Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Pride Enjoy Radical Rainbow Cookies

We had more than our fair share of fun at the July shop-up at Pine Box Rock Shop, but one of the best moments was when I was chatting with the owner/baker from Pride Enjoy.


There I was, minding my own business whilst winding my way through a surprisingly busy summer shop-up when these radical rainbow cookies caught my eye. Much like when the woman working the adoption event when I first saw 89 immediately handed her to me and that was that, Janel noticed the look of love in my eyes and immediately offered me a beautiful sample of her gluten-free, vegan version of what is possibly my favorite cookie.

While I was mmming unabashedly, I managed to impart how much I love rainbow cookies and that, because they're so much work, I've only made them once. Janel understood and responded that there was a blogger who had written a blog called Rainbow Cookies Should Cost a Million Dollars a Pound.


So cool.

As it turned out, my Pride Enjoy rainbow cookies suffered through about 6 hours of heat as we were having so much fun in the new outdoor seating section of Pine Box that we didn't want to leave. While I wouldn't recommend such treatment of these luscious cookies, it does explain why they didn't look as pristine when I ate them that evening as they had upon purchase. However, the taste was not affected!

By their own account, Pride Enjoy is "an alternative baking company that specializes in all-natural, plant-based, and allergen free cookies." I can't seem to find an explanation of the clown on the packaging (clowns!), but I'm willing to overlook it if they keep churning out these delicious cookies.

Friday, July 17, 2015

89iversary #3!

This week we celebrated our third 89iversary!


We've been having a ton of summer fun of late, so the universe threw us a curveball with a dreary day full of clouds and intermittent rain. Since we couldn't go swimming or even for a walk without getting soggy and necessitating a bath, we decided to chillax at home and make the best of it.

Chloe's Kitchen has a great recipe for peanut butter dog treats that I've been meaning to make. It was so easy; I don't know why it took me so long.


In between eating tons of cookies, 89 made time for other important things.
Paper towel rolls.


Even old toys (this is Puffy #2 #3).

Then she received a slew of new ones to terrorize (HK already lost an ear and stripy dog has a hole in his abdomen; the unicorn is just soggy).

There was also a delivery of treats! Wagatha's is great because they make a lot of vegan options and always put a snack in the box for impatient nerds.

 It was a good day to be 89.

And a great day to be me.

Friday, July 10, 2015

Arlee's Raw Blends 1 Day (modified) Juice Cleanse

Perhaps it was because it was the first time I'd worn a bathing suit in year, but while I was gorging my way through the three-day eating-fest that was my Fourth of July weekend, it occurred to me that I might want to kickstart a healthier way of eating sometime soon.


So, with a belly full of veggie burgers and dogs, onions rings, and various ice cream novelties, I stopped at the new Arlee's Raw Blends in Princeton, NJ Monday morning to see how a 1 day cleanse would work. The gentleman working didn't seem to think the fact that I was vegan had any bearing on what cleanse was appropriate for me; this may or may not have had something to do with the fact that I'd told him the last thing I'd eaten was a funfetti cake. He suggested the Relieve cleanse, which is pretty much for your everyday person looking to start a healthy regimen. I don't really know if this means it's easier or harder on the body or tastebuds, but I took his word for it because although I'd tried to do my homework online prior to my visit, I found that their website left a lot to be desired in the way of information and no one responded to my email inquiry.

I tried a few juices before purchasing, which was great because I did make one swap of one I'd never be able to get down (beet) for one that would be easier for me to swallow (carrot). But overall it seemed like so much juice: six 16-ounce juices totaling 96 ounces. I ultimately opted for the 8 oz bottles vs. the 16 oz bottles because I am not that big a drinker. To his credit, the gentlemen who helped me did point out that I wouldn't be eating and recommended the suggested large bottles, but still; I agreed to bear the responsibility of the decision and it worked out just fine. With the smaller bottles and the water in between I did not feel at a loss for more liquids- and certainly would never have been able to consume double the amount I drank.

Arlee's uses locally grown, 100% organic produce to make their cold-pressed juices. While they're glass bottled, I was a little surprised that the juices were bottled so far in advance- the expiration dates on mine varied by 2 days, which left me wondering exactly how far in advance they were bottled. 

Juice #1 was the kale blend #2, which contains kale, cucumber, celery, apple, lemon, and ginger; it made my lips pucker and my eyes squint on every swig. I disliked it so much that it was 4 hours until I felt ready to try something else. I should note that another patron requested the kale blend #3 while I was in, but they didn't have any in stock; maybe that's better?

