Archive of ‘review’ category

Killer Vegan {Restaurant Review}

My husband and I were child-free for the afternoon so we had a delicious lunch at Killer Vegan in Union, NJ. I had the Killer Panini for the first time. It was so delicious and reminded me of the seitan wraps I made for road trips. My husband had the Guns Killer Vegan Panini

Killer Vegan is a diner and delicatessen in Union, NJ. I love this place. They started off small with only a few sandwiches and sides and a twice a month all you can eat brunch. Yes an ALL YOU CAN EAT VEGAN BRUNCH! They have burgers, panini’s, sausage and meatball sandwiches, new dinner specials every week, disco fries (!), cheese fries (!) homemade cakes, cookies, milkshakes and more!  I’ve been here a handful of times already and it’s been fun to see their menu and hours of operation grow.  My last visit their I had the new Killer Vegan Panini. Filled with Country Fried Seitan, avocado, arugula, tomato, onion and chipotle mayo.  It was perfectly paired with the kale slaw. The seitan was so delicious I wish I had a plate of it to myself!

1st of 2 identical plates of food at the all you can eat opening brunch at Killer Vegan in Union. I stole bites of pancakes and French toast from my kids plates.

All-You-Can-Eat Brunch

Brunch at Killer Vegan is alway’s All-You-Can-Eat and alway’s amazing. A buffet filled with homemade sausages and tempeh bacon, biscuits and a cashew sage gravy, tofu scramble, steamed greens, arroz con gandules, pancakes, french toast and home fries. On one or two occasions I’ve also spotted and dined on some deliciously sweet plantains.

One time a woman on line asked me what to put the cashew gravy on and I just said “Everything. Just put it on everything.”  

Delicious KV Burger and Kale Slaw at Killer Vegan in Union NJ today with the Montclair Vegans meetup! Not pictured: Mint Chip Milkshake, it was awesome. Thanks @diannewenz !! KV Burger

Their burger menu has grown from 1 burger to 4 different burgers including the original KV Burger (pictured), the Gunslinger Burger, which my husband enjoyed on our last kidless visit there, a Pizza Burger and The Killer, which I’m looking forward to trying the next time I visit. Its 2 burgers, cheese sauce, sauteed onions and coconut bacon. I can’t say no to Coconut Bacon! The burgers are house-made, delicious and they don’t fall apart. I’ve never been disappointed.

Lunch from Killer Vegan today: Sausage and Peppers w. Kale Slaw. Miles's fries in the top left corner. Not pictured: Butter Pecan Milkshake #vegan

Sausage and Peppers

One of my favorite things about Killer Vegan is that they make their own sausages. I love store-bought vegan sausages and buy them all the time for convenience but when a restaurant goes out of their way to make their own it’s special and I notice and I eat them. Nothing beats a house-made sausage and pepper sandwich!

If you can’t tell by these pictures I really dig Killer Vegans Kale Slaw. When you order a sandwich it comes with chips or you can upgrade to one of their sides. I alway’s upgrade to Kale Slaw. It tastes exactly how I make my own Kale Slaw at home and I really should go for one of their other sides like Roasted Brussels Sprouts, Fries or Mashed Potatoes but I just really love Kale Slaw! 

Not pictured are the vegan Milk Shakes and desserts I’ve tried at Killer Vegan. Nine different Milkshake flavors from Mint Chocolate Chip to Butter Pecan and desserts like Red Velvet cake, Chocolate Chip Cookies, Mini Cupcakes, Peanut Butter Chocolate Cake and a Cookies and Cream Cake. I could live happily eating at Killer Vegan forever! 

If you are in the area take a peek at their menu and plan a trip to eat here!

Isa Live at City Winery, NYC

I'm starving. #isa #citywinery #isacitywinerynyc #vegan

Menu

When I first heard about Isa Chandra Moskowitz going on a culinary tour I knew that I had to go. I immediately posted on facebook seeing who would go and of course my vegan bestie, Dianne,  jumped on board and snatched up 4 tickets for the two of us and our husbands. My husband was a bit skeptical about the whole thing. He didn’t really understand what would actually be happening and quite frankly neither did I. I just knew I wanted to see Isa speak and eat her food. 

We arrived early and with ease. NYC on Superbowl Sunday is a ghost town. It was great! It was fun to just sit and chat and people watch. Waiting to see people we know in real life or recognize from online. 

