16 July 2015

Cauliflower Rice

16 July 2015 0
It's my favorite time of year - fresh product galore! My dad has his connections at the Farmer's Market and you just never know what he will find and bring home in bulk.

This time around - we have a bulk supply of cauliflower, so expect to see a number of cauliflower recipes in the next few blog posts.

For today's lunch I tossed together a quick version of cauliflower rice.


  • Cauliflower
  • Garlic
  • Celery
  • Ginger
  • Tomato
  • Green beans
  • Carrot
  • Cayenne
  • Cinnamon
  • Curry Powder
  • Cumin Powder
  • Black Pepper
  • Lemon Zest
  • Apple Cider Vinegar

  • Grate the cauliflower. You can do this with a cheese grater, food processor, or even a blender
  • Chop some celery and place it with the cauliflower. 
  • Chop remaining vegetables and add them to a saute pan.
  • Mix in your desired amount of spices
  • Once the vegetables are al dente, toss in the cauliflower rice and celery. Mix for a minute or two and then toss a little fresh basil on top. 
  • Enjoy! 

Trying New Things

What is the best part of a Farmer's Market? The opportunity to explore and try new things! So long as the items are gluten free and at a minimum vegetarian - I am more than happy to try them out!

On one of my recent Farmer's Market adventures - I found a product called Malanga. There was very little information on these babies - just that some other customer told the seller that they resembled a potato and one would cook them by any means you would cook a potato.

I love potatoes - Japanese or White Sweet Potatoes being my favorite, but I enjoy them all! So why not give these Malangas a try.

I did a little research - but figured eh - I'll wing it. So I steamed these little guys up - skin and all and I LOVED them! They taste almost nutty like - have the texture very similar to that of a potato - and apparently are a great hypo-allergenic food! Win-Win!

14 July 2015

Bhakti Lounge, Canada Does Gluten Free & Vegan

14 July 2015 0
Lucky me, the Toronto Raw Food and Vegan festival happened to coincide with my scheduled visit to Toronto! Cherry on top of that - I was able to talk my sisters and aunt into joining me! :D

I was not 100% certain what we were getting into - as when we pulled up it looked much smaller than I anticipated and was tucked away in a small church-like building.

Oh well - we drive here, so minds well check in out, right?

Well we walked around the entire place - snacking on pretty much everything! Then I couldn't help by envy everyone that was walking by me with a heaping plate of yummy food! I finally located the source and double checked that it was also gluten free and I ordered my plate of what I had hoped would be just as delicious as it looked.

I don't remember exactly what I ate, but I remember it being my favorite meal the entire visit! The rice was cooked to perfection- the chickpeas seasoned just right, and the dressing on the salad was to die for! So who is responsible for this utmost perfect meal you ask? Bhakti Lounge!

Bhakti - feel free to share the recipes :) And you can be certain I will be back to visit next time I am in the neighborhood - maybe even get lucky enough to attend a cooking class!

Who said you can't make a health meal quickly?

Need a couple of ideas for a quick healthy meal in a flash?
Here is one of my new favorites. I made some zucchini noodles - tossed them with some homemade hot sauce, a steamed zucchini, apple cider vinegar, and garlic. 
I mixed that all together and then grated some cauliflower mixed with some turmeric and nutritional yeast (aka my "cheese") 

 So while everyone else was enjoying their pasta - I quickly made mine and I have to say - everyone was a bit jealous!

This dish took me MAYBE 15 minutes to make!
Need another idea?

Zucchini noodles with pesto, homemade hot sauce, and steamed vegetables.

The pesto was made with carrot tops, garlic, water, black pepper, apple cider vinegar, and red pepper.

Make Shift Work Lunch

It was one of those mornings that I did not feel like pre-packing a lunch. So I do what I do best - I tossed a little bit of this and a little bit of that into my lunch bag and said, "Looks like I will be getting creative later."

I made a nice side salad and found some homemade hot sauce I had left in the work fridge and then I made some nori vegetable wraps!

What a great lunch! Maybe I should force myself to be more creative on a regular basis!

09 July 2015

My Obsession with Cauliflower

09 July 2015 0
I have always loved cauliflower - but recently I have been experimenting more and more with different recipes with the cauliflower and I have become obsessed!

 I have tried cauliflower rice with some tumeric, mint and lemon - which turns out, is one of the bigger pains (only because it gets messy ) to make but one of my favorites.
I have also done the ever simple cauliflower steak. I simply marinated the "steak" in a ton of seasonings and then steamed it. 

