Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Another Trip to Red Velvet Cafe.

A few posts back I gave a follow-up to a comment about Red Velvet Cafe here in Las Vegas that an anonymous reader expressed. I didn't have the same experience at the Cafe that they did. I'm bummed they didn't get the treatment that I get. The last time I went, they were still pleasant, but I felt forgotten. So, my roommate asked me to go along with her for lunch a few days ago.

Spicy "Chicken" Wrap:

Again, we received good service, our food came fast, the people that worked there were really nice, we joked around, la la la... It seems to be hit or miss on when they will disappoint. The one thing that I've noticed is that if it's not busy they seem to handle themselves well. I've been there when it was jam packed and almost dead. They don't seem to be very well off if there are too many people looking to eat. Like I said before... I'm not going out of my way to go there, but I won't write them off completely.

Vegan Red Velvet Cake:

I will say this... This cake makes me want to head my ass over there every damn day. New mission: Find vegan red velvet cake that tops this!

Sunday, May 30, 2010

My Trip to Washington!

In early May I hopped a plane and headed to Blaine, WA to visit my good friends Langley and Yahtil. First, let me just send out another giant THANK YOU to them for allowing me to come stay with them for 8 glorious days. I cannot wait until I take another trip up. You guys are AWESOME!!!

Now, on to the food and the reason I gained weight while away. (So worth it!)

Potato and Leek soup in a sourdough bread bowl... YIKES! ::drool::

Yahtil made this from scratch and it was absolutely amazing. I had this the second night I was in town. My first time ever having leek. Must have more often.

Potato/onion soup:

Yet another wonderful creation by Yahtil. I think I'm now addicted to bread bowls. I always appreciate my meat eater friends that go out of their way to make something that I can eat. That's some serious love right there! Some seriously tasty foodage as well. I wish I could re-live these 2 soups.

Need I say more?:

A nice, hot soy latte from Woods Coffee. Nice place! Apparently it's a Pacific Northwest chain. Wish we had it here.

Soy Latte:

And look how cute it is from the outside. This location that we went to was right on the ocean. We sat and drank coffee on the water and it was magic!

Woods Coffee:

I love you, Clif Bars!:

I hate to say that I live on Clif Bars, but some days I am so wrapped up in the crazy that I have to have these just so I have something to hold me over until I get a good meal in. Well, while I was in WA I was able to find these 4 flavors that I didn't even know existed! I bought like 3 of each and brought them home with me.

Black Bean Burgers:

These weren't too bad. I've had some nasty vegan burgers before and these weren't a total disappointment. I still prefer my homemade black bean burgers over these any day though.


Vegetable Soup:

This was yet ANOTHER Yahtil vegan creation. No bread bowl, but I ate it so fast I barely noticed.


This I was insanely excited for! This was my first trip to an all vegan establishment. Langley had told me that there was a vegan restaurant in Bellingham and I was so grateful that I finally got the chance to go!


Hummus w/ Veggies and Flax Crackers:

This was some good hummus. I don't usually have hummus as thick as this, but that mattered not. The veggies were clean and fresh and delicious. The flax crackers were also a great addition to this spread. I want to re-eat this!


Aaaaaaaand... the one food I had that thoroughly surprised me...

BBQ Tempeh Sandwich:

Closer shot:

Why did it surprise me? Not because it was one of the best ever tempeh sandwiches I've had so far, but because it had beets on it. BEETS! I HATE BEETS! At least... I thought I hated beets. I remember hating beets my whole life. Turns out if they are made just right I really do enjoy them! They accompanied the tempeh quite well in this case. Look at that! One more food I am allowing back into my diet.

My new addiction... HARD CIDER!:

I was introduced to hard cider during my trip to WA. I must admit, I wasn't sure I would like it because it looked like beer and sort of smelled like beer. MUCH better than beer. Beer I don't really have a taste for. Cider has a new place in my heart. Woodchuck brand and Wyder's brand are both vegan friendly. I've tried Raspberry, pear and apple flavored and Pear is most definitely my favorite. Thanks guys!

