Prasad Round 1

Alongside a meditative yoga studio and a modern spa is the wholesome Prasad. This adorable little eatery will have you feeling nurtured from the inside out. Beautifully plant based dishes in this urban eatery feeds your body loads of flavorful fuel. It’s no wonder this spot does so well in these health conscious crossroads, their food nourishes every fiber of your being. Whether it be the food itself or the hushed ambiance due to the proximity of yoga practice taking place, Prasad has a calming feeling to it that you cannot find anywhere else.

We especially became fond of this space during our stay in Portland, Oregon due to its selection of breakfast dishes. We leaned on this place to make us feel good at the beginning of each day when we knew we’d be junking out the rest of the time.

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Granola atop of coconut yogurt kick started our day beautifully. The light, tangy, and smooth yogurt was probiotic-filled and, therefore, did wonders for our tummies whilst tasting like a tropical treat. The granola contrasted the tang of the yogurt with a cinnamon sugar sweetness. The texture of the granola still has to be our favorite bit of the dish because it was crisp yet moist, thanks to the fresh apples in it.

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The farmhouse scramble was a savory haven that could replenish your bod after even the toughest vinyasa. Smokey, whole bean tofu chunks were braised and mixed in with tender beets that, texturally, would make you believe they had been smoked for hours. Greens and pumpkin seeds added body and crunch, completing the scramble. This delectable creation was drizzled with a mild, creamy sriracha based sauce, and it share the plate with a side of fluffed up millet that soaked in the flavorful main.  

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After this experience we could not resist returning for more. We also can’t resist sharing the other goodies we tried so stay tuned for more on Prasad next week folks! These guys, believe it or not have even greater things in store.

The Sweet Hereafter

The Sweet Hereafter is a rustic bar in Portland that besides having a wonderfully woodsy aesthetic, also knows just how to stuff a sub. Dine here and you’ll find that warm, soft, and chewy bread is definitely one of their strengths. They take the sub, an expected bar food, and with just a bit of flare make it exciting.

The buffalo soy curl sub was on the money! A mild, but flavorful buffalo sauce blanketed the soy curls. This Portland meat substitute has the perfect toothsome bite to classify as the proper sub filing. Miso chive cheese was unique, yet essential, as it added to the umami that radiated from the sub. Fresh and crisp lettuce and bright tomatoes drizzled with ranch were must have toppings that kept the sub classic, which we believe was the perfect way to go on this one. It was utterly delicious.

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The blackened tempeh sandwich was a bit more on the creative side, and we must tell you that the bit of risk worked. The combo of smoky and tangy flavors married as grilled, cajun-seasoned tempeh was topped off with spicy beer mustard and pickles. We absolutely loved that flavor combo on its own, but the additional components of miso mayo, crisp slaw, red onion and tomato leveled up the sandwich to maximum flavor. A lightly toasted, but still delightfully chewy ciabatta bread, held in all the components making a good sandwich, great. This sandwich is a new vegan classic in our books.

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We were in a sub/sammy kind of mood when we dined at The Sweet Hereafter and man were our cravings satisfied. With that being said there is plenty more to this bar’s menu to explore: an extensive drink menu as well as bowl entrees and list of starters all beg to be tried at this local, vegan bar.

Canteen

Portland, Oregon has this eminent “bowl” culture that is popping up with support of foodies, vegan and non-vegan alike. Canteen has taken this notion and finessed it by serving an array of bowls that each create a complete and unique cuisine experience all on their own. Whether you are in the mood for soul food, pan-asian, or something a little more native to Portland itself, Canteen will satisfy your craving delightfully.

First up, the Southern Bowl. This beauty had cashew ranch slaw, black eyed peas, collard greens, and bbq soy curls laid on a hearty bed of brown rice. These components combined already make for a complete southern bowl, but the flavor that was slathered on was the pinnacle of this dish. A bbq sauce that had a deep, smoky and sweet intensity integrated the components further. The beauty of this sauce was that it was so flavorful that only a bit in each bite gave that warm baked beans effect with none of the heaviness. A final flavor pop of green onions, that doubled as a garnish, really topped off the flavor and aesthetic of this crafted bowl.  

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Next up, the Bangkok Bowl. This bad boy had pungent pan-asian flavor achieved by piling adzuki beans, broccoli, red cabbage and kimchi on top of brown rice. The kimchi was crisp and fresh, with a brilliant kick of spice. This complemented the sweetness that was carried throughout the dish via the adzuki beans and the red curry peanut sauce. You’d think there was enough flavor packed into this bowl, but an additional sauce, the avocado curry, really boosted the flavor profile to full bodied. Black sesame seeds topped this dish off and man was it a beaut.

