The Spiral Diner — Dallas and Fort Worth, TX — Review

March 30th, 2012 § 3 comments § permalink

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The Spiral Diner, Dallas & Fort Worth

1314 W. Magnolia
Fort Worth, TX

1101 N Beckley
Dallas, TX

817.3.EatVeg

~$15 USD/person with drinks (dinner)

Restaurant Type : Fine Dining | Casual
Diamonds : ♦♦♦♦♦

Texas isn’t the first place that springs to your mind when you think of vegetarianism.

I mean, after driving past miles of ranch, and walking past the stockyards in Fort Worth, my partner and I are in righteous vegan mode. We’re hot blooded and pissed off as we stumble out of the car for lunch. Our doors slam, and dust billows up off the road in a red mist that perfectly suits my mood.

A few minutes later, after I sit down and order, and my sandwich calls me a JERK, but I love him anyway.

Spiral Diner Jerk Tofu Sandwich

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Plum Bistro Seattle Review

March 8th, 2012 § 2 comments § permalink

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Plum Bistro, Seattle

1429 12th Ave
Seattle, WA

(206) 838-5333
info@plumbistro.com

~$40 USD/person with drinks (dinner)

Restaurant Type : Fine Dining | Casual
Diamonds : ♦♦♦♦♦♦

Outside the open windows, the rain comes down in sheets. It pours across the pavement and runs in rivers along the curb. I sip my whiskey-laced horchata, and enjoy that particular coziness that comes at the expense of another’s misery. Someone is wading up the hill across the street, in thick rubber boots and gore-tex jacket, battened down, hunched over. Sopping wet.

Could any scene be more Seattle?

I love the West Coast and spent years living their full-time, but when I wonder why I left, it’s rain that reminds me.

Still, there are many worse places to be in the rain than drinking an aperitif at the Plum Bistro. It’s a bit strange actually, as I think about that word bistro . . . Continue reading “Plum Bistro Seattle Review” »

Vegetarian Lifestyle AKA JuJuBe Tree 枣子树 Restaurant Review : Shanghai

February 24th, 2012 § 41 comments § permalink

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Multiple Locations: Official Website (Chinese) Listings On Happy Cow

Shanghai, China

~$10 USD/person with drinks

Restaurant Type : Fine Dining | Casual
Diamonds : ♦♦♦♦♦♦

Even in the winter, where the night sky darkens early and fog roils from the Pearl River, Shanghai has it’s own luminesence. We’ve spent the day shopping, and my arms are full of parcels—stationary from Muji, a black velvet jacket that’s so outré that I probably should never wear it, and a Victorian styled dress for my friend. The street behind the mall is bustling. Though we are far away from the stately Bund district, and from the shiny new metro, the city sidewalks are teeming with people. Fellow shoppers, taxi drivers, and office workers swarm around us. We round a corner and—there—in the middle of glass skyscrapers and under neon is a branch of JuJuBe Tree, a successful chain of vegetarian restaurants local to Shanghai. Continue reading “Vegetarian Lifestyle AKA JuJuBe Tree 枣子树 Restaurant Review : Shanghai” »

Cowgirl’s Baking NYC

December 8th, 2011 § 3 comments § permalink

Cowgirl’s Baking
259 East 10th Street, New York, NY

A Few Dollars a Sweetie

Restaurant Type : Fine Dining | Casual
Diamonds : ♦♦♦♦♦♦

I don’t know the background of Cowgirl’s Baking—but as we approach, from the outside it looks like an episode of How To Make It In America is in progress.

The staff are having a fucking blast. A group of mad scientist teenagers, some in hotpants and others in torn jeans, are listening to indie rock and partying behind the counter when we arrive. We walk up almost trepiditiously through a crowd. We feel like shy wallflowers at a high school dance. I look down at my shoes and occasionally glampse at the goodie-case.