Lastly, this week's Co-Op brought rainbow carrots with lushes rainbow carrot tops - so of course I made a vegan pesto! I steamed the rainbow carrots and placed a cauliflower steak on top dressed in a carrot top pesto - FABULOUS!

The pesto was very simple ingredients:
-Apple Cider Vinegar
-Carrot Tops
-Black Pepper
-Hot pepper of your choice
-Red peper

Having Fun in the City

I dug this old picture out and had to share. This picture was from a winter adventure I took through the Asian Markets in Philadelphia, PA.

Can you believe the size of that gorgeous Japanese Sweet Potato? Might I note, this was not even the largest potato of the group!

I keep telling myself I will return to the city, now that it is warmer and more enjoyable to walk, to find some additional wonderful ethnic finds!

07 July 2015

Raw Can Roll Review

07 July 2015 0
I have enjoyed food from Raw Can Roll a number of times in the past. Glad to see that appear to be a bit busier these days - but does this "busyness" take away from their quality?

On a recent work team outing, I ordered from Raw Can Roll and I have to say, my dish was fine - but my coworkers were missing utensils, had small servings, freezing cold cooked dishes, and additional negative comments.

It's sad because it is hard to get people to go out of their fast-food comfort zones and to try new things and when you finally succeed in getting people to try the healthier option, they find themselves unsatisfied and likely to never try again.

While I appreciate the new menu and addition of cooked foods - I don't like how small some of the servings are now. The recently ordered pad-thai has shrunk drastically in size, and still costs just about the same as it did in the past - what happened?!?

My spring rolls came with a small side salad and was rather delicious - as I actually asked for a dressing of apple cider vinegar and lemon juice and a side of hot sauce!

01 July 2015

A Visit Back To Kensington Cornerstone

01 July 2015 0
It's been a couple years since my last trip to Kensington Cornerstone but I could not wait to revisit! Not only did I remember the place its self being an experience, but the food as well. I thought back on that visit and recalled that all our our dinners guests (most of which are not gluten free) pinned this meal as their favorite meal of the trip.

We arrived back to Kensington on a rainy day and tried to find our same spot that we had last visit. I noticed, the round, more communal tables had been replaced with long rectangle tables - which already made the visit less intimate than the past.

The menu had been completely revamped and I have to but my vote in and say, this change was not for the best. Our favorite appetizer board which had meats, cheese, nuts, etc was missing!
The menu seemed to have less character  - so it took us all some time to review and decide what we would select.

Finally, decisions were made. I went with the quiona burger and I substituted the side salad with the three-bean salad.

In whole, the meal was not a bad choice - but it all tasted like it was store bought and no love and character was here. Complete disappointment!

My sister and uncle went with the fish and chips. Which they seemed to enjoy - but noted they were not the same great taste that they remember them being.

I hope that the new menu does in fact workout for Kensington, but I personally was not satisfied and not sure I will be returning. Thanks for the great memories.

29 June 2015

Main Line Pizza - Accommodating to Food Allergies

29 June 2015 0
Sometimes office lunches can be a real pain -
A. it is costly,
B. I want healthy food and
C. It is hard to find someone who can accommodate all of my allergies.

However, sometimes I look ungrateful and almost stuck up when I am not ordering along with everyone else.

This time around, I did decide to join the group and order in. I went with Main Line Pizza in Wayne, PA. I took a look at their menu and saw they have a number of gluten free items! However, I was looking for something gluten free and vegan! I gave Main Line Pizza a call and asked if they could create an off-menu salad.

The Main Line Pizza team whipped up a nice side salad with olives, lemon juice, loads of veggies and lots of love! I have to say this was a healthy and Nicole' Friendly meal!

Thank you Main Line Pizza!

26 May 2015

Cork & Cap Cork Factory, Lancaster PA

26 May 2015 0
I attended a wedding for a long-time friend of mine this past holiday weekend. The selected venue was the Cork Factory, in Lancaster, PA.

With most social events, I dread the food options, or the lack there of.
The reception started with a cocktail hour, that of which, because I was one of the first in line, I felt confident enough to indulge a little (vegetable sticks, fruit, tea, etc).

Then dinner came along and I was given a gluten free and vegan salad - while it was extremely PLAIN - it did the job.

The main course came out and I have to say, at first glance, it was much better than I anticipated. The taste, the taste was on the bland side - but it was gluten-free and vegan!

