Kale is Sexy

March 25, 2012

This prehistoric-looking veggie used to terrify me (maybe because I imagined giant veloci-rabbit-raptors ripping into the leaves).  Now I regard it as King Kale, ruler of the Aggregate Nutrient Density Index, or ANDI. Full of vitamins A, B6, C, K, calcium, potassium, and iron, kale is one of the sexiest/healthiest veggies out there.

And believe it or not, eating it need not be a fibrous and bitter experience.  When my body needs a break from donut ice cream sandwiches (yeah, it happens), these are my two favorite rejuvenating recipes:

1. Massaged Kale Salad

  • 1/2 head of kale
  • 1 carrot
  • 1 beet
  • handful sunflower seeds
  • 1/2 avocado
Separate the leaves from the stem, using a knife or your hands.  Chop the kale finely, put it in a large bowl, and add a tablespoon or two of olive oil, a dash of salt, and a squeeze of lemon juice.  Then squeeze and rub the kale until it’s tender and dark green (about 1 minute).  My grandma never gets tired of making jokes about how the kale really needed that massage after a hard day of work.
Next, grate the carrot and beet into the salad.  I know it’s tempting to chop instead of grate, but trust me, grating makes all of the difference.
Add in some chopped avo and sunflower seeds and toss with your favorite dressing (I like Drew’s Poppyseed), and you’re done!

*BONUS* Making this salad is also like a mini-spa treatment!  Once you’re done massaging the kale, rub the olive oil & salt on your hands for a quick DIY salt scrub.

2. Smoothie

  • 1 banana
  • 1 leaf of kale
  • 1/4 cup vanilla soygurt (Whole Soy is my fave brand)
  • 2-3 tablespoons flax seed

This recipe is even easier.  De-stem the kale, throw all of the ingredients into a blender (doesn’t need to be a fancy-shmancy VitaMix), and voila!  A delicious mix of protein, calcium, iron, Omega-3’s and potassium all in one glass.

Once you've discovered the joys of kale, get yourself one of these posters/totes/tees from Herbivoreclothing.com

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City of Roses

February 7, 2012

My dear readers, I’m sorry to have abandoned you to the fate of unguided gluttony for so long.

The other day, while musing and munching, realization struck: it’s no mere coincidence that Portland is home to so much rose-flavored fare.  Portland is the City of Roses!  (I know, my powers of deduction are staggering.)

In honor of the lesser-known prize roses in Oregon, here is a list of PDX’s Best Vegan Rose Flavored Foods.  Unlike Buff Beauty and Cardinal de Richlieu, these roses taste as delectable as they smell.

Rose Flavored Fare with Flare

1. Pistachio Rosewater Mini-cake, Back to Eden Bakery

As I wrote in my Back to Eden post, this is my favorite cake of all time everywhere always.  Sometimes in mini-cake and sometimes in regular-cake form, but always vegan and gluten free, this cake has an incredibly delicate balance of uncommon flavors.

2. White Rose Kombucha, Townshends

Second only to Townshend’s Nutritonic kombucha, the white rose kombucha is floral and sweet but still has the kombucha kick to it.

3. Rose Collins, Portobello

For vegans, Portobello is as important a tourist destination as the Washington Park Rose Garden.  Lauren, the bartender, has carefully crafted infusions, tinctures, and juices to create some of the best cocktails and mocktails in Portland.  Continuing the rose theme, I got the Rose Collins*, made with rhubarb-infused gin and rosewater, with a single floating blueberry.

Photo from portobellopdx.com

*Apparently the Rose Collins is no longer on the drink menu, but they have a house infusion of white lavender rose tea gin!

4.  Rose Quartz, Central

Central is somewhat hidden, but it’s not too hard to find because it’s right around the corner from Voodoo Donuts.  While sitting at a table in the converted alleyway, I sipped the Rose Quartz, which had gin, bitters, and rose syrup.

