Saturday, December 21, 2013

Our final winner is ...


Congratulations Heather!

Rafflecopter selected your entry at random.

Enjoy the book.

Thanks to all who entered.

Happy Holidays and wishes for a great vegan new year!


Wednesday, December 18, 2013

And the first two winners are ...

Simona C for both giveaways!  Rafflecopter picked the two winners.  Congrats Simona.

2 more days and we'll find out who wins the third book.

Good luck!

Thursday, November 7, 2013

New Mexico judge dismisses lawsuit, OKs horse slaughter to resume

If you think it's OK to eat one animal and not another this is what happens.  Maybe one day we will justify dog and cat slaughter, (for export to those areas of the world that consume such 'delicacies' of course).  No, go vegan and stop all animal slaughter.,0,2414487.story
From The LA Times 

A federal judge gave the green light for horse slaughter to resume in the United States, perhaps as early as next week.
In issuing her ruling late Friday, U.S. District Judge Christina Armijo, who is based in Albuquerque, dismissed a lawsuit by animal welfare groups that had sought to prevent such slaughtering.
Front Range Equine Rescue, the Humane Society of the United States and other animal rights groups contend that federal officials didn’t perform appropriate studies before granting permits to Valley Meat Co. in New Mexico and a company in Iowa.
Armijo also denied a permanent injunction that would have blocked Valley Meat Co. from reopening its Roswell, N.M., slaughterhouse to horses.
A. Blair Dunn, attorney for Valley Meat Co. and Rain Natural Meats in Missouri, said both companies plan to resume operations as soon as next week. The companies want to export the horse meat for human or animal consumption.
“We are pleased," Dunn said. "We think the right legal conclusion was reached.”
The Humane Society promised to appeal Friday’s ruling, stating that it was just the latest legal battle over the treatment of horses in the American West.
“With today's court ruling and the very real prospect of plants resuming barbaric killing of horses for their meat in the states, we expect the American public to recognize the urgency of the situation and to demand that Congress take action,” Wayne Pacelle, president and chief executive of the organization, said in a written statement.
The issue of horse slaughter has proved to be divisive with a heated debate over what is the most humane solution to the nation’s overpopulation of horses, with many of the animals neglected and starving.
Rick de los Santos, the owner of the New Mexico slaughterhouse, sued the Department of Agriculture last year, claiming the agency was holding up its review of the application because of public pressure.
The lawsuit charged that the delays had cost the company hundreds of thousands of dollars. The last U.S. slaughterhouse closed in 2006, the same year Congress eliminated funding for inspections of those facilities. The funding was restored in 2011, which prompted several companies nationwide, including Valley Meat, to seek permission to open plants.

Friday, November 1, 2013

Book Review: Mind If I Order the Cheeseburger? And Other Questions People Ask Vegans by Sherry F. Colb.

I heard an interview with Sherry F. Colb on Erin Red Radio, ( awhile back and since I can turn on my shopping gene at a moments notice, (I can be an impulsive buyer of things),  I …  well, bought the book.  That is pretty unusual as I'm usually downloading stuff to my kindle or nook app.  Sometimes I get a paper copy when I think I'm going to want to take notes and quickly refer to something.  I find it easier to do that with paper than electronically.  In 50 years it will be a whole new world so if you're a millennial don't fret.  (Just wait until you go to a book signing and ask an author to sign your iPad though).

I've been a vegan for over 4 years now and an activist for many of those.  I am always flummoxed when I hear about an argument or idea that I hadn't heard before since being a vegan is what my days are usually consumed with.  Well, making other vegans and saving animals actually.  So on her podcast, Erin mentions veganism and abortion.  I stopped in my tracks as I hadn't actually realized the link.  So I listened and that's what actually helped make the buying decision.  I love when I learn something new.

What I say to vegans is that our job, our only job, (and this is a resolution … apropos since we're coming down the home stretch of the year and 1/1/14 is right over the horizon), is to make ONE more vegan this year.  I just found a poll that said 7% of the respondents identified as vegan but previously I heard the number of 2.5% bandied about.  In any case we have this concept of doubling so that even if we double, double again and double once more, in 3 years we'll be 10% of the population, certainly a force to be reckoned with.  I say to vegans that I liken non vegans to ships who have run aground on a sandbar.  If you talk to a non vegan and they go vegan on the spot, Eureka, you've floated the boat.  I just want each of us to help move a grain of sand under that keel, for none of us know which is the grain that will float the ship.

It is the reason I wear a shirt or button with a message or at least the word "vegan" on it.  Let another few thousand people see the word as I walk down Madison Avenue.  It also occasionally prompts a question, which sorta opens the door for discussion.  Sneaky, ain't I?

So I advocate talking, never letting an opportunity pass to bring up compassion, health, or environment.  I don't care how you put the target of going vegan in front of someone or what logic trail you use as long as you set them on a path leading to being a vegan.  Now all that comes down to sales.  Yes sales. As many of you know I spent many years as a headhunter, which is possibly the toughest sales job there is.  (Each sale is 2 closes.  You never have to convince a car to go home with you but you have to convince a candidate AND a company to both buy each other's mutual product at the same time).  At any rate, selling is really helping other people buy.  And we do that by stating a position, listening to an objection, rebutting that objection, and re-closing the sale.  It goes like this:

"You should go vegan."

"I don't think you can get enough protein just eating plants."

"That was a concern of mine as well when I first started this way of living but recent research shows that if you are a person with a fairly normal activity level a varied plant based diet with enough calories will provide all the nutrients, including protein, that you need.  So getting enough protein really isn't an issue for vegans.  You should definitely go vegan."  (Inhale!)

Of course this is an inane example but if you don't know the answers to the questions you'll be asked, if you don't know the rebuttals to the objections, you won't be a very effective vegan maker.  You'll also fall a bit flat when you get the mean remarks, (I'm going to order my burger extra bloody today just so you can watch it drip down my arms), or just silly inquiries from your family at the Thanksgiving table, (So all of a sudden you don't love me anymore?)  Sherry Colb's book, "Mind If I Order the Cheeseburger?  And Other Questions People Ask Vegans"

is a brilliantly written manual for the vegan who wants a better answer when questioned.  It is a pretty low key book, not angry, not written from a soapbox, but from the view of a teacher, (which she is), with an inexhaustible supply of patience.

I usually read books like this and hear myself thinking, "Yeah, heard that before … " but with this book I kept grabbing my pen thinking, "Whoa, what a great way to express that thought!" and underlining a passage or paragraph.  I've found new ideas and new thoughts, not only in the previously mentioned, "Abortion is killing and you're a vegan so how can you be pro-choice?" discussion but in the, "Animals wouldn't have had ANY life if we hadn't bred them to eat so isn't their existence better than if they never were born in the first place?" argument.  That one I never had heard before.  In addition there are chapters about the usual stuff such as, "Don't plants have feelings too you murderer," and, "What if everyone stopped eating meat?  Where would all the cows go then?  Huh?  Huh?"

Sherry also does a brilliant job dealing with the more complex issues of how veganism plays into religion and meat eating culture as well as drawing the line at vegetarianism being enough, or the animals eat other animals argument as well as the fallacy of "Humane Meat."

This is not a book to read and hope you remember.  This is a book that you should treat like a text you never intend to sell at semester's end.  This is a manual to refer back to when you think to yourself, "I could have done a better job talking to that guy," and need a bit of a refresher on a better way to lay down an argument.

If you couldn't tell, I highly recommend this book.  Since the holidays are coming and vegans can be a bit more difficult to buy for, suggest a copy of this book for your stocking … or for under your kwanzamasnukah bush.

Readers Digest on Becoming Vegan. Yes, Readers Digest.

Really, who'd a thunk it?  One of the most mainstream conservative publications runs an article and mentions so many people we all know.  Of course they didn't mention me so we're still sitting at 96 FOLLOWERS!!!

Anyway, I got this link from Victoria Moran so as a public service … here it is.

Readers Digest on Becoming Vegan.  Readers Digest?!

Friday, October 25, 2013

96 and counting, here are the 3 titles for the giveaway

As promised, when the blog hit 95 followers I'd tell you the names of the 3 books for the giveaway.

The first is "FIT Quickies: 5 Minute Targeted Body-Shaping Workouts" by Lani Muelrath

This is not the giveaway copy, this is my copy.  The giveaway copy is brand spanking new.

The second is "Waist Away: How to Joyfully Lose Weight and Supercharge Your Life" by Dr. Mary Clifton and Dr. Chelsea Clinton.

And the third, for which I'll be writing a review next week is "Mind If I Order the Cheeseburger and Other Questions People Ask Vegans" by Sherry F. Colb.

This is also my marked up copy.  You get an unblemished copy right from the printer.

So yes, all of the copies are brand new.  Lets get this blog to over 100 followers and start the giveaway.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Help me hit 100 and I'll do a 3 book giveaway

Yes folks, a paltry 100 followers will make me feel like I've arrived!  Shot the approach to minimums and greased it on the runway to the sound of the applause in the cabin.

Seriously, 10 more followers and I'll give away 3 books. Two have been on my list for awhile and one I just finished.

Get me to 95 and I'll give you the titles.

And last, would you prefer winner takes all or three separate winners??

Post your comments below ... and thanks for following the blog folks!


Friday, October 18, 2013

Isn't it hard enough ... Or I was so shot in the ass by friendly fire. Disingenuous Zen Palate

It's not really hard.  I've said that enough times.  It isn't hard being a vegan. It does take slightly more effort.  More research online looking for places to eat that have vegan menu items or options.  It does take asking a few more (of the right kind of), questions.  Sometimes a bit of teaching a waitperson or chef what vegan really means, (Yes, I know the last vegan in here said the ... was ok to eat but it's not vegan by definition).  So when you go to a place that you are under the IMPRESSION is vegan, wearing a shirt with the word, VEGAN" emblazoned across the front, you sort of exhale that breath of relaxation and ASSUME your food is vegan.

Fast forward many meals later, many recommendations later about a food that is on the list of world favorites.  And for a moment, just pretend, you are casually looking for another bit of information.  Say the restaurant hours.  And you go to a familiar source, lets say, for instance.  And lets just say while looking for that bit of information you casually notice this ...

All vegan except for the soy ham which contains whey. 

"What?" You say as your hands start to tremble and you nearly drop your phone into the sewer, almost tripping in front of a bus as though you'd never used your feet before. You quickly regain your senses and to no one in particular say, "Huh?"

This just cant be, you think, as if sitting in the Vatican and listening to Copernicus explain his crazy theory.  

"This must be verified!"

The waitress clearly has English as a second or third language and she must check. And check she does and you know what, it's true.  That ham really does have whey in it.  And all these years Ive been recommending the Autumn Rolls as a MUST TRY ITEM!  Why in the world would you have ONE non vegan item and not mark it.

Look, the truth is I don't care what you put on your menu.  (Well of course I do ... but i don't).  If you want to serve elephant, serve elephant.  (Not really).  But for Dog's sake put a notation there.  Let us know.  An asterisk, a little "V" with a line drawn through it.  How about just the words "Contains whey" in the description??  I felt ... taken advantage of.  How disingenuous.  

Now take a look at this picture of the menu at Gobo, another place I enjoy eating at:

See that last item?  The sliders?  Now truth be told I have no clue why there is such a need to have a non vegan item, (I think it was the egg wash on the slider buns if I remember correctly, and who cares, really), but it's there, for whatever reason, and it's clearly marked.  So unless you're a vegan who misunderstood the word "not", (I dunno, could happen), you ain't eating any animal products accidentally at Gobo.  

That's how you do it, Zen Palate.  So, a big thumbs up and kudos to Gobo in the clarity department and a big old Bronx cheer to Zen Palate in the "pulling of the wool over my eyes" department. Yuck. 

Thursday, July 4, 2013

Volunteer opportunity and lots of great food at the Jamboree.

OK, so inside the restaurant was packed.  I love when a vegan place is FULL.  But I digress before I even start.  I drove up to Woodstock, NY today after picking up some donations from Trader Joe's in Westfield, NJ.  I delivered them to the Woodstock Farm Animal Sanctuary where I am volunteering in the kitchen for the summer Jamboree.  I love Jenny and Doug and their abolitionist approach to the movement.  I was so lucky to be introduced personally to many of the residents.  I am also honored to have the same name as their family dog.  

