08/15/10

DC Vegetarian – Portland, OR

DC Vegetarian
430 SW 3rd Ave
Portland, OR 97204
(503) 317-4448

http://twitter.com/DCVegetarian

www.dcvegetarian.com

Everyone knows one of the greatest things about Portland, Oregon is their abundance of street food carts. According to FoodCartsPortland.com, Portland has over 200 food carts available at any given time. As a city that strives to continually provide fresh produce, especially in the summer months, it seems only natural that a vegetarian street food cart would exist. Aren’t we all a little vegetarian in the summer?

IMG_1285

It was a warm spring day when I visited. People were wandering around this block on SW 3rd Avenue (between Washington and Stark) trying to decide what to have for lunch. There were a few people in front of me, but I only waited about 10 minutes to eat. I liked that this cart also offered call in orders – perfect for the busy person who can barely escape for even 30 minutes during their workday.

The menu was mostly soups and sandwiches with plentiful vegan options. I opted for the vegan grilled cheddar cheese with tomato, vegetarian bacon and avocado. The cost was $4.50. There were a few picnic tables available, so I sat outside and enjoyed this tasty sandwich. It wasn’t as light as I would have preferred, but it was delicious! The vegetarian bacon added the perfect amount of crunchiness to an otherwise soft, yet crisp, sandwich.

I also may have hit up a group of food carts in another area later that night and devoured some of the most decadent macaroni and cheese I’ve ever tasted, but there is no photographic evidence of this, so did it actually happen?

D C Vegetarian on Urbanspoon

08/14/10

Tomato Art Festival 2010

IMG_1961

IMG_1963

IMG_1959

IMG_1969

Today started off great with a pre-Tomato Art Festival brunch at our place. After an early afternoon of eating and lounging, we wandered over to Five Points. By wandered, I mean drove to Five Points. The heat reached over 100 degrees again today, so a 1.5 mile walk just wasn’t in the cards.

The festival seemed larger than last year. We walked around, stopping into air-conditioned galleries and shops periodically, for at least 2 hours. There were a lot of tomato themed food samples – gazpacho, salsas, bruschetta and more. After much consideration, I decided on eating an heirloom BLT (without bacon or mayo and with guacamole). Delicious. Also, I brought my strange tomato over to the ugly tomato contest table. Although the awards had already been given, I felt mine would best be “among friends,” said farewell and left it there to pretend it won the number two spot.

The Tomato Art Festival is East Nashville’s biggest celebration of the year and this one did not disappoint. I love the spirit, community and tasty food of this event.

08/12/10

Gojo Ethiopian Restaurant – Nashville, TN

Gojo Ethiopian Cafe and Restaurant
415 Thompson Lane
Nashville, TN
(615) 332-0710

http://www.gojoethio.com/

IMG_1948

First, I love a good Ethiopian meal. I very much enjoy the experience of the meal with others. It’s great to share food with each other, by hand, from a centerpiece platter. It’s an intimate and unique experience. And it’s one of the only types of food that I can eat the plate!

We waited for at least 10 minutes before anyone at the restaurant acknowledged we had walked into the door. The service didn’t really improve after we had been seated, but I loved this place too much to care. The decor was eclectic, but casual. It was warm and comfortable.

The spiced tea (hot or iced) was refreshing and delicious without sweetener. It was the perfect start to the meal. I ordered the four vegetable combination. After reviewing the image above, it has come to my attention that I received all five! My favorite was the Tikle Gomen – fresh cabbage sauteed with garlic ginger and lightly seasoned with turmeric. The other items included lentils, split peas and chick peas – all perfectly seasoned. The five items were also great mixed together. The enjera (flatbread) that accompanied the food was even delicious by itself. I had to share with my date to finish my meal.

This was practically under-priced at $10.50. They also offer a $7.99 lunch buffet.

Gojo Ethiopian Cafe and Restaurant on Urbanspoon

08/7/10

Vegan Red Velvet Cake with Vegan Cream Cheese Icing

After unsuccessfully attempting to pawn off some unused CSA vegetables to my friend for his birthday dinner, I promised I would make a vegan red velvet cake. I don’t know where it came from and I had never baked any vegan desserts, so I was a little nervous. Luckily, I found a great recipe online from Mac & Cheese, a vegetarian Philadelphia based food blog. The direct link is below.

IMG_1937

IMG_1939

IMG_1941

Steps not pictured: Kate nervously peering through the oven window. Kate prematurely texting her friend with an update on the “great” vegan cake for his party. Kate almost crying when the first cake wouldn’t come out of the pan. Kate “fixing” the holes in the bottom layer with gobs of icing. Kate almost deciding to decorate the cake with funky cocoa powder designs, but realizing she shouldn’t push it.

Time: 1 1/2 hours

Cost: $25 (I had some ingredients already and I had some items leftover after this was made.)

Tips: I used too much cooking spray on the cake pans. The vegetable oil made the cake somewhat crumbly. I’d like to experiment with other ingredients next time. Read the labels before you purchase the red food dye. Cochineal / Carmine is made from beetles (sometimes labeled E120). Red #40 is made from coal. The recipe is for cupcakes, but a commenter leaves instructions for a cake.

Edit: Putting this cake in the refrigerator for a few hours prior to serving solved the crumbling problems. Plus, I think it tasted better cold. It was a hit!

