Monday, August 31, 2009
Wednesday, August 26, 2009
I was totally impressed. Sunergia distinguishes themselves from other soy product manufacturers by using high-quality ingredients. All of their products are certified organic and kosher under strict supervision. The difference is definitely noticible in the taste. In addition, their products are fortified and are high in protein and fiber.
I crumbled the mediterranean-style Soy Feta directly from the package on top of sliced tomatoes and loved it! The biggest criticism from both the vegans and non-vegans alike was that it tasted *too* close to feta cheese.
The Soy Bleu also went over the top with field greens, green apple, walnut, and aged balsalmic. The flavor was eerily close to real blue cheese, but slightly less creamy and not quite as pungent. I was perplexed at how it could taste so similar! You've got to just try it for yourself to experience it. One of the ingredients on the label was chia seed. Yes, that's right...as in chia pet. I'm still waiting for those little green sprouts on my head!
The biggest surprise to me was Sunergia's Nufu. What is Nufu you ask? Nufu is an amazing new product line for those of us who rely heavily on tofu and other soy products as our protein source. Nufu is essentially soy-free tofu made from peanuts instead of soy. Wow, I was floored! I seared some slices and served simply atop field greens with an asian dressing, some cilantro, shredded carrots, and crispy corn tortilla strips. Absolutely amaaazing.
The pesto flavored "more than tofu" was also good. It was a firm textured tofu marinated with a blend of basil, nuts and garlic, in a basil-garlic marinade. I followed the recommended preparation method and sauteed slices in olive oil. I could easily eat a whole package as a quick dinner preparation-with at least 7 other flavors that would cover the whole week. Serve with some veggies, and voila!
Make sure to request Sunergia products at your local Whole Foods Market. Or, until then, you can get you some on the internet at Pangea Vegan Store.
You all know about those Chocolate Chip Cookies from Spiral Diner, right? Yeah, the HUGE, chewy ones loaded with chocolate chips...
Things are looking good for Spiral Diner’s upcoming cookbook—the recipe Amy and James sent me was flawless! Take a look at my snapshots...
Sorry I can’t share the Chocolate Chip Cookies recipe with you guys, but here’s one I’m happy to give away:
3/4 c pecans
1/2 c (1 stick) vegan margarine
1/3 c vegan can sugar, plus more for coating
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup unbleached white flour
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. On a baking sheet, toast pecans until fragrant (about 6 minutes). Let cool completely; finely chop.
With an electric mixer, cream margarine and 1/3 cup sugar until light (about 1 minute). Beat in vanilla and flour, scraping down sides of bowl, just until dough comes together. Fold in pecans.
Separate dough into 12 pieces; squeeze dough to shape into balls. Roll in sugar. Place on a baking sheet (3 inches apart). Gently flatten with the bottom of a glass (reshape sides if necessary). Sprinkle with sugar.
Bake until golden brown (about 15 minutes). Sprinkle with more sugar. Cool cookies on a wire rack.
Makes 12 cookies.
Tuesday, August 25, 2009
On Dog Days at Lee Harvey’s, the gates are closed off and your pups are able to roam around and have fun while you enjoy a few cocktails. While you’re there, purchase some of our “doggie bags” filled with treats for your furry friends – proceeds will benefit Dog & Kitty City.
In addition, the most talented, best dressed and friendliest pups will win prize trophies!
Come out, and you might see some of my favorite guys down there:
Dundee is a handsome shaggy pup, very cute and friendly.
Flash is a sweet, energetic boy with such a soft coat – he was adopted once, but they brought him back :( He’s a great pup and deserves a wonderful home.
Latte is such a self-sufficient girl that she takes herself on walks.
Let’s give some support from the Dallas Vegan community and head to Lee Harvey’s for Dog & Kitty City (as if anyone really needs a reason to go to happy hour anyway…!!!).
Monday, August 24, 2009
While some see August as the worst month of the year, I see it as simply a prelude to the greatness that is fall in Dallas.
Yes, it’s still 90+ outside, but there are faint glimmers of what is soon to come in September. Cooler weather, regular season football, and fried foods.
