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Vegan MoFo 2016-Fantastic Falafel from Jerusalem Garden

4 Nov

Another one of our favorite vegan sandwiches in Ann Arbor is the Falafel from Jerusalem Garden.  We get it a few times a month as a midweek carryout dinner on those days that I’m too busy to cook.  My daughter, Olivia,  always orders it for us (the folks working there know us as Olivia’s dad and Olivia’s mom).  She specifies the falafel with pickled turnips and thom sauce, which is a garlic paste and vegan as opposed to the garlic yogurt sauce.  Oh goodness, it’s so delicious!

I was so hungry and excited to eat my sandwich that I neglected to take a picture of it. Imagine a hand made wrap stuffed with falafel, tomato, lettuce, hummus, pickled turnips (which are pink) and oozy garlic sauce 6 inches long and 3-4 inches wide that feels like it weighs a ton.  Well, maybe a half a pound.  I’m not sure but it’s weighty and so satisfying.

Jerusalem Garden is on Liberty in the old Seva location.  They will be adding on a new deck for outdoor dining for this summer season in the spring.  Inside it is open and airy and spacious.  It’s not all vegan however so don’t expect many options.

I sure wish Ann Arbor would increase it’s vegan dining options!!

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Best Vegan Sandwich in Ann Arbor?

26 Aug

Hello, dear readers!   It’s been a very long time since I’ve posted on my blog.  I’ve not been contributing to furthering the vegan message in my community much at all the last few years except for a few hours volunteering here and there…and of course asking for vegan food at every restaurant I go to!  After co-founding  Ann Arbor’s first Veg Week in April of 2013, I found myself taking somewhat of a hiatus from my vegan activism.  Although I continued to teach monthly vegan cooking classes at Whole Foods through December 2015, I chose to let go of the idea of making Ann Arbor Veg Week an annual event.  My heart just wasn’t in it and I’ve learned to listen to myself before I make commitments, especially ones that require a lot of energy and dedication.

I’ve been pondering for awhile now what my next project would be.  I’m  clear my passion lies in promoting the eating of more plants and less (no) animals.  I’ve asked myself what aspect of advocating a vegan lifestyle excited me and had an impact by inspiring others to become plant eaters, too!

So here’s what’s been interesting me for awhile now:  I have a strong desire to increase the amount and variety of vegan food options available in Ann Arbor (and Ypsilanti!), especially in non-vegan restaurants. I would like to be able to go to ANY restaurant and find a delicious vegan entree on the menu.  My goal is to inspire the many talented chefs in Ann Arbor to create something special for their venue, thereby making yummy vegan food available for everyone who patronizes their establishment.  Vegans get their needs met and non-vegans get to taste how fantastic plant-based dining can be. What’s more perfect than that?

By the way, you can help make more plant-based food available at any restaurant by always inquiring, in a pleasant way, if there are vegan options offered.  Be sincere in your appreciation of  what they do have and make requests for additional items.  You might be surprised at the positive response you get.

To promote the fantastic vegan food already available in our fine town, and to stimulate buzz for additional items,  I’m planning to post “best of” reviews for food categories at vegan and non-vegan restaurants in the area.  I’ll write about best pizza, best appetizer, best stir fry, best burger, best soup, best salad, best burrito and others.  I’m interested in hearing your ideas and recommendations in these categories and others you suggest, so please let me know your thoughts.

So, to start this off, tell me about your favorite vegan sandwich in Ann Arbor or Ypsilanti.  I personally have two current favorites of my own, namely the Tree Town Tempeh Reuben at The Lunch Room and the Falafel Sandwich from Jerusalem Garden.  Try the Falafel with Hummus and pickled turnips, our family’s favorite combo.  Have you had either of these?  What other local vegan sandwiches should be in contention in the “Best Of” competition?

 

 

Zingerman’s Roadhouse hosts The Ann Arbor Meetup Group

7 Oct


Vegan MoFo #4!  This is my second year doing Vegan MoFo, which stands for the Vegan Month of Food.  Isa Chandra Moskowitz, the author of many wonderful vegan cookbooks, including Veganomicon, started Vegan MoFo several years ago.  Last year, over 700 bloggers signed up to participate and they are expecting even more this year!  When you sign up, you agree to post at least 20 entries in 30 days about something related to vegan food.  Last year was my first attempt and it was definitely challenging for me to cook, photograph and post that many entries, but it was a fun challenge!  More fun, though, was reading everyone else’s posts. I was so inspired by the size of this international vegan community and the incredible variety of vegan recipes shared.  You can sign up for the rss feed of the entire blogroll or look at the entire list of bloggers signed up this year here.

Before I sign off, I wanted to share with you the fantastic vegan event we had here in Ann Arbor recently.  On September 25, 2012, Zingerman’s Roadhouse, which is one of the offshoots of Zingerman’s Delicatessen and known for its meat and dairy heavy menu, hosted an Ann Arbor Vegan Meet Up Dinner that was delightful.  There were 62 people there, all interested in eating heavenly vegan food.  Here’s the menu that Chef Alex created: (click on the image to be able to read the menu clearly)

Roasted Squash-Eggplant Crispy Lasagna

Quinoa Pilau with Curried Squash Slaw

Sea Island Red Peas and Dirty Mushroom Rice

At our table of four, we decided to order some of everything and share so we could taste it all.  Everything was yummy but our favorite was the smoked potato and avocado soup, oh my, which unfortunately we gobbled up before we remembered to take a picture!

By the way, there are a few vegan/vegetarian options on the regular menu at the Roadhouse, like sweet potato fries and salads you can ask for without cheese, grits without cheese and a bean burger with a different bun, but I’ve also been told by the Zingerman’s folks that you can ask the chef to prepare something vegan anytime you visit.  I have yet to try this.  If you do, let me know your results!