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Just because Portland loves kale (and honestly we do too) we opted for the kale side dish that was smothered in a delicious peanut curry. How Canteen manages to make health food taste and feel like such a treat, we cannot really get a handle on, but that is in a nutshell what this eatery is about. Pure fuel is served up here and purely delicious fuel it is.

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Back to Eden Bakery

Back to Eden Bakery, hidden in the artsy town of Alberta,  Oregon, is a little haven for anyone with a sweet tooth or otherwise. What breaks this bakery away from the standard is options that get customers reminiscing on their childhood favorites; like huge banana splits and root beer floats. What we personally enjoyed was that they had not only sweets, but a pretty satisfactory lunch menu as well.

Kale is definitely a theme here in Oregon; even the bakeries have em’! We must say that in a city where food is rich, this salad was a refreshing exception to the rule. It was dressed in a liquified tahini dressing that contained enough lemon and apple cider vinegar to make the kale manageable and enjoyable. Celery added a great pop of light flavor bringing a breezy feel to our lunch. Cranberries and pumpkin seeds balanced it all out with touches of tart sweetness.

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As for the sweets we must say that our upbringing may have biased our choices. Back to Eden Bakery had a spectrum of crowd pleasers. When stepping into this place you are bound to have something jump out at you. With that said we had to try the soft serve. The vanilla-chocolate swirl was super light on the chocolate, but honestly just light and fluffy in general. This was an unexpected, yet welcomed delight. Not only did we have room for some personal favorites, but who needs heaviness after dessert anyway? We like our food to keep us rolling through the day.

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Pretzel couldn’t help himself and got the beloved classic: the root beer float. It was made to the T with no bells and whistles, just as it should, and it was perfect. This was the first time we’d seen this recreated (vegan-style) and it’s safe to say that we are not missing a thing. We’ve got root beer floats in all their fizzing glory for crying out loud!

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Pear on the other hand is pretty predictable when it comes to desserts. Chocolate inevitably takes the win and here we saw no exception. She went for the last rocky road fudge bar and man was it heavenly. This was dense and packed with all the fun stuff rocky road so boldly brings together: marshmallows, almonds, and chocolate. The fudge bar itself was dense in texture without becoming too tough to chew. The flavor was spot on and thankfully not too sweet. The balance of flavor came through overall and that’s what we’ve come to expect from our short visit to Back to Eden Bakery.

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The Sudra

The Sudra will amaze the best of us. Somehow this small bar in Portland, Oregon has managed to fill itself with heaps of delicious Indian inspired cuisine that embodies so much more than typical bar food ever could. Expect to be smacked around with spices, flavors and nutrition in each item on the menu, because these unique creations have powerful impacts on the palate.

We’ve mentioned nutrients, allow us to elaborate. EVERY item on the menu, from alcoholic beverage to dessert, had extraordinarily nourishing elements. We were honestly surprised by this detail because in no form does The Sudra claim this trait on their site. Even we doubt that we accurately assessed the alimentary value of each item, it’s almost too bold to be true.

Even their cocktails have nutritive value! The pressed juice lovers are going to die for this adult beverage, aptly named Beet Generation, which mixes Volstead Vodka with lemon and beet juices. Believe it or not that was the not what made this drink eccentric… the brine did. Your eyes are not deceiving you. You read that correctly. There is brine, and even a pickled bean garnish in this cocktail, and oh my did it work. This drink is among the best concoctions created, being simply something you must taste to believe. With all of the hydrating properties of this drink balancing out the alcohol we just don’t know how you could ever go wrong with this one.

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If there is a right way to drink, The Sudra has decoded the method. Need more proof? It’s called Kashmir Sweater, my friends. When we dined here the ambiance was set by Portland’s successive showers. Something warm to drive out the chill was precisely what we needed after a long bike ride. This cocktail hit the spot. A pungent whisky mellowed brilliantly by mint syrup, chocolate bitters, and hot water, made for the pinnacle of tea-time refreshments.

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To aid in driving out the cold we got our hands on the tamarind stew. The starches in this stew were cooked in a bright zing of flavor characteristic of tamarind. The bright flavor smoothly tapered off into a smokiness, which was really nice because no single flavor became overbearing or mundane. Lentils, carrots, yukon gold potatoes, spinach and red onion made for nothing short of a hearty dish. The cilantro-lemon sauce that topped it off added a new aspect of creaminess,rounding out the flavors and textures quite nicely.

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The chickpea cutlet plate is a great example of a main dish served here. Falafel-like cutlets were crisped up and served with cilantro-lemon sauce and roasted red pepper-cashew chutney, which refined the flavor profile. Alongside it was brown rice, pickled anaheim chilis, kale in tahini dressing, and molasses root veggies which were so good they get talked about in their own section.

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We took full advantage of the extensive ‘sides’ section of the menu. These small dishes are unique and stand alone, making them a perfect accompaniment to a happy hour cocktail. We got an extra side order of ginger molasses root veggies because they we’re that good. Caramelized starchy vegetables that were coated in sweet and spicy contrasting flavors. On one end the molasses, and on the other end the ginger. This combination was really a flavor mash-up made in heaven.

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The jackfruit vindaloo was one side we knew we had to try from the start, and it met all of our expectations. The texture achieved from the pulled jackfruit was excellently dressed in a hot and earthy indian spice mix. All the components made for a superb vindaloo tenderness and taste.

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Charred brussel sprouts with hazelnuts and lemon were a skeptical, but delicious mix that pleasantly surprised us. It was such a simple dish with a honed flavor we had not come across prior, but instantly fell in love with.

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Working vegetables into dinner is expected, but working veggies into dessert is risky, to say the least. The Sudra managed this taboo seamlessly in their apple-carrot payasam. Apple and carrots simmered in coconut mylk and spices made up the warm, comforting base of this dessert. An oat and nut crumble was laid over top, adding a slight textural crunch to the dish. And yes we chose to top it off with vanilla ice cream, because warm dessert deserves to have something melt into it.

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We enjoyed our dessert with poori which is one of the flatbreads on the menu. This was super fresh and had a touch of cinnamon to it. The best description we could think of is that it has a zeppole flavor without all the powdered sugar, thus it went beautifully with dessert.

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Now that it’s all explained, you’ve got a glimpse of the eloquent way that The Sudra constitutes each dish with nutrient dense ingredients. We really have no complaints as everything was first and foremost delicious.

Blossoming Lotus Part 2

Blossoming Lotus was so good for brunch that we had to return for dinner! We want to share this dining experience with you all as well, just incase brunch isn’t your thing. Blossoming Lotus is not a restaurant to miss out on while in Portland, Oregon. Just take a look at their dinner menu and you’ll see what we mean.

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Their cheeseburger is a well thought out compilation of everything a gourmet cheeseburger needs without getting too pretentious, because after all, the cheeseburger is a layman’s go-to. The lentil walnut patty was moist, yet sturdy, and had a ground texture and earthy flavor. This was topped with a munster cheese rendition that was smooth and melty. All the fixings were present: greens, tomato, red onion, and some rather grand sauces. As if this burger weren’t good enough already, Blossoming Lotus took a shot at great with these sauces. Beet ketchup added a necessary familiarity to the burger while still keeping things a bit audacious. Garlic aioli seemed to replace the traditional mayo, boosting the flavor to the next level. Any burger loving someone, vegan or not, would definitely appreciate this beautifully crafted experience.

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The sides at Blossoming Lotus can go from seemingly simple to exotic in a snap. We ordered a side of grilled asparagus, which we expected to be the usual, but ended up being skillfully dressed up. The woody char on the asparagus was complementary to the mellow, preserved lemon zest. Excluding the tang grounded this dish and allowed the grilled flavor to reign. A surprising bit of umami was also snuck into this dish by way of miso powder, which put the grill flavor into full gear and tied together the dish seamlessly. And this was just the “simple” side dish.

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Brazilian cheese bread was the exotic side dish we went for and WOW. This is not something you find just anywhere, let alone in a vegan joint. It’s truly amazing how authentic this cheese bread was. A bready shell leaves little to no hint of the gooey cheesiness that is harbored within. It’s nothing like cheese sticks or anything of the sort. The contents are as if dense bread were morphed with an edgy, sharp golden cheese. It’s a wonder of chewy and delicious that you honestly deserve to try for yourself.

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We let our sweet tooths run wild at Blossoming Lotus. You may or maynot have caught our official confession of this in our previous post, but we are hopeless chocoholics. This place snuck right into our weak spot and we shamelessly got carried away into chocolate heaven. Their chocolate soft serve was oh so rich, dark, and luxurious. It had the perfect amount of depth achieved by only having a modest sweetness, and made you close your eyes to appreciate every single bite.