La Fiamma Pizza:

Pre-pizza Salad:

We all know I'm a sucker for a good vegan pizza. And this contained yet another food I have hated my whole life... OLIVES! I barely noticed the olives on this one. there were plenty of flavores to even out the taste so I was extremely happy.


Well, that's the majority of my pictures of the food I ate. There were many other meals that I just didn't get the chance to photograph mainly I inhaled my food before I remembered to take the pictures. I'm dying for another visit to WA.


Sunday, May 23, 2010

An anonymous comment.

I received an anonymous comment on a recent post that I was kind of surprised to get. It was on a post that I put up July 20th 2009 and was referring to my visit to Red Velvet Cafe. This was the comment(following the comment I will reply):

Anonymous said...

We have been eating here since this place opened.

At first, we were thrilled to have the kind of food so readily available to us in other big cities in which we've lived on our side of town; as a vegetarian/vegan couple it certainly seemed to most number of menu offerings in the city!

Unfortunately, despite developing an affinity for certain favorites (the taco salad, pizzettas, certain wraps and the red velvet cake are all extremely tasty), the rest of the menu is fairly uninspired and the grilled panini sandwiches kind of mushy and flavorless. (or I should say, the flavor of the mushy bread overwhelms the ingredients within).

The specials are ridiculously overpriced for what they are, and the prices in general are a bit high considering the scant use of organic ingredients, the overall starchy nature of most everything, and the reliance on commercial soy products for mock meats.....these things are of questionable nutritional value (other than being lower in saturated fats, cholesterol, maybe in calories) because they're highly processed forms of soy......which at that point yields a substance that may taste salty and chewy but is regarded by the body as something akin to plastic.

In a place like L.A., only the cheap quick vegan eateries do that. It allows them to keep prices low and find a middle ground on taste, texture, and presentation. Red Velvet Cafe, however, charges up the wazoo for these things ($15.00 or more for some soy fish on brown rice with some overcooked until shriveled, thin, bland asparagus? Really?).

Nevertheless. For the times when we were very busy and didn't want to deal with food prep (sometimes veggie food takes a lot of ingredients!) or when friends and family were in town we happily continued to frequent the place, and spent quite a lot of $$ along the way...especially when ordering the food in bulk for a party! WOW!!!$!$!$!

What has finally killed it for us, no matter how delicious that darn cake is, or how much I long for a turkey wrap that isn't Tofurkey (much as I love and should own stock in that stuff), is the absolutely appalling service!

NOT just when it's busy!


Starting with the chef/owner. While her husband is gracious and engaging, helpful and affable, she has never once smiled at me in all the times I've been there (what has it been now, nearly 2 years now?), which, as a fellow industry person, loyal customer, and part of what was keeping the lights on, thinks is a pretty poor excuse for manners.

I'm in a customer-service based industry; you don't get to be crummy towards your patrons unless they get crummy with you -- and even then sometimes you're expected to take it, with that whole "customer is always right" nonsense! ;-)

It's a bad vibe, and it's a bad look for her. I know she works long hours and has a lot on her shoulders, but that's no excuse for thinly veiled hostility or at best, diffidence to one of your early adopters and strongest supporters!

The service there is a real paradox! The actual people are perfectly pleasant and seemingly quite intelligent. How then does a new group sit in your station after strolling through the front door of your fairly small restaurant and not get menus, water, or service for up to 15 minutes?! It's ludicrous! And, it's costing them money......a small group I'd brought walked out.

You have to wonder after 10 minutes or more who has left RVC in a huff as my group did? That is money down the drain. If they do stay, they might not come back.

And most tragic of all, even those of us who have tried to get used to it are despairing and MOVING ON.

The food is not THAT spectacular to have that poor of a customer service experience, sorry.

I will miss the grub, and even some of the people, but I will not miss being made to feel like somehow they were put upon to have to sell it and serve it to me.

