Friday, December 26, 2008

2009 - A Year of Health And Wealth


2008 was a rough year peppered with some great and hopeful events. Such events will help propel some wonderful new things for all of us so I wanted to wish you all a very happy and positive new year so that we all start off on the right foot!

Also with the new year will come new cities and postings as well as the new Healthy Voyager website! It will feature new episodes of the web show, archives of postings of cities all over the world for easier access, recipes, travel and green home tips, ways to contact and interact with the Healthy Voyager, shopping and of course, the updated blog and photos.

We come back mid January with new posts and keep your eyes peeled for the new and improved HealthyVoyager.com !!

Here's hoping you had a spectacular holiday season and I wish you a very healthy, wealthy and happy new year!!!
xoxo

Friday, December 5, 2008

Wishing You Healthy Holidays And An Excellent 2009!!

The holiday season has officially arrived and all the comes with it is in full swing. From the shopping to the tv specials to the smorgasboard of sugary and savory treats, this time of year is a time to let the worries of '08 slip away and enjoy our friends and family. As 2009 quickly approaches, many breathe a sigh of relief in hopes that this year brings us new opportunities and washes away some of the difficulties many endured this last trip around the sun. As I head off to spend the holidays and next month with family, my last post of 2008 will be one of sentiment and a few gifts ; )

I've complied some tips that may help to make this holiday season happy, eco-friendly, budget concious and stress free for you and yours. No matter what, remember to enjoy the season as the love and cheer during the holidays should be cherished. In fact, try to harness it this year and bring it in to 2009 ; )

  • If you are traveling over the holidays, make sure you "know before you go". Planning ahead is key to stress free holiday travel from researching the town you will be visiting for restaurants, markets, hotels, etc. Spending a little time on the computer at home will save you valuable time that you could be enjoying your short vacation this winter. Check out my Healthy Voyager archives for cities all over the world and where to dine as well as past holiday tips!
  • There are many ways to give this holiday season from volunteering at a shelter, a soup kitchen or donating your unused items such as clothing, housewares and electronics. There are many programs where you can drop off such items and receive a tax write off and sometimes a bit of extra spending cash. This time of year there are many added drop off locations for Goodwill and Salvation Army as well as opportunities to give gifts and food to needy children and families like Toys for Tots and many more. Staples allows you to drop off that old phone at any of their stores, as part of the Sierra Club cell phone recycling program. Recycling your old phone prevents hazardous elements like mercury, cadmium and lead from ending up in our landfills.
  • Make your own decorations and wrapping paper! With a few simple supplies and a little imagination, you can make great eco-friendly decorations and have a lot of fun in the process. Colored construction paper can be cut or folded into simple decorations, which is great to do with the little ones in your family. Baker’s clay, made from common kitchen ingredients, can be shaped and molded into holiday figures and colored with non-toxic paints or food coloring. In addition, try wrapping presents with old maps, the comics section of a newspaper, or children's artwork. If every family wrapped just three gifts this way, it would save enough paper to cover 45,000 football fields! Later, the paper can be recycled ; )
  • Buy energy saving LED lights! Now you can decorate your house with LED lights that use 90 percent less energy than conventional holiday lights, and can save your family up to $50 on your energy bills during the holiday season! LED lights are available at many major retailers as well as online.
  • Give and/or make green gifts! It is the thought that counts but it's also great to give smart. Make sure you are not buying/making something that will end up in the trash. There are many green holiday gift guides on the internet so it shouldn't be hard to find some good stuff. Really asses what your "giftee" needs or could use. If you are short on cash, make gift certificates and offer up services like babysitting for the new parents on your list or a home cooked meal for a neighbor. Baking and sharing your sweets is always welcomed especially when your treats are healthy ; )

And speaking of baking and holiday treats, here are some of my favorites:


Mexican Wedding Cakes

  • 1 cup soy margarine
  • 1/2 cup powered sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 2 cups flour
  • 1/2 cup pecans, finely chopped
  • Powdered sugar
Preheat oven to 325 degrees.

Cream margarine, the 1/2 cup powdered sugar and vanilla in medium bowl. Combine flour and pecans in a separate bowl. Stir into mixture in medium bowl. Shape dough into 1 inch balls and place on ungreased baking sheet.

Bake in 325 degree oven for 20 to 25 minutes until lightly browned.

Roll warm cookies in powdered sugar; cool on wire rack. Roll again in powdered sugar.

Candy Cane Shaped Cookies
  • 2 1/2 cup flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup margarine
  • 1 cup powered sugar
  • Substitute equivalent of 1 egg
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon peppermint extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon liquid red food coloring
Pre-heat oven to 350° F.

Mix flour and salt together, set aside.

In a large bowl, with an electric mixer, beat margarine until creamy, gradually beat in powered sugar and continue beating until light and fluffy. Beat in egg replacer, vanilla, and peppermint extracts then lower mixer speed and gradually mix in the flour mixture, beating just until blended. Remove slightly more than half of the dough from the bowl and set aside. Add the red food coloring to the remaining dough and beat until evenly mixed and colored.

For each candy cane, scoop out 1 teaspoonful of the plain dough and 1 teaspoonful of pink dough. Roll each dough portion between your hands to make a 4 inch rope. Twist the ropes around each other like a Barber Pole and shape into a cane shape. Arrange cookies on a greased baking sheet, about 1 inch apart. Bake for about 8 minutes until firm to the touch.

Eggless Nog
  • 1 16-ounce package of silken tofu
  • 1 cup soy vanilla soy milk
  • 1/4 cup sweetener
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
  • Pinch of cinnamon
  • Rum to taste (optional)
Blend all in a blender until smooth - Chill and serve.

Also check out last year's holiday post for more recipes:

http://healthyvoyager.blogspot.com/2007/12/holiday-treats.html

I wish you a very happy and healthy holiday season as well as a prosperous and hopeful new year. See you mid-January 2009!!!

xoxoxo


Monday, November 24, 2008

Many Reasons to Give Thanks

On this special Monday edition of the Healthy Voyager, I want to share with you some healthy tips and anecdotes to kick off the holiday season. It has been a tumultuous year for many however there is always something to give thanks for and our health is just one of those things. Here are a few things that can keep us counting our blessings as well as a few treats to celebrate them!
  • Reduce, Reuse, Recycle - Reduce the amount of waste you produce by buying only as much as you need and choosing products that come in packaging that can be recycled. Carry reusable bags when you do your shopping, and use cloth napkins that can be washed and used again. Be sure to recycle all paper and plastic, glass and aluminum containers. If you don’t already have a compost bin, use your Thanksgiving fruit and vegetable trimmings to start one. The compost will enrich the soil in your garden next spring.

  • Buy and eat locally grown food - Locally grown food is good for your table, your health and the environment. Locally grown food tastes better than food that has to be grown and packaged for maximum shelf life, and it requires less fuel to reach store shelves. Locally grown food also contributes more to your local economy, supporting local farmers as well as local merchants. Also, using only organic food for your feast is another good eco-friendly Thanksgiving strategy. Organic fruits, vegetables and grains are grown without chemical pesticides and fertilizers; organic meat is produced without antibiotics and artificial hormones. The result is food that is better for your health and good for the environment. Organic farming also produces higher yields, increases soil fertility, prevents erosion, and is more cost-effective for farmers.

  • Travel Smart - If you must go "over the river and through the woods", there are still ways to have an eco-friendly Thanksgiving. If you drive, use less fuel and lower your emissions by making sure your car is in good working order and your tires are properly inflated. If possible, carpool to reduce the number of cars on the road. If you fly, consider purchasing carbon credits to offset your portion of the carbon dioxide emissions generated by your flight. A typical long-haul flight produces nearly four tons of carbon dioxide.

  • Plant a Tree - Trees absorb carbon dioxide. Planting one tree may not seem to matter much in the face of global climate change, but small things do matter. In one year, the average tree absorbs roughly 26 pounds of carbon dioxide and returns enough oxygen to supply a family of four.

  • Make it a Spiritual Day - The Pilgrims who celebrated the first Thanksgiving fled religious persecution in Europe to seek a better life in America. The Thanksgiving holiday was established to provide a national day of thanksgiving for all Americans. Even if you follow no particular religion, however, Thanksgiving is a good time to count your blessings, beginning with the many ways the natural environment sustains and enriches our lives. As part of your eco-friendly Thanksgiving, make time for prayer, meditation, reflection, or perhaps just a walk in the woods to contemplate and give thanks for the wonders of nature.

