Friday, August 31, 2012

Smoothie secret ingredient and a token sausage

Where did the summer go? This was a summer of smoothies for me. Generally my smoothies contain some of the following:
  • unsweetened vegan milk and water (equal parts) 
  • fruit (berries, bananas, mangos, etc.)
  • matcha powder
  • cinnamon
  • pomegranate seeds
  • flax seeds 
  • chia seeds
  • maca 
  • ginseng
  • greens
and now...
Amla powder is my new secret smoothie ingredient, which I ordered last week from Mountain Rose Herbs. (What a cool company! They sent me a thick catalog that recommends, "best viewed while sipping tea.") To learn about the health benefits of amla, I recommend watching this video:   

I was hoping it'd be a summer of seitan. But I found that seitan-making often involves a steamer, which is hard to fire up on hot days. And it doesn't photo that appetizingly, especially the sausages from Isa Chandra Moskowitz's Vegan Brunch. See below.  

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Java Green with envy

A meeting in DC this week gave me an excuse to revisit Java Green, 1020 19th Street NW, for lunch. I used to work near Java Green but didn't frequent it nearly enough. For this visit, I got an old favorite: the rice bowl special. What can I say about this rice bowl? To me, it is the perfect lunch. In fact I was enjoying it so heartily, I almost didn't notice when another patron tried to find out just what I was eating. This enviable dish features cabbage, kale, and faux chicken over red rice and yam noodles. Usually I douse it with their "Java" hot sauce, but couldn't find it amid the condiments. (Maybe some suit made off with the sauce in their briefcase? I've been tempted.) The rice bowl was delicious unadorned. 
I also got a smoothie, the "Super Green," a kicky combination of spirulina, spinach, pineapple, and banana. I'd never had spirulina in a smoothie before; this was a nice introduction. If you are visiting Java Green for the first time, I'd recommend both these menu items. Also for a weekday lunch, try to arrive before noon, when it gets super busy, or after 2pm, when the crowds die down.

Monday, August 6, 2012

Liquid Earth rocks!

I don't know why it took me so long to visit Liquid Earth, one of Baltimore's most beloved veggie spots, located at 1626 Aliceanna Street. My boyfriend and I finally made it to this Fell's Point restaurant for lunch last weekend. I wasn't sure what to expect, especially from their rather busy website, but I was looking forward to sampling the highly acclaimed juices and smoothies. 

The actual restaurant is a relaxed environment, with houseplants, a cool antique cash register, and pressed tin ceilings. Chill music plays in the background, punctured only by the noisy blenders and juice machines. We started our lunch with drinks, including the bright red AntioxDetox, cleverly served in a pyrex measuring cup. This delicious juice truly deserved the "liquid earth" label, featuring carrots, beets, red cabbage, and apples. We also ordered a peanut butter and berries soy shake (not pictured) that was rich and filling. 
Next we had a cup of the soup of the day: veggie lentil. This was a mild, comforting Moosewood-style stew. I loved the creative positioning of the soup spoon in the crusty sesame brown bread. Finally we had two excellent sandwiches. The vegan reuben, with tangy sauerkraut, tofu, and onions on rye bread. And the TLT--tempeh, lettuce, and tomato--on multigrain. This sandwich came with an artsy side salad that was almost too pretty to eat. Overall, I though the food presentation was strikingly inventive, especially for a relaxed lunch. The food itself was colorful and vibrant to match. I'll definitely return again to Liquid Earth, perhaps to try the many raw menu items.    

Friday, August 3, 2012

Thai Arroy lunch specials

I recently visited Thai Arroy, 1019 Light Street, for lunch with my cousin. This small, mural-wallpapered restaurant is in Federal Hill, on the Charm City Circulator Orange Route. (The restaurant also has a location in Virginia Beach, which sounds like potential beach vacation salvation.) Thai Arroy offers an affordable lunch special: $7 for a large main veggie dish with side salad or soup.      
For the main course, the menu instructs you to pick a protein, then a style.  So we had mock duck in Nam Prik Pao and tofu in Med Ma Maung. The mock duck dish is also charmingly called, "Mr. Green," and had lots of green beans and some impressively large, albeit slightly over-cooked broccoli. The spicy tofu dish had hot peppers, cashews, carrots, scallions, and onions. The brown rice was an extra dollar than the white rice but well worth it.  
For the sides, we tried both the salad and the soup. I'd recommend the latter, as the salad was bland with iceberg lettuce and a typical peanut dressing. On the other hand, the delicious tom kha soup was rich and mushroomy. It did cost an extra dollar more than the veggie and tofu soups listed on the standard lunch special. (Maybe it's a coconut milk tax?)  We also had sweet and refreshing young coconut drinks, not pictured here. Overall, this lunch deal seems like a winner, just be prepared for some surcharges.  

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Three summer highlights

Here are three quick highlight shots of late July summer excursions. I had a fine slice of tomato pie in Ocean City, New Jersey. Tomato pie is getting harder to find on the boardwalk because most places drown their pizza with cheese. However Primavera Restaurant's takeout window, located at 1102 Boardwalk, sells a nice, thin crust version with fresh basil.

Next is the vegan pistachio ice cream at New Harmony Vegetarian Restaurant, 135 North 9th Street, in Philadelphia's Chinatown.  I loved the presentation of this dessert with the fortune cookie on top.

Finally, a shot of filmmaker John Waters' head and me at Baltimore's Artscape, a cool annual arts fest. This mural was located in front of The Charles Theater, our excellent, local indie movie theater. (I've spotted actual John Waters there too.)