Wednesday, July 31, 2013

American Flatbread - Vegan Harvest Pizza

When American Flatbread first came out with their Vegan Harvest pizza, I ran to the store to get one. As with most frozen foods, I tend to buy them with the best of intentions, but I only eat them when necessary. So, the pizza sat in my refrigerator for like a year. Then, one night, Zach and I felt like having a pizza night. So, I reluctantly opened the box of frozen pizza and threw it in the oven.

Boy, were we pleasantly surprised. The crust is a light, crispy flatbread topped with Daiya vegan mozzarella shreds with a mix of delicious herbs including parsley. It was much better than the picture on the front of the box would have you think it is.

As for the ingredients, they are simple and mostly organic, that is, except for the Daiya vegan cheese. All that is on the crust is organic tomato sauce, Daiya, organic parsley, herbs, and salt! The crust is made of organically grown hard red wheat, good mountain water (not sure what this is), sea salt, and fresh yeast.  No preservatives or GMOs!  Simple and delicious.

Part of the reason it tastes so good is that it is cooked in a "primitive wood-fired earthen oven." I think this gives the crust its crunchiness.  And, I must give credit to the company for putting "vegan" on the front of the box. Major kudos to them. Next, on my list is to try their new vegan Sundried Tomato and Mushroom!

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

El Centro, DC - Happy Hour

Although I love happy hour, I more often find myself at yoga in the evening than I do at happy hour. When I do go to happy hour, I tend to frequent Masa 14 rather than anywhere else. But, this time I invited my friends to El Centro as I've noticed their rooftop happy hour has gotten really popular lately.

El Centro is a popular authentic Mexican restaurant that I've reviewed in the past. I said that the next time I returned, it would be for happy hour so I'm just keeping true to my promise. Perhaps we went on the wrong night though because when we showed up, there was a Goodwill fundraiser on the covered rooftop, which is where they hold the happy hour. Since there were five of us, we went downstairs to the main level and asked if we could enjoy the happy hour specials at one of the big 6-person tables instead. They told us we could not. They insisted that the happy hour was open for anyone even though the fundraiser was also going on upstairs. So, we went back upstairs at which point we found the Goodwill people giving a speech. We decided not to interrupt and instead spoke with the manager who was nice enough to allow us an exception to enjoy happy hour downstairs.

So we ordered off the happy hour menu. I had the $4 margaritas, which were wonderful.

At the same time, I ordered the spicy guacamole and chips. Well, for some reason our waitress thought we wanted to enjoy happy hour drink specials, but not the guacamole special so she brought us the full-sized $10 guacamole. Since we had never been there for happy hour before, we were none the wiser and we just enjoyed our guac thinking we got a great deal at only $6. Oh, and it was oh so spicy. They make the spicy one with habaneros so it is actually spicy!

I also ordered the Grilled Nopal tacos (2 for $6), which I assumed were mostly cactus, hence the name. Instead I found they were mostly corn (probably loaded with GMOs) and tomatoes with only a little bit of cactus in a corn tortilla. Disappointing. They didn't have much taste so I loaded them with some guacamole to give them some flavor.

When the bill came, we realized we had been served and billed for the regular $10 guacamole so we had to negotiate that down too. In the end, it seemed like a lot of hassle for a happy hour. I enjoyed the drinks and the guac, but not so much the atmosphere. Next time, I'll go next door to Masa 14 instead.

Previous review of El Centro - March 29, 2012

El Centro D.F.
1819 14th Street NW
Washington, DC 20009
(202) 328-3131

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Gold and Black Salad

I needed a quick, easy, no-cook salad to bring to a potluck I was going to this week and I found the perfect recipe for a Gold and Black Salad in Vegan Planet by Robin Robertson. It's a simple, healthy black bean salad that is sure to please the crowd.

Gold and Black Salad
Serves 4 to 6

  • 3 cups cooked or 2 15-ounce cans black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 2 cups fresh or frozen non-GMO corn kernels, cooked and cooled
  • 1 small yellow bell pepper, seeded and chopped
  • 2 shallots, minced
  • 2 T fresh lime juice
  • 1/4 tsp ground cumin
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/8 tsp cayenne
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 2 T minced fresh cilantro

In a large serving bowl, combine the beans, corn, and bell pepper. Set aside.  In a small bowl, combine the shallots, lime juice, cumin, salt, and cayenne. Whisk in the olive oil until blended. Then, pour the dressing over the salad and toss lightly to coat. Taste and adjust the seasonings. Sprinkle with the cilantro and serve at room temperature.