Why is eating outside something you don't find me doing all that often?  Well, as you know I'm a New Yorker.  There are a lot of outdoor cafes and restaurants with outdoor seating.  I don't believe that eating is a spectator sport.  It's a mutually shareable experience.  You can look at me eating if I can look at you.  So I truly do not enjoy people passing my table on the side walk and looking at my food.  What do I get to look at?  They're not bringing anything to the party.  So I just don't like it.  Also, I've been panhandled once too often while trying to enjoy ... well, anything else than being panhandled.  Tis garden was just like an outdoor dining room. Acceptable in my book.  

Y table on  

I was so happy to find this vegan mecca downtown.  Not being that hungry but certainly in the mood for a brew, (when am I not, breakfast? ... well, most breakfasts anyway), and something light I am now dining with my IPA and Caesar salad with baked tofu.  Very nice, not the best Caesar I've ever had but delightful in its own right.  The high point is certainly the dressing, the greens being less than chilled and croutons being ... interesting.

Crumbled almonds add a nice flavor and texture not often found in Caesars and the tofu was marinated and had a pleasing yet non-descript flavor.
The garden was quite pleasant and the heat of the day not very evident. For me to say this is big because, as you all know, I'm much more of a creature comfort, (read: air conditioner), kind of guy.  The downside to the garden is that if you're eating around say, 8:30 or so, you'll end up eating your meal in the dark.

The brownie dessert was delicious.  I took in the aroma of chocolate as soon as the plate was put down.  Eating a dark dessert by flickering candlelight is a challenge.  You just don't know where to put the spoon.  I made due though, not to be outwitted by a brownie in the dark.  The brownie itself wasn't really a dense thick brownie but a delicious chocolate cake in a brownie shape.  Mixed with a spoonful of the vanilla ice cream was just perfect.

The Garden Cafe also offers a discount to members of the Woodstock Farm Animal Sanctuary. Nice.

Friday, June 7, 2013

Native Foods, it's good to be home

A few months ago I was in downtown Chicago. Since my usual stop is Midway it it rare that I get to the city center. I had a few days and my Hotel overlooking the lake had few culinary options.   After sitting at the tapas restaurant with a beer and a menu, querying a helpful waitress and finding nary a vegan option, it was good to realize thatNative Foods was indeed walking distance from the hotel.  Thank you once again 

I do love my Brookstone iPad case but the pad slips a little and the faux leather
covers a little bit of the lens.  Artistic or annoying?

What?  New menu item?  I'm in.  All in!!!  Jackfruit, that mysterious elusive ingredient with cans and jars in my pantry.  Well, I live in NYC so in my pantry drawer.  If you know what I mean.

Island Jack Fritters.  I holy snikiees wish I had a culinary imagination.  These start out with a light crunch, then plenty of soft gooey texture as you press the mass of cooked veggies against the roof of your mouth and bite through the perfect texture of the peppers and onions.  I wouldn't know a jackfruit unless someone put a bowl in front of me and said, "Hey, idiot.  Here's a bowl of jackfruit."  A nice soft heat follows and if you dip in the chipotle aioli you can coat all that crunch with a nice fatty chili flavor without adding much heat.  Give it a squirt of lemon if you wish and you can easily relive the days of conch fritters on the beach of Key West.  Eat quickly though because if you let them sit the crunch disappears.

Today was Monday and the Oklahoma Bacon Cheeseburger was the daily special and as a free side I chose the kale.  It's a steamed kale and although there is nothing wrong with the dish it's more steamed than light but most definitely not overcooked.

I'm not sure if it was Charlie Brown who said it or not but sometime in my youth I read the advice, "Never put anything in your mouth that is bigger than your head."  I do believe this burger is bigger than my head. The sliced seitan and bacon slices topped with the onion ring stack might qualify on it's own but there is a whole 'nother side of the bun stacked with lettuce and onions and carrots and tomato and of course shmeared with a shmear of Ranch dressing and BBQ sauce.  It's it looks pretty on the plate and all but you know, somewhere in the back of your mind, that you're not gonna whimp out and eat it with a knife and fork.  Step up to the plate batter.


