Junk Food That’s Healthy

Vegan MoFo Day 23:

Healthy Junk in Anaheim.  Get on it… Seriously.

They have revamped downtown Anaheim and it now has a bunch of cute boutiques and a food court-type place that houses the newest vegan watering hole.  It’s got all the vegan junk food you loved as an omnivore, without the “omni” part.  Just take their Nachos ($5.50) – these tortilla chips are loaded with black beans, taco meat, chez sauce, tomatoes, and avocado cream.  They did not skimp on the toppings!  I think these might be my new favorite vegan nachos.

Healthy Junk Nachos

Nachos

Another snack I tried was the Curly Yam Fries ($4.95).  A friend ordered this, so I thought they were onion rings at first (they look like it, right?).  The flavor was awesome – not to mention I loved the BBQ and Ranch sauces they drizzled over them.  However, they were a bit too mushy – something you wouldn’t be able to tell just by looking at them.

Healthy Junk Curly Fries

Curly Fries

My entree was their Classic Burger ($6.45) and I opted to add chez and bacon for an extra $2.  I liked the burger – typical soy patty and a great bun.  I did feel that they could have added more chez and the bacon was more like a slice of vegan ham (still good, though).

Healthy Junk Bacon Cheeseburger

Bacon Cheeseburger

And I got a BLT ($5.95) to-go for my vegan guy.  It was also quite nice, but I wouldn’t call it a BLT.  It was more like a ham sandwich.

Healthy Junk BLT

BLT

And they have shakes!!  I’m an insane person when it comes to shakes, so I had to try their Chocolate Shake ($5.50).  I thought it was delicious!  Even better than their Strawberry Shake (more on that in a later post).  I also had a sip of my friend’s Pumpkin Shake (which is available for a short time only) and thought it was extremely good, too! I heard it’s made with tofu and pumpkin spices and some other stuff.  Way better than I thought it would be.

Healthy Junk Chocolate Shake

Chocolate Shake

Let me take a moment to say that my friend “J” is awesome!!  We happened to be with a large group and it happened to be the day before my birthday, so she went ahead and did what I dream to do at every vegan restaurant – order one of each of the desserts!  The first was not really a dessert, but still so good.  The Cornbread Muffin had the perfect amount of cornmeal flavor and sweetness.  It comes with a small container of vegan butter to make it even more tasty.

Healthy Junk Corn Muffin

Corn Muffin

The Apple Crisp is gluten free.  It was a nice dessert.  My only problem was that the crust was super hard to cut – making sharing difficult.

Healthy Junk Apple Crisp

Apple Crisp (GF)

The Chocolate Chip Cookie was giant and thick!  Definitely one of the favorites of this evening.

Healthy Junk Chocolate Chip Cookie

Chocolate Chip Cookie

My birthday cake turned out to be Carrot Cake.  This one is super moist and topped with vanilla frosting.  Talk about dessert overload!!  I still have one more…

Healthy Junk Carrot Cake

Carrot Cake

The Fall special is a Yam Pie.  I think this one is also gluten free, but you’ll have to ask about that one.  It’s like cream on a crust.  I thought it was good, but the raisins or cranberries (or whatever they were) were kind of a weird chewy thing amongst the delicious creaminess.  Next time I might just pick those off and eat them separately.

Healthy Junk Yam Pie

Yam Pie (GF)

I love it here.  Order at the counter and then sit and wait for them to bring you your amazing food.

Healthy Junk

Healthy Junk

201 Center St. Promenade Unit B
Anaheim, California 92805
714-772-5865

Monday – Saturday 11am – 8pm

More Brunching at Real Food Daily

In relation to where my vegan guy lives, Real Food Daily is quite convenient.  And this makes it especially nice when we want some breakfast foods, since RFD serves brunch on Sundays (you can see more brunch items in my last RFD post).

My vegan guy went with his usual tofu scramble, but I wanted something new and got The Weekender ($14.25): scrambled tofu, onions, tomatoes, cashew cheese, tempeh bacon, half order french toast or two pancakes with hash browns or fruit.  I got it with pancakes (added blueberries) and hash browns.  I love this meal, because (1) it fills you up and (2) it combines sweet with savory.  This is great for those of us (like me) who are indecisive when it comes to menu ordering.  I still don’t like their tempeh bacon, but everything else was delicious!

RFD Weekender

The Weekender

And this sweet-aholic always eyes the bakery display case at their Santa Monica bakery.  I didn’t want something too heavy after eating that large meal, so I got the lightly sweetened Blueberry Coffee Cake.  I only thought it was decent – not spectacular.   Maybe it was just too dense and not moist enough for me.  Won’t stop me from trying their other desserts, though!

RFD Blueberry Coffee Cake

Blueberry Coffee Cake

Did you here?  RFD is now serving Pasadena!

Mail Order Raw Chocolate from Cloud 9

A quick review for Day 8 of Vegan MoFo:

I’m a sucker for deals, so when an offer hit the web for a sample of vegan raw chocolate from Cloud 9, I had to get it.  I’ve calmed down with purchasing discounted goods a lot since this deal went out.  For awhile there, I had more food than I could eat.

I understand the benefits of raw foods, but I just can’t get on board with raw chocolate.  It’s way too bitter for me.  I think I’ve finally learned my lesson to stop ordering it.  I’m thinking that the only way I’d learn to love raw chocolate is if I never ate sweetened foods.  Then maybe my taste buds would find the raw chocolate pleasant.  But, something tells me I won’t be giving up my vegan cakes and ice creams anytime soon.

As for the goods, I only had a very tiny sample of each flavor and then gave the rest away.

Cloud 9 Raw Chocolates

Raw Chocolates

The better ones would be the Macadamia/Goji and Cranberry/Pecan, because the sweetness of the fruit helps balance out the bitterness of the chocolate.  I couldn’t handle the bitterness in the Walnut and Original at all.

Cloud 9 Assorted Chocolate

Clockwise: Original, Walnut, Macadamia/Goji, Cranberry/Pecan

If you like really bitter chocolate, go get some of this.  It has some great nutritional qualities for a candy bar and I hear quite a few people liked it at Natural Products Expo East.

Dinnertime at Real Food Daily

Day 4 of Vegan MoFo:

My last two posts from Real Food Daily have been about their brunch items.  Because it is one of the few places to get vegan breakfast foods, my vegan guy and I come here a lot in the (late) mornings.  Very rarely do we actually come here for dinner, but sometimes we do.

In my pre-blog days, I tried numerous lunch/dinner menu items here that I did not document.  I am a big fan of their sandwich menu, including their Reuben ($11.75): tempeh, tofu cheese spread, sauerkraut, and thousand island dressing on sourdough rye bread.  I got it with a side Caesar Salad (really good!!).  This reuben is full of sauerkraut and is so juicy.  It doesn’t make you feel heavy after eating it, either.

RFD Reuben

Reuben

Another great item is their Mexico City Tacos ($15.95): two crispy tacos, red chili beans, tempeh, vegetables, smoky chipotle cheese, avocado, jicama slaw, and Fiesta rice.  This is one item off their specials menu.  I am a big fan of mexican inspired dishes and this had all the components of a tasty south of the border meal.   Two things I loved were the creamy beans and cheese.  One thing I wasn’t that into was the jicama slaw – not a big fan of jicama.

RFD Tacos

Tacos

And again with the dessert!  I have terrible willpower when it comes to dessert.  A few other tables around my vegan guy and me ordered a Cookie a la Mode, so I did too.  The thought of a warmed chocolate chip cookie with a nice scoop of vanilla ice cream sounded so wonderful and decadent.  Unfortunately, the cookie was not warmed and wasn’t particularly good at room temperature, either (I think it was gluten free).  I did like the ice cream.

RFD Cookie a la Mode

Cookie a la Mode

ROAD TRIP: Vegan Goodness in Sacramento

Let me begin this post by saying that there will be VEGAN DONUTS today!  And not just one place will have them.  Is your mouth watering yet?  Good.

Now let me explain how I got to the first set of vegan donuts in Sacramento.  As you may recall, I had just witnessed the beautiful wedding ceremony of my cousin with my mom and sister.  On our return trip to Southern California, we stopped in Sacramento for the night (it’s a very charming city, by the way).  Because my sister was craving pasta we just had to go to the Old Spaghetti Factory.  I like the Old Spaghetti Factory, but when I’m in a new place, I want to try something I’ve never had before.  One can get Old Spaghetti Factory any ol’ day in Southern California.  There are quite a few vegan options here and most Old Spaghetti Factories have renovated old train stations to make it a very lovely dining experience.  I didn’t snap any photos, because there are lots of resources already out there for vegan dining at the Old Spaghetti Factory.  See lists here and here.

Ok, ok, “When are we getting to the vegan donuts?!!” you ask.

