July Cookbook Review: Vegan Richa's Everyday Kitchen

July was a bit of a cray month for me personally, but I managed to cook 5 recipes from Vegan Richa's Everyday Vegan Kitchen. Vegan Richa might be best known for her Indian recipes and cookbook, but her recipes are packed with flavor and always pretty solid. So I was happy to dig into her everyday recipes cookbook, which is structured pretty uniquely. The sauce recipes are separate from the recipes that they're used in, and so I guess you choose a sauce or recipe and then go from there. There's also a breakfast and dessert section which doesn't seem to require any sauces. The 5 recipes I tried were the Brownies, Turmeric Cauliflower Rice and Moroccan Spiced Chickpeas, with Garlic Tahini Sauce, Gluten-Free Chocolate Chip Cookies, Chickpea Flour Vegetable Frittata, and Lentil Vegetable Frittata. I think my biggest takeaway is that I really love having a frittata waiting for me in the fridge for breakfast in the morning- that's my new favorite thing.

 

unnamed.jpg

1) Richa's Brownies

The first recipe I tried was the brownies. I was wondering since summer is in full-swing, should I really be baking...? But when I bake, I get so spoiled eating a treat warm straight from the oven, that I don't even want the cooled treats. These were really tasty and worth making again. I think they'd be really good to mix into ice cream, too! Pre-vegan my mom used to make the best brownies I'd ever had, that almost tasted like a flourless chocolate cake, so I'm always on the lookout for a brownie that measures up to that. These are definitely excellent, but so far I haven't found a vegan brownie that is better than my childhood favorite. 

 

unnamed-1.jpg

2) Turmeric Cauliflower Rice and Moroccan Spiced Chickpeas, with Garlic Tahini Sauce

This is really 2 different recipes, if you consider the sauce recipe separate. This was a delicious meal that I was happy to have over and over again- and I love Moroccan spices. I'll be looking out for more Morrocan- spiced dishes from Vegan Richa, I don't see those flavors enough!!! Each component was really easy to make, but you might want to spread it out over a couple days or so because making this many different components gives you a lot of dishes, so there's a lot of cleanup. I bulked up this dish with fresh greens, sliced tomatoes, and roasted potatoes, and even think sweet potatoes would be another good side option. I loved this with extra lime over the top. Great recipe but maybe too much cleanup for me!

 

unnamed-2.jpg

3) Gluten-Free Chocolate Chip Cookies

Sometimes I try to make something that my gluten-free housemate can eat. And who doesn't want chocolate chip cookies?? I thought these came out so amazing, and I really liked how chewy they were. When they were cooked and flattened, you couldn't really see the chips, so I added chips in post-baking, and they got all melty and made the cookies look even more picture-perfect and more chocolatey. Chips don't really need to bake, right? These are so so good and I will absolutely keep them in mind to make again, for a gluten-free option or not, they are just good cookies!

 

unnamed-3.jpg

4) Chickpea Flour Vegetable Frittata

I was really surprised at how delicious this came out! I guess Vegan Richa is really nailing the bean frittatas, as you'll see from the next recipe I made! This came out so good and the picture had tomatoes on top but not in the recipe, so I added those in before baking. This is the perfect thing to make at night on a Sunday for breakfast on a Monday morning- only problem is, these are so good that I eat them for every meal, and only last me a little more than a day. My gluten-free housemate got the recipe from me and wants to make this for herself as a savory breakfast option. Love, love, love this!

 

unnamed-4.jpg

5) Lentil Vegetable Frittata

Like I said, I was having a crazy month- but I loved the other frittata so much, I decided to make a second one. This was delicious too, but admittedly, it was not as good as the first one. It tasted a little more bready than quiche-y on top, but let's be honest, I still finished this in about a day because it was so good. I kinda want to make these frittatas in muffin form, and get all the other frittata recipes from Vegan Richa!

So, to sum up, of course this is an excellent cookbook, but I'm not sure I love the setup with the sauces separate from the recipes. I did learn that Vegan Richa makes some of the best savory frittata recipes, so I learned from this cookbook that I need to scour her blog for more of those recipes... and maybe just any of her savory breakfast recipes. Feels good eating your veggies first thing, you know? Especially with a fruity smoothie to wash it down. There was not one bad recipe in the bunch and I know I'll come back to this cookbook to try some firecracker recipes, buffalo recipes, and pizza recipes, which I haven't yet tried. Looking forward to trying more recipes from her blog, as well! If I had to recommend one recipe it would definitely be the chickpea flour veggie frittata- you'll love it! 

Let me know which other cookbooks you want me to review!

June Cookbook Review: Chloe's Vegan Italian Kitchen

In June, I decided to try my hand at some Italian food! May and June were back to back Chloe Coscarelli cookbooks... she's one of my favorite cookbook authors.

I thought I would be trying a lot more recipes... but this month ended up a little crazy and I only cooked four! I don't know if that gives you an accurate review of the whole book, but I can still give you four good reviews of the recipes I did make!

 

unnamed.jpg

1) Orange Chocolate Biscotti

I love biscotti, and this was an amazing recipe! I held off on making it for so long because of the different steps- well, there are a few steps, but they are so easy! One batch didn't make too much, I even considered making a batch the 2nd day. This is my new favorite biscotti recipe! I let some nonvegans try them too, and they loved them.

 

unnamed-1.jpg

2) Creamy Yellow Pepper Pasta

I like to try different recipes with bell peppers, because I'm really not a huge fan of them, and I like to have recipes I like that incorporate them so I can get the nutrients. This was an interesting way to make a sauce- pureeing roasted bell peppers with other ingredients- and while it was tasty and I ate it all, it was still too bell peppery for my liking. I won't be making it again. However, I do appreciate that this is an authentic recipe straight from Italy with no vegan substitutions- just accidentally vegan. So I'm glad I tried this!

 

unnamed-2.jpg

3) Rosemary Lemon Shortbread Cookies

Chloe has a shortbread recipe that she adjusts to make several other recipes in her cookbooks; this is one version of it.  They're all delicious because they are basically flour, butter, and powdered sugar. I didn't expect to like this combination so much, but I LOVED it. I think anyone would love theses, and I'll definitely be making them again!

