Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Sneak preview

Although my birthday is still 19 days away, Jason surprised me with a birthday night just two days ago that was an absolute amazing experience.

Since moving to Philadelphia for college back in 2006, I loved having options of vegan friendly restaurants in the city. One of my favorite spots was Horizons on South Street. This was upscale, not an everyday type of restaurant - but the food was so delicious that I wish I could afford to eat there for every meal. However, it made an excellent special occasion restaurant that I looked forward to each time I went. After Horizons closed in 2011, the owners opened up Vedge which still held the high standards of food that Horizons did, but now in a smaller, tapas-style dinner.

Vedge is one of my favorite restaurants, and we still typically go there on special occasions (birthdays, anniversary, around valentines day, randomly if we're in the city to grab a drink and dessert, etc.). I was VERY excited when I found out that they were opening a new street food style restaurant called V-Street. I kept checking out updates on their facebook and twitter and around the vegan internet rumor boards about the different types of food they may be serving in their new restaurant. I could not wait!!

Jason told me this past Friday that we'd be going to an exclusive tasting preview of V-Street. I was SO excited! I kept thinking of what they may make and looking forward to the event. It did NOT disappoint and only makes me even more excited for the restaurant to finally open (which should be in October 2014!).



We started out with a delicious sake based cocktail that Kate made. It was very fresh and a great way to start the meal.









Our first course was the Banh Mi Chopped Salad. This included tofu, green chile, cucumber, daikon, bean sprouts, and shredded greens topped with a delicious creamy cilantro sriracha dressing all on top of a piece of grilled baquette. Definitely an amazing starter salad!




Our next course was the Funky Kimchee Stew. This was a delicious kimchee stew with charred broccoli and fried rice. Not expecting to be blown away by a soup/stew when it comes to street food - but this was absolutely amazing and I'd order it in a heartbeat!


Our third course was something I had to google prior to eating it. We saw the menu as we sat down and saw the word "Langosh". Both of us not knowing what that was - thanks to Google explaining that it was a type of Hungarian flatbread, we were excited for this course to come around! This was a langosh with creamy sauerkraut dill dip and smoked beets. I believe the beets were the only item I did not eat that night. I have utmost confidence that Rich & Kate know how to cook vegetables to make anyone like them, however I have quite the aversion to beets. The dish did not disappoint around them though! 


Our final course was a delicious grilled carrot. Not just any carrot though. This course was described as Choripan - whole roasted carrot with black beans and chimichurri. Although we were definitely getting full by this point, this dish was still extremely exceptional and ended the meal on a very high point. They stated that this will typically be served sandwich-style - so I'll be interested to see how that is when V-Street does open.




No meal is complete without dessert - and Kate is AMAZING at desserts so I was very excited to try her  concoction! As full as we were, she had us drooling as she put together this intricate and beautiful dessert. This was called the "Halo-Halo" and was comprised of  sweet potato ice cream, blackberry sorbet, and fruit salad topped with coconut whipped cream. This was the best way to end the night on  a sweet note.

Attending this evening's sneak preview of V-Street was such a great experience and really built the anticipation of the restaurant to open in October.

And of course, as good as this meal was - you know I will be at Vedge on my actual birthday coming up. :)

V-Street
126 19th Street
Philadelphia, PA
Expected opening: October 2014

Vedge
1221 Locust Street
Philadelphia, PA



Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Did I mention the drive thru?

Sometimes I get so wrapped up in trying new vegan friendly places in the city or in other towns, that I forget to stop and appreciate all that I have right around me. Moving to Limerick, we are close to a few towns that have lots of great vegan friendly options. One that I have had my eye on for a while was the French Quarter Bistro in Royersford, PA. I had read online that it was very vegan friendly, but had yet to go. I finally got to try it a few weeks ago, and I will definitely be back to try other options they had!



Although we went on a Friday evening, there weren't too many other guests there around 7:00. By the time we left though, there were a few other tables starting to fill up. The ambiance is nice and dimly lit. It's nice it's right on Main street in Royersford, but parking was a bit tough on the street. Luckily, they also offer parking in the back of the building, which we plan on using next time.




I was super excited when I spotted the Vegetarian/Vegan section of the menu. I knew they had options, but I thought I would have to ask what they were or try to make something off the regular menu vegan friendly. Not quite! Too many options (is there such thing as too many?). I was excited to see how such an expansive vegan menu would be.



Above, we started with the Korean "Steak" Tacos. These were awesome and I would have happily have ordered the entire thing as my entree. The steak was delicious and the seasoning/rub was perfect. I was also excited to have vegan cheese on the taco to add a nice touch.


For my entree, I wanted to try another one of their "meats" to see how it was to know for next time. I chose the Grilled "Chicken" and Apple salad. This was a great dinner salad. Many times I choose not to try a salad my first time at place, but this made a perfect entree. The apples were deliciously crisp, the chicken was a great seitan, and the almonds added a nice touch.

Safe to say, we will definitely be paying French Quarter Bistro another visit for their awesome vegan-friendly menu! Bonus - I've seen them listed on Restaurant.com with a coupon in the past - so that is a great way to try it!

French Quarter Bistro
215 Main Street
Royersford, PA 19468

Monday, June 30, 2014

saturday morning jumped out of bed

 After seeing a post about Relished Food (now switched to Home Chef) on The Preppy Vegan, I was interested to see what types of vegan meals they offered on their site. I somehow got on their email list as well, and although I did not order any of the meals - they looked really good and was helpful for some inspiration.

I saw a few weeks ago one of their meals featured grilled polenta, and since we've been using our new BBQ - I thought this would be a great way to test out a new grilled option. I added my own spin on the meal since I wasn't sure what exactly they used for theirs anyway, and this was an easy and delicious Friday night dinner.




Grilled Polenta and Zucchini with Toasted Pine Nut Bruschetta (serves 2):
1/2 tube of polenta (You could make this home-made by using cornmeal and water, but this was easier)
1 zucchini
2 tsp minced garlic
2 plum tomatoes
1/4 cup pine nuts
1/2 cup basil, chopped
1- 2 tsp balsamic vinegar
1/4 t salt & 1/4 t pepper to taste

Prep the grill or preheat a pan on medium high heat. Start by slicing the polenta into slices. Then slice your zucchini into similar sized slices. Lay the zucchini slices out and sprinkle with salt & pepper to taste and 1 tsp of the minced garlic evenly on each slice. Place on the grill or in a saute pan to cook.This could also be done on a baking sheet in the oven at 350 degrees.
To make the bruschetta, start by toasting the pine nuts in a small frying pan. This will only take a few moments, so keep a close eye on them to prevent burning. Chop the tomatoes and basil. In a bowl, add the tomatoes, basil, toasted pine nuts, vinegar, and salt and pepper. 
When the polenta and zucchini are done (browned polenta and tender zucchini), remove from heat. Lay slices on each plate and top with bruschetta mix. Top with extra chopped basil.




Enjoy!

Friday, June 20, 2014

Say yes, say yes, cause I need to know




{Enjoying my hometown beach last weekend in OC MD}



{My favorite summer fruit! I might have an addiction..}


{Our garden that we tested out....can't wait for some veggies to start popping up!}


{Kovy being his cute self in the lawn. He loves having a yard now}


{Easy weeknight meal of leftover Summer veggie soup - with fresh red peppers, cauliflower, and green beans}


Have a fantastic weekend!


Monday, June 16, 2014

Everything is different the second time around

The official start of Summer is coming up next week - but the 90 degree weather today during a run definitely made it feel like summer!

It also was nice to do a quick beach trip this past weekend to make it feel even more like summer vacation. Although being in the "real world" doesn't give a 3 month vacation anymore (how much longer until I am a teacher?!) - warm weekend trips throughout help savor the fun times that go along with summer.

Going to BBQs and potlucks is a key component of summer and it's fun to bring food and try what others make. I've been vegan for almost 7 years now, so I'm quite familiar and used to bringing my own food and either being surprised that vegan options are available or making sure I love what I bring knowing that may be my only option. These two dishes that I made a couple weekends ago for a get together - a salad and dessert - are sure to please any type of crowd for a summer bbq.


Who can resist Peanut Butter Blondies topped with chocolate chips? Seriously - if you know who, then please tell me. Although, I suppose those with nut allergies or who do not like chocolate (do those people exist?!).

These were made with the recipe from Vegan Cookies Invade Your Cookie Jar cookbook. I've made them once before for a 4th of July bbq, and knew they are a no-fail recipe!
I then added some fun and topped with chocolate chips prior to baking.
You can find the recipe on the PPK website - Peanut Butter Blondies





Quinoa salads are the perfect pot luck food. They don't go bad if they are left out for a while and the flavors seem to get even better the longer they sit. Plus, quinoa is so delicious and is great for any gluten-free friends!

Pineapple-Edamame Quinoa Salad:

1 cup dried quinoa
2 cups water
1 red bell pepper, seeded and diced
3/4 cup chopped scallions
3/4 cup chopped cilantro
3/4 cup chopped pineapple chunks
2/3 cup edamame
1/3 cup toasted cashews
2 tablespoons of red wine vinegar
1 teaspoon garlic powder
salt and pepper to taste

Prepare the quinoa first - In a sauce pan, bring the quinoa and water to a boil. One boiling, turn down the heat to low and cover and cook for 15 minutes. Let stand covered for 5 additional minutes, and then fluff with a fork. Set aside, in the fridge preferably to chill.
In a large mixing bowl,  mix the pineapple, red pepper, scallions, and cilantro. Add the vinegar, 1 T water, garlic powder, and salt and pepper and mix. Add the quinoa, then the edamame and toasted cashews. Stir until everything is well incorporated. Taste for seasoning.

Enjoy your summer BBQs! And don't forget to bring a veggie burger :)