Saturday, October 26, 2013


Have you been to The Best Ice Cream Shop in the Universe?  It’s located at 516 East 6th Street between Avenues A & B and it’s fabulous.  ALL VEGAN, of course.

Even if you discount the tidy, detail-oriented shop (the table and floors are particularly stunning);

Even if you’re impervious to the delightful demeanor of the owner and staff; even if you’re thinking it’s too cold for ice cream (it’s totally not); you can deem them the best based solely on a peanut butter scale.   

There are staples like peanut butter fudge, peanut butter chip, and the elusive peanut butter fudge chip.  There's also peanut butter and jelly if that’s you’re thing.  And now, there's vanilla with crunchy peanut butter swirl.

So good that I made a sundae of it alongside peanut butter chip ice cream with hot fudge, cookies, whipped cream, sprinkles and a cherry.

Aaaand, brought a pint home for VM.  It reminded me of a nutter butter ice cream she loved from an ice cream shop next door to her local supermarket where she used to buy a cone before shopping and eat it all by herself.  Yes, I went there.  It's scandalous behavior!

But, let us focus on the ice cream (she shared).

I'm sure you won't be surprised to learn that you-know-who was immediately hooked as well.

Fan, or total glom?

You decide.

There's still more...and even tall dogs can't open the freezer.

Get there now!

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Tofurky Sammie Deliciousness

I'm generally not much for faux (perhaps it was the old school term "meat analog" that scared me away), but the other day something unexpectedly yummy happened.

It all started when I was shopping: just stocking up on tofu and tempeh when this package of hickory smoked Tofurky deli slices caught my eye.  I don't even know what hickory smoked means, but at that precise moment it was extremely appealing.

Lucky I'd already bought a package of old school white bread with the intention of making Fronch toast (sorry, VM), so once I assembled and identified the awesomeness of my 'wich, I was able to recreate it for dinner every night for a week.

White bread, Vegenaise, arugula, tomato, Tofurky slices, onion:

89 was so jealous.

focus: 89

focus: sammie

Can't really blame her.

Let's just say that I could easily go for another one right about now.

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Govinda's Vegetarian Gourmet

When in Philly, you must go to Govinda's Vegetarian Gourmet.  On this day, we knew we had a lot of eating ahead of us, so we got in early enough to allow us time to unapologetically fit in a few extra meals.  You just can't skip Govinda's.

The restaurant is unassuming from the outside.

Okay, it's unassuming from the inside too. 

But, don't let that stop you!  Check out their menu:

"Your choice of regular mozzarella cheese or soy cheese"

They are completely meatless, but do carry dairy cheese.  Or, as Govinda's puts it, "regular" cheese.  Make sure to specify! 

I've been to Govinda's a number of times and, because it's so satisfying, I have always ordered the same thing: chicken cheese steak: soy chicken and rainbow peppers grilled in olive oil and hing with cheese.  Yes, "hing;" I'm not trying to be funny.  That's what the menu says and I really don't know what they were trying to say; let me know if you can decode.  In any event, the description does not say it all.  It's the unlisted special sauce that makes this sammie so grand.  And messy.  I've been known to spurt the entire contents of the roll into my lap with the first bite, so be forewarned to eat carefully.

So yeah, that's really all the information I have for you today because all of my friends always order the chicken cheesesteak too.  What good am I? 

All I can say is to trust us.

FYI: they also carry a considerable assortment of Vegan Treats.

Monday, October 14, 2013

Vegan Richa's Smoky Black Beans, Parsley Chimichurri, Spinach Wraps

I'm a big fan of the Vegan Richa blog; I especially love the way she regularly includes her thoughts on veganism in the posts.  Oh yeah, I also drool over every last one of the recipes.  But somehow I've never gotten around to making one.


Then one day I noticed that the ingredients in my fridge bore a striking resemblance to those in the recipe I'd just read and I couldn't deny that smoky black beans, parsley chimichurri, spinach wraps were in my future.


I always overbuy produce ($.75 cents each or 3 for $2!) and I always cook in massive quantities, so things got a little nuts when I'd only gotten as far as the peppers and onions and I'd already filled my large frying pan. 

Nevertheless, I soldiered on and, before I knew it, it was time to assemble.  I melted some Daiya pepperjack onto the wrap.


