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For perspective, a stop at Long Island National Cemetery during menial errands on Veterans Day. So many lives.img_6273

Savory crepes at Lil Choc Apothecary before Choir! Choir! Choir! in Brooklyn.
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Pulling beets prematurely.
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Educating the youths.img_6335Soon after he raked the yard. #futuremanimg_6407

Dinner party planning with the help of Frank.img_6145

A trip to Manhattan to visit to all-vegan eateries started with killing time at By Chloe’s Sweets shop.
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I was impressed with their extensive selection. Pies, bars, cookies, layer cakes, cupcakes…img_6211

Everything sitting pretty. img_6212

I got a couple of old fashioned chocolate chip cookies. They were reminiscent of Otis Spunkmeyer cookies. As a huge fan of the chocolate chip cookie, I loved her take. img_6216

Time for dinner at Ladybird, a beautiful all-vegan tapas spot in the West Village. The space, signage and elegant decor was perfect for two nasty women. img_6218

To start, my Golden Pheasant, Pineau de Charantes, Meyer lemon, ginger, & orange bitters, in the forefront.img_6220

Coconut Croqueta with bell pepper bechamel, orange romesco & jalapeño. Creamy, delicate though deep-fried. I could have eaten a 12-pack.img_6223

A vegan take on Saganaki: flaming mozzarella, smoked carrot & carrot green pesto crostini. So delightful to watch it burn… but the vodka used to ignite had a horrendous effect on the taste. Not really worth the show.img_6230

The vegan cheese had a great texture, however. img_6232

Caramelized Artichoke Heart, marcona almond, crème fraîche, savory & maldon sea salt. Suprisingly sweet and absolutely lovely. These dishes are all so delicate and delicious. img_6235

We also went for the risotta: saffron, oyster mushroom, orange romesco, fried garbanzo & black vinegar. Good but a bit too subdued in flavor.img_6239

I’ve been having a lot of churros lately! These little churro rings were delicious, as they usually are. Overall, a great spot for all-vegan dainty plates.  img_6241

Did you ever see someone’s inbox and realize that maybe you’re a bit neurotic about clearing your inbox? I don’t like when I have drafts just sitting around. So here, a blog post that has no theme or elaboration that fizzles out text-wise but still captures some of the yumminess I’m experiencing in between crazy work days. So here it goes:

No matter how widespread vegan foods have come, most remain a bit in the dark (chocolate) about it. “Chocolate is vegan?!” is something I have been hearing for many, many years. Yes, for the millionth time, chocolate is vegan. Good chocolate, like the chocolate sauce at Van Leeuwen. This place is my new favorite treat after a hard day of work. They have airy, delicious, vanilla bean-speckled vegan whip cream that is not Soyatoo. Have you ever bought that stuff? I feel like it never works. (P.S. It was Red, White & Blue Day at work, hence the socks.)img_6111

Vegan pesto is one of the first foods I experimented with when I was clueless about cooking. It was a discovery that helped build my confidence. I, like many children of the Baby Boomer generation, grew up with “instant” boxes of food products–then, after the microwave was welcomed into kitchens, a wide range of microwavable snacks and meals. I learned food slowly, simple dish by simple dish at first. I feel like I’ve perfected pesto at this point. Here’s my V.V. tip: pick the basil leaves from the bottom of the stems, where they wrap the rubber bands. These leaves are great for pesto because they’re blended away, leaving the fresh leaves for garnishing and looking pretty. picmonkey-collage4

You know what they say about bad apples? Sometimes it’s a bad orange. We had a bunch in the fruit bowl that were softening up. So I juiced them all and made them into a bundt cake, this great recipepicmonkey-collage3

I subbed the Earth Balance in the icing with coconut oil. So delicious!

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Weekly lunch stuff: eggplant discs, that pesto I talked about earlier, and some roasted veggies and Israeli cous cous.

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Flying over the sandbar that is home.img_5860

Raspberry alien hands: I’ve always wanted to do this.img_5859

Vegan Halloween candy from Justin’s and Unreal.picmonkey-collage

Soup weather–or at least it was last week: Red Pepper and Corn Chowder.img_5886

Luckily, my birthday celebrations expand many weeks–there’s me-time travel involved (the sloths), us-time travel (London), family, friends. Eventually, all sides have been represented, leaving me smiling and grateful. I love October; and I love how my birthday delivers me to the excitement of autumn and winter holidays. And I love October sunrises, so I’ll add one here. Because I also love my morning walk. Here are some other birthday mementos. img_5531