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Juice Joint Cafe, DC

For years, I've been patronizing Juice Joint Cafe in downtown DC. It is a low-key, fast casual restaurant that serves a variety of fresh juices, sandwiches, and entrees. I met a friend here for a quick lunch on a weekday and was surprised to see how much it had changed. I guess I hadn't eaten there in over a year and they had completely remodeled!  The biggest complaint used to be that there wasn't enough seating -- well, that isn't an issue any more. They put in ample seating and several cashiers so you can get in, pay, get your food quickly, and get out in no time. It is great.

In all of the years though, I had never ordered one of their fresh juices so I figured now was as good a time as any to try one. I went with the Applesnap, which was made of carrots, apples, and ginger. Because it was called "Applesnap," I was expecting it to be mostly apple, but instead, it was mostly carrot. Regardless, it was great. They also offer wheatgrass and ginger shots.

I ordered my usual Grandwich, which I have always loved. It is your typical hippie sandwich made with avocado, tomato, cucumber & sprouts served on a toasted multi-grain bread with Nayonaise & mustard.  I just love how fresh everything is there. The vegetables are always super fresh and there is something about that toasted bread that makes that sandwich zing.

The decor is very bright -- we're talking white and lime green walls. But, I think it works for this little cafe. Other vegan items on the menu include a hummus sandwich, hummus bagel, and veggie stir-fry. So, it's all pretty basic, but it is good, fresh food.

My only complaint is that they don't have the vegan items marked as such on the menus in the cafe though they do in their take-out menu. If they'd just add their little vegan symbol to the big menu, they'd be golden. So, all in all, the speed of the food preparation and prices are great. I'm sure it won't be another year before I visit again.

Juice Joint Cafe
1025 Vermont Ave NW
Washington, DC 20005
(202) 347-6783

Juice Joint Café on Urbanspoon

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Korean Stir Fry

I must admit that I've never made a Korean Stir Fry before. So, I can't guarantee that this is authentic. However, I did do a bunch of research beforehand so it should at least be on the right track.

This Korean Stir Fry was inspired by the sauce I got from Saffron Road. I was so excited to hear that they removed the modified corn starch from their sauces and started using non-GMO products instead and are now Non-GMO Project Verified. Yay! Perhaps they listened to my feedback?!  Okay, I won't take all the credit. But, regardless, this turned out great. You can really taste the sesame oil and Korean gochugarus peppers in this sauce as it coats the veggies and Gardein Beefless Tips.

This is a great, quick, easy dinner that is loaded with good-for-you veggies.

Korean Stir-Fry
Serves 5

  • 2 Tbsp sesame oil
  • 3 carrots, peeled and cut into matchsticks
  • 3/4 of a red pepper, sliced thinly
  • 3/4 package of Gardein Beefless Tips (about 18)
  • 15 shiitake mushrooms, sliced thinly
  • 3 scallions cut into 1.5-inch long pieces
  • 2.5-ounces spinach
  • 1 package Saffron Road Korean Stir Fry simmer sauce
  • 7-ounces of rice noodles, cooked according to the package

Heat a wok up to medium-high. If you don't have a wok, a skillet will do. Once hot, put the sesame oil, carrots, red pepper, and beefless tips and cook until seared, about 3 minutes, stirring regularly. Then add the mushrooms and scallions and cook for another minute and a half, stirring regularly. If the veggies stick to the wok, add splashes of water as needed. Add spinach and cook until wilted, about another minute and a half. Add the Saffron Road simmer sauce and stir. Add the noodles and stir. Cook, stirring constantly, to coat the noodles and heat everything up for 3 minutes. Enjoy!

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

Monday, July 22, 2013

Restaurant Explosion in the 14th St/U St Corridor, DC

You'd have to be living in a cave if you didn't know that the 14th Street area between N and W Streets was exploding with new construction of apartment and condo buildings as well as restaurants.  Every time I walk down the street, I see a new cafe and it all seems very overwhelming. There are so many new places, but who knows which ones are vegan-friendly?  Well, now I do.  I just spent the entire day walking up and down 14th Street and talking to owners, managers, and chefs at all of the new restaurants. I'd like to share with you what I learned.

As one might imagine, some restaurants are very vegan friendly while others are not. Some staff are friendly while others are not. Please note that I have not yet eaten at any of these restaurants, but based on the info below, you can bet I will soon. Please also note that changes to the menu to veganize items are listed in italics.

