It’s been a long time … Since I left you …

Without a dope treat to step to, step to step to…

Okay dear readers: I think MIA is an understatement re: my blogging. Woof.

These are the cliff notes of why …

I went to culinary school! Not just any culinary school, but my dream of all dream culinary school: The Natural Gourmet Institute for Health and Culinary Arts in New York Citaaaaay!!!

Mi Escuela

My Chef’s Training Program! Holllahhhhh!

Rigorous, time consuming (like I never imagined or experienced), amazing, informative, incredibly difficult (I think I finally get why they call New York the City That Never Sleeps … because no one ever sleeps), inspiring, so much fun, eye-opening, my life teacher and soon to be one of my greatest accomplishments. That alone could not even come close to summing up my experience/ongoing journey not only at the Chef’s Training Program, but in taking the risk of  moving to New York, living alone , having no friends or family in a foreign city, and somehow making my way through these past eight months a more grown-up, capable, educated, and dare I say worldly vegan girlfriend ….. and in a month, a CHEF!!!!

My program is ending in May and I PROMISE I will be back. Expect a huge revamp times 235.75 (I’m great at math) plus better than ever nutritional info, recipes and health insights I truly believe in. Wow have my beliefs changed. I have learned SOOOOO much and I can’t wait to share it all with you fantastic readers!

For now keep checking back, subscribe, and don’t mind the rando adds some creepster (who somehow high jacked my website) continues to post on my blog. Trust me, all to be remedied ASAP.

While all of you kind and patient readers wait for your brand spankin’ new, vastly more informed, utterly more delicious cookin’ and generally badass vegan girlfriend, here’s some embarrassing pics (and more importantly food I’ve made), to hopefully give you a sense of what my sad but wonderful bloggie absence has been like 🙂

 

Chef Vegan GF, in Full Force

my thuper sexy uniform

Tempeh Piccata

Tempeh Piccata

BBQ Tofu Skewers

BBQ Tofu Skewers

Sea palm salad - beyond gorgeous, I know (modest horn sound now)

Sea palm salad – beyond gorgeous, I know (modest horn sound now). But sea veggies are my new obsession … posts on posts on that in May 🙂

Composed Beet Salad

Composed Beet Salad

COOKIES!!!!

COOKIES!!!!

Kabocha Tiramisu with candied pistachios

Kabocha Pumpkin Napoleon, Candied Orange Peel, Green Tea Pistachios. Un-Effing-Real.

Cake day .. bahhhh

Cake day .. nuff’ said

308735_10151118617282172_267563083_n

Anything on a skewer, pop or the like I die for. DIE! Fruit, coconut balls, micro greens and wittle sticks (YESSS)

Chocolate cake (vegan of course) ... guess I took a lot of pictures of dessert week, whoops

Chocolate cake (vegan of course) … guess I took a lot of pictures of dessert week. Typical.

I ain't know challah back girl (snap)

I ain’t know challah back girl (but, um, I am)

?

Carrots, kale, Chickpeas and Veggie Tart .. OH MY!

Cooking Indian spiced coconut curried green beans a la minute (made to order) for 110 people

And finally … Here I am cooking Indian spiced coconut curried green beans, a la minute (that’s a shamcy way of saying “made to order”) for 110 people! I’m a BOSS!

Can’t wait to blog on the reg again!!!

Until then …

vegan wishes and gluten-free dreams

xoxo

Your Vegan Girlfriend

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Lemonade

OMGGGGGGGGGGG guys I just discovered the  SPOT for vegan and vegetarian lunches on le Westside. I actually “discovered” it a while ago but have never made my way to eat there until lunch last week. LA peeps you are prob up on this more than me, but Lemonade on Abbot Kinney (which also has locations in Brentwood, West Hollywood, Pasadena, Downtown, and more) is like a veggie-lovers utopia. Not to mention their lemonade is best I’ve ever had good. If you haven’t been, go. If you have been, go again. BEST LUNCH SPOT EVERRRRRRRRRRRR.

 

Lemonade

1661 Abbot Kinney Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90291
Neighborhood: Venice

(310) 452-6200

Hours: Mon-Sun 11 am – 9 pm

Corner of Venice and Abbot Kinney - LEMONADE!

Recently renovated and newly furnished, Lemonade is a great place to grab a quick and supah healthy bite if you happen to be on the artsy Abbot Kinney street on the Westside of Los Angeles.

A cafeteria deli style atmosphere with an interior design that says industrial meets yellow, Lemonade is great for lunch and great for families and youngsters alike.

