If you missed me on Food Network’s One Last Bite, here’s my clip What would your last bite be??
In a magical city over a famous bridge, there is a gem of a Italian restaurant that needs to be added to your “must try” list. It’s called Sociale, it’s in Brooklyn and it’s delicious! Is it an all vegan restaurant? No, but if you call ahead, the very kind staff and immensely talented chef will cater to any of your dietary restrictions. The restaurant is modern and clean, but still quaint and homey. Front of the house is run by Francesco. He is everything you would ever want from a front of house captain. He is charming. He is enthusiastic. He is from Italy. He is incredibly passionate about food! He will make you feel like you have come home for a leisurely, romantic, delicious food experience. The lighting in Sociale is exactly what I like: dimly lit, creating a perfect glow. The only trouble with this is taking photos is not so easy. Please forgive me for the quality of these pictures and take my word that you have to get over to Sociale asap! Nonetheless, this is what we ate, savored, and enjoyed!
Risotto style farro with tender asparagus. This was a unique take on risotto that I loved! I’ll definitely be recreating this dish in the future!
And ugh this picture does this dessert not even an ounce of justice. This pumpkin spice cake was one of the best vegan desserts I’ve ever had in my entire life. It was moist, light, and packed with huge flavors! This dessert alone is reason to fly back across the country right now!
There is really negative to say about this place. It’s fantastic! My dinner mates ate animal protein off the normal menu and they loved their dishes as well. And note that there is a really beautiful private table downstairs that is perfect for an intimate dinner.
tel +1 (718) 576 3588
Good Morning! I hope you caught my latest episode of Home & Family on Hallmark Channel! Here is the recipe for my “Skinny Jeans” Fettuccine Alfredo I shared on the show I hope you enjoy! And here’s more info on the Bisogno Pasta I used in the segment! Make sure to follow me on social media to learn more about my cooking classes at Whole Foods!
1 large head of cauliflower
3 cups vegetable broth
2 tbsp. vegan butter (I use Earth Balance)
1 tbsp. olive oil
1/2 onion, sliced
6 cloves of garlic, sliced
1/4 tsp. nutmeg
1/2 tsp. salt
fresh ground pepper to taste
Cut off any bottom leaves of the cauliflower and cut out the toughest part of the core. Then break the cauliflower down into florets. Boil them with the vegetable broth uncovered until the cauliflower is very soft and tender. About 15 minutes.
While the cauliflower is cooking, heat a large frying pan and saute the onion and garlic with the Earth Balance and olive oil until soft.
When both are done, using a slotted spoon, remove all the cauliflower from the broth and place in a blender or food processor. Add 1 cup of the cooking broth, all the contents of the frying pan, the nutmeg and salt. Puree on high until very smooth, 3-4 minutes. Add a little more broth at a time if it needs to be thinned. Add pepper to taste.
Serve with fettuccine and serve warm.
OPTIONS: Drizzle the finished fettuccine alfredo with some truffle oil for something really special! Add red chili flakes to kick up the heat on your pasta! Or saute asparagus, mushrooms, squash, tomatoes, broccoli, or any other veggies you like and add on top!
This past weekend I was in our nation’s capital for Green Festival (which is super fun if you haven’t been! More info here) I got to hang out with some of my cousins and eat some AMAZING food!! DC doesn’t have too many “vegan” restaurants, but they sure have a lot of restaurants that have many vegan options! Here are some of my favorite places I ate at and that I highly recommend you check out! If I missed any of your favs, please leave me a comment and let me know so I can make it next time I’m there!
Behold! This is the magical vegan ramen at Daikaya! This very small restaurant has some of the best (if not the best) ramen I’ve ever had. In addition to incredible food, this restaurant had the best soundtrack I’ve heard in a long time! Run, don’t walk to DC’s Chinatown to experience this ramen!
This is a mash-up of my favorite dishes at Jose Andres’ Zaytinya restaurant which serves Greek themed small plates. This place was fab! It had great atmosphere, great cocktails (Athena’s punch was my fav!), and fantastic food! There are about 10 vegan items on the menu and I ordered 6; these were the highlights. Clockwise from top left: baba ghannouge with pomegranate seeds, mushroom couscous, beet salad, and piyaz (giant beans with kale and tomato).
And of course, what’s a trip to DC without a stop into the famous Busboys and Poets? They have a fantastic menu, loaded with vegan options! Here’s the veggie burger I ordered with sweet potato fries
I made the trek out to Columbia Heights, a new, up-and-coming area of DC. We at at The Coupe which was definitely worth the trip! Loads of vegan options including this quiche that was delish! My cousin ordered the pancakes with strawberry cream that was great as well!
