Category Archives: Food Review

storefront

Indeblue

205 South 13th Street Philadelphia, PA 19107
website | facebook | google+ | instagram | twitter

UPDATE: Indeblue is no longer located in Collingswood NJ. This review is based mostly off of that location. The main differences will be store (clearly that photo is not correct for the Philly location), there is a liquor license in the Philly location, and some of the menu items might have changed.

I’ve been a long fan of Indeblue. I remember visiting it with Jon and his father when it was starting out in it’s first small location, which is just across the street from their current location in Collingswood. I went with my husband and my Father-in-Law, my Father-in-Law just went nuts with ordering. I’d be looking at the menu and say I was thinking about ordering the soup, and BAM he would just order the soup for us to try without me deciding if I really wanted it or not. I don’t think I actually had a vegan dinner, as it was years ago before I was fully vegan. Since then they’ve moved to a much bigger building and had expanded their menu. They also have a location in Center City Philadelphia, but I haven’t visited it. Why would I? It is much easier to go to the one in Collingswood. So how vegan is it now?

logo

Very vegan friendly. They might not have a massive selection of vegan options, but there is enough that if you go in you will have some choices. We went during a Sunday for their brunch and we were pleasantly surprised. If you want to drink for brunch, prepare before hand. Collingswood is a dry town, so you need to bring your own booze. This can save you some big bucks on the overall menu. Most places in the town are prepared to make cocktails for you if you bring your own drinks. They have a bloody mary that was to die for. I loved it so much that I had to make my own at home. The only downside is that there is a lot spices in there and the drink is really thick. I didn’t know at the time that worcestershire sauce is used in bloody marys, so if you are interested, make sure you ask. You can buy it by the glass or pitcher. If the bloody marys do use worcestershire sauce, you can get orange and mango juice that you can mix with some vegan champagne.

bloodymary

What I really like about IndeBlue is that all their vegan options are labeled easily along with gluten free options. Some of them overlap. They even list things that are easily made vegan so you can just state “make it vegan” when ordering, you know instead of saying “instead of no cheese and mayo can I….” Once you look at the menu you then realise you have tons of options to pick from. I know Jon and I had a hard time picking what we wanted when we got there.

chickpeas

I got the chole bhature made vegan, pictured above. I was so hungry that I didn’t ask what made it non-vegan. The end results was super yummy, but very spicy. There is a big puffy piece of bread that I spooned the chickpeas onto. The chickpeas were in a curry sauce made from tomatoes and a pomegranate juice, balancing the spicy, sweet, and sour flavors into a delicious brunch. This was super filling, and I actually took some home to eat later.

My husband got the uttapam, pictured below. Uttapam is a lentil pancake, that comes with two different chutneys to dip into. My husband loved the savory pancakes, and appreciated having some protein in a normally carb heavy breakfast food. in fact he was a little too stuffed by the end of the brunch.

lentilpancakes

One thing I can say is that the menu can vary greatly between the Philadelphia location and the Collingswood location. A lot of restaurants do this because the cities have different markets, and it also keeps things a little interesting between the two places. It does also appear that the Philadelphia location does have a liquor license so they have a few cocktails to choose from. If you go during dinner time there is an entire section of vegetarian dishes, make it easier to select your main dish. But if you go during lunch your vegans options are very limited unfortunately.

Personally I love the idea of an indian brunch. I am not a big brunch fan, and usually favor more lunch like options. So coming here is a great compromise. And as mentioned, the vegan options make it easy to pick because nothing is more annoying than having to ask the waiter a bucket full of questions.


img_0461

I don’t need to do much introducing for these snacks. Most vegans are excited about the new additions to the Ben & Jerry ice cream line. I remember when first going vegan I made exceptions for Ben & Jerry ice cream, eventually phasing them out. Although I am pretty happy with vegan ice cream, my favorite being almond dream gelato, nothing filled the void of Ben & Jerry’s. They’re always packed with nuts, chocolate chunks, and various swirls. Yes, there are some vegan ice cream flavors that have these components, but they are always so sparse. So when Ben & Jerry’s made the announcement that they would be making a dairy-free ice cream I was so excited, even more so when they said they released them in February!

