29 May 2013

uncommon ground.

uncommon ground, located on n. clark in wrigleyville, has been on my radar for some time now. this lovely restaurant is both the "world's greenest restaurant" (gra, 2013) & the "first certified organic roof top farm in the country" (mosa, 2008). high marks!

so i recently ventured over there on one fine chicago evening for dinner outside with a friend of the chi city vegan ... aka, another vegan. hi, mikie! we decided to share everything. plus!

here's what i had ...

organic white bean puree :
rosemary infused olive oil, lemon & toasted rustic italian bread.
my favorite dish of the evening. the bread was the ideal amount of toastiness, so it paired perfectly with the smooth white bean puree. every so often, i'd get a hint of lemon. which at first i didn't like, but really enjoyed in the end. i could eat 10 slices of this. surriously. 

sunshine salad :
organic greens, seasonal vegetables, avocado, sunflower seeds & sprouts w/ apple cider vinaigrette.
all delicious ingredients, but a little too leafy. (yes, leafy.) it also had mushrooms, which i was not anticipating. skipped those. ha. 

crispy organic polenta w/ spring vegetables :
spicy tomato sauce, spring onions, artichokes, turnips, arugula, vegan cheese & herb salad. 
my pal & i were hesitant about this dish, but our server talked us into it. we were both glad she did. it was really very tasty. the polenta was cooked nicely & the crisp on the outside was perfect. the veggies were also good, but i was hoping for more arugula than there was. 

i was a little nervous before coming to uncommon ground because the yelp reviews in regard to vegan dining are pretty abismal. but we had a great experience. so i'd highly recommend for some great, organic food -- & great vegan options!

3800 n. clark street
chicago, il 60613

26 May 2013

new york city (astoria, queens) : brooklyn bagel & coffee company.

lil' breakfast post 2 of 2. 

"while you are sleeping, we are working whole heartedly to help make your day more pleasant." this is on the main page of the brooklyn bagel & coffee company website. could they be any sweeter?

but wait, there's more : "our bagels are individually hand-rolled, water-boiled in our kettles & baked fresh daily in our state-of-the-art ovens. there is absolutely no better way for this bagel to travel from our heart to your smile."

well, sounds like it's time to inhale an authentic new york city bagel. but it gets better.

brooklyn bagel & coffee company offers vegan cream cheese flavors on the daily! what! 

i opted for an everything mini bagel (which is actually the size of a regular bagel) with vegetable tofu "cream cheese."

apologies -- in my early sunday morning state of hunger, i didn't take any photos. but this lovely little place obviously deserves to be shared. so here it is.

hungry? head to brooklyn bagel. hungover? head to brooklyn bagel. breathing? head to brooklyn bagel.

brooklyn bagel & coffee company
36-14 30th avenue
astoria, new york 11103

25 May 2013

new york city : alice's tea cup - chapter 2.

lil' breakfast post 1 of 2. 

just wanted to give a quick shout out to alice's tea cup.

i've brunched at alice's once before ... and when i came back to nyc for this visit, i knew a second stop was necessary. alice's has three locations. we returned to chapter 2, located on the upper east side. not only was their scone option the most appealing, but it is also conveniently situated near the central park zoo. sea lion play pen, anyone?

so here it is ...

banana & walnut scone :
w/ raspberry jam.

side view :
look at the size of that puppy!
words cannot describe the tasty that is this scone. fluffy on the inside, crisped perfection on the outside. smear on the raspberry jam & you've got yourself a good old-fashioned food-gasm. ain't nothing wrong with a little sugar in the morning. 

sip sip :

& mah bestie, melissa.

so thank you, alice's tea cup ... for being adorable & making fantastic vegan scones.

156 east 64th street
new york, new york 10021

22 May 2013

little goat diner.

oh, stephanie izard. how i adore thee.

not only have you created the fantastic girl & the goat, which i freaking love ... but you have now outdone yourself with little goat diner.

little goat is across the street from girl & the goat ... located on w. randolph street in the west loop. (seeing as it's only a couple blocks from my office, i can tell i will be here many times in the near future.)

i have obviously been thinking about little goat for a while. i mean, it's got everything i (and anyone) could want in an easy, diner-style restaurant. i emailed little goat to find out vegan options, but it wasn't until we sat down to eat that i found out they have a separate vegan menu ...

holy vegan heaven :
a glimpse of the vegan menu. 
i want to try it all. literally. and i plan to.

little goat also has separate dairy-free & gluten-free menus. what's not to love??

here's what i had ...

