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LOVELIKEBEER: Love Affair, Vegan Dessert & Beer Pairings

When bringing up the topic of any holiday my boyfriend truly couldn’t care less, even his own birthday! Needless to say, Valentine’s Day is no different; I am not super huge on Hallmark holidays either, so nothing usually happens on the 14th of February each year. I say usually because this year LOVELIKEBEER was putting on a vegan dessert and beer pairing event down in San Diego and I really wanted to go to it. To give you a bit of background on LOVELIKEBEER, the organization is led by two gentleman by the names of Derek and Corey. They’ve put on a few different events over the span of 2011, all having to do with vegan craft brews and food. Here’s an excerpt from their about section:

LOVELIKEBEER is an organization dedicated to creating inspiring Vegan Food and Craft Beer events in San Diego with a charitable purpose. We work with local artisans and entrepreneurs to host culinary events which incorporate innovative, vegan cuisine, craft beer pairings, and a donation to a local charity.

Great events for a great cause? I’m in! So, we made the two-hour trek down to Tiger! Tiger! Tavern in San Diego; not realizing that there would be delicious vegan dinner options as well, we ate before leaving.

The drive wasn’t too bad, just a little traffic and the scenery was gorgeous as usual. Once we got to the tavern, we opened the door and walked into a large, dimly lit area that had four long communal tables with bench seating that were decorated with Chimay candle-holders and deep red rose petals. Definitely giving off the romantic vibe for V-day.

I grabbed a menu, took a seat and was immediately regretting that I had already eaten; so much of the food sounded delicious! I had put myself in quite the predicament, but got past it and looked to the dessert and beer pairings. Of the three, only two really stuck out to me. This was mostly because the odd-one-out was a donut, which I am not a fan of, paired with Framboise which is a raspberry beer-like beverage that sort of reminds me of a wine cooler. I did hear that it was quite delicious, but it just didn’t sound like my cup of tea.

The dessert that I decided to start with was the Chocolate Peanut Butter Brownie with Caramel Sauce and Salted Peanut Brittle paired with Hangar 24′s Chocolate Porter. Let me tell you, this dessert was seriously good. It was rich and decadent, and almost a little too heavy but I loved it. I made sure to drink the beer intermittently with having bites of the dessert and the balance between the two was bordering on perfect. The stout had more of a dark chocolate feel too it, and broke up the intense sweetness of the brownie and caramel sauce with ease. I would love to recreate something like this at home!

For my second, and last, dessert pairing I chose to order the “Date Night” Rice Pudding, which was Coconut Date Rice Pudding paired with Automatic’s 3-Speed Brown. Besides the excessive amount of flowers atop of this dessert, it was great to end on. Compared to the brownie, this rice pudding was light and not to sugary, but had great subtle flavors of coconut and dates. A great approach to this dessert is to eat a spoonful slowly, and at the same time waft the scent of the brown ale into your nostrils. Doing this brings an excellent coffee note to the rice pudding that you can’t necessarily get through imbibing it.

Tiger! Tiger! Tavern has a great vibe and a terrific selection of brews, amongst them are some from Automatic Brewing Co. which is their in-house brewing company. The brewmaster for Automatic used to be a brewmaster at Stone Brewery in San Marcos for years, this should give you an idea of the quality of their brews!

After finishing off the desserts, I thought that I’d enjoy just one more beer before heading home. I typically stick to darker brews, so I thought that I’d try out the Ovila Quadrupel from Sierra Nevada Brewing Co. This beer ended up being full of flavor and a little on the sweet side, which is how I like my malty, dark brews; it had a smooth finish and wasn’t very heavy. I would definitely order this again.

Overall, it was a great experience and I enjoyed meeting the guys that put this together along with Melissa from Vegenista, who is a total sweetheart and a couple of other people from around the area. I can’t wait for LOVELIKEBEER to put on their next event, which looking at their past will tell you will be in roughly two months. Woohoo!

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Catching up and Crappy Pictures!

Breakfast Burrito at Pura Vida in Las Vegas, NV.

If you haven’t noticed, I’ve been away for a bit! I have been traveling for some work, so that I can get some extra money and sadly, I haven’t had time to seriously blog. One interesting thing that I’ve been experiencing more and more is eating vegan around the country, when you don’t have a kitchen and are at the mercy of restaurants to essentially “survive”. Because of this, I’ve found some restaurants that I wouldn’t have necessarily looked for before, and have found vegan options at establishments that were surprising.

Chocolate Waffle with Bananas, Maple Syrup and Chocolate Drizzle at Pura Vida in Las Vegas, NV.

When I was in Las Vegas, I used my handy-dandy Happy Cow App to locate some vegan goodies, and was not let down by Pura Vida Bakery & Bystro, a wholly vegan restaurant just north of the strip. I went there for breakfast both days that I was in town, and was not let down either time. Chef Mayra was so kind, and genuinely interested in how much I enjoyed the food and making sure everything was great. The restaurant itself is totally unassuming, in the industrial/strip clubby part of town it’s a diamond in the rough. It’s cute interior was comforting in the was that it reminded me of a family kitchen, and the servers were very nice as well.

The first morning my boyfriend and I got the Latin-tude burritos, which had all sorts of fillings and had a side of flaxseed tortilla chips and fresh bean salsa served with it. It was extremely filling and we saved our other halves to eat throughout the day, who am I kidding, I ate both of the other halves! The second morning I wanted something sweet and ordered the Dark Choco-Waffle, it was super decadent and totally worth the sugar coma afterward. I had it topped with some banana to fool myself into thinking it was healthier, ;). I highly recommend going there and I’d definitely go back if I was in Vegas.

Citrus-y Stir Fry in Bullhead City, AZ.

After Vegas, I headed to Bullhead City, AZ. to visit my grandmother and make her dinner. She had a lot of veggies leftover from Thanksgiving dishes, so with the addition of  bean sprouts, water chestnuts and orange stir fry sauce; I pulled together a delicious stir fry that both her and my aunt enjoyed. I was offered a position as a live-in personal chef, but I had to turn it down. ;)

King Noodle Soup at Loving Hut in Orange, CA.

Now, I’m back home and finally got a haircut (which I love!) and it just so happens that Loving Hut is down the street from my salon, so of course I had to go and get my soup on! I got the King Noodle soup for the first time, and as usual, it was totally yummy and satisfying. There’s a bit of what I’ve been eating/doing the past week or so, can’t wait to post some holiday recipes for you all!

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Cupcakes + Art Event

Finally, I have edited all of the photos for this incredible event and I have them for you today! The ladies over at Urban Food Crawl have done it again, and set up another great event for Southern California vegans. This times it’s something chock full of vegan cupcakes and cupcake-themed art that’s just adorable. Even though the bakeries made mini cupcakes for the event, by the end of it, I was in a sugar coma and convinced that I somehow had gotten diabetes (I was a little delusional at that point).

Pictured above are Sherri and Jen, the founders of Urban Food Crawl, they are so awesome and totally sweet. It was Jen’s birthday the same day of the cupcake event, so I hope that she got plenty of cake! :) The ladies also did some neat little interviews with most of the bakeries prior to the big day, so I’ll be linking you to those along the way.

When you first walk into Hold Up Art Gallery, you’re met with Sherri and Jen’s smiling faces and tons of cute cupcake art. Above, are some of my favorite pieces by local artists, so adorable! The proceeds from the art went to the Best Overall Cupcake winner’s charity of choice, how great is that? Totally great.

Walking to the higher level of the gallery, I first came upon Jamaica’s Cakes. Unfortunately, Jamaica herself was not there, but her husband was there to show off the three different types of cupcakes that they brought. You’ll have to bear with me, I don’t have the complete list of cupcakes with me (I’m in Reno ATM), so some of these may be wrong. ;) They chose peanut butter and banana, chocolate raspberry and a classic red velvet cupcake to represent them, and you can find their interview here.


Next up, we have Amanda’s Bakery & Cafe from West Hills, CA. She was super nice, conversational, and as cute as her cupcakes. She brought some delicious cupcakes to the table (literally) with flavors like Maple Crumble, Coconut Vanilla and Chocolate Raspberry. The maple crumble was one of my favorites, but I’m a little biased when it comes to maple. I love the picture she used for the interview with UFC.

Jessika from Courtesan Cupcakes, brought Raspberry Rose cupcakes with here that were probably among the cutest cupcakes there. The had a very interesting and lingering taste of rose to them, which I had not yet encountered. I absolutely love her logo/business card, and the baby picture in her interview.

Babycakes showed up to the party with an unassuming Chocolate Brownie cupcake with vanilla frosting. The classic combination of vanilla and chocolate was delicious and very rich, the chocolate chips inside the cupcake took this humble cupcake to a whole new level. Yummy!

I am a lover of coconut, I’ll put it in almost anything, so when No Udder Desserts brought their coconut cupcakes to the event I couldn’t wait to try them! Coconut was used in every part of the cupcake, the frosting which was made with coconut milk was amazingly light and very flavorful.

Cupcakes with names like Tahitian Vanilla Salted Caramel, Chocolate Peanut Butter, and Chocolate Drizzled Banana Cupcakes you better believe I was immediately drawn to Bake You Happy‘s table! Kim and Kim were such a pleasure to speak with, and were very personable. They also had a hard time keeping up with the refilling of cupcakes, obviously a good sign. :) You can read about their chat with UFC here.

Rawbites came through with delicious raw Lavender & Double Cacao cupcakes with strawberry puree paired with Hibiscus Tea. Julie and her daughter (her sous chef) were so cute, and she went on to talk to everyone who came by about the benefits of a raw diet. I’ll be showcasing her talents and a recipe soon on here, and I absolutely cannot wait. Check out her interview here!

There was only two different bakeries that had pumpkin spice cupcakes, and I was incredibly excited to try both of them. The first one was Crushcakes & Cafe, who also brought a chocolate cupcake with vanilla frosting, and it was extremely delicious. Like me, she likes to ride bikes, which we learn from her interview.

Sweet Alexis is owned by Michele Fellows (Alexis’s Mother), and was founded because of the severe food allergies that Alexis suffers from. But, there is a good side to this! Everyone can now benefit from said allergies and eat tasty cupcakes like sunbutter chocolate, chocolate merlot, and pumpkin spice. Read about the start of Sweet Alexis here.

If you ever find yourself talking about ambitious young vegans, Clara from Clara’s Cakes better be one of them. She is 14 and making a name for herself in the vegan baking world. With flavors like Neapolitan and Chunky Monkey, she won me over and the chunky monkey was my personal favorite of the day. I wish here the best of luck with her venture and I hope that she goes a long way! Read more about her in her interview with UFC.

Above are the winners and runners-up! Congrats to everyone that won, it was a great experience and I’m so glad that I went. I can’t wait for the next amazing event in LA, and I might possibly do the new Silverlake Urban Food Crawl tour that they are doing on Sunday afternoons, sounds awesome!

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If you or your company would like me to review and take photos of their food or event, contact me at: [email protected]

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Birthday Brunch at Flore Vegan Cuisine in Los Angeles, Ca.

Birthday Brunch at Flore Vegan Cuisine in Los Angeles, Ca.<br />
One of my family&#8217;s traditions each year is that whoever&#8217;s birthday it is gets to choose where to go out to eat. Usually I have a hard time picking just one restaurant, but now it&#8217;s even harder because I&#8217;m taking 3 omnivores along for the ride! But, this time, I had my sights set on going to Flore Vegan in LA; I have heard so many good things about this place and have seen their brunch menu which looks amazing. So, onward we traveled the 30-odd miles deep into Silverlake to seek this place out and try out the food!<br />
My first impressions were: there is no parking (which if you&#8217;ve ever driven on Sunset Blvd. you would know), the place is TINY, and very popular. We got there about 30 minutes after they opened on a Sunday and had to wait 30 or so minutes to get sat. It&#8217;s a very casual atmosphere, and had a pretty good variety of people there.<br />
Here are some pictures of the inside:</p>
<p>Once we sat down we were greeted by a very nice server and ordered some coffee and juices; my family also drinks water at a decent rate and the multiple servers were really great about keeping our cups filled. I decided that I&#8217;d get a pretty unhealthy meal of biscuits and gravy because I haven&#8217;t had those in a VERY long time. My father and sister both got the Country Breakfast, and my mother got the veggie frittata. The food didn&#8217;t take long at all to come out, and when it did this is what we got:<br />
Biscuits and Gravy (also pictured above)</p>
<p>This meal ended up being very good, with fluffy biscuits and super delicious gravy, as well as chunks of tempeh sausage on top. I couldn&#8217;t even finish the side of fruit that I got with it because the biscuits were so filling! Overall, I really liked this dish and would get it again for sure.<br />
Country Breakfast</p>
<p>One of the first things we noticed about the country breakfast is that there was no biscuit on either of the plates. If you look at the menu is says that it comes with &#8220;Two silver dollar pancakes, potatoes, biscuit w/ mushroom gravy, and a sausage patty&#8221;, which seems a bit misleading when the plate shows up with no biscuit and many sausage patties. This confused my sister and father and they ended up just putting the gravy (which they both loved) on the sausage patties. In the end, they both were full and said it was pretty good, and definitely better than they expected (it&#8217;s like they swear that vegans eat shitty food!).<br />
Veggie Frittata</p>
<p>This is the dish my mom got, she&#8217;s a huge fan of frittatas (and eggs, unfortunately) so this was seemingly right up her alley. At first, she was taken aback by the fact that the kale was used as a garnish as opposed to being inside of the actual frittata. She was put off by the texture of it, noting that it was a bit mushy and smooth; I tried a few bites of it and had to agree to an extent, but I thought the taste was very good.</p>
<p>After we finished eating, I took a look into their little mini-market/deli/dessert case and searched for something to take home with me. Because I was already planning on baking cupcakes once I got home I decided not to get any sweets; instead, I got a loaf of awesome looking, multi-grain bread. Excited to try out the bread later on, I started to look it over on the drive home; it wasn&#8217;t until we were about 5 miles away from home did I notice that it had mold on a couple sides of it.</p>
<p>Yuck! They were little spots that sort of blended into the darker flaxseeds and grains, so I hadn&#8217;t seen it when we were still in LA. We got home and I trimmed off the moldy parts and took out 2 or 3 slices, then froze half of it. I called Flore immediately, and they told me I could come in and exchange it (but, there&#8217;s no way I&#8217;m driving 30+ miles to exchange bread), and I really just wanted them to double check the rest of the loaves. The gentleman I spoke to was very nice and apologetic, and said that the next time I come in that they would work something out with me. The bread (other than the mold) was great though, so if anything just check it out before you take it home with you.<br />
All in all, I enjoyed my brunch there and would go back again; but, only with one other person instead of 3 so that we wouldn&#8217;t have to wait as long. I&#8217;d love to try out their dinner menu, that looks pretty great as well!

One of my family’s traditions each year is that whoever’s birthday it is gets to choose where to go out to eat. Usually I have a hard time picking just one restaurant, but now it’s even harder because I’m taking 3 omnivores along for the ride! But, this time, I had my sights set on going to Flore Vegan in LA; I have heard so many good things about this place and have seen their brunch menu which looks amazing. So, onward we traveled the 30-odd miles deep into Silverlake to seek this place out and try out the food!

My first impressions were: there is no parking (which if you’ve ever driven on Sunset Blvd. you would know), the place is TINY, and very popular. We got there about 30 minutes after they opened on a Sunday and had to wait 30 or so minutes to get sat. It’s a very casual atmosphere, and had a pretty good variety of people there.

Here are some pictures of the inside:

Flore Vegan 1

Flore Vegan 2

Once we sat down we were greeted by a very nice server and ordered some coffee and juices; my family also drinks water at a decent rate and the multiple servers were really great about keeping our cups filled. I decided that I’d get a pretty unhealthy meal of biscuits and gravy because I haven’t had those in a VERY long time. My father and sister both got the Country Breakfast, and my mother got the veggie frittata. The food didn’t take long at all to come out, and when it did this is what we got:

Biscuits and Gravy (also pictured above)

Biscuits and Gravy

This meal ended up being very good, with fluffy biscuits and super delicious gravy, as well as chunks of tempeh sausage on top. I couldn’t even finish the side of fruit that I got with it because the biscuits were so filling! Overall, I really liked this dish and would get it again for sure.

Country Breakfast

Country Breakfast

One of the first things we noticed about the country breakfast is that there was no biscuit on either of the plates. If you look at the menu is says that it comes with “Two silver dollar pancakes, potatoes, biscuit w/ mushroom gravy, and a sausage patty”, which seems a bit misleading when the plate shows up with no biscuit and many sausage patties. This confused my sister and father and they ended up just putting the gravy (which they both loved) on the sausage patties. In the end, they both were full and said it was pretty good, and definitely better than they expected (it’s like they swear that vegans eat shitty food!).

Veggie Frittata

Veggie Frittata

This is the dish my mom got, she’s a huge fan of frittatas (and eggs, unfortunately) so this was seemingly right up her alley. At first, she was taken aback by the fact that the kale was used as a garnish as opposed to being inside of the actual frittata. She was put off by the texture of it, noting that it was a bit mushy and smooth; I tried a few bites of it and had to agree to an extent, but I thought the taste was very good.

Dessert Case

After we finished eating, I took a look into their little mini-market/deli/dessert case and searched for something to take home with me. Because I was already planning on baking cupcakes once I got home I decided not to get any sweets; instead, I got a loaf of awesome looking, multi-grain bread. Excited to try out the bread later on, I started to look it over on the drive home; it wasn’t until we were about 5 miles away from home did I notice that it had mold on a couple sides of it.

bread

Yuck! They were little spots that sort of blended into the darker flaxseeds and grains, so I hadn’t seen it when we were still in LA. We got home and I trimmed off the moldy parts and took out 2 or 3 slices, then froze half of it. I called Flore immediately, and they told me I could come in and exchange it (but, there’s no way I’m driving 30+ miles to exchange bread), and I really just wanted them to double check the rest of the loaves. The gentleman I spoke to was very nice and apologetic, and said that the next time I come in that they would work something out with me. The bread (other than the mold) was great though, so if anything just check it out before you take it home with you.

All in all, I enjoyed my brunch there and would go back again; but, only with one other person instead of 3 so that we wouldn’t have to wait as long. I’d love to try out their dinner menu, that looks pretty great as well!

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