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Blackbird Pizza (6th and Lombard, former location of Gianna's in Philadelphia) is the best Italian-style vegan sandwich and pizza joint ever. Seriously, I can't recommend it enough.

This time we had the cubano (cuban-style sandwich), a slice of pizza and the chocolate chip cheesecake, along with cucumber soda (!) and lemongrass soda (!!). Everything was delicious. On a previous visit I tried the seitan "cheese steak," which was also nomtastic.

Our dessert did NOT suffer from the usual "pour on the sugar to compensate!" vegan dessert nastiness. It was very tasty and confidently so.

A satisfying lowbrow meal, prepared with suspiciously highbrow skill (the owner is rumored to be a former chef at Horizons), and I don't feel one bit nasty afterwards. This is a place my inner 10-year-old and my outer 40-year-old can agree on.

Grub, bub

Oct. 18th, 2010 12:09 pm
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We have two fast food Indian joints now in Center City Philadelphia: Minar Palace and Mumbai Bistro. Both come off as fancier restos from the outside, especially Minar. I didn't realize it was a fast-food establishment until I was inside.

Minar Palace is horrible, everything is made of pure grease. Definitely a no-fly zone.

Nevertheless we tried Mumbai Bistro last night. It is really good, almost Tiffin quality. They label what's vegan, gluten free, etc. They have a schedule of buffet items available on each day of the week. Buffet is $4.50 a pound. If you go nuts adding naan and pickle and a beverage you'll come in around $10 per person. Recommended.

Mumbai Bistro is located at 930 Locust Street. (Yes, I know their website is of the godawful "can't copy and paste" variety, whatever it's good food)
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ATTENTION XTINGU!

YOU MUST WITHOUT DELAY INVESTIGATE bacolicio.us!

IT IS CONVENIENT FOR BACONIFYING VEGAN PROPAGANDA!
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Dry ingredients:

2 cups white whole wheat flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons sugar (in whatever form is vegan enough for ya)
At least two tablespoons freshly grated ginger (the "small holes" of an everyday kitchen cheese grater work just fine, you don't need any microplane foofarah). The ginger is not overpowering, you can use a lot

Wet ingredients:

1/3 cup coconut milk
2/3 cup soymilk

Preheat oven to 450 degrees.

In a large bowl, mix the dry ingredients. In a bowl or a 2-cup liquid measure, mix the wet ingredients. Combine and mix together until all of the dry ingredients are absorbed into the dough. Bake for just a little over ten minutes. You want them to bake through but not be overly dry.

These are extremely awesome fresh out of the oven, sliced in half and buttered with Earth Balance margarine.

Not health food, in case you didn't notice. But the white whole wheat flour is much easier on your system in multiple ways than refined white flour, and it even tastes better. Strongly recommended.

Inspired by tasty things baked by [livejournal.com profile] solestria.
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"—I like this girl. Lots. A+++. But lemme tellya, she ain't afraid to offend my delicate vegetarian sensibilities."

"Oh yeah?"

"Yeah. On Wednesday she ate lamb right in front of me."

"Horrors!"

"Totally. Dinner stops a bleating heart."
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Animal rights have never been a big part of the vegetarian picture for me. More of a grace note: if there's suffering I don't need to contribute to, I choose not to contribute to it.

But I eat in places that serve meat, I date omnivores and don't give them constant shit about it (including some pretty enthusiastic quasi-carnivores), I really don't give a damn what you eat. There's more than one issue in the world.

What's more, I understand that veal is served all over the place and that pigs are more intelligent than dogs and etc. etc. etc.

But all the same: if the South Philly Taproom is going to serve lionburgers, they don't need my money. Ever.

It's a shame— they have a great beer list and they used to have decent vegetarian selections. But lion... no. Just no. Let's draw the line somewhere.

Incidentally, that shit's really bad for you. Does anybody not understand that toxins concentrate as you near the top of the food chain? Well, I guess people wouldn't eat liver either if they had a serious problem with eating concentrated toxins.

For the record, according to [livejournal.com profile] freetobeflea SPTR gets their lion meat from a farm in Alabama that raises them specifically for human consumption. Oh, joy.
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I'm fairly cautious with the buxx0rs these days. I have a great job that suits my life but doesn't spew money out of the ground go-go-nineties style, not yet anyway.

This weekend, though, I splurged. Sometimes you gotta remind yourself why you live in the big city; sometimes you gotta enjoy it properly. Though in the end I wound up spending considerably less than I might have guessed.

Friday I hit La Luna Dance Studio for their fifth anniversary party. I got my ass properly danced off and competed in my first Jack & Jill competition, which was good fun and not at all the stressful experience I thought it might be. I got to bed around 2:30. Eep.

