Burke Street Food Truck Festival

Today was a new adventure for me. I went to the Burke Street Food Truck Festival for the first time. Usually, I avoid going. It’s super crowded and you can wait longer than usual for food truck food. However, today ended up being cool and rainy, so this evening I ventured to the festival.

I was a little worried about finding vegan options. This was my first time going to such an event and my first time going to a foodie event as a vegan. A lot of the food trucks came in from larger cities and I was pleasantly surprised to find vegan options at a good chunk of the food trucks.

My stomach is only so big, so I settled to food from 2 trucks. The first truck I stopped at was an Arepa Truck from Raleigh, NC.

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The vegan option was an arepa filled with grilled veggies and avocado. The veggies were flavorful. The arepa was soft and delicious. It was a warm comfort food on a cold day.

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The Second food truck I visited was Baozi Steamed Buns.

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Their vegan option was TVP prepared with an Asian BBQ sauce and some really tasty pineapple relish served in a steamed bun. It was sticky, messy, and a bit of a challenge to eat, but it was really good. I would happily eat more. My dad tried the TVP and was impressed, which I’ll take as a good sign because he doesn’t usually like the vegan options.

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Easter Goodies

First off, I’m alive. Life has been really hectic recently and I haven’t had a lot of time to cook or write.

This was my first Easter as a vegan. I’m not religious, but growing up in the South I learned to enjoy some Easter celebrations. Southern traditions, even the secular ones involve food. Easter for me involves the fun aspects of things.

I’m an adult, but my mom is awesome and still makes me an Easter Basket every year. This year she included some nice vegan chocolates for me. It was nice being able to eat chocolate. The orange egg is especially delicious.

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Easter Dinner is always a production around here. I only got a photo of the dessert I made, but I had chickpea cutlets, roasted potatoes, and asparagus. Mom made vegan jello in her bunny shaped jello mold (it’s a tradition around here).

Dessert is without a doubt my favorite meal of the day. I made the Strawberry Rose Water Cobbler with Lemon Poppy Seed topping from Veganimicon. It was my first time making the cobbler. I think I messed up the topping because there was no way the dough would be cut into a lattice. However, it ended up tasting delicious.

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Mushroom Melts

Just after going vegan, I went out to eat with a friend of mine. He ordered a mushroom melt and it looked really good. I figure the best way to get what you want is to make it yourself, so here is my mushroom melt.

NOTE: I thought the mushrooms were really good. You can cook them up and eat them on their own.

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Mushroom Melts

  • 1 Recipe Mushrooms
  • 4 Slices of Bread
  • 4 Slices of Vegan Provolone (I used Follow Your Heart)

Once the mushrooms have cooked evenly divide them on the bread and place a piece of cheese on top. Bake in a preheated oven at 350 for 5-10 minutes, until cheese melts.

 

Mushrooms

  • 2 Tbs Olive Oil
  • 2 Cloves Garlic, Minced
  • 1/2 Small Onion, Diced
  • 1/2 Red Bell Pepper Diced
  • 1 8oz Package of Slices Mushrooms
  • 4 Tbs Red Wine
  • 3 Tsp Italian Seasoning
  • 1/4 Cup Spinach
  • 2 Tbs Balsamic Vinegar

Over medium high heat cook the onions and bell pepper. Cook until the onions are just starting to brown a bit. Add the garlic and saute for another minute. Add the red wine, mushrooms, and Italian seasoning.

We want to cook the moisture out of the mushrooms, cook until the mushrooms are nice and tender. You might have to add a few splashes of water to keep stuff from burning.

Once the mushrooms are done add the spinach and cook until it wilts. Finish it off with a drizzle of balsamic vinegar.

 

Cactus Tacos: An Adventure

My blog is called adventures in veganism. So far, I’ve shared the good adventures in food. Recipes that have worked out well. Food I’ve eaten out with friends. Not everything comes out perfect, but that’s part of the adventure.

Recently I was at the grocery store and they had nopales (cactus paddles). The nopales were already prepped and chopped into nice pieces, and on top of that it was on sale! I’ve eaten cactus before and enjoyed it, but this was my first time prepping it.

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I looked up stuff online and decided that sauteing the nopales would be my best option. When the cactus paddles cook up they cook kind of like Okra; there’s a sticky sliminess to them. While they were cooking away I could smell a bit of citrus on the cactus. They were seasoned with a bit of salt, homemade taco seasoning, and some garlic.

The best use for a lot of new food is a taco. So, we added the nopales to black bean tacos. I wasn’t able to get rid of all the goo with the nopales. I think I need a lot of work and practice to get to a place where I’m comfortable cooking with them, but that’s all part of the adventure. And the tacos, while not perfect, were eatable.

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Fiction Kitchen

When life gets stressful, you skip town to go to art museums and eat vegan food. Maybe that’s just me, but I’ve had a lot going on recently and I needed to get out of town for a bit, see something different. It was cold, so spending a few hours looking at art was a good plan.

