Monday, May 23, 2011
Enjoy and I can't wait to hear some feedback!
Grazie- thank you for following me on my journey.
Wednesday, April 6, 2011
I was incredibly hungry and my blood sugar was dropping by the minute. As you could imagine I couldn't wait to get inside of Essene to see what good eats awaited. I heard a lot of things about Essene because a lot of my friends have been there before and one thing they told me about was the vegan buffet located in the back of the store. So where do you think I went first? You got it, to the back of the store I went letting my nose direct me to the luscious goodness of vegan fare. Tofu, tempeh, seitan, rice, veggies, soups, salad, etc etc all in front of my very eyes- I think I suffered a food coma even before I put anything in my mouth! Phew- I digested the sight of all of the food quite easily and within minutes I was loading up my plate with all that could fit.
After minutes of plating my food and exchanging $20 with the cashier (yes, I bought $20 worth of plated food and soup, don't judge) I was ready to eat, eat, eat! I started at 12 o'clock on my plate- broccoli rabe, brown rice and cucumber slices. Then worked my way around clockwise to the beets, crispy potatoes, vegetable tofu lasagna, then to the roasted veggies and all at the same time I was scooping spoonfuls of the sweet potato and kale soup to my right. There was a lot going on I confess....however it was my first time and I was completely allowed to indulge. My favorite part of the dish were the roasted vegetables along with the red beets. They melted in my mouth and were the first things to go on my plate!
The soup is in a category all its own. It was half creamy, half brothy and the kale was nicely pureed together with the sweet potatoes. Nothing was chunky or uncomfortable to eat and though I may have got some greens in my teeth- I'm sure it wasn't an over powering amount ;). All in all the flavors blended fantastically and it even had a nice spicy kick to it.
Was it everything that I expected? Not at all because I had no idea what it would look like or what the food would taste like- my friends were right though it can get pricey but the quality and uniqueness of the products is surely worth even just a visit.
Though I confused the heck out of my palette, I do believe it was satisfied and had gotten its fill of the food at the vegan wonderland they call Essene. It wasn't until I took to the aisles to browse around, search for dessert and actually buy some groceries that I solidified and completely accepted that fact that I am obsessed with food. Oh well. At least I can admit it!
Tuesday, March 29, 2011
It all started at 10am Monday morning and ended at 11pm Monday night. The drive was long, long and long- or did I mention that already? We drove through parts of PA that I have always heard of, but never once seen. Places like Jim Thorpe, Scranton, Mt. Pocono...absolutely incredible! What was most shocking was the fact that there was still snow on top of the mountains and hanging out outside of the rest stop we ate lunch in near Scranton. I couldn't believe it! It was a total flashback to wintertime. We were stepping back into winter instead of moving forward into spring. After a great veggie sandwich at Quiznos for lunch, we continued on our journey through the extremely rural towns of upstate New York and saw abandoned farm houses, mud covered pick up trucks and hippie-like people (whatever that means anyway).
I saw all of this between all of the sleeping of course and because I was riding in the backseat, I took advantage of nap time. On a side note, I am extremely narcoleptic in cars for some reason, but only when I'm not driving or responsible for telling the driver where to go. I can't help but feel so relaxed in a car it's the only time where I have no other option but to sit in my seat and take in the scenery as it calmly passes by...
Anyway back to the food portion of this post- Ithaca, New York, 30 degree weather, not much going on, interviewing a nutrition expert at Cornell for work- the whole bit. Where do we stop for dinner?? Moosewood Restaurant. Where the moose is the mascot and a huge part of the decor, as well as blown up images of insects on the wall, which is a whole other story.
The menu is very simple and concise. There were only 4-5 choices for an entree and two appetizers, as well as a few soups. Each entree comes with a salad too! I decided to go with a magical green ginger tea to start. It had ginger, lemon, orange and green tea in it- very powerful and definitely gave me a energy jump that was needed after the 45 minute interview we had to do. Next we ordered guacamole and chips for the appetizer and for my entree I chose an Indian Curry dish with sweet potatoes, zucchini, tofu and other veggies over a bed of brown rice. Absolutely delicious! The curry sauce was not too soupy and was not at all overbearing, which made it a heck of a lot more enjoyable for me and my tummy (especially looking toward that long car ride home!) The food was fresh and one could tell that Moosewood is no joke when it comes to fresh, organic, vegetarian/vegan cuisine. The wood decor and earthy feel to the restaurant set a great environment to eat in. They also have a very extensive wine and beer list, which we couldn't take advantage of because of our long ride home.
The food at Moosewood warmed me up and left me satisfied as I took on the chilly air in Ithaca and anxiously awaited our return to Philadelphia (because I missed it so much!). The ride home was dark and scary, but the stars in the sky brightly shining as if I was looking up into the ceiling of a planetarium. Completely unreal. This was definitely a trip to remember. Just hope if I ever head back north that I don't have to leave and come back in a day's time because it is completely exhausting! oh the "ITH" (as my coworkers and I like to call it...)