  • Say Thank You - Whatever else you do on Thanksgiving, make it a time to say thank you to the people in your life who matter most and, if possible, to spend time in their company. Life is short, it is the moments that count most, and many of the best moments in life are those spent with friends and family. If distance or circumstances prevent you from spending Thanksgiving with some of the people you love, call, email or write them a letter (on recycled paper!!) to tell them why they mean so much to you and they make your world a better place.

And try some of these extra yummy dishes at your Thanksgiving feast:

SAGE AND ONION CORNBREAD STUFFING

  • 1 T. olive oil
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 1 c. celery and tops, chopped
  • 3/4 lb. cornbread cubes
  • 1 and 1/2 c. vegetarian broth
  • 1/2 tsp. EACH of sage, thyme, savory and dried rosemary
  • salt and freshly-ground black pepper (you won't need salt if the broth is salted)
  • Saute the onion and celery in a large lightly-oiled or non-stick frying pan in the oil until softened, adding a little broth if necessary to keep from sticking. Remove from heat and add the remaining stuffing ingredients. The bread should be moist. Mix well. Grease loaf or tube pans, or a casserole dish, with Asian sesame oil. Pack in the stuffing. Brush with more sesame oil. Cover with foil. Bake at 325-375 degrees for about 1 hour.

Sweet Potato Pie

  • 3 large sweet potatoes
  • 3 tablespoons oil or non-dairy margarine
  • 1/2 cup hot soy milk
  • egg replacer equivalent to 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup fructose
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1 unbaked vegan pie crust

Steam the sweet potatoes until tender, then peel and mash.

Preheat the oven to 350°F.

Place the oil in the hot soymilk, and add to the sweet potatoes. Beat until soft and creamy.

Add the beaten egg replacer, fructose, sea salt, vanilla, and nutmeg to the sweet potato mixture, and mix well.

Pour the filling into the crust, and bake for 30 minutes.

Check out last year's Thanksgiving post for more vegan recipes. Happy Thanksgiving!!!!

xoxoxo

Friday, November 21, 2008

Back To British Columbia

Eating like a piggles in Vancouver has turned me inside out!! So much yumminess in one town means I could not cram it into one post. I'm tickled to report that even the Starbucks up here offer vegan desserts!! It's to much to take!!!

I'm not a big raw foodie but I thought I'd mention Gorilla Food for my raw buddies. I will say that they did have a ton of options that would satisfy the hungriest of people and it was quite good. Gorilla Food has an innovative menu that features goodies like chocolate fudge, collard wraps and soup!!
They are definitely worth a visit ; )

One of my favorite places I found was Burgoo, an international, comfort food joint. I love the silly name and I LOVE their "vegitteranean" sandwich and dipping it into their ridockulous tomato soup hit the spot in the chilly weather. Just walking in, the delicious aromas just about knock you over and apparently their brunch is of the chain! Look them up as they have a few locations at Burgoo.

For a shi-shi, romantic meal, head back towards Kitsilano Beach and visit Lumiere. Wicked nice and devilishy delicious, Lumiere is sure to satisfy. Their gourmet menu is sheer artistry as they feature 4 pre-fix menu options, their vegetarian line up is devine. Definitley have deep pockets and an appetite for delicate presentations however, it is absolutely a great place to celebrate special occassions.

If you wanna chill, then you have to Chill Winston ; ) By the bay, this lounge and eatery lives up to its name. Great for a few drinks and sure to please anyone in your party, Chill Winston is the bomb! I was overjoyed with their innovative vegan options as they were filling and full of creatove flavors. While my counterparts enjoyed carpaccio, I chowed on a sesame rice bowl with tempeh steak and a glass o' red ; )

There is still so much to cover but I will be back in the nation to our north soon enough to report on some more Canadian delights!

Friday, November 14, 2008

Vancouver Vittles!

Vancouver, B.C. is a great city just minutes across the US/Canadian border. By air or by road, it's a must to visit this hip town with beautiful greenery, a great "scene" and some awesome eats. For vegans and other health nuts, it's a tasty mecca filled with delicious options. From Van to Victoria, you won't be left hungry!

For a yummy lunch, Wild Rice is a great option for food as well as for eye candy as the decor is way chic! For veggies, they offer organic tofu as a substitute for most dishes. I had the chinatown sweep which was bbq tofu with stir fry chow mein, prrrrr. I split some veggie spring rolls while my mates chowed on some seafood. It's a cool place with options for all, check it out online at Wild Rice.

If you have a hankering for some kickin' Indian/Mediterranean/Moroccan, Sanafir is the place. It "gorg" as well as "delish". Green eaters need not have to worry as their veggie dishes are fantabulous! I'm a wus so I chose the non-spicy Thai veggie salad and split some naan and garlic hummus with my honey. Join Vancouver's hottest people for some "haute" dining at Sanafir.

One of my Vancouver staples is The Naam in Kitsilano Beach. For any meal, Naam never disappoints. Their breakfasts are hearty and flavorful and have A TON of vegan options so you're not left with some dry toast and oj ; ) Their lunch and dinner menu is chock full of stuff like burritos and nachos to healthy rice bowls and salads. Super rustic and cozy, Naam hosts all kinds of things like live music and artists diplaying their masterpieces.

New since last I visited B.C. is Sweet Cherubim. And man oh man is is good!!! It is so cute and the food is sooooo good that I went back a number of times and always stocked up on things to go. They are a veggie deli and bakery and everything is great! You can everything from the usual veggie burger and sandwich to Indian Samosas and Greek Mousaka. Fresh squeezed juices and homemade desserts, I could go on and on and I'm getting hungry just thinking about it! Salivate while scoping out the menu at Sweet Cherubim.

I'm not done yet so join me next week as I chat up some more Vancouver area eateries, eh?



Monday, November 3, 2008

Vote! Vote! Vote! It's Good For You!!

This is a special Monday edition of the Healthy Voyager! Since tomorrow is such a big day for our nation, I thought I would send out some healthy advice earlier in the week ; ) No matter if you're a donkey or an elephant, exercising your right to vote is your gift to America so tomorrow, get out there and give, give, give!! Let's get America healthy again!!

I've got some great, hearty, American recipes to get you all hyped up and feeling patriotic (also great on these chilly Autumn nights!!) As for all my non-US readers, these are still some darn good recipes!!:

Veggie Pot Pie

3 stalks celery, chopped
1/2 an onion, chopped
3 carrots, chopped
3 tbsp vegan margarine
1/2 C flour
2 cups of vegetable broth
1 C plain soy milk
1 tsp salt
1 tsp pepper
3/4 C frozen peas

Saute celery, onions, and carrots in butter for 10 minutes. Add the flour, stirring constantly for 1 minute. Add broth and milk to mixture while stirring constantly. Cook over medium heat until bubbly then stir in the peas, salt, and pepper. Pour mixture into a 2 qt casserole dish and top with crust. Bake at 375 F for 30-45 minutes

All American Apple Pie

Crust:
2 ½ cups white flour
½ t. salt
3 T. sugar
½ cup vegan margarine
2 T. vegan cream cheese
½ cup ice cold water
Filling:
3 cups chopped apples (about 4 ½ pounds)
¼ cup fresh lemon juice
½ cup brown sugar
½ t. ground cinnamon
¼ t. ground nutmeg
¼ t salt
1 T. corn starch
1 T. soymilk, for brushing
2 T. sugar, for sprinkling

1. Make the Crust. Combine the flour, salt and sugar in a food processor until well mixed. Add in the soy margarine and dairy-free cream cheese and process until the mixture resembles fine crumbs. With the machine still running, add the water gradually until the mixture just holds together and pulls away from the sides of the bowl. On a lightly floured surface, divide the dough in half and shape each into a disc. Wrap each disc in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 1 hour.
2. Preheat the oven to 375 F. Lightly oil a 9” pie plate and set aside.
3. Remove one of the discs from the refrigerator and roll out until about ¼” thick. Place in the prepared pie plate, allowing 1” of dough to hang over the edges. Refrigerate, uncovered, for 30 minutes.
4. Meanwhile, make the filling. In a large mixing bowl, toss the apples with the lemon juice, brown sugar, spices and salt. Combine the cornstarch with a small amount of water, mixing to dissolve, and add this to the apples.
5. Place the filling in the prepared pie plate. Roll out the remaining disc to ¼” thick and place on top of the filling. Crimp the edges with the edges of the bottom dough, trimming any excess. Lightly brush the top crust with the soymilk and sprinkle with the sugar. Bake for 45-50 minutes, or until golden brown. Serve warm or cold.

