Vegan

Vegan Mofo #11 More Than Hummus

 

I met a friend at a little restaurant for dinner. She talked about her enthusiasm for finding a place that we both can eat considering that I am vegan and she is not. So I was curious.

Upon arriving at the quaint restaurant in a shopping center no doubt, I couldn’t believe my eyes!

 

We were greeted outside. It was as if we had arrived at someone’s home. The door was opened for us. We were seated. Once we decided not to have an spirits, we were given orange juice. Very lovely freshly squeezed orange juice. What a surprise!

 

 

Then the food made its appearance! The first dish was tabbouleh. You know, that dish you see in Falafel Shops, Jewish delis, and Mediterrain restaurants. It is cold salad traditionally made with bulgur, chopped parsley, mint, cucumber, tomato, onion, and garlic with a olive oil and lemon dressing.  Yet I think theirs is mostly herbs and not bulgur. Also stuffed grape leaves.

 

Then he hummus (we got two) decorated in two different ways. I think it depends on who makes it.

 

They also have a Falafel Salad. Who would have thought?! It comes with a yogurt sauce and toasted pita with parmesan cheese and feta sprinkled on the salad with the crumbled falafel.

 

 

It looked so good that I ordered one without the yogurt sauce, the feta, and the parmesan cheese covered pita to bring home. Here’s my plating of the salad.

 

 

I didn’t have any tofu or yogurt (it was time to go to the grocery store), so I left it plain. Let’s just say, that salad was amazing! You can try it too. If you are ever in town stop by. You will love it!

Damascus Cafe & Sweets is now closed.

Damascus Cafe & Sweets
7600 Dr. Phillips Blvd. Unit 78
Orlando, FL 32819
407-730-5959
damasweetreats@aol.com

 

 

 

Vegan Mofo #10 Craving a Treat Day

 

What do you do when you have little cravings? You must fill them! You have a Treat Day! I know what you’re thinking (or not), this isn’t healthy! I beg the differ. I know that you’re worried about getting carried away. However, once you get a taste of what you’re craving, you’ll be satisfied.

If you ignore your cravings just because vegan is equated with healthy, boring and bland, it will set you up just as it does for omnivores for an all out pig out fest that goes way beyond what you originally intended. So if there is a vegan equivalent of your craving, have at it.

Gardein Chipotle Lime Crispy Fingers

 

Enticing packaging. Look, it’s even telling me to “savor it”. Look at the picture on the package calling me. Gardein Lime Crispy Fingers. Okay, so it sounds like something you’d have for a Halloween party. Still, think of all the possibilities. For now, we’ll follow the instructions on the package to get started. You just don’t know how much I hate (yes, hate is a strong word) to follow rules. It’s not in my vocabulary, yet I’ll do my best. We lay each one out for a trip to the oven for their tans, ha ha ha. I couldn’t resist.

 

 

And how does it taste? If you did not know any better, you would think it was the real thing. Honestly, that is seriously scary. How does Gardein do it? First off, it has texture and taste of real chicken. The spiciness of the chipotle peppers comes through quite strong. This would work well with avocados or cucumbers and radish in a taco salad. Hell, just put it all in there with a creamy tofu perilla leaf sauce. Yes. we will make that another time.

Those donuts from earlier came from Whole Foods and yes they are vegan. One is a creme filled donut like a Boston Creme filled donut which are round or a Long John which is rectangular. However, it’s really more of an éclair because it has a creme filling and topped with icing. Long Johns do not have a filling. Yet, when you are having a craving who cares what it is called, right?

Next time, I will get a green drink. Balance.

 

A Vegan at Epcot® International Food & Wine Festival

 

It’s that time of year again! The Annual Party for Disney’s Foodie crowd. For sixteen years The Epcot® International Food & Wine Festival has come around in the fall where friends old and new meet for fun, food, and spirits. Chefs, cookbook authors, wineries, sommeliers, food and beverage producers from local and international companies, and now mixologist come from all over the world to share their expertise and products with food lovers coming in from all over the world. Let’s not forget about the concert series with musical acts like Taylor Dayne, Boys II Men, Hanson, Sugar Ray, Pointer Sisters, and more.

Every year, I would make plans to attend. I knew exactly where I’d go, what I’d eat, and who I’d be with through all of it. There were always new faces and chances to make friends that has lasted through the years. We’d all gather in line waiting for the Culinary Demonstrations for an opportunity to get ideas, try new flavors, and meet chefs from around the world.