 

unnamed-3.jpg

4) Shelley's Shells

Chloe said this was a family recipe she goes nuts over, so I had to try. Plus, there are bell peppers! The onions and bell peppers are cooked up for 20 minutes, making them very sweet. My family tried this and loved it, too. I will definitely be making this again! I love a recipe that makes me love bell peppers.

 

And that's it for June's cookbook review of Chloe's Vegan Italian Kitchen, next month I'll be cooking from Vegan Richa's Everyday Kitchen, so follow my Instagram at @Jessica.Steinberg to follow me as I make them!

May Cookbook Review: Chloe Flavor

In May, I decided to cook from just one cookbook- Chloe Flavor! Chloe Coscarelli is one of my favorite cookbook authors, because she always delivers recipes that are easy and knock it out of the park.

Unfortunately, I was only able to cook 4 recipes, and I think a proper review deserves more than that! (If you're wondering, I was sick for 2 weeks and was hired and fired from a job- wtf, what a crazy month!) But I think I can still review the 4 recipes enough in case you want to try them!

In order from least favorite to most favorite, here are the recipes I tried from Chloe Flavor.

 

Velvety Kale Soup

Velvety Kale Soup

Because I was sick this month, the first recipe I wanted to try was the Velvety Kale Soup. Soup is one of my favorite foods, and soup seems like a great to get in all those healthy greens! Unfortunately, and ironically, this soup was lacking... flavor (the title of the book). I definitely ate it, but I offered some to my housemate and she literally said "this doesn't have much flavor." I'm not really sure why this soup was included in the book- especially when you could really do something interesting with seasonings here. This has actually inspired me to come up with a healthy greens soup packed with flavor- I imagine adding roasted garlic, caramelized onions, spices, (cream?), and citrus to a soup chock full of greens, would be something I'd like to have in my repertoire. I'll work on that, and post a YouTube video one day. This was the only recipe that I really wasn't a big fan of, the rest were good to great.

 

Panang Curry

Panang Curry

The next recipe I thought was really good was the Panang Curry. The thing that got me in the description was that the sauce was made of peanut butter, coconut milk, and tomato paste. YUM! As always, Chloe's recipe was simple and straightforward. However, I thought that it could have been bulked up a lot with extra greens and veggies- why not add more nutrition to all that sauce, right? I enjoyed this with a ton of lime and cilantro over rice, and ate it throughout the week. I enjoyed making this and eating this, and it inspires me to try more Thai recipes, which are my favorite cuisine but one that I often find kind of intimidating to cook myself. 

 

Mango Guacamole Crunch Burger

Mango Guacamole Crunch Burger

I believe my exact words before trying this recipe was "Eh, burgers are always so many components and overrated, but I guess I'll give this a try." HOLY MOLY THOUGH, THESE FLAVORS DELIVERED!!! As much as I don't love the process of making a burger (sometimes you have to cook up the different components, and then you have to pan fry each burger), this one really brought the flavor with that sriracha!!! These would be great over chopped romaine, with a creamy dressing and chopped mango, too. These would impress nonvegans, because they are burgers made from whole foods, and wouldn't freak anybody out with fake meat. Love these! Tip: I definitely didn't follow all the steps here. Instead of making mango salsa and guacamole, I just put on sliced avocado, chopped mango, and squeezed lime. That saved me a bunch of time!

 

Matcha Chocolate Chip Muffins

Matcha Chocolate Chip Muffins

unnamed-4.jpg

And now, for my faaavvvooorrriittee recipe that I made, the Matcha Chocolate Chip Muffins! I think these really should have been called Coffee Cake Muffins- because you taste the streusel, and the matcha is just for coloring. These were totally easy to whip up, and came out AWESOME! Like, made you feel like a professional displaying your baked goods, when the tops are all streusel-y and the inside is pretty and green. I will absolutely make this again, but I think it might be fun to try making mini muffins! I love the mini chocolate chips, and think it would be cute to have a little coffee cake muffin bite, no? Will make these again soon! Definitely worth bringing to friends- recommend these the most of everything!

I loved cooking from this book- and if nothing else, I hope this has shown you a great muffin recipes that you can make! I feel like I'll have to come back to this cookbook! 

Have you made anything from Chloe Flavor? What recipes did you love?

 

Xo,

Jess

February Cookbook Review- Spork Foods!

I wish I could spend all my time cooking through cookbooks... I find it SO interesting to learn how each of the recipes are going to come out! It's always a surprise! That's how I like to enjoy my time, anyway...

So considering I have shelves full of cookbooks, and it can be overwhelming to choose my next recipe, I thought I'd hone in on one cookbook per month. So for April: Spork Foods' Vegan 101 Cookbook!

I also figured, since I love cooking through all these cookbooks, wouldn't other people love a thorough review before they get started on a recipe? I can give my thoughts on each recipe before someone goes at it on their own. I always love reading through Amazon reviews before I get started on a cookbook! 

Since Spork Foods wrote a book teaching cooking like they do at their cooking school, I figured that would be a good place to start. Especially because I've worked at 2 cooking schools! Their book, Vegan 101, seemed to be well-rounded, and full of a lot of special gourmet dishes that I would like. They also have a lot of unusual ingredients, which some people might find annoying, but I think it's a really good practice learning to track things down (kaffir lime leaves, chocolate stout, etc) .I really enjoyed working with this cookbook, and already have a couple of major favorites. And even though I rarely repeat recipes, there are some here I would definitely make again! (That means a lot coming from me).  So in order that I made them, here's how the recipes all went down...

 

Lentil.jpg

1) Greek Lentils with Olives and Herbs

This was a really solid recipe, which I doubled, and ended up eating over 2 days! I really enjoyed having a lentil salad in the fridge that I could quickly take out and eat, without heating it up. I don't think I'd go through the trouble of the kalamata olives again, and I don't think the dressing was anything special. This just seemed like a reliable, healthy dish to keep around the house. I might make this again, or I might try a lentil salad from another cookbook. If you're the type who likes to customize your recipes, this would be perfect for you! (I don't like to think, I want recipes already the way I want them).

