Restaurant Review: The Cafe [Key West]

Note: This is currently my review on Yelp for the Cafe.

Vegan Cannonball Run?

I recently roadtripped  down US1 from Miami Beach to Key West, for a day trip with my wife.  On our way, my wife found a listing for The Cafe in Key West that promised to have some decent food.  Reading everyone’s reviews also gave her something to do on the rather monotonous drive.

Once we got there, I was soooo glad we went to The Cafe.   The place was empty and we were seated promptly.  We started our lunch with an order of BBQ “Unwing Dings” and they were perfect – little sticks of fried tofu (think more tempura than heavy breading) – with an amazing asian-style BBQ sauce.  Super awesome.

Un-wing dings were dingalings.

I also went with the veggie burger – I know, I am lame.  But I am also a dude, so what do you expect?  We wanted something quick and filling…we had to have the rental back in Miami Beach by 5PM.

Veggie burger was super rad.

Melanie got a marinated tofu salad (I forgot the name).  While she said it was “OK,” she was weirded out by the warm tofu on a cold salad.  She also said the tofu didn’t seem marinated, more “dunked in sauce.”  It seemed like something she could easily make at home.

The tofu salad.

For me, none of that matters as the house made vegan burger was phenom.  I also paired it with a tropical Mango Pale Ale from some brewery in the USVI which I highly recommend for those steamy Key West Summer days.

Amazing beer.

FWIW, we left lunch at 1:30 and pulled into the car rental place at 4:45 – record time!

And we had a great vegan lunch to boot.

Restaurant Review: Sublime [Ft. Lauderdale]

OFFROAD VEGAN TOP 5!

When vegans die, they decide to skip heaven and go straight to Sublime.

Tonight my wife and I took our terrestrial selves into this South Florida vegan mecca for a special evening of drinks and dinner.  We have been to Sublime before (in years past) but every time we go it just seems to get better and better.  The happy hour is awesome (BOGO on cocktails and half off apps when you buy one full price).

First, I ordered the Tangito (a tangerine infused Mojito) and Melanie went with the classic Mojito.  Both were very well prepared and just about perfect. For apps, you can’t go wrong with the Frito Miso (we’ve had this staple before) – which despite the name is anything but Fritos.  It is a bowl of crispy/tempura-like cauliflower in a seductive sweet chili sauce that will blow your mind.  We also went with something new for us – the Sliders…which, also blew our mind with their cheddary, Gardein-y, awesomeness.

The Frito Misto. You need to eat this now.

But enough of the chit chat about the little stuff.  Let’s talk entrees.

The choices were very hard.  I ended up with the enchiladas – a gamble for someone like me who is a total baby with spicy food.  It was warm, for sure….just on the upper end of my spice-o-meter.  But, it was still crazy awesome and just enough food to fill me up without needing a wheelchair and a linebacker to roll me out.  Melanie ordered the Mushroom Ravioli, which she loved and I tried a bite – but I am also a mushroom baby and wasn’t a super fan.  Not a dig on Sublime, but a dig on my needlessly picky self.

It’s also cool that Nancy – the owner- makes it a point to chat with customers.

Gardein sliders. Who says vegans can’t have awesome stuff?

Dessert was definitely to go (how could we NOT order something?).  Melanie went with the Chocolate Nirvana and I ordered the Strawberry Cheesecake.  We tossed them in the car for the long drive along A1A back to Miami Beach.  But, the floor heat might have been too warm for them as they both experienced a degree of meltage and, would have been MUCH better if eaten back at Sublime.  I won’t review them since we totally messed them up.

Bottom line, when I think of a top shelf Vegan experience in the US, I think of Sublime.  Our annual(ish) visits here keep reaffirming that this is totally one of (if not, *the*) best places in the country.

Restaurant Review: Green Room Cafe [Singapore]

UPDATE:  Happy Cow is listing this restaurant as CLOSED.  I have not been able to verify that is the case.

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Singapore is an incredible city, full of vibrant culture, great food and wicked humidity.  The vegan scene is on par with Portland/Salt Lake/Austin and is full of really unique offerings.

The hawker centers (almost like food carts but stationary) offer more of a local flavor, while vegan chain establishments like Vegan Burg have something a little more reliable.

I was looking for something in the middle on my first visit to SG, and now every time I return it is a must stop.

Happy Cow pointed me to the Green Room Cafe – a small intimate restaurant located on the fringes of Bishan Park.  It has indoor and outdoor seating (I always sit outside) available.

There is just something about the amazing outdoor ambiance here.  Maybe it is because of the tropical atmosphere, or the park, or maybe it’s the mesmerizing sound of birds and insects you don’t recognize.  Whatever it is, I hope you have the chance to sit outside and enjoy a drink and dinner here.

The open, outdoor seating area.

Speaking of drinks, the classic Mojito is one of the best I have had, and is made with all natural ingredients.  It is my staple drink every time I go back.

On my latest visit, I started with the Momotaro Tomato cup, which had a salad of avocado, shallots, abursage,  and brown rice. For main, I had the Vegan Soy Laksa, which is noodles, tofu and (I did not know this at the time) but Indonesian mushrooms.

Momotaro Tomato Cup
The Soy Laksa

Restaurant Review: Fu Hui Ci Yuan vegetarian cultural restaurant [Beijing]

Eating vegan was actually pretty easy in China, and I am not just referring to the suitcase full of Clif bars I had in my hotel room.

The ease of eating in the city was made possible by the Happy Cow app on my mobile that lets me pinpoint vegan (or vegan friendly) locations near me, regardless of where I am.

So I decided to browse HC for a lunch meeting with coworkers, and it led me to Fu Hui Ci Yuan.

The air was pretty polluted on the day we decided to walk down Wanfujing Street to find this spot, but it was a relatively short walk.  I grew slightly uneasy when we turned down a dirty, narrow hutong, as I hoped this place wasn’t a reflection of the area.

Sure enough, I was greeted by a big restaurant facade of concrete and wood, proudly proclaiming “Vegetarian” on the side.  I was comfortable with the veg part, not so much the dirty, gray outside.

But, never judge a book by its cover.

Once inside, we stepped down a few stairs into a large great room surrounded by tea pots and teas for sale.  The room was beautifully laid out and was very clean.

Inside the restaurant.

We all sat at a large table and began to review the expansive menu.

We decided on the following options:

Fried Rice (aka “Man’s Food”)

Turnip Tofu soup

Mock chicken with Bamboo Shoots

“Meatballs”

Mashed potatoes (I know, totally random)

An eggplant mock eel

Frozen, mashed yam with blueberry drizzle on sliced yaw berry.

The service was phenomenal (typical for my experiences in China) – prompt and courteous.

The price was also reasonable as seven people had this gourmet lunch for around $30 USD.

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