FOUR COURSE!

12 10 2010

Ok. So. We went to 4 Course Vegan back on the 2nd, and it. was. the best 4CV we’ve ever done!

First of all the menu was looking amazing, (and we’ll get to that in a hot second) secondly, we sat with some really awesome people!  Joined by a foursome and a duo, we chatted about art and food and their weekend house in Portland… AND we ate some delicious delicious treats!

As usual Matteo opened with a wonderfully balanced amuse bouche

 

Cashew Cheese Radish Ravioli with Basil Puree

 

First Course

 

Grilled Corn Chowder with Pickled Chilies and Citrus Sour Cream

 

This was a beautiful chowder. Creamy and pleasantly corny with a super nice kick from the pickled red chile. A light and tasty way into the meal.

Second Course

 

Heirloom Tomato Tart with Cranberry Beans and Spiced Eggplant Puree

 

Third Course

 

Autumn Millet Croquette with Parsnip Mash, Empire Apple Chutney and Porcini Gravy

 

Fourth Course

 

Dark Chocolate Torte with Toasted Hazelnuts and Raspberry Puree

 

Very tangy puree, nice and rich chocolate torte. A swell way to end the meal,  even dessert denier Dani praised it. Well done, Matteo, well done indeed.

All in all, it was a great meal, well balanced, with excellent early fall flavors. This cannot come more highly recommended from us

One of the people we sat with was Martin Alper, a Gramercy based video artist. Very cool guy with whom we chatted happily, mostly about art and working as actors in New York City. Check out his work here.

-Robbie





DC Veg Fest

15 09 2010
Recently, Robbie and I started our own business/acting survival job doing merchandising for health food companies.
If you didn’t know this already, we are huge Field Roast fans. HUGE. We love it. Because how could one NOT love it? In my opinion, Field Roast is the best vegan grain meat out there. It doesn’t try to be something it isn’t; what it is is something extraordinary, gourmet, versatile, and damn tasty.

We even visited the factory when we went to the Pacific Northwest. We were given a great tour of the factory, got to talk to their awesome employees, and even brought home their white truffle mushroom pate, which, if you haven’t tried, is worth a trip to Portobello in Portland. We were lucky enough to go to the Fancy Food Show this year, and meet, in person, the founder of Field Roast, David Lee (awesome guy). We did a lot of talking, and decided to work together to help Field Roast take over NYC! The people behind Field Roast are exactly what you would expect when you eat their products. Loving, down to earth, and incredibly interesting.

This past weekend, Robbie and I were lucky enough to work the DC Veg Fest, organized by the wonderful group,Compassion Over Killing. If you haven’t checked them out yet, do yourself a favor and look over their site. They do lots of important work.

The fest was awesome. We had perfect weather, and got to meet a huge array of people, all of whom fell in love with Field Roast…if they weren’t already huge fans. We also had some awesome Field Roast nerd to nerd conversations with folks as nuts about it as we are. It was simply a wonderful day of vegan celebration. One regret: We were too busy to try any of the amazing desserts from Sticky Fingers…and they were gorgeous.

Apparently, over 5,000 people came out this year. Here are some of our shots, sampling Field Roast sausages! We’re so lucky to be able to represent a company that we really believe in.

the ubiquitous carrot

HUGE line all day for Field Roast!

From Compassion Over Killing...http://www.cok.net/feat/dcvegfest2010/





(Semi) Homemade Neapolitan Style Pizza

3 08 2010

Ever since our first visit to Keste, Robbie and I have wanted to try to recreate a Neapolitan style pizza at home, which is a difficult task, being that they cook their pies for a matter of seconds, at about 800 degrees. HOT! Also, the dough is made in a very specific way….so we cheated a little.

Keste actually sells their dough at $5 a piece- which is actually pretty great when you consider the cost of getting the dough ingredients for Neapolitan pizza.

We turned our oven up to max about an hour before baking, and at the same time, placed the pizza stone in the oven to get it nice and hot. We also let the dough hang out at room temperature so it was nice and easy to handle.

When ready, we shaped the dough on our pizza paddle, and transferred it to the pizza stone and baking sheet (we had 2 pieces of dough). The dough cooks alone (sans sauce, or any toppings) for about 10 minutes. It got nice and browned during the pre-baking portion; much closer to the look of Keste’s cooked crust than I had imagined our little oven could accomplish.

As far as sauce goes, we also went all out authentic and a bought a can of San Marzano tomatoes. They really do taste different- nice and sweet.

Baked crust, getting topped with San Marzano tomatoes

One pie was some awesome local heirloom tomatoes from the USQ greenmarket, and the other was lentil sage Field Roast deli slices and yellow pepper. Both had FYH Jack cheese and Daiya.

Fresh local heirloom tomatoes, basil, FYH jack cheese

We also made some sweet bruschetta for good measure.

Bruschetta with local heirloom tomatoes

I’d totally recommend trying this at home if you are into Neapolitan style pizza. It is really worth getting the authentic dough and playing around!





Solixir, A sparkling botanical beverage

1 08 2010

Almost a year ago already, I met Scott and Brian of Solixir at my local Whole Foods. They were demoing a then new beverage, and were looking to add a team member in NYC to spread the word. Since then, I have been their NYC Field Marketing manager, and have loved getting to see Solixir grow.

Besides the fact that they are great guys, Solixir is an amazing beverage. There really is nothing else out there that is like it.

Solixir is an all natural, no GMO, sparkling botanical beverage. There are no added sugars or sweeteners, and each can is (total) under 60 calories.

Solixir comes in three different flavors, each providing a different function.

Orange Mate: Awake

Orange Mate is great in the morning, or any time you need a little pick-me-up. For me, that comes at about 3 pm daily. The energy source in Orange Mate comes from the yerba mate herb, a South American herb that many people are familiar with because it is popular in teas. In a can of Orange Mate, yerba mate provides a low 30 mg of natural caffeine, so the effect is a really nice wake-up, and a sustained energy. Unlike other energy drinks, packed with sugar and loaded with caffeine, Orange Mate doesn’t make you spike and crash or get jittery.

Pomegranate Ginger: Restore

Pomegranate Ginger is great for many reasons. I’d say it is my favorite flavor, but also as a SPINNING™ instructor, it a great recovery drink post workout. The full glass of water in each can (as in all flavors) hydrates my body right away, while the herbal blend encourages oxygen flow and aids in post-workout repair (elderflower/elderberry are vasodilators- a fancy way to say they open up blood vessels and allow for faster recovery). Pomegranate Ginger is also great to drink if you feel a little cold coming on, or if you have an (um, errr) hangover.

Blackberry Chamomile: Relax

Blackberry Chamomile is an awesome drink when you want to chill out. It contains lots of soothing herbs which are great for relaxing your body. I like to drink it when I want to de-stress or calm down a bit. It is also great to drink before bed.

All three flavors are really refreshing, just sweet enough (from real fruit juice), and provide your body with the hydration it needs.

Other quick things to note about Solixir:

•There is a full glass of water in each can, so you really are hydrating your body when you drink Solixir

•Solixir was developed by an herbalist and nutritionist

•If you live in NYC, you can grab cans of Solixir at Whole Foods, in the cooler section. It is also available on amazon.com.

•Solixir is privately owned, so when you buy a can, you will feel good about supporting an independent, ethical business

•If you like cocktails, Solixir makes a GREAT, healthier mixer. Pom Ginger and gin- add some Canton ginger liqueur if you’re feeling adventurous. Heaven.

As I said, I’m so lucky to work with a company that promotes a healthy lifestyle, and at the same time, exemplifies that with hard work and dedication, you can build your own business from the bottom up- and continue to grow!

Of course, Solixir is vegan. It is also gluten free. And delicious.

Stella dog loves Solixir too!





Reviews: Fonda and Caravan of Dreams

4 06 2010

This week, Robbie and I finally hit up 2 places we’ve been meaning to go to forever: Fonda, a Mexican restaurant in Park Slope, whose chef is Roberto Santibanez (formerly of Rosa Mexicano). And, Caravan of Dreams- I had been once before but that was years ago.

P.S. We also went to S’nice- both the Brooklyn and West Village locations this week for the first time as well. Suffice it to say I didn’t take time to take pix because eating was more important. GREAT sandwiches. My fave is their Philly Cheesesteak. Pay the extra buck for Daiya!

Okay, so on to Fonda. We went on Wednesday night, and were sat right away in their beautiful garden.

We ordered guacamole, of course, which was great but beware to vegans: It comes with cheese- weird! But just ask for them to leave it off. We asked for spicy, and they actually made it spicy enough, which was great.

Guacamole, served with homemade tortillas

For our entrees, we shared a salad and enchiladas.

The Ensalada Verde was super good. Great dressing. Described as: Arugula, field greens, jicama, carrots & cucumber with almonds, sesame seeds, crispy pasilla peppers, basil-cilantro vinaigrette and cherry tomatoes. SO GREAT!

Ensalada Verde

The Vegetarian Enchiladas, Soft corn tortillas filled with sautéed spinach, mushrooms, zucchini, chayote and eggplant, roasted tomato sauce, and cilantro were incredible. We asked for no queso fresco or cream, but I didn’t feel like I had deconstructed the dish because the sauce was super flavorful and fresh.

Vegetarian Enchiladas

I love Rosa Mexicano, but what stood out about Fonda was that all the food- especially the ranchera sauce on the enchiladas just had way more flavor. I guess that’s what you get from a small, neighborhood joint that really puts time into their dishes, and believes in their food. It was really well priced too, which is always a plus. I’m excited to go back!

Today, we went to Caravan of Dreams for lunch. I only remember loving the Unchicken Nachos from my past visit, so we got those. They really are incredibly yummy, although the picture doesn’t do them much justice.

Grilled seitan, black bean chili, guacamole, salsa

 

After the nachos, however, things took a turn for the (somewhat) worse. I got the tempeh ruben which was…fine. Nothing too special, and not comparable to the one I had at S’Nice a few days ago. It was just rather boring for an $11 sandwich.

Robbie ordered the ANGEL’S PESTO PIZZA, with cremini mushrooms, vegetables, grilled marinated seitan. Sounds awesome, right?

The final product:

Pizza?

We expected a pizza…with those toppings.

However, the dish is actually a mound of random veggies (carrots?) with seitan and shrooms, covering a soggy piece of pita (with some great pesto, though- I must say). It was pretty hilarious actually, as there was nothing pizza-like about it, and while the seitan was rocking, it was more like a salad- a warm salad of steamed veggies and seitan. Weird.

We also had a pitcher of sangria which, while tasty, was pretty stingy for the $25 we spent on it.

I hate to give Caravan of Dreams a less than great review, and to their merit, the other dishes people ordered looked fabulous- so maybe we just made some iffy choices.

Has anyone else been there? What did you think?

Cheers!

Dani





Cafe Blossom for lunch & TACO NIGHT!

25 05 2010

Friday, Robbie and I had a wonderful lunch at Cafe Blossom on the Upper West Side. We’re big, big fans of Blossom and Cocoa-V in Chelsea, so lunch at yet another Blossom spawn seemed like a great idea. They have a great outdoor seating area, so we were able to bring Stella Adler along as well.

Hey Blossom: May we suggest a mascot?

Stella loves Blossom...

We started with the Black Eyed Pea Cake- which is a regular at Blossom as well, and is a “must-order” until I master it at home…which I haven’t come close to yet.

Black Eyed Pea Cake- more rustic than the one at Blossom, but still so amazing.

Next, for entrees, we shared the Red Quinoa Salad and the Southern Seitan Sandwich. Both were really, really tasty. Robbie and I were especially amazed by the sandwich. The seitan was cooked in a very flavorful breading, and the combo of that with perfectly cooked onions, avocado, and wonderful bread was drool-worthy. The side of sweet potato fries were perfectly cooked as well.

Spiced seitan, caramelized onions, avocado, chipotle aioli, served with sweet potato fries

Red quinoa, navy beans, julienne peppers, watercress, toasted seeds, mango guacamole, lemon vinaigrette

Saturday was TACO NIGHT! We made two different tacos. One was a mushroom taco with shiitake and creminis, cooked with tequila. The other was a peanut-tequila chipotle marinated seitan. After we cooked both, we heated them over a mixture of Daiya and the new version of Teese (mozzarella style). I must say, there was some major melting going on, which for those of us vegan nerds out there, is a little more than exciting. We served the tacos with some of Robbie’s amazing guacamole and black beans. NUM!

Peanut-chipotle tequila seitan over Teese and Daiya

Shiitake and Creminis with tequila over Daiya and Teese

Melty Daiya and Teese goodness. Ohhh, the combination.





Welcome home, Ms. Stella Adler!

16 05 2010

Last Friday, I was walking in the East Village to meet my friend Sarah for some pre-theatre Indian food at Brick Lane Curry House (none of which was photo-worthy, as it looked like mush- but it tasted great and they have marked vegan options on the menu).

On my way, I saw this beautiful French Bulldog, with an “Adopt Me” vest.

Robbie and I have been dreaming of adopting a dog for a while now, but we were both too scared to ask our landlord if he would allow it, as 1) That would mean that all of our silly pre-dog planning was for naught and 2) We love our apartment and moving is probably not in the near future. So, no doggie.

Stella and her Dad, Robbie

That aside, I instantly, and probably freakishly, asked the walker volunteer what her story was. She told me the shelter where she was staying, and I noted it but didn’t go there immediately because of my plans. After dinner, Sarah suggested we stop by, even though it was supposed to be closed. If Sarah hadn’t suggested this, I probably would never have been able to adopt Stella (Oh- her name is Stella Adler, by the way). Thus, Sarah is Stella’s official god(or whatever)mother.

Long story (kind of) short, our landlord said YES, however reluctantly, to our plea to adopt her and we brought her home the next day. I actually got the final yes from my landlord while having a vegan Twitter meet-up with some new blogger friends. You can check out their blogs Lifestyles of the Chic & Vegan, Vegan Good Things and brazil nut. We all simultaneously had a wonderful, joyful freak out. I was pretty worked up from all the suspense, so it was great to have their support. Thanks ladies!!

Stella and her Grand-dogger

We were told that she was abandoned. It baffles me that anyone could do that to a family member. As if she was a handbag or something. From what we can tell, she was probably forced to be a mommy more than she would have liked, and from the length of her nails and some scarring in her ears from untreated infections, there was definitely some mistreatment. That being said, she is love. Love, love, love.

She is such a fantastic addition to the family. We absolutely adore her, and it feels like she’s been part of our clan for so much longer than just a week. She’s great with other dogs, kids, and even the occasional unicycle.

PLAY with me!

….Just another example of why people looking to get a dog or cat should ADOPT! There are so many incredible, sweet animals looking for homes.

Cheers to Stella!

BATDOG!








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