Archive for Travel

Travel – MKE – Cafe Corazon

I finally made it out someplace new in Milwaukee…Cafe Corazon! After being recommend by several Milwaukee area twitter friends. So The BF & I headed out try out this new (to me) place. It was very busy (Saturday night) and we sat at the bar. The bartender was not the best…sort of rude and cranky with everyone. But, other than the cranky bartender everything else was great. Vegan options were plentiful and the options were clearly labeled (except the Torta…I was hoping get but was told because its made with bread it wasn’t vegan…so I’m not sure what kind of bread its made with but decided on something else).

The BF got the enchiladas with herbed tofu. The only thing I’d change is putting a bit more sauce on these. The flavors were great, just a bit dry since the sauce was only on the outside of the enchiladas.

I opted for tostados – very good, crunky, messy, and just awesome! Topped with black beans, rice, and herbed tofu – yum!

We also got grilled veggie tacos, since The BF is a bottomless pit we get a lot of food. These were very good. The veggies were cooked perfectly, still maintaining texture and flavor.

Overall, I was pleased. The food was good and served up quickly. I’d be willing to try it again and perhaps sit at a table to see if the servers are a bit more friendly.

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Travel – CHI – Loving Hut

Over the weekend The BF & headed out to Loving Hut.

I’ve been wanting to go, so I was super excited for the experience. The nice thing about Loving Hut is they label everything on the menu – Soy Free, Gluten Free, & Low Sugar. No worries about if it’s Vegan or not – it’s ALL VEGAN! It’s fab to be able to go out and pick anything off the menu, no worries, no explanations, now worries!

The atposhere is very casual. You go in, select a table (which is numbered) they give you a menu and then you figure what you want, walk to the counter & order.

So..what’d we get….

Starter: Steamed Dumplings

I love dumplings…enough said.

Starters: Drumsticks
Starters: Drumsticks – dissected!
mtbVegan: Dol Sot Bi Bim Bob
mtbVegan: Dol Sot Bi Bim Bob – inside the bowl

This was a really great dish. I loved the way it was served within the dish is was cooked – the brown rice was below all the veggies & tofu. Because the dish was so hot the rice got ncie and crispy which went well with the overall dish.

The BF: Forever Love

This had a wonderful sauce with it, very good. Of course The BF though it needed more sauce (what can I say the man loves huge portions & lots & lots of sauce). I thought it was just fine the way it was.

mtbVegan: Green Tea Cheese Cake

I was intrigued by this menu item…green tea cheese cake, really? So I got it. It was different, but still very good. Not too sweet (its marked as Low Sugar too). The crust was fab and the cheese cake was thick. The green tea flavor took a few bites to get used to then it rocked.

The BF: Carrot Cake

Most of you should know I do not like carrot cake. I’m a Spice Cake fan and all too often I get lame slices of carrot cake because people seem to think its the same (read: it is NOT). This carrot cake had great texture, flavors, the icing was super yummy. Even though I don’t like carrot cake, this was a good carrot cake.

Overall – I really enjoyed Loving Hut. It’s a bit out of the way for me, but it has huge menu and just a good vibe.

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Travel – CHI – Bleeding Heart

Last Friday I went to a Ladies “Non-Valentine” Night Out at my friends church. One of the events that night was cupcake decorating and since I’ve vegan that was a no-go for me. BUT, my friend scored a vegan chocolate raspberry cupcake from Bleeding Heart Bakery as well as a Raspberry Bar (which we split!).

Both were wonderful and I am really beginning to love Bleeding Heart!

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Vegan Chicago Meetup – Veggie Bite

For February Vegan Chicago headed to Veggie Bite for lunch. It was a great meetup, large group (over 80 RSVP’d!). I know the concept of vegan fast food doesn’t sound appealing to people. But I think Veggie Bite does a very good job of making it as healthy as possible. Their menu is large, the food tastes great (since I’ve been there several times), it doesn’t ever seem or feel too greasy “fast food” like. By far they have the best french fries around.

So this time at Veggie Bite I opted for the Chili Cheese Fries!

I also got the BBQ Nuggets, which were good, but not what I think I really wanted (or what went best with the fries…I thin k chix free nuggets would have been the better combo).

Then for dessert I got a slice of Strawberry Cake (because who can say no to cake?! Not this vegan).

As always, I have a great time with the Vegan Chicago group. I can’t wait to see what next months meetup is.

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Travel – MKE – Riverwest Coop

Last weekend The BF, myself & my friend Chris went to Riverwest Coop for  brunch. I finally (finally!) have eaten everything vegan available on the menu. I got the Bi Bim Bop and it was huge and really good. Although I think it might make a better lunch options – coffee does not go well with this dish. But, I enjoyed as much as I could and then made The BF finish my plate. I  was so full!

The BF went classic with French Toast and Vegan Sausage (his favorite at the Coop)

My friend Chris got the Banana Pancakes – and I failed by not getting a picture of it. But they were fab, trust me.

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Travel – MKE – Comet Cafe

On Sunday after I did my P90X workout, then attended Church we headed out for – Yummy Yummy Brunch! I wanted pancakes so we went to Comet Cafe. The BF got the scramble plate and it left him still a bit hungry (that man can eat!) so we ended up getting another pancake to help fill him up. I went with a single pancake and a side of scramble…also some wonderful minty hot tea so warm me up. All in all a great meal. Also – if anyone knows what they season the scramble with, tell me. It was fantastic – by far one of my fav scrambles around. I don’t know what it is that makes it so fantastic compared to any other scramble, but it rocked.

The BF: Scramble Plate

mtbVegan: Side of Scramble & a Vegan Pancake

I mean really, who doesn't love a nice vegan pancake?

mtbVegan: Minty Tea to keep my warm (& awake!)

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Travel – MKE – Bean’s & Barley’s (x2)

Last weekend I went to Bean’s and Barley’s twice…I know!

First with my friend Amy W. to get refueled after riding at Ray’s Indoor MTB Park! I stuck with some classic dishes, which were awesome, as they always are.

Non-Dairy Black Bean Burrito
Apple Pie

Then the next day The BF & I went for dinner…and even though I tell him repeatedly that he is not a big Bean’s & Barley fan we still end up here, because somehow, each time he doesn’t believe me.

The BF: Balsamic Tofu Sandwich
mtbVegan: TLT – Vegan, On Rye

I, however, love Bean’s & Barleys. My sandwich was great (as this is my fav sandwich). The BF’s sandwich tasted really good too. However he said (again) that the portion was tiny and that there weren’t a ton of vegan options. I do agree with the somewhat small amount of vegan options, but I its a nice option, different food, and I think it’s the perfect amount of food.

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Veganniversary – 3 Years!

My 3 year Veganniversary was on January 17th! The delay in my posting was simply due to my computer crashing, being busy, and…well there you go. But my friend Amy D. and I got together for dinner to celebrate my 3 years of being vegan (Before which I spend 9 years as a vegetarian – which mean’s I’ve saved over 1,000 animals from being slaughterer.) So, of course I wanted to celebrate that!

We went to the Chicago Diner and noshed on some wonderful sweet potato fries as our appetizer (they were super yummy!)

Shared Plate of Sweet Potato Fries!

For our main dishes we both had Gluten Free dishes (Amy’s GF, and the diner has some great options)!

Amy: Avocado Tostado’s
Mine: Pumpkin Tamale’s

Let me start by saying how wonderful the Pumpkin Tamales were…no really – amazing. Filled with black beans, wonderful sauce, sauteed greens…yummy! It was one of the monthly specials, so I jumped on board to try it out…very pleased with my choice.

Desserts…we’re celebrating, of course we needed dessert! And yes, we even got more fries.

Chocolate Raspberry Cake with Ice Cream & Sweet Potato Fries (what, they’re good!)

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Travel – NYC!

Over this past weekend I took a trip to NYC to visit The Dad. Most everyone knows that The Dad is pretty much my best friend – we get together not nearly often enough to hang out, eat great vegan food, get cultured (as I like to say), shop, and just in general – have a blast! Last year The Dad moved to Greenwich, CT and last Easter I went to visit (my first East Coast trip!). Ever since we’ve been saying how much me need to hang out in NYC a bit longer. With 2010 having been a crazy year for me (Moving, new job, etc) it never happened. Finally…I made it out there this last weekend. Added bonus: with my wonderful vegan friends on Twitter – we even planned to meetup.

