Thursday, April 27, 2017

Owl's Brew Radler

Owl's Brew is known for its amazing tea-based mixers and now they have an exciting new product that I'm thrilled to share--tea mixed with beer called the Radler! That's right--they have made the first double brewed mix of tea and beer on the market.

Although I was skeptical, I ended up loving all of the flavors.

"That's My Jam" was the first one I tried, which is an amber ale blended with brewed darjeeling tea, hibiscus flower, lemon peel, fruit juices, and agave nectar. So good.

The "Wicked Watermelon" flavor is wheat beer brewed with spices and blended with brewed white tea, fruit juices, and agave nectar. This one was light and refreshing and tasted more like tea with a dash of light beer.

"The Blondie" is wheat beer blended with English breakfast tea and lemon peel. It was the least exciting of all the flavors, but a solid tasting brew.

Lastly, the "Short and Stout" was the boldest brew and ended up being my favorite. Brewed with cocoa nibs and blended with masala chai tea, pineapple juice, coconut water, and agave nectar, it has a distint chocolatey taste that blends amazing well with the tea and beer. I loved it.

Well, Owl's Brew, you did it again. First, you blew us away with your mixers and now, with your tea/beer. Loved them all! I also love that there are no added flavors and each is under 180 calories per serving -- double win!

This beer is perfect for people who want to drink beer with their friends, but really don't like the taste of beer. That's me. As this is a new product, it is currently being distributed in NY, NJ, CT, ME, DE, NH, VT, MA, ME, DC, MD, PA, and OH. Look for it at a store near you and check their website for where to find their products.

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

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Salamander Resort, Middleburg, Virginia

We've all heard of the Stanford Inn and other resorts that cater to and advertise to vegans. But, did you know that there is one right in our backyard? Located just an hour and 15 minutes away from DC, tucked into the quaint town of Middleburg, is a beautiful resort called the Salamander Resort.

I ended up here for a work retreat and although I had very little free time in my short two days here, I enjoyed every minute of it.  There is a massive spa with heated benches, massages, and treatments as well as fitness classes every morning. I spent most of my time in meetings, so really all I got to experience was the room and food.

The room was really nice. I had a king suite with a small balcony and an amazing bathroom. We are talking a clawfoot bathtub complete with bath salts as well as his and hers sinks or for those single folk -- two sinks just for you!

Now for the food--who knew this place was incredibly vegan friendly?! They have a full-on vegan menu!  On Monday night, I was served an Asian noodle dish with tofu. On Tuesday, for breakfast, I had vegan French toast and tofu scramble and it was amazing. For lunch on Tuesday, I was served an incredibly delicious chickpea curry with roasted vegetables.

For dinner on Tuesday, I had a fresh salad and pasta that had green beans, peas, and asparagus in a red sauce.

For breakfast on Wednesday, I had pumpkin pancakes and tofu scramble. The pancakes had great flavor and were very fluffy. The tofu scramble, although a bit watery, also had nice flavor.

For lunch on Wednesday, I was served quinoa with mushrooms, carrots, broccoli, greens, peppers, and peas. It was fantastic.

I did get to visit some Virginia wineries, which are just around the corner from the Salamander. So there's other things you can do locally if you choose to leave the resort.

The only thing I didn't like is their focus on horseriding and that they do it on their properties because I don't believe in keeping horses in captivity or using them for any type of service, sport, etc.

But, anyway, if you are looking for a getaway with good vegan food, look no further, Salamander is a great option. Great vegan food and fantastic accommodations!  Spend a weekend out there and you'll come back completely refreshed and relaxed! I know I did.

Salamander Resort
500 North Pendleton Street
Middleburg, VA 20117
(540) 687-3600

Thursday, April 20, 2017

Que Pasa Tortilla Chips

Que Pasa has been making tortilla chips for a long time, but they weren't on my radar until they came out with their three most recent flavors. They've taken three typically non-vegan flavors and made them vegan. Oh-la-la!

Honestly, I was excited, but my clean-eating taste buds no longer like a lot of additives and fillers. So, when I first tried the Sweet and Spicy Ranch chips, I didn't love them. I'm not sure what is in the "vegan buttermilk flavor," but it made them taste very artificial.

