vegan dining

All posts tagged vegan dining

Brunch @ Ethos Vegan Kitchen- Orlando, Fl

Published March 13, 2012 by Vegan Derby Cat Party

We met up with Jeremy Sunday morning at Ethos for brunch. I’ve dined at Ethos before with mixed reviews, but if there’s one thing they do extremely well, it’s brunch! Seriously, I don’t think there’s a bad thing on their brunch menu, and you could tell I wasn’t the only one who thought that because it was absolutely slammed when we got there. The line to the register was wrapped around and lengthy, but it went quick.

The weather had dropped 20 degrees over night, so we opted to sit in the less crowded patio to enjoy the brisk weather. They had a DJ out there playing some chill records.

image

Jeremy’s breakfast burrito came smothered in gravy and stuffed with tofu scramble and other goodies.

image

I ordered vegan pancakes with agave syrup (maple available too!), some grits and a fruit cup. This made me very, very happy. The grits were even better with some of my extra agave. Mmmmm!

image

Thomas got the tofu scramble, which I’d had before and knew was good, and some grits too. The scramble and potatoes were exactly the right texture and perfectly seasoned, and he thought the grits were especially good too. Win!

Impression:

If it’s Sunday, and you’re in Orlando, there is absolutely no reason why you should not get your butt over here right now! :)

Ethos Vegan Kitchen is located near the antiques district at 1235 N Orange Ave Ste 101 (at Virginia Ave), Orlando, Fl 32804. 407-228-3898. Open  Mon-Sat 11am-10pm, Sun 10am-3pm.

Cafe 118 – Winter Park, Fl

Published March 12, 2012 by Vegan Derby Cat Party

image

Next on the list of our surprisingly fabulous long weekend of vegan eats in Orlando is our dinner at Cafe 118. Once I found out that this restaurant was started up by Matthew Kenney (of Pure Food & Wine in NYC, and author several raw books) I was beyond excited. It’s located in the picturesque downtown Winter Park area right along with all the other fine dining.

We drove past a Shipyard Brew Pub on the way here, so knowing we were going to be doing some serious beer tasting after this, we kept our meals fairly light. Thomas is pretty sure he’s allergic to cashews now too, so the waitress was great about going over the menu with him.

image

I ordered the Mexican Chopped Salad, that came with sweet corn, avocado, chili chips, and “queso blanco” which was absolutely fantastic. A little on the small side for a meal, but listed under salads with the smaller price tag of $13.

image

Thomas had the entrée Taco Salad, only without the cashew based sour cream. This was outstanding, and was even better than my salad. The portion size here was also much better at $17. Although some of the ingredients were similar to mine, it had more veggies, raw “refried beans” and a couple of sauces drizzled over it, including a delicious mole sauce.

Impression:

This place is fantastic! Most raw organic places tend to be slow and pricey, but their service was comparatively fast, about that of a regular restaurant. For the quality of the food and location, I thought the price point was pretty fair, though clearly not in my budget for an all the time eatery. Regardless, if they weren’t closed on Sunday, I would have made it a point to come back and try more. I will definitely be back.

Cafe 118 is located at 153 E Morse Blvd, Winter Park, Fl 32789. 407-389-2233. Open Mon 11.30am-5pm (no dinner), Tue-Thur 11.30am-9pm, Fri & Sat 11.30am-10pm, closed Sun.

Food Photos from Darbster, West Palm Beach, FL

Published September 18, 2011 by Vegan Derby Cat Party

What can I say, I LOVE Darbster. Consequently, I dine there whenever I get the chance. Here are a bunch of photos of the different yummies that I ate there over the summer and didn’t get around to blogging about!

chips & salsa $4.25

Sliders - ”steak” patties, romaine, tomato, onion, Alan’s sauce on mini buns w/ gherkins $8.95

Roasted Quinoa Loaf- flax, brown rice, quinoa, squash & porcini gravy with mash and asparagus$16.95 

Chile Relleno - beer battered & fried w/ roasted pepper crema, rice & beans, salsa, sour & guac $12.75

Raw Bacon Cheezeburger - Daily Special

Flax Tomato Sandwich - flax onion bread, avocado, tomatoes, veggies & garlic spread $9.50

Ice Cream Sundae $5.00

 

Wave 2700, Boca Raton, Fl

Published August 24, 2011 by Vegan Derby Cat Party

We were fortunate to find out about Wave 2700‘s vegan menu through a livingsocial special, and I couldn’t be more pleased that we did. When I asked for the vegan menu I was alerted to the trifold tent on the table, which had a vegan menu and drink specials. They have a small but impressive list of draft beers including some craft selections like Magic hat #9 and Florida beer, Cigar City Maduro Oatmeal Brown Ale. Wave 2700 is a predominantly seafood restaurant, but I quickly found out that the one of the owners, John (Captain Snapper)’s wife, Sally Stiller is vegan, hence the vegan menu.

We tried to start with a tabouli stuffed tomato, but they were all out. So we nibbled on the vegan dinner rolls and sipped on our tasty libations.


The entrees sounded really good, and I was torn between the Potato Gnocchi ala Marinara $16.95 and the Vegan Nut Loaf with Sage Gravy $15.95, but settled on the latter.

At first I thought the small portion of the nut loaf was not really enough, but it was partnered with a heaping portion of mashed potatoes and the best vegan gravy I’ve tasted to date. I actually didn’t end up finishing it, because I was so full! The gravy was loaded with mushrooms, which I mostly pushed aside, but certainly helped flavor it to perfection. It wasn’t too sweet, which is something I’ve found with a lot of vegan gravies. The nut loaf was a very dense combination of brown rice, seeds, nuts, and legumes that proved to be both nourishing and deceptively filling.

The lack of a vegan dessert option was my only complaint, since they are really trying to cater to the plant based crowd. However, once a week they do a “Veg-a-cation”, a vegan 3 course meal (appetizer, main, dessert) based on Sally’s direction, including wine and vegan education for $25. (Must RSVP!) The theme changes every week. Last week’s was a completely raw menu and this week the focus is on Italian food. You can get on their email list for further information about those events here: Veg-a-cation@yahoo.com.

Come check out this little gem inconspicuously adjacent to the front of the Best Western hotel at 2700 N. Federal Hwy,  Boca Raton, Fl. 561-361-2700. Reservations accepted.

Darbster for Chef Seth’s 1 year anniversary

Published May 19, 2011 by Vegan Derby Cat Party

Last week my lazy, don’t feel like cooking, night coincided with Chef Seth’s 1 year anniversary at Darbster. I had seen artichoke fondue on the menu that day too, and the weather just happened to be perfect for some al fresco dining. It was dimly lit outside, and my phone was dying, so I apologize in advance for the less than stunning photographs! ; )

The artichoke dip was made with cheddar & mozzarella Daiya and served with what I think were gluten free chips? Delicious! I literally scraped every little last bit of this up. I used to LOVE fondue, as well as artichoke dips, so this was a little bit of both. I’ll definitely be trying my hand at one of these at home!

For dinner, I had the “steak” tacos. I had been wanting to try these since my last visit, and also had a craving for beans & rice earlier in the day, so this was the perfect meal, served with salsa, vegan sour cream, guacamole and a side of black beans & brown rice. (Even though I’m cuban and my family loves white rice, I always avoided it. It wasn’t until I discovered brown rice that I got to love the combination.) SO GOOD! The steak bits were really flavorful, and Chef Seth explained that all that extra goodness comes from the marinating that they do with all their Gardein.

I also got to try one of the dinner specials, the Cantonese Chick’n dish. It was pretty amazing. The sauce was wonderful, and again, the chick’n was well seasoned and not reminiscent of it’s straight out of the freezer counterparts.

Even after all this food, and stuffing myself thoroughly on it, I was still going to order dessert, only in a box to go! But before I got to figure out which, they brought out sliced pieces of Chef Seth’s [surprise] anniversary cake, complete with chocolate ganache strawberries on top. Thanks for including me in your celebration, guys! : )

Darbster is located at 8020 South Dixie Highway – West Palm Beach, Florida 33405. Open Wednesday through Sunday. Telephone – 561-586-2622

Sunday Dinner @ Darbster – WPB/LW

Published April 18, 2011 by Vegan Derby Cat Party

You’ve heard me sing Darbster‘s praises before, and this time is no exception. I got to taste some new things this time including a raw entrée and raw dessert. And when I say taste, I really mean FEAST!  I had quite a lot of food. So much, in fact, that I had to forgo my after dinner plans, and get dessert boxed to go! : )

I started with the quesadillas. I hadn’t had quesadillas since before I went vegan and these were delish! They were a combination of Daiya cheddar & mozzarella and roasted red peppers, in a green (spinach?) tortilla. They also came with lots of vegan sour cream, guacamole, and fresh salsa. Mmm! I loved these! I am a sucker for mexican every time, so it was good that I ordered this so I didn’t have to order the enchiladas [again!] to get my fix. (Though the “steak” tacos were calling to me.)

Quesadillas $8.95

Instead I ordered one of the specials – Raw Tuna Club on Flax Seed Crackers with an organic salad & tahini dressing. This was really fantastic, and way more than I thought it would be. An almond based “tuna” made with raw vegan mayo, onions and seasonings, with “bacon” (dehydrated something!) fresh tomato, avocado, and sprouts on flax seed bread. Really awesome. (It totally beats my fake tempeh tuna!) The salad had greens and lots of sprouts and the dressing was great on the shredded carrots.

Raw Tuna Club on Flax with organic salad $14

The Grilled Steak Ciabatta sandwich, which came with perfectly cooked, seasoned fries. It was extremely delicious in a completely different way. I know Darbster uses Gardein, but I don’t know where they get these nice big patties of it. Excellent!

Grilled Steak Ciabatta with wasabi mayo, arugula, and tomato $14

Onion rings $2 ordered with an entree or $4

Maybe it was that we ordered too much food, or that the french fries were just so awesome, but I didn’t dig the onion rings as much this time. They have a light, airy tempura type coating. They just came out a little too greasy today. (little puddle of oil in the bottom.)

And now for the dessert that I almost didn’t get to eat. I was full, but determined, so I had it boxed to go. I had a hard time deciding between the chocolate mousse ganache cake and the [gluten-free] raw organic blackberry torte, but in the end, the adorable swirled blackberry torte was packed into a little box to enjoy later. Much later. Hours later I was finally able to enjoy this delicious creamy treat. You’d never guess that this was a raw dessert. Really. It was sort of like a creamy cheesecake. (Lightbulb! was that strawberry cheesecake I had there before really a raw torte, by accident? The texture  was very similar!) Regardless, wonderful and flavorful with a yummy nutty crust that will leave you wanting more!

Gluten-Free Raw Organic Blackberry Torte $9

This was a really great way to spend a nice Sunday evening. The weather was perfect, and the patio doors were open. Darbster does “Doggie Sundays” at dinnertime. This means you can bring your pup in and get a 20% discount on your meal! Pretty neat. Too bad we can’t dress Boris as a dog and take him. He’d give himself away in a minute; he’s too darn vocal.

Oh! And I solved the mystery of – Wow, Darbster must be on the very edge of West Palm. IT IS! I noticed driving up yesterday that the sign for the city limit is literally right next to Darbster’s patio area! Hah ; )

PS- they changed their menu presentation to a little bit fancier one…

Nice!

If you live nearby you should definitely do yourself a favor and check out Darbster. Tell them Ty from cameraphonevegan.com sent you! I still haven’t met Chef Seth, but one day! Apparently Sunday is his day off ;  ) Check out their website for all the info & specials.

Candle 79 – NYC, Upper East Side

Published March 30, 2011 by Vegan Derby Cat Party

So, FYI, the top searched blog post on this entire site is my review of Candle Cafe, Candle 79′s more casual, and slightly less expensive sister restaurant. So I’m really pleased to finally get to tell you about Candle 79! It’s a really lovely, upscale all vegan restaurant located in the upper east side of Manhattan. I decided on it because of its super close proximity to the Metropolitan Museum of Art. (Candle Cafe is just a little further south.) I originally planned on having brunch, but once I got there, found the lunch menu more tempting.

Upon arriving, they asked if I had reservations, (nope!) but it wasn’t a problem. It was about 2pm on Sunday, and it was just slowing down from the brunch crowd.  I was seated upstairs and enjoyed the quiet & luxe ambiance of the purple velveted walls and gold leafed mirrors.

Everything sounded delicious, so it took a little while to make selections. I ordered a really delicious ginger tisane tea to drink while tending to my arduous task, ; ) It came as a loose tea steeped in a personal size teapot. The server also brought some wonderful banana mini muffins to nibble on.

After a tough decision on appetizers, I ordered the chimichurri seitan. I’d had it at the Cafe before, and it was amazing, so I had pretty high expectations. It did not disappoint! The texture of the seitan was perfect and it was SO delicious. It had all of that wonderful smokiness that I remembered with the fantastic flavors of the chimichurri and 79′s extra sauces.

GRILLED SEITAN CHIMICHURRI,  horseradish cream, red pepper coulis…  $10

Deciding on lunches was an equally difficult task.

BLACK BEAN-PUMPKIN SEED BURGER with mixed lettuces, avocado, polenta fries, and chipotle ketchup…  $14

This was really, really good. Especially the more you got into the burger and past the oversized bun! There were caramelized red onions that made every bite incredibly tasty, and the polenta fries were so satisfying. It was like eating savory fried cornbread. The chipotle in the ketchup was not easily discernible.

STUFFED AVOCADO on baby greens, stuffed with quinoa, zucchini, cucumber, english peas, grape tomatoes, radishes, toasted pumpkin seeds, and drizzled with a chipotle-avocado dressing…  $16

My salad was spectacular, albeit a little small. The waitress said it was really meant to be a starter salad more than an entrée salad, which makes you wonder at the $16 lunch price. For $4 more you can get tofu or tempeh added to a salad to make it more substantial, though because we had the seitan first, I ended up getting quite filled up. It had a wonderful variety of different tastes and textures, and the dressing was delicious!

I was pretty stuffed after this, but wanted to try dessert. The MEXICAN  CHOCOLATE  BROWNIE with caramelized bananas, vanilla mole ice cream, toasted pecans, chocolate-ancho sauce  $12, sounded awesome, but I was just too full, so I ordered the HOUSE MADE ICE CREAM & SORBET SAMPLER chef’s daily selection $9, instead.

From Left to right: Peanut Butter ice cream, I can’t remember what the sorbet selection was, and Dulce de Leche ice cream. The peanut butter was absolutely the winner! It tasted less like peanut butter and more like vanilla ice cream infused with fresh roasted peanuts. Superb! The sorbet was super sour and mouth puckering, and quite a contrast to the super sweet and creamy Dulce de Leche.

If you have the opportunity to go to either Candle 79 or Candle Cafe I highly suggest you do so! The food is just amazing, the service is excellent and they have either 79 if you want a more upscale dining experience or the Cafe if you’re feeling a little more laid back. I think it would be difficult to order something bad at either location, and they have plenty raw and gluten-free options too!

Candle 79 is located at 154 East 79th Street at Lexington Avenue, New York, NY, is open M-F for lunch and dinner and Sat & Sun for brunch, and take both credit cards and reservations.

Dinner at Darbster

Published February 27, 2011 by Vegan Derby Cat Party

I’ve been meaning to put this post up for a few weeks, but sometimes things get hectic!

This was my fist time eating dinner at Darbster. I previously went there for lunch and could hardly keep myself from ordering the whole menu! (lunch review here!) Next on the list is brunch!

Vegetables Tempura with sweet chili sauce … $6.95   SO so so delicious! I was scraping up the last little bits of green with the sauce : )

Enchiladas… $11.95   These were AWESOME! I meant to get a raw entree, but once I saw enchiladas on the menu, I had to have them. The filling is just so good. I didn’t want them to ever end, even though I was definitely full, and still had to try dessert. ; )

Chik’n Francaise… $14.95  Now I’m not the type that loved chicken ever, so for me, I’m not the biggest fan of Gardein Chik’n because it reminds me of actual chicken. That being said, this was really tasty and the sauce was pretty wonderful!

Oreo Cheezcake…$9 (?)

Now the last cheezcake that we ate here was the strawberry cheezcake, and it was nothing short of amazing, so I expected to really love this. The waitress who served it apologized for the whipped cream being runny, but it was only a little bit, and tasted great. This cheezcake didn’t have the same creamy texture I liked so much in the previous one, and for me had more of a tofu taste. It still had that amazing nutty crust that I liked so much in the first one.

Next time I’m definitely going to try one of the raw desserts or the carrot cake that I’ve read is really good. I love Darbster and can’t wait to go back! They have a really cool promotion too for sundays! You get 20% off your bill when you bring your pup for Doggie Sunday! Darbster is located at 8020 South Dixie Highway, West Palm Beach, Florida 33405  (561-586-2622) and open Wednesday through Sunday. Check out Darbster.com for their hours!

 

Mellow Mushroom – Delray Beach

Published February 13, 2011 by Vegan Derby Cat Party

Guess what?! The Delray Beach Mellow Mushroom now has Daiya cheese! In fact, the website says they now have it at all of their locations.

Now I’m not sure how long they’ve had it, but I finally remembered that I should call and find out. The last time I went there they had just started with the non-vegan gluten free crust, but they hadn’t gotten Daiya yet. I made sure to befriend them on facebook and let them know that I was interested though! : )

Regardless, I headed up last night on my way to go see Timb and ZOMBIES! ORGANIZE!! over at Propaganda.

Hummus and Veggies $6.99

Mega Veggie pizza (sans mushrooms & banana peppers, it comes with a LOT of toppings) 16″  $25.49

veganized with Daiya cheese and without the butter cheese topping on the crust.

The hummus was fine. Nothing crazy here. Though it did seem like it was maybe lower in fat because it was on the drier side versus a really creamy dip, so if that’s true, I’m happy ; ) but that’s just a guess.

The pizza was SUPER delicious. I love their crust. It’s very multigrainy sweet tasting. I believe it’s also what they make their pretzels out of. (Which are vegan if you order them plain.) They have tempeh as a topping, and a tempeh sandwich that you can veganize. The also have several kinds of tofu like jerk and terriyaki.

Not only was the pizza awesome, but Mondays they have specials on some of their 100 beer selections! : )

Darbster – WPB/Lake Worth, Fl

Published January 27, 2011 by Vegan Derby Cat Party

I am very pleased to tell you that I finally got up to Darbster. Although the address says West Palm Beach, it must really be on the very edge, toeing the line of Lake Worth, because it’s south of Forest Hill Blvd. Regardless, a yummy, and completely vegan experience!

Darbster is a sort of outdoors place. Even the inside seating is really a walled and covered outdoor patio. The temperature outside had dropped to around 66 by the time we got there, so it was nice that there was a table left inside. (In fact, shortly after we were sat, the last table outside came in, and they closed the sliding glass doors.) They have both air conditioners and heaters scattered throughout that they must use for more extreme weather shifts. There are a couple of high tops and seating around the bar as well. Speaking of the bar, they have beer and wine, this Organic Peak Pomegranate Ale ($6) was pretty tasty.

I was immediately thrilled to see that they had onion rings, and started with this side as an appetizer. Months after going vegan, I was saddened when I it dawned on me that most onion rings are dipped in egg along with that batter. Ditto for eggplant parm. So I ordered them gleefully.

Onion rings…  with a sandwich $2.50 or $2.95 without

Darbster uses Daiya cheese and Gardein products for it’s meat substitutes. I’m glad they use Daiya, and I think most vegan places should, but we stayed away from the dishes that we thought were the ones I could easily make at home, like the philly cheese steak sandwich.

I was really anxious to try the rawvioli. I almost forgot to order it in all my vegan restaurant excitement, but grabbed the waitress shortly after placing our order. She wasn’t afraid to let us know that we were ordering a lot of food, and I assured her that I’d take whatever I couldn’t finish home!

This dish ended up being [essentially] a nice salad. The beet “pasta” had a nice crunch, and it was really tasty. The filling was yummy and the salad was nicely dressed. I’m not sure that this would fill me up as a meal on it’s own, so I’m glad I ordered the palm cake sandwich too.

Rawvioli Beet Pasta w/salad…  lunch $10/dinner $12

I had read a bunch of reviews online before the trip up, so I knew that everyone raves about the palm cakes. It’s funny, because for the last couple of years before I went vegan I had really wanted to try a crab cake, even though I never ate seafood. I’m pretty sure it’s because I kept seeing them on the food network : ) Well, anyway, I never did end up eating one, but apparently this pan fried heart of palm cake is it’s vegan stand in. It was super delicious (didn’t taste anything like seafood!), and served on a huge whole wheat bun. Then also had a palm cake ceasar salad as a special, and I know they sell them as appetizers at dinner time. (It actually came on a bigger plate with a little bit of lettuce, but I had to transfer it to a smaller plate because there were too many plates on the table!)

Palm Cake Sandwich with aioli and lettuce… $6.75
(it says and red potatoes on the on-line menu, but not so in person!)

One of the specials was gluten free eggplant lasagna. In fact, this was the last lunch special portion of the day, and according to the waitress, the envy of the other patrons. It was really good.

Gluten free Eggplant Lasagna… I don’t remember how much this was? $10 or $12?

At this point I was pretty full, and boxed up half of my palm cake sandwich for later; I wanted to save room for dessert! I ordered strawberry cheesecake. I had read reviews about their awesome carrot cake, but happened to be carrot caked out, and skipped it. Then I got nervous that I made the wrong choice. I didn’t want one of those vegan cheesecakes that tastes like tofu : P  Well, this cheesecake was SUPER delicious, didn’t have any tofu taste at all, and had a really good grahmmy, nutty crust. It was more of a multi berry cheesecake, and had a softer consistency than I expected. The piece was a generous size for sharing.

Gone in 2 minutes flat!

It was a really nice experience, and I’m glad that Darbster seems to have established itself permanently. It’s a much better option than overpriced Sublime in Fort Lauderdale, both in price and in flavor. This will definitely be a place that I’ll enjoy much in the future. Darbster is open for lunch and dinner Wednesday through Saturday (but open Valentine’s Day Monday) and brunch and dinner on Sunday. They are dog friendly, and accept credit cards too!

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 1,044 other followers

%d bloggers like this: