Monday, November 23, 2009

how is there a countdown to a countdown??

I definitely wanted to get a review-post up about austin before thanksgiving, because I know (hopefully) I'll have tons to share about that!

Anywayy, about a month or so ago I went to Austin, Texas with my fantabulous boyfriend and aside from the warm, beautiful weather (except for the last rainy day..) the super cute town atmosphere, and the fun/interesting street of bars and was aweeeeesome for vegans! quite perfect, i must say :)

Thinking of texas, one wouln't exactly imagine a vegan friendly place admist the hamburger loving cowboys it would be known for. was quite the opposite, at least in Austin anyway.

Within walking distance of where we were staying, was the biggest Whole Foods I've definitely ever been to. Aside from the huge salad and hot food bars that are in most Whole Foods, they have a ton of different food stations to get food to go from as well - including a sushi bar, mexican food, "american" food with grilled sandwiches, and a bunch others. it was quite overwhelming, and seemed impossible to actually make a decision on what to eat!

Although there were so many choices and it was hard to pick, I'm definitely not complaining..choices are always nice ;) just hard when youre only there for a short time! After wandering around the aisles, we found yet another station near the produce..the all vegan and mostly raw food! definitely found my pick...

Just this station though had SO many options that all sounded great! I've never had spiralized veggie pasta before, and they had that in a bunch of different vegetables with a few sauce options, so I decided on that.

This is what inspired me to ask for a spiralizer for Christmas (wink wink, mother!). was a mix of beets, carrots, and zucchini all spiralized to pasta-shaped with a pad thai sauce on top. They also had an alfredo and a marinara sauce as well..which I'd love to try.

I was torn between the pasta and the taco salad they had, which had cashew sour cream, seitan on top, and guacamole. Luckily, Jason got it so I got to try a bit anyway :) It was definitely really good..and the sour cream was much better than some vegan sour creams I've had before..

Honestly, I could've spent all the days we were there in just the Whole Foods...but I suppose theres more to Austin than a grocery store :)

While wandering down Guadalupe Street, we went to this cutesy little toy store which had some of the most random stuff in it. But next door I spotted a sign (I always have my vegan-radar on) that said vegan soft serve. Uh...yeah?

How cute is the dancing vegan softserve??

Knowing we were about to go to dinner somewhat soon after this, we decided to split something instead. I definitely had to try something! We shared a Butter Finger Milkshake which was awesome! I've heard of the vegan butterfinger pieces, but I've never tried them..they were great in the shake though, I'm sure they'd be great to bake with sometime..

Soo dessert before dinner, but that's okay ;)

Since I have quite the obsession with New Harmony in philly, the a-mazing all vegan chinese place, I was suuuper excited to hear that there was a vegan chinese place in Austin as well!

Veggie Heaven! Indeed it was. It was pretty small and crowded inside, with not much of an attentive wait-staff, but the food definitely was awesome.

We started off with spring rolls -- his fried, mine steamed. I'm pretty sure this was the first steamed spring roll I've had, and as much as I like the crispy-ness of the fried ones, the steamed was quite good!

I had ordered the Lucky 7, after much debate, which was 7 fried tofu balls made of celery, carrots, chestnut, vegetable protein, and breadcrumbs are cooked with broccoli, baby bok choy, cauliflower, carrots, napa cabbage, onion and garlic in a slightly sweet and spicy red sauce The "balls" tasted more like a type of falafel, but were reallyyy tasty, especially with the sauce.

Not gonna lie, I don't really remember the specific name for what Jason got..but it was pretty much the same sauce I had with veggies, and fried strips of tofu instead of the balls that I had. They were both really good, although the sauce did have a bit of a spicy kick to it! As did many of the things we had while we were in texas haha...

Austin was definitely an awesome place..and I'd looove to go back sometime, since there was so much there that I loved, and I'm sure tons that I didn't get to see that would be great :) I guess it does kick the stereotype a tad bit, doesn't it? :)

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

can you tell me which flowers gonna go?

so it's been a month..and between my computer not working, my camera breaking and then getting a new one but losing the's been a tough one to blog ;)
i've definitely been having some awessssome vegan eats though, so no worries on that one.

a couple of weekends ago the roomie and i went down to baltimore for a concert. oh, but not just any concert.. we saw Hanson with HelloGoodbye.
Quite a show, I must say. My inner 12-year old hanson fan was just bursting out of me and I was quite pumped for them!

While we were in Baltimore, we looked up a vegan place (which btw...emilys gone pescitarian, soo AWESOME for her! :) )
we found there was a "soul food" type place in the city..which we love the Nile Cafe in philly which is kind of vegan soul food, so this place sounded good. It's called The Yabba Pot and i was definitely amazed by how delicious their food was! You know this girl loves her veg soul food ;)

The Yabba Pot was a very hole in the wall place but the inside of it was decorated beauuutifully!

I loved the decor for the seating area, the tables and chairs were all so unique and cute. and the huge gorgeous butterfly on the ceiling was definitely something to look at :)

Where you ordered your food, they offered some wraps and sandwiches, but once emily and I saw the hot food buffet and saw that you could get 6 different things for a sampler, we were sold. We do love our food all together..and we wanted to try everything, so this was perrrfect for us. They also have a lot of juices that you could get, which we did not, but i've heard they are quite good and refreshing!

Our sampler plate. We chose to get one with the 6 different things on it to split, wanting to save room to try their desserts! Over brown rice, we got a raw kale salad, a black bean saucey dish, a chickpea curry, a collard greens and cabbage dish, seasoned mushrooms and tomatoes, and the most AMAZING tasteing "chicken" i've ever had. honestly, i tried to cut it..and thought I hit a bone so I was a bit freaked out at first, only to find it was on a toothpick (silly me) but the chicken was SOO delicious, i'd definitely get an order of that again.

Everything was awesome, and it was a perfect amount to split between the two of us, and still want some dessert.
Unfortunately though, all they had on the dessert front was a pumpkin pie..which neither of us are too fond of (i know, i know, everyone loves pumpkin..except for this chica) but we did venture to the awesome Whole Foods in baltimore and split a peice of raw strawberry shortcake. No picture available, but trust was deeelish. :)

Also! I finally got to try the PB&J Larabar
Bloggers were not wrong..this bar is AWESOME. I'm not a huge fan of larabars, some flavors I like, and some I don't..but this one is definitely a keeper!

And for the hanson concert?
Let's just say it was prettttttty awesome!

Me and Zach Hanson..;) you know you have mmmbop on your itunes, don't even pretend..haha.

Also when I was home on sunday my mother made me a deliish dinner that I must share. It's not often..ever..that I get dinners from my mom soo this was quite exciting since usually mine are quick meals the roomie and I make up in about 10 minutes. :)

Butternut Squash Chili! And mannn this was tasty. the squash and the beans were quite delicious in it :) thanks mom!

As for the recipe, because I definitely recommend making this soon! especially with butternut squash in fullll bloom right about now..

Butternut Squash Chili:
2 T olive oil
1 medium butternut squash, peeled and cut into 1/2″ cubes
1 medium onion, chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 red bell pepper, chopped
1 Tblsp mild chili powder
1 1/4 tsp ground cumin
2 tsp oregano
1/8 tsp chipotle chili powder or cayenne pepper to taste (for spice)
1 15-oz. can diced tomatoes
1/2 cup water
1 15-oz. can kidney beans
salt and pepper to taste

Peel and chop squash and set aside. In a large soup pot, heat oil over medium-high heat. Sautee onion and bell pepper until soft – about 5 minutes. Add garlic and sautee 2 minutes more.

Add seasonings and stir well to coat. Add tomatoes (and their juice), water, squash, salt and pepper to taste, Cover and reduce to a simmer. Cook 20 minutes.

Add beans and adjust seasonings, if necessary. Cover and cook until squash is tender, but not disintegrating – about 30-40 minutes.

Have a good week! Soooon I'll be posting about the how AWESOME austin texas is for vegans..oh it was wonderful!