Archive for the 'Vegan' Category

Nancy’s Fancy Coconut Stracciatella

Nancy's Fancy Gelato & Sorbetto Artiginale

Inspired by the desserts served at her fantastic collection of restaurants (see: Pizzeria Mozza, Osteria Mozza, Mozza 2-Go, Chi Spacca), Chef Nancy Silverton recently introduced a line of artisanal gelati and sorbetti called Nancy’s Fancy.

These premium pints, which are sold exclusively at Gelson’s (for now) and priced at $10.99 a pop, include flavors like Butterscotch Budino (scotch-laced “pudding” with salted caramel swirls), Roasted Banana with Bourbon & Pecan Praline, and Frutti di Bosco (Greek yogurt with mixed berries). While I was pretty certain I would fall hardest for the Budino, one spoonful of the Stracciatella and…swoon.

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Gracias Madre – Los Angeles (West Hollywood)

Gracias Madre - West Hollywood

While driving home from dinner at Gracias Madre last week, my mind kept coming back to the idea of comfort zones. Namely, how my food comfort zone is calibrated a lot differently than other people’s. I feel perfectly at ease in a dingy restaurant where no English is spoken and offals are served, but take me to a fancy vegan joint in a ritzy part of town, and I feel a little like a fish out of water. 

One man’s comfort zone is another’s uncharted course.

Gracias Madre - West Hollywood

I stepped squarely out of my element for a taste of Gracias Madre, a much-buzzed-about and beautifully appointed restaurant specializing in vegan Mexican fare. Chef Chandra Gilbert opened the first Gracias Madre in San Francisco in 2009 along with Café Gratitude founders Matthew and Terces Engelhart. She formerly worked at Alice Waters’ now-closed Café Fanny in Berkeley and Cowgirl Creamery and Greens Restaurant in San Francisco.

The restaurant sources its organic produce exclusively from Be Love Farm in Vacaville, as well as from local farmers markets.

Gracias Madre - West Hollywood

While my dining companions Diana and Valentina sipped spicy cocktails to start, I began with a cool glass of horchata ($5.50). Made of almond milk instead of the traditional rice milk, the agua fresca had a thicker consistency than I was expecting. Considering that horchata is naturally vegan, I found the ingredient swap unnecessary, especially since the end product wasn’t nearly as refreshing.

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Mighty-O Donuts – Seattle

Mighty-O Donuts - Seattle

On our final morning in Seattle, The Astronomer and I hopped a bus to the quaint neighborhood of Wallingford to visit Mighty-O Donuts. While I’m usually dubious of fried dough with health claims attached to it, I’d heard such positive reviews of Mighty-O’s vegan offerings that I felt compelled to try them for myself.

I mean, if there’s one town in this world that could produce a delicious doughnut without chemicals, preservatives, hydrogenated oils, artificial colors and flavors, genetically modified organisms, or animal-derived ingredients, I would put my money on Seattle.

Mighty-O Donuts - Seattle

Mighty-O has been selling their unique brand of O’s in the Seattle area since the late 1990s and opened this store in 2003. The shop produces over a dozen different varieties of cake doughnuts each day with either a vanilla or chocolate dough and various toppings.

Mighty-O Donuts - Seattle

Oreos are a passion of mine, so I chose the “Cookies and Cream” doughnut ($1.85) with a vanilla base, sweet glaze, and crushed chocolate cookies.

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20 Hour Staycation: Hyatt Regency Century Plaza

Hyatt Regency Century Plaza - Century City

It all began with an invite to a press luncheon featuring Chef Manfred Lassahn’s new vegan menu offerings at Breeze, a restaurant on the first floor of the Hyatt Regency Century Plaza. The event was scheduled for a Monday afternoon, which meant that it would be impossible for worker bees stationed on the east side of town to attend. I replied to the invitation thanking them for thinking of me and letting them know that I wouldn’t be able to make it.

A few beats later, I received a follow-up email from the hotel’s director of public relations. She was sorry that I wouldn’t be able to attend the event, but invited me to swing by for a meal anytime and to make it a staycation if I so fancied. Needless to say, I very much fancied a vegan staycation and took her up on the offer. Sometimes, I just can’t believe my good fortune.

Hyatt Regency Century Plaza - Century City

The Astronomer and I pulled up to the Hyatt Regency Century Plaza late one Saturday afternoon and checked into the most spacious suite ever. We’ve stayed in dozens of hotel rooms over the years, but this was the first one large enough to accommodate multiple cartwheels and a legitimate dance party. We did lots of the former, but left the latter for rowdier guests.

Hyatt Regency Century Plaza - Century City

The bedroom was minimally furnished and tastefully appointed. The bed was a dream, of course.

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