Modern Love Brooklyn. After watching afar from social media, it finally opened! CandyPenny and I waited… then we decided it was time to celebrate my birthday early. We started with Tempeh Stuffed Avocado. This was two of my favorite vegan ingredients paired together, the tempeh towering mightily atop a glistening baby green. I wanted the tempeh part to be hot, but it was cold. But enjoyable indeed! I wouldn’t have minded a texture variance. Like a melba toast to topple the tower and penetrate the avocado… or some toasty crostini to add something hot-ish. img_5450

My entree, another masterful combination of ingredients: The Mac & Shews had creamy cashew cheese and mac, perfectly executed but very subtle pecan-cornmeal crusted tofu, some sweetness from some BBQ cauliflower, and some acidity with a sautéed kale in a tomato vinaigrette and a sprinkling of spiced pecans. A great balance of tastes and texture. Temperature was a bit cool though. If it is this good prepped early and reheated, I’d do a backflip for freshly prepped dish. I’ll wait; I don’t mind!img_5453

The entree across the table, which I didn’t get to try: Stuffed Poblanos with Street Corn (spicy lentil meat, yuba chicharrones, red rice, jicama slaw, smoked guacamole, pico de gallo, coconut sour cream, fresh herbs).img_5456

My dessert: Dulce De Leche Coconut Cream Pie–graham cracker crust, toasted coconut, coconut whip. And behind: Pumpkin Praline Cheesecake–graham cracker crust, candied pecans, coconut whip. More coldness. But rich, decadent coldness. I was a bit disappointed there was no cake option. I never get to eat great cake, unless I make it myself.
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It was a yummy meal, but a very big bill in the end, especially given the meal was not freshly made. But I’m clueless. Is this how most vegan restaurants operate? It was surreal to see Isa hanging about the restaurant. But we are shy in real life. img_5447

More birthday-ness. My favorite Thai dessert: mango & sticky rice from Thaismimg_5533

And a crazy cake to bring to my parent’s house. I made my own cake. I tend to do this. Though I’d appreciate someone picking up a cake somewhere, I enjoy my own cake the most and it’s more cost-effective. Plus, I get to use up things like the ton of sprinkles I have laying around, purchased in bulk upon discovering they contained no boiled beetle residue. And when the heck do I use sprinkles?img_5888

I had a whole bunch of Freedom Mallows from London to use up, too. And India Tree sparkling sugars. img_5893

I love the baking part of cakes more than eating them, the chance to go cake-crazy and then hand it off to someone or ones. img_5896

While planting bulbs in the backyard, I encountered this lovely ladybug and slug who did not mind a photoshoot.  So I obliged.

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img_5815Yes, American football in London. It’s a thing. The NFL International Series started in 2007 to promote the game and its brand abroad. The American Bowl, preseason exhibitions games, were not doing enough. The International Series are games held in London during the regular season. I’ve known about them only because of confusion as to why football was airing so early sometimes. That and The Electrician is a devoted fan of football and I get to ask him a ton of questions about this fascinating subject.

img_5814The timing was just too perfect to pass up. After purchasing tickets on the global “StubHub” Viagogo, our tickets were delivered to our hotel.

img_5817The New York Giants would play the Los Angeles Rams at Twickenham Stadium, somewhere in the middle of the quiet London suburb of Richmond. After a pint, we walked through the path to the stadium, usually a rugby grounds, to find about 90,000 American football fans, many from The States. It was easy to tell the difference between the Americans and the English folk. The Americans had on Giants gear; the English folk had on every other team jersey, a veritable rainbow of arbitrary NFL gear.

img_5828As if our time in London was not memorable enough, we discovered upon arrival at our seats that they were pretty much perfect. Two seats at the top of the stairs, no one in front of us, nothing but the concrete wall that made up the stadium entrance to the right of us, and a friendly English chap to the left of us.

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picmonkey-collageYadda, yadda, yadda the Giants won and I had freshly made churros (from Los Churros Amigos, check the v-bomb on upper left), as well as several souvenir cups of good ol’ American Budweiser. It was a fantastic experience.

img_1358After the game and a long ride back to Central London, we took a taxi to Brixton. I was determined to try a version of vegan fish and chips while in London. Though my attempt to get the dish was thwarted at Dovetail and Dove Pub was closed and Coach & Horses was rumored to no longer have the dish (or any dish? I can’t remember), we headed to Vegbar. It’s an all-vegan eatery who’d reliably have my fish and chips. I even called to make sure.

dsc_0002Though “tofish” and chips implies the use of tofu, my preference to a processed science meat patty, I was a bit let down that this tofish was not tofu at all. It was that weird science meat, wrapped on one side with seaweed then beer-battered and deep-fried. Because anything beer-battered and deep-fried is delicious, this was, especially with a big gob of vegan tartar sauce. An inkling of disappointment lingered. But the “Hey, I’m eating vegan fish and chips in London!” was much more powerful.

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London is tremendous. I look forward to returning to see more. But now, it’s back to reality.

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