Hot Buttered Cider (alcoholic but remove Rum and it's kid friendly)

7 cups Apple cider OR apple juice
1/3 cup Brown sugar, packed
4 stick cinnamon
1 teaspoon Whole allspice
1 teaspoon Whole cloves
1 Lemon peel, cut into strips
1 1/2 cups Rum
Vegan margarine
Thin apple slices

Combine apple cider or apple juice and brown sugar in a large saucepan. For spice bag, tie cinnamon, allspice, cloves, and lemon peel in a 7 inch square of 100 percent cotton cheesecloth. Add spice bag to cider mixture. Bring cider mixture to boiling. Reduce heat and simmer, covered, for 15 minutes. Remove and discard spice bag. Stir in rum. Pour cider mixture into mugs. Float about 1/2 tsp margarine on each. Top each serving with one or two thin apple slices. Makes about 10 (6-oz) servings.

Eat up and then get out and vote!!

Friday, October 31, 2008

A Hauntingly Good Halloween!!

That's Dan and I replicating the famous Time Magazine photo last Hallows Eve ; ) This year we're picking another famous duo and it's a bit more Halloween themed! If you're like us, you live for the chillier nights, trees changing color and all of the clues that ring in the beginning of the holiday season. I happen to adore the season opener, Halloween!!! Here are a few tips and ideas for all of you healthy halloweeners:
  • Make your own costumes. Each year Dan & I raid local thrift stores and put together our costumes by just recycling people's discarded clothes. We not only get great inspiration but we save a lot of moola by not buying pre-packaged costumes. If you or a friend has a sewing machine, you can alter and embellish the garments for a unique disguise. Plus you can avoid hearing, "OMG, we're wearing the same costume" at any spooky festivities!
  • Use reusable cloth or canvas bags for trick or treating. You can wash them if their is any chocolate meltage and they won't tear or break saving you from disappointed little goblins ; ) Even better, personalize the bag and designate it as their personal trick or treat bag to use every year!
  • Environmentally conscious Halloweenites may want to bring along an extra bag for trash. Many excited little ghouls may leave behind wrappers and half eaten treats. Be a good witch and pick up what you see along your evening and make up for the naughty little gremlins ; )
  • Practice what you preach and hand out healthy Halloween treats like what they sell at Cosmo's Vegan Shoppe and Vegan Essentials.
  • If you are hosting a party, make it green:
  1. Feature organic, locally grown pumpkins for carving, apples for bobbing, and other pesticide-free, harvest season foods. Make sure you save the leftover apples and pumpkins to use in pies, soups, or other dishes.
  2. Use dishes, cutlery, napkins and tablecloths that can be washed and reused instead of disposable plastic and paper tableware. Also, look into potato or corn based disposables if you cannot accommodate the party with your personal dishes.
  3. Use recycled and recyclable materials to create your Halloween decorations. Bed sheets hung from the ceiling or tree branches make great ghosts, for example, and can be taken down, laundered, and returned to the linen closet when Halloween is over.
  • And try this delicious, vegan treat to have at your party. It will be a scream!!:
Vegan Chocolate Pumpkin Pie
1/2 pound firm or extra firm tofu, pressed
1 15 ounce can pumpkin
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup maple syrup
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 cup cocoa
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground cloves
2 tbsp soy milk
1 pre-made pie crust

Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees. Process all ingredients in a blender or food processor until smooth and creamy, adding more soy milk if needed. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes, or until set. Serve with a dollop of soy whipped cream if desired.

The Glowing Gecko (alcoholic beverage)
1 ounce Midori melon liqueur
1/2 ounce organic vodka
1/2 ounce organic rum
1/2 ounce Rose's lime juice
1 ounce prepared sweet-and-sour mix

Combine ingredients with ice in a shaker. Shake and strain.
Serve over ice in a martini glass.

Have a happy and safe Halloween!!!!

Friday, October 24, 2008

Scrumptious Sacramento

Initially we were in town to have dinner with the governator but we flaked on him to sight see on our own ; ) Well the sight seeing on our own part is true! Anyhoo, I would expect that the state capital city Governor Muscle calls home would cater to a healthy audience and I was soooo right!!

I opted out of my away from home treat, Starbucks, and walked into Chicory. I've always like the smell and taste of Chicory over coffee but it's availability is close to nil in most coffee houses. I was so excited for my soy chicory latte and my fresh veggie sandwich that instead of taking it on the run so Dan could go sketch the Capitol, I let him go while I enjoyed in inside their cute establishment. Definitely worth a stop if you're in town, Chicory is a great alternative to the competitive conglomerates ; )

After Dan's sketch we walked around downtown and came upon The Park. It's a cool area with bars, clubs and chic restaurants that included Ma Jong's Asian Diner so we decided we'd eat there. It was way cool inside and I am always happy when brown rice is offered! I ordered it in my garlic tofu rice bowl and it melted me ; ) I'm sure the place hops on a weekend and you can stroll over to one of their trendy clubs afterwards. Check out the Ma Jong's and The Park online.

For our last meal we looked around and decided on Cafe Bernardo's Midtown. I liked the look and style of the place and figured the food would be tasty based on their good taste ; ) We shared a nice sized salad and I scarfed a killer portobello mushroom sandwich (sans the mayo, sub balsamic, YUM!). Bernardo was casual and tasty and just what we needed before we headed back to LA. They have 3 locations and serve breakfast, lunch and dinner ; )

Sacramento is hip and becoming chic-er by the day. I look forward to my next visit to sink my teeth into some more sweet and savory meals!

Friday, October 17, 2008

Lovin' Lake Tahoe

I love mountain towns but Tahoe is more like a mountain city! With booming casinos, a ginormous lake for a multitude of water activities, and scenic views to die for, one could spend many happy days here. I must say that all of that stuff is great and the mountainous feeding frenzy is just as satisfying!

We stayed at the super cute Zephyr Cove Lodge in South Lake Tahoe. The weather was phenomenal so we had our morning meal the the lodge's restaurant. Sitting on the patio that overlooks the lake was quite nice as was the brisk mountain air. And the food wasn't half bad either!! I had some hearty oatmeal with a nice bowl of fruit as well as some fresh squeezed oj while Dan had his own concoction of breakfast heaven ; ) The lodge is typical Tahoe, look into the Zephyr Cove Lodge for your next jaunt up the mountain.

We hung out and drove shore side through South Tahoe, stopping for photos and assorted tourist stuff. We wandered into the Naked Fish as a light lunch sounded nice. I was going to go for my usual veggie roll but the names on the maki list made me giggle so I ordered the Fun Guy and Shitake Happens rolls! They were quite good as was the delish miso and tofu soup. Dan's not much of a sushi guy and they had some nicely portioned cooked meals for him ; ) I highly recommend the Naked Fish for good, light, healthy food and a few laughs ; )

Now, after an afternoon of running around in the thin mountain air, I had an appetite something fierce. And what better way to fill my empty tummy then with some carby Italian!! And Tep's hit the spot like you wouldn't believe. First of all, I loved the small town Italian restaurant feel of it. It felt a bit time warpish but it was oh so comforting. From the chilled salad plates at the salad bar to the red checkered table cloths and dim lighting, I was 6 years old again. And I was way impressed with their attentiveness to little old vegan me ; ) They had some real yummy salad bar ingredients and were quick to tell me that the soup was beef based (sad but glad they were knowledgeable and concerned) and my gnocchi with veggies in an eggplant marinara could have fed a small army. And fed them happily cause it was sooooo yummy ; ) Ok, so I don't want to overhype it because it's definitely not gourmet, but Tep's Villa Roma put a little birdhouse in my soul ; )

Again, our time here was short lived but I love it up here and will report from Lake Tahoe once again!!

Friday, October 10, 2008

Tasty Carson City

Carson City, Nevada is cute, quaint and a great little slice of the Old West. Surprisingly enough, every place we went to was exactly that however, very contemporary in their lovely veggie options!

