Raw Cheesecake from Earth Cafe

Have you seen those single servings of cheesecake in your local natural foods market?  Chances are, they are from Earth Cafe.  I know they are a bit pricey, but it’s worth a try.  I once brought some samples to my male meat-eating co-workers and they thought it was delicious. These cheesecakes are totally raw and primarily nut based.  I went on a little splurge (what’s new?) and bought one of those group coupons for two cheesecakes at a discounted price.  Since I’ve purchased mine, I’ve seen this discount come up a few times (be on the lookout, my cashew-loving friends).  Gathergreen is a good one to follow (in fact they are running the deal right now).  The cheesecakes freeze well – bonus if you don’t have a need to eat an entire cheesecake at once.  Because I’m very indecisive, I got the Sampler Cheesecake.

Earth Cafe Raw Cheesecake Sampler

Raw Cheesecake Sampler

From front to back: Strawberry (my favorite!), Vanilla (creamy – your basic flavor), Chocolate (just the right amount of cocoa – not bitter at all), Lemon (way too tart for me), Blueberry (very blue, but a very mild blueberry flavor), Raspberry (creamy on the outside – just enough tart on the inside), Coconut (strong coconut flavor – me likey), and Blackberry (same idea as the Raspberry flavor, but with a less tart center). Another thing I noticed was the crust was too salty for me.  I’ve had the single serving packages in the stores and never found them to be too salty.  I’m hoping someone just got carried away with the salt when making this batch of crust and they didn’t change their formula for good.

Earth Cafe Raw Vegan Cheesecakes

Raw Vegan Cheesecakes

I think I’m good for awhile on the raw cheesecakes.  I ended up having my vegan guy taste some and I gave most of a cheesecake to my family, but I ended up eating a little more than an entire cheesecake by myself.  In about a week.  Glutton.  I know.  And I’ve learned my lesson.

Advertisements

Yummy Deal at Whole Foods this Weekend!

I hope I have your full attention, because I am about to tell you some terrific news.  There is a special discount on Vegan Chocolate Chip Cremewiches today through Sunday at Whole Foods Market.  This might be all So Cal Whole Foods or only a select number.  I know they have it at the Whole Foods at The District in Tustin and at the location in Laguna Beach.  Call your local Whole Foods to see if they have it.

I just happen to be there today and saw the deal.  It’s not a deal that will save you so much money that it will help pay your student loans, but it’s still something.  Vegans often get overlooked when specials come to town (has anyone ever noticed that most of Whole Foods’ one day sales are of disgusting fish??).  Anyway, this gigantic cookie sandwich is only $3!  They also had a pack of 3 smaller cookie sandwiches for the same price if you want to share with people this weekend.

Whole Foods Chocolate Chip Cremewich

Chocolate Chip Cremewich from Whole Foods

The cookie tasted like a Toll House cookie.  It didn’t hold together well, but still was yummy.  The creamy center was just vanilla frosting, but oh so good!  Look at the size of this thing!

Chocolate Chip Cremewich

Chocolate Chip Cremewich

And while I was in the bakery department, I happened to see this new product:  Whoopie Pies from Cafe Indigo.  This bakery is based out of New Hampshire, so it is something I hadn’t tried previously.  I got a Chocolate Whoopie Pie and a Pumpkin Whoopie Pie.  Each was $2.39.  I almost liked these, but they had a funny flavor.  I looked at the ingredients and nothing stood out as something I’d find weird.  My guess is it’s whatever they used in their “natural flavors.”

Whoopie Pies from Cafe Indigo

Whoopie Pies from Cafe Indigo

And proof that one should never go to the grocery store hungry:  a Chocolate Cupcake made by Whole Foods ($4.99).  I’ve had Whole Foods’ cakes when I’ve travelled, but since I bake cakes all the time when I’m at home, I’ve never had one in So Cal.  The cupcake was pretty large and they say the cake is a chocolate sponge cake.  I don’t remember what animal based sponge cakes tasted like, but this one was the most dense cake I’ve ever eaten!  It reminded me of a processed brownie – like an Entenmann’s brand or something.  I don’t know if this is good or bad:  good, because I used to like foods like this, but bad because I wanted a fluffy cake.  I was also a bit disappointed by the small amount of frosting.  I like a 2:1 ratio of cake to frosting and this one was more like 5:1.

