Tips for Eating Out Vegan Anywhere

Tips for Eating Out Vegan Anywhere

I get a lot of requests for tips on how to order or what to get as a vegan at a restaurant or on the go. As someone who grew up a lactose-intolerant vegetarian in meat-and-dairy land Wisconsin, I have quite a bit of experience in this area, and thought I’d share with you, some of my favorite tips and tricks for eating out vegan.

I hope you find this advice practical and useful in all scenarios, including those in which you may find yourself at a non-vegetarian friendly restaurant. If you have any other tips you think I missed, or any further questions, please do drop them in the comments section, and or message me on Instagram.

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The Best Vegan Restaurants in NYC (according to my Tastebuds)

The Best Vegan Restaurants in NYC (according to my Tastebuds)

Hello! I get a lot of requests for recommendations for what to do and eat in New York City, so I thought I’d make a list of all of the best vegan restaurants in NYC (according to my tastebuds and experiences, at least) and keep them all in one place as a reference for anyone who may be curious!

This list is by no means exhaustive; please note I have always lived in the city as a student and have limited funds and time to eat out, but I do have many more places on my to-eat list (noted at the bottom), and I will update as I go!

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I was originally going to list all my favorite eats and activities in one place, but the eats portion ended up getting to be much longer than expected, so I decided to break up the posts. Keep an eye on for a post on my favorite activities in the city, coming soon!

Below you’ll find my favorite vegan-friendly eats in the city. Now grab your Metro card, we’re goin’ to New York City!

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Columbia Mailman Orientation +Vegan Eats in NYC

Columbia Mailman Orientation +Vegan Eats in NYC

Oy! It was orientation week. I thought I’d blog through a wee bit of the past week for ya, in case any of you are interested.

Saturday + Sunday

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I flew into NYC early Saturday morning, and got straight to apartment hunting. Apartment hunting in New York City is among the worst activities one can put oneself through on earth. Anyone who has done it can vouch – it is literally the most ridiculous, stressful, and upsetting processes of all times.

I ran around the city all day, ate a bunch of snacks (apples, bananas, nuts, nut butter packets, chocolate covered nuts, etc) and eventually grabbed Just Salads for dinner. I have a weird obsession with Just Salad.

 

Everyone I know prefers sweetgreens. But I’m a Just Salads gal FO LYFE. I got kale + romaine mixed, double roasted sweet potatoes, apples, chickpeas, organic roasted tofu, beets, and jicama, with a side of each spicy avocado dressing and agave mustard dressing. And bread, because bread.

I passed out, and did the whole damn exact same thing the next day. And repeated dinner. Good times.

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Monday

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Monday was day one of orientation. Lunch was a buffet style of yummy food. The quinoa salad had chickpeas, cranberries, herbs, and a lemony (I think?) dressing. Wrap was white bean dip and grilled veggies. P impressive.

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Swag:

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There was also a reception that night with lots of appetizers and snacks. I made a plate of fruit, crackers, nutty bread, guac, hummus, and nuts. Yum.  I was pretty impressed by the food selection at Mailman. They did a good job of providing healthy, yummy, filling options. Bravo!

I had a bad day that day for personal reasons. Really bad day. My anxiety is out of frickin’ control. I found out some icky stuff about my mom’s health issues, and was rejected from an apartment, because as a student in NYC, you need a guarantor who makes 64-80 times the annual rent to co-sign your lease. My mom was rejected, because she can’t provide proof of employment (since she doesn’t work since she is disabled). I found this frustrating; I understand that renters want to be sure rent will be paid, but I find this is also somewhat discriminatory. So if you aren’t wealthy or know someone who is, you can’t get a place? #annoying.

I ended up at my friend’s place in Brooklyn late that night, where I ate a banana with peanut butter and some of his leftover kale salad. And a bunch of chocolate. And went to bed.

Tuesday

Tuesday was day 2 of orientation. I’m bad at orientations. We got boxed lunches (I went with that day’s vegan option), and then we had a long 5 hour small group discussion thing on diversity and privilege. Tough conversations, etc. I was having another bad day with anxiety, and probably came off as emotionally unstable to other people since I was being overly emotional. Oh well. Just gotta move on and not obsess.

Bathroom signs at Mailman:

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For dinner, I stopped at Whole Foods out of fatigue and convenience. I got a salad with roasted sweet potatoes, lemon roasted tofu, and some vegan dumplings. I also got a ‘power’ bagel (whole wheat with cranberries and seeds) on the side because my body wanted CARBS baby. Eaten with a vegan cookie. Noms.