 So flip it over you do and you're left with an ingredient jailbreak.   It isn't burger squirt in the traditional meaning.  It literally is every ingredient fleeing for its life.

All that being said, it's a great sandwich.  For my druthers, and you know I always have druthers, the seitan is a very light seitan, almost chickeny in essence.  It's sliced thin, which, Caesar, the old man who ran the deli counter many years ago at Danza's Supermarket on Flatlands Avenue in Brooklyn once taught me, makes anything that is sliced taste better.  I make my seitan much heartier with stuff like Bistec, or Kitchen Bouquet, or soy.  Not that this is bad in any way, just not a burger beefy.  You must not give up.  Persevere to reach the center mass of the burger where you're rewarded with the crunch of the onion rings.  Yes, still crunchy!

Shmear on some ranch to bump up the flavor profile and you have a pretty good meal.

It's always nice to not have to ask if this is vegan or that is vegan so whenever I am at a vegan restaurant I feel the tension seeping out of me from the moment I step up to the register to the after dinner belch.  I mean sigh of contentment.  

In the interest of full disclosure about half way through the burger I dumped the ranch dressing over in the plate and just grabbed a cop-out fork.  My patience only runs for so long.  <laugh>

Yes, more is coming, lots has been happening, don't give up hope, keep reading!

As you know I'll update our facebook page and twitter with all new posts.

Go Vegan!

Monday, April 8, 2013

Wild Cow worth the trip to Grand Ole Opryland. Nashville.

Wild Cow, Nashville

Copy to:

I love this place.  Even though they will put cheese on dishes by request, it's an entirely vegan place aside from that.  We sat at the counter and even though I was next to the register, where everyone paying a bill had a conversation over my right shoulder, I had a good time.  Even though.

We started with the Tempeh Buffalo Wings.

I had my doubts about the use of this medium for wings and my doubts were borne out.  The sauce was not as hot as buffalo sauce should be and the tempeh, although great in some uses, fell a bit short in it's interpretation of wings.  The ranch dressing was impressive and worth a few swipes with the carrots and celery.  We both thought the dish was, "not bad."  I had other things that are a much better use of the calories.

My Kale, Peanut Butter, and Banana smoothie was amazing.  It was like drinking sweet, green, peanut butter through a straw.  Thick but not so much that it wouldn't pull through a straw with a minor bit of effort.  Definitely a winner.

I chose the Philly Cheese Steak which as my loyal fans know, is not surprising.  The hero bun was soft and perfect but here is my only critique of the sandwich, it's a tad too soft for the contents.  Now Wild Cow isn't shy about loading up a hero roll and the contents overflowed but lifting this monster delight should have had the coaching of a civil engineer.  I finally tossed mustache hygiene aside and just went for it.  The onions and peppers were cooked just perfectly, nice and soft like they should be.  The house made seitan was just soft enough and mouthy enough to ride the line perfectly between matzoh ball seitan and shoe leather seitan.  The Teese sauce worked perfectly just oozing throughout the sandwich.  One of the better ones, construction materials aside, that I've had.

The side dish, usually a mere supporting actor, was a star unto it's own right.  The Lentil Stew with Garlic Aioli was a hit.  Were it not served in a side sized ramekin,  a ladle would have been a more appropriate utensil.  It was worthy of a bowl and piece of crusty bread.  As a meal.  The soft but pervasive taste of sweet roasted garlic swam under nicely seasoned lentils.  The vegan sour cream on top was cool and contrasted so nicely with the stew.  Incredible dish.

And I didn't stop there.  All through the meal the cakes and cupcakes and cookies beckoned. And now the meal was over.  And still they beckoned.  So I beckoned back.  And got a slice of Tiramisu cake.

Which I hadn't had since who remembers when.  Delicious.  I was so full that a cup of coffee, which would have been perfect with the T, was just too much to even think about.

I enjoyed the vibe, the people were friendly, and despite my cramped quarters I'd go back in a heartbeat.  I'm just glad I had a crew car.

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Doomie's of Hollywood, CA. Excellent Comfort Food. Period.

I eat at a lot of vegan places and I'm a comfort food kind of guy.  I love my fried stuff and my stacked burgers and most of them are above the line of acceptability.  There's usually one or two things on a menu that are good or really good but it's been a long time since I was over the top like I was a Doomie's.