I was able to enjoy the sorbet in between dishes as well as, when the remainder of the guests enjoyed their cake and cookies, I was given a personal sorbet dessert.

I really appreciated the attention
to detail and the ease of eating!

I will definitely check the restaurant out on my own time - as they are clearly able to execute - I just need them to add a little more flavor to the main course.

19 May 2015

Founding Farmers, DC does Gluten Free

19 May 2015 0
How exciting, the little sister is all done with College and ready to move into the Big-Girl world! I couldn't be more proud of her!

I took a day off from work to help her get situated with the new area, meet-and-greet her new coworkers and start looking for an "affordable" place to live.

I figured I would just wing lunch, as I was pretty sure 95% of D.C's restaurants would be able to accommodate at least my gluten free needs if not my vegan ways as well.

As we were in the city, I asked for a couple of recommendations and the winning vote when to Founding Farmers.

We got there pretty early for lunch, closer to 11 and thought we would be okay. They quoted us a 45-minute wait so, we made ourselves comfy and just hung out - enjoyed one another's company.

It was only about 20, maybe 30 minutes and our party was called to be seated. Score!

The waiter came over, introduced himself and I quickly asked about gluten-free option on their meatless section. The waiter was, in my opinion, somewhat rude on this subject and did not want to discuss options with the chef. Finally, after I nicely asked about 10 times, he asked the chef what he would be willing to do. There was clearly no room to "play" with the menu here and for the chef to show his / her true talents - what a shame.

He greed to make the cauliflower steak with a side of the smoked tofu (with a $4.00 up-charge).

While the taste was okay - the smokey broccolini was probably my favorite. The tofu was an extremely small portion, especially considering they charged me an additional $4.00 - and then you have the cauliflower, which I considered to be a very SMALL portion for a meal and I was disappointed in the taste. By the end of the meal, I felt like I was just eating mush.

I have made cauliflower steak a number of times and this was just not the way to do so. I also ordered an over-priced fermented vegetable dish which somehow managed to only arrive at my table after all the other dishes had been completed (note, I had to ask about the pickled vegetables a good five times).

Overall, the place is over-priced, which I wouldn't mind paying if the taste and service were up to par.
What a shame - a farm-to-table let down.

11 May 2015

Harrison's Wine Grill and Catering Does Gluten Free and Vegan

11 May 2015 0
Believe it or not, the final baby in the family is no longer a baby - she has officially graduated from PSU this past weekend with her Bachelore's in Business. I couldn't be more proud of her!

Of course we had to celebrate! I did some google searching and fingers were crossed (even my toes) to try and find a restaurant that was not already booked.

Lucky us, her graduation day was on Sunday morning so most of the festivities occurred the day before.

I did find a locally sources restaurant, not too far away that seemed to have some good reviews, Harrison's Wine Grill & Catering. Making reservations was a breeze!

Now, how easy would it be to get something other than plain steamed vegetables here?!

I made a point to contact the event coordinator, Angela, personally. We had a brief phone discussion and then a follow up email to confirm she would be able to provide something that was very little oil, had a protein, was gluten free, vegan, corn free, and oh mushroom free.

Angela and I had a good conversation back-and-forth that really showed me her and her chefs were using their creativity to develop a worthy dish.

When I arrived on Sunday, the entire team was very welcoming and of course made the point to review my allergies.

When food came out, the dish was visually appealing and I have to say, the entire table smelled wonderful.

I took a bit into my greens, steamed vegetables, and olives / caper salsa. I have to say - I could tell the ingredients were fresh, but I was disappointed in the lack of flavor - which seemed to be the census of the entire table.

Would I venture to Harrison's again, probably not - but I did really appreciate their willingness to provide a very accommodating dish!

31 March 2015

Bistro St. Tropez: A Food Allergy's Most Accommodating Philadelphia Restaurant

31 March 2015 0
As someone who lives with a number of highly sensitive food allergies, it can be terrifying to have to attend events hosted by others. This past weekend, I fell into one of those traps- I had accepted to attend a bachelorette party for a good friend that I have known since grade-school.

When the restaurant of choice was announced, I read the invitation, "Bistro St. Tropez, who? what? when? where? why?" Even though I consider myself a bit of an expert on the Philadelphia restaurant scene, and prior to this invite, I had never heard of Bistro St. Tropez - which in my mind was an equivalent to trouble!

I quickly Googled "Bistro St. Tropez" and read some reviews, researched the menu and did all the digging I possibly could.

Since it was late at night, I decided to send the restaurant a Facebook message to see if they would be able to accommodate my food allergies, or would it be alright if I brought something?