Also out in Columbia Heights is Sticky Fingers Bakery. I’ve been trying to make it out to this all vegan bakery since I first found out about it. The owner Doron Petersan has won Cupcake Wars! The show told me about her when I judged the vegan episode. And I have to say… these cupcakes are OUTstanding! To put it mildly, I was blown away! I ate a coconut cupcake in the store that the very nice woman rang me up said was her favorite. It was so delicious I bought one of every flavor they had to fly to NYC with me for a Emmy party with my friends. We cut them all up and enjoyed all the flavors! Congrats on your wins Doron!
Such a fun trip to DC! I hope to see you at the next Green Festival in Los Angeles!
Incase you aren’t following me on Instagram or Twitter (or Facebook lol), I just got back from 2 weeks in Italy! It was awesome! There is a big misconception that a vegan has a hard time finding food to eat in Italy and I’m here to tell you that’s completely wrong! Here’s my tips and tricks to getting by in a country filled with meats and cheeses.
Well, duh! This is not new advice to someone who is vegan. But it’s always good to travel with snacks no matter where you go because we all know there is nothing worse than being starving and it taking 25 minutes to find something to eat. I’m fond of the trail mix packs and dried fruit strips from Trader Joe’s.
Most restaurants in Italy offer an antipasti course. It often includes meat and cheese, but they will gladly leave them off and you will have a smorgasbord of veggies! In fact, when I ordered it in restaurants most of the time the chef would prepare extra veggies for me to make up for the lack of meat and cheese.
Remember this dish! First of it’s insanely delicious and secondly it’s served at every single restaurant in Italy. Even the ones that don’t have it on the menu will gladly make it for you. It’s a simple dish, but packed with flavor! (My recipe version of this dish coming to the website soon!) Also note that a lot of restaurants in Italy offer gluten free pasta.
Yup, those ultra pure Italians don’t like cheese on their pizza either. Sure you can order any of the pizzas on the menu with no cheese. But if you are in a restaurant where the waiter speaks no english, you might just want to order a marinara pizza and make life easy. You would think this would be a boring pizza, but in fact, the ingredients they use are so fresh and tasty, it’s a fantastic meal!
I have a slight obsession with foreign food markets. I love seeing what people in other countries eat on a day-to-day basis. But the reason you should find them is to grab fresh produce. There is nothing better on a hot day in Italy than some tasty local grapes or peaches! Plus most hotel rooms in Italy have refrigerators, so stock up on water, snacks, and produce.
Stop the presses!!! Not all gelato in Italy contains dairy!! That’s right! Most gelateria’s have non-dairy options just by chance and some are consciously offering soy options! When in Rome, you must go to Giolitti’s! It’s so good it’s almost worth the trip alone! They have about 8 flavors at all times that are vegan (including the best chocolate I’ve ever had!!) and about a dozen granita flavors. If soy gelato is what you are looking for check out Blue Ice who carries about 4 soy flavors daily. In addition, sorbetto is also naturally vegan made of frozen fruit.
If you are driving around Italy, the gas stations have really good food! No joke! You should be able to find pizza marinara and antipasti. They also have wine on tap, just sayin’ 😉
Remember that you’re in another country, where their way of life is different than yours. When asking if a restaurant can accommodate your diet, do it with a smile! They are way more likely to want to help
Here is our Road map if you are interested:
I’m usually not a vegan junk food kind of person, but this last trip to New York it seemed like everyone was talking about doughnuts! I am not a huge fan, but if they are there I will usually have a bite or two. But for some crazy reason, this trip I decided to go on a doughnut adventure! I grabbed my tasting buddy Dori and we set off! We covered most of Brooklyn and Manhattan. And while I didn’t try every single doughnut in the area, I did try A LOT, and I think I found a stand out! The doughnuts at Vegan Divas on the Upper East Side win my vote! Their doughnuts are baked, not fried and they come in regular and mini sizes. And with the mini sizes containing only 15 calories(!) you don’t have to feel guilty indulging! There doughnuts come in 3 flavors: coconut, chocolate, and cinnamon sugar. I am a fan of all three! And if you don’t live in NYC have no fear, they ship!
That’s right, I’m back in the city and out to dinner with 2 of my cousins at one of our favorite places to eat and I realized I’ve never written about it! Last night we dined at Gobo. If you are a New Yorker, you’ve probably eaten or at least heard of it. There are two locations, one on the Upper East Side and one down in the West Village. Both are great, but I think the one in the village has a little more of “scene” whereas the UES location is a little more quiet and local. They call this restaurant “vegetarian” because a couple of the dishes contain honey (and they are clearly marked). But I would suggest not going here cause it’s vegan, but going here because the food is really good! The menu is made up of appetizers, small plates, & large plates. I like trying a bunch of stuff and sharing, so we always get a mix of appetizers and small plates. Here are some of the things we got last night and some of the highlights:
The New England Roll:
This is the Spinach Wonton Soup that I get every other day while I’m in town! The broth is heavenly!