Chocolate Cupcake form Whole Foods

Chocolate Cupcake from Whole Foods

Delivery from Kat’s Hot Cakes

Kat’s Hot Cakes may be based in Michigan, but you can order their goodies online and have them sent to you.  I recently had a Sample Pack sent to me and here’s a quick review of what I thought.

Kat's Hot Cakes Sampler

Sampler

As a baker, I know the difficulties in sending baked goods.  Add frosting to those baked goods, and it is nearly impossible to get those goods to the recipient in tact.  I write this to say that I understand why Kat’s left the frosting on the side.  I was given just one frosting for both cake flavors:  Carob Frosting.  I am not particularly fond of carob, so the frosting didn’t grab me.  I get that the carob frosting would go with the Lick the Plate It’s Carob Cake, but I don’t think it went well with the Oh, Oh Orange Cake.  Again, the carob in the carob cake didn’t grab me, but the orange cake had a nice flavor.  Both cakes were a little dry – which I know will happen when time passes during transit – so I won’t fault Kat on that.  I was a little disappointed that the orange cake didn’t come with the frosting meant for it, though.

The third little cake in the picture is a Ms. Berry’s Molasses Muffin.  I’ll admit that I don’t like molasses a whole lot, but these weren’t overly molasses-y.  It was super moist and full of sweet raisins.

The last was my favorite: Banana Bread.  This was still very moist and perfectly banana-y. It held together beautifully and contained a good amount of walnuts.  If you live far from Michigan, I’d suggest ordering this one – it keeps the best.

Kat's Hot Cakes Sampler

Sampler: (clockwise) Banana Bread, Molasses Muffin, Carob Cake, Orange Cake and a side of Carob Frosting

Brunch at Real Food Daily

Real Food Daily is an all vegan eatery serving up healthy, organic food.  They now have three locations: Santa Monica, West Hollywood, and the newest in Pasadena.  My vegan guy and I used to go here often for their Sunday brunch, but when their tofu scramble portions got smaller and smaller, we stopped frequenting them as much.  The Santa Monica location has a full bakery attached to it that specializes in healthier-for-you desserts.  If you want to star gaze (or impress out of town guests) the West Hollywood location often has celebrities dining in.  I’ve often spotted one on a trip to their Sunday brunch.  Once, we sat next to Leonardo Di Caprio and Tobey Maguire (swoon!!)!  Sorry, vegan guy, but I’ve been in a relationship with Leo long before I met you.

And now back to the food.  I got the Breakfast Burrito ($13.75): whole wheat flour tortilla, scrambled tofu, tempeh bacon, spanish rice, black beans, onions, peppers, topped w/ ranchero sauce, cashew cheese, guacamole, pico de gallo with hash browns or fruit.  This thing is huge and (as you can see) loaded with goodness.   I got it with a side of hash browns, which were crispy on the top and softer underneath.  The tempeh bacon is too smokey for me at Real Food Daily, so I gave the side to my vegan guy.

Real Food Daily Breakfast Burrito

Breakfast Burrito

My vegan guy went with his standard RFD brunch item: Ava B ‘n’ Cheez Scramble ($12.95): avocado, crumbled tempeh bacon, sun-dried tomatoes, cashew cheese (only he gets chopped tomatoes instead of the sun dried tomatoes).  It also comes with hash browns or fruit and a side of toast.  While it looks like a lot in the picture, it’s actually a bit small (especially for the price).  When you see that my meal was less than a dollar more, I would expect almost as much food.  It is still tasty food, but beware if you have a larger appetite.

Real Food Daily Tofu Scramble

Tofu Scramble

I was so stuffed from my burrito, that I couldn’t eat anything more.  However, I saw in the bakery display case a glorious looking cheesecake, so I got it to-go.  The Caramel Pecan Cheesecake ($6.95) was nice and creamy.  I liked it, but my vegan guy thought the tofu flavor was too strong.

Real Food Daily Caramel Pecan Cheesecake

Caramel Pecan Cheesecake

Check out their website to see which of their three locations is closest to you.

Comfort Food From Doomie’s Home Cookin

Omnivores may think that vegans only eat grass (and there are some that basically do!), but some of us vegans still crave those good ol’ classic dishes.  LA is home to Doomie’s Home Cookin – the latest vegetarian restaurant to bring humane alternatives to fried chicken, burgers, and pasta dishes.  Doomie’s is mostly vegan – with the exception of an option of dairy cheese.  I think from the people I know, some people like Doomie’s and some don’t.  I am also a lover and a hater of Doomie’s.  Some items I love and some items I just don’t like.  I have tried about every menu item and have found the ones I love, so I stick with those.  If you aren’t into the occasional unhealthy food, you may not like Doomie’s.  See why the health nut may not be interested in Doomie’s below.

My absolute favorite item at Doomie’s is their Clam Chowder ($4.95/cup).  Sometimes they even put it in a bread bowl – soooo good!  Unfortunately, this soup is only available on Fridays (bummer!).  What luck I had on Saturday, when they had clam chowder available.  I got a cup of it with my entree and (as usual) loved it.

Doomie's Clam Chowder

Clam Chowder

Another option to get with your entree is a Salad.  I got mine with Ranch dressing.  This is your typical salad, but their Ranch dressing makes it better.  Nice and creamy.

Doomie's Salad with Ranch

Salad with Ranch

I enjoy their Chili Cheese Fries ($6.95), but prefer Chili Addiction’s a bit better.  Doomie’s chili is really runny – you’ll need a fork to eat this one.

Doomie's Chili Cheese Fries

Chili Cheese Fries

My vegan guy gets their Nachos ($7.95) quite often.  I’m not a huge fan of this dish, but do enjoy a few chips when he gets it.

Doomie's Nachos

Nachos

And the pièce de résistance – Doomie’s Fried Chicken Entree ($11.95).  We got our side of mashed potatoes with gravy.  It also comes with corn, bread roll, and coleslaw (upon request).  I can’t eat this often (too much fried foods don’t sit well with me), but when I get the craving, it is wonderful.  The chicken reminds me of what I used to eat at KFC – and it doesn’t gross me out, because I know it’s not a dead animal.  The flavor is just so delicious.  I am also a little obsessed with their bread rolls.  I know they are so basic and packaged, but something about them makes me happy.  Maybe because I normally eat more nutritious breads at home and find it to be such a treat.  My vegan guy doesn’t get it, either.

Doomie's Fried Chicken Dinner

Fried Chicken Dinner

Doomie’s is now open everyday: 12pm – 10pm.  You can get your comfort craving filled at

1253 N Vine St Suite #9
Los Angeles, Ca 90038
323-469-4897

And they also have a secret menu that includes such things as a Big Mac, Double-Double, and Dino Egg.

Bulan Thai Vegetarian on Melrose

My vegan guy and I went on a double date to Bulan Thai Vegetarian.  We know how good this place is, but wanted to show some omnivorous friends what good vegan food tastes like.  The four of us ate every last bit of what we ordered and we proved to our friends how wonderful this place is.

Our first appetizer was the Summer Rolls ($8): baked tofu and vegetables wrapped in clear wrappers and served with a Vietnamese dip.  I love summer rolls.  I get so sick of the fried egg rolls (sometimes you just want something fresh!).

Bulan Thai Summer Rolls

Summer Rolls

Our second appetizer was the Grilled Dumplings ($6): stuffed with mixed vegetables and bean curd and served with spicy soy vinaigrette sauce.  I’m not a huge fan of dumplings, but my vegan guy loves them.  He also thinks that Bulan makes them really well.

Bulan Thai Grilled Dumplings

Grilled Dumplings

The Pineapple Fried Rice ($9) was very simple but so good!  Made with pineapple, cashews, raisins, onions, bell peppers, and curry powder.  We got it with pepper steak, which is chewier than the other protein options.  I normally don’t get fried rice, but maybe I should.  I was craving this for weeks after I had it.  Although, next time, I think I’ll get it with a different protein option.

Bulan Thai Pineapple Fried Rice

Pineapple Fried Rice with Pepper Steak

I am also always craving the sweet stuff, so we got some Orange Chicken ($11): crispy battered veggie chicken tossed in an orange sauce.  This was nice and crispy on the outside and sweet in the sauce.

