Thursday, September 25, 2014

We all know I'm a lean mean baking machine. If there's any occasion to bake, I'll seize it. And naturally, all my friends are my guinea pigs (whether they like it or not, which most of the time I guess they don't mind). Cooking on the other hand, seems less exciting to me. I'm usually a one trick pony when it comes to cooking. Not to mention how impatient I already am, if I have to cook something that requires waiting along with those cookies I'm already waiting on in the oven, I might explode (a virtue I sorely have to work on).

Luckily, the only waiting required in this dish is for the tofu to marinate in really good lemony pesto. And I guess I made an exception since my toe nails needed painting in the mean while. Oh, and did I mention I am really slow at julienning? How quickly time flies when you're sitting there making match sticks out of vegetables . . .

Pesto Tofu and Stir Fry Vegetables

Saturday, September 20, 2014

I have been a very bad girl.

It all started with an innocent stroll around town. I already had my first gelato in Verona. It was okay, the guy behind the counter was nice, and it made for a pleasant end to the day. Suddenly I see a corner packed with people and a line coming outside a store. People emerging with cups and cones of gelato and whipped cream, chatting away in Italian.

I knew then that it was fate and that I had to return to try what clearly looked like a potential party in my mouth. Naturally after the first time, I came back two more times (and I'm not even going to tell you how many times Oli and I debated on whether it would be okay to get back on line for a second cone).

The store is adorable and kitschy (as all trendy places are now a days). They also had a fridge of what looked like incredible cakes that we never got to try because every time we went into their shop, we became gelato junkies.

Yes guys, we struggled to return to reality each time.

The product in question is absolutely lovely! First they drip your choice of melted dark or white chocolate into the tip of the cone, then you get to choose 2 flavors from their selection. I loved every flavor I chose so I'm guessing you can't really go wrong. They don't do very unique and far out there flavors like I've seen in other gelaterias in Rome and Florence, but what they do do (which are Italian classics such as Fior di Latte, Stracciatella, and Zabaione), they do very well.

Luckily La Romana is a chain and you can find one in various cities around Italy. Buon Appetito!

La Romana Gelateria
Piazza Santo Spirito, 9
37122 Verona, Italy

La Romana Gelateria in Verona

Sunday, September 14, 2014

When in NY, do as the New Yorkers do. In other words, get your behind out to Brooklyn and eat vegan, maybe raw, maybe gluten free. Sun in Bloom fits all of those requirements. Not to mention it's also right next door to a sex shop in case you want to get saucy with your sunflower seed burger. Just sayin'.

The lighting was a bit sparse so some of my photos look a bit grainy but what a lovely place! There are single tables as well as a communal bench in the center. The room is not that big but the space is very organized and I don't feel like I'm shouting over the table next to mine. There is also a fridge on the wall to the left where you can pick up soups or raw desserts.

My friend Amy as I caught her talking on the phone. I swear I did not make her pose for this.

When it comes to dining out vegan, I'd say I'm a pretty seasoned pro. The thing I've noticed with many vegan establishments is that they cater to the idea that veganism is still a new idea and therefore the food is prepared like it ordinarily would be except with substitutions so as not to scare people off. Sun in Bloom is the total opposite in that they really celebrate vegetables and grains and seeds and actually make you like the dish for being vegan instead of a good second to a meat equivalent.
My Sunny "Couture" Futomaki was delicious--I will definitely add roasted veggies to my rolls from now on. The ginger dipping sauce was also way better than any soy sauce. I'm not sure how the burger tasted but Amy seemed to enjoy it. For dessert, we split a gluten free oatmeal raisin cookie. Considering you could trick anyone into thinking it was a regular cookie, I'd say it was job well done.

Overall, it was my favorite vegan meal of this trip. My only qualm is I wish there was a tad bit more on the plate so you know, I could rub it all over my face. Haha, just kidding (but not really).

Sun in Bloom
460 Bergen St
Brooklyn, NY 11217

Sun in Bloom Restaurant

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Hey guys, as you may or may not know, I am currently in my hometown New York City! My flight consisted of an overnight layover in Helsinki, so I hit up my friend Marinka and we did a quick tour of the central area. It quickly became something of a food tour since, well, it's me, and there were just so many foreign foods to try!

My first night in, my friend Marinka picked me up from the airport and we went to a 24-hour grocery store. I have YET to find a 24 hour store in Berlin, especially on a Sunday, so I am in awe at how much more advanced Helsinki is already. But more so, I was intrigued by this Licorice flavored ice cream??! Finns love their licorice, eh?

The loot from the grocery store. Oh and I had that Susu bar yesterday and it reminds me of Twix candy bars.

The next morning we walked by a farmer's market near the ports.

THIS. It's OMG-good. It's like having your fish and chips in one go. Unfortunately, I can't remember the name of the fish or what this snack is called so if anyone knows, please inform me!

After maybe 20 minutes or so, we spontaneously decided to look for reindeer. It sparked from Marinka's idea to go get some reindeer waffles but because the place was closed, we went to a gourmet food store in the basement of a department store instead.

The man at the counter was so friendly and also recommended a lingonberry tart. It was very good--it's not a sweet berry so it went well with the savory tart. The reindeer, I concluded, tastes like a smoked ham. It could be the way it was prepared in the dish (also Marinka said the texture is quite different in real life) but none the less, it was salty and delicious.

Browsing the supermarket portion of the department store, I was somehow amused by a cereal called "Rude Health."

And then we found this jelly!

I have never heard of cloudberries before! I did a bit of research and they seem to be indigenous to Northern Europe and Canada. I wanted to take a jar with me so badly but we couldn't find a jar 100g or smaller (I only had a carry on so it was vital that it fit those requirements). I hope one day I can try this fantasticle sounding fruit . . .

Finally we ended up at Frazer cafe. It was quite big and pretty full of people enjoying lunch. I was completely distracted by all the cute Moomin goodies they had before heading to the pastry aisle and picking something out.

A butter eye? Well, it makes sense since it's buttery on top and looks like an eye. The taste was pretty similar to a Swedish cinnamon roll so in other words, I enjoyed it thoroughly.

I really want to come back to Helsinki and visit the other islands (and try to swing for a day other than Monday, when all museums are closed). I hope you guys liked what you saw and if you know of anything I should try in Finland but missed, let me know! Ciao!

Eating in Helsinki!