Sunday, October 4, 2015

Dining Out in Paris - Sol Semilla

Vegan Dish of the Day - Sol Semilla
Assiette du Jour (Dish of the Day) - Sol Semilla

This is another postponed recount of my vegan tour of Paris (see my earlier post on the delicious Hank Burger here). I walked across the city to visit Sol Semilla for dinner and it was well worth it! I spotted the brightly colored cafe, which also houses a small market for their selection of supplements and organic food products. The website is dedicated to these "Superaliments" that you can also purchase online. I was warmly greeted (despite its Spanish name and location within a French city, in English, which was a relief as a typical language-deficient American). I took a seat at the window for prime people-watching while dining alone. 

Menu boards inside with the WiFi password, of course!


The Green Detox Juice in Paris Blog
The Green Detox Juice - Sol Semilla
My ordering decision was very easy because the menu is short, but my meal definitely didn't lack variety. I ordered the Dish of the Day which included about six different tasty, nicely seasoned vegan side dishes made with chickpeas, beets, potatoes, brown rice, homemade hummus, and garnished with greens and apples. I appreciated that the ingredients were all whole vegetables and grains, no processed soy products here. They had various vinegars and oil on the table to dress the dish. For a beverage I opted for a green juice and skipped the full meal option which also included a dessert, since I was already feeling full from my colorful plate. My juice was the Green Detox, apple juice mixed with chlorella, a vibrant green algae in the form of powder. 

Vegan Food in Paris Veega blog Sol Semilla

I would visit Sol Semilla again. The food was nourishing, fresh, and reminded me of a home-cooked meal, something I was craving given my longer than usual travels in Europe. It was a bit pricey (15.50 Euros for the dish alone, plus a couple more for the juice), but I was happy to spend it given my options in this city. 

Sol Semilla
23 Rue des Vinaigriers
75010 Paris, France

Sol Semilla Restaurant, Cafe in Paris (Vegan-Friendly)

Friday, October 2, 2015

Dining In - Curry Mustard Seitan with Yellow Rice (Vegan Version of Chicken Kitchen Chop-Chop® and Pollo Tropical TropiChops®)

Vegan Curry Mustard Seitan with Yellow Rice Veega
Curry Mustard Seitan with Yellow Rice

This is a first for this blog, but I am finally posting a recipe that was not prepared by me! My loving and skilled non-vegan boyfriend did all the cooking on this one. It's also an original recipe, handcrafted by him! The photo doesn't do it any justice - it was a knockout.

The inspiration for this dish came from a homemade dinner he cooked just a couple of nights earlier, a non-vegan copycat version of his favorite meal in Miami, where he lived for many years...Chicken Kitchen's Chop Chop dish. The original dish consists of chopped chicken breast, yellow rice, and an addictive curry mustard sauce (you could drink this stuff it's so good). He was so proud of his work in recreating a dish he never thought he would get to enjoy up north so he wanted me to enjoy it, too!

It was adapted from the non-vegan version he created for himself - recipes for that can be found here.  I totally gorged on this, it was tasty!

Serves 2 (really hungry people!) to 4

Yellow Rice
1 cup yellow rice
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons water
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons vegetable broth (we used, organic, low sodium)
2 tablespoons Earth Balance margarine 
1/2 packet of Goya Sazón with Azafrán seasoning
1/4 teaspoon salt (or skip if trying to keep the sodium down)

Curry Mustard Sauce

4 tablespoons vegan mayonnaise (we used Whole Foods brand)
2 tablespoons non-dairy creamer (try Silk or So Delicious brands)
2 tablepoons water
1 teaspoon curry powder
2 teaspoons yellow mustard

Vegan "Chicken"
Seitan strips or Chickenless Strips (from Trader Joe's)
1 teaspoon salt and pepper
1 tablespoon vegetable oil

Seitan, Vegan Mayo & Vegetable Broth

 Yellow Rice Veega
To Prepare Yellow Rice:

In a medium pot, bring water, broth, seasoning, margarine, and salt to a boil over medium-high heat. 
Add rice and stir. Cover the pot, reduce the heat to medium-low, and simmer 20 minutes, stirring occasionally. 
Remove from heat and leave covered when the rice is tender.

To Prepare Curry Mustard Sauce:
Vegan Curry Mustard Sauce from Chicken Kitchen  
Combine all ingredients in medium bowl and use a whisk to blend. Stir vigorously until well combined. Add more or less water depending on how thick you want your sauce.

To Prepare Vegan Chicken:

In a medium frying pan, heat oil on medium-low heat and then add your choice of vegan protein.

Sprinkle on salt and pepper and allow to warm for approximately 5 minutes. Stir occasionally to ensure the vegan protein heats evenly and does not burn.