chick pea salad :
crisp chick pea fritters, kale, chopped veggies & lemon-kimchi vinaigrette.
wow, so delicious. the chick pea fritters are super light, unlike your usual falafel ... and incredibly flavorful. i love a big bowl of kale, so i certainly appreciated that ... and the lemon-kimchi vinaigrette added the perfect little kick. basically, the ideal salad.

fried pickle sammich :
fried pickles, pickled onions, kale, roasted pepper & hummus on toasted sourdough.
this sandwich consists of all of my favorite things. fried pickles, kale, hummus & sourdough? perfection. and i was not let down. i ate it mostly with a fork, since it was open face & i didn't want get too sloppy, but that worked just fine. i was able to get all the various flavors & textures in each bite.

vegan burger :
simple set ... sourdough, smoked tomato relish, dijon & cabbage.
 one of my dining partners (hi, blair!) opted for the vegan burger. which she let me sample. also fab. simple & tasty : not much more you need. the smoked tomato relish was definitely the star of this dish, in my opinion. sorry that it's kind of hidden by the fresh sourdough.

kennebec home fries :
crispy, greasy potato goodness? again, can't ask for much more.

vegans, little goat is seriously a must-eat. it's a definite new favorite for me ... the decor is awesome, the atmosphere is fun & the food is amazing. i'm already thinking of what else i want to try off the menu... it's going to be a good summer!

820 w. randolph street
chicago, il 60607

20 May 2013

new york city (astoria, queens) : bareburger.

welp, the chi city vegan has returned to new york city! and i visited a whole bunch of new (!!!) restaurants.

first up, bareburger, a "micro-chain" of burger joints in nyc. we wandered over to one of the astoria, queens locations.

here's a bit abut them, per the bareburger website : "bareburger restaurants offer mouth-watering organic burgers & sandwiches, fresh salads, delicious shakes & sharable snacks in environmentally sustainable, eco-friendly locations. our belief is that organic food tastes better & is better for you & that sourcing our ingredients locally benefits our communities. Our menu features a variety of meats .... and mushroom, veggie & black bean burgers for our vegetarian & vegan guests."

all vegan items on their menu are clearly labeled. they also offer gluten-free items & indicate which contain nuts. oh so lovely.

here's what i had ...

kale & peppers :
sauteed w/ garlic & olive oil.
i actually eat kale about 5 days per week. so when i saw this special, we decided to give it a try. obviously i loved it. a little stem-y (i remove those when cooking kale at home), but the flavor was all there. 

black bean vegan :
black bean burger, vegan cheddar cheese, iceberg lettuce, tomatoes, raw red onions & cilantro-lime dressing on a multi-grain roll.
now is this a vegan burger or is this a vegan burger? holy moly amazingness. i'm not one to really "crave" foods like this from my meat-eating past. but if i do, it's more in the nostalgic sense ... summer bbqs & the such. so i was super excited to dig into this baby. did not disappoint. completely & utterly delicious. 

vegan carrot cake :
i'm not one to pass on a vegan dessert ... i've had my fair share of vegan carrot cake. and this one hit the spot for a little sweetness after my mondo-burger.

since there are locations all throughout new york city, i'd say bareburger is a must try. great for a quick lunch or dinner. two bear paw thumbs up. 

33-21 31st avenue.
astoria, new york 11106

15 May 2013

demera ethiopian restaurant.

ok, so i generally go about 9 months in between visits to ethiopian restaurants. buuut my friend (hi, anna & erin!) and i have been planning to dine on this delicious cuisine for literally over a year. so when we finally agreed on a date, off we went to demera ethiopian restaurant, located at the corner of broadway & lawrence in uptown.

i have heard really good things about demera... both from friends (hi, mikie!) and their website. i mean, they're "chicagoland's favorite authentic ethiopian cuisine." 

now, i present to you -- a long list.
per the restaurant, these are the vegan items they have to offer :
   appetizers :
     lentil sambussa
     spinach sambussa

   salads :
     timatim salata : tomato salad
     kay seer salata : beets & potatoes salad
     azifah salata : lentil salad
     ye-timatim fitfit : diced tomatoes, onion & jalapenos with pieces of injera

   vegetarian messob options : 
     ye-misir wot : spicy red lentils
     ye-shimbra assa : spicy chick peas
     kik alicha : mild yellow split peas
     shiro : mixed legumes
     gomen : collard greens

     qousta : spinach

     tikle gomen : cabbage & carrots
     dinechena carrot : potatoes & carrots
     kayseerena carrot : beets & carots

   dessert :
     basil lime sorbet

both versions of the injera are also vegan -- one regular, one gluten-free option!

here's what i had ...  

spinach sambussas :
best sambussas i've ever had. deliciously crispy. nicely seasoned spinach. spicy dipping sauce. pretty much perfection.

vegetarian messob :
   clockwise from the top :
tikle gomen - cabbage & carrots.
ye-shimbra assa - spicy chickpeas in berbere sauce.
ye-misir wot - spicy red lentils.
quosta - spinach.
all completely and utterly delicious. i think i inhaled all the quosta & ye-misir wot. they were just so so so so so good. i went with the gluten-free injera (which is why it's so dark). it was sooo yum. great unique flavor.

i highly highly highly recommend checking out this lovely restaurant. especially if you have never tried ethiopian food. 

