Sunday, October 28, 2012

A Beyond Fantastic Beyond Meat Launch Party

Last Thursday, an amazing new faux meat company launched their realistic tasting "chicken" at a launch party at the Whole Foods in El Segundo. Since I showed up early, I scored a free glass of wine to accompany the delicious concoctions I was about to try. Luckily, for those who were not one of the first fifty to attend, there was a lovely happy hour at the bar, and beer and wine were only $1.50! This made it easy for refills after the complimentary glass of wine was gone (which was very quickly).

The complimentary food was fantastic. Unfortunately, not all of it was vegan (since real cheese was used), but there were a decent amount of vegan options.

The buffet included a variety of salads, including a sesame "chicken" salad and "chicken" curry salad, the latter being my favorite, as it was so creamy and luscious. There was also a lovely pizza, using a vegan pesto sauce, beyond meat chicken, and Daiya cheese. I was sure to help myself to numerous helpings, until I was stuffed.

There was also a hot bar, featuring the beyond chicken with various Mexican sauces.

Similarly to the faux meat on the salads and pizza, the "chicken" was tough and chewy, perfectly mimicking its non-vegan counterpart. I also like that it didn't have the artificial aftertaste that Gardein has. The sauces on these hot dishes were very spicy and left my mouth with an intense heat.

I cannot wait until Beyond Meat is available everywhere. Currently, it is in the Whole Foods prepared sections and in smaller health food stores. My hope is that the company will continue to develop more products in the future as they have so much potential to take vegan food to a whole new level.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Green Spotlight: Desert Rose

I have decided to do a "Green Spotlight" series to focus on some of my favorite deals. I am kicking it off with Desert Rose. Desert Rose is one of my favorite places and if it weren't located all the way in Los Feliz, I would probably frequent the restaurant at least once a week. Their food is spectacular and the ambiance is like no other. I always feel transported to a quaint Mediterranean village whenever I dine on their tranquil patio. Their garlic Daiya cheese fries are an absolute must, along with their varied pizza selection.

Today and tomorrow, Desert Rose is offering a lovely deal for either $10 for $20 or $20 for $40 worth of food and drink. If you don't want to commit, Desert Rose offers plenty of other deals. They have Happy Hour daily, as well as a Facebook night on Thursday night with 25% off your dinner.  In addition, they offer a 30% off discount if you make a reservation through I will definitely be dining there soon with one of their amazing discounts!

Saturday, October 20, 2012

A Bizarre Night At Bawarchi

After an exhilarating complimentary hip hop class, I headed over to Bawarchi in Culver City. I had never dined there before but had heard about the restaurant from others and believed it to be similar to the Samosa House. Unfortunately, the establishment, which had previously been completely Vegetarian, recently added meat to their menu and cut way back on their vegan options. Since I was already there, I decided to dine there regardless and try their limited menu items.

The customer service was horrible and enough to make me want to run out the door and leave. I tried paying for my meal using Level Up, which would have given me a discount, but the cashier refused to accept this as payment. I found this to be very disturbing, as there were signs throughout the restaurant, as well as on the door, advertising how they accepted this type of payment. I then took out my Green Menu card to receive a 10% off discount, which was also advertised on the door. The cashier shook his head again, stating that they would not accept the card. I was pretty furious at this point, since the restaurant was so misleading with its claims of accepting discounts. I realized arguing with him was getting me nowhere and I was about to leave the restaurant, before he told me he would give me the 10% off discount.

I ordered the combination plate ($10) and received a $1 off with the discount. Since the plate was made vegan, I was short-changed some food, since the plate normally comes with yogurt and they didn't bother to replace this with a vegan item. Nevertheless, I received plenty of food.

The entrees I chose were jackfruit, soy fish and a potato curry. The jackfruit was very savory and lightly coated in a tomato sauce. It was a little too salty, but had lovely seasonings. The soy fish was my favorite and had a slightly fishy taste and was very chewy. It was very buttery with a subtle garlicky flavor. I also found the potato dish to be quite good, although the potatoes were a little too dry and overly cooked. I like that it had a sweet flavor, balanced out by spiciness. The rice was decent, although the accompanying vegetables were fairly mushy and did not seem fresh. The salad was also very bland and I would have preferred that it was dressed.

Next, some roti and pappadum came out.

The bread was very chewy and a little dry. I would have appreciated a little more oil to give it moisture. I really enjoyed the pappadum, as they were very crisp and had a wonderful lentil flavor.

Overall, the food was decent. I am still annoyed at the limited options and poor customer service and doubt I will return. It also seems that they have raised their prices in the past few months, thus it is not as good of a deal as it used to be. For quick service Indian food, I much prefer the Samosa House, or if you have a little more time, Streets of India.