The Jalapeno & Lime chips were better as the flavor was nice, but, again, I couldn't get past the maltodextrin -- I think I'm hypersensitive to this additive.

So, by the time I got to the Nacho flavor, I was expecting to not like it. Boy, was I wrong. These chips made with chia, quinoa, and jalapeno were as cheesy as could be without the cheese!

The nacho seasoning is made with rice flour, cane sugar, sea salt, onion powder, tomato powder, yeast extract, garlic powder, paprika powder, vegan cheddar cheese flavor (I have no idea what this is), spices, jalapeno pepper powder, red bell pepper powder, green bell pepper powder, annatto extract, lactic acid, and citric acid. No maltodextrin!  Please pass the queso!

What I do like about these three flavors is that they are all certified organic, Non-GMO Project Verified, and gluten free. That's pretty awesome.

So don't take my word for it--try them for yourself! The new flavors should be hitting the shelves soon!

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

Thursday, April 13, 2017

Canyon Crest, Twin Falls, ID

In the city of Twin Falls, Idaho, everyone knows there are two prominent restaurants that serve as the best restaurants in the area. I've been to one, Elevation 486, many, many times. But, this time, my friend convinced me to try the other one: Canyon Crest.

Located above Idaho's beautiful Snake River Canyon, is a gorgeous stone restaurant. We had called earlier and they confirmed that they could prepare some vegan dishes. When we arrived around 7 p.m. on this Monday night, they were ready for us. They sat us in one of the big dining rooms overlooking the canyon. Unfortunately, it was too dark to see, but it was still a beautiful room with big booths, a plush red sofa, a fireplace, and a full bar.

I started with a classic negroni, which the bartender was excited to make!

The server kindly told us what could be made vegan, but also said there were special items that could be made off-menu. The Sous Chef, Adam Casel, came out to describe what he could prepare for us. We started with an incredible oven-roasted tomato filled with muffuletta olives and other good stuff, served with delicious marinara and basil sauces. It was loaded with great flavor.

For our entree, we decided to split a Ratatouille and were pleasantly surprised when they brought it out already plated for two (separately). How classy. This dish was so good! Over rice noodles, was a delicious ratatouille made with broccoli, red peppers, mushrooms, and squash covered in a red sauce and topped with fresh basil.

On the side, we had some sauteed spinach.

And, for dessert, he cooked us a carrot cake served with strawberries and raspberries.

Afterwards, the chef came out to see if we liked and we were all but hugging him. Just like that, I found a new favorite restaurant in Twin Falls. If you are seeking an awesome location, great view, comfortable dining room, excellent service, and appropriate prices for dinner, look no further. Highly recommended.

Canyon Crest
330 Canyon Crest Drive
Twin Falls, Idaho 83301
(208) 733-9392

Canyon Crest Dining and Event Center Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Tuesday, April 11, 2017 - ThermoPeanut

As a wine connoisseur, I keep close tabs on the temperature in my wine cellar. But, sometimes I worry if the sun is raising the temperature of my unit while I'm away. has developed an innovative product called the ThermoPeanut that lets you monitor temperature via your SmartPhone and I love having access to this data any time I need it.

It's pretty simple, you can just take the tiny ThermoPeanut and mount it with the putty provided anywhere in your home. It also comes with multiple accessories so you can mount it as you please. You can mount multiple ones in different rooms to monitor temperature differences and adjust the temperature remotely using compatible thermostats.

I mounted mine in my cellar and compared the temperature showing on my SmartPhone to the temperature showing in the cellar. It wasn't precise for sure. Once my cellar was showing the temp as 55.9-degrees while the ThermoPeanut showed it as 57-degrees--not a big difference. But, on another occasion, the temperature was reading as 54.6-degrees in the cellar while the ThermoPeanut was showing 57.3-degrees, so about 3-degrees difference. The question is really--which one is accurate? That I do not know, but it is likely my cellar is the one that is accurate.

The app is pretty cool though in that you can view the history of the temperature wherever you place it. You can even set it up to alert you when the temperature is too high or too low based on your settings.