The sign as you are driving down Vine is small and buried among 20 other signs
and I just noticed the "Vegan/Vegetarian" as I went by.  Yup, had to turn around because
you can't see it if you're coming from ... well, LAX like I was.  It's also tucked
away in the corner of the "L" shaped strip mall.

Doomie's makes no bones about not being a healthy kind of place.  It's the last thing on Chef/Owner/musician Phil Doomie's mind.  What is on his mind is giving us vegans something to sink our teeth into and boy does he ever.  What else is there after textures and flavor profiles?

The chicken poppers were given to me gratis by server Tegan, who I must thank for guiding me through some difficult menu choices.  It's tough when you want to eat everything you see.

Instead of repeating myself by saying everything was perfect let me just say that in the whole array of food I glutinously had placed before me the only thing I didn't care for was the bacon bits on top of the mac n cheese.  They were a bit soft and soggy and didn't add the crunch that I think was the intent.  So what?  Big deal?  Everything else was, perfect.

Peppery, chickeny, crunchy on the outside and moist and flavorful inside.

The poppers were incredible.  I haven't had real cheese in years but this is what I remember a popper being.  The outside takes some tooth to break through and then you slide into the gooey interior, hit the resistance of the jalapeño and then feel the creaminess and heat invade your mouth.

I was enamored by Quarrygirls review of the Big Mac but Tegan suggested getting the burger Big Mac style.  Good move.  Finally a burger that doesn't squirt out of the back of the bun or need you to sharpen your incisors.  The texture of the burger was just like it should be.  Something to tear apart with your front teeth and still need some grind by your molars.  Taste was nice and beefy and the bun paired so well.  The special sauce on the bun, the onions, pickle, man, it just worked.

I also can't help but order onion rings.  I'm a junkie.  And these were worth the extra buck.  Sweet on the inside and crunchy on the out, just the way a "real" onion ring should be.  I'd order a bowl of these and 2 bottles of ketchup and leave a happy camper.

Why 2 pics?  Well, here you can see the burger better and ...

here the color of the onion rings are better.
A little out of sequence here but the start of the meal was chicken legs.  They weren't from Mai Wah but were of a similar texture and I think nothing special about the chicken but the buffalo sauce was indeed a real buffalo sauce, nice combination of Louisiana hot sauce and fat.  Now the Ranch was another stroke of genius.  If you didn't know ... well, I'm telling you you'd never know.

That's a nice big glop of special sauce on the bun and you can see where how it's grilled in a buttery garlicy shmear to a nice toast.  It really matters when you have that subtle crunch!

Seriously, can't you just feel that in your mouth?
Now the other thing I tried was the pulled pork, mac n cheese, fries, and cole slaw.  From last to first, the slaw was creamy, the fries, which I hadn't held out much interest in were so perfect that I decided to use the word perfect again.  And for fries no less!  Perfectly cooked, crunch outside and cooked potato inside and perfectly salted.  The mac n cheese was ... what can I say, cheesy.  The pasta cooked just right and not too soft or mushy.  And the pork, omg, just sweet enough, just bbq-y enough and texture, although not stringy like pork, (who cares ... really), had some tiny pieces and some medium pieces and some large pieces.  You mouth shmooshed and you you bit and you chewed.  Then if your taste buds needed an acid trip of flavor, you just dump the slaw on top and call it a day.

There is no website so before I forget here's the Facebook link: 

Great job Phil.

Monday, February 25, 2013

This Is What Vegans Eat

As a vegan charter pilot I have to put a bit more THOUGHT into what and where I'm eating but not really much more effort. Websites like and Yelp are helpful in finding vegan restaurants (or veg friendly) in cities where I travel. I even did a few blog posts chronicling my foods for a week on the road.


Marty's Flying Vegan Review

Read the Article at HuffingtonPost

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Mai Thai but no Mai Tai near Cincinnati.

Staying at the Airport Hilton.  There is nothing vegan around here.  Chains and your standard roadhouse American kind of places.  Last night I went to Karlo's Italian Bistro and got a bowl of (vegan of course), spaghettini with a sun dried tomato, tomatoes, garlic and olive sauce served with a yeast bread and olive oil/balsamic dipping plate.  It was adequate, tasty, (if more broth than I'd have preferred), and filling.  I did have to remind the waiter after querying him that I didn't want butter in my sauce.  They probably don't see many vegans here.

