Eat Me.

Anything you can do we can do vegan.

Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Juan's Flying Burrito

Juan's is a fantastic place for vegans. Unless they try to sneak cheese on your tacos...

Bean, Mushroom and Tomato tacos on corn tortillas make me go mmmmm... I must add this to my list of restaurants for vegans in New Orleans. Maybe when I am at home I might have some time to sit and add about sixteen restaurants I have been needing to add.

Sunday, July 29, 2007

What we ate on Friday

Friday was a good food day. First we went to yoga then came home to H&H bagels and coffee. At 1:30 we met Joey at Commander's Palace for lunch. Then (three martinis and two glasses of champagne later) at six there was a yoga potluck for our guest instructor Hannae. *Phew*

Lets start with Commander's Palace. At 1:30 there was a wait to even get to the host desk. I had made a reservation and after we were seated I ogled the wallpaper and candelabras in the dining room for about half an hour while we waited for Joey to arrive. I started with a watermelon and pickled watermelon rind salad topped with shaved mirliton and Amos started with gazpacho. His gazpacho started as a little mound chopped avocado and veggies in a bowl over which chilled tomato broth was poured table-side. I only had one little bite but it was fantastic - rich and peppery. Entree was a special order for both of us and unfortunately they served us the same thing - mixed sauteed summer vegetables served in a puff pastry boat. I can't say they were flexing their culinary muscles on this one (Joey had pork tenderloin with a chicory and coffee crust over mashed potatoes) but our dishes still really very tasty. Watermelon sorbet and coffee to finish. Anytime you go in New Orleans for a two hour meal and not want to explode afterwards is a rare experience indeed which is what partly made this lunch fantastic.

Commander's Palace tips for vegans: When offered garlic toast ask for a plain loaf of French bread and some olive oil - they will gladly accommodate. (Joey asked for us - thanks Joey!) If you really want a fantastic experience it might help to call ahead and tell them about your diet - you might get a more interesting culinary experience. I emailed them before we went and they said they have a vegan special everyday (not on the menu!) and if we didn't like whatever it was they could make something else.

On to the potluck. After trying to sober up we headed to the yoga potluck bringing with us sesame sweet potato salad and strawberry ice cream. Everyone loved the strawberry ice cream and there were other actual vegans there so we could eat all but one dish. Love Love.

I wish I had time for more blogging right now but we put the house on the market tomorrow and still have a ton of work to do!

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

what we ate last night : for real.

After leaving work around 8 there was no way I was going home and cooking dinner even though we still have a bumper crop of eggplant and I had spent 50$ at the grocery store the day before. We were going out. And I wanted to sit outside and either ride bikes or walk. And I didn't want to go to anyplace we frequented. With all this in mind we tried Fiesta Bistro on Carrollton who interestingly have a section of menu devoted to "vegetarian tapas for veggie lovers." I am going to add it to our restaurant list for vegans in NOLA.

Note: I also tried the seven year granola. It was good considering I didn't have half the ingredients and Amos left in in the oven for about 30 minutes too long.

Monday, July 16, 2007

Found: Granola Recipe

When I last posted on the topic of granola I swore to unlock the secrets of how to make the granola clump. I think Amos found a recipe here on The Traveler's Lunchbox that explains the clumping granola phenomenon and has an exciting tale of Peruvian travel to boot. And the pictures are way better... but still like mine with blueberries! Maybe great minds do think alike thus making me a great mind by default? If only.

Sunday, July 15, 2007

New Orleans Restaurant Guide for Vegans

Let's face it - there is no one dedicated happy place for vegans in New Orleans. Most of the local specialties center around seafood and just when you thought you were safe with the vegetable plate at Galatoires you realize everything on it was fried in butter. In the words of our friend Albert "you guys must be disappointed a lot." However painfully true that is on occasion there are way more fantastic occasions on which you find a hidden gem of a restaurant that by default serves food that is always perfectly vegan and always perfectly delicious.

Note: This post is to be constantly under construction.