After dinner, we stopped by the Sacramento Whole Foods to get dessert – and that’s where I spotted them waiting for me in the bakery section.  These gems are the creation of Posh Bakery – a wholesale only bakery in the Sacramento area.  The donuts were good.  It was late at night and they had been sitting all day, so they got to be a little dry – I still ate them, though.  The Blueberry Donut was my favorite.  It held its moisture the best, whereas the Chocolate-Nut Donut and Sugar Donut didn’t.  I also got a Whole Foods Chocolate Cupcake which was actually pretty disgusting, so don’t get it.

Whole Foods Sacramento Donuts

Whole Foods Cupcake and Posh Bakery Donuts

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ROAD TRIP: Vegan in Mammoth Lakes, CA (plus bonus cookie link!!)

If you’ve been following my blog, you’ll probably have remembered I just went on a road trip to Oklahoma City for my cousin’s wedding.  Well, my mom and I (and a sister) were at it again and went on a road trip to Lake Tahoe for another cousin’s wedding.  Lake Tahoe is not too far from Southern California, but we wanted to make it a mini vacation, so we decided to have a few stops along the way.

Mammoth Lakes is a hot spot for skiing (so I’ve been told), but also is a great place for summer outdoor fun.  We weren’t there too long, but I did have a chance to notice plenty of bike and hike paths around the town.  And since Mammoth is full of nature loving individuals, it didn’t surprise me that there were a few spots for vegan food.

Our first stop was a place to get some snacks.  Sierra Sundance Whole Foods is an awesome little health foods market.  They had a great selection of vegan foods for snacking or preparing a meal in that cabin you’ve rented.  Being in a small car with three women, we weren’t thinking “healthy snacks,” so we stocked up on some comforting sugary sweets.  They even carried a local company’s vegan cookie!

Sierra Sundance Whole Foods Goodies

Sierra Sundance Whole Foods Goodies

Speaking of that local cookie company – we passed Mimi’s Cookie Bar’s storefront on our way to our hotel and had to stop to see what other vegan selections they had.

Mimi's Cookie Bar

Mimi’s Cookie Bar

This cookie bar is really cute and they have both non-vegan and vegan goodies.  We got some of their daily vegan cookies and their one and only vegan ice cream.  The Mocha Almond Fudge Cookie (I believe was gluten free) was a bit dry, but had a good flavor.  The Coconut-Lime Ice Cream was just ok – sort of gummy.  The Apple-Cinnamon Cookies (from Sierra Sundance) were also getting a bit dry from sitting on the shelf, but would be fantastic fresh.  And the Gluten Free Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies were some of the best cookies I’ve ever had (gluten free or not)!!  We went back and got more of these cookies.

****Seriously, you have to try these cookies – and lucky for you, they are running a deal on Fab.com that allows you to do just that!  But hurry – this deal is only on for another 6 days!!  Go get them. Now.****

Mimi's Cookie Bar

Mocha Almond Fudge, GF PB Chocolate Chip, Coconut-Lime Ice Cream

And finally, on our way out of Mammoth the next day, we stopped to get a breakfast burrito at Stellar Brew & Deli.

Stellar Brew Coffee

Stellar Brew

The Breakfast Burrito ($5.50) was full of carrots, potatoes, bell pepper, and vegan sausage.  I thought it was a bit spicy, but good.  I also had wished they used some tofu and no bell peppers (yuck!).  It did give me that wholesome breakfast feeling so I could face the day of driving.

Stellar Brew Breakfast Burrito

Breakfast Burrito

Stay tuned for more from my vegan road trip, including stops in Ridgecrest, Lake Tahoe, and Sacramento!

Kyotofu Brownies from NYC

Kyotofu in New York City is a Japanese inspired cafe with a large bakery menu.  I haven’t been here before, but I know it is not a vegan place.  Their menu lists what is vegan and what is not, though.  I can’t speak for their savory items, but I can speak about their vegan brownies.

Kyotofu Brownies

I received a box full of individually wrapped brownies from Kyotofu in the mail.  I thought the presentation was adorable.  A fancy brown box with pink accents is my kind of style.  But what did the brownies taste like?…

Kyotofu Brownies

…Not good.  Even though they were individually wrapped and marked with a “best buy” date a week later, they were very dry.  The flavor was also a super deep chocolate – not my kind of brownie.  It could have been better had they just been moist.  I could get over the flavor by warming them up and serving them a la mode, but I couldn’t get over the texture.  I hope they are better fresh from the store.

Kyotofu Brownies

Brownies

Even though these brownies left a bad taste in my mouth, I still might try Kyotofu’s other items if I should ever be in NYC (I hear they have soft serve!).

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.

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