All in all, it's a great idea and a useful tool. I like having the data available everywhere I go. But, I can't attest to its accuracy. You can find the ThermoPeanut at BestBuy or online at Amazon here for just $29.99

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

Thursday, April 6, 2017

Java, Twin Falls, ID

After half a day of jumping off of a bridge, we were hungry. In all the times I've been to Twin Falls, at least one person recommends that we eat at Java and I always say, "no," because there are no items that appear to be vegan on their online menu. So, I reluctantly headed over to see what could be made vegan.

When we got there, there was a long line. This is really a cafe that serves caffeine-addicted coffee drinkers. (You can tell I don't drink coffee.) When I asked about vegan options, they said there were a few things that could be made vegan, so I was happy. We placed our orders and sat down.

Our meals came out pretty quickly. We both ordered the Kale and Quinoa Salad (sans feta) made with diced up kale, quinoa, craisins, walnuts, and a lemon dijon dressing. It was good, but nothing to write home about. And, for $9, it was a bit pricey considering how small it was.

I might come back sometime to try the Veggie Hummus sandwich without the cheese, but something about how almost nothing is vegan on the menu without modifications bothers me. I mean, really, who puts cheese on a hummus sandwich?  Sigh.

228 Blue Lakes Boulevard N
Twin Falls, ID 83301
(208) 733-9555

Java Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Tuesday, April 4, 2017

Fawen - Drinkable Soup

Drinkable soup seems to have become a thing! I've tried a few brands now and although I thought I wouldn't like drinking soup, I actually do! It's a great way to have a meal on-the go. Fawen is the latest brand to jump into this space with their drinkable soups. I was able to drink one of these while running an errand at lunch and another after an intense workout--it's just so easy!

The first one I tried was the Sweet Potato and Red Lentil. It had a really nice flavor and like all the others, was thick because it's made with coconut milk. It is made with all-natural ingredients including sweet potatoes, onions, red lentils, ginger root, and turmeric. I did feel like I wanted more spice or salt or something, but, overall, was a nice meal.

The next one I tried was the Broccoli and Cauliflower. This one is naturally high in vitamins C and K and a good source of potassium, fiber, and folate. It's made with broccoli, cauliflower, shallots, onions, and turmeric. Again, I felt like it needed a little more flavor.

Lastly, I tried the Beet and Purple Cabbage. This one was my favorite. This one was also high in vitamins C and K because of all the good stuff inside including beets, purple cabbage, onions, swiss chard, and spices! You can really taste the Turkish cumin!

What I love about these is that they are certified organic, gluten-free, Kosher, and vegan. There are no preservatives, sweeteners, or additives. And they are packed with vitamins and nutrients.

Look for them in a store near you or buy them online here for $6.99 each for 16 fluid ounces.

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

Thursday, March 30, 2017

Four Seasons - Seasons Restaurant

I have some very exciting news. Seasons Restaurant at the Four Seasons Hotel in DC has partnered with  LA-based best-selling author and blogger, Tess Masters of The Blender Girl, to give their new Seasons menu some healthy additions that are free from gluten, dairy, and refined sugar!

I was invited to a special event at the Four Seasons to hear Tess talk about her vision, hear the chefs talk about how they executed on that vision, and try some of the new menu items. The event started with samples of two smoothies they'll be offering. The Tastes-Like-Ice-Cream Kale Smoothie was definitely my favorite. Made with kale, bananas, dates, ginger, and cashews, it was fantastic. We also got to try the Mystical Mango Smoothie.

Tess began by telling us a little bit about her history and her books, then discussed how she designs the perfect smoothies. She provided us all with her Build Your Own Smoothie guide, which guarantees the perfect smoothie using liquids, a base, cream, greens, boosters, and magic. Magic is my favorite part!

We were then seated in the restaurant for a lunch sampling. The Avocado Avenger "salad" was excellent. Topped with chimichurri sauce, watermelon seeds, and finely diced tomatoes atop a bed of shaved English cucumber, this salad was the perfect start to the meal.

Next, I tried a grilled portabella mushroom dish made with mushroom broth, steamed bok choy, and roasted oyster mushrooms that was fantastic. On the side, was a delicious gluten-free and vegan bread made with corn flour.

