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.

Thursday, March 16, 2017

Omar's Rawtopia, Salt Lake City #2

A couple of years ago, I sought out Omar's Rawtopia and it was the best restaurant I found in Salt Lake City. This year was no different. I flew into Salt Lake City airport and told my friend we were heading straight to Omar's Rawtopia!

It was about 11 a.m. on a Saturday. Just like the last time I dined here, it was very quiet. We had our choice of seats so we sat near the window of course. I remembered from the last time that they use honey in a lot of their drinks so I started with a bottle of kombucha. Always yummy.

Neither of us were super hungry and even though I felt drawn to the amazing "bean burrito," I decided to forego that for a similar, but different dish of the Bean Burrito Salad. All the food is raw here, which means it isn't heated above 118-degrees to keep the natural enzymes intact. It's been a while since I've dined at a raw restaurant and I was excited for the experience. And when the huge salad arrived, I was elated. Over a mix of greens was tomatoes, cucumbers, bell peppers, zucchini, and avocado topped with a beanless burrito made from sunflower seeds, tahini, and Mexican spices. This is because beans have to be cooked so "bean" is used as a way to describe the tasted, but not the ingredients. Topped with spices and fresh cilantro, this salad was probably the best salad I've had ever. And the most filling! The raw crackers they make there are also to die for. I decided not to share the cracker. Sorry, not sorry.

My friend just wanted something super light so he ordered the Tabouli Bite appetizer. Served on big pieces of lettuce was tabouli and avocado. The tabouli was made with parsley, tomatoes, red onions, scallions, hemp seeds, and mint, marinated in olive oil, lemon juice, and sea salt. It was as good as tabouli can get.

I was stuffed and ready to go when the server mentioned dessert. My friend decided we needed to try something. So, we went with a seasonal Pumpkin Pie. Made with a coconut crust and topped with a cashew cream, this pie was rich and so satisyfing.

So, again, another awesome visit to Omar's. The service was great, the prices expensive, but appropriate given the ingredients used, and the dining room simple.  I was excited to hear that they are moving to a bigger location soon and expanding the menu to include some cooked items. I can't wait to come back for more. And, best of all is that "love" is included in every meal. :-) Highly recommended.

Previous review
December 10, 2014

Omar's Rawtopia
2148 Highland Drive
Salt Lake City, UT 84106
(801) 486-0332

Omar's Rawtopia Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Teasim, DC #3

I love Teaism. It's a staple stop-by for me when I'm in the Penn Quarter neighborhood. Primarily a tea house, they have great vegan meals as well. I decided to try their Dupont Circle location this time.

We arrived around noon on a Saturday. It was relatively busy, but not too much so.  This review will be very short because I just ordered one item and my friend didn't eat. So, really, I'm just here to rave about the Tempeh Scramble because (1) it's so hard to find tempeh at a non-vegan restaurant and (2) it's so hard to find tempeh done right. Teaism got it!

This scramble was absolutely delectable with chickpeas, fennel, spinach, and small potatoes in light turmeric curry served with a pappadum. It had so much flavor and so much umami, I could totally eat this for dinner.

So, that's it. Just a note to say that this dish is divine and for $9.25, a steal. Although, I wish they had more seating at this location, it's otherwise a-okay.

Previous reviews
May 10, 2012
January 8, 2014

2009 R Street NW
Washington, DC 20009
(202) 667-3827

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

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

TaKorean, DC #2

I arrived at trampoline class an hour early or so and needed some sustenance. That's when I saw TaKorean! I'd been to TaKorean a few years ago so I knew it was vegan friendly, but it is so much more than it was before!

Now they have lots of great vegan options and lots of ways to make your meal. You can choose a taco, a slaw bowl, a rice bowl, or a half rice and half slaw bowl. I love it! I chose half and half with spiced kale slaw and brown rice. I topped it with tofu, salsa roja, sriracha sauce, sesame seeds, and cilantro.  Whatever they do to that tofu makes it some of the best tofu in town. It's caramelized with this sauce and it is fantastic. I'm a big fan of the spiced kale slaw with Korean gochugara dressing too.

There's a romaine slaw that is vegan as well.

It's your typical Sweetgreen, Amsterdam Falafel, Roti-style set-up where you order your meal and take it and sit down -- no service. I love this place -- great, fresh food even though the price is a bit high. I'm still a big fan.

