Friday, June 26, 2015

The Amazing Green Vegetarian- Vegan in San Antonio, TX

While we were in San Antonio we ate at Green Vegetarian more times than I can count. Green has three locations and they are all 100% vegetarian and kosher.

There are many noted vegan items on the menu, as well as a clear indication of what vegetarian items can be made vegan- most breakfast items and ALL meals on their non-breakfast menu. Their desserts are all vegan by default. Not too shabby!


I had been forewarned that it was an amazing place, but I'm not sure that I was prepared for the very first thing that I saw upon entering. I am a dessert professional, but this all vegan line-up really caught me off-guard.

As if all that wasn't enough, when I looked up there were TWINKIES! How was I supposed to concentrate on a menu of savory food when there were twinkies mere feet away- in danger of selling out?

Not to mention Hostess as far as the eye could see...

Our first meal here was breakfast, during which tables receive complimentary biscuits. It took me a minute to figure out that they contained fennel seeds; is that a southern thing? Totally unexpected!

Since breakfast tacos were my new thing, I ordered the recommended Migas (gf): tomatoes, onions, bell peppers & corn tortilla chips scrambled with tofu and served with refried beans, breakfast tots, and corn tortillas. It was a fine and hardy start to what was going to be a marathon of eating at Green in the coming days. Also, TOTS!

On the way out I noticed something I hadn't seen previously: snowball cupcakes! I was taken back to my youth where racks of colorful snowballs spun jovially in the supermarket.

They even had lemon meringue! I'm not particularly in to lemon meringue, but look at those elusive vegan peaks! But, I digress.


I managed to resist these impressive offerings in order to hold true to my original choices; a twinkie and a "Hostess Who?" came with me as takeout for lunch. This is a true story; everyone else got protein salads (gf): kale, fresh spinach, chickpeas, quinoa tabouli, flaxseed, pecan hummus, carrots, tomato, avocado, and roasted tofu.


When we returned for dinner (yes, really) the first thing we chose to share were fried pickles: panko breaded, deep fried, kosher dill pickle spears.

Despite this non-committal expression, they were the hit of the table.

As I embarked upon my third meal of the day from Green, I had a chance to appreciate the aesthetic of the space. Lots of fun and inventive repurposing; it took us a few minutes to place that this wall installation was made up of vintage light fixtures.

Also lots of adorable chalk work.



Just a beautiful and inviting atmosphere over all.


For my entree, Cece's Stir Fry (gf): an epic mix of popcorn tofu, broccoli, bell pepper, celery and carrots. Served with chia seed brown rice and kale salad. I could not have made a better choice; my dish was the envy of many in our large group.

Oh and guess what?


Vanilla soft-serve cones for dessert? Don't mind if I do.

Also, while 89 wasn't traveling with me, check it out:

Another lunch consisted of grilled cheese and tomato: toasted multi-grain bread with basil and sun-dried tomatoes.

I had tomato soup on the side because that's how ya do.

And, on my final meal of the trip, the sweet potato pancakes with blueberries.

In parting, I left a card on their community board so everyone would know I'd been there.

If you're in Texas, it's certainly not to be missed. I think I did a pretty good job of researching all aspects of the menu for you.

Friday, June 19, 2015

Hits and Misses at Sacred Chow

My friends, VM, and I have a long history of loving Sacred Chow. There have been some ups and downs, but it really does hold a soft spot in my heart.


We revisited recently and this is how it went down.

I started with a root beer and this one is fab. I made the mistake of ordering a case on Amazon before I realized you could get it for 1/3 the price at Trader Joe's. Lesson learned. In the meantime, stay tuned for ice cream floats.

For an appetizer, my friend ordered the root vegetable latkes, which are now inexplicably waffle-shaped and served with [runny] homemade sour cream instead of the Indonesian date butter we all know and love. They're good, but not as great as the original. The biggest problem is that the sour cream makes a poor substitute for the delicacy that was the IDB.

My beloved, creamy, peanut soba noodles with spicy peanut sauce are no longer available, but there was a special that sounded really similar that subbed spiralized beets; a friend and I shared. Needless to say, it wasn't the same at all, but our least favorite part of the dish was that it was all heat and no taste: as if there was more cayenne than anything in the sauce. She didn't finish her half and I didn't want it: bad sign.

Luckily the meal took a significant turn for the better when our entrees came. One friend chose the Indonesian tempeh power bowl with steamed broccoli and brown rice topped with sauerkraut and Russian dressing. She said the whole combo really worked and she really enjoyed it.

Another friend went with his longtime favorite: the Thai ginger BBQ seitan power bowl with steamed collards and brown rice. This is his personal, Chow barometer and it was extremely well-received.

Me, the curmudgeon of the group, had their famous kale Caesar: "raw kale tossed in a house miso-Caesar dressing and layered with wedges of grilled and sliced Nama Gori steak. Finished with a drizzle of warm grill sauce (gluten free)." It was everything I've ever wanted in a hardy kale salad and more; I could eat it every summer day. It's still true: nobody does kale Caesar like Sacred Chow.