But I tried not to get too excited. A lot of vegan treats debut on the west coast in the United States. The company also released a statement saying they are working on distribution, and that people might not see them in their grocery stores until spring. Well, I was a little shocked when I saw these bad boys sitting in the freezer section of my local Wegman’s. I without hesitation, bought all four flavors and tried them out. The price is expensive- $5 a pint. I guess that is only a dollar or 50 cents more than most vegan ice cream flavors, but I would love to get a cheaper version that has more than one flavor (I’m looking at your Trader Joe’s! I want more than just cherry chocolate chip please!) But the good news is that everyone is excited. The cashier said she was excited about the new Ben & Jerry’s dairy free ice cream, which put me in a good mood. Then I brought my friend Justine over to grab a few for herself, and a new cashier was saying how pumped she was for the new almond ice cream. I really hope that maybe this will let other ice cream companies figure out there is a market for soy, almond, and coconut based ice cream.

So what is the verdict? Well, my husband said that he could still tell it wasn’t real ice cream. But I think it is still fairly comparable to most ice cream bought in an supermarket. Although he said that, he definitely thinks this is his favorite vegan ice cream yet. I love that they are adding more calories to almond milk ice creams since most vegan ice cream brands tend to be diet friendly. Although I like those types of ice creams sometimes I want something properly decadent.

I am a little confused why Chunky Monkey is the popular favorite ice cream. The banana flavor is really good, and it has great nut and chocolate chunks. But I am a little clueless, can’t I just make nice cream and toss in nuts and chocolate chips? Okay I know that isn’t the same, but it is a whole lot cheaper. It was good but it was never my favorite Ben & Jerry’s flavor to begin with.

Chocolate Fudge Brownie was good, but I think my least favorite from the bunch. If this was the only vegan ice cream available I wouldn’t be complaining. The flavors are all there, but the texture isn’t the same as the other flavors. You need to let the ice cream sit for a while to thaw and soften up. If Ben & Jerry’s fix this problem, I would say it is my third favorite flavor.

So which was my husband’s favorite? Hands down the P.B. & Cookies. The ice cream is vanilla ice cream with oreo like cookie crumble and peanut butter swirl. The peanut butter flavor is really strong, which is good for any PB fans. At first I thought it was a weird mix, but then again I remember hearing so many people say that they like to put peanut butter on their oreos, so why not?

My personal favorite is the Coffee Caramel Fudge. I love the combination of coffee and caramel, but isn’t something I can do much now that I am vegan. Most caramel syrups in coffee shops aren’t vegan, so this ice cream really gives me my fix. The chocolate chunks make me think that they are chocolate covered coffee beans, but I know they aren’t. 

I was planning on posting this review earlier but I had a bad pint of Chocolate Fudge Brownie. The pint was filled fully, so I wrote to the company. And guess what? I got a letter back that wasn’t a stock answer. They explained what happened, and gave me a coupon for another ice cream. I am pretty excited about the great customer service. So clearly our favorites are Coffee Caramel Fudge and P.B. & Cookies. I know I will be using my free ice cream pint on the Coffee Caramel Fudge for myself.


storefront

Blackbird Pizzeria

507 s 6th St. Philadelphia, PA, 19147
website | facebook | instagram | twitter

Blackbird Pizzeria opened up my last year of college. I vaguely remember spending my last few months of my senior year hearing about an all vegan pizza place. As many vegans may know, people get things confused, maybe they meant all vegetarian or organic. I was in disbelief that there would be a vegan pizza place, especially considering that at the time vegan cheeses were pretty pathetic (and that wasn’t that long ago!) We heard a bunch of people say things like “I THINK it is on 6th between South and Pine….” and I would walk right by the place.

So fast forward to the future, I get my shit together and go full vegan. I heard all my friends who live in New Jersey talk about all the great vegan places in Philly. Clearly I missed my opportunity to try lots of fun new restaurants. But one place that got mentioned often was Blackbird. Then it hit me- it was the pizza place that refused to believe in! In my defense, people were right in which store it was, I was just scared. When I went the first time it all seemed so familiar, walking down 6th street staring at the store front, was it even open? Apparently. And it still is.

inside

Today Blackbird Pizzeria is an important part of Philadelphia’s vegan scene. The place is always busy, and has no frills. The place really punk, and my husband and I joked that it was filled with some stereotypical punks, vegans, and hipsters. But their customer base is really diverse with a large range of people coming in. Our most recent visit included a woman who came in with her 12 month (or less) baby, several single guys, a young couple, and large group of two families. The owner encouraged some of his workers to make vegan donuts, and started a business named Dottie’s Donuts who started by distributing donuts throughout Philly. They are now going to open a shop in West Philly, which I will be sure to review when it opens up. But for now I wrote what I thought of the donuts in my review of Grindcore House.