I used the same breading the recipe called for, however, the base of the “tofish” I thought needed some modification. The easy mock tuna-salad I make uses garbanzo beans as the base, which to me, has a slightly fishy flavor – so I felt that was the key in taking this recipe to the next level.
- 1 package extra-firm tofu
- 1 can garbanzo beans
- 1 tbsp kelp granules
- 1 tbsp flax seeds + 2 tbsp water
- Grind flax seeds into fine powder
- Mix with water to make a sticky paste
- In separate bowl, mash garbanzo beans well with a fork
- Mix in crumbled well pressed tofu
- Mix in kelp granules
- Mix in flax seed paste
- Form into bite-sized nuggets
- dredge in soy-milk
- coat in cornmeal mixture
- 2 tbsp nutritional yeast
- 1/4 cup flour
- 1/4 cup corn meal
- 1 tsp cajun spice (or chili powder)
- 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1/4 tsp pepper
- salt to taste (after frying)
Fry these up in some canola oil, and you have yourself some tasty tofish bites that rivals any of the fried food the State Fair dishes out.
Enjoy these with some vegan tarter sauce, fries, and a cold British ale, and you have yourself one happy reminder of the great times ahead in September and beyond!
Thursday, August 20, 2009
Stepping into Hibashi Teppan Grill & Sushi Bar, your first instinct is to turn around and wonder how you walked into Ghost Bar: Northwest Dallas. A sign near the entrance read “Sake bombs $3”, and the bright and futuristic “Sky Blue Wave” sculpture behind the bar is the first thing you see. Only the absence of techno and smoke machines (and a large sushi bar) convinced me I was in the right place.
Unfortunately, this was high-noon on a work day and cocktails were not on the agenda. After hearing sometime ago of Hibashi’s new lunch options, I figured it was worth a shot.
The lunch menu offered one veg option - “Teppenyaki Vegetable Bowl” ($8) with white rice and a salad. 7-8 vegetarian rolls were also available, ranging in price from $4 to $8. I ordered the bowl and a couple of rolls to get a good sample of what Hibashi had to offer.
The salad was nice and simple – lettuce, cabbage, and carrots with a ginger dressing that had lots of potential. The flavor was excellent - citrus based, slightly sweet, and just enough ginger. Unfortunately, there too much of the dressing. To compound this problem, separation caused minced ginger to lay on top of the lettuce, while the rest of the salad soaked in a large pool of liquid forming at the bottom (hint – ask for the dressing on the side).
About the time I was finishing my
soup salad, the vegetarian rolls arrived. I ordered the Vegetable Tempura Roll ($6) and the Asparagus Roll ($4). The tempura rolls were supposedly sweet potato, zucchini, and yellow onion. In reality, I could hardly tell what I was eating – the cuts of vegetable were so small in proportion to the rest of the roll that it was difficult to tell. It was even more difficult to tell by taste or texture, as the breading, rice, and sauce transformed the roll into a bit of a mushy mess.
The Asparagus wasn’t bad, however, its presentation could have used some help. The roll wasn’t very well manufactured, i.e., the nori was falling apart before even picking one up. Not good for a restaurant where “world-class artistry of sushi” is claimed on the website.
Unfortunately, things only got worse with main entree. The Teppenyaki bowl came with an overcooked and under-flavored assortment of uninteresting vegetables – carrot, zucchini, broccoli, and a few mushrooms (maybe I should have ordered one…or three…of those sake bombs?).
The sides sauces that came with the lunch couldn’t even save the meal. Somehow they managed to make two very strong flavors – ginger and mustard – bland. After requesting a hot chili sauce and trying (in vain) to come up with a good combination of flavors, I decided I had enough.
A return trip many weeks later offered better presentation on the avocado rolls I ordered – but they were tiny and flavorless. Little else had changed with the food, but they did turn off the lighting around the bar and other parts of the restaurant – I suppose to make it look more like a lunch spot than an empty disco. Worst of all, they didn’t even have the sake-bomb special anymore (I had planned on trying a few this time – just in case the food hadn’t improved).