To Prepare Dish:

Start with a portion of yellow rice,  layer on a helping of vegan protein (in this case chopped seitan), and pour a generous amount of curry mustard sauce on top. Serve and enjoy a Miami tradition!

From Veega Blog Vegan Chicken  Kitchen Chop Chop!
Vegan Chicken Kitchen Chop Chop!

Saturday, September 26, 2015

Dining Out in Paris - Hank Vegan Burger

Vegan Burger in Paris Hank on Veega Blog
Le Petit Menu with La Catcheuse Burger - Hank

Hank Vegan Burger in Paris, France
This is a long overdue review from my weekend trip to Paris this May. I was inspired to post it because my parents just embarked on a journey through France. Better late than never! If you find yourself wandering around Paris (I highly recommend you do) make a turn down this side street and grab yourself a delicious vegan burger at Hank.

Even with all my vegan research, I didn't know about Hank until a friend in London mentioned it to me. She had just been with her vegan friend and said it was delicious. It's an all vegan, quick service, burger joint near Notre Dame. It's very small and mainly serves take out (or "take away" as they call it there), but I still dined in at the small tables.

Le Petit Menu with La Catcheuse Burger - Hank Vegan Veega Paris
Le Petit Menu (Combo Meal) - Hank

I ordered a combo meal, Le Petit Menu because after walking all of Paris I felt I earned myself some fries, too. They offer about 4 or 5 different burger flavors combinations with the option to make the bun gluten-free and add vegan cheese. I chose the La Catcheuse burger with alfalfa sprouts and mustard sauce, with fries and a light, refreshing carbonated beverage I had never tried before called Bionade Fair-Cola. I was eating my lunch at 4pm so I wolfed this down, but that was also because it was so tasty! The sauce on the burger, a mustard vegan mayonnaise was creamy and savory. The bun was toasted and the patty was filling. I also liked the thick cut, organic, Belgian French Fries and the Homemade Vegan Mayonnaise available on each table, not that I  needed that, but I wasn't holding back for this meal! 

Fries from Hank Vegan Burger
I found enough willpower to skip dessert but they did have 3 options when I was there, a large chocolate chip cookie, a carrot cake, and the special of the day, a chocolate mousse.

Hank Vegan Burger
55 Rue de Archives
75003 Paris, France

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Dining In - Kale Salad with Chickpeas & Spicy Tempeh Crumbles

Vegan Kale Salad with Chickpeas & Spicy Tempeh Crumbles
Kale Salad with Chickpeas & Spicy Tempeh Crumbles

I was looking for a quick, healthy dinner recipe that I could make for my boyfriend and that wouldn't require buying a ton of new ingredients at the grocery store. I also wanted to find something that would fill us up with more protein than say a vegan pasta dish, that we often feel the need to eat 2-3 servings of! I found this on a list from Buzzfeed, "23 Vegan Meals With Tons Of Protein." The full recipe can be found here.

It had a few more steps involved than a regular tossed salad, but I loved the crunchy tempeh bits and the kale was very tender after being blanched in boiling water. This has a lot of fiber-filled ingredients, I mean a lot, so just a warning! :)
Serves 3-4 (or in my case 2!)

Tempeh Bits:
8 oz. package of tempeh (I used Trader Joe's brand)
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons onion powder
2 teaspoons garlic powder
2 teaspoons paprika
1 teaspoon chili powder
1 teaspoon lemon pepper
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
Sea salt


1 pound of kale, chopped
1 cup shredded carrots
15.5 oz. can chickpeas, rinsed and drained
2 tablespoons sesame seeds


1/3 cup rice vinegar
1/4 cup low sodium soy sauce
2 tablespoons sesame oil
1 tablespoon fresh grated ginger

To Prepare Salad:

Boil a large pot of salted water and blanch kale for 30 seconds. Run under cold water and drain, squeeze out excess water, and set aside.

Veega Blog - Vegan Salad, Blanched Kale
Blanched Kale

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

Vegan Tempeh Crumble Blog Veega
Mixed Spices for Tempeh Bits
(Optional step: To reduce bitterness of tempeh, you can steam it, by using a small pot and steamer basket for about 20 minutes, while prepping the salad). 

Mix all ingredients in a small bowl for tempeh bits. Pour vegetable oil in a separate, small bowl. Cut tempeh into thin strips then dip into oil and arrange strips on the baking sheet. Sprinkle each piece with the mixed spices, flip if desired and coat both sides, though not necessary.

Bake for 20  minutes, until golden brown and crispy. Tip: check on them around 15 minutes in, I noticed some pieces started to burn. 