Most Vegan Friendly
Three restaurants/cafes really stuck out in my search as not only being the most vegan friendly, but having friendly chefs and/or staff that were happy to discuss the menu with me.

Let's start with Ghibellina (on 14th between Q & Corcoran), an Italian Gastro Pub. They offer the following:
  • Soups
    • Pappa Al Pomodoro - tomato and bread soup
    • Zuppa Di Ceci - chickpeas, rosemary, tomato, garlic rubbed crouton soup
  • Salad
    • Insalata Di Farro - farro, roasted beets, shaved fennel, hazelnuts, sherry vinegar, no ricotta
  • Sides
    • Patate Arrosto - roasted potatoes, rosemary, sage, black pepper (brunch/lunch only)
    •  Patate Lesse - boiled potatoes, olio verde, sea salt, no salsa verde
    • Fagiolini Sfiziosi - green and yellow wax beans, mint, lemon, croutons
    • Melanzane Arrosto - wood-roasted eggplant, cherry tomatoes, pine nuts, no ricotta
    • Peperoni E Fagioli Marinati - heirloom peppers, cannellini beans, parsley, no anchovy
  • Pasta
    • Pici Carrettiera - this usually is made with their housemade noodles containing eggs - instead ask for the spaghetti noodles, sauce is made with tomato, garlic, basil, parsley, and peperoncino; also ask them not to top it with cheese
  • Pizza
    • Marinara Pizza - this is vegan as is! Classic Italian pizza made with tomato, oregano, garlic, basil, olio verde (comes standard without cheese); and there are tons of vegan toppings you could add if you like including calabrian chilies
Please note that the Verdure Fritte (brunch/lunch only) is not vegan because it is made with buttermilk. Also, the Zucchine Al Forno is made with honey.

Next up is Mike Isabella's Kapnos (14th & W St), a Greek restaurant. I really feel torn about this place. While half the menu is vegan, there are full pigs roasting in the oven in full view when you enter the restaurant. They are visible from the main dining area, but if you sit to the left, you wouldn't see them. While that is incredibly offensive, the vegan options look great. Here is what they offer:
  • Spreads (served with flatbread)
    • Melitzanosalata - smoky eggplant, roasted peppers, walnuts, no feta
    • Kohlrabi crudite - lemon, sesame
    • Stone baked flatbread - garlic oil
  •  Cold Mezze
    •  Farm house vegetable salad - red wine vinaigrette, no feta
    • Spicy watermelon - urfa, rind, fennel granite
    • Charcoal roasted fennel - arugula, almonds, dates, tahini
    • Smoky beets - green peppercorn, citrus, no yogurt
    • Marinated olives - red chili, marcona almonds, no kefalograviera
  • Garden Mezze
    • Briam - roasted tomato, baby squash, purple eggplant, potato
    • Fava - yellow lentils, corn, spinach, pearl onions
    • Grilled asparagus - sundried tomato, lemon rind, no feta
    • Smoky hen of the woods mushroom - kohlrabi, oregano, no graviera
    • Braised cauliflower - tomato chickpeas, fenugreek 

Lastly, there is &pizza that opened in the former Quizno's space right outside of the U Street Metro. This is more of a quick eat/take out joint. Who knew they were so vegan friendly?  All of their doughs are vegan including traditional, whole wheat, and multigrain.  They offer toppings like mushrooms, tomatoes, roasted peppers, caramelized onions, spinach, broccolini, artichoke, and jalapenos. Then there are a bunch of finishes and oils that are vegan. And they have Daiya vegan mozzarella. Yay!

In my second tier, there are some vegan options, but not a lot.

Bar di Bari (14th & R St.) is a small European-style sidewalk cafe serving coffee, wine, salads, and bread. Their menu is limited, but there are several salads and sides that are vegan.

  • Green bean salad
  • Cucumber salad
  • Roasted beet and hazelnut salad
  • Herb roasted fingerling potatoes
  • Fruit salad
  • Baguette and foccacia breads

B Too is a Belgian Cafe on 14th Street between Rhode Island Avenue and N Street serving mainly mussel dishes. The Manager seemed very receptive to my inquiry and said she wants to add more gluten-free and vegan options. Right now, they just have a few.
  • For brunch, there is a Mushroom on Toast dish that they can make with basil oil instead of butter.
  • Slaatje in nen bokaal - vegetable herb salad, no egg
  • Salade van rode bietjes - red beet salad, mint, pistachio, green peas, no yogurt 
  • Healthy sandwich - vegetable sandwich, no egg
  • Fruit salad
In my last tier, there are hardly any vegan options or none at all.