 

Pancakes.jpg

2) Blueberry Tofu Ricotta Pancakes

Usually, whenever I eat pancakes, I feel like crap afterwards. But I think because there was so much tofu in this, I still felt really good after! The tofu made the pancakes more eggy, and these were just really delicious all around. They didn't come out round and beautiful, but clearly you can make it work when you stack them. My nonvegan housemate continues to rave about these. I recommend these!

 

Chocolate beer cakes.jpg

3) Individual Chocolate Stout Cakes

I made these chocolate stout cakes with Veganics caterers, Emily and Doug! Although I'm usually a stickler to recipes because I want to know exactly how they come out, we tweaked these a little. They sometimes substitute half gluten-free flour to make things healthier, and as long as we were doing that, I said let's go all the way and make them gluten-free so one of my housemates can try them. I think that made the texture a little off, and I would use a gluten-free cookbook author like Yvonne Ardestani to make gluten-free treats next time (and which is clearly why Veganics only likes to sub HALF gluten-flour). Despite a bit of an off texture, we all still gobbled these up, and they had a really interesting depth of flavor with the chocolate stout! I got the exact chocolate stout that was recommended in the recipe, and it was so intensely flavored, that we were left with a whole large bottle of it that we didn't really want to drink. If I made this again, or if you want to make this, I suggest buying a chocolate stout that you'd want to drink the rest of, because this doesn't use that much.

 

Salad.jpg

4) Bibb Lettuce and Radish Salad with Chive Buttermilk Dressing

Well, you can learn from my mistakes here! I'm convinced that some vegan milks have sugar and vanilla in them even though they aren't labeled that way, so my unsweetened milk still produced a weird sweet dressing. Spork Foods recommends Wildwood soy creamer, and I thin the Eden soy creamer seems like the most pure ingredients for next time. So I can't really review the final product of the recipe, but maybe you can use the correct ingredients and have a better outcome than I did. I don't want people to hate on vegan recipes because of some dumb vegan milk labelling! I would really love if vegan milks said on them if they are appropriate for savory recipes or not. Let me tell you: it is SAD when you mess up mashed potatoes! Anyway, this would have been a perfect April or springy recipe had it come out like it was intended.

 

Kale soup.jpg

5) Velvety Kale Soup

Serve this to someone nonvegan who wants their vegan food delicious AND healthy! This uses a TON of kale and spinach, and still comes out AMAZINGLY delicious. Turns out, using chicken marsala flavorings can make anything super delicious- genius!!! After I finished the recipe, I realized it would have been super pretty to make the swirly heart designs using sour cream (did some quick research on YouTube and it looks really easy)! But I wanted to eat all the soup right away, so I just garnished with Follow Your Heart parmesan, which turned out to be a GREAT compliment to these flavors anyway! I HIGHLY recommend this recipe and think that you and all your nonvegan friends and family will love it! One thing not so great, though- I had a difficult time tracking down Marsala wine, and didn't love drinking it, and the recipe only used a little bit. Would be great to find a way to use up the rest of the wine!

 

Acorn Squash.jpg

6) Acorn Squash Fritters with Korean Spicy Sauce

I mean, there's no way these wouldn't have turned out well, based on the ingredients. Roasted squash, Gojuchang, panko... these are just packed with delicious Asian flavors. I don't usually make fritter or patty recipes because I think they're a little too involved, but I thought this would be a really interesting and unique way to eat squash. I don't really love eating a bunch of mushed squash. These are my nonvegan housemates FAVORITE recipe from the whole book! I thought they were really delicious, too. These were fun to have around, and kind of portable since I like to walk around with my food, haha. These would be a really fun addition to a potluck! This recipe is really nicely done, and it's really fun incorporating Korean flavors into my life.

 

Quinoa bowl.jpg

7) Warm Quinoa Bowl with Chickpeas, Roasted Beets, and Dill

This was another recipe, like the lentil salad, that was so nice and healthy and tasty to have waiting for me in my fridge! I really got tuna salad flavors, and this would be the perfect dish to bring to the beach. I would definitely make this again, but I would chop up the beets and dill and mix everything together, and bring it out to a beach or picnic. It's really light, tangy, fresh, and just really tasty and healthy to reach for. Would be great with a little vegan chevre cheese, as well! I forgot how much I love roasted beets, but they are so delicious and so great to have around.

 

Vodka shells.jpg

8) Creamy Vodka Pasta with Spring Peas and Bacon

This is a really rich, special dish... but they more I eat it, the more I think the tempeh bacon I used was too smokey. This made a LOT, so I would suggest sharing it with a lot of people for smaller portions! Maybe I'm just getting sick of it because I freezed a lot of it and keep eating it. It's a really creamy, delicious dish that was easy to make. I think you'll love it, but don't eat all of it like I'm doing! (As I continue to eat more...)

 

Reuben.jpg

9) Tempeh Reuben

BEHOLD, the EASIEST AND TASTIEST recipe in the whole cookbook!!! (In my opinion, of course!) I LOVE reuben sandwiches, but I've never tried making them at home, because I figured mine wouldn't be as good as the restaurant version. My, how the tables have turned! Now I'm not sure if the restaurants will be as good as THIS version! It was SO easy to make, SO flavorful, and SO perfect. If you make any recipe in this cookbook, I suggest you absolutely make this one!!! I actually don't have a single sandwich recipe in my repertoire and I am so stoked to have this one now! I wish I had found marbled rye bread at a bakery or deli somewhere (for looks), but besides that, these are perfect and I think you will fall in love with them like I did!!!

