Thank you Ari Solomon. Love, Love, Love these!
Tag Archives: vegan
I cannot think of anyone, and I do mean ANYONE, who wouldn’t, shouldn’t or couldn’t like Eden. The well established café stands out at 344 Adams Ave. in Scranton as the areas only vegan restaurant. Holy tofu! At 150 miles away and just under 3 hours from our front door, Eden is the closest 100% vegan restaurant to us! It’s about the same as distance going to Pittsburgh but faster. Ok, it’s a real road trip but with the reviews had I read on Yelp and Happy Cow, I knew we were going to just love it. I dearly wish we had a place like Eden close to us.
There are many parking garages in the general area to choose from and I suggest that because much of the on street parking is for very limited time. From where we parked, we were able to walk past the court-house, lawn and take in a lot of the Occupy Scranton activities. I am thinking there is more to Scranton than meets the eye.
Typical of the whole Eden experience, the clean design of the exterior doesn’t scream for your attention and it’s whats inside that really counts. You can start to get an idea that this place is impressive when you read the specials menu just outside the front entrance.
Upon entering, the wood colored tables, window counter, benches and chairs in the small dining are as well as the offset counter for placing orders seem pretty typical for a cafe. What starts to really grab your attention, if the menu hasn’t yet, is the warm and friendly staff.
We were cheerfully greeted by Lindsay the Counter Girl who understood that we were overwhelmed just looking at the specials. We scanned them and decided to take regular menus to sit down and look over. I think it took us over 10 minutes to calm our excitement and reassure ourselves that everything on the menu was vegan.
Although the specials were singing their siren’s song, trying to lure us into ordering a taco or one of the warm potato bowls, we opted to order from the regular menu.
We returned to the counter and placed our orders with the enthusiastic Lindsay whom we had overheard saying it was her last day. We wished her well and she walked us through the ordering process and gave us a number to place on our table.
Along with the number, we took back our drinks. I got an Oogave Root Beer to go with my Chili Cheeseburger and Jim got a kind of Tazo tea. As we chatted and sipped our drinks, I was able to access the WiFi with the pass code I had been given (just ask when ordering). We enjoyed looking around at the 11×14 chalk drawings of different animals and the copper ceiling panels. The latter gives away the age of the building Eden has made its home but everything about the restaurant is clean and welcoming.
There were always at least a couple of other tables occupied out of the 7 double seaters inside. The food orders kept coming out regularly (some were take-out) and I never saw anyone having a problem with what they ordered. It is definitely a family friendly restaurant with a separate kids menu but I am thinking kids would like a lot of the other menu items too.
Jim’s cup of Chipotle Corn Chowder came out first and we were both thrilled with the warmth, texture and taste. Served with a little bag of our favorite Westminster Crackers, Jim liked the good corn sweetness and it reminded me of the good old Aunt Kittie’s brand soups except it had a nice chipotle afterglow.
Eden get its vegan buns fresh daily from Scranton’s own National Bakery. I could really tell that with my Chili Cheeseburger and after the sub-par ciabatta earlier in the day, this was a welcome sandwich. The chili was mellow and reminded me a lot of the very first vegetarian chili I used to make with kidney beans and TVP – it really made me smile. The burger itself was a thinner chewy patty with veggies like corn, peppers and carrots in it. Although I never really got the cheese aspect of this sandwich, I got some sweet pickle relish for an additional charge and the whole burger was a warm delightful feast.
Along with a spear of 1/4 of a nice gherkin, I also chose a side of Homemade Coleslaw with my burger. The cabbage (green and red) was coarsely shaved and so crispy fresh and was mixed with some shredded carrot. The dressing, dense with tasty celery seed, was sweet and complex but just a little oily. The odd thing was the orange color of the dressing which we assume might have something to do with their vegan mayonnaise choice because we noted a similar hue in Jim’s sandwich.
I hindsight it’s pretty clear that Jim was trying make up for the sandwich that fell a little short earlier in the day at Fig. He ordered a Tuna Melt on with a vegan American Cheese and wheat bread. He too had a pickle and got a side of the Homemade Smashed Potatoes.
The Tuna Melt shared that orange color that the Coleslaw had and the soy protein was blended well with it along with a little pickle relish. It’s not the way we typically make our sandwich fillers, we like big old hunks of stuff, but the pimento spread like flavor was pretty nice. With the healthy serving of warm and melty cheese and toasted bread, it too fell into the category of vegan comfort food.
If I considered all of the above comfort food, I have yet to share the most soul soothing of all that we ate – Eden’s Smashed Potatoes! Topped with just a little bit of vegan butter, the pile of warm and savory sage seasoned softness was like a big hug for our tummies. They weren’t overly salted, were chunky but soft and had just the right amount of pepper. I want them just like that for Thanksgiving this year.
This goes to show you that you don’t have to go to New York City to eat in a 5 star vegan restaurant – just find your way to Scranton! You won’t be served any avant-garde balsamic reduction flourishes over micro greens, you will be served great food and plenty of it. To counter some of the criticism written on Happy Cow, Eden has plenty of healthy choices. If you don’t want to order a meal with meat substitutes in it there are wraps, salads, soups and rice dishes. The pleasing environment (Coldplay-esque music), dedication to plant based meals and care given to making sure customers are properly served make this a top notch dining experience. I am reaching out my hand to the most north-easterly corner of our good Pennslytucky region and hanging on to Eden, they serve up great meals in the best vegan way. Follow them on FaceBook and Twitter too.
Poor Jim got all excited when he heard I was making this soup. He had misunderstood me and thought I had gotten some delectable greens and was making Chard Onion Soup. Oh well, this variation on French Onion Soup is touted to be a bit more classic in the French style according to Mark Bittman’s How to Cook Everything Vegetarian.
I have mentioned before that I hesitate to share recipes in cookbooks that are still in print because the good cooks who have worked hard to put them together need to make money by our buying them, or giving them as gifts (thank you Amy!). What I can share is that the onions I charred (see photos above) were halved and brushed with olive oil. The ones on the left are before broiling and the ones on the right are after 10 minutes under the broiler.
I followed the recipe to make the Charred Onion Soup vegan and it was pleasing. The one thing I missed in the recipe that I have used in the past is some caraway seed. I just love that flavor in a soup like this and really yearned for it. I was glad our garden has a nice batch of parsley, it was my favorite kind of topper and gave the dense onion flavor of the soup a nice freshness. Maybe next time I will add some chard just for Jim.
Inside Mad Mex there is a lot of twisted (literally and figuratively) Mexican inspired artwork. It gives it a kind of creepy but entertaining feeling and it is one thing that puts the mad in Mad Mex. Another mad element is the crazy specials that they have. A good example is the drink specials on Groundhog Day are dependent on whether Punxsutawney Phil sees his shadow or not. Once in the summer they had corn on the cob with a chipotle sauce as a special.
Inside can get ridiculously loud especially when college is in session during happy hours. The loud music and voices just bounce off the concrete floors as the metal legged chairs add their scraping screeches to the cacophony. Seating outdoors at this time is at a premium. Either choose a different time or be forewarned – Mad Mex is a mad house at these times.
The staff say you can get the password for Wi-Fi at the Days Inn check in desk but what a pain in the butt. If you need to get online that badly while you sip your margarita you will do it. It’s just not worth the trouble for me.
Lunch at Mad Mex is hit or miss. They just don’t seem to be staffed for it during the off-season when Penn State isn’t in session. Evenings are much more reliable, the staff is always hustling and thank goodness there are more of them after 4PM.
There are plenty of vegetarian options at Mad Mex. I highly recommend reading over the vast menu before you even go so you don’t overlook what might be your personal favorite.
Jim and I frequently get the Pick-a-Dippa and a bowl of the Chickpea Chili to share. With the Pick-a-Dippa you get a bottomless basket of tri-colored corn chips and you can choose any three of the…
Mad Mex® salsas:
Pico de gallo
XX Cheese Dip
Kaya® Yucatan Black Bean Dip The chips are “meh” but the dips are pretty good. Even the Avocado-tomatillo has a little peppery heat to it. We like using the chips to also eat the Chickpea Chili. If you don’t ask for the tofu cheese and or sour cream, the Chickpea Chili will come with dairy products. The cup and bowl sizes are what you would expect and the flavor of the vegan chili is quite good. The chickpeas are firm and surrounded by a thick green tomatillo chili soup with gently sautéed Spanish onions. It is probably a little spicy for a lot of the mainstream locals but I think it’s a mellow chili and isn’t the only vegetarian soup at Mad Mex but it’s our favorite.
So many of the burritos and enchiladas can be made vegetarian with tofu or portobello mushroom. All you have to do is looks for the little green cactus on the menu and you can see the items worth reading about.
With so many choices, I will let the burritos and enchiladas to your explorations and focus on the Pennsyltucky Tofu appetizer. It came out in a huge bowl and (according to their nutritional datasheet) was only 2 servings! Six of us feasted happily on it and Pick-a-Dippa as we waited for our lunches and were pretty well filled up. It was a little party of 1/2″ cubes of deep-fried tofu! They were covered in a glaze of ponzu or lightly spiced General Tso’s sauce and sprinkled with chopped peanuts, sesame seeds, whole mung bean sprouts and cilantro. Fun and tasty, everyone at the table enjoyed it. I plan on getting it sometime as an entrée.
Kids might like this place but both indoor and outdoor seating revolves around their 2 bars s I don’t think it’s for everyone, especially during happy hours September – May. Big kudos for the menu making the veggie options easy to find but stop advertising free Wi-Fi like it’s on the menu. The food is good, moderately priced and plenty to choose from for a vegan or vegetarian. The staff is fine but not always on top of things, I assume mostly due to the high turnover linked to hiring college students and always needing to retrain them. Above average for sure, vegetarians should know about Mad Mex in State College.
See Slideshow Above
1. Use a small glass or jar with a bit of fruit of cider/vinegar in the bottom.
2. Get a small snack baggie and cut just the one tiny corner off of it.
3. Point the hole you cut downward into the glass/jar to make a funnel for the fruit flies to get down into the fruit.
4. Secure baggie with a rubber band and place the trap when the fruit flies congregate. It is usually near a bright area in your kitchen.
5. You can catch dozens in just a few hours so be attentive to the trap.
6. Release them outside before they start to lay eggs. The larva hatch quickly and will make more flies so replace the bait often.
7. They are also drawn to moisture so mind the heads of your tooth brushes.
Today our lunch was from the Vegan Fire & Spice: 200 Sultry and Savory Global Recipes by Robin Robertson.
This hearty recipe is one of my favorites for when Arron and Amy visit. It can be hoighly spiced and makes enough for an army so it’s nice to have them help us enjoy it.
Everything about Gobo was welcoming. There was a cute section of outdoors tables and the interior was upper east side appealing. The calm dining area had a bright wooden theme from table to floor to massive cross sections of trees being honored as wall hangings. The staff was efficient and from what I have been told knowledgable able their menu to accommodate many dietary concerns. The seating isn’t nearly as cramped as almost every NYC restaurant and still has seating for about 4 dozen. Although the restaurant offered no Wi-Fi, the restrooms were clean even if the ladies’ room was out of toilet paper.
The friendly down tempo tunes helped the mood of not feeling rushed to leave during our lunch and we enjoyed every taste that crossed our palettes. Speaking of palette, the menu at Gobo was crafted by chef Yuki Chen, a creator of temple cuisine and later the mastermind behind the menu of Zen Palate, a renowned vegetarian dining establishment with multiple locations in New York. Having now been to both we think that Gobo embraces subtle but important differences that make it’s cuisine outstanding.
One of the dishes with close similarities is Gobo’s Braised Tofu in Black Bean Sauce over Asian Kale. It very clearly resembles Zen Palette’s popular Sesame Medallions that are served of large florets of steamed brocoli. Both come with rice but Gobo’s is more than just a nutty brown rice with a few ingredients for texture and color as well as being served in a banana leaf cone. The little touches in presentation and flavor shows Gobo’s execution of an almost identical dish as superior.
A meal I would frequently order at Zen Palette on Union Square is what Gobo has on their menu as Slow-cooked Malaysian Curry. A mild yellow curry with wheat gluten and root vegetables that have become so acquainted with each other that they are soft, relaxed and a real comfort food.
Other exciting things we tried included the Pine Nut vegetable Medley with Lettuce Wraps, Five Spice Tofu Rolls with Mango Puree, Organic White Bean, Root Vegetable & Pumpkin Soup, and Seitan Skewers with Green Mustard Sauce. Each were presented beautifully and well thought out as taste sensations on their own.As a Pennsyltucky vegetarian, I was brought up in a time and area where haute Asian cuisine was more along the lines of opening a can of La Choy Fancy Mixed Chinese Vegetables and putting it over a bag of Chow Mein Noodles. Don’t get me wrong, I have fond memories of that but it doesn’t mean that a visit to Gobo is so far away from my roots that I can’t appreciate everything it is. It offers soul satisfying flavor and a vegetarian experience that is one of the best I have ever had. The menu can please a brought range of desires with it’s homemade veggie burger sliders to organic king oyster mushrooms in sizzling basil black bean sauce and everything in between. You would have to be a vegetarian curmudgeon not to love this place.
What started as a much smaller cafe in less than half the space it now occupies, Elk Creek Cafe + Aleworks is now the live and beating heart of downtown Millheim. Located on Main Street at the only light in town, what hasn’t changed is that you will still be treated like a good friend who is welcome to sit and chill, enjoy a meal or sip your drink as long as you like as you watch the Amish buggies clip and clop past the big picture windows.
The days and hours they are open are a bit odd (closed Mondays & Tuesdays, no lunch Wed & Thur) and there are also different bands featured to perform in the main dining area many evenings so check the web page and FaceBook page. Parking is on the street or behind the building.
What does this small town brew pub have to offer a vegetarian? Plenty! It’s exciting to say they have always had a nice vegetarian sandwich or two and a vegan hummus plate. Now I can add they are dedicated to all of that plus a vegan entrée and vegetarian soup choice every evening meal. Sitting at a high top table or on one of the elevated stages with good food and a local drink makes anybody, loner or huge family, feel like they belong at the Elk Creek Cafe. They feature Tait Farm Shrubs and local wines as well as their own established list of beers.
The food menu, self dubbed Nouveau Dutchie Cuisine™, is dedicated to fresh, local foods and we have enjoyed many a wonderful soup and “vegan bowl” with a house crafted micro brew. On our last visit, we started with some of the Belgian Cut Fries with the Tabasco Catsup & Aioli and shared a bowl of the vegetarian soup of the day, a vegan Watermelon Gazpacho!
The soup, as are ALL of their vegetarian soups, was crazy good. It was super chilled and had a great balance of tangy sweetness with onion in it’s to the deep pink broth. A thin chiffonade of flat leaf parsley added contrasting color as did the large halved blue berries that were floating in it. We both agreed that the little cubes of watermelon may have been marinated. We detected a bit of basil along with the peppery mustard seed we found on the bottom of the bowl.
We typically choose not to go when a band is scheduled because we like to chat and enjoy our meal. The dining area wasn’t full but about 1/3 of the 30 tables were being served in the cheery glow of the bright walls. We enjoyed peering around at the artwork of the month as we dipped our fries and sipped our soup. I even used my iTouch to pop online and touch base with Arron, just back from Japan. The Wi-Fi is free and no tvs even near the 16 seats at the bar to distract from the warm and woody ambiance of the place. I could hear a large meeting or gathering in the separate back dining area but it wasn’t keeping the wait staff from being on top of what we had ordered.
Our salads were served next. I got my favorite Roasted Beet + Fennel Salad and Jim ordered the vegan special of the day, the Tomato Panzanella Salad. Both were served with generous portions of tasty mixed lettuces and thinly sliced red onions in large shallow bowls. Jim’s was dressed with a sharp red wine vinegar which offset the sweet hunks of local tomato and saturated the large soft croutons. He loved the hint of dill he would taste with every other mouthful.
I just can’t get enough of the roasted beets nestled in those same greens and coated with a delicate grapefruit dressing. The sweet bites of mild and crunchy fennel are a wonderful counterpoint to the pieces of radish and red onion. It’s that little bit of fennel seed (caraway?) that makes me sit up and take notice and keeps me ordering it almost every time.
Over the years we have enjoyed tempeh sandwiches, quinoa and greens, mushroom soup with truffles oil, red beet latkes, artisan cheese and fruit plates and many a pint of good beer at Elk Creek Cafe. I cannot think of any meal I have not enjoyed every bite of and that includes their Sunday brunches (I dream about the tofu scramble and crispy potatoes.) Service can be a little slow at times but it’s not that any employee is dawdling. If you look around the staff are hustling to meet everyone’s needs and that includes knowing or being at the ready to check if a menu item is vegan or vegetarian, they care to know. We have taken family and friends, large groups and snuck off just the two of us, we have come for the bands and for the beer. Elk Creek Cafe + Aleworks has never let us down.