While I had to do a phone follow up call, I could tell this experience was sure going to be a special one at that!

The event manager had read the message and was taking the time to speak with her head chef Patrice. She then followed up with, "we really don't want to provide you a simple dish you can make at home, we want to provide you with an experience, and a memorable one at that". My heart melt - we are a large and potentially a little chaotic of a group coming into your establishment and you are taking the time to ensure I have an outstanding experience. Truly touched.

Anyhow, enough heart-felt here. The day of the dinner, the chef himself called me multiple times to discuss what he was thinking and to ensure I would be alright with each ingredient as well as each cooking method.

Upon arrival - the chef came out and asked which attendee was Nicole, "that would be me!" and he quickly reassured me that everything was set for tonight and that I was not to worry.

When the dishes came out, mine was served first and then the remainder of the group was served around my plate and never over my plate, in efforts to avoid cross-contamination. More bonus points for Bistro St. Tropez!

For the true test, how was the taste? It was good - the rice was cooked with a little crunch but still had that creaminess to it. I could take the fresh kale and basil and truly enjoyed the touch of spice!

While words can not do my appreciation justice, Bistro St. Tropez, you officially have a new fan in the house - expect to see me again to uncover another fabulous mystery, allergy-free meal by your finest chef in the Philadelphia area.

P.S the restaurant is a little hard to location, but the maze is worth the service, food, and the amazing view of the river.

16 March 2015

Traveling for Work on a Gluten Free Vegan Diet is Not Impossible

16 March 2015 0
While traveling with food allergies might be a pain - it is not impossible.

Here is an example of my most recent work travels

Location, Inner Harbor, MD at the beautiful Gaylord Convention Center.

Breakfast, I bulked up on fruit and tea! There was fresh cut fruit at the beginning of the buffet stations, I made sure I was there EARLY and was one of the first to grab the fruit. While I really do not make it a habit to combine melons with any other fruits, a girl has to eat!

Additionally, for breakfast, I actually "spoiled" myself and had some roasted potatoes with hot sauce and chives. I don't typically start my day with potatoes, as they tend to wear me down, but again, a girls got to eat!

The best part about the tea stations was that there was always fresh lemon and I could still start my day with a cup of warm lemon water. Then, as I brought to-go containers, I was able to eat my breakfast at a later time... I know, I looked like a homeless girl scrounging for food - but I know what makes me feel good and what upsets my stomach and when breakfast is only offered at certain times, you need to get creative and not worry what others might think.

Break Stations, for the most part, I avoided these snack sessions. For one, I didn't need the additional food and it was typically not a GF-Vegan friendly offering. However, I must say, the one day, they did provide a green juice, which I enjoyed and found myself annoyed they hadn't been offering the green juice for breakfasts.

Lunch, lunch varied slightly from day-to-day but for the most part there was greens of some sort and then grilled / sauteed vegetables. While I would have preferred steamed vegetables, I can't be too choosy. I would ask the waitstaff to bring me some mustard and hot sauce to add a little flavor to the dish

Afternoon Break Stations, I LOVED these stations - this is where I would bulk up on fruit (oranges, apples, pears, bananas).

Dinner, Dinner I skipped their offerings and stuck to a fruit salad or oatmeal in my room

Keep in mind, when you have to eat buffet, try to be one of the first ones there!!!

While my stomach was not the happiest it has ever been - there was food for me to eat and I did survive!

18 February 2015

Raw Almond Butter

18 February 2015 0

05 February 2015

Banana Whip Perfection

05 February 2015 0
I am beyond obsessed with Banana Whips! Honestly, they make for a great breakfast, lunch, or dinner! Banana Whips taste just like ice cream - and if you don't like bananas or the typical banana-flavor, you are in luck because you can't taste the banana at all!

These babies, are 100% customizable. You can add carob, berries, pineapple, mangoes, beets, mint, anything and everything you enjoy about ice cream without the guilt!

I feel that I have finally perfected the recipe, although I do like to try new things and switch the flavors up here and there...I find my body / digestive system is taking very well to banana whips so I have had plenty of opportunities to practice!

I pull out the Vitamix, toss some chopped ginger in the bottom (this way it has time to puree) - next, I move onto the cranberries and a piece or two of mango, then about three frozen bananas, cinnamon, and carob powder -- Tada, that is it!

Now turn the Vitamix on and use the tamper to push everything down. Once the mixture begins to whip itself you are good to go. Just scoop everything out, add some soapy water into your Vitamix container and place it back on the base, so that it can clean itself.