The dining area when you enter (there are two)

Super casual but still nice enough to not feel like you are in an actual cafeteria (gross), Lemonade is a warm, cute, colorful and happiness inducing spot due to the sheer color scheme alone.

There's my mom walking to dining area number two, and where all the ordering action happens. PS - look at the sunflowers! 🙂

FYI, steer clear of going to Lemonade for romantic diners or a business meeting as the acoustics makes it noisy during the lunch and dinner rush. Def more of a to-go place or casual mid-day food spot with friends.

Dining area number two!

In the tradition of M Cafe or Native Foods, Lemonade has an order at the counter type deal, but takes it a step further as you get your food before you pay. Chic Cafeteria Chow Down. Into it.

Mom waiting in line ... hehehehe.

You can order from their menu, which features veggie friendly soups, salads, sandwiches, braises (yes vegetable braise with rice!), and plenty of meat options for your omnivorous friends. o
You can also choose to pick from their Marketplace selection of pre-made veggies, grains, and the like in their “salad bar/deli case” section, which I decided to do. You can get a portion of three or that same portion, with each selection half sized – so six small portions from the deli case in one order. If you know ho much I love little tastes of everything than you KNOW this is my jammer jam.

So pretty!

This is my ideal version of window shopping, legit. A healthy, colorful medley of vegetable and salad dishes are here for you to oogle and ready to be devoured by guests who pick the most tempting ones. Oh, and you can even taste-test them before deciding what you gon’ order – Vegan Girlfriend heaven!
There are definitely more vegetarian options than vegan ones, as a lot of their selections include some sort of cheese, but on my visit there were at least 8 100% vegan options in the deli case, not to mention the salads you can easily all make vegan as well.

Salad station

Lemonade is becoming known for their delectable salads: Watermelon Radish, Tomato Avocado, Kale Mushroom, Quinoa Pumpkin with Truffle Oil—all fantastic! And rumor has it Lemonade has the world’s best truffle mac and cheese, period.

Truffle Mac - if you are vegetarian, order this, bam.

In the drink department, Lemonade has a plethora of uniquely flavored lemonades, which they will be happy to let you sample as well. Eeeeeeeee, happiest little vegan girlfriend evah!

Lemonade menu - they all looked so good!

I tried the blueberry mint, watermelon rosemary and blood orange: all three 10/10 incred.

lemonades

I settled on the blueberry mint, which was out of this world bananas incredible. Def a MUST ORDER.
In the dessert world, Lemonade also has mad game, but sadly only for vegetarians and not vegans.

Dessert case ... droooooool (but get some vegan options yo!)

They offer bars, cookies, cakes, cupcakes, macaroons and more.
For gluten-free vegetarians, their macaroons are totally gf and safe to be devoured with no worries of wheat rearing its ugly head.

Gluten-free macaroons

 If you are more a carb over sugar kinda gal or guy, they have a huge selection of freshly baked breads as well.

Carboholics - it's on

After a bunch of tasting of salads, grains and lemonades alike, I finally settled on my order, paid and took my food to go!

Lunch!

The Venice location is a know Lemonade favorite, and I can absolutely see why. The staff is kind, super knowledgable about vegan/vegetarian/gluten-free options, they care about the food they are serving, and are very passionate about providing exceptional “beyond the call of duty” service. Not to mention, it actually seems like they LOVE what they do and LOVE working there. Yellow sunshine lemonade all around.

I left to rush home to devour my awesome meal but not before I snuck a huge sip of my obscenely amazing Blueberry Lemonade!

Your Vegan GF - in all her lemonade glory

 

As soon as my mom and I got home we ripped into our lunches, trying and trading the crazy good abundant veggies we got.

 

Lunch for 2!

 

My favorites were the red quinoa, the broccoli and the brussel sprouts. All of which are MUST ORDERS. Everything was good though so you really can’t go wrong espec when you can try before you buy!

 

 

Lemonade is now my new fav lunch spot evah, and I cannot wait to go back. For omnis, flexis, veggies, and vegans alike, Lemonade provides healthy, affordable, fresh, and crazy delicious food made with love. BEYOND OBSESSED. Today, I see an arnold palmer in my future 🙂

 

 

xoxo

Your Vegan Girlfriend

Hugo’s Tacos

Yo yo yo! It’s taco time! Finding good vegan Mexican food in LA can sadly be a challenge, but have no fear Hugo’s is here!

One way to taco town...

Last week I went to Hugo’s Tacos in Studio City for the first time ever (whaaaa?!), which is an off-shoot of the Hugo’s Restaurant you all know I LOVEEEEEEEEE and am currently obsessed with the ridic donk Happy Hour they got going on. I went to Hugo’s Tacos for the vegan Mexican food, but left with my newly deemed spot for THE BEST VEGAN FROYO IN LA hands-down, period amen, praise soft serve.

