Monday, January 30, 2017

Fruitive, DC

Well this place just snuck up on me. Here I was headed to a store in the CityCenter in downtown DC when I came across Fruitive. It looked like a juice place, so I went in to take a look. It turned out to be a vegan cafe!  Well, more like a take-out joint with a little seating, but still!

As yet another place using the trendy "plant-based" designation, I decided to be safe and confirm it was vegan. It is. And when did they open? December 2015, they said. Well, I'll be darned. The menu looked very intriguing. They are popular for their fresh, cold-pressed juices and juice cleanses, but I was in the mood for something warm for dinner.

There are salads, superberry bowls, wraps and sandwiches. I went with the Tuscan Kale grilled wrap. Goodness gracious it was good! Imagine a whole wheat tortilla filled with kale, butternut squash, quinoa, broccoli, chickpeas, caramelized onions, basil pesto mayo, spicy hummus, and cayenne. It was oozing with incredible flavor and very filling!

I also tried their spicy red pepper kale chips and they were fantastic.

Well, this one's a winner. Cheap -- it is not. Fruitive is a certified organic restaurant and, therefore, nothing is cheap. My sandwich and kale chips cost me $16, but they were so good, I'm already thinking of going back again this weekend. What a wonderful addition to DC. Highly recommended.

1094 Palmer Alley NW
Washington, DC 20001
(202) 836-7749

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

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Bluejacket, DC

I take trapeze classes in the Navy Yard area of SE DC near the baseball stadium. Recently, some friends joined me for a class, so, naturally, we wanted to grab a drink afterwards. In fact, we had a pretty big party of like eight people.  I'd never been to Bluejacket down the street so we headed in that direction.

Bluejacket is a huge bar with outside seating. They serve quite a bit of food as well. We were lucky to arrive right when a large party was leaving their outdoor spot and we snagged it quickly.  I had just expected to have a glass of wine, but when the server offered a number of vegan options to me, I thought, "why not?"

I started with the Seasonal Board, which had northern neck asparagus, tomatoes, spring onion, tomato confit, marinated wax beans and romesco sauce. The manager there was so helpful as he had a list of ingredients for like every item on the menu and he confirmed that the romesco was vegan. It was great!

I also tried the Crispy Cauliflower, which turned out to be kind of soft cauliflower, but had great flavor. It was tossed with toasted almonds, fried capers, and golden raisins; hold the yogurt.

So, for a quick bar meal, it was great. The dishes were $7-$8 and the wine was very nice. The servers were attentive and helpful and knew or could find out what was vegan. Great experience -- I'll be back again.

300 Tingey Street SE
Washington, DC
(202) 524-4862

Thursday, January 19, 2017

Airtime Cafe, Lauterbrunnen, Switzerland

As I explored the quaint town of Lauterbrunnen, Switzerland, I came across the Airtime Cafe. Airtime is a place where you can buy BASE jumping gear, book a paragliding flight, or buy a vegan muffin. Yes, seriously.

I stopped by one morning and found a fantastic, but expensive, vegan muffin and ate it back at my hotel.

I came by another night for dinner only to find that they closed early and returned the next day for lunch.  They only have a few vegan items. I went with the roasted veggie sandwich. This sandwich was on baguette with freshly roasted veggies, spinach, smoked tofu, and tomato peanut butter. It was fantastic and I proclaim it to be the best sandwich I had in Europe!

Definitely hit this spot for good wine, sandwiches, and pastries. And, that's a wrap. Goodbye Switzerland. Until next year!

Airtime Cafe
+41 33 855 15 15

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Horner Pub, Lauterbrunnen, Switzerland

After a long day-long drive through the mountains of Italy and Switzerland, we arrived in Lauterbrunnen, Switzerland -- the land of BASE jumping. With its beautiful green mountains and crisp air, one can't help but be enthralled by the valley's beauty.  Lauterbrunnen welcomes adventurers of all kinds from paragliders to mountain climbers, and even us BASE jumpers.

In this small city, there is only one pub, Horner Pub, and it caters to BASE jumpers. So, it was my first stop. I sit down at the bar and inquire as to whether there might be any vegan options and am immediately handed a menu with all options clearly marked as "vegan." Well, damn.

I ordered the Thai curry and rice made with carrots, green beans, cauliflower, and peas. It was great.

I came back and ordered the Spaghetti Pesto.  That wasn't as good. There was too much spaghetti and not enough pesto. It tasted like spaghetti with herbs and oil.

Eh, whatever. I was in Lauterbrunnen. The service was slow, but the vibe was great. And I came back a third time for the curry.

BASE jumping off 1600-foot walls makes one no longer care about food and service. Sorry, not sorry. (That's me below standing at the edge of cliff getting ready to wingsuit BASE jump it.)

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

Friday, January 13, 2017

Veganima, Arco, Italy

As we neared the end of our trip, I desperately wanted to go to this 100% vegan organic restaurant, Veganima, in Arco. Luckily, I convinced two friends to come as well! I heard it was hard to get in so we went for a lunch instead of dinner. We showed up just as they had opened at noon and snagged a table inside.

Veganima had an adorable ice cream cart outside!  Inside, there were plain brown tables and an eclectic, small dining area. We sat down and ordered drinks and waited for them to open the food area. In this restaurant, there is no menu. You just go up to the counter and see what they are serving for the day and pay by the number of dishes they put on your plate. I went with three.

