Currently viewing the tag: "dumplings"

I have never been to HanGawi in Manhattan, despite it being a well accoladed decades-old vegetarian Korean restaurant. But after some city errands at the very start of my summer break (after a unusually grueling school year), it was time to treat myself. Their prix fixe lunch was just what I needed. PicMonkey Collage1

IMG_1731It started with the HanGawi salad: mixed fresh greens with shredded pear, cucumber and crispy taro strips.

PicMonkey Collage2Steamed veggie dumplings were next. In the background, a mango and soju cocktail.

IMG_1741My sizzling Vegetarian Stone Bowl Rice was set down sizzling, served with house kimchi. It lacked something–a protein? A bit more flavor? It was more a side than a main.

IMG_1744 2The dessert, chocolate sorbet, was delicious but unadorned.

Overall, I left pleased but not overwhelmed, which I like to be while shelling out $50 for lunch and a cocktail. But I do see why they’ve been around so long. Good, clean understated food in a tranquil setting. You’d barely know that the bustling city was outside their doors. That kind of ambiance has a definite allure and certainly complements the food.

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With record cold this Valentine’s morning, the windows were intricately frosted by Mother Nature.IMG_6766

The Atlantic ocean in the winter from the Robert Moses Causeway.IMG_6701

Orchids are beautiful–and other such understatements.

You are my Everything.

A batch of Brooklyn’s Dunwell‘s. At like 1030 on Sunday, they were sold out of most varieties. This is the ongoing joke about the best vegan donuts in New York City. Maybe one day they’ll get inventory right.IMG_6788

Dim Sum was what I wanted, so that was the plan. Bodai in Flushing, Queens.PicMonkey Collage

I heart potatoes.IMG_6808

A variation on a theme.IMG_6813

Happy Heart!

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I am delighted to kick-off the first V.V. report that highlights the vegan wonders of my neighboring states: the Tristate area. As you may or may not know, New Jersey has a lot to offer a vegan.  To start, take these two wonderful eateries…

Vital Dining, a vibrant new take on Jamaican in pleasant downtown Montclair, New Jersey, has some pretty spectacular vegan options on their clearly marked menus… the kind that merit a short trip from New York City because, honestly, this isn’t happening anywhere else. PicMonkey Collage

Vital embraces ital principles. The food oozes life, vitality. We started with the black-eyed pea hummus which was the perfect appetizer–mostly because of the pile of fresh, housemade plantain chips. From the crispy crunch of their narrower tips to the soft starchy bites of the thicker torsos, these plantain chips were textural heaven. An appetizer demonstrates a bit of foreshadowing, a sign of things to come. In this capacity, this dish had me anxiously awaiting my Sunrise Breakfast.

Ackee, as our waitress explained, was a fruit whose flesh was the texture of eggs. It sucked in flavor, but itself, was a salty. Bite after bite, we wondered: Why on Earth hadn’t ackee swept the vegan nation? The texture was soft and curd-y. It was naturally yellow. And it contains no thickeners or science processing to maintain its texture and color. Also on the plate, cassava dumplings. Or should I say soft, creamy pillows of deep-fried cassava heaven. The perfect refuge from the salty ackee and sauteed kale. I proceeded in this fashion until it was all gone. Delicious!DSC_0004


Veganized Foods in downtown New Brunswick, New Jersey is all-vegan. But there is so much more…

Firstly, Veganized service is above and beyond. Our waiter was authentically caring, affable, and attentive. He was delighted you (and the others) were there, truly. This kind of passion for service is rare. It would have certainly compensated for lackluster food… but it did not need to. Not one bit. So it was a bonus. IMG_5944Veganized has a wonderful menu of housemade eats. It does not rely on packaged cheese or meat analogs. Nope. Zilch. Nada. Just real food crafted in a comforting way. Our two brunch dishes, the Flaky Biscuit (No-buttermilk biscuit, aioli, smoked shitake sausage, avocado, tomato, charred onion, simple salad) and the 5 Stack (five medium-sized pancakes, blueberry lavender sauce and banana slices) highlighted Veganized’s attention to detail, quality, and deliciousness. This, on top of the other dishes we saw arriving at the surrounding tables, sealed the deal. I had to come back.  This was a special place I discovered… and that feeling is why I love to seek, travel and report.


Beautiful snow striations.IMG_5039

Winter’s last word.IMG_5069

Dumping peaks.IMG_5071

Blackstrap yolk.IMG_5074

Who dun it?IMG_5082

M.O.B.‘s California burger in Brooklyn.IMG_5112

Carrot poker chips.IMG_5168

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Sometimes the green skin of a vegetable dumpling is comforting. It says, “there’s definitely not pork in here.” And the bamboo server says, “I’m a superior dumpling.” IMG_3251

SunSpire is the maker of this delicious bar, a long time no need to pack it in the grocery bag favorite. And I don’t think I ever mentioned this in my blog. It’s like a Mounds bar, which I used to love. Just make sure to get the one in the red package.IMG_3360

The red house is all dressed up for the holiday season.IMG_3266

Then it was time to top the Volvo with the Balsam Fir. IMG_3384

Frank is always excited when the tree comes. He loves the smells, the texture-y rubs, and the new water dish.


The outside kitties stay warm in their makeshift nest, the wintered pea bush. IMG_3260

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The one challenge of living on Long Island once again is the availability of vegan options. There has not been much progress since I went vegan here 16 years ago. Though this fact helps me save discretionary funds I would freely give away at restaurants and pushes me back into the kitchen, it takes a bit longer to decide where to spend a special night out. Luckily there is an authentic Thai restaurant in Williston Park: SriPraPhai.

If the name rings a bell, maybe it’s from my visit to their Woodside location in October 2011. SriPraPhai is what I would describe as “the real deal,” the most accurate match to the street food and dishes I savored during my months in Thailand. I love that they have a location on Long Island, though it seems quite random. In a way it contributes to their authenticity. It’s not glamorous, Thai fusion on overly-sized white plates. It’s not a concept. It’s just great Thai food.
IMG_3344For an appetizer, we had to have something deep-fried. Deep-frying adds deliciousness, I’ll freely admit. We threw around the idea of ordering the “Stuffed Golden Bag,” just because it sounds funny.  But we decided on the scallion dumpling, a simple deep-fried scallion and dough. It arrived glistening and tasted delicious.

IMG_3345Their vegetarian menu is a few pages and descriptions are simple translation. With an open mind ready to explore new bites, I decided on the exact same entree I ordered on my Woodside visit. A food blogging no no! But I know exactly what got me so excited: the coconut rice. If the whole plate was a pile of their coconut rice, I’d be happy. However, a pile of wettish mushroom disc shared the stage. The mushrooms didn’t have much flavor, so the pile remained intact. The papaya salad was outstanding, the perfect mix of sweet, salty and crunchy.

IMG_3346For dessert, the sweet treat I was obsessed with in Thailand: kow dom mat.IMG_3356Sweet coconut sticky rice and a steamed banana… fantastic as ever.

IMG_3347After dinner we headed to Baci Gelato, a popular spot that offers a selection of dairy-free gelato. Creamy, delicious soy-based and coconut-based options–oh yeah! The whole case here was vegan-friendly.

IMG_3350I chose mango and coconut scoops, topped with a mini sugar cone. It felt like summer spooning that little bitty spoon in my mouth and enjoying this cold treat. Too bad it was a brisk, unseasonably cold spring evening.

IMG_3353With the green budding trees and the singing bird mornings, summer’s coming. And I’m ready!

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My very dear and talented Artsparrow hosted a book release party for her first published book, The Zombie Autopsies. But first! 200 undead mini-cupcakes were needed, grey in color and with bright pink brains.

The gals and I spent the evening before working through the particulars–multiplying fractions, whipping up VCTOTW‘s no-fail basic vanilla and taking the occasion to feast on some grub from Vegetarian Palate. Though I spent most of the evening with stained red hands, I managed to photo-document some the action.
My favorite ladies Artsparrow and CandyPenny spoon in some batter.

Eat brains!

The spread from Vegetarian Palate, including Caribbean chicken, a variety of spring rolls, scallion pancakes, tofu and veggies, spinach dumplings and brown rice. This place is very close to Prospect Heights’ Zen Vegetarian House (see here) mock meat delights.

My compartmentalized plate. This heavy meal did me in! I had little to offer after chowing down.

The man of the house (sorry TimX) ran a tight ship, watching us intently from the computer chair.

If I blogged even 1/4 of the times I’ve eaten Thai, my blog would explode. I eat it at least twice a week. So much do I love Thai food that I am often half-way through a dish before realizing my camera is right there next to me. That I could have captured the glistening sweet drizzle on my saturated spring roll… the shreds of tarot and bean sprout… the sloppy broad noodle drenched in sweet soy sauce… is a regret lost by the next bite. So, though I rarely blog about it, Thai is one of the cornerstones of my food life. Of course I also feel less inclined to blog about Thai food here in the States because I blogged daily from Thailand for two months. Taking advantage of the favorable exchange rate, I feasted like a princess on sought after “Jai” food in countless eateries and bit off more than I could chew on the regular at the street markets. I may have blogged enough Thai to last several lifetimes, but… here I go, blogging about more Thai.

After catching a glimpse of Sookk‘s dessert menu, I recruited my pal CP for another tasty Tuesday expedition. Why would we treck all the way to 102nd street and Broadway? I’ll tell you why: kow dom mat. Kow dom mat was my obsession when I was in Thailand. And I have never seen it on any menu here. (Maybe because it’s referred to as Kao-Thom-Mud, like on Sookk’s menu?) Anyway, we made it all the way up to the Upper West Side and battled the posh spot’s lukewarm service for a taste of the authentic Thai sweet treat. Here are the details:

Dumplings are a must. Always. Sookk’s veggie dumplings (or Green Leaf dumplings) were delicious, stuffed with hearty vegetables. The thin skin of the Thai dumpling makes them my favorite kind of all the Asian cuisines, however tears and holes and a flood of hot water is always a risk. A big plus is a Thai joint that garnishes with dried garlic. Bring on the heat.

Two days in to an already hectic week, CP and I split the Detox drink for two. It had sake, other tasty things and, obviously, lychees. It was potent.

I ordered the Tamarind Dish with a nice firm tofu. It had great flavor and texture: sweet tamarind-chili sauce with sweet peppers, crispy broccoli, scallions and cilantro. Very good but a bit tofu-centric. I wanted more crisp veggies to balance out the huge, firm chunks of tofu.

There is the kow dom mat! Sweetened sticky rice encased banana wrapped in banana leaf. By the time it was served, the lights in the restaurant were dim, draining the photo of some life. But this sweet thing was absolutely amazing. The taste, like nothing I’ve had before or after my brief obsession, transformed me. It was magical. I may soon have to return…

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My dear friend Artsparrow knows her medium. As a food lover, an illustrator, aspiring photographer and all around artist, she knows color equates emotion, the visual evidence of a feeling. Gathering with her near and dear, we celebrated her birthday at Nahm Thai Kitchen in Park Slope, Brooklyn with vibrant, colorful and tasty Thai cuisine.

The amazing Vegetarian Combo appetizer had so much to choose from: summer rolls, pan-fried veggie dumplings, fried tofu and chive pancake (one of my favorite bites of street food when I was in Thailand).

Of course the steamed veggie dumpling, my cryptonite, was also on the table… and spring rolls in the background.

Since I was sick and congested, I need a dish that would break through my compromised senses. The sweet sauce from my sweet & sour did the trick.

On a spring day that brought us hail, snow, snow again and huge thrashes of thunder, Artsparrow’s dutiful man brought the cupcakes! Yes we were all surprised when our friendly servers brought out the plate of CowGirl‘s cupcakes… a gesture that raised TimX‘s stocks sky high.

Andrea Sparacio, queen of the zombies, with her cupcakes.

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