. 

The online ordering process was very simple and enabled me to easily customize the pizza to suit my needs. I opted for the Momma's Favorite. The pizza normally comes with spinach, garlic and mushrooms. Being the mushroom hater that I am, I substituted the mushrooms with tomatoes. I decided to make the pizza a deep dish, which normally cost $2, but was complimentary on the personal size. Switching the mozzarella cheese with Daiya was also free on that size, but normally cost extra if you order a medium, large or XL. I then switched out the pesto sauce for pizza sauce. Vegans should also beware that you must specify "no butter" or they will bake it in a buttered pan. Since I had a 20% off coupon code, which I received in my email through being a member of their e-club, the pizza only cost me $6 after tax. 

The pizza was fantastic. It tasted like a spinach lasagna on a pizza. The crust was crispy and flaky on the outside and soft and delectable inside. The spinach was slightly bitter and chewy, while the garlic added a lovely flavor. The tomato slices were wonderful and were lightly marinated in oil. The pizza was loaded with Daiya cheese that was perfectly melted and took on the seasonings of the toppings very well. 

Overall, the pizza was fantastic. The customer service was also superb. Almost immediately after I placed the order, an employee called me to make sure that the order was correct and that I indeed wanted it to be made completely vegan. I really appreciated that they verified this and understood what a vegan pizza was, unlike Zpizza, which has given me non-vegan pizzas on several occasions and has shown a lack of concern. I will definitely be ordering from Fresh Brothers again to support a business that actually cares about Vegans and goes above and beyond to ensure its customers are satisfied. My hope is that others will support them too, so their business will continue to thrive. 

Sunday, September 23, 2012

An Addicting Meal At Chili Addiction

It's not too often I find myself craving chili. I was never a huge fan of the concoction as a meat eater, thus I never find myself getting dreaming about it, as I do many other types of food. Nevertheless, when I found out about Chili Addiction a couple of years ago, I was very excited. The idea of a "meaty" chili on top of a meal was quite titillating. I realized then that chili is best as an ingredient in a dish, not alone. And that is how I got so turned on by the very idea of Chili Addiction. The fairly extensive vegan menu features mock meats and sausages that use Chili Addiction's rotating chilis to spice up the dish. Recently, Google Offers had a voucher for $7 for $15 worth of food that I made sure to snatch up. About a week ago, I headed over to the establishment in West Hollywood to indulge myself in chili.

I started the meal with the Chili Mac ($8).

This dish was very good. The macaroni was very soft and doughy and absorbed the savory flavor of the chili very well. There were chunky bits of soy that were very juicy and gave the dish an authentic meaty taste. The beans were very hearty and delectable. This dish could have been even better with some vegan cheese cooked in.

Next, I had the Chili Cheese Dog ($6).

I didn't really know what to expect from this dish, but I found it very enjoyable. The "hot dog" mimicked the non-vegan version very well and had a rubbery consistency. The chili topping really took it over the top, making it even more savory. The Daiya cheese was a little odd, since it didn't seem to cook long enough to melt in, thus retaining its odd texture. My only complaint was that the faux hot dog would have been way better if it was a soy sausage dog, which would have improved the texture of dish.

Overall, the meal was fantastic. I think Chili Addiction has great potential and can really improve on their vegan menu, although their dishes now are still very good. I would like to try more of their faux meats, such as their homemade sausage and burger patties. I was also intrigued to discover that they have vegan ice creams, too. I cannot wait to go again soon.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

A Truly Incredible Meal At True Bistro

It wasn't too long ago that Boston had minimal Vegan options.  Now, an immense transformation is occurring and more and more Vegan and Veg-friendly restaurants are popping up around the city. In the past year, Boston has welcomed a meat-free diner, along with a Vegan ice cream shop. Still, one of my favorite places is the upscale restaurant, True Bistro, which is a fairly recent addition to Boston's vegan scene. The restaurant is located in Somerville, along a row of restaurants. The interior is small, yet elegant and very welcoming. On my last visit, I used a voucher I purchased on Bloomspot for $35 for a meal for two.

Our first dish was complimentary from the chef and was a chilled soup.

This soup was delicious. It was very creamy and had a mild spice. It had a rich avocado flavor and lovely chunks of spinach. It was a great way to start the meal.

Next, we had our first small plate: the Cornmeal-Crusted Oyster Mushrooms ($8).

I normally cannot stand mushrooms, but I could not stop eating these. The mushrooms were deep-fried in a wonderful corn-meal batter and were so crispy. They were made to simulate crab cakes and had a slightly fishy taste. The accompanying horse-radish and tartar sauce added a wonderful bitter taste and complimented the dish very well.

Next, I had the Leek Tart ($9).

This was fantastic and very addictive. This was similar to a quiche, without the flaky crust. The tart had such a soft, delectable texture and was easy to chew. The taste of leeks was quite dominant and the cashew cheese added a wonderful salty flavor. The accompanying salad was very light and refreshing.

Next, I tried some of my dad's Grilled Romaine Heart salad ($7).