Drafting Table (14th & Q) is a small cafe that offers four vegan options. During brunch, they have falafel and gazpacho. During dinner, they have falafel, fries, and a mixed pickle platter (without the dressing).

Le Diplomate (14th & Q) is the over-hyped French restaurant by restauranteur Stephen Starr. In a typical French way, they've given the middle finger to vegans. You can choose from four sides - just be sure to ask them to prepare them with oil instead of butter.

The host at Matchbox (14th & T) first told me maybe the black bean burger was vegan (it actually has egg), then after checking with someone, stated there was nothing vegan on their menu. I'm pretty sure some dishes could be modified to be vegan, but if they don't care to discuss that with me, then we shouldn't care to patronize their restaurant.

I called Etto (14th & Q) as they aren't open during the day and the woman who answered was not at all helpful. She wouldn't confirm that anything was vegan and told me to email her so she could respond later. She also advised me not to think of this restaurant as vegan-friendly as they use a lot of honey and eggs in their dishes.

I stopped by Taqueria Nacional, a new Mexican taco place on T Street. They have vegetarian beans, but not much else.

Next door, I found Bakehouse, a bakery. They offer a vegan cookie called "Luna's Vegan Cookie" made with chocolate, banana, and coconut. They said that a vegan ice cream sandwich would be coming soon.

Coming soon
In other news, there is still a lot that has not yet opened. Mike Isabella's G Sandwich Shop (14th & W) opens this Friday, July 26. On the opening day, all sandwiches will be free with donations going to charity. There will be a vegan cauliflower sandwich on the menu.  They also mentioned they'll be growing their own sprouts.

I stopped by Mcafe (14th & R). They said they'll be open in two weeks and have confirmed that they will have vegan and gluten free options.

Diego (14th & V), a Tex Mex restaurant, apparently will have some vegan options when they open.  And I know nothing about Ted's Bulletin, but they should also be opening soon.

So, there you have it -- the vegan scoop for the Logan Circle/U Street area. If you know of any other vegan options, please let me know in the comments below. Now, I can start planning my next restaurant visits.

Disclosure: menu items and methods of preparation change regularly. Please be sure to ask questions.

Friday, July 19, 2013

Pure Bar Company - New Products

Pure Organic bars have been around for years. So when I saw that they had some new products out at the food show, I was super excited. Pure is one of those great companies that uses all organic whole ingredients in products that are gluten-free, vegan, kosher, certified organic, and Non-GMO Project Verified.

My favorite of their new products was the Fruit Sandwich. It's like two different flavors of fruit leathers served as one -- a fruit sandwich! I loved both of the ones I tried and thought they were a great healthy snack. The flavors they sent were Strawberry & Banana, which had one thick layer of banana sandwiched in between two thin layers of strawberry; and Pineapple & Passionfruit. The ingredients really are pure. Take the Strawberry & Banana for example. The ingredients are apple puree concentrate, apple juice concentrate, banana puree, natural flavor, strawberry juice concentrate, vegetable juice, turmeric for color, citrus pectin, lemon juice concentrate, citric acid, and ascorbic acid. They were super sweet and would make a great dessert after your worktime lunch.

Next, I tried their new Fruit & Veggie Strips. Both strips that I tried, Strawberry Apple and Wildberry Apple, were much thicker than your average fruit leather and much more natural. I only wished they were bigger.

Lastly, I tried their new Ancient Grain bars. I love that these bars are made with whole grains like quinoa, amaranth, flax seed, and hemp seed, nuts, and brown rice protein. But, I found them to be very dry. The Chocolate Chunk Nut bar had a nice flavor with huge chunks of walnuts, almonds, and chocolate chips, but was super dry.

And I wasn't a big fan of the Triple Berry Nut Bar at all. I did like that they were only 160 calories and 9-10 grams of healthy fat though considering they are a good sized snack bar.

In sum, in general I'm a big fan of Pure products healthy organic snacks. I especially like their fruit sandwiches, which are a creative spin on fruit leathers and their fruit & veggie strips. To try them for yourself, click here.

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Zentan, DC

I've walked past Zentan every day on my way home from work for many years, but It wasn't until my mother came to visit DC and stayed in the hotel in which it is housed that I even considered dining there. And even then I didn't. So, finally I suggested to Zach that we meet there one night for dinner.

Zentan is a modern Asian restaurant located in a Kimpton Hotel at Thomas Circle on 14th Street in DC. Hong Kong-born consulting chef, Susur Lee, who has appeared on Top Chef Masters and Iron Chef America, helped to establish the menu while Jerry Zheng executes on the sushi side.