 

Empanada.jpg

10) Argentinean Empanadas

Behold, the tastiest and most time and labor-intensive recipe that I tried! These would be tied for number one with the tempeh reuben, but the reuben was easier to make, so it wins.... but these would also be FABULOUS to bring to a potluck!!! (Which I may bring next!) I love the savory and sweet filling with the golden raisins (I am usually NOT a fan of golden raisins), and I messed up by using ground vegan beef instead of crumbles (I had to really separate everything with the back of a spoon- a serious workout! Just get the crumbles! So it tasted more like a hamburger than a taco, still delicious though!) So not only did I maybe get the wrong kind of meat, but I ALSO think I overmixed the dough. In the last step, I would mix with a fork instead of a handheld mixer. This made it difficult to roll the dough out. This recipe made my kitchen look like a hurricane hit it, and I only made 8 of these empanadas- the recipe said it made 8, but I could have made 16 I think- but I would ABSOLUTELY MAKE THESE AGAIN because they were so delicious! They are also fun and portable and who doesn't love little handheld packages of food?? This is a SUPER great recipe to try your hand at some new skills in the kitchen- I mean, I messed up a couple of things and they still turned out amazing, imaging if you did everything right?! Or you can just invite me to a potluck soon and I'll bring them...

I hope you enjoyed this cookbook review as much as I liked cooking through and eating everything... even as a seasoned cook (LOL pun intended) I can say this still stretched my skills and made me even better in the kitchen. I think you'll love these recipes, and please tell me the ones you've tried that you love! There are still so many recipes in here I want to try, like the benedict, bloody mary, biscotti, BLT, French dip sandwich...

March Food Roundup, Part II

Can I be honest? I'm not sure I like doing all the linking for these food roundups. So here it is in a nutshell:

The first 2 photos are from Sasquatch Coffee in LA, which is a super cool spot! I didn't drink the rainbow latte, just got a photo, because it was pretty.

The next photo is delish zucchini appetizer from Eataly LA!

The soup photo is an Argentinean Bean and Veggie Stew from 1001 Recipes by Robin Robertson- one of my new favorite recipes, EVER! 

The next photo is Donut Friend, some of the best donuts in LA- and then pizza from Eataly.

Let me know if you like these Food Roundups! I think I'm going to make this format easier for me to work with... just didn't want to end with Part I of March.

unnamed.jpg
unnamed-3.jpg
unnamed-4.jpg
unnamed-5.jpg
unnamed-6.jpg

 

 

March Food Roundup, Part I

Another month of vegan eats! If it all seems really random, it's because it is- there's no theme here, these are just the delicious random things I've eaten throughout the month of March. Maybe like you, I've been craving some more cohesiveness and structure- that's why I'm starting to cook from ONE cookbook per month (April's is Vegan 101), and I will be reviewing one fitness studio per month! I hope you will enjoy those blog posts. For now, I don't know a better way to organize all my foodie adventures besides grouping them into a month, so I hope you enjoy these March eats, Part I!

unnamed.jpg

1) Veggie Grill and Beyond Meat Bratwurst Collab

I love Veggie Grill, and I already eat there all the time! So when they invited me to try their new collaboration with Beyond Meat, I knew it was going to be really good. And girl, it did not disappoint! I visited the Hollywood location, and enjoyed the Beyond Meat bratwurst on a pretzilla bun (I'm already sold!), Sierra Nevada cheese sauce (OMG BEER CHEESE SAUCE!), caramelized onions (AAAHHH!!!), mustard, pickled red cabbage, and crispy fries. OMGGGGGG this was amazing!!! Vegan or not, anyone will love this! I love how Veggie Grill and Beyond Meat are normalizing vegan food, because I remember when a lot of vegan food looked like brown mush! How beautiful is this, with the presentation and everything? Just learn from my mistakes, because I ate the pickled red cabbage as a side- you need to put it on the brat!

unnamed-2.jpg

2) The Farmer And The Cook

This was my first time trying a huarache, and also my first time exploring Ojai! (I had visited my mom at a spa there once). I enjoyed a really relaxing, peaceful day in Ojai, and this restaurant was just my speed! It had a lot of fresh, delicious produce, an artsy hippie vibe, and delicious food with a lot of vegan options! A lot of Latin dishes. The house chai was also delicious. You know your order is good when another customer asks what you ordered! I really loved this place, and would definitely come back on my next trip! I would like to explore more of the menu, though, since they had lots of great options! (I might get the house chai again, though!)

unnamed-3.jpg

3) Acai Bowl at SunLife Organics

SunLife Organics is always a great spot to go to! They have acai bowls, smoothies, vegan snacks, etc. Most important though (to me) is this photo, the mother of all vegan photos, with the acai bowl, crystal, and BIRD! I hadn't planned this, the bird just knew it was in the prime location to steal food. I ate the rest in the car! But can you believe I snapped this photo? Should I just up and become a wildlife photographer? Might be time for a career change! I will entice you with my food....

unnamed-4.jpg

4) Clove Coffee Garden

What a great and instagrammable idea- a coffee shop that also sells lots of plants! This makes the decor especially fresh and beautiful, and the white decor plus green houseplants is a huge trend these days! I loved spending some time here, and the icing on the cake was this totally gangsta BEAR in my coffee! I am so into exploring coffee shops lately, and this was is a total gem! It's two stories, too! Coffee shops are such a blank canvas for the owners' creativity, and I'm loving the vibes here!

unnamed-7.jpg

5) Veggie Sandwich

Oh, here's just an example to show you that you can eat vegan anywhere!!! I took a job at a "marketing company," it turned out to be door-to-door sales!!! Turns out, I'm not so great at that, and it's HARD, so I'm looking for personal chef work now! Our sales work was in a not so great area of Santa Ana, and I stopped into this cute diner and they made a veggie sandwich for me! Turns out bread, mustard, and any veggies are all you need to make a delicious sandwich! Never would have thought to put olives like this on a sandwich, but hey! Why not? It's like pre-tapenade! Also, I just love those picnic tablecloths!

 

That's it for my March Food Roundup Part I, I hope you enjoyed reading this! Where have you been exploring lately? Any cute coffee shops I should know about? Let me know in the comments!

 

Xo,

Jess

February Food Roundup, Part II

My Food Roundups are including more going out meals lately, though I'm going to be cooking more, soon! Sometimes you need a little break, you know? I'm actually really excited because for the month of April, I'm going to be cooking from Vegan 101, a cookbook by cooking school Spork Foods! I will be posting on Instagram, both on my feed and some things just in my stories (if they don't come out too pretty), so you can expect a lot more home-cooked recipes in my food roundups soon. For now, here are some delish eats I tried in February!

 

Ice cream.jpg

1) Scoops Westside

Scoops Westside has both nonvegan and vegan options that change daily! You can see what the flavors of the day are on Twitter. I have to be honest- they don't always knock it out of the park for me! And I always seem to want ice cream on Sundays, which is the day they aren't open. I think from now on, I will stick with their Oreo flavors- they often make salty Oreo, Oreo mint, things like that. I do really appreciate that they make their ice cream so fresh, and that they keep things new and exciting! On this day I got the mint coffee and apricot chocolate flavors, and I didn't think they were the best I've had. Oreo next time!

Jackfruit slider.jpg

2) Jackfruit sliders by Anastasia Rivard at the Loss And Found screening

I'm so lucky that my comedian friend Ashley Baca thought to invite me to this screening! Jon Mancinetti created a short film about his experience fostering pitbulls, and had this event in the Palisades at a beautiful home, with catered vegan food, dog kissing booth, DJ, and more. I loved the jackfruit sliders, and big pot of chili with toppings bar. The film was sweet, the food was delicious, and if you know me at all, you know that I am my most happiest when I get to be in a beautiful home. The funniest part? My mom had invited me over for dinner that night, and I told her I was busy doing something else. Turns out, this event was down the street from her! So Ashley and I drove down the street for the "afterparty" at my mom's. Everyone loves my mom, so it was really great to bring Ashley over and all hang out.

 

Carrera Coffee.jpg

3) Matcha at Carrera Cafe

Carrera Cafe is an Instagrammer's paradise. Not only is it across the street from the famous pink Paul Smith wall, but it also has a has a wall that gets repainted with various murals, is super cute inside, and makes photos in the foam in your latte (but only if you use whole milk, unfortunately). They also sell Yvonne's Vegan Kitchen gluten-free cookies! This place has so much to offer, and is right in the middle of the action. Check out Carrera Cafe if you haven't already!

 

Fonuts.jpg

4) Fonuts at Carrera Cafe

Fonuts donuts, which has some vegan options, has a very sweet, moist, cakey donut. When I went to Carrera Cafe, I tried the vanilla cake one with sprinkles. Admittedly, Fonuts are not my favorite donuts in LA, but also admittedly, we are incredibly spoiled here, and these are still delicious! I really appreciate that they are offering their goods at coffee shops like this one- because who wouldn't want a vegan donut option wherever you go? I would definitely get this again at Carrera Cafe.

Ethiopian.jpg

5) Rahel's Ethiopian Vegan Cuisine

I LOVE me some Ethiopian food, so when I was asked to join Jane Velez-Mitchell and friends for a lunch and live show at Rahel's, I jumped at the chance! We filmed Jane's lunchbreakLIVE show, enjoyed a meal, and even had a traditional coffee ceremony! (Click here to read a blog post specifically about the coffee ceremony!). If you haven't tried Ethiopian food yet, it's a bit like Indian cuisine, but you use Injera bread, a spongy bread, with your hands, to pick up the food. Rahel's is bright, spacious, has a great buffet, and just makes you feel really healthy when you eat there. It's so cool to try vegan versions of different cuisines!

 

I hope you enjoyed this latest installment of food roundups, I'll be back soon with more since I'm a bit late on this one!

 

Xo,

 

Jess

February Food Roundup, Part I

Another month, another of eats so extensive that the roundup needs to be split up into 2 posts... but I'm certainly not complaining! I'm slightly concerned that my blog is simply food roundups, though I'm interested in writing about more alternative foods and forms of healing- something that really inspires me to put myself out there on social media, and to write more, is that it made me mad that I wasn't aware that all these alternative, and EFFECTIVE forms of healing weren't embraced by the mainstream and by doctors (and I sure as hell wasn't about to listen to a bunch of hippies, because what do they know, anyway??) So besides food, I'm really interested in writing about that a bit more. But if there's anything else you want to read about, please let me know! I will still always write about my food finds- it's just a part of who I am, I guess- but I'm also interested in learning about what you're interested in. So, without further adieu, here are my FEBRUARY EATS (Part I).

1 pizza.jpg

1) Cecconi's

If I'm on a date where someone starts taking photos of the food... you can bet that I'm going to start taking photos, too! Usually I don't want to be rude, but hey, I'll join in if someone does it first. This pizza at Cecconi's has to be one of my favorite pizzas in LA- I loved the cheese, tomatos, and brussels sprouts combo! I knew Cecconi's was a fancy hotspot in LA, but I didn't know that it would be a place that would have vegan options marked on the menu. And it has to be one of the best, prettiest date spots. Who wouldn't want to meet for pizzas and mimosas? That is one surefire way to win someone over... (Note: I'm finding that the online menus are not matching up with the restaurant menu).

2 banh mi.jpg

2) Beelman's

Let's just say Beelman's has been... an experience!! Nothing bad about Beelman's- the first time I went, they were about to have a private party, so my friend and I didn't get to eat there :(. The second time I went to Beelman's was really my mistake. I was trying to go to Smorgasburg, which has tons of vegan options on a Sunday- BUT I got there way late and all the vegan options had run out :(. I was STARVING, and it was Superbowl Sunday... though I'm NOT a fan of crowds, Beelman's Bar was the closest thing to me, so I braved the huge crowds at the bar, and brought a book like the antisocial hungry girl that I was, and made the best of it. I will have to come back during something more normal! The banh mi hot dog was really good, really just a vegan hotdog with banh mi stuff, who wouldn't like that? Beelman's has a lot of really innovative options, and I'm excited to come back and try more!

3 cake.jpg

3) Yvonne's Vegan Kitchen

Yvonne's Vegan Kitchen products have a special place in my heart... all her products are gluten-free, and she is truly the ONLY ONE that has mastered the gluten-free space (in my opinion)!!! You don't have to be vegan or gluten-free to be obsessed with her cakes or products- so GO FIND HER PRODUCTS NOW, they are in 40 locations in California!!! I highly recommend her cheese :) However, if you have a special occasion, like a birthday party or a wedding, she is also an incredible cake master flex! We were so lucky to have this cake for Mrs. Vegan's (Kristin's) birthday when she was back in town from St. Louis, and it was so great seeing the whole vegan crew.

 

4 coconut.jpg

4) How's this for a festive party idea?! For Mrs. Vegan's bday party, we were all given a fresh coconut upon arrival. Who doesn't love a fresh coconut?! With this view, it felt a bit like checking in to a tropical hotel. Another great idea she had was having the party Thai potluck style, so everyone brought their favorite Thai dishes. Great to make things easy on the host, plus Thai food is delish, right? I think it might be my favorite cuisine. I brought a Papaya Salad from The Vegan Joint restaurant near me.

5 coffee.jpg

5) Coffee Commissary

This cute coffee shop in Santa Monica was perfectly instagrammable! So many cute pink accents, open air, very trendy space! But- it was almost funny how loud it was! It had one or two walls completely open, and fire trucks kept driving by loudly! I don't know if there's a fire station next door, or if this was just a bad day, but... maybe come here with someone who takes good photos, who you don't want to talk to that much? Haha.

Hope you enjoyed Part I of my February Food Roundup. Please let me know your favorite finds so I can check them out!

 

Xo,

Jess

 

January Food Roundup, Part II

January was quite a foodie month for me! I was not cooking too much, but instead, trying new restaurants and going to parties with vegan food. Here's the rest of what I tucked into in January:

 

unnamed.jpg

1) Smith & Tait

Smith & Tait is a below-ground coffee shop that I've passed by so many times, but didn't know it was there because it's a bit hidden! I finally saw it when I was eating across the street at Locali- which I wrote about in my last post, and yes, it's worth a stop to both of these shops if you're at one or the other. Upon entering, you'll notice that this coffee shop is designed so well and is perfectly instagrammable. So much here is so creative and innovative- from the uplifting message at the doorstop, to the unique drinks- I got an oat milk cardamom butterscotch latte- to the flickering sign on the vintage tv designating the coffee pickup area. This is a local gem and I recommend checking it out! Do go early if you want to find street parking easily, which is my advice for anything, but particularly this area.

 

unnamed-1.jpg
unnamed-2.jpg

2) Vegan By Victoria Bakery

Vegan By Victoria has been on my radar for years now, but they are pretty far from where I live. I love the idea of trying authentic foods from different cultures, but I can be limited sometimes if no one has made the vegan versions yet. I didn't even know that there were such a thing as Mexican pastries- did you? Lucky for me, the fine people at Vegan By Victoria bakery have done the amazing work of veganizing traditional Mexican pastries like conchas (this shell above, which came in vanilla and chocolate flavors), and empanadas dulces, one filled with vanilla pudding and the other filled with pineapple. In addition, I believe they said they have vegan Mexican hot chocolate on Saturdays. Even though I'd never tried these pre-vegan, I brought these to a dinner with a couple of Mexican friends, and friends who have tried these before, and everyone said they tasted exactly like the nonvegan versions. I was hoping this would be more indulgent and donut-y, but it was more like a light bread with a sweet frosting.

 

unnamed-3.jpg

3) Vegan spread by Tulumba Mama

Though not necessarily a vegan caterer, Tulumba Mama pulled out all the stops for a vegan party to celebrate Katarina Van Derhams collaboration with LipSense for vegan liquid lipsticks! The "Glamour Garden" party had a DJ, red carpet, champagne, models, and of course, lots of fancy vegan food! This is, of course, such a treat to have such beautifully fancy vegan nibbles! As you can imagine, I tried a bit of everything. I went with my friend Lacey, and her husband. The nests were our favorite!

 

unnamed-4.jpg
unnamed-5.jpg
unnamed-6.jpg

Well this concludes January foodie adventures, stay tuned for February's! Hopefully, next time not so late! Keep me posted if there's anything or any place you think I should try.

 

Xo,

Jess

January Food Roundup, Part I

Hi Friends,

It's been some time since my last post! I've been working on some personal things (looking for a full-time sales job, and also creating a sleep/lounge/sweats line that I will show you soon!) and have just recently been so bursting with inspiration for the blog. I've also been wrestling with how I want to create and deliver content, because there is no right way to do things, you know?

One thing that has been really fun for me is doing these food roundups at the end of the month. Because I'm such a foodie, and I'm always learning new recipes and new things about food, I enjoy doing a summary so I can take you along on that journey with me. I hope you like this second installment of food roundups.

 

unnamed.jpeg

1) Hoppin' John Bowl with Red Hot Tahini

Hoppin' John is a southern new year's dish, thought to bring luck and prosperity, so I thought I'd start 2018 on a positive and delicious note by finally trying this dish, which I found on Isa Chandra's website (linked above). This recipe is worth it for the sauce alone, but the entire dish is so healthy and tasty, you'll definitely want to make the whole thing. My non-vegan housemates even said they wanted to make it once a week, and they haven't, so it's time for me to give them a little nudge.

 

IMG_3105.jpg

2) Orange Cornbread Waffles

These waffles are from the book "Vegan Diner" by Julie Hasson. I was hoping to have a more orange-y or cornbread-y taste with this one, but it just tasted like plain, delicious waffles. Nevertheless, a good recipe! The cornbread recipe from this book is perfect and is my go-to, so I will continue to try other recipes from here.

 

IMG_3106.jpg

3) Frozen Fruit Co.

Sure, this is a January roundup, but with our 80+ degree heat wave, and Frozen Fruit Co. offering a new special in a coconut bowl, this is something perfect for the LA lifestyle. The best part about their ice cream? It is entirely made of fruit- no sugar added! So you can feel good about this, too. I loved the pina colada flavor, but ended up getting the passionfruit flavor, with strawberry, coconut flakes, and pitaya powder. The pitaya powder is that purple stuff- isn't that interesting, and great for making food pretty? I thought this was such a great idea, and would be great in applications to color food purple. You get to bring the coconut bowl home, btw.