So what should you expect when you come? Well there is take out and tables to sit at. There isn’t anything glamorous about their set up. There is one bathroom, the sink is outside of it (which is brilliant!), you can even see how they set up their soda machine. The goal of the restaurant is just to provide awesome food, not create a specific atmosphere. It is an order and sit sort of place. They will bring your food out once you order, and usually as the food is ready so don’t be surprised if you get your single pizza slices before your wings.

pizzas

So what is available? They basically have pizzas, calzones, a few pan pizzas, hot sandwiches, a few cold wraps, salads, and seitan wings. They do have some sweet sold in the store and are kind-of done at random and on a first come, first served basis. You can pre-order desserts online. One of their popular desserts is the compost cup, where it looks like a plant is growing a cup full of dirt. I assume it is made with ground up oreos. I regrettably should of gotten on for the review. The soda selection is from Maine Root Sodas, they are all pure cane sugar based, fair trade, and made in the USA.

Before I talk about the specific foods, keep in mind restaurants change their menus all the time- at least good ones. “Really?” you might think, but it is true. It is a sign that owners are willing to improve recipes, and adapt to any changes in the public tastes. So if I post saying there is a certain type of pizza and it isn’t there when you go a year from now, don’t be too surprised. I know from reading old reviews of Blackbird there was a portobello mushroom melt, and it is nowhere to be found on their current menu.

cheesesteak

Since I knew I would be making a review of Blackbird I figured it was time to try something other than the pizza. I see that Blackbird always tries to win best veggie cheesesteak in Philly, in fact they won in 2014. Apparently they changed their recipe since that victory, but it still rocks. I never gotten a “real” cheesesteak before since I was never an all meat sandwich type of girl, but this is one you shouldn’t miss. The sandwich features seitan that was made on location and thinly sliced just like a traditional cheesesteak. There is a yummy cheesey sauce with some grilled veggies in a crispy grilled roll. It is heaven. I think next time we go my husband might want to get this sandwich instead.

Other hot sandwiches? There is a chicken parm, a fried chicken sandwich, and a cubano made with tofu. They have two cold wraps if that is more your style, but truthfully you can a vegan wrap almost anywhere. Can you get a hot crunchy vegan sandwich anywhere else? Not as common.

wings

If you are the sides type of person you have a few options. You have some non-traditional healthier vegan ones like a side of sauted kale, side salad, and chickpea salad. But you if you want traditional pizza food you can get some french fries, cheese fries, or seitan wings. The wings are super noteworthy because they are just amazing. There three different sauces to choose from- smoked habanero, root beer BBQ, or spicy sweet. I assume the smoked habanero is closest to a buffalo styled wing, but I like how they have other options to pick for people who are a little more heat sensitive.

Now I’ve had vegan wings from Good Karma, and yes they were tasty, but nothing compared to these. If you don’t believe me, they were ranked as top 10 wings in the United States by PETA. They were even trying wings from non-vegan restaurants. Blackbird takes their homemade seitan and makes them have enough surface area to get a nice crispy outside. When eating them you get the same crispy and meaty variety that you would get with real wings. We were feeling a little crazy and tried their root beer BBQ and it was fantastic. I’ve always wanted to try that southern sort of BBQ that uses soda to sweeten the sauce, and I wouldn’t surprised if they got really close to that.

pizza

So now let’s talk pizza! This is what Jon and I normally get after walking 5+ miles to the art museum and back. These are honestly my favorite pizzas in Philadelphia, vegan or otherwise. I remember really missing pizza during my college days and part of the problem was that I didn’t order out often and I had high standards to live up to. The dough at Blackbird is crisp on the bottom and chewy in all the right ways. Not too much daiya (which I find most pizza places sprinkle WAY too much on) and excellent toppings. These are the various pizza’s I’ve tried, and I have yet to be disappointed.

  • Balboa PizzaRoasted cherry tomato, seitan sausage, baby arugula, pumpkin seed pesto, tofu ricotta, chili flakes, olive oil
    This one is my personal favorite. It is more like an artisan pizza with the arugula, ricotta, and cherry tomatoes. It all works perfectly with each other.
  • Brunchbird PizzaTofu scramble, crispy coconut bacon, sauteed spinach, garlic butter, daiya cheese
    This is the pizza that gave me the idea to put tofurky deli slices on pizza. This is a joy to eat, and you can order this any time of the week or day (I’ve heard some places make them weekend exclusive)
  • Haymaker PizzaSeitan sausage, red onions, garlic butter, tomato sauce, daiya cheese, fresh oregano
    This is the pizza pictured above. My husband loves the seitan sausages. This is a great pizza for anyone who use to love a typical meat lovers pizza.
  • Funghi PizzaAssorted exotic mushrooms, fresh thyme, truffle oil, garlic butter, mozzarella style daiya cheese
    I love mushrooms, so I really like this pizza. So creamy and the mushrooms were tender. I particularly like how they switch up the mushroom selection and don’t use canned mushroom. Yuck.
  • Marinara Pan PizzaTomato sauce, roasted cherry tomato, fresh oregano, sliced garlic, olive oil
    I still have a soft spot for a tomato pie. Apparently it is a New Jersey speciality, and I’ve grown to like it since I can’t do the whole cheese thing. This definitely will fit that bill if you are craving some good old tomato sauce.
  • Nacho PizzaAvocado, caramelized onions, Jalape├▒o peppers, tomato sauce, cheddar style daiya cheese
    I am still unsure how I feel about hot avocados. This was really awesome but truthfully I think I would just ask for no avocado, or have it subbed with something else

