Tag Archives: what i ate
Maybe it will be different when I have a husband/kids/whatever to cook for, but the act of cooking in and of itself is essential to my emotional well-being. I love eating out – you can eat cuisine from just about everywhere in San Francisco, and I love exploring it – but being in the kitchen, starting with raw ingredients, and making something to nourish your body is important. Cooking allows me time to process my day and there is something about putting a meal together that centers myself.
The realities of my life mean that I often don’t have time to make a complicated meal, and really I’m not after something that requires a ton of stuff to make. So lately I’ve been finding myself drawn to dishes with simple, basic ingredients.
One of my favorite hot-weather dishes is soba, or buckwheat, noodles, served in a cold broth. I’m not well-versed in the ins and out of “authentic” Japanese cuisine, but I grew up eating hot soba every New Years Eve for good luck. When I was a kid, I didn’t like the noodles very much – the gray-brown color is a little off-putting to those accustomed to spaghetti and ramen – but the hearty flavor and texture has really grown on me as an adult.
I won’t tell you how to prepare soba, or the sauce that goes with it – you can check out Just Hungry for that – but I will say that it is not complicated at all! If you don’t have a Japanese market near you, you should be able to find all of the ingredients you need at Whole Foods – that’s where I bought my noodles. My favorite accompaniments for soba are cold tofu and edamame – green onions are great too, but I never have them on hand.
If you follow me on twitter, then you already know that I celebrated an anniversary on Monday. I know I don’t talk about him much, but the Dude as I call him and I have been dating for three years!
It’s kind of crazy to think about where we were three years ago and where we are now. I’m so grateful for all of his love and support, especially in the past few months as I’ve taken on more with work, with my community life, and with this blog and my dreams. As much as I like to cook, he always makes sure that I’ve got something to eat if I’m too tired/stressed/broke/busy to fix dinner. It might not always be what I want to eat, but hey, I appreciate the fact that he won’t let me starve!
Speaking of food, we decided to celebrate by doing something a little different and eating at a new restaurant. I usually have a difficult time getting the Dude to try new things (still can’t get him to enter a strictly vegetarian establishment) but we both had a really fun time eating new food!
We went to Dosa in the Mission district. Dosa specializes in Southern Indian cuisine, including the dosa which is essentially a savory lentil crepe. I’ve been to Dosa on Fillmore before – my uncle introduced me to it when he came to San Francisco. His family is from the southern part of India and according to him, most of the Indian restaurants you see in California are North Indian and/or Pakistani — which not only has different flavors, but also totally different dishes. At any rate, the last time I had a dosa was almost two years ago (I remember because the World Cup was going on…my how time flies!) so I was totally ready to try them again!
We started out with some celebratory drinks and some chip-like crackers.
I was starving so we tried out a chaat (small plate) of pani puri. It’s an Indian street food snack and you have to carve a hole out of the puff balls and stuff it yourself — playing with your food brings out the kid in all of us! I was surprised at how much the Dude liked assembling his food.
We got the masala dosa……this thing was HUGE! Twice as big as your average french crepe. The Dude loves crepes so I knew this wouldn’t be a hard sell once I actually got one to the table. We ate this thing up and it was soooooooooo good. The masala inside had so many layers of flavor and the sauces that came with it just really brought it over the top.
This is the poppyseed prawn curry. One of the main differences in South Indian curries, I found out, is the use of coconut milk. It gives them a much lighter flavor and, in my opinion, is a cross between the Thai curry and Indian curry that one typically finds in California. It was a little bit spicy, which went well with the coconut rice.
One of the great things about Indian fare is that it is practically vegan by default. A lot of dishes are made without meat, and the ones that are never feature the meat as the main ingredient. I went ahead and ate the prawns in our curry because I haven’t had them in ages, but it would have tasted just as good without them!
It looked like the sun is blazing into the restaurant, but truth be told…the fog has finally come back (my flat hair is a major indicator). I’m hoping that it will make my allergies calm down a little bit, because my sinuses are KILLING me!
I’ve got a confession: I’m not really a fan of cooking right now.
Yesterday for dinner I made sweet potato fries and burnt them; and to top it all off the oven made the temp in my apartment go up a bajillion degrees. (I may be exaggerating a tiny bit.)
So when I stumbled upon this recipe from The Endless Meal for Roasted Corn and Avocado Salad, I decided to use the oven one last time while it was still warm…ahaha.