New Orleans' traditional cuisine has its roots in traditional African cooking. Corner store red beans and rice, jambalaya and gumbo are all variations of traditional African dishes that don't always live up to their predecessors. However eating at an African restaurant affords you the joy of discovery and exploration if you are already down with the comfort food and other dishes that make us feel at home.


1212 Royal Street

Cash only. Daily 11-10. BYOB (Corner-store one block away in case you forget your wine.) Lunch specials.

I don't know how we survived in New Orleans without knowing about Bennachin. A fellow vegan clued me in on their reasonably priced lunch specials and fabulous black-eyed pea fritters. My favorite meal is the jama-jama; coconut rice w/sauteed spinach and plantains on the side. Nice and simple. More favorites are peanut or pumpkin seed stews, beans and rice or Amos' favorite; the black-eyed pea fritter po-boy. The dinner rolls got a thumbs up from Amos' grandma who is a dinner roll expert. Click on the name above for the Gambit's review of the restaurant. This place is perfect for you out of town vegans wanting to taste something unique and New Orleans-y but too drunk to make it out of the quarter. The only thing is be prepared for a wait after you sit down and order - the staff is usually one server and a cook if you are lucky...

Menu Highlights: Jama-Jama, Black-Eyed Pea Fritters, African Po'Boy, Jambalaya, Sauteed Vegetables with Cous-Cous. Long list of vegan items and many items on the menu available without meat. Fantastic Dinner Rolls.


Because sometimes you need some scrambled tofu.

Surrey's Juice Bar

1418 Magazine St

Cash only. Wednesday -Sunday 8-Lunch.

Surrey's is great. It's cute and light and airy just like a breakfast place should be. We try to go on Saturday mornings almost as soon as they open and then hit up the farmer's market. They make their own bagels and granola. Watch out for the 6$ glasses of fresh juice.

Menu Highlights: Bagel Plate with Vegan Avocado Mash, Granola w/Fresh Fruit and Soy Milk, Fair-Trade Coffee, Roasted Vegetable Po-Boy, Tofu Scramble.


There was no Mexican or South American food before the storm. Now however there are a few establishments looking to serve very very authentic dishes and roving trucks serving food for the working masses. I haven't tried to navigate any of these new establishment's yet but will refer two old standbys.

Juan's Flying Burrito

2018 Magazine St

Monday - Saturday: 11-9 PM Sunday 4-9 PM

Juan's is where we go when we are HUNGRY. A bean and rice burrito the size of your head is $5.50.

Taqueria Corona
5932 Magazine St

Monday - Saturday: 11-9 PM Sunday 4-9 PM

Non-fussy Mexican food with good margaritas. Also where I discovered cebollitas. Get the cebollitas.

Mediterranean/Middle Eastern

I don't really know why we have so many fantastic Middle Eastern restaurants in New Orleans or why I have two within walking distance from my house. I'm certainly not complaining. And if you are unfamiliar with Middle Eastern food take a meal and try it. You will be hooked I promise.

Lebanon's Cafe

1506 S. Carrollton Avenue

Open daily for lunch and dinner. BYOB.

I love Lebanon's. Although their prices have risen over the years it is well worth the extra dollar for falafel that is perfectly spiced every time. Middle Eastern food is fantastic but Lebanon's has stepped well beyond the ordinary. They serve traditional dishes that are perfect every time with gracious portions. At whole foods the price of the pine-nuts in their Lebanese iced tea would cover the cost of your entire dinner.

It is also great to grab one of their sidewalk tables on a perfect day and watch the world go by. The owner is always about as is the neighborhood cat that lounges around outdoors ignoring the patrons as they vie for his attention.

Mona's Cafe
1120 S. Carrollton Avenue (one of many locations...)

Open daily for lunch and dinner. BYOB.

Mona's Cafe is like a legacy in New Orleans with multiple locations serving many different neighborhoods throughout the city. Everyone in New Orleans knows Mona's. Because when you want your hummus and falafel or an outstanding bowl of lentil soup they will be there for you. I just googled "Mona's Cafe" and reviews from the New York Times popped up. A few locations have outside seating (mid-city and riverbend) and our favorite thing is picking out the few Arabic words we know from the music they are playing. Also stop in to buy freshly baked house pita for 1.50$.


Fiesta Bistro
1506 Carrollton Avenue
Saint Charles Bus. Monday - Saturday 11-11. Sunday Noon-10.

When fiesta opened it didn't have much in the way of vegan food. They have revamped their menu to include a large selection of tapas, one lovingly named "vegetarian tapas for veggie lovers." Joy! We went with three tapas and sangria. Sangria was o-k but not the boozy lovely dense sweet drink with an abundance of fruit we have come to love at Lola's. Skip the chips and salsa and even if ordering from the veggie menu specify no dairy!

Menu Highlights: Grilled Veggie Tacos or Fajitas, Patatas Bravas (very good!), Tomato Confie, Eggplant Granada, Empanadas de Frijoles, Garbanzo or Fava Casserole, Stuffed Mushrooms. 2$ mimosas all day Sunday and daily happy hour from 2:30 to 5:30.

3312 Esplanade Avenue (Near City Park)
Mon-Thu,Sun 5:30pm-9:30pm; Fri-Sat 5:30pm-10pm
Dressy Casual, No Reservations, Cash Only!

By far one of my favorite restaurants in the city. This is the protocall at Lola's. Call up all your friends or go with just one. Wait outside for a table, if you brought your own wine start drinking (corkscrew is in the hostess stand - shh!). Sit down and be served hot little pistolettes out of some magic hot bread oven. The paella is to die for and if you have lots of friends just order a big dish and share. The cutest thing about this restaurant is the older folks that come with their own personal coolers of booze. I'm telling you this is a hidden gem and go there and know about the wonder that is Lola's.

Menu Highlights: Sauteed crimini mushrooms, vegetable paella or fidellua, salads, garlic soup. Bring your own wine or get their sangria w/lots of fruit for 3$ a glass. 3$!


New Orleans has a large Vietnamese population. Most of the Chinese restaurants in the city are actually run by Vietnamese families and aren't very good at all. There isn't a shortage of authentic Vietnamese restaurants around town though they tend to be on the Westbank or in New Orleans East and are difficult to get to without a car. Read the menu before you sit down: many Vietnamese restaurants have meat in everything with the option to add eggs if you are so inclined. One waiter actually asked us why we were even bothering to pay for the spring rolls if we didn't want pork or shrimp (after we had to explain to him shrimp is indeed a type of meat). But a few restaurants have broken out of that tradition to provide kick ass vegetarian food. Who needs Pho anyway?!

Pho Tau Bay

113 Westbank Expy # C
Gretna, LA 70053
(504) 368-9846
Open Monday - Saturday. Call first. Kitchen closes at 8:30.

Before Katrina (or Pre-K if you are so inclined) there were several Pho Tau Bays around the New Orleans area including one next to Angelo Brocato's on Carrolton Avenue serviced by the Canal Streetcar Line. The last one standing is located in a bleak strip mall in the shadow of the elevated West Bank Expressway next to an acrylic nail supply company and abandoned bowling alley. Don't let the lack of locality ambiance scare you off - the food is amazing and there is no shortage of vegetarian/vegan options. And seriously it is only five minutes from the quarter (by car) and well worth the trip.

Menu Highlights: Soda Chanh (beverage of club soda, lime and sugar served mix-it-yourself style), Spring Rolls (fresh and fried), Vermicelli Noodle Salads, Tofu Vietnamese Po-Boy, Vegetable Soup (add your choice of rice, tapioca, bean thread or a few other noodles), Vietnamese Coffee (ask for soy milk), lime-jasmine tea, other beverage concoctions you never knew existed.

Jazmine Cafe
614 S. Carrollton Avenue
Take Saint Charles Bus to Riverbend. Open Tuesday - Sunday 11-9.