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You would think we’d leave it at that, but this is a real problem we struggle with. So again, shamelessly, we requested the devil’s food cake. At this point it got serious. This ganache drizzled glory cake was moist like no other. It literally melted in your mouth with a sinful palate. And with this we realized that Blossoming Lotus has a characteristic balance achieved through flavor. Nothing is ever too sweet or too salty, they always get it just right. If that isn’t a reason to fall in love with a restaurant, we don’t know what it is. It’s enough reason for us to highly recommend.

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Blossoming Lotus Part 1

If you find yourself in Portland, OR on a weekend, brunch at Blossoming Lotus is an absolute must! This place has a cozy cottage feel that has us longing to spend our Sundays gaping at their menu and savoring their extraordinary eats. Blossoming Lotus’ brunch items have a perfect handle on salty and sweet, never overdoing it and always letting the plethora of flavors coexist harmoniously. We honestly could not twist our faces into more “wowed” expressions if we tried, and here goes why…

The soup of the day was a roasted red pepper bisque. What we did not expect was a gazpacho like feel with a kiss of warmth. We still can’t really get a handle on how they achieved it with a roasted red pepper base. What we are sure of is that this soup speaks volumes to how Blossoming Lotus handles food. Quality fresh ingredients are center stage and handling is only complementary to what matters, the food! We expected creamy, and salted but received a jolting surprise instead. The chunky, light soup was crisp and true to its sweet red pepper base; a delightful brunch starter for sure.

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The Lotus benedict was a perfect brunch namesake for the place. The fennel seed biscuit openface benny was far from classic in the best way possible, it wasn’t heavy. The flakey, yet wholesome biscuit stood up to the items layered above it with poise, considering this Lotus benedict had a lot to offer. Sausage patties that literally melt apart as hash would added an umami touch while keeping the texture of the dish soft and cohesive. The most oddly impressive call made on this benny was the tofu scramble scoop that replaced the traditional poached egg. The tofu used was as fluffy and light as needed to do the trick. Now about the hollandaise, a sauce that is usually dense and blanketing was elaborated on in this dish for sure. This was the least traditional element in this dish for sure, but we commend this brave call on the chef’s end. The dish needed a light moisture that wouldn’t cloak the amazing fresh components going on underneath. You just can’t cover juicy, plump tomatoes in heavy sauce, and they thankfully didn’t. Still offering the well rounded flavors of a hollandaise this sauce was refreshing and the dish wouldn’t have reached its potential any other way.

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Now onto the breakfast burrito. We still dream about this darned thing. We literally salivate at the thought of it. Blossoming Lotus put this recurring “light” twist on this brunch classic as well. Rather than going for the overdone Mexican burrito with eggs approach, Blossoming Lotus put what we’d describe as the “Portland twist” on it. All rolled up in a tortilla: roasted potatoes, hearty kale, and a tofu scramble that gave a feta effect to the whole thing. It had at a level of satisfaction we didn’t even know existed. And to add even more flavor bits, coconut bacon, cashew sour cream, tomato and red onion brought this breakfast dish to a succinct completion. With the amount of whole-hearted flavor going on in this dish, hot sauce is not at all needed, but we just have to mention, it’s pretty damn good with it as well.

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Last, but not least, what is brunch without a little sweet? Almost a sin. So we went for the Giant Cinnamon Roll. They explicitly named this dish on the menu and they were certainly not joking about the Giant part. This thing is meant to be a breakfast on its own. The chewy, bready roll was perfect and nowhere near as overbearing in flavor as it looks. The richness level is nicely balanced. Each bite isn’t flushed with sugary taste, but instead swirls caramelized cinnamon. Cashew cream cheese frosting is a welcome, mellow replacement for the confection that traditionally tops an already brown-sugary sweet bun. And as if this dish isn’t balanced enough, a salted almond garnish levels the scale.

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Blossoming Lotus’ brunch was all too impressive. Considering that this menu had a lot more to offer by way of raw dishes and more general options, we scheduled to dine with them again during our Portland trip. Catch our dinner here next week for more amazing dishes to come!