“Can I get you anything hon?” The girl behind the counter is fantastically attractive, and I feel even more like a slack-jawed country boy.

I look up—and truth be told, I want one of everything. I sort of stammer as I place my order. Continue reading “Cowgirl’s Baking NYC” »

5 (Vegan) Travel Essentials

November 28th, 2011 § 9 comments § permalink

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Maybe this is so obvious that it oughtn't be included—but I still remember my first trip overseas: 1 pair runners, 1 pair sandals. Which might've worked out for a beach resort, but was totally inappropriate for the urban environment I went to. Even in India, there were places my casual shoes simply weren't welcome.

Whether you want to go out to a nice restaurant, or just want to walk around comfortably all day, a good pair of shoes that can cover both tasks is an absolute must. Look for something without a huge heel or a floppy sole and you'll be well kitted out. Pictured are vegan Fluevogs, with hand nailed Fluevog Air soles. My favourite travelling shoes, mine are npw rough around the edges—after 10 countries and two years, it's a wonder they're held together at all.

Add smart shoes to jeans and a v-neck T, and you're a hip style rebel. Runners and the same outfit, and you may not make it past the velvet ropes.

BabyCakes New York City Vegan Bakery Review

November 23rd, 2011 § 33 comments § permalink

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BabyCakes NYC (with locations in Orlando and L.A. – Ships orders from online website)

From $40 a pie to a few dollars for a whoopee pie

Restaurant Type : Fine Dining | Casual
Diamonds : ♦♦♦♦♦♦

It’s a sunny morning in New York’s late fall. Cold weather last night, but the sun warmed resin bench I’m sitting on casts warmth up into my thighs, and with coffee from my favourite East Coast coffee shop—Roasting Plant—steaming away in my face, I feel oh so content and alive. But I’m also a little at a loss.

Pastry is particularly close to my heart. Elaborate wedding cakes covered in delicate icing sugar flowers, gingerbread castles with delicate spun sugar and stained glass windows—my mother is one of the world’s best bakers. I vividly remember afternoons spent together in the kitchen as she tried to pass on what she knew to an impatient kid that just wanted his sugar high. To this day, I enjoy little more than a quiet day in a sun-lit kitchen, turning out my favourite foods: tarte aux sucre, croissant, strawberry rhubarb pie, or cinnamon rolls.

All of this is to say I have high standards for pastry. As I sit and stare at a box of sweeties from Hollywood-star favourite Babycakes, I wonder, is it just me, or is this just not up to par? Continue reading “BabyCakes New York City Vegan Bakery Review” »

Top 5 Vegan Cities

November 21st, 2011 § 100 comments § permalink

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You'll notice a distinct lack of parrallelism here—I know, I know, India is a whole country, while the rest of the places on the list are cities. Here's the deal, if I were to make a list of the top 10, 15, or even 20 cities for vegetarian eating, they'd all be in India, and I don't think that that's quite fair. India truly is a vegetarian paradise, and can be a vegan heaven with a little patience and fortitude. Obviously there are all the vegetarian classics, from channa masala to potato curry—but from the Portuguese infused flavours of Goan cuisine, to great pizza at beachside hippie hangouts, it's not just about the curry either.

Food Highlight: Yard long dosas served on the worlds biggest thali trays.

My Secret Favourite Thing:
The Calico Textile Museum in Ahmedabad might not make every itinerary, but it ought to. The giant wheel on India's flag? It's a spinning wheel, and this is both one of the best textile museums in the world, and a rare chance to learn about an artistic tradition at the heart of Indian identity.

Candle 79 Review

November 20th, 2011 § 1 comment § permalink

Header image for New York reviewsCandle 79

$120 for two, with beverages

Restaurant Type : Fine Dining | Casual
Diamonds : ♦♦♦♦♦♦

Rarely has whim led us so perfectly astray. A brisk afternoon gives way to a sudden downpour, and our stroll down Lexington turns into a dash for cover. We head for the first bit of awning in sight—a bit of corrugated scaffolding, and find ourselves directly in front of Candle 79. It’s just turned five, and though it’s early for supper, the warm saffron smell of the restaurant wafting out into the street pulls us inside.