Vegan Fare at the Jolly Pumpkin

26 Oct

I was walking around downtown Ann Arbor last week on my assignment from VegMichigan to help update their website of Ann Arbor Restaurants with vegan fare.  I passed by the Jolly Pumpkin and was delighted to notice several vegan options on their menu including a vegan chocolate cake!  So, of course, I invited my dear husband out to dinner last Saturday night, our long-standing date night.  We hadn’t been to the Jolly Pumpkin for many months and only a handful of times since their opening in September of 2009.  It was hopping busy at 8:30 when we arrived so we hovered near the bar hoping for a couple of bar stools to open up.  About 15 minutes later we had prime seats and were happy to see the television sets at the bar tuned to the MSU vs Wisconsin game.  I don’t follow football much but my husband let me know these were two of the best teams to watch.  If you missed this game, try to find the highlights.  It was amazing!

Anyway, back to the food!  I was feeling like a sandwich so after my husband ordered the Truffled French Fries for his appetizer, I ordered the Red Thai Tofu sandwich.  I subbed out the fries for a nice green salad instead.  It was all so delicious!  The grilled bread was a bit too oily but otherwise I loved the flavors and texture of this sandwich. It also came with a pickled zucchini wedge that was a surprise treat.  Forgive the picture above as it does the fabulous taste an injustice.  I also had a Oro de Calabaza, the Belgian-style ale the New York Times had voted their number one favorite in February 2010.  It was yummy and refreshing with a luscious citrus taste.

Other options on the menu for vegans included an appetizer of Grilled flatbread with Three Spreads.  They also had a Smoked Tofu Salad and an Asian Layered Salad.   Several of the items seem like they could be easily veganized by leaving off the cheese, including the pizzas.  I was too full to try the Vegan Chocolate Cake, which it turns out seems to be provided by Avalon International Bakery in Detroit.  I will definitely be back again soon and be sure to save some room in my belly!  Check out the Jolly Pumpkin’s menu here.

Sweet Potato Fries with Spicy Dipping Sauce

17 Oct

Every time we go to Seva for dinner, my family finds it irresistible to pass up the yam fries appetizer.  They are served with a mildly spicy dipping sauce that we all want to lick right out of the bowl.  I asked the server what was in it and wouldn’t you know, mayonnaise(of course) and Clancy’s Fancy Sauce, made right here in Ann Arbor.  Unfortunately, even though Seva is a vegetarian restaurant with many vegan options, they don’t offer a vegan option for this particular dip.  When I asked for a vegan dip, they gave me salsa!  Definitely not the same!

So, of course, now I make these at home, with the dip veganized using Veganaise (my favorite vegan mayo).  These are a family favorite!  Everyone loves them and there are never any left over.  Just by themselves they are delicious but with the dipping sauce, they are over the top for us.

While writing this post, I went to the company’s website and found that the sauce contains honey!  I didn’t know that, I hadn’t read the ingredients because I assumed it was vegan.  (You know what they say about assuming!)  I then found myself wondering about why honey is not vegan.  It’s something I’ve wondered about and had never gotten around to researching.

So, I mistakenly used a non-vegan ingredient last night, but now I know.  I’d love to create a sauce like Clancy’s Fancy that uses agave instead of honey.  Either that, or I will look for a substitute sweet and spicy vegan sauce to mix with my Vegenaise!

Vegan Crab Cakes at Jazzy Veggie in Ann Arbor

13 Oct

My daughter and I went to Jazzy Veggie on Main Street to check out Ann Arbor’s first truly all vegan fare restaurant.  These Crab Cakes were our favorites.  They tasted just like crab and were crispy on the outside and chewy on the inside.  I used to eat real crab cakes before I went vegan in November 2009 and these little vegan gems were genuinely satisfying.  I will definitely be back to try them another time.

I’ve never made vegan crab cakes at home, have you?  I found this recipe for Chesapeake Tempeh Cakes at the Post Punk Kitchen.  In the short time I’ve been cooking vegan, I haven’t gone wrong with any food I’ve made that comes from Isa Chandra Moskowitz‘s cookbooks, including the fabulous Veganomicon and Appetite for Reduction.  This particular recipe is from Vegan Brunch.  Apparently, you make everything the day before and then cook it up to serve.  I think it’s time for a party!

Here’s the full menu from Jazzy Veggie to entice you.  As an added plus, it looks like they also deliver!

Hope you are enjoying the Vegan Month of Food!

Ann Arbor Vegan Restaurants

12 Oct

Ann Arbor is better than many small cities in its vegan offerings but I am hoping more of our talented chefs take on the challenge of adding delectable vegan food to their offerings.  And of course, you can always ask for modifications wherever you go!  If you are interested in checking out the vegan restaurant fare that Ann Arbor has to offer, here’s a short list.  Of course, the best vegan food is what we make at home!  But there are nights that going out and having someone else cook for you is delightful.

Please let me know any restaurants you know that should be added.

Jerusalem Garden-delicious falafel

Cafe Verde/People’s Food Co-op – check out the menu for the food bar for October

Pilar’s Tamales-Try the vegan eggplant tamales!

Seva – yam fries, Thai salad, spinach salad and on and on….

Earthen Jar-EVERYTHING!

The Lunch Room – barbecued Tofu Sandwich, Aloo Yoop Stew, molasses cookies, EVERYTHING!

Jazzy Veggie-vegan crab cakes (I’ve yet to try anything else)

Chia Shiang-Soybean skinrolls with broccoli

Hut-k Chaat – It’s all a “party in my mouth”!

Blue Nile– Vegetarian Feast (I believe it’s all vegan)