ROAD TRIP: LA Vegan Thai-style Eatery comes to Albuquerque

Los Angeles is home to a number of vegan Thai places that have the same crazy menu of thai food and burgers/wraps.  I guess the owner of Thai Vegan in Albuquerque (a native of Thailand) came to the desert via the City of Angels, because the menu here has that same crazy menu.  There are a few items I haven’t seen in LA, but, in general, it’s the same thing.  I love vegan thai food and I might have even thought that Thai Vegan in Albuquerque was slightly better than some of the places in LA.

My mom got the Miso Soup ($2.95).  What can I say? – it was miso soup and very tasty.

Thai Vegan Miso Soup

Miso Soup

We also got an appetizer of the Chicken Satay ($6.95): charbroiled marinated soy chicken on skewers, served with peanut sauce and fresh cucumber salad.  Peanut sauce is one of my favorite sauces.  This whole plate was delicious!

Thai Vegan Chicken Satay

Chicken Satay

One dish I’m not so sure if I’ve seen very often was the Chu Chee ($9.95):  soy shrimp sauteed in our chef’s special coconut puree, topped with daffir lime leaves and bell pepper.  This had quite a few bell peppers and onions, which I didn’t eat, so I mainly got a lot of soy shrimp.  I really loved the sauce it was in.  It tasted like a coconut curry

Thai Vegan Chu Chee

Chu Chee

Because we love that peanut sauce so much, we got the Praram’s Plate ($9.95): marinated soy chicken pan-fried with peanut sauce on a bed of steamed spinach.  Peanut sauce and spinach?!  I think this was the favorite item of the evening.  It was so flavorful – and we got your greens, too!

Thai Vegan Praram's Plate

Praram’s Plate

In addition to peanut sauce, I love glass noodles.  Something about that tiny noodles just tastes so good!  This dish isn’t on their online menu, but is on the paper one in the restaurant.  I forget what this is called, but is the only glass noodle dish at the place.  It was packed with flavor.  We didn’t eat all of this dish, so I took it with me to eat for breakfast the next day.  Who knew glass noodles could be so good for breakfast?

Thai Vegan Glass Noodles

Glass Noodles

They also have a few dessert items.  We each decided to wash everything down with some ice cream.  My mom got the Coconut and I got the Green Tea Ice Cream ($3.25 each).  Both were tasty, but the texture was a bit off.  It was kind of grainy – not too appetizing for an ice cream.

Thai Vegan Coconut and Green Tea Ice Creams

Coconut and Green Tea Ice Creams

I know we have a ton of these type places in LA, but if you happen to be passing through Albuquerque, Thai Vegan is worth the stop.

5505 Osuna RD NE
Albuquerque, NM 87109
(505) 884-4610

Monday – Saturday 11am – 9pm
Sunday 5pm – 9pm

ROAD TRIP: Raw Vegan in Oklahoma City

In my last post, I talked about some vegan eats in Oklahoma City.  It surprises me that one would be able to even find vegan food in a state like Oklahoma.  I guess that’s a testament to how the vegan movement is spreading.  And to find a complete raw restaurant? RAW?! – vegan food that’s not even cooked!?  Whaa?  Oklahoma City?  To be honest, my mom and I aren’t to enthused about raw food, so we were ok with missing this restaurant.  However, when my very meat-eating cousin said how good Matthew Kenney was, we re-thought about going there.  I mean, if he liked it, it must be good!

We made it a family outing and took my Californian aunt and uncle (their first time at a raw restaurant).  They liked it, too!  We ended up sharing a bunch of dishes.  First up, the Cheese Plate ($12): House Aged Tree Nut Cheeses and Condiments: Smoked Cumin Seed, Truffle Macadamia, Mild Cheddar, Wildflower Honey, Rye Bread, Pickled Fruit.  Of course the honey is technically not vegan, but my mom, aunt, and uncle ate it.  I love raw cheese and this was some of the best raw cheeses I’ve had!  Split between four people, I only got a tiny bit of the cheese, but I could have eaten five plates of this (sans honey, of course).