In the original posting the author warned that she couldn’t help herself from eating all. of. it. and neither could I! I made myself squirrel away one serving to put in my lunch tomorrow, but after that it was ALL gone.
I made some modifications based on what I had in my kitchen, so the following is a list of the ingredients that I used:
- 2 cups frozen corn
- 2 celery stalks, chopped
- 1 tomato, diced
- 1/2 cup white onion, diced
- 1 cup frozen shelled edamame, thawed
- 1 avocado, peeled, pitted and diced
- Dressing: juice from 1/2 large lemon
- 2 tablespoon minced fresh italian parsley
- 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
- 1 teaspoon tapatio sauce
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon pepper
- 1/4 teaspoon granulated sugar
I roasted the corn in the oven for 15 minutes and while doing that I whisked up the dressing, then chopped the celery and tomato and I threw those in with the dressing. I had some pre-diced onions in the fridge so I didn’t have to spend time doing that and just threw them in!
I also thawed the edamame and then mixed that in as well. I chose to add the edamame to add some more texture (I didn’t have any sweet and crunchy bell peppers) as well as some protein.
The original recipe calls for mint in the dressing, but I don’t like mint that much and the store was all out of cilantro — so I went with parsley.
Once I was done roasting the corn I let it cool for a couple of minutes, and then I took the corn and the avocado and mixed them all in.
Boom, done. Delicious.
Food like this is the reason why I’m totally okay with adopting a vegan diet as often as I can. Fresh fruits and veggies with a little kick of pepper and lemon…who doesn’t want more of that?? (Okay I have met people who don’t prefer this kind of food, but growing up a farmer’s daughter I gotta say the only thing better than this is, obviously, chocolate.)
Now I need to come up with a dessert that satisfies my constant craving for carbs that doesn’t require baking…because that totally isn’t happening tonight. I don’t think I’m turning the oven on for the next week!
What are your favorite things to eat when the weather’s warm or you’re feeling lazy?
Favorite vegan thing: Cinnaholic cinammon rolls
Non-vegan thing I’m craving: Sour cream on everythingggg
Last restaurant I ate vegan in: Little Dehli (Indian food is almost vegan by default!)
It’s been two weeks since my last vegan update. I’d like to say that it’s because vegan eating has become an integral part of my life and I don’t have much to say about it anymore; but of course that isn’t true.
I keep finding myself “cheating” on more than one occasion. One day I forgot to make breakfast and decided to eat a cheese danish rather than pay twice as much for oatmeal at the coffee shop. (I might have done that two days in a row.) I’ll throw in some mayo because I didn’t have any vegan mayo, and pretty soon I feel like I’ve compromised the whole thing.
On my non-vegan days, I did not stick to my guns and eat balanced…and found myself popping some Tums. As a result, I no longer feel great…in fact, I kind of feel bloated and icky. Not fun.
In addition to this, I’ve made some vegan discoveries that aren’t exactly waistline-friendly. Don’t get me wrong — I’m so excited that there are people out there catering to the sweet tooth of vegans. I don’t know why the food marketplace has to be overwhelmingly terrible in this department! But like all sweets you gotta do everything in moderation.
The cinnamon buns from Cinnaholic are really good by any dietary standard…seriously, SO yum. And everything they make is vegan! If you find yourself in Berkeley, check it out! There’s soy milk in a case by the counter in case you want something to wash it down with as well =)
The next day I had Bi-Rite chocolate coconut ice cream. I don’t like coconut at all so I was pretty skeptical, but after a couple of bites I didn’t even notice the coconut — I assume that coconut “milk” is the base which is why the flavor isn’t that strong, but the ice “cream” is vegan? I guess the main difference between this and regular ice cream is the melt factor — the vegan stuff melts pretty fast. I kind of liked the texture better because it wasn’t so hard — my teeth are kind of sensitive to cold.
Luckily, I’ve made some more healthful discoveries as well. I tried soy yogurt for the first time — and didn’t hate it. I never really loved traditional American yogurt but it definitely helps that this variety doesn’t make my stomach hurt…haha. I think that dairy products are going to be the most difficult thing for me to stop wanting though — I hate milk but looooove cheese, sour cream, cheesecake, etc.
More often than not I can convince myself that smothering something in cheese isn’t a good idea because it adds fat and cholesterol to my diet and has the potential to make my tummy hurt a little (oh yay mild lactose intolerance). I also remind myself that there are long-term health implications as well, but to be honest it’s hard to realize the potential impacts in that moment…why oh why is it so difficult to reconcile these things? At any rate, it’s really difficult to replicate the creamy taste and texture of diary, which is why it’s so difficult to give up!