1st Course at Isa Live in NYC #isacitywinerynyc #vegan #isalive

First Course

When it was time for the whole evening to officially start our first course was brought out. It was a Caesar Salad with Brussels Sprouts it came with grilled tofu, tahini caper dressing and pine nuts. Our plates unfortunately didn’t get any of the pine nuts. Through instagram I can tell that a lot of people did get pine nuts so it was just a mishap for us..I guess? Besides the missing pine nuts it was a delicious salad! The tofu was perfect. Just perfect. We aren’t big tofu eaters, especially my husband, and he even liked it. He also doesn’t like Brussels Sprouts but by the magic of Isa he enjoyed these. 

Second Course: Tamales #isalive #vegan #citywinerynyc

Second Course

This was the course I was looking forward to the most. The Tamale! I love tamales. Love them. I happened to also really love this tamale. Made with a lentil chorizo and served with guacamole and mole rojo. The menu said it came with a coconut sour cream but like the pine nuts…we didn’t get it. Besides the missing sour cream, like the pine nuts above, it was a great dish. The tamale had a perfect texture and the filling wasn’t overpowering. The guacamole was fresh tasting and the mole rojo had a great cinnamon flavor to it that mixed well with everything else on the plate. I wish I could have eaten another one!

Third Course: Chickpeas and Dumplings #vegan #isalive #isacitywinery

Third Course

Chickpeas and Dumpling, a creamy chickpea stew. It was a great dish for a snowy night. So comforting and warm. I’ll eat anything that has a dumpling in it. The secret to this dish, as demonstrated by Isa cooking on stage, was adding cashew cream to the stew. A favorite trick of mine to use at home. Cashews make everything better in my opinion.

Fourth Course: chocolate mousse cupcake #vegan #isalive

Fourth Course 

Of course the perfect way to end a meal is with a chocolate cake…or Isa’s Chocolate Mousse Cupcake.  A chocolate cupcake, chocolate mousse on top, coconut whipped cream and raspberry sauce. It doesn’t get any better. I will say that I found the cake to be very salty BUT I liked it. I don’t know if that was a mistake in the kitchen or intentional but I really liked it that way and would eat it that way again, happily!

Isa was of course her charming and beautiful self onstage. Telling us about each course, showing us how she made some of the components, answering questions from the crowd about cooking, her new restaurant Modern Love and beauty tips like how she gets her eyeliner so perfect. 

It was such a lovely evening with great friends, good food and no traffic while driving back to NJ in the snow storm that was just beginning as we left! I would do it all over again! Yay Isa!

(not pictured was the Wine Tasting Menu that both Dianne and I ordered. 4 wines. 1 for each dish.) 

VeganMoFo: The Cinnamon Snail

So happy right now!

I don’t often get that many chances to eat at the Cinnamon Snail. They mostly spend their days in NYC. For us in NJ they are at the Red Bank Farmers Market on Sundays which we won’t go to in the summer because the traffic home is an absolute nightmare! On Thursdays they are in Jersey City at the Grove Street Farmers Market. We are close to J.C., my sister lives down the street from the market, but it’s still rare that I can go. 

I usually try to go when my sister is teaching a craft class at her friends shop called Kanibal Home. The keyword in that sentence is “try”. Even when I’m in town on the right night I usually still miss it because parking takes forever, the lines are crazy long and then I’ll miss the class I’m taking. Last night though everything went perfectly! We found 2 parking spots right away. (One picking up my sis and one in front of our friends shop). Since we were early from not circling for 1 hour looking for parking I left everyone at the store and speed walked to the market. The market wasn’t there but the Cinnamon Snail still showed up! Thank goodness because I was starving! 

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The line also wasn’t as long as other lines I’ve encountered there. I’ve waited 30 minutes to order and just as long or longer to get my food. Its worth it though! 

For dinner I chose an old favorite of mine the Lemongrass 5-Spice Seitan. It has curried cashews and wasabi mayo among other things. Its incredible! 

I really wanted to pick up some donuts, especially a creme brule donut, but by the time I got there all the donuts I wanted were sold out. Most of the pastry case was empty. It was quite a sad sight. I decided to try 3 new pastries that I haven’t ordered from them before. 

Berry and cheese Danish from the cinnamon snail. #vegan #inkstainedhands

First up for the pastries was a berry and cheese danish. I had it as a late night snack when I came home from the class with ink stained hands. It was really good! I never was a fan of Danishes in my pre-vegan day’s. I love them now though!

Pear Turnover w. Lavender from the Cinnamon Snail. #vegan

Breakfast today was a Pear Turnover with Lavender.  This was even better then the danish above. I was wondering what they did to get the lavender flavor that was so prominent, in a good way, so I opened the danish up and saw actual lavender flowers mixed in with the pear filling. I’ll definitely be buying this again.

Raspberry Chocolate Danish-The Cinnamon Snail.

The one pastry I haven’t eaten yet is a Chocolate Raspberry Danish. I’m sure it’s just as great as the other pastries I’ve eaten in the last 12 hours. :) I might even share it with my husband tonight after the kids are in bed. 

