Juice House In Rishikesh 

April 10, 2016 § Leave a comment


One of my favorite juice places in all of India has to be the popular Juice House in Ram Jhula, Rishikesh. The city is situated on the foothills of the Himalayas and along the Ganges river. It is a place of pilgrimage and a very holy and peaceful place.

The juice stall is a popular travellers’ hangout and is always full. Usually you need to squeeze into a shared booth and it can take 20 minutes to get served but it’s worth the wait. The mango lassi as featured above is full of mangos and has fresh pomegranates on top with shredded coconut $2. They have many fresh fruit and veggie juice combos along with smoothies including some which have avocado.

Their other popular menu item is their fruit salad and the one shown above is a replica that I made at home. I usually get the vegan version which comes with muesli, bananas, watermelon, papaya, mangos, pineapple, coconut, pomegranate, soy milk, date syrup and mint $2.80.

The date syrup was difficult to find so I decided to make my own. I soaked a cup of dates in warm water for a couple hours. Then I puréed the dates and water in a Vitamix blender. Squeezed out the date pulp and put the liquid into a saucepan and brought to a boil. I cooked the liquid until it thickened, allowed it to cool and poured it over the fruit. It was so heavenly that I ate it everyday for over a week.

 Sunset in Rishikesh

Nuba Restaurant

January 22, 2016 § Leave a comment

 

This Lebanese restaurant is a favourite of mine and the lunch special comes with a variety of healthy and vegetarian items. I often meet one of my good friends there for lunch as her office is right around the corner from their Kitsilano location. I usually get either the Falafel($12.75) or Najib’s special($13), crispy cauliflower tossed with lemon and sea salt.  The lunch plate comes with hummus, salad, pickled cabbage, pita, olives and brown rice or potatoes. I get the potatoes and my friend orders half and half.

It’s a pretty big plate of food so I time my appetite and go fairly hungry. The service is quick at lunch and it caters to those who work in the area. Sometimes I get a seat a few minutes before my friend arrives and place our order so that we can relax and not feel rushed. The great thing about Nuba is that each of their four locations are designed differently and each one has its own unique personality.

I often run from Kitsilano beach along the Burrard Street bridge and eventually end up at the one downtown on Seymour Street. This one is more like a quick service cafe and after a 10K run, it’s a great reward. www.nuba.ca 

 

Rangoli Restaurant

January 21, 2016 § Leave a comment

People always ask me what my favourite Indian restaurant is. Hands down it’s Vij’s Rangoli because I love, love, love their Portobello Mushroom and Red Bell Pepper Curry on paneer with beet salad & naan ($15.50). The mushroom is cut thick and has a nice chew to it and the paneer is soft and melts in your mouth. Not to mention the perfection of the delicate spices that make the sauce.

Vij’s original restaurant just moved to Cambie and I was surprised there was not a line up to see the Celebrity Chef’s new space. The food and service was amazing as usual but I do have to say, that I love this dish the best. I take all of my visiting clients to Rangoli at least once during their stay and many go back again. Rangoli Restaurant is located in South Granville on 11th Avenue. www.vijsrestaurant.ca

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On the complete opposite end of the spectrum, my daughter and I really enjoy Best Quality Restaurant which is more of a traditional Indian restaurant with authentic food and minimal service. This restaurant is pure veg and only serves vegetables and dairy products. The meal that is shown here is the puri with chickpeas ($4.99) and my daughter got the vegetable kofta with rice ($9.99). The place makes you feel like you are transported to India and the prices make you feel the same.

The flavours are authentic and the food arrives a few minutes after you order. As the name implies, they use quality ingredients unlike other traditional restaurant and I have never gotten sick or a stomach ache from eating their food. We usually pick up a small box of assorted sweets when we leave which comes to around $5.50 and a box of veggie samosas ($0.75 each). Best Quality is located on Main Street at 57th Avenue in Vancouver.

 

 

Broccoli Ramen with Kale and Bok Choy

January 19, 2016 § 1 Comment

  

My son loves those noodles soups that come in a package and so I started to experiment with a healthier version. This recipe is very healthy as it has lots of greens and I use organic noodles made from brown rice. It makes a hearty meal on its own and warms the soul on a cold day. 

Cooking time 30 minutes
Serves 4

Ingredients:
2 Tblsp (30 ml) olive oil
1 cup (250 ml) each, broccoli florets, chopped kale, bok choy
2 tsp (10 ml) Bragg or soy sauce
2 Tblsp (30 ml) miso paste
5 cups (1.25 ml) boiling water
1 tsp (5 ml) siracha
1 Tblsp (15 ml) sesame oil
1 tsp (5 ml) each dried onion & garlic
1/4 tsp (1 ml) each tumeric, dried ginger
1 cup (250 ml) cooked ramen noodles per bowl

Directions:
1. Heat a medium stock pot on medium heat. Add the oil and 3 veggies. Cook until soft about 10 mins.
2. Add the remaining ingredients except the noodles. Bring to a boil.
3. Cook the noodles as instructed and add 1 cup to a bowl and top with the soup.

Bees Knees at the Hot Chocolate Festival

January 18, 2016 § Leave a comment

image

I opted out of my daily coffee fix at 49th Parallel Coffee and tried one of their offering for the 6th Annual Hot Chocolate Festival. I got The Bee’s Knees which is dark chocolate  infused with lavender syrup, topped with steamed milk and a honey marshmallow. It was served with a honey/lavender biscotti dipped in white chocolate ($6).

The hot chocolate was smooth and felt silky as it went down my throat. I drank it quite quickly and then tried the freshly made and still soft biscotti. The honey flavour was prominent and the white chocolate finished it perfectly. I only ate one of them as I quickly reached my sweet tooth threshold.

My daughter, a queen concoctor of hot chocolate got the Saturday Nut Fever ($6). A hazelnut hot chocolate with hazelnut amaretti and a hazelnut truffle. Every bite tasted of nuts and is perfect for the nut lover.

It was a fun experience to try these creative drinks with delectable sweet pairings. We will most likely try a couple more places during the festival. For more information on the 6th Annual Hot Chocolate Festival, you can visit their website for a list of participating venues and their hot chocolate menus at http://www.hotchocolatefest.com.

 

 

 

Noodlebox Restaurant Vancouver

December 5, 2013 § 1 Comment

noodle box

My son and I went shopping for the Black Friday Sales that were happening in Vancouver. We left our house around 11am on Sunday morning and went to 3 stores including Costco. In less than 3 hours my 12 year old had bought gifts for all seven people on his list and within his budget.

I commented that I was so impressed with his budgeting and decision making skills and the amount of time that it took him to shop. He replied that he thought that it took long because I kept looking at stuff. He also said that he already had an idea of what to buy people and researched prices online.

We had worked up an appetite and decided to stop at the Noodle box Restaurant downtown on 839 Homer Street. I got the Spicy Peanut Noodle box and my son got the Kung Pao, both with tofu.

Mine had ribbon noodles with a coconut curry and veggies. My son’s was an egg noodle with a sweet chilli sauce and veggies. I love the Noodle box because the meals are huge and you always have leftovers. The wait is never more that 15 minutes and the atmosphere is nice for a casual quick service restaurant. Plus they always play good music and usually hip hop. Best of all, it’s a place that both my son and I enjoy and can share an experience over a bowl of noodles. Visit their website for locations, hours and menu, www.noodlebox.net.

King of Thai Noodle House – San Francisco

December 5, 2013 § 2 Comments

thom kha soup

I spent a day sight seeing in San Francisco and my stomach suddenly roared for a nourishing meal. I was in Union Square surrounded by tourists and the sound of cable cars rolling up and down the hill near Market Street. I looked around and after a block or two, I caught a sign on a side street that advertised Thai food. They usually have vegetarian options so I walked in.

The 50 seat restaurant was nearly full and I was seated at a long bar facing the wall. The restaurant was not decorated and the purple walls showed beige where the paint had come off.

Within a minute of being seated, I was asked for my order. I had not looked at the menu long and noticed that the lady beside me was eating a nice soup. The waitress showed me the vegetarian soups and I ordered one with coconut milk and noodles.

The Tom Kha Tofu soup was so hot that I burnt my mouth on the first spoon. The flavour was sweet and sour with a delicious coconut flavour. The soup had mushrooms, asian greens, baby corn and tofu. It so delicious and I continued to take sips even though it was steaming. The noodles were broad and slippery and I eventually had to ask for a fork to get them in my mouth. The portion was massive and I ate almost all of the broth and left a pile of mushrooms behind.

