23 December 2012

upcoming posts : cabo san lucas, mexico.

hello, lovely veggies! 

first of all ... i hope everyone has been having a fabulous holiday season ... !

my christmas puppy :

anyway ... on wednesday, i'll be heading to cabo san lucas, mexico for a week ... so even though i will be taking a week long vacation from actual blogging ... i will still take photos and find the best places to eat vegan in cabo san lucas.

i'm thinking it may be a bit of a challenge ... last time i was there, i was vegetarian ... and even that was somewhat difficult. but we will see!

i'll keep everyone posted ...

have a happy new year, all !!
see you in 2013 !!!

19 December 2012

pat's pizza.


josh and i have been looking for a good thin crust pizza place for a while ... recently, everywhere i've called either has milk in the crust or cheese in the sauce.

enter pat's pizza ... "best thin crust pizza in chicago." josh called to confirm the vegan-osity of the pizza crust & sauce. good to go!

here's what i had ...

thin crust pizza :


spinach & black olives. 
apologies for the poor styling of this photo ... i was too excited to dig in to take a nice one. as you can see, slightly heavy on the spinach, slightly light on the black olives. what i will say is that this crust is seriously.thin. like paper thin. and i reeeeally liked it. it just was too heavy on the spinach.

that's all okay though. because i will definitely try pat's pizza again. sometimes it takes a couple tries to figure out the perfect pizza toppings. maybe on the next pizza friday. 

16 December 2012

lillie's q.

a couple weeks ago, we had our office holiday party ... bbq + bowling. kind of perfection.

this meant dinner at lillie's q, a super cute bbq place on north avenue in bucktown/wicker park ... i know. super cute is not a normal way to describe a bbq joint. but really, lillie's q is super cute. really.

pre-chow down set up ... 
see what i mean? cute.

old chub scotch ale :
we got a good laugh out of this one. 

anyway !!! we had a huge group, so we did a catering order ... and lillie's q was easily able to accommodate my vegan needs. nina, their catering coordinator, was awesome.

here's what i had ... 

q salad :
boston bibb bettuce, southern caviar, tomatoes, avocado, red onion & cb croutons.
 super super tasty. i love bibb lettuce, so quite the treat. also, the dijon mustard vinaigrette dressing was amazing. and if you're wondering about the southern caviar? that just means black eyed peas. phew. i had ordered lunch from lillie's q once before and also had this q salad, so i know this is available even without a catering order. 

i do feel like last time they said that the corn bread croutons were not vegan. but they did appear on the salad this night. i ate around them to be safe.

green beans :
normally prepared with bacon -- bacon-free for me!
the crisp, fresh green beans? yum! the marinade? yum! veggie side perfection. now this one, i am not sure if you can get vegan without a catering order. but i can't hurt to ask, right?

so vegans ... i know bbq is not where you might expect to find delicious vegan food. but lillie's q is an exception. suggest this place for your non-vegan pals ... all will leave happy.

12 December 2012

crosby's kitchen.

it wouldn't be fair for me to start out this post without saying that i miss leo's coney island ... vegan chicago style hotdogs? seriously amazing. 

that being said, when crosby's kitchen opened up at southport & cornelia in the old leo's space this past summer, i was excited to try it.

so when carly & i were looking for a brunch place ... and southport grocery had a 1.5 hour wait (whaaaa??) ... we landed at crosby's kitchen. finally!

here's what i had ...

the healthy choice :
fresh fruit & granola (no yogurt). 
surprisingly delish, given how simple this is. the granola is made in house & is completely yummy. i basically snarfed up the whole bowl. my only suggestion ... crosby's should get some soy milk in the kitchen. not only for this, but because i think sometimes people just want soy milk in their coffee or tea instead of dairy milk. this would have been slightly improved ... but it was great either way.

crosby's has a couple other vegan options : salads (which can be prepared vegan) & a vegetable side (sunday's was asparagus, prepared vegan!). they also have a veggie burger, but i didn't ask about that. so maybe vegan.

but since crosby's kitchen is certainly on my "go back to asap" list... i can find out next time!

09 December 2012

dosirak.

our office decided to be adventurous one day ... we ordered dosirak, "the best korean cuisine in university village." awesome! 

however, i have to preface this post by saying that i think i do not like korean food. for some reason, the flavors here just did not work for me. 

anyway, here's what i had ... 

deonjang jjigae :
soybean paste stew with tofu & veggies. served with rice & sides. 
no mushrooms & no side of kimchi (due to fish sauce). 
         
sides :
seaweed, black beans & cabbage.

even though i wasn't obsessed with the actual food from dosirak, i have a few important details to share ... 

dosirak was extremely accommodating to my vegan needs ... the man i spoke with on the phone knew right away that the soup was vegan ... and that the kimchi was not (since it has fish sauce in it). he quickly offered to substitute other veggie sides that were vegan. they also clearly marked my items in a separate bag labeled "vegan." another little touch that i just really appreciate anytime i order food from somewhere.

so all in all, i was quite happy to try this place ... and i will definitely give dosirak another shot ... the non-veggies at my office really enjoyed it!

