Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Chana Masala

This classic Indian dish, Chana Masala, is packed with spice! Be sure that whomever you are serving this to is a lover of Indian spice and, if so, they'll love this. And you'll love it too because the rice takes longer to make than the dish itself. In just a few minutes, you'll have a dish fit for a dinner party. Yet another great recipe from Easy Vegan Breakfasts & Lunches by Maya Sozer.

Chana Masala
Serves 2-3

  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 medium onion
  • 1/2 cup tomato puree
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 Tbsp grated fresh ginger
  • 1 Tbsp ground cumin
  • 1 Tbsp garam masala
  • 2 tsp ground coriander
  • 1 tsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1 tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 tsp dry mustard
  • 1 tsp fine-grain sea salt
  • 1/2 tsp ground turmeric
  • 1/2 tsp chili powder
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1 Tbsp chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 15-ounce can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
To serve
  • Cooked basmati rice
  • Chopped fresh cilantro
Heat the olive oil in a saucepan over medium heat. Add the onion and cook until the onion starts changing color, about 5 minutes. Add the tomato puree and garlic and stir a few times. Add the rest of the ingredients, except the bay leaf and chickpeas. Continue to cook, stirring, for 2 more minutes. Enjoy while hot. Serve with rice and garnish with cilantro, if desired.

Thursday, September 14, 2017

Love Muffin Cafe, Moab, UT #2

After jumping off cliffs all morning, we were hankering for something hearty. Since we had gotten up at 5 a.m. to jump at sunset and it was still morning, we headed to one of the most popular breakfast spots in town--Love Muffin Cafe.

Love Muffin is always busy. With its colorful graffiti art and blackboard menus, it has a lively and bustling atmosphere.

Me and my friend ordered the heartiest thing on the menu that could be made vegan--the Huevos Rancheros (hold the eggs and cheddar). A pile of home fries topped with a corn tortilla, fried tofu and black beans, slathered in a red chile sauce--this meal looked much better than it tasted. The sauce was really plain and not very flavorful. We dumped a bunch of hot sauce on top and called it a day, but it didn't make the meal any better.

And for $9, we expected a little bit more. To top it off, they charged me $6 for one kombucha, which is just highway robbery. This visit left a bad taste in my mouth--literally and figuratively.

Previous review
September 17, 2015

Love Muffin Cafe
139 N Main Street
Moab, UT 84532
(435) 259-6833

Love Muffin Cafe Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Vertical Diner, Salt Lake City

I flew into Salt Lake City on my way to Moab, Utah and wanted to meet a friend for lunch. I looked for a new place and saw a vegan restaurant called Vertical Diner. Sooo....I thought I was going to a new place, but it turns out I was going to a place I'd already been to and didn't love. Vertical Diner turned out to be in the Sage's Cafe space and apparently Sage's moved down the street. But, both are owned by the same person.

Well since we were already here, why not give it a try?! What I don't love about this place is the stale atmosphere--I guess it's sort of a diner atmosphere, but feels very stale with its dark lighting, dark black cushioned seating and wooden tables.

I ordered the Tempeh Cubano, which had blackened, crunchy tempeh on seeded bread with pickled jalapeno, olives, capers, artichoke hearts, tomato, brown mustard, and melted "cheese." I loved it! The cheese was definitely nutritional yeast based and all the flavors meshed together so well. I didn't, however, love the mac and cheese. It had no flavor at all. So, that was a fail.

My friend ordered the Magical Wok sesame coconut curry with sauteed vegetables and toasted cashews. It was very good.

At $14 for the curry and $10 for the sandwich, this isn't the cheapest place to eat in SLC, but I must say we were impressed with our meals. The mac and cheese left a lot to be desired, but that sandwich and curry were great. I'm sure I'll be back again soon.

Vertical Diner
234 W 900 South
Salt Lake City, UT 84101
(801) 484-8378

Vertical Diner Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Friday, September 8, 2017

Tibits, Zurich, Switzerland

After having such a great brunch at Haus Hiltl earlier in the day, we thought we'd check out the other vegetarian buffet in Zurich. Tibits was opened with the help of the Hiltl family in 2000 and is now going strong with eight restaurants.

Similar to the Hiltl concept, there are many vegetarian and vegan dishes to choose from and they charge you by weight of your plate. There are about 40 items to choose from so much less than Hiltl, but still very good. I like how they also have the English translation on the other side of the card that describes each dish. And each dish is clearly labeled as vegan or not.

I went with some tabbouleh, samosas, gnocchi, artichoke salad, and chocolate mousse. Other items that looked scrumptious included the wakame salad, curries, and pasta dishes.

Overall, we felt like some dishes were better than others and that even though the prices seemed slightly less, the food was better at Hiltl. That said, it was still quite good. The gnocchi was absolutely amazing!