Tonight we opted for Mai Thai.  I tried searching for a place that had brown rice but that's apparently not known in the hinterland of Florence, KY where Cincinnati Airport is.  Our driver couldn't find the place and I had to give him directions from Google maps.  (The driver who picked us up knew exactly where it was).

I was impressed overall.

Appetizer was fried tofu.  It was rather tasteless and came with a dipping sauce, (I was assured had no fish sauce or chickenish products), that was rather sweet as in Sweet and Sour with crushed peanuts on top.  The dish was mediocre but that is as low as the food got.

I asked about the (spiciest) green curry but apparently it's made in advance with the fish sauce and our waitress suggested a stir fry.  I asked for level 5 spice (and still added more chili), and also asked that it come with tofu and vegetables.  The dish was excellent and had a nice depth of flavor, the heat a side show to the taste.  It had a nice earthy base to it.

I ordered veg fried rice with no fish sauce or animal broth.  I repeated this a few times and once, when our waitress asked "what kind of meat?" and I said, "No meat," she did a mental forehead slap and said, "that's right."

The fried rice was also excellent and had a sweeter base but still with a nice heat level.  I loved the basil in it and thought the two dishes went very well together, both spicy, yet flavors playing off each other.

I enjoyed the meal and brought back a bunch of menus for the hotel.  I'd eat here again in a heartbeat.

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Vertical Diner at 4000 feet

I was ecstatic when I found out my airline flight back east was put off until afternoon. Now I had my sights on a place I'd been to back in March and couldn't wait to get back to. It has "breakfast" written all over it. And for once, when I got up, I was HUNGRY. The airport Hilton is nice enough but I had to order up a fridge for the room, (as with most full service properties), and there was no guest microwave so my dinner last night was a huge salad somewhere over Nebraska at 38000 feet.

Getting up early in the west means sleeping in back east but then again, I didn't finish work until midnight so sleeping in until 730 wasn't really catching up on sleep
It looks so much better from the front

Green dragon and red lizard hot sauce. I tasted them but this breakfast had so much flavor it didn't really need hot sauce. For the record, green is Jalapeno based and red is Cayenne.

Side of in house nooch cheese sauce on top of the Gravy Train breakfast. Yes I double sauced it. Home fries, tofu scramble, sausage, peppers and onions. Ohhhhh, this defines breakfast. Salty and peppery potatoes cooked just enough to put a little crunch on the outside defines perfection in a cooked potato. The gravy is a tad heavy on the salt but 2 things: one I don't cook with much salt anymore and I may be hypersenstive and 2 gravy should be on the salty side. Just be prepared to grab a bottle of water later in the day. The nooch was just, well, noochy goodness and there was nooch in the scramble as well.

I realized after this was consumed that you really can't see the tofu very well.  Look closely.
The tofu was VERY well mashed and didn't replicate the curds normally found in eggs but that's ok, it was more like a creamy eggy replica. It was also seasoned with more than just your basic salt and pepper and the mix is for sale at Cali's Natural Foods market in Salt Lake. I have to find out if they ship because it's a nice easy no brainer for those of you who are just flummoxed by the concept of a tofu scramble. (

I first thought the sausage was a slice of Lightlife but it's not, it's home made and took me by surprise. A delicious mix of brown rice based and seasonings, (sweet with fennel!), just a tad over center on the mush scale but it really didn't detract and we in veganland haven't perfected the consistency competition), and with an amazing mix of spices in the tofu scramble, well, if I lived here I might just give up cooking my own breakfast.

Take Two - Where's the Beef?

I ordered a Philly Cheese Steak for the airline flight back to Atlanta and my mouth is watering.  I got my notch sauce on the side and they did an amazing job wrapping the plates into this leakproof cocoon.  I was so psyched.  Then in Denver I open my lunch and ...

No seitan.  Arrrgh.  Well, the bread was nice and garlicy and the mushrooms, onions and peppers were nice and I smooshed everything in the two containers of sauce but it was sooooo disappointing.  Ah well, next time.

I took a look at the check and it appears that mushrooms are an OPTION as is the seitan steak.  I had one great waiter who actually brought this wrapped sandwich out to me in my car after I got a call to rush to the airport and left it on the table.  He was excellent.  The other guy who took my order, I don't know, but I'd have asked me a lot more questions before I put in an order for a vegetable sandwich.  Just saying.

Monday, January 14, 2013

You can't eat healthy on the road?? Come on

Even if you don't have the Daiya or meat substitute you can still eat a nice dish of potatoes and water sautéed veggies. A little hot sauce or ketchup and you'll survive. Hilton breakfast buffet items with a cooked veggie request from the kithen.

Sunday, January 13, 2013

I hate you but love you Whole Foods

I do have a love/hate relationship with Whole Foods. I hate that the word "humane" is even remotely associated with all of the dead animals being sold here but for a vegan pilot on the road it is a godsend. As I travel around the country I also find unique vegan product that are only available on a regional basis. You'd think living in NYC I'd get one of everything in our local stores but it doesn't work that way.

Also, just look at this calendar. How many vegan cooking classes do you see?!

There are also a bunch of sampling tables with products such as Tasty Bites Indian food to low fat guacamole.  If I'm really lucky there will be a Vitamix salesman who I can watch for an hour or two.

I hadn't been eating particularly well so a hot salad bar was calling my name. Unfortunately, in Reston, VA, there is only a cold bar and soups. I needed greens and this certainly sufficed. Big bonus; there was a chicken curry dish made with Beyond Meat and I needed to try that product. Actually, you need to try it as well because it's the closest imitation of real chicken I've tasted. (Sorry Gardein, you're still good, just edged out). It comes in strips and sloughs off like real chicken. It has a moist consistency that holds together. I really believe I've tasted the future.

I had hoped to grab a package of the product but it wasn't on the shelves, only available for salad bar items it seems. The chef found a bag of it and loaded up a plastic container. At 12.99 a pound I do wish I was closer to rotating home so I could use it in some dishes.

The top two pics didn't come out very well but you can see the color much better in this picture.
I also found some Herb Crusted Tofu. It wasn't labeled vegan but there didn't seem to be anything in the ingredient list. I nuked it for 90 seconds and it came out steaming. I think this would have been unequivocally better in an oven. The crust should have been crunchy to offset the tofu but was a bit steamed in the microwave. It was also a tad under seasoned so a quick shake of the sea salt bumped up the flavor.

The salad was a compendium of flavors as you'd expect from someone who can't make food choices, to the point where if a menu just had one item on it I'd be a happy camper. Salty, curry, sweet, and a few shakes of balsamic vinegar turned it into the perfect salad.

That's a piece of Beyond Meat on the fork.
A new product I've never seen before is Five Star Foodies Gourmet Meat-less Grillers.

It is a frozen product and I figured I'd have the best shot of reviewing it here at WFM where there was an easily accessible microwave. The instructions called for 45 seconds and it was still cold in the middle so I shot it for another 45 seconds.

Before cooking
It's a seitan burger and I found the consistency was a bit spongy but from the second bite on had a better chewiness to it. The flavor was an attempt at subtle BBQ but there was an undertone of sweetness to it and an overtone of paprika. At 100 calories a pop with only 25% fat it was a decent enough burger and truly holds up my definition of faux. I am not a big fan of vegetable burgers which turn to mush so this is much more to my liking. It's the kind of burger that will stay with a bun and not squirt out as you eat it, (unless you put it between to slick pieces of lettuce and tomato).

There's another product of theirs that you can see in the top picture.  I'll try it tomorrow but it will be defrosted by then. Still, I am looking forward to trying their Vegetarian Harvest Roast.  In addition I saw a packet of Vegetarian Gravy.  The packages are all marked VEGAN which is nice as I didn't have to go through 3 ingredient lists but that's a lot of gravy for me on the road.  There are so many other dried packets of "just add water" good enough gravy for the times I don't feel like whipping up a pan sauce that this seemed something that wasn't going to make it into my cart.

Thanks for being here WFM. Ditch the dead animals and we'll all be better off for it.