“Sweet” Friday?

As I mentioned on Monday, I am planning on taking a twice weekly approach to my posts: Mondays for savory foods -Fridays for sweets, with random posts in between when warranted. Awesome thing is, I recently made pumpkin donuts from Betty Goes Vegan. Not so awesome thing, I am currently without a phone charger and my pictures are still trapped on the phone. But every cloud has a silver lining, as many cliche, and this is a great excuse to unload a sweet-heavy draft I’ve been neglecting for months.

I mentioned this trip to Great Full Gardens before, in my anti-Daiya post. If whiny vegans irritate you, I suggest avoiding that link. Instead I want to tell you the good!

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Before we stopped in for dinner, I insisted on buying cupcakes from neighboring Batch, thinking there was no way I’d end up finding a (nothing with eyes, all organic, all natural, all good) dessert for me at Great Full. I was, of course, wrong. More on that later. The green one was mine, chocolate with mint buttercream, and it was delicious. Batch is just my style: (comparatively) light on icing, and much more vegan friendly than Reno’s favorite cupcake shop. The other one belonged to Zayne/OH, and if memory serves, it was chocolate caramel pretzel.

That pink stuff was delicious watermelon creme Oogave. YUM! This was just delightful – sweet, just the right amount of tart, and not fake-tasting like standard fruity sodas.

We then split a veganized bruschetta, which the waitress was gracious enough to offer with Daiya, no charge. (As it wasn’t under a bed of Tofurky pepperoni bits, I picked a lot of it off. Rude of me, I know.)

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Zayne had the (meat) Ruben and I went boring, as usual: with the fettuccine. I was about to go with pizza, but after eating the appetizer and realizing, “no Maddie, you hate Daiya,” I quickly made the switch. Next time I have the money, I’m thinking vegan Ruben. I’m just afraid nothing will hold up to the fettuccine!

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In the end, it turned out. . . cute little hipster cafe is vegan friendly outside of vegan cheezes (shock, right?). Lo and behold: vegan dessert! This was my first time eating “raw” and not a Larabar. It was delicious! It actually tasted like cheesecake (even OH agreed)! If memory and picture serve correctly, the cheesecake that day was chocolate cherry. Whatever it was, it was amazing.

I’ve since returned to Great Full Gardens twice, for drinks. Once I stopped in for a latte (which was pretty darn good). Recently, they revised their menu to be more clear (now everything that is vegan is clearly marked, leaving no ambiguity at all). When they updated their menu, they added a new item: Oogave root beer with Coconut Bliss FLOAT! VEGAN FLOATS! Not  your every day treat given the cost, but it was an amazing summer treat! Unfortunately, its tasty beauty and OH’s signature obnoxious hand, like the pumpkin donuts, are trapped in my phone. You’ll just have to imagine this one.

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VeganMoFo . . . “Day 7??”

So. . . A word of frustration, if you’d please. This post was written out in full and was supposed to post on Saturday. I’m officially not using the mobile app unless it’s for uploading photos, ever. Everything I wrote is GONE! Can I get an “ugh?”

If you will, imagine this was posted on Saturday, which with the theme, was Retro Saturday. I’ve been loosely following the theme, and I thought, “what’s more retro than a diner burger with fries?”

Well, not much, and I suppose posting your Saturday post on Monday night is, in a sense, retro as well.

Anywho, I went to Red Robin over the weekend. As far as meat-heavy establishments go, where your only vegan option is a veggie burger. . . Red Robin is my favorite of them. There’s no fall-apart veggie burger with an off taste (as with Denny’s), and you don’t get a tiny sampling of fries with tinier servings of sauce (hi, Denny’s). The vegan patty is tasty, if not colorful in appearance. And you get bottomless fries. Sometimes I want to forgo the burger and just order a plate of fries. They’re just that good.

This particular night, I started off with a raspberry freckled lime-aid with shared chips and guacamole (unpictured). . .

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And followed it up with the Boca burger, in my usual style: ketchup, mustard, lettuce, tomato, pickle, and avocado on whole grain bun.

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With hot, crispy steak fries. They re-did their menu, apparently, and now offer more sauces than the usual suspects (barbecue, ranch, honey mustard, or ketchup). A thai chili sauce caught my eye, but I went with the sweet and spicy ketchup. It was delicious enough that I didn’t miss the ranch, and I felt satisfied without a refill!

