Firstly, hope everyone is enjoying your holidays and a very Happy 2020 to all!
As you all know all my trips be it small or big is surrounded by nothing but Food, Food and Food 🙂
So we decided to take a short drive with fam to Lancaster, PA just to break from routine. During my drive to PA, I was browsing vegetarian places for food stops as always and to my surprise came across plenty of options. During my stay and later on with numerous conversations with restaurant owners I came to know that a huge population in that area was vegan/ vegetarian.
I decided to pick a few that seemed interesting to me. So here goes :
The first one we tried was on Christmas Day and happened to be the one that was open and was packed.
1) Oka Asian Fusion
Primarily Japanese cuisine, Oka’ s menu was packed with delicious Sushi/ Hand Rolls of various kinds. The interesting part of the menu was a vegetarian section which had a good number of vegetarian choices for sushi rolls.
We decided to try the Avocado Peanut Sushi roll. And trust me guys – I am not a huge fan of sushi at all. This one was delicious and I have to admit that I ordered another plate of it after wiping clean the first plate:))
The menu also offered some fusion dishes like the vegetarian pad thai and spicy basil with tofu that we also tried and was delicious as well.
2) Issei Noodle
A small warm and cozy restaurant which smells delicious as you walk in. Once again, one of popularly recommended places which had plenty vegetarian options since the menu has a vegetarian section.
This place is known for its exceptional Ramen bowls so we ordered
Spicy Tan Tan Ramen :
Although it was not on the vegetarian section of the menu the waitress gave us the option of customizing this dish minus meat and fish sauce and substituting with fried tofu and people when I tell you – how delicious this dish was – I inhaled the dish and it was gone.
So hearty and healthy !
Haru Warm Ramen : was the next dish we ordered which again the waitress offered to substitute the pork and shrimp with tofu and vegetables. This dish was equally delicious.
The kids love curry dishes so they ordered a Red Curry dish with rice which was made mild and was so hearty too.
Last but not the least we ordered dessert which were 3 flavors of house made Mochi – Coconut flavor, Mango and the Red Bean. It melts in your mouth and by far the best Mochi I have had.
This casual urban vegan joint was so refreshing. The owner Rob makes his own Seitan from scratch and food is delicious.
We ordered a butternut squash pizza with caramelized onions , vegan Banh Mi and buffalo cauliflower. I would say each dish tasted so fresh and I understand all the vegetables and mushrooms are sourced locally.
This place has no freezer or uses no microwave so the food is pretty much fresh and made to order.
For dessert we ordered a Vegan orange cake to be honest to which I had very low expectations. How can one be successful baking a cake without eggs, cream and butter ??? But my friends – it simply blew my mind off. The cake was delicious with fresh oranges when you slice through. A place worth visiting and giving a shot for sure.
This global vegetarian Restaurant I cannot emphasize how much I loved visiting.
Owners Puerto Rican Chef Christina Maldonado and Kolkata descent Srirupa Dasgupta create a global vegetarian menu which features a variety of dishes not limited to:
Syrian Rice, Green bean sauté, Oven Roasted Sweet Potatoes, Syrian Kale, Cuban black beans, Yucca, Yellow rice with Pigeon Peas and fried sweet Plantains.
Christina, when I mentioned Love for extreme spice levels got a small container out which had this sauce – made out of ghost peppers, green chili, habanero and star anise. Mind you we had to get 2 more of those small containers and wiped it clean and ordered a TO GO 🙂 – WARNING – It is extremely spicy!!! I grew up eating high level of spice so thoroughly enjoyed it.
Christina and Srirupa are not only extremely talented Chefs as you can tell the food is homely and super flavorful yet healthy and delicious. They are women who also wanted to give back to the community by training refugees and who bought in their household dishes to the table and giving them a new life.
In Bengali language “Upohar ” means a gift.
Upohar is truly such a gift to the community and I say this since I have eaten at so many traditional Indian fare buffet places – this one was truly exceptional and global bringing Cuisines from all over the world to the table and to top it all – VEGETARIAN !!
Last but not the least – ORDER the FLAN people. By far the best FLAN and yes I am not ashamed to say I had Christina pack a second order of flan to take back home along with my container of ghost pepper concoction ( wink wink)!!!
Thank you Christina for the awesome experience. And I look forward to coming back here more…..HIGHLY RECOMMEND !!
Until next time … lots of love and wishing you all a very happy, peaceful and prosperous New Year and most importantly a healthy 2020 !!
It was a while since I made a trip to NY city for brunch relaxing over some cocktails and good food. This time I wanted to look for an all vegetarian restaurant that served no meat and I had plenty choices to pick from. I usually get a list of places when I do my research and narrow it down to the one place that strikes me interesting and I feel the spontaneous urge to try their food.
This time around my eyes caught JaJaJa Plantas Mexicana restaurant located in Lower East Side and Brooklyn. We as a family decided to try the Lower East Side Location. Their website displays “A patchwork of culture, community, and comida threading plant-based eaters to the Mexican palate” every word true to the core.
The venue was very small and packed and when it gets crowded it can take up to 90 minutes of wait time is what I heard. I thought they would take reservations and so called them ahead but was informed that they dont take in any reservations and it was strictly first come first basis. I crossed my fingers hoping there wouldn’t be too much of a wait and decide to make a fun family day trip to JaJaJa !
We arrive and its packed in there and like the others who are waiting in line to give their names for tables we give our names too and request for a table of 4. The hostess informed us that she would take our number and text us and it was a 20 minute wait. She also mentioned that once we receive a text we had to get to the venue by 10 minutes. We decided to wait around as we got hold of a few empty chairs in the waiting area.
We were called in 20 minutes and seated in a nice table. The waiter was awesome and offered the drinks and food menu to us . He also asked us if we had any questions but we already knew what we were getting for drinks- I ordered a Pomegranate Jalapeno drink and hubby ordered a Pineapple y Mezacal both of which were outstanding but I thought the Pomegranate Jalapeno was the winner since we ended up getting 2 of those.
We were so confused what to order as there were plenty of choices to pick from for once:) We decided to order a few different choices from the menu so we can all try and share the plates.
We ordered Verde Enchiladas – green tomato, serrano pepper, palm carnitas, coconut queso, sour cream, Spanish rice.
Maple syrup Kale Pancakes – coconut mango jam and shaved coconut.
Chorizo Burrito – Cauliflower rice, fermented black bean, guacamole, smothered with salsa & sour cream
Buffalo Flower Tacos. I cannot pin point to say I liked one thing over the other. I SIMPLY COULD HAVE LICKED OFF EVERY PLATE:)
Every dish was beyond delicious….
We finally cleansed our palette with Churros with caramel dip and a heavenly Flan which was both gone in no time.
I can swear and I mean it – I swear I can go back to this place again and again to taste the heavenly veganlicious plant based food to JaJaJa……
I give it 5 starts and highly recommend to everyone to go visit.
As you all know, I have been friends with Heather DeVita of Luminous Salon for a long time now. Luminous is the best spa in town in New Providence in New Jersey. Heather came up with this idea of book signing with Teresa Giudice where Teresa so graciously donated her time to help support ReBorn Foundation and all the proceeds from the book signing goes to this true noble cause. As this donation will be going to help Heather’s sister’s Tara Devita Wanis’s friend who just recently lost their 7 month old Grandson.
When Heather mentioned this to me, I offered her help in the form of catering some food for this event. Most or all of you know that I have a full time job, raising 2 kids, cooking and the list is endless for me as a mom…working 24/7 is tough.
I had to think of something simple and quick yet healthy and delicious for our special guest Teresa Giuidice. I am a bit embarassed to admit that I have never ever skipped even one episode of RHONJ and so love the show and so the pressure was on.
I finally decided to cook a healthy dish as I found out from Heather that Teresa eats super healthy food. This was a clear confirmation of what I was to make- I made a very healthy dish out of Steamed Organic chickpeas and some secret ingredients as Indian spices and freshly grated coconut garnished with cilantro.
Teresa loved it and commented how much she likes eating right and healthy? She grabbed my poster to say she loves Curryliciousme and the food we create:)
I feel so blessed to be a part of this wonderful noble cause and also to have cooked for Teresa and most importantly have her like my dish:)
A huge thank you to Heather DeVita of LUMINOUS SALON and Reborn Foundation for this wonderful opportunity & Christen Simmons Snyder of RAY JAY PORTRAITS for the fantastic clicks!
On a cold sunday morning when I look out the window, its raining outside and the clouds are consumed by fog, my heart was seeking for a hot mug of coffee and some hot breakfast dish to go with it while I lay under the blanket:)
Suddenly a dish comes to my mind. A very dear friend had mentioned the dish and it stayed in my sub conscious for a while now….so quickly got up and turned on my coffee machine for a hot cup of coffee.
The steamed flattened rice in India, commonly known as Chura or Poha, is rice which is flattened into flat, light, dry flakes. This dish is very nutritious and is a great snack or great for breakfast/ brunch.
Meantime, for the STEAMED FLATTENED RICE DISH,
2 cups of flattened rice
3-4 green chilies finely chopped
1 teaspoon of Mustard seeds
1 teaspoon of turmeric
4-5 curry leaves
1 inch of ginger finely chopped
2-3 garlic cloves finely chopped
Salt to taste
1 teaspoon of lemon juice
1/2 cup of peanuts (optional)
Cilantro for garnish
Firstly, take a sieve and add the flattened dry rice flakes to it. Take a nonstick pan and add some vegetable oil to it under medium flame. Once the pan gets warm, add the mustard seeds and curry leaves and wait for it to splutter. Add finely chopped ginger, garlic,peanuts and onion to the pan and saute well. Add turmeric and salt to taste and mix well.
While that is cooking, let cold water run through the sieve with flattened rice flakes for about 3-4 minutes and make sure it is soaked completely. Transfer the wet flattened rice flakes to the pan with onions cooking and mix everything well. Now cover the pan with a lid for 5 minutes and let it cook. Remove the lid and let cook for 2 more minutes so all the water evaporates and gives a crunch to the rice flakes. Add lemon juice and mix well. Garnish with cilantro and serve.
Serve with a mint cilantro chutney or eat it as is!!!!Enjoy!