Thursday, April 27, 2017

Easter Party

Passover was pretty great. Then came Easter, with even more food and frolic.

I always take 89 to see the Easter Bunny, although looking back through the blog I'm realizing that I don't always post the photo, which is a damn shame. Here's her pic from this year; the bunny had two settings: 1) immediately let 89 step off their lap and sit as far away from them as possible, or, 2) hold 89 by the entire body so that only her head, a swatch of her bunny shirt, and one dangling leg are visible. Here's option 2 at work. VM tried to get a photo of option 1, but my enormous arse was in the shot and there's no reason to go there.


Since this is one bit of tardiness I can assuage easily, here are the bunny photos from the last two years.

2016 was THE BEST. I could tell the bunny was up for it, so I told them that 89 would squirm, but not bite and that I was going to toss 89 over. The bunny caught her like a champ and the moment of the catch, inclusive of 89's ears blowing in the wind of the fan meant to keep the bunny cool, was captured.


2015 was a rookie mistake on my part. 89 was dressed as a bunny, which does not read well in a photo- particularly under duress. Also, why dress like a bunny when you're visiting the bunny? We've since learned that homage, not imitation, is key.


But, I digress. This year 89's Easter basket was filled with stuffed peeps and an extra bunny outlier. They currently all still exist, although I don't think any of the peeps have their squeakers anymore and most are missing their stuffing. There's a really funny video of the basket attacking 89 if you're so inclined.


On the way to VM & OD's we stopped at our regular holiday flower spot to pick up some buds that color-coordinated with my #1 bud.


Because if not on all days, at least on holidays you should eat dessert with every meal: these are the Peaceful Provisions donuts we shared in the a.m.: Ferrera Rocher donut, cannoli donut, rainbow donut. Not pictured: their vanilla pudding/cereal donut I glommed all to myself the day before.


For dinner, VM was at it again with Follow Your Heart's vegan egg; this time, baked ziti.


I ate about 75% of it.


For dinner dessert, we had bunny-shaped rainbow cookies from Sweet Maresa because the only thing better than rainbow cookies are rainbow cookies shaped like bunny rabbits.


and, finally, a shot of 89's bunny-themed ensem for the day.


Hope your holidays were enjoyed as well!

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Passover

Excuse my tardiness; I recognize that I'm a little behind! Okay, actually a lot behind, but that's a story for another post(s). It was just Passover, peeps! And you know what that means: VM does all the cooking.

Here's 89, moments before she fell asleep waiting for the reading to end and for dinner to start.


Charoseth on matzoh, a.k.a. the only time I eat apples.


The piece-de-resistance: VM's famous matzoh ball soup- new and improved with the Follow Your Heart vegan egg. Don't be jealous of the middle ball's carrot hat.


Looky who woke up for some soup.

 

The festive meal: a packed plate (not mine!) of kugel, sweet potato, string beans, and Brussels sprouts.


It took 89 a few days to find the afikomen because someone hid it six feet in the air. CORRECTION: it took me a few days to realize why 89 was sniffing the air under a six foot high shelf.

Thursday, April 6, 2017

Seasoned Vegan

FINALLY got to Seasoned Vegan over the weekend! A mac 'n' cheese-loving friend and I were in the area and I realized that we couldn't be far.


As is usual in NYC, we walked past quite a few less healthy and considerably non-vegan options on our trek towards our destination. When we arrived it appeared to us as an oasis: proudly vegan.


As soon as we entered, I recognized the mother and son owners/operators; they were standing right inside the entrance and it appeared as though they were tasting the chicken nuggets. It made me curious- had someone complained and they were trying to figure out what was wrong? Or, were they so good that they were just always munching on them?


The dining room was inviting and, as we were seated, we were given the regular menu as well as a brunch menu we hadn't expected. As much as we appreciated the option and as appealing as it looked, we decided to stick with the standard selections.The regular menu was more varied- chicken nuggets, hummus, pizza quesadilla...and healthful- raw appetizers, entrees, wraps, than I expected. Not seeing anything that wholeheartedly appealed to me, I was excited to spy the monthly special: BBQ riblets.


Each entree comes with a light salad of mixed greens and apple cider vinaigrette. We were really happy to have received this since it unexpectedly took an hour for our meals to come out. There was a table of four that seemed to send their meals back at least twice each, so the inordinate delay was probably caused by all of the waitstaff being focused on them.


When our meals finally arrived, my friend was so hungry that she didn't wait to let the camera eat first. So, her smothered "chicken" dish comprised of one soy "chicken" patty stewed in herbs and smothered in gravy with mac and broccoli is unpictured; she liked everything.

I chose the special BBQ riblets with baked mac & "cheese" and collard greens as sides. Although I'd hear another server tell another diner otherwise, our server allowed me to choose the sides with my special rather than committing it to a special plate. The collard greens (and a sweet potato souffle) were the special sides that day: surprisingly not standard on the menu.
  • I was a little shocked that the riblets were spheres, but they had a really nice taste; I assumed they were seitan or some kind of May Wah-esque product with really nice sauce. I was more than a little jealous when the gentleman next to me received the same plate, only his riblets were positively smothered in the decadent BBQ sauce.
  • The baked mac was really good, but I thought it could have had a little more pizazz.
  • I was initially given the broccoli by accident instead of my collards; there's not much to say about sauteed broccoli, although it was kind of them to let me keep it. 
  • I didn't get a great picture of the collards because they were unexpectedly delivered on a side dish swimming in a broth that, had I not been certain I was in a vegan restaurant, I would have feared. I moved them into my main plate sans broth, but found them overcooked and more salty than anything else. 
In short, I found all of the things I tried to be, rather ironically, under-seasoned.