Saturday morning I ate a very tasty portobello hoagie at Cafe Ole, an excellent Israeli-owned coffee and sandwich shop in Old City. I had two hours to kill during my daughter's ceramics class, not enough time to get home and take a proper nap and get back again. They also serve an enjoyable "chocolate chai," which was not at all the cloying experience I feared it might be.

Saturday afternoon I shot pool and played foozball with [livejournal.com profile] xtingu and [livejournal.com profile] mrl24 and [livejournal.com profile] ms_violet, [livejournal.com profile] jeremym, [livejournal.com profile] swingchickie and the LJ-less Vince and Jack. There was Jack-related cake involved.

Shortly thereafter I met mah pal [livejournal.com profile] noisefootprint's Chinatown bus and we walked to the art museum, arriving just in time for the Frida Kahlo exhibit.

How is it? Well it's freaking incredible, yo; it's Frida Kahlo. In this woman's brilliantly creative life, an affair with Leon Trotsky was a mere footnote barely deserving mention.

Her marriage to Diego Rivera holds considerable fascination for me. So I think I'll have to see the movie or maybe even (gasp!) read a book.

Frida Kahlo was a lot of things but she was not an existentialist, that's for sure. The word "acceptance" doesn't appear to have been in her vocabulary. Heart on your sleeve? How about this:



Frida #2 is holding a photo of her husband as a small boy.

Then again, cathartic art is both therapeutic and... if you don't suck... beneficial to others. And acceptance can be a bullshit excuse for cowardice. Acceptance of death is one thing. Accepting your husband's charming decision to bang your sister is quite another.

Note to Diego Rivera: okay, so your wife was a maninizer and a womanizer in her own right, and she liked her drama served extra-large. But sleeping with her little sister? C'mon. That's just tacky.

Two gripes about the show, one serious, one casual:

1. The museum gives out timed tickets... and then lets you enter the exhibit as late as you want, as long as it's after your ticketed time. Which means that a 4pm ticket is a ticket for painful overcrowding. This is stupid and it should be fixed.

2. Y'know those cheesy polarized photos that show you a different image depending on the angle at which you view them? Whose bright idea was it to fill the gift shop with these?

Floor to ceiling polarized Frida paintings, and every size down to wallet size.

Wow.

I confess, though, I was tempted to grab a wallet size and hide it someplace unexpected. "Your underwear drawer," [livejournal.com profile] noisefootprint suggests. But now you all know, so even if you should someday scrutinize my underwear drawer, there won't be any sense of surprise. So it's just as well I left it on the shelf.

Honestly, these are pretty cool if you're 17, and I wouldn't smirk at a college student for having one of these in their dorm room. But for grownups... shudder.

Saturday evening we splurged on, surprisingly, our one and only cab ride and hit Horizons, Philly's only foodie-grade vegan restaurant. My appetizer and entree were inspired reinterpretations of picnic food. I had at least one "I'm sorry I can't talk right now" moment.

[livejournal.com profile] noisefootprint's appetizer was on a similar plane of awesome, but her pan roasted tofu failed to meet the life-changing standard set by the first course. For dessert, the chocolate cake and peanut butter ice cream were tasty without the overwhelming sweetness common to bad vegan desserts.

Saturday night we hit Japas, currently Philly's only dedicated karaoke bar, offering both private lounges and an open bar with a dollar-a-song policy. Although our party was smaller than hoped, we had good times. [livejournal.com profile] noisefootprint put me up to singing "Sunshine on my Shoulders," which was my favorite song in the world at age four. So that was awesome for the first two choruses. By the eighth chorus I was making fun of the lyrics as a quasi-apology to my very patient audience. Those Japanese karaoke tracks do run on the long side.

I had the pleasure of meeting some charming friends of hers before we realized that the enormous party taking up the majority of the bar seating contained virtually no one with any intention of singing karaoke. Which, well, meant it wasn't that much fun.

So we lit out for Moriarty's Pub (1128 Walnut Street), where good karaoke can reliably be found Saturday nights on the second floor with DJ Bob.

(Note to Moriarty's: you guys rule. Truly. But I'm not gonna link to a web site that still advertises the wrong DJ three years after Bob arrived. C'mon now.)

(A friend who appreciates the value of all of the aforementioned activities? Worth vastly more than her weight in gold.)

Sunday morning I showed up for salsa class with the proper amount of sleep under my belt and shot a halfway decent video of the routine to practice with. Apparently all that 48 hour movie making is good for something.

Sunday afternoon I watched Star Wars with Eleanor. Really a lot.

Sunday evening I blogged. Hi.

Wendy's

Aug. 14th, 2007 01:33 pm
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My favorite sentence from the www.vegetarian-restaurants.net entry on Wendy's:

"The pita bread contains L-cysteine (an amino acid) and enzymes from an unknown source."