 

IMG_3107.jpg

4. Locali, Georgia Blonde Sandwich

Locali does not disappoint. This Georgia Blonde sandwich (made vegan) has vegan turkey, swiss, red cabbage slaw, thousand island, creamy dill dressing, and stone ground mustard, on sourdough. Be sure to specify vegan, since they do use animal meat. While this was beautiful and delicious, I think it's my least favorite thing I've gotten here (which is saying a lot, because this was really delicious!) I'd be more likely to check out the rest of the menu, or get repeats of some things I loved, like the Reuben, breakfast sandwich, and/or the sweet potato chili (Reuben and sweet potato chili combination is just perfect). I could eat here like this every day! Oh, and it's across the street from a really cute coffee shop, Smith + Tait, which I'll talk about next.

Hope you enjoyed seeing some of my recent foodie adventures... what new recipes or restaurants have you discovered lately?

 

Xo,

Jess

 

 

 

 

December Food Roundup

Well, it's been quite a long time since I've written a blog post, and I was going to skip over December- but then I looked back, and saw there were some foods reeeeaaallyy worth sharing. Keep in mind I'm going to try to share only the best of the best with you! I know we're out of the holiday season already, but I hope you still appreciate these foodie adventures with me.

-6.jpg

 

1) Mushroom Toast from Lodge Bread Co.

If it's possible for a bread place to be really cool, this place is it. Lodge Bread Co. is really unique, there's a bit of a hipster vibe, and has an interesting selecting of sandwiches, salads, toasts, and coffee. I had been here before for the avocado toast, which had been beautifully garnished with bright pink watermelon radishes, but the menu had changed, so I tried something new. I decided on the mushroom toast, which was on a particularly long piece of bread, with mushrooms, onion jam, dandelion, and fresh herbs. Have you ever seen a more beautiful toast??? It looks like a log in the forest! I don't necessarily really crave this place, but having a special toast is a great place to come and have a hearty snack, if you are over on this side of town between meals. And it's such a quirky touch that the mugs say "fuck it" on them, surrounded by pretty flourishes. The mugs are available for purchase here, too. Lodge Bread Co. clearly brings the creativity when it comes to ingredients, and presentation, which makes them stand out as more than a bakery.

 

-1.jpg

 

2) Snowball Cookies from Chloe's Vegan Desserts

You know when you try a random lowkey recipe from a cookbook, and it ends up being an incredible standout? This was one of them! These snowball cookies with chocolate chips tasted like a cross between a cookie and a scone- and they called for chocolate chips, but I had MINI chocolate chips on hand, which I think was a good call. The only thing I messed up was, these were topped with powdered sugar, and I brought them to a Christmas party, so the saran wrap kinda brought in some moisture? I don't know, they didn't look as pretty and snowy when I brought it there, so just make these at your house and don't bring them anywhere, okay? Invite your friends over for these superstar cookies.

 

-2.jpg

 

3) Small bites from Crossroads catering

I sure do love some fancy vegan food! My friend Kim hosted a shopping event at Theory in West Hollywood, and it was catered by Crossroads! Crossroads was made by celebrity chef Tal Ronnen, who was a personal chef to Ellen and Portia, and also made a lot of vegan menus for the Wynn hotels. The restaurant continues to grow on me more and more, and after these delightful bites, I went home and ordered the cookbook on Amazon (specifically, the top right faux crab cake sold me on the book). Anyone wanna help me cook some fancy vegan dishes?

 

 

-3.jpg

 

4) Awash Ethiopian

Imagine my surprise to read a blog post by Elana of Klean Slate, and she says that even though Awash just has one vegan dish, it's the best vegan Ethiopian in the whole city. Hmmm... I had to investigate. Since I did, Awash has been my go-to Ethiopian food- and may even be one of my favorite foods in the world! This time, I brought my mom, who I thought would love it, because she loves Indian food. And she did! I thought it was particularly festive looking because it's shaped like a wreath. My mom didn't want to fill up on injera bread, but she loved trying Ethiopian food, and I had leftovers for 3-4 more meals. It's fun going out and eating with your hands!

 

 

-4.jpg

 

5) Sweater Weather Coffee from Javatinis

Now, is that a cute AF name for a coffee, or what?! A friend of mind hasn't been in a good place lately, and I had been stressing out, so I picked her up and we went to the Huntington Gardens together- which by the way, were so incredibly beautiful, everyone HAS to go there!!! On the way back, my car charger wasn't working, so I had to stop somewhere to use my wall charger. I picked Javatinis right before my phone died, and spent some time relaxing in here, enjoying the ambiance from the Christmas tree, and sipping this Sweater Weather Coffee- which they call a "hug in a cup," and was a coffee with vanilla, salted caramel, and cinnamon brown sugar. Definitely has all the right flavors in it, don't you think?

 

 

-5.jpg

 

6) Pumpkin French Toast

Well, here it is: the best french toast I've ever had in my whole life- and the recipe is online! I rarely make french toast, because I tend to think of it as overly sweet, but these may have changed all that. Yes, of course, these are very sweet, but they are so good that they are going to make me eat french toast more! I got the bread fresh at the bakery at Eataly- I went to the mall early in the morning to avoid the crowds, bought some bread, imported jam (holy moly their jam is good!), and espresso, and ate a delicious little Italian breakfast (I had googled what an authentic Italian breakfast is, and apparently one is toast, jam, and coffee). Miraculously, I still had bread later to make some toast. I had asked the bakery to just slice half of the loaf, so I had half for toast, and half for thick cut french toast pieces that I later cut myself. Will definitely have to do this again!

I hope you like reading my monthly food roundups. If you have any suggestions for me to try, I am always interested! Did you have any great holiday foodie finds this year?

Xo,

Jess

November Food Roundup, Part II

Welcome to the second part of this food roundup series! I hope you are enjoying it as much as I am, writing it. Let's get right in to some food finds of the month. It's a tough job, but someone's gotta do it!

