Friday, April 25, 2014

Vegan in the apple becomes vegan in Chicago, for a few days

I recently went to Chicago to see my current favorite band Bastille,  everyone go check them out, they're awesome. What else was there to do in Chicago though?  Eat Eat Eat (though I did do some other things too!)

My first stop was Native Foods, which sadly, my photos didn't come out too well so I'm not going to post them.  I had the azteca salad (greens, quinoa, avocado, pumpkin seeds, currants, cucumber, jicama, mango, with mango lime vinaigrette), my favorite sweet potato fries ever and a carrot cream cheese cupcake.  Everything was delicious (& also things I had last time I was in Chicago).

The next day I met my friend for lunch at Handlebar. I got so lost getting there that it somehow took me 45 minutes to get there instead of the 9 minutes google maps said it'd take. Don't ask.  My friend had already ordered the fried pickles:

My reaction was "ew".  Never in my life would I pick/think/choose you name it to order fried pickles..but, I decided to try them anyway...THEY WERE SO GOOD! I couldn't believe it! I don't even really like pickles much these days, but these were so good.  I think the sauce (their homemade ranch) is what really made it good..but the breading was so good.  These were delicious.  I wanted more after we finished.

Then we decided to split the kale quinoa salad and the biscuits and gravy(which that was what I was most looking forward to. by the way..Handlebar has brunch EVERY DAY until 3pm!).

Kale, avocado, quinoa, pumpkin seeds..& not sure if there was anything else in it..I can't remember what the dressing was, but what I can remember is, this salad was delicious!

Next up! What I've been waiting for, biscuits and gravy with seitan sausage.

It was amazing!! I loved how much gravy there was and the biscuits were so good. All I could think was "I want to come back and have these tomorrow" and "why don't they have anything like this in nyc?"  They were so good and the gravy was so tasty.  They were just delicious. Probably the best biscuits and gravy I've ever had.

After lunch, we walked to Wormhole which is a pretty awesome 80's themed coffee shop. They have a delorean.  They offer soy and 7 grain milk.  I just got this huge delicious oatmeal chocolate chip cookie. If I lived in Chicago, I'd definitely hang out at Wormhole all the time. (I did come back another day and had tea and went again on my last day for another cookie.)All the staff seemed really nice too.
                                                              Oatmeal Chocolate Chip


I really wanted to try their wings since they're made of seitan instead of the usual soy chicken or even tempeh.  They offer them in either BBQ or buffalo sauce.  My friend & I got it with BBQ sauce.  I was a little worried since I'm not a huge BBQ person, but luckily these did not disappoint.  They were so good.  I LOVED the texture of them, so chewy, so good.  (Note: I wound up going back on my last day and got the buffalo ones to take home with me..They were tasty too & not as spicy as some wings I've had (usually they make my eyes and nose run but these didn't, these had a very nice kick to them.)

 mmmm. (sorry, didn't take a photo of the buffalo ones, but imagine the same thing but orange-y looking). Anyone know of any place in NYC that makes wings out of seitan? I don't..someone should get on that!

For my main meal, I decided to try the reuben with a side of garlicky greens.  I don't think I've had a reuben in my life, they generally don't sound appealing to me and I've only recently gotten into tempeh which most reuben's are made out of.  However, like the wings, their reuben is made of seitan.  It also happened to be their 31st birthday and so the reuben was $6 I think it was (which the waiter said was what they charged in 1983). so why not try it?

Seeing this, it did not look appetizing at all to me..It really looked like meat! They use beets to resemble the color of meat..ick.  However, one can't judge a book by its cover, and one can't judge food by its looks and so I took a bite..and it was really tasty! I really enjoyed it.  I'm not sure if it would be my go to meal here, but I would probably get it again.  The greens were amazing.

& of course you can't leave Chicago Diner without a shake..and so I got the cookie dough peanut butter shake, which I've had before and it was as before, super yummy!

Also, like Handlebar, Chicago Diner has brunch EVERY DAY!  I came back a few days later and got the soul bowl which I've had before

I really love the soul bowl..garlicky greens yet again, avocado(added for $1), beans (hidden in photo), mashed sweet potato (also hidden in photo), quinoa and seitan.  This dish normally comes with tofu but I asked if I could have seitan instead.  He gave me about 5 different types of seitan they had to choose from! I can't remember which one I picked (think I said the one that's in sandwiches?) but it was delicious (hmm how many times have I used the word delicious in this post?) The waiter was unsure how seitan would go with the rest of the meal, but I loved it!  This time had the mint shake which I've also had before (I'll venture away from ones I've had before next time!) and that was yummy too.  Shared sweet potato fries with everyone and yum but definitely overate at this meal and felt full until even the next day! haha but it was so yummy while eating!

On my last day, I went to what was my first stop, Native Foods, I didn't do that on purpose, just happened that way.  Decided to try something different:

the Sesame Kale Macro Bowl, which had tempeh, steamed kale, brown rice, creamy ginger sesame sauce(very slight), tangy sauerkraut,and toasted sesame seeds.  It was very tasty (and healthy!) the tempeh was a bit bland..actually no, very bland. I'd get this again, but probably ask for a side of the ginger sesame sauce on the side, to have extra.

Got a side of the mac and cheese & that was yummy, though I remember liking it more last time I had was kind of watery? wish it was thicker.

To go I got the Twister Wrap :  Salad greens, fresh avocado and cucumber salsa, creamy chipotle sauce and your choice of crispy, blackened or grilled Native Chicken in an organic whole wheat wrap (I got it crispy)

My flight wound up being over an hour delayed & I was so hungry, so I was very happy that I decided to get the twister wrap to go.  IT WAS SO GOOD!

I also got the brownie which I later had at home and that was delicious.

I am crossing my fingers that Native Foods opens in NYC someday soon.  Last time I spoke to them in August they told me they'd be opening in Washington DC soon, so would be nice if NYC came shortly after.  Their food is so good!

& that about concludes the food I ate on my recent trip to Chicago! 'til next time!

Monday, April 7, 2014

Run, don't walk to my favorite ice cream shop in the world

My favorite ice cream shop in the world is located at 516 East 6th Street, between Avenue A and Avenue B in the East Village.  This shop is created by Blythe Boyd, one of the founders of Lula's Sweet Apothocary.  The shop is all vegan, with so many options for flavors as well as toppings! (sprinkles, their own made coconut whipped cream, cookies, chocolate chips, caramel sauce, hot fudge, the list goes on and on)  You can get sundaes, brownie sundaes, root beer floats, shakes and more. Most of the ice cream is cashew based but they do have some soy based flavors. They have different flavors all the time (always have chocolate, vanilla, strawberry & cake batter soft serve), but the other flavors are rotating. It's always exciting going there to see what flavors they'll have that day!

I frequent it often so stay tuned for future photos from my trips here.

Here's one from a recent trip:

What you're seeing is cake batter soft serve with strawberry sauce, graham crackers and lots of chocolate sprinkles, on top of a brownie (which you can't see in this photo due to all the lovely sprinkles). Amazingly delicious.  I'm not sure what Blythe does, but whatever it is, it is magic.  I've been trying to stay away from eating sweets lately, but I can never stay away for too long from this place!