img_7669

If you haven’t already guessed, I love coffee. I love liquid snacks. I mean pretty much all these vegan snack attacks have just morphed into posts about coffee, liquids, and chocolate. Okay, well, I will do a spoiler and say I will be posting a review on the new Ben & Jerry’s vegan ice creams, but for now I have this coffee. What makes this drink so special is that it is nitro infused. Being the shameless hipster that I am, I am go ape shit for nitro. If I am at a brewery and they have something nitro infused on tap- I get it. I’ve heard about how some places are playing around with nitro infused coffee, and I so desperately want to find a place that serves it- which there are, I just need to get my butt to one.

But until the day I get my shit together in Philly I have this- Stumptown Cold Brew Nito Infused Coffee. I found this can at Whole Foods, which makes it easy for people across the USA to get a hold of. If you aren’t aware of Stumptown as a brand, well, it is probably because it does have a little bit of a hipster niche. Their website mostly features a sparse set up that is uber trendy. They have 12 oz of beans for $18 and tons of overpriced gift sets. They have a handful coffee shops scattered across the USA, but mostly located on the west coast.

img_7670

img_7672

I am not usually the type to encourage overpriced items that appeal to people by creating exclusive products, BUT IT’S NITRO INFUSED! I couldn’t get myself to drink coffee in a can, so I poured it into a glass. There was a beautiful head on coffee, and it lasted for a good amount of time. The bubbles definitely added some great body and some flavor as well. The whole thing made me think of espresso stouts, which makes this drink a great beer substitute if you are coffee stout fan. I really enjoyed this drink, which really makes me excited to try out a nitro infused coffee in a coffee shop.

Downsides? Hands down, the price. Whole foods is selling this coffee for about $5 and I am not sure why. Let’s put it this way, I’ve bought 4 or 6 pack beers that are nitro infused for $10 or maybe $15. So what is making this coffee $5 a can? It doesn’t add up. Sure maybe there is something special. Maybe the coffee plants have people message their leaves? Maybe there is something super duper special about keeping the nitrogen in the coffee compared to beer? I don’t know.

122815-o

I probably won’t be buying this coffee again, mostly because of the price. Seeing some of the coffee shops in Philadelphia, their freshly tapped nitro coffees are cheaper than this can. If I lived in a small town and couldn’t ever get my hands on something else, maybe I would think about buying it again. Also keep in mind that some coffee shops use the nitro infusion to make lattes with dairy milk, so keep that in mind and make sure you ask before buying.

img_7724

So how about you guys? Anyone heard about nitro infused coffee? Or have tried it?


01

If there is some sort of marketing that I get suckered into, it would be trying new drinks. It started in grade school when my friends and I would go to the local Krauszer’s and picking any cool labels or oddly shaped bottles. I mostly remember Snapple’s element drinks and the whipper snapple drinks. Yes, Snapple sure knew how to take my  money. But now that I am older I am less interested in sugary drinks, and more about healthy drinks. So now I try out all the new naturally sugary drinks that are at Whole Foods. Okay not all drinks are sugary, but most are sweetened in one way or another (including stevia) Lately I’ve been noticing bottles of maple water, and after my awful hangover, I decided why not? I was getting sick of normal water anyways.

02

So you are probably like me and wonder what the heck maple water is? It is pretty much the most raw state that you can buy maple tree sap. We all know maple syrup, but it has been boiled down to a thicker, sugary, and more flavorful state. Since the drink is pasteurized but not boiled down, it has much less sugar than maple syrup but has a similar nutritional profile. There is one company selling raw maple water, which I find perplexing since I thought most maple sap would ferment with some alcohol with a few days.