Then I piled it high with my filling of squash, zucchini, peppers onions, tomatoes, and black beans (OD doesn't like spinach).


Next up was the fresh parsley chimichurri.  Oh, did I forget to mention that?


I really need to invest in a squirt bottle so these types of things look more appealing.


Instead, I chose to put a lid on it and make quesadillas!

It was delicious and I ate leftovers for days.  I can't wait to try another of Vegan Richa's recipes.  Go have a look for yourself; your tummy will thank you.

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Benny's Burritos and their Secret Vegan Cheese

Benny's Burritos is generally a bit busy, crowded, loud, and non-vegan for my taste, but I went there for the first time on a night when I'd just met some really good friends, so it holds a bit of a nostalgic place in my heart.  Also, they're pet-friendly!

Benny's has a sizable menu, but obviously it's mostly about the burritos.

The thing that's most special about Benny's is that they offer "Healthy Substitutions At No Extra Charge"!!  This includes the options of a whole wheat tortilla, brown rice, and tofu sour cream.  Unless you order the non-dairy burrito, they do charge $1.00 for soy cheese (vegan); I guess they don't consider that a healthy substitution?  No complaints here; just happy they have it.  Besides, I usually order the non-dairy burrito.


In any event, as of this summer, the printed menu finally indicates that the soy cheese is vegan.  Previously, anytime you would ask, the waitstaff did not know what brand it was*.  Interestingly enough, though: they always handled the inquiry nicely: consistently explaining that it was casein-free.  You kind of have to trust an omni restaurant's non-vegan waiter when he so easily spews those buzz-words.

So, my suggestion for your best bet?  The aptly but boringly named non-dairy burrito: beans, brown rice, salsa fresca & vegan soy cheese in a whole wheat tortilla w/tofu sour cream on the side.  Since you saved that soy cheese dollar, splurge on some guac and dig in to one of these monsters with abandon.

In case you were wondering: they have an A.

Last summer when we were enjoying an early dinner, we spotted this guy outside.

At that particular moment, the interesting thing wasn't obvious.  It had nothing to do with how he was dressed or what he was standing beside; it was that we'd seen him, earlier that day, toting it through Figment.  How he'd managed to make it with his sculpture in tow from the ferry to the east village in about the same time it took our lazy behinds, we'll never know.

Some shots from Figment 2012 for your viewing pleasure.

* It's an epidemic: as much as I love The Bean, there was a recent, similar incident that went as follows:

Us: Is your tofu cream cheese vegan?
Employee: I don't know, let me ask my co-worker; she's vegan.
Vegan employee: (throws a dirty sideye) I don't know.
Us: (not believing she's even vegan) Can you check?
"Vegan" employee: It's from some kosher place in Brooklyn.
Us: Can you look at the container?
"Vegan" employee: (sighs) (pauses) (looks) It is.

Luckily, Mondays are sometimes "Ask the Bean" day on Facebook, so I did just that.  It was confirmed that their tofu cream cheese is, in fact, vegan. But, still not word on what brand/from where.  More mystery vegan cheese...

Monday, October 7, 2013

VEGAN LONDON: The Third Estate

As a big fan of MooShoes stateside, I was extremely anxious to visit what sounded like their English counterpart: London's The Third Estate.

It is a stunning shop: inside and out. 

There are clothing, footwear, and accessories options for everyone; all neatly arranged and beautifully presented.

Plus, this beautiful chaise.  I'm a sucker for a chaise.

There were also many reclaimed elements in the shop, which gave it character on top of being immaculate.

well, what do you know? that's my tote on the counter!

As if all of that wasn't enough, the employee working that day could not have been nicer (Angela?).  She was helpful, friendly, and just generally made our visit a complete pleasure.

take a lesson

As for the shopping, there were so many options that it was hard to focus.  Nevertheless, into the fitting room I went.

There were a ton of footwear and accessory options from familiar vegan brands such as Matt & Nat, Vegetarian Shoes, Novacas, and Macbeth, but I chose a shirt from a new-to-me designer.

Although it was late in our trip, I'm so glad that we were able to find the time to make it to The Third Estate; it's a completely high-class establishment and I urge you to visit next time you're in London.

Pssst; I saved you the trouble.  For those who don't like to read too much: the shorter version.