After working up an appetite we went to Fiction Kitchen, a fun vegetarian restaurant in downtown Raleigh. Nearly everything on the menu had a vegan option. It was all so exciting. Luckily, I had 2 of my foodie friends with me, so we got to try a lot of food. It was a Saturday night and the place was busy, the hostess told us the wait would be about an hour, but it was only 30-45 minutes (and worth the wait).

The place was busy, but the service was wonderful and the kitchen slung out food at a nice pace. The restaurant gets high marks for staff.

I started my night off with a drink, it was their drink special, the Fiction Fizz. It was a fancy gin fizz (gin made in NC, orange juice, hibiscus syrup, ginger bitters, and some other things, as well as aqua faba). I’ve been wanting to experiment with aqua faba before in both drinks and cooking. This was my perfect chance to try it in a drink.

Oh my gosh: The drink was so good. I wasn’t a big fan of the garnish and the drink probably would have been better served in a coupe or martini glass, but that’s just being nit picky. It tasted amazing! The aqua faba made it have a nice frothy texture.

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The table shared an appetizer. One of my friends loves Pimento Cheese, so we opted for the vegan pimento cheese with onion jam and bread. The texture on the cheese was amazing and it tasted good. I really liked the onion jam.

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My dinner was the pulled pork plate. It featured a Lexington style sauce (vinegar and tomato bbq sauce). It came with a smashed potato, slaw, and a side of my choosing (I picked greens to keep with the Southern theme), and vegan corn bread. I’ve never been a fan of mock meat and I found the texture to be chewy and not the best. The sauce wasn’t as vinegary as some Lexington style sauces, but the meat had a nice smoky flavor to it. The smashed potato was a fun potato pancake. It was crispy on the edges and soft in the center. It tasted like comfort. The greens were good, but I would have preferred them cut into smaller pieces, but that’s just me being nit picky. The corn bread was some of the best vegan corn bread I’ve had. IMG_1754

 

One of my friends ordered the vegan chicken and waffles. It was so good. The fried chicken was a bit chewy (normal for mock meat). The waffles were perfect, nice and crisp outside and soft inside. Chicken and waffles seemed to be one of the most popular dishes; it’s easy to understand why.

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My other friend ordered the vegan sushi. It had a nori roll (maki style, without rice) that was filled with vegetables and sashimi tofu. The rolls were a nice mix of flavor and texture that reminded one of sushi. I do think they would have benefited from the normal, healthy dose of tangy rice. The flavor was nice and getting something other than the standard cucumber or avocado roll is always a treat. The sashimi tofu was really nice. It had a mild flavor. The coolest thing about the tofu is that they did something around the outermost layer to make it flaky, almost like a fish skin. It was super cool and fun to eat.

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There were vegan desserts too! We picked the lemon vanilla  cheesecake with a ginger snap crust and a winter berry coulis. The cheesecake had an amazing texture. I wish it has a bit more lemon tang, but it was really nice.

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The Fiction Kitchen had solid food and great service. I would go back again.

Vegan Cupcake at Camino

I’ve been stressed recently. Between shifts in jobs (mainly in a positive direction), issues at home, and a dog that developed chronic ear infections, there’s a lot going on. One of my best friends took me out to distract me from everything for a short time. We ended up going to Camino, a fun bakery located downtown in the city where I live. They have some of the best latte drinks I’ve had and they sometimes have vegan baked goods and sandwiches.

We lucked out! We went on half-price cupcake day AND they had a vegan cupcake. The vegan flavor was chocolate strawberry, another win for me because I love chocolate and fruit. The cupcake wasn’t the best cupcake I’ve ever had, but it had a nice chocolate flavor. It’s always nice to be able to order something sweet when grabbing a coffee, so it was the perfect treat for curing stress.

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Since I’ve been stressed I skipped the fancy coffee and ordered a London Fog with almond milk. Tea is my go to comfort beverage and Camino is my go to fancy drink shop, it made sense. The vanilla syrup was really good. They over steeped the tea a little bit this time around, so it was a bit bitter, but overall the drink was really good.

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Creating Warmth: Tea

It’s cold out. Staying warm can be hard. Maybe you don’t have much time to cook. But it’s cold. Time for a warm beverage. Coffee is great, it has caffeine. Hot chocolate is wonderful. But this post is about tea. Tea is great for warming your hands and your cold, dead heart.

Believe it or not, I wasn’t always a tea lover. I passively drank tea until I was in graduate school in Ontario. A couple of friends were really into tea. They started me off at the tea store chain David’ Tea (not all their tea is vegan, but some blends are). After a while I was developing a taste for all kinds of tea. I prefer loose leaf tea (and I also love all the adorable tea accessories out there for loose leaf tea).

Since the theme is creating warmth I also decided to bake a bit. Baking makes the house smell great and it can help warm things up when the temperature dips.

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Berry and lavender scones from Vegan Brunch. I think they pair nicely with an Earl Grey.

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No baked goodies here, but this is one of my favorite teas. Apocalytpica is one of my favorite bands, and when they toured in September I was finally able to try one of the teas that had only been available in the European store. I decided on Bittersweet because it was an oolong green blend and oolong is my favorite variety of tea. Luckily, Bittersweet is now available for sale at their online store for North America. I also love my Shakespeare mug and my first cute tea infuser.