We had a solid weekend of activities planned. My flight arrived Friday night a little after 10pm; after being delayed about 20min at O’Hare – someone apparently unplugged some extension cord and render the plane inoperable. After taking the most expensive taxi ride ever to our hotel The Dad said he was starved and we wonder around Times Square and ended up at Planet Hollywood. Not exactly – or even remotely – vegan, but I ate dinner earlier so I wasn’t hungry and just munched on a side salad while The Dad got himself some dinner. We made it back to the hotel and fell fast asleep by 2am. We set the alarm for 7am, we had a lot to do!

Saturday: I headed right to Starbucks for some much needed coffee & some oatmeal. Then we made out way to NBC for the Today Show. Promptly upon our arrival they were already filming…we didn’t even get into the “crowd” area before they were just. Drat! We just missed it. We hung out and spied through the studio windows while I drank my coffee and ate my oatmeal. Then we grabbed a taxi to Terri’s for a real breakfast.

The Dad got the Scramble Wrap (he said it was fab, I scored a bite and loved it!). It has some kick (thank you hot sauce) and the texture was great, with the added pieces of Italian sausage it rounded out to be quite a breakfast meal!

I opted for the Fat Elvis. Grilled Peanut Butter, Banana, & Tofu Bacon sandwich. Yes, it rocked.

After the breakfast we walked back to Time Square and headed to our second event of the day. The King Tut exhibit. I have no pictures as they were not allowed. But I can tell you it was incredible and I am telling you this too late as the exhibit has officially close (sorry!). We had the audio tour with our tickets and that was incredible helpful. Someone else to explain all the details so we didn’t have to sit and read every sign! I’m sure the exhibit is a traveling exhibit so if it’s ever in your area, it was well worth it!

After King Tut we headed to get some lunch at Zen Palate. We decided to get an appetizer, soup, and one entree to share (wise choice!)

Miso Soup
Celestial Tofu

After lunch it was time for the much anticipated Wicked!

It was fantastic, seriously amazing. Go see it if you haven’t, no really GO NOW! It was just so very good. This little girl sitting in front of us at the show said to her mother afterwards “Lets see it again!”. I whole heartily concur.

Me with The Dad

After Wicked we headed to Macy’s (Um, you can’t go to NYC without going to Macy’s). I bought a nice handbag and The Dad got a pair of boots. After the shopping excursion we headed to another highly anticipated event – dinner at Franchia’s with some twitter pals JL & Andrea! Nicole was supposed to join us as well, but she was under the weather (poo!) We got to chatting and had difficulty deciding what to order and then we annoyed the serve by pressing the call button (how cool is that!) way too many times.

The Most Wonderful Button of All…the Call Button!

Now, on to the food!

Appetizers: The Spicy Kimchi Pancakes were great and we were all impressed with how crispy they turned out.

Spicy Kimchi Pancakes

The dumplings were great, you can get them either steamed (as we did) or fried. I love dumplings, so tasty. I couldn’t tell what dumpling was which of the assorted variety, but they were all good!

Assorted Dumplings (photo: Andrea)

The main dishes are all pictured below, we scored…big time…

My Entree Option: Tofu and Roasted Kabocha Pumpkin in Sesame Soy Sauce

I love pumpkin and this dish delivered, the slices of Kabocha Pumpkin were wonderful with the sauce and tofu!

The Dad’s Entrée: Crispy Mushroom in Sweet and Sour Sauce

Oh how wonderful The Dad’s dish was. Mushrooms that are all crispy and wonderful…yum. My mouth is literally watering as I write this.

Andrea’s Entrée: Tofu Steak

Andrea was quite excited about ordering steak, the dish did not disappoint either. As you recall form our trip to Karyn’s, Andrea does not like mushrooms…so she promptly transplanted her mushrooms to my plate (yum!)

