My Catskill Animal Sactuary Vegan New York Trip – August 2014 (Hudson River Valley)

DSC_7777

A very overdue post fom my 5 day trip this fall to the Catskill Mountains (August 2-6, 2014)…click here to see all 300+ pictures from my trip.

During our vacation my husband and I stayed at the Homestead Guest House (a 200 year old farmhouse) on the grounds of the Catskill Animal Sanctuary in Saugerties, NY.  Every morning we were cooked an amazing vegan breakfast by the staff!  Another perk was being able to stroll the sanctuary any time (not just during guided tours) because we were guests at the Homestead.

DSC_6347

DSC_6174

DSC_6535

DSC_6413

DSC_7334

During our five day trip we ate our way through all of the vegan friendly restaurants and candy shops in the Hudson River Valley!

Here are all the places we ate at:
Karma Road (New Paltz, NY)
Lagusta’s Luscious (New Paltz, NY)
Mexican Radio (Hudson, NY)
Mountain Brauhaus Restaurant (Gardiner, NY)
New World Home Cooking (Saugerties, NY)
Garden Cafe on the Green (Woodstock, NY)
Rosendale Cafe (Rosendale, NY)
Park Falafel & Pizza Inc. (Hudson, NY)
Luna 61 (Tivoli, NY)
Oriole9 (Woodstock, NY)
Little Apple (Woodstock, NY)
LUCKY CHOCOLATES (Saugerties, NY)
Krause’s Chocolates (Saugerties, NY)

DSC_5999

DSC_6035

DSC_6661

DSC_7646

DSC_7367

DSC_6670

DSC_7616

DSC_6370

DSC_7716

Anytime we weren’t eating (or hanging out with the animals at CAS) we were out exploring all the Hudson River Valley area had to offer…wildlife, berry picking, waterfalls, hiking, wild flowers, the mountains and numerous historic homes!

DSC_6769

DSC_6111

DSC_6754

DSC_7200

DSC_7045DSC_6681

DSC_7666

DSC_7570

DSC_7797

DSC_5980

I would recommend this region of NY to anyone (vegan or not)!  It was the absolute perfect vacation!

You can see all of my 300+ pictures from our vacation here: https://www.flickr.com/photos/126122816@N04/sets/72157646034091519

St. Patrick’s Day in Chicago!

In an effort to post more in the “JVL Travel” category, I bring you the overdue highlights of my (very vegan) trip last month to Chicago! Yes, this is from St. Patrick’s Day…better late than never, right?

DSC_3511

Each year I travel with my bestie for a fun girls weekend over St. Patrick’s Day weekend and for 2014 we selected Chicago! (In 2012 we went to Savannah and in 2013 we flew to Boston.)  We travel to watch the parade, wear green, eat, drink and pretend we are Irish for the weekend.  It makes for a fast paced, super-fun girls weekend and I get to try restaurants in new cities that are on my vegan bucket list.

DSC_3015

Day 1: I arrived on Friday and our first meal was lunch at the 100% vegetarian restaurant, Blind Faith Café.  It is located in Evanston’s Chicago Avenue/Dempster Street shopping district, within walking distance from Northwestern University.

DSC_2966

DSC_2968

The menu was extensive and it was hard to make a decision! Here is what we had between the three of us: Vegan Wonton Soup ($4.50), Fried Dumplings ($7.50), Spinach Lentil Salad ($7.50) and the Vegan Mexican Breakfast Plate ($12.45)

DSC_2970

DSC_2975

DSC_2983

DSC_2980

Deciding on dessert was equally hard with a case like this on display (over half of it was vegan)! We finally settled on the Chocolate Peanut Butter Cake with Raspberry Sorbet ($7.50).

DSC_2990

DSC_3002

After lunch we did some shopping on Michigan Avenue and visited Millennium Park.  Seeing the famous outdoor sculpture, Cloud Gate (a.k.a “The Bean”),  was on my must do list and it didn’t disappoint!
DSC_3098

DSC_3094

DSC_3021

DSC_3043

DSC_3038

DSC_3049

DSC_3065

Afterwards we didn’t really have a plan for dinner, but Thai sounded delicious.  So after reading several reviews on the various Thai restaurants in the area (thanks to our cell phones), we took a taxi to Star of Siam.  We shared the below: Fried Tofu ($4.75), Veggie Tempura ($7.75), Mussaman Curry with Tofu ($7.75) and a rice noodle dish that I cant remember the name of ($8.25)

DSC_3073

DSC_3076

DSC_3078

DSC_3080

Day 2: The St. Patrick’s Day Festival!

We woke up and arrived early to see the river be dyed green! It gets is emerald green color from 45 pounds of vegetable dye.  They say the ingredients are not harmful to the thousands of goldfish that make up a large percentage of the river’s fish population. I hope not because it was a beautiful site!