It's that easy. Toss everything into a container, turn it on, mush it around, scoop it out, put some soapy water into it, run it again, rinse, and enjoy a quick snack, or meal, that is healthy for you!

03 February 2015

Simply Shabu

03 February 2015 0
Simply Shabu is the one and only hot pot in Philadelphia! I had never been to a hot pot before and I wasn't entirely sure how they worked, but I thought it would make for an interesting adventure! Upon arrival, I did my research and double checked they could accommodate gluten free and I was impressed to hear that more than 95% of their menu was naturally gluten free!

When we arrived, we were greeted by the friendly staff and seated early! We ordered a couple of appetizers and a pot of tea to share with the table. The tea was okay - not sure what type of tea it was, but it wasn't a table favorite and I found it odd, they filled out classes and then removed the tea pot from the table - I like
to have control over my own hot tea, thank you very much!

After looking at the many of options on the menu, I decided to go with some a' la carte options.
I went with the spicy broth, vegetable bowl (substituting out the corn and mushrooms), seaweed, daikon, taro, and lotus root.

Once you place the order, your filings start to trickle out pretty rapidly. Not knowing what we were doing, I just started dumping everything in. I have since learned, some things need a longer time to cook than others....hey, practice makes perfect!

Overall, everyone enjoyed the experience. Flavor wise, I wish I would have had a bit more spice in my broth, however, adding some additional garlic did help and my seaweed made the dish!

Experience wise, the staff seemed to be a bit of the short side, I didn't like that they held onto our tea but pricing was very reasonable and the food was fresh!

01 February 2015

Cooking with P.S and Co Philadelphia

01 February 2015 0
Since P.S and Co opened it's doors back in the spring of 2014 - I have had my eye on this place.

I have tried to drag just about anyone into the city with me - but I had no luck - life got busy and I had to just put it to the back burner for now. Then came along my birthday and it happened to fall on one of P.S and Co's dinner nights - however, Nick informed me that we could definitely go, as it was my birthday and whatever I wanted, he would gladly oblige, but he made it very clear that he would go, but would not eat the dinner. His reasoning you ask, simple answer - there is no meat.

Needless to say, the birthday dinner at the long-awaited P.S and Co became the wait-even-longer for the P.S and Co experience. I kept on hunting for an excuse to drag someone with me and then came along noodles and dumplings cooking class - hmmm....sneaky me... I immediately think, Nick might actually go for this one - two of his favorite dishes, noodles + dumplings, I am pretty sure I can sell him on this one. Just in case that doesn't work, I have looped in a good friend to attend and BOOM - I won, everyone was in - we were scheduled to attend the Noodles and Dumplings Cooking class at the long awaited P.S and Co.

The day has arrived - will I find myself, as usual, very high-hoped to only be let down by unhealthy and tasteless food? Come join me for journey with P.S and Co to find out if they are worth the hype or not.

We arrived slightly early for our scheduled class, so we just took our time finding parking (oh Philly parking - how I have a love, hate...oh wait... just a hate relationship with you) and then meandered throughout the store checking out their to-go offerings, fresh pressed juices, and homemade spices. The space has a welcoming industrial-like feeling to it with a friendly staff!

Once our class was setup, we found our way to the table and welcomed the offering of a warm beverage, as they seem to keep the space on the slightly cold side.

Now, we knew we had signed up for noodles and dumplings, but what we did not know was exactly what we would be making - and I was still a little nervous to see how Nick would handle the 100% gluten free and plant-based menu.

Here goes nothing - we are diving right into Dan Dan noodles - which I LOVE! Andrea took us through each step and welcomed any questions throughout the process. The entire cooking class was around the theme of "You can do this, everyone here can find the time to make healthy and delicious meals". Which is true, with a little prep work and creativity - everyone has the power to make their own beloved food. The Dan Dan noodles hold a nice spice in the back of your throat but the creamy tahini slowly masks the
spice and adds another flavor profile to the dish.

Moving on to our next noodle dish, Cilantro Noodle Salad. This dish was a cold brown rice noodle salad and I have to say, although I couldn't pick out a favorite dish of the day, later
that night I was craving the light freshness of this dish and telling myself that I could probably eat it every day! I''m sure the house made caramelized tofu was part of that love... adding another project to the diy list!

Finally, we made it to the Vegetable Dumplings that Nick was long awaiting. The filing from the dumplings was recycled from the Cilantro Noodles, making it easy to meal prep for your weeks!