 

Hash.jpg

1) Oprah's hash

With Oprah's annual release of her Favorites list, I was thinking about how I had never tried her cookbook before! A savory hash is a delicious breakfast, or dinner, in my opinion, and this one was pretty great!  I veganized it by using a vegan sausage, Field Roast Apple Sage sausage, which is a vegan faux meat favorite (I've always thought vegan sausage tastes worlds better than animal sausage). This was really tasty, but there is a restaurant in Los Angeles called Blu Jam Cafe that makes the best hash, and I don't think this measured up to that one.

 

Pecan Bars.jpg

2) Life-changing Pecan Bars by Chloe Coscarelli

This may be the best thing I've ever baked- it's so good, I may have to rethink calling myself a chocolate person! I'm a huge fan of Chloe Coscarelli- her recipes are simple, and out of this world, and pretty much always deliver. These pecan bars were no exception. Everyone I've given them to has raved about them. I cannot recommend Chloe's cookbooks enough! This is from her desserts cookbook.

 

Fala.jpg

3) Fala Bar kale burger

What a delicious, beautiful sandwich- and only $8.00! (In LA, something like this could easily sell for more). This was my first time at Fala Bar, at the Melrose location, which is really a hole in the wall, and they told me this kale burger is one of their most popular items. The Venice one is supposedly much bigger with more option, and is really photogenic, including a neon sign that says "No Fake Sh*t." This is one of my new favorite sandwiches in LA, even though I'm not the biggest fan of falafel. Note that layer of avocado! I'm excited to check out the options at the Venice location. I believe it's completely vegan!

 

Pizza.jpg

4) Marinara Pizza at the new Eataly

It feels like this is my first time trying a pizza, considering how different this Napoletana pizza is from anything else I've ever tried. The pizza was chewy and doughy like fresh pita bread, and the sauce was so fresh tasting. I was concerned there was only a little basil and garlic, but this was a dish where simple is perfect because the dough and sauce are so well done on their own. This was located in the new Eataly, which is a very beautiful and romantic Italian type cafeteria and shop! There is beautiful fresh produce, different stations like pizza, pasta, sandwiches, espresso, etc, and a shop with Italian sodas, pasta, etc. My Italian American chef friend Leslie Durso said this was the best pizza she's ever had in LA, and I agree with her. Run, don't walk, to the new Eataly! I don't think you'll be able to avoid the crowds, this is a serious hot spot at the moment!

Please let me know your food finds if you have any great ones, I'm always looking for new recipes, restaurants, and products!

 

Hope you have a great start to your December!

November Food Roundup, Part I

I am constantly discovering new recipes, restaurants, and learning new things about food: so much, that it is worth doing an end-of-the-month roundup to write about my experiences. And in this case, a two-part roundup (I have a feeling there will be many of these). If you want to be the first to learn about my foodie adventures as they happen- by all means, follow my Instagram account- but to read all about the food in one place, you’re in the right place.

Sush.jpg

1)  A Whole Foods sushi platter for our boating adventure

It’s not every day that you get to go whale watching with a group of vegan girlfriends. Luckily, my friend Jeanette of Basic Vegan Bitch/Babe invited a few of us to go out in Marina Del Rey on the Wednesday of her birthday. Not bad for a weekday! It was the middle of the afternoon, and we had the perfect snacks:

a giant sushi platter from Whole Foods, sticking with the ocean theme

hummus quartet and pita chips

chocolate peanut butter cups

Water, beer, and juice

Though we didn’t see any whales, we did see lots of dolphins, and I had a great time with some of my girlfriends! What a treat. I thought lots of these snacks would be great for a picnic, and trip to the beach, as well.

 

Tgiving.jpg

2) Farm Sanctuary Thanksgiving Platter

Around Thanksgiving, animal shelters may have events honoring the turkeys. Some friends and I attended the event where we had a delicious meal, listened to some presentations about their work, and were able to interact with the animals. Their Thanksgiving meal had a really homemade touch, and felt like it was made with love.

Turkey sandwich- yes, you can make a turkey sandwich using substitute turkey. It was made more visually interesting on marbled bread, and the addition of thinly sliced apples, and red onions, were delicious.

Store-bought samosa- easy side dish!

Kale salad- this was so well done, it was my favorite part! The crunchy and beautiful purple cabbage, the garbanzo beans, roasted squash, and cranberries, made this a favorite among my firneds.

Cupcake- delicious! Made especially pretty with special piping. Have you ever tried piping before? It’s really just squeezing frosting out of a bag, and makes an extra special touch.

With hot apple cider for guests, on the crisp fall day, it was a wonderful event to celebrate the turkeys.

 

Coffee.jpg

3) The cutest coffee I ever did see

Comoncy in Beverly Hills is a small, but very sweet café with delicious food and coffee! The salads and avocado toasts are beautifully garnished with watermelon radish, which is a vibrant pink and green and looks like a watermelon. Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to get a good enough photo- my family was hangry and sometimes it takes me a while to get a shot, so I understand. I am extremely particular when it comes to coffee, and I was especially delighted that this coffee was as delicious as it was cute! This is a great spot for a quick bite and I will be back. Have a seat and enjoy your coffee- but try to avoid coming during busy hours, the word is clearly out that this place has delicious, beautiful food.

 

Donut.jpg

4) Trejos Donuts

There are a lot of delicious donuts in LA, and I love each and every one of them- they are truly unique and special in their own ways. But I crave these ones. Let me tell you how good these donuts are: you know that bloggers will often take multiple photos at one meal, or in one outing, in order to have more content? I came to Trejos Donuts on a Sunday, got a craving and came back at the end of the week, and was hoping my followers would assume that I was just getting multiple content on one day, rather than someone who keeps coming back to the donut shop. When you hope people find the truth about you… there might be a problem! These donuts remind me of the old-fashioned style- with a very sugary crunch exterior that I personally love. There are usually around 5 vegan options, and they offer some seasonal flavors, so follow on Instagram to keep up to date. Oh, and they also have a donut happy hour at the end of the day, offering ½ price donuts. Resistance is futile!

I hope you enjoyed this new type of food roundup blog. More great food to come in Part II!