We're taking our restaurant business elsewhere.

I wish I could have known who posted this, but they had a right to be anonymous if they chose. I posted my trip to Red Velvet last year in July. The day I went it wasn't very busy and the service we got seemed to be quite good! I left there very happy with the food that I ordered and the service we had. This was back during the renovation.

HOWEVER... I went back a second time during November of last year and things were a bit different. The food was pretty good still, but the restaurant was jam packed with people and it took forever (and a day) to get us seated. I noticed an older gentleman walking around and making sure people were OK and being very nice. I'm assuming he's one of the owners that you mentioned. When we finally got a table we had to wait with it a bit dirty for about 10 minutes before someone cleaned it for us. I didn't want to miss getting the table, who knows how long we would have had to wait otherwise.

It was just me and my friend Heather. We figured out what we wanted and when they did come to take our order, 20 minutes after the table was cleaned, it seemed to be another 30 minutes before we got our food. I felt dumb because I talked her into going to this place and she liked the food OK but was upset with the service, as was I. I didn't didn't decide not to come back or anything, just decided I would only go if I was in the area and hungry.

I attempted to go there for breakfast one morning because I was out at Red Rock with my friend Magda at around 9 am and it was pretty close and had food I could eat. They claim to serve breakfast, yet don't open until 10:30. That kinda bugged me. If you are serving breakfast, you should be open a bit earlier than that. Luckily we were on that side of town anyway so I didn't have to go out of my way to be let down. I found out they were closed on Sundays the hard way. I live in Henderson and it isn't just a short drive to what's practically Summerlin. The menu I had in my hands I got from there said they were open Sundays. Ugh...

My roommate and a friend of hers decided yesterday to go have lunch and picked Red Velvet. I was off and had no classes so when she invited me I accepted. Luckily when we got there it wasn't busy, we got seated, got our drinks and had pretty good service this time around. I swear, Red Velvet is extremely hit or miss. It's a huge bummer to have to go through all the crap that you did with them. That really sucked and you shouldn't have been treated wrongly.

Hit or miss places suck. I'm not writing them off completely, just not going out of my way for them. They haven't proven themselves worthy.

Thank you so much for the comment!


Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Veggie Pizza at California Pizza Kitchen.

I don't live in the most vegan friendly city. We all know that. Luckily I have a little help finding safe places to have food thanks to VeganXpress iPhone app. The roommates and I wanted a day out and about and we ended up in a big shopping area here in Vegas. Someone suggested California Pizza Kitchen. I hadn't been there in about 3 years or so for obvious reasons. Luckily I used VeganXpress to find out if there were any options for me. I was happy to find that the Neapolitan crust (thin crust) is vegan, so I ordered the vegetarian without cheese. On this pizza we have:
-Baby broccoli
-Grilled Japanese eggplant
-Roasted corn
-Sliced red onions
-Sun-dried tomatoes
-Tomato sauce.


It was light and pretty good tasting. It was the exact opposite of the kind of pizza I use to eat. I think had I tried I might have been able to put the entire pizza away all by myself! But it was too good not to share. Maybe next time I'll give it a shot. :o)


Friday, April 2, 2010

Miso Soup, my way.


I never really got into having Miso soup until I started making it myself. I played around with a bunch of different recipes. Some I liked, some I didn't. Eventually I found what I liked. I like cubes of super firm tofu and tempeh in my miso. This was perfect when it was really gloomy here in Vegas last week.

-4 Cups Water
-3-4 tbsp Miso Paste
-1 sheet Nori (cut into small squares)
-1/2 block Super Firm Tofu (I used Wild Wood brand)
-1/2 block Tempeh
-2-3 cloves fresh garlic or 1/2 tbsp garlic powder
-1 stalk green onion (optional)

Bring the water to boil and add miso paste. Allow the paste to fully dissolve into the water. When broth is ready add tofu, garlic, tempeh and nori. allow to simmer on medium heat for about 10 minutes to allow tofu and tempeh to soak up the flavors of the broth. Add optional green inion last after you turn off the soup.




Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Just a quick post.

It's getting hot out. Hot sucks! Especially in Las Vegas. Fortunately this is my last year living here! I'm moving back to CA in October. I'm excited! I miss L.A! However, until I leave this place I must endure it's evil temperatures. Those of you who know me well know that I live for smoothies when it's hot out. When it's hot out there is nothing I want more than a nice, cold fruit smoothie.


Strawberry/Blueberry Smoothie

I'm not a huge mock-meat fan but I found this to be quite good. Perfect for slicing up and having it as a snack on crackers.


I think I'll buy this again and use it as a pizza topping. It honestly tastes better than any pepperoni I remember. My roommate and I ate half of it pretty quickly. Well, I mostly ate it. Couldn't help myself!
Fire Roasted Tomato Grain Meat

And finally... the only food that I've had all month that I could not get out of my mind...

The highlight of my month:

Amaretto is quite possibly my all-time favorite flavor. Coconut milk is pretty high up there also. I almost lost it when I walked down the dessert aisle at Whole Foods and found this. I opened the frozen case and this actually felt like it was staring back at me.

This was a pretty pathetic post. I know. But better than not posting anything, Right?


Friday, March 12, 2010

I Want Tea and Black Bean Burgers!

My favorite thing to drink is tea. I absolutely love tea. My mom is a huge tea drinker. I remember always seeing her with a cup of tea the whole time I was growing up. Guess I got it from her. I have a cup sitting in front of me now as I type this. I also love mugs. I love wacky and fun looking mugs. My current favorite is my monkey mug. I have loved it since I first laid eyes on it. It was only 5 dollars. I couldn't pass it up. There's also a zebra, a giraffe and an elephant. I'll be sure to show those off in a later post.


Another favorite of mine are my black bean burgers. I make amazing Black Bean Burgers. I topped these off with sauteed mushrooms, avocado spread, lettuce and mustard.


I went over to my friend Heather's house to cook dinner for her again and decided on these because they are just amazing. I blogged BBQ black bean burgers, however you can add whatever kind of sauce you like to the mixture. I've done Dijon mustard, bbq sauce and I've also done ones with salsa. These I used a tomato based sauce (it was what was available). If using this recipe, replace the amount of bbq sauce with whatever sauce/salsa that you wish. That's the best part about black bean burgers. They can be so versatile! They worked out extremely well when I made Panko Friend Black Bean Patties.


Creamy Veggie Potatoes

These were tasty. Very filling. Hit the spot.

Zucchini/Bell Pepper tofu

Probably one of my favorite things I've had for breakfast lately!

-1 Bell Pepper, diced
-1 Zucchini, diced
-1/2 tub firm tofu, crumbled
- diced onion
-1 tbsp nutritional yeast
- garlic (fresh or powdered)
- salt and pepper to taste

Quick and easy. Dice veggies and cook them in 1 tbsp olive oil until softened. Add crumbled tofu and spices. Cook until water from tofu is evaporated. TA DA!



Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Dinner party success and some mobile uploads

Hello all. I am currently testing out the blogger application for iPhone. Let's see how it goes!

A little over a week ago my friend Rob let me host a fully vegan dinner party at his amazing high rise. I was completely stressed when I found out how many people were going to be there, which was around 50. Out of 50 people there were 3 vegans and 2 vegetarians.

I cooked about 6 different dishes and luckily my friend Deanna, who was hosting with me, brought a bunch of great food! I hoped and wished that would be enough, but luckily there were plenty of people bringing food as well! It was so great to see people participating even though they probably never shopped for anything vegan in their lives.

Now for the good news and the bad news.

THE GOOD NEWS: I have never received more compliments in my life. The way I was introduced to veganism was completely WRONG. I had a friend emailing me photos of slaughtered animals and trying to force information on me instead of taking a smoother, less hostile approach. And while my respect for all life is one of the reasons I chose veganism, it was just the wrong way to go about it. When I finally did go vegan (not because of that person) I told myself that I would never be THAT kind of vegan.

