Thursday, June 26, 2008

Veggie Ventures Abroad, part 2

I'm baaaaack! As any vegetarian/vegan realizes while traveling abroad, finding dining options or accommodating restaurants is just as easy as finding cheap airline tickets or trying to beat the Euro/Dollar exchange rate. Sometimes, you realize you've got to make due with whatever staples you can find from the nearest grocery store, and though it saves money, it definitely takes away from the dining out experience that can be a huge part of getting to know a new city.

Though it certainly wasn't easy and I lived mostly on baguettes, pastries, and salads (though when topped with toasted goat cheese and honey, I wasn't going to complain too much!) when dining out in Paris , everything was still amazingly delish, and the few vegetarian entrees I had were even more so. A creamy gazpacho made with mint instead of cilantro hit the spot on a warm day, and at eatery Pre Zerre in the St. Germain neighborhood, a whole veggie plate was made for me, with red rice risotto, cumin spiced artichokes, and creamy coriander spinach. Fabulous! And a really cool place that we found, of course, on our last day in Paris was Le Paradis du Fruit. It's a trendy-looking health cafe, serving tofu salads (they exist?? awesome!), pitas, Indian marmite, and fresh smoothies and juice cocktails. There are several branches throughout the city, so if you're a vegetarian who'll be visiting Paris anytime soon, definitely check out the website for more info.

Otherwise, I still won't complain about eating baguettes and eclairs every day... okay, I might do a little bitching while at the gym trying to work those pastries off, but it's a risk I'm willing to take :)

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Veggie Ventures Abroad, part 1

So I'm not sure how often I'll be updating my blog in the next week (I've lucked out with free internet in my hotel for the time being), but I'm hoping there will be lots of veggie stuff to report back. We landed in Amsterdam several hours late and didn't get to do as much exploring as I wanted to. No matter... this laid-back city is my kinda city! And with Indonesian, Indian, and frite places everywhere, I might have an easier time eating than I originally thought! I haven't yet had to explain the whole vegetarian concept to any waiters with raised eyebrows, but I have a feeling I'll be seeing more of that in Paris than in Amsterdam. I'll keep you posted :)

For anyone spending more time in Amsterdam than we are, you should definitely check out some local food networking via Like a Local. The site will connect you, like an exchange program, with a "host family" for dinners, and you can actually have an authentic meal with a Dutch family and get a better feel for the city and it's locals. I wish we'd arranged this before we left, especially in such a friendly city!

And for anyone looking for a local foodie's perspective on Paris dining, I really like Chocolate and Zucchini; the blogger, Clotilde, offers lots of suggestions on eating in Paris, as well as some yummy recipes (Nutella ice cream and petite meringues anyone?). She's currently on a book tour, but Budget Travel readers will know her from her frequent Paris Q&A's online and her food columns in the magazine.

Have a great week everyone!

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Upcoming Events

Between weddings, events, and trip planning (I'll be in Amsterdam and Paris next week!), the Friendly Veg has been slacking off... however, I'm attempting to make up for it by posting some fun food related events for this week!

First off, tonight is the Third Annual Taste of LIC, to help raise money for arts programs at The Chocolate Factory Theater and to introduce patrons to the culinary scene in LIC. It's $50 at the door, but you'll also be catching some rays on the rooftop deck and be treated to live music and a video installation. As if you'd expect anything less in LIC!

The Second Annual NYC Food Film Festival kicks off this weekend at the Water Taxi Beach, also in LIC. If you love film and food as much as I do, you'll definitely need to check out these screenings- from features to shorts, each program will culminate with food from the films. Of interest to the Friendly Veg- the closing night film, Tableland, a feature on sustainable food, features a vegan feast at the end of the screening. Super exciting! Food and drink are available for purchase, but it's FREE admission to all the screenings.

Also on Saturday, June 14th- 2008 Festival of India in Washington Square Park, also free and open to the public. Whether or not you skip the Krishna Parade down 5th Avenue, don't skip out on the free vegetarian & vegan Indian feast in the park from 12pm to 7pm!

Next week, the New York City Vegetarian Meetup Group will be holding their monthly meeting. The meetup is on Wednesday, June 18th, and it's a great opportunity for networking with other vegetarians and vegans over dinner. Location is still TBA, so I'll let you know as soon as I do!

I almost wish I wasn't leaving so I could hit up all the great veg-friendly events! Ah well, whether it actually gets me anywhere or not, at least I can say "Je suis un vegetarien!"

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

and another fave dip... guacamole!

While on the hunt to find some good guac with a friend after the Museum Mile Festival, I cracked up as I relayed a story about how a friend watched the server at the midtown Mama Mexico prepare fresh guacamole before our eyes, and sighed, "man, this is my favorite batch of guacamole in the city, I wish I could buy this in the store." I shook my head and said, "are you kidding me? The server practically showed you how to make it. I mean, you can do this at home!"

Apparently, "you" really means "me" and I made this guacamole recipe the very next day- easy enough, even if the server doesn't make it in front of you.

The Whats:

* 3 ripe avocados, peeled & pitted
* 2 plum tomatoes, diced
* 2 jalapenos, seeded & diced
* 1 small onion, diced
* 2 cloves garlic, minced
* 1/4 cup cilantro, chopped
* 1 lime
* salt & pepper to taste

The Hows:

1) In a medium bowl, mash together avocados, onion, garlic, cilantro, and the juice of half the lime. Add tomatoes, jalapenos, and the remainder of the cilantro and lime juice. Season with salt & pepper as you like (I use about a little less than a teaspoon of each) and mix well. Refrigerate before serving.

Monday, June 2, 2008

something else to try... absinthe gummy bears

Yes, no joke. Absinthe gummy bears. They come alongside your cup of espresso... which makes sense, since apparently the anise flavor of the Absinthe is most distinguishable in the gummy bear.

They're served at Tailor, on Broome Street, which also has a full menu that adds lots of sweet elements (like preserved plum & hazelnut) to the main course... anybody wanna go check it out after work this week? Gimme a shout, I'm definitely going to check this out!

Now if only I get my hands on those miracle flavor tripping berries...