• Restaurants

    OC Weekly Vegan Pop Up

    This past weekend, we went to check out this new weekly pop happening in Santa Ana, CA. It is hosted by Vegan By El Zamorano, the vegan offshoot of Taqueria El Zamorano.

    The set up is small but cozy. The event takes place in the parking lot. There is a rotating list of vendors, usually about 4-6 vendors, each week. They pretty much cover all your favorites: tacos, tamales and desserts. They have a small covered patio with picnic benches to enjoy while you fill your bellies.

    This weekend, in addition to El Zamorano, the other vendors were: Eat Yiju, Bianca’s Tamales, Sweet Vegan Delights and Nieves Exquisitas.

    Taco Plate from Vegan By El Zamorano

    Our first stop was obviously El Zamorano because tacos. We ordered a couple of each tacos and a taco plate with rice and beans. Our fave taco was the carne asada! Just the right texture and marinade, topped with delicious salsa and fresh cilantro and onion. Street taco heaven! And the beans and rice were fantastic! The beans were perfectly cooked and the rice was nice and fluffy.

     

    Next up was Eat Yiju for these gorgeous dumplings! I loved hearing about Susan’s story and how she is carrying on her families legacy through her love of dumplings. She is super rad. And her dumplings are out of this world. The dough was tender with a slight chew. And the filling was made of veggies and soyrizo which was served with red pickled cabbage. I should have ordered more. SO MANY MORE. Days later, I am still craving them!

    Yo-Soy-Rizo dumplings. OMG.

    We also checked out the tamales from Bianca’s..and totally forgot to take pictures while stuffing our faces! My fave was the Rajas tamal. Filled with chilies and cheeze, enveloped in flavorful masa, this was the clear winner! All tamales are served topped with salsa verde, a drizzle of crema and a dusting of parmesan.

    And, we ended the day with a few scoops of ice cream from Nieves Exquisitas. Technically, its is sorbet as they puree fruit, add some sugar and water and freeze. But what results is a creamy, decadent, ice cream! I kid you not. The coconut was pure and creamy and contained little flecks of coconut. My second favorite was peach-it was just like biting into a fresh peach! Nothing artificial here! I am looking forward to seeing more of them around town as they don’t have a storefront. So get them when you can!

    Peach Perfection
    Creamy Coconut

    And I can’t believe it..but we left without getting cookies. Though our friends that we were with really raved about the shortbread thumbprint cookies from Sweet Vegan Delights! They even have dog treats for your pups. Cookies all around..yay!

    We spent the rest of the afternoon hanging out with friends that trickled into the event. It was a gorgeous SoCal day and this event was a perfect way to spend the day. I loved that there was a great selection of foods and that the event was low key enough that you felt you could stay a while and hang out with friends. And hopefully hit up the vendors for round #2.

    For more info on this week’s pop up and schedule of vendors, be sure to follow Vegan by El Zamorano on IG!

    See ya there….

     

  • Meal Ideas

    Southwest Chick’n Salad

    The usual punchline is that all vegans eat are salads. Don’t get me wrong, we enjoy a great salad but that’s not all we eat! And when we do eat salads-WE GO ALL OUT! We make GIANT salads loaded with all kinds of good stuff. Delicious, fresh and filling, this is one of our favorite salads and will leave you so satisfied on your hungriest of days!

    Southwest Chick’n Salad

    For 1 salad, you’ll need…

    Salad greens-I use bagged Romaine but feel free to use whatever you’d like! I’ve even used a lettuce mix with cabbage and carrots because that’s all I could find at the store.

    Boca Chicken Nuggets cooked per directions and sliced. I use 3 nuggets per salad. (PS. I throw these in my airfryer. If you don’t have one, I HIGHLY suggest adding one to your kitchen!)

    1/2 cup Black Beans, drained and rinsed.

    1/2 cup corn, drained and rinsed. I use fresh frozen that can be thawed quickly!

    Cherry tomatoes, quartered.

    Avocado, chopped.

    Tortilla Strips. These are vegan friendly!

    Buffalo Sauce

    Ranch dressing

     

    Here’s how you do it..

    Layer everything into your dish…

    Greens.

    Black beans

    Corn

    Sliced Chick’n Nuggets

    Avocado

    Cherry tomatoes

    Tortilla strips

    Drizzle of Buffalo sauce

    Drizzle of Ranch dressing

    Enjoy!!!

     

    And there you have it, a super delicious salad that comes together in just a matter of minutes! Let me know if you try this out!

     

  • Meal Ideas

    Potato Patty Perfection!

    When I was a kid, my mom used to make potato patties on the regular. These little pillows were a mix of my favorite things-soft, fluffy potatoes and cheesy goodness-fried to perfection. I’ve tried to veganize these in the past but failed-miserably. Thanks to the VeganEgg by Follow Your Heart, I was able to enjoy these once again!

    Look at that golden potato goodness!

    If you want to try these at home, here’s how you do it:

    You’ll need…

    5-6 Yukon gold potatoes (this will yield about 14 patties depending on size)

    FYH’s VeganEgg-prepare the equivalent of  HALF of one vegan egg prepared with water.

    1/2c or so of your fave vegan cheese. I used Daiya‘s mozzarella cheese.

    Salt and Pepper

    Flour for dredging+1 teaspoon

    Cast Iron pan

    Saucepan

    Potato Masher

    Oil for frying

    Toppings-Sour cream and fresh Pico de Gallo salsa!

    And here’s how you do it:

    1. Chop potatoes into cubes and add to saucepan. Boil until cooked through. Drain and set aside until potatoes are cooled.
    2. Once potatoes are cooled, mash potatoes until creamy. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Set aside.
    3. Heat frying pan and oil over medium heat. Oil should be about an inch deep.
    4. While oil is heating, add cheese to potatoes and 1 tsp of flour to potatoes. Mix well.
    5. Add vegan egg and stir until combined well. The potato dough should stick together well enough to form potato balls (about golf ball size)
    6. GENTLY flatten the potato balls. Don’t make them too thin, you’ll want them to puffy little pillows. If you make them too thin, they’ll fall apart.
    7. Just before adding patties to hot oil, dredge them in flour on both sides. You want to get a nice coating on them!
    8. Fry until brown on one side. While cooking, you can use a spoon to put some of the oil on the exposed size of the patty. Flip carefully and cook on the other side. You’ll want a nice dark brown on them.
    9. Place cooked patties on paper towel lined dish and repeat until all patties are cooked.
    10. Serve immediately with your fave toppings. Rice is also a great side dish for these!

    Give it a try and let me know what you think!

  • Meal Ideas

    Monte Cristo, please!

    Feeling a little inspired by my love for all things Disneyland, a local pop up restaurant and at the urging of the hubs, I whipped up some Monte Cristo sandwiches for dinner last night! And let me tell you…THEY WERE HEAVEN.

    They came together fairly easily and quickly which would make this a great recipe to keep on hand. And the sweet and savory combo is great for when you just can’t decide what you’re in the mood for! I served this along side some beer battered fries but feel free to serve this along side anything-from fresh fruit to salads. It’s all amazing.

    Now, I am no perfect recipe writer but I’ll try to walk you through what I did so you can recreate this classic at home.

    You’ll need:

    Texas Toast sliced bread-I buy the Rainbo brand at Von’s. If you can’t find Rainbo in your area, look for a THICK SLICED fluffy bread.

    Tofurky Ham style deli slices. You can also add some Turkey style slices as well. I used 2 slices of each variety for each sandwich.

    Follow Your Heart Gouda slices. I used 2 slices of cheese per sandwich.

    Follow Your Heart VeganEgg prepared with your fave plant based milk. I used soy milk and I only needed to prepare the equivalent of one egg for 2 sandwiches! This may be a little thick if you want to dunk your ENTIRE sandwich into the batter. You’ll need to thin it out a bit. Otherwise, its perfect for dipping like you do french toast. If you don’t have VeganEgg, you can use your fave french toast batter.

    Mustard

    Mayo

    Butter or oil for frying. I used Earth Balance.

    Cast Iron Pan or griddle

    Powdered sugar

    Preserves-Strawberry is fantastic!

    Maple Syrup

    And here is how it all came together:

    1. Heat pan over medium heat until hot.
    2. While pan is heating, prepare your batter and set aside. Make sure to use a bowl that is deep enough for dipping your sandwich.
    3. Assemble your sandwiches! Spread mayo and mustard on each slice of bread. You don’t need a lot. Just like you’re making a regular lunch sandwich. Then layer a slice of cheese, add your deli slices (alternate if using more than one variety) add another slice of cheese and add your top slice of bread.
    4. Add butter (or oil) to your hot pan and allow to melt.
    5. Dip your assembled sandwich into your batter and place dipped sandwich in the pan.
    6. Cook until nice and brown on the first side and then flip your sandwich over to cook on the other side.
    7. Remove cooked sandwich from pan and set aside.
    8. Repeat with remaining sandwiches.

    Allow your sandwich to cool for a minute before trying to handle it. Slice your sandwich in half and dust lightly with powdered sugar. Serve with strawberry preserves and maple syrup!

    Enjoy!

     

     

  • Product Reviews

    BEYOND SAUSAGE ROLLS OUT NATIONWIDE!

    If you haven’t gotten to try out the new Beyond Sausage at select Veggie Grill‘s, no worries! Beyond Sausage is headed to your nearest Whole Foods!  Just announced this morning, you can now find it in the meat section.

    I was able to try this new product at ExpoWest and let me tell you, it was just like pork based sausage! It had a snap and sizzle to it unlike any other vegan sausage product. I can’t wait to recreate all my fave dishes with this tasty item! It comes in 3 different flavors: Original, Spicy and Sweet. Gluten, Soy and GMO free with 16 grams of plant based protein per serving. HOLY SMOKES! This is a game changer and I am here for it!

    Have you tried it yet? What did you think!? Let me know!

    My taste at ExpoWest! HOOKED!