A lot of companies are selling maple water in the same vain as coconut water- full of electrolytes but with less sugar and calories. Less calories yes, coconut water has about 46 calories per cup and maple water has about 25. Maple water has about 5 grams of sugar per cup, while coconut water has 6 grams. After looking at all the different brands, it seems the nutritional values vary, usually having about 1-2% calcium, 30-40% manganese, 1% potassium, and 50 different phytonutrients.

03

The drink is surprisingly watery- totally clear. It tastes pretty much if I put a small drop of maple syrup in my water and stirred it around. It is a little weird, as I am expecting there to be more body to the drink. I think it would be pretty refreshing after a workout, more so than just water since it does have a little bit of sugar in it. And using maple water instead of plain water in a protein shake would be pretty awesome as well, adding a hint of maple to the mix.

Naturally I am a little wary. None of the companies are REALLY saying what is in maple water. It doesn’t seem like it has a long list of vitamins in it, and there aren’t many studies on the drink. So most of the health claims seemed to be pulled out of their asses. Is the drink good for you? Better than sodas and sweet teas, sure. It is a nice way to mix it up when you get bored guzzling water, but unless you really enjoy the flavor, I wouldn’t say to force it down your throat.

04

But what IS rad about this drink is that they are almost all tapped in the United States. That means if you are replacing all your coconut water with maple water, you are avoiding shipping tons of liquids overseas, leaving a lighter carbon footprint. The method is great for the environment as well, one that has been used for many years (remember it is the same stuff as maple syrup.) If you are in Europe, there is apparently companies that make birch water, which seems to be very similar nutritionally. 


both

The other day I was at Whole Foods looking for some Eggnog, they were all out. I was a little crabby because that was pretty much why I went there. So I handle it the way I always do, grab a fancy as fuck drink. I love liquids, something about slurping up a liquid really makes my tummy happy. I also am a sucker for trying out new flavors and companies. I happen to notice a matcha latte, grabbed it and went to the register.

121415-o

It has been awhile since I’ve had a matcha latte since it is something I kind-of have to make at home. There aren’t many vegan matcha latte, which then prompted me to flip to read the ingredients- NOT VEGAN. I do that often when I am hungry, as it happened with Califia’s Protein Drinks (which are now vegan). Luckily it was only honey in the matcha latte, which isn’t the worst considering I still have some mixed feeling about honey consumption (I try to avoid it, but my husband doesn’t so it kind-of sneaks into my diet from time to time.) I am pretty bummed since tea drinks love using honey, and it has been proven that it doesn’t have any special effect on your blood sugar levels short term.

BUT the drink itself was amazing. If you are a “plant based” vegan and will still eat honey, I would recommend this drink. There are tons of flavors going on, and the coconut wasn’t overpowering. I loved how much you could taste of the plants in it, and reminded me of the matcha spirulina shakes I have for breakfast. Well, that wasn’t too far off since there is spirulina in the drink as well.

both2

Since it was so good I went to the Rebbl website to see if all their drinks had honey. Turns out that they only put honey in their matcha latte and turmeric golden-milk. I noticed they had some maca drinks which I haven’t had any maca in a while, and boy do I love it. I am haven’t had it in a while since of the insane prices that happened last year. So I was irresponsible and ran back to the store after work and grabbed whatever they had- maca mocha.

mocha

Let me say this is super amazing. I think I will be poor because I want to drink this all day. There is no coffee or cocoa (or not much cocoa) in the drink, which I think gives it such a great flavor. They use chicory root, which is known in the USA in the south to be mixed with coffee during rations. Carob has a reputation of being crappy fake chocolate, but I like its richer flavor, especially with savory flavors.

I am really liking these drinks and the company seems pretty awesome as well. They seem to trying and make sure all food is fair trade, and they donate 2% of the sales to Not For Sale. I hope I will be able to try their maca cold brew, reishi chocolate, and ashwagandha chai. I am bummed about the use of honey in their matcha latte and turmeric golden-milk since I liked the matcha, and the turmeric drink looks pretty tasty. I really hope they change the recipe at some point, but for now I’ll stick with that maca mocha.

*NOTE* After writing the rough draft I went to Whole Foods AGAIN and found the reishi chocolate. It was awesome as well, and pretty much satisfied any chocolate milk cravings. The drink was super decadent and would probably taste great if it was gently heated to make a hot chocolate. Although it was super awesome, it was a dynamic in flavor as the matcha or maca mocha drinks.


brownie

Naturally Sweet Desserts

Philadelphia/Cherry Hill Area
website | facebook | twitter

I love it when I randomly find new local businesses, which is why I kind-of like the new “Hatchery” in Whole Foods. They bring smaller businesses out into the front for people to see. Truthfully, I love the idea of farmer markets, but I never go to them. Why? Well, I don’t like getting out and about after work hours and I am usually tied up on Saturdays with my CSA. So I think the Hatchery is able to hit a wider range of people, or catch the attention of people who are waiting in line (which was myself today).

