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Favorite Eats on NYC’s Upper East Side
Mar21

Favorite Eats on NYC’s Upper East Side

Last week was spring break, which meant  a week back home in the city! This visit, my husband Seth and I were extra busy co-op shopping; but we still managed to get our fix of museums, theater, music, and — of course — some great meals. I never have time to visit all my favorites in a single trip, but this time around we made it to a couple of my faves on the Upper East Side. Monday night was Candle Cafe (which came before its nearby sister restaurant and also a favorite, Candle 79); on Wednesday night, we had dinner at V-Note Organic Wine Bar & Bistro, a member of the Blossom family (Cafe Blossom on the UWS, Blossom in Chelsea, etc.).   Candle Cafe, 1307 Third Ave. near 75th St. Candle 79, 154 E. 79th at Lexington V-Note, 1522 First Ave. near 80th St. Bonus Tip! For the simple pleasure of a soft-serve ice cream cone, check out The Soft Serve Fruit Co. (formerly Simply Peeled). Vegan, gluten-free, fat free and low cal — definitely hits the sweet spot! Located at 1371 Third Avenue, between 78th and 79th...

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Sushi on the Slopes
Jan19

Sushi on the Slopes

A favorite from our trip to Tahoe this year was Mamasake at the Village at Squaw. I have quite a few friends who are devoted to their sushi dinners — so much so, that they’ll often cite that as the reason they could never go vegan. However, just looking at some of our sushi delectables from Mamasake should convince even the greatest skeptics that, as a vegan, savoring sushi is still possible. And while I love cucumber and avocado rolls, I’ve found that an exploration of vegan sushi options unleashes all kinds of creativity in the kitchen.     Bonus Tip! At home, we like making our own rolls, improvising with a little sticky rice and roasted or grilled veggies. Tempura vegetable pieces will add a nice little crunch to a roll. But an all-time favorite in our home is the Spicy Tempeh Rolls recipe we got from Isa Moskowitz’s Veganomicon. Easy and fun to make, and SO delicious. If you’re a spicy-tuna-roll person, this recipe will totally fit the bill without hurting any of our friends in the...

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Tastes of Tahoe
Jan17

Tastes of Tahoe

It may not be the best season for snow this year (yet), but even when the slopes are more “mashed and gravy,” playtime on skis is always a great time. During our post-holiday getaway to Tahoe, we had as much fun exploring the surrounding area as we did skiing. Here are some wonderful dining options for those of you who will be visiting the Tahoe area sometime soon: Thai Kitchen (Tahoe City) We stopped here for lunch on our way into town from Reno Airport. Seth had the Pad Thai with vegetables and tofu, asking that it be made without egg; I had the Pad Pam Rum Mit, mixed vegetables with brown rice. Mamasake (Village at Squaw) Miso soup to warm you up after a day on the slopes. Vegetable Bowls of  julienne vegetables with a yuzu-soy sauce served over red beans and rice. Later this week, I’ll tell you all about the sushi rolls that rocked our world! Pianeta (Truckee) Located in the heart of Truckee’s historic downtown, about ten minutes from the slopes. This bustling dining spot is, at the same time, intimate and festive. And I love the upstairs area with its mix of farmhouse tables that allow small groups as well as larger crowds to enjoy a meal together. Seth started with a tomato bisque, while I opted for the insalata special of the day, a wonderful combination of arugula and belgian endive with mandarin slices, roasted red peppers, and cucumbers with a balsamic vinaigrette. We both enjoyed this pasta dish for our main course: Wolfdale’s Cuisine Unique (Tahoe City) For a romantic, inspired dinner, this is a winner. The Zen Plate comes with vegetables, lentils, tofu, and butternut mashed potatoes. Or, for something a little more casual, there’s also the Portabello mushroom burger that you can order with truffle fries. Fireside Pizza Company (Village at Squaw) Seth and I split a Thai Red Curry pizza topped with bell peppers, red onion, fresh tomato, basil, and a few squeezes of fresh lime juice. Instead of the chicken and marscapone cheese the Thai Pizza usually comes with, the kitchen loaded up our pie with mushroom slices and arugula. We also got adventurous, trying out the gluten-free crust. Awesome! Six Peaks Grille (Resort at Squaw Creek) Located at a resort that is quite the idyllic winter wonderland, Six Peaks may not seem particularly veg-friendly at first glance. However, the menu offers a host of “extras” that makes it easy to request a vegan plate from the chef: forest mushrooms, asparagus, spinach, and roasted potatoes. Simple and simply divine. Another option: the Pappardelle Pasta with peppers, white asparagus, and tomatoes (senza panacetta, per piacere!) Soupa (Village at...

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San Francisco Restaurants
Nov22

