30 November 2014

crosby's kitchen : menu update.

hope everyone had a lovely thanksgiving!!!! what vegan things did everyone eat? i made an oreo pie ... delish.

since t-giving is such a gluttonous day ... here's a great suggestion for the weeks after. i mean, we all want to eat light after overloading on thanksgiving carbs, right?

i've been to crosby's kitchen on numerous occasions & i almost always get the brussels sprouts salad. but on this particular evening, i went to crosby's thinking that maybe i didn't want the brussels. so i was pleasantly surprised when i saw they had a new menu item.

here's what i had ...

crosby's kale salad :
 kale, grapes, carrots, napa cabbage & peanut vinaigrette. 
maybe a little heavy on the vinaigrette, but besides that ... quite a tasty little salad. in my opinion, the obvious addition to make this perfection would be some crispy, sauteed tofu. mmm. hear that, crosby's??

with two great salad options on the menu, crosby's kitchen is my lakeview go-to for a light dinner. you really can't go wrong.

crosby's kitchen
3455 n. southport ave.
chicago, il 60657

23 November 2014

summer house santa monica : dinner.

back to summer house santa monica ... this time around : for dinner. (the first trip was a lovely brunch!)

to reiterate, summer house santa monica is all about a "california-influenced, american menu spotlighting seasonal, locally-sourced produce & ingredients." love.

here's what i had ...

santa monica salad :
grilled corn, avocado, romaine, arugula, tomatoes. 
fine, kind of basic. i also am learning i do not like arugula. note to self.

roasted cauliflower :
jalapeño pesto, candied lemon & breadcrumbs.
getting better. i had high hopes for the jalapeño pesto ... my issue : there wasn't enough of it! mmm.

sesame-glazed sweet potatoes :
fresh ginger.
these sweet potatoes were the star of my meal. the sesame glaze was amazing. they were perfectly cooked ... i mean, just generally something i could eat everyday. kind of infinitely better than any sweet potato dish i've ever had.

i like summer house santa monica ... the food is great, the atmosphere is cool ... not much to hate.

summer house santa monica
1954 n. halsted street
chicago, il 60614

19 November 2014

blue door farm stand : fall menu!

guys, blue door farm stand is legit.

since my first visit, i've been hooked. they recently updated their menu to include some more seasonal ingredients, so i thought i'd share.

here's what i had ...

kale & pumpkin salad :
roasted pumpkin & butternut squash, pomegranate seeds, apples, cranberries, almonds & pumpkin molasses vinaigrette.
holy fall ingredients ... featuring pretty much everything i love. except pumpkin. i learned i do not like pumpkin in this preparation. 

i also had the vegan lentil soup, which was so so so perfect & delicious. but it didn't photograph well, so it didn't get to be here. kidding, i ate it before i remembered to take a pic.

you all know i am obsessed with blue door, so i think you should be too. if you haven't already, check them out!! 

843 w. armitage avenue
chicago, il 60614

16 November 2014

ann sather.

a few weeks ago, we had a brunch date scheduled with josh's fam ... the chosen restaurant? ann sather.

ann sather offers "swedish cuisine & catering." i know what you're thinking ... what's swedish cuisine? unfortunately, i cannot answer this for you because i didn't really have any. but then again, neither did anyone else i was with. it was all boring omelets for the rest of our group.

in terms of vegan items ... ann sather is what i would call extremely limited.

here's what i had ...

fruit cup & rye toast w/ avocado :
ok, disclaimer. i realize now that i did not actually ask if the rye bread was vegan. i made an assumption. so if you hate me now, stop reading. the rest of you ... the fruit cup was fresh & had a nice variety, the avocado was perfectly ripe & the toast was exactly as you would expect dry rye toast to taste. 

honestly, i really wish ann sather had one legit vegan option on the menu. would a tofu scramble be asking for that much? 

with three locations in the city & such an infamous reputation, you're bound to end up there with a non-vegan group at some point ... let me know if they add anything for us ... otherwise, suffer with your fruit & dry toast. wah!

ann sather
909 w. belmont ave.
chicago, il 60657

12 November 2014

osteria via stato.

ok, this is my final birthday meal post ... well, because it was my final birthday-related meal ... this time, a shared one with josh's brother & sister (happy bday, buds : aaron & katie!). and for our special meal, we decided to go for italian at osteria via stato ... located in river north on via stato. that's state street for the rest of us.

osteria via stato is another classic lettuce entertain you restaurant ... the deets : "founded on chef digreggorio's travels throughout italy, osteria via stato follows the italian tradition of seasonally-prepared dishes featuring local ingredients." check & check.

here's what i had ...