Native Bowl

Native Bowl is a vegan food trailer that has their solid and simple concept mastered. Parked in a concession area in Portland, Oregon you can find these guys stacking layers upon layers into beautifully composed takeout boxes. The result can be anything from mediterranean style to pan asian inspired, but common is the fact that these are all well rounded bowls. Each choice has the necessary components to fit the feel of the cuisine the bowl is based on. We absolutely love these quirky bowls because they have the flavor and content of a main dish and a couple sides all condensed into one easy to eat and carry package.

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Example numero uno: the Broadway. This seemingly Thai inspired dish was stacked to the brim with impressive flavor. On a bed of jasmine rice was a layer of garlic tofu and on that was veggies galore. Red cabbage, grated carrots, scallions and cilantro were sprinkled with toasted sesame seeds and lightly dressed in a peanut ginger sauce. This sauce was citrusy and really crisp for a peanut sauce, which played up the freshness of the veggies and just made for a really complete and delicious bowl. The opportunity to add some chili flakes was presented, and we took it, introducing a fitting kick to the thai inspired bowl. It’s no wonder why this dish is recommended for first timers, it really is easy to love.

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If we had to recommend just one dish though, it would have to be the Mississippi bowl. Our personal favorite, and what we’d describe as the all american crowd pleaser, this bowl contains tons of backyard BBQ flavors with the fixings to match. For this dish soy curls are smothered in two kinds of BBQ sauce, each bringing their own distinct flavor to the table. On one hand smokiness and tartness fill the background, and on the other a sweetness that mellows everything out. A touch of dill peppercorn ranch that adds herby flavor and creaminess to the dish. Crisp and light slaw caps it off. This is all served on a bed of jasmine rice which catches all those sauce drippings; which a good thing. With all the flavors held in these bowls you wouldn’t want to lose a drop.

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Wild Ginger

Wild Ginger is an awesome spot to grab some pan-asian eats in Brooklyn, NY.  A very extensive dinner menu made it so hard to choose because everything on it had an appeal that would stumble up anyone with an appetite. We did our best to taste around the menu, but having tried their lunch specials in the past we can assure you Wild Ginger has plenty more fun dishes to choose from.

Speaking of fun, we have to mention that wild ginger has an amazing sake mojito. We never would have thought that sake and mojito could mesh as nicely as they did. This crisp drink had tons of fresh mint that induced that throat cooling sensation. This brilliantly mellowed the inherent zing of the alcohol while lime and a bit of sweetness evened out the whole drink.

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If you don’t have the alcohol feels, and would prefer a nutritional boost with your meal Wild Ginger has got you covered with some fresh pressed juices. For instance, the carrot-apple-ginger-beet juice was spicy and sweet which surprisingly complimented the meal. If room temp pressed juices are not your favorite be sure to ask for ice because this drink was not chilled, but surely delicious.

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Moving straight into our starters, the must try of wild ginger are their vegan BBQ “ribs”. These thinly cut, lightly basted pieces of faux-ribs are a real wonder to us. They have a perfect BBQ sweetness with a freakishly spot on asian style “ribs” flavor. The texture is also very close to that of a cured meat product, but so much better because it’s cleaner, plant based, and harms no one. If we had to extend one suggestion it would simply be don’t try to share this dish, you’re going to want it all to yourself because it is just that good.

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The Indian pancakes were also a really great starter item. These chewy and lightly crisped pancakes were served with a generous portion of a curry sauce. This sauce tasted like an earthy, almost pea based curry. It was also composed like a miniature pot of curry with cauliflower bits in it and all, yet it was thickened enough to be spooned onto the pancakes like a sauce.

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Kimchee was also one of our appetizers of choice and man was this authentic kimchi. A true fermented dish that fizzed up on the tongue and everything. Pungent bitter and sour flavors made up the dish but were brilliantly finished off with an ending note of spice that made the flavor whole in our opinion.

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On to the entrees: Malaysian stew. This comforting dish had a slow cooked feel and flavor. Loads melty root veggies, tender broccoli, and slices of soy protein that adds a bit of texture to the dish. The stew base had a very full bodied curry flavor that we’d put on par with a massaman curry. With the insane combination of heat from the spices and temperature, this dish drives away the chills and warmed us right up from inside out.

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Heat was also a main component of the tom yum ramen soup we tried as well. This brothy concoction was unlike traditional tom yum soups because it was lighter and spicier but still very good. Tomatoes freshened up the soup along with loads of veggies and coarse wheat noodles which definitely make this dish a substantial entree. We must stress that this soup is first and foremost spicy! But, if spice isn’t your forte and pan-asian is, Wild Ginger has excellent choices for some vegan grub.