DSC_3101

DSC_3173

DSC_3131

DSC_3440

The parade started at noon and we secured a great spot on Columbus Drive!
DSC_3275

DSC_3291

DSC_3355

DSC_3382

DSC_3394

DSC_3403

DSC_3309

DSC_3330

DSC_3326

Satisfied that we had seen enough of the parade, we decided to explore on foot. It’s amazing how many large-scale outdoor pieces of art there are in Chicago!

DSC_3408

DSC_3407

DSC_3443

DSC_3455

It wasn’t hard deciding on lunch as Native Café was on my must visit list!  I told the employee at the cash register, “I want whatever your favorite item is.”  The result, the Oklahoma Bacon Cheeseburger: thinly sliced Native Original Seitan, melted cheddar, caramelized onions, and crispy Native Bacon on a bun slathered with BBQ sauce and ranch dressing, romaine, carrots, onions, and tomato. Topped with crunchy battered dill pickle chips. ($9.95)

DSC_3425

DSC_3427

DSC_3435

After lunch we explored some more!

DSC_3449

DSC_3201

DSC_3200

DSC_3197

Eventually we found ourselves taking an elevator ride up to the top of the John Hancock Observatory!  We were seated at the best table we could have wished for, a corner window table on the 96th floor with a perfect view looking down Michigan Avenue!  Admission to the top is free as long as you buy an overpriced drink at the Signature Room Lounge.

DSC_3519

DSC_3516

After some late night pub hopping (for some much cheaper drinks) we ended up at Hash House, Twisted Farm Food.  It was not really vegan friendly but they did manage to whip up this vegan hash for me with mushrooms, artichoke hearts, sundried tomatoes and fresh spinach.  The portions at this place are huge (this could have fed a family of four)!

DSC_3535

Day 3: Although I had an afternoon flight and was pressed for time, I decided that I could squeeze in breakfast AND one hour at the Art Institute of Chicago before heading to the airport.  I am an art history major, so this was pretty important to me. I wanted to try The Chicago Diner soooo bad, but I also wanted something located closer to the museum due to my time crunch, so I opted for Karyn’s Cooked.  I ordered the Homestyle Breakfast ($10.95) and the Potato Pancakes with lemon-dill sauce and applesauce ($6.95).

DSC_3549

DSC_3553

DSC_3555

DSC_3561

DSC_3564

With a full belly, I took the subway to the Art Institute of Chicago. I called ahead of time to ensure that the museum coat check would hold my suitcase for me (as I had already checked out of my hotel), which they did!  It worked out perfectly!

DSC_3568

DSC_3571

The museum has a “What to See in an Hour” list that contains their favorite 12 pieces. In my 57 minutes I was able to see six of them: Seurat’s A Sunday on Grande Jatte, Monet’s Stacks of Wheat, Grant Wood’s American Gothic, Richter’s Woman Descending a Staircase, Charles Ray’s Hinoki and Jackson Pollock’s Greyed Rainbow!
DSC_3575

DSC_3585

DSC_3633

I was also able to see many other famous pieces by artists that are important to me: Warhol, Calder, O’Keeffe, De kooning, Motherwell, Kline, Rauschenberg, Rothko, Lichtenstein and Stella. Unfortunately, my memory card filled up as I entered my most favorite part of the museum – the Impressionism wing.  I was out of time anyhow, so it is probably a good thing, or I may have missed my flight.

DSC_3604

DSC_3621

I had an amazing “taste” of what Chicago has to offer in my short two and half days there. I cannot wait to return to the Windy City soon!

The Ice Plant and St. Augustine Distillery!

DSC_2849

I finally made the short trip from Jacksonville to St. Augustine this weekend to try The Ice Plant for the first time!  I was accompanied by my good friend and fellow blogger, Heather, of Outside the Den.

Haven’t heard of The Ice Plant until now?  Then check out their website and this video for more info!

DSC_2852

DSC_2902

DSC_2913

The restaurant and bar are housed in an old ice plant (hence the name) and as you ascend the staircase to the second floor, you immediately feel transformed to the turn of the century!
Don’t forget to look up or you will miss the massive original bridge crane on rails, once used to lift and load massive blocks of ice.

DSC_2853

If you are with a small group, I suggest you dine at the bar instead of a regular table! That way you can see the mixologists in action, including the ice making!

DSC_2909

We just went for drinks, or so we thought…

DSC_2872

The Brooklynite ($8) was my favorite! I substituted agave for the honey and it was amazing!

DSC_2882

DSC_2897

DSC_2886

DSC_2880

Like spiked punch? You can order an entire punch bowl (Fish Camp punch or Just for Life punch) to share with your table! $50 (8 servings).

DSC_2875

With everyone raving about their cocktails and awesome ice (and rightfully so), I just kept asking myself why have my friends failed to also mention the amazing menu here?  I was so excited when I saw some vegetarian items printed and after a few questions to the bartender, I quickly discovered they actually have some extraordinary vegan options at The Ice Plant!

