Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Senõr Veggie: Vegan in San Antonio, TX

So, our second stop in San Antonio was the reason for our whole trip. BUT, I'm not ready to share it just yet. In fact, I'm getting verklempt just thinking about it, so I'll skip ahead to our next meal(s): Senõr Veggie.

We were lucky enough to attend an afternoon event catered by Senõr Veggie, so we got to try a host of their extraordinarily fresh and flavorful menu items. Who even remembers what was on the buffet? I do; it's what I do: baba ganoush, hummus, grilled lavash, antipasto, falafel, stuffed grape leaves, and quinoa salad.

But enough about all that savory yum; the baklava was really my main course. It was OUTSTANDING.

We all enjoyed everything so much so that we agreed it was prudent to visit Senõr Veggie in person for dinner that same night.


It was a much larger space than I'd anticipated; the atmosphere was friendly, informal, and laid back.

agua fresca:

Appetizers first:
Lettuce wraps with crispy tofu, veggies, sprouts. The best! Truly succulent tofu paired well with crisp veggies.

Poblano corn fritters with chipotle mayo. In addition to breakfast tacos, fritters were in abundance in Texas.

Sweet potato wedgies with curry ketchup. You can never go wrong with fries.

I couldn't make a dinner decision, so I shared with a pal.
Portabella Fajitas with peppers, onions, brown rice, black beans, tortillas. Smoky!!

Buffalo tofu Po Boy with house mayo, lettuce, pickles, and shoestring fries.

This feast was followed by an extraordinary sadness when we found out they were out of baklava. You'd have thought we'd eaten enough of it earlier in the day, but you can't really define "enough" when it comes to Senõr Veggie baklava.

Later that night we did a little site-seeing on foot.
How can I write about San Antonio without the requisite photo of The Alamo? I can't.

As if the anti-Obama ramblings of the guards weren't cringe-worthy enough, here's Hello Kitty: Texas style that I found in one of the tourist shops down the block.

And this? This is armadillo milk.

Because why shouldn't we find more animals to milk?

Oh, right. Not your mom, not your milk!

This frog with a plant afro more than made up for any unpleasantness. More vegan Texas coming soon!

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Revisiting John's for Eve Eve Eve Eve

My first visit to the historic John's of 12th Street was a magnificent hit.


The next two were considerably less so, but this year we decided to take our celebratory Eve Eve Eve Eve group there to see if their vegan game was still going strong.

Warning: #moodlighting #ambiance #poorlylitfoodphotos
The menu was very similar to what I remembered, but I believe that there were some minor changes.

Of course I had to get the bruschetta: garlic-grilled bread with avocado, basil and tomatoes. It was just as good as we remembered.

I was inordinately hungry, so I also ordered the vegan Caesar salad. It looked unassuming, but it was pretty darn outstanding and incredibly authentic. I couldn't believe my ears when the waiter for the next table told the diners it gets mixed reviews. Not from me!

Aaaaand, the vegan garlic bread. They also have vegan butter if you just have plain bread for the table, but why would you?

A couple of people ordered the grilled portabello mushroom with polenta and greens. While they  reported that it was good, the "greens" consisted of a few random leaves of mixed salad greens. While vegans have no problem eating garnish, it really seemed to be all it was; John's might want to rethink the description.

I didn't get a chance to photog the pizza and seitan alla rosa at the other end of the table, but on my end most of us ordered the famed, housemade, seitan parmigiana with Daiya cheese. Don't let the unfortunate lighting fool you; this was as good as ever.

And they even brought out Go Veggie! vegan parmesan. It's impressive that they even have this detail covered.

While eavesdropping on a conversation between the waiter and the vegan table next to us, we learned that John's decided to start making their own ice cream during the period that Lula's was not open and has continued to do so. While no one at our table partook, that table did and reported high marks on all counts. Instead, I shared the chocolate cannoli with a pal (we, of course, had plans to go to Lula's later that same evening). I admit that this was the lowlight of the meal; my heart definitely belongs to the cannoli from Vegan Treats.

The bottom line is that if you're lucky enough to have a good and pleasant waiter (or multiple as was the case with our large party), the food at John's will take care of itself and your experience will be primo.

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Vegan Mother's Day Lemon Poundcake (based on Starbucks' lemon loaf)

I don't know how long ago it started, but I've been in charge of Mother's Day breakfasts for years now. I always like to make something I wouldn't otherwise or ordinarily try, so there's been speculoos crepes, samoa french toast, hot cross buns, etc. This year, I decided to keep it simple when a recipe purporting to mimic Starbuck's lemon loaf, VM's fave, surreptitiously showed up in my feed a few weeks prior to the holiday.


You might recall that my favorite lemon poundcake has so far eluded me, but I had high hopes for this one. I easily veganized the recipe by subbing old-fashioned egg-replacer for the eggs, but I was off to a bad start when the cake sunk while cooking.

I thought I could hide the chasm with the icing, but instead the pooling just called more attention to the failure.


I then decided to draw attention away from the cake by picking up VM's fave Starbucks drink (soy Oprah chai) on what was probably the last day of the season it was possible to leave 89 in the car for two minutes without expecting someone to (rightfully) throw a brick through my window. We passed VM and OD en route!

I'll admit it made a fine presentation.

VM said it tasted authentic, but I wasn't all that impressed.

I decided to rest on the laurels of 89's appropriate attire.

And her phenomenal gift-giving skills.

Hope yours was great too.

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Follow Your Heart Vegan Cheese Slices and Blocks

As a huge Follow Your Heart fan, I was absolutely thrilled when they offered to send me an assortment of their new sliced and block cheeses to sample and review.


You can choose from American, mozzarella, provolone (!), and garden herb...or you can just try them all. That's probably advisable; why limit yourself?

89 was as excited as anyone.

The first thing I did was to melt a portion of the American block and serve it as a dip. I immediately recognized those familiar American cheese notes and couldn't wait to explore the rest of the flavors.

In fact, later that same day (don't judge) I decided to check the meltability of the garden herb slices. Nine minutes at 400 degrees: perfect texture.

So impressive!

I was a tremendous provolone fan as a pregan and this was one of my favorite concoctions of the review: Eureka bread, Tofurky slices, slawsa, and FYH provolone. Full disclosure: this delicious combo took me through the rest of the package in no time.

I made quick work of shredding the mozzarella block for a homemade pizza.

Because I severely mishandled the dough, my pizza was mostly a disaster: except for the cheese (and copious amounts of red pepper flakes).

VM was so enamored with the mozzarella, in fact, that I made her roasted garlic bread with the slices soon thereafter and she positively swooned...and swore off other vegan mozzarella.

There was a bit of a FYH cheese flurry of obsession going on in my house for a good, long while. I even fell into a routine of eating cheese & crackers (then cheese & pretzels when I ran out of crackers) just.... whenever. It's really good!

And then I got a hold of myself. No snacking: just meals; this was important research! Next up: American & mayo! What's the tagline from the old Reese's peanut butter cup commercial old saying? Two great tastes that taste great together:

I lurve original vegenaise, so this was an inevitable pairing: reminiscent of my lunches at day camp (and 3 consecutive years thereafter; thanks, VM!).

I'm sorry this is upside down, but you get the gist. 89 was quite a fan herself (just a taste! I know it's not intended for dogs).

So there you have it. The Follow Your Heart sliced and block cheeses were a grand success.

Go get you some!