Tag Archives: Gluten-free

Turkish Delight

No, I am not referring to the starch and sugar-based, cube-shaped confections.  I am describing my long lunch filled with awesome culinary creations and great conversation with Chef Sureyya Gokeri at Cafe Turko, in Seattle’s Queen Anne District…

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The menu has lots of gluten-free, vegan, and vegetarian options.  YAHTZEE!!!  I was in the mood for mezzes, so Sureyya customized an Orient Express platter just for me.  *happy dance*

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Kisir from Eastern Turkiye, Wholesome Aegean Musakka, Beet Hummus, Spinach Hummus, My Mom’s Dolmas, and (my fave) Yam Hummus.  That’s right, I said Yam Hummus!  Some pita for dipping and Sureyya’s pickles completed this savory sampler…*drooling*

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I mentioned in a previous post that I no longer drink coffee on a regular basis.  However, I couldn’t pass up the Turkish Coffee here.  Don’t judge me…

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I should have called for back-up because there was no one to save me from indulging in all of these Turkish treats.  I was in mezzes heaven!

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Aaaaand I wasn’t about to leave without trying Sureyya’s No Guilt Baklawa.  It practically melted in my mouth.

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Part restaurant, part bazaar, Cafe Turko is filled with Turkish handicrafts and food products, which are available for purchase.  The open kitchen is no exception.  You can, literally, shop and sup at the same time!

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Here is my hostess, the inimitable Chef Sureyya!  Her hospitality and passion for her craft are second to none.  The food, atmosphere, and her stories provide a rich cultural experience.  And did I mention that Sureyya offers Turkish cooking classes, as well as traveling Turkish lessons?  I love one-stop shopping!  If you’re in Seattle, check out Cafe Turko.  You’ll be transported to Istanbul in an instant!

Afiyet olsun!

 

Crossroads Kitchen

Recently, I dined at Crossroads Kitchen for the first time during a visit to LA.  This gourmet vegan paradise was the perfect place for a birthday celebration for two vegan-lovin’ cousins.  In my opinion, it was much-needed and long-overdue.  LA has the “casual-vegan-dining-thing” down, so it’s nice to have a more upscale option.  Thank you, Chef/Owner Tal Ronnen!

Here, it’s as much about the experience, as it is about the food.  The atmosphere at Crossroads is beautiful.  Everyone on staff was warm, friendly, and engaging.  We were seated in a comfortable booth, at a candlelit table.  Once we made our selections from the menu, our server brought on the flavors, and we embarked on a gastronomic journey that we still talk about to this day.

Melrose Mule and Sunset & Vine "mocktails" at Crossroads.

Melrose Mule and Sunset & Vine “mocktails” at Crossroads.

For our drinks, we chose the Melrose Mule and the Sunset & Vine, and had them made as “mocktails.”  YES YOU CAN!  The Melrose Mule was light and refreshing, and the  Sunset & Vine was sweet and fruity.  Both drinks were delicious, and quickly disappeared.

Kale Salad and Asparagus Soup at Crossroads.

Kale Salad and Asparagus Soup at Crossroads.

Next, we enjoyed the Kale Salad and Asparagus Soup.  You can’t go wrong with kale, as far as we’re concerned.  And the Asparagus Soup was creamy and flavorful.

Artichoke Oysters, Kale Spanakopita, and Crab Cakes at Crossroads.

Artichoke Oysters, Kale Spanakopita, and Crab Cakes at Crossroads.

Artichoke Oysters, Kale Spanakopita, and Crab Cakes…OH MY!!!  The flavors were amazing, and the presentation was awesome!  And the placement of the Artichoke Oysters on a bed of sea salt, instead of ice, was really creative.  Made from hearts of palm, the Crab Cakes were well-seasoned and had great texture.

Grapefruit Salad and Scaloppini at Crossroads.

Grapefruit Salad and Scaloppini at Crossroads.

Then we ate Red Grapefruit Salad and “Chicken” Scaloppini with marsala-glazed morel mushrooms.  The Red Grapefruit Salad was a nice palate cleanser in between some of our courses.  The Scaloppini was tender, nicely spiced, the sauce was wonderful, and we devoured it.

Chocolate Bundt Cake and Cannoli at Crossroads.

Chocolate Bundt Cake and Cannoli at Crossroads.

For dessert, we had the Chocolate Bundt Cake and the Cannoli with candied kalamata olives and almond cream filling.  INCREDIBLE!  The cake was rich and delicious.  And the cannoli were mind-blowing, with the candied kalamata olives providing an unexpected twist.  Whaaat?!?!

Chef Tal graciously came over to our table, where we showered him with compliments about the great food and service, then listened as he explained his approach to gourmet vegan cuisine.  His goal is to inspire others (regardless of their dietary preferences) by offering them foods that are familiar to them, go together, pair well, are easy to eat, and enjoyable.  He has done just that, and we’ll be back!

See you at Crossroads

Location:  8284 Melrose Ave., Los Angeles, California 90046

Ch-Ch-Ch-Chia!

Until recently, I only blended chia seeds into my smoothies.  When I tried chia seed pudding for the first time at True Food Kitchen, I was instantly hooked.  After polishing off my bowl, I grilled the staff for their recipe.  They gave me a short list of ingredients (coconut cream, bananas, brown sugar, vanilla, sea salt, chia seeds), but no specific quantities.  However, everyone assured me that it was easy to make.  Still, I searched for recipes to try until I found a formula that worked for me.  Since it closely resembled the dessert that I enjoyed at TFK, I customized this recipe.  Here are the results:

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You get a lot of nutritional bang for your buck with this ancient super food.  Chia seeds are loaded with omega-3 fatty acids, fiber, antioxidants, calcium, and protein.  And who doesn’t want a healthy heart, better digestion, beautiful skin, gorgeous hair, and great nails?  Enjoy!

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