Archive of ‘review’ category

Porta, Asbury Park NJ

uploadDoor’s outside of Porta
The vacation of repeating restaurants.Outside eating area
That one time I asked a fancy pizza place what they meant by "vegan Parmesan" and the waitress said "oh it's just nutritional yeast." My eyes bugged out a bit and I ordered the pizza sans soy cheese. #vegan #porto #asburyparkRita and Mark sans vegan mozzarella 
Asbury Park, NJcrossing over the bridge to Asbury Park
Oh s'Miles!

wearing his Nonna’s glasses 


Porta is a pizza/pasta restaurant in Asbury Park, NJ. Per their own FAQ’s they are a “Contemporary, local, sustainable, Italian, American, everyman slow food” type of place. Per my own summary of the place “they are awesome”.

We just got home from our annual beach vacation in Ocean Grove, NJ which is the next town over, south, of Asbury Park. We ate at Porta one of our first nights in town at the suggestion of my brother in law. When we arrived at Porta it was PACKED and very loud. They have seating outside in an area that they call Porta National Park which is first come first serve and more casual. We were lucky enough to find a table out there right away and it worked out better for the kids. It was completely cool if they wandered around and played with the pebble floor.

I was very excited to see not 1 but 2 vegan main courses on their menu. 1 pizza and 1 pasta dish. The pasta dish, Vegan Succotash, is made with baby penne pasta, corn, green beans, cherry tomatoes, zucchini, white beans and basil. The pizza dish is called Rita & Mark and is topped with tomatoes, vegan mozzarella, vegan parmigiano, garlic, dried oregano, basil and extra virgin olive oil.

I ordered the pizza BOTH times we ate there that week. I asked that they not put the vegan mozzarella on. It was soy based which means it wasn’t Daiya but I still didn’t want it. When I asked what the vegan parmigiano was the waitress said “Oh it’s just nutritional yeast.” I nearly fell off the bench I was sitting on! THEY HAD NOOCH! I’m pretty sure the waitress thought I was nuts with how excited I was over the nutritional yeast. The pizza’s came and I wasn’t disappointed at all. It was delicious and exactly how I wanted it to be. Even Reno was going crazy over it. I just ordered the kids a tomato pie, no cheese, which they loved but she kept looking at mine and saying how good it smelled. I shared a few slices with her. When we went back for a second time I ordered 2 of the vegan pizza’s sans vegan mozzarella. One for me and one for the kids. (The pizza’s are personal size BTW.)

My only regret is not trying the pasta dish the second time we went. I’ll definitely be ordering it the next time we eat there.


Korean Taco’s from Mogo



MOGO is the Korean translation for EAT. MOGO is also a food stand on the Asbury Park boardwalk in NJ that sells Korean Fusion Tacos. Its made out of an old shipping container which is pretty cool. A food truck without wheels.  I first noticed it last year and unfortunately was never able to order from them. The timing was never right. Then Hurricane Sandy hit and I was nervous that I would never get to eat there. A month or so ago we took a trip to the boardwalk to walk around and I was happy to see people working hard to get MOGO reopened for the summer season! I knew I would be eating their Tofu Taco the next time I was down there no matter what!

My family headed down to Ocean Grove for an early evening beach visit this past Saturday where we swam, dug holes in the sand and found some sea treasures (3 sand dollars!) Then we headed to the Asbury Park boardwalk, which is connected to Ocean Grove, and headed straight to MOGO.  mogo tofu tacos

Tofu Taco

When I first noticed MOGO last year I saw that they offered Tofu Taco’s. I emailed them and they promptly replied assuring me that their tofu taco’s are in fact vegan. My husband and I each ordered 2 of them. The year long wait to finally try them was worth it. The soy glaze on the fried tofu was incredible. My husband could not stop talking about how good the sauce was. I was a big fan of the soy-sesame slaw that topped it off. Every flavor put into this taco was perfect. They weren’t spicy, which was nice. You can add some spicy sauce to it yourself which we did. You can also order that it be topped with kimchi and I’m forgetting what else (!) to spice it up even more.


It was truly the perfect summertime boardwalk food. We will be on vacation in a few weeks in Ocean Grove, the next town over, and we will definitely be hitting up MOGO a few times while we are there.  Love you MOGO!

Review: Nut Butter Universe

Nut Butter Universe Cover

Vegan Heritage Press was kind enough to send me a copy of Robin Robertson’s book Nut Butter Universe. I’ll be honest and say I wasn’t expecting much from this book just by the title alone. I think like a lot of people I’ve talked to I just had images of only nut butter recipes in my head. Let me tell you that I was pleasantly surprised when I read through this book. It’s definitely not just nut butter recipes! Its chapter after chapter of amazing sounding recipes along with a few beautiful photographs of some of the dishes. After reading through all the recipes and making notes on which ones I wanted to try I ended up with more then 10 recipes on that list! I didn’t know where to start but I narrowed it down to 2 recipes to try over this past weekend and the rest will have to wait until later this week.

Double Dare Peanut Butter Cake from Nut Butter Universe! Review on the blog tomorrow. #vegan

Double Dare Peanut Butter Cake

One of the first recipes that stood out for me was the Double Dare Peanut Butter Cake. I am a peanut butter fiend and this recipe promised a peanut butter cake AND a peanut butter frosting. I had my 2 year old son help with the cake batter while my daughter was in school. When she came home from school I had her help me with the frosting. Both kids had a lot of fun in the kitchen that day and I was happy to have them help.

The cake batter is very thick. Its not pourable like other cake recipes but it baked just fine. The frosting recipe was incredibly easy to make. You dump everything into a food processor, blend and refrigerate for an hour so it can set up a bit. While my daughter and I were frosting the cake the directions said it was optional to top with chocolate curls. We only had chocolate chips and they weren’t very nice looking due to the hot weather. I decided to make a quick ganache by melting the chips with a touch of almond milk and swirl it into the peanut butter frosting. I put some of the extra frosting into a pasty bag and piped some stars all along the edge of the cake. My daughter wanted the big star in the middle and I think it was a brilliant decorating decision on her part.

We ate the cake after dinner with my parents. It received rave reviews! My daughter want’s it to be her birthday cake. My husband ate 2 pieces. He doesn’t usually like cakes. My parents have offered to taste test the cake again tonight. My husbands cousin wants me to make it for her BBQ this Saturday. I will definitely be making this cake over and over again!

Sunday pancakes. Apple-Almond from Nut Butter Universe #vegan

Apple Almond Butter Pancakes

These pancakes were made for a Sunday morning treat. Easy to make and delicious. Apples and almond butter a favorite combo of mine and I knew these pancakes would be great. I did alter some of the pancakes for my daughter who was screaming about me putting apples in them. Before I added the apples to the batter I poured 3 pancakes onto the griddle and added chocolate chips into them minus the apples. She happily devoured them. The rest of us ate them with the apples added.  My favorite thing about them and most of the recipes in this book is the added protein the nut butters add to each dish. I liked that my children ate these and got something more then they would have if I just made traditional pancakes. We will be making these a lot come apple season this fall.

I am so happy I gave this book a chance. I highly recommend this book and I can’t wait to try all of the other recipes I bookmarked.

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