Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Deshima - Healthy, Tasty Vegan Food in Amsterdam

Deshima is a vegan, macrobiotic restaurant in Amsterdam that blew me away! They are a lunch place only, but close around 5pm, so we snuck in for the last items they had available. Even so, they had really healthy, amazing food. We had the seitan roles which looked like little empanadas and were extremely good. It was paired with two soups of the day, a miso/mushroom/Japanese soup and a pea soup. There were also these little crunchy bites made of (tempeh?) and a SUPER good blueberry and cream tart. 

Now, if that whole meal sounds weird and thrown together, it was, but it all tasted amazing. The meal was super healthy, made me feel full but without a greasy/tired feeling. The prices were extremely good and the place was cute and pretty close to the center of town. I would definitely come back here again and again if I could!

France Has Changed! Being Vegan in Paris is NOT Sucky Now...With Food Reviews!

In my post from 2013, I was a bit annoyed with the French with their vegan options. If you wanted vegan in Paris, it was mostly expensive and it wasn't tremendously good. The waiters were sassyfrass and the experience was okay, but nothing to get excited about. Also, the people we met were not as aware of what vegetarians and vegans were and were very opposed and surprised by the lifestyle...

However, Paris in 2016 was very different. Paris now has many options that are affordable, taste amazing, and aren't a sit-down dinner with wine and 40€ a plate. Parisians have also shifted their minds in some ways and we met many people who knew about vegans and even ate at these restaurants occasionally. I was pleasantly surprised with the progress France has made. Even in a very small town we visited with only 5,000 people hours from Paris, I found a Vegan Desserts book at a natural grocery store! The world is changing and Paris finally changed too. Here are some highlights from my latest trip!

Hank Burger
The "La Marais" and "Bastille" areas of Paris is still the epicenter of vegan options. The favorite food of everyone on the trip was Hank Burger. The name sounds a bit boring, and I almost didn't go except I saw the cute bird logo and the tons of great reviews. This is a fast-casual type restaurant where you order at the counter and eat in their cute 2nd story loft. The burgers were the best I've ever had. The bread was fresh, the homemade vegenaise was amazing, and the burger flavors were unique and tasty. I had La Touriste, a burger that is a rotating option. At the time, it was a rocket (arugula) and fig option that was to die for. I had this three times during my week there. There was also the Le Petit Nerveux which had coriander and tortilla chips that was really good. This little place was open all day without closing 20x during the day, the staff was really nice and spoke English, and the price was very affordable with a burger, drink and side for only 12€!

I was dying to go to Soya after missing it on the trip in 2013. We finally got to it at lunch time even though it's pretty out of the way from central Paris. It was my understanding that it was a vegan place, but it's actually vegetarian and poorly marked. The board had a few specials for the day and one was lasagna, thinking this was an all vegan place, I ordered it and it was covered in cheese (an ingredient that wasn't listed). They were out of most of the dishes, so my only semi-good looking option was a place with raw vegetables, three kinds of hummus and bread. It was okay, it was fresh, it was more expensive, and I wish I went to Hank Burger! I heard brunch was the thing not to miss, so maybe try that instead. Be careful that items may not be marked correctly with vegetarian or vegan and ask before ordering. 

Le Potager du Marais
We had a big party at Le Potager du Marais even though the place is tiny. It was a big hit and everyone loved their dishes. I made the reservation about an hour before, and they accommodated a table for 10 at 7pm. We also shared the place with Moby's party of 5. They let us have the table until closing which allowed us to sit, eat and drink for three hours. They have pretty great wine and serve a few seitan dishes that I liked. People liked the quinoa burger plate with a side of potatoes. The chocolate volcano cake was very good. The seitan bourguignon and the spinach lasagna were a bit funky. The seitan was chewy and the spinach lasagna had almost 90% spinach. I would suggest this place as a good place for a large party, good service, and some good dishes. Stay clear of some of the more funky dishes, and you should be okay.

Loving Hut
My favorite Loving Hut in the world is still the Paris one. They still have their amazing dishes: the crepe and quiche. We had these probably four times during the trip and even brought two quiches on the plane ride back. Everyone loves these dishes, the prices are very reasonable, and the service is great too. Pick up some vegan chocolate croissants in a bag on the way out to get your croissant fix too!

Le Petit Nerveux

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Cruzer Pizza - Fresh Vegan Pizza in LA

Cruzer Pizza is the best, freshest pizza in LA. So, I traveled out to the spot and wasn't sure about the place because the name didn't seem too vegany - so I wasn't sure if it was going to be half-vegan half-meaty-time or something which is always not as fun. But we got there, and it was advertising 100% vegan pizza, and has pizza, calzones, pasta, salad, sandwiches and desserts that are all vegan too. 

I ordered the calzone because that is pretty rare in the vegan pizza world. My only other pizza I've tried was zpizza and Native Foods - neither of which have calzones, so its a must. I ordered it with v-sausage and eggplant which all together is only $9.50 for a pretty huge sized calzone. 

Once I got it, I was amazed. The bread is homemade that day, so the pizza is SUPER soft and delicious. The daiya cheese inside with the sausage made everything that much better and makes it melt in your mouth. I devoured that, and I'm coming back for more the next moment I have. I even thought about going back for dinner the same night!

The service is super fast and they even deliver pizza if you're too lazy to go to Los Feliz. The place is tiny, but cute, with drawings all over the walls. The owner is really nice and helpful too. Some reviews hate on the pizza, but that's because they must like pizza that makes you feel sick inside. If you want good, kinda healthy pizza with fresh bread, and no dead animals on top, then come here!

Ramen Hood - Best Vegan Ramen in LA

This is my favorite ramen place and it's located right in DTLA at the historic Grand Central Market. It's all vegan so you don't have to slurp down pork butt broth! I love the spicy ramen with extra mushrooms. They flavor and grill the mushrooms in the most tasty way even the mushroom-hating husband loves them. Try adding the vegan egg for some laughs, but it's kinda squishy and weird in my opinion. Stop by G&B Coffee on your way out for some of the best coffee in LA too.

A photo posted by Rachel Robot (@mzzroboto) on

Burgerlords - Best Vegan Burger in LA

Burgerlords is my new favorite burger joint! The Vegan Cheese burger is the best veg burger I've ever had, hands down. It's a homemade patty with eggplant, garbanzo beans, barley, leeks, celery and secret spices. They top it with Follow Your Heart cheese and thousand island! (note: FYH cheese and sauce is legit, it melts, and order extra thousand island for the fries.) Everything tastes similar to In-N-Out but without the dead animal inside to ruin it. Try it out!

A photo posted by Rachel Robot (@mzzroboto) on

Thursday, March 10, 2016

Best Vegan Egg Salad Sandwich Recipe - Soy Free with VeganEgg

I'm not fooled by tofu being egg. It's not like it, we know it, and it's just not the right ingredient for certain recipes like...egg salad sandwich. Enter - Follow Your Heart VeganEgg - this definitely feels like an egg without the chicken and cholesterol, but with all the flavor and texture I was looking for. Bonus: It's super easy to make!

Vegan Egg Salad Sandwich with FYH VeganEgg
Recipe makes 2-3 servings

4 TB          Follow Your Heart VeganEgg (for 2 "eggs")
1 Cup        Cold water
1 TB          Dijon mustard
2 TB          Vegenaise
1/4 tsp      Paprika
Salt & Pepper to taste
1/4 Cup     Chopped green onion (white/green parts)
1               Celery stick chopped small

1. Follow instructions on VeganEgg box to make 2 eggs. Mix 4 TB of powder to 1 cup cold water. 
2. Scramble the eggs. After cooking, lay out the eggs on a flat surface to cool.
3. After the eggs have cooled, chop them into small pieces and put them in a bowl. Mix in the mayo, mustard and spices. Then, mix in the celery and green onion.
4. Place a few scoops of the egg salad on toasted bread and enjoy!

A photo posted by Rachel Robot (@mzzroboto) on

Thursday, February 18, 2016

Vegan Beginner's Shopping Guide

Vegan Beginner's Shopping Guide!

The best way to become more conscious about what you put in your body is to pick the ingredients for your meal. You will need to become an avid ingredient reader. You will learn a TON about what you took for granted was in your food and you will find out if you can or even want to eat those ingredients. When you first become vegan, it's hard to move through the never ending ingredients and vegan products out there. There are good and ugly versions of all the mimicked foods (meat and dairy alternatives), so here is a list of my favorite foods that are ALWAYS in my house. Pick these specific brands up today, and you won't be disappointed or deprived ever again. There are also a few tools that are completely necessary to survive. Here is a list of what you need to buy now!

Shopping List - 10 ingredients to have in your house right now!

1. Best meat substitute: Field Roast Seitan. Try the Italian sausages or handformed burgers!
2. Best cheese substitute: Cashew cheese. Try making your own, or try Mikyoko's Kitchen and Kite Hill Brie. There are two good soy cheeses that are very unlike the rest, try: Follow Your Heart mozzarella shreds, or Field Roast Chao cheese. 
3. Best egg substitute: Follow Your Heart VeganEgg. This is a revolutionary product that feels and tastes like egg. Make scrambles, quiches, and breakfast burritos again!
4. Best mayonnaise substitute: Vegenaise! It will change your life. Make some dipping sauces with these immediately and always have a ranch or thousand island in your house. 
5. Best addition to ALL recipes ever: Nutritional Yeast. This powder will add a cheese flavor to your foods and it's basically a necessity to have in almost all foods at all times. It makes everything better.
6. Best butter alternative: Earth Balance. This is a healthy alternative to butter and it is NOT margarine and does NOT have hydrogenated oils.
7. Best yogurt alternative: Kite hill yogurt is super fantastic! But most non-dairy yogurts are pretty good. I enjoy the coconut yogurts best with the brands Almond Dream and Silk.
8. Best milk alternative: Carrageenan is thought to be a carcinogen and is found in hundreds of products as a thickener. It's found in many alternative milks, but not all. Most of the non-name brand milks are fine. I use Trader Joe's and Whole Foods almond milk. For soy, I like Soy Dream vanilla because it's the only one that foams to make microbubble foam (it has carrageenan, but it's worth it ;))
9. Best tofu: Wildwood sprouted organic extra firm tofu. Soy products and me don't mix very well, but sprouted/organic tofu alleviates those issues. Pretty amazing for fried recipes. 
10. Best meat alternative if you're not a seitan fan: Gardein brand has pretty good alternatives and their chick'un is pretty fantastic. It can be found at Target, so that's a plus too.

Go to my recipe page to find homemade vegan pizza recipes, cupcakes, raw chocolate, pasta bolognese and tuno sandwiches. This diet will allow you to say no to fast-food and take time to be creative and make something that tastes great and is good for you.