Jazmine Cafe is a newer addition to the neighborhood and used to be the 24-hour Trolley Stop Cafe. Thank god that's gone... On a Saturday night business was brisk with diners and take-out orders but the atmosphere is casual and it is sort of nice not having to wait for two hours for a table. The menu and staff are very vegan friendly: on one occasion after we ordered the waitress asked if we were vegetarians and recommended switching out the chicken soup my meal came with that I hadn't even noticed.

Menu Highlights: Vegetable Spring or Summer Rolls with peanut-hoisin sauce, Tofu and Avocado Vermicelli Noddle Salad Bowl (add crispy fried summer rolls- I dare you!), Mushroom Glass Noodle Soup, Tamarind Tofu Soup, Bubble Teas, Vietnamese Coffee (ask for soy milk).

Saturday, July 14, 2007

Fig Ice Cream

Last night I took my next-door-neighbor's lead and picked more figs from the fig tree down the street and churned them into what was probably the best ice cream I have ever had in my life. (Yes, even better than Carl's in Virginia...) I also tried to make waffle cones; complete disaster considering I have no waffle cone iron. I got two cones to work by smashing the batter in a frying pan with the buttered bottom of a cake pan. And those tasted really fantastic - like almonds, butter and cinnamon. But one had a huge hole in the bottom so was useless as far as an ice cream cone goes.

But back to the ice cream: I will divulge the recipe just in case you have a barbecue to go to and nothing in the house but a can of coconut milk. I am sure this would work with any fresh fruit you can find - but you might need to adjust the amounts to get a good consistency.

I also need to note the original recipe is from Vice Cream by Jeff Rogers, which I highly recommend. We used the ice cream attachment for our kitchen aid mixer. (Also highly recommended.)

Fig Ice Cream

You will need:

1 (16 oz.) Can Coconut Milk
2-1/4 Cups Fresh Figs, Washed and Cut Into Quarters
3/4 Cup Maple Syrup


(Note: Original recipe calls for peeling the figs: I said screw that and it turned out fine. The particular fig I used has a very thin pinkish/purple skin and also the figs were mostly unblemished.)

In a blender combine coconut milk, 1-1/2 cups of the figs and maple syrup. Blend on high until smooth - at least one minute. (I did two minutes.) Put mix in freezer for an forty minutes to an hour or refrigerate overnight. Place remaining 3/4 cup of figs in the freezer.

Churn according to your ice cream maker's instructions and add remaining quartered figs within the last five minutes of churning. Eat right away as the fantastic soft-serve consistency it will be after churning or keep frozen in an airtight container and let soften before eating.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Neighborhood Figs

I picked these figs a few days ago. They are beautiful and really yummy. I saw my neighbor picking them and had not even noticed they were ripe. He says they make ice cream every year from them. I almost baked some into a tart with balsamic the other night but drank too much wine and just ended up eating them raw.... I think they are almost all done so if I want to bake with them I need to do it within the next two days or so because the ground is already littered with mushy smashed fig. (Click on the pictures for better quality - I at least think they are beautiful images and blogspot won't do them justice.)

I think these people copied my lentil picture on tastespotting (My picture:Post 1867. Their picture:Post 2654). Or maybe lentils are just beautiful.... I have been having problems remembering my password for tastespotting so only about half my pictures ever get posted.

Top Chef News: Has anyone been watching? The first challenge disgusted me so much I haven't watched again. I used to love that show too... I think the contestants are getting lamer as the seasons go on. I really liked everyone on the first season, the second season had some decent people and now the third season most contestants seem like they just have bad hygiene.

Friday, July 6, 2007

Waldorf Salad Spring Rolls

We made the Waldorf salad spring rolls for the Fourth of July/Emily's Birthday Party and they were fantastically yummy. So yummy and fun to make I had dreams of starting my own vegan catering business serving Waldorf salad spring rolls and ... well that would be it I guess. They worked really well as party food and everyone seemed to really love them. One person thought they were individually wrapped apples at first glance and another guest (drunk) suggested since they were so good I should buy a bed and breakfast that's on the market by her house at the rock bottom price of $799,000. (But it has 8 bedrooms! And if it doesn't work out Amos and I can just have 7 kids!)

Waldorf Salad has been a favorite for over a century hopefully fueling crazy ideas the whole while. From what I have read the salad got it's name from the Waldorf Hotel (former name of Waldorf-Astoria Hotel) in New York City where it was created in 1893.

Below is the recipe. I tweaked around with the ingredients from several recipes found throughout the net. I have to warn you I have never had an original Waldorf salad (and probably won't now since they are traditionally made with mayonnaise) so can't verify how close this actually tastes to the original. I also de-constructed the salad a bit - slicing the apples thinly rather than chopping them so I could roll them up and reference the beautiful spring rolls served in Vietnamese restaurants throughout New Orleans.

Waldorf Salad Spring Rolls

You Will Need:

For the Dressing:
4 T Olive Oil
1.5 t Sugar
1 T Lemon Juice
1/8 t Salt
1/2 t Allspice
Zest of 1/2 Large Lemon

For the Filling:
1/2 C Chopped Walnuts
1/2 C Dried Fruit (I used dried cranberries)
4 C Fresh Baby Spinach
1-2 Large Apples (I used Cameo)
2-4 T Lemon Juice

12 Round Rice Papers, Broken in Half (Found at an Asian Grocery)

For the Dipping Sauce:
1/2 C Soy Yogurt or Vegan Mayonnaise
1 T Lemon Juice
1 T Sugar (Or to taste)
1-3 T Lemon Juice (to taste)
1 t Allspice


Prepare all ingredients. Wash spinach if necessary and dry then place in large bowl. Roast walnuts in a nonstick pan on the stove over medium heat stirring frequently or in a toaster oven on the toast setting until brown. Mix in medium bowl with dried fruit. Wash and halve apples. Slice apples thinly (1/8") removing nasty bits of the core. In a medium bowl pour 2-4 T lemon juice over apples and stir gently. For the wrappers get a kettle of 4 cups of water boiling (or just warm if possible) on the stove. Clear a workspace large enough where you can lay a damp kitchen towel down and a platter on which to place the spring rolls.

Now in a medium to small bowl whisk together all ingredients in the top batch of list above. Toss 3 T of the dressing with the spinach and the additional 1T of the dressing with the walnuts and dried fruit. I prefer my greens in spring rolls rather dry so I added a quite a bit of spinach. Add dressing to spinach gradually if you think it might become too wet.

In a shallow plate pour warm water and let 1 wrapper soak for 5 seconds or until translucent and supple. Place on damp kitchen towel. Place 1 apple slice in the center of wrapper. Add approximately 1.5 t of the walnut/dried fruit mixture. Then to top it off add a bunch of spinach tucking under stems and pieces of leaf until a nice little rectangle shape not much bigger than the apple is formed. To roll fold one long side over while holding filling firmly in place. Fold short ends over then fold the remaining long side. Pull sides taught when folding to make sure filling in roll doesn't fall out when picked up or while eaten. Place on serving platter. Separate layers of spring rolls with parchment paper or other material to keep them from sticking to one another.

For the dipping sauce mix all ingredients in bowl and serve or cover and refrigerate.

Makes 24 party size rolls.

Monday, July 2, 2007

Waldorf-Salad Spring Rolls?

I just posted links to a few blogs I read almost daily: not martha and design*sponge. Both are great housy-designy eye candy blogs that are smart and well written. And they are refreshingly not about food. And after all I am still an architect and need my design fix.

But about that food... I am going to a bbq this fourth of july for our friend Emily's birthday party and patriotic celebration. Her and her room-mates Patrick (also friend) and Cooper (new friend) put on the best parties. So I was honored when Emily called last night and asked if I would bring something. I am leaning towards a waldorf salad that I test drove yesterday... very delicious. Something about the simple combination of walnuts, apples, dried cranberries and an allspice/lemon dressing over crisp greens is intoxicating.