So if you find yourself in NYC anytime soon, stop into Gobo for a fantastic meal!
On the corner of Hipsterville and Echo Park is a gem of a restaurant! It’s there on Sunset Blvd. that you’ll find Sage Organic Bistro. I’ve been wanting – but too busy – to check out this place since it first opened back in March 2012, so when I saw a deal on Blackboard Eats for it, I jumped! I grabbed my friend and fellow major foodie Lynn and we made the trek all the way to the far east side.
There are many things I loved about this restaurant but appearance is definitely a standout. This is not your typical “hippy” vegan hole-in-the-wall, but instead a simple, clean-lined, modern, cafe. Crisp white walls and sleek tables welcome you to a decent size dining room. The specials are posted in chalk on the wall. The servers were nice, and prompt. And the place was laden with super cool looking people, many taking pictures of their food. And yes, there was even a celebrity spotting – not uncommon here in LA – but you won’t find a lot of pretensions here, just really good food!
The menu was very appetizing! After taking about 15 minutes to decide Lynn ordered the Soul Bowl and I the Chipotle Bowl.
When the bowls arrived, we were both shocked by the size! Huge portions are not something you usually get at a vegan restaurant, but we were both super hungry and welcomed the size! Here’s Lynn’s Soul Bowl (yes, that ball is a deep fried ball of vegan mac n’ cheese!):
And here is my Chipotle Bowl:
And the winner was: The Chipotle Bowl! The Soul Bowl had the mac n’ cheese ball, which was very yummy (and spicy), and dehydrated okra, which I had never had before and am now wondering why you would ever eat it any other way… was delish! But the deep fried jalapeno and nacho cheese sauce were stars in the Chipotle Bowl. Both of us only got through about half a bowl. But I enjoyed mine (again) for dinner.
Sage’s owners also own Kind Kreme (the vegan ice cream joint on Cahuenga, which I love!) so we knew there would be dessert involved in this lunch. We’ve both been to Kind Kreme many times so we passed on the ice cream and went for the heavenly-looking cake that was tempting us from the display case all through our meal. The divine dessert staring back was a raw-vegan espresso chocolate cheesecake. We’ll take it!
We are such goobers! I think we spent two minutes taking pictures of it before we ate it lol!
Holy cow it was delicious! Bursting with rich flavor this dessert was indeed, heaven!
I almost hate when I go to a restaurant and love what I ordered the first time because I’m then hesitant to try something new the next time I’m there… but this place has a very tempting menu…so I think I’ll tackle the burger section on my next visit!
The best news is that Sage is opening another location on the westside, but ’til then, my advice is to head east!
I am an animal lover. I hate nothing more than seeing animals being mistreated. Thank goodness for rescue sanctuaries around the country like SquirrelWood! Squirrelwood Equine Sanctuary is located in Montgomery NY (which is in upstate) and is run by two wonderful women named Diane and Beth. Their mission is to rescue, rehabilitate, and adopt out as many farm animals as possible. They not only rescue horses, but also sheep, goats, pigs, donkeys, cows, ducks, and chickens! Here are some pics from my visit to this magical place!
How beautiful is this farm!
This is who I fell in love with at the sanctuary! His name is Abraham and he is a Belgian Draft who was a former Amish plow horse. He was rescued from the kill pen at a Pennsylvania auction. He was severely neglected and emaciated, and had such badly neglected hooves that he could barely walk! Abe has scars on his body and mouth from an ill-fitting harness and bridle. He is now fully recovered and doing very well! And he’s just about the sweetest horse I’ve ever met!
I can’t believe anyone could mistreat these sweet animals!
Check out these adorable boys!
Here I am with Diane and one of their miniature ponies and Pete the resident pig (who thinks he’s a dog!)
My nephew Hank getting a little ride
And my other nephew Johnny hanging out with one of the goats!
What farm is complete without a rescue cow and donkey
SquirrelWood Sanctuary is truly a magical place! If you find yourself in upstate NY you should definitely give them a call and stop by! If you are looking for an animal, almost all the rescues here are up for adoption! And of course they run this entire sanctuary on 100% donations from people like you! They do so much amazing work here, please help them continue! Please see their website for donating and more information about the wonderful animals who have been saved by these special people.