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Wednesday

Wednesday was another day of orientation. I had some errands to run in the morning, then headed up to Mailman. I had a hummus wrap and grapes and chips for lunch, but didn’t snap a photo. After orientation, my friend Raag made us some yummy Indian food for dinner.

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He also taught me some cooking tips. Apparently, many Indian dishes are prepared by first browning onions and tomatoes together. This was new to me. Usually, I add tomatoes much later. This was a fun new tip! He also taught me I should rinse my rice before I cook it. I was happy to learn his tips. He’s so kind, and an awesome cook!

Thursday

Thursday I ran some errands around the city and sat around like a crazy anxious person waiting to hear back about an apartment and catastrophizing my life in every way imaginable. At some point, I stopped and enjoyed an organic peach in Bryant Park.

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I swear my anxiety has been peaking this week. I have really been struggling to get through normal daily activities. I know I have to get it under control, but this week has been so busy I haven’t had time to deal with myself. I am VERY thankful to my supportive friends and aunt for being there for me this week.

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A bit later I once hit up Whole Foods for lunch. I got a Justin’s almond butter packet (on sale for $0.50 WHAT UP), another bagel (because I really enjoyed the last one, and for $1.00, it’s a lot of filling carby goodness), a banana, and some salad and hummus from the salad bar. I think the cashier rang up my order wrong, because this lunch ended up costing me $2.77 which I didn’t even notice until I looked at the receipt while eating? Okay. I’ll take it.

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My friend Caty let me come over and sit on her bed and watch dumb videos on my laptop while she went on a run with a friend. I had been pinning out at coffee shops all day but needed to like, not be sitting in real pants around humans. THANK U CATY.

We grabbed a late dinner at Peacefood, which is one of my favorite restaurants in NYC/the world. We split the Asian greens salad (with greens, jicama, tempeh, carrots, and a yummy spicy peanut dressing), and the vegan cheeseburger. Pardon the crapy pics; that place has dim *~*trendy romantic*~* lighting.

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This cheeseburger. You guys. It is my FAVORITE vegan cheeseburger on earth (and I’ve had a lot of veggie burgers in my 17+ meat-free years). It’s a house-made vegan patty with cheese, guac, pickled peppers, caramelized onions, and some sauce or something on homemade focaccia. It is messy and hearty and flavorful and delicious. LOVE.

After dinner, the Van Leeuwen truck was parked right by Peacefood. Van Leeuwen makes the most delicious, rich craft ice cream I have ever had. Their vegan base is a blend of coconut, cocoa butter, cashews, and extra virgin coconut oil. It is OUTSTANDING.

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I ended up with “one scoop” of vegan strawberry jam, and one scoop of vegan cookie dough.

One scoop ended up being more like a pint. And I ate it all because it was FRICKIN’ delicious. I was really glad I sampled the strawberry jam, because it was honestly one of the best ice creams I’ve ever had! And not something I would normally think to order (I tend to be a chocolate/nut ice cream over fruit kinda gal).

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But it had a rich base with swirls of housemate strawberry jam and pieces of biscuit that were like crunchy and sort of soft simultaneously. And the vegan cookie dough was obviously amazing, with big chunks of vegan cookie dough. My fav flavor there is vegan banana nut, which tastes likes straight up banana bread, but they didn’t have it at the truck. Which probably turned out for the better, since I tried the strawberry!

We ate in Union Square Park, then headed back to BK. I went to bed at my friend’s apartment, and she went out with some friends.

Regarding the large amount of ice cream…I DEFINITELY ate past the point of fullness. In fact, I felt a little TOO full about 30 minutes later. I inhaled it because I think I really needed a good meal after so much walking the previous few days, but the stuff is soooo rich I think I overate beyond my needs. Yes, I was a bit uncomfortably full. But you know what? You live and you learn. Yup, I probably inhaled like, a day’s worth of calories in the form of vegan ice cream in like, 2 minutes, but it is NOT worth obsessing over. I went to bed with a very full tummy and decided to slow down on my ice cream inhalation next time (also, usually they don’t give me THAT much, even when I order two scoops instead of one…I think the guy just was feeling generous).

Friday

Friday I woke up early, went on a run (hadn’t exercised besides walking all week and figured it may do my anxiety some good), showered, and got brunch with Caty and one of her friends.


