Veggie 101

I swear, hole-in-the-wall restaurants always have the best vegetarian food. And that is in no way meant to be offensive to Mondo Taco, a newly discovered spot (thanks to Backboard Eats) in the Miracle / La Brie area, where the gourmet taco varieties are damn near endless. And these days, tons of drivers have part time delivery jobs (by the hour) in Los Angeles, delivering a wide variety of delicous veggie foods. Tip of the cap to these folks.

I'd always passed by Isabegga's Cookies while shopping in Whole Foods or other natural food stores, but I never thought twice about them.

Of course I prefer to bake my own goodies, so it's not too often that I peruse the cookie aisle. What was unbeknownst to me was that of their 25+ cookie flavors, five of them are vegan. Vegan cookie review? Here we go!

I have to admit: I wasn't immediately impressed when I tried these snacks. They looked, smelled, and tasted just like popcorn. So why not just eat popcorn, right? Mint Pops is actually air-popped sorghum grain, which from a nutritional standpoint turns out to be a lot healthier than popcorn. Here's where the points start adding up.

Vegan meatballs are very underrated. I don't know enough people that talk about or eat them, myself included. Now perhaps some of you may have heard of, tried, or are already loyal fans of Nave's Meatless Meatball, but I was a complete newbie. Sure, I've tried other brands of vegan meatballs, but I never quite liked the taste or the texture. Until I tried Nave's.

Juice Cleanses

My first ever juice cleanse, thanks to the fabulous Cafe Rikka! For the sake of the being able to say I've done it, I hopped on the latest bandwagon to check out this booming, oh-so-SF trend. Although I was a bit apprehensive, it ended up being quite an experience.

Veggie photograph

Somehow I just KNEW this was going to be amazing as soon as I laid eyes on the recipe. Quinoa, almonds, and apples tossed in a honey-curry-lemon dressing. I mean, what could be better? In fact, I'd deem this one of the best grain salads I've ever had in life! Everyone who knows me knows I don't like making the same thing twice, but this is definitely an exception.

Cilantro and lime, one of the great Mexican flavor combinations. Apply that to rice, and you've got an excellent side dish waiting to be paired with bold, spicy flavors. With a few adjustments to the original recipe, this can be a staple for almost any meal.

So it looks like Veggie Times, the magazine I've gotten most of the recipes on the site from, has revamped their website. And like a not-so-smart web redesign, they've changed the titles of each and every one of their recipe links. This means for me, and probably many other bloggers out there, that there are broken links galore running rampant through this site (probably around 400 recipes!).

I plan on fixing each and every one, but as you can probably imagine, that's not going to happen overnight. Please bear with me, and if you can't find a recipe, it's probably easiest to just do a search on the VT website.

The Lighter Life

The Lighter Life you've come to know and love; featuring vegan and vegetarian products in major supermarkets across the country; has a new look and a load of new art They've expanded into the veggie burger and frozen meal realm, with four new varieties for each, available everywhere in June. The new items are only vegetarian (not vegan), which is strange, considering that seems to be the direction most companies are headed these days. But fret not veggies, you'll be able to add most of these new products to your quick meal option lineup.

With so many veggie burgers on the market, how do you know which to choose? The possibilities and varieties seem endless: some are more "natural" than others, some taste flat out horrible, and some even contain egg whites and dairy (watch out, vegans!).

With so many fake cheeses in the market these days, how do you know which to choose? For over 20 years, Galaxy Foods has offered a wide range of cheesy products, including vegetarian, vegan, and rice-based slices. But it's perhaps their newest products that are giving other companies a run for their money...

It baffles me that more Los Angelenos don't know about Skip's Gourmet Tacos, the self-proclaimed Mexican restaurant with a "splash of soul." Let me be the first to tell you, this place is underrated. It's also the true definition of a hole in the wall: small and obscure, but some of the best food that may ever cross your palate.101 graphic Plant-eaters and carnivores alike can dine here in culinary harmony, as there's an entire vegan/vegetarian menu containing faux meat, tofu, vegan cheese, and more!

I'm still on the fence about tempeh. That bitter, slightly sour flavor just does not appeal to me. Well, until now, that is. Apparently, marinating it in a delicious, addictive sauce and broiling it is the way to go. Although this isn't a traditional kung pao dish in the sense of the ingredients, it's an absolutely wonderful Asian-inspired dish that you won't be able to get enough of!

So I think I've found my new favorite way to cook tofu: broiling. It does things to tofu that you'd never think possible. This recipe is so delicious that you'll be amazed at how simple it is to make, and you may find yourself making it again and again. If you're trying to turn someone on to the joys of this soy food, this may be just the recipe to use.

Butternut squash, tofu, and broccolini in a Thai-inspired curry-coconut sauce...sounds amazing, right?home image Unfortunately, this dish was a disappointment on many levels. Although I did adapt the recipe a tiny bit, I can assure you it's the recipe (and not me!) that has problems. If you're a big fan of this type of dish, make your own modifications, but read on to see where things went wrong.

I wanted to use up a bag of dry-packed sun-dried tomatoes, so this recipe seemed like a sure winner. Unfortunately, it turned out to be something quite different from what I expected. It wasn't a total disaster, but look elsewhere if you're looking for a true bruschetta recipe.

Dried Fruit, Blah!

Dried fruit is sooooo yesterday. Enter Funky Monkey Snacks! Freeze-dried fruit (as opposed to regular dried fruit) is where it's at, from flavor to texture to nutrition. This stuff is perfect for a quick snack any time, and it travels so well!

Pasta made out of...squash? And not the spaghetti kind? I can't tell you how frightened I was to try this. I know this is what a raw foodist's dreams are made of, but I'm not quite on that level myself. Still, the pesto on its own sounded delicious, so I was willing to give in to the idea of raw pasta.

Seafood is probably one of the hardest vegan things to emulate AND make taste good. You can find a lot of faux fish products at your local Asian markets, but (speaking from experience) they're often unpalatable and always have a strange not-quite-right smell. Enter Soghie's Kitchen...

The glowing red neon "vegan" in the window and the huge pink sprinkled donut is all that distinguishes Donut Farm from the outside. This inconspicuous, cruelty-free Oakland bakery not only creates some of the tastiest and creative vegan donuts around, but there's also a fabulous weekend brunch that is clearly a popular choice with nearby residents. Don't be put off by its no-frills, hole-in-the-wall appearance: Donut Farm (aka Popple's Donuts...actually, I'm not sure which is the "correct" name) is one of the Bay Area's best kept secrets.

Vegan Propaganda and Meat: Fact and Fiction
Human beings around the globe have shown the ability to be healthy on a range of various diet plans - the primary secret seems to be the avoidance of highly-processed, unhealthy food. Many organizations have become very savvy with connecting animal-based diets with with aggressive, anti-earth ruthlessness, however, upon closer examination, they appear to have a political agenda. read more
Veggie Lifestyle: Health and Happiness
The bliss that one feels when biting into delicious vegetarian snacks is one that can never be forgotten. The Bliss company, located in Brooklyn, New York, produces healthy and wholesome dried fruit snacks, however the word "dried" does everything but describe the juicy goodness that lies in every bite. read more
Eggplant and More: Veggie Living
I have worked with eggplant many times and many ways, but this recipe tops the list for me. Mostly because of how simple it is, but also because the combination of ingredients and the prominence of the eggplant flavor and texture make it a absolutely delicious and enjoyable for all. read more