Sunday, March 21, 2010

Vegetarian Cowboy Cuisine

Today we will interview, Neil Bernstein from Veggie Trails, a new veg mobile concessions trailer specializing in "cowboy" food. We'll find out what cowboy (or cowgirl, I'm guessing) food is. What makes their business special and where/when you can find them locally. If you have any questions for us to ask, post them in the comments here. You won't want to miss hearing from Neil about his new business adventure. Y'all listen in!

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Chicago Restaurant Reviews

I (Vegan Linda) promised links to the restaurants my son and guest, Parker, and I reviewed last Sunday.

India House in downtown Chicago
Service was excellent, food was excellent, menu is quite large, expensive, but worth it! Two thumbs up from my kids (10, almost 6, and 2.5 years so I guess that is a total of six thumbs up). One of the neat things for children is the glass wall so they can see the chefs in action. It is a large restaurant and more upscale than most of the Indian restaurants we frequent. The kids loved the hot napkins after the meal. They are easily impressed. I would love to go back.

Earwax Cafe in Wicker Park Chicago
Unfortunately, they don't have much of a website so I'll link to some reviews, here and here. I don't remember where I first heard about Earwax, but the name makes it hard to forget and it has been on my list of must try restaurants for a while. We needed a place for breakfast Saturday morning so we were up at outside the restaurant a few minutes before they opened. The menu isn't completely veg, but there were so many options it was hard to choose. The serve their entire menu all day so I was tempted to try a sandwich, but we all went for breakfast fare instead. My 2.5 year old had the bagel sandwich (scrambled tofu and vegan sausage, but they were out of point against for being out when we were their first customers of the day, but they subbed fresh fruit which is preferred anyway) with a side of home fries, 5 year old had the vegan short stack (scrambled tofu, their last vegan sausage, pancakes), 10 year old had the banana walnut pancakes, and my husband and I both had the tofu benedict. We did a lot of sharing and it was all very good. Thumbs up all around. The atmosphere is pretty hipster and the waitstaff took a while to warm up (a little to much angst and attitude), but by the end of the meal they were quite sweet to the kids and somewhat attentive. We overheard lots of artsy talk, including the scoop on a movie being filmed nearby. It reminded me of Berwyn Cafe in College Park, MD. We will go again.

Viet Bistro on Devon St. (773-465-5720 1344 W Devon Ave Chicago, IL 60660)
I can't give a completely fair review since we attended a private party at Viet Bistro and did not have a sit down meal at the restaurant. I can say the atmosphere was very nice for a party. We were there for several hours and the food kept coming (they have vegan items on for us requested by the the hostess of the part) and the drinks at the open bar were great (they even made special juice drinks for the kids). The bar tender was very sweet and engaging. The food we tried was quite good. I've heard they are not doing so well. I am guessing price and location have something to do with it. Try this place out if you are in the area and tell your friends! I have a couple coupons for 15% off, just let me know if you would like one.

Last but certainly not least, save room for dessert!

Our hostess for the weekend ordered vegan cupcakes from Bleeding Heart Bakery for our family. The kids are not huge cupcake fans, but they are still raving about these. Very moist, wonderful icing (only one icing fan in the family, but we all had to admit the icing was quite good), and possibly the best cup cakes I've ever eating (vegan or no). The is another place I've been meaning to try. They are woman owned (or it seems couple owned from the website) and just sound plain awesome. I will definitely be giving them more business! Check out the website and drool!

Monday, March 8, 2010

Bryant Terry on University of Illinois Campus this Week!

Heads up, folks! A great lecture series this week at Allen Hall on the UIUC campus. Vegan Linda & I will attempt to get an interview with Mr. Terry for future broadcast on "Food for Thought!" Not to be missed!

Bryant Terry
Eco-chef, food justice activist, and author Bryant Terry will be a Unit One/Allen Hall Guest-in-Residence 3/7-3/11.

Sunday, March 7
7pm - FOOD JUSTICE FOR ALL! (south rec room)
For the past ten years Bryant Terry has worked to build a more just and sustainable food system and has used cooking as a tool to illuminate the intersections between poverty, structural racism, and food insecurity. In this session Bryant will discuss his journey as an eco chef, food justice activist, and author.

Monday, March 8 4:45-6:30pm – Vegetarian Feast in the Allen Dining Hall
Get your grub on with vegetarian soul food recipes from Bryant Terry (dining plan or meal pass necessary for entry)
7pm - Grub Parties 101: Using Food to Build Community (south rec room)
In 2004 food activist Anna Lappé and Bryant Terry started grub parties to bring communities, groups, and organizations together to share a good meal and conversation centered on the theme of local food. Join Bryant and learn more about using this model in your communities.

Tuesday, March 9
7pm - Liquid Lessons: Making Winter Soups and Stews in Bulk for Cheap Healthy Meals (kitchen)
Soups are almost the perfect student food. They are cheap and easy to make; they are comforting and nutritious; and when made in bulk, they provide tasty leftovers that can be frozen for a later date or warmed up the next day. In addition to making a few flavorful vegetarian stocks, we will make Gumbo Z—an all green Gumbo using 7 different greens—and Creamy Yellow Potato Soup with Rosemary Oil and Crispy Rosemary. Arrive early, as space is limited.

Wednesday, March 10 7pm - Redefining Soul Food: Politics and Pleasures of Food and Eating in African American Communities (kitchen)
Beyond the confines of Southern-style comfort food lies a culinary history and rich heritage of a people that have historically grown their own food and have employed gastronomic resourcefulness and creativity to transform local, seasonal, and sustainably grown food into hearty, humble, and satisfying fare. Join Bryant for a discussion about the pleasures of food and eating in African American communities, along with a hands-on cooking class of some recipes from his latest book, Vegan Soul Kitchen: Fresh, Healthy & Creative African-American Cuisine. Arrive early, as space is limited.

Thursday, March 11
7pm – What’s On Your Plate?: Young People in the Movement to Create a Just and Sustainable Food System (south rec room)
What’s on Your Plate is a witty and provocative documentary about kids and food politics (Bryant was an advisor, and he makes an appearance in the film). Bryant has been active in supporting youth-centered food initiatives for the past decade. He founded b-healthy--a five-year initiative designed to educate low-income youth about healthy cooking and food politics and train them to be peer educators and community organizers able to address issues related to community food security. Join us for a film screening, snacks, drinks, and a discussion about the role of young people in the movement to create a more just and sustainable food system across the United States.

Bryant Terry is an Oakland-based eco chef, food justice activist, Kellogg Food and Society Policy Fellow, and author of Vegan Soul Kitchen: Fresh, Healthy, and Creative African American Cuisine. For the past nine years he has worked to build a more just and sustainable food system and has used cooking as a tool to illuminate the intersections between poverty, structural racism, and food insecurity. His interest in cooking, farming, and community health can be traced back to his childhood in Memphis, Tennessee, where his grandparents inspired him to grow, prepare, and appreciate good food. Called “ingenious” by The New York Times Magazine, Bryant’s first book, Grub: Ideas for an Urban Organic Kitchen, is a winner of a 2007 Nautilus Book Award. Bryant’s work has been featured in Gourmet, Food and Wine, The San Francisco Chronicle, Vibe, and many other publications.

Friday, March 5, 2010


This week we have special guest, Wade Albright. Wade started a local Vegan Meetup group. We will chat with him about the whys and hows of starting your own group in your area. For locals, you will find out how to join in on the vegan potluck fun (you do not have to be vegan yourself). We will discuss community and how to create one if it doesn't already exist. Join us Sunday from 3-4pm central time for some Food for Thought!