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So. . . The mobile app’s hatred for making sense has left me with the following decision: I don’t care about the theme anymore! It was a guideline before a theme, anyway. For goodness sake, I’m not even on the blog roll. My goal with VeganMoFo 2013 was to get back to where I was in June: trying to build up my blog. So that’s what I’ll do for now.

The themes did give me a fun way to meal plan and grocery shop, however, and I’m happy for it! On actual retro Saturday, I had a black bean burger with Pickle Pasta Salad. Tonight, I’m going to be making some bomb Mac and Peas.
(Basically, I fit all the Vegan Stoner recipes I could into the themes, because I’m lazy as shit on weeknights. Do you want to be cooking up a storm when you get home at midnight? No? Okay.)

I’m going out of town this weekend, and hopefully I’ll have some yummy places to review. Bye for now.

Godfather’s Pizza, Greatfull Gardens, and (no) Batch Cupcakes

Today, I experienced my first time dining out vegan. . . with company.

Up until today, I have eaten at the following places: a local pizzeria with vegan options, a “fresh Mex” chain with vegan options, a certain “Mexican” fast-food corporation with easy vegan substitutions, and a local sushi joint featuring over 40 vegan rolls.

I first went with a very non-vegan crowd to Godfather’s Pizza. My vegan dining “honeymoon period” screeched to a halt. I had considered a cheese-less veggie pizza, but was disappointed to learn the crust is not vegan.

I stuck with the salad bar and threw together just about all the vegan things at the bar (with the exception of beets and banana peppers, because gross). This resulted in a sad salad of iceberg lettuce, tomatoes, cucumbers, pickles, matchstick carrots, broccoli, garbanzo beans, kidney beans, bac-o bits, and a tangy vinaigrette.

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I’m probably coming across as very whiny, but I just can’t stand iceberg. This was also my breakfast since I work graveyard on weekends, but I did end up snacking on a Larabar Alt (Apple Pie) from my purse.

Still a bit hungry, my dad came to my rescue when he texted me and asked if I wanted to go with him to dinner. I graciously accepted and we ended up going to Greatfull Gardens, which I’ve wanted to try ever since I discovered the neighboring Batch Cupcakery.

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Greatfull Gardens is a reasonably priced local eatery which caters to specialty diets (vegetarian, vegan, paleo, etc.) and uses locally grown organic produce whenever possible.

I started off with the Haute Chocolate, and was excited to see almond milk as a substitution. Almond milk, I find, has become something of a fad lately, and I am forever grateful(l). I prefer the creaminess of soy milk, but my under-active thyroid means I need to not consume it in excess. The cocoa was tasty, if unexceptionable: sweet, chocolate-y, and slightly watery. Very good for almond milk.

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For dinner, I decided on the Pasta Alfredo (broccoli subbed for peas). My steak and potatoes dad surprised me by ordering Juli’s Brown Rice Sauté (brown rice, spinach, cabbage, broccoli, white beans, avocado, cucumber, cilantro, lemon, and olive oil) and was gracious enough to let me snap a picture and sample a bite.

My pasta was surprisingly convincing as a copycat dish, if under-seasoned (which was easily fixed thanks to a generous sprinkling of salt and pepper). It came with a side of garlic bread which tasted even better. The bread was so delicious, and so visually appealing, that I had to double check its vegan-ness with the waiter (100%, the yellow hue comes from Earth Balance and not milk-fat butter). The only complaint I could think of is that the broccoli was mostly stems. The original dish came with peas, however, so this would be a silly thing to complain about.

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The rice bowl was hearty, healthy, and delicious. While I’m not sure I would order it myself (eating out = unhealthy treat!), I could definitely imagine replicating this in my kitchen for a healthy meal. It offered a variety of flavors and textures, from creamy to a crisp crunch.

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I’m not one to usually notice atmosphere, but I ate it up at Greatfull Gardens. There was a mural on the main wall, and the tables and chairs were of various sizes and colors. The water was served in jars, and poured from what seemed to be an up-cycled wine bottle.

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Even the restroom was cute.
From inspirational messages on one wall. . .

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To polka dots covering another. . .

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I was in love! (The fact I matched didn’t hurt, either!)

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On my way out, I couldn’t help but walk into Batch Cupcakery. . .

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Which had ran out of vegan cakes! I was a bit disappointed, but took it as a sign to get my ass in my own kitchen instead. Which I will try to do. Eventually. This week. Maybe.