She called me around 10:40am asking if I wanted to go to Champs, which is a vegan diner. I was bummed I had LITERALLY just finished a bagel with nut butter and banana and wasn’t super hungry but decided to go anyway. I’m glad I did.

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Since I wasn’t super hungry I got a pancake with berries. And syrup. Champs was fun. It’s like an old school diner with classic diner entrees, but all vegan. And with fun art.

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The pancake was yummy. Tasted like a straight up diner pancake, if that makes sense. Like that unique, griddle-cooked taste.

After that, I spontaneously booked a plane ticket for that night and decided to head home for the long weekend, since I learned the apartment I was approved for wouldn’t let me move in until Thursday, and I was quite frankly in need of some real sleep on a bed (not a couch) and some alone time.

I’m quite the introvert, and not having any personal space, especially during an orientation week, makes me feel anxious and overwhelmed. I literally often feel like I need to be alone and calm down to get back to baseline when I’m overwhelmed with anxiety, and having no place to just sit and be by myself has increased my stress, anxiety, and panic.

Also, I MISSED MY FRICKIN’ DOG who has been in Wisconsin until I’m settled with a place.

Thanks for reading! Sorry I’ve been absent this week. Haven’t been in the headspace to blog. But feel much calmer home and with my doggo and with a good night’s sleep in me.

Can any introverts out there relate to feeling super overwhelmed when you don’t have your own space? Any tips for crippling anxiety? Let me know and stay #blessed!

Weekend Update/Life Update (My Next Step)

Weekend Update/Life Update (My Next Step)

Hey there! I haven’t written a post like this in a while so I figured it was time. I thought I’d share my weekend and what I’m up to next!

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This weekend I was actually supposed to be in Denver, but life was too hectic with a move coming up this week (eeeeep) and with zero packing done and no apartment yet I decided I’ll go to Denver in January instead. My anxiety hasn’t been serving me well these days. Sometimes it does, other times it’s a messy butthole that gets in the way. Right now it’s the later. #anyways #movingon

Friday:

Friday I took my brand new MacBook Pro to the Apple Store because after shelling out a boat load of money for it, it came with a broken “D” key. How irritating. The guy was also totally not nice about it and didn’t believe it came that way (he kept saying Apple Care would cover the damage this time…and I’m like this isn’t damage….it came messed up). Anyways, now I don’t have a computer I can use Adobe on until Friday which is SUPER annoying because I was in the middle of editing several videos. Ugh!

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Also on Friday, it was announced that Millie’s photo in the TJ’s contest won us a $500 giftcard. I AM SO GRATEFUL AND HAPPY. Thanks to all who supported us! Here’s the photo from Millie’s Insta:

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I actually found out about this on Thursday and took Millie out to dinner and froyo at Panera to thank her for her cuteness lol.

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She got the chicken that would have come on my salad.

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Can we be real for a moment? I frickin’ love Panera. Like I know it’s nothing phenomenal but it’s consistently good. I just love their salads and soups and bagels! Tho their bread is kinda meh IMO. Bring back the actually yummy sourdough roll days!

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Saturday:

Saturday I made peanut butter cookies (because I love to bake when I’m stressed; recipe coming soon), sort of packed, took Millie to the park, and was in a meh mood for most of the day.

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At the park, Millie made friends with a bee! Curious nugget.

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I met an old co-worker for dinner at Odd Duck. If you ever find yourself in MKE, go to Odd Duck. It’s small plates, different menu almost every time you go, and more often than not, very yum yum.

I got a quinoa salad (yes this photo is AWFUL, the lighting was dim) with greens, quinoa, apples, onions, golden raisins and a cumin vinaigrette. The golden raisins in it were MONEY. The cumin dressing could have used a hint more acid/salt to be a slam dunk IMO, but I tend to like very acidic/salty things so perhaps I’m biased.

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I also got this grilled cauliflower dish. It came with hunks of grilled Cauliflower (obvi) Guajillo Purée, Plantain Chips, Fingerling Potatoes, Poblano Jelly, Chili Oil “Powder”, Nopal Aioli. This was MONEY.

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After that I stopped by a friend’s in Bayview since I was nearby, did an errand, and headed home for sleeps.

Sunday:

Sunday I hit up Trader Joe’s bright and early to get in on some of their deals for their 50th anniversary. I got avocados and organic French baguettes for $0.50, and $93 of other stuff. I utilized the avos + baguette for an epic $1 lunch (with some everything bagel salt, of course).