PITA BREAD IS PEOPLE!
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Fans of the old Silk City take note: the original menus are still up on silkcitydiner.com, which hasn't been updated. Why, I don't know— maybe the new owners don't own the domain name. [livejournal.com profile] shellefly, take a longing gander at the Black Russian.

I slandered the old Silk City when I said they at least had a gardenburger. Not hardly - they had their very own vegetarian burger recipe.

It's Father's Day, I get to post as much as I want
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Ingredients

Half-dozen peppercorns
Quarter-teaspoon cumin seed
Quarter-teaspoon coriander seed
Half-dozen dried Thai peppers
3 large tomatillos
1/4 cup pepitos (raw pumpkin seeds)
1 cup vegetable stock
1 can coconut milk
3 asian eggplants
1 16.5-ounce box extra firm tofu
Red and yellow bell peppers
Hoisin sauce
1/8 cup cilantro, plus more for garnish
1 tbsp fresh ginger
Lime (grated rind)

Method

Chop 2 cloves garlic & 1/4 cup onion.

Chop the cilantro.

Chop the tofu into 1-inch cubes. Toss with hoisin sauce. Coarsely chop eggplants and bell peppers.

Toast the pepitos. Separately, toast the peppercorns, cumin and coriander. Stop when they brown just a bit. Grind to meal in food processor.

Simmer the tomatillos in a covered pot for 10 minutes with 1 cup water. Drain. Pop into a blender with the garlic, onion, and cilantro. Add the vegetable stock. Blend thoroughly.

Adding a teaspoon of powdered lemongrass is good here, if you have it. If you have fresh lemongrass and a food processor that can cope with it, that's even better.

Open the coconut milk. Pour a small amount into a large stockpot. Add the toasted spices. Simmer to release the fragrance of the spices. Add the rest of the coconut milk, then pour in the contents of the blender. Add the tofu and vegetables and stir gently, so as not to break up the tofu. Grate in lime rind and ginger. Add toasted pepito meal and mix well. Bring just to a boil, then simmer for 30 minutes.

Serve over rice. Garnish with cilantro.
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Greyhound to NYC. $12! Fine until I approach the Lincoln Tunnel. Then, cellular haiku:

We proffer our coins
Charon poles us one by one
Two lanes from Jersey

Once you get past Scylla and Charybdis, though, it's surprising how quickly you're born.
Kissing Gertrude Stein. New York City parks and other reasons for living. Blogging at the mouth with the Hoff: The WYSIWYG Talent Show. Screenless karaoke: Tom momentarily humble, film at 11. Tofu lox redux. And the vantage point of Billy Penn. )
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I attempted gnocchi. With brown rice flour.

I could tell right away there were serious crumblage problems.

I added an egg (so much, again, for the vegan thing).

Still no dice.

The end result was... mashed potatoes. Mashed potatoes and...

Mashed potatoes and gravy! South Philly irony! Yes!

Irony or not, though, it was pretty gross.

W-Day is Thursday. I have my bagel booked in advance.
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2 cups soymilk
1/4 cup brown sugar, maybe a little more
1/4 cup peanut butter (the real stuff, not the hydrogenated oil crap)
1 tsp vanilla

Mix well. Fire up the ice cream maker. Pour it in. Wait. Yum.

Makes 1 pint. (I halved the recipe tonight, because I knew I was gonna eat it all. Mmmf.)

Peanut butter stands in for dairy fat much better than most things do. Everybody's afraid of peanuts now which is a shame because most of us aren't allergic and they are yummy.

Unlike my tahini version (which makes a good base for a chocolate "ice cream") this recipe stands well on its own. You don't have to smother it in chocolate or extra sugar. You do have to like peanuts.

Yum

Jan. 20th, 2007 05:40 pm
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Last night: dinner party. With [livejournal.com profile] kemidra, [livejournal.com profile] fullmotor, [livejournal.com profile] jeremym, [livejournal.com profile] glttrgirl, her fiance JP, Bobbi the improv goddess, Alisa the goddess of restaurant selection and my daughter.

The first in much too long. Back in the spring people stopped responding to invitations, so I gave it a rest for a while. But winter is here, finally, and everybody's in hungry-bear mode. I gots the honey yo.

[livejournal.com profile] pinkhairedcyn's food blog (which is syndicated on LJ as [livejournal.com profile] pinkhair_eats) has reminded me that vegan grub is awesome. So I'm back on the vegan wagon at home, and I'm reserving dairy for truly worthy experiences.

Dinner dates, Capogiro trips, anything involving Nancy Trachtenberg - these are worthy experiences.

Every time Eleanor doesn't finish her mac and cheese.... not so much.