Previous review
May 16, 2013

1212 4th Street SE
Washington, DC 20003

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

Monday, March 6, 2017

Roti, DC #2

The fast casual restaurant concept is booming in DC. With local favorites like Cava Mezze Grill, Sweetgreen, Amsterdam Falafel, Chipotle, and Buredo, there's no shortage of options. Roti -- Modern Mediterranean is one in my mind that had fallen behind and frankly, I had stopped going to the one closest to me in Foggy Bottom.  A few weeks ago, their marketing team informed me that they had renovated and had new options, so I decided to give it another shot.

I wasn't expecting a full-on overhaul, but that's really what they did with the Foggy Bottom location. It's absolutely beautiful! From the fiery orange floors to the handpainted white wall, this cafe screams chic and hip. Modern white lamps are suspended from a metal structure that hangs over the new communal table setup. And if communal tables aren't your thing, then you can have a seat at one of the individual tables instead.

But, that's not all that has changed. One reason I didn't really like it here was that they just offered rice plates or pitas. Instead of rice, you could have plain, boring romaine lettuce. Now, the choices are spectacular! First you choose a base--either a rice plate, laffa wrap, pita, or salad. For the salad, they now have four choices--romaine, spring lettuce, arugula, or deep greens (baby spinach and kale).

Then, you choose your protein of which the falafel is the only vegan option. Then, you choose your sauces of which the S'hug, Tahini, and Green S'hug are vegan. Then, you choose unlimited toppings of which all are clearly marked as vegan or not! For my toppings, I got a little of everything. I love the variety. There is hummus, tomato and cucumber salad, lemon oregano pickles, red cabbage slaw, couscous salad, fresh roasted veggies, sumac pickled onions, olives, chopped cilantro, and sesame seeds. A list of what is vegan can be found here.

Lastly, you can decide if you want it all tossed together or just on the plate. I love keeping the items separate, so I don't get it tossed. And that's it. You have a gourmet meal for just $10.

Oh, and they serve beer and wine at this location. Heck yeah! Other choices include the San Pellegrino, and sparkling water.

The only two things I don't like are (1) that they mark non-vegan items on the allergen listing online as vegan, but with an asterisk that indicates the item contains honey, which isn't vegan. It's like listing a chicken salad as vegan except that it has chicken. And (2) the salad is the most expensive option! But, the greens are really good.

Roti, you have done well. Nice job on the space. And awesome job improving the menu and adding alcoholic options. I'll be a regular at this location for sure.

2221 I Street NW
Washington, DC 20037
(202) 499-2095

Previous review
July 8, 2013

Roti Mediterranean Grill Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Thursday, March 2, 2017

Fare Well, DC #2

My first visit to Fare Well for brunch turned out to exceed my expectations, however, the second visit wasn't as good. Fare Well is the restaurant opened by Doron Petersan, owner of Sticky Fingers Sweets and Eats. Her new venture in the H Street NE area has been all the rave so we wanted to try it for dinner this time.

On this particular night, it was pretty empty. We started with some cocktails, which they do pretty well. I love the Rita Moreno made with mezcal, triple sec, lime, and Sriracha. My friend ordered the Boulvedier and loved it.

For our appetizer, we ordered the Buffalo Cauliflower Dip. We didn't read the menu carefully, but totally didn't expect it to be a whipped dip!  But, either way, it was really good. They take cauliflower and roast and whip it with a buffalo cashew cream and serve it with toasted baguette slices. We loved it.

For my entree, I wanted to try something new so I ordered the Broccoli Melt. This open faced sandwich had broccoli with a garlic marinara, and cashew mozzarella on a baguette and was served with a house salad.  I'd rate it a 3 on a 5-point scale. The mozzarella wasn't that great and the marinara wasn't too unique, which made the whole sandwich kind of meh.

My friend ordered the Pierogis filled with cashew cheddar, garlic, and onions served with sauerkraut, sour cream, and greens. Overall, we found them to be very plain with not much taste in the pierogis themselves.

This visit wasn't as good as we were hoping for. The food is pretty expensive for what it is at $14 - $16 per entree plus $10 for the appetizer and pricey drinks. We spent over $100 on this visit alone. The service was pretty good. And the atmosphere isn't great for dinner as it has a stale diner sort of feel that is fun for brunch and lunch, but not so much for dinner. I recommend sticking to brunch here and foregoing it for dinner.

Previous review
September 13, 2016

Fare Well
406 H Street NE
Washington, DC 20002

Fare Well Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato