Tag Archives: vegan

Gluten-Free & Dairy-Free at Blossom, New York

Blossom-Restaurant

Vegan food is everywhere is New York. Clean and colourful, with delicious flavours and beautiful ingredients, it’s food that makes you feel good. Blossom bills itself as Gourmet Organic Vegan Cuisine and won New York City’s Best Vegetarian Restaurant as voted by the readers of Time Out Magazine in both 2008 and 2009. Based in Chelsea, Upper West Side, Upper East Side and West Village, it was established to bring vegan dining to a fresh, new and delicious level. They focus on being “animal caring”, and their organic ingredients are sourced from local farms and small companies, creating food that doesn’t contain cholesterol or transfats.

I went to the Chelsea Blossom which is a candlelit-velvet-curtains kind of place. There’s a great selection of dishes on the menu, and gluten-free, nut-free and seed-free are marked. And they even have a list of organic and gluten-free wines and beers. Yay!

Blossom-Starter

First up was the Raw Zucchini (Courgette) Rolatini and it was absolutely delicious. A basil cashew cheese filling, with chive oil, sesame & sunflower sprouts and avocado. This was a mixture of wonderful flavours (herby, seedy, sharp, very slightly sweet and very creamy) with full-on healthy food.

Blossom-Main

To follow – the Vegetable Mezze Plate. I dithered between this and the Spaghetti Squash Cake with Wild Mushroom Risotto (and sautéed spinach, saffron cream sauce and pine nut garnish) but chose this because I can never normally eat a mezze plate, as they’re usually full of gluten and cheese. It starred sautéed red cabbage, escarole and cannellini beans, snow peas, sautéed kale, purple yam purée, spiced quinoa pilaff and tahini spirulina. The spiced quinoa and the purple yam purée were really good and the drizzles of tahini spirulina were a fantastic addition to the various vegetables and pulses. This is food where a lot of thought has gone into flavours and textures – which is what takes vegetarian or vegan food to the next level.

Blossom-Pudding

I finished with a Crème Brulée. Joy of joys. A dairy-free, creamy, caramelized pot of yumminess.

You can go to the Blossom Bakery and Cookery School, sign up for private vegan baking lessons, get your event catered by them and even buy a vegan wedding cake!

Blossom is at 187 Ninth Avenue, New York.

Gluten-Free and Dairy-Free at Mŏk Bar, Chelsea Market, New York

Mok-Bar-Classic-Ramen

Tucked away in the corner of Chelsea Market, NY, is Mŏkbar (literally a combination of English and Korean to mean ‘eat bar’). You can either order a take-away, to eat as you walk round the sights and sounds of Chelsea Market, or you can sit at the wooden bar, watching the chefs work in the open kitchen. The food at Mŏkbar is a blend of traditional Korean (soups, kimchi, and ho cakes) with Japanese ramen noodles.

It’s a great concept – and the food is inexpensive and delicious. For lunch, you can choose from a selection of Ramen dishes – the Mŏkbar Classic, Kimchi, Vegan Miso, Spicy Tofu, Black Bean, Cold – and you can add extras, such as spicy paste, pickled daikon or rice cake. All of these are dairy-free and you can order any of them gluten-free, too, as all the broths are gluten-free, and they will use rice instead of the ramen noodles. Both the Vegan Miso and the Cold can be vegan.

Mok-Bar-Classic-Ramen

I had the Mŏkbar Classic. A combination of meltingly-tender braised pork, chunky, spicy Asian mushrooms, fresh spinach leaves and spring onions created deep, satisfying flavours. I took one spoonful and then another, and another, and before I knew it the bowl was empty. It was really good.

You’ll find Mŏkbar inside Chelsea Market at 75 9th ave, New York, NY 10011.

Gluten-Free & Dairy-Free at Le Pain Quotidien, NY

Le-Pain-Quotidien

I went for a lovely lunch at Le Pain Quotidien when I was in New York. The bakery chain that focuses on serving classic, rustic loaves, started in 1990 in Brussels. It quickly grew to an international one, opening 200 locations throughout the world, including UK, US and Australia. There are bakeries, bakery classes, books and products (including foods, dinnerware and furniture).

The bakery grew from Alain Coumont’s vision of sharing freshly-baked traditional bread. The sense of community is key for Le Pain Quotidien and they say it is “what nurtures, inspires and feeds the soul.” The first bakery was build with a communal table with wood salvaged from the floors of retired Belgian trains. And the communal tables – made with reclaimed wood – have become their centerpiece.

Le-Pain-Quotidient-Tart

The menu is lovely, albeit very light on gluten-free options. There’s a range of Hot Dishes, Tartines (Belgian open-faced sandwiches), Salads and Sharing & Small Plates. They say that they keep it simple by starting with fresh, wholesome ingredients and sourcing organic and locally where possible. Vegan dishes are highlighted, as are the dishes that have a gluten-free option or can be made with gluten-free ingredients. All of the tartines could be made with gluten-free bread and there was also a gluten-free/vegan Six-Vegetable Tart, with artichoke, vegetables and tofu on a gluten-free buckwheat crust, so I ordered that.

It was delicious. The crust was full of buckwheat-nutty flavours and the artichokes and all the different vegetables created different layers of flavours and textures. It came with a salad – and there was some seriously good olive oil for drizzling over. Really delicious. But also a very small portion!

It’s great to go to a place that takes free-from diners seriously. But, in truth, a place is only as good as the people who work in it. One woman told me I could have the spelt bread, when I asked whether they had any gluten-free bread. I told her that spelt wasn’t gluten-free but that was clearly news to her…

Gluten-Free and Dairy-Free at The Greenhouse at Wild

Greenhouse-&-Wild

Greenhouse-&-Wild-Interior

Opened by Miki Agrawal who is intolerant to pesticides, hormones and additives, Wild is dedicated to giving people a positive environment to eat nourishing, yummy food, and offer true peace of mind. That’s a tall order! But, with their careful focus on better-for-you-food, made with organic, additive-free and gluten-free ingredients – and beautiful environment – I think they manage it.

Miki calls herself a serial social entrepreneur. Since opening Wild in West Village, followed by Greenhouse at Wild in Williamsburg and now in Lass Vegas (and setting up a franchise of the business and writing a book), she is spreading her net. Her next undertaking is Thinx, an alternative underwear that funds getting Ugandan girls into school. And she’s also a partner in Super Sprowtz with her twin sister Radha, which is a children’s media company to get kids to eat more vegetables.

Greenhouse & Wild Vegan-Pizza

The food is healthy food at its very best. Truly. And they’re phasing out the few gluten-containing dishes they have, so that all the dishes will be gluten-free, too. There are dishes such as Seasonal Soup, Wild Salad and Kale Caesar Salad. There are gluten-free pasta dishes, such as Penne Pomodoro. And there’s a wonderful range of pizzas – all of which are gluten-free and vegan (and made with wild yeast). The day I went there was a choice of Skinny Bitch, Pear, Fig & Gorgonzola, Wild Mushroom & Truffle, Spicy Prosciutto and Vegan BBQ.

They made me a Pear and Cheese pizza. With a crunchy, crispy gluten-free base, and with vegan cheese. It was a delightful mixture of sweetness from the pear and salty savouriness from the soya cheese. And the thin base was fantastic. I just wish I lived in NY, nearby, so I could get takeaways from there regularly!

Greenhouse at Wild is at 340 Bedford Ave, Brooklyn, NY 11211

The Allergy and Free From Show in London

Allergy-Show

Last Friday, I went to The Allergy & Free From Show in Olympia, London, and it was brilliant. Definitely the best it’s ever been. Also on was the V-Delicious Show. The shows were PACKED with stalls – and there were so many exciting, vibrant food producers showing their products. A couple of years’ ago, my overriding memory of the show was one of chocolate brownies wherever you went. But this year, there was a fantastic variety of foods and producers. Whether it was vegan kale chips, gluten-free pizza, dairy-free ice cream or sugar-free chocolate – it was all there, and more.

For most of the show, we went round tasting freebies. It’s a tough job, but someone has to do it! Here were my favourites –

Saf-Crackers

Saf Crackers. These are awesome. All of them – and especially the Kale & Spirulina Crackers.

Rawlicious-Foods

The Rawlicious Crackers were lovely, too. Especially the fiery Tomato Pizza Crackers.

Ugg-Foods

Ugg Foods Muffins, especially the Coconut Chia ones. These are all paleo, so they’re completely grain-free. And, as well as having the usual coconut flour (full of nutrients), they’re also packed with chia, too. These are seriously healthy indulgences!

Inspiral-Foods

And I love Inspiral products. They’re the original gurus in the raw food area and they have a lovely cafe/bar/event space in Camden. Their kale chips are really, really good.

Conscious-chocolate

And there was a huge variety of chocolate on offer at the show. Dairy-free, vegan, sugar-free – all types. My favourite, hands down, was the Conscious chocolate – the Love Potion no.9. Unbelievable aromas and flavours from the raw cacao powder, essential oil of rose, cinnamon and Himalayan salt – and all sweetened without refined sugar, but with maca and agave nectar.

On my way out, I stopped at the Udi’s stall. Just to see what they were like (but not because they’re normally my sort of thing), I tried their gluten-free and dairy-free Oreo-style biscuits, and they were great! Now I just need an excuse to make a birthday cake in the shape of a train – complete with these biscuits for the wheels – and I’ll be sorted! (Very unlikely to happen with a 5-yr old daughter, though…)