I had a delicious salad with spinach, broccoli, beans and pesto, a mushroom lasagna that wasn't so great, a so-so chickpea cake, and a fantastic piece of pizza. The vegan pizza made my day because I was about to leave Italy as the only member of my group that did not have pizza in Italy!

You can see the array of dishes my friends got -- they found they loved some dishes and others were so-so -- similar to my experience.

For dessert, I chose a raw chocolate cake. It was very filling.

My friends loved their desserts.

On my way out, I noticed they had a separate counter where they served ice cream and pastries. I wish I hadn't been so full.

So that ends my adventures in Italy. Oh, wait, then I did this:

Okay, so that ended it and it was fantastico! Mucho BASE!

Viale delle Magnolie 29
Arco (TN)
+39 0464 519764

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Alfio Ristorante, Dro, Italy

After about a week in this beautiful mountainous city, we met some friends at Alfo Ristorante in Dro, Italy. From the outside, this place did not look very special -- a drab facade and a big sign indicating where the beer garden was. I was not impressed.

But, once you got inside, it was a nice place! And even the outside "beer garden" was a beautiful outside dining area with lots of plants and statues.

What my friends didn't tell me was that there are tons of vegan options here! There is even a vegan tasting menu!  I felt a bit overwhelmed so we ordered wine first.  I went with fantastic local Pinot Nero from Trento. I could have bought several bottles of this.

I really wanted to try the vegan tasting menu, but I wasn't that hungry. So, instead, I ordered the "Mucho BASE." It is named this because of the BASE jumping community here - yay, so I had to support! Unfortunately, it wasn't as good as I expected. There was a vegan burger made of tofu, spelt, potatoes, and carrots, baby spinach sauteed in olive oil, and basmati rice with soy sauce. It was a very odd combination that didn't go well together and the burger needed some oomph.

We came back another night and I decided to try one of the many vegan pasta dishes. I had this amazing dish of fresh pasta with tomatoes and pine nuts. It was the best pasta dish I had in all of Italy. And there were so many other vegan dishes to choose from.

For dessert, I had fresh pineapple. They get an A for presentation.

So, despite the painfully slow service, the pasta dishes here are incredible. I think we ate here for three nights straight!

And this is what you see when you come out of the restaurant -- gorgeous!

Alfio Ristorante
Road West Gardesana 7
B Dro (TN) 38074
+39 0464 504208

Monday, January 9, 2017

Alpinola Lozenges

With the cold and flu season in full swing, what better time than to review lozenges! Alpinola Lozenges are made with the extracts of 20 plants, menthol, soothing pine, and Vitamin C.

I happened to get sick recently and started using them as soon as I got a sore throat and they worked and tasted great! I was very pleased. They make two kinds: one with honey and one that is sugar free. It is the sugar free one that is vegan.

I really like that there are no preservatives, colorants, fat, or gluten in these lozenges.

If you'd like to try them, you can find them on Amazon here for just $3.99. This is a product I hope I don't ever need, but, when I do, I'm glad I have it!

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

Thursday, January 5, 2017

Ristorante Al Convento, Trento, Italy

While BASE jumping in Dro, Italy, we sought a fun place that we could bring a large group and came across Ristorante Al Convento in Trento.  This large restaurant serves both Indian and Italian food -- go figure.

On my first visit, I just wanted pasta! So, I just got a plain old dish of spaghetti marinara. It was nothing to write home about and I didn't even think to take a picture of it. Also, the service on this visit was awful, which you will see continues on the second visit.

We returned a second time because I was intrigued that they had Indian and a lot of the people who worked there were Indian. We started with vegetable pakora -- soooo deep fried and not a lot of flavor. That's my friend, Mark, who likes to screw up my blog pics.

They ask if you'd like red or white wine -- those are the choices. In Italy, they keep it simple and cheap.

For my entree, I tried the mixed vegetables in curry. This dish was okay, but had very little flavor and despite my request for spicy, it was not even a tad bit spicy.  With them coming by every hour (I'm exaggerating about the poor service), there is no way to let them know that you need anything else so I sucked it up and finished my meal.

I was happy that this little restaurant could accommodate my dietary preferences, but in comparison with all the other places we found, this one dropped to the bottom of the list.

Ristorante Al Convento
V. Toblino 13
Vallelaghi (TN) 38070
0461 563066

Tuesday, January 3, 2017

Gelato Mio, Arco, Italy

While in northern Italy, we came upon a town called Arco. Arco is very close to the mountains and serves the community of outdoors people - from rock climbing to hiking gear and everything in between. The first place we saw when we arrived was a gelato place and of course everyone wanted gelato. I was thinking, "great, what am I going to have?!"

Well, as soon as we walked into Gelato Mio, I saw the words "vegan ice cream" and freaked out. There wasn't like one flavor -- there were lots! I was in heaven. Lemon, strawberry, pistachio, and chocolate flavors -- but I went with caramel -- my fave!

It was absolutely delicious! Creamy and decadent. I wanted more from the get-go. Oh, and cheap! It was one Euro per scoop.

I loved it so much I came back for more. This is place you don't want to miss if you are in Arco.

Gelato Mio
Via Giovanni Segantini, 2
Arco 38062
+39 334 148 1698