29 June 2014

pride sushi & thai.

a few weeks ago, i went waaay up north to see a friend's new (and might i add : adorable) house. (hi, anna!) ...

by waaay up north, i mean west rogers park. it's not like i meant canada, come on. the 6000s are just unknown territory for me!!

anywho, after much debate on where to eat, we decided on asian ... which led us to pride sushi & thai, located right on peterson.

about pride sushi & thai : "we take pride in making a perfect dish & perfect sushi... with our warm service to make sure that you feel at home." aaah, i see what they did there.

here's what i had ...

chive dumplings :

pan-fried chive rice dough served with spicy sweet soy sauce.
chive cakes are hit or miss for me ... these were not greasy. therefore, they were a hit. 

vegetable & tofu soup :
mixed vegetables & tofu in a mild broth.
even though it's now 100 degrees outside, we all know it wasn't a couple of weeks ago. so when i saw a vegan soup on the menu, i had to get it just to warm up. your basic clear soup, but heavy on the veggies & tofu ... so, extra good.
avocado & kampyo maki :
and just for fun, i had to throw in a couple of veggie rolls. can't go wrong.

while for me, pride sushi & thai isn't in the most convenient of locations, the food is great. so if you happen to be in the area ... or if you happen to live in the area, it's worth a visit. check it out.

pride sushi & thai
2706 w. peterson avenue
chicago, il 60659

25 June 2014

upton's breakroom.

i absolutely hate not loving vegan places ... but that's kind of what happened on a recent venture over to upton's breakroom in ukrainian village.

a couple of my co-workers & i decided on a last minute trip to upton's for lunch one day ... i had been craving a blt, so it sounded like the perfect solution.

about upton's breakroom : "it's our goal to provide high quality, delicious, cruelty-free food that anyone can enjoy." great!

here's what i had ...

blt :
bacon seitain w/ lettuce, tomato & housemade mayo on toasted wholegrain bread.
i know what you're thinking ... "i can barely see the b in this blt." you would be correct. 

bacon mac :
housemade mac & cheese w/ bacon seitan.
kind of reminded me of the mac & cheese from northdown taproom ... not the most mac & cheesy mac & cheese i've ever had ... but not the least either.

i've had upton products at other restaurants & bought frequently from whole foods ... and i can say, i do love them! but i just wasn't obsessed with the breakroom. maybe next time. 

upton's breakroom
2054 w. grand avenue
chicago, il 60612

22 June 2014

maui (hawaii) : shave ice.

before i arrived in hawaii, i was already aware of & looking forward to trying some of the shave ice shops around lahaina.

for those of you who don't know or couldn't guess ... shave ice is basically a snow cone, but with somehow better ice. throughout the trip, i had several. but here are a couple of pics ...

 double rainbow. 

both of these shops are located right in downtown lahaina on front street. but you can honestly find shave ice anywhere ... although i will say, local boys was the best. an obvious dessert for vegans in maui. 

18 June 2014

jane's restaurant.

looking for a nice brunch place? look no further than jane's restaurant in bucktown.

per the website : "janes ... remains true to its mission to provide tasteful & innovative cuisine -- using simple & fresh ingredients -- in a pleasing atmosphere." simple & fresh. my kinda place.

here's what i had ...

tofu scramble :
red peppers, mushrooms, yellow squash, zucchini & corn with a side of fruit.
okay, the veggies are premixed so you can't get no mushrooms. not a deal breaker, since it's the only vegan item on the brunch menu ... i could pick them out pretty easily & they didn't contaminate the rest of the plate. in fact, the flavors were really, really good.

like i said, jane's is a great place for brunch. it's super cute on the inside & has a nice outdoor area for summer. they've got a couple other vegan items on their non-brunch menu, so i'll probably be back for more. definitely worth checking out.

jane's restaurant
1653 - 1655 w. cortland street
chicago, il 60622

15 June 2014

lahaina, maui (hawaii) : star noodle.

you know i can't go somewhere and not visit the local top chef restaurant. well, in maui ... i kind of did & i kind of didn't. technically, the acclaimed star noodle was started by top chef fan favorite chef sheldon simeon ... but he no longer works there. which, i will admit, i didn't know when we were there.

don't get me wrong ... i would have absolutely gone to star noodle either way. i just wouldn't have looked like an idiot continuously scanning the restaurant for sheldon's sweet little face.

anyway ... star noodle is all about "serving fresh house made noodles & asian specialties." perfect, since i'm pretty much always craving an asian noodle ... a match made in foodie heaven.

chillin' in the star noodle parking lot :
with or without sheldon ... long wait times! 

plenty of time for silly snaps :

but i digress ... back to the food. since i'm a glutton, josh & i decided to share several dishes. like kind of a ridiculous amount. but really, when's the next time i'll be there??

here's what i had ...

roasted brussels sprouts :
sans bacon.
simple & flavorful. obviously delicious. 

pad thai :
rice noodles, peanuts, garlic, chives & tofu. 
i always think pad thai is a good dish to judge a restaurant on because so many places offer it. the star noodle version was awwwwwesome.

singapore noodles :
vermicelli, vegetables & tofu.
while the pad thai was great, the singapore noodles were better. amazing flavors, really top notch tofu (i love tofu), & perfect noodles. i could have eaten the entire plate, but not only was it huge, but that also would have been unacceptable & our server would have judged me. 

josh & his hapa ramen :
more like hapa heaven, amirite?

so many leftovers :
a lovely breakfast for the next day.
yeah, i'm don't discriminate on what time of day it's acceptable to eat any kind of food.