I'd be remiss not to mention that the seating is still a little awkward in that it's tight and mostly uncomfortable, but I'm willing to power through it just for this salad. The bottom line is that Sacred Chow still seems to be finding their footing and I really want them to succeed. There's a rumor circulating that they've applied to be on Marcus Lemonis' The Profit and I do hope that they get the opportunity and ultimately reap every reward from such an experience. Sacred Chow can be great again, but they're not quite all there yet. I'm rooting for them.

Friday, June 12, 2015

Little Choc Apothecary: VEGAN CREPES!!

Truth be told, it took me so long to visit Little Choc Apothecary because I didn't want to like them. There, I said it. New York isn't big enough for two apothecaries, I thought. Weeeell, it turns out I was wrong. Bring on the apothecaries! The more the merrier.

Despite the L's best efforts, I managed to beat my brunch date and fellow Vegansaur by a few minutes. This gave me plenty of time to snoop around a little. Aside from the crepes (duh), there were juices & smoothies, tea & coffee drinks, and a small case of baked goods. I fancied myself oh-so-crafty for the headstart.


And then she texted to suggest that I nab a table upstairs. I was so wrapped up that I hadn't even realized there was an upstairs! Turns out it's just as adorable as the first floor. I couldn't wait to order and eat.

My dining companion started with a savory crepe, the breakfast: scrambled tofu, spinach, cucumber, homemade coconut bacon. The crepes taste as good as they look: perfect.

Me? I started with an affogato! I have been fiending (is it 1999?) for an affogato ever since 2013 when I had to pass one up due to chilling temperatures. Little Choc's version is a scoop of Van Leeuwen's salted caramel ice cream served in a teacup with a single espresso shot poured over at the table. It may look unusual, but I assure you that it is basically what dreams are made of.


Beverage aside, I also ordered savory for my first course, the pizza crepe: homemade cashew cheese, fresh basil, homemade tomato sauce with added caramelized onions because that's how I roll (and it's still 1999 apparently). I admit this was an odd choice as a first crepe, as well as an unusual accompaniment to my affogato, but believe me when I tell you that it was beyond delicious. Also, you should definitely add the caramelized onions because that's where it was at. #prosnacktivist

For the second course, my pal went for the unquestionably photogenic homemade newtella (chocolate hazelnut spread) and bananas.

Having already started the morning off with pizza and ice cream, I made the decision to forego fruit of any kind and instead chose to pair my homemade newtella with homemade caramel sauce. Let's be honest, if it hadn't been for the affogato, I would have added ice cream too.

Little Choc Apothecary is a painfully dear resto filled with quaint yet efficient details: in both it's food and decor. From the beautiful lightbulbs...


to the sturdy restroom lock (very important!).

Like a good movie you have to re-watch to appreciate everything, Little Choc Apothecary is going to require many more visits.

Friday, June 5, 2015

Sauces 'n Love Vegan Pesto

I was really excited when Sauces 'n Love offered to send me a sample of their vegan pesto; I love pesto!


Every year I convince my dad to grow a basil plant, forgetting that it takes a hella lot of basil to make a decent amount of pesto. So, once I make a pitcher of Thai basil iced tea or a basil mojito, I have barely enough left over for a tablespoon of pesto.

This is why I was particularly thrilled to received this hefty (and reusable) jar of pre-made pesto to review.

Even though the label clearly states that it's vegan pesto, the seal read "vegetarian." No worries; I checked the site and it seems that while most of the Sauces 'n Love products are vegetarian (one contains lobster), this pesto is currently the only item advertised as vegan. They also offer vegetarian pesto versions as well, so make sure you buy the right one. Aside from the obvious, I can't imagine the others could hold a candle to this phenomenal version. In addition, some of the tomato-based sauces and bruschetta toppings look to be vegan, but aren't labelled as such.

But, back to the pesto! I am very lazy about making pasta: pots, strainers- so many dishes! So, to start, I spooned some pesto straight from the jar onto a grilled, Follow Your Heart, mozzarella sandwich. It was phenomenal.

I was tempted to eat all of the pesto like this, but I knew I owed a product of this caliber a wider swath of enjoyment.

So, I gave in; I boiled a box of gemelli and prepared the pesto as instructed: mixing with hot water and a little bit of butter.

Then I simply mixed it into drained pasta and added some tomatoes. I wasn't exactly sure what the ideal pasta to pesto proportion was, so I decided that it made sense to use a standard box to jar ratio. It was delicious and the best part was that I didn't have to have my dad water a plant for months to make it!

I shared the leftovers with family: mixed with arugula and diced tomato. Wasn't that generous of me? I thought so.

The one thing about this fantastic pesto that gave me pause was the serving suggestion, "Great on panini, in soups, paired with cheese, or as a side sauce for meat & fish."

I get it; I really do. When sauce is this good you want to spread it on everything. But maybe we don't lure in the vegan or vegan-curious population and then suggest a non-vegan pairing? It's just in poor taste. And there's nothing else about this that is.

Highly recommend.