Saturday, August 31, 2013

DC's 100% Vegan Food Truck

100% Vegan Food Truck
Angela from The Veracious Vegan blog, recently reviewed one of the many vegan food trucks of Portland, Oregon. Well, look out, Portland. The District of Columbia now has a 100% vegan food truck: Woodland's Vegan Bistro!

Like many cities, DC has been having a food truck renaissance. It's heartening that a cruelty-free truck can take a prime position in the food truck cavalcade. When I visited last week, the Woodland's VB truck actually had the longest lines in Farragut Square. I doubt that's merely due to novelty or health motivations. Operated by folks behind the former Everlasting Life Cafe, this truck serves delicious soul food and other veggie delights.

Decal detail
Overwhelmed by the possibilities of an entirely vegan menu, I ordered the platter combo--one entrée and two sides for $11. It was like a mini-Thanksgiving in August; a copious amount of piping hot food. The container was too heavy to schlep back to the office, so I feasted on the park grass.

Platter combo
This platter was the bomb. The BBQ drummies were a messy revelation. The sweet, tangy sauce made these mock chicken drumsticks sing. For sides, I ordered the collards and the sautéed cabbage. Both were excellent quality with rich, savory flavors. 

There was still a crowd at the truck when I left. And they were doing a brisk Vitamix business. I didn't order a smoothie but I'll be back to try those and to scout out the rest of the menu for sure.

To find the truck on the busy lunch hour streets of WDC, you can follow the truck on Twitter, @WoodlandsVB. They'll also be at DC Vegfest

And you can visit the brick and mortar location of Woodland's Vegan Bistro at 2928 Georgia Avenue NW, which I clearly need to do ASAP. Plus, they have revamped their website and Chef Mickiyah Woodland has a promising blog

Woodland's forest motif

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Betty Goes Vegan in August

It's the end of the month and I never did locate a copy of the August VegCookbook Club pick, Betty Goes Vegan by Annie and Dan Shannon. However I bet there will be plenty of copies at DC Vegfest, when the Shannons present their much-anticipated cooking demo. That's Saturday, September 28th at 2ish. (Full schedule here.)

I did make a couple of items from the authors' recipe-rich website. The recipes are playful takes on the All-American dishes engineered for General Mills' Betty Crocker brand. These veganized versions were created for "The Betty Crocker Project," the initial blog challenge that spurred the Betty Goes Vegan cookbook.

Here's what I made:
Cowboy Caviar
This recipe is for "the Hostess with the Mostess." It's a colorful and quick combination of crunchy veggies and tender, cooked beans that can serve as a salad, a side, a condiment, a dip, or taco fodder. I loved this recipe because it required no cooking, of course. I think you could vary the canned ingredients to feature what was fresh and in-season. Fresh cilantro and ripe avocado seem key.  

BLT Crostini
A wacky recipe but not without its charms. These faux "cheesy" crostini are meant to be baked on a pizza stone but I cheated and cooked these in the toaster oven. I used local heirloom tomatoes for the "T" and smoky tempeh for the "B." The wispy lettuce leaves looked attractive but didn't provide much flavor. Maybe something peppery like arugula or watercress would work here?

Orange, Agave & Mustard Dressing  
This dressing accompanies a spinach salad recipe. I've been looking for an oil-free dressing and this one is a nice marriage of zesty orange and zippy mustard. However, I thought the agave was too sweet and cloying, even when reduced by a third.

Friday, August 16, 2013

VeganMoFo and DC VegFest are coming this September

Ready to represent vegankind in DC

VeganMoFo 2013

VeganMoFo, the Vegan Month of Food, returns this September 2013. This former Post Punk Kitchen and blogging event has turned into a social media extravaganza. And rightly so. It's a month-long celebration of the vibrant community of vegan foodies that exists across all platforms and the Universe. Cue the trumpets.

I've participated twice in the past and it was a blast! This year my theme will be smoothies because I've had so much fun blogging about them so far, largely thanks to Crazy Sexy Kitchen. That means I've placed this blog into the Healthy/Whole Foods blogroll group. How cool is that?

My favorite thing about VeganMoFo is finding inspiration in what other MoFo'ers are posting. I can't wait to see what everyone cooks up. I'm going to be on the look-out for fellow blenders and DCites. And I'll be Instagram too, following the #VeganMoFo action.

DC VegFest

And if September wasn't cool enough, DC VegFest is happening on Saturday, September 28th, 2013. Hosted by Compassion Over Killing, this one-day, free festival promotes veggie food in the nation's capital. I didn't get to go last year and it has moved to a cool outdoor location, Yards Park, convenient to Navy Yard Metro. The lineup of speakers looks great. You can even meet the Shannons, our August VegCookbook authors, and see them do a cooking demo. The festival runs from 11am to 6pm.  


Thursday, August 8, 2013

3 Stars Brewing Company and Roscoe's Pizzeria

Here's another brewery excursion report. 3 Stars Brewing Company may be the last stop on the DC beer tour that my friends and I have embarked on this summer. That is, until the highly anticipated Atlas Brew Works and Bluejacket open their doors. Our local Citypaper has an upcoming event where hired limos will shuttle beer enthusiasts around to all the DC breweries and to two Virginia breweries. To me that feels like cheating. I've enjoyed the journey of getting to each local brewery afoot and by public transit. The beer tastings taste better when you've properly "earned" them in DC's sweltering summer heat. 

Another nondescript brewery entrance
Located at 6400 Chillum Place NW, 3 Stars Brewing Company is a solid mile walk from the Takoma Park Metro station. It's mostly a residential path, along Eastern Avenue, a boundary street that divides the District from Maryland. The exterior of the brewery's warehouse is rather nondescript except for a small banner. Inside is a cavernous space, filled with brewing equipment (although far less than DC Brau). 3 Stars self-distributes its beer in kegs (sixtels) only, so there is no canning operation or bottling works. The building also houses a small homebrew shop, which was very inviting and inspirational.

Interior mural

In addition to four tastings, 3 Stars Brewing Company offered free water stations and snack-size chips when we visited. To me, this was ample proof of their genius. The brewery tours happen on Saturdays at 2 and 3pm. My friends and I caught the early tour, given by co-owner Dave Coleman. It was an entertaining, humorous tour that included a restaging of the original homebrew operation that started the company. From Coleman, we learned that 3 Stars uses no fining processes, which is great news for vegans.

As for the beer itself, my favorite was Two The Dome, a hoppy Double IPA. The Citra & Lemon Peel Saison and Peppercorn Saison were both unique and nicely spiced. The Movement was a tasty and flavorful American Pale Ale. You can find 3 Stars brews all over the District.  

The Vegan Roscoe
We followed up this brewery tour with some pizza. Above is a pizza from Roscoe's Pizzeria, located in Takoma Park, Maryland, not far from the Metro station. We ordered the "Roscoe," an excellent pie made vegan with Daiya cheese, spinach, mushrooms, and red peppers. Sadly, because it is in Maryland, Roscoe's doesn't sell 3 Stars' beers. It would be cool if the Takoma Park's City Council could bend that rule, seeing as how the brewery is so close.

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Finishing up Eat, Drink, & Be Vegan

A Sweet Finish:
I decided to close July's VegCookbook selection with a sweet. Eat, Drink, & Be Vegan has an excellent "Sugar 'N' Spice" chapter with loads of decadent desserts and baked goods. I went with a simple, no cooking required recipe.

Cashew Banana Ice Cream
There's great vegan-friendly bakery in Ocean City, NJ, called The Bashful Banana Café that is famous for a banana "frozen custard." It's just bananas whipped to a custard consistency. They call it: the Banana Whip. This "ice cream" version adds cashew butter, which gives it a thick, creamy texture. The recipe also calls for sweetener. I added a little agave but would skip it next time. Bananas are sweet enough. I also added some vanilla and cinnamon. Overall, a speedy sweet fix that requires only firing up the food processor.

Salad Dressing Round-Up:
Plus, here's a quick round-up of the salad dressings that I've made from this cookbook in July.
Salad Dressings from ED&BV
Of these three dressings, the Creamy Basil Dressing (top) was my favorite. Fresh basil provides so much flavor. I used cashews and almonds for the nuts and unsweetened almond milk as the main liquid. It was great on salads and as a dip for heirloom tomatoes.

Back-to-Basics Balsamic Vinaigrette is one for regular weeknight rotation (bottom left). Super simple and straightforward. Although, as with all the dressing recipes, I cut back on the sweetener by a third, at least. (Sometimes I think Canadian cookbook authors just like to promote maple syrup. Which I love. But not in everything.)

Cumin-Cinnamon Vinaigrette was a unique blend, but perhaps not to my tastes (bottom right). I think the cinnamon reminded me too much of my morning smoothies. This one would work on a salad served before a spicy Indian meal.    

August's pick:
Now August is arrived and with it comes a new book: Betty Goes Vegan by Annie and Dan Shannon. I haven't gotten my hands on a copy yet but I wonder if it'll have the technicolor glow I remember from my Mom's old Betty Crocker cookbooks.