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Friday, July 13, 2012

Vegan Food Truck Lunch

Either I was late to the food truck phase or food trucks were late to New York. There's not a lot of parking space here. There are food carts on any corner. We have restaurants, bodegas, and delis galore. Why food truck? I still don't really know, but I do know that I spied with my little eye a vegan, raw food truck randomly parked next to Union Square (where I often eat my lunch) one day a couple months ago.
They are called The Squeeze, as they started out as a pressed juice business, but they don't have much of a current web presence that I can see (there are a few reviews) so I kind of have to make stuff up. Not their existence, though! That is real! I ate at this very truck for lunch today:

As I said, they started out as a pressed juice business but they are not only raw food, as I assumed (and they certainly advertise as such). This is a poor shot of their menu:

They make juices and smoothies, as well as snacks and sides - notably raw funyuns! There are crackers and the typical raw snacky stuff (granola, kale chips) but the savory dishes are for the most part not raw - vegan mac and cheese, hot dogs, bruschetta, and meatballs among other bites. Even the salads were not entirely raw! There were only two options: kale and quinoa, and mesculun greens with a topping.
It was sort of difficult to get the woman's attention at first, and once I had asked for the quinoa salad, she told me they "had just run out." I'm sure I missed it by seconds, considering the lack of a line and her playing around on her phone when I approached the window. She somehow suckered me into buying the mesculun salad (for 3 dollars more) anyway because I'm a pushover. There's no description of the salad on the menu so I wasn't sure what to expect. I ordered it with a topping of artichoke-walnut pesto (okay, she told me she'd put in on) and got this:

There are Bubbie's raw pickles on top, along with dehydrated onions, and an oil-lemon dressing on the side. The salad was tasty and filling, don't get me wrong but it seemed really bizarre. Why dehydrated onions on a not-raw (due to the artichokes) salad? (Though they were slightly sweet and chewy and fun to eat). Why pickles, of all things? It was sort of salty and could have used even a cheap extra vegetable like tomatoes or shredded carrot to balance it out. So.
I'd say, know what you're getting into before you order from the truck. The food was tasty but not well explained, beyond their juices. I wonder if they get most of their business on those. I might go back to splurge for a raw snack or juice, but as for providing a meal, the truck is lacking.
You live, you learn, as Alanis says.

Monday, July 9, 2012

Busy Weekend. Spoiler: Kittens

Hey guys, this was a pretty full weekend for me, which is sort of unusual. Here are some photos of the goings-on, as well as some food in-between.

Friday breakfast smoothie: spinach, Vega Vanilla Chai powder, frozen banana, cranberries.

Friday lunch from Paradis: mixed greens, roasted eggplant, tomato and walnuts in a tahini-dill dressing. And inexplicably three pieces of what I think were cheese on top?!? I picked it off and made sure there was no more hiding in there. That was weird because they're usually good about listing all the ingredients in the salad. Eh.
 That night, I met up with a friend after work, we got a couple drinks and headed to see MEN !!! It was so much fun. They are a queer, dancey, electro band headed by JD Samson of Le Tigre (another favorite band.) I danced and drank more and yelled stuff and JD even responded to me once! Ah, I geeked out. What a blast.
Here is a photo from the night that my friend Tara took on her phone (she's also a really talented photographer IRL):

After the show ended (like, super early! like, 10:19!) we walked around and hit up one more place, Lillie's, an Irish/Victorian bar! It was filled with eerily trendy people doing the real Friday-night thing, but it was beautiful inside with stained glass and porcelain stuff and hardwood floors and wallpaper, so we got one drink and skedaddled. I'd love to return on an off-night.

Saturday lunch: Falafel sandwich (with onions, hummus and hot sauce) from Rainbow Falafel near Union Square. Falafelites are divided about the best in the city, this is one name that comes up pretty frequently. Not bad; I wish there were more salad in it.
 After work I biked to see a friend's band (Enemy Owl) play at Acheron, a metal bar in East Williamsburg. Then I biked a lot more all over this place.
Sunday I got up, not too incredibly hungover and took the train out to Queens to catch a Mets game with a co-worker and some of his friends.
For Ingrid, here are some shots of CitiField, where they play:

Train stop. It used to say "Shea Stadium-Willets Point" Shea was their old ballpark until it got torn down a couple years ago to build the new CitiField, in the Shea parking lot area. The design of Citi is based on Ebbet's Field, where the Brooklyn Dodgers used to play.

                                             Nosebleed seats. I kinda get vertigo up there.

        One of my favorite (former) players, the one and only Keith "Mex" Hernandez. Swankkk.

The Mets lost to the Cubs (the worst team in baseball) but it was a good day out, despite the sweltering heat, holy crap. I got a weird sunburn and sweated at least a beer and a half straight out. After the game we went to the Astoria Beer Garden and...yeah.
So! Finally, today, I went out to my parent's house armed with a camera to take a milli photos of these two little kittens she just adopted!!! They are brothers!!! How freaking cute!!

A former co-worker posted on facebook that she rescued these two little ones that were about to cross the street!! She has three cats of her own and knows how to take amazing care of kittens, but she just couldn't keep them. I don't remember if I told you all or not but my mom's cat passed away in March, and she didn't want to rush into getting another cat but some time has passed and she visited these little dudes and fell in love immediately. It's easy to see why.
My mom had to work all day today so I went over to visit the kittens and play with them and socialize them a little. They are only about three weeks old so they are suuuper tiny, but really frisky and sweet.

