Friday, February 25, 2011

Leaf, Perla's and Coat and Thai

Some coworkers were in town so a lot of eating out was warranted.  For lunch we had Leaf, for dinner we had Perla's and for lunch the next day we had Coat & Thai.
First off, leaf is very vegetarian friendly.  Not only because they have salads, but even the veggie ones are delicious.  As for vegan, the options are more limited but just as delicious!  The Strawberry Fields salad is to die for.  It is like foraging through a delicious forest.  It includes strawberries, candied pecans, sunflower seeds, red onions and baby spinach.  Even without the dressing it is heaven.  Avocados were added topping off the texture.
The asian chicken salad without the chicken, avocados added, was amazing.   Crunchy, and sweet, it hits the spot when your in the mood for sesame sauce.
The greenbelt, add avocados.  Originally this seemed like an amazing salad but after the Strawberry Fields blew it away.. it can only be described as good.

After a filling lunch at leaf, Perla's is the perfect place to nibble on some vegan snacks.  We shared a sampling of sides and a salad.  Miguel was craving the iceberg salad so we ordered the salad without meat and had them use an iceberg wedge instead of the spring mix.  It had mint, almonds and radishes.  One thing of note, Perla's serves tiny dishes.  Even the meat eaters we ate with had tiny lumps of fish on their plate, although they claimed to be full afterward.  The best side, as agreed upon by everyone at the table, was by far the brussel sprouts.  They have a lemony flavor with some spiciness thrown in.  Basted in olive oil, they require no modifications to be vegan.  The asparagus was pretty good but could not compare to the brussel sprouts.  This is probably because they normally come covered in hollandaise sauce.  The spinach was really good, with fried garlic on top.  The second best side was the hand cut french fries.  It seems weird that any french fry would be that much more delicious than the last, but these are some gourmet, nicely textured french fries.  The cocktails seem very interesting but are not as tasty as they sound.  The Pimms Cup tasted like pure alcohol, the dry martini tasted like rubbing alcohol, the Peace N' Quiet tasted like alcohol but had a nice after taste.  The non-vegans ordered dessert and it was grueling to watch.  They said the pear bread pudding was the best they'd had, and the pistachio macroon looking things made us envious.  A quick note on the rest of the restaurant, the atmosphere is great, the server was nice but got things wrong a lot.  He seemingly forgot to write down Miguel's entire order and forgot to bring Shannon's drink at all.  In case it matters, he also snuck a peak at the tip while he was taking our plates, it was not very subtle sneaking.. some may consider this rude.

Coat & Thai
We went here for a light lunch and a light lunch it was indeed.  The chicken cashew (with tofu instead of chicken) was not great, still good.  It seemed too easy to make at home and it relied too much on soy sauce for flavor.  The rice was good, well cooked and moist.  There was a very small portion but the cashews and veggie's seemed fresh.  We may go back to try the curry but only maybe.  They did have a lot of vegan options since you could replace any meat with tofu.

Overall, all are recommended for light eaters.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Dog Almighty

Now this was a great groupon, vegan hotdogs?  Heck yes.  So we have $10 to spend at Dog Almighty and although everything seems so cheap it was easier than we thought to go over this.  First items of note, they have Pecan Porter and Maine Root Beer on draft.. and Lone Star, but who cares?  Also, the have Diet Dr. Pepper!  Scoring points.  They have 2 types of vegan hotdogs you can get, the regular one and the beer brat, more points.  They also have veggie chili, yay.  The only thing they are missing is vegan cheese, but they are trying right?  They are trying to cater to vegetarians, not vegans.. that's OK.  So Miguel ordered a Hyde Park dog (chili and mustard) with a beer brat, he fell in love.  Shannon ordered a Slacker Dog, which includes any and all toppings you want (she got chili, horseradish, onions, and jalapenos), with a regular dog.  This was a waste since it costs about a dollar more and the extras were not pricey enough.. whatever the hot dog was delicious.  We both agreed that the beer brat was much better than the regular dog.  In order to tip the scale we got chili fries which were good and ddp's for both of us, why?  Anyway, it was a great meal.  The only downsides were the lack of vegan things (like the cupcakes) and the location.  It seems like a place with so much potential and the atmosphere could be greatly improved by being in the city so that sitting outside doesn't include a spacious view of a parking lot.  Overall, great place for vegans and carnivores alike, we will be back.