I was looking for Follow Your Heart Ranch Dressing, I didn’t find it. A little bummed I went to pay for the few items I had and saw the word “vegan” at the hatchery stand. Oh yeah? What’s going on here? A small bakery was set up with some cupcakes, brownies, and little pies. Naturally Sweet Desserts is a small bakery that is starting up. You can find them at various events, farmer markets, and they have a delivery service.

brownie2

So what is special about HER business? Well, it reminds me a little of Sweet Freedom, lots of natural ingredients and not too sweet, but Naturally Sweet isn’t as “free” of allergens as Sweet Freedom. For example, I ended up getting the PB brownie which has peanuts and wheat. But the ingredients list is fairly short- whole wheat flour, cocoa, peanut butter, avocado, hemp milk, turbinado sugar, coconut yogurt, applesauce, spices, and flax seed.

How was it? Super fudgy and yummy. I personally love a fudgey brownie. It is also super filling. I could only eat half of a brownie at first. My only complaint is that it had a little bit of a bite. I am thinking maybe she had a little too much ginger in the mix? But if I walked by her stand in a market I would totally grab something again. I paid $4 for this brownie, and seeing the ingredients list, I have no problem with that. If you want an even better deal you can buy a dozen from her website for $29.50, saving you $18.50.

brownie3

The downside is that this is a small business that is starting up. So you can’t just walk into a store and buy one brownie. As mentioned she has been going to farmer markets, and looks like delivering to a few other sources (like a CSA). You can go to their website to see which events they will be at, and their facebook page as well. But when talking to the owner today, I saw that she was mostly planning on doing a delivery service for at least the winter season (I don’t know if she will be going to farmer markets again in the summer). You can go to their website and send an email (on the contacts page) and ask about their delivery service, and she will add you to her mailing list. She will send out emails each week for people to reply with orders.

It sounded like she was making deliveries in the Philadelphia and Cherry Hill area, so email her to get specifics. I personally don’t eat sweets that much and will make baked goods for myself when need be. I hope the best to Naturally Sweet Desserts, and like a said, if they ever open a permeant location or start doing farmer markets again, I will be there.


storefront

Beyond Sushi

229 E. 14th St (Between 2nd & 3rd Ave), New York, NY 10003
75 9th Ave (Between 15th & 16th St) New York, NY 10011
62 W 56th St (Between 5th & 6th Ave) New York, NY 10019
website | facebook | google+ | instagram | twitter | youtube

You may of read in one of my posts that I had a surprise concert in September. I got a call from my Father in Law asking if I was free, he bought tickets to see a concert but his wife was sick. He said he would invite my husband, but he knew that he had a particularly bad work week (apparently he didn’t get home that night until 9!) So we rushed plans, caught a train into New York City, and I looked for some vegan grub for us to get. I found out the venue was really close to Beyond Sushi. I’ve heard of Beyond Sushi from an instagram post by Terry Hope Romero– and yeah I dug deep in the instagram archive to share that image with you.

092515-o

First sorry for the photos, we were kind of rushing. I am not sure why. I knew it would be awhile for the band to start, but there is still that hardwired feeling to get to the venue when the doors open. Plus I didn’t want to carry an expensive camera to a show or look like weirdo with my Father in Law… though I doubt he would of cared. So you get poorly lit iPhone photos! Oh well. We decided to kind-of share our sushi and get two different combos (combo number 2, two rolls, and two a la cart/individual pieces for $14.25) We got the following rolls:

  • Might Mushroom: Six-grain rice – Enoki – Tofu – Shiitake – Micro arugula; Sauce: Shiitake Teriyaki
  • Green Machine: Six-grain rice – English cucumber – Asparagus – Basil marinated veggies; Sauce: Jalapen├Á Wasabi 
  • Spicy Mang: Black rice – Avocado – Mango – English cucumber – Spicy veggies; Sauce: Toasted Cayenne
  • Pickle Me: Six-grain rice – Gobo – Carrot Pickled daikon – Avocado; Sauce: Carrot Ginger 
  • Individual Pieces: Baked Tofu, Carrot, Enoki, and Seaweed

The store also provides some other non-sushi options. They will make some rice paper wraps, ranging from about $6 to $10. There are also hand rolls, side salads, side soups, and meal salads. There were also desserts and juices that looked like they might of been made at a different site. I didn’t get a good look at the company that makes them, but I assume it is another vegan shop located in New York City.