When we arrived on a Monday night, there were still plenty of tables open.  The dark, romantic dining room with big wooden tables and a candlelit chandelier contrasted nicely with the brighly lit sushi bar.

We started with drinks. I had the delightfully spicy Birds of a Feather made with Hangar One Buddha Hand vodka, chili, lemon, and ginger beer. It was crisp and spicy at the same time.

There were a few vegan items on the menu -- enough to satisfy us. After considering the Singapore Slaw, we decided against it and instead decided to start with edamame with five-spice salt and smoked sea salt. We also placed our orders for dinner as well.

The service left much to be desired as our waitress was slow and not very attentive. We were also pretty disappointed when our meals arrived before the appetizer.

That said, the rolls we ordered were delicious. We ordered the Buddhist Delight and Vegan rolls. Yes, one was actually called "vegan." Major points for that one. And it was the Vegan one we liked most. The Vegan roll had savory sweet potato and portobello mushrooms wrapped in yuba (tofu) skins topped with crispy taro root and dressed with an avocado dressing. It was absolutely perfect.

The Buddhist Delight also had tofu skins, but this time they were marinated and put inside the roll along with asparagus, then wrapped in rice, topped with spinach and dressed with a sesame miso dressing. It was also very good.

By the time the edamame finally arrived, we asked if we could just order another Buddhist Delight instead. Thankfully, our server obliged.

At the end of the meal, I had wished we had tried a few other items, but I suppose we could come back any time. They also have a stir-fried squash and tofu dish that sounded interesting.  Surprisingly, the meal wasn't really that expensive since we just got the rolls that were priced at $9 and $12 each.  I only wish the service had been better. I'd still come back here for the rolls though. There aren't a lot of places to get inventive vegan sushi rolls in this city and now this is yet another option.

1155 14th Street NW
Washington, DC 20005
(202) 379-4366

Zentan on Urbanspoon

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

PROBAR Core Bars

PROBAR recently sent me a package of their new Core protein bars and I immediately told them I wouldn't touch them. Why? Because they are loaded with soy and were not Non-GMO Project Verified at the time. So I held on to them for a few months and as soon as I got the message that they'd been Non-GMO Project Verified, I dug in.  So, to be clear -- yes, they are now Non-GMO Project Verified. Yay!

The PROBAR Core bars are loaded with 20 grams of soy-based protein, which can be a great complement to a solid workout routine. They boast that the ingredients are recognizable and I would say that most are. But, some really aren't.  Let's break down one of the bars -- the Peanut Butter Chocolate (my favorite!).  The ingredients are as follows: soy protein isolate, tapioca syrup, ground peanuts, agave syrup, dried cane syrup, glycerine, fractionated palm kernel oil, agave inulin, partially defatted peanut flour, omega blend (flaxseed, chia seed), tapioca starch, cocoa, soy protein concentrate, natural flavor, salt, soy lecithin, cocoa processed with alkali, unsweetened chocolate, gum arabic, rosemary extract, tocopherols added to protect flavor, citric acid, and ascorbic acid.

 I'm not going to evaluate every ingredient, but let's pick out a few. First, I have no problem with the soy protein despite all of the conflicting reports on health benefits. As a Food for Life instructor, our program's nutritional guidelines maintain that soy is generally beneficial based on empirical evidence. As far as the sweeteners - and there are a lot of them, but they are quite natural.

The ingredient that really gave me pause was the fractionated palm kernel oil. "Fractionated" does not sound natural. So I did a little research. Fractionating oil involves heating the oil, then cooling it quickly so that it breaks up into fractions (hence the name). The fractioned oil is then passed through a filtration process, during which it's separated into liquid palm olein and solid palm stearin components. Confusing, I know. The key thing is that the filtration process separates out most of the liquid part of the oil, leaving a high concentration of solid fat behind. Fractionated oil is great in preventing the chocolate coating on these bars from melting, but unfortunately it's not so kind to your waistline or health: "Palm kernel oil is about 80 percent saturated fat and leads to increased LDL (bad) cholesterol," says Christine Gerbstadt, M.D., R.D., a spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. So they advise to avoid both fractionated and regular palm kernel oil. Eh- not so good.

So besides that bad oil, I'm okay with the ingredients. And the flavor of the bars was quite good. The  Peanut Butter Chocolate was by far my favorite. It was like eating a peanut butter cup loaded with soy crisps. When you take a bite, you will notice a thin coating of chocolate, a thick layer of peanut butter, soy crisps, and then more chocolate. Yum!