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I also went to a barre class that morning, and ran another errand or 8. I also got stressed about my computer issues preventing me from getting work done so I made more cookies.

Levain Bakery Style Vegan Cookies

While I was baking I looked up and saw two wild turkeys and two deer in the backyard. Gotta love Wisco (political policies here aside)!

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Sunday evening I met my aunt for dinner at Beans & Barley, which is a Milwaukee health food institution that’s old school and charming in the best way.

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This was one of the first healthy diner type places around here, and it was nice to visit it since I haven’t been in a while. I love how old school certain things about it are. Like they put whole cherry tomatoes and alfalfa spreads in salad and serve everything with these cute tiny rolls and a pad of butter.

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Dinner was chips and guac with 3 kinds of salsa, a large greens salad (with all of the veggies, sunflower seeds, cashews, etc) with balsamic marinated tofu (yum), and of course, a wee little roll. Their balsamic dressing, BTW, is money.

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We also got dessert. German chocolate cake for her and vegan peanut butter chocolate cake for me. Yummo. Their cakes are good because they are not too sweet! #bless

It was a nice evening. I really enjoyed spending time with my aunt. She’s pretty awesome. After that I headed up, chilled with the weiner, and headed to bed.

What’s Next:

In an attempt to be more open about my life on my blog and not just post recipes, I’m going to share that I’m moving back to NYC for more school (yup). I’m starting at Columbia Mailman School of Public Health in the Environmental Health Sciences department, with a focus on Climate & Health. My goal is to focus on how climate change is impacted nutrition/food systems.

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Yes, I’m a mega-nerd. If you know me IRL closely, you’ll know this year was kinda tough for me. I moved cross-country and started something that I knew in my gut just wasn’t right. Lesson learned: ALWAYS trust you your gut, not your logical brain or what anyone else tells you should do.

Anyways, after realizing what I definitely DON’T want to do, I revisited an urge to enter this program. I took classes in this department while at IHN of Columbia, and was blown away by them. I felt so moved, and motivated. Also throughout that entire program, I realized my strength is not in basic lab science. I can do it, but I truly excel at social sciences and public health.

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I actually didn’t want to do this program since I’m wary about moving back to NYC after being there for so long and really enjoying a break from it, but accepted students day sold me. Hard. The department I’m in seems so awesome. The professors are amazeballs and very caring. And it seems like the students do such neat things!

I want to help communicate public health messages to the public and be an advocate. Eventually, I think, I want to be a professor. I have taught at U of MN and at Marquette, and really enjoy it! I’m excited to share my journey of life in NYC, public health, nutrition, and climate health. I hope you’ll join me; I’m legit VERY excited about this curriculum! And plan to NOT do what I did last time I was in school and stop blogging. No no. This is happening. HOLD ME TO IT.

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Thank you to everyone who has supported me along the way, especially in this last weird/icky/bumpin’ my head around the world year. I feel truly humbled and blessed for this upcoming opportunity.

Thanks for reading!!! Comment about your weekend; I love hearing from readers!

Long Weekend in Colorado

Long Weekend in Colorado

This weekend I went to visit my sister in Denver, Colorado! She’s doing a dental residency program there so she and her husband moved there last June.

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While I was recovering from my mini toe-surgery I spent a lot of time online looking at flights and ended up booking a roundtrip long weekend for $69 (okay actually each way was $69, but I had points to use so I only paid for one way). So Denver it was!

Thursday:

My flight left at 5:35am on Thursday and I landed in Denver around 6:45am local time. Then I hopped on the light rail and my sister’s husband picked me up from a stop nearby their place. I spent a bit of time showering, settling in, and taking a break to relax and snack with the pups.

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I had a haircut scheduled with the lady who did my hair all of middle/high school at 11:30am so then I went and did that. It took 2 hours. She did a great job. It’s much too short for my taste though, and honestly I don’t really feel like myself and would like it about 2 inches longer. But I guess I just gotta wait it out.

I spent a bit of time walking around, getting coffee, and headed back to my sister’s place around 3:30pm. I ate a late lunch snack thing and rested for a while. My sister came home a little bit later and her husband made us an awesome dinner of homemade veggie burgers, TJ’s sweet potato fries, and salad with chickpeas, quinoa, nuts, and dried cranberries. He’s an awesome cook. He’s a vegetarian, and my sister also eats mostly vegetarian, so meals with them are often plant-based. Nom.

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The veggie burger patties were based on this recipe, and were truly outstanding. Served with avocado, tomato, lettuce, onion, and cucumbers, and some random hummus sauce that tasted nice. Also ketchup + hot sauce + BBQ sauce because we like condiments in our fam.

(Speaking of condiments, this tweet from Ed Sheerean is everything to me):

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Then we went to ice cream at Little Man’s. The experience was fun and filled with laughs. The vegan ice cream tasted okay but the texture was very gummy and unpleasant. Still an awesome time and nice evening.

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Friday:

The next day I drove my sister to work, and then explored the city a bit. I camped out at Denver Central Market for a bit to do some work, then went to Babette’s to get the most amazing bread ever period.

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After that I headed back to her place to make some lunch and shower. For lunch I had the leftover salad with added greens and cashews, and a ton of Babette’s bread. It was perfect. My appetite was a bit lower than usual, probably because it always takes me a little bit to adjust to altitude, so I was craving something not-too-heavy and fresh. This did the trick.

 

I did a bunch of work outside (it was so beautiful) until it started to rain. I came inside and ate more cashews (okay honestly Trader Joe’s organic cashews are somehow the best cashews ever period) and by that time it was almost time to get Jenn from work. I had intended to go shopping this day, but wasn’t in the mood.

We grabbed Jenn from work and brought the dogs, and planned on a walk, but it started to rain (hard) almost the minute we pulled up to the park. We headed back to my sister’s place, and by that time the rain had cleared (lol). But we got ready and headed to dinner.

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For dinner we went to Watercourse Foods, which is an all-vegan place. We ordered the MOST AMAZING cauliflower wings and a huge (much bigger than we anticipated) plate of nachos to start. I was very much infatuated by the wings.

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The nachos were good too, but I’m not a huge nacho person (I eat them and like them, but don’t crave for them, if that makes sense).

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After appetizers, we were basically full (lol) but our food came out anyways. I had ordered a vegan caesar salad with added miso-glazed tofu. I think my appetite was still adjusting cause I just didn’t have the giant appetite I usually do. This was a perfect entree following the apps.

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We were stuffed and passed on dessert (shocking, I know), and headed back to Jenn’s place where we walked the dogs.

Saturday:

Saturday started bright and early. I got up around 4:50am and couldn’t go back to sleep. Jenn got up at 5:30, and we had a breakfast of Babette’s bread with peanut butter and banana.

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Next we hit up yoga at Red Rocks at 7:00am, which was pretty damn awesome. The sun was shining, and the weather was great.

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The walk up to Red Rocks was probably the most strenuous part lol.

 

After that + an hour of yoga we were ready for iced coffee and some chill time.

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Here is the best selfie I took all trip:

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Back to hotel Jackson we went for some down time. Jenn napped, I chilled. We also ate a papaya at some point. I also had a banana + more bread + pb as a snack before we headed out for the park a little after noon.

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We spent a solid amount of time in the park with the dogs. The weather was so nice all weekend so we really soaked it all in.

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After our walk we headed to TJ’s to grab some stuff to make a corn and bean salad for a party later. I got some yummy Healthade Pink Lady Apple Booch + some slaw for the party (which was on demo and SO good) + some chocolate.

 

Look how cute the doggo stuff was!

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Then it was home for a late lunch and some more down time. I had leftover salad + miso glazed tofu (from last night) and more bread. Because bread.

That night, we headed out to one of my sister + Tyler’s friends party. On the way, we stopped for beer at a rando liquor store which just so happened to be next door to Beet Box!

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Beet Box is a vegan bakery I sought out last time I was in town. SUPER yummy all-vegan bakery and cafe. While Tyler was grabbing booze, I grabbed some sweet carby snacks.

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I got us a vanilla coconut doughnut, an apple cinnamon walnut doughnut, and a giant cinnamon roll to share. The vanilla coconut doughnut was a bit sweet for me, but the other two were EXCELLENT. LOVED the cinnamon roll.

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We headed to the party where we hung out for several hours. It was a grill out and the hosts were sweet enough to grill Tyler and I some mushroom caps. I made a sandwich thing with a mushroom cap + a grilled peach + avo + tomato + onion + lettuce + slaw + hummus + had some more slaw + bean salad on the side. Not pictured: veggies + more hummus + chips + more guac. It looks really gross in the following pic:

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I headed back to the Jackson’s in an uber around 10:30 cause I was pooped from my inability to nap during the tow opportunties available to me that day.

Except then I couldn’t really sleep well because the doggos kept barking. I think their neighbors were having a party or something. Anyways, I didn’t get to sleep until around 12:30am. Blah.

Sunday

Sunday I slept in til 7:30am, which is pretty darn late for me. I spent the morning hours outside on their deck reading and drinking coffee in the sun. My sister got up around 9:30am and we got ready for a day of adventures.

First we swung by Denver Central Market to hit up Babette’s for another loaf for me to take home. We also grabbed some coffee from Boxcar. Love that place.

 

We piled into the car and got on the road. St. Mary’s Glacier was on our agenda.

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My sister and her husband took me here in January, but it was SO cold and windy (like 20 degrees and super gusty) and I had Millie in my arms who was so pissed about the whole thing I spent all of my energy clutching her in my arms and carrying her up the glacier gloveless (I had a good grip and she was so swirmy I didn’t wanna bother) that I barely remember much except making sure Millie was okay. I had really thought she would have liked the hike but didn’t realize it was that freezing that day in the mountains. Oh well.

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See? Look how PISSED she looks lol.

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Anyways, it was nice to be able to see the glacier but like actually see and enjoy it.

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We hiked up, took some pics, and felt anxious watching people ski down the glacier. Then we hiked up the glacier a bit more and had a snack break: apples + TJ’s Walnut Fig Date Nut Bar. I LOVE this bar.

 

After some water, views, and snacks, we headed back down to the car and got back on our way. We stopped in Idaho Springs for more water from a gas station and decided to go up to Mount Evans to try to see some mountain goats.

 

Back on the road we went. The road was the highest road in America. I freaked the fuck out and made us stop. Holy cow did that road scare me. And I’m not even afraid of heights. Anyways, we stopped on the road and took in more views and snapped some more pics before I made us turn back around and head home.

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We returned to the Jackson’s around 3:30pm and had some snacks + all of the water + chill time. Altitude takes a lot out of me.

Around 6 we headed to dinner at Vital Root.

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I ordered a grilled beet arugula salad with candied walnuts + their avocado toast.

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Can we talk about this avo toast for a minute? Hands down the BEST I’ve ever had. It had glazed nuts, crispy chickpeas, microgreens, radish strips, and balsamic glaze on top. And it came with a side of this really yummy spicy green stuff.

The sunflower seed bread it was served on was SUPER thick and like tasted French toasted somehow. I don’t know how they did it, but holy cow. This was so.good. I could have eaten 4 of them.

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Post-din din we went on an ice cream adventure. I got black sesame, pb fudge and berry chip from Frozen Matter. Yes, it was excessive. I also added Oreos which I regretted. I should have gotten cocoa nibs but the girl kinda talked me out of those. Boo. Oh well. Still really good, especially the black sesame. It tasted like blue moon.

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I managed to inhale this entire 3 scoop concoction with impressive speed. It was around 8:15 at that point, so back home it was. Jenn and I watched the Simple Life and she did some work while I chilled.

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Monday:

I was super tired Monday and my tummy was a bit off so I chilled in the morning. I went to a nearby coffee shop to get some work done, and then headed back around 2 to pack up. My flight got delayed about 90 times and I ended up being around long enough for dinner.

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We went to Biju’s Little Curry Shop, which is kind of like a Chipotle of Indian Food. It was also randomly on Triple D recently. Anyways, I got a reallllyyyy spicy curry with rice, lentils, cabbage, green beans, potatoes and slaw. And more hot sauce.

Biju’s is some of the only Indian-type food I like. Most curry tastes muddy and greasy to me. This tastes fresh and flavorful and doesn’t make me poop my pants. Score.

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Then we grabbed a quick cider sampler drink and after that I hopped on the lightrail to the airport for what ended up being a super duper late flight back to MKE. I got back around 2:00am, ate some chocolate, brushed my teeth, and went to bed with my Millie (it was SO good to see her little face!!!)

That’s all for this Denver trip. Can’t wait for the next!

What’s your fav place to travel?

Weekend Update

Weekend Update

Hi! I’m going to try posting more life-related posts. I don’t know why but these are the posts I love reading the most from other bloggers. Like, for some reason, I really care about the errands they ran and the lunch they ate. I have no idea if anyone cares about the errands I run or the lunches I eat. Regardless, let’s give this a whirl.