Monday, October 15, 2012

The End Of Green At Starbucks

A few weeks ago, Starbucks broke the news to their devoted customers that they were no longer going to offer soy milk on the house. Instead, they were changing their rewards card features to benefit dairy drinkers. Sadly, today is the last day that customers can enjoy complimentary soy milk (normally 60 cents) with their beverages. I made sure to take advantage by ordering a delicious grande Soy Vanilla Latte ($1.10 off with the reward card benefits). This drink is not only vegan, but has the perfect amount of sweetness and is very creamy.

I know many people are upset by this change. It makes absolutely no sense, especially with the rising cost of dairy milk. My hope is that Starbucks will come to their senses and revert back to the old rewards program.  Be sure to send them a message through their Facebook page or It would also be great if we could get them to add more non-dairy milks and better eco-friendly packaging, too!

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

A Marvelous Meal At M Cafe

My night started at marvelously when I ventured to M Cafe in West Hollywood. I was excited to try their "Macrotize Me" winner, vegetable lasagna. I love ordering dishes at restaurants that are a limited-time only, since these dishes are typically more innovative and use unique ingredients. I also try to take advantage of these specials, since I don't know if they will ever return to the menu and I hate the feeling of missing out! It also helped that I had a Google offers voucher for $15 for $30 worth of food.

The Vegetable Lasagna ($15) came out pretty quickly and looked lovely.

The lasagna was so scrumptious. There were layers of delectable, well-seasoned vegetables and luscious tofu ricotta crumbles. The tomato sauce added a wonderful sweetness to the dish and the cheesy topping took the dish over the top. The accompanying salad was also very good, as the vegetables were very crisp and fresh and the balsamic dressing was light and tangy.

For dessert, I had the Chocolate Cake ($6.25), which is one of my favorite cakes.

The cake was so moist and perfectly sweet. There were layers of rich mousse that was so decadent and heavenly. There was a hint of peanut butter flavor that enhanced the chocolate. The chocolate ganache topping was mere perfection.

I also took the 2 Salad Combo ($9) to go. I opted for the Kale with Spicy Peanut Dressing and the seasonal salad, Roasted Beet and Walnut Salad.

The salads were not packaged very well and leaked through the box and spilled out. I was able to salvage most of it, although it was not as tasty as I'm sure it would have been. Nevertheless, the kale was well-massaged and easy to chew and coated in a scrumptious dressing that had a lovely mixture of saltiness and spiciness. The beets were so sweet and tender and a great contrast to the crunchy walnuts.

Overall, the meal was great, despite the poor packaging and having car issues that night. The food at M Cafe is a bit overpriced and I could not believe that the lasagna was $15. I was happy that my Google Offers voucher reduced the price to be more reasonable. I ended up spending about $17 for a good amount of food that lasted me more than 2 meals. I would definitely return again, though, especially with another discount.

Saturday, October 6, 2012

A Daring Night At Dhaba Restaurant

After attending Exhale Spa's Namaste event, in which free yoga and food were provided, we were given coupons to use at Dhaba Restaurant, which had donated delicious food for the evening. I was excited to try a new restaurant, especially one nearby which looked vegan-friendly. The menu items were enticing and a little different from the typical fare I'm used to. My friend and I ventured to Dhaba last week to try it out. We were welcomed by a friendly staff and taken to the elegant patio, which was quite daring on the chilly night, yet so worth it.

We began the meal with a complimentary appetizer brought out by our waiter: Pappads (normally cost $2).

The pappads were light and airy and very crispy. They had a lovely lentil flavor. The accompanying dip was sweet with a subtle spiciness.

Next, we had the Pakoras ($5).

The pakoras were delicious and so much smaller that the ones that I'm used to. They were assorted vegetables deep-fried in a scrumptious, spicy batter. They were crispy and crunchy and were very flavorful, especially with the addition of the sauces.

Next, we had the Coconut Vegetables ($10).

This dish was delicious. The sauce was moderately spicy and rich and creamy. It had a lovely coconut flavor, with a subtle taste of tomato. The cauliflower, carrots and green beans were well cooked and were soft and delectable.

Next, we had the Thali Vegetarian Dinner ($13).

The dinner came with daal, Baingan Bhurta, kachumber salad, a mushroom dish, and rice. The daal was my favorite part of the combination plate, as it was very hearty and had a lovely mixture of spices. Not being a fan of mushrooms, I tried a small amount of the dish, which was still quite tasty, despite the dominance of fungal pieces. The kachumber salad was light and refreshing and the Baingan Bhurta had a lovely sauce composed of tomatoes and ginger on juicy pieces of eggplant.

We also added some Roti to the Thali ($1).

The roti was excellent. The bread was nice and chewy and coated in a thin layer of oil. It had a very light seasoning and absorbed the flavors of the food very well.

