Reviews written by From A to Vegan

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Registered on Mar 22 11
 

Angelica Kitchen in Manhattan, New York City
May 31 11

rating star

In our failed attempt to go to the NYC Vegetarian Food Festival on April 3rd, we opted for a better option than waiting in a mile-long line in the cold. We decided to have a good hearty meal at Angelica Kitchen. We always let our stomachs lead the way and hardly ever go wrong.

Angelica Kitchen is an unpretentious and low-key spot, with a nice ambiance for casual dining. We were in a large group, there were nine of us, and we could carry on a decent conversation and hear what everyone was saying. That was actually unexpected, especially because they had a full house for lunch.

Their Full Menu and Daily Specials (pdfs) were pretty extensive and made it hard to choose, a nice problem to have. Many of their dishes are made with whole grains and mild spices that remind me a lot of Alcaparra, a macrobiotic restaurant in São Paulo, Brazil I frequently dined at when I first became a vegetarian. Dishes are more earthy and less flamboyant than most other popular vegan restaurants and there are plenty of gluten-free options.

Everything we had was delicious with the exception of one dish or other that weren’t as good as the rest, but that doesn’t mean they were bad. The highlights of our meal were the two specials we ordered —Sgt. Tempeh’s Lonely Hearts Club Band and Still Special— and the Olé Man Seitan, which hit the spot and satisfied my craving since our visit to Quintessence. All dishes we nicely seasoned and hearty portions, perfect for the hungry travelers at our table. The Dashi & Noodles were ok, the broth was nice and flavorful but the noodles didn’t absorb any of it so they tasted a little flat.

As for the desserts, the kanten was light and fresh. The tiramisu was nice and rich, as one should be. And the cheesecake was tasty too, but was more a tofu pudding pie and didn’t have that cheesecake density and texture I was hoping for.

All in all, we had a great meal and good time. We definitely recommend it if you’re looking for a whole foods dining experience.

V-Note in Manhattan, New York City
May 31 11

rating star

V-Note is from the creator of Blossom and Café Blossom and is within walking distance of Central Park and the Metropolitan Museum of Art. When you enter the restaurant, there is seating for couples against the front windows and two large booths for larger parties. On the right hand side is a large bench that runs the length of the restaurant, with several tables for seating for two and four people. On the left side is more seating and a large bar with seating. All of the seating in the restaurant is upholstered in white vinyl. The staff is very courteous and knowledgeable about the food and drinks.

We started off with the seitan Schnitzel, breaded seitan medallions that were hot, crunchy and delicious, especially when dipped in the blueberry reduction. The potato salad was good even though it had a very strong herb taste to it. The extra flavor took away instead of adding to the flavor.

My wife, had the Country Breakfast with tofu scramble, French toast, and soy sausage. This was the best tofu scramble I have had. It had lots of flavor and I wanted to trade plates with her. As a vegan it is hard to find good French toast and sausage and the V-Note cooked them both exceptionally well. If you are looking for a great brunch item, this is it.

I had the Soy Bacon Cheeseburger with caramelized onions, vegan cheese, soy bacon, mushrooms, lettuce, tomato, and chipotle aioli on a sesame roll with French fries. If you are going to bring a carnivore to V-Note just order this for them and it will satisfy their taste buds. The rich, fatty, smoky flavors brought back memories of barbecuing in the backyard or eating at a fast food restaurant with friends and family. On the other hand, I had to keep telling myself it wasn’t meat and it was a delicious vegan burger. The downside of this burger is the vegan cheese, which had a sour taste when eaten by itself. Once I got bites of all of the flavors together, the sour taste disappeared.

My daughter, had the BLT with crispy southern fried tofu, tempeh bacon, lettuce, tomato, and field greens, and she said it was the best BLT she has ever had, which is high praise from a picky twelve-year-old.

The V-Note has choices of smoothies or shakes and I had the Banana Berry with soy milk, banana, blueberry, strawberry, and orange juice, which are some of my favorite flavors together and this didn’t disappoint me. The banana and berry were right and center in this thick concoction of smoothie goodness. My daughter ordered the Frappe with soy milk espresso, chocolate and vanilla ice cream, which was also delicious with a good caffeine kick.

We didn’t try the desserts since we were so full even though they looked delicious and we will make sure to save room for our next trek out to V-Note.