So. The all-vegan menu:

Thai green curry. Pretty much straight out of Real Vegetarian Thai, including the from-scratch curry paste, which is obscenely good. I can't take credit for anything here, apart from successful execution on a massive scale. Just reserve a few tablespoons of coconut milk for the frosting (See below).

Chinese asparagus. This I can take credit for. In a wok, mix up a little water, a little vinegar, a little olive oil, a dash of soy sauce and several generous shakes of Chinese five-spice. This isn't a large volume of liquid - we're talking just enough to steam the asparagus above it once it begins to boil.

Bring to a boil. Reduce temperature, but make sure it keeps simmering. Add a metric ton (okay, maybe 30 spears) of asparagus. Steam for five minutes, or to preferred crispness. Serve ASAP.

Spinach salad with nutty viniagrette. This is an easy one:

Wash the spinach thoroughly (nothing nastier than dirt salad). Put a half-cup of mixed nuts into a freezer bag. Crush 'em in the bag with a rolling pin. In a small bowl, mix the nuts with two tablespoons olive oil, two tablespoons vinegar, and one tablespoon of maple syrup. Add a dash of salt. Combine with the spinach and serve.

The vegan-ness of the following dessert items is debatable as they contain refined sugar. Yes, know. Trust me, I know:

"Thai" chocolate-lemongrass cake. Follow this recipe. But first, boil the water with a lid on for ten minutes, with two stalks of coarsely chopped lemongrass. Pour back into your pyrex liquid measure (you do have one, right?) and top it off to two cups again (some boils off y'know). Now follow the recipe as normal.

"Thai" chocolate-coconut milk frosting. Follow this recipe. However, add a few tablespoons of coconut milk kept back from the curry.

Eleanor was reserved at first, but more than one visitor stopped upstairs to help her organize her Calico Critters. And then my guests discovered the floam. Dear God, the floam. (Shudders)

Now I'm killing a little time before catching the 6:40pm R3 West Trenton train to Trevose Station. Which should get me there at 7:16pm. Which should get me on one of the every-fifteen-minutes shuttles to the roller derby bout and put my butt in the bleachers while before 8pm. As opposed to showing up at 6:16pm and freezing my butt off unnecessarily. Or anyway that's the theory. Remember, shuttles are 98% reliable...
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I received this from my buddy Stephen today. Help him out! Designers and writers especially!


I'm looking for a few friends to join me on a short, silly badvertising
campaign taking on the new Hummer advertisments.

For those who haven't seen, Hummer has produced an ad of a tofu-eating
small-car driving man who loses confidence in his manhood and runs out and
buys a Hummer, with the slogan to "Restore Your Manhood."

It's not only disgusting, it's too obvious and easy to make fun of; I think
it's something of a teachable-moment.

They also forgot to register http://www.restoreyourmanhood.com


Check out the draft site - if anyone can help, especially this weekend, I
want to quickly jam together a mock-site, make it hilarious and try to
spread it on the web. Instead of a protest theme, I'm aiming for "buying a
Hummer is a cry for help, and we're here to provide the products that can
really restore your manhood" slimey business parody.

Look at the to-do list at
http://65.109.106.43/chat/index.php?showtopic=2

If everyone grabs one thing off the list, we can have an amazing site by
Monday, I think we can make something that tons of people will get a laugh
out of and show their friends.

Play with me!
Stephen



Edit: please communicate with Stephen directly through his bulletin board thingy.
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Today, I wanted kebabs. Eleanor did too. She just didn't know it yet.

Pyramids of charcoal were constructed. Papyrus was set aflame in encouraging configurations. Repeatedly. The EZ-light accelerant having long since offgassed. Eventually, results were achieved. Eleanor was mesmerized by the fire. In a meditative kind of way. Not in a future-arsonist kind of way.

Pho seasoning and hoisin sauce make a damn tasty marinade. Eleanor tried her kebab only reluctantly. At length I persuaded her to try a chunk of grill-seared, seasoned tofu.

Her eyes got wide. That's not an expression. Her eyes got wide. It was as if she'd just discovered chocolate.

The same thing happened when she consented to consume a grilled tomato. I didn't push the mushrooms and shallots on her. They were damn good, she's too young to appreciate them, more for me.

'Twas bedtime, or near to it, and a sensible person would have stopped here. But not me, oh no. Because the coals were hot, really properly hot, and I had a notion. So I tossed together a little pretzel dough and made twisty-things and popped them on the grill. I told Eleanor to expect one in the morning, but offered it to her when she got out of the tub instead. Because otherwise I would have eaten every last one. Every one that wasn't burnt entirely black, anyway.

And that of course was finally the end.

Except for the part where I whipped up a little apple pie and wrapped it in aluminum foil and baked it for 30 minutes on the grill, and the smell and the taste and the texture were like nothing else under the sun.

Except for that part.

Except for that.

Mmm.

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