What I love most about road trips is eating at mom and pop diners. It's the taste of Americana we miss out on in a big city and always a nice experience. We happened to find Mom & Pop's Diner in Downtown Carson City when we rolled in at breakfast time. They had diner staples which made Dan very happy but they also had some nice options for me. Diners are usually tough, greasy spoons where I order toast and some OJ but here at Mom & Pop's, I had a real meal!! I got a piping hot rice bowl that was stacked with delicious veggies with my choice of house sauces. I'm a whip so I went for the Texas BBQ but they had all kinds of spicy options ; ) Check them out at Mom & Pop's online ; )

We strolled around downtown and I emptied my wallet at various Christmas gift shops (I'm a sucker for holiday decor!!). Before I knew it, I was hungry so we checked out The Firkin & Fox. It was awesome! Located under an old hotel (apparently it's hanuted), this "new" old westy saloony grill had a great atmosphere along with funny slogans involving their funny name ; ) Again, you would think a bar would have limited healthy options but I had a bunch! They had veggie burgers and veggie stir fry but i opted for wrapping up a salad. They make wraps of any of the salads on the menu and it was extra yummers!! It was "Firkin" yummers! Check out their "Firkin" menu at the Firkin & Fox!

We walked some more and checked out Carson Cities historic sites and decided on one last bite before we headed up the mountain. I was in the mood for Italiano so we dined at B'Sghetti's ; ) I wasn't in the mood for pasta so I went for their big and tasty grilled veggie sandwich with a huge side of dipping marinara. I added a side salad and was good for the night! Dan ordered his usual Italian favorite, bruschetta, and I had a few nibbles - very good! They've got some of my faves on their menu, see if they have yours at B'Sghetti's!!

I love old west towns, especially when they've combined it with some new ideas like healthy eating. We were told that Virginia City would be something we would dig since we loved Carson City so maybe we'll head up there on our next trip but stop back in Carson City for some good eats!!

Friday, October 3, 2008

Reno Restaurant Action

We zipped through the biggest little city in the world but made some time for a few meals. After being in the desert for a week, any hot meal would have sufficed but it was great the Reno delivered some delectable ones to boot!!

We opted for Harrah's to rest our weary heads. It was a great option as our room was super comfy and the next morning we had a slew of yummy breakfasty options. Of course I had my usual vacation soy latte at the in house Starbucks and then we strolled on over to the Carvings Buffet. They had all kinds of stuff to choose from and I went nuts at the salad bar and the Asian bar (yummy veggie sushi). The hotel had a bunch more restaurants and you can find out more at Harrah's.

Since we stayed in downtown for some lovely recycled casino air and priceless people watching, it wasn't to hard to find the closeby Pneumatic Diner. It's super trendy and arsty and very reminiscent of where we had just come from ; ) They had all kinds of veggie options, many of which could be veganized! I had a nice, hot, soy latte (appropriate in 100 degree weather) and a veggie burger with the veggie works that hit the spot! Make sure you save a few bucks before you through it all away on red and head over to the Pneumatic Diner located at 501 West 1st Street, at Ralston Street,775-786-8888; Ext 106.

For our last meal in the big little city, we sat down at The 4th Street Bistro. I loved the idea that they purchase a majority of their organic ingredients from local farmers and markets. It is a cute place with a lot of heart. Their fresh menu was fun to peruse and their entrees were a delight to consume!! I had a lovely quinoa and veggie ragout along with a just as lovely glass of local cabernet. Again, don't lose your hard earned moola on craps, save it for 4th Street Bistro!

Our time in Reno was short but we do head up there at least once a year. I look forward to stuffing my big little mouth there again soon!!

Friday, September 26, 2008

"Sayonara" San Franciso!

Ok, so normally ice cream isn't a healthy option but I can't visit the bay area without a quick trip to Maggie Mudd. It's a small ice cream shop with a big menu that makes ice cream lovers of any age, and any diet, do cartwheels in the street! They have soy, coconut and rice cream options as well as traditional moo ice cream ; ) I went nuts and broke my diet by having a loaded soy cream sundae with hot vegan fudge, a mountain of vegan whipped cream and sprinkles!! They make all kinds of frozen delicacies, even vegan ice cream cake!! Break your diet without to much guilt at Maggie Mudd!!

Stepping out on the town on our last night in town, we strolled into Impala. It was a way cool bar/lounge and when I sip wine, I get the munchies ; ) Lucky for me Impala had some buck guacamole and crazy good veggie tacos!! I really liked the vibe and I loved that I didn't have to wait till last call to convince everyone to go eat at 2 am!!

Breakfast, when done right, can be the bomb! We stopped in to Ananda Fuara on our last day and I was stoked to have a well done tofu scramble that I added some veggie sausage, guac and black beans to while Dan was still able to eat his usual morning meal ; ). They serve breakfast through dinner and I would love to come back to try something else when I return. I couldn't wait so I took some veggie raviolis to eat later that night, heehee! Find out more at Ananda Fuara.

After our last few stops in town, we wanted to grab something quick before we hit the road. 'Wichcraft caught my eye cause I'm a sucker for innovative names, logos, packaging and all around eye candy ; ) It was a smart stop for the opposite dietary duo as Dan got a meaty cheesy sandwich while I got a chickpea, peppers,olives and general off the hook, party in your mouth ingredients bewtween 2 slices of ridiculously awesome bread. I dig these easy and healthy sandwicheries popping up in big cities and so will you!! Let 'Wichcraft cast a spell on your tummy!

Now I'm gonna sew my mouth shut until our next trip out of town!!

Friday, September 19, 2008

Seconds In San Fran ; )

Spending time in this city, you can't help but want to try every place you see. Luckily, most places are way veggie friendly so the only thing you have to worry about is fitting into your britches when you head home!

One place I never miss is Millenium. It is a famous vegetarian gourmet spot and rightfully so. Pricing is not for the faint of heart but the time, effort and creativity that goes into devising the seasonal menu here is worth every penny. The ambiance is classy art deco and the food is to die for. I own all of their cookbooks and hand over my wallet willingly for one of the best meals ever ; ) This time around I had a 5 course meal that filled me up with vegan happiness as it included tasty bread with hummus, salad, appetizer, entree and dessert. I should have jogged all the way back to LA! Salivate at Millenium.

You can't go to the city without stopping into a brew house with some friends. The 21st Amendment is a great option for just that type of outing. Tons of beers, near the Giants Stadium, fun vibe and food for all. While everyone pounded brewskis, I went to town on a cheeseless Portabello Mushroom Napoleon and a stacked veggie burger with avocado, mushrooms and onions. As you can imagine, I walked back to our hotel ; ) Twice!!! Look them up at the 21st Amendment.

Trying to not overdo it again, we had lunch the next day at Asquew Grill. A fun place full of skewered treats! I opted for the tofu stick that came with veggies and i swapped my mashed potatoes for citrus cous cous on the side. Super yummers!! With everything for greenies to omnis, Asqew Grill has it all from skewered salads to sides of fresh veggies ; )

Dinner that evening was at the swanky Paragon. They pride themselves on using locally grown foods and are as organic as possible. Every dish is a work of art and they are more then happy to accommodate vegans. I kept it light with a field green salad and an incredible quinoa entree that I had them prepare without their truffle butter. For a great meal, day or night, check out Paragon.

Stay tuned cause there's one more bay city installment comin' up!

Friday, September 12, 2008

Serving It Up San Francisco Style

I could go on for months with the plethora of veggie yumminess that San Francisco has to offer. With breathtaking views of world famous bridges, mountains and buildings, San Francisco is a great place to visit as well as to treat your tastebuds!

There is no shortage of places to dine in SF, and no shortage of options for a gal like me. I've been up to this city by the bay many times and this time I found a new place. Weird Fish is a rockin' cool eatery in an unassuming part of town. Their menu is creative and caters to carnivores and veggies alike serving up sandwiches, tacos, salads, soups and brunchy items. Their vegan options are killer, I had a ton of food starting with pancakes for me and my man to share and then their vegan chorizo tacos. They serve breakfast, lunch and dinner and the lines to get in go around the block so make sure you plan ahead so you can enjoy the ridiculously delish Weird Fish!!

For veggie friendly Thai, Tom Yum named itself appropriately ; ) They've got a super veggie friendly menu and I highly recommend their veggie samosas - very Tom Yum!!! The chef is wonderful about veganizing anything on the menu as well as keeping things healthy by steaming and avoiding any allergy inducing ingredients. Located in the marina area, find out more at Tom Yum.