Clearly, Hibashi’s strength is in evening dining, which might make it a nice place to try with some cocktails, live hibachi grills, and the sights and sounds of the bar - but for lunch, it’s a no.
Hibashi Teppan Grill Sushi Bar
13465 Inwood Rd
Monday, August 17, 2009
Have I mentioned I’m a big fan of Spiral Diner? The place rocks!
Okay—I’m a little biased. I used to work there. But I think it’s fair to say most DFW veg-heads agree.
Here at Dallas Vegan, we’ve been given the opportunity to test out recipes for Spiral Diner’s upcoming cookbook. Sweet gig, huh? So over the next few months, we’ll be posting photos of our favorite dishes and sharing our thoughts with you guys.
To start things off, we hit an old fave—Spiral Diner’s Double Chocolate Fudge Brownies. These brownies are some of the biggest sellers at the diner, and they also hold a special place in my heart. On my second day working at Spiral Diner Dallas, I almost ruined a large batch of them. Here’s what happened:
I failed to gather up all of my ingredients before starting the process, then realized I was short a few cups of flour after mixing several of the ingredients. I panicked! My manager, Kjersten, just laughed at me and told me to find Sara Tomerlin (owner of the Dallas branch). Luckily, Sara tweaked the recipe and made it work. But I did get put on dishes for the rest of my shift :)
This new home-size recipe is right on the money. Only problem is they’re wickedly good and so easy to make!
As much as I’d like to share the recipe with you fine folk, I’ve been sworn to secrecy. You’ll just have to wait until the cookbook hits the stands. But in the meantime, swing by Spiral Diner to find out why these Double Chocolate Fudge Brownies are such hot sellers!
And a shameless plug (for my non-local friends): check out my recent "Veggie Guy" adventures on the Dallas Observer’s City of Ate.
Thursday, August 13, 2009
Our Dallas Vegan in Miami adventure begins at the European Corner for a special arepa breakfast. These little venezuelan sandwiches were made to order for us with plantains and black beans. Served, of course, with an obligatory colada chaser.
Om Garden was "om"mazing (sorry I couldn't resist). Open just over one year, we found this restaurant's unique mix of raw and cooked vegan items really hit the spot. I mean, sometimes you feel like a nut, sometimes you don't. Right?
The Om Plate with your choice of 3, 4, or 5 raw appetizers. Pictured here are the Mystical Mushr-Oms, Seven Seas Seaweed Salad, and kale salad with orange peppers, carrot, and lemon dressing:
And, finally, the Rainbow Roll with carrot, beet, avocado, baby greens, cashew pate, mango, figs, and balsalmic syrup:
Pita Spice was falafel perfection. Say no more. 1049 Washington Ave. Miami Beach, FL 33139.
That's what I'm talking 'bout! Pita spice has quite possibly the best falafel I've had in my life!
Not a completely vegan restaurant, extremely vegan friendly, but how would you ever guess?
Yummy avocado salsa, also known as guacamole, but if you stick home made chips like this on it, you can call it whatever you want as far as I'm concerned...
For entrees, one vegan fajita wrap and one vegan platter...
We started with dim sum appetizer (below), wild mushroom lettuce wraps, followed by hand-pulled noodles with wild mushrooms, tofu hot pot with luffa melon (below), stir-fried lotus root, lilly bud, and asparagus in black pepper sauce (below), and gai-lan with garlic sauce:
Believe it or not, local Florida chain Pollo Tropical has some cheap vegan items like boiled yucca with garlic sauce, black beans and rice, and plantains! I could live on the stuff...
And, finally, I can't forget Jugo's, which has a huge selection of fresh squeezed juices, tropical fruits, and plantain chips fried on location:
5721 W Flagler St. Miami, FL 33144 in South Miami.
We really needed another week to sample all of South Florida's delicious vegan fare, and to lay on the beach and chill. Next time, we plan to visit the renowned Sublime restaurant in Fort Lauderdale (which, according to its website, 100% of its profits go to organizations that promote animal welfare), and Lifefood Gourmet, for gourmet raw food.