I guess my second favorite was the Mint Chocolate, which is like a thin mint in a bar! This is the one that I felt tasted most like I was eating a candy bar. There were some really nice flavors that made it refreshing to eat.

The Brownie Crisp was good as well. It was just a LOT of chocolate. We're talking chocolate inside and out.

Lastly, there is a Cookie Dough flavor that is sort of like cookie dough.  It had the same texture as the others with chocolate and cookie dough-like flavoring.

The only other thing I will say about these bars are that they are high in calories at 280-290 calories per bar. That is good if you are using it as a meal replacement bar, but not as good if it is an in-between meal snack. The fat content is 9-11 grams as well. I found these bars to be particularly satisfying in that I didn't want to snack for hours after eating them, which is a good thing.

The sodium is on the high side at 350-430 mg per bar and sugars are on the high side as well at 14-17 grams per bar. That said, I really like that they are high in fiber at 4-6 grams per bar and are loaded with Omega 3&6 fats from chia and flax seeds.

I also really like that all of the bars are vegan, gluten-free, and Non-GMO Project Verified. In sum, I liked the flavor of these bars, but am concerned about the use of fractionated palm kernel oil. If I had to choose, I'd stick with the PROBAR Meal replacement bars instead. If you'd like to try them for yourself, click here. Save 40% off your first order by using the code BLOGGER when you check out.

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

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Brookland Cafe, DC

I don't spend a lot of time in the Brookland area of NE DC, but I have spent enough time there to see slow and gradual change over the past 10 years. Most noticeable is the new construction of lofts and other buildings that are going in around 8th Street. That must be pretty exciting for the neighborhood. On this Saturday night, Zach and I were headed to Dance Place to see a show and decided to stop by the Brookland Cafe for a quick bite.

We really didn't know what to expect. We found parking right in front and walked towards the front door. On the sign above, it stated that they had seafood, wings, burgers, a vegan menu & more. Well, that about covers it!

Brookland Cafe is a super small cafe with just a few tables and a bar. When we arrived, there were several people at the bar and a few other groups at the tables. We were happy to grab one of the hiboys to take a seat right away. The acrylic paintings on the walls and multicolored seat cushions brought some warmth and color to the cafe.

We started with some alcoholic drinks, which were acceptable, but nothing to write home about.

The menu had a separate vegan section with items like a veggie burger, mock fish delight, BBQ sandwich, mock shrimp basket, mock chicken sandwich, jerk sandwich, and vegan tenders. Zach and I, as usual, wanted to order the same thing. So, we both ordered the mock chicken sandwich.  The waitress said that it really isn't very good grilled so we ordered it fried. Basically, they batter up a gardein Chick'n Scallopini and deep fry it, then serve it with a red pepper sauce, lettuce, and tomato on a bun. For what it was, it was pretty good. I mean, we like gardein, and gardein deep-fried is good, though not so good for you, so it was satisfying. I also ordered the grilled mixed veggies on the side.

They also offer vegan desserts, but we were so stuffed from all the fried goodness that we couldn't eat any more. The waitress said that the owner is vegan as well. Interesting. She admitted that none of the vegan items are housemade so the only reason to come here would be for convenience, that is, if you are already in the neighborhood and are hungry. It definitely isn't a place I'd go out of my way to eat at.  But, for $9 for each entree, we were satisfied and happy to have vegan options in Brookland.

Brookland Cafe
3740 12th Street NE
Washington, DC 20017
(202) 635-6307

Brookland Cafe on Urbanspoon

Monday, July 15, 2013

Macadamia Milk

I'm liking my new Vitamix more and more by the day.  On this occasion, I tried my hand at macadamia milk and it turned out great. How hard is it? Not hard at all.

Macadamia Milk 
  • 1 cup raw macadamia nuts soaked for at least 4 hours 
  • 3 cups filtered water
Put the macadamia nuts and the water in a Vitamix. I have the Vitamix 750, which is very powerful and will pulverize this mixture into milk in just 1-2 minutes. Just turn the Vitamix to 1 and continue to turn it up to 10 slowly over the course of 45 seconds. Blend for a total of 2 minutes. That's it! No cheesecloth needed because this blender pulverizes everything!

Now you can use your macadamia nut milk in soups, smoothies, or enjoy it by itself. Most people prefer to sweeten it in some way with maple syrup, agave nectar, or vanilla extract if they are enjoying it in cereal or drinking it plain. Enjoy!