30 October 2013

bandera.

every so often, i'll hear people talking about the great food (often, burgers) at bandera, a restaurant located right on michigan avenue ... in the middle of all the shopping hubbub.

so one saturday afternoon, josh & i decided to join the tourists on the mag mile for a little eating & shopping.

bandera is self-described as a place of "casual sophistication & quality service." great. let's go.

here's what i had ...

macho salad :
avocado, tomatoes, dates, almonds & corn w/ champagne vinaigrette. 
(no chicken, goat cheese or croutons.)
for me, when shopping -- i prefer to eat light. no food babies. so a salad was just what i needed. this one has tons of delicious & fresh ingredients ... even some avocado & almonds for a smidge of protein. perfection. oh, and the champagne vinaigrette it comes with? already vegan.

so ... chicagoans & chicago tourists ... shopping on michigan? stop in at bandera for lunch. no buyer's remorse here.

--
bandera
535 n. michigan avenue
chicago, il 60611 

27 October 2013

tenerife, canary islands, spain : la torre del mirador.

for our last night in tenerife, josh & i wanted to eat some traditional spanish food ... since we hadn't the entire trip. so we headed down the coast for a short walk to la torre del mirador, located right on the water ... allowing for some gorgeous sunset views. 

sunset over la gomera, another canary island.

anyway, a bit about this lovely spot : "the restaurant la torre del mirador, located in the beautiful setting of costa adeje ... is a real balcony over the atlantic ocean, which overlooks an open horizon & [la isla] gomera ... the extensive menu offers visitors an exquisite variety of national and international dishes." see what i mean.

here's what i had ...

pimientos de padrón :
prepared vegetarian! i asked. so i am assuming vegan! woop.
my favorite dish. super delicious.

vegetable paella :
vegetable paella is almost always a safe bet, but i asked about preparation just in case. luckily, it was definitely vegan! and also luckily, josh was willing to share. anyway, this paella really hit the spot. so tasty, in fact, that it even inspired us to buy a paella pan with our remaining euros at the airport! who wants paella? come on over!

fruta del día :
does it get much better than a plate of fresh tropical fruit when you're craving a light dessert? perfect.

i highly recommend la torre del mirador for both fantastic spanish food & fantastic spanish views ... it was such a lovely, romantic dinner for our last night on the island ... i can't wait to go back!

--
la torre del mirador
avenida bruselas s/n
38660 costa adeje, adeje
tenerife, spain

23 October 2013

trenchermen - brunch.

to begin : "a trenchermen is one with the affliction for food & drink. unabashed. impulsive." i like it. wait. no. i love it.

--
ain't no secret that brunch kind of sucks for vegans. trenchermen, located on north ave. in wicker park, is out to change that.

this was very fortunate for me ... because i have been wanting to try trenchermen forever. so when the opportunity for a brunch date came along, i knew just the place.

a bit about brunch at trenchermen : "we've built our brunch to be the epicenter of the neighborhood at the start of a weekend morning ... with a cup of strong coffee at hand, our dishes also range from light and quaint to hearty and fulfilling, which means there's always something new from the kitchen to hit all appetites."

all that's just lovely, but the best best best thing about trenchermen? they are hella accommodating to vegans.

here's what i had ...

tofu scramble :
curry lentils, bulgar, fennel, tomato ragu & crispy yuba. 
wow. let me tell you. freaking awesome. super flavorful, unique, overall delicious. this is what vegan brunch should be like. fa realz. also - if i am remembering correctly - this dish is just auto-vegan, already on the menu. double win.

we all enjoyed trenchermen so much that we decided to go back for a birthday dinner (for me & my pals, carly & noelle!) ... so stand by for a dinner post soon! not going to lie, it was even more amazing than the brunch

--
trenchermen
2039 w. north avenue
chicago, il 60647

20 October 2013

tenerife, canary islands, spain : restaurant 88.

after dinner at our hotel the first two nights we were in tenerife, we decided to venture out ... the concierge recommended restaurant 88, a high-end asian restaurant right on the water.

restaurant 88 features a mix of asian cuisines ... but mainly chinese & japanese. per the website : "experience the very best in south tenerife ... stunning sea views & impeccable, boutique style meet gourmet oriental cuisine. overlooking the atlantic ocean from its panoramic harbor side in the fishing village of la caleta, restaurant 88 has raised the bar in dining standards." and raise the bar they have.

here's what i had ...

kappa maki :
the usual ... fresh & delicious. somehow, the cucumber seemed extra crunchy. like.

tofu in tomato chili sauce :
this was the only tofu i had the whole trip & i was super craving it! as you can see just by the beautiful colors, this dish was fantastic ... sweet & sour tofu perfection.

88 oriental vegetables :
in a light, garlic sauce.
again, i strangely did not eat that many veggies this trip. obviously, too much bread + olive oil ... so when i found out this was vegan, we had to get them. sooo good. lots of bok choi, which i love, makes for a lovely side of greens.

i highly highly recommend restaurant 88 for vegans & non-vegans traveling in tenerife ... it's different from most of the other places, so a nice change of pace. plus the food is awesome.

--
restaurante 88
edificio del nido
avenida las gaviotas
la caleta, adeje
tenerife, spain 38679

16 October 2013

union sushi + barbeque bar.

every so often, date night rolls around. and no, i don't mean date night w/ josh. i mean date night w/ my girlfriends. so when this happened, we know just the spot to hit :  union sushi + barbeque bar in river north.

"union combines the tempered art of japanese dining with a fresh, colorful & urban vibe. embracing an american warmth & personality, this playful juxtaposition reveals a restaurant that is welcoming, accommodating & stylish ... a true riff on what is expected or traditional - east or west."

union is kind of a small plates / sharing / you know the drill type of place ... which of course i love, since i get to try so many different things. and per the usual, my gal pal & dining partner (hi, jessie!) is super cool and was willing to eat some vegan things! woop!

here's what i had ...

edamame :
sea salt + red curry powder. (complimentary!)
everything's better when it's free, amirite? plus, the red curry powder was a nice twist from your basic edamame. something i certainly plan to replicate at home.

agedashi tofu :
daikon, ginger, green onion in a vegetable broth. 
yum. so good. delicious. amazing. want to eat a big bowl of this everyday. 

roasted cauliflower salad :
fennel, balsamic carmelized onion, orange zest, red pepper & orange sesame vinaigrette. 
also quite tasty. the red pepper gave this salad the perfect amount of kick. 

sonoma roll :
lettuce, red & yellow bell peppers, green & red onion, toasted pine nuts & miso-balsamic. 
weird, but so good. the miso-balsamic on top was awesome. 

cucumber roll :
lettuce, cilantro, avocado. red onion, jalapeño, fried ginger, green onion, black sesame & sesame paste wrapped in cucumber. 
also great. i think i preferred this over the sonoma, just because the flavors were more on track with what you normally eat at an asian place.

union sushi + barbeque bar is pretty top notch. lots of tasty vegan options = a+.

--
union sushi + barbeque bar
230 w. erie street
chicago, il 60654

13 October 2013

madrid, spain

okay, here it goes.

my time in madrid was basically an epic fail in terms of vegan dining documentation. i'm sorry!!

for some reason, this trip took me much longer to get adjusted to the right time zone ... and i just wasn't in the mood to photograph every meal i had. again, i'm sorry!! 

but i can offer up a couple of suggestions -- just without food photos. i will, however, include some non-food photos, so that this isn't the most boring post ever. 

puerta de alcalá.

in general ... spain is known to have some great sushi. the best outside of japan, actually. obviously, this means you can get some delicious veggie sushi, too ... ya know, the usual suspects : aguacate, pepino, zanahoria, etc. 

there are also a ton of random turkish places around ... where you can get falafel, hummus, pitas w/ veggies, yada yada.

el oso y el madroño.
puerta del sol.

100 montaditos
lots & lots of little sandwiches. many veggie options. i got a few with no cheese and it was great. not 100% sure of the breads, but i believe the chapata & cereales are vegan. nice for something quick & easy. and they are all over the place.

me at my old apartment :
instead of the turkish place that used to be next door (favoriteee), there's now a 100 montaditos.

la tagliatella
when we went here, i didn't realize it was a chain/franchise. but it is. they even have some locations in the us. they have many homemade pastas (likely not vegan) and some that are dry (likely vegan) ... plus, plenty of olive oil, tomato & veggie based sauces. i had a sicilian sauce (tomatoes, olives, eggplant, zucchini & onions) on spaghetti.

palacio de cristal.

however, one of my favorite things to do in madrid is have a picnic in retiro park. this means going to the grocery (i prefer carrefour for all my food needs while in spain & france), grabbing a baguette, hummus, olive oil, tomato spread, olives & whatever other vegan items your heart desires ... and heading to a quiet, shady spot in this huge park.

estanque del retiro.

there are a couple of vegan restaurants in madrid that would certainly be work checking out ... one is called oveja negra taberna vegana. josh & i planned to go there, but ended up elsewhere. i'd recommend doing lunch here, just because i'm not totally familiar with the neighborhood. 

apologies again for lack of food pics ... there's always next time.

09 October 2013

giordano's.

chicago : a city known for its cheesy, meaty pizza ...

one classic chi-town pizzeria is giordano's. since there are several locations throughout chicago & the burbs, it may sound strange that i've never actually tried giordano's ... but that changed when it was time for my sister-in-law's birthday party (hi, katie!) ...

happy birthday!
me & katie.

sweater weather (finally!)
me & the hubbie. just for funsies. 


anyway ... a bit about giordano's : "its creation began in a small northern italian town near torino. mama giordano was famous around town for her exquisite cooking ... years later, original owners and italian immigrants efren & joseph boglio moved to chicago to start their own pizza business. discouraged by the lack of authentic pizza available in the city, the brothers introduced their mama’s recipe." ... and the rest is history. 

here's what i had ...

greek salad :
romaine, cucumbers, bell peppers, red onion, cherry tomatoes, kalamata olives & red wine vinaigrette.
your basic greek salad. the vinaigrette tasted more like balsamic rather than red wine, but that's okay. 

thin crust pizza :
fresh tomatoes, fresh garlic, olives & artichokes. 
i was shocked (shocked, i say!) to learn that the pizza crust at giordano's is vegan. and i asked like three different employees. the sauce, however, is not. but that's okay. you can basically build your own awesome veggie flatbread! which is exactly what i did ... the final product? delicious. 

i may have stayed away from giordano's in the past for fear of lack of vegan options. but our trip to the burbs for the b-day left me pleasantly surprised. so when your non-veg pals want to indulge in some crazy chicago deep dish, offer up giordano's. you'll be happy you did.

--
giordano's
9415 w. higgins road
rosemont, il 60018