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P.S. If you have room for dessert the peanut butter bomb is the BOMB!

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Little Choc Apothecary

This quaint creperie in Brooklyn, NY pleased us from beginning to end. Serving incredible crepes filled with creative combos, we easily see this cozy eatery becoming a favorite hang out for just about anyone. We were clearly not the only ones who felt this way; the charming, upstairs seating area had its fair share of squatters who found an excellent place to stay and work a while. In this post we are only covering Little Choc Apothecary‘s crepes, but that is far from the only thing they’ve got on the menu. Full on tea, juice, smoothies, and sweets lists, are on there as well. They all sound incredible, and judging by what they’ve done with crepes, we are sure they won’t disappoint.

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We started off with savory, ordering their burrito crepe. We mentioned creative combos already right? So yeah, a BURRITO crepe. We are serious fans of burritos, so we were excited to try this one. Excitement was just what we got in return because this crepe was a party in your mouth kind of dish. So many flavors meshed together really to get the burrito effect while still showcasing the chewy crepe that cradled the filling. Loads of black beans, avocado, and coconut bacon were drizzled with creamy cashew cheese and housemade chipotle hot sauce. Doesn’t that just sound amazing?! Well, it was. The coconut bacon was basically seasoned, dehydrated coconut flakes, but man were they good. A subtle sweetness still came up from behind the delicious smoky seasoning. That sweetness complemented the crepe in the most coherent way. There were loads of creamy textures coming from the avocado and the cashew cheese. Yet our favorite component had to be the chipotle hot sauce. It really added a necessary tang to the dish while brightening up something that was so rich it could of felt weighed down otherwise. The flavor on the hot sauce was deep and full. Really, good stuff; we’d buy a bottle.

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The pizza crepe was almost too good to be true. Whoever thought New Yorkers would even give a pizza crepe a try (with us all being pizza snobs and all), but it was surprisingly delicious. We did make sure to add in some toppings like caramelized onion, some more coconut bacon, and roasted peppers, but the classic pizza toppings were really quality stuff. The marinara when combined with the cashew cheese had the richness of a vodka sauce. This topped off with fresh basil made for a beautiful pizza body. The crepe base working as well as it did with these pizza fillings was very unexpected. You’d think that you’d be missing traditional pizza crust but if you had to replace it, a chewy and slightly sweet crepe would be just what to replace it with.

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The Masala was a really tasty cross between a sweet and savory crepe. It’s filled with white bean tempeh that is dressed in a pumpkin curry sauce. A very earthy flavor brought out the sweet pumpkin with only a touch of curry. The fact that this was a pumpkin based curry made for creamy textures throughout. This crepe also had raisins and was topped with sliced almonds which was a welcome touch that really complimented the dish.

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Last, but certainly not least, we went for the Newtella crepe and chose to fill it up with strawberries and bananas. The shiny, smooth newtella had a deep bittersweet taste and all the rich chocolate flavor you could possible want. The fruit was a really great add in because the natural sweetness from those elements really brought out that chocolatey notes of the spread.
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But we really have to take a moment here and just honor the crepe for what it is on its own. I think with the newtella crepe you really get to taste the warm doughy crepe and these guys really make it perfectly. They can literally fill it with anything you’d like, you can go as lavish as pizza or as simple as lemon juice, but a great crepe is first and foremost what you’ll find at Little Choc Apothecary.

Vedge

One of the most coherent menus we’ve come across thus far resides at Vedge in Philadelphia, PA. This place has such a clear cut personality that can easily become personified. Its feel is preppy and clean, but foremost very modern and industrial. This exact feel is carried through each and every single dish we tasted; this feel tastes incredible. A theme of tangy and smoky flavors is boldly and skillfully carried through each tapas course. We were really impressed by the way the menu seemed to mesh seemingly ancient and culturally broad food with contemporary aesthetic to satisfy city dweller palates.  

Even their drink menu meshed past and present. We tried the Baciami Lipsia which was a beautiful gose. This revived beer style is characteristically brewed with herbs (in this case coriander), lemon, and sea salt. It was light, crisp, tart, and overall refreshingly salty. We also had ‘The Hornet’s Nest’ which proved to us that Vedge’s cocktails really suit them as well. It was a medley of a mezcal that tasted of nectar, orange flower water, lemon, shishito peppers, and Korean chili flakes. This drink was a great balance of citrus, sweet, salty and smoky.