For such a simple restaurant, the service was quick and friendly and the soup was outstanding. The King of Thai Noodle House in Union Square is located at 184 O’Farrell Street in San Francisco.

san francisco

Burma Superstar Restaurant San Francisco

December 4, 2013 § Leave a comment

tea leaf salad

Burma Superstar is a popular restaurant in San Francisco with multiple locations in the Bay area. My friends took me there for dinner and we ordered the tea leaf salad, a veggie noodle dish, and coconut rice with the okra tofu.

Burmese food is inspired by the various countries that it shares its borders with, that’s India, China, Laos and Thailand. The tea leaf salad was very lightly dressed with lemon juice and oil and had tea leaves that was imported from Burma. It was quite an usual flavour and the nuts and seeds balance the astringent quality of the tea.

burma superstar

The noodles were taught, the way that I like them, and the sauce went quite nicely and the broccoli. The curry was delicious and okra is one of my favourite asian vegetables. The coconut rice was a bit sweet and went nicely with the spiciness of the curry.

white sangriaTheir cocktail menu was impressive and I tried the white sangria that came with a lychee as a garnish. It was a refreshing and light drink which is what I wanted. Burma Superstar does not take reservations so arrive early. Visit their website for more information on their menu, locations and hours. www.burmasuperstar.com.

Chicago Diner – Meat Free Since ’83

December 4, 2013 § 2 Comments

chai

One of my favourite meals in Chicago was at the Chicago Diner. It is amazing restaurant that puts  a vegetarian twist on comfort foods and their menu includes seitan buffalo wings, a tofu “fish” filet and heavenly vegan desserts.  I think I starred at the menu for about 20 minutes as I could not decide what to order and everything sounded so good.

chicago diner

I decided on the vegan faux fish fillet as the one thing that I miss being vegetarian is fish and chips. The sandwich came on a very thin bun with tartar sauce and panko encrusted tofu. I ordered it with a side of kale but the other tempting option was waffle fries which I opted out of.

I cut the sandwich in half and took a bite. The crunchy panko tofu  with the vegan tartar sauce made a close impression to it’s original. It was a nice treat to eat a resemblance of fish after over 20 years of abstinence. The meal was very filling and I had half a sandwich leftover.

vegan dessert

My friend had saved room for dessert and I took a couple bites of this decadent vegan caramel crunch torte with vegan whipped cream. It was so rich and delicious, I enjoyed every bite.

The meal was so delicious and satisfying that I swore to go back there everyday for all of my meals. Unfortunately, I didn’t make it back and the next time that I visit Chicago it’s the first place that I will visit.

The service was great, food was amazing and the price was very fair. The Rishi chai was $3.50, golden fillet sandwich 10.99 and the dessert $5.99. The Chicago Diner has two locations one on Halsted Street and one in Logan Square. Visit their website for more info www.veggiedinercom.

Oktoberfest in Munich, Germany

October 24, 2013 § Leave a comment

oktoberfest

My first trip to Oktoberfest was everything that I had imaged and more. As we walked up to our tent, a stretcher was rolling away a person who had over done it. According to my German friend, that was very common. I was so surprised to see carnival rides behind the tent as I could not image going on one in a drunken state. It seemed like a recipe for disaster. My friend commented that people throw up often and there is a joke about being careful while walking under the rides.

The tone in the tent was very merry as people start drinking early in the day and continue until the evening. Most people were dressed up and cheering or singing loudly. We got to our table and of course ordered beer. It was really loud and a band was playing American covers and traditional German music. It was a party like no other.

oktoberfest beer

One litre pints of beer. They were really heavy and encourage quick consumption. Who likes warm beer?

lily oktoberfest

This is only half the original size of the pretzel. We couldn’t even finish it between five people. My Portuguese friend carried it around in his pocket for the rest of the evening.

german pancake

I had to break my rule of no eggs, which can happen when I travel. This was the only thing on the menu that was vegetarian friendly. This German pancake just happened to be a dessert option and came with a side of stewed fruit. It was very delicious and seemed like the pancake was cut up during the cooking process to keep the inside fluffy while making the outside crisp and buttery. It was quite heavy and filling so I shared it with my friends.

Oktoberfest is an experience like no other and I am really happy that I had a chance to experience it. If I am in Europe at that time of the year again,  I will definitively make it a plan to go back.

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