Tag Archives: Vegan

Travel Tips: Las Vegas

IMG_7901

Ravenous for a romantic getaway?

Longing to luxuriate in Las Vegas?

Eager for engaging entertainment?

In search of a veg-friendly vacation venue?

What you COULD do is cut the Craps, hit the Strip, and go for the Wynn!

The majority of my trips to Vegas have been for business purposes.  Recently, I returned for a romantic weekend getaway with my husband.  This was my Mother’s Day gift, and I had a FABULOUS time!  Here is a rundown of recommendations, based on my visit:

IMG_7928Stay

We thoroughly enjoyed our accommodations at the Wynn Hotel.  Spacious suite + vegetarian/vegan menus + spectacular spa = WYNN-ING!

IMG_7890Sup

One of my favorite meals was on the patio at La Cave Wine & Food Hideaway.  Here, I ordered the vegan Mushroom Tortellini with Arugula and Cashew Cream Sauce.  Sooooo good!

Other noteworthy vegan meals included:  Le Cirque at Bellagio (we splurged on their Vegan Menu, with wine pairing); Botero at Encore (we ended one of our evenings here with a vegan dessert); Terrace Pointe Cafe (Wynn) for breakfast; and Tableau (Wynn) for brunch.  It was nice to not have to stress-out over where to eat, or agonize over the menus.

IMG_7842Shows

Ooooo YES I DID!!!  I finally got to see “O” by Cirque du Soleil, and I loved it!  This was the second part of an amazing date night with my husband, after dinner at Le Cirque.

IMG_7869Spa

During our romantic getaway, we treated ourselves to 80-minute Custom Massages, and marinated for more than half of the day at the Wynn Spa.  The facilities were beautiful, and the amenities were plentiful.  As someone who worked in the spa industry, with a passion for all things spa-related, I appreciate that.

Shop

The primary focus of our trip was experiences, versus stuff.  However, I had the opportunity to pick up a couple of items while exploring The Shoppes at The Palazzo and The Shops at Crystals.  I received excellent customer service in both places.

During this romantic getaway, we were inspired to plan a kid-friendly Vegas summer vacation.  Stay tuned for more details in another post.

It’s great to be back on the blog.

Thanks for reading!

XOXO

 

 

 

 

My “Surgi-versary”

“Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing.” – 1 Thessalonians 5:11 (NIV)

One year after my surgery saga, I’m healthy and feeling incredibly blessed.  At the same time, I’ve felt emotional as I recall where I was this time last year.  I met and worked with some amazing health practitioners and business owners, who helped me through this ordeal.  So, to celebrate my “surgi-versary,” I planned to visit each of my “health heroes” to personally thank them for the specific ways that they contributed to my surgical outcome and overall well-being.  Although I was unable to connect with everyone, today’s results were very encouraging…

IMG_7615My first stop was The Center for True Harmony Wellness & Medicine.  Here, I expressed my heartfelt appreciation to Christine Brass-Jones DO OB/GYN and Dr. Denise Grobe ND.  Dr. Brass-Jones referred me to the right gynecological oncologist to perform my surgery.  She listened carefully to my concerns and persevered with me, as I weighed my options, trusted my gut, and moved forward in this process.  Dr. Grobe gave me some excellent advice on how to prepare my body for surgery and how to manage my recovery in different case scenarios.  In addition, she had the insight to have me take a cancer gene test.  Both of these ladies were caring, supportive, proactive, and informative.  Women empowering other women…YES!!!

IMG_7617Next, I went to Pomegranate Cafe for a friend’s birthday lunch, and to express my gratitude to owner Cassie Tolman.  Before and after my surgery, Cassie and the “Pom” staff were my “anti-inflammatory allies.”  They kept the Abundance Juice flowing, with plenty of lemon, ginger, and turmeric, along with a whole lotta healthy food options.  Their team always serves with smiles and promotes positivity.  LOVE THEM!!!

IMG_7618IMG_7620You didn’t think I’d leave out my lunch, did you?!?  Today, I celebrated with an Abundance Juice (naturally) and Mermaid Salad.  YUM!!!

IMG_7622Finally, I stopped by Desert Sage Herbs to thank Brittney for an herbal consultation that had me armed and ready for my surgical procedure and healing process.  The teas, tonics, and essential oils that she custom-blended for me, along with her compassion and concern, were a tremendous help.  Today, Andrea graciously accepted my sentiments on Brittney’s behalf…and re-filled my french lavender oil.  Mission accomplished!!!