Part-time VEGAN Update
- Favorite vegan thing I’ve recently had: Olive bread from Acme Bread Co.
- Most surprising vegan thing I’ve recently had: Sour Patch Kids (!!! Vegan. Still not healthy. I know.)
- Non-vegan thing I’ve been craving: FROZEN YOGURT. Zomgahhhhh. Someone buy me an ice cream maker (and while you are at it, a food processor, which is probably more practical/versatile.)
- Last restaurant I ate a vegan meal in: Fattoush
Oh Hey friends — I mentioned last week that I’m trying out this whole 3-day-a-week-vegan thing. I’ve already had some interesting encounters.
Someone I ate out with is convinced that I can’t eat in a restaurant. “Are you SURE you can eat here? Why don’t we just go to Whole Foods and get something?” First off…you can successfully shop at Safeway if you are vegan. (Although I think their quinoa is OUTRAGEOUSLY priced, which is not a vegan-only objection.) Secondly…please calm down I am sure I can have SOMETHING. We were at a place that does brunch and Mediterranean food, so I figured I had a good shot of finding something on the menu that wasn’t fruit bowls and oatmeal.
As it turns out, brunch menus are pretty heavy on the eggs. And when they aren’t, there’s meat. And usually one or both of those things are accompanied by (my most favorite condiment in the world) cheese.
A lot of things could be modified in your own kitchen to be vegan (soyrizo, french toast w/o eggs, etc), but at a restaurant you don’t have that luxury.
But the middle-eastern/mediterannean side of the menu didn’t disappoint. (In my experience this type of cuisine usually has vegetarian options and they aren’t really big on eggs or yogurt cause tahini sauce and lemon are more popular options. It’s also more spice-heavy and cheese-less then say…Italian food.) The vegetarian wrap was DELISH. It had grilled cauliflower and egglants, lettuce, a ton of vinegar-soaked veggies and a nice lemon-y sauce. It was accompanied by potatoes (in retrospect the vegan-ness is questionable, I didn’t ask what kind of grease they were made in…but I am going to make a good faith guess and say it was vegetable oil) and a bit of salad. It was really tasty.
Would I have ordered something like that if I wasn’t “having a vegan day”? Probably not.
So I guess this whole experiment may just change my life for the better. Cause they also had FRENCH TOAST and over a dozen OMLETTES on the menu. I was totally eyeing them and thinking how amazing some french toast with powdered sugar and maple syrup would be, and how amazing some greasy corned beef hash would taste in my potatoes.
That’s always my problem: when ordering food, I don’t remember that grease and sugar will probably make me feel “bleh” after eating.
This isn’t to say that I didn’t indulge in some other non-vegetable things over the weekend.
On Friday night, I attempted to make chocolate-avocado vegan donuts. And they actually tasted pretty good.
Warm chocolate avocado vegan donuts don’t taste like Happy Donuts (the 24-hour donut shop down the street). They just don’t. And let’s be real: I don’t need to be able to make something as delicious and unnecessary as Happy Donuts in my kitchen. HOWEVER if you let the warm donuts cool, they taste pretty good. Not 100% donut-y, but definitely something that hits my undying need for chocolate and carbs.
Patience is a virtue that I may one day learn.
In the mean time, I’ve gone a little bit research-heavy and come up with a ZILLION vegan recipes I want to try. I also found some restaurants I want to try out in SF that have good vegan dishes. In a city that is as food-centric as this one, I use food and restaurants as the main destination for my explorations!
Apologies for the afternoon update, morning readers! You’ll have to pardon me…I forgot to hit “publish” when I got home from work at 5:30am this morning. I’m working night shifts all week…it makes me a little wonky.
Mmm, breakfast. Some of my favorite breakfast foods include fried eggs, hash browns, and bacon. Oh man, I LOVE hash browns. I want some right now! (And, fun fact, I don’t like cereal.) But when I want a truly decadent breakfast treat, I’m all about the french toast.
There are two brunch places just blocks from my house that are known for their french toasts — one of them does croissant french toast, and the other does cornflake-encrusted french toast. Quite frankly, I think the corn flakes are a little bit much, but I won’t refuse a plate of them if you put them in front of me. The problem with both of these places is that I have to get dressed and look presentable, which isn’t happening this week.