But salad is definitely not the best party food... I wonder if a Waldorf salad spring roll (not fried) would rub me the right way... or if I am a glutton for punishment and that is the most time consuming frustrating idea ever....

Sunday, July 1, 2007

Fish is not a vegetable.

Top Photo: A red snapper in a reserve off the coast of New Zealand. I saw so many red snappers while snorkeling on our honeymoon in St. John and before I stopped eating them had no idea how fascinating and beautiful they are.
Bottom Photo: People buying fish carcasses in Tanzania as a source of protein.
Photos: National Geographic April 2007.

Last time I checked fish was not a vegetable. I admit I was confused myself for a long time. What's not to love about fish? They live in the sea... they don't take any natural resources to harvest... they are full of brain-building fatty omega acids. And mercury. And antibiotics. And actually they are harvested which is a huge source of pollution and environmental nastiness.

Diana (Amos' sister) put me on to the concept of bio-magnification. The little fish eat the mercury. The bigger fish eat hundreds and hundreds of little fish. The biggest fish (the ones we eat) eat hundreds and hundreds of bigger fish leaving us with meat that is so full of mercury if you eat it while pregnant your baby can have severe birth defects.

Furthermore there are people in the world that do depend on fish for protein. But since we can have and buy whatever we want in a developed nation we can pay more for those fish and leave the locals with the trash. The photo above is from National Geographic in April 2007 and the caption reads:

"Emblematic of First World exploitation of Africa's resources, only the carcasses of Nile perch are affordable sources of protein for some Tanzanians living around Lake Victoria. Perch fillets are stripped in 35 lakeside processing plants and shipped north, mainly to Europe and also to Israel. With years of overfishing, perch stocks have fallen drastically, imperiling the livelihoods of more than 100,000 fishermen and depriving local people of food."

Another quote from the same article for you sushi eaters out there:

"To supply the world's sushi markets, the magnificent giant bluefin tuna is fished in the Mediterranean at four times the sustainable rate."


"Over the past decade, a high-tech armada, often guided by spotter planes, has pursued giant bluefin from one end of the Mediterranean to the other, annually netting tens of thousands of the fish, many of them illegally. The bluefin are fattened offshore in sea cages before being shot and butchered for the sushi and steak markets in Japan, America, and Europe. So many giant bluefin have been hauled out of the Mediterranean that the population is in danger of collapse."

The fish are shot?! Shot. Your tuna roll was illegally caught and then shot.

Obviously these quotes only scratch the surface of the problems and I am obviously not a fish catching and ocean knowledge specialist. The article I read is available online in a multi-media format here on the National Geographic website.

The arguments I have heard for fishing is fish provide protein and fatty omega acids. Fishing provides livelihoods for local peoples and is a cultural way of life that would disappear if we didn't eat fish. What I say is protein and omega acids can both be found in plants. I also don't need to eat fish that have been imported from half way around the world using way more natural resources than is sustainable in the process; my need for their fish will not be responsible for the devastation of their local eco-systems that they depend on. I am not an indigenous person whose family have been fishermen since the dawn of time. My family will not become destitute if people decide not to eat fish. Instead other families become destitute because my family living in Illinois, fish capital of the world, wants fish.

And finally the meat-eaters most basic and infuriating argument which is the animal is stupid/ugly/useless and I am not sure what it feels so I can eat it. That and fish eat other fish so I can eat fish too. Last time I checked I was not a fish. Last time I checked fish do have a central nervous system which means they probably don't feel too hot being crushed to death or asphyxiated when yanked out of the water and thrown on the deck of a ship. Amos said the other night that he can only imagine fish feel a particular variety of pain beyond the grasp of human imagination just as their senses of smell and direction are beyond our grasp. I wonder how long until we have "humanely" raised fish?

So is it globalization that is destroying fish stocks around the world or personal choices made by millions in developed countries to eat fish? Is globalization much more than millions of personal choices or one in the same? How much of an impact can our personal choices have against something as large as the choices of millions others?