5. Pistachio Rosewater Cookie, Back to Eden Bakery

You can’t go wrong with the pistachio/rosewater combo, and the cookie has its own appeal.  Back to Eden’s cookies have the perfect crunchy to chewy ratio, with crip edges and soft centers.  Plus, the cookie is slightly less sweet than the cake, making it easier to eat on a daily basis (& that’s my baked good time frame, let’s be real).

Photo from Back to Eden's blog, pistachio rosewater second from left.

Homegrown Smoker

November 5, 2011

Not fit for mixed company.  Utterly indecent.

Such are the phrases that come to mind when contemplating Homegrown Smoker‘s sloppy BBQ delicacies.

Homegrown Smoker is hands down my favorite food cart in PDX.

Even though they specialize in down-home cooking, HS’s flavors are often surprisingly complex.  It’s not often a restaurant features both remoulade & rutabagas, and deep fried pickles & oreos.

Among the many standouts from their standard menu is the Smoker Salad: Soy curls, baked beans, cabbage and collards, tortilla strips, diced peppers, onions, daiya cheese & ranch, with a slice of molassas cornbread (left, with the Smoked Shroom Burger and Deep Fried Pickle Spears).

They’ve got some extra naughty items for you too, including the Frito Chili Pie, Tye Dye Chili Cheeze Fryz and…

The Portorrito: a burrito with smoked portobello and vegan mac nocheeze!  Yeah, that’s right: mac’n’cheese in a burrito!!

Keep an eye on their blog, which features daily specials.  Our last meal in Portland (and possibly the best we had) was one of their featured sandwiches, the Philthy NoCheezesteak.

Here we have the sandwich, sweet potato fries, and lurking in the front, those innocent-looking lumps of white and black, are none other than OREOS DEEP FRIED IN COCONUT BATTER. How can something so wrong taste so right? But hey, vegans need a little more fat every once in a while (on the off chance you’re not already getting more than your fair share from Voodoo Donuts).

Go eat, be amazed, build up some winter paunch, and be sure to wash your food down with a mint lemonade.

P.S. They’ll deep fry anything on request.

Seattle Pudge

October 17, 2011

There is no pudge like Seattle pudge.  Sure, PDX has it beat in terms of variety, but there are a few indulgent delicacies that cannot  be found outside of the rainy city.

Wayward Vegan Cafe – We gonna brunch like it’s 2am at Denny’s.

Did you ever expect to sink your herbivorous teeth into a vegan omelet? Cheese blintz?  Fake ham & turkey sandwich with French toast for bread?  I know, you wish I were kidding.  But it’s all here in Seattle, it’s bigger than your face, and it costs less than $10.

Objects are just as large and can’t-stop-eating-even-though-you’ll-clearly-regret-it-in-a-matter-of-minutes as they appear.

Field Roast

For your sake, I hope you’re already well-acquainted with the utter deliciousness that is Field Roast’s Apple Sage Sausages (if not, head to the nearest Whole Foods ASAP).  What many people don’t realize is that Field Roast, which is headquartered in Seattle, is cruelly depriving the rest of the country of their other delicacies.  Right across the street from Wayward Cafe is Side Car Pigs for Peace vegan grocery store (completely awesome in its own right – all the proceeds go to a pig rescue organization), which carries every Field Roast product imaginable for shockingly reasonable prices.  Foodie it up with vegan pate, gourmet cheese balls, and porcini dijon cutlets.

Hella classy.

Mighty O

And, of course, no self-respecting trip to Seattle is complete without a trip to Mighty O Doughnuts.  Portland donuts (from Voodoo and Sweet Pea) have a better texture than Mighty O, but Mighty O has more flavors and their ingredients are all organic!

p.s. In case you’re not sold on Seattle yet, we spied this while walking down the street:

O HAI casually placed vegan info chillin’ next to the classifieds like it ain’t no thing!

Fun Cone Foods!

September 28, 2011

Alright, I know I’m being an unfaithful hussy, but I’m going to rep some more non-PDX Pudge.  [Full disclosure]: I am no longer actually in Portland.  But never fear!  I still have tons of actual Portland restaurant reviews in the works.

