Devilrobots To-Fu

Devilrobots To-Fu

For today’s show and tell presentation, I have for you one of my favorite things – a little To-Fu. Created by the Japanese design team, Devilrobots, To-Fu Oyako is a well-known character in Japan. Simple but iconic. Sometimes happy. Sometimes sad. But always lovable.

To celebrate the many upcoming Vegan/Vegetarian Month/Day/Hour/Second (Google “vegetarian day” to find what’s going on near you. Hug A Vegetarian Day sounds like fun), I’m giving away a To-Fu mini print and dunny from my own personal collection.

Devilrobots To-Fu

What’s the mini print?
Haiti Earthquake Relief Poster designed by Devilrobots, for The Poster Cause Project, an online store selling and promoting limited editions by various artists and donating some or all of the profits to charity. To support the relief efforts, 100% of the profits from the Devilrobots print was donated to Doctors Without Borders. The print is full color on coated stock, size is 6″ x 11″.

What’s a dunny?
It’s a toy figure that’s like a blank 3D art canvas. Different artists create designs that are then made into collectible limited edition designer toys. The Devilrobots dunny is 3″ tall and made from vinyl, produced by Kidrobot for their Dunny Series 2009. To add to the fun of collecting, sometimes a series is packaged as a blind box assortment. You don’t know which design is in what box until it’s opened. Obviously, the To-Fu box has already been opened.

To enter the giveaway:
Leave a comment in this post with what if anything, you’re going to do for any of the upcoming veggie celebrations. Comment must be made by midnight PST on Tuesday, September 28th; one entry per person. No purchase is necessary to enter or win.

One winner will be randomly selected (using random.org) from the comments received and announced in a new post on Wednesday, September 29th. Winner will have 48 hours to respond or a new winner will be randomly chosen. Prize awarded is one Devilrobots To-Fu Oyako mini print and one Devilrobots To-Fu blue dunny (approximate total retail value $18.00).

Official Rules:
Open only to U.S. residents age 18 and over. Odds of winning depend on the number of entries received. Void where prohibited by law. Giveaway is sponsored by Chow Vegan, the above mentioned companies and organizations in no way, shape or form have anything to do with this giveaway. Shipping and postage will be paid for by Chow Vegan. Prizes are not transferable, no substitutions are permitted, except at the discretion of the sponsor. Any tax is the sole responsibility of the winner. Winner releases Chow Vegan from any liability arising out of participation in this giveaway or the acceptance, use or misuse of the prize.

Patxi’s Chicago Pizza Palo Alto Review

Patxi's Chicago Pizza Palo Alto Review

Yeah, I’m having a bit of a pizza binge over here in Chow Vegan land. You would think I had my fill of pizza after reviewing three Tofurky Pizzas in my last post. But hey, it’s pizza! And man, I haven’t had deep dish pizza in years, decades even.

Needless to say, I was very excited to try the vegan deep dish at Patxi’s Chicago Pizza in Palo Alto. I got the small 10″ Stuffed Vegan – spinach, crushed garlic, red onions, and Daiya vegan mozzarella cheese on a whole wheat crust.

After waiting 30 minutes for the deep dish to cook, it didn’t disappoint. The crust is nice and crusty, you can’t even tell it’s whole wheat. The Daiya cheese is nice and melty. Creamy too.

One slice and I was pretty much full. I haven’t had this much cheese in ages, it seemed really rich. Maybe because I’m used to eating lighter, cheeseless pizza. Next time I would leave out the onions and add other veggies instead.

Patxi’s also offers thin and extra-thin crust pizza which I would like to try sometime. All of their sauce and dough is vegan and made fresh daily.

Located in downtown Palo Alto, I’ve been racking my brain trying to think what was there before the pizza place (I use to live right around the corner). The decor is nice, the servers super friendly and the vegan pizza is clearly noted on the menu. A great addition to the list of places to eat vegan in Palo Alto.

Related Posts
California Pizza Kitchen Review – There’s a CPK downtown, they have vegan thin crust pizza but it’s cheeseless.
Garden Fresh Vegan Cuisine Review – All-vegan Chinese restaurant, also located downtown, one street over from Patxi’s.
Vegan Red Velvet Cupcake From Sprinkles – A little further away at nearby Stanford Shopping Center, but totally worth the walk or drive over there.

Tofurky Pizzas

Tofurky Pizzas

Finally found Tofurky pizzas at my local Whole Foods, I’ve been wanting to try them ever since I’ve heard about them. I picked up all three flavors seeing as they’re currently on sale for $6.49, regular retail price is $7.99 for the 10-inch pizza pie.

First up is the Pepperoni Pizza pictured above. The crust is crispy if eaten right away, less so if I pretend to be a photographer and shoot pictures of everything. Normally, I don’t like whole wheat crust but this one is thin and tasty. Plenty of pepperoni chunks and not overly cheesy.

Tofurky Pizzas

Next is the Italian Sausage and Fire-Roasted Veggie – I like how it’s not smothered with toppings. Some cheese but again it’s not an overwhelming amount, I thought the mix of sausage to veggies was nicely balanced.

Fortunately, there’s more zucchini than bell peppers and the bell peppers (which I do not like) are small pieces so it’s not overpowering. It reminds me of the meaty-type-of-sausage pizzas but a whole lot less greasy.

Tofurky Pizzas

The Vegan Cheese is melty just like a regular cheese pizza, definitely a lot more cheese than on the other two flavors. The taste is close to cheese but if you ever had Daiya, you know it has a distinct taste to it.

Tofurky Pizzas

Out of the three flavors, I like the veggie one the best. Of course, it doesn’t compare to a pizzeria or homemade but it’s still good for frozen pizza. If you’re short on time or lazy like me, how else could you be eating a vegan pizza in 12 minutes?

Cashew Veggie Shrimp

Cashew Veggie Shrimp

While skipping down the aisles of the local Asian supermarket, I came across veggie shrimp. I’ve found them before over in the frozen food section but they weren’t vegan, having some sort of whey protein or some other such thing.

But these were different, they are vegan. It says so right on the package. I found this brand in the refrigerated section along with a bunch of other veggie meat and tofu products.

Some labeled “vegan”, some “vege”, I’m assuming this meant vegetarian. It seems like manufacturers are getting better with the labeling.

Cashew Veggie Shrimp

Convinced it’s the same as the ones used in Chinese vegetarian restaurants, I was inspired to make a vegan version of cashew shrimp. The taste is only vaguely shrimp-like, the firm texture is similar though. But veggie shrimp does make for a nice contrast to the sweet and crunchy snow peas.

Cashew Veggie Shrimp
Serves 2

5 ounces veggie shrimp
6 fresh shiitake mushrooms, sliced
1 small carrot, sliced diagonally
4 ounces napa cabbage, sliced
3 ounces snow peas, trimmed
2 teaspoons vegetable oil
2 garlic cloves, smashed and coarsely chopped
3/4″ piece fresh ginger, minced
Salt to taste
1/4 cup water
Cornstarch dissolved in water
Handful of raw cashew nuts

Heat a little of the oil in a wok and stir-fry the cashew nuts until they’re a light brown color. Place the nuts in a bowl and set aside.

Add the rest of the oil, when hot, add the garlic and ginger and stir-fry for about ten seconds. Add the carrots and mushrooms and stir. Toss in the snow peas and napa cabbage, stir-fry for a minute or so.

Add the veggie shrimp, water (if you like a lot of sauce, use all of the water. I prefer less sauce so I only use a little water) and season to taste. Continue to stir-fry for a few more minutes until the vegetables are crispy-tender and the shrimp heated through.

To thicken the sauce, slowly add the corn starch mixture and stir to desired thickness. Top with the toasted cashews and serve immediately with rice.

Variation: Substitute baked tofu for the veggie shrimp if you can’t find it or don’t care for faux things. Or just go with vegetables only. Of course, it wouldn’t be cashew veggie shrimp anymore but it’s still good. You can’t go wrong with toasted nuts and stir-fry.

Vegan Dining At Legoland

Vegan Dining At Legoland

While down in Southern California, Legoland in Carlsbad popped up on the itinerary a couple of times. For lunch there, I usually go for the salad bar at the Fun Town Market Restaurant. As you can see above, I really loaded up my plate.

After all that walking around the park, I need every single morsel. Because of the high turnover, the salad bar seems very fresh. The workers are constantly refilling the different items. I’ve even seen marinated tofu cubes, not on day 1 when I took the picture but they had it on day 2. It’s about 10 bucks a plate.