While the dumplings did exactly what I thought they would, being a brown rice wrap, the bottoms fell apart - but I think I work on this a tweek it a bit... either way, the group LOVED the dumplings and began brainstorming some additional dumpling ideas. Side note, the dumplings where not served with a sauce, we were on the creative side and soaked up the last of the Dan Dan Noodle sauce - perfect accompaniment.

Just when I thought we had completed our cooking class, we were moving onto some additional favorite comfort foods of mine, Basil Pesto, Lasagna, and Mac and Cheese.

The Basil Pesto consisted mainly of pine nuts and basil, but I felt it need more. Perhaps the missing component of the pesto dish was some additional garlic or maybe it was that it was missing the acidic aspect of this dish - where was the lemon? However, once the Arrabbiatta sauce was added ,I was a happy camper! I can't wait to try making this dish when tomatoes are in season!

Lastly, due to timing, we skipped over the lasagna and went right into the Mac and Cheese demo. The Mac and Cheese was made of the three main vegan Mac and Cheese variations: Sweet Potato, Cauliflower, and Cashews. The dish was not very mac and cheese tasting, but it was still held a special place in each of our hearts. I do recall later that night, on a trip to Capogiro's, a couple of us started digging into our award-winning gelato and wishing it was P.S and Co's Mac and Cheese instead.

The overall experience was wonderful. While I wish it would have been a bit more hands-on, it was a lovely setup, with a great group of participants and the tastings made it all worth it - although, I wish there would have been either larger tastings or a couple take homes.

Can't wait to return to P.S and Co, but in the meantime, Nick and I will be cooking up a storm making some dumplings!

20 January 2015

Homemade Almond Butter Made In A Vitamix

20 January 2015 0
Every time I go into a store and pickup a nut/seed butter and begin to read all the added ingredients, I grow sick.

Those that are pure nut/seed butters can cost you an arm-and-a-leg - which is worth it, as you do get what you pay for.

Rather than purchase overly-processed store bought items, I try to make as much as I can at home. This is where my homemade almond butter journey begins.

I first started this journey with a hunt to find almonds in bulk.

 Check. Almonds, in shell, purchased at a local farmers market and at a decent price.

Now, to crack open all these almonds.....

Check. The family pitched in and we made it a nice bonding experience. There was only one nut cracker causality. :(

Now, this is where the process gets fun. I took my Vitamix, dumped in all of my almonds, and turned the Vitamix on full-blast. I let it run for a couple seconds, using the tamper to push the nuts down and then I added a touch of honey and cinnamon. I continued to let the Vitamix blend for an additional minute and then I scooped out the fresh almond butter and added it to my oatmeal! YUM!!!

06 January 2015

Finding ones self

06 January 2015 0

05 January 2015

Han Dynasty is a gluten free safe heaven!!

05 January 2015 0
I have been wanting to try the hyped-up Han Dynasty for some time now and I found the perfect opportunity, New Year's Eve.

I had my twin and younger sister coming in with their significant others and we already determined that we would be enjoying the 2015 countdown to some salsa dancing at Cuba Libre  I didn't feel like forking out a $100+ just to enjoy a New Year's dinner and I didn't want to be too far from Cuba Libre - so I went with good-old reliable Han Dynasty. I made my reservation for 6 rather easily and we found front row parking as well!

Even though the restaurant was busy (which is expected for New Year's Eve), we were seated on time and waited on with attention and care. There was not one moment where we felt rushed.

Now, because I was eating with a group and we decided we wanted to try a little bit of everything, I had to go non-vegan this night... but honestly, it was worth it and some of my favorite dishes were the fish and meat ones.

Note, their tasting menu (typically for a party of 8 or more) can be ordered from a price range of $20-30. We choose to go with the $25.00 price range and get the mid-range quality of meats and fish.

The dinner started with the famous spicy cucumbers. The first bite was not too overwhelmingly spicy, but as you continue to nibble on these little guys, you do get the pockets of heat!

The cucumbers actually ended up on pretty much everyone's favorite list, but no worries, there was no need to fight over them, as we were given two huge portions to share with the group!

Next we started getting an array of dishes and to be honest, I have to guess on what was which menu item, as I found myself at one point in time ignoring the server and just drooling over the dishes!

We tried the Beef and Tripe in Chili Oil - not a huge table favorite. The girls did not care for it and two out of the three boys enjoyed it, but never marked it as one of their favorites.

