Monday, January 21, 2008
It was really nice to kick back and relax at my mom's house for a week after coming back from L.A. Not only did we get to unwind from traveling and milk the last few days of our school break, but we also got to eat really well.
** Before I go any further, I want to take this opportunity to thank my mom, who watched our cats Bijou and Marble for us while we traveled. Without her help, we would never be able to go anywhere, due to Bijou's diabetes, which necessitates 2 insulin shots every day. Thanks, mom! We love you! **
First up, our meet-up! Daiku and I got to meet Mary from Pickled Treats Last Longer and Bofiek from the PPK at Java Green restaurant. Mary and I have been visiting each other's blogs for at least a year, so this was a real treat.
Java Gren's menu was an awesome combination of vegan Korean and American goodness- I don't remember the last time I had Korean food!
From top to bottom, Daiku got the spicy noodle soup, Mary got the Jobche noodles with tofu, Bofiek got the tofu and avocado wrap, and I got the bulgogi and kimchi. My plate came with bulgogi (beef BBQ with a sweet sauce), rice, noodles with veggies, and a huge hunk of kimchi. It was wonderful- spicy and tingly, just as kimchi should be.
Here's the group- Daiku, me, Mary, and Bofiek. You'll notice that everyone looks nice and normal, but my face is mysteriously blurred!
During our meal, DJ Kim, the owner of the restaurant came around and spoke to us. He was so nice and friendly, and interested in learning more about all of us. I can't believe I'd never been to this restaurant before- I will definitely go back next time I'm in the area.
We took some dessert to go- after browsing all the tempting sweets on offer, we chose this slice of sweet potato pie from Sweet-n-Natural.
It was so good- fresh and spicy. My mom loved it, too.
I did some baking at my mom's place. I wanted to make something for my uncle, and since he loves coconut, I decided to go for the coconut custard pie from My Sweet Vegan. Because my mom doesn't bake very much, there weren't that many baking dishes or ingredients in the house, so I decided to take a shortcut and use a prepared chocolate pie crust from Whole Foods. Above you see the pie fresh out of the oven- it filled the house with such an intoxicating aroma!
And here is a close-up of the pie after being topped with some shredded coconut. As tempting as it was to steal a slice before delivering it to my uncle, I didn't- so I didn't get to taste this pie! But my uncle, who got it the day after we left, made sure to tell us that it was excellent and he really liked it- yay!
After baking this pie, I had half a box of silken tofu and part of a can of coconut milk left over. I knew that my mom wouldn't use them up and they might go to wase, so I tried to come up with an idea of what to do with them. Then it hit me:
Brownies! There was a box of brownie mix in my mom's cupboard which was vegan, but called for 2 eggs (in addition to 2/3 cup oil and 1/4 cup water) to make. I used 1/2 box (6 oz.) extra firm silken tofu, 1/3 cup coconut milk, and 1/3 cup oil, and I omitted the water, since coconut milk is waterier than oil. I blended these together in a food processor, and then stirred them into the brownie mix. I sprinkled the batter with some walnuts, baked as directed, about 5-10 minutes longer than called for, and voilà! Veganized brownies from a box!
Daiku and I always try to grab some Ethiopian food when we travel, since there are no Ethiopian restaurants in Syracuse. My mom wanted to go out and hear some jazz. The Sunday night before we were supposed to leave, we found a way to do both of these things!
Twins Jazz is a jazz club and Ethiopian restaurant in one - crazy combination, right? But it was an awesome experience. Above, you see the vegetarian platter that we shared: yellow split peas, collard greens, and cabbage, along with yummy injera bread. Usually, there is a pretty hefty cover charge at Twins, but Sunday night are jam sessions, so we got in for free and got to hear several hours of really cool improv by various musicians. Food, drink, music, and good company, what more could you ask for?
Finally, some random cuteness:
Here are Marble (back) and Bijou (front) chilling at my mom's house. Even though they each had a carrier, they would take turns using just one. When one of them was inside the carrier, the other would just sleep outside. They were really comfortable there.
And here's the newest addition to our extended family- Nike, a Shiba Inu puppy that my cousin just got. He is only 15 weeks old in this photo, and one of the nicest, cuddliest, friendliest puppies I've seen in a long time- it was so fun to play with him!
That's it for the travel stories, folks! I'm thinking of posting a list of all the restaurants I visited over the last month, along with websites and contact info., so that you can all be well-fed whether your travels take you to Southern California or Washington D.C.! Stay tuned.
1020 19th Street NW
Washington, DC 20036
Phone: 202 775-8899
Fax: 202 315-3485
1344 U. St. NW
Washington, DC 20009
Tel: ( 202) 234-0072
Fax: (301) 445-4363