so while i am quite sad that i didn't have an actual top chef sighting, i did think the food at star noodle was completely freaking amazing. if/when i do go back to maui, this place will definitely be at the top of my list.

star noodle
286 kupuohi street
lahaina, maui, hawaii 96761

11 June 2014

sushi mura.

sometimes, the little place around the corner will surprise you (me). enter sushi mura, a sushi restaurant down the street from us right on southport.

we've either talked about or walked past sushi mura about 100x over the course of the past five years ... but for whatever reason, we just never stopped in. so when it finally started to warm up in chicago, josh & i decided the time had come for a stroll up the street.

the about section : "at sushi mura, we care only about two things. first, that our sushi exceeds your expectations. and second, that you feel an integral part of the sushi experience." alright! let's go.

here's what i had ...

goma ae :
boiled spinach w/ sesame dressing.
maybe slightly heavy on the sesame dressing (as you can see), but the flavor was great. 

mame nor maki :
soy wrap w/ asparagus, avocado, cucumber & spinach.
yum! one of my new favorite sushi rolls. (we've since ordered it for carry out not once, but twice.) i also had an avocado roll, but i didn't think you needed to see a photo of that. but it was also lovely. 

one of the best aspects of this joint is that it's not overpriced like the 96% (a confirmed percentage) of the rest of chicago sushi restaurants. so good food + reasonable $$ = sushi mura quickly becoming a go-to for us ... if i only i hadn't wasted the past five years going elsewhere.

sushi mura
3647 n. southport avenue
chicago, il 60613

08 June 2014

lahaina, maui (hawaii) : pacific'o.

ah, maui. one of the best things about this lovely island (imo) is that pretty much every night, you can see a beautiful sunset. and from a dinner reservations stand point, you absolutely get the best view at pacific'o.

pacific'o is a farm-to-table concept restaurant ... focusing on "healthy & locally sourced ingredients." i love this kind of thing.

here's what i had ...

kula beets :
organic beet "confit," pickled beets, hijiki seaweed, namasu pickled veggies, beet juice, watercress puree.
love me some beets ... duh. and this dish had plenty. i quite enjoyed it ... what i didn't enjoy was the seaweed & the pickled veggies. they seemed weird. but the beets? the beets were spot on. 

garden :
roasted hearts of palm, heirloom carrots, pickled onion, radish, beets, quinoa & burnt aka red miso. 
i normally don't like quinoa, but this version was absolutely delicious. the grilled pickled onions were also fantastic. definitely a winner. 

 and for dessert :
see what i mean?

i say this simply & with certainty : pacific'o is a perfect maui dinner spot.

505 front street
lahaina, maui, hawaii 96761

04 June 2014

tavern at the park.

one fine friday, my company had a half day, so i headed downtown to have lunch with josh. after much discussion, we settled on an old stand by for the financial types in the area : tavern at the park.

for any chicagoan, a restaurant described as "the millennium park dining experience" might not be your cup of iced tea. seems more suited to the plethora of bankers & misc. business-professional clad people you see everywhere (see what i did there with the "suited"??)... or michigan avenue tourists. and it kind of is ...

but that doesn't mean your everyday-vegan-girl-next-door local can't stop in for a bite every once in a while.

here's what i had ...

clark street hummus :
homemade chickpea dip w/ red pepper, spicy house giardinara, assorted olives & pane bianco.
i quite enjoyed the olives & almonds this came with ... the hummus was good, but a little weirdly runny. but let's be honest, it's hummus. it's fine. and the giardiniera provided a nice little kick

mac's grilled vegetable salad : 
romaine lettuce, corn, zucchini, asparagus, peppers, tomatoes, red onions, cilantro & citrus vinaigrette. (no cheese.)
an expected vegan salad ... but with a nice variety of veggies. also, chopped -- so added bonus. 

i did this after lunch :
because, you know. when in rome ... 

i'm not going to say i'm obsessed with tavern at the park by any means ... but it is definitely a nice place to stop for a light meal.

tavern at the park
130 e. randolph street
chicago, il 60661

01 June 2014

lahaina, maui (hawaii) : sansei seafood restaurant & sushi bar.

when in hawaii, a fish eater must get sushi at least once. and since one half of this husband & wife duo happens to be just that (hint : it's not me.) ... off we went to sansei seafood restaurant & sushi bar at the kapalua resport for dinner one evening.

about sansei : "contemporary sushi & new wave asian inspired dishes served in a lively setting." cool. 

here's what i had ... 

ocean salad :
a fancy name for seaweed salad.

avocado sushi :
i had never seen avocado offered in this form of sushi, so i obviously had to try it. served with perfectly ripe avocado & a little bit o' rice ... lovely.

paia maki & grilled veggie roll :
paia maki : kula greens, avocado, sprouts, cucumber & pine nuts.
grilled veggie roll : squash, roasted red peppers, avocado, cucumber & kaiware sprouts.
both completely new & unique to me ... both with great flavor. i loved that both rolls incorporated local veggies. although for me, the paia maki was just slightly tastier.

and for the fish eaters :
josh & the best tuna he's ever had in his life.
forever spoiled by amazing sushi. 

like i said, if you're traveling with a carnivore, you've absolutely got to eat sushi at least once. and i would highly recommend sansei to both vegans & non-vegans alike.

and if you're not in lahaina or on another island ... sansei has three other locations. #winning.

sansei seafood restaurant & sushi bar
600 office road
lahaina, maui, hawaii 96761