Vegan Recipe Tempeh Slices
Baking Seasoned Tempeh Slices

In a glass jar or a bowl with a whisk, combine all dressing ingredients and blend or shake well. 

Veega Blog Salad
Combine all salad ingredients in a large bowl. Add dressing and toss together. Top it with the tempeh bits broken into crumbles. Add additional salt and pepper to taste. 


Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Dining Out in New York City - by CHLOE.

by Chloe vegan NYC restaurant
Dining In at by CHLOE in NYC Restaurant
Now this is a "Happy Meal" - by CHLOE
Given my fondness for and success with Chloe Coscarelli's recipes, it's no surprise that I was anxiously awaiting the launch of her all-vegan NYC restaurant by CHLOE. I suspected this might be coming with her efforts to grow her brand by appearing on the Today Show and keeping an active social channel going (Instagram: @bychefchloe, @chefchloe) where she shared updates along the way; this was a smart move, building loyalty before opening. The location is another smart move, near the W 4th Street subway stop and right by NYU, where students can grab vegan grub until 12am most nights. The creative direction and branding is just like her, refreshing, adorable and easily likable! 

Interior Design, Complete with Wicker Chair Swings (on the other side) - by CHLOE

Love all the packaging!

Tara Keramaty & Chloe Coscarelli
I saw the announcement just yesterday that her restaurant was having its grand opening on Tuesday, July 28th and I excitedly told my boyfriend exactly what we'd be doing for dinner the next day. He's enjoyed many Chloe cookbook recipes and was happy to take me! We showed up around 7:30pm and a large, but well managed line was there. They were giving away free cookies all day and even free burgers to the first 50 customers. The website only launched today with a posting of their menu, so I scrambled to make a very hard decision. In line, Chloe herself came around with free samples of a Peanut Butter Cacao Smoothie and a Kale Smoothie. Both were very yummy! I didn't hold back and asked to take a picture with her, she is so sweet! 

Now for our taste testing in the form of a large meal: I ordered the Kale Caesar Salad, as is, with shiitake bacon, avocado, almond parmesan, maple-wheat croutons, capers, grape tomatoes, and Caesar dressing. I hate to criticize my first choice, but this was just too salty for me to order again. I finished it, of course and thought the ingredients themselves were great, but it seemed like each one got salted separately and then tossed together. Along with it, I had a small order of Mac N' Cheese, which was creamy and delicious with a slight kick of smokey spice. The sauce coating the shells was a sweet potato cheese and it was topped with another dose of crunchy shiitake bacon. 
Mac N Cheese with Bacon Veega Vegan
Mac N' Cheese - by CHLOE

Vegan Burger in NYC
The Classic Burger - by CHLOE 

My non-vegan boyfriend got The Classic Burger with Air Baked French Fries. The Classic Burger is built off a super hearty patty with tempeh, lentil, chia and walnut, topped with pickles, onion, beet ketchup and served on a potato bun. I had one bite and said without much experience myself, "tastes like a real burger!" My boyfriend didn't want to share, which is a good sign. His major complaint with vegan burgers is the mistake of serving a mushy veggie-based burger on tough, dry bread so the whole thing falls apart in your hands - this burger had a soft bun and it held it all together. The fries were also very tasty and you'd have no idea they weren't actually "fried." The Beet Ketchup was hot pink and sweet, a nice upgrade. The Special Sauce was light orange and likely a cashew cream base, it was a little bland and I would have preferred more of a mayo or vegannaise flavor. 

 French Fries at by CHLOEVegan Sauces at by CHLOE NYC

Hostess Vegan Cupcake CHLOE NYC
Chlostess Cupcake - by CHLOE
Dessert was another full course! For my free cookie, I got the Cinnamon Espresso Cookie, compared to my experience making these from her cookbook hers were much thinner and crisp, not moist. I really liked it, its got a slight overbaked taste, but in a good way that complements the espresso flavor. My boyfriend bought for himself (thinking he wouldn't have to share!) a big square of the Banana Bread and a Chlostess Cupcake (previous blog post here). He really enjoyed the Banana Bread, stuffed with chocolate chips and walnuts. As for the Chlostess Cupcake, this was super chocolatey and velvetly smooth and rich. 

Vegan Cinnamon Espresso Cookie - by CHLOE NYC
Cinnamon Espresso Cookie - by CHLOE

Vegan Dessert Case at by CHLOE NYC
These Look Familiar! The Many Dessert Options - by CHLOE

The menu is lengthy, especially considering this is a brand new restaurant, so that means I will be making many return trips. Chloe is a doll and was a pleasure to talk to, so it makes it a no brainer to support her in her business endeavor! Good luck :)

185 Bleecker Street
New York, NY 10012

by CHLOE from the Outside

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Dining Out in London - Food for Thought

Sign at Food for Thought Logo London

Spinach Cauliflower Dal with Brown Rice & Potato Salad with Garden Salad
Food for Thought

Vegan London Dinner Crowd at Food for Thought
Dinner Crowd at Food for Thought
I'll keep this one short and sweet, because sadly Food for Thought will be closed by the end of June after more than 40 years in business. It happened to be my favorite vegan food in London and the most conveniently located, close to both my office and my hotel, in Soho. Tucked away on a small cobblestone street, it always attracted a crowd in the early evening. People just like me enjoyed their delicious savory, hearty meals. It tasted like home cooked food and the servings were always generous. Not everything they served was vegan, but they had a few vegan entrees to choose from every night and for a combo meal adding a daily salad option was easy as all of them were vegan. 

One of my favorite entrees was the Spinach Cauliflower Dal with Brown Rice. I ordered salad to go with it and got a mix of vegan potato salad and garden salad with a yummy tomato dressing. The Dal dish was creamy, perfectly seasoned and fresh. On other visits, I also tried the Stir-Fried Vegetables with Brown Rice, the Pickled Vegetables, an Avocado, Corn and Black Bean Salad. One more stand out was the dessert I tried on my last visit. The Apple Pear Crumble was jam-packed with fruit and deliciously cinnamon-spiced. Every meal I enjoyed was takeout, but as shown in the photo they do have a few tables to dine in for a small price increase.
Stir-Fried Vegetables with Brown Rice Food for Thought Vegan Blog
Stir-Fried Vegetables with Brown Rice
Food for Thought

The limited, constantly changing menu might frustrate people, especially when you find a favorite, but considering how good the various options were, I enjoyed the surprise and variety! It was cash only, but this is far more common in London than back in the states so I was used to it. If only a place like this existed in New York, where you could get a vegan meal that tastes like home and satisfies you like no other! 

Vegan Takeout London Food for Thought
Butterbean Pie - Food for Thought

Taste the Rainbow!

Food for Thought
31 Neal Street
Covent Garden
London, UK WC2H 9PR

Sunday, June 14, 2015

Dining Out in London - Cookies and Scream

Cookies and Scream Logo London UKBaker Girl with Cookies

Vegan Gluten-Free Blog Cookie Dough Balls Shake - Cookies and Scream London
Cookie Dough Balls Shake - Cookies and Scream

Cookies and Scream Camden Lock London Vegan Gluten-Free
I scream, you scream, we all scream for Cookies and Scream, because it's just that good! I had this spot on my list for must-visit vegan spots in London and it was reconfirmed when my London-based friend said how delicious it was. I went to the Camden Lock Market after my slight disappointment at Borough Market for the lack of vegan options. Camden was a lot more crowded and dirtier than I expected. It's got a sort of punk rock vibe going on and the streets are overrun with souvenir shops and wandering tourists. I shuffled around in the food tent area for a while searching for Cookies and Scream until I finally had to ask for help. Turns out it's actually tucked away inside, with a permanent stake in a small building called the Dingwalls gallery area. This dessert bar is not only vegan, but also gluten-free! When I discovered them I realized I wasn't alone in my excitement. The other customers were equally overwhelmed by the looks of the freshly baked, heavenly treats for sale. The staff works in a tiny kitchen area right behind the counter and I commend them for working wonders in such small quarters.

Tiny Kitchen Space at Cookies and Scream

Vegan Gluten-Free London Bakery Peanut Butter Cookie Veega
I ordered a Chico Cookie, which was a large peanut butter cookie with chocolate chips. It was super moist, gooey, and rich. I greedily also ordered a liquid dessert, the Cookie Dough Balls Shake thanks to a tip from Fat Gay Vegan and got a Gosh! Brownie to-go, which of course lasted a total of four hours post-visit. As I was drinking my shake all I could think was how unhealthy it must be because of how incredibly sweet and creamy it was, and I got a kick out of the "low-fat" label on the menu board. The huge chunks of cookie dough made it a more exciting and indulgent treat. Excluding my minor stomachache from all the (unrefined) sugar, my only complaint was that the baked goods were a little too moist and fell apart pretty easily. 

Vegan Gluten-Free Blog Brownie Cookies and Scream London

It was worth it, whatever damage Cookies and Scream did to my diet. Thank you for the delightful desserts, I will miss you back in the states!

Vegan Gluten Free Shake Menu - Cookies and Scream London UK Veega
Low-Fat Shakes?! Don't mind if I do...

Cookies and Scream LondonVeega Blog

Cookies and Scream
The Market Hall
Camden Lock Place
London, UK NW1 8AF

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