Sunday, September 11, 2011

Celestial tofu at Boba House; Greensboro, NC

Boba House is Greensboro's only vegetarian/vegan restaurant. When we lived in Greensboro we ate there regularly and I've never eaten anything there that I didn't like (except for maybe the mustard satay skewers which I could still eat if I needed to). If there's one dish that's my absolute favorite though, it has to be the celestial tofu. When I first became vegan (thank you Earthlings) I hated tofu. It made me feel sick and I ate small amounts at a time just trying to get used to it. The first time I had this tofu? I didn't hesitate to gobble up the entire serving. It comes as an appetizer and we can almost never resist it. The sauce is very sweet but not sugary and it's topped with yummy sesame seeds.

When my sister in law asked what tofu was like I told it it was like a wet spongy cupcake (in texture, not in taste) after she had her first bite (which was, yes, celestial tofu at Boba House) she agreed- it's kind of indescribable. But her first bite of tofu, she loved, and that is because this is, quite possibly, the best tofu I've ever had.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Spotted Dog; Vegan BBQ

We went out to lunch at the Spotted Dog Cafe, both taking advantage of and being a bit saddened at our recent lack of a child in the house during the school days.

As I mentioned the first time, there's a Dalmation statue that accepts donations when you walk in the door. All donations benefit Paws 4 Ever, a local charity that works with other local rescue groups and shelters to secure homes, educate the public on animal welfare and reduce spay and neuter costs. They have photos lining the aisles of dogs and pigs. They seem to really love animals so why they're not just a vegan restaurant, I'm not sure.

The first time I tried the vegan BBQ sandwich (sans slaw which usually comes on it) I wasn't a fan. It tasted bland to me, but after a second try I've changed my mind! Maybe one bite just isn't enough to really get a good idea. Regardless, it was mildly spicy and somewhat sweet, and I really wanted to finish it all, even if I couldn't manage to fit it.

We missed the lunch crowd so it wasn't too busy and the waiter was very attentive and luckily asked if we wanted the vegan white bun or the whole wheat honey bun and since the menu didn't offer those options we may otherwise have risked just ending up with the wrong bun and never know.

Now, to find a good recipe for vegan BBQ that I can make at home!

Pretty Cupcakes

I've been relying on the same 'ole vegan chocolate cupcake recipe for a couple of years now until now. Granted, the icing is just store bought Pillsbury vanilla, but it's the cake part itself that makes this so awesome. The recipe is from Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World- which I strongly recommend you buy. But for now, here's your basic chocolate cake recipe (makes about a dozen):

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F.

1 c soy milk
1 tsp apple cider vinegar

Okay, so firstly combine the soy milk and vinegar in a bowl all on it's own so it has time to curdle (this may sound gross but smell it when it's done- it's sweet!). While that's doing it's thing mix your dry ingredients in a smaller bowl (the one you put the soy milk in is going to be your main mixing bowl)

1 c all purpose flour
1/3 c cocoa powder
3/4 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt

Set that aside and go add these ingredients to your soy milk mixture and beat until foamy:

3/4 c sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp almond extract (hint: this is the secret ingredient)
1/3 c vegetable oil (you can sub 1/3 c apple sauce if you'd like too)

Now slowly add in the dry ingredients until the big chunks are all out (small ones are fine). Add to your cake pan or cupcake liners and bake for 18-20 minutes (or 15 if your oven is super old like mine and likes to burn your baked goods! lol)

Seriously- this is beyond delicious. You can also experiment with adding other flavorings in place of the almond extract but this, to me, is absolutely perfect.

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Spotted Dog

Spotted Dog Cafe, located in Chapel Hill, NC is a small (you could call it cozy if you're feeling generous and crowded if you're not) restaurant that offers a variety of vegetarian and vegan options. They have two in house veggie burgers, neither of which are vegan. If you're going to have two, why not take that extra step and offer a delicious vegan burger rather than the Boca burger they offered as a substitute? If I wanted a Boca burger I would have stayed home.  So rather than a burger I went with grilled tofu and a side of fries. I had to ask for the grilled tofu which only shows up on the children's menu for some reason which is odd since their motto is "we do tofu right!". The serving size is small (which sort of makes sense since it's a child's meal or a side dish itself) but the portion of fries was generous so it was a filling meal regardless. 

When you walk into Spotted Dog you're greeted by a dalmatian dog statue with a green bucket in it's mouth. All donations benefit Paws 4 Ever, a local charity that works with other local rescue groups and shelters to secure homes, educate the public on animal welfare, and reduce spay and neuter costs (I know, they seem to really love animals! So why isn't this just a vegan restaurant?). 

The tables only seat two people and the large multi person table is crowded and you have to sit on tall barstools. They have booths somewhere in the back if you have no problem with that since they're also a bit cramped. 

But the food was absolutely yummy with the exception of the gingerbread pound cake being somewhat dry (not sure why since the first time we ate there and had it it was warm and moist!).  We ate it with a side of Mexican Chocolate vegan ice cream. The flavor was more rich and complex than regular 'ole ice cream so that was a plus. The first time around we had it with peanut butter vegan gelato and that was definitely my fave.