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We also took shots! Don’t let this discredit our opinions though because they were virgin parsnip puree shots. Warm, smooth, and spiced just enough to give life to the parsnip base, they were a perfect amuse-bouche.

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From here on out our meal revved up to amazing and we really started to get to know what Vedge’s food is all about. Warm pots of FONDUE. “Holy crap!” was all that came out after a mouth full of this rutabaga based concoction. It really danced across the taste buds in the smoothest flow you could ever imagine. It was dense and creamy while feeling light and bright with hints of citrus as well. Into this fountain of happiness we dipped slices of fresh, soft pretzel bread; a perfect vessel with which to deliver the rutabega fondue to our giddied smiles. This was all served with “yesterday’s pickles” which were a crunchy, toothsome addition to this rich dish.

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After that, we were curious as to how they would keep up with themselves. We still don’t know how, but the bar was never lowered an inch. The salt roasted golden beets dish was the honest equivalent to a tartar. Tender and sweet roasted golden beets were layered above a bed of creamy avocado to give a complete tartar experience. This was served alongside a “pastrami on rye” that was unbelievable. This paired with a pickled mustard was bite for bite the best pastrami on rye out there for sure.

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The wood roasted carrot dish was aesthetically striking, but with the taste we were truly taken back. Such a seemingly simple dish was packed with flavor. Smokey and tangy elements connected all the elements in this dish so that they really worked together for a grand overall effect. The roasted carrot’s smokiness was brought out by the fresh zest of the carrot mustard. We we’re boggled by how distinct, yet complementary flavors were achieved using the same entity as a base. A kimchee “reuben”, pumpernickel, and sauerkraut all made it onto this dish as well, and again astonished, we can say it all just worked together.

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Revisiting Vedge’s way of reanimating techniques of the past, we have to discuss their cauliflower “tagine.” It emulated a North African dish that is cooked in a particular earthenware pot. A marinated and charred cauliflower “steak” was at the heart of this dish. It was perfectly tender to the bite and was surrounded with loads of flavor. What we’re talking about is the tomato based broth, and moroccan spiced sauce at the foundation of this tagine dish. It had mild notes of curry which really added life to the dish. A creamy cauliflower scramble brought in a contrast in texture that made for a great addition. What really set this dish over the top was the touch of chermoula. So much flavor and freshness was packed into this pungent herb based sauce and it was truly delicious, to say the least.

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Sides to these gorgeous dishes were not necessary, but we couldn’t contain ourselves. We gladly dug into “the dirt list” of the menu. Smashed fingerling potatoes in a creamy worcestershire sauce were addicting in every way and shredded, grilled brussel sprouts dressed in smoked mustard carried on the tangy and smoky notes of the preceding dishes effortlessly.

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Now, remember when we told you that the “exact feel is carried through each and every single dish we tasted” and that the “theme of tangy and smoky flavors is boldly and skillfully carried through each tapas course.” Well neither of these statements exclude dessert. How in the world can someone create a smoky and tangy dessert? Toffee and cedar is how. Dessert consisted of toffee bread pudding that just soaked in delicious caramel goodness. Atop of this was a cedar smoked, coconut-based ice cream (yeah, cedar smoked ice cream) that was by far the most unique ice cream we have ever tasted, and it was so good we seriously considered ordering another. Toasted hazelnuts topped everything off with a perfect note of bitters to offset, and thus, balance out the sweet and smoky perfection. Oh, but where is the tang? There was a hint of fresh lemon to that toffee and man was everything tied together at Vedge.

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Charlie was a sinner.

“Small plates and strong drinks.” is how this Philadelphia tapas bar sums up what they do, but even such a summary cannot capture all that is Charlie was a sinner. The bar was dark, squint-to-see kind of dark, and still everything in this place demanded to be seen. Minor details in decor somehow made an impression that clearly stated ‘this place is different, don’t categorize just yet.’ Till this day we can’t fit Charlie was a sinner. into a neat package because there is nothing else like it. If we must describe it, this rather dapper bar is undeniably chic, contemporary, and has a simpatico sophistication that would leave anyone charmed. Continue reading “Charlie was a sinner.”