Bulan Thai Orange Chicken

Orange Chicken

And how can one go to a thai restaurant and not get some Pad Thai ($8)?  This normally comes with egg, so request it vegan.  Nothing like some rice noodles in a peanut sauce.

Bulan Thai Pad Thai

Pad Thai with Tofu

Even after everything we ate above, three of us were still a bit hungry, so we got one more entree.  Crisp Fish with Green Apple ($12) is crispy veggie fish served with fresh green apple, cashew nuts, red onions, chili, cilantro, and special dressing. They certainly named this correctly – it was super crispy.  The lack of sauce is both good and bad.  It’s good, because the fish won’t get soggy.  The bad is that it was kind of plain.

Bulan Thai Crisp Fish with Green Apple

Crisp Fish with Green Apple

Bulan Thai Vegetarian has two locations.  I’ve only gone to the one on Melrose, but I’m sure Silver Lake folks will be happy to have one closer to them.

7168 Melrose Ave
Los Angeles, CA 90046
323-857-1882

4114 Santa Monica Blvd
Silver Lake, CA 90029
323-913-1488

New Veg Coffee House in Fullerton

A new coffee house recently opened in downtown Fullerton.  It’s a cute place that tries to buy local and do other environmentally responsible things.  Green Bliss has an all vegetarian menu with some vegan options.

Green Bliss

Green Bliss

They have inside seating and a few tables in this really beautiful courtyard.  I’ve read that sometimes there are weddings in this courtyard.  You can see why.  Be careful which table you choose to sit – some are designated for other restaurants.

Courtyard Behind Green Bliss

Courtyard Behind Green Bliss

As for the food, my sandwich was very tasty.  I got the Avo-Campania Panini with a Green Bliss Salad ($9).  This sandwich has mushrooms, avocado, artichoke hearts, and hemp seed basil pesto on multigrain bread.  It’s nice and warm with a wonderful blend of flavors.

Green Bliss Panini

Green Bliss Panini

My friend got the Curried Chickpea Salad Panini with a Green Bliss Salad ($9). It’s got chickpeas, raisins, almonds, organic baby spinach, tomato, and vegan mayo on marble rye. I didn’t have a bite, but she and her boyfriend really liked it.  I’m not a huge fan of curry, but I might try this next time.

Green Bliss Curried Chickpea

Curried Chickpea Salad Panini

And there are even vegan dessert options.  I’m pretty sure the cupcakes are vegan from Luscious Organics and there was also a vegan cookie available when I went.

Green Bliss Bakery Display

Bakery Display

If you live or are passing through North Orange County, I’d highly recommend stopping to refuel your body at Green Bliss.  Parking in the area was not bad when I went.

305 N Harbor Blvd Suite 103 (at Villa Del Sol)
Fullerton, CA 92832
(714) 773-0018

Monday – Saturday from 7 am – 7 pm
Sunday 8 am – 5 pm

breakfast (vegans can get oatmeal or a fruit bowl) is served until 11am

Vegan Pizza Day at Follow Your Heart

If you’re a social media addict, chances are you heard about Vegan Pizza Day that happened on June 30th.  Quarrygirl had a detailed map of all the places offering specials for this food holiday.  Because I had already tried some of these amazing pizzas, I went with something new.  Follow Your Heart was offering a special deep dish pizza for Vegan Pizza Day.  I love Follow Your Heart mozzarella cheese on pizza when it’s done right (aka- melted).

The options included two different options, so my vegan guy and I got one of each.  Our favorite was the Meat Lover’s Pizza.  As you can see, there were tons of melty cheese covering different types of vegan meats.  My only complaint about this pizza was actually the reason I came – the deep dish.  I didn’t think it was like a pizza crust at all.  To me, it was almost like a really thick piece of toast: too crispy for me.  My vegan guy was a fan of the crispiness, though.  To each his own, I guess.

Follow Your Heart Meat Lover's Pizza

Meat Lover’s Pizza

The Margherita Pizza was the same as the Meat Lover’s – only with less flavored toppings.  It still had that crispy crust and melty cheese, but was more plain only topped with just some tomatoes and basil.

