11/30/10

Chocolate Chip Scones



A woman who works at my son's school got laid off. Today was her last day. I like her. Always helpful and nice to my guy. Damn budget. So this morning I got up and made chocolate chip scones from Very Vegetarian. Super simple. I think there are six or so ingredients. Flour, baking powder, salt, margarine, vegan milk, and sugar. Then add a bit of currants, nuts, or chocolate chips. Good to go. So light and not too sweet. Just right. I dropped by the office to say bye to our friend and let her know that she was greatly appreciated. Nothing says "thank you" like a homemade baked good.

11/29/10

My gal is 3!

Well once again I did some major cooking over the four day weekend and NO food pics to show for it.  I just get so overwhelmed with cooking and a sick kid, that not everything got done.  I did make the pumpkin ziti from V'con.  Lily loved it.  Said I should make it more often, she's right.  I didn't make it to the mushroom stuffing.  Bummer, I was really looking forward to that.  I still have all the ingredients, so I can make it this week. Simple salad with homemade dressing was refreshing with all of the heavy cooked items.  My poppyseed rolls from Vegan Brunch were okay.  Could have been better.  All my fault.  Plus I made sweet potato casserole from Fat Free Vegan Kitchen.  That was hands down the best thing of the day!!!  So good!  For dessert was vanilla cupcakes (that were pink from beet coloring) and pink frosting too.   The frosting on Lily's cupcakes was awful.  I was so busy trying to get it all done, that I rushed the frosting.  It curdled.  Lily didn't care, but I was upset.  All Lily wanted was to see something pink on top of her pink cupcakes, so that was a success.

11/24/10

Nog



As soon as Halloween passes, my kids and I start looking for Silk Nog and Pumpkin Spice. I have to ration it out, not allowing them to suck it all down that very first day. My preferred way to drink it is warmed with a little whipped soy cream on top.

Life is a little nutty right now. Holidays and all. Tomorrow is appetizers at my brother's house. After the vegan food freakout two years ago (he got upset that my mom veganized some of the family dishes and refused to eat), I am just stopping by for appetizers. Then we're heading over to a friend's house for a vegan feast. I'm making pumpkin ziti from V'con, mushroom stuffing from Joanna's cooking zine, a simple salad with a raspberry dressing, coconut sweet potatoes from Joanna's zine, and cupcakes to celebrate my daughter's third birthday which happens on Friday.

Happy Thanksgiving everyone.

11/22/10

Veggie Grill with my guy



On Saturday night, Henry and I had a movie date. We went to see the new Harry Potter film at the Dome theatre in Hollywood. That won't mean anything to folks outside of Los Angeles, but for me, growing up that was the theatre to see the blockbusters. Huge screen, I mean HUGE! Before heading all the way to Hollywood from West L.A., we stopped at Veggie Grill on Sunset Blvd and Crescent Heights. This is one of Henry's favorite restaurants, so I knew he would be pleased.

Henry always orders a plain V-burger, sweet potato fries and pickles on the side. As I have stated before, my guy is one picky eater. It's amazing that he'll eat the sweet potato fries. I usually go for a salad or a side of kale and the bbq wings. Due to the weather being a little on the chilly side, I went for the soup and salad combo. Soup was barley in a tomato base. The soup hit the spot. I had to stop myself from licking the bowl. I chose the kale salad with corn salsa, quinoa, walnuts, and a ginger dressing. I am not a big fan of ginger but the dressing was good.  My favorite part about the salad was the quinoa. Nice addition. I'm going to have to experiment with that one at home.

As far as the movie, everything we had hoped for! Can't wait for part two.