Most americans think all we eat is salad and I wanted to show people that that is false. I always want to introduce veganism to people in a positive way and thanks to Rob I was able to do that to many people at once. I met a lot of new people and heard more feedback than I ever have. I was even receiving feedback for Deanna's dishes which I passed on to her.

THE BAD NEWS: I have no pictures!!! I was so incredibly busy through the whole party that I forgot until half way through. By then there wasn't much left to get pictures of. I think Deanna may have some shots. I also wanted to get video footage and failed to do that as well. Buh!!!

In conclusion, it was a great time, people were happy and I only heard 1 person talking shit. I expected at least that, but coming to a vegan dinner party and talking shit on veganism seems a bit silly, don't you think? Thank you Rob for suggesting that we do this party. And for the invitation to do it again!

And now, some mobile uploads of food eaten while out and about. Beware, they are not high quality photos.

Dolmas from Paymon's:

Falafel from Paymon's:

Zucchini enciladas, dolmas and tofu stroganoff from Whole Foods:

And, 2 different trips for veggie sushi at Momo Sushi.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

The slacking is over. Back to blogging!

It's been a long time. The last blog I posted was back in July. Wow, that was quite some time ago. I've come back to blogging because I miss it. Yes, my life will be insanely hectic for the next 9 months as I prepare myself for graduation, but that doesn't mean I have to give up on what makes me happy. Blogging made me happy for the 1 year that I dedicated myself to it. It was so much fun and it helped me learn a lot more about what it is to be vegan and how to be a healthy one at that.

Ok, enough chatter. Here are a few things that I've eaten lately:

Grits and Kale/tomato/garlic tofu scramble:

Close Up Shot:

This is definitely one of my favorite things to eat for breakfast. Grits are amazing AND filling. I didn't feel hungry again for many, many hours. Plus, you can't go wrong with kale, tomatoes and garlic.

Sauteed Seitan Over Rice

When I first started cooking seitan I thought it was horrible. I followed someone's recipe and found it to be completely YUCK! That's right! Com-plete-ly YUCK! I gave up on it. Few months later, being the open person that I am, I decided to give it another go. I used Isa Moskowitz's Simple Seitan recipe from VEGANOMICON and I have never had a problem with it since. Thanks, Isa.

Israeli couscous w/ Spinach and Tempeh:

This was very good. It was one of those "I just got home from working all day/throw something together really quick because I'M STARVING" dinners. Not a complete dinner but it was midnight and I just needed food.


Now that my good friend Heather lives in town again it gives me the opportunity to cook with someone. She's not vegan but is very interested in learning about the lifestyle and is open to trying just about any food I throw at her. This pizza was simple. Red pepper tomato sauce, sliced sun dried tomato Tofurkey Italian Sausages, thick slices of mushroom and topped off with Daiya Vegan Cheese. The melting was pretty good, but what got me was the taste of Daiya. Absolutely delicious. Won't mind using this every time I make pizza. Ialso sprinkled some Athens Seasoning on the crust for a little extra somethin'.

MmMmMm... So good:

The Holidays:

Thanksgiving was a bust. I didn't cook anything! I just went to my sisters house and filled up on my brother's magical alcoholic concoctions. My family was pretty upset that I didn't bring anything that I could eat. I really should have. I have no excuses. However, Christmas was much different. I made myself Christmas dinner for the first time. I was very happy with it! Even my family was eating my food.

Mashed Garlic Red Potatoes w/ Kale, Green Onion:

Garlic Infused Seitan Roast w/ carrots, broccoli, mushroom:

My plate assembled:

No Recipes this post, but I am having a much anticipated Vegan dinner party at my good friend Rob's house on the 31st. There will be plenty of pictures and I'll definitely throw some recipes at you. I may even have video footage for you all!