Thursday, March 3, 2011
My visit was a bit different from others that have experienced the essence of the Melting Pot. I walked in for a table for one and I was sat at the bar that has a mini burner in front and a fantastic waitress on her toes and ready to take my order. The first thing I told her was that I was a veggie so no meat and no cheese, which could get tricky if you order the whole Big Night Out meal that includes the cheese fondue. However, she made things very cut and dry and helped me decide on a great veggie dinner for me to enjoy. I ordered the Spinach Portobello Salad with fresh spinach, thinly sliced baby portobello mushroom, rings of red onion, Roma tomatoes with a warm Burgundy Shallot Vinaigrette.The sweet shallot vinaigrette was so delicious that I repeatedly dipped my own fork into it just to eat it. It was a perfect compliment to the rich flavors of the green spinach and mushrooms. The salad was very colorful as well! I could have eaten another salad that's how much I enjoyed it.
When it came time for my entree my decision was quite easy and the option of THE VEGETARIAN was screaming at me. I ordered the vegetarian entree prepared the Court Bouillon way. It was a homemade, seasoned vegetable broth that the server let come to a boil before my entree came out. I was so excited to actual cook my vegetables and when the huge tray of artichoke hearts, Portobello mushrooms, Thai-peanut-marinated tofu, asparagus, spinach artichoke ravioli, edamame pods and potatoes. The two sauces it came with were a ginger plum and a thick soy sauce sort of sauce. The ginger plum is a Melting Pot unique recipe made with red and green bell peppers, ginger and just a hint of plum. Both sauces were absolutely fantastic and complimented the veggies to the max. I used so much sauce for the veggies that I had to ask for seconds. I took my time to cook the veggies and savored each bite. Each part of the entree had a different cooking time, so I kept track of it in the boiling pot in front of me.
Throughout the dinner I was fortunate enough to be sipping on a glass of Malbec. The bold red color and taste of the wine was fantastic for dinner. Although it's not my favorite type of wine, it was enjoyable with the rest of my dinner. I couldn't be happier to have eaten at the Melting Pot and the added fact that I could sip on a glass of wine made my dinner for one experience complete.
Unfortunately I didn't have enough space in my stomach to try out the chocolate fondue, but I'm planning on going back for dessert at some point!
Visit The Melting Pot in Center City to experience some of the incredible things I did and enjoy picking and choosing what you want to eat along with actually cooking it! But be ready to spend quite a bit of money- one visit to try it won't hurt though!
Tuesday, February 22, 2011
Saturday, January 29, 2011
I am launching my own site in the coming weeks and will be starting a whole new vegolution with my site. I am building my life around Italian vegan cuisine so get ready. I will now be known as La Vegetariana and will only answer to that- just kidding! But really, I will have my site and I will be posting show broadcasts of me cooking and teaching everyone who is interested how to make great traditional (and not so traditional) Italian dishes only for vegetarians and vegans! How great right? Well, I am working tirelessly to gather recipes and be creative with it and I am having a blast. I am still working in the restaurant and though it has taken a toll on me physically, mentally and emotionally, I am hanging on strong to build a shell. I need to toughen up and face the bullshit life carries so I will be prepared for a lot worse if it comes (which I hope it doesnt!)
So wish me luck as I work on LaVegetariana.com and you can check it out as time goes on to see what's new
P.S. Since the last post I have eaten at a few new restaurants and have loved them all...Square 1682 in Center City, Divan in South Philadelphia and Radice in Blue Bell- from eco-friendly chic to Turkish fare to all around modern Italian these restaurants were fabulous and each brought a different taste to my palate that drove my taste buds wild! I was so happy to have been able to try such great food at three different locations with three very different styles of cuisine. That's what I call foodxploring.
Go out and explore and check out my site www.lavegetariana.com. Everything will be posted soon and I will be able to officially welcome you into my world as the Italian veg...
Friday, January 7, 2011
Dishes that came to our table for either one of us to eat included "escalivada" which is a dish with roasted peppers and eggplant, cipollini onions & confit tomatoes; "patatas bravas," which were spicy potatoes and the chicken dish that my boyfriend chose was called the "madre e hijo," which was chicken breast with fried egg, mojama & truffles. Of course I stayed far away from it, but the vegetables that came to the table were delicious and if you are a vegan at AMADA, you have to make sure to ask which sauces and dips you can or can't eat. The "escalivada" was a tiny portion and I was in no way stuffed after eating it, but it was a delicious explosion of flavors in my mouth. It was light and we used the cool two prong fork that was at our seat to stab at the veggies. None of the dishes are typical or like any that I've seen. AMADA is a great place to have a unique dining experience, but it is also a challenge that you have to be ready to embrace.
As a part of the Garces Restaurant Group, AMADA "wows" customers with an extensive and very different menu that may not be the most convenient and easiest for vegans, but is well worth the time.