DSC_2895

The veggie burger (sans the avocado dijonaise). ($11)

DSC_2892

 One of the best vegan burgers I have ever had! It’s accompanied by your choice of hand cut French fries (with homemade ketchup) or a house salad.

DSC_2934

Mushroom Risotto with Tamari Broth (sans Parmesan cheese). ($13)

It’s not everyday you can find a place that can (or is willing to) “veganize” their risotto recipe. My complements to the Chef!

DSC_2943

The appetizer section features Soft Pretzel Bread (sans truffle cheddar fondue, sub plain Dijon mustard). ($6) *Do not order these if you do not consume honey, other than the honey the pretzels are vegan.

DSC_2959

There is also a Fall Market Salad, with Basil Vinaigrette ($7) on the menu, which we are saving for our next visit. With all of the quality farm to table vegetables they have on hand, I’m fairly certain the chef could even make you an off menu vegan special if you just asked.

DSC_2949

The Ice Plant does not open until 5:00 p.m., so arrive early and tour the St. Augustine Distillery attached to the other side of the building.  It’s free and very educational! (You also get to sample the Florida Mule made with their Florida Cane Vodka!)

DSC_2775
The first bourbon to be produced in Florida since prohibition! Be patient though as the bourbon has to age another four years before it will be bottled.

DSC_2801

They do however have the Florida Cane Vodka for sale! ($28 for one, or $50 for two) Made with locally grown sugarcane from KYV Farms!

DSC_2831

Learn more about the St. Augustine Distillery on their Facebook page.

DSC_2792

Kale Cafe & Juice Bar – Daytona Beach, FL

I love to travel.  Sometimes I travel not for the destination, but just to try new restaurants (I mean I even own a “Will Travel for Vegan Food” shirt)!  So when I heard from a friend on Facebook (thank you Francesca) that a new 100% vegan restaurant in Daytona Beach just opened, I knew a quick daytrip was in order!

Midtown EcoVillage’s Kale Cafe Juice Bar & Vegan Cuisine is pretty awesome!
Kale 17

A planter of assorted kale greets you at the front entrance! Kale 18

Kale Café Juice Bar and Vegan Cuisine is owned by husband and wife, Camille Holder-Brown and Omar Brown.  They are the founders of Midtown EcoVillage, a non- profit grassroots organization advocating healthy lifestyles, environmental sustainability and community solidarity through education, advocacy, and services.  Prior to opening the café they built a loyal following of customers at the local farmers market, where they sold their vegan Caribbean food and smoothies twice a week.  So when the time came for them to open a permanent location, they launched their kickstarter campaign last fall and had lots of supporters!  Over 100 backers pledged $20,525, making their dream of their juice bar and vegan café a reality.  Two months later it opened its doors on November 30, 2013.

Kale 2

KALE 4

The menu at Kale Café rotates daily, but usually includes Caribbean vegan food like brown stew tofu, sautéed cabbage, brown rice and peas, curry chickpeas and jerk vegan chicken.

Kale 3

On the weekends you can enjoy brunch items like wraps, pancakes, potatoes and scrambled tofu.  Sometimes Camille even does a Raw Plate!

Kale 9

Lunch plate ($10): Brown Stew Tofu with Cabbage and Pumpkin, Roasted Curried Potatoes and Kale Salad.

Kale 15

Lunch Plate($10): Mac & Sheese, Rice and Peas, Millet Salad and Kale Salad.

Kale 11

Side order of Mac n’ Sheese!

Kale 12

A giant batch of Camille’s gluten free millet tabouli.

Kale 14

They make everything in-house!  The only exception is the vegan cupcakes, which are provided by Delectable Delights.

Kale 13

 The cupcake flavors today: Mocha and Pumpkin ($2.50 each).

Kale 19

Don’t miss the juice and smoothie bar, it’s a real value! Our two smoothies were huge and only $5.00 each.

Kale 5

Omar in action at the juice bar!

Kale 6
Our Small Green Stuff Smothie ($5): Kale, Mango, Banana, Ginger, Pineapple & Apple Juice!

Kale 7

I think the secret is the fresh juiced apples they add to the smoothies.  Delicious!

Kale 8
My Small Berry Bliss ($5): Blueberries, Strawberries, Pineapple, Banana and Apple Juice!

In addition to serving healthy food, Kale Café also has fun entertainment like live reggae music, spoken word, jazz, family disco, movies, cooking classes and gardening workshops.  Peek into the back of the building as it is a huge space.

Kale 10

This is a cool place and just a one hour drive down I-95, go try it out soon!

116 N. Beach St.

Daytona Beach, Florida 32114

Phone (386) 872-5097

Website http://www.kalecafejuicebar.com

The Daytona Beach Vegetarian Society  meets at Kale Café once a month for their gathering!