Matthew Kenney Cheese Plate

Cheese Plate

The Lasagna was next ($13): Heirloom Tomato Lasagna, Pistachio Pesto, Red Pepper Marinara, Pine Nut Ricotta.  I am not a huge fan of zucchini, but the final verdict at the table was that this dish was delicious!

Matthew Kenney Lasagna

Lasagna

I then got my little bite of the Ravioli ($12): Sweet Corn Ravioli, Corn Mint Pesto, Tomato Paper, Herb Oil.  This dish was wonderful and full of their amazing raw nut cheese.

Matthew Kenney Ravioli

Ravioli

Our last entree was the Crusted Portobello ($13): Warm Herb Crusted Portobello, Fresh Corn Polenta, Cherry Tomato Salad.  The table agreed that we all liked this dish, as well.  I was more of a fan of the crusted portobello and less of the polenta.  Something about raw, whole corn kernels sits funny in my belly.

Matthew Kenney Crusted Portobello

Crusted Portobello

Since we really weren’t going to be in Oklahoma City again to eat here, we decided to try a couple of desserts.  The Tiramisu with Cappuccino Ice Cream ($11) was really amazing.  Just look at the presentation! How could you not love it?

Matthew Kenney Tiramisu

Tiramisu

Next was the White Chocolate Cheesecake with Candied Ginger Crumble and Grapefruit Marmalade ($11).  Another amazing dish!  I wanted more.

Matthew Kenney White Chocolate Cheesecake

White Chocolate Cheesecake

I wish we had this place in LA.  True, the prices are large and the portions are small, but the taste was amazing!  This is the best raw restaurant I’ve ever been to.  I probably wouldn’t eat here a lot (because it’s so expensive), but would suggest it for special occasions.   I’m so glad we came – and to think I almost missed out on this beautiful, delicious food!

Matthew Kenney
5820 North Classen Boulevard, Suite 1
Oklahoma City, OK 73118
405-842-1050

Sunday and Monday 11 am to 9 pm
Tuesday – Thursday 11 am to 10 pm
Friday and Saturday 11 am to 11 pm

ROAD TRIP: Surprise, surprise! Vegan Food in Oklahoma City

After a long journey, my mom and I finally made it to Oklahoma City for a wedding in the family.  We were both quite worried that we wouldn’t be able to find vegan eats in the city.  There might have been only a few options, but we managed.

One place with a great selection was Picasso on Paseo.  We even wanted to go back to try some more of their selections, but didn’t have enough time.  The first dish we did try was the Quinoa Tacos ($7): three tacos with lettuce, tomato, and avocado puree.  These were so fresh tasting.  We loved the innovation of using quinoa as the taco “meat.”  I need to try and make something like this at home.

Picasso on Paseo Quinoa Tacos

Quinoa Tacos

The second dish we tried was the Chicken Fried Portobello ($11): with vegan soy gravy and potatoes.  We ordered it with a side of tabouli.  Just like what we had in Amarillo, this tabouli was less parsley based and more grain based.  It was too lemony for me – I didn’t like it – but the portobello was amazing!  The seasoning on the breading was fabulous!  And the gravy was perfect.  I wish we could have gone back to try their vegan pizza and frito chili pie!

Picasso on Paseo Chicken Fried Portobello

Chicken Fried Portobello

Unfortunately, they didn’t have any vegan desserts, so we travelled up the road to a Whole Foods for some cake.  The selection of vegan cake was great!  I know it’s Whole Foods, but it’s still in Oklahoma.  I wasn’t expecting such a wide variety of choices.   We got Apple Spice, Carrot, and Chocolate Raspberry Cake.  They were all really good and moist.  If you happen to be in OKC and need some vegan cake – you know where to find it.

Whole Foods OKC Cakes

Cakes from Whole Foods

Even though we really wanted to go back to Picasso, we wanted to try something new.  Even our waitress at Picasso was raving about our next stop: The Red Cup.  Sadly, their menu doesn’t label what is vegan and upon asking, not much was actually vegan.  Their noodles have egg and their veggie burger contains egg, as well.  Bummer.  What we could get was their Frito Pie ($7.50): Fritos, veggie chili, tomatoes, black olives, scallions, and salsa (no cheese or sour cream – add guacamole).  Another dish my mom enjoyed more than I.  It was tasty, but nothing to come back for.  I love Fritos (GMO corn and all!), but they did get soggy sitting under the chili.

Red Cup Coffee House Frito Pie

Frito Pie

And they did have one vegan dessert!  Yay!  Carrot cake was our option and it was good.  It might be lacking on frosting for some, but was full of spices.  We even met the super nice girl that made it.  Thanks, girl at Red Cup, whomever you may be!

Red Cup Coffee House Carrot Cake

Carrot Cake

The Red Cup
3122 N. Classen Blvd
Oklahoma City, OK. 73118
405-525-3430

Monday – Wednesday: 7 am-5 pm
Thursday – Friday: 6 am-8 pm
Saturday: 9 am-8 pm
Sunday: 9 am-5 pm

Picasso on Paseo
3009 Paseo
Oklahoma City, OK 73103
405-602-2002

Monday – Wednesday 11 am – 10 pm
Thursday – Saturday 11 am – 2 am
Sunday 11 am – 9 pm

Whole Foods Market
6001 N. Western Ave.,
Oklahoma City, OK 73118
405-879-3500

Daily 8am – 10pm

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TOMORROW: RAW VEGAN IN OKLAHOMA CITY??

ROAD TRIP: Quick Vegan Bite in Amarillo, TX

In my search for vegan food in Amarillo, TX, I found almost nothing.  Maybe the locals know better – in which case, I urge them to post reviews online or to add these places to Happy Cow!  One place that did come up in my search was a coffee house with some vegan options.  The 806 has only a few food items, but after long hours in the car, I found this place to be very delightful.  My mom thought of the atmosphere as a throwback to the 60s.  Hippie scene or not – I was just happy for some vegan food.

My favorite of the three was the Hummus ($4.15): vegan-friendly and made from scratch; traditional or today’s feature, lightly chilled and served with toasted pita.  The pita they use is so good!  And the hummus wasn’t bad either.  Not authentic tasting hummus, but a decent attempt at it.

The 806 Hummus

Hummus

The Taboule ($4.65) [awesomely-vegan mediterranean wheat salad with fresh spinach, red onion, cucumber, tomato, and baked tofu. served w/ toasted pita] was tasty, although I was expecting the tabouli that emphasizes parsley.  A nice healthy snack.

The 806 Taboule

Taboule

My least favorite was the Chili ($4.35): veggie-burger crumbles, roasted veggies, and spices – served with organic blue corn chips.  I thought it was too burger crumble heavy.  It had a nice a flavor, though.

The 806 Chili

Chili

So, if you are passing through Amarillo on that long dessert drive across country, stop in at The 806 for some vegan grub.

2812 SW 6th Ave
Amarillo, TX 79106

ROAD TRIP: Mu Du Noodles in Santa Fe

Our last meal in Santa Fe before my mom and I continued on our journey to Oklahoma City was at Mu Du Noodles.  This was the best meal in Santa Fe.  The staff was super nice here – even giving us free food!  And the food was delicious!

We ordered the Spring Rolls [four pieces of fresh and uncooked rolls served with nuoc cham and peanut-hoisin sauce] for an appetizer.  The roll was your standard spring roll with a yummy peanut sauce.  It was nice that they had the hot sauce on the side so the customer can choose their own level of spiciness.

Mu Du Noodles Spring Rolls

Spring Rolls

We didn’t order the Green Beans, but out waiter said it was one of his favorites and brought it out to us.  How nice!!  And I’m glad he did.  This isn’t on the menu and I forget what was on it, but they were very flavorful.

Mu Du Green Beans

Green Beans

The items on the menu are marked if they can be prepared vegan.  There were a few dishes we wanted to try, but settled on the Emerald Sautee [pan seared tofu sautéed in garlic oil with Green Tea noodles, fresh spinach, shiitake mushrooms local and seasonal vegetables, garnished  with crispy shallots] and a Pesto Noodle dish.  This was so good!  It wasn’t your typical Asian style noodle dish, but so much more.  The garlic made it taste sort of Italian and the green tea noodles and shiitake mushrooms brought out the Asian flare.

Mu Du Emerald Sautee

Emerald Sautee

Our second choice of entree was a Pesto Noodle dish that isn’t on their online menu, so I can’t tell you exactly what was in it.  I just remember it had pesto, lemon, sesame seeds, vegetables, and tofu.  I don’t know which noodle dish I liked better – they were both so good.  This one also had that Italian/Asian vibe going on.  I would certainly recommend this.

Mu Du Noodles Pesto Noodles

Pesto Noodles

Our waiter asked if we wanted dessert and said the only vegan option was a coconut sorbet.  We were full and I wasn’t really feeling sorbet, so we declined.  But that didn’t stop our waiter from bringing out the Coconut Sorbet anyway!  This guy knew what was up.  I am so glad he brought out another wonderful dish for us.  The sorbet was so creamy and fantastic!

Mu Du Coconut Sorbet

Coconut Sorbet

You’ve got to go to Mu Du Noodles if you are ever in Santa Fe.

1494 Cerrillos Road
Santa Fe, New Mexico
505-983-1411

Tuesday – Saturday 5:30pm – 9pm

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TOMORROW, FIND OUT WHAT A VEGAN GAL CAN EAT IN AMARILLO, TX.

ROAD TRIP: Vegan Eats in Santa Fe

Santa Fe, NM is a pretty artsy-fartsy town, so one would think they’d be the open minded kind of people to have some good vegan food.  I found a few good spots, but not a whole lot.  One of these spots was a small chocolate shop that offers some vegan varieties.  Kakawa Chocolate House may not label anything as vegan, but most of the dark chocolate truffles are vegan.  We asked the chocolatier and she was very helpful to point out what we should get.

Kakawa Chocolate House

Kakawa Chocolate House

From their selection we got four different vegan chocolates.  The Pomegranate Truffle (chocolate, agave, pomegranate, vanilla) was my least favorite – the most bitter.  The Rose Truffle (chocolate, agave, rose water) and the Dark Chocolate Truffle (chocolate, agave, oatmilk, mexican vanilla) were both very creamy and less bitter than the pomegranate.  My favorite was the Dark Chocolate Pistachio Clusters – the creaminess and saltiness of the nuts cuts the strong bitterness of the chocolate.  Each truffle is around $3-3.50 and is worth the stop to this very cute store.

Kakawa Chocolate House

Dark Chocolate Pistachio Cluster, Dark Chocolate Truffle, Rose Truffle, Pomegranate Truffle

Because my mom and I were on a road trip, we didn’t have many meal opportunities to eat in Santa Fe.  We wanted to spend dinner at a vegan friendly restaurant (Body Cafe), but got there at 8:28pm.  Apparently the kitchen closes at 8:30pm and the whole place closes at 9pm.  WTF?  We made the deadline and they turned us away.  Not cool!  So we stopped at a Whole Foods on the way back to the hotel and got a bunch of vegan food.

The Couscous Salad and the Red and Black Quinoa Taboule from the deli case weren’t that great, but the Sonoma Wrap (Gardein chicken salad wrapped with grapes in a tortilla) was delicious!  They even had some vegan donuts!

Santa Fe Whole Foods Goodies

Whole Foods Goodies: Couscous Salad, Red and Black Quinoa Taboule, Vegan Sonoma Wrap, Donuts

The donuts were displayed from MIGHT-O.  I thought it must be a typo, but what were Mighty-O donuts doing in Santa Fe?  When we got back to the hotel and I tasted them and I knew they were from Mighty-O.  I didn’t like them when I had them in Seattle, and I still didn’t like them.  They have this sort of chemical leavening flavor.  Not my cup of tea, but very exciting that vegan donuts exists in Santa Fe.

Mighty O Donuts at Whole Foods

Mighty O Donuts

When we finally made it to Body Cafe, my mom and I shared two vegan-friendly dishes.  Body Cafe didn’t have a whole lot of vegan dishes to choose from.  A few dishes are raw and they have many juices/smoothies.  One thing that really irked me (besides being turned away before they closed the night before) was their statement on their menu.  Describing vegan, Body Cafe states it “does not contain any animal products including eggs, dairy. We often use honey in our vegan recipes.”  So your vegan stuff isn’t actually vegan if it contains honey (yes, I know some vegans eat honey).  Knowing I now have to ask if their vegan food is actually vegan, I discovered that the Caesar Salad ($11.95) [romaine hearts, jicama, sunflower croutons, capers, house caesar dressing] is totally vegan.  Maybe it was my annoyance at Body Cafe, but I just wasn’t too thrilled with the food.  My mom enjoyed it, though.

Body Cafe Caesar Salad

Caesar Salad

And the Green Chile Burrito ($9.95) [tofu, pine nut cheese, green chile, potato, garlic, tomatoes, cilantro, salsa fresca, onion, spelt tortilla] just wasn’t that good, either.

Body Cafe Green Chile Burrito

Green Chile Burrito

Body Cafe
333 Cordova Rd.
Santa Fe, NM 87505
505-986-0362

Monday-Friday 7 am – 9 pm
Saturday 7 am – 9 pm
Sunday 7 am – 9 pm

Kakawa Chocolate House
1050 E Paseo de Peralta
Santa Fe, NM
505-982-0388

Monday – Saturday 10-6
Sunday 12-6

ROAD TRIP: Vegan in Sedona

Continuing with posts about my recent road trip, I bring you Sedona, AZ.  My mom and I absolutely loved it here.  It was so beautiful – red rocks galore!  I definitely recommend a trip here, and if you do, take a tour on the Sedona Trolley.  It’s a great way to familiarize yourself with the sights.

Because Sedona is more of an artsy community, vegan food is easier to find here.  They have a natural foods market to get your vegan groceries and a full vegetarian restaurant.  Plus, many of the omnivorous restaurant offer vegan options.

My mom and I got to Sedona in the evening, so we hit up Simon’s Hot Dogs.  Sedona has some very strict regulations about signs and lighting, so finding this place was rather difficult.  It is inside the Oak Creek Brewing Company on this side street.  Once you find the place, you are in for a treat!  The head guy (I’m assuming Simon) is super nice and he’ll direct you to what can be made vegan.  They have one vegan dog that is substituted for the meat dog (it’s like a Field Roast sausage).

We got the Bratwurst Sauerkraut: vegan dog with spicy mustard and sauerkraut with your choice of chips or a pickle.  I love sauerkraut, so I loved this dog.  The vegan dog is very flavorful and combined with the mustard and sauerkraut – so good!

Simon's Hot Dogs Bratwurst Sauerkraut

Bratwurst Sauerkraut

We also split the Cowboy Dog.  This is like a chili cheese dog – only he uses vegan chili with tahini for the cheese.  And I thought I loved the sauerkraut dog!  This one was even better!!  We wanted to come back to this place, but just weren’t in town for long enough.

Simon's Hot Dogs Cowboy

Cowboy Dog

For lunch the next day, my mom and I went to the vegetarian restaurant ChocolaTree.  This is like your typical earthy, yoga-loving cafe.  You can eat inside or outside in this cozy courtyard complete with hammocks and gardens.  They also have a complete display case full of raw vegan chocolates (some contain honey).

Most of the menu items are vegan (some contain honey) and a lot of them are raw.  They also have an extensive beverage menu.  My mom felt like she needed a vitamin boost, so she tried the Beyond B ($4): probiotic base B vitamins drink.  It was described as having an herbal tea taste, but I thought it tasted more like what it is: vitamins.  My mom enjoyed it.

ChocolaTree Beyond B

Beyond B

I was very focused on trying the Buckwheat Waffle ($7) with vegan butter and cinnamon agave (beware: the optional add-on of coconut creme contains honey).  That cinnamon agave was so thick it barely came out of the dish – but it was delicious.  I loved this waffle.  It was a bit denser than a typical Belgian waffle, but so yummy!

ChocolaTree Waffle

Waffle

We also tried to get in some greens with the Kale Quinoa ($11): quinoa, kale, and Thai sauce topped with shredded carrots, shredded cabbage, red onion, and red bell pepper.  I really need to figure out how to make this on my own.  It was so good.  The kale was not bitter at all and the Thai sauce was delicious!  It’s a healthy salad without tasting healthy.

ChocolaTree Kale Quinoa

Kale Quinoa

Then the Almond Butter Sandwich ($6): warm banana bread with stone ground almond butter and honey (obviously I didn’t get the honey).  This wasn’t your typical sandwich – you definitely had to eat it with a fork – but the almond butter was the best I’ve ever had.  It had the perfect amount of creaminess.  Of course the banana bread that it was poured over was also very tasty.

ChocolaTree Almond Butter Sandwich

Almond Butter Sandwich

And we couldn’t leave without trying a few of the goodies in their huge selection of raw chocolates.  I think my favorite was the White Goji Berry (white raw chocolate with goji berry) – no bitterness at all.  My second favorite was a toss up between the White Jungle Peanut (white raw chocolate with jungle peanuts) and the Almond Butter Cup.  I just love that almond butter!  The Jungle Peanut Butter Cup had a bit too much raw dark chocolate for me and made it way too bitter.

ChocolaTree Assorted Raw Chocolates

Left to Right: White Goji Berry, Almond Peanut Butter Cup, White Jungle Peanut, Jungle Peanut Butter Cup

ChocolaTree
1595 West Hwy 89A
Sedona, AZ 86336
(928)282-2997

Daily from 9am-9pm
Simon’s Hot Dogs
2050 Yavapai Dr
Sedona, AZ 86336
(928) 496-0266

Mon, Tue & Thurs 4pm to 9pm
Fri & Sat noon to 9pm
Sun 12 noon to 8pm
Closed on Wednesdays

ROAD TRIP: Green Vegetarian in Phoenix

Recently, my sort-of-vegetarian mom and I went on a journey to Oklahoma City for a family wedding.  Of course this vegan food obsessed girl had to make a list of all the vegan friendly restaurants to try along the way.  Our first lunch stop was in Phoenix.

My mom and I have actually stopped here before about three and a half years ago on another road trip together.  We have been talking about the food we got there ever since – so, of course, we had to stop and get it again.  Green Vegetarian has two locations: Phoenix and Tempe.

Our first appetizer was their Crab Puffs ($4): mock crabmeat, vegan cream cheese and secret spices.  My mom really liked this one.  Even though I was the one that really wanted to get this dish, I was less than pleased.  I think the crabmeat had a flavor that I just wasn’t a fan of.

Green Crab Puffs

Crab Puffs

My mom wanted to order a salad and went with the Balsamic Picnic Salad ($6 small/$9 large): toasted organic pecans, apples, strawberries and figs over fresh greens tossed in a home made balsamic syrup.  Again, she liked this dish more than I. I am not a fan of balsamic vinegar and this salad was very strong with it.  All the fruits and nuts were very tasty – I only wished we had gotten it with a different dressing.

Green Balsamic Picnic Salad

Balsamic Picnic Salad

The Meatball Po-Boy ($8) was a sandwich my mom and I had gotten on our original visit.  We absolutely loved this sandwich!  We even tried to come back to get another one that first road trip, but arrived when they were closed.  We were so excited to get this dish on this trip, but, unfortunately, it didn’t live up to our expectations.  It was tasty – just not as tasty as 3 years ago.  Made with mock meatballs cooked in a tomato sauce and topped with melted mock mozzarella.   I think our expectations were just too high.

Green Mum's Meatball Po-Boy

Mum’s Meatball Po-Boy

Our last item was a Greenza Flatbread Pizza ($10): homemade pesto sauce (basil and pine nut) with vegan mozzarella cheese.  I thought this one was very simple and delicious.  The crust was super thin and crispy, the pesto was very flavorful, and the cheese was not dominating the pizza.

Green Greenza Flatbread Pizza

Greenza Flatbread Pizza

If you go to the location in Phoenix, you can go next door to their all vegan bakery (see my next post for these amazing treats!)

2022 N 7th St
Phoenix, AZ 85004
(602) 258-1870

or

2240 N. Scottsdale Road #8
Tempe, Arizona 85281
(480) 941-9003

Monday – Saturday  11 – 9
Sunday – Closed

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STAY TUNED FOR MORE ROAD TRIP POSTS OVER THE NEXT WEEK!