05 December 2012

takashi.

in honor of tonight's post, my friend carly & i went back to slurping turtle. yummmm !!!

since my post on slurping turtle, we're all aware that i am pretty much obsessed with chef takashi yagihashi ... and a visit to his wicker park restaurant was on my "must try" list.

josh & i finally made it over to takashi ... which "features contemporary french-american fare with japanese influences, a mixture of chef takashi's previous ventures."

but wait, there's more ... "the atmosphere is unique in that it allows for a more personal dining experience, combining the cuisine and service of a fine dining establishment with the warmth and accessibility of a neighborhood tavern ... the contemporary cuisine features ingredients of the highest quality from throughout the world including maine, japan and australia. chef also uses sustainable fished seafood and local seasonal products whenever possible. no preservatives are used, including msg." loves it!

here i am! 
mmm. vino.  

anywho ... there was only one item on the menu that could easily prepared vegan. but chef takashi & the team hooked me up with a couple other items. yay!

here's what i had ...

chilled fresh homemade tofu :
red onion, green onion, wakame, umami-ginger soy. no bonito flakes.
 i love me some interactive food ... and this certainly was that. but also ... so good! each bite could use one or more of the side items and make a tasty flavor combination. i said to josh that the last time i felt so interested by my food was at alinea ... delicious & fun. can't ask for much more.

heirloom tomato salad :
tomatoes, red & yellow beets, eggplant & vanilla bean vinaigrette. 
my love for tomatoes & beets is unwavering. so this salad was pretty much perfection ... fresh & flavorful perfection. 

vegetable plate :
clockwise the top left ... mixed sauteed veggies, quince w/ a balsamic reduction, cabbage, eggplant, asparagus & spinach, wild rice. 
first things first ... i literally said out loud to josh : "this is the best cabbage i've ever had." then, i again literally said : "this is the best spinach i've ever had." now ... i've not eaten that much cabbage. but spinach? spinach i know. uh-mazing. i'd never had quince before, so it's safe to say that's the best quince i've ever had ... that's not to say the rest of the items on this dish weren't also fantastic ... each little section of food was just so crisp & delicious. a lovely, light entree.

ginger beer sorbet :
a delightful little palate cleanser & dessert. i was so full from my insane veggie dishes that i really had no room for anything besides this. they had a ton of other sorbet options, but our server said this was the best. and it was goooood. highly recommend.

genmaimatcha green tea : 
  this was the boldest of the green tea options ... go big or go home, right? i normally don't get a post-dinner beverage, but josh opted for an espresso, so i decided to give in to my recent green tea obsession and go for it. delish.

besides the food being absolutely fabulous ... chef takashi was at the restaurant !!! josh & i sat upstairs, so i sadly did not to see him in action ... however! when we were waiting outside for the valet, i saw him look my direction from the kitchen, so i gave a quick little wave! and he waved back! yeah, we're basically besties. 

outside takashi ...
where i waved ... halley = happy, josh = mortified. c'est la vie. 

so vegans, if you're looking for some really fantastic french/american/japanese cuisine, takashi is an absolute must try. it's definitely a new favorite for me & i know we will be back. 

02 December 2012

shine restaurant.

fall/winter of sushi post #3 ...

one of my best friends lives in the gold coast area of chicago ... so when we need a good, in the middle place to eat between there & lakeview ... we often opt for shine restaurant in lincoln park.

you may recall from my earlier post on rise sushi & sake lounge that it's part of a restaurant duo ... rise & shine. adorbs, right?

here's what i had ... 

taro root frites :
basically french fries made with taro root. delish! i dipped in soy sauce since the aioli obviously wasn't vegan. salty + salty = yum.

avocado maki :
 substitute brown rice.  
ah, the old sushi standby (for me). fresh avocado? check. waaaay too much brown rice? check. that's a shine classic ... amazing avocado, but too much rice. i always forget to ask for light rice (is that even possible?) ... because each bite is just sooo big. too big to be a perfect piece of sushi, in my opinion. i generally end up peeling off a bunch of the rice, so i don't get too full!

vegetable maki :
cucumber, avocado, spinach & asparagus. substitute brown rice.
here's where shine gets props. since all their veggies are so ridiculously fresh, this veggie maki is super yum. again, heavy on the brown rice. but very tasty.

rise & shine don't differ all that much in the menus (except for a few items) ... they've got lots of vegan options, are quick to confirm the vegan-osity of things & are very accommodating to any item changes i've had. 

for us ... once a go-to, always a go-to ... shine stays on the list. and you should put it on yours, as well.