08 May 2013

columbus, ohio : pattycake bakery.

i've saved the best columbus, ohio post for last. get ready ... pattycake bakery.

pattycake bakery entered into my life via a recommendation from one of my co-workers (hi, nik!) -- a non-vegan loving a vegan bakery = a definite stop for me.

some key points about pattycake via their website :
 - "pattycake loves animals. and who doesn't? we are able to make amazing goodies without the hard work of our animal friends, and so we do.
 - pattycake began because we craved delicious dessert and found we needed to make it ourselves to make it right. we don't exist to pull in the dough, but to make it, from scratch.
 - we love sweets, & we exult in the challenge to make them as good as they are (practically) good for you. always have, always will.
 - to this end we hand-make our products using whole grains, organic and 100% natural ingredients, minimally refined sugars, zero cholesterol and we would never, ever, even consider feeding you a hydrogenated oil."

why thank you, pattycake bakery. for just about everything.

look at all the vegan goodies !!! :
oooh yeah! 
ahhh - vegan amazingness. 

here's what i had ...

vanilla cupcake :
hells.yeah.amazing. i don't know if there is anything better than a delicious vanilla cupcake. this one was top notch.

duck iced sugar cookie, classic tollhouse & peanut butter chocolate chip :
i've had my fair share of vegan chocolate chip cookies ... but sugar cookies? no. so i was pretty pumped to try this little duck sugar cookie. INHALED in about 7 seconds. so good. the classic tollhouse (warning, contains nuts!) and the peanut butter chocolate chip were also fantastic.

i also purchased a cinnamon bun, but it got a little sloppy in travel, so no photo. plus i had clearly over-indulged earlier in the day (see above two photos), so after a taste, i gave it to my mom. but it was also insanely freaking good. 

basically, pattycake bakery is amazing. and it is obviously a must stop for any vegans traveling to, near, around, about columbus, ohio. 

05 May 2013

de cero taqueria.

josh & i recently had dinner with some of his co-workers before an event. we ended up at de cero taqueria on w. randolph street in the west loop. randolph has become quite the culinary hot spot in the past several years. so i was super excited to try de cero.

anyway, de cero is a "modern day taqueria specializing in hand-pressed, made-to-order tacos." sounds perfect!

here's what i had ...

chips, salsa & guacamole :
 pico de gallo, red picante, tomatillo verde & guacamole.
salsas = fresh & flavorful.
guacamole = creamy avocado goodness.
chips = crispy & light.

ensalada campo verde :
mixed field greens, toasted pumpkin seeds, roasted beets, avocado & corn w/ cilantro jalapeño vinaigrette.
YUM! super tasty. so many fresh ingredients. the dressing was awesome & the pumpkin seeds added the perfect amount of crunch. can't ask for much more when it comes to a salad!

tacos :
avocado : white onion, garlic, jalapeño, radish & cilantro.
black bean : avocado, white onion, garlic, radish & cilantro. 

both tacos were delicious ... and overflowing with ingredients. in the best way, of course.

these items are literally all the vegan options that de cero has on their menu. but these options are really. super. awesome. for some fresh & delicious mexican food, de cero is a great choice. 

01 May 2013

columbus, ohio : northstar cafe.

ah, brunch. you devil you.

that's okay. when in columbus, ohio -- there are lots of tasty vegan brunch options.

see northstar cafe, a super cute little place in short north.

per their website, northstar cafe offers "carefully prepared yet casual cuisine... [&] features an imaginative menu of new american cuisine with a healthful emphasis on organic ingredients." loves it!

here's what i had ... 

shooting star :
oranges, carrots, ginger & lemon. 
obviously amazing. one of the best juices i've had!

big burrito & side of tofu :

organic black beans, roasted sweet potatoes, sauteed peppers & onions w/ northstar's salsa.
also super yummy. very fresh, which i definitely appreciated. and as its name implies, BIG! i had plenty leftover for a snack on the ride home. the side of tofu wasn't mine idea, but the person taking the order. awesome addition! (i would have gotten it in the burrito, but josh handled the ordering while i found seats!)

northstar cafe is a great little spot with a great little menu. and they certainly make it easy for vegans eating brunch. check it out!