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Green Lotus Cafe, Hyannis
Sep30

Green Lotus Cafe, Hyannis

During a recent stay in Cape Cod, I was ecstatic to discover a relatively new vegan cafe in Hyannis, Green Lotus Cafe. Located on the town’s quiant Main Street, this cafe is an absolute vegan haven in a place that is only slowly getting on board with accommodating vegan diners. (I’m encouraging local pancake houses to include vegan pancakes on the menu — craving a short stack with local blueberries!) Owner/Chef Nate Fanara opened Green Lotus about five months ago. A native of the Cape, he lived in San Diego for many years before heading home and realizing there was a need for vegan fare that was based more on whole foods — no tofu here. He makes his own seitan on the premises, and will soon also be making tempeh on site as well. And, other than offering Daiya cheese as a vegan option (the menu caters to both vegetarians and vegans), look for ingredients like cashew cream and eggplant bacon rather than the usual processed vegan substitutes. Everything sounded so enticing here that my husband Seth and I made two separate trips for lunch during our vacation. On the first day, we shared the E.L.T. and the Veggie Reuben. We came back a second time to try a couple of the other sandwiches. What I love about this place is the unique touches — such as using shaved slices of seitan in the Reuben or the eggplant bacon on the E.L.T —  as opposed to the more typical vegan versions that use tempeh. And the coconut bacon on The Maui was a revelation. Wow.   Other delicious-sounding menu items include a roasted seitan wrap and a roasted red pepper hummus wrap. Beyond sandwiches and wraps, daily specials include vegan soups and seasonal ingredients for a “Build Your Own Salad” menu option. Finally, the cafe has a nice selection of organic coffees and tea and some vegan baked goods if you’re looking for an afternoon spot to just sit and read for a while. What a wonderful addition to the Cape Cod community — I’m looking forward to revisiting the next time I’m in town… and wishing Green Lotus great success! Moreover, I’m hoping Green Lotus will inspire other existing restaurants to start offering more vegan options, and maybe some additional new vegan-friendly places on the Cape as...

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Snacks!
Sep13

Snacks!

Most of the time we stick to whole foods in our home, so snacks are fruits, vegetables, and sometimes a big bowl of fresh-popped popcorn. But we also can get a little wild in the kitchen, roasting garbanzo beans or making our own kale chips. And, then there’s the occasional guilty pleasure, the immediate satisfaction of a ready-made snack. Whether you have a sweet tooth or are craving something a little salty, I recommend these for snack time… The Buccaneer by Go Max Go If you haven’t tried a chocolate bar by Go Max Go yet, go go go to your nearest Whole Foods and buy one. My preference is  The Buccaneer, which is light and airy — similar to a Three Musketeers. My husband just tried the newest bar — the Thumbs Up — which is very similar to a Butterfinger. I’m thinking a Thumbs Up blended with So Delicious Coconut-Milk Ice Cream is going to happen in our kitchen very soon. Simply Sprouted Way Better Snacks I got to sample these tortilla chips during the Hoedown weekend at Farm Sanctuary. The variety of flavors includes Black Bean, Sweet Potato, Multi-Grain, and Blue Corn. Bite-size squares with just the right amount of salty goodness. A little guacamole dip would be awesome with these chips… but they were great just straight out of the snack bag. Primal Jerky I was never a jerky girl, and so it’s taken me this long to give these seitan jerky strips a try. Eureka! I surprised myself when I had to admit I liked the Texas BBQ flavor, which has a slight sweetness to it; and I also liked the Teriyaki. There’s a Hickory Smoked flavor, too, that my husband really enjoys.The jerky strips are low in calories and fat (BBQ has 81 calories and 1 gram of fat), which makes it even better. And my pups Otis and Galileo insisted I share this treat with them. “Just Like Honey” Rice Nectar Often, snack time for me is a piece of Ezekial sprouted-bread toast and a cup of tea. So when I discovered this alternative to honey or agave nectar (which is more processed than I would like), I was SO happy. Made by Suzanne’s Specialities, of Ricemellow Creme fame, the rice nectar really is “just like honey” and transforms a cup of tea into a collection of sips of bliss. Easy Homemade Snacking: Roasted Garbanzo Beans I learned about this simple snack while attending a fundraiser in Beverly Hills. SO easy to make and so good. It’s great as an afternoon snack, but it also is quick enough to enjoy late night....