And to finish it off was a flourless triple-pecan mousse pie, which was also vegan and gluten free.

All new items reviewed here will be available beginning on Saturday, April 8. The new menu will have its official publicized launch on June 10, which is Global Wellness Day.  So make your way over to Four Seasons for some fantastic vegan offerings. Kudos to Four Seasons for serving their vegan patrons. 

Seasons Restaurant
Four Seasons Hotel
2800 Pennsylvania Avenue NW
Washington, DC 20007
(202) 342-0444

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

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

K'ul Chocolate Bars

Looking for amazing chocolate? Look no further. K'ul Chocolate has created functional chocolates with high quality ingredients that are amazingly delicious. Upon first bite into every last sample that they sent me, I thought I died and went to heaven.

Take the Electrobar for example. You get bananas, evaporated coconut water, toasted coconut and cypres sea salt all loaded in high quality dark chocolate.

The Stamina is sweet and crunchy with cranberries, cherries, pomegranate, raspberries, and maca root.

The Power is super crunchy and loaded with peanuts and currents. This bar packs 8 grams of protein.

Another protein-filled bar is the Endurance made with toasted pepitas, cranberries and guarana. OMG so good.

Lastly, I tried one of their Farm-To-Bar varieties, teh Vanilla 70% Dark Chocolate, and it was just as good as the others. Deliciously smooth with a touch of vanilla and no bitterness whatsoever.

Dark chocolate is already healthy, but when you pair it with superfoods or other healthy ingredients, it raises the bar even more! I love that all the bars are vegan and gluten free. They also state that their cacao is purchased directly from farms or co-ops and that they pay above fair trade price minimum so they are conscious as well.

Honestly, these are some of the best chocolate bars I've ever had. You can find a 4-pack on Amazon here for under $12. Highly recommended.

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

Thursday, March 23, 2017

Don Juan's, Twin Falls, ID

I train in Twin Falls, Idaho for BASE jumping and tend to go to the same places to eat. This time, some locals directed us to another Mexican restaurant to try, so why not? Don Juan's is a medium-sized Mexican restaurant located right on the main highway in Twin Falls and we stopped by on a weeknight.

On this particular night, they had many full tables. We were seated near the kitchen and given no menus. After a while of no service, we politely requested menus. They were apologetic. After a long, long time, they took our order for drinks of which the selection was very limited.

After an even longer time, they finally took our food order. I went with the only thing I could have, which was veggie fajitas with whole beans and rice (verified that they were vegan).

We received our drinks and some chips and salsa. But, the lack of service was bothersome. This bustling Mexican joint had not nearly enough servers for the amount of people that were there. We had to ask several times for our food. And we didn't get our meals for over an hour. Then, once received, the food wasn't even that tasty. My fajitas were like mostly onions with just a few other veggies sprinkled throughout. And the rice wasn't good at all.

All in all, a very disappointing experience, which ended with a vow never to eat there again. There are much better options in Twin Falls.

Don Juan's
1007 Blue Lakes Boulevard
Twin Falls, ID 83301
(208) 733-4033

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

POW - Green Lentil Spaghetti

More and more people are eating gluten free and with gluten free diets on the rise, so are products that cater to them. Early versions of pastas made out of beans were okay, but now they are getting really good and there are great reasons to jump on this bandwagon.

I just had the opportunity to try POW! Green Lentil Spaghetti by Ancient Harvest. Made out of just green lentil flour and organic quinoa flour, this pasta is just as springy and buoyant as whole wheat pasta with great taste.  And no after taste! I just topped it with sauteed mushrooms and pasta sauce and it was delicious.

With 25 grams of protein per serving, you really can't go wrong with this pasta. It's also Non-GMO Project Certified, Kosher, and vegan. I love that there are no fillers in the ingredients either unlike some other bean-based pastas.

Other POW! Pasta products include Red Lentil Rotini, Green Lentil Penne, Black Bean Elbows, Red Lentil Linguini, and pasta meals. As POW! Pasta is new, you may find it in your grocery store soon or you can just grab some of their new pasta meals on Amazon here. I look forward to trying the other flavors soon!

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