Keeping eclectic on this trip, I stopped into Naan -N- Curry for some Indian grub. They have 3 locations and combine Pakistani and Indian and it is scrum-didly-uptious!! I went for a healthy dose of chana masala and split some veggie pakora with my honey. You can find them all over town and on their website.

I was happy to find a tasty meal at what seemed to be a meaty place that Dan wanted to try. Town's End Restaurant & Bakery is located in the Embarcadero district and i am happy to report it was yumalicious!! I ordered a veggie ruben (hold the cheese)and it was quite good! I salivated over their dinner menu where a mushroom risotto called my name ; ) I'll make it for dinner next time but you can go there any time of the day online at Town's End.

As you can imagine, I'm not done with San Francisco so I'll see you here again next week!!

Friday, September 5, 2008

OH, San Luis Obispo ; )

San Luis Obispo is a sweet town half way between LA and San Fran and is super close to the famed Hearst Castle. I dig the sleepiness of it as well as the great old mission architecture. It's a nice place to relax, take in the calm coast and possibly a tour of the castle in San Simeon as well as to get your grub on!

Every time I pass through SLO, I dine at Big Sky Cafe. It's a southwestern with asian flair style health joint and I dig it! I normally get a steaming bowl of their killer veggie chili but this time I got their bean burger with a side of my fave, sweet potato fries. There is something for everyone here and it is delicious. Info for Big Sky Cafe can be found online ; )

For a swell dinner, we like Vieni Vai trattoria. It's an authentic Italian eatery and I really enjoy their choices for veggies ; ) My boy and I split their yummy bruschetta and a big green salad and then I go for a hefty helping of the basil and tomato gnocchi. Prrrrr!! Vieni Vai serves lunch and dinner and is worth a try!

If you're with a bunch of non-veggies who have a hankerin' for some carcass but you still need to eat, Firestone Grill is a popluar pit stop. It's always packed and people drive from LA just to eat here. I was none to excited that I may have ot suck it up and eat fries but they had a really tasty veggie burger and they assured me it was made on a different grill ; ) Yay!! I loaded it with onions, mushrooms and avocado and it was super yum ; ) To appease everyone you may be traveling with, step into Firestone Grill located at 1001 Higuera St Ste A, San Luis Obispo, CA 9340,
(805) 783-1001.

For a drink and a good meal, Corner View is a great choice. They serve brunch, lunch and dinner and everything is hearty and fresh. I love their salad selection as well as great veggie appetizers, sandwiches and dinners. I like their veggie penne with a crispy salad ; ) Peruse Corner View's menu online.

So if you are on your way to see the crazy Hearst Castle or just stopping in for a relaxing weekend, San Luis Obispo doesn't disappoint the hungry ; )

Friday, August 29, 2008

Braving Black Rock City

It's labor day weekend and how will you be saying goodbye to summer 2008? Well, there is this thing called Burning Man that we go to this time each year. It's this week long event out on a dry lake bed in Nevada which for that week is called Black Rock City. For those in the know, it is a phenomenon that is hard to describe and in fact, words can't do it justice. For a week, more then 50,000 people create their own city and live it up sans usual creature comforts like running water, electricity and money. You must be self sufficient, self reliant and properly prepared. Yeah, so how does the healthy voyager survive? I'll tell ya!

For any of you who are thinking of going or plan to go in the future, here is what you need to know to stay healthy and happy in this other wordly, harsh climate:
  • Bring an drink tons of water and electrolyte replacer beverages like gatorade
  • SPF it up because shade is hard to come by
  • Buy your food for the length of your stay just before you arrive. The closest big city is Reno so I always stock up there. Fresh fruit, luna bars, easy sandwich making materials like soy cheese, tofurky, peanut butter & jelly as well as trail mix are great food stuffs as once you are out there, cooking and preparing stuff can get in the way of your fun. Easy yet nutritious options are key to keeping nourished and full. Stay away from over processed foods like chips and junk food as it these foods leech the water out of your system and drag your body down. If you do have a generator and can plug in a toaster oven, mini pizzas made on english muffins or bagels are a nice treat ; )
  • Bring petty cash to buy ice (ice and coffee is the only thing money can buy in BRC). Ice will keep your food fresh and your makeup from melting (I learned the hard way my first year!)
  • Bring layers! It's hot as Hades during the day and cold as can be at night. Of course make sure you are looking snazzy (see above) but be smart. No one wants to get sick out there cause the drive out takes forever!
  • I'm sure I'm the minority here, but I make sure I get sleep. It is a non stop party but it is easy to achieve exhaustion from being an energizer bunny and constant exposure to the sun. I'm not saying I get a full 8 hours each night, but definitely budget your time wisely and take care of yourself as it will not be pretty on the drive home.
  • Baby wipes are essential in keeping "fresh" as are personal fans and misters. My boy and I carry a little lunch box everywhere out on the playa to ensure we always have a refreshing drink and a snack ; )
  • Zip lock bags are great to store any electronics, clean clothing and valuables. Keeping playa dust off of your belongings makes things much easier when you get back to the real world.
  • Bring fun and creative stuff to give, barter and/or contribute to your fellow burners.
  • Party smart!! Just cause there are no rules doesn't mean there aren't any consequences!!
If I don't see you out on the playa this weekend, maybe I'll see you at the burn next year!!!! Otherwise have a safe and healthy labor day!!!!

Friday, August 22, 2008

Yes Sir, I Ate In Big Sur!!

Driving down the coast, we didn't anticipate a stop in beautiful Big Sur. However, due to a blazing wildfire we were forced to turn around and go back through it so we stopped in for some essentials. The small town on the scenic 1 highway is tiny and cute and surprisingly offered up some grub for this traveler who was blown off course!

We rolled into the Fernwood Resort for some roadtripping supplies and ended up staying for din din. The resort was an adorable cabin like place tucked into the trees and had a nicely stocked convenience store with a baby sized deli. They had soy milk for coffees and a fridge full of vegan goodies like a bbq tofu wrap, veggie hummus wrap and vegan staples like tofurky and the like. They've got a camping area, cabins and a proper motel and I promise you won't starve! If you are driving up the Cali coast, make sure you look up Fernwood.

Next to the resort, we ate at the Redwood Grill. Again, I was surprised at my options ; ) They had the Carolyn's salad which was a no brainer for me to order along with a pretty good veggie pasta. They had a veggie burger available and other salads but I was way happy with my choices ; ) Check them out online at the Redwood Grill site.

The next day on our way out, we dined at the Big Sur River Inn and it was awesome! I had a great tofu salad and split some sweet potato fries with my honey before we hit the road. Their dinner menu looked just as nice and I look forward to passing through again. Big Sur River Inn is a hit off the 1!

This stretch of the famed Pacific Coast Highway is breathtaking and even if you are only driving through for a photo op, make sure you drive through hungry!

Friday, August 15, 2008

Santa Cruz is Veggie Paradise ; )

As I searched for vampires, as I always do when I visit Santa Cruz, I had to fuel up the tank. And there is plenty of good fuelin' no matter where you go in tow. It really is a veggie paradise amongst those pesky bloodsuckers ; )

Famous for their surf, their amusement park pier and yes, the Lost Boys, Santa Cruz is also very crunchy! There isn't a place in town that doesn't accommodate their green patrons. My favorite place when I'm in the SC is The Acapulco. A Mexican joint on Pacific Ave that has the yummiest veggie taco meat and cilantro rice. You can get any variety of Mexican dishes made with veggies or the veggie meat and their guac and rice is mega yummm! And you can drag anyone there for margs and meaty dishes while you get to feast on the healthier side south of the border ; ) You can find the melt in your mouth tortillas and beans at 1116 Pacific Ave, Santa Cruz, CA, (831)426-7588.

For kitsch and late night grub, The Saturn Cafe is the place to go. It's fun spacey decor goes well with a killer vegan milk shake and tuno melt! Definitely not lo-cal but they do have great salads and soups as well as "regular" diner type food for your non-veggie pals. It's great fun with an even "funner" menu, check The Saturn Cafe out online.

If your craving some good Mediterranean while hanging ten on the Pacific, try The Falafel House. They've got traditional medi plates like hummus, dolmas, babaganoush and so on but they are big and fresh and tasty ; ) It's easy and wallet friendly to pop in and out of The Falafel House.

