I’ve read about Vegan Mofo for a few years now, and I think it is finally time to participate. When first reading about it, I wasn’t quite 100% vegan, but over the last two years, I’ve been eating entirely plant-based foods. It’s about time, right? A Vegan Month of Food sounds right up my alley, and hopefully will give me more blogging stamina for the month of November. This month I will be writing about vegan food, as per usual, and following the Vegan Mofo idea of writing at least twenty veg-related posts over the month.
Another great thing about writing about vegan food, is that LA has quite the abundance that I can’t wait to discover. Although, I am starting late, at least I am aiming to give it a shot. Maybe I can even get a spot on the 2010 blogroll…
Since I am now on Pacific Standard Time, lets count this as my first post on November 3rd.
Let’s talk about Santa Fe. I pretty much fell in love.
It was so cold the morning I wanted to take photos that I froze my fingers while leaning outside the passenger door of the car. You see, road-tripping means getting to places at night and often leaving in a hurry the next day. My mother had plans to meet up with a best friend from college at 8 a.m. (a healer of sorts who has cooked at a vegetarian restaurant and taught yoga classes), but obliged me by driving around for a few minutes before returning to the restaurant I had fallen in love with the night before.
After our quick drive around , we were back at Body.
Let’s rewind to the night before.
Once again, I went to Happy Cow in search of healthy veggie filled meal to remember. My mother’s iPad helped on the road, and I found myself loving the Body of Santa Fe site. There was a studio, spa, cafe, boutique, and more. It seemed like a place both myself and my mother would enjoy.
The boutique charmed with sustainable products, organic materials, and amazing style. There was a local jewelers work with stones that we both loved (for a hefty price).
Of course there were many raw/ health foods sold in the cafe.
Most importantly, the food was everything I hoped for (and more).
Due to the surprisingly chilly temps, I promptly ordered a chai tea with homemade nut milk before dinner.
It warmed me up fast and the spice was perfect. It reminded me that I need to start making homemade nut milk’s again.
My collard green burrito was another delectable choice. It was filled with cashews, flax seeds, basil, salsa fresca, sun-dried tomatoes, sea salt, garlic, tamari, olive oil, and apple cider vinegar, and came with a small salad. I should have asked for avocado as well, because I am sure it would have brought it to another level.
The star of the evening was this beauty.
My mom ordered the Asian Curry with brown rice, stir-fry vegetables, tofu, coconut curry sauce, and nori. Although I thought the dish might turn out to be bland, it WAS NOT. The coconut curry sauce was the best I’ve ever had. Honestly, I’ve never had a better stir fry. The dish was so warming and included cauliflower, cabbage, zucchini, carrots, broccoli, and more. I would go back to Santa Fe just to taste this one more time.
Dessert also made its way into my stomach.
To follow along with the previous nights raw theme, I went with the raw pumpkin pie. I told the waiter that I am a chocaholic and really wanted the raw/vegan brownie sundae, but he assured me I should venture elsewhere. This was creamy and full of pumpkin and pumpkin spice flavor with a raw date crust. I did miss my chocolate fix though.
Fast forward to the next morning, we headed back to Body for breakfast in the cafe separated from the dining room we had eaten the night before.
My mom (left), her best friend, and I sat talking about her time in Santa Fe, cooking in the Body kitchen when it first opened, teaching Yoga in the Adirondacks, and her healing abilities. I’ve never talked to a healer before, and it was so refreshing to hear stories of how she can tell when things are wrong with an individual and the paths of healing.
Instead of my usual warm breakfast bowl of oats, I tried the Body Ambrosia which was raw sprouted buckwheat, dried fruit, bananas, fresh seasonal fruit, coconut, agave, and fresh nut milk. Again I was amazed by the nut milk. It was creamy perfection. This breakfast turned me into a raw buckwheat convert. I just need to get my hands on some this week. Amazingly, it also kept me full as long as a typical morning bowl of steel-cut oatmeal.
And for the road, a raw chocolate covered almond butter cup that I ate as we entered Arizona.
Yeah, it had to happen. I am happy it did. Bliss.
-Have you been to Santa Fe? Did you have a good experience?
-Do you tend to go for chocolate desserts at restaurants? Or other types?
-Ever met a healer? Today I saw a sign down the street from our place in Topanga for Reiki. Now, I am intrigued…
Now it is November 4th, day 4 of vegan mofo. I’m trying.
I can’t remember when I first read about 105 degrees. I am a big fan of Pure Food and Wine in NYC (raw food done right) and wanted to try the midwestern version of haute raw food. The night before leaving Detroit, I had searched my travel source for veggie food, Happy Cow, and was reminded of this wonderful mecca of all things raw food. It was getting dark when we arrived and we were quite hungry. Naturally I forgot to take a photo of the exterior of 105 degrees and my 50 mm lens, but it was like nothing I expected for Oklahoma City. Next door was a yoga/ballet studio, and the surrounding buildings were all modern to the core. I love hippie-esque veggie food havens, but I really adore the modern cleaner aesthetic as well.