Third Base

Since Groupon/Living Social/Urban Dealight are our new things, we eat at the restaurants they offer most of the time.  Last Sunday our living social deal led us to Third Base, a sports bar on West 6th.  It is an OK location, decent atmosphere.  There is pool, darts, and shuffleboard inside along with 10-20 big screens inside and out.  It was a beautiful night so we opted for outside.  The patio is crowded and the tables are not in the best condition, oh yea and the servers can't really see you.  It took about 20 minutes of trying to chase the outside server around and finally asking the bartender to catch her for us before we were even noticed.  Our server was not very knowledgeable and seemed offended that we would ask so many questions.  We asked for 2 waters with no ice and got a soda and a water.. with ice ??.  It took a good 15 minutes between each time she would check on us (we started timing her after a while).  So she brought us waters after 15 minutes, then we order our nachos and asked some additional questions that she had to check on.  5 minutes later she let us know our nachos were put in before letting us know the answers to our questions.  When I asked about this she said in an almost rude way that they were already in so I couldn't change them.  She seemed to be the type of person that would have told us off by now if she were not our server.  We took this opportunity to order our portabella burger with 2 wing sauces on the side.  She was very confused about this, so I tried to explain that we cannot eat ranch or cheese so we would like sauce for our burger and she gave this very blank stare and walked away.  Again, it is hard to explain the sort of confused, angry, frustration her face was portraying.  15 minutes later, we got our cheeseless nachos with black beans, guacamole, sweet corn, pico de gallo and soggy chips.  10-15 minutes later she came to check on us, then another 7 minutes later we got our burger with only one sauce and it did not seem to be either of the sauces we asked for.  It was good but there was something off, Shannon noticed a freezer burned taste and Miguel thought the mushroom had an odd texture.  It was still pretty good with the random sauce on it.  The fries with the "cajun" seasoning were average, it was just a shake of season salt.  We still had a couple dollars left on the deal so we ordered some chips and salsa for dessert although they do have a fresh fruit cup as well.  She didn't come to check on us until after we were done eating for a while so waiting another 15 minutes for the chips and salsa, both which are premade, was a little ridiculous.  We are going on an hour and a half of trying to eat a couple easy items at a sports bar.  Overall the server ruined the experience more so than the food, because it was not bad.  It did not feel like a friendly place for "our kind", face it, no sports bar is.  We will not be back, but mostly because we hate sports!

Do not recommend.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Romeo's Italian Bar and Grill

We got a groupon for Romeo's and tried it out on a Sunday night.  It was freezing so we did not sit out on the patio but live music was inside so we probably would have stayed in anyway.  The wait was long and crowded and the music was country so we seemed to be missing the romantic part but again the patio is probably the romantic part?  Their first good mark came from their offering of St. Pauli's, a non-alcoholic beer.  Next, the server seemed to be knowledgeable about vegan options and general ingredients on their menu.  Third, they offer Diet Dr. Pepper, although they lose that mark since it was gross, their water is unfiltered so the ice tastes bad.  We started out with the bruschetta, the olive tapenade has parmesan so we got an extra garlic pod instead.  The bread was really good, the garlic pod was not good at all, the tomato artichoke relish was average.  They bring out a complimentary basket of rolls and an oil and herb plate for dipping, our server handmade ours so that it would be vegan.  The rolls were amazing, they were crusty and flaky on the outside and fluffy and warm on the inside, we preferred this over the appetizer we had to pay for!  Shannon ordered the capelinni pomodoro and Miguel ordered the tomato artichoke pizza, subtracting cheese and adding sun dried tomatoes and green olives.  They were both pretty good but not a really delicious flavor.. nothing special.  What we referred to as average italian food.  The pizza crust was weird and almost like a fluffy cracker.  The capellini was better.   When we ate all of this for leftovers, because those rolls filled us up, it was much better.  There is something about cold, day old pasta, it gets much more flavor.  We put some Daiya cheese on the pizza and some parmesan on the pasta, then baked them both.  Overall, this place was really expensive for such average food.   