Juice #2 was the pineapple blend, which contains pineapple, apple, lime, and mint; this was really refreshing and something that would probably go really great with vodka.

Juice #3 was the carrot blend, which contains carrot, celery, apple, and lemon. It was pleasant enough, but not as good as the pineapple.

I skipped the 2nd kale juice of the day, along with the lemon cayenne; they're just not my jam. So, I ended the day with the almond blend, which contains almond, distilled water, cinnamon, vanilla, and agave. It had a pleasantly sweet taste, but seemed thinner than the mass-produced almond milk I usually buy. The cinnamon was in abundance and scratched my throat a little, but I was pretty hungry before I drank it so didn't mind much.

There was no time during the day that the juice did not quell my hunger, so I can't say it was a hardship in the least. I'm not sure if I would bear the expense of another juice cleanse any time soon, but the 1 day really was a breeze and it kickstarted a smoothie week for me which has put me on the right track. I am still bitter about having to skip this and am currently doing my best to resist this, but it's a process!

Friday, July 3, 2015

Veganized in New Brunswick NJ

After a nearby NJ restaurant recommended the then brand new restaurant Veganized for dessert when they couldn't deliver, I was there within ten minutes for a takeout slice of their chocolate peanut butter torte: oat coconut crust, peanut butter whip, vanilla sauce, raspberry coulis because that's how I roll, my friends.


It turned out that my inaugural visit had coincided with their soft opening and, in the month since their grand opening, I've done my best to sample as many things as possible on the menu. For you.


To start, I want to mention that it's within walking distance from the New Brunswick train station on the NE Corridor line. So convenient!

You can order at the counter and have a quick bite at the window bar, where you'll find some Evolve for Animals literature.


Alternately, you can dine upstairs for full-service.


The decoration throughout is colorful, quirky, and meticulous.

A week after my cake run, I returned for a sandwich- also to go: righteous reuben: tempeh, russian dressing, sauerkraut, cashew cheese, sauteed kale, house bread, as well as a side order of sauteed kale with toasted hazelnuts and lemon. It was flavorful and hardy with great proportions.


Finally, I dined in (!) with two omnis shortly thereafter. We shared the rawvioli: raw beet ravioli, herbed nut cheese, pesto, saffron cream. I never would have chosen this on my own, but it was phenomenal and fresh.


For dinner I had the mackin cheese: elbow pasta, sweet potato cashew cream, smoked shitake, broccoli rabe, bread crumbs. It was certainly reminiscent of this version, but with its own twist.

Then I visited again with a friend to cap off a day of being very vegan. We shared the timbale of black beans, sweet potato, guacamole, cashew sour cream, and fresh tortilla strips. It was top notch.

We sampled their fries; baked sweet potato wedges with cashew sour cream for my friend.

Real crispy fries triple cooked, organic ketchup for me.

I had the Roma grilled flatbread with cashew cheese, slow roasted roma tomatoes, caper kalamata tapenade, pesto, and arugula. This puts pizza TO SHAME! I want to eat this combination all the time.

For dessert we shared the vanilla cheese cake with oat coconut crust, strawberry compote, and strawberry coulis. 

Because they were working on an upcoming dessert, we got to try their vegan version of Nutella, "notella." The samples were generous, but we both left wanting a whole bowl.

I couldn't wait to try the completed dessert, so I brought my parents there as soon as it was up on the menu.

VM was all about the Roma flatbread; I can't blame her.

OD had the deluxe lentil mushroom burger: smoked eggplant, charred onion, special sauce, lettuce, tomato, pickle, sweet potato bun with real crispy fries. That bun! Those onions!

I, however,  won the whole table because I had the weekend special of pasta casserole over nomato sauce (guess what it is: not tomato!) with grilled eggplant roll stuffed with roasted fennel and carrots, topped with pesto. It was one of the top entrees I've ever had at an upscale vegan restaurant.

For dessert, OD had the 14 karat date pecan carrot cake with vanilla sauce.

But enough about that; I had the coffee cake with crumb topping, house made notella, and vanilla sauce. I have dreams about this dessert! Not only was the cake the perfect texture to be paired with the exquisite notella, but it was sitting in an almost invisible pool of vanilla sauce whose sweetness ideally complemented the subtlety of the cake.

Overall, I'm thrilled by the addition of Veganized to the northeast, vegan restaurant landscape. Thanks in no small part to the chef's experience at renowned vegan establishments in and around New York City, the menu pays homage to dishes that have become somewhat ubiquitous while managing to maintain originality in both execution and flavor. I'm already plotting my next visit; if they had outdoor seating 89 and I would be there every day. Best of luck to Veganized!