11/19/10

Our Vegan Disneyland Adventure



The other day we went to Disneyland. Slim pickings already for vegans when you are going to a place like that but even slimmer when you have allergies, food aversions, and Crohn's disease in your party. My husband has Crohn's. He was diagnosed when he was about 18 years old. He does really well with it. No surgeries so far, he doesn't take any medications, and he feels pretty good most of the time. He's noticed that fatigue and food effect him the most. He can't eat anything with a thick skin (okra, corn, green beans) and if he eats too much wheat or nuts, he has some issues. Being vegan has really helped him a lot. Then there is my son. Picky eater!!! Drives me crazy most days. Plus he can't eat corn or pineapple (intolerance). With corn he gets a wicked stomachache. Just brutal. Really sends him spinning. Corn is actually a really hard one. Corn syrup is in everything! He wishes he could eat popcorn like everyone else when we go to a movie but it just isn't worth the reaction. And pineapple gives him a rash, like the one my daughter gets from apples. So far our daughter eats just about anything but can't eat apples.

 

So when we get ready for a big adventure like Disneyland, we have to bring snacks that will get us through the day without effecting the health issues in the family. I knew that D-land had plain pasta with a tomato sauce that was vegan. So that covered our daughter, my husband, and me. Henry won't eat it. I would rather go eat rice, beans and corn tortillas at the Mexican food restaurant but can't tempt Henry with the corn. So I made seitan for him to snack on throughout the day. Seitan that my husband can't touch because he would be down for the count. My go to recipe is from Nava Atlas. It is in The Vegetarian Family Cookbook. Then there was fruit. I'm not paying D-land prices for fruit. Packed tangerines so that Lily wouldn't get upset with us eating apples. Dessert, you have to have something sweet for the kids. You pass a lot of lollipops, popsicles, and other sugary items while in the land of Mickey. Henry can't eat any of it since they are packed with high fructose corn syrup. So I made Rock Road cookies from Vegan Cookies Invade Your Cookie Jar. Last I packed some juice boxes to make sure that it didn't have any corn syrup or apples in it. If any room left in the bag, I throw in trial mix, some seaweed, and nutrition bars. Oh, I also threw in a small container of nutritional yeast for us to sprinkle on our pasta. Give it a little something something.

11/18/10

I made bagels!!!!



Well it seems that my daughter has developed an apple intolerance. We have noticed for the last couple of months that she gets a rash on her tush every so often. At first we thought it was a new detergent...nope. Then we went to apple juice. Seemed to show some signs of improvement. And now with there being such a stockpile of apples in the house due to my choice of theme for Veganmofo.... we see that anything with apples seems to turn her butt bright red. So sad, this girl loves her red apples. Loves to just munch on a bowl of peeled, sliced up, crisp apple. She is very sad about this discovery, too. So to help her have an easier time, we won't be buying apples for awhile. Giving her body a break. Which means that I won't be blogging about foods I make with apple as the main ingredient. Let me have a moment of silence......Okay. Done.

Over the weekend, I cracked open Vegan Brunch and decided it was time to attempt making bagels. ( I had thought about doing it ever since the book was released in the middle of 2009. ) I live two blocks away from a bagel place that we like, but why walk two blocks when you can make 'em right there in your home? And guess what? The family loved them. Ate them in two days kind of love. So I made another batch of bagels. So good. They don't take that much time and they don't call for a long list of ingredients. Flour, yeast, sugar, salt, and water. Good to go. If you have some poppy seeds or sesame seeds around the house, you can doll them up, but it isn't necessary. Perfect just the way they are. Sometimes it pays off to face your cooking fears, it did for me.

11/16/10

Apple Mango Salsa





Most of the recipes I found for apples were desserts or sweet. Not surprising since apples are naturally sweet. I wanted to take a break from this. I went looking for something that I hadn't thought of. I found a few potato-apple soups, dressings, and then a salsa. In You Won't Believe It's Vegan, there is an apple salsa. I based my salsa off of it since I've never made salsa before but I changed a bit, too.

2-3 honeycrisp apples, diced
1/4 mango, diced
1/3- 1/2 cup chopped cilantro
one bunch of green onions, used white and some of the green
2 jalapenos diced
some lime juice ( I think I used 3)
and salt to taste.

The original recipe called for mint, a different type of apple and less jalapenos. I added the mango because I had some on hand. This salsa is sweet, so I wanted more heat. I could have added another jalapeno for sure. It needs more kick. I might even add more lime juice and a red onion next time. I found myself searching for the juices in the bottom of the bowl. If you eat it right away, you might just taste the apples. So let it sit and marinate in the fridge for awhile. My favorite thing about this salsa are the colors. I love the green, yellow, and red. Pretty food always helps with the experience.

11/12/10

We interrupt apples for an emergency broadcast





As I've talked about before, there is a Yummy Cupcakes bakery down the street from my work. Yesterday I had a craving. A craving for something sweet. Headed on over to Yummy Cupcakes and there were two vegan choices: chocolate with vanilla frosting or peanut butter. I went for the chocolate/vanilla. I scrapped up some of the frosting, since it is too much for me. Don't worry though, I didn't let it go to waste! The cake itself was a little dry, thank goodness for my cup of tea. Helped to wash it down. Don't get me wrong, the cupcake was still delicious. Just wish I had headed over a little earlier in the day, closer to baking time.
This weekend is the celebration of the Brentwood store opening. They are giving out free goodies and having a drawing contest for the kiddies. If you are in the area, head on over.

11/11/10

Best snack ever



For years I have been a Granny Smith type of gal.  Granny Smith for my apple crisp, pies, snacks, etc.  Once I had kids, I started trying different apples so that they could decide for themselves what was their favorite.  My son is a Granny Smith kid and my daughter loves red apples, any kind of red apple.  Don't try to give her a green apple, she'll turn her nose up at it and demand something red.  With our exploring, I have come to love Honeycrisp apples.  So good.  Firm, sweet and a little tart in there too.  Yesterday I was lucky enough to grab one for my mid-day snack.  Grabbed a little peanut butter and I was loving life.  Don't get me wrong, Granny Smith is still number one for me, but it's good to branch out.  Live a little, as some folks say.

11/10/10

Waffles for another day


Once again I received inspiration from Katie over at Don't Eat off the Sidewalk.   She had posted about how she cooks a lot of food on one or two days during the week.  That way you always have something to eat.   Over the weekend, I had one of those days.  Home with only one of the kids while the other one had a playdate ALL day long.  Lucky me!  I cracked open Vegan Brunch and decided to make waffles.  After reading the choices, I decided on raised waffles with cinnamon and apples.  They smelled delicious while cooking in the waffle iron.  I don't know how they taste yet due to the fact that I froze the entire batch for us to eat on one of our busy weekdays.  And guess what?  Tonight is the lucky night.  Tonight is going to be the waffles, tofu scramble (we use this one from  Get It Ripe) , and fruit.  I'll let you know how they taste.

11/9/10

Pre-Thanksgiving




Over at Don't Eat Off the Sidewalk, there is a fun event called Iron Chef.   I considered joining in the event.  I even went shopping to get everything for soyrizo tempeh samosas.  Only problem was, once I thought about mashed potatoes, all I wanted was a Thanksgiving type meal.  So I passed on the samosas and went for  seitan, mashed potatoes with golden gravy, and dressing.  500 Vegan Recipes has an apple sage fauxsage recipe that is quite tasty.    So that was the obvious choice for me this month.  The seitan recipe is super easy to throw  together.   A few ingredients, mix, wrap it foil, and bake in the oven for ninety minutes.  Plenty of time to get the other food ready.  I already had a box of cubed bread pieces in the pantry, so that was easy enough to prepare with a little celery, onion, margarine, and veggie broth.  Throw that in the oven with the seitan and get cracking on the potatoes.  Luckily I was able to find a fresh bunch of asparagus in the fridge and the meal was set.  I like to roast my asparagus with a little olive oil and salt.   Sad to say the kids were not impressed with this meal.  My daughter ate a bowl of golden gravy (sorry not in the picture) and my son snubbed the entire meal.  My husband and I didn't mind, more for us.  After two servings, we were stuffed!  I packed up the leftovers, which has fed us lunch for the last two days. Win win.  

11/8/10

Mom's Apple Crisp




My mom wasn't much of a cook from scratch type of person.  She always told me that she learned all of her recipes in Home Ec class in middle school.  Tuna noodle casserole, green bean casserole, salmon croquettes, etc. You get the picture.  Most of the stuff came out of cans and was blended together in one casserole dish.  She had four kids and worked outside the house.  Her life was packed with things to do and not enough time to do them.  So there aren't any bad feelings here.  She fed us and made sure there was plenty to go around for the growing teens in her house.  My fondest food memories from childhood are Sunday breakfast that my Dad always made (probably giving my Mom a chance to sleep in) and holiday cooking.  Thanksgiving was probably my favorite.  There was the usual turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes, and green bean casserole.  For dessert we either got a pumpkin pie from Marie Callendar's or Mom made her apple crisp that she served with vanilla ice cream.  I never liked the pie, so I was always happy to see her peeling apples knowing that the crisp would be coming.

This weekend the kids and I met up with a friend for a playdate and food.  She didn't feel like cooking but thought we could eat at Veggie Grill in West Hollywood and go back to her place for dessert.  I needed a simple dessert that would go well with her homemade ice cream.  Mom's apple crisp to the rescue.    I don't know where Mom got the original recipe, maybe it came from Home Ec class, too.

Mom's Apple Crisp

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  Peel, core, and slice three pounds of apples  (I use Granny Smith) and toss with juice of 1/2 lemon.  Mix 1 tbls cornstarch (I use arrowroot), 1/2 cup sugar, 1/2 tsp cinnamon, and 1/8 tsp nutmeg.  Add this to the apples and mix again.  Making sure the apples are coated.  Put apple mixture into 1 1/2 qt baking dish.  In a medium sized bowl, mix 1 cup flour, 1/2 cup of brown sugar, pinch of salt, and 6 tbls of margarine.  Mix with your fingers until margarine has broken down and you have a crumble mixture.  Add 1/4 cup sliced almonds.  Sprinkle this over the apples.  Put in oven and bake for 45 minutes.

Super easy, really delicious, and perfect with a scoop of vegan vanilla ice cream.

Thanks, Mom.

11/5/10

Granola time!




It is hot, I mean really hot, in Los Angeles right now.  I feel robbed.  Where is my cold Fall weather?  I want to bake, make soup, eat some comfort food, and get out the blankets.  No chance.  Not this week.  So with the heat, I didn't want to do much cooking.  Didn't want to heat the house up anymore than it already was.  Then I realized that granola wouldn't have the oven cranked up too high.  I could handle the 275 degrees for thirty or so minutes.

Vegetarian Family Cookbook by Nava Atlas has a granola recipe that caught my eye, Cinnamon-Apple Granola.  The recipe called from raisins, which I didn't have, but I did have dried cherries.  So that was an easy substitute.  Also, I used agave syrup instead of maple syrup.  Maple syrup is just so expensive and I couldn't bare using 1/2 cup for the granola.  The most work was cutting up the dried apples.  I used scissors, which I'm glad I did, made it so much easier than chopping with a knife.  The walnuts are just perfect with the other flavors.  I'm really loving the spoonfuls with the walnuts.

11/4/10

Muffins to start your day




Last night while the kids were getting ready for bed and mellowing out, I grabbed Vegan Planet and whipped up a batch of  Spiced Apple Walnut Muffins.  Super simple, which is always a plus.  The recipe calls for one grated apple but you can substitute applesauce if you want one less dirty appliance.   There is only a small amount of brown sugar, so they are not super sweet.  Perfect to go along with your morning cup of tea.  My only complaint is that I didn't make a double batch.  These babies are going fast.  

11/3/10

Goddess Garbanzos for lunch





Weekday mornings I am always in a rush.  Making breakfast for two kids, making lunch for myself and my 9 year old son, and getting us out the door before the last bell rings at his school.  You would think that by now I would have some kind of system that has me making lunches the night before, to save me time in the morning.  But I don't.  This morning I knew I didn't have anything at work for lunch, so I pulled out Dreena Burton's "Eat, Drink, and Be Vegan" cookbook.  There is a simple recipe that is perfect for picnics or weekday lunches called Goddess Garbanzo.  Except for the Goddess dressing, everything else might be on hand in your pantry.  Garbanzo beans, vegan mayo, salt, celery, apples, lemon juice, tahini, kelp (if you want a "fishy ocean" taste) and some pepper.  You can eat it on toast, put it on crackers, or eat it straight.  Probably good on a salad, too.    Now I have lunch for the next three days.  Finally, saving myself some time in the mornings.  

11/2/10

Oatmeal pancakes with apple compote






Monday through Wednesday nights are really hectic in our house.  Monday our son has circus gymnastics, Tuesday he has baseball practice, and on Wednesday it's cartoon class.  All of these classes take place at or near dinner time, so the schedule gets thrown off.  Last night we arrived home after 6:30pm with two hungry, dirty kids.  I set up the bath and took a look in the kitchen for what was on hand.  Breakfast for dinner quickly became the only reasonable choice.  Put the hashbrowns in the oven, got the Gimme Lean sausage cooking, and started making the batter for Eat Your Oatmeal pancakes from Vegan Lunch Box.   The flour is oat, which you can easily make yourself by throwing some oats in a blender.  I really like these pancakes because you don't need any maple syrup, it's already in the batter.  Plus there is applesauce in the batter, so that adds a nice taste with the touch of cinnamon.  I served them up with a  little applesauce for dipping and  quickly make  an apple compote for me.  By 7:30pm, kids were fed and clean.  Ready for bedtime stories.  We had made it through another hectic Monday.  Now what to do for tonight?

11/1/10

Vegan Mofo 2010



Today is the first day  of blogging about vegan food for the month of November.  I've participated twice before.  I didn't know if I was going to go for it again this year, but here I am.  Giving it a go.  This year I'm going to try and stick with a theme (forgive me if I stray here and there).  

The theme of the month is.......

9/1/10

Apologies




Work has been quite wild this summer.  I'll be back soon with some food and adventures.

6/25/10

Farmer's Market haul



In a perfect world, I get to a farmer's market every week. To cruise the entire market checking out the produce before making my purchases is quite relaxing for me. I love the colors and smells. To see what others are getting excited about. I never have enough bags or arms to carry everything that I want to take home.

The other week I was able to go to the West Los Angeles farmer's market which is on Santa Monica Blvd, near Purdue. Not the biggest market but it's nearby and when I'm short on time, it does just fine. On this beautiful LA day, these are the goods I walked away with: basil for pesto (my daughter eats by the spoonfuls), apricots (my first ones of the season), berries (you can never be without berries during the summer), a bag of oranges (quick snacks), tomatoes for a pasta dish, garlic (never ever be without garlic), peaches, cherries and nectarines (also firsts of the season), fresh apple juice and apples, and a red onion.

After we dug into the food, my first disappointment was that I didn't buy more of the stone fruits. They were so good. Those apricots were perfect. So perfect. Everyone should have a piece of perfection like that everyday. I forgot how much I love peaches.

Hopefully this weekend I will find the time to get to the farmer's market and cruise the aisles. It will be the highlight of my week.

5/25/10

Nickel Diner



Saturday night I had a few hours without any ties, no kids, no husband, no direction.  I called a friend of mine who is great with last minute outings.  I cruised by picked her up and we started heading east on the 10 freeway.  She suggested the Nickel Diner and that became the destination.  Nickel Diner is located near 5th and Main in Downtown Los Angeles.  Once I got close to the restaurant, I realized I was super close to Babycakes.  I knew what I was doing after the meal was done at the Nickel.

As soon as we entered we were greeted by friendly faces and a super cool atmosphere.  When the folks at the Nickel were fixing the joint up, they found these fantastic, original paintings.  They were smart to leave them up.  Really adds to the coziness and authenticity.

There are a few vegan options to choose from on the dinner menu:  vegan chili, pasta puttanesca, and root vegetable casselout.  I chose the pasta puttanesca.  It had loads of capers and olives, just the way I like it.  I nearly cleaned the bowl.  My pal, not a vegan but open when it comes to food, chose a bowl of vegan chili and a side of fries.  I don't know if the fries are fried in a separate fryer,  so I stayed clear of them. Her fries were delivered cold, but the staff was quick to fix the problem.   I finished my meal with the only vegan dessert on the menu.  Vegan coconut tapioca pudding.  Creamy and sweetened with agave.  I ate so much of it, I didn't have room for a Babycakes treat.  But I did buy some for the next day.  You can always use a Babycakes pick me up in the morning.


(All photos were borrowed from the Nickel Diner website.  I do not take credit for any of these images.)

5/13/10

Yummy Cupcakes



I work in Burbank, California. I usually bring my own snacks and lunch to work since there aren't many options for a vegan. Sure, I can get veggie sushi or spicy green beans with tofu at local restaurants. But sometimes you need sweets. I've always had to bring my own to get through those cravings. Today I found out that there is a bakery that has two vegan cupcakes everyday of the week within five minutes of my work. The place that dreams are made of is called Yummy Cupcakes. They have a few locations in this area: Burbank, Santa Monica, and Brentwood.

I sampled the cupcakes. My two vegan flavors were Cinnamon Brown Sugar and Red Velvet. First I dug into the Cinnamon Brown Sugar (only half of it). It was moist and delicate. The frosting was just like the frosting we had as kids. A bit too intense but good. I think next time I'll scrap off some of the frosting so it doesn't overwhelm the cupcake. I tried to wait as long as I could on the Red Velvet (once again, only half of it) but I didn't wait long. Once again the cupcake was nice and delicate. Not too sweet. Just moist and good. Once again I'd scrap off some of the frosting the next time I get one.  And we all know, there will be a next time.

3/3/10

Birthday cake for my 9 year old



My 9 year old goes to public school in Los Angeles. There are SO many rules about what you can't do. Hard to remember them all. One of the rules is that you can't bring homemade food to share with your child's class. So every year I purchase vegan goods to bring in for the special day. This year we decided to try out Babycakes NYC bakery in Downtown LA. Henry chose the brownie cake with vanilla frosting. It was a double layer cake. Tons of yumminess!!! The frosting was creamy and not at all like the super intense sugar stuff. Just perfect. It was gluten free since Babycakes only does gluten free or spelt flour. Henry likes the texture of gluten free better than the spelt. Hands down he made the perfect choice all the way around.   And just a note regarding the smudges on  the cake.  The bakery put pink flowers all over the cake which I knew Henry would not be cool with it.  So I removed those before heading over the his class.  Luckily, a class of 3rd graders didn't care how it looked.  They just wanted to dig in!

Happy birthday baby. I love you.

2/8/10

Babycakes bakery in Downtown L.A.



My 8 year old is about to turn 9.  That in itself is a scary but exciting event.  His school won't let me bake my own goodies to share so we always have to find a place to make his vegan goodies to share with the class.  Last year was doughnuts that were a hit.  This year Henry wants to just do cupcakes.  I knew that Babycakes had finally opened their doors in Downtown LA, so we headed out on Saturday to give them a go.  (Sorry to say the battery in my camera was dead, so no photos.)

Lily, my 2 year old, kept saying pink pink pink on our drive down.  So I was hoping that pink cupcakes would be waiting for us, since it's hard to get a toddler to understand.  We lucked out!  There were scores of pink cupcakes for Lily to choose from.  She ended up with a spelt lemon cupcake with bright pink frosting and a flower on top.  She ate half of it on the walk back to our car, which was only a block away.
The cupcake was crumbly and the frosting was smooth and delicate.

Henry picked the brownie cupcake with vanilla frosting and chocolate chips.  SCORE!  It was the best thing we bought.  Moist, tasty, and filling.  He still has half of it in our fridge, although I'm sure he'll be eating it after school today.

I picked up a red velvet gluten free cupcake.  I enjoyed it.  Texture was good and the frosting was tasty.  Not super sweet or heavy, like mainstream frosting.  I also picked out one doughnut with chocolate frosting Henry and I were not  that impressed with it.  It was a bit tough.  Lily thought it was great and was happy she didn't have to share it.  Also grabbed a cookie sandwich (two chocolate chip cookies with a big layer of frosting in the middle).  This was okay, not great.  Probably would've enjoyed the cookies more on their own, no frosting.  But I'm also really picky about my chocolate chip cookies.  We got a couple brownie bites.  One was sweetened with agave and the other was non refined sugar.  We preferred the agave brownie.  Seemed to be more moist.  As we were being rung up, I spotted "day old" goodies that were half off the original price.  I picked the blueberry crumb pie.  Good pick, if I don't say so myself.  It was delicious.  I'd get that again in a heartbeat.

If you want to see some great shots of the goodies at Babycakes, head over to Quarrygirl.com and read about her outing to the bakery.  I also recommend checking out the menu at Babycakes so you can plan ahead.  There are so many goodies, it's hard to stay focused!  I can't believe I got out of there spending under 30 dollars.  A friend of mine spent $48!

The staff is super friendly and helpful.  Parking is a bit of a pain.  Either deal with paying for a parking lot (we saw $4  lots) or bring lots of quarters.  The meter only gives you five minutes per quarter!!

1/13/10

Pure Luck



The other weekend I had the luxury of going out with my buddy, Karen, and no kids. Don't get me wrong, I love time with my kids and miss them loads when I'm at work. But it's healthy to have some fun adult time to keep your sanity. I need to do it more than I do.

Karen and I have been friends for years and we have an old habit of just driving. No real plans, just go. So that is what we did. I picked her up in West L.A. and we headed east on Pico. Then turned up Fairfax but nothing was calling out to us, so drove east again on Beverly, which somehow turned into Melrose. Then it hit me! Pure Luck by LACC. I never get to eat there without the kidlets and I was well overdue for a visit. Found a prime parking spot in front and headed in for goodies.

First up was a glass of beer to toast in the new year. I broke out of my pattern of light or amber ale's and went for a darker beer. The description said it had subtle chocolate flavors, sold. That was for me. Next I had to pick between a combo plate with jackfruit, beans, and rice or the jackfruit torta with a salad. The torta won out. I ate every single bite. Love that dish. Karen liked her first taste of jackfruit. If you haven't tried it, you have to give it a go. Karen ordered the cesear salad with tofu. She was a happy customer. Before I ordered some deep fried pickles and ate too much, we headed out. Sadly Scoops (has vegan ice cream and is across the street from Pure Luck) was closed, so we weren't able to have my usual post Pure Luck experience.

But since we drive here in LA, somehow destiny took us near the Beverly Center, which is close to Real Food Daily restaurant. Another awesome parking score right in front and we headed in for tea and german chocolate cake. The cake slice was nearly eight dollars, which is super steep for me, but I figured I deserved it on my day out. I always say I'll make german chocolate cake at home but I never do. So here, I'll say it again, I need to make it. So good. RFD's was a little dry, but it didn't stop me from practically cleaning the plate of every chocolate or coconut morsel. And let it be known, Karen didn't have one bite. I ate the entire thing myself. No guilt. No regret. 2010 baby, live it up.