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East Hampton, 2013
Aug30

East Hampton, 2013

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My “Route 27” Salad
Aug26

My “Route 27” Salad

A friend of mine recently posted a simple recipe for a marinated cucumber salad. The recipe included tomato and onion as well, and it instantly reminded me of the fresh tomato salads that I grew up with in New Jersey — everyone so generously sharing the fruits of their gardens around this time of year. I promised myself I would try out the recipe soon. And so, as we made our way back to the city from the Hamptons last week, we stopped at one of the myriad local produce stands along Route 27. I loaded up my market bag with all kinds of goodies, including the ingredients for what I will now forever call my Route 27 Salad — a variation on the recipe posted my friend. Thanks for the inspiration, Al! Route 27 Salad ingredients: 1 medium cucumber 1 large tomato 1/2 Vidalia onion 1 ear of corn, steamed  (let cool before cutting from cob) 1/4 cup white balsamic vinegar 3 tablespoons olive oil 1/2 cup filtered water 1 teaspoon sugar (I used a pinch of stevia) sea salt & coarse ground black pepper Combine all ingredients in a large bowl and refrigerate for at least 2 hours before serving. ***Stellar Vegan Salads  — My new book is almost here!*** Some salads, like the Route 27, are simple and quick; others are more elaborate but well worth the effort. Making the most of what’s local and in season is always fun. My upcoming book provides tips and recipes to help you tap into your inner salad artist. Click here to learn more....

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Dog Days of Summer in the Hamptons
Aug19

Dog Days of Summer in the Hamptons

Our companion animals Otis and Galileo deserve a respite from the city as much as we do. Lucky for us, c/o The Maidstone in East Hampton offers the perfect family getaway for all of us. This boutique hotel’s rooms are named after various Swedish authors and artists, and come with a nice supply of bath and body products by Malin + Goetz.  The Maidstone makes every aspect of one’s stay relaxing and dog-friendly, including suggestions about where to enjoy some beach time with the pups or places to explore in East Hampton and the neighboring towns with them. Late afternoons, it’s time for “Yappy Hour” in the cozy lounge or on the patio; sip one of Leandro’s amazing Strawberry Mojitos while the pups enjoy something off the Woof Menu. And, in the evening, the four-legged guests are invited to dine along with you in The Living Room Restaurant. The Living Room embraces the slow-food philosophy and is vegan-friendly, with plenty of fresh, local produce at work in the kitchen. Beach time! In the mornings and early evenings, we enjoyed long family walks on Main Beach, just three minutes from the hotel. (During summer season, dogs are allowed on the beach before 9am and after 6pm.) Other great spots for some beach time with the pups: the area surrounding Montauk Lighthouse, undeveloped coastline with pretty views into the horizon, and Maidstone Park Beach, secluded and serene. The Faves List The Hamptons has so much to offer when it comes to dining, wining, and relaxing. Here are some of my favorites — from the upscale dining experience to the super-casual neighborhood coffee joint. Nick & Toni’s (East Hampton) The fine dining experience you won’t want to miss. Great atmosphere, food, and wine. Reservation is a must during the summer season. Seth and I ordered the same thing: Seared Herb Polenta served over an array of roasted vegetables. To start, try the Watermelon Salad: a beautiful combination of melon, spearmint, red onion, and Kalamata olives (hold the pecorino romano cheese!) Babette’s (East Hampton) Babette’s is hugely popular for breakfast, lunch, or dinner. It’s a great place to dine outside and people watch, too. You can go for something simple and classic like Bucatini Pomodoro with shitake mushrooms and basil (add pan-crisped tofu); or, get adventurous like I did and order the Creole Casserole. Definitely a culinary experience outside of my usual focus on whole foods, this dish is an insane (indulgent, gooey, delicious) combination: garlic mashed potato, layered with kale, succotash, roasted garlic pecan, bbq tofu, salsa, and baked-on soy cheddar. On a healthier note, my usual pick would be the Pistachio-crusted...

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