Let’s start with Friday:Screen Shot 2017-05-21 at 10.41.44 PM

Friday I worked later than expected (I offered to stay some extra hours since the school I was at was short-staffed that day). After two weeks of dealing with a bum toe and like 80 trips to the doctor and a surprise (mini/minor) toe surgery, I was so tired Friday night I passed out on the couch with Millie at 9 pm. I don’t even remember what I ate for dinner. I know I ate, but I was so exhausted that entire evening is a blur. I woke up on the couch at like 11, put Millie out to pee, ate some chocolate, brushed my teeth, and immediately went back to sleep. Party. Animal.

Saturday: 

Saturday I was supposed to do a 33-mile bike ride called Tour De MKE, but with rain in the forecast, I didn’t want my toe wrapping to get all soaked and gross and soggy all day. I opted instead to do the NAMI walk for mental health with my aunt and her partner and some of their friends. I ate banana + pb + toast for breakfast and also had some of this cherry almond cake from last week:

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They had free bagels, so I was happy to be there. They also had free fruit, and I was really in the mood for a pear, but a bite in, my was really rotten (like inedible rotten) so I had to toss it. Tear. I didn’t take like any pics there minus this one of the art museum.

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Then it started to rain so we left the walk a wee bit early and I went to my aunt’s house to play with her puppy. You’re welcome for the pics.

Then I went home and hung out with MY pup, Millie for a while. I also made a giant bowl of oatmeal with bananas, blueberries, walnuts, cinnamon, and sunflower seed butter when I got home because I was damn and cold and I find oatmeal to be a comfort food. Also, my GI was a damn mess from being on antibiotics for 20 days. Luckily, I took my last dose with this oatmeal. YAY!IMG_4365

I spent the remainder of the afternoon/evening doing laundry and cleaning. I am truly way too much fun.

Sunday:

Sunday I had a banana with peanut butter toast and some melon for breakfast and went to a barre class in the morning because my toe was feeling up to it and my body has been craving movement since I had to spend a lot of time sitting with my foot up after my toe surgery.

Then, I met one of my best friends from elementary/middle/high school for brunch at Beerline Cafe. There is something about hanging out with your friends from childhood. Like, we always laugh like crazy. It’s so nice to connect with people for decades and never lose a bond, no matter the distance. I cherish time with my childhood friends. And brunch was perfect. We talked for hours. IMG_4375

Beerline is delicious. Like, SO GOOD. I dream about their Ethiopian Sweet Potato Lentil Wrap. It’s spicy and savory and so satisfying and comes with a cool, creamy sauce.

I wanted to get the banana walnut pancake special, but they were out (boo). So I tried the Tempeh Avocado BLT. It was good, but given how good some of their other stuff is, I probably wouldn’t order it again. I’m really all about that wrap. Which is why…

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I ordered one to go. Lol. I was still a little hungry. And that wrap is so damn good. I ended up giving half to my mom. Because the wrap is quite filling, and after half of it after a full sandwich, I was eating more for pleasure than because I was hungry. I recognized it, and shared with my mom, and she LOVED it.  Yay.IMG_4376

More cuddle time with Millie followed, as did a long walk listening to podcasts, catching up on some work for various freelance clients, and then dinner rolled around.

For dinner I made a clean-out-the-fridge salad with organic baby kale, roasted broccoli, some random frozen grilled Cauliflower from Trader Joe’s (which is LIT btw), some veggie balls from Ikea, some roasted frozen squash cubes. I also made a little brown rice on the side. Basically just used up a bunch of odds and ends.IMG_4008

Note: this isn’t the salad I made for dinner, but is filling in for the fact that I took no photos and I felt the post needed one/it’s really a random side salad I made with lunch a few days ago.

We’re low on food, but I’m planning to shop tomorrow, but it’s nice to use be forced to clean out the fridge/freezer sometimes. Then I parked my butt on the couch with Millie, and enjoyed a big bowl of cereal while watching the Kardashians with Millie and plugging away on some work.

I finished my night off with some booch (turnin’ up), a handful of dark chocolate chips, and a few of these random (super yummy) organic coconut chocolate mini bar bites I found on clearance at Target.

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This Week:

And that was my weekend. Have a good week everyone! I have a work, a dentist appointment and a pap smear on my agenda this week, so I’m pretty jazzed. Lol.IMG_4216

I have some more recipes to share soon. 🙂 And don’t forget to tune into my new cooking series, Vegan Bites, on Spoon University’s Instagram stories every Tuesdays! I’m makin’ mac’n’cheese dis week 8-).