Southside Flying Pizza

Thanks to Urban Dealight, we ate at Southside Flying Pizza the other day for half off.  Reviews were mixed but we only read the bad ones which complained about delivery and customer service.  We ate in to avoid the first problem and would slightly agree with the second complaint.  They are very nonchalant, care free, the type of service that we prefer but that some may find offensive.  First off, we ordered the garlic knots which are vegan by accident as long as you tell them to lay off the parmesan.  Their margarine is vegan, so their new cinnamon knots are also vegan.. and delicious.  They were giving out free samples.  As for the pizza, they do not have vegan cheese but they will leave the cheese off for you.  The annoying part is that taking off cheese doesn't warrant a replacement topping.  You have to either order one of their pizzas without cheese or build your own and pay $1-$2 per topping, this means if you want sun dried tomatoes instead of regular tomatoes, it's gonna cost you.  None of the pizzas are loaded with veggies so we added some on, making our order go over our $20 limit.  The pizza itself was pretty good, sort of bland.  The sauce served with the garlic knots seemed to have much more flavor than the pizza sauce.  Another good thing, for us, they had cans of Diet Dr. Pepper so our meal was complete.  We ordered the athena pizza without cheese and added jalapenos, mushrooms, garlic (free), and herbs (free).  When we cooked up the left overs with Daiya mozzarella and vegan parmesan it was much better, so vegetarians might enjoy this pizza even better.  Lastly, Shannon liked the whole wheat crust but Miguel did not.


Iggi's Texatarian

This place is amazing.  We were talking about the type of restaurant we would want to make because it seems like all the vegan places offer gluten free, weird healthy ingredients, and bland food.  We were thinking that just because someone is vegan doesn't mean they want their food sweetened with date paste or made with rice flour lol.  Nothing against health food, we eat it all the time, but once in a while we want a heaping plate of vegan fettuccine alfredo you know?  Anyways, Iggi's is the answer.  They offer vegan macaroni and cheese!  Vegan Queso!  Vegan nachos!  Vegan chili cheese dogs!  Heaven.  Most importantly it is all delicious.  The first time we went Miguel ordered the chili cheese dog with a side of macaroni and Shannon ordered the frito pie.  Both were amazing but we decided to switch because Miguel loves fritos and Shannon loves macaroni!  While we were waiting we ordered an appetizer of vegan queso, yum.  The next time we went we brought a non-vegan friend who ordered the macaroni and loved it.  Miguel ordered the cowboy nachos and Shannon ordered the chilimac.  Once again delicious.  The chili used in the chili mac and on the nachos is almost sweet though, we both prefer spicy so maybe the cowboy nachos (with black beans instead of chili) will be a better option for next time.  They also serve a slew of good sounding sandwiches, including a BBQ seitan, which they also have in platter form.  Both times we went we also got a cupcake from Peaches Magee at the adjacent trailer, they offer vegan cupcakes but it seems that no matter the flavor.. you get lemon flavored.  First we ordered raspberry with cream cheese frosting and it tasted like lemons.  The next time we ordered peanut butter, chocolate, banana, again lemons.  Also of mention, they cost $2 and are about as small as if you were to make them at home (not hey cupcake size).  The last time we went, we ate in Cheer Up Charlie's and it has a great atmosphere.  Also, they have 2 Kombucha flavors on tap so it is non-alcholic friendly!  They have some vegan chocolates for $3 on the counter and supposedly they serve vegan sandwiches but we have not seen sandwiches or a menu when we've gone there. 


Toy Joy Cafe

How could we miss this?  Right by our house is a delicious vegan soft serve joint and we never even knew.  Anyways, this place has some amazing selection and it's all vegan friendly.  The soft serves of the day were vanilla and chai, we got the swirl with oreos on top.  They are vegan oreos and they have other vegan delights such as marshmallows, chocolate syrup and mint oreos.  Yay.  Besides just your standard swirl, they offer milkshakes (with almond, rice, soy or organic cow milk), bubble teas, and sundaes.  There are rumors that they will be moving out on their own in March so get there soon!