Uncertain if we'd be back any time soon, we splurged on dessert. My friend chose the ice "cream" cupcake sandwich: vegan ice "cream" sandwiched between two cupcake halves. Here it is: vanilla ice cream in a somewhat squished looking vanilla cupcake (they were out of red velvet).


I ordered the praline ice cream (they look identical because it must be made with the same vanilla base) with a salted pecan chocolate chip cookie. I guess my plate was warm, which was why my ice cream was melty upon arrival. The cookie tasted predominantly of oil and had only two chocolate chips in it. I don't know if they make their own ice cream- the waitstaff was pleasant but always appeared too busy to chat, but this was creamy and rich with an unfortunate alcohol aftertaste as though from imitation vanilla.


Before we left I decided to use the restroom; it was quite lovely and had the holy grail of public restrooms: hooks! Unfortunately, it was completely out of toilet paper, which was an apt metaphor for my inaugural Seasoned Vegan dining experience.


I would definitely say there are a few kinks with seasoning, service, and consistency to work out, but- if the bustling afternoon crowd was any indication, Seasoned Vegan is obviously a popular neighborhood- as well as vegan, destination. 

Thursday, March 30, 2017

89 X 5 (with Tatty Devine!)

This has been a rather trying week, so let's look at some pics of 89 celebrating her most recent birthday this month!

Here she is modeling her new Love Thy Beast tunic (she also got a hoodie!).
 
 

We started the day with pancakes because: BIRTHDAY FOOD! You're gonna want to do yourself a favor and watch the munching in action.

 

I have no idea why she looks so glum here; she's surrounded by presents.


She got all kinds of clothes and toys, but her BIG present was this nameplate by Tatty Devine.


Furry close-up of its fabulousness:


Presents or no, boredom set in once the pancakes were gone.


She also got this fab little crown, which made her extremely cuddly. Who doesn't want to nap on their bday?


In the absence of more pancakes, she conceded to playing with her new toys.




After some spaghetti for dinner, I was able to rustle up a treat or two from her favey chef.


Happy Birthday, Eighty-Nerd!

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

My Vegan Valentine's

Welp; another year, another candy day to recap.

 

I try to eat only heart-shaped things on V-day. 2017 was perhaps my best work.

  • Center and bottom: Gone Pie lemon tahini heart specialties with chocolate kisses to the left and right. 


In the interest of full disclosure, I ate the points off of each so that I wound up with a plate full of butts.
Why?
Because I'm a hopeless romantic with exceeding levels of maturity.

I also ate an entire 2-level box of chocolates in just two sittings, sharing only the flavors I don't love (read: fruit).
Why?
Because chocolate is the best.


And then there were non-edible festivities...like this valentine I made for 89.


And this great shirt I picked up from VeganPolice.


The Valentine fairy (OD) left flowers for the nerd.


And for meeeeeee (still alive, btw).



89 was more thematically dressed than any of us in the days leading up to V-day- including, but not limited to: pjs.



Her favey gift was this plush dog she smooched for the longest...until she ripped his guts out.


Sounds about right!

Stay tuned, someone has a bday coming up...

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

Beyond Burger- Quick Review (by a vegan and an omnivore)

It took me a bit of time to procure the Beyond Burger for two reasons.


  1. I wasn't really sure I wanted to try it. Things that are "just like the real thing" aren't really marketed to me because I never liked meat.
  2. Once it was hyped enough that I did want to try it (am I the only one who talks to people on line in the supermarket when their baskets are full of vegan stuff?), I couldn't find it. Pro-tip: not all supermarkets are stocking it in the meat department as originally stated. In fact, some Whole Foods' butchers will hotly contest it with you because "it's not meat." BUT, extra credit to Beyond Meat's uber-helpful stock guide (are you seeing this, Ben & Jerry's?) that confirms the item is in the store so that even if you can't find it, you can confidently ask for help.

But, I digress.

Ultimately, the Beyond Burger was found in the refrigerated veg section of the Whole Foods I was in: near Tofurky, Vegenaise, and the like. It looked as though it had been shipped frozen and, from what I can discern from the package, you can re-freeze it as long as it's not open (the package contains two burgers in a single, sealed compartment). Overall, pretty darn realistic-looking.


A lot of people reported a meat smell while cooking, but the smell I detected was relatively faint and kind of indescribable- albeit familiar. Perhaps beets? Certainly not unpleasant, just unusual.

Luckily, a friend had already cooked his Beyond Burger in a George Foreman grill only to watch all the juice/flavor drip out, so I was forewarned to use a frying pan (this was a winter-winter day as opposed to one of our recent spring-winter days, so the grill wasn't an option). Note: this is a small pan; the patty is a decent size, but not mammoth.



I don't really remember what a cooked cow burger looks like, but this looked pretty enticing.


And, even more so once dressed (sriracha ketchup, lettuce, FYH american cheese, pickles, no onions, on a sesame seed bun).


This isn't a great interior shot, but I hope you can see the texture of the burger, which was the most off-putting part for me. The burger itself had a very neutral taste, but the "mouthfeel" was too realistic for me: kind of granular-ly lumpy like chopped meat burgers.


I gave OD the other half of my burger to try- expecting him to take one bite and hand it back. Instead, he gobbled it up. I told him the one taste was enough for me and that I'd leave the other one in the fridge for him to have the next day. HE DID NOT PROTEST.

Because it was so obvious that he actually liked it, VM and I kept smirking. Because he can't stand smirking, he insisted that, although it was the best "veggie burger" he'd ever tried (highest compliment in all the land), he probably liked it mainly because of the toppings (big vegan cheese fan, OD?). So, I'd say this was a success.

This is no ordinary veggie burger, my friends. VM and I will stick to black bean-type burgers, but this could really be a game-changer for those looking to replicate meat.