 

Recap: The Seed Experience NYC – Cooking Demo with Guy Vaknin of Beyond Sushi

This weekend I was fortunate enough to win tickets to The Seed Experience courtesy of Beyond Sushi. They had a giveaway and I entered and somehow won! Whoohoo. So on Saturday and Sunday I trekked myself down to Soho and ate a lot of samples and talked to a lot of cool inspiring people and ate a lot more samples and had me a good time.

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The Seed Experience was a collection of plant-based speakers, demonstrations, films, samples, more samples, and what I was most interested in: COOKING DEMOS.

vegan goat cheese for days!
vegan goat cheese for days!

And yes! There was a cooking demo by the owner/executive chef of  my ALL time favorite restaurant Beyond Sushi. You better believe I went in squealing.

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fooooooood

So on Saturday afternoon after I drowned myself in new products like aloe water, maple water, tons and tons of vegan cheese and ice cream (which were all very delicious!) I watched Guy Vaknin (owner/executive chef of Beyond Sushi) make some rolls, speak about how he got where he was, and wow the crowd with incredible avocado filleting skills (seriously, you should have seen it).

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I’m planning to soon post a recipe with a how-to for making black rice sushi but I thought I’d dedicate a little time/space to speaking about Guy:

Turns out Guy started as a chef and did a lot of catering for kosher crowds. Kosher people have lots of dietary guidelines that do not allow them to eat certain things at certain times. I’m not going to pretend I understand the rules well, but Guy mentioned there was rule about not preparing and consuming fish and meat together. But Guy wanted to make a sushi roll appetizer for the crowds. So he started making vegetarian rolls. Though he’s a trained chef, he was not a sushi chef, nor even a vegetarian when he started this concept. He sort of learned it form another caterer, and when he was off duty had no other option other than to master the art.

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Guy, a culinary creative genius, used black rice in his sushi instead of white rice. He said he “saw the reaction,” and knew there was something special about this concept. He started bringing his black rice/vegetarian sushi to vegetarian food festivals, and got lots of positive crowd reactions, inquires, and press, he was inspired to go back to the kitchen and keep working. After a second year vegetarian food festivals, he decided to take a big risk, poured everything he had into one business concept, and started Beyond Sushi. He built the original location on 14th street (between 2nd & 3rd – see my original rave review here) and started by serving vegetarian sushi.

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For a few weeks, customers came in and Guy noticed that some were confused by the different vegetarian vs. vegan options, as some of his original menu items contained eggs and dairy in their rolls and/or sauces. Guy made a lot of personal reflections and seriously considered desires of customers, and decided to turn the restaurant completely vegan, and made the switch to a vegan lifestyle himself. He says he can now “not even picture” life any other way.

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The tiny sushi shop quickly exploded in popularity and has received endless rave reviews and press features for its creative and delicious approach to vegan dining and sushi. Guy still works there 7 days a week, usually in the downstairs kitchen area.

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He puts a phenomenal amount of thought and effort into every roll and every piece of sushi that beyond sushi produces. I was shocked at the time and effort the prep work behind each item on their menu. All the regular rolls have such depth and preparation – including marinating and fermenting of vegetables (often overnight) to get the flavors exactly where he wants them. The rolls of the month are all produced using local, seasonal produce from the Union Square Green Market, which although are more expensive, truly reflect the flavors of the season and the responsible sustainable drive behind the Beyond Sushi concept. It was humbling to see such a successful man so deeply passionate about his craft. He also addressed the possibility of expansion – turns out he has been approached for franchise opportunities, but wants to stay small so the quality of each roll can be carefully controlled. People are hard at work, Guy insists, every morning at 5am, julienning and prepping vegetables and sauces to stuff the rolls with flavor. This care and attention to detail are part of the reason Guy won’t go big (yet). “You can’t mass-produce this,” he said, looking down at his just-crafted roll.

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And as a huge fan having had almost every roll and wrap on the menu, I must agree with him. There is nothing like it. That’s why it’s my favorite restaurant and why I can’t even go to another sushi place since trying Beyond Sushi.

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So thank you, Guy, for the inspiration. And thank you Beyond Sushi for the tickets to The Seed, the inspiration, and for continuously delighting my taste buds. I will forever be a loyal fan and customer – wishing you all the success in the world !