Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Vegan Food Inspiration From 2+ Weeks in the U.S.

This is the first time I am doing this (I think). I was in the United States for a little more than two weeks and have a bunch of photos of delicious vegan meals, snacks and desserts I want to include here. I'm really getting into watching some "What I Ate Today" YouTube videos for cooking inspiration and am also trying to do my own low-maintenance (aka not learning how to make nice videos) version of that.

I am including some homemade food options, as well as restaurant meals, too. My first rule going anywhere is FIND YOUR LOCAL ZA'ATAR SOURCE AND LET IT KILL YOU. In this case it was from Damascus, a Greek/Middle Eastern specialty shop. As a result, the first bunch of photos are 3 ways of consuming said za'atar: baked potatoes (recipe coming soon), homemade meneyish with olives and tomatoes, and fries:
Not pictured: Eating it with a spoon until I choked (don't try that at home)
 Next up is a meze style dish (my favourite...I love mixing food) of hmoz, a super basic version of guacamole (aka avocado dip), pickles, red kidney bean salad with hemp seeds, and whole wheat pita. I made the beans in advance and used them for three different dishes afterwards. I was running and swimming a lot so it's always good to have beans or grains handy for some quick power meals.
Next up is a dream plate packed with garlic'd beets, hmoz, tomato cucumber salad (aka Vahe Jingalian salad), baked eggplant with tomato sauce, leftover za'atar potatoes, avocado, unnecessary (and stale) white bread, and some pickled jalapenos!
(And a little shout out to this amazing homemade hmoz made by friends of my parents when we went to visit them...perfection!):
These photos are all from Yard House where I got the vegan burger (comes with Daiya cheese) and the barbecue vegan "wings." So good, and there's a reason there was always a lineup in front of this restaurant! Just a note, I enjoyed the burger but the appetizer took the cake. I would just order that next time. Even the celery was really fresh and tasty.
This photo was my vegan meal attempt at iHOP. I've never been but that was where we ended up and I just assumed a huge chain like that would have vegan options, but no dice. Luckily my waitress was a vegetarian and hooked me up with steamed broccoli and a potato/onion/pepper stir fry, and I just added hot sauce on everything, and was only slightly jealous of all the pancakes floating around.
These two shots are a falafel sandwich from Noor, a small Lebanese restaurant that has incredible falalel and meneyish, and the hot sauce is perfection:
This last collage is just some liquid power! First is of course a nice Armenian-style coffee that hit the spot, the second looks like coffee but is actually chicory root with some coconut creamer courtesy of So Delicious. Next is a delicious green smoothie packed with kiwi, mandarin and spinach with a generous amount of chia seeds, and finally a lazy version of a margarita, with no added sugar :D
A few days before I headed back to Canada we went to Whole Foods Market, which is quite different than the one in Toronto. I always check out the baked goods area to see what kind of vegan stuff they have, and while the cookies are usually way too sweet, this double chocolate muffin sang to me, and I think this photo is really cool even though I'm sure it's really not:
I ate the other half of this super tasty muffin outside, and went wild when I saw a sail boat in the distance, and after taking three photos of it zooming in, I confirmed my belief that photos always ruin reality:
So I hope you enjoyed my first attempt at vegan food inspiration. I wouldn't normally eat out this often, but when in Rome (aka the U.S.), you gotta take advantage of things not available in Canada yet! And if nothing else: za'atar potatoes.

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