Hugo’s Tacos

4749 Coldwater Canyon
Studio City, CA 91604

(818) 762-7771

Hours: Mon-Sun 10 am – 10 pm

 

Taco time!

Hugo’s Tacos, a small taco stand located right off the freeway in Studio City, and a block away from Hugo’s Restaurant, is kinda hard to spot, but once you do, delight in the amble parking provided in their lot.

I’m sure it will come as no shock that I went with my blog’s co-star Bess, and we eagerly reviewed our options to share and indulge in for a late lunch with our lovely mamas.

menu!

Much like Hugo’s Restaurant, Hugo’s Tacos has clearly labeled vegan, vegetarian, and gluten-free options on their menu, making life a million times easier for those of us who don’t eat meat, dairy, eggs, gluten or all of the above!

 

 

We got in line (supah short for 1:30 pm on a Thursday) and ordered at the window from the friendly staff working behind the counter.

We decided on a taco, a burrito, a tostada, a quesadilla and lots and lots of their delicious freshly baked chips! But not before we made a pact to get all of the dessert options, since rumor had it Hugo’s soft-serve froyo is the epitome of vegan froyo done right.

YOU'RE MIIIIIIINEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE

Within legit 5 minutes our food arrived piping hot  and demanding me to devour its vegan veggie goodness.

 

I first tried the taco I ordered, a vegan and gluten-free version I opted to get both grilled veggies and soy chorizo on.

) ( [Can be Gluten-Free] ) Soft or crispy shell (I got soft). Served with onions & cilantro, choice of salsa. Choice of Mixed veggies or Soy Chorizo (I got both)”]When you order a taco there is a choice of sauce that you get on the taco itself, and OF COURSE I chose my obsession, Hugo’s Honey Chipotle Sauce I’ve obsessively raved about in previous posts.  Compared to the rest of the bombness that would come, this taco was my least fav item, BUT a good taco none the less. Loved the veggies, loved the fresh and hot corn tortilla, and loved the always outstanding daiya cheese.

 

Next I tried the veggie quesadilla.

) Choice of filling, flour tortilla. Choice of filling, flour tortilla with Oaxaca cheese (can be subbed for daiya). Choice of salsa on the side. Choice of filling: I got Mixed veggies”]This quesadilla was BOMB!!!!! First let me say how pleased I was with the very generous helping of guac cause these dillas dipped in ’em are whole notha level good. I loved the mixed veggies in this and LOVE the soft warm flour tortilla the cheese grilled veggie medley came in. Tortillas make or break a taco/quesadilla game, and Hugo’s nailed it.

 

I tried Bess’ main order the tostada.

) ( [Can be Gluten-Free] ) Choice of filling, choice of salsa on two crispy corn tortillas with organic white beans, lettuce, Cotija cheese (or sub for daiya), guacamole. Choice of mixed veggies or soy chorizo.”]This was basically a better version (because it was fried, obviously and more substantial version of my taco. All mixed up this was almost like the most amazing nacho experience ever, since each bite had the crispiness of the corn tortillas and all the beans, lettuce, cheese, guac and veggies mixed in. Def a thumbs up… a big one.

My last main I tasted was the burrito …. and it was without a doubt my favorite of all four things we ordered.

) ( [Can be Vegetarian] ) Choice of filling, onions & cilantro, choice of salsa, flour tortilla with organic Spanish rice, organic white beans. Enchilada style $1.37 extra. Choice of Mixed veggies or Soy Chorizo”]OMG was this good. The Spanish rice and white beans were whole notha level amazing and made this monster wrap stand out significantly from the other entrees we ordered. Since all Mexican food is basically the same stuff in a different shell (ie: corn or flour tortilla fried or not and cut and grilled a certain way) finding variation can be, well, difficult at best. But when you throw in options like daiya, soy chorizo and some off the best rice and beans on this earth, you know you’re in for a treat. This is an absolute MUST ORDER and next time, you bet yo bottom dollah I will be getting it enchilada style. Mmmmmmmm.

 

Let it be noted that Hugo’s Tacos also has some of the best freshly baked chips I have ever tasted.

Chips and more chips

I was so excited about these chips, in fact, I demanded my picture taken with them.

YVG the chip crusader

Warning, don’t fill up on chips pre-meal cause when chips are as good as these (and free!) you probably will.

 

Now here is when the delightful meal took a turn for the BEST. Dessert time. Now I’m not a huge dessert person, def like savory over sweet, but I ave heard about Hugo’s Tacos legendary vegan froyo for years and could not wait to try it myself. There are only two dessert menu items, so naturally, got em both.