longrows

Combo number 2 was pretty filling, and I would probably get again. My FIL (father in law) didn’t quite eat all of his plate, like maybe two pieces too many. I found the seaweed and baked tofu individual pieces pretty awesome, the tofu being really firm and the seaweed perfectly spiced. My FIL seemed happy with his enoki mushroom and carrot choices. His favorite overall was the Green Machine, which had nice crunchy veggies inside, and a mildly spicy topping. My favorite was the Mighty Mushroom which had lots of umami flavors and made me think of eel rolls that I use to love to eat. The spicy mang packed a nice punch, making it most comparable to spicy tuna rolls. And the pickle me was yummy, but truthfully the most unoriginal for vegans, since pickled daikon rolls are common place vegan option in sushi bars. It was still good, but if you aren’t from the area, you might want to try the other rolls first.

I definitely would like to take my husband here next time we go into New York City. The place is awesome but truthfully not the most relaxing spot. We went to the Union Square location (229 E. 14th St) and it was a hole in the wall, as many of the stores are on that block. There aren’t many seats, and some seasoned New Yorkers might be a little rude and take up extra space to prevent you from sharing a table (though I am sure they would just move their shit if you ask if you could sit down). I would suggest coming during off hours to grab a seat, or ordering take out, which sushi holds up well for that. 


Sadly when I got back from my trip to Frederick, I caught a stomach bug. I am not sure where I got it from. I think MAYBE eating leftover food that might of been sitting in my car too long, or maybe I just drank way too much during the wedding. Who knows. Needless to say my Aunt Flo is visiting too so you know, that makes everything so much more disgusting. Oh but wait! I am done talking about gross stuff! I swear!

Okay scratch that whole first paragraph, and lets just say I need more calories and probiotics (I lost 6lbs of water weight at the height of the sickness) so I bought a whole bunch of live culture yogurts at my supermarket. I know there are more out there, but these are what were available. I think it is worth noting I am not a huge yogurt fan. I think part of the bias is that cups (everything is number 5 plastics, which is hard to recycle) and the prices. None of these yogurts were less than $1 a piece, making it is a pricey snack food. But this review is also to give you a chance to compare some prices, nutritional info, and descriptions on one page.

I also want to note that since I did this review when I wasn’t feeling good, I am just using stock images from the manufacturer websites. So sorry for the lack of creativity. Whomp whomp.

coco-yogurt-raspberry

So Delicious Cultured Coconut Milk Yogurt

Calories per cup: 130-150
Sugar: Plain 8g, Flavors 16-24g
Size: 5.3/16 oz
Protein: 0-2g
Price: $2.09 (Wegman’s)

This yogurt was on par with Kite Hill with it’s creamy and smooth textures. It is also awesome because it does come in larger 16oz containers for baking and cooking. They also have a huge range of a yogurt flavors to choose from. Downsides? LOTS OF SUGAR! Sure there is an unsweetened version that has only 1 gram of sugar in it, but how many of you will be eating plain unsweetened yogurt? Not many. I happened to eat the one with the most sugar, raspberry. It was pretty good, but a little too sweet for my preference.

SB-large

Silk Soy Yogurt

Calories per cup: 140
Sugar: 14-17g
Size: 5.3 oz
Protein: 6g
Price: $1.69 (Wegman’s)

I find it a little funny that Silk is introducing their “new” yogurt, since I remember it being around for awhile. Clearly it is a new recipe which I think is better than what I remembered. The old being slightly chalky (maybe, it has been a few years). I tried to strawberry which somehow has the lowest sugar content (who knew) and it was tasty. It has small chunks of strawberries. My biggest issue is the unique packaging, which is a pain to find space for in a full fridge. It also has a little more preservatives in it than the other brands. Flavors are a little limited and they don’t come in any bigger sizes at the moment making it hard to buy in bulk.

carousel-peach-yogurt

Kite Hill Almond Yogurt

Calories per cup: 160-200
Sugar: Plain 5g, Flavors 15g
Size: 5.3 oz
Protein: 6g
Price: $2 (I think)
Availability: Whole Foods

I think I can say this is my favorite yogurt from the bunch. This yogurt is insanely rich and smooth, and thought it could sit by itself as a dessert, rather than a breakfast food. I think the company upped their almond to water ratio to give a large amount of protein (most almond milk yogurts have about 1-2g protein) and such smooth rich texture. I would have to say comparing prices, I would say this is the winner. At first I thought $2 was a lot but not when compared to what I paid for the other yogurts, it isn’t much more. A big plus is that there is a PLAIN yogurt! This is sometimes hard to find, and is good for cooking/baking. This probably has the smallest selection of flavors to choose from and only comes in the small cups right now. That stinks but I don’t think I would eat them in any other context out of a small snack, so I am not worried about buying this yogurt in bulk.

