Tag Archives: vegan

Restaurant Review: Raw

If you’ve been reading my blog for a while now, then you may remember that I’ve wanted to try Raw. since I set eye upon it during my first trip to the Chicago French Market about three years ago.  You might even remember when I missed the HLS meetup there in 2010.  Well, I finally did it friends!

Last Wednesday I met up with the very sweet and awesome Diana from Veggie Next Door for lunch at Raw.  I met Diana through my bestie Laura, and have been reading her blog and tweeting with her for a couple of months now.  As it turns out, her and I work pretty close to each other and within walking distance of Raw.  I finally had a partner in crime for a lunch at Raw.!

There are a ton of options available, and everything is packaged grab-and-go for a quick-lunch or dinner.  The options were a bit overwhelming at first, but that didn’t last long.  Diana recommended I go with the sampler platter since it gave me an opportunity to try a lot of their offerings.  I decided to heed her advice and go for the sampler platter and get a little taste of everything. The Sampler Platter included the spaghetti and marinara with a “meat”ball, garden burger, ravioli, and a dessert. Everything tasted amazing, and I was surprised by how much of it tasted like the “real” thing.

[Source]

The spaghetti (top left) was my favorite closely followed by the ravioli (top right). I actually LOVED the ravioli filling, but the wrapper didn’t quite do it for me with its slight crunchiness. Oh wait, I forgot about the lemon bar (bottom middle). The lemon bar was definitely my favorite item.

The staff is extremely friendly and very enthusiastic. They’re also incredibly helpful. Plus Raw. is extremely generous with the samples so you can get a good idea of what you might like before you buy something. I got to sample the salmon pate sandwich, the empanadas, and a third item I can’t remember right now.  I wasn’t 100% sold on the raw bread, but the salmon pate was so good that I foresee myself getting it in the future.

I did think it was a bit pricey. When you consider the amount of time and energy that goes into the production of making really good raw food, I can forgive the cost, but it will definitely make me think twice about eating here regularly.

So breaking it down:
+ Delicious food
+ Generous samples
+ Awesome staff
– A little bit pricey

Overall I was extremely impressed with Raw, and will definitely be going back.

245. The Muffins that Almost Weren’t

Three weeks ago, I decided I needed a new cookbook so I ordered the Happy Herbivore’s new cookbook. Shortly after ordering I had a realization: while I’m neither vegan nor planning to be vegan, the last three cookbooks I’ve purchased for myself have been vegan. Weird right? Honestly, I just have this thing for vegan baked goods. Somehow vegan baked goods just feel healthier than their non-vegan counterparts regardless of whether or not they actually are.

The weekend before last my stash of vegan cookbooks really came in handy. Sunday morning I was a little bit hung-over from a wedding on Saturday night and in serious need of a good carby breakfast. I needed a muffin, and I needed it damn quick. This is where the problems started. I was fresh out of eggs. I probably should have given up here, but remember, I’m slowly becoming a hoarder of vegan cookbooks. I pulled out Vive Le Vegan and flipped through the pages for a bit before finally deciding on the Orange-Poppy Seed Muffins.

I was all set to create delicious, carby, eggless muffins, or at least I thought I was. When I pulled the jar of applesauce out of my fridge, I discovered several large moldy spots hanging out on top. I figured I would just use more canola oil in place of the applesauce. I then discovered I barely had the 3 T the recipe required to begin with. I would have scrapped the whole plan and just driven to Starbuck’s for one of their ginormous blueberry muffins except I’d already combined all my dry ingredients and went through the hassle of zesting an orange with my giant cheese grater. (Note to self: buy a damn zester already!) Since I’ve apparently developed a penchant for eating food that’s past its prime, I decided to scoop out the moldy applesauce and use the not moldy stuff at the bottom of the jar. I mean, the oven would kill anything that could potentially make me sick right?

Finally I popped the muffins and say down eagerly awaiting the finished product. These muffins were great. They’re bready and not too sweet. They’ve got a really great subtle orange flavor. They will definitely be making a repeat appearance in my house. Added bonus, the flavor of these muffins actually gets better as they sit. I snacked on these muffins all week (and I even let the boy take a few home with him!)

Orange-Poppy Seed Muffins
Adapted from Vive Le Vegan

(This is where the really great picture I deleted from my camera before uploading to my computer would go.)

Ingredients
1 1/4 c ground oats
2 T poppy seeds
2 T sugar
Zest of two small oranges
1/4 t sea salt
1/2 t cinnamon
1/4 t ground all spice
1/4 t ground ginger
1 c whole wheat flour
2 t baking powder
1 t baking soda
1/4 c orange juice (I squeezed the two oranges I zested then used Simply Orange Juice to make up the difference.)
1 1/2 T ground flax
1 c unsweetened apple sauce
1/3 c soy milk
1/3 t apple cider vinegar
1/3 c agave
2 t vanilla extract
3 T canola oil

Do It

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  Combine soy milk and apple cider vinegar and set aside.

2. In large bowl combined first 8 ingredients (through ginger).

3. Sift in flour, baking powder and baking soda.

4. In another bowl combined orange juice and flax meal stirring thoroughly.  Add applesauce, milk, agave, vanilla, and oil.

5. Add wet ingredients to dry and stir until well combined.

6. Spoon mixture into muffin pans and bake about 20 minutes.

 

Seriously, make these muffins.  You won’t regret it.

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