Monday, December 20, 2010

Grasshopper and Gizmo meets Santa

Grasshopper is definitely the vegan restaurant I visit the most when I am in the Boston area. The portions are huge, the prices are decent, the food is always cooked to perfection and service is QUICK! The atmosphere is a little lacking and I'm always really cold when I am in there but it's a small price to pay. A lot of people I talk to either love it or could care less about it, but me, I obviously love it. Now that I think about it, I can't think of a vegan restaurant I've been to that I haven't loved. I am starting to think I am really easy to please, I always thought I was difficult. Moving on...

I recently purchased some CoupMe coupons for Grasshopper which gets your $15 worth of food for $1. Seriously? Even if you don't love the restaurant, that is a deal! I bought 5 of them, they can only be used for dine-in and it is 1 per visit, but hey, $15 is $15.

Since Jeremy and I were heading into Boston the week before last, we decided to stop over on our way home. We were both starving due to excessive drinking the night before and this is definitely the place to go for some delicious Asian comfort food. It's comfort food, to me at least.

My eyes were definitely bigger than my stomach because we ended up ordering so much food. Jeremy of course finished his entire plate, plus everything I couldn't from my soup or appetizer. I took my leftover entree home though.We definitely had ourselves a feast.

We started out with the House Special Assorted Appetizer plate. That could have been a meal in itself, it had Vermicelli Rolls, Fried Wontons, Fried Dumplings, Fried Bean Cakes and Fried Spring Rolls. It was a lot of fried, but that's just what I want when I have a hangover. Everything was great, with the exception of the Bean Cake. I didn't really know what to make of it. It looked like a muffin but was really dry and didn't have much flavor.

Next was the Wonton Soup. I could have probably guzzled a gallon of the broth. It had plenty of wontons, carrots and potatoes in it. I'm not sure what they were filled with but they tasted good.

Jeremy got the Eggplant & Tofu Surprise which was really good. It reminded me of a dish we usually get at our local Thai restaurant. There were tons of eggplant, tofu, peppers and baby asparagus. The portion was so huge, I can't believe he ate the entire thing. Including his side of rice. And the rest of the appetizer and soup I couldn't finish. He is a garbage disposal.

Last but definitely not least was my entree. The dish that most people know Grasshopper for. The No Name. It is a bunch of little chunks of battered gluten fried and tossed with sweet and sour sauce, steamed veggies and sprinkled with sesame seeds. It is the perfect balance of crispiness and chewiness and is SO filling. I barely made a dent in it but I definitely took it home. It didn't last the night though, I ate the rest of the No Name when we got home a few hours later and Jeremy ate the rice.

Before our trip to Grasshopper we did stop of at the MSPCA Angell to have Gizmo's picture taken with Santa.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Faux Tuna Salad

This is going to be a quick post because I'm tired, being lazy and watching The Veg Edge on The Cooking Channel. Finally, a cooking show focused on vegetarian and vegan cooking! So far it's been really great, it has focused on 5 cities and some really great veg chefs, including Isa Chandra Moskowitz

I've been trying to get better about making things in advance to bring to work for lunch so I can start eating healthier(I haven't been the healthiest vegan lately) and stop spending as money on takeout. On of my favorite lunches as an omni was a tuna sandwich and when I went vegetarian I came to terms with the fact that I wouldn't be eating them anymore and went on with my life. I have googled vegan versions of just about every favorite dish I had as an omni and I almost always found a recipe that seemed good. I always thought any tuna alternative would probably be gross so I never bothered looking into it until I stumbled onto one. It was awhile ago so I can't remember how and where I heard about it but I decided to look more into it. I found so many recipes using chickpeas as the base and mixed with veganaise, some even had nori to help give it a "fishy" flavor. I decided to forget the recipes and just run with the idea and see what happened. The first time I made it I think I only mixed some mashed chickpeas, veganaise, salt, pepper and garlic powder and I fell in love. I instantly knew this was something that could make its way into my lunches and it was even better with pickles mixed in!

I've been having to get up earlier lately so I don't have the time in the morning or the energy at lunch to prepare lunch for the next day. It had been awhile since I had a faux tuna sandwich so I decided to make a big batch of it to keep in the fridge at work. I threw one can of drained chickpeas into the food processor to chop them up and mixed them in a bowl with veganaise, salt, pepper, garlic powder, a pinch of cayenne and shredded carrot.

This is the perfect quick lunch to throw on bread with a slice of Follow Your Heart Monterey Jack and some sliced pickles and a side of chips.

Honestly, I am too tired to write anything else so that's it for tonight.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

An Homage to Root Vegetables.

 Ok, so I clearly sucked at Mofo. I lost my steam, got busy, got sick and just got lazy. Next year I will definitely be more prepared. And motivated. I still have TONS of back reading to do on the MOFO blogs. The short time I did participate was really great though, I got to read a million new blogs, chat with some really amazing and talented bloggers, got some new readers and bookmarked some really great recipe ideas that I am excited to try out in the weeks and months to come.

I really am going to make more of an effort to keep up with consistently blogging because it is my baby. I love it, but I have definitely been neglecting it. Instead of feeling guilty and not doing anything about it, here I am. I'm back and I'm not going away again!

Moving on...

I love the Boston Vegetarian Society. This is not my first blog post about an event I've attended and it will certainly not be the last! It really is a great group aiming to promote a vegetarian way of life(all of the events I have been to have been all vegan.) They organize tons of events at local vegetarian and vegan restaurants, have monthly speakers, cooking classes, holiday outings and more. They are also the group that organizes the Boston Vegetarian Food Festival. It's really great to see such a diverse community of vegetarians and vegans gathering to enjoy one of the things we are most passionate about, food.

Last night's dinner was being held at Veggie Planet, a really great veg restaurant in Harvard Square. I met up with my lovely mother and brother's girlfriend(both vegetarians, yay! Gillian is part of the reason I ended up going veg myself. More on that in another post.) and took the subway to Harvard Square. When we walked up the steps to the street and I felt the first snow flakes of the season gently falling down I experienced the same excitement that kids do when they wake up to so much snow that school gets canceled. I love snow but I can't remember ever feeling like I did tonight. In the crowd of bustling people I enthusiastically exclaimed, "It's snowing!" to which a random person with equal enthusiasm replied, "It is!" I literally did a little jump, threw my arms up in the air and shouted "It's Christmas time!!" Ha. There is something about being in Boston during a light, beautiful snowfall that I can't explain, but love. Sadly the snow stopped during dinner and there was no evidence of it ever occurring as we walked back to the train.

On to the food...

They weren't serving their normal menu(which I love), instead it was an all vegan Homage to Root Vegetables. It was a 4 course prixe-fixe menu all featuring a root vegetable as the main ingredient. The first course was Four Onion Soup with Olive Compote Crostini. I don't know how to describe the soup without sounding confusing but it was a very light soup with very few ingredients yet very hearty, if that's possible? It also had a slight tang to it that I can't figure out but it was a great flavor. On top of the soup was the crostini. It was perfectly toasted and piled with the olive compote with almonds. The mixture of the soft, salty olives with the crunchy almonds was amazing. After sitting on top of the steaming soup for a few minutes the crostini went from perfectly toasted to perfectly chewy, they way a good piece of bread should be in soup. I could have had have definitely had another bowl or two...

The second course was Roasted Fennel and Golden Beets with Roasted Garlic Dressing and Mixed Greens. Wow. I love beets so much but have never had golden ones, I wasn't sure what to expect. I didn't know if they would taste the exactly like red beets or something completely different. I am very happy to say that they taste just like the red ones, but without all the red staining! Fennel on the other hand, until this plate, I could have gone the rest of my life without having it ever again and been happy. I hate licorice and everything that has even the slightest licorice taste to it but the fennel in this dish was great. It didn't have the flavor I was expecting, and that is a good thing. I am going to give fennel another chance. They were both roasted perfectly and slightly warm on a bed of mixed greens.

 The third course was supposed to be Baked Potato Gnocchi with Cashew Sour Cream Sauce, Chives and Fried Crimini Mushrooms. I say 'supposed to be' because the chef had come out to announce there was a problem with the gnocchi when they dropped it in the water, it was falling apart so they had to toss it out. Luckily they did have whole wheat macaroni elbows so they cooked those up and tossed them with the cashew sauce, chives and topped with the mushrooms. The sauce was nice and thick, it clung perfectly to each elbow. It also had this citrus-y background flavor and while we couldn't figure out what it was(I'm assuming lemon) it added the perfect amount of zest to the sauce and made it feel a little lighter. We all agreed that even though it was delicious, and quite possibly one of my personal favorites of the night, we were glad it was only a small serving. Otherwise, we could have, and probably would have eaten mountains of it.

 The last course was Sweet Potato Pie with Brown Sugar Ice Cream. I've never been a fan of sweet potato pie but this was pretty good. The best part was the ice cream, especially when I mixed it all up with the walnut crumble on top of the pie. I can't remember but I am pretty sure it was a rice milk ice cream.


All in all it was another successful BVS event and I am really looking forward to the next one!