Nancy's soy image

Nancy’s Cultured Soy Yogurt

Calories per cup: 120-170
Sugar: 10-23g
Size: 6, 24, 32oz
Protein: 5g
Price: $1.69 (Wegman’s)

The sugar might come off as crazy high, but most stay in the low teen ranges. The sugar count spikes up in the mango yogurt, so I am guessing a good portion is from natural sugars. I also like how many of their flavors come in the larger containers. Like plain comes in three sizes, and more than half of the flavors can come in 24oz. Which saves money and plastic. Oh and the containers have lids! Even the small ones! I am actually washing the one I bought and probably will reuse it for crafts, like saving mixed paint. But let’s talk flavor- it is weird. I actually kind-of like it better than the other yogurts, but I am accutely aware it ain’t yogurt flavor. What Nancy’s does to the yogurt is blend of probiotics, ones that you find in normal yogurts and amazake, a fermented rice drink. The result is a gritty yogurt, that has a deeper flavor. The best way I can describe it is like comparing a fruit wine made in the West, and drinking it next to a fruit wine from East Asia. Personally I like the addition of grains, but I can see why a lot of people would hate it.

The Result?

I personally liked the Nancy’s Yogurt the best, but like I said before, I am not a yogurt fan. I liked the complex flavor, cutting down on the sugar and fruity flavoring. But I did enjoy Kite Hill a lot. When I did eat yogurt I tended to like baby yogurt the best, which seems weird, but it was because baby yogurt had full fat milk, making it richer. I think Kite Hill is more on par with that. So if you like yogurt I would suggest picking up Kite Hill over everything else.


Fullscreen capture 9292015 120617 PM

So I am trying something new- doing a Vegan MOFO offseason that was set up with Jennifer from My Blissful Journey. I think sometimes it is good to have set prompts, because sometimes it helps focus all your thoughts. Which the first sort of “assignment” is Pick 3. There are a few prompts, one which is the pick products that you WISH there there was vegan equivalent to. Which kind-of ended up being things that I wanted but found out there are SOME vegan versions. Weird right? I mean what I wish would exist are actually very weird to begin with. If someone would ask me what I miss on a vegan diet, it would sound disgusting, chicken stock, oysters stouts, and raw eggs. So it sometimes seems weird that that people actually have made vegan versions.

Screen Shot 2015-10-08 at 9.31.47 AM

Fake Squid

Yeah, call me weird, but I really love squid. It was always the food I got when eating out because my husband didn’t like it. I even loved the fermented stuff, and I would just eat a small amount on the side of my rice. There was just something about that rubbery texture. I always thought it would be something that would never get a vegan equivalent since not many people like squid, it is considered a cheap seafood. But I shouldn’t of doubted the Asian vegan community. I googled “vegan squid” and found May Wah’s Vegetarian Market. They pretty much have any faux meat you can think of, including squid. There is a market in Philadelphia that sells their products, so I will probably make a trip this Monday to see if I can get some. 

Watch video!

Vegan Egg Yolk

Okay so these exist, I just need to try it. I love egg yolks, and I know most people find that gross. I love cracking a yolk in a big bibimbap, or having it whisked into a drink. YES- I like to drink raw egg yolks in cocktails and phosphates. I know there are a few vegan yolk recipes out there, but I am interested in trying out specifically The Vegg’s, since it is a formula made specifically to taste like egg yolk. It looks like they only sell this stuff in NYC, so I might ask or nudge my sister to pick up some for me for Christmas.

pepperoni

Vegan Pepperoni

I know you are thinking, but Jen, there ARE vegan pepperoni out there! And you’d be right. But I haven’t found one that I found to be accurate. But then again I haven’t tried much. I’ve had Yves Meatless Pepperoni, and it tastes, well like salami to me. Not enough salt, umami, and not even greasy. Maybe that’s the problem? Everyone is afraid to make it truthful and oily. Of coarse, I could try making my own, but there are two other major brands I can try- Tofurky and Smart Deli. I have some high hopes for these guys, so I guess I should just bite the bullet and buy them.

Yup, so that is my kind-of gross list of things I wish were vegan and found out that there are recipes for! XD What about you guys, are you excited about these things? Or am I just a little crazy?