Hula's Island is way fun and way yum!! If you happen to be in Santa Cruz or Monterey, dining at Hula's has to be on your to do list. Hula's has what you would expect, a tiki theme and seafood BUT they do cater to peeps like me! Veggie spring rolls and a ridonkulous tofu and veggie wrap totally hit the spot. I also saw that they had a big ass veggie burger and tofu tacos!! Hop on the Hula's site and salivate ; )

Santa Cruz is full of great health food stores and even more leafy eateries but the Healthy Voyager has to keep movin'!

Friday, August 8, 2008

How To Eat In Half Moon Bay

Of all the small towns we visited, Half Moon Bay was the smallest by far. However, it was beautiful being by the sea and did not disappoint in the healthy food arena. Half Moon Bay is a farming town and most of the restaurants support their local organic farmers and that was music to my ears ; )

Italian is usually a good choice where I can gorge as well as Dan and his buddies so we sauntered into Pasta Moon. I had a lovely artichoke pizza sans cheese along with a hot cup of their minestrone. Seaside in Norcal is quite chilly for this native Floridian so soup and pizza was a hit ; )

The next morning we had a late start so we had lunch at the Mainstreet Grill. It was a simple local diner and I was perfectly happy with my garden burger and a salad. They are a cute breakfast joint and seem to be quite a staple in their community. Look them up online at Mainstreet Grill.

Dinner with our friends was a special one at Cetrella Bistro. This was quite the elegant Northen Cali seaside town establishment! I had an extraordinary seasonal veggie plate with cous cous on flatbread, yummmmm, as well as a ridiculous artichoke appetizer. If you are even passing through Half Moon Bay, Cetrella Bistro is a must!!

Friday, August 1, 2008

Plating it up in Petaluma

On our NorCal trip we spent some time in Petaluma. It had some cute architecture and had a quaint small town feel. And with the small town feel came the small town hospitality and with small town hospitality comes food!!

McNear's Saloon is where I'm standing under the marquis in the photo. It seems to be the town staple for fun bar atmosphere and live music. And with it's big theatre it had a big menu to go with it. Nothing goes with a good band and a beer like a garden burger or their California sandwich (hold the cheese and mayo. To bad we missed the Billy Bob show but I bet it would have been fun while I dug into a veggie burrito with a side of fried zucchini! Check out the menu and the upcoming entertainment at McNears.

We walked along the river and spotted a cute spot called Dempsey's. I was thoroughly impressed with the knowledgeable and helpful staff that we stayed for dinner. The chef was more then happy to veganize anything I wanted and whipped up his Chef Selection veggie plate. They had beautiful salads and Dan was happy with his meaty mcmeat dish so we waddled out of their happily after our tummy filling evening. Make sure you let them know of your dietary restrictions as they will bend over backwards to feed you well at Dempsey's.

The next day on our way out of town we had a refreshing lunch at Cafe Zazzle! With a name like that you just expect fun!! I wanted to keep it light as I knew we would be eating our way south so I grabbed the Mediterranean wrap with no cheese but I added tofu. I was torn but because of the heat I chose not to order the noodle dish but it looked great as it was chock full o'veggies and tofu. This was a great and healthy find and comes highly recommended by yours truly!Cafe Zazzle is at 121 Kentucky St, Petaluma, CA 94952,(707) 762-1700.

Once again the small town delivers and there is even more in the weeks ahead!!

Friday, July 25, 2008

Knowing Where To Go in Novato


Muir Woods is quite the Redwood wonderland in Marin County. We stopped and explored it while we popped up to Northern Cali for a little getaway. We were visiting some friends who lived in Novato and I have to say that I was impressed with the options I had in this little NorCal town!

Our first afternoon there we had a lot to see and do so we needed to grab a quick bite. I got that in a very satisfying way at Hi-Tech Burrito. They had a whole healthy burrito menu that included healthy tortilla options, great veggies and tofu for any of their custom Mexican wraps. Located in the Novato Fair Center, find at more about this chain at Hi-Tech Burrito.

On the main drag there were a number of places to dine and I dug the fun bar atmosphere at Finnegan's. They had a good sized menu that included a veggie burger and a nice veggie sandwich, big salads and a ton of different beers if you are so inclined to imbibe with your healthy meal ; ) For a bar menu I was excited that I didn't get crappy iceberg lettuce and gross fries ; ) Pop in for a pint and a meal at Finnegan's!

Another place in the cute little downtown area was Portelli Rossi. Italian cuisine in the heart of anytown USA ; ) It was super cute with a nice patio (we opted out on that particular day as it was 106 degrees outside!!). They had a great tomato and fennel soup that I enjoyed alongside my artichoke salad. They were very accommodating and I look forward to eating there again when we go back to visit our friends and their new baby. They are at 868 Grant Ave in Novato, CA, (415)892-6100.

Outside of Novato we had dinner at E&O Trading Co in Larkspur. A short drive away we had dinner and it was delish! I ordered a bunch of sides like portobella skewars, jasmine rice and this yummy and spicy naan. This place is a fusion of all Asian cuisine and I dug it as my finicky fiance ; ) Try it out if you find yourself in Norcal, E&O !

I'll be back next week reporting on more tasty treats in Northern Cali!

Friday, July 18, 2008

Veggie Friendly Virgin

I recently had the pleasure of flying Virgin Atlantic and working with many wonderful people that work for them. I can't express enough what a great experience I had with the lot of them as well as on their flights and upper class lounge. The service was extraordinary and the accommodations and food were like no other airline I've ever had the good fortune to fly. Not to mention the great endeavors they are involved in worldwide!

I had the honor of filming a documentary on their Sekenani School Project that fell under their Virgin Unite umbrella. Virgin takes a very proactive stance on world issues and looks to partner with the best people and companies to accomplish the biggest benefit to the communities Unite touches. They are a wonderful group of people with an extraordinary work and social ethic.

On the flights I was able to order a special vegan meal that was absolutely scrumptious. They offered up healthy beverage options throughout the flights as well as yummy veggie snacks. Be sure to order your meal on the super user friendly website before you travel. And no need to worry about packing your sleeping accessories as they give you a cute little souvenir bag complete with comfy socks and eye mask as well as comfy pillows and blankets for your on flight slumber ; ) If you fly upper class you get your own sleeping pod, comforter and pj's!

As for their upper class lounges, that's a whole other story! The Heathrow lounge was a hoot! Complimentary gourmet meals, drinks, wi fi, a pool table, library and more. I ordered a delectable pasta with veggies and then helped myself to a salad and some fruit from the self serve area. They also offer up massages, haircuts and more at the the spa and are very reasonably priced!

I really was blown away by their focus on health and hospitality and I so look forward to flying Virgin Atlantic or Virgin America again very soon!!

Friday, July 11, 2008

1 More Shout Out for London!

I have only scratched the surface here in the city across the pond and I hope to come back soon so that I can cover some more ground. I could be here for quite some time and never eat at the same place twice, although I would love to ; ) From veggie burgers to veggie sushi, London has been quite the friend to this healthy voyager!

Having to take the tube and trains to many of my destinations, I had to pass through some of the major stations such as St. Pancras. In all of these major stations, it feels as though you are waking through a mall and it it you find a veritable gourmet food court. From Le Pain Quotidien (one of my favorite LA haunts),the Chop'd cafe and the local Mark & Spencer markets, there is no shortage of healthy choices to make before a long trip into or out of town. See a list or eateries and retailers on the St. Pancras Int'l Station website as well as info on the national rail stations.

Another health minded fast food locale is the ever growing Pret a Manger. Having now landed in New York, my first taste of the convenience based grubbery was in good old London. We were in a rush so this place was just the ticket with fresh, pre-packed sandwiches (like my yummalicious falafel, spinach and tomato sandwich on wheat) and alternatives to the regular empty calorie sides. I grabbed a fresh juice and parsnip crisps to go with my portable lunch. They print health tips and their healthy mission statement on all of their packaging, pretty cool; ) Hit Pret up in the UK and now in NYC!

Yo! Sushi was hands down one of the most conceptually fun places I have ever eaten. It's part sushi bar, part Jetsons and all lip smackingly good. There is a conveyor belt that goes around the entire perimeter of the sushi bar where they make their fresh food and set it on for you to grab as you wish. The colors of the bowls tell you the price point so you can eat as much or as little as you want and keep score ; ) They have an extensive menu with even more tantalizing treats and with that, they have calculated every possible bit of information on each of their dishes from calories to gluten content. This way the pickiest of eaters can eat without dealing with that new server that doesn't know which way is up let alone the ingredients in a a given dish. I hope to see one of these sprout up in LA soon but until then, check them out at Yo! Sushi.

On my last evening in town, my pals were in search of a Thai place that once we found it, the location was no longer there. So after quite some time of walking around aimlessly I was distracted by a cute character in neon. It was Topo Gigio, my favorite childhood European mouse! I then realized it was an Italian restaurant of the same name and despite my friends' protests, we got a table inside. I was tickled that the whole place was full of Topo Gigio dolls and drawings. And the menu surprised as well as my veggie counterpart and I each had a healthy serving of gnocchi and shared a pretty darn good artichoke appetizer. Needless to say, Topo Giggio pleased the kid and the grown up in me all at once ; )

Sadly, I had to head back home but I am more then stoked to get back to see good friends, perhaps catch a race or 2 and eat my way through the island once again!

Friday, July 4, 2008

A Foodie 4th!

Besides the fireworks, the grilled veggie burgers and hanging out with friends by the pool, celebrating the 4th without red , white and blue themed snacks is a no no! When else do you get to eat and drink that most glorious combo of patriotic colors? I've complied a few tips to add a little "green" to your 4th as well as some recipes that will complement the boatloads of bbq and beer you may be consuming throughout this festive weekend:
  • Plan ahead on where you will be spending the 4th and see if you can carpool with friends. Check online for the nearest fireworks site and either take a romantic stroll or bike there to save gas, parking frustration and to burn off the days grub!
  • Make smarter drinking choices like juices with organic liquor, organic wines and beers and most of all, drink responsibly.
  • Opt to make a healthy dish to bring to the festivities. Pre-packaged sides and snacks are full of preservatives and unpronounceable ingredients. If you can't cook, bring organic bagged lettuce, organic dressing, a big bowl and you've brought a healthy side everyone will appreciate ; )
  • And try one of these vegan friendly treats:
Herbed Couscous with Tomatoes
1 1/2 cups reduced-sodium veggie broth or water
1 cup whole-wheat couscous
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil or infused oil
1/2 cup chopped tomatoes
2 tablespoons minced fresh tarragon, parsley or thyme
Salt and freshly ground pepper

Bring broth (or water) to a boil in a medium saucepan; add couscous, olive oil (or infused oil), tomatoes and tarragon (or parsley or thyme). Stir, remove from the heat, cover and let stand for 5 minutes. Uncover, fluff with a fork and season to taste with salt and pepper.

From eatingwell.com

Red, White, and Blueberry Freezee

1 c Vegan Whipping cream
1/2 c Frozen blueberries
1 ds Lemon juice
1 x Sugar to taste
Small Strawberries for garnish

Mix together the whipping cream, blueberries, lemon juice, and sugar in a blender.
Top with a few strawberries. If you would like to spike it, a little rum should do the trick!


Flag Cake
  • Soy butter, soy margarine or vegan baker's spray
  • Flour
  • One package (2 layer size) of vegan white cake mix (plus ingredients to make the cake --- listed on the box)
  • One package (4 serving size) red vegan jello
  • 1 cup boiling water
  • 1/2 cup cold water
  • 3 1/2 cups (8 ounce container) vegan Hip Whip or other vegan whipped topping, thawed
  • 1 pint strawberries, washed and sliced
  • 1 cup blueberries, washed
  • 1 cup vegan miniature marshmallows
Grease 13 x 9 pan with margarine and dust lightly with flour. Prepare and cook cake mix according to package directions. Cool cake for fifteen minutes. Use large fork to make holes in the cake about every 1/2 inch. Pour jello into mixing bowl. Add the cup of boiling water and use scraper to thoroughly mix it until the jello is completely dissolved. Use the measuring cup to scoop out the jello and pour it over the cake. (It will run down into the holes, making the cake have pretty red stripes.) Put the cake into the refrigerator and let it chill for 3 to 4 hours. Use this time to cover your tray with aluminum foil if you wish. Once the cake is on the tray, you can decorate the sides of tray with star stickers. Put about one inch of warm water in the kitchen sink. Take pan out of refrigerator and dip just the bottom (don't let the water come up over the sides) into the water for about ten seconds. Put the large tray on top of the cake and hold on tightly! Turn the cake over so that the tray is on bottom and the pan is on top. Take the pan off. The cake should be resting on the tray. Frost the sides and top with whipped topping. Arrange the strawberries, blueberries, and marshmallows on the cake so that it looks like a flag. (You should have rows of red and white stripes and the blue "background" of blueberries in the upper left hand corner. Put your flag cake into the refrigerator until you are ready to serve it!

Have a very happy and safe 4th!!

Friday, June 27, 2008

Yummy UK

On this particular trip I made some incredible friends and they were kind enough to show me around their hometown. In and outside of the city, my new group of peeps made my stay extra fun and extra yum by taking me to some great local gems.

Karin, a veggie colleague and founder of the UK web phenom,Veggievision.com, met up with me one evening so we could chat and stuff our veggie faces! We strolled over to Eat and Two Veg, a chic veggie joint with some uber tasty vegan treats. I had a delicious soy mocha shake and we shared a killer chicken satay with peanut sauce. She had a juicy veggie burger while I tried to behave myself with a bowl of steaming tomato bisque. I could have ordered heaps more and will next time. If you're in London, Eat and Two Veg is a must!!

On another evening, I made my way up to Kettering to see a good friend. On our Kenyan trip, he kept raving about his friend's place, The Raj, and that when we got back to London I had to try it. And so I did!! After a short train ride and a beer at a cute pub in Market Harborough, we drove over to his friend's Indian feastery. It was really slick looking and the service was great. So much so that I didn't even order off of their scrumptious menu! I was made a special vegan dish that was chock full o' veggies and mushrooms in a special red sauce. I devoured the garlic nan that was on the table along with my mushroom rice ; ) The Raj is a definite thumbs up and I look forward to visiting them again to try the rest of their veggie delicacies!

Later that week, we were treated to a boat ride down the Thames and a fun evening at O2 in Greenwich. O2 is a huge venue with a concert hall, restaurants and clubs all under what looks like a super modern circus tent. My fellow veggie pal took us to Nando's, a Portugese restaurant with a great vibe. I went with his favorite dishes,the veggie pita with lemon and herb sauce. I'm a wimp so I didn't got with their famous peri-peri sauce but apparently it rocks. For a chicken joint, they had a hefty selection of veggie burgers and pitas as well as some killer sangrias. Nando's has locations all over the UK and you can get more info online.

On one of my last days there, a group of us took a ride on the London Eye. We were in the mood for drinks and snacks so we popped into the nearby All Bar One. It was a cool bar and grill with a nice selection of appetizers and meals. I noshed on some guac and plantain chips as well as some pretty kickin' hummus from their world tapas menu. Since we were planning on dinner a little later on, I didn't order a meal but their sandwiches looked very good and everything is homemade and as organic as possible. All Bar One is also a chain and a pretty good choice for a fun time out with friends ; )

Look out for some more on London town soon!!

Friday, June 20, 2008

London Calling

I recently read in a veggie magazine that London was in the top 10 least veggie friendly cities in the world. I couldn't disagree more!!!! Everywhere I went there was an AWESOME veggie option and I was there for a good while with a bunch of non-veggies so I should know. London, in it of itself is the bomb diggity, but the variety of veggie deliciousness made it one of the coolest veggie cities ever in my book!! So much so that it will take 3 posts and even more after future visits ; )

On my first night, we were so exhausted that we ordered in from Red Planet Pizza. I was staying in Kensington and they came highly recommended by our concierge. They weren't kidding ; ) They already offered a cheeseless veggie pizza and I added a bunch of extras. They had a ton of yummy options from Mexican pizzas to traditional and they were super accommodating, quick and yummy! With locations all over the UK, Red Planet delivers!

Dinner the following night was a combo of some veggies and some not so we sauntered into our neighborhood dim sum joint called Ping Pong. It was super cool and trendy inside and apparently a chain in the greater London area. Serving up all dim summy, shareable dishes, Ping Pong was a great place where carnies and veggies alike could dine in harmony. I got a ton of stuff like the plaintain chips, veggie wontons, spinach and mushroom dumplings and the spring rolls. There were at least 10 more things I could have ordered but I felt like a stuffed dumpling myself so I saved those items for my next visit. Check out all the veggie goodness on the Ping Pong website.

