Tuesday, November 28, 2017

Un Vegan Monde: The Vegan Corner Grocery Store of Dreams

I stopped inside Un Vegan Monde, an all vegan grocery store a short distance away from the Centre Pompidou. It was an amazing sight, a store where there were no bloody carcasses hanging in freezers or dairy free cheeses mingling with the cow and goat products. It was a place that I could see myself shopping every week, swinging along my reusable tote among the four aisles. I had only heard of vegan grocery stores being a huge thing in Berlin, Germany. To see this in Paris, in a cheese and egg loving society, it was a refreshing step back.
For starters, I had never seen so many different brands of vegan cheese in one place. There were up to eight sections of shreds, blocks, and slices. With no Daiya of Field Roast Chao in sight, the only North American import was the So Delicious Shreds and several kinds of Tofutti cream cheese.
There is probably about twenty-five kinds of Violife, one of UK's most popular vegan cheese brands. Cheddar, Mozzarella, Original, With Hot Peppers, With Herbs, With Mushrooms, and Organic Style all come in wedges, slices, and blocks.
I purchased one of the Violife holiday After Dinner flavors-- a blueberry speckled creamy white cheese. I haven't tried it yet, but already imagining that it would a lovely breakfast component on a hot, toasted bagel melting alongside a generous portion of  Bonne Maman's Blueberry Preserves.
Chocolate candy delights.
Cakes, muffins, and bread loaves. Most were on sale for 10-20% off. I grabbed a four pack of croissants and apple bar cookies.
As I laid on the hostel bed munching on these delightful treasures, things that I longed to have again,  I imagined a store like this in Philadelphia, a small store in a corner someplace that sold only plant based options. Honestly, I am quite sick of Whole Foods Market's disgusting displays, or the crammed fake meats situated among the dead realities at Trader Joe's and other sad sights among my grocery store shopping. Un Vegan Monde was what I wanted to be present for the rest of my days. It's every vegan dream come true.

Saturday, November 25, 2017

Gentle Gourmet For the Fancy

On a Sunday afternoon, I ventured out to Gentle Gourmet, a place I have wanting to try forever. They create the most beautiful plates of food using plant based gastronomy. 
The interior decor is sleek and elegant, letting guests know that this fine dining experience is about to get sophisticated. After my enjoyment of bar burgers and and coffee houses, Gentle Gourmet was going to be my special world class ticket into vegan refinement.
The chef’s complimentary appetizer was this delicious beet and carrot creme.
Thick, luscious small taste of delight. Not too sweet. 
I ordered the Le Fume as a main entree, a hearty soup of French blue-violet potato gnocchi and a smoked nordic broth of juniper berry, coriander, cilantro, and dill and a disc of chopped small vegetables.
The gnocchi.
This uniquely manifested dessert just knocked my socks off. I am still thinking about this six days later-- a thing of beauty and love. It's called Le Pomme- Fenouil, a dish devoted to apples in sleek and polished creativity. The bottom is a generous mountain of warm, chunky apple confit topped with a bright green apple sorbet, surrounded by light, crisp meringues and decadent creme fraiche.
The flavorful dessert also comes with a punch-y apple and fennel shot. I downed it in one swallow and consumed my apples delight, relishing each participant. All in all, a pleasing end to a meal of appeasing eye art gratification.

Friday, November 24, 2017

Hank's Vegan Burger For Great Figgy Fig Sauce & Soda Pop

Hank's Vegan Burger was everything I had hoped for. After all, this popular vegan fast food restaurant was on top of my must eat list. Nothing beats a combo meal deal. There is a kind of sophistication when considering their pride of delivering a bonafide dining experience in addition to speedy, respectable service and an amazing meal curated by their chef. With a wonderful spacious upstairs to kick back drinks, eat burgers, and maul on desserts, it makes being a vegan all the more special. This place exists-- a fast food haven with incredible food made from plants.
The spread: a Hank's burger, potato wedges, carrot cake, and organic cola.
The handmade bun is stuffed with an organic vegan steak, veggies, vegan cheese, and a choice of three sauces (mayo with alfalfa, barbecue, tomato basil, or fig). I picked fig-- it sounded very amazing.
It was epic!!! The bite of fig sauce with the firm patty, melted vegan cheese, lettuce, tomatoes, and pickle were off the chain. I may have looked a hot mess-- thick, creamy sweet/savory drippings around my face and all-- but it was worth it!
I haven't had cola since age ten or something. Haha! I loved the Roy Lichtenstein styled pop art-- seemed funnily appropriate on this can.
Always buy fair trade if possible.
Crunchy on the outside with a moist, soft interior, the scrumptious tiny carrot cake was packed with sweet enticing flavors-- vanilla, lemon, and bits of carrot. I was more than happy to have room for this perfect ending.

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

1944 Gallery Vegan Shop Is A Charmer of Art And Wonder

I stopped by a chic, eclectic little boutique, 1944 Gallery Vegan Coffee Shop. Thanks to HappyCow, I found a special, unique gem that features a small drinks menu and plenty of gorgeous handmade vegan art.

From drawings, cards, jewelry, upcycled handbags, t-shirts, belts, and even rolling pins, there's a wonderful gift for everyone you know. They have an etsy shop too.

I sampled some scrumptious pieces of fine chocolat-- only made with a few ingredients.

The typewriter underneath my table-- so darling!

A chocolat chaud with the tiniest stirrer spoon. Foamy with a hot, rich decadence, very comforting on a chilly evening.

Quick drawing of bicycle culture.

The lovely peeps including owner Paula centered with beautiful, friendly, velvet furred doggie friend.

Sunday, November 19, 2017

A Cheeseburger And Waffle Affair At Brasserie Lola With An Eiffel Tower Cameo

At Brasserie Lola, a very popular vegan spot for dinner, comes a yummy, fulfilling meal of a juicy, succulent seitan burger topped with amazing vegan cheese and all the fixings. The salad was massaged with a tasty dressing and the fries were crispy, hot, and seasoned well.

This burger was hands down one of the best vegan burgers that I have ever tasted. Even when it started falling out its moist, chewy sesame seeded bun, I dug into the bits with leafy salad, finding the whole experience all the more irresistible.

The meal ended with light, airy waffle topped with powdered sugar and raspberry sorbet-- a simple, not too sweet dessert.

The Eiffel Tower was supposedly a sixteen minute walk from the restaurant, but as usual, this lady walks in the wrong direction. I seemed to be strolling around forever (an hour to be exact) when I spotted a blue light moving around in a circle. Moments later, I was stunned to see the sparkling colored lights beaming elegantly from the top of the Eiffel Tower like glittering jewels. I followed and followed the sight, greatly aroused by the magnetic power the majestic iron lattice sculpture had over me. Thus, a little before one a.m., I took a selfie and stared at the elegant work of Stephen Sauvestre, Maurice Koechlin, and Emile Nougeur.

The best way to end a Friday night in Paris.

Saturday, November 18, 2017

Cloud Cakes Vegan Coffee Shop, The Chic, Cute Dessert Haven

Cloud Cakes Vegan Coffee Shop was a lovely treat on a Friday afternoon.
Be ready for a few posts in Paris, France and Amsterdam, Netherlands as I travel through food, art, and culture. So far, the experience has been quite grand despite having gotten lost every single day, it's easy to be swept away by phenomenal architecture and sophisticated fashion.
Although, I have been in Paris since Thursday afternoon, I didn't have a full out vegan dining experience until yesterday-- at my first pit stop, Cloud Cakes Vegan Coffee Shop. It is a lovely, quaint space with pretty chairs and sofas. The desserts display is outrageously decadent, like incredibly sumptuous works of art. Plus, the peeps are very, very friendly.

Cakes and cupcakes and parfaits galore made it quite hard to decide.

They even still have pumpkin spice latte in season alongside scrumptious looking cake decorated in cream and fresh fruit,

The cakes alone were beautiful masterpieces.

Pop art cola.

I ordered hot chocolate, a hummus and veggie sandwich, and a slice of black forest cake.

The chunky hummus between yummy slices of bread had a "tuna" sandwich flavor surrounded in fresh sliced vegetables.

I loved-LOVED- loved this amazing cake!!! The whipped cream layers are light and airy with bursts of cherries in between like a delightful surprise and the chocolate cake is moist and rich. I cannot believe it's vegan. 

Happy endings!

Saturday, November 4, 2017

Philadelphia Assembled Kitchen and the Resistance Meal

Resistance meal consisted of a fulfilling miniature Shepard (less) Pie by Pplfood's Sulaiha Olatunji, Mixed Greens by Sistah of the Yam's Taylor Johnson-Gordon, and Red Cabbage and Apple Salad by Kristin Schwab.

"Now this may only be important to me, but it is. It is very important. I need to know how we celebrate our victories, our very survival. What did we want for dinner?"- Ntozake Shange 

I finally got to try the Resistance Menu at Philadelphia Assembled Kitchen located inside the Perelman Building of the Philadelphia Art Museum. Hosted by the Culinary Artists of PHLA Kitchen, this incredible arts related project combines activism and food, allowing local artisan cooks share beautiful dishes in a communal setting with poignant messages pasted around the café. A lot of the dishes were plant based, colorful, and healthy. Some of the invited foodies are writers, poets, philosophers, gardeners, and womanist free spirits in addition to being creators of gourmet cuisine.

The next in the series is the Victory Menu. I believe some items are vegan such as the coconut rice and beans and maybe the tamales. I'm rather curious about the whole experience of being surrounded by other people and eating around them. It feels intimidating at first, the strangers looking at you, wondering why you're not having the chicken.

The free book, From Our Kitchens, features stories, poems, recipes, and photographs about food and the artists who are fighting against the way people think about food. Also, the project allows patrons to place their own narratives in the recipe box. I chose one of my favorite recipes-- Black Rice With Plantains and Mushrooms. I loved this giving to community and desire to hear some kind of response. A meal that centers on survival, resistance, and victory shouldn't end at the consuming of the art. This is the beginning of something profound and powerful. 

I loved the Shepard (less) Pie. The lentils and carrots underneath the creamy, well seasoned cloud of blissful mashed potatoes were downright appetizing. And the Mixed Greens (created by one of my favorite vegan IG gals, Sistah of the Yam) were terrific-- a yummy combination that too was seasoned perfectly. The aforementioned Red Cabbage and Apple Salad was a great, refreshing starter-- crispy and sweet.  


survival. resistance. victory.
Outside the museum, I spied the Philadelphia Assembled van. 

The musicians strum gorgeous music called jíbaro. The hypnotic Latin sounds are a Puerto Rican traditional melody with historic ties to indigenous, Spanish, and African roots.

The girl colors the sign as I listen to the woman tell me about the history of their music.