I was a little afraid that being gluten free and requesting an entire tasting menu be gluten free, that we would miss out on the famous noodle dishes, but Han did not fail me - we were brought the Dan Dan noodles modified with rice noodles and pork tidbits on the side so that I could enjoy the gluten free Dan Dan noodles.

Our tables was given two jumbo bowls of Dan Dan noodles and there was almost a fight over who got to finish them, the fight was settled by the fact that some of the participants had filled up on everything else, that there was just not enough room to enjoy anymore food.

The Dan Dan noodles are full or flavor with a bit of heat. The heat rating is a 6 and that is probably accurate.. because some bites are a bit more spicier than others.

We had the Dry Pot Style Chicken, with a heat rating of 10. I did not agree that this was our spiciest dish, but it was enjoyed! It was a sweet spicy!

Next we tried the Chicken as a Dry Pepper Style. This dish had a heat rating of 8. It was good and flavor was decent, but the table agreed, there was too many dry peppers - we either wanted them to remove some of the peppers or crush them up more so you were not biting into mouthfuls of dry peppers.

Additionally we had the Cumin Style Chicken with a heat rating of 7. Funny enough, I found this to be one of the more spicier dishes. So maybe the heat ratings are just guidelines? Or perhaps the waiter was being kind to our participants that couldn't handle the heat. I on the other hand, I welcome to heat! I love when you bite into something and the spice level makes you teary-eyed.

We enjoyed some sort of Lamb dish, it was suppose to be the spiciest but we found other dishes to have a heavier spice level. This was 2 out of the 6 guests favorite...I wish I could remember which dish it was!!

For the fish dishes we enjoyed a Salt and Pepper Style Shrimp with a heat rating of  1. While this dish did not pack a punch, for some it was too spicy, but for the majority of the table, it was listed as one of the favorites and did not make it to the leftovers bag.  We had the Hot Sauce Style Fish, with a heat rating of 7. This one, I am pretty sure this was on everyone's favorite list!

Lastly we had a side of white rice, cooked to perfection and a great combat for the heat as well as the green beans. I didn't LOVE the green beans but the remainder of the table enjoyed them!

The night was enjoyed and everyone walked away satisfied and planning their next visit!

Thanks HAN!! I am looking forward to coming back and trying a 100% gluten free and VEGAN dinner!

04 January 2015

Raw Can Roll, Wayne PA Adding Cooked Foods

04 January 2015 0
I have been to Raw Can Roll a handful of times - but this time I went to see what all the new buzz was about - that's right, the RAW, vegan restaurant has added cooked meals to their menu. We all know their raw food is good, but can the raw foodists cook?

We started with the famous hummus and guacamole. The hummus is always enjoyable - smooth and filling - I just wish they would offer flavor varieties (maybe roasted red pepper, I mean, just a suggestion... wink, wink.).

The guacamole, was fresh as always and full of flavor. Nick never cares for guacamole and the good sport that he is, he gave it a try and said...well, it is fresh and it is one of the better guacamole dishes I have had. This might not seem like it, but this is a true compliment for Raw Can Roll.

You can see Nick had some fun with his food and started to create "sandwiches" with the raw crackers and hummus.

For our cooked dishes, Nick went with the BBQ Bowl. He really enjoyed everything about this dish - NOTE THIS IS COMING FOR A PICKY MEAT EATER! Additionally, he noted that the portion sizes are large, filling, and fresh. The only complaints from this food-critic is that there was not enough of the BBQ sauce and he, remind you is a picky eater, does not care for sweet potatoes.

I went with the Macrobiotic bowl - What called me to this dish? Without a doubt, the sweet potatoes and seaweed. First bite in, I could taste the coconut oil on the sweet potatoes, the rice was cooked to perfection - but I felt like the dish was lacking the flavor I had hoped for. Maybe we need a hot-sauce and tahnini dressing for this dish?! Furthermore, I was a bit disappointed that the seaweed was more of an accent piece than actually incorporated into the dish. All in all, the dish was not bad - I did finish my plate - I just don't think I would order it again...

For our juice portion, because let's be real, you can't go into Raw Can Roll and not get a juice or smoothie! Nick choose the Tutti Fruitti (Strawberry, Banana, and Apple juice) - which he quickly became in love with. I am pretty sure, I would be safe to say that the Tutti Frutti was Nick's favorite part of the meal.

I asked to try the most popular shake, the Peanut Butter Cup. I have to say, it was filling and delicious! Maybe too filling to try after the appetizer and the full meal - but heck, you only live once!