Vegan Treats in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania
Mar 22 11

rating star

There’s no better way to spend a Sunday morning than to take a drive up to Vegan Treats in Bethlehem, PA. My family and I went there last weekend and arrived just after they opened the door. From the outside, it looks like a small store; but there was a huge selection of cakes, whoopie pies, and sticky buns to choose from that morning.

That evening, Jim and I split the chocolate cake that’s decorated like a big Hostess cupcake. It’s a satisfying chocolate, not overbearing and not too sweet; just sweet enough to be tasty and very moist. I wasn’t much of a chocolate cake fan until I started eating vegan chocolate cake; to me, they have been distinctly more moist and delicious than traditional chocolate cake. Most of those old fashioned cakes are just too dry for my taste—and dry chocolate cake is awful. This cake is heavenly; plus, it’s got a rich chocolate ganache topping and a nondairy cream filling that tastes just as good as cream from a cow. Not only is this cake dairy free, but it’s cholesterol free as well—who could ask for anything better than that? It tastes so much fresher and more satisfying than a store bought packaged cupcake, too.

This afternoon, I tried the carrot cake. It’s decorated like a traditional carrot cake, with the white “cream cheese” frosting and piped carrots on the top. This is a mini layer cake, just like the previous one, so there are two layers of cake and a top layer of frosting with another sandwiching the cake layers. The cake itself tastes like a traditional carrot cake, sans the icky pineapple, and isn’t as dense. The icing is an important part of this type of cake; since the cake itself is usually not very sweet, the icing is used to balance the carrot and give more sweetness. I’m not sure if they use regular sugar, agave, or another alternative; but because it gave my mouth a burst of sweetness when I ate it with the cake, I really enjoyed it.

The other cake I sampled today is the Death by Chocolate cake. Again, it’s a small cake—probably meant to be eaten by one or two people at most. It’s a chocolate cake, with a layer of chocolate ganache in the middle, chocolate mousse on top, covered with more ganache, and decorated with mini chocolate pieces stuck to the ganache. It looks like the kind of cake Pinhead from Hellraiser would eat. What a treat! The different types of chocolate combinations in this cake are what make it so special. They all worked together to give my mouth the best chocolate party ever. I think this one is my favorite. If you love chocolate or know someone who does and would like a special treat, you have to try this cake. You won’t be disappointed.

Mi Lah Vegetarian Restaurant in Philadelphia Metro, Pennsylvania
Mar 22 11

rating star

I arrived at Mi Lah Vegetarian a little before 1 p.m. just as their lunch rush was about to stop. I waited at the front of the restaurant to be seated for about five minutes before picking up a menu to look over their lunch specials. The first floor is small with tables and three seats at the bar looking into the kitchen. There is also upstairs seating where the bathrooms are located. Mi Lah is BYOB and everything on the menu is vegan. Finally, one of the servers came over and sat me at a dirty table that hadn’t been cleaned off yet from the patron before me. I was excited to eat here because their lunch special was $10 for soup, appetizer and entrée. I had a choice between 2 soups, 4 appetizers, and 5 entrées. It took another ten minutes for the server to come back and take my order and I was quickly losing the amount of time that I had before going back to work. I knew I was going to have to eat quickly. My soup and appetizer came out quickly and was served on the same plate. It looked delicious, which was good because I was starving.

Apple Wood Smoked Butternut Squash and Coconut Soup

With only two soup choices it was easy for me to choose the Apple Wood Smoked Butternut Squash and Coconut Soup. I love Butternut Squash soups and this one delivered. The soup was creamy with the light butternut squash taste and smooth texture.

Indonesian Roll with Carrots, Seitan, and Celery Served with Basil Avocado Sauce

Indonesian roll was crunchy shell and the stuffing had lots of flavor. This was my favorite part of lunch. The basil avocado sauce was great too. When I was done the dipping bowl was clean.

Mofongo Veggie Bacon and Chorizo with Tequila and Tomato Sauce

Traditional Mofongo is a Puerto Rican dish made by boiling and then mashing green plantains, and then mixing them with vegetables and bacon. The Chorizo was over cooked and hard on the outside and soft in the middle and way too spicy for my taste. This Mofongo was bland and not very appetizing even though the Tequila and Tomato Sauce was good. The veggie bacon was mixed into a patty with other unidentifiable vegetables. I would not recommend this dish.

I will go back to Mi Lah to try other dishes because I am sure they are more like the soup and appetizer than the entrée.