26 7 / 2012
Originally it started as just a personal blog, but then I wanted to learn how to cook more at home. This was about the same time that I started doing a lot of research on the safety of everyday products and what is in our food supply. That, in turn, eventually turned into me being vegetarian and then vegan; all the while, documenting all of the new dishes that I was making and then growing to what it is today.
You know when someone answers questions like these with “they’re like my children, I can’t choose!” Well, it is not like that for me, and I do have ones that are like more-so than others. I would say that out of the past couple of months three of my favorites (and popular recipes) are Baked Sweet Potato Tots with Chipotle Aioli, Irish Car Bomb Beer Float, and the Baked Spinach Falafel with Tzatziki Sauce (pictured below).
Fresh, seasonal produce and whatever is growing in my garden, first off. I always have a couple shelves lined with all types of spices and herbs, but I also make sure to always have coconut oil, legumes of some kind, different nuts/seeds and a grain of some kind on hand at all times. These are simple building blocks for nearly all dishes. But, you will find the occasional block of tofu or slab of tempeh in my fridge.
Oh man, when it comes to food, I’m not horribly against eating anything (as long as it’s vegan and doesn’t contain pickles, bleck!). What I can say is that I love Asian food, a lot; even if it’s just steamed rice and veggies with a simple sauce. I could eat at least one Asian-inspired meal a day, if not more!
You are right about me loving beer, it would be harder to choose a favorite brewery than a favorite type of beer, for sure. So, I’ll just say that I’m a huge fan of darker beers, whether they be stouts, porters, brown ales and even ambers if they’re not to hoppy. I am always down for a belgian white in the summer though, perfect for the heat!
I love trying new vegan restaurants and being inspired by dishes so that I can make my own version at home. Being active is something that I try to do frequently, out of my usual activities I’d have to say that riding my bike(s), hiking and doing yoga are some of my favorites.
Well, you got me, I really don’t think I have one. Although, I have gone to some great places recently and Mohawk Bend definitely stuck out to me, with their great draught list and awesome vegan options.
What’s up with all of these difficult questions? ;) Desserts are my favorite class of dishes, but out of all of them, anything with chocolate and/or peanut butter is a winner in my book!
22 7 / 2012
New tour. New tour guide! Meet Christine, chef extraordinaire and owner of Veggie Fixation, which provides plant-based private catering and seasonal cooking classes!
Christine, a Santa Monica local/foodie, will be hosting our Sunday Santa Monica tours! We asked Christine a few questions—mainly about food, of course.
What inspired you to create Veggie Fixation?
I’ve been cooking since I was tall enough to reach the stove and have always enjoyed preparing meals for my friends and family. After a couple of mismatched career changes, I did a little soul searching and realized that I was happiest when I was cooking. This led me to attend culinary school at Bauman College in Berkeley, Ca and a year or two later, Veggie Fixation was born as an outlet to share my healthy and delicious food as a private chef, as well as teach people to cook for themselves.
What’s your favorite dish to cook at home?
I love comfort foods: soups, vegan mac n cheese, shepherd’s pie, enchiladas, pizza.
What ingredients are frequently found in your kitchen?
Nutritional yeast, cashews, flax oil, mushrooms, chickpeas (the latter for spur of the moment hummus making!)
What’s your favorite restaurant?
Seed Bistro was until it sadly closed at the end of April. However, I still get my fix of Eric Lechasseur’s food at his casual cafe Seed Kitchen in Venice. Also, I love Golden Mean in Santa Monica, especially when I’m having a sweet tooth moment. They have the best vegan cake in LA!
When you’re not cooking or hosting food tours, what do you like to do?
On nice days, I love hopping on my beach cruiser and riding the bike path. When I have some rare free time, it’s fun to get out of town for a bit; I especially like heading to Temecula or Solvang for wine tasting!
What’s your favorite dessert?
I’ve been fixated on raw chocolate avocado mousse tarts lately. I love them, my clients love them.
What type of food can you eat over and over again?
If it wasn’t for all the sodium, I would eat Thai food every day, maybe even twice a day!
21 7 / 2012
With the launch of our Santa Monica tour and the re-launch of our Silverlake tour, we’ve collected some pretty fantastic treats for our first tour guests. The snapshot below gives a sneak peek into what you’ll get if you’re on our July 22nd Santa Monica tour or our July 28th Silverlake tour.
The July 22nd Santa Monica tour is all sold out, but there are still a few tickets left for the July 28th Silverlake tour. Get your tickets here!
And if that’s not enough to convince you that you should join us for a fun-filled afternoon of eating, you’ll also get this sweet tote:
Yes! Get all the deets about all our tours at urbanfoodcrawl.com.
16 7 / 2012
I was definitely more than a little excited when Post Punk Kitchen announced a virtual vegan version of Chopped! Especially the dessert round. I loved the excuse to be creative, come up with a new dessert, and then, most importantly, eat lots of it when it was finished.
The ingredients: red beets, fresh mango, dried coconut and crisp rice cereal.
The result: Tropical Rainbow Cookie Crunch.
Growing up in N.Y., I was constantly visiting lots of local Italian bakeries and stuffing my face with Rainbow Cookies. For those who are not familiar with this sweet treat, it is traditionally made with three layers of sponge cake, each layer colored a different color, separated by layers of jam in between, and covered on the top and bottom with chocolate. Yup! It packs a lot in for one little cookie.
I was inspired by the colors and flavors in the Vegan Chopped ingredients to make a tropical version.
The method: I made a vanilla cake (Rainbow cookies are traditionally almond-based, but I thought vanilla would be a better choice for this cookie), and made the top white layer into a coconut layer, made the red layer with beet juice, and mixed fresh mango into the batter for the bottom layer. I spread mango jam in between each cake layer. I then melted chocolate and mixed the crisp rice cereal with the chocolate to create the “crunch” in the bottom layer, placed the cake layers on top, and then covered the very top with more chocolate. Seven lovely layers in every bite.
Even devouring a tropical version of this cookie made me extremely nostalgic. Thanks to Post Punk Kitchen for the fun contest! I will go eat more of these cookies now…
08 6 / 2012
We love to cook at home, and we love to go out to eat, but sometimes finding that fast dinner option is a lifesaver. One of our favorite solutions is frozen pizza from Tofurky.
It comes in three flavors: Cheese, Pepperoni, and Italian Sausage. We love them all, especially the Italian Sausage, which has lots of veggies piled on it as well!
Place it in the oven for about 12 minutes, and dinner (or lunch, or breakfast) is served! It’s topped with lots of Daiya Cheese and the Italian Sausage is seriously yummy. We are a bit pizza-obsessed, so we are thrilled that there’s a frozen pizza out there to more than satisfying our cravings!
04 6 / 2012
Lots of sun = lots of picnics! We love bringing lots of food along to accompany our picnics, and this sandwich will be eaten many times this summer…
And the best part? It’s really simple to make! Our “Perfect for Picnics” sandwich is mozzarella cheese (by Follow Your Heart), tomatoes, basil, balsamic vinaigrette, and olive oil on a baguette. Slice a baguette lengthwise, spread the balsamic vinaigrette and olive oil on both slices of the baguette, and top with slices of tomato, a generous amount of mozzarella, and chopped basil. See? It’s easy! And it will go really well with your picnic.
21 5 / 2012
We can’t get enough of the sandwiches at Mendocino Farms, and our sandwich obsession is even more exciting when new vegan sandwiches pop up on their menu. Enter: Vegan Bahn Mi!
The description: Maggi Marinated Pressed Tofu with Vegan Chili Aioli, Pickled Daikon and Carrots, Cucumbers, Jalapenos, Cilantro on Panini-Grilled Ciabatta.
It was incredibly flavorful, and the bread, as always, was perfect. The pickled vegetables balanced so nicely with the Jalapenos! And we’re always down for Vegan Aioli.
Eat it while you can!
21 5 / 2012
A few questions with our new tour guide, Clarissa, who hosts our Downtown Los Angeles food tour!
18 5 / 2012
It’s hard to express how delicious this is—it’s that good.The first time we had it, we used it as a topping for coconut sorbet. And then…we decided to bake cookies with it….
We baked these! Chocolate Chunk Cookies with Vegan Salted Caramel in the dough and drizzled on top. Cookie perfection.
08 5 / 2012
We looooove everything about Portland! We are very fond of the rainy weather, the friendly/awesome people who live there, and, most importantly, the crazy amount of delicious vegan food! We recently visited this magical city, and made it an extremely food-filled getaway. Check out photos of some of our favorite food stops! Then book a flight. You won’t regret it. :)
Chipotle Tempeh Scramble and Bunny Sly (carrot ginger juice!) from Prasad. Healthy and delicious.
One of the crazies/yummyist breakfasts ever! The Sloppy Biscuit Sandwich from Vita Cafe. Fried tofu + faux turkey + vegan cheese + gravy in between a vegan biscuit. And crazy good potatoes on the side! Heaven.
Another favorite from Vita Cafe! The Vita Scramble (with tofu and veggies) with seriously addictive (and homemade!) Herb Onion Toast. And potatoes, of course.
Diving into Portland’s food cart culture is a must! We recommend Homegrown Smoker: an all-vegan BBQ food cart! We happily devoured this combo plate: Tempeh Ribs, Smoked Soy Curls, Mac-NoCheese, Chipotle Slaw, and Cornbread! The smokey flavor was perfect!
Vegan Ramen at Wafu! So flavorful and delicious. The bowl is huge. You will eat it all.
A vegan must-visit (and one of the highlights of our trip!) is most definitely Portobello, a fancy all-vegan eatery with killer Tiramisu.
Be sure not to miss out on Sweetpea Baking Company! The amazing all-vegan bakery is right next to Food Fight (for vegan groceries), Herbivore (for vegan clothing), and Scapegoat Tattoo (for vegan tattoos). We devoured the Charlie Brown—chocolate, peanut butter, and the perfect crunch!