My recap of Raw Can Roll is as follows - their juices and smoothies are great! A little expensive, but let me remind you this food is local, fresh, and made to order! The price is worth it!

The raw food is good - I mean obviously, because they seem to have a strong clientele. The cooked food, I would like to see them expand on the options and have a bit more sauce and flavor to their dishes. BUT if you are that person that typically likes their food a bit more on the mild side, then Raw Can Roll has you covered!



29 October 2014

Gluten Free & Vegan Pumpkin Soup

29 October 2014 0
With fall approaching very quickly, my love for soup is shinning ever-so-brightly.

While I debated stealing my decorative pumpkins, I figured it well worth the cause to make some homemade vegan and gluten free pumpkin soup.

This recipe is one of my simplest recipes yet!

  • Roasted Pumpkin
  • Vegetable Broth
  • Roasted Onion
  • Garlic
  • Tumeric
  • Cumin
  • Cayenne Pepper
Simply place everything in the Vitamix, turn it on high and let it do all the work for you!

This recipe provides a very filling and creamy treat! You could try and add some nut butter or almond milk for a more diverse taste!

20 October 2014

Addiction to Banana Whips

20 October 2014 0
I'm beginning to adopt an unhealthy addiction to Banana Whips! I just tell myself that everyone deserves a treat now-and-then and banana whips are mine! Listen, I could be addicted to worse things...

 This particular recipe is two frozen bananas, a handful of frozen cranberries, a handful of frozen blueberries, one overripe banana, and some cinnamon -oh and can't forget the carob powder!

I literally just toss all of these ingredients into my beloved Vitamix and smash everything into a nice ice cream consistency and then wallah!

Despite the weather starting to get a bit chilly - I still find myself craving this treat on a daily basis!

03 September 2014

Le Virtu, Gluten Free Italian

03 September 2014 0
The boyfriend and I decided we could use a nice night out on the town to celebrate our 1-year anniversary.

I went through my hand-dandy list of gluten free restaurants that I would like to try. I had a hard time picking just what I wanted. A couple of the locations I was hopeful for had decided to close an extra day for the Labor Day Holiday.

For some reason or another, I knew I was craving some good old-fashioned Italian pasta. It had to have been a good year or so since I have had some authentic Italian food, and being 50% Italian, it was imperative that I correct this as soon as possible. I had already been to Giorgio's so I decided to try something new. Le Virtu has been getting a lot of attention recently, so I decided why not see what all the hype was about.

We arrived much earlier into the city than we had anticipated - you really can't time traffic! Thankfully, Le Virtu was able to accommodate and take us in early with no problem at all. As we walked into the restaurant I wanted to desperately sit outside, but Nick pleaded that it was still 90 degrees at 6:30 at night. He won the battle and we sat inside in the cozy, somewhat romantic dinning area.

The hostess provided us with some menus and when the server arrived, I quickly notified him of my allergies. The server was great throughout the entire night, constantly remembering the gluten allergy and making every accommodation possible.

Nick and I decided to share the Lamb Skewers with the Mint Pesto - which we really couldn't decided between that and the lamb sausage but with the waiters recommendation, which I always enjoy getting, we went with the skewers.

I found the skewers to have a bit too much fat on them and the pesto was lacking that "BAM" basil pesto flavor. I did use the decorative lemon to flavor the meat. Would I get again, probably not - but they were not horrible.

Next up, I couldn't decided between two dishes so I order both in an appetizer portion. While the portions where not much smaller than Nick's full size portion, my price was pretty much full price - so I should have just selected one item and enjoyed it. Oh well, this way I got to try even more!

I went with the lamb shoulder ragu - because of classic Italian red sauce and I do LOVE lamb! To be honest, the dish was okay, the pasta was cooked al-dente so win-win there. The sauce was a bit on the sweeter side and the meat was a bit dry.

The more enjoyed dish of the evening was the house-made sausage and truffle sauce. This dish was so creamy and flavorful - I could have ate it all night long! I promised Nick that I would save him a bite of each to try and I had a hard time saving some for him - whoops!

Nick ordered the hand-pulled pasta with extra virgin olive oil and pecorino. I was surprised that he actually enjoyed it. He did comment on how small the portion size was for the price - but the pasta was home-made.

All-in-all, the night was enjoyed. The food was okay, the service was great would we go back? Yes, but it is not on our "favorites" list.

Much appreciated that Le Virtu does offer gluten free pasta to their guests!

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