This was my mom’s first time experiencing a raw food restaurant and I am happy to report it lived up to the hype. She told the hostess that we would like to be seated to view the kitchen and we both wanted everything we saw the chefs prepare. Watching raw food chefs prepare the food is a completely different experience than your typical open kitchen. The chefs pulled things from dehydrators, blended sauces, and expertly and artistically stacked components of each dish.
The menu really overwhelmed. Everything sounded amazing but we finally decided on two appetizers and one entrée to share. After all, we knew dessert was a must. Raw desserts are almost always delicious.
The kimchi dumplings with a sesame ginger foam were like nothing I’ve ever tasted. The filling was a nut cheese that was flavored with ginger. I can’t wait to recreate these.
Next, I tasted the Mezze starter. Raw Falafel may just be the best falafel I’ve ever had. My mom and I definitely detected almonds in the mix. They were warm from the dehydrator and delicious with the raw hummus. The other components were “eggplant bacon,” and a hemp seed tabbouleh. The eggplant bacon was smoky and crispy. This is another reason I dream of owning a dehydrator (or I will bake in my oven on the lowest temperature with the door open).
Somehow, I completely blanked when it came time to order our main course. I knew that I wanted to forgo the heirloom tomato lasagna because of trying a raw version before at Pure Food and Wine (great!). My mother took the reigns and ordered the Pad Thai (Vegetable Noodles, Enoki Mushrooms, Candied Almonds).
The dish really was this neon, matching the spice factor. Unfortunately, we didn’t get any enoki mushrooms, but I still thought it was a great meal. The vegetable noodles were zucchini, which I’ve prepared many times at home with my spiralizer. Honestly, I wish we opted for some of the other choices. Some things I saw that looked delicious were:
Butternut Squash Ravioli, Wilted Spinach, Wild Mushrooms, Savory Ricotta
Open Faced Portobello Sliders 3 ways, Lettuce, Tomato, Cashew Cheddar
Caramelized Vegetable Pizza, Cherry Tomatoes, Sweet Onions, Kalamata Olives
The best part of the meal (in my chocaholic opinion) was our dessert. The Gianduja Tasting included Hazelnut Fudge, Hazelnut Budino, Hazelnut Butter Cup, Hazelnut Semifreddo, and Chocolate Hazelnut Layer Cake. I will say it often, but raw desserts are some of my favorite things to eat. Chocolate in its pure form with fruit, nuts, and coconut is all you need to be satisfied. I have never been a cake lover, but a dark chocolate flourless cake person. The fudge and semifreddo were my favorites. I am not usually an ice cream person but the semifreddo with hazelnut flavors reminded me of the nutella gelato I ate in Tuscany when I was sixteen. We left full and happy.
I am now seriously considering getting one of Matthew Kenney’s books, especially Everyday Raw. The connecting shop was filled with all sorts of raw food treats, eco jewelry, kitchen gear, and cookbooks. We also peered in the academy window before leaving for the night. Learning how to create these wonderful raw meals is such a culinary art unlike any other. I would love to try it someday.
If you are ever in Oklahoma City, please go to 105 degrees. I promise you won’t be disappointed.
Next up on my road trip will be Amarillo, TX and Santa Fe, NM. I must tell you though, I am still thinking about Santa Fe. It is a place I am dreaming to return to.
I am getting settled in our little temporary home in the middle of Topanga Canyon. We had no internet or cell service until today, but I can’t wait to spend more time exploring LA’s neighborhoods while thinking of a place to move to next. I’d love suggestions.
Hiking for cell service has happened these last few mornings. This isn’t the kind of hiking I am used to. I’ve hiked at Runyan Canyon before, but hiking just behind our place in Topanga means strenuous inclines and no people in sight. I’ve even gotten frightened a few times from hearing rustling along the trail. Unfortunately, the beautiful view gets ruined as I head back and meet many downhills that kill my knee. Hiking uphill doesn’t seem to bother my knee at all but the way down hurts the whole way. Tomorrow I am trying a yoga place a few miles down the canyon that our neighbor teaches at and I hope that doesn’t create any pain.
-Do you do yoga when trying to get over an injury? Any suggestions on types of practice? I’ve been a hot yoga devotee in the past but it has been a long time since I’ve done any classes. This studio has many types I have never tried and I am up for trying a variety.
-Have you eaten at a raw food restaurant? Or made a raw meal? Do you have any favorite recipes or places?