Follow Your Heart Margherita Pizza

Margherita Pizza

And there you have it!  I hope you enjoyed Vegan Pizza Day.  And if you missed it, there’s always next year.  But as always, most of these places have vegan pizza year-round (just without the special discounts).  Make Everyday Vegan Pizza Day.

The Best Refried Beans are at Cuca’s

This post is going to have the most boring food photos ever, but I have to tell you about my favorite place to get a bean burrito.  Cuca’s Mexican Food started in Redlands at a little hole in the wall and have since expanded around the Inland Empire.  They now have seven locations for refried bean enthusiasts like myself.

Some locations are purely take-out.  Others are counter service only.  The location I frequent when I want to sit down and relax while I’m catching up with friends is their full service restaurant in Mentone.  When you sit down, you always get a bowl (or two or three or four…) of freshly fried tortilla chips and some of the best salsa ever!

Cuca's Chips and Salsa

Chips and Salsa

There menu is large and consists mainly of meat and cheese laden items, but there are some vegan options.  The beans, tortilla, veggies, and guacamole are vegan for sure.  Never get the rice, because it is cooked in chicken broth.  I don’t need anything but a nice hot tortilla wrapped around their refried beans.  Sure, I’ll add a bit of that salsa, but really, I could just drink those beans.  If you know anyone from the area, chances are, they are a fan of Cuca’s.  I have waited in line and have heard conversations of people shipping Cuca’s to those unfortunate loved ones living out of state.  Of course they were probably shipping the cruel stuff, but it shows how much people love this place.  Now if only they carried some Daiya, vegan sour cream, and maybe even a little bit of Gardein.

Cuca's Bean Burrito

My boring photo of the most amazing Bean Burrito ever!

Check out their website to see which location is close to you.

Happy Family in Loma Linda

I’m seriously in love with Chinese food (or at least what we call Chinese food here in the states).  I already told you about my delicious meal at Happy Family in Monterey Park, and now I tell you about my other delicious meal at another Happy Family. I mentioned before that these two restaurants share the same name, but are not the same company.  They might have been at some point, but I am not sure about the details.

My “happy family” went here for Father’s day and feasted on lots of menu items.

First, as always, we got the Hot and Sour Soup ($6.95 – medium).  This is my all time favorite soup and they do it very well.  Never overly spicy, but oh so flavorful.

Happy Family Hot and Sour Soup

Hot and Sour Soup

Another dish we always order is the Sizzling Plate ($10.95), because this is my dad’s favorite dish.  We get it without the “beef,” since we don’t like it as much as the tofu and “chicken.”

Happy Family Sizzling Plate

Sizzling Plate

My sisters like the Cashew Nuts Wheat Gluten Chicken ($8.50) the most.  I also like this dish, only I’m not a fan of the plethora of water chestnuts.

Happy Family Cashew Nuts Wheat Gluten Chicken

Cashew Nuts Wheat Gluten Chicken

My mom and I love the Crispy Shiitake Mushroom with Bean Sprout ($9.95).  These tiny strips of fried shiitake mushrooms are tossed with a wonderful sweet sauce (or as my dad calls it – “red sugar”).  Whatever, dad, I’m an advocate of balancing out the savory with the sweet.

Happy Family Shiitake Mushrooms with Bean Sprouts

Shiitake Mushrooms with Bean Sprouts

My one sister loves soft tofu dishes, so she tried the Szechwan Style Tofu ($7.25).  This dish is slightly spicy, but not too bad.  It’s a great dish if you happen to like soft tofu.

Happy Family Szechwan Style Tofu

Szechwan Style Tofu

And the overall favorite is the Crispy Oyster Mushroom ($9.95).  I got a similar dish at the Happy Family in Monterey Park, but I definitely like this version better.  I think this one has more flavor.  It doesn’t even need a sauce – it’s that good.

Happy Family Crispy Oyster Mushrooms

Crispy Oyster Mushrooms

I am so happy they opened near my hometown.  Now my family has a place to eat that satisfies everyone.  If you aren’t in the Inland Empire, they also have locations in Costa Mesa and Rowland Heights.  Seriously – check them out.

Happy Family – Loma Linda
2150 So. Waterman Avenue
San Bernardino, CA 92408
909-333-6988

Monday – Friday 11am – 3pm and 5pm – 9pm
Saturday and Sunday 11am – 9pm