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

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

Taking a Lunch Break in Aspen

What’s for lunch after a morning of trying to remain upright in the Roaring Fork River while searching for trout?  or after a  strenuous bike ride or uphill hike in high altitude? 

Aspen offers a wide range of healthy eats for those great lunches you are hankering for.  I suggest you check out the following places.  Each has lots of tasty choices for anyone who seeks mostly veg options.

Continue reading

Icy Frozen Treats from Hannah Kaminsky

 

Sweltering temps have blanketed the Northeast again just as Hannah Kaminsky’s third book, Vegan A La Mode, has hit the shelves.  Icy cold treats are the perfect solution and Kaminsky’s sumptuous photos and highly creative recipes will have you ordering an ice cream maker before you can click outa this post. Continue reading

Chef Mark Shadle Shares G-Zen Secrets

This post was contributed by guest blogger and long time vegetarian, Laurel Tuohy.

In addition to being one of the East Coast’s premier vegan food chefs, Mark Shadle partners with Ami Beach Shadle, Master Raw Chef, creating flavorful, vitamin rich, organic foods at their Branford restaurant, G-Zen and on their sustainable vegan food truck, G-Monkey.

Mark also teaches occasional cooking classes at Wallingford’s Delia Center (CT).

 Busy enough? Continue reading

Print Restaurant Tells All

Do you check online restaurant menus before you call for a reservation?

Take a look at the online menu for Print Restaurant, 11th Ave. at 48th St. in NYC, and you can learn a lot.  Ride your cursor over the ingredients and you will find a whole lot more than overblown descriptions of flavors.

You will discover that the impossibly magenta oranges in the Blood Orange Salad come from Isabelle’s Orange Orchard in New Orleans.  The butternut squash that serves as a tasty whipped landing for the Pan-roasted Snapper comes from Paisley Farm, which coordinates a co-op of upstate NY farms consisting of 25 like minded farmers seeking to distribute their crops. Continue reading

Blossom Keeps Me Coming Back For More

Naysayers may ask, “If it is vegan, what is there to eat, really?!” 
Think vegan is bland and limited in choices?  Think again.
Blossom has been on the  NYC restaurant scene since 2005. I have trouble imagining the dining landscape without it.  There are a number of great (yes, I said it) vegan restaurants in NYC and I count Blossom as one of them.

As one who avoids all animal products that are not kosher, I relish having an entire menu to choose from. Yup. It is like a celebration and I get a little giddy when the entire menu is fair game for me. No need to ask tons of prying questions here. Continue reading

Mondays at Dovetail in NYC

Mondays are the perfect night to visit Dovetail in NYC.

 

Chef/Owner John Fraser has carved a meatless Monday niche for vegetarians and those who are kosher like me.

 

Options are plentiful and preparations are elegantly plated in this contemporary dining room with a casual but grown up vibe. No need to settle for just any ol’ salad or vegetable laden pasta here.

The Monday night vegetarian menu is prix fixe at $46. which includes three generous courses and dessert. There are three options in each of these categories and a list of eight desserts made by pastry chef Michal Selkowitz.

If you relish great vegetarian preparations that celebrate the bounty of each season, plan ahead in order to reserve your Monday night table. I waited two weeks for a res at a decent dinner hour.

Continue reading