We have a winner!

Congratulations to Kira Rukin. She is the lucky winner of my spring cookie give-away with Lil Miss Cakes aka Melissa Kaye. Melissa will be whipping up a baker’s dozen of her exuberant spring cookies and mailing them directly to Kira in CT. Thank you ALL for your comments and support.

I’ll be cooking up another give-away soon, promise!

Noshing Around the Lower East Side, NYC

What’s wrong with this pic? Answer in comments section!

I love a good walking tour almost as much as a hands-on cooking class. So when Jennifer Abadi sent me her Syrian cooking class schedule along with dates for Context Travel’s “Jewish Cuisine and Culture” walk on the Lower East Side, NYC, I was ready to zip on my warm boots, grab a proper winter hat and prepare for a big nosh fest.

What I found was that having an expert lead me from one culinary landmark to the next, while sharing historical and social history of the neighborhood where my grandparents lived in a tenement upon landing at Ellis Island, left even this knowledgeable New York eater to some thrilling new tidbits to chew on. Continue reading

Beyond Sushi, Rolling Outside of the Box

Beyond Sushi owner/chef Guy Vaknin

I arrived so early for lunch at Beyond Sushi, the shoebox of a vegan sushi spot just off Union Square in NYC, that it was almost a late breakfast for me. With only three tables and a rockin’ take-out business,  I wanted to be sure to nab a seat and settle in to feast on the creations that are all fair game for this kosher keeper.

Chef/Owner Guy Vaknin has let his imagination run wild here. His combos are the most unusual and perfectly paired flavors all rolled up in completely unfamiliar, purplish hued grains.

Vaknin popped up from the basement kitchen through a staircase leading to the sidewalk. Continue reading

Candle 79 Lights the Way

 

photo: Mimi Giboin

I’ll admit to feeling a quick flutter of excitement when friends suggest eating together and the expectation is that I chose the “perfect” spot.

I rapidly flip through my mental rolodex, wondering if they want the meal to comfort them or blow them away with offbeat creations? Do they want a hip, cacophonous environment or a conversation friendly dining room?

When I ask these questions, I often get the hand-wave and hopeful “YOU chose”. Continue reading

Maimonides of Brooklyn (M.O.B): Seasonal, Vegan and Affordable

by Java Nooryani, Brooklyn dweller, vegan explorer.

I try not to judge restaurants by their websites but it’s exciting when a place lives up to its own online design and hype. This was the case with M.O.B or Maimonides Of Brooklyn, a vegan restaurant in Brooklyn’s Boerum Hill neighborhood. On M.O.B’s website, interested foodies can read all about their origin and food philosophy, as well as look through their detailed, pictured menu. Continue reading

Farm to Table from Goat to Goatgurt

I’m still abuzz from all of the new experiences I had last weekend at the Hazon Food Conference.

Over the course of four jampacked days, I met  passionate, articulate and inspiring food, social and environmental activists, Rabbis, educators and students, chefs and home cooks, gardeners, farmers and food producers, writers and filmmakers. Continue reading

From Savory to Sweet at Green Leaf Organic Bakery and Cafe

Highlighting a bakery so soon after over-indulging last week may seem counterintuitive (hopefully not cruel) but Green Leaf Organic Bakery and Cafe is the perfect little cafe at any time of year. And there are plenty of savory items to quell your guilt before you succumb by diving into their magnificent French inspired treats.

Healthy eats with plenty of greens and fruit? Check. Organic and fair trade coffee? Check. Plenty of vegetarian choices among the soup, salad, tartine selections? Check.  Once you’ve eaten a light meal here you’ll feel no remorse about moving on to sweets. Continue reading

Landing on Latin American/ Vegan in Park Slope

Welcome to Java Nooryani, vegan enthusiast in Brooklyn. Java moved to NYC from LA to study literature at NYU. After being a vegetarian for 10 years, she shifted to adopt veganism. She shops NYC farmers’ markets for the freshest local ingredients and celebrates the many veg-friendly offerings in her new borough. Like many Kosher Like Me followers, Java is on the lookout for veg based dishes wherever she goes.

Here’s Java’s take on The V-Spot in Park Slope, Brooklyn.

Park Slope is considered one of Brooklyn’s best residential neighborhoods to live in but it’s also just a great place to dine out. Its bustling 5th Ave block, just south of the Atlantic-Barclays Center and terminal, offers diners a large variety of eating options. Amidst this non-residential/business heavy block, I discovered The V-Spot—an all vegan Latin American restaurant. V-Spot provides healthy and animal-friendly alternatives to many dishes that traditionally contain meat and diary.

My roommate K and I went into V-Spot Thursday night for an early dinner. The vibe inside was friendly and relaxed; the staff was accommodating and attentive and the ambience was casual and cozy. K has a few food allergies and was happy to be in a restaurant with helpful servers and gluten-free options. Scanning the menu, we were excited to find so many items that catered not only to our respective diets but also our individual tastes.

Having grown up in Los Angeles, I have a taste for fresh Latin food—specifically vegetarian burritos—so I was eager to see if V-Spot’s burrito would meet my veggie Angeleno standards.

Short answer: it did.

Before totally devouring my burrito, I also enjoyed some of the kale tostadas and tofu scramble empanadas. The tostadas were light and crunchy, with fresh kale, ripe avocados, black beans, and just a touch of salsa and vegan parmesan (Daiya brand cheese).

The empanadas were a heartier affair, filled with scrambled tofu, assorted veggies, tempeh bacon, and Daiya cheddar cheese. Everything inside the empanadas were seasoned well and evenly cooked but the best part of the dish was the flour pastry itself. Golden brown and striking a flaky-soft balance, V-Spot’s empanadas are deliciously filling without being too heavy or greasy.

But the V-Spot burrito was definitely my favorite dish of the night. I love a basic burrito and V-Spot offered that and a little bit more. The burrito was filled with black beans, brown rice, fresh guacamole & salsa, vegan sour cream, and something I had never eaten before: vegan carne molida.

Although I’m not a huge fan of mock meat, I decided to try V-Spot’s homemade seiten ground beef. I was happy that I didn’t take the option to substitute it out; it was a softly-chewy and salty surprise! The burrito was reminiscent of the non-vegan burritos of my Southern California childhood but without the heaviness.

My favorite ingredients in the burrito were the brown rice and black beans, which K also ordered as a side. It may sound simple, but good rice and beans goes a long way with Latin food lovers like me. With a savory aroma of spices and herbs, V-Spot’s version of the Latin staple is sure to win you over too.

Caribbean Brown Rice

2 generous servings

Caribbean Brown Rice

Ingredients

  • 2 cups brown rice
  • ¼ cup canola oil
  • ½ cup chopped red pepers
  • ½ cup chopped green peppers
  • ½ cup chopped red onions
  • ¼ cup chopped carrots
  • ¼ cup green peas
  • ¾ cup of corn
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • ¼ cup tomato paste
  • ¼ cup of cilantro
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 1 t of store-bought sofrito*
  • salt and black pepper to taste

Instructions

  1. In one pot, combine tomato paste, cumin, paprika, corn, carrots, and peas with 4 cups of water and boil at low to medium heat
  2. In large saucepan on medium heat, sauté peppers, garlic, and onions in canola oil, with salt and pepper until onions are soft.
  3. Add the rice and sofrito to the sauted vegetables and stir for about 5 minutes
  4. Combine everything in one pot, add cilantro, and cook till all water is absorbed
  5. Turn stove off and keep lid on pot for about 15 minutes to let everything meld together before serving

Notes

*Sofrito is at the heart of many Latin dishes. It is super easy to make and I haven't found a kosher product yet. Try this easy recipe:

Seed 1 each green and red pepper and pulse to chop with 1 tomato, 1 onion, 4 cloves garlic, 1 c. cilantro leaves and 1/2 c. flat leaf parsley. Adjust flavors to your liking.

Rice recipe courtesy of V-Spot, Brooklyn

http://kosherlikeme.com/on-the-road/landing-on-latin-american-vegan-in-park-slope

Dining after Sunset in Orange County, CA.


Sunset along Orange County’s coastline is an event worth celebrating. After the sun dips below the horizon, casting its glorious technicolored drama on the crashing waves of the Pacific Ocean, you’ll start looking for places to eat dinner.  Check out some of these veg  friendly spots for your evening meal between Laguna Beach and Newport Beach, CA.

Highlights for your apres- sunset meal range from vegan to veg friendly. I avoided the fish themed places, as I was already teetering on the brink of OD’ing on my daily dose of fish tacos.

Continue reading