Perhaps it is early, but it’s also almost fully booked. The Maître D’ asks if we has a reservation, and her eyes widen slightly at our audacity as we shake out our umbrellas and confess to having none. We shoot her a pathetic and desperate look. I can feel water from the rain running from my hair onto my face and squelching in my shoes. Our pitiable state softens her heart: “Can you eat within an hour?”

She has a table that’s turned over early and isn’t booked ’til 6. What beautiful happenstance. Continue reading “Candle 79 Review” »

Pure Lotus Review

November 9th, 2011 § 8 comments § permalink

Beijing Header ImagePure Lotus
Holiday Inn Lido Beijing, 3rd Floor (Jichang Rd & Jiag Tai Rd)

净心莲 [ 朝阳首都机场蒋台路丽都假日饭店三层 ]

$100 for two, with silver-tip jasmine tea

Restaurant Type : Fine Dining | Casual
Diamonds : ♦♦♦♦♦

I’m in the lobby of a Holiday Inn, but it’s like no other Holiday Inn I have been to before. Opulent. Marble floors and panelled white walls, deep upholstery, a business centre that’s actually doing business, and all around me an expatriate complex rises up into the sky. A red faced man in a linen suit with a Harvard pin is shouting horrible Mandarin into a cellphone the size of a thimble, and I’m sliding my bank card into a bank machine after waiting in a line that curled up the hall.

Could I be anywhere in the world? Perhaps. But as the machine spits out Yuan from my Canadian bank account, this is all so distinctly one of the new Beijings—a business district built at the city’s edge to facilitate western business moving into China, a glossy new version of a hotel chain that might be mediocre anywhere else in the world, and a palpable buzz in the air that makes one feel as though they are truly near the centre of the Earth.

I’ve travelled here a rather large distance by train and taxi to eat at Pure Lotus, which is perhaps the most (literally) spectacular restaurant in China. I feel a sense of anticipation and apprehension, for although I can’t deny the authenticity of this monied milieu-it’s not one I associate with great food. Thankfully, I’m in for a huge surprise…

Continue reading “Pure Lotus Review” »

Travelling Vegan/Vegetarian In China

October 21st, 2011 § 47 comments § permalink

The Great Mosque

This article starts off with context and goes on to provide several resources. To jump direct to the resources, click here.

There is a saying that’s popular in our home: Travel for knowledge, even all the way to China. It’s an old, old, saying, a hadith that has it’s roots in a time when Xī’ān was home to one of the world’s greatest Islamic universities. I think it’s still just as relevant today as it was hundreds and hundreds of years ago, speaking not only to the distance and exoticism of the world’s oldest empire and the challenge that it poses to the traveller; but also to the potential reward.

China. 中国

From the Daoist philosophers and poets, from literati art to the revolutions, it has a special place in my heart, and in my cultural landscape. When I had the opportunity to spend a few months there, I jumped at the chance.

It was one of the best experiences of my life, from standing on the Great Wall like every other tourist, to navigating my way to obscure archaeological sights.

Seeing intricate bronzework and some of the earliest script helped deconstruct the Eurocentric bias of my upbrining—I felt a thrilling vertigo as I reoriented myself to the world.

It was also some of the best eating I’ve ever done. Street hawker noodles, trendy hot-pot spots, ornate tea houses, and beautiful formal restaurants—the food I ate there creeps into my dreams, and has trickled slowly into my kitchen. I plan on sharing some of these experiences here over the coming months. But I wanted to start with some thoughts on traveling vegan in China. Let me start by rephrasing that old adage:

The vegan food in China is well worth travelling for. Continue reading “Travelling Vegan/Vegetarian In China” »

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