For anyone visiting NYC or NJ if you have a chance to eat from The Cinnamon Snail please do. You will not regret it. They are amazing! You also need to visit my friends Kristen’s shop in JC called Kanibal Home. She stocks it with amazing refurbished vintage furniture, clothes and curiosities among other things. 

Dinosaur Birthday Cake

Dinosaur Birthday CakeSomehow my youngest just turned 3 years old the the other day.  Everything about his birthday had to involve dinosaurs. From the decorations, the presents, his clothes and even his cake. He is ridiculously and adorably obsessed. He really wanted his party to take place at the local Dinosaur Park, yes there really is one, but we will do that trip on a later date. His party took place on our deck for about 10 minutes and then due to torrential rain we moved it into our basement.

He went back and forth on what type of cake he wanted. First it was just vanilla. Then chocolate. Then both and at last a dinosaur cake. I went with “both and dinosaur cake. I made a basic 2 layer chocolate cake using a recipe from the cookbook: Have Your Cake and Vegan Too by Kris Holechek from the nomnomnom blog. The frosting I threw together myself. Just the usual Earth Balance, powdered sugar, vanilla..etc..frosting. After frosting the cake I plopped on his favorite dinosaur and made a quick banner to make it a touch more festive.

vegan chocolate cakeThe cake itself was amazing. So moist and incredibly delicious. I took a risk by making a recipe I never made before and it paid off. A week later some non vegan guests were still raving about this cake! This is my new go to chocolate cake recipe and it should be yours as well.

Most importantly the birthday boy was so happy with it. There was a dinosaur on it! So thrilling to a 3 year old!  My birthday is coming up next and I will be making my own cake. This one! Maybe with a dinosaur on it.

 

PositiviTea in Verona, NJ

Positivitea.

 

The Big WAC

One Saturday afternoon my husband and I dropped the kids off with my mother-in-law and then headed to PositiviTea in Verona, NJ to meet up with our friends Dianne from VeggieGirl, her husband Dennis and Lydia and Mauro from the blog From A to Vegan.

The place was packed! Which always makes me happy to see an all vegan place thriving. Our group scored a table up front and we settled in for some great food and conversation with our friends.

I knew right away what I would be ordering. The Big WAC! I follow PositiviTea on facebook and have been wanting to try this since Chef Abe posted about it. It’s a vegan take on the Big Mac from you know which fast food chain. It was one of my favorite burgers to eat growing up and I couldn’t wait to see what they did to mimic it. Its a double decker burger with 2 homemade vegan burgers with their own special sauce, lettuce, mayo, onions, pickles and vegan cheese served on an Organic Bun with a gluten free option of being served on a portobello mushroom. The burgers were amazing. For being a gluten free burger they hold together like nothing I’ve ever seen. I use vital wheat gluten to help hold my burgers together and would love to make my own gluten free friendly burger for friends. The Big WAC! was everything I had hoped it would be. It was big, messy and delicious. It really reminded me of my childhood favorite The Big Mac.

My dessert! The All Jersey #vegan #positivitea

The All Jersey

For dessert I had to have their now famous N’ice’ Kream. Its a homemade, soy free, soft serve vegan ice cream. When we were there they had a special flavor, Egg Nog, which they ran out of just as our table was ready to order dessert. I’ll admit that I was happy they ran out of it. I really wanted to try their regular vanilla flavor and they can only have one flavor at a time. I was happy to wait the 1/2 hour or so for the vanilla to freeze up and be ready to serve.

I ordered the All Jersey N’ice Kream with is their regular soft serve with crushed organic graham crackers, organic chocolate and vegan marshmallows. It was a lot of ice cream and I ordered the small. I ate it all though! Next time I go I want to order the P.B. & Jay which is peanut butter, strawberries and graham crackers over their delicious N’ice Kream.

Dennis's dessert! #vegan #positivitea

Off the menu dessert!

Our friend Dennis was checking out if they had any other desserts available and told Chef Abe that he wasn’t sure what he wanted. Abe said he would surprise him and this is what showed up at the table! There are THREE types of cookies in that beautiful thing! THREE! Gingerbread men, oreo’s and I believe oatmeal cookies. This was amazing to look at and I’m sure to eat.

I had been DYING to go to PositiviTea since it opened around June/July of 2013. It is basically up the road from us through 3 towns. Its a very short distance by car but we’ve never made it there until recently. I find it very funny that friends, driving up from Pennsylvania to eat there, are what made us go for the first time. It’s ridiculous but I’m so happy we got to try it and I can’t wait to go back. I’m really anxious to try their waffles.

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