JL’s Entrée: Tofu Meatballs (photo: Andrea)

JL’s dish tasted great too. The texture seemed a bit soft on the tofu meatballs that and they were all perfectly formed (weird…somethings should not be so perfect!) but the flavor of the sauce and everythign were wonderful!

Now…you can’t get a bunch of vegans together without us wanting dessert!

My Dessert Option: Banana Fritters
The Dad’s Dessert: Soy Cheesecake
JL’s Dessert: Blueberry Coconut Cake

Andrea had been so excited about the pudding that we were all excited for that dish to be ordered. As soon as she said it the server promptly said it was sold out for the night. The entire table gasped and the server litterally step away from the table. Maybe he was concerned we’d turn on him. But Andrea took it in strid and order another dish…only to be told that there was only one piece available & that JL had ordered it…when he returned with this bad news he brought out some mochi (read: peace offering) and Andrea ordered the cheesecake (and finally was rewarded with a dessert!)

The Door to Franchia’s

After dinner and all the chatting and friendliness I realized how great my twitter friends are. I know our entire friendship is built on this little online world of 140 characters, but some of my friends on twitter are truly amazing and wonderful friends. I am so looking forward to Vida Vegan Con when we all get to hang out again. JL & Andrea also mentioned The Natural Gourmet Institute – and well, lets just say I’ve got some more focus on my future. I’ve always enjoyed baking and cooking in general.  But, this school offers some rad classes and I fully intend to go to several of them. I might move into Andrea’s tiny room (please!) for any classes this spring.

So…that was all of Saturday for you…now on to Sunday! I start my Sunday off with a bit-o-time with God, so we headed over the the Cathedral of Saint Patrick for morning churchness.

Cathedral of Saint Patrick

It’s such a beautiful church, I’m still in awe of it.

After church we headed down to Curly’s Lunch, which was recommended by none other than Andrea (woot!). The place is tiny, eclectic, and just all around interesting. Crayons on the table mean you can color your place-mat and, if you’re lucky, get it up on the wall. Mine sucked, so no wall for me =) All the food was fantastic…no really, down right amazing!

Coffee in the best cup!
The Dad’s: Breakfast Napoleon

The Dad dislikes banana’s, so he let me snap the photo then promptly put those babies on my plate (yum!). I must say the French toast rocked. Topped with molasses…how have I never thought of this? Super yummy.

Mine: The Slumberjack’s Breakfast

I went classic with pancakes, scramble and curly fries (duh!). I’m not a big seitan fan so I actually pushed the vegan sham over to my dad’s plate (he liked it, although, not really a shocker) Anyway…scramble was really good, but perhaps a bit too much mustard was used (or maybe not mixed well enough) because the last half I ate tasted strongly of mustard. Which went well with the crispy fries – so it worked. But fair warning if you don’t like mustardy flavors. Pancakes we delicious as well. Classic, simple, wonderful.

After breakfast we spend the remaining time hanging at the hotel and then sent me on my way back to Chicago. I can’t wait to go back…so much fun!

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Travel – MKE -Comet Cafe

This past Sunday I headed to MKE with my friend Amy to ride at Ray’s MTB Park. We had a blast riding and afterwards grabs dinner, with The BF, at Comet Cafe. Amy & I both opted for Chili Fries and a side of beer braised brussels sprouts (who could resist beer braised Brussels, not me!) IN fine Comet Cafe fashion everything was wonderful. I love their chili, so very very good!

For dessert I opted for Apple Pie – fantastic choice. I even got it warmed so it was extra yummy. Too bad they don’t have vegan ice cream, because warm apple pie with some vanilla ice cream would have been fab.

The BF had my new fav meal optiong – the open faced “meat”loaf sandwich. Everyone got dessert too. The BF scored the last Red Velvet cupcake while Amy opted for the Lemon Raspberry cupcake. They all looks so good!

If you are ever in MKE be sure to stop by Comet Cafe, vegan options are plentiful and they all taste amazing. I have never really been disappointed there (sometimes you get the bottom of the pan french fries, but otherwise – wonderful!). Breakfast there is really awesome too!

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