Let’s save the best for last shall we?

 

I tried their vegan rice pudding (I love rice pudding!) which came in a little plastic pre-packed “to-go” box. Ripped the top off and in my mouth it went.

[Vegetarian] [Gluten-Free] – Organic basmati rice, Saigon cinnamon, Tahitian vanilla, organic cane sugar, organic rice milk and organic soy milk."]”]This was good but not amazing. I liked the cinnamony vanilla combo a play here, but it wasn’t “pudding-y” enough for my particular rice pud preference. If you like a less “custard” like rice pudding though, I’m sure this will be your jam.

 

And now ladies and gentleman, the moment you’ve all been waiting for…. I present to you, Hugo’s Tacos’ vegan frozen yogurt!!!!!!!!!

Frozato – [Vegan] [Vegetarian] [Gluten-Free] Deliciously creamy, house-made, non-dairy soft serve-like frozen dessert. Cup or cone; chocolate, vanilla or swirl. (Contains nuts & soy)

The game has just been changed my friend. THE ENTIRE FROZEN YOGURT GAME. Not only is this by far and away the best vegan froyo I have ever tasted (chocolate is def the winning flavor of the two if they had to battle it out in the ring celebrity death match style) but the BEST FROZEN YOGURT PERIOD I have ever tasted. Better than any yogurtland, menchie’s self-serve bs we all love (or hate). I don’t know what else to say other than this frozen yogurt will change your life. You could cure cancer, stop global warming, make out with Ryan Gosling, and win the lottery all on the same day, and this would still be better. THAT GOOD.

Is yogurt/human marriage legal in the South? If so, bye ya'll!

Clearly this is a MUST MUST MUST ORDER and you should make the trip no matter where you live just for this.

 

So in love with everything about my Hugo’s Taco experience and hope to be continuously awed by the Hugo’s franchise. I would come back and get the burrito the froyo (obvi and maybe try the salsa burger since they offer a vegan cheesed up version of that dope sounding offering too.

 

Hugo’s Tacos, thanks for existing, thanks for the dope vegan and gluten-free options, and thanks for the insane insatiability for chocolate frozato you have forever instilled in me. Love you honey (chipotle) boo boo.

 

 

xoox

Your Veganish/Vegetarian Girlfriend (better?) 🙂

A Very Vegan Valentine’s Day

Ahhhh Valentine’s. A time for flowers. A time for chocolates. A time for Hallmark to make a killing in its sappy card sales. And if you’re single, a time for listening to David Grey, eating an entire pint of ice cream and crying yourself to sleep (just me?).

 

For those of you looking to incorporate a fantastic V-day feast into your February 14th festivities, look no further. Because I love you all so much, I complied a list of the best vegan dinner offerings in the LA area so you and your honey can get down with love, vegan style.

 

Real Food Daily will be offering a four-course prix fixe menu from 5 pm to 10 pm, for $65 a person, that includes several options in each course.

This is my personal pick, but let’s explore some more.

Shojin is also offering a special V-day schedule starting tonight, and lasting all the way to the 14th. The schedule is:
Friday, 10th 5:30pm – 12am
Saturday, 11th 12pm – 12am
Sunday, 12th 12pm – 10pm
Monday, 13th 3pm – 10pm (Course menu ONLY)
Valentine’s Day, 14th 3pm – 10pm (Course menu ONLY)

The V-day specials for Fri – Sun are:

And the prix fixe four course menu for the 13th and 14th is:

Another option is at Sun Cafe, where they are offering both raw and cooked prix fixe menu on the 14th from 5:30 – 11:00 pm.

 

5-Course, 11-Item Valentine’s Day Dinner for 2

SunCafe is offering both a Raw & Vegan Prix Fixe Menu – Both are Gluten-Free and live guitar entertainment will be rovided which will surely add some romantic ambiance to your inevitably amazing V-day meal. Price per couple, $109, and individual meals are $60.