Vegan Dining At Legoland

Usually the family eats over at Fun Town to accommodate me, the vegan. For one meal, we tried Upper Sports Deck Cafe for a change. When asked about vegan options, the waitress mentioned the Gardenburger and the entrée salads without the meat.

I got the burger with no mayo or dressing, it came with waffle fries, also for around $10. I think the patty may be vegan but I’m unsure about the bun. Also ordered the hummus with vegetables appetizer to share.

While Legoland has vegan options, it seems like Disneyland has more to offer. Although, probably the healthiest option of all the theme parks, is the Fun Town Market salad bar.

Related Posts
Vegan Dining at Disneyland Revisited
Vegan Dining at Disneyland

Mojo Baked Tofu From Viva Vegan!

Mojo Baked Tofu From Viva Vegan!

Sometimes I like to relax by trying out new recipes. I know it’s weird but if I have the time to relax, then I usually have the time to try cooking something new.

I’ve been eyeing the Zesty Orange Mojo Baked Tofu recipe from the Viva Vegan! cookbook. Since I’m staying at a resort with a full kitchen, it’s an ideal time to give it a go (I don’t have to clean the oven if it makes a big mess. Not that I’m going to make a mess on purpose or anything.)

It came out great, a bit differently than the actual recipe, seeing as I totally forgot about zesting the orange. I just squeezed it for the juice and threw the rest away. I only realize this as I’m staring at the remains of the orange in the trash, thinking I was suppose to zest that first.

And I had only bought one orange specifically for the recipe. Oops. So it’s just Mojo Baked Tofu. No zesty orange. Next time I try the recipe, I’ll be sure to have all of the ingredients plus extras.

Mojo Baked Tofu From Viva Vegan!

On a side note, since I was traveling, I was only able to find super-firm tofu (all the other tofu was sold out). Super-firm is like the next step up from extra-firm. It’s very firm. When they say super-firm, they mean super-firm.

Stick to extra-firm to achieve that chewy outside, creamy inside kind of baked tofu. Super-firm makes it chewy all the way through.

Zesty Orange Mojo Baked Tofu
Serves 3 to 4
Time: About 55 minutes

1 pound extra-firm tofu
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon soy sauce

Mojo Marinade
1/2 cup freshly squeezed orange juice
2 tablespoons lime juice
1 tablespoon olive oil
Grated zest of 1 orange
4 cloves of garlic, chopped
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon salt, or to taste
Freshly ground black pepper

1. Slice the tofu into eight 1/2-inch-thick slices and dab the slices dry with a paper towel or clean kitchen towel. Press the tofu if desired. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. In a shallow glass 9 by 12-inch baking dish, combine the olive oil and soy sauce. Lay a tofu slice in the baking dish, pressing it into the sauce mixture. Flip and press again to coat with the mixture. Bake for 20 minutes; remove from the oven but don’t turn the oven off. The tofu will be bubbling and juicy.

2. Combine all the marinade ingredients in a small bowl and stir well.

3. Flip each piece of tofu and pour the marinade over tofu; the marinade will nearly cover the top of the tofu. Bake for another 30 minutes until the tofu is firm and any remaining marinade has thickened up a little bit. Bake longer if an even chewier texture is desired. Serve the tofu hot and topped with any remaining marinade juices from the baking pan.

From the book Viva Vegan! by Terry Hope Romero. Excerpted by arrangement with Da Capo Lifelong, a member of the Perseus Books Group. Copyright © 2010. www.dacapopresscookbooks.com

Disclosure: This post contains an Amazon link, I get a few coins tossed my way if you click on the link and make a purchase of anything.

Related Post
Corn Crusted Tempeh Pot Pie From Viva Vegan!

Vegan Dining At Disneyland Revisited

Vegan Dining At Disneyland Revisited

Visited Disneyland again this year and got to try different places to eat as there’s quite a few options nowadays.

At the Mexican place, Rancho de Zocalo over in Frontierland, I ordered the Soft Tacos Monterrey for $9.99 – two tacos with sautéed vegetables on top of rice and beans in a flour tortilla (pictured above). Included is more rice and beans on the side along with a dollop of guacamole, salsa and shredