Sunday, September 20, 2015


In 2015, I "upgraded" this blog from BlogSpot to WordPress.

Now, is back on Google Blogger.

Saturday, August 8, 2015

NCMA Trail and Village Deli

Nice weather this Saturday morning, so we decided to walk the North Carolina Museum of Art (NCMA) outdoors art trail.

We weren't smart enough to figure out the purpose of the "You're in the picture" exhibits.

The "Cloud Chamber for the Trees and Sky" was a cool experience.

There is usually a nice breeze across the open area where the larger exhibits are stationed.

After a long day hiking the trails we figured a visit to nearby Village Deli was in order. They have a number of tempeh-based entrees that are great. This time, we ordered a reuben (slightly too strong sauerkraut), and a Philly sub. The crinkle-cut fries and coleslaw are awesome sides. Quite filling.

Friday, July 24, 2015

Asheville Cabin Trip, July 2015

We rented a cabin near Brevard, NC for three nights with some friends (and their kids).
We were just outside of Pisgah National Forest.

Brevard is less than an hour south of Asheville, where there's always plenty to do (and eat)...

More details.

Sunday, July 5, 2015

BurgerFi in N. Cary

Only one choice for vegetarian fare at the chain BurgerFi:
the quinoa burger

Overpriced and overly greasy (the french fries are done in peanut oil). Add a milkshake if you're needing to meet your health insurance deductible this year.
We made the mistake of ordering the large fries (not the bucket, just large), but it was still too much.

We survived, and it was all quite edible, but I think it'll be awhile before we gorge on burgers & fries again.

Saturday, July 4, 2015

Happy 4th!

All-vegan strawberry, lemon, and blueberry cookies.

El yummo! 'Murican style.

Thursday, July 2, 2015

Himalayan in Cary

We've been to Himalayan Nepali Cuisine I don't know how many times.
It's always good, and not quite as spicy-hot as Indian food.
Plenty of vegetarian options, and a few vegan ones too.

This establishment has been open in Cary for over a year now, and was the only Himalayan restaurant in the county (or state, as far as I know), but just recently a Tibetan restaurant opened up in the same strip mall! Very odd.
Coincidentally, this Himalayan restaurant now seems to have all new management and waitstaff.

We ordered the usual Veggie Pakora appetizer this time, and it seemed possibly even better than usual.

The Himalayan Lentil Dal Fry and Onion Kulcha were also excellent as usual.
So we'll keep this as one of our regular faves.

Thursday, June 18, 2015

New Tibetan Restaurant

I've been waiting for weeks for this Tibetan Restaurant to open. Not to be confused with the Himalayan Nepali Cuisine place two doors down that has been open for over a year now...

Very veg-friendly. "Tibetan Restaurant" has plenty of appetizers, main courses, drinks, and desserts to satisfy the hungriest of patrons. (I didn't notice the Thai Iced Tea until too late. )

We ended up ordering three entrées (each at regular prices) to make a nice full meal for the two of us. A bit more expensive than the local competition, but still a fair deal.

Filed under "Momo", the Veggie Baklap (5 Pcs) was a good random choice today. Definitely not a main course you'd want to eat all by yourself; it makes an excellent side dish for 2-5 people. Deep fried (but not terribly greasy) pastries filled with cauliflower and chives (that's our guess). Good, but one is enough to satisfy that craving.

We ordered the Tofu and Veg Soup, but somehow ended up with the Sweet Corn Soup instead. Still quite good; a nice hominy & black bean base with potatoes and cauliflower, carrots and a nice broth. This bowl was just large and hearty enough to justify calling it a "main course".

Lastly, the full Tse Khala Nazom comes in a tray. This was my favorite. It has a little bit of everything, and makes for a perfect one-person meal.

As usual we said "not spicy" to our waitress, and luckily everything was just that: very flavourful, but not hot-spicy at all. There were side-cups of extremely hot Sriracha-style dip, but we didn't touch them.

Next time, we might get a drink &/or app and dessert rather than an extra entrée.

Another plus: they're open 7 days a week for lunch and dinner. Yay!

Overall, a good meal. We'll definitely be visiting again sometime. Since this restaurant has just opened, they may even change a few things in the near future.

Update 7/20/2015:

Went back a second time and remembered to order the Thai Iced Tea. It was fine, but unfortunately mostly just sweet cream with a splash of tea in it. Not quite as nice as other Thai teas in the area.

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

C & T Wok

One of the more seemingly authentic Chinese restaurants in the area, C&T Wok has never disappointed us. Although seating isn't great, it's otherwise a nice place to try "family style" dishes. While you might not want a whole plate of nothing but bok choy and mushrooms, it makes an excellent side dish when you can share with others.

This time, we tried ordering one spring roll and one vegetable roll, but what we got was three deep-fried veg rolls. Not particularly good, just your average greasy cabbage-filled appetizer.

Unless you speak Mandarin, this restaurant can be a bit difficult to navigate.

Luckily, we did an excellent job of ordering our entrées.

Vegetables with tofu, and Chinese Mei Fun. (We forgot to tell our waiter to leave off the egg in the Mei Fun.)
Both were very fresh and tasty.

As always though in Cary, your experience may differ if you're trying to eat strictly vegan.

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Bocci in Cary

Hands down, Bocci makes the best Chicago-style deep-dish pizza in the Raleigh, Durham, Chapel Hill area!

You'll need to swing by Hemlock Bluffs park afterward to walk off these calories though.

Maybe not quite as awesome and authentic as you'll find in Chicago, but their pizza will surely satisfy your craving.

Their smallest, the 12", should easily feed 4 hungry people.

We two, however, only made a dent in it tonight:

Bocci has plenty of other excellent Italian dishes, too, but we always order the Chicago pizza since no other restaurants in the area make one. It's easy to order vegetarian here, but to eat purely vegan might be a bit of a challenge.

From the location and ambience, you might think this would be an expensive restaurant, but not so. Bocci is casual, comfortable, and an excellent value-for-the-money no matter how you measure it.

Two thumbs up, as always!

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Ruckus Pizza

Simply because it was geographically convenient tonight, we landed at Ruckus Pizza again.

This time, not wanting the usual heavy calzone or pizza, we opted for a big salad and veggie-burger wrap.

The salad was very yummy. The veggie-burger wrap was a little too spicy, but still edible, and the side of pasta salad was very good.

Ruckus has a decent beer selection also...

Overall: not bad for a chain restaurant.

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Cafe Carolina and Bakery in Cary

Quick stop for dinner on the way to a quick evening hike in Umstead State Park.

The Caesar salad, veggie panini, and thin-crust spinach artichoke flatbread (pizza) were all tasty. They also have a nice assortment of baked desserts, which are all quite fully-leaded...

Cafe Carolina has a nice atmosphere and is a step up from the usual fast food restaurants.

Saturday, April 4, 2015

Day trip to Cedarock & Saxapahaw

Beautiful weather, but we didn't have time to plan any big trip for this weekend. So we did a quick day-trip instead.
Our best-case expected route:
Although we only made it to Saxapahaw General Store and then to Cedarock for some frolf and hiking.

Saxapahaw General Store is an amazing oasis in North Carolina. We bought sandwiches to go (of course, including some bakery desserts).

We ate our picnic at Cedarock Disc Golf Course. The park actually has two frolf courses. "Cedarock" is the first course you'll see, and consists of mostly large, long open fields. A little boring for my tastes, but excellent practice for long drives (if you're working on your professional game).
"Wellspring" is the slightly more hidden course just past the first parking area.

Wellspring is the usual frolf course you'd expect: lots of trees, streams, and hills. Unfortunately, both of these courses were more difficult than what we're used to, so we didn't come anywhere close to par.

There are a number of nice hiking trails in Cedarock Park as well.

And of course, on the drive back home through Chapel Hill, one must eat dinner at the Spotted Dog and shop at Weaver Street Market.

Related useful links:

Cedarock Park map.pdf

Haw River Trail map.pdf

Saturday, March 14, 2015

Awaze Ethiopian

Awaze Ethiopian is now open.

They took over the previously closed Ashee Ethiopian restaurant.

They say they have some differences from the previous owner's take on Ethiopian, but those subtleties are beyond my taste range.

Still the same basic good Ethiopian food to me. Slightly spicy, with lots of injera bread. (Ok, their injera might be a little better than the previous style.)

Two thumbs up, if you're in the mood for Ethiopian in Cary.

Saturday, March 7, 2015

Good Morning Pho Vietnam!

On the way to a nice hike at Yates Millpond to take advantage of this rare good-weather day, we decided to risk our lives in the Crossroads traffic and lunch at Pho Vietnam.

I'd been here a year ago and was thoroughly unimpressed.
Luckily we decided to give it another chance because we were surprised at how much they've improved here.
We had an excellent lunch of overindulgence!

The Vermicelli Tofu was huge and very good. The Bánh Mì sandwich was a perfect compliment; a fairly small entree by itself, but an excellent side when sharing two dishes.

We also splurged $6 for the avocado durian fruit smoothie: quite tasty, but afterward we found out it's basically just a milkshake with a tiny bit of flavoring added (i.e.: heavy cream and milk with just a slice or two of avocado). We'll stick with the Thai iced tea (or water) next time.

Pho Vietnam doesn't seem to have a website yet, but we did snag a menu:

7/9/2015 Update:

We went back again and got a similar (but not quite as good) dish.

The breaded/fried tofu "strips" weren't quite as good as the style we had last time, plus, the sauce was way too fishy...
The Bánh Mì sandwich was still excellent though.

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Yuri again

Visited our old fave Yuri again, on our way to Whole Foods and Trader Joe's as usual.

Excellent as always.

A nice ginger salad and miso soup comes with most entrees.

This time, instead of the usual Sukiyaki, we tried the Tofu Teriyaki and a Veggie Maki roll.

Saturday, February 14, 2015

Thursday, February 5, 2015

Mellow in Cary

Another favorite even though it's a chain: Mellow Mushroom of Cary, NC.

Excellent beer selection, very veggie-friendly, and far out fun theme.
Although this particular restaurant is so popular, it might be best to avoid the Fri & Sat night crowd.

There are just too many awesome entrees to choose from.

This time we started with a Muffuletta Cheese Bread. Then Kate got up-sold on a large Chef Salad (sub tofu for ham); the small salads are still large enough for an entree.
Rob got the usual Tempeh Hoagie (hold the green peppers if you please).

This was all really too much (and we didn't even order drinks!)
Next time, maybe we'll leave the cheese off the Muffuletta and just make it a Garlic Bread.

Save room for beer and hot pretzels!

Ok, so we weren't very vegan this time, but Mellow really is quite accommodating for true vegans.
Two thumbs up!

Sunday, February 1, 2015

Agave Caramel Peanut Butter Bars with Carob Ganache

One simply must make decadent hors d'oeuvres for Super Bowl XLIX. Woot y'all!

Agave Caramel Peanut Butter Bars with Carob Ganache

I can't wait to see what's for Super Bowl L!

Thursday, January 29, 2015

Recipe: Kate’s Vegan Lentil Tart

No traveling today. We had dinner guests over instead.
The main course was a big hit:

Kate’s Vegan Lentil Tart
(Serves 8-10 generously)

Pre-heat the oven to 350°F.
  1. Prepare the vegan double-crust pie dough of your choice. I use a simple double-crust pie crust recipe (specifically, from Joy of Cooking cookbook), substituting Earth Balance shortening sticks for butter/non-vegan shortening. Here, either go ahead and roll it out and put in a springform baking pan 12+ inches in diameter. If you want or have to use a deep dish pie pan, cut the ingredients in half or you can make two tarts (*you’ll need to double the crust, though, as well.) Roll out and set aside the top crust or put it in the fridge to chill until you are ready to cover the filling.
  2. Prep the filling ingredients as follows:
    • ¼ lb chopped onions - size to your own taste, I like diced.
    • ½ lb pre-cooked lentils (I buy mine at Trader Joes, most of the time.)
    • ¼ broccoli - if using frozen, just let it sit and thaw to room temp; if fresh, chop into bite-size pieces and steam just a minute to soften - Unless you like crunchy broccoli, then leave raw before cooking.
    • ½ lb cooked rice - I love Basmati for this, but anything like rice or Quinoa, etc will do well.
    • 6-8 oz. mushrooms - chopped to match chopped onions or broccoli size.
    • ⅓ lb petite diced or thinly sliced carrots.
  3. Put all the prepped ingredients in a large mixing bowl and stir in 4T dry or paste vegan soupstock/bouillon. I make my own that has a little corn starch added to thicken, but if you use regular bouillon, make sure to add cornstarch as directed below.
  4. Add spices to taste:
    • 2T garlic, dry ground or 1T chopped
    • 2T onion powder (I love onion, so this gives it even more onion-ey flavor!)
    • 1t Rosemary
    • 1t Basil
    • 1t Salt (more to taste, of course)
    • ½ t black pepper
    • 2T corn starch (if you want it to really set up when cooking, add 1T more for a more solid tart.
    • 1T vegan worchestershire (optional, for smokiness - liquid smoke is also good)
  5. Mix all the ingredients together and fill the pan, covering with top crust, rolling and crimping the edges when done. I like to use a paring knife to make small slices around the top, but it’s not necessary. I also use what little bit of dough I have left over to make leaves or shapes, whatever, on top as decoration (They are nice and crispy when the tart is done.)
  6. Bake at 350°F for 35-40 minutes. Check it periodically and remove from the oven when the crust is golden brown. If you make a smaller pie or larger one, a nice, golden crust really determines doneness.
  7. Let it sit for a few minutes to cool (it’s super hot inside). This will make it solidify and make slicing easier.