Blackbird Pizzeria

First things first, a huge CONGRATULATIONS to Blackbird Pizzeria for winning the 2016 “Best Cheesesteak in Philly” contest. When in Philadelphia, do as the Philadelphians do, and have a vegan cheesesteak. It’s only right to when you are in Philly, so we fell in line and man are we glad we did. We wanted to pick the best of the best to show you all, but this was a difficult task due to the volume of spots that had vegan cheesesteaks on the menu. We are not complaining, this is an amazing dilemma, but to be honest we were clueless. Expert guidance revealed itself to us while we were doing our due diligence. By some sensational coincidence we happened to be in Philly in the midst of the “Best Cheesesteak in Philly” contest. The contenders seemed to have it all figured out, but then the universe stepped in again to guide us to Blackbird Pizzeria. It was the closest, we were hungry, our hotel room wasn’t ready yet… and we’re grateful it was so.   Continue reading “Blackbird Pizzeria”

HipCityVeg

HipCityVeg is the reason we ended up in Philly in the first place. These guys take the typical “American” meal to a whole new level. Fast food has never tasted so fresh, or ever been this kind to body and planet. The unique thing about HipCityVeg is that they make plant based food so approachable. Anyone who enjoys a good old burger and fries would be blown away by the quality classics served here. The words “quality”, “fresh”, or even “plant based” aren’t usually associated with fast food, but you see, HipCityVeg isn’t usual. They have found a way to stray from being an intimidating, upscale vegan-eatery while serving upscale quality food. It’s simply somewhere any and everyone can feel comfortable and that’s a perfect way to remove the taboo from vegan food. Continue reading “HipCityVeg”

Miss Rachel’s Pantry

All types of grandma vibes make up the essence of Miss Rachel’s Pantry located in Philadelphia, PA. Their vintage farmhouse aesthetic creates an ideal atmosphere to enjoy the type of dishes they create. Miss Rachel’s Pantry has refined the comfort-food cuisine niche. It’s wondrous how the creatives behind this menu have managed to preserve classic dishes in a way that feels so original in this day and age. It must be the way that they make virtually every element from scratch, or the way they seem to never settle; always exploring flavor pairings, and getting each dish just right. With Sunday music playing and a mouth full of warm chewy goodness, you could almost swear one of the beautiful people in the back kitchen was grandma herself. Continue reading “Miss Rachel’s Pantry”

Blossom on Carmine

Fair warning, if you don’t like reviews in which everything is amazing then stop reading here because brunch at Blossom was nirvana. Blossom has three locations in NYC and they are all vegan, all the time. Each of their locations have something unique to offer in terms of atmosphere and fare. We had brunch at Blossom on Carmine in the West Village and the menu fulfilled all of our deepest brunch desires. Continue reading “Blossom on Carmine”

Kajitsu

This is a very hard place to review because Kajitsu is an experience. An experience that is made up of so many components that you have to be there, in the moment to understand. With that said we’ll attempt to convey at least some of its essence.

This small, minimalistic Japanese restaurant in midtown manhattan encompasses fine dining. It serves traditional Shojin cuisine, a Japanese plant based cuisine that originates in Zen Buddhism. You get a glimpse of the rich history of this cuisine with every dish and every aesthetic. We must throw our hats off to the executive chef, Hiroki Odo, who specializes in vegetable dashi (Japanese soup or cooking broth) and seasonality. This post is based on the winter menu, although we have tried their past summer and fall menus and plan on being back this spring. Continue reading “Kajitsu”

Secrets of Professional Vegan Cooking

The National Gourmet Institute recently held an enlightening cooking demonstration that we had the pleasure of attending. It took place on Wednesday, February 3, 2016 and was held at the Brooklyn Brewery on N. 11th street. This location definitely set an amazing tone because it felt like we were in a secret club house, drinking exclusive beer, whilst soaking in some posh tricks of the vegan food trade. You might not get the same ambiance from reading this, but you will learn some secrets all the same. Continue reading “Secrets of Professional Vegan Cooking”

Mint Restaurant and Tea Lounge

Mint is a vegetarian restaurant and tea lounge, located in Waitsfield, VT. It has a beautiful ambiance that makes you at ease and internally warm as soon as you enter. After a snowy Vermont day of skiing, hiking, or hanging with your husky, Mint truly has all you need: TEA and LAKSA. Continue reading “Mint Restaurant and Tea Lounge”

Sweet Pea Natural Market & Cafe

Guys we had a field day here, no no a field weekend! Sweet Pea is a natural foods (VEGAN) market/cafe in Waitsfield, VT that nourished us on our creative trip with seriously creative foods. We were freaking out at all the prepared food and started shopping for meals in advance because there were so many options to choose from. Continue reading “Sweet Pea Natural Market & Cafe”