That ended my trip to Zurich -- just one short day, but great vegan food!

Falkenstrasse 12
8008 Zürich, Switzerland
+41 44 260 32 12

Tuesday, September 5, 2017

Haus Hiltl, Zurich, Switzerland

As rain blanketed the beautiful city of Lauterbrunnen on my last day there, we took that as an opportunity to head to Zurich a bit earlier than planned. It was my first time in the city of Zurich and I was excited to discover the shops and restaurants. Unfortunately, all I discovered is that most of the shops and restaurants in this city are closed on Sunday. Foiled again. But, one key restaurant was open, and that is Haus Hiltl, the world's oldest vegetarian restaurant. How lucky was I?

In 1898, a vegetarian restaurant was opened in Zurich and several years later a man named Ambrosius Hiltl took over as the manager. Today, it remains the oldest vegetarian restaurant and there is even a vegetarian butcher shop as well.

I went for the Sunday brunch. Not expecting much, I was completely blown away. I have never seen so much vegetarian and vegan food served at once. There was everything from seitan and mushrooms in wine and fried Indian fritters to quinoa patties and spinach ravioli. There were breakfast and lunch dishes, breads, trail mix, salad, desserts. You name it and it was there! And everything was clearly labeled as vegan or not.

It was very expensive as they weigh your plate and charge based on weight. I chose the spinach ravioli, quinoa cake, and chili mac among other things and it was delicious.

The atmosphere was casual with couches and hightop tables as well as more traditional seating. And it was packed. This place is extremely popular. If you are only in the city for one day, this restaurant is a must-visit!

Haus Hiltl
Sihlstrasse 28, 8001 Zürich, Switzerland

Thursday, August 31, 2017

Flavours, Lauterbrunnen, Switzerland

Last year, a new restaurant opened in Lauterbrunnen that had the city abuzz. I didn't try it because they weren't very vegan friendly last year. This year, however, was a different story! Flavours hired a new chef, Stefano, who cares deeply about good quality, fresh, healthy meals and makes vegan options available each day.

We ended up eating here several times because my friend personally knows Stefano, who is also a BASE jumper.

On my first visit, he made me a veggie burger that was out of this world. This chickpea burger was made with sweet potatoes, millet, onion, and roasted vegetables on a vegan brown bread with potatoes on the side baked with olive oil and herbs. Fantastic!

I also had fresh juice. There is no juice menu at the juice bar. You tell them what you want and they make it for you. I had grapefruit, ginger, apples, and peaches. So good.

On my next visit, I had a roasted vegetable sandwich made with squash, bell peppers, and tofu on a vegan foccacia. Again, fantastic!

This juice had pear, nectarine, apricots, and kiwi and was much better than the juice I got previously.

I finished it off with a vegan chocolate strawberry cake.

Lastly, I came back for breakfast and had the porridge with nuts, cinnamon, kiwi, strawberries, and apples. It was, by far, the best and healthiest breakfast I had had in two weeks!

And there was a coloring book so we put GoPro's on the flying dragon, of course.

All in all, a great experience. You may not get fast service because everything is made fresh and the prices are high as they are in Switzerland, but the food is the best in Lauterbrunnen, in my opinion! Highly recommended.

Fuhren, Lauterbrunnen 3822
+41 33 855 36 52

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Horner Pub, Lauterbrunnen, Switzerland #2

The Horner Pub is Lauterbrunnen's only pub so it attracts all the adventurers who come to the city who want a nice cold beer after a long day of hiking, paragliding, or BASE jumping. As one of the main BASE jumper hangouts in the city, I found myself here almost every day.

I had good memories of the Thai Curry from last year, so I ordered that as soon as I arrived in this city. Unfortunately, it was not how I remembered it. There was much more rice than last year and fewer vegetables. And it was just shredded carrots and edamame. It was a sad representation of curry and way overpriced.

On my next visit, I ordered the Barley Soup, which was really good. The fresh bread was great as well.

We also tried their chips and guacamole, which came with salsa and jalapenos. It was okay--better than nothing, but definitely not comparable to Whole Foods guacamole and chips.

On my last visit here, I ordered the Pesto Pasta, which I really didn't like last year. This year, however, the spaghetti had a lot of tasty pesto on it and I loved it! It's amazing how much meals can vary year over year!

Overall, I'd say that the service is very slow, the food is so-so, the restaurant is very relaxed and vegan-friendly, and the prices are high.  But, it's the only place to get a vegan dinner in this entire city so I'll be back. Plus, I love hanging out there and the environment is great...and that matters. :-)

Aaaand...sometimes you see a cow walking down the road. Randomness is fun.

Previous review
January 17, 2017

Horner Pub
Beim Pfrundhaus 417A
3822 Lauterbrunnen
+41 33 855 16 73