Overall, the meal was fantastic. The dishes were all very flavorful and tasted authentic. With the $10 off coupon we used (which required a minimum of $20 spending), the meal only cost $26 (with tax and tip). It was a very good deal and we were beyond stuffed, with some wonderful leftovers for the next day. I cannot wait to eat at this gem of a place again.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

A Generic Week of Food From Gobble Green

I have had mixed experiences with Gobble Green. Some of their food can be pretty tasty, while some can be very bland and odd-tasting. The customer service on their website is also very bad and it took more than a week for someone to respond to me. I discovered that their Facebook page is the easiest way to reach someone, as they reply promptly on there and are helpful. I purchased a week's worth of food for $99 on Gather Green. Since I only eat 2 meals a day and the service provided 3 meals a day, I was able to make the food last longer than a week.

The first breakfast meal I had was Maple Applesauce.

I really enjoyed the apple sauce. It had a lovely sweet flavor and had a great texture. It was also very filling.

The next breakfast meal I had was the Blueberry Muffin.

I didn't really like the muffin. It had an odd, plasticky consistency and wasn't very flavorful. I would have preferred it to have been a little more sugary.

The next breakfast meal I had was the Strawberry Oatmeal.

I really liked this and it reminded me of the instant oatmeal I ate as a kid. It was a little watery from being in the fridge, but the oatmeal was very tasty and the strawberry flavor was quite luscious.

The next breakfast meal I had was the Blueberry Lemon Oatmeal.

This was very similar to the strawberry oatmeal, but was a little chunkier. The lemon and blueberry flavors played nicely off one another as it was sweet, with a subtle sour flavor.

The next breakfast meal I had was the Mushroom Scramble.

I'm not a fan of mushrooms, but I still enjoyed this. I added some Daiya cheese to add some extra cheesiness.

The next breakfast meal I had was the Chickpea Scramble.

I really liked this a lot. It had a wonderful "eggy" consistency and was very flavor. It had a mild spice and was pretty flavorful.

The last breakfast meal I had was the Vegetable Hash Brown.

This was also quite tasty. It was very hearty and had a savory flavor.

The first lunch I had was the Paella With "Chicken".

This was pretty good, although it needed more spices. I really enjoyed the soy chicken, though, which had a great texture.

The next lunch I had was the Asian Vegetable Salad.

This tasted very odd to me. It had a gross aftertaste and was very soggy. I had to force myself to eat this.

The next lunch I had was the Southwestern Salad.

This was also very bland and really needed more seasonings and spices. The texture was also a little off.

The next lunch I had was the Vegetable Soup.

This was pretty good, although definitely needed more flavor. The broth was very bland and the vegetables were a little overcooked.

The next lunch I had was the Green Beans with Tofu and Roasted Almonds.

This was very good. The green beans were soft and delectable and coated in a light soy sauce. The tofu was well-cooked and juicy.

The next lunch I had was the Ocean Medley Stew.

This was very hearty and the tomatoes provided a lovely sweetness. It had a savory, meaty taste from the faux meat.

The next lunch I had was the Thai Salad.

The salad was ok, but was a little too soggy. The flavors were a little overpowering.

The first dinner I had was the Fettuccine Alfredo with Peas and Broccoli.

I added some Daiya cheese to give it an extra cheesiness. The sauce was rich and creamy, although the noodles were a little soggy from being in the fridge. I didn't see any broccoli in there, but the peas were very juicy.

The next dinner I had was the Sesame Tofu and Vegetables.

This was pretty good. The sauce was a little watery, but still flavorful. I really liked the tofu, which had a meaty texture and taste. The vegetables could have been cooked a little better.

Next, I had the Cashew Pesto Pasta.

This was one of my favorites. The noodles were very slurpy and coated in a rich, garlicky sauce. The peppers added a wonderful sweetness to the dish.

Next, I had the Chili Beans with Chicken.

This was very good. The spices added a wonderful flavor and the beans were very hearty and savory. The juicy "chicken" pieces added a lovely meaty taste.

This was very good. The chickpeas were soft and juicy and the yams were so succulent. The sauce was a mixture of sweet and spicy flavors.

The next dinner I had was an Indian curry.

I really enjoyed the curry. It was very creamy and flavorful. The chickpeas and green beans were cooked perfectly. I would have preferred if it was a little spicier, though.

The first dessert I had was the Chocolate Chip Cookie.

Gobble Green's desserts are fantastic, especially their cookies. The cookie was so soft and melted in my mouth after being warmed in the microwave. It had a lovely chocolatey flavor and was the perfect amount of sweet.

The next dessert I had was the Banana Bread Cookie.

This was also very good, although it was a little more chewy than I prefer. It also could have been a little sweeter.

The last dessert I had should not have been considered a dessert as it was not enjoyable at all. It was the Sweet Carrot and Coconut Scramble.

This was sickeningly sweet and had an odd texture. The carrot and coconut combination did not work at all.

Overall, the meal service was decent. I would recommend Gobble Green for people who are lazy and prefer microwaved meals. If you can cook, I recommend staying away, since home cooked meals taste way better. With the deal, it was fairly reasonably priced, although $99 seems how much it should normally cost without a discout. I would order it again for an extremely busy week or for a quick weight loss.