In the meantime, I’m trying to find solace in the relatively-paltry veg offerings of other cities.  The closest I’ve come in Berkeley so far is… Rawdaddy’s Fun Cone Foods!

Have you been craving a savory raw cone full of sandwich fillings?

Neither had I… until I tried Rawdaddy’s!

I stumbled upon them at the Berkeley Saturday Farmer’s Market.  I’m usually not big on raw food (raw pizza is just not pizza, even if it costs $15. come on.), but I was drawn by the novelty.  Savory food in cone form?  Why not!

Once I got up to the stand and saw the incredible flavors, prices (only $5!) and free samples, I was hooked.  I tried the:

 Forest and Earth Mushroom Polenta : Filled with layers of freshly made corn polenta and a rich composition of portabella, oyster, and brown mushrooms, raw-simmered in our white truffle oil and smoked sea salt marinade. Drizzled with a counterpoint of our zesty mustard vinaigrette.

And the Reuben cone.  Sadly, they don’t have a description of this one on their website, but suffice to say it was every bit as filled with amazing delicious gourmet ingredients as the Mushroom cone.  It was one of the best vegan reubens I’ve ever had, and I could eat it while walking without making a sauerkrauty mess of myself!

And holy shit look at one of their many sweet cones:

Pilgrims’ Cream Cone: Made with a delicious mix of maple cream, organic carrots, cashews, and raw extra virgin coconut oil with candied pecans. Tastes just like pumpkin pie.

They’re at the Berkeley Farmer’s Market every Saturday, but if you can’t wait that long (I know I can’t – let’s carpool), they’re also in Santa Cruz on Wednesdays and Palo Alto on Sundays.

From Rawdaddy's website

I’m Jammin’

September 10, 2011

No trip to Portland is complete without some pleasantly cliche urban homesteading.

I started the process at Kruger Farms on Sauvie Island

Summertime berry picking is so popular that the berries are always pretty well picked over.  We had to settle for some blueberries that weren’t quite as ripe & plump as I had hoped.  Next time I’d look for a more out-of-the way farm.  Nonetheless, we got 5 pounds of blueberries for $10.

I got home and realized that I had blueberries and a crock pot, but absolutely no idea how to make jam.  Luckily, there are tons of websites on the subject.

First I had to take a quick trip to New Seasons to pick up some pectin (derived from apples, it’s what gives jelly the jelly consistency).  Then I put the prescribed amounts of lemon juice, sugar, pectin and blueberries into my crock pot and cooked for 10 hours.

I followed all of the directions, but fer Peet’s sake, my jam was still liquid!  Trouble at the homestead.

If your jam doesn’t set properly, the internets advises you to bring the liquidy jam, plus more lemon juice, sugar, and pectin to a boil for one minute, and then can it.  That did the trick!

While the jam was boiling, I sanitized the lids.  Then, after the jam was canned, I had to boil the sealed jars of jam for 10 minutes to sanitize and vacuum seal them.

Now I’m one step closer to a Little House on the Prairie.

Vive la Cité des Anges!

September 8, 2011

Sorry, Portland, but I gotta rep another city.

While visiting my family in Los Angeles, I discovered just how far we’ve come.  There is no surer proof of the evolution of vegan cuisine than: the vegan croissant.

Mind you, I am not simply talking about any old crescent-shaped French flaky delicacy.  Oh, no.  It goes far beyond that.  I am talking about three separate croissant-based meals.

1. Ham and cheeze croissant from Doomie’s Home Cookin

I thought I would never again get to experience the greasy grotesque joy of meaty & cheesy filled pastries.  Thankfully, Doomie’s came along to fill all the junk-food shaped holes in my life.  Fried chicken, shrimp scallopini, clam chowder – it’s all waiting for you on Vine Street.