house-marinated olives :
obviously if olives are on the menu, olives i will eat. quite tasty ... and i dunked the bread from the table into the extra olive oil ... benissimo. 

chopped salad :
romaine, celery, fennel, tomatoes, mustard vinaigrette. (no chicken or cheese.)
i was very pleasantly surprised by this salad ... 1. it was huge. 2. it was really quite tasty. maybe a little heavy on the fennel. 

spaghetti arrabiata :
crushed tomatoes, olive oil & calabrian chilies.
maybe the best perk of osteria via stato is that you can order a side of some of the pastas ... so if you aren't in the mood to fully devour a plate of carbs, this is the perfect option. in terms of taste, it was pretty simple ... kind of exactly how you would expect it to taste by looking at it. so fine!

is osteria the best italian restaurant i've ever been to? no. it's not even the best leye italian restaurant i've ever been to! but that's okay. they've got a big menu & great vegan options. so for that, they win. 

osteria via stato
620 n. state street
chicago, il 60654

09 November 2014

austin, texas : mr. natural.

we've reached the end of the austin journey! hope you've all enjoyed! 

when the girls & i were deciding where in austin to stay, my main concern was obviously that we be near good food. since we were walking distance to qui, i knew we were in good hands.

what i didn't know was that there was an all vegan & vegetarian food store & mexican restaurant right.down.the.street. literally, less than two blocks away from our airbnb. #winning

this texan vegan heaven? none other than mr. natural ... "in a simple, relaxed environment ... mr. natural is a natural foods restaurant, bakery, juice bar & health food store all rolled into one. our award-winning vegetarian restaurant offers non-dairy, wheat-free, vegan & vegetarian food using all natural ingredients in unique mexican vegetarian dishes." wow. just wow.

we made three (yes, three) trips to mr. natural while we were in austin. here's what i had ...

trip one : tofu & avocado taco.
ok, so it may have been breakfast, but whatever. no judgement.
you can't really see all the delicious ingredients due to the plethora of fresh toppings, but let me tell you, it was fantastic. the perfect light breakfast.

trip two : baked goods!! 

all vegan, all the time.
this time, i had the vegan lemon & blueberry muffin. maybe the best vegan muffin i've ever had. 

trip three : they were closed.
so we sat in the parking & cried. 
jk, but we were sad.

i'm just not sure how it's possible to be vegan, be in austin & NOT go to mr. natural. so whether you live there, are moving there, are traveling or just happen to be in a 100 mile radius ... get to mr. natural. now.

mr. natural
1901 e. cesar chavez st.
austin, texas 78702

05 November 2014

slurping turtle -- round 2.

guys, it's fall. that means soup season.

i've been obsessed with slurping turtle since the first time i went ... i mean, super super super delicious vegan asian noodle soup? you just can't go wrong. so when i was craving the tofu/mushroom noodle soup, it meant time for the first trip of the 2014 slurp season.

this trip was a game changer, let me tell you. so here's what i had ...

vegan coconut curry udon :
  veggie broth, hominy, fried eggplant, tofu, chickpeas.
guys. i was seriously DEVASTED when our server told me that the tofu/mushroom soup (no mushrooms) was off the menu. not kidding, devasted. but he assured me that the vegan coconut curry udon was even better. he did NOT lie, phew. it.was.amazing. spicy, tasty, steamy, lots of udon noodles. i mean, just spot on flavors. this is why chef takashi is the best. 

so while it was close to being a complete catastrophe, the menu change was welcome. this soup was a special when i was there, but they say it's going on the regular menu. i highly highly highly suggest making a trip over there asap.

slurping turtle
116 w. hubbard st.
chicago, il 60614

02 November 2014

austin, texas : cenote.

wrapping up the austin posts ... only one left after this!! and it's a good one.

our last morning in austin, we went to our airbnb hostess' recommendation book & landed on the perfect place for a quick brunch : cenote, "east austin's neighborhood patio cafe."

about : "cenote not only serves amazing coffee, we also have a full food menu of fresh offerings made with the best ingredients, including local veggies from Johnson’s Backyard Garden & other local farms ... we strive to use only the highest quality and all natural ingredients possible." welp, sign me up.

here's what i had ...

veggie sandwich :
hummus, sprouts, tomato, red onion, beets, carrots, avocado on ciabatta.
this is just what i needed on this particular morning. i had only wrapped up whole30 about 5 days before ... and somehow, i managed not to eat that much bread while in austin. so when i saw the word "ciabatta" on a vegan sandwich, i was sold. oh, the veggies were good, too.

if you are staying in east austin ... or are just there ... check out cenote. you won't be disappointed.

1010 e. cesar chavez
austin, texas 78702