This salad was very good. The romaine lettuce was grilled to perfection and had a wonderful crispiness. The lentil concoction was very hearty and worked well on the toasted baguette slices. 

Next, I had the Phyllo Triangles ($17).

This dish was amazing. It was very similar to Spanikopita (sans the spinach), one of my favorite Greek dishes back when I was a vegetarian. The phyllo dough was very light and crispy, while the interior was soft and well-cooked. The tofu, caramelized onions, and swiss chard mixture was very savory and was perfectly seasoned. The scrumptious cream sauce took the dish over the top.

Next, I had the Stuffed Summer Squash ($18).

This dish was fantastic. The tender squash was filled with a juicy tempeh mixture, which tasted very meaty. It was accompanied by a magnificent quinoa salad, featuring corn and beans, which was very light and hearty. The sauce was delicious and had a rich, tomato flavor. 

Next, I had the side of French Fries ($5).

The fries were very crisp and crunchy. They were perfectly seasoned and coated in a truffle oil. I appreciated that they weren't too greasy, yet were still very flavorful.

Next, we had a side of marinated olives ($4).

These olives were fantastic. They were very juicy and bitter and coated in oil.

Lastly, we had the Napoleon ($8) for dessert.

The Napoleon was absolutely amazing and I order this every time I go to True Bistro, since it's such a unique dessert. The white chocolate mousse was so rich and luscious and had a lovely airy texture that was reminiscent of whipped cream. The phyllo dough worked well as a graham cracker substitute and was very sugary. The strawberries really took the dessert of the top, as they were sweet and juicy and complimented the flavors very well.

Overall, the meal was fantastic. Each dish was unique and had its own delightful flavors. I love how the menu changes a bit, and there has always been new items on each of my visits. I also appreciate that while the dishes seem heavy and oily, I don't feel weighed down afterward. All of the vegetables used are also very fresh and at their peak of ripeness. I cannot wait to see True Bistro continue to create innovative dishes and look forward to enjoying their food again on my next visit. 

Friday, September 14, 2012

A Generous Meal At Grasshopper

In the middle of Alston, Massachusetts' vegan row, sits Grasshopper restaurant, a fantastic vegan Chinese establishment. This place has delicious food and great deals and is a must for any visit to the Boston-area. I have written about this restaurant many times before, since it is one of my favorite places and one of the few completely vegan establishments in Boston. The Chinese food is way better than the typical fare and way less greasy (although oil is still a main ingredient in many of the items). Nevertheless, this place is great for new vegans, dining with picky omnivores, or days when you just crave comfort food.

We began the meal with one of my favorite items: Hot and Sour Soup ($4).

I cannot rave about this soup enough. This is seriously the most amazing hot and soup soup I've ever had and blows any non-vegan version away. The soup is perfectly tangy and has a wonderful bitterness that slightly burns the throat. The tofu is soft and luscious. The best part of the soup is the faux pork pieces, which are slightly chewy and very savory. They compliment the broth very well.

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

This is a great choice when you are with a bunch of people with varying tastes. There is a mixture of "healthier" items, such as the vermicelli rolls and salad, and "junk" food items, such as the fried wontons and dumplings. The fried items are perfectly crispy and coated in a savory batter. The vermicelli rolls are a great contrast, as they are soft and mushy, with a lighter flavor.

Next, we had the Veggie Chicken Fingers ($5).

This was really good, but did not simulate chicken fingers that well. The outside was very spongy, while the interior was very soft and the tofu base was evident. I would have liked the flavor to have been more savory and meaty to be more reminiscent of the real thing.

Next, we had the No Name ($12.45).

This was essentially a Sweet and Sour "Chicken". This is one of my favorite entrees to order because the sauce is so scrumptious. The seitan pieces also had a wonderful texture and were very juicy. The stir-fried veggies were delectable and easy to chew. The sesame seeds coating the seitan really took the dish over the top, as it added a nice crunchiness.

Lastly, we had the House Special Nest ($13.45).

This dish was magnificent and I loved the presentation. The bird's nest was quite ironic, since the dish did not contain any actual bird. However, there were lovely pieces of seitan and soy to mimic chicken, fish, and beef, which all took on the seasonings and textures of these meats very well. I really enjoyed the crispy noodles from the nest, which was enhanced by the light, beany sauce.

Overall, I really enjoyed the meal. I appreciated all the different flavors from the dishes and liked the variety of textures in each dish. Best of all, I didn't feel as weighed down as I usually do after eating a greasy Chinese meal. We used a $25 gift certificate, which greatly reduced the cost of the meal. I will definitely return on my next trip to Boston.

Saturday, September 8, 2012

A Great Deal For The Green Menu

This weekend and next weekend, the Green Menu is partnering with Gather Green to offer a fantastic discount for membership. Normally, a year membership cost $25, but with the deal, it is reduced to $15.

