Saturday, August 09, 2008

You down with RFD - yeah you know me ^_~

I have been dying to try Real Food Daily in Santa Monica since, well, probably since the first time I ever saw it about 4 years ago (back when it was next to Blueberry - a super yum breakfast place that is not longer *tear*). I'm not sure why I put it off for so long but if nothing else good comes of my little vegan experiment at least it finally got me into this delicious restaurant. One thing I hate about many "vegan" restaurants (i.e. California Vegan) is that the majority of the entrees are full of funky fake meat products. Rather than offering creative dishes featuring the amazing flavors of natural vegan products they just have standard dishes made with smeat in place of real meat. No worries at RFD though, they have a menu packed of interested and fresh creative dishes. So many that it is hard make a decision but the food here is definitely worth a trip back.

We started off the meal with the Nori Maki small plate. I don't usually get appetizers but I had been wanting to try these for a while. I just love the look of brown rice sushi, it projects an image wholesome yumminess. Also, as a sushi fiend, I'm taking every chance I can to get a little sushi fix during this vegan experiment. In proper Japanese style, the sushi came beautiful presented.I especially liked the leaf shaped wasabi blob. I love details like that. The taste was decent, I especially liked the addition of umeboshi, which is one of the flavors I miss teribley from Japan. It could have done without the addition of avacado. Maybe my year in Japan had caused me to question the use of avacodo in sushi especially right next to the umeboshi. Overall, it was pretty good but I'm not sure if it would win in a head to head with the brown rice sushi rolls from M Cafe and I must admit it"s not even in the same league as real sushi from places like Echigo.

Dave got the tac-o'the town, which is actually, according to some online interview, Moby's favorite dish (they should like totally mention that on the menu ^_^).
I can understand why, the tacos were delicious. I was a little surprised that they were hard shell tacos which totally reminded me of taco night from when I was little. The seasoned seitan mixture that the shells were stuffed with had a great Mexican flavor. Unfortunately the beans and rice paled in comparison. They tasted completely unseasoned and did nothing to enhance the taco. While a little disappointing, the two tacos packed enough flavor to carry the dish and were filling enough on their own.

Not to brag or anything but the star dish of the night was without a doubt the entree that I ordered (you're the winner...^_^).
I was a little apprehensive about ordering since I really wanted something with tempeh it but I am so glad that I did. Not only was the presentation stunning but every component had its own unique flavor that was good alone and also in combination....I couldn't stop eating it! The title of the dish was, in honor of the olympics, Go for the Gold and is described as: Spicy pistachio crusted tofu, caramelized golden beet and citrus sauce, sauteed black kale and zucchini, creamy garlic mashed sweet potatoes, phyllo crisps. was so delicious I am inspired to try to make the Pistachio Crusted Tofu recipe off of the FatFreeVegan blog...yum!!

Overall I was super satisfied...way more than I thought I would be. This along with M Cafe de Chaya is mos def one of my new favs in LA!

The Good: fresh, natural ingredients, creative recipes,
beautiful presentation, new specials every couple of weeks

The Bad: the rice had no spice! sushi was only "okay", a little pricey

The Yummy: the tacos were yum, and my special dish was delish


Thursday, August 07, 2008

My Venture into Veganism

Well, I have finally jumped on the vegan bandwagon and wahoo! what a fun ride it has been. First I must say that being vegan for only 3 days has given me a new found appreciation for anyone who engages in this lifestyle. I read a ton of vegan blogs but never truely realized how much effort it takes to eat a vegan diet. Of course it also causes me to ask the question of why, but that question has been answered on many sites around the web so I don't feel any reason to expound apon it here. While I don't fully agree with all of the veganistic ideals I still have an appreciation for people who can feel so strongly about something to modify there behavior in such an extreme way. And super duper props to anyone who started years ago before all these (yucky) fake smeat and cheeze products were out there.

Let me note that I am doing this more as an experiment and have no plans to continue this diet for the rest of my life. (I was inspired by a meat-eating friend who took on vegan challenge and ate a vegan diet for a few month) Right now, my plan is to eat vegan at least through the end of August. Already, adopting a vegan diet has made me realize how much milk and fish products I used to eat. It will be interesting to see how this affects my overall health. I'm hoping eating this way will force me to cook more often and try some of the yummy recipes I am always finding. Not only does eating this way give me a new apprciation for vegans but for anyone who make drastic changes in their diet. I converted to vegetarianism almost 15 years ago. Perhaps being younger and not set in my ways made it much easier but I don't remember it being that difficult of a change.

Expect to see many more posts about vegan recipes and of course some vegan ice cream! I hope this will last much longer than my little south beach excursion (well, actually now that I think about it, it already has!)

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