Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Zest Kitchen & Bar, Salt Lake City #2

After I had such a great experience at Zest this past year, I had to come back for more. So, on my way out of Salt Lake City, the night before my flight would take me away from all of the beautiful mountains, me and my friend stopped by for a final dinner.

On this particular Saturday night, there was a DJ, dancing, and hook-ups going on. We had just finished five hours of driving after a full day of jumping and were exhausted. We definitely didn't expect the liveliness we witnessed here! We were seated right next to the dance floor so we got quite the show.

I started with a berry lavender lemonade, which was really refreshing.

Zest is a vegetarian restaurant and most items are or can be made vegan. We ordered the Baked Mushrooms as our appetizer, which were baked mushrooms stuffed with cashew cheese and served with pesto and red pepper coulis. These had a beautiful presentation, but when we tried them, they lacked some flavor. Just one more ingredient would probably give it the oomph it needed.

For my entree, I got the Shakahari Curry Eggplant and, man, was this dish loaded with flavor. I've never tasted anything like it in my life. The eggplant was battered and covered with pepitas and baked and served with fennel curry potatoes and a cucumber mint lime salad. It was so filling that I couldn't finish it and that's saying a lot! I liked it, but it was a bit overwhelming with the different flavors.

My friend ordered a more subtle Stuffed Avocado Salad. He loved it. Made with romaine, seasoned walnuts, pico, cashew sour cream, and cilantro lime vinaigrette, it had just the right balance of flavors.

All in all, we were both pleased with our meals. I think Zest does a really good job with serving unique vegan meals in a low-light, romantic, yet casual setting. It's still one of my favorite places in Salt Lake City.

Previous review
August 3, 2016

Zest Kitchen & Bar
275 S. 200 W.
Salt Lake City, UT 84101
(801) 433-0589

Zest Kitchen & Bar Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Tuesday, June 6, 2017

Peace Tree, Moab, UT

As one of the few restaurants in Moab that bases its business on organic food, Peace Tree Juice Cafe has been on my hit list for a while. In a brown lodge-like building is a large organic restaurant that caters to individuals with all kinds of dietary preferences including gluten free and dairy free.

This will be a very short review and isn't representative of them because I just grabbed one item to go. We stopped by around 10 a.m. hoping to grab a lunch we could stick in the cooler to eat while BASE jumping. Unfortunately, the only item they could make at that time that was grab and go was the basic Hummus Wrap.  Well, we'll take it.

When we finally tried it, it was very basic. Just spring mix, cucumbers, tomatoes, sprouts, and artichokes with hummus on a spinach tortilla. I had expected something a little more exciting and felt disappointed by the dish. Especially for $10. It did come with a salad, but still.

So, more to come on Peace Tree next time I am in the area. I'll definitely try it again because there's some cool stuff on the menu.

Peace Tree Juice Cafe
20 South Main Street
Moab, UT 84532

Peace Tree Juice Cafe Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Thursday, June 1, 2017

Shire City Herbals - Fire Cider

The benefits of drinking apple cider vinegar are not largely debated as study after study has proven its health benefits. Shire City Herbals has taken this healthy vinegar and combined it with other good-for-you stuff to make a delicious tonic called Fire Cider!

As a vinegar-based tonic, it'll cause your mouth to pucker. So, just one tablespoon per day should do it for you. The original one has honey in it, but now the Unsweetened version is 100% vegan. Made with oranges, lemons, onions, ginger, horseradish, garlic, turmeric, and habanero pepper, there isn't one ingredient in the bottle that isn't super good for you.

I love the way it tastes--you get the pucker when you first drink it with the slight burn down the back of your throat once it goes down. It's delicious!

They say that apple cider vinegar can kill many types of bacteria, lower blood sugar levels, lower cholesterol, and may have protective effects against cancer.

This tonic is not cheap at $15 per 8-ounce bottle, but with all these good-for-you certified organic ingredients, it seems like a good investment. Fire Cider, you left me on fire!

Full Disclosure: Although the product was provided to me for free to review, that in no way influenced my veracious opinion.

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Sesame Kingdom - Mediterranean Spreads

Spreads! So many ways to use spreads and so many spreads out there. But, I don't think I've ever bought a spread made mostly of sesame seeds. Sesame Kingdom is a new company that is providing super delicious, healthy spreads made with sesame seeds as the foundation. None of us are new to tahini--that amazing sesame seed-based spread that we love to eat with our falafel, but have you ever had flavored spreads with sesame seeds? I hadn't, that is, until now.

Sesame Kingdom sent me three of their five flavors to try. Instead of incorporating them into salads or spreading them on pancakes or French toast, which sounded delicious, I wanted to eat them on some crusty French bread to get the full flavor.

The one that is the purest sesame flavor is the Mighty Date. Made with just organic sesame seeds, date syrup, and spices, this one is made with tahini lovers in mind, but is thick so you can use it as a base for sandwiches or as a dip for crunchy veggies. It is very good.

The Carob Chocolate is simply sesame seeds, carob syrup, cocoa, extra virgin olive oil, and spices. This one would be delicious on strawberries, raspberries, or drizzled onto pancakes. It is a nice balance of the carob and cocoa and is not overly sweet, which I appreciate.