With the Green Menu card, members receive a discount to participating vegan, vegetarian, and veg-friendly restaurants all around the country (although most seem to be in NYC and California). The discounts range from 10-25% off, although some restaurants offer free appetizers or desserts with purchase of an entree. This seems like a great way to discover new restaurants, especially those that don't typically offer deals. Participating restaurants that I can personally vouch for include Sage Bistro, Kind Kreme, Golden Mean, and Sun Cafe. If you eat out a lot, like I do, this seems like a great way to save some extra money and support an organization that promotes a vegan lifestyle. 

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

A Magical Night At Quintessence

Visiting New York is like a trip to Disney World. There are endless vegan options, each one offering a unique experience. On my recent trip to NYC, I made sure to dine at some of the best restaurants. However, since I was only there for 2 days, I wasn't able to get the full dining experience. Still, I enjoyed all of the food I had and left with a happy stomach. The food in NYC is very expensive, due to the high cost of real estate. Luckily, a wonderful raw restaurant in the East Village called Quintessence had a Groupon deal for $20 for $40 worth of food and drink. We headed there on my second night in the city.

First, we started out with an appetizer. We opted for the Hand Roll Combo ($12).

We all loved this dish. My sister and her boyfriend, who are both omnivores, thought this was very reminiscent of their beloved sushi and really hit the spot. The nori roll had a fishy flavor, while the interior was very creamy and had a nutty, cheesy taste. It was moderately spicy and had a tangy flavor. The vegetables were crunchy and accompanied the faux fish very well.

Next, I had a salad that came with my entree.

The greens salad was very good. The lettuce was crispy and tasted very fresh. The greens were coated in a creamy miso tahini dressing, which was slightly tangy.

Next, I had the Ravioli Combo with Primavera Pasta ($17).

Half of the raviolis were filled with sun-dried tomato basil, while the other half were filled with "cheese". I didn't really like the sun-dried tomato basil filling as it was too tart and had an odd consistency. I enjoyed the "cheese" filling, as it had a wonderful nutty flavor and was very light and creamy. The pasta was pretty good, although some pieces were too crunchy and difficult to chew. The sauces were magnificent. I really liked the pesto sauce, which had a lovely garlicky taste. The marinara sauce was also good, as the tomatoes were very succulent.

Next, I tried some of my sister and boyfriends' dishes. Both ordered the Mexican Platter ($23).

This dish was fantastic. I was jealous that I didn't order this myself, as I wanted to eat the whole thing. My favorite was the enchilada, which was filled with a scrumptious concoction of "refried beans", "cheese", lettuce and tomatoes". The cheese was very creamy, while the beans had a more savory taste. The mole sauce really took it over the top and added a subtle sweetness. The tostada was also very good, but tasted similar to the enchilada. The guacamole topping was wonderfully rich and flavorful and complimented the juicy nut meat perfectly.

Overall, the meal was fabulous. I think the ravioli dish could be improved significantly, but the other dishes were phenomenal, especially the hand rolls. Since we headed to Lula's Apothecary for dessert, we weren't able to try any of the enticing options, but I'm sure they are great. I would definitely eat at Quintessence again for a light yet filling dinner. The food helped me feel more energized and enabled me to make it through the rest of the night in the city that never sleeps.

Saturday, September 1, 2012

A Magnificent Meal At My Thai

While waiting for my bus to New York, I dined at My Thai for lunch in the Chinatown in Boston. The restaurant has a sketchy exterior, with an almost as awkward interior. The restaurant is very large and doesn't feel very welcoming when you walk in. Nevertheless, the food is always delicious, the staff is friendly and the prices are very reasonable. On Monday through Friday, they have a wonderful lunch special which includes soup, a spring roll or fried wonton, and entree for only $7.50. We decided to take advantage of this superb deal.

First, our soups came out. The soup that comes with the lunch special is the Tom Yum soup. 

This soup was fantastic. It had a sweet tomato broth, which was contrasted with lemongrass chili paste and lime juice. The tofu is soft and slightly chewy and the vegetables are well-cooked and delectable.

Next, I had the Mango Curry with rice, which was accompanied by two fried wontons.

This dish was delicious. The sauce was very creamy and luscious. The coconut milk and mango made a scrumptious sauce, which was enhanced by the mango chunks and stir-fried vegetables. Despite that I had ordered veggie chicken, the dish was composed of tofu slabs. Nevertheless, the tofu had a meaty texture and was very savory. The accompanying wontons were deep-fried and crispy and filled with vegetables.

Next, I tried some of my mom's dish: the Vietnamese Noodle Dish.

This dish was very good. The noodles were thin and reminiscent of pad-thai noodles. There was a fantastic nutty flavor and the sauce was very spicy.

Lastly, I tried my brother's dish: Pad See Ew.

This dish was also delicious. The noodles were very thick and doughy and soaked in a black bean sauce.  There were juicy pieces of soy chicken that mimicked meat very well. The broccolini was a little overpowering with its bitterness, but had a lovely texture and was easy to eat.

Overall, the food was very enjoyable. I love that My Thai has such an eclectic menu and mixes all types of Asian food from Chinese to Vietnamese to Thai. The food is always flavorful and not too greasy. The lunch special is a fabulous deal and is very filling. I highly recommend it for a fun, weekday lunch in between strolling around downtown Boston.