San Francisco Restaurants

Visiting San Francisco is always a treat! I have many favorites in this town. Here are some of the places I visited this past weekend, as well as a few faves I didn’t get to this time around. Cafe Gratitude: My “I Am Whole” was a mix of sauteed sea vegetables and kale, quinoa and local brown rice, homemade kim chee, carrots, and sprouts, with tahini-garlic sauce and teriyaki almonds. My husband Seth had “I Am Warm-Hearted,” fluffy grilled polenta with a puttanesca suace, topped with creamy cashew ricotta and Brazil nut “Parmesean.” I love the “I Am Grateful” menu item: a community supported grain bowl of shredded kale, local brown rice, black beans, and tahini-garlic; payment is by donation, and no one is turned away. Gracias Madre: An organic Mexican restaurant in the Mission district. The atmosphere is slightly rustic (in a trendy chic kind of way), and festive. We shared a meal here with non-veg friends, and they thought everything was de-lish, too. The guys got the the spicy mole enchiladas topped with mushrooms and cashew cheese; my friend Patty and I both opted for the tamale entree — stoneground heirloom masa filled with zucchini and onions. I ordered a heaping side of sauteed kale for the table. Millenium: This is the upscale vegan restaurant that everyone should be fortunate enough to experience in this lifetime. I had the Charmoula Grilled Portobello Mushroom that comes with seared brussel sprouts, artichokes and cannellini beans, toasted kamut risotto, and beet-Syrah reduction. Seth had the Cauliflower & Lemongrass Risotto: coconut-arborio rice crusted cauliflower, seared king trumpet mushrooms, bok choy and ginger tofu, mung bean sprouts, green curry-pine nut pesto, with chile-peanut sambal. The appetizers and desserts  also were amazing! Tip: the bar makes a vegan “Irish Cream” that is the perfect finish to a perfect meal here. Herbivore: Love the diner vibe! It was the ideal setting for a rainy morning brunch. I had the vegan blueberry pancakes with grilled bananas. Seth had a breakfast burrito (stuffed with black beans, tofu scramble, and tempeh bacon) with home fries. Since we visited on our last day in the city, I also got a spinach salad to go — for the flight home. Katz Bagels: Sunday bagels with Tofutti. Other favorites I didn’t make it to this time around: Greens: vegetarian restaurant at Fort Mason, with a gorgeous view of the Golden Gate Bridge. Not the most obviously vegan-friendly, but they’ll work with you. I like going there for lunch, and then heading next door to the Museo Italo Americano. Cha-Ya: all-vegan Japanese in the Mission District. Sushi and noodles… yum! Ali...

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Fave Eats & Sweets in Tucson
Sep21

Fave Eats & Sweets in Tucson

As much as I love cooking and entertaining at home, I also love dining out in Tucson. Although Tucson doesn’t exactly have a cornucopia of vegan restaurants like some other cities, I’ve found many that have vegan-friendly options on the menu, and others that are happy to accommodate when asked. Whether it’s for drinks and appetizers at a local resort, or a festive dinner with some friends, Tucson has lots of places to enjoy. Here are some of my favorite familiar haunts: Ignite at The Ritz-Carlton Prickly pear margaritas and live music on Thursdays, Fridays, and Saturdays. The resort is just minutes from my home and nestled in between mountains so that I feel like I’m a world away from my day-to-day. Dos Locos at Hilton El Conquistador The restaurant patio is the perfect place to view the Catalina Mountains — all pinks and purples at sunset! Also just minutes from my home, which makes it a convenient place to chill out after a long day. Arizona Inn Lunch or dinner at this historic inn is always a treat, and the dining staff is happy to help vegans put together something scrumptious. Most recently, I went with my dad as my date to a Phi Beta Kappa luncheon. The others sitting at our table all enjoyed their meals, but they were quite impressed with the vegan dishes created for me. Saffron Indian Bistro A good “date night” spot. The food at this northwest hotspot is always wonderful, and the atmosphere has a slightly urban feel to it: modern decor, and a pretty diverse crowd with good energy. Favorites: Chana Masala and Mushroom Do Pyaza. Also, the Pudhini Paratha — layered whole what bread with mint — is amazing. Harvest Moon We started going to this Chinese restaurant at its first, smaller location. Now right next to a movie theater in Oro Valley, it’s a real hub of activity. For an appetizer, try the Crispy Tofu, which inspired my husband Seth to create his own, similar recipe for his 10 Minute Vegan series. For a main course, I usually have Moo Shoo vegetables. Flavor of India Owned by the same family that owns Gandhi in central Tucson, this Northern Indian restaurant is one of our right-in-the-neighborhood favorites. I love the Mutter Gobi, which is a blend of peas and cauliflower, and also the Veggie Biryani. Wildflower I love the vibe here, energized and laid back at the same time. The New American Cuisine menu doesn’t have a lot on it that’s vegan-friendly at first glance, but the chef always puts together a nice plate for us, comprised of “sides” such as the...

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Good Sweets in D.C.
Aug23

Good Sweets in D.C.

Checking out all the fabulous vegan-friendly restaurants in D.C. is enough to keep anyone busy for quite a while! However, it would be shame to miss out on some of the fantastic bakeries in this city whether you’re living in D.C. or just visiting. I highly recommend the following places to indulge your sweet tooth: Sticky Fingers Sticky Fingers is a favorite fave. I celebrated my milestone birthday with their cupcakes — white cake with vanilla and strawberry frosting — and I couldn’t have picked a better extra-special treat for the occasion. You might have caught SF on the season finale of the Food Network’s Cupcake Wars, where they won by creating cupcakes inspired by comedians (the “George Caramelin”). People rave about Sticky Fingers’ Cowvin Cookies, too. Red Velvet Cupcakery I discovered Red Velvet while attending the theater one night — it was right across the street from where I was seeing Avenue Q. Intermission cupcake! And, although it’s a privately owned company, I got lucky: among the few other locations, there’s one in Tucson, within walking distance from the law school. Sweet. Hello Cupcake This cupcake joint was a hop skip and a jump away from my apartment last summer in the Dupont Circle neighborhood. Each day, a featured vegan cupcake. Sprinkles Cupcakes Sprinkles claims to be the first ever cupcake bakery, with its original store in Beverly Hills. Now, they’re also serving the Georgetown University crowd.  (New York friends: there’s a Sprinkles at Lexington and 60th) Chez Hareg Beyond cupcakes. Think about a vegan Napoleon. Chocolate-Raspberry Ganache. Vegan...

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