2. Pesto Avocado Croissant Sandwich from Sage Vegan Bistro

Oh yes, my friends: Breaded seitan, tempeh bacon, avocado, arugula, heirloom tomato, red onion, pesto, garlic aioli on a double decker toasted croissant.  With some kickass potato salad too, just for the hell of it.

3. Chocolate Croissant Bread Pudding from Doomie’s

Sorry, I’m lacking a picture.  While this bread pudding wasn’t the best I’ve had, it smothered in minty chocolateyness, and, most importantly, it made possible the #vegancroissanttrifecta.

Red and Black Cafe

August 28, 2011

If all of your No Fish, Go Fish pondering has left you feeling anarchistic and alone, make your next stop Red and Black Cafe.

This worker-owned vegan cafe is a haven for radicals and misfits.  Red and Black provides an amazing opportunity to talk with people from all walks of life, from formerly-homeless vegans to war veterans.  It is a great break from Portland’s potential homogeneity, and the place to go if you’re looking to commiserate about police brutality.

Their food isn’t spectacular, but it’s tasty & affordable.  They also host shows and speakers; check out their calendar.

You know you’re the kind of person who would enjoy Red and Black Cafe if…

you have this sign in your front yard.

No Fish, Go Fish

August 25, 2011

In a city with so many vegan options, it can be hard for restaurants for distinguish themselves.  There are at least three food carts  dedicated to vegan bowls, two all-vegetarian burger food carts, infinite veg-friendly Thai carts, &c.  But there is only one restaurant specializing in miniature fish-shaped sandwiches that do not actually contain any fish.

If Werner Herzog and Dr. Seuss were to open a restaurant together, it very well might be No Fish, Go Fish on Hawthorne.

Open 11 a.m. – 5 p.m. Monday through Friday, No Fish Go Fish serves a variety of sweet & savory fillings inside of a fish-shaped whole grain casing.  In case the sheer bizarreness doesn’t draw you in, these ichytheological delicacies only cost $1.50 – $2.00.

Why?  Who can say!  Does anything in the world contain inherent meaning?  This is merely one of the existential dilemmas you might be faced with while consuming a fish-shaped sandwich!

The vegan options include mushroom & garlic, olive tapenade, pinto bean & salsa, berry, and apple cinnamon.  The pesce-casing is surprisingly greasy, making these a rather heavy snack.  The savory fishwiches we tried were mediocre (although we couldn’t complain, given the novelty + price).  But, the apple cinnamon was the saving grace.  It tastes like the McDonald’s apple turnover I used to enjoy in my childhood, and for roughly the same price.

No Fish, Go Fish also features a variety of novel soup flavors, such as macaroni & cheese and watermelon gazpacho.  I’ve heard their soups are quite good, but cannot vouch for them myself.

The next time you feel that all of the beautiful mystery has been sucked out of our post-Industrial-capitalist-globalized-corporatist world, head to No Fish, Go Fish and consider its possible etiological implications.

Back to Eden Bakery

August 17, 2011

The time has come.  I can avoid it no longer.  I’ve put off this post because I’m not sure that my words can to justice to the best baked goods that I have ever masticated (see what I mean?).

Where to begin?  How about with vegan soft serve.  The flavors alternate weekly between vanilla and chocolate, and two house specialty flavors.  They also make their own caramel and berry sauces.  I’m generally not big on frozen desserts, but my ice cream-fiending friend convinced me to give it a try, and I’ve been a regular at their soft-serve happy hour ($1 off M-Th 4-7) ever since.  It’s summertime; go get a large swirled with caramel sauce.  Ooh and they have ice cream punch cards!  Feel productive while you indulge.

Now let’s talk about their cookies.  Rosewater, and butterscotch white chocolate chip are tied for the best cookie I’ve ever had (srsly).

Cookies & ice cream not your thing?  How about rosewater pistachio mini-cake (best cake I’ve ever had!)?  Or strawberry lemon whoopie pies?  Or chocolate coconut cream pie?  Or almond butter fudge!!!

Head on down to Alberta and get yourself some.