Do you personally, and specifically, thank those who have helped you overcome life challenges?

Encourage others, and be encouraged!

XOXO

Rainbow Grocery

IMG_5928

*singing*

“Sooome-WHEEERE, o-ver at Rainbow, are greaaat fiiinds…”

From herbs to housewares, there is so much to explore.

 

IMG_5938

And so my anti-Black Friday experience began at this AMAZING, worker-owned co-op in San Francisco.  No crazy hours, no camping-out, no crowds, no ridiculous lines, no pushing or trampling , no BOGOs or desperate discounts, and no commercial hype.  Just good people, with positive energy, offering great products, with smiles.  Sign. Me. Up.

IMG_5941

The spices and teas tho’…

I could [literally] stop there; but I didn’t, and I won’t.

IMG_5933

I live here, in the Bath and Body Department.  And THIS, my friends, is where I nearly lost my mind!  It happens every time.

IMG_5942

Despite my desire to [permanently] move in, I had to keep it moving.  So, I made my final selections and checked-out.  I appreciate the sweet employee, who suggested that I include one of their reusable canvas bags in my purchase.  It’s a souvenir that’s guaranteed to make me smile.

IMG_5946

IMG_5947

But wait!  There’s MORE!  Did you know that they recently added a cafe???  Oh yes, they did!!!  I concluded my experience with a custom-blended Pumpkin Spice Latte, from their special Holiday Drinks menu.  YAY and YUM!

IMG_5952

Wanna see what I got???  Here’s a look at some of my loot:

Sjaak’s Almond Butter and Peanut Butter Bites

Matcha Green Tea & Spirulina and Coconut Ash & Banana Super Dark Chocolates by Vosges Haut-Chocolat

The Big Yummy Double Chocolate Brownie by Wholesome Chow

Herb Pharm Calendula Oil

Valentina’s Home-Brewed Magickal Mineral Bath Salts (True Love, Sweet Dreams, and Prosperity)

Propolis Extract by Y.S. Eco Bee Farms

100% Pure Virgin Coconut Hand Buttercream

Evan Healy’s Whipped Shea Butter for Lips

*singing*

“If happy, lil’ ole me can find…great stuff at Rainbow…

…GOOO…EX-PLOOORE…THOOOSE…AIIISLES!!!”

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…

IMG_3242

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*

IMG_3251

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*

IMG_3257

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…

IMG_3261

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!

IMG_3263

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

IMG_3276

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!

IMG_3271

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!

 

Wayward Vegan

“C” is for comfort.  That’s good enough for me… *singing*

IMG_3228

Located in Seattle’s U-District, Wayward Vegan Cafe is my go-to place for breakfast (served all day).  I have enjoyed many meals here.  Now, it’s time for me to give them their props.

IMG_3238

Led by Colin and Tami Blanchette, the all-vegan crew is friendly and accommodating.  This unapologetic group of enablers will not hold you back when it comes time to choose from the plethora of options on their extensive menu.  In fact, they will often validate your choices, and acknowledge that you have a tough decision to make.

REALLY??? I thought that we were friends!!!

IMG_3231

We are.  And this is how my friends at Wayward Vegan say, “We love you.”

IMG_3234

A Breakfast Biscuit with a side of Garlicky Steamed Greens wins my heart every time. *sigh*

My other menu favorites include: Country Bumpkin, Biscuit Minimus, and Mac Daddy.  Yum!

Wayward Vegan Cafe is located at 5253 University Way NE in Seattle.

Oh, comfort, comfort, comfort starts with “C!” *singing*

 

 

 

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:

IMG_2662 - Copy

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!

The Best Vegan Chocolate Chip Cookies

IMG_1489 - Copy

I love to bake, and one of my favorite childhood memories is making chocolate chip cookies with my mom.  Since changing my diet and lifestyle, I have learned to bake vegan and gluten-free versions for my family.  Vegan author and recipe creator, Dreena Burton, has satisfied the Toll House cookie cravings of many with this signature recipe,  and I am also a fan.  For a gluten-free option, I substitute  Bob’s Red Mill Gluten-Free All-Purpose Baking Flour and Xanthan Gum; and I adhere to her baking and cooling time recommendations to prevent drying.  I usually double the recipe and make the cookies small to medium-sized, in order to make 2 dozen.  Recently, I’ve been using coconut oil in the recipe, which adds an interesting twist.  These cookies are a sweet staple in our household.  Viva la Dreena!

IMG_1482 - Copy

IMG_1483 - Copy

IMG_1487 - Copy

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox

Join other followers: