Archives for March 2013

Inspired :: KimChi Edamame Dumplings


I’m allergic to malls. Time served in the conspicuous-consumer thunder domes was completed in my twenties, while working in the retail fashion industry. Since my escape, there aren’t too many occasions I find myself saying “Let’s go have lunch at the mall” but those are exactly the words that came outta my very own mouth as we headed to M.A.K.E. in Santa Monica Place,CA.

We passed the exhibition window showcasing the emerging talent from the Matthew Kenney Culinary Academy and I had a feeling we were in for a special gastronomic experience.

James Beard award winning chef and best-selling cookbook author Matthew Kenney’s raw cuisine elevates plant-based food to another level. I wanted to try as much of the menu as possible.The intelligent foodie’s approach would have to come in after 5:30pm when the market tasting menu is available. A well thought out menu teases, excites and calms the palette to best experience the next wave of flavor. Since I was on an abbreviated trip to CA,my schedule only allowed for a mid-day visit. I ordered six dishes during the lunch service and got down to business.

My inner cocktail dragon was calmed with this Lemon Kefir Bellini before we started on the first course.

A trio of tree nut cheeses, sweet & spicy mustard seeds with fennel crisps.

Kimchi Dumplings.Ginger foam.Coriander. Best.Dish.Ever.The filling is savory with a slight kick from the kimchi. Plated to perfection like the work of art these scrumptious parcels are. I was so obsessed with these dumplings, I had to create my own recipe here. My version is a fusion of M.A.K.E.’s dish and the Edamame Dumplings I had at True Food Kitchen in AZ.

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Arizona Vegan Food Tour

Watch out California. Your reign as the vegan-friendly food capital of the world may be coming to an end, as Arizona is now home to some of the best vegan/vegetarian eateries I’ve tried in the past year. After my food warrior pal Ali and I returned from our weekend at the Raw Living Expo, we were ready to put on our comfy pants and start eating our way through the Grand Canyon State.

Me & Ali at Postino Wine Bar for sangria brunch with friends

I’ll get to the all-vegan eateries in a quick second, but let me tell you about Postino Wine Bar for just a moment. The ritual of Sunday brunch is my favorite way to embrace the weekend. Gathering a bunch of friends, sharing a nosh and listening to some live music feeds my soul.

Sangria brunch- Postino

There are three locations for Postino, but we love the Arcadia vibe. It’s an unpretentious mix of hipsters,lovey-dovey couples and groups celebrating birthdays/showers/what-evs.

Bruschetta- White bean w/tomato basi,white bean w/dates+pistachio,Buratta w/tomato+bacon(ordered by omni friends)

The menu is not vegan/vegetarian, but there’s an ample selection of panini,salads and bruschetta that can all be veganized. My only caveat will be to those trying to stick to a gluten-free diet, this is not your joint. Ali raved that they served the best bruschetta she’d ever had, and she wasn’t lying. Four big, crusty slices of bread with sweet or savory toppings are served on a cutting board and sliced into four smaller,pieces that can be negotiated from hand to mouth in about three bites. Try the white bean spread as a base for the toppings to keep it vegan. Check out your wine selection on Barnivore  to verify that it’s vegan-friendly. The cost: Five people had two drinks each (10 adult beverages),we ordered one bruschetta board, one salad, one bowl of soup and a panini for $97+tip. I was actually shocked that our bill was less than $100 but then again, I’ve lived and eaten out in some of the most expensive cities like New York, San Francisco,Los Angeles and my hometown of Honolulu.Postino Winecafé on Urbanspoon

Aaron,me,Ali and Mike- Do you like our RHOAZ pose?

Pomegranate Cafe is everything I’d want a vegan cafe to be. An inventive mix of raw offerings,cooked comfort foods, fresh juices/elixirs and ridiculously divine desserts.

Screenshot of Pomegrante Cafe’s website. I was too concerned with ordering food to remember to take pics of the front of the cafe!

We got down to business and Ali ordered the Breakfast Chimichanga. She could barely finish this monster wrap filled with a well-seasoned tofu scramble, topped with fresh salsa and guacamole.I’ve had more breakfast burrito type things than I can count but this is the one I will remember.

Breakfast Chimichanga- Pomegranate Cafe

The New Yaw-kah in me craves a simple bagel and caw-fee.Then I spy a raw “everything” bagel on the menu and order it despite my apprehension that I’ll get a flax cracker with Tofutti cream cheese on it. I don’t know how they did it, but the texture of the bagel was moist and kinda chewy, my mouth approved. The bagel is schmeared with a flavorful vegan herbed cream cheese and piled high with a gorgeous mix of sprouts,peppers, carrots,tomato,cucumber,onions and lettuce. I demolished the whole thing, leaving only  a faint trace of the red bell pepper hummus on the plate. Go here and eat this, you won’t be disappointed, especially if you’re trying to end your relationship with gluten like I am.

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Giveaway::3-month Subscription to Conscious Box! (Closed)

Conscious Box has just revamped their website and to celebrate the launch, I’m partnering with them to host a giveaway for a 3-month subscription($59 value) to the vegan box. Wooooooot!!!!! I am a self-admitted product junkie and I love getting something other than bills in the mail. Gifting yourself a subscription (1-month,3-months,6-months or a full year) is a super fun way to  get a variety of vegan products delivered right to your door. I’ve been subscribing for about a year now and I’m always impressed by the balance of new products to sample,along with plant-based favorites. The newest addition to the subscription box offerings is a 100% gluten-free box, hooray!

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