My palate was truly happy to sample everything and I did eat everything until 2005. I  became vegetarian and then immediately vegan. I still attended The Epcot® International Food & Wine Festival, however I noticed that being there wasn’t as fun or exciting as it used to be. The fun of truly sharing a meal and discussing the flavor nodes of wine while picking apart ingredients of each dish became more of an experiment of sharing without tasting. Sometimes, some components of each dish could be given to me if it were already vegan. Yet, for the most part, my journey through each demo slowly dwindled to me just watching and not sampling as well. Eventually, I stopped going to the culinary demonstrations. It just didn’t make sense any more. Being a vegan at Epcot® was beginning to be a not so wonderful experience. So I thought about it and decided that I would still attend the Authentic Taste Seminars that featured food companies giving a little history, samplings, and gifts from their businesses.  

So when I decided to attend the festival this year, I made my way to the Festival Center to enjoy an Authentic Taste with Driscoll’s® Only the Finest Berries.

Driscoll's Berries on display at Epcot Food & Wine Festival

 

Once the elastic rope was dropped, we made our way to our seats to find recipes, a tasting notes card, a napkin and finally – berries! Blueberries, raspberries, blackberries, and one beautiful strawberry.

Driscoll's berries

Tasty juicy goodness! I was one happy vegan!

The next Authentic Taste Seminar was presented by POSH Salt™ (Primordial Ocean Salt Himalaya™) . We dove into the world of Himalayan salt. We tried a salt kissed with vanilla. It had an amazing mouth feel and incredible flavor. We even received a little gift bag of Small Pink Salt Chunks. Awesome!

Posh Saltware presented with fruit

As I walked around the World Showcase, I explored the International Marketplace kiosk out of curiosity and a desire to enjoy a taste from different countries. Unfortunately, not one of the cute little houses held anything for a vegan. The International Marketplaces were basically houses of meat,cheese, and/or seafood dishes. Do you know how upsetting it was to walk around each country and not be able to enjoy a taste from them? Oh, extremely frustrating for a vegan at Epcot®!

So you’re basically left to roam the park doing what you naturally do everyday and that’s read labels on products. Yet with careful reading and questioning of Cast Members, you can find foods vegans can have. It’s just that you are left out of the fun of all the cute kiosks around the World Showcase. I spoke with others attending the festival and they were also disappointed in some things. I received questions about what can I eat at Epcot®. I gave a few suggestions. Yet for all of you, I’ll write about that another day. Until then, have your own food and wine festival at home.

Happy Vegan Eating!

Happy Vegan Mofo!

I am so happy to finally be able to begin this journey! I only recently found out about Vegan Mofo – Vegan Month of Food. From what I understand, Vegan Month of Food is about Vegan and Non-Vegan Bloggers coming together to write about all vegan food. I am looking forward to reading about new products and trying out new recipes from other vegan bloggers.

Honestly, I am pretty excited about my participation in Vegan Mofo this month. Seriously, vegans are a tough crowd to please because they have high expectations. Which we deserve to have such feelings. Everyday, vegans live in a world flooded with views from family, friends and strangers, products, and foods that are geared to the mainstream – Omnivores. Whereas, we are left with the internet to find other vegans, vegan food, and vegan recipes that are satisfying yet full of flavor.

It can be relatively easy for some, yet frustrating and difficult for others to navigate the vegan lifestyle in an omnivore world. Especially when a vegan wants to ‘hang out’ with their non-friends. When going out to eat, just trying to decide on the perfect restaurant for everybody to eat can be exhausting. The reason can be as simple as the restaurant in question may not have any options nor does it accommodate menu changes. As well as, your non-vegan friends may have the attitude of ‘just pick off the meat’ or the chef may not have a clue as to what to make for a vegan other than sautéed peppers, mushrooms, and onions on a baked potato or roast vegetables that are soggy and burnt rather than appetizing. Which leaves you at the mercy of clueless server who suggest cheesy vegetarian options as seriously good dishes which are very popular with all their vegetarian customers. People often think that vegans and vegetarians are one in the same. Unfortunately, we still have a lot of work to do.

So with all that being said, I am ready for Vegan Mofo so that I can meet new people, read all the food creations and try new recipes. This will be a great month!