Recipe: Mac & Cheese

Overall Rating: I made a test batch of 4 cupcakes to make sure the cake tasted OK. The cake is good, but the icing is great.

08/4/10

Wild Cow – Nashville, TN

The Wild Cow
1896 Eastland Avenue
Nashville, TN 37206
(615) 262-2717

http://www.thewildcow.com

The Wild Cow has been working very hard lately on their vegan and raw desserts. Most days, they offer at least four different options. These are listed on their website daily. Tonight, we braved the two block trek in unforgiving 100 degree heat for carrot cake and chocolate rosewater vegan cupcakes.

The verdict is in – sinfully moist and delicious.

IMG_1928-pola

IMG_1923-pola

The Wild Cow on Urbanspoon

08/3/10

Watanabe – Nashville, TN

Watanabe
1400 McGavock Pk
Nashville, TN 37206
(615) 226-1112
http://www.watanabesushibar.com/

Watanabe is an Asian restaurant nestled in Inglewood’s hottest corner – Riverside Village. It’s the best of Matt Charette’s East Nashville restaurants. The decor is simple, dark and cozy. I love the booths. It’s a great atmosphere for a date, complete with flickering paper lanterns that dangle above the dining room. I don’t know; I just like it.

The food is decent. I’ve tried a number of the rolls, fried rice, vegetable gyoza and tempura udon. Most dishes can substitute tofu for meat. It’s the type of place you feel comfortable ordering something small and it’s all reasonably priced. The service is somewhat slow at times, but redeems itself in friendliness. The staff takes pride in the place and it shows.

IMG_1899

It’s a great Monday or Tuesday night kind of place that I will continue to frequent on Monday and Tuesday nights. I’m happy to have this restaurant in East Nashville.

Watanabe on Urbanspoon

08/3/10

Pasta Substitutes? – Take Two

After the cucumber noodle failure, I was feeling dismal about the possibility of ever finding a low calorie substitute until I stumbled upon TOFU SHIRATAKI.

The entire bag is 40 calories, 0 grams of fat and vegan! There is angel hair, spaghetti and fettuccine. Each bag costs about $2.50 at Whole Foods. It takes 2 minutes to prepare – simply drop the noodles into boiling water for a few minutes, lightly pull apart, strain and serve. A good homemade sauce completes the meal. Farewell, Kroger brand pasta…

IMG_1894

Suggestions:

1. Strain well or your bowl of pasta will be too watery.
2. The noodles have a strange smell when they first come out of the bag, but boiling for a few minutes eliminates this!
3. Eat with a hearty sauce. Remember, the whole bag is only 40 calories!
4. Eat often.

07/31/10

Asian Summer Vegetable Tofu Scramble

IMG_1885

1 small summer squash
2 small banana peppers
handful of cherry tomatoes halved
1/2 package of crumbled tofu
1/4 fresh lemon

2-3 tablespoons olive oil
salt & pepper as needed
3-4 cloves of fresh minced garlic

low sodium soy sauce
1 1/2 tablespoons of rice wine vinegar
2 tablespoons of ginger (ground)
pinch of sugar

1. Start with ½ package of tofu. Cut in half and remove excess water. Put a
few tablespoons of olive oil into a pan and cook crumbled tofu until slightly brown.
Periodically sprinkle in salt and pepper. Remove tofu and set aside.

2. Sauté chopped summer squash, banana peppers and cherry tomatoes with
fresh minced garlic. Add crumbled tofu. Squeeze ¼ fresh lemon into mixture and
sauté for a few more minutes.

3. Add ginger, soy sauce, a small amount of rice wine vinegar and a pinch of sugar.
Mix and sauté for a few minutes. Serve immediately.

07/31/10

Poladroid Project

Is there anyone who doesn’t miss Polaroids? I just discovered this free software that can Polaroid-ify your photos. You simply drag and drop your photo onto the Polaroid camera icon, it “snaps the photo,” wait a few minutes and the image is ready! You can even add extra dirt and scratches to the picture!

Check out my images from Mas Tacos:

IMG_1859-pola

IMG_1871-pola

IMG_1878-pola

Farewell, Saturday chores…

Here’s the website where you can download the software and let the fun begin!

Poladroid Project

07/29/10

Mas Tacos Por Favor – Nashville, TN

Mas Tacos Por Favor
732 Mcferrin Avenue
Nashville, TN
http://twitter.com/mastacos

Everyone is talking about Mas Tacos and I am included.

IMG_1871

Nashville’s infamous taco truck opened up a shop on McFerrin Avenue on Tuesday. I was initially overjoyed about the opening because of the extended (and permanent) hours for devouring delectable tacos. For many months I have obsessively checked twitter waiting for a hint that she might be out serving her sinful recipe of fresh and addicting food. I have lamented, ached and suffered symptoms of real withdrawal during the weeks she carelessly wrote “see y’all next week!”

Once, I visited the store, I was excited for much more.

IMG_1859

I love the decor. It’s an intimate, rustic room with far too many lovely vignettes to take in at once. From the mismatched chairs huddled around small round tables, cacti placed sporadically throughout, kitschy Mexican art, and bright colors – it’s a unique and hip space. And songs on the jukebox are free! Best of all, my favorite quinoa and horchata lunch combination is available in about 1/4 of the wait time.

Go often.

IMG_1874

IMG_1876

IMG_1878

IMG_1858

IMG_1867