They wouldn't stop moving long enough for a good shot! I took a video but it has my "talking to kitties baby talk" voice, so, uh, maybe some other time. Phew!
Post-kittens, burritos:

Nopalitos burrito with refried beans, potatoes, salad, radishes, and salsa verde from Taco Chulo. That is my entire weekend. It was a good one! Do you guys prefer busy weekends, or slow, chill ones? I usually stay pretty low-key but sometimes mania kicks in and I need to get out of the house. Plus, the more I do on weekends, it kind of feels like the weekend was longer. So, yeah! Here's to next weekend. You know, everybody is workin' for the weekend.

Friday, July 6, 2012

How to Salvage Sweet Potatoes

Though they usually don't need salvaging! Anyway, waste not, want not, I've long been told, so what to do with the sweet potato fries from yesterday?

Chopped sweet potato fries with steamed collards tossed in tahini and mustard, cubed tofu and zucchini after the fact. Much better this time around. Tahini and mustard work wonders.

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Reject All-American

I tried to give a shit about holiday-themed food today but let's face it; this ain't no Thanksgiving. I didn't want to buy a vegan hot dog just because it's the 4th of July and that's what you do and then have to eat the rest of the pack... I didn't want to worry about, "to buy buns or not to buy buns?" I didn't really want to think about anything today but I also didn't want to feel left out of the All-American foodstuffs, so I picked up a ready-made meal from Whole Foods of a black-bean burger and sweet potato fries. That says USA, right?

Burger with mustard and ketchup, over steamed collard greens. Sweet potato fries on the side. I probably shouldn't have bothered. The burger was not bad, if a little dry but the sweet potato fries were pretty gross. They were mushy and didn't taste spiced at all - in fact, they actually kind of tasted like they had gone bad. I covered them in mustard too and tried to forget about the lackluster meal by eating a lot of clafoutis.
Basically, this is my United States of Whatever. So, who tried harder and succeeded today??!

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Cherry Clafoutis

Well, it's still cherry season and, expensive as they are, I can't help but buy them by the bag. Hot as it is, I turned on the oven yesterday to bake clafoutis to use some of the cherries up.
This recipe is Dynise Balcavage's from her Urban Vegan cookbook. I trust her in all things francophile.

I've been to France twice, but have never had clafoutis. Dynise describes it as a cross between pudding and cake. I baked mine for about 57 minutes before it stopped jiggling in the pan, and then it sets up even more as it cools. It's pretty simple to make, though I'm still not entirely sure I baked it long enough. Nevertheless, it's delicious. The cherry/vanilla flavor is so refreshing, as well as slightly tart compared to the sweeter, pudding-y inside. Real nice chew, too, from the burst of cooked fruit and the thin crust that forms on the bottom of the pan.
Maybe I should have held off on baking this until Bastille Day, or maybe I will bake another one.

Monday, July 2, 2012

Raw Noodles with Avocado

Sometimes you see something on the blogs and need to make it, immediately. Somehow I missed Ashlae's original post of spaghetti with avocado sauce, but came across Sara's version this morning and it sounded so great, I made it for lunch a couple hours later. I figured I had the basic ingredients and just needed to pick up some pistachios....and then I did.
However, as you all know I'm not a huge fan of pasta and I also like to keep meals as simple as possible. Instead of blending up an avocado sauce, I topped zucchini noodles (I had the wrong blade in my spiralizer! It was pretty but kinda hard to eat.) with chopped avo, shredded collards, the chopped (salted) pistachios, cherry tomatoes, lemon juice, and black pepper.

I'm sure it would have been awesome with Ashlae's garlicy sauce to pull it all together, but it was a delicious high-raw salad nonetheless. And I didn't have to dirty a blender.

Brooklyn Museum, taco lunch

I am really terrible at getting out of the house and doing things. BUT G and I finally made it out to the Brooklyn Museum (like, 5 miles from the apartment) to see the Keith Haring exhibit (on its second to last weekend.) If you don't know Keith Haring, I feel bad for you, son. He's really one of my absolute favorite artists,with an incredible mix of joy, politics, collage, street art, and dirty punk no-wave NYC in his aesthetic. Needless to say, I took a ton of photos.

The museum itself is an incredible building. It was built in 1897 and then the futuristic facade was added to in 2007 or so. Real fun stuff. The Haring banner is at the far right.

                                                            G admiring one of the works.

Thought the vegans in the crowd (aka alla y'all) would appreciate this one. "Everybody knows where meat comes from. It comes from the store." Right.

                                                   Newspaper headline collage pieces.

                    This was an awesome wall of Haring open calls for art and show Xeroxes.

My favorite room was actually filled with multimedia stuff. I didn't really know that Keith got into poetry and semi-performance art (where my heart lies.) There is one room of him with TVs showing his lipsticked dance routine to club music entitled Tribute to Gloria Vanderbilt, and some film of his subway art pieces set to Tom Tom Club, the B52s, and other fun-punk-jazz bands of the late 70s.
After the museum, we headed to a nearby taco place we knew of, only to find it was closed! Halfway through the depressed and foodless (and insanely warm) walk home, we passed another taco place, La Cochinita, with only one vegan option. We were hungry and hot and needed to sit, so we ate the one vegan option. And it was good.

This is the Rajas taco plate, halfway eaten (sorry - we were hungry!): rice and beans, nicely spiced but better with a bit of lime juice and some hot sauce, some surprisingly fresh and well dressed salad, and in the back, potatoes, mushrooms, and roasted peppers with tomatillo salsa. Two flour tortillas on the side.
I always wish there were more vegan options, but this place did the one option right. So, kudos.
The day was a good one, including a good sweat and semi-long walk.
Tell me about your favorite artists! Who do you guys like??