Ok, so traveling with other Americans, you can imagine they would eventually have a hankering for a juicy burger. The Gourmet Burger Kitchen was just the place! Again, another eatery with locations all over town, GBK was burger heaven, even for me! They had 5 different veggie burger options and with a name like Gourmet Burger Kitchen, you'd better hope these options would be out of the ordinary. And they were! All of the options could be veganized and I had the stacked portabella burger with thick chips (that's fries to us yankees!) and the best homemade bbq sauce i have ever tasted! They also offered a lentil burger, a falafel burger and many more heavenly and healthy choices. Look them up online at GBK!

As I mentioned, no matter where I went there was a vegan option. Every coffee shop had soy, every market had pre-packaged veggie meals and I never got a cross eyed look anywhere I dined when I mentioned I was vegan as there was always something for me. Walking by Charlotte cafe I decided to look at their menu for kicks and to prove my theory that Londoners know how to take care of their leaf eating friends. Within seconds I was in there ordering their soy beef sandwich to eat later that afternoon. The place was the cutest and the staff was incredibly sweet but the sandwich blew me away!! It was super tasty and mega filling as it was served on a hearty sunflower bun and filled with yummy coriander and herbs as well. I'm craving one right now!! Get one fedexed to you after you look Charlotte cafe up!

I have lots more on old blighty so stay tuned for more!!!

Friday, June 13, 2008

Nairobi Nights (and Days!)


Continuing my adventures in Kenya, I spent a short time in Nairobi. I stayed at another Sarova hotel, The Stanley, and I went to a few places that really knocked my socks off. Again, impeccable service and great choices for little miss vegan! Just another reason, if you don't already have plenty, to make your next vacation destination Kenya!

So, as seen above, I attended an event at the African Heritage House. Owned by an American no less, this house and the grounds on which it stands, is pretty incredible. It had beautiful artifacts from all over Africa and it overlooked a vast Kenyan landscape. The event was catered by the Stanley hotel and again, I was quite happy with my belly stuffing lunch. Plenty of veggies, salads, rice and beans and all served with a smile ; )

Now this next place is probably the least likely place you would find me but it was part of my trip and was on the itinerary. The whole lot of us were taken to a celebratory party for Virgin at a new, hip place in town called Carnivore. Yeah, Carnivore!!! I and my 2 other veggie buddies on the trip were quite worried about starving that evening, however, we didn't!!! Their passed appetizers were ridonckulously good!!! Hand made pomme frits with a delicious avocado dip, yummy veggie samosas and veggie potsticker dumplings. Between handfuls of those, a nice helping of Dawa (kenyan mojitos!!) and dancing for hours, it was the healthiest, and most fun, night out I have had in a long time. My stomach did turn at the sight of the menu but I had to make do that evening and I did, quite nicely too! I guess don't judge a restaurant by it's name!! Check out Carnivore online ; )

On my next visit I intend on stopping by Chowpaty in downtown as it is veggie Indian food as well as Slush Limited (Parklands Road, Corner Plaza, Westlands, Nairobi (at Rank Xerox House)P:254-20-03751039). So many places to go, places to eat and so little time!!!

Until next time, Jambo!!!!

Friday, June 6, 2008

My Maasai Mara Experience


Maasai Mara, Kenya, was one of the most incredible places I have ever had the good fortune to visit. Beautiful landscape and breathtaking animals roaming everywhere but the part that will always stay with me was the wonderful people I met. The Kenyans and the Maasais were hands down the kindest people I have ever had the pleasure of knowing. I was lucky enough to be able to stay at the Sarova Mara Game Lodge and I can't express what a lovely time it was. And yeah, they took care of this finicky vegan!!

I was in Kenya documenting a charity project organized by Virgin Unite. Virgin and the Sarova Hotel chain joined forces to help build new dorms and other facilities for the Sekenani Primary School. It was a week of fun and hard work for those who were chosen to aid in the construction of the school and I was so excited to be a part of it all.

The Sarova Mara Lodge was paradise. Complete with a tropical pool, putting green, rustic bar and luxury tents, the Sarova knows how to make their guests feel special. On top of the serene accommodations, the the animals that roam the grounds are out of this world.

Prior to my trip, I was worried that my dining would consist of my stash of Luna bars, lots of bread and bottled water. I couldn't have been more wrong! The meals were all buffet style with numerous stations with every dish clearly labeled and this was the case whether we ate at the lodge or we had a special meal out in the bush or anywhere off site. There were always happy staff members around to answer any questions and they kept all of the veggie dishes on one side of the dining hall so I, as well as 2 fellow veggies on the trip, had no problems loading up our plates with local delicacies. There was always a delicious selection on rices, bean dishes (both Indian and African) and tons of veggies! Some days there was a stir fry or pasta station and I would load up on helping of freshly made goodness ; ) In addition, I was always able to get fresh juice or huge bottles of water to take with me for the day. Breakfast, lunch and dinner was always something to look forward to at the lodge because I knew I could always find something tasty and satisfying and it always came with a smile!

So the lodge was amazing, the food was delectable and the staff was extraordinary, need I say more? One more thing,if you do find yourself in this part of Kenya, make sure you spend time with the Maasais. I learned so much from them and made lifelong friendships. These people are so steeped in their traditions and yet live amongst a world filled with cell phones and internet without being swayed. Again, they are some of the kindest and happiest people I have ever come across and I look forward to visiting my new friends very soon. In the photo above, the Maasai chief, Ole Tira, walked me to the plane that took me away from one of my happiest adventures yet; )
(My friend Andrew Luck snapped this shot - Thanks!!)

For more information on the charity and others like it, visit Virgin Unite. And to check out the Sarova Mara Lodge, pop over to Sarova Hotels.

Friday, May 9, 2008

Going Overseas


So I'm heading out today to go across the pond and checking out a couple countries and continents! I will be back in 2 weeks with new and exciting places to see and feast!! In the mean time, check out the new titles to the shows that we will be re-launching this summer! Ciao for now!!



Artwork by Dan Hamilton
Animation by Graphissimo
Music by Arye Rosenschein

Friday, May 2, 2008

KC Masterfeast!!


Who knew that the city known for it's steaks and bbq would be so darn tasty for health nuts like me!! I was floored with what's called "The Paris of the Plains". Every place I stopped at had healthy choices and they were more then happy to accommodate me and my crazy ways of ordering ; ) The city is growing and has a lot to see and do so if you are planning a trip, bring your appetite!

The first place we stopped into was Figglio's in the Plaza. It's a cute Italian place perched on the 2nd floor and overlooks one of Kansas City's most famous fountains. I got a tasty pasta dish and loaded it up with veggies along with a yummy glass o' wine. Figglio's on the plaza is a great place to pop into after doing some shopping around the Plaza.

The next day I almost fell out of my booth at Waldo Pizza. It was one of the best vegan pizzas I had ever had and it was in a regular pizza joint. My pals split a pie while I kept the vegan one all to myself. I ordered it on gluten free and dairy free thin crust and covered it in awesome veggies from artichoke to broccoli and all in between. They offered soy cheese and vegan cheese which I thought was super cool and the establishment itself is super cute. Outside of downtown, Waldo Pizza is worth the drive.

Later that evening, we all made out way into McCoy's Public House. It's a microbrewery bar & grill in the hip Westport area. What could I eat besides a plain old salad at a microbrewery you ask? Plenty!! They had vegan items on every page!! A black bean burger, veggie stir fry, the vegan wrap (which I ordered and was so sad when I finished it because it was scrumptious!) and more. They mark all of the veggie items on their menu and I was so stoked to find a fun, hip bar & grill where I could really chow down and my friends could too. Salivate and giggle over the menu at McCoy's.

On my way out of town, I went to Blanc Burger, based on a recommendation by our server, Jason, at Figglio's a few nights previous. This ultra cool burger joint had one of the tastiest veggie burgers I'd every had. It was called the spicy lentil burger that I ordered without the yogurt sauce and got it as a lunch special with sweet potato fries. Holy smokes!! It was the bomb. The owner of Blanc also co-owns another hip spot called The Drop, not to far from Blanc. It is a bar and restaurant that offers fresh foods soups and salads as well as being known for some killer bruschetta. Look up The Drop online and check out Blanc at 419 Westport Rd. Kansas City, MO 64111 (816)931-6200.

Since I was only in town for a short time, I missed a few more places I wanted to try but I know I will be back and when I do, I'm walking everywhere to work off all the treats!!