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.

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Vacation Recap

5 05 2010

First off, thank you to my man, Robbie, for the beautiful post…now get on it
more often. Turns out, a real camera (and a good photographer…thanks again Robbie) makes a huge difference, so after this post and going forth, I promise to lose the crappy phone camera shots as much a\s possible and deliver better pictures.

Last week, Robbie and I went to the Pacific Northwest. We basically flew into Seattle, then went to Orcas Island in the Puget Sounds, hung in Seattle, hiked a little Mt. Rainier, drove down to Portland, went to Willamette Valley wine country, then made our way up to Multnomah Falls, back to Settle then flew out. We packed our itinerary rather tight, but somehow we didn’t feel rushed.

We really got to see what we wanted to see (except a longer hike would have been great at Rainier), but for a week, I couldn’t have been happier with our trip. What a beautiful country we have…

So, I must highlight a few specific vegan foodie moments that were particularly memorable. First of all, Portland is a vegan HEAVEN. Everybody knows what the terms vegan means, and even the BIGMENLOVEMEAT hot dog truck guy had vegan hotdogs. Dude…it was crazy.

Our first WOW meal was at Portobello, an all vegan Italian-ish spot in Portland. What is awesome about them, besides the kick-ass food, is that they are really into organic, local produce and supporting local farmers. And, they make their seitan in house, which us in NYC know is a rarity. Side note: Sacred Chow does make their own- Kudos! Back to Portobello, though. We had the Pate, which was actually from Field Roast. It was served with an amazing baguette. You can’t get the Field Roast pate in retail, so if you are ever in Portland, eat it at Portobello.

Next, we had the Portobello Steak, with fleur de sel, olive oil whipped yukons and asparagus. The mushroom was perfectly cooked, as was the asparagus and the amazing creamy mashed potatoes. We also shared the Potato Gnocchi with rapini, fennel and cauliflower vellutata. The sauce on these buggers was plate-licking-worthy. It was so exciting to be able to visit a place with dished like this gnocchi, which is something usually seemingly vegan friendly but often containing eggs, or any number of non-vegan sauce ingredients.

We drank a beautiful bottle of Bunny Rouge from Hip Chicks Do Wine. It was such a beautiful, fruit-forward, well-loved wine. And it was local, baby!

For breakfast the next morning, we hit up Voodoo Doughnut. Robbie got the classic Voodoo style, filled with yummy, jammy blood. I barely remember what doughnuts taste like, but to me, it brought me right back to elementary school birthday parties. Robbie said it was spot on as well, and I trust his perspective on such matters. Regardless, they tasted awesome…

For lunch, we hit up Sweetpea. They have some killer lunch sandwiches, and we had one with some Field Roast, seitan, veg pepperoni,  pickled jalapenos, and other goodies. It was pretty awesome.

After a great lunch at Sweetpea, we hit up the rest of the vegan strip mall. YES- really. Next to Sweetpea is Herbivore, where I got an awesome zip-up hoodie and some fun buttons. Then, we went next door to ¬†Food Fight grocery, an all vegan grocery store that I have been aching to visit for years. In case you were wondering, they’re open: EVERY F’ING DAY from 10-8PM (their signage says so!). I finally was able to try and buy Teese for the first time, as well as find a vegan jello mix! Rainbow cake on the way! The Teese is pretty rocking by the way. I love my Daiya (which is apparently pronounced day-ah…I don’t know how to feel about that), but Teese is easier to melt on things like nachos without drying out.

We also made the mandatory visit to Powell’s books. I thought you might be amused by this sign. Check out the “VEGAN” notation on the sign. Veg books took up most of the right aisle- it was a pretty beautiful sight.

Overall, it was an incredible trip. Not just the food, and the wine (oh..the wine…we brought 10 bottles home), but the country out there is really beautiful. And the folks there appreciate the land. They work with nature, not on it. This was made very clear while we were in Willamette Valley, talking one on one with the vinters. They respect the land and what it gives us. They nurture it and treat it as the living, fragile Earth that it is. The commitment to organic/natural/biodynamic farming that is prevalent out West is inspiring.

We’ll definitely be back.

When we got home, it was 30 degrees warmer, and time to take out the picnic basket for its inaugural trip. We had a wonderful picnic in Fort Greene park, with our Field Roast loot (the PATE, baby- and other things..mwahaha)…if you visit the factory in Seattle, you may just get as lucky as we did.

Cheers!