On Monday I mentioned that I hadn’t really tried out any of the recipes in Diana’s 3 day a week vegan e-book because I didn’t want to go out and buy anything at the store…but as it turns out I had everything lying around to make her peanut butter-stuffed french toast. When I woke up (at noon) yesterday, I had to have me some!
After I broadcasted this on the internet, some of my friends over on Twitter asked for photos, so I thought I’d share my pictures with you all (be forewarned that you are going to be disappointed on the picture front, but not in the tastiness department!)
(I know that it is difficult to tell, but I do eat fruits and veggies on occasion as well. I’ll share some of that with you…just not today!)
One note: I used this blueberry streusel bread that I got at Target. The label said that it contained milk products (butter is what is holding the “streusel” topping together) in it, so this rendition isn’t technically 100% vegan. It was kind of the only bread I had in the house though. And it was raining, so I wasn’t about to go down to the bakery. Also, the blueberries INSIDE the bread made it unnecessary to use my own berries on top!
Two note: I kind of let the bread soak in the soymilk/vanilla/cinnamon mix for wayyyy too long (like five minutes), so it was extra loaded with moisture, so I did 20 minutes on each side instead of 10 each side. Due to the extra soggy-ness, it took some finesse to flip it over.
Three note: I had agave syrup in my pantry, but since I don’t really like syrup I decided not to use any on the toast after all. This thing was plenty sweet on its own.
I went to take a photo of the final product and my camera battery died (now I know what the low battery meter looks like!) so I have no photos of delicious finished french toast. (This is what I meant by disappointment.)
But trust me when I say, it was REALLY good. Kind of like the best warm peanut butter sandwich you’ve ever had, but better because it also had blueberries in it and tasted of vanilla and cinnamon.
I love that I already had everything I needed to make this in my pantry. No “I’m only gonna use this once” ingredients! And the prep/cleanup was super easy. Yesssssssssss.
Proof that vegan diets contain delicious breakfast foods too!
I’ve taken a little break from being online this weekend because my parents came to visit me! It’s been a fun weekend with them and I still have one more day left. I’ve got a LOT of things to share with you this month, but I won’t be writing about it until after family fun times are over. In the mean time, I will share some fashion and food with you! This is from Saturday, the first day of my family visit.
WHAT I WORE
(For the record, this is what my hair does when I style it, and then I go outside and it is windy.)
I was really feeling the neutral stripes when I got dressed — both my tank top and my shoes are white with a khaki stripe pattern on them. I wanted to jazz them up a little bit, so I added a 3/4 sleeve jacket that my sister gave me. Being the extremely casual person that I am, I just went with some basic skinny jeans.
The platform wedges that I am wearing are my newest shoe acquisition (purchased before my “too many shoes” lamentation) and they are soooo comfortable! You don’t hear me saying that very often about shoes that are not sneakers. It is a good thing that they are comfortable, because we ended up walking around the Fillmore district for a long time while waiting for our table…which brings me to the FOOD portion of this whole thing.
WHAT I ATE
There was no parking anywhere near our first dining choice, so I ended up at this place with my parents. (Note to self: don’t bring a full-size truck into San Francisco. Just don’t.) Even then, we had to wait over half an hour for our table…but it was totally worth it!
We chose this place after reviewing our nearby options on Yelp! via my phone. It came down to this place or my favorite sushi place in Japantown. I’m not a huuuuge seafood gal, but I’m glad this place won out. I’m also glad that we were seated right before it started raining, because there is no place inside the joint to wait for your table!! We meandered around in the neighborhood,
lusting over Marc by Marc Jacobs bags looking around at the shops and local flora and fauna.
I ordered the stuffed artichoke after seeing it pop up on Yelp! like fifty times. It was definitely worth the $18. I love artichokes and I love shrimp and I love crab when you don’t have to work for it! The artichoke was huge and they slathered a bunch of garlic butter on it before they grilled it. Hard to go wrong with that. Plus the cheese bread was yummy and the salad underneath the whole thing was great too…a complete meal on one plate.
My parents ordered some other fish (halibut maybe?) and I can’t remember what it was because I only saw it for two seconds. After that my dad had scarfed the whole thing up! And mama bear had crispy calamari (good, not greatest ever) and veggies (good, except it was mostly beans and mama is allergic to beans). Overall, no complaints.
If you are planning to eat here, be advised that there are no reservations taken, your whole party has to be present when they are ready to seat, and I think I overheard that the largest party size they take is 8. So don’t invite more than 6 friends, because you need to save a seat for me at the table as well!