Raw Menu
Amuse Bouche + Elixir – Herbed-Rolled Truffled Cashew Cheese on Flax Cracker
Strawberry Kombucha Martini
Sushi + Salad – Triple Sushi Sampler, Micro Greens & Jicama Slaw with Orange Ginger-Miso Dressing
Soup + Tea – Cucumber Gazpacho w/heirloom tomatoes and yellow peppers
Raw Pear-Juice infused SunTea
Entrée – Savory Eggplant “Roulade” – thin-sliced eggplant rolled with marinated portobello mushrooms, truffled cashew ricotta, dehydrated onion strings, creamy sun-dried tomato puree, sweet kale crisps, herb-infused virgin olive oil, with “stir-fry” seasonal vegetables
Dessert Sampler – Strawberry Four-Ways
Strawberry Hand-Dipped in Raw Chocolate
Tart of Raw Dark Chocolate Mousse & Fresh-sliced strawberry
Bite of Chocolate Cookie Dough Cheesecake with Strawberry Sauce
Raw Strawberry Shake Shooter
Non-strawberry option available

Cooked Vegan – Prix Fixe Menu
Amuse Bouche + Elixir – Chia Seed Faux Caviar,Crème Fraîche on Blini Crepe
Strawberry Kombucha Martini
Sushi + Salad – Triple Sushi Sampler, Micro Greens & Jicama Slaw with Orange Ginger-Miso Dressing
Soup + Tea – Creamy Roasted Butternut Squash, herb-infused olive oil drizzle, sun-dried tomato puree, with roasted spicy pepitas
Raw Pear-Juice infused SunTea
Entrée – Pecan & Mushroom Crusted Tofu, roasted portobello mushrooms, garlic cauliflower puree, sautéed asparagus, truffle oil, port wine vegetable au jus, micro greens & pomegranate, sweet kale crisps
Dessert Sampler – Strawberry Four-Ways
Strawberry Hand-Dipped in Raw Chocolate
Tart of Raw Dark Chocolate Mousse & Fresh-sliced strawberry
Bite of Chocolate Cookie Dough Cheesecake with Strawberry Sauce
Raw Strawberry Shake Shooter
Non-strawberry option available

 

Sounds so yum!

 

Inn Of The Seventh Ray (which I have never been to but am DYING to and have heard AMAZING things about … ps: any male suitors free on Tuesday? You’ll pay.) is offering a regular and vegan/vegetarian prix fixe menu for $90 a person with an optional wine pairing for an extra $40. If I had money to burn I would make this my pick in a hot second.

Another pricey but sure to be mind-blowing option is at Madeleine Bistro, one of the best vegan restaurants in LA (Tarzana actually, so I rarely go, but when I have it’s been like best thing I’ve ever had good). Madeleine’s is offering a Valentine’s Day Chef’s Tasting Menu Tuesday, February 14, 2012, for $125 a person.

 

MENU:

“Looking through a glass onion…” – “Butter”-poached white asparagus, truffled kaesespaetzle, green herb pudding

Creamy sorrel soup – Wild mushroom fricassee, red pepper espuma, frizzled leeks

Heirloom beet salad – Asian pear, walnut brittle, wild arugula, smoked cashew cheese coulis, beet watercolors

Pan-seared portobella “scallops” – Artichokes barigoule, caramelized garlic, sun-dried tomato tapenade

Korean barbecue-style seitan “short ribs” – Braised pistachios and their puree, sunchoke rosti, pickled Tokyo turnips

Tuesday night ice creme social… – White chocolate-raspberry swirl, butterfinger crunch, bananas foster, blood orange-pomegranate sorbet “Savoy Truffle”

“Creme tangerine and montelimar, a ginger sling with a pineapple heart…”

 

CHRIST I think this is the only time in my life I wished I lived in Tarzana. I’d roll solo, that’s how good this sounds, and Chef David is one of the best in the city. (Official Madeleine Bistro post coming soon).

 

Akasha has a Vegetarian prix fixe menu for $60 a person, BUT will make a completely vegan menu for you upon request! Obviously do this in advance, but here is the one with the vegetarian options.

Valentine’s Day
Tuesday, February 14th, 2012
Prix Fixe

** = vegetarian

amuse bouche
cros­tini / goat cheese / pre­served fig / truf­fle honey **

starters – choose one
hamachi crudo
blood orange / avo­cado / bali sea salt

saf­fron risotto
lob­ster but­ter / shrimp / scallops

red leaf let­tuce & dates **
mid­night moon sheep cheese / red walnuts

main – choose one
niman ranch NY strip steak
aspara­gus / chanterelle & wild mush­rooms / roque­fort & cognac butter

tan­doori lamb chops
spinach puree / egg­plant with tomato masala / raita

mar­ket fish / blood orange gas­trique
cau­li­flower & candy striped beet puree / pea tendrils

wild mush­room & sheep ricotta ravi­oli **
spelt pasta / ore­gon truffles

sup­ple­ments
grilled baby broc­coli / meyer lemon / chile flakes / parme­san 9 **
but­ter­nut squash gratin / goat cheese / leeks / hazel­nuts 10
cur­ried cau­li­flower / greek yogurt raita 9 **
grilled cole­man farms radic­chio / pro­sciutto / bur­rata / pome­gran­ate vine­gar 12

dessert — choose one
chocolate-hazelnut creme brûlée / bis­cotti **
flour­less trif­fle / pas­sion fruit curd / pud­will berries / vanilla bean whipped cream **
dark choco­late tart / dark cherry sauce / rose scented whipped cream **

choco­late truf­fles for the table **

Vegan Menu & Dessert Available by Request

Seed Bistro is also offering an amazing looking six-course prix fixe menu for $65 a person
Here’s a peak at some of the items on this very special V-day menu!

Faux foie gras, blackberries preserve, sourdough crostini

Seitan bourguignon stew, twice baked potato fries

 

And those are my picks. I will continue to update until D-day, I mean V-day, with any new options.

 

In addition M Cafe is offering some special Valentine’s Day Sweets from now until the 14th if you feel like taking home some sugar bombs to drown your single sorrows (again, just me?)

These limited time only sweets include Chocolate Petit Fours, Linzer Cookies, Strawberry Shortcake, Sacher Valentine Torte, and whole cakes are also available. Make sure to order 24 hours in advance.

 

Hope everyone has a very happy February 14th, single, coupled, or otherwise! Any excuse to eat a delicious multiple course meal made by some of the best vegan chefs in LA makes this a holiday one to remember 🙂

 

 

xoxo

Your Vegan Girlfriend

 

 

Vegan Buffalo Wings!!!! Now at The Veggie Grill.

This week is/was midterms (in class now … whoops) which gave me a free pass to eat out every single night for dinner. Getting sick of the WFM hot bar, I decided to treat myself to one of my all time favorite vegan restaurants, The Veggie Grill! I’ve always been a HUGE Veggie Grill fan, and have seriously tried almost everything on their menu, but this week my super-fandom went to an all time high. I hit VG up for dinner THREE DAYS IN A ROW … maybe gonna have to change my name to “Your Veggie Girlfriend” (hint hint) 🙂

 

During my first trip (of the 3) to my beloved burger, fries and kale mecca, in Santa Monica, I spotted a sign for The Veggie Grill’s new  vegan buffalo wings:

Obviously I knew what I was ordering for dinner (and then some).

And as a side note may I just say that the staff at ALL of The Veggie Grill locations, but especially the one in Santa Monica, are simply delightful. They all seem so happy to be doing their job, are so knowledgeable and sweet, and make me feel like my food is actually being made with happiness and vegan love.

 

Ok so now on to de winggggs.

Chill Out Wings/Buffalo Wings - Chillin' Chickin' tossed in our house-made Buffalo sauce and served with our new creamy ranch dressing ... $6.25

I don’t know if I was more excited to try those incredible looking bright orange buffalo wings or dip them in their brand new ranch!!!!

Survey says? Ding ding ding! Vegans, we have a winner! These wings are hella spicy, like super duper spicy, so spice whimps beware! However, once dipped in the cooling ranch dressing, the hot kick to creamy cool ratio is in blissful harmony and even spice-a-phobes will be able to handle the heat.  The wings themselves are made out of soy, pea and wheat protein, so sadly they are not gluten-free. (I wonder if they could ever make these with tempeh … hmmmm …. at home experiment?) The wings tasted lightly battered and fried, which gave a nice crispy contrast to the heavy helping of buffalo sauce the strips were smothered in. And the ranch, ohhh the ranch. The Veggie Grill just does dips and dressings better than any other restaurant on this planet, and this ranch added to their crazy good arsenal of such saucy supernovas.

Dip Dip, Hooray!

If you like spicy and you like buffalo sauce and you consequently love buffalo wings (or hopefully, used to) than RUN on over to the closest VG and order this app pronto. This is the perfect “watching sports and drinking beer” kinda thing to pick up for a Sunday. TWO THUMBS UP!

 

Along with these wings I had….

DINNER - wings, all hail kale salad, sweet heart fries, tortilla soup and an INSANE amount of chipotle mayo (not pictured)

 

To quickly speak on the rest of this meal, it was euphoric. Kale salad is the best in town, sweet potato fries are always crispy and perfectly seasonsed (and when dipped heavily in my boyfriend, chipotle mayo, you might just have a mouth-gasm), the tortilla soup of the day was BOMB and then, I couldn’t breathe I was so full. FML or LML?

 

The Veggie Grill continues to be one of my all time favorite vegan restaurants and plain ole’ restaurants in general in LA. Never have I ever had anything I have not been obsessed with. With locations all over LA (Santa Monica, West Hollywood, Farmer’s Market, and more) there is absolutely no reason every single Angeleno should not hit this magical spot up. Peace, Love, and Chipotle Mayo.

 

 

xoxo

Your Vegan Girlfriend

 

 

 

Cutie Pie That – Customizable Mini Pies that will change your life

I’m not what you would call a pie person. During Thanksgiving I always avoided the pie buffet and went straight for the ice cream (or let’s be real more sweet potatoes). Pumpkin aint so bad but I would never order it on a menu.  As you may remember, fruit in general is not my jam, but fruit in pies makes me think of a Fear Factor eating  experience (force me to eat a traditional cherry pie and watch the panick attack rapidly commence). In short, pie just aint my thing.

 

This all changed yesterday when I tasted the pies from Cutie Pie That, a LA based micro-bakery specializing in individual sized four-inch pies you can custom order to fit any dietary preference.  Believe when I say, these aren’t your grandma’s pies (though not knocking mee-maws cause they are rad).  With organic and locally grown ingredients, rotating seasonal flavors, and of course vegan and gluten-free options, these are the perfect delight for a party of one.

All of Cutie Pie That’s pies are hand baked by avid home baker turned professional Tonya Dooley, and she doesn’t stop there.  She also offers Lolli-pies (because cake pops are so 2011) and even Muttloaf Paw Pies for the beloved doggie in your life. Umm, okay, my obsession and my hunger overload is seriously at an all time high.

 

This morning I got an order of three different pies delivered to my house by the lovely Lara who works for Cutie Pie That. I got two-gluten-free, vegan pies, and one vegan but not gluten free pie to sample.

Freshly baked pies delivered right to my door!

 

The flavors were Nutty Winter Apple, Vegan Strawberry Lemonade (gf), and Sweet Vegan Strawberry (gf).

 

Nutty Apple Pie, Strawberry Lemonade Pie, Sweet Strawberry Pie

Well Cutie Pie That!, you have officially turned my pie game upside-down. I don’t even know how to put into words how obsessed I am with every single flavor of Cutie Pie pies I ate this evening – maybe – CERTIFIABLE SUPER FAN. Too much? (Picture YVGF with Cutie Pie face-paint and a pig cutie pie thumb on at a pie bowl … just do it!)

The Nutty Apple flavor, which was vegan but not gluten-free, was better than any other apple dessert I have ever tasted. (Cause weirdly, sometimes I get a craving for apple crisp mainly for the topping but, anyways, this is 1000000 times better).

Nutty Winter Apple Pie (vegan)

This pie straight up shocked me. Like I said before, fruit in pies give me the willies, and I normally do not enjoy apples in any form, be it baked, raw, candied, chipped or otherwise. However, this apple pie was, not only the best apple pie I’ve ever tasted in my LIFE, but pretty much converted me into a flag waving fruit in de pie lover. (What are you trying to do with my brain here CPT????? I thought I knew myself!!!) The apples were so tender and eerily orchard fresh, as if I (or I guess the chef) had picked each apple from some fantasy garden where apple picking actually exists and then fresh cider is made all day, and then instantly used it to make this pie and delivered it to me all in the same few hours … basically the freshness was unprecedented. The apples were also seasoned impeccably (no nutmeg YESSSSSS) and had the perfect mix of cinnamony goodness and sweet apple compote to round off the dreamy filling. The different nuts adorning the top of the pie brought the flawless amount of crunch and richness to what I know deem, the epitome of apple pie. MUST ORDERRRRRR, obviously.

 

The next pie I tasted was the Vegan and Gluten-Free Strawberry Lemonade Pie.

Strawberry Lemonade Pie (vegan & gluten-free)

OMFGFGFGFGFG!!!!!!!!!! I was expecting this to be my least fav since strawberry lemonade makes me think of gross Crystal Light, but WOW was I dead wrong. Not only was this pie my favorite of the three, I would encourage lemon and strawberry haters to try it because it could and would change your minds about not only fruit but life. The gluten-free crust was better than ANY gluten-free baked good I have ever tasted; I legit would just eat that alone as a dessert and be good to go. The pie filling itself tasted exactly like the ripest, juiciest and freshest strawberries were picked (again from a magical vegan fairy garden), and then carefully muddled with equally as seasonal, tart, and refreshing, freshly squeezed lemonade and then immediately put into my mouth.

A. Have you ever heard of a more inventive pie flavor?

B. Have you ever seen a prettier, more perfect Valentines Day/bachelorette/bday/Gigi or her beast of an owner from the Real Housewives of Beverly Hill’s celebratory dinner/TGI-Sunny, present in your life?

And

C. HOLY SWEET GODS OF VEGAN GLORY YUM OH YUM OH YUM. If I could start a shrine for this pie I would. I need to stop writing about it now cause I’m boderlining creepy (per usu), but seriously YOU MUST ORDER THIS NOW. MUST MUST MUST MUST ORDERRRRRRRRRRRR. Bucket list good. Thanks.

 

The last pie I tried (tear, Girlfriend want more pie rarrrrrr), was the Gluten-Free Sweet Vegan Strawberry Pie.

Vegan Sweet Strawberry Pie (vegan & gluten-free)

This pie was obviously amazing too. The strawberries were so, again, fresh to death, and the sweetness of the pie was a great contrast to the tartness of the Strawberry Lemonade one.  For a “fruit stand alone” pie I think this was the tops, but plain plain fruit pies are still not my order of choice, so I would personally go with one of the other two. If you do like fruit pies, on the other hand, than surely there is no better embodiment of a fruit pie done right than this baby right hurrr. Fresh, juicy, sweet, with a buttery cookie-like crust to die for. So.Im.Pressed.

Cutie Pie That! has truly made brilliant and unique artisanal pies that are perfect for us Angelenos: we all fancy ourselves foodies who crave true comfort food but want something more elegant and imaginative.  These pies, that look rustic, yet feel so chic and modern, clearly fit the bill.


All of Cutie Pie That’s pies are hand baked by avid home baker turned professional Tonya Dooley, and she doesn’t stop there.  She also offers Lolli-pies (because cake pops are so 2011) and even Muttloaf Paw Pies for the beloved doggie in your life. Umm, okay, my obsession and my hunger overload is seriously at an all time high.

HERE IS HOW TO GET YO HANDS ON THESE RIDIC DONK PIES!
Cutie Pie That! can currently be found at three Los Angeles area farmers markets:  Sierra Madre Farmers Market on Wednesdays, La Canada Flintridge Farmers Market on Saturdays and Larchmont Village Farmers Market on Sundays (the only one of these I even no how to find on a map).  They’re also available at Café Livre et Le Marche in Culver City. BUT for those interested in vegan and gluten-free versions you gotta custom order.

Yes, sadly, at present Tonya isn’t offering vegan pies in her market selections, but she does make them all the time for custom orders big and small!  And, of course, this may change if their popularity grows, so get on it people!!!

ALSO:

Tonya will deliver a pie order of $25 or more free of charge in the LA area. SO basically no need to change out of your Forever Lazy and Tonya will also bring custom orders to the markets on advance order so like done and done.

Even better, personal deliveries can be made in the Los Angeles area. Cost will be determined at time of order based on exact location and day/time needed. Many of our pies can be shipped anywhere in the U.S. – and boy oh boy are these the perfect way to say “I Love You.”

So basically you have a million and one options to get these mind-blowingly-delicious, unique, vegan and gluten-free (or not) pies.

Cutie Pie That! has completely turned my pie game upside-down and, pie lover or not, yours will be too.

 

 

xoxo

Your Vegan Girlfriend

 

Alternative Baking Company – regular, wheat-free, and gluten-free cookies to DIE FOR

I’ve been a fan of Alternative Baking Company‘s crazy delicious vegan cookies since time immemorial, but since going gluten-free, my love affair came to a tearful halt.  That was until last week when I discovered Alternative’s brand new wheat-free snicker doodle cookie.

Snicker Doodle (yeesh I need a manicure)

Although this is not entirely gluten-free, I don’t have an issue with the barley flour it contains, so for me this is the ish, but def take note if you are full celiac.

Nutritional Info

This cookie is not what I would call a health food, but for a treat, it doesn’t get much better than this. The cafe next to my school sells these which is a very very dangerous discovery. Somebody stop me.

 

And for those of you who don’t have any issues with wheat, Alternative Baking Company’s classic cookies made with wheat flour are stooopid good. My favorite flavors are peanut butter persuasion and outrageous oatmeal raisin.

Peanut Butter Persuasian

Outrageous Oatmeal Raisin

 

Although I haven’t seen these in stores yet, Alternative also apparently makes three new gluten-free flavors: fudge indulgence, lemon dream, and pumpkin delight. Holy yum.

Fudge Indulgence

Lemon Dream

Pumpkin Delight

Regardless of your flour preference, all of these cookies are sweetened with fruit juice and organic unrefined cane sugar, and contain zero dairy, eggs, hydrogenated oils, or artificial ingredients. Supah huge win.

 

You can find these cookies at pretty much every WFM and health food store, but you can also purchase them from their website.

 

Vegan cookie heaven ovah here. Get down on it.

 

 

xoxo

Your Vegan Girlfriend