But, my favorite is the Beet with Za'atar mostly because it is different and has an unusual, but amazing flavor. Made with sesame seeds, dates, beets, extra virgin olive oil, and spices, this one has so much flavor that putting it on a plain baguette is perfect!

I love that all of their spreads are vegan, gluten-free, and made with mostly organic ingredients. Sesame seeds are a great source of copper and manganese and a good source of calcium, phosphorus, magnesium, iron, zinc, molybdenum, vitamin B1, selenium and dietary fiber. So, if you are seeking a healthy snack or spread, look no further. Sesame Kingdom sells the spreads directly on their website for $12.99 each. I'm hooked!

Full Disclosure: Although these products were provided to me for free to review, that in no way influenced my veracious opinion.

Thursday, May 18, 2017

Singha Thai Cuisine, Moab, UT

While in Moab, a friend of mine kept raving about a Thai restaurant and insisted we dine there. Singha Thai is located off the main street in an unassuming location. With just a simple red hanging sign and the word "Open" illuminated in the window, we walked in, hoping to grab a seat for dinner.

They weren't that busy, but asked us to wait a few minutes as they cleaned the tables. The small dining room had enough seating for at least 11 parties of four.  In a simple dining room with dark wood tables and pictures of Thailand on the walls, we took our seats.

The server was very helpful in identifying the vegan dishes, of which there were a lot. We started with spring rolls made with veggies. They were pretty simple and the peanut sauce was runny, so I wasn't so impressed.

For my meal, I ordered the Ka Prow (sans fish sauce) and I must say that this dish impressed me. I order the same thing at most Thai restaurants so I have many years of data and this dish was exquisitely made. Loaded with green beans, red peppers, fresh basil, and some of the best fried tofu I've ever had, I was very pleased with my dish. I loved the option for brown rice as well.

Out of all the places I've eaten in Moab, this one will certainly be remembered as one of my favorites. It's an unassuming place with really good entrees, a nice atmosphere, and great service.

Singha Thai
92 E Center Street
Moab, UT 84532
(435) 259-0039

Singha Thai Cuisine Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Cast Iron Black Bean Loaf

It was a chilly evening, so I rooted through my newest cookbook to see what kind of hearty dish I could find when I stumbled across the Cast-Iron Black Bean Loaf. This ridiculously filling dish comes to us from Easy Vegan Breakfasts & Lunches by Maya Sozer.  Loaded with quinoa, black beans, veggies, and topped with a ketchup sauce, it's like the meatloaf your mother didn't know how to make. Makes a great main dish with a side of roasted broccolini.

Cast-Iron Black Bean Loaf
Serves 3-4

  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1-2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 carrot, chopped
  • 1 stalk celery, sliced
  • 2 Tbsp tamari
  • 2 Tbsp tomato paste
  • 1/2 tsp dried thyme
  • 1 Tbsp arrowroot starch or cornstarch
  • 1 cup cooked quinoa
  • 1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
Ingredients for Sauce
  • 1/4 cup ketchup
  • 2 Tbsp pure maple syrup or agave nectar
Preheat the oven to 350-degrees. Heat the oil in a cast-iron pan over medium heat and add the onion. Cook, stirring, for 5 minutes. Add all the rest of the ingredients, except the sauce ingredients, and cook, stirring, for another minute. Transfer to the oven and bake for 30 minutes. Mix together the sauce ingredients in a small bowl and spread over the black bean loaf. Bake for another 30 minutes. Serve warm.

Thursday, May 11, 2017

Moab Brewery, Moab, UT

Heading to Moab to jump off the mesas made for one anxious Angela. Luckily, my friends were ready to keep me in check and the first place we headed was Moab Brewery. Thinking I'd just have a drink and hopefully an appetizer, I was pleasantly surprised to find this place to be very vegan friendly!

This restaurant is huge! And when we arrived, it was overflowing with people. Luckily, we were able to snag a couple of seats at a table with friends who had already been seated. Score! I ordered a glass of wine and hung out with my friends. I know it is weird to order wine at a brewery, but it was what I was in the mood for, so there.

This place was loud and fun and a great place to go with friends. When it came time to order, I went with a simple Vegetarian Chili, which is vegan as-is.  When it arrived, I was not prepared for a huge bowl of beans and very little veggies! The description stated, "thick and chunky, made with lots of veggies," but, lo and behold, this was a bowl of beans!  It was good, but I definitely had upset bean tummy later on.

Later that week, we decided to grab some carryout from that place too. My friend called and ordered the Veggie Burrito without cheese, rice, or sour cream. But, when we got back to the hotel room, it had cheese in it. That did not make me happy. The guy who served us pushed our new order to the front of the line and had a vegan burrito ready when we arrived again. He was very apologetic so I was very forgiving. This one was good - made with broccoli, spinach, mushrooms, artichoke hearts, tomatoes, bell peppers, corn, walnuts, and pineapple in a flour tortilla with chili on the side. Definitely filling, if nothing else.

Other items that are or can be made vegan are hummus plate, black bean soup, assorted salads, hummus wrap, and veggie wrap. The veggie burger is not vegan.

My burrito was $9 and chili was $5 -- super cheap. The service was as good as I think it could have been given how slammed they always are. And the atmosphere is just fun! It's a great place to go with friends to hang out and have a great time!

Moab Brewery
686 South Main Street
Moab, UT 84532
(435) 259-6333

Moab Brewery Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato