We went to visit our friend Simone, and her hubby, Gregg, this weekend in Los Angeles. Here is the first of a few food posts.
Our trip to Madeleine Bistro for brunch:
We went to visit our friend Simone, and her hubby, Gregg, this weekend in Los Angeles. Here is the first of a few food posts.
Our trip to Madeleine Bistro for brunch:
If you are San Francisco, get your behind over to Layonna's new restaurant on Clement Street! Dim sum at lunchtime can't be beat! (Picture above is the "Mustard Greens pickle box" - which is a sort of pasty, deep fried with mustard greens and silver noodles. I finally mastered the Macro setting, Catherine - aren't you proud?)
Here are some more photos:
BBQ pork buns (mmmmmm!) at Dim Sum
Mustard Greens Noodle Soup (very authentic!)
Yesterday was the husband and my 6th wedding anniversary. We celebrated by going out to Millenium Restaurant in San Francisco for dessert.
Simone had the Chocolate Midnight Mousse Cake
The Husband had Mexican Hot Chocolate Torte
I had a Pumpkin Waffle with dulce de leche ice cream substituted for the "Nutella" ice cream since I'm allergic to the nuts.
Friday was my birthday. I'm 29.
The husband and I went to our favorite Italian restaurant for dinner. I had a new pizza, called Margheurite, which has fresh tomatoes, basil, parsley, garlic, and Follow Your Heart cheese. It was delicious!
After dinner, they brought me a piece of Black China chocolate cake, heated up and melty, with a candle and sang to me. It was very sweet!
My mother made me a sweet puzzle card sent in pieces, which revealed that I had something waiting for me at my LYS. Hooray! The owner was very sneaky, seeing me the night before and pretending to know nothing about it.
With it, I was able to purchase the yarn for my next secret project. I'm already working on a secret project for my BFF (best friend forever, teehee!) who currently lives in London. This one is going to be my mother's Christmas present. I wanted to make it for her birthday, coming up soon, but the yarn had to be special-ordered from France. Since I've already consulted her, I'm going to show the yarn and a secret peek now. After that, you can't read the blog anymore Mom, until I tell you!
What was once this (although growing somewhere else - this picture was taken off our porch)
To help tide you by until I can finish the second Broadripple sock. I'm on row 25 out of 52 for the foot and then just the toe to do. I can't wait! They look so good!
Grilled Tofu sandwich with yam fries from Pacific Catch (a mini chain restaurant around here with good vegan options) The sandwich has lettuce, mango salsa, avocado, and shitake mushrooms on homemade hot bread.
Courtesy of Cha Ya restaurant in Berkeley:
Portobella and tofu tempura with kiwi dressing
Tofu and fresh corn wrapped in seaweed and fried in tempura batter with almond/miso sauce
Inari pouches in flavorful broth with udon noodles, nori seaweed, and scallions/radish sprouts
Cold soba noodles with dipping sauce (not shown)
Cold cucumber salad with rice noodles, roasted soybeans, golden raisins, wakame seaweed in a rice vinegar dressing with sesame seeds
Hosomaki/Nigiri set (portobello, eggplant, and sea veggie nigiri, cucumber maki)
Wow - vegan or vegan-friendly restaurants are just popping up all over LA!!!
Here's a sample of what we enjoyed last week:
From Madeleine's - similar to Millenium in SF
From this amazing veggie Thai place:
After arriving in Hell-hot Sacramento where we were visiting to see a bluegrass band and a comedian, we purused the new downtown restaurants before deciding to go to Chipotle for a vegan burrito, since it's so easy. Afterwards, we're driving down K street and the husband's good eye spots this sign!
Why did we not see it before we went to Chipotle!?!?!?!!? Anyway, we ended up staying the night with a friend who had a hotel room and went to Roots-N-Kulchah for lunch.
Curry Tofu Stew
Both stews served with brown rice and pigeon peas, friend ripe plantains, and garlic spinach.
And veggie patties.
And I didn't take a photo of the mango punch. So anyone in the Sacramento area, check them out! They have a wagon in a parking lot on the corner of 24th and K and the city has this crazy rule that wagon vendors have to move every 15 minutes. They're in an enclosed parking lot with covered tables and everything so obviously that rule wouldn't really work for them. One of the owners said that the city's backed off a big but please go support them if you are in the area!
Posole from the Big Sky Cafe in San Luis Obispo on our way down. (5 stars)
Ravioli from Lovin' Spoonfuls (3 stars)
Pizza from Magpie's Pizza in Tucson (whole wheat crust, olive oil and garlic sauce, pine nuts, fresh tomato and basil, soy cheese) (5 stars)
Pina Colada from KonTiki (1 star)
Chalupas (flat corn cakes with beans, mushrooms, cabbage salad and enchilada sauce), rice with squash, peas, onions, potatoes, and pinto beans from La Indita (Tohono O'Odaham tribal food) (5 stars)
La Indita combo #7 (1 chalupa, 1 mushroom taco, and 1 Flat Enchilada -a flat corn cake fried and topped with enchilada sauce and potatoes, carrots, and oregano with a sweet vinegar sauce) (5 stars)
And saving the best for last, Simone's Sri Lankan curry platter! Our friend in LA made us this delicious food for our Fourth of July feast. From left to right: Curried potatoes, rice, coconut sambal, and "meat" and tomato stew. (10 stars!!!) Unfortunately, we had to hurry through this dinner to get out to see the fireworks on time. Too bad I didn't bring a camera!
Today was a day of good cooking! We started off the day at Fellini, where I dined on a delicious vegan version of Eggs Florentine.
Then we went over to Black Oak Books where I sat and read half of Poisons: From Hemlock to Botox to the Killer Bean of Calabar by Peter Macinnis. Fortified by such information, I went to Sketch Ice Cream (and confectionary) where the husband had a yellow watermelon granita and I had boysenberry sorbet. Heaven! Absolute heaven.
Tonight we planned to make some recipes from our new cookbooks - the sweet potato black bean chili from The Vegetarian Family Cookbook, and the cornbread from Vegan Family Favorites. But with the heat, we couldn't bear to turn on the oven, so I made last week's item from the new Vegan Cookalong I joined - Broccoli Pesto. Check out the cookalong if you want to join, or to see more pictures from my cooking tonight, get the recipe, and see how we all adapted it.
Last night my father-in-law was doing a poetry reading in the big city. Right near the Castro. On Saturday night. Of Gay Pride week. And to get to said big city, we have to drive. I don't think I have to tell you that there was absolutely NO parking to be had unless we wanted to pay a special event fee of $20 at this parking lot. Sigh!
So we drove to another neighborhood and went to our favorite Thai restaurant. I'm allergic to nuts except for almonds. I ordered Mussamun, a red curry with tofu, potatoes, and soy skin sheets that normally comes with peanuts - without peanuts. And Yum Tua Kac - barely cooked green beans in a spicy lime chili sauce with fried red onions that normally comes with cashews - with no cashews.
Needless to say, both dishes came with nuts but what obviously happened was that they put the nuts in and then noticed my order and took them out. But left just one cashew in the beans and two peanuts in the curry. So of course I didn't notice until I'd eaten enough of both to have a reaction.
We ended up going to our favorite bookstore for about an hour and reading and then back over to where my FIL was. No parking again, we missed the reading, so we decided to stop by our favorite coffee shop for some cappucinos and cake. They made the caps with milk by mistake (and they were to go) and the cake was stale.
I think I'll go and join Sarah's F-U Friday with a few vents of my own! heehee.
Today started with a trip to Vik's Chaat Corner, where we feasted upon:
Then we drove over to Amoeba Records to see if there were any good vintage cartoons but we already had all that they had. So we walked over to the newly built, and absolutely hideous monstrosity, the de Young Museum to see the International Arts and Crafts exhibit. I'm crazy for Arts and Crafts style furniture, architecture, and accessories, and it's my dream to live in a proper bungalow with all the trimmin's. The exhibit itself was a little bit disappointing, partially because it was so jam packed that it was hard to look at the items long enough to appreciate them, and because some of them were pretty ugly. But there were some very nice pieces, one of which reminded me of someone (Hi Knitsteel!)
After that, we saw the rest of the museum. I realize that it is new, which might explain why the pieces seemed somewhat cobbled together from leftovers. But at the end, we saw four really good collections, three of them art from Oceania, New Guinea, and Sub-Saharan Africa with a huge number of items, including these amazing masks (sorry for the poor quality, I couldn't use flash and had to use a wierd setting):
and then "Personal Perspectives: Aspects of European Photography", a collection of early photographs of different types (plates, cyanotypes, etc.) which the husband and I are crazy about.
After visiting Samovar Tea Lounge for a bit of knitting, ice tea, and coconut pudding (plus a little trip to Imagiknit for a SP item), we went home to make tacos. I didn't take pictures because they didn't look much different from the ones I've posted about before. I did want to show off our taco fixings plate, though (featuring yellow onion, Vegan Gourmet cheese, locally grown lettuce, and cilantro):
The guacamole has to go in its own separate bowl.
In knitting news, I have a secret project I'm working on, and I'm about to start a second. So I need to make a photo that I can use as a link so that you can see the projects without the recipients of them seeing them. I am participating in the Knitting World Cup ( the charity edition) and since I couldn't access the bulky booties pattern when the Cup started, I began to make an afghan out of acrylic instead. The first rectangle is dark blue Red Heart, double-stranded, and garter stitch. I'll post photos when it gets more interesting.
I'm putting this under restaurants since I didn't make it myself. A few months ago I attended a fundraiser and won a silent auction item of 4 homemade Japanese lunches. Of course I didn't have my camera with me at any of the others (veggie roll, fruit salad; miso spinach and root veggies in sweet sauce, inari, fruit; those rice balls covered with nori with a surprise umeboshi plum inside) but today I did.
These delicious rolls had cucumber, avocado, cooked carrot, scallions, and smoked tofu. As you can see, they were served with a big pile of ginger, peeled pear slices with lemon juice to prevent browning, and the cutest miniature tamari containers ever!!!
Last night, we went back to Millennium to enjoy their special Earth Day pre-fixe menu. We were initially disappointed that the menu was somewhat different just because we'd really been looking forward to more avocado ice cream. However, the soup, my entree, and the dessert more than made up for it.
We started with drinks: A Mojito for the husband (rum and soda on ice with crushed mint and lime juice) and a Pomegranate Marguerita for me (the usual suspects with pomegranate juice in a glass with salt on the rim and fresh lime - not pictured here)
Our first course was a Nettle Soup with toasted almonds and cashew sour cream (they left it off mine since I'm allergic to nuts - in fact this menu has been great for me because I could eat every item with very little alteration for my all-nuts-but-almonds allergy)
The Fiddlehead Fern, Fava Bean, and Fingerling Potato salad was a BIG hit. With baby dandelion greens, fennel, cherval and a dijon vinagrette, it was really good, and improvement over the last one.
My husband ordered the cumin-scented griddle cakes, which I had last time, and he coveted. It is a little like an Indian Uttapam with a version of saag paneer and cauliflower on top; red dahl underneath, onion pakoras on top, and mint-cilantro sauce.
My dish was new on the menu and it was TO DIE FOR!!! Crusty tempeh with mashed potatoes/turnips, Mexicany veggies (snow peas, carrots, turnips, etc.) mango salsa, and mole sauce. I'm not a huge tempeh fan but obviously I've not had it cooked properly as this was amazing.
And for dessert, Strawberry Shortcake with corn/buckwheat biscuits, heavy "cream" and fresh strawberries with candied ginger on top. The cream was out of this world and the combo of all the flavors was really good, especially with the rose cream sauce drizzled around. Along with really aromatic, rich, organic coffee with Silk Creamer.
The husband and I spent all of my spring break (on the days when I wasn't working extra) working on this book project he had that was due today. Sigh! So much for vacation.
So when we had finished all but the last touches yesterday afternoon, we decided to go to Millennium Restaurant to celebrate. They were booked for tables (it was Saturday night, after all), we decided to go at opening and sit at the bar. This was quite nice, actually, and we didn't have to listen to anyone's irritating conversations around us. (Not that all conversations are irritating, but we always seem to end up sitting next to a table with a monopoly-mouth at it - someone who dominates the conversation the whole time and can't seem to get enough of talking.)
We had the agonizing decision (oh the horror!) of choosing between the a la carte items on the regular menu, and the special pre-fix Earth Day menu (Thurs-Sat for all of April). We choose the earth day menu, and the chef was easily able to accomodate my nut allergies. Luckily, with the exception of one drizzled sauce, the only nuts used were almonds, which I can eat! It was amazing! And those of you who complain that reading my blog makes you hungry will be glad to hear that I left my camera in the car and only remembered it at dessert, and there was no way I was leaving and walking through the rain to get it. You'll also be annoyed to hear that we will be going back again in April and getting the dinner and that time I WILL bring my camera.
For those of you who live near the Bay Area, or who are masochists and want to tempt yourself on purpose, here is the menu:
Korean Soon Soup - a light, spicy broth with noodles and tofu
Fava Bean and Roasted Potato Salad with pea shoots.
Entrees (there were two options, we each got one)
Me - Cumin-scented griddle cakes with tofu paneer, potatoes, and spinach. A perfect vegan Indian meal.
Husband - Posole and corn cakes, greens, guacamole, and a lovely sauce. A very smoky Mexican feast.
Spring Torte (aka ice cream cake)
vanilla bean ice cream and avocado ice cream on a almond-date crust
drizzled with candied rosemary and orange peel, hawaiian sea salt, and some insane olive oil that tasted like they'd used a barrel of olives for each spoonful.
Now, I would normally run at the thought of avocado ice cream even though avocado is one of my favorite fruits. But OH MY GOD!!!!! This was insane. It was soooo good, the husband said that it's the best item he's ever had a Millenium. The combination of the olive oil, salt, ice cream, and rosemary/orange peel was intense and delicious. The almond-date crust was thin but really paired well with the ice cream. I kept trying to find more salt on my plate to put on the ice cream. The salt was orange with minerals.
To drink, I had a Mojito (rum, crushed fresh mint, lime juice, and soda water on ice) and the husband had some organic ale. He had a coffee after dessert and while I usually relish the really high quality coffee they serve there, I was too full.
We stopped by City Lights bookstore and each picked up a book. I got Zoo: A History of Zoological Gardens in the West by Eric Baratay and Elisabeth Hardoun-fugier. Being a vegan, I am not a fan of zoos other than the more recent aspect of helping to save species that are nearing extinction and release them back into the wild, or the more open type of preserves where the animals are left alone in the wild but people can go and see them. However, I am very interested in the history of animal sciences and studies, and I have already read several books in the history of birdwatching and classification, and of animal menageries in earlier history, etc. This book is more modern and deals with the zoos that we've had within the past several hundred years. It talks about how they have evolved through policial, social, and scientific issues. I am very interested to start reading it.
Editor's Note: I've started reading Zoo since I wrote this post and was really saddened to read about all of the black market animal sales out there being made by zoos that are supposedly breeding to return to the wild. For shame.... Not to mention the revolving door between zoos and private "ranches"...aka hunt-your-own-animals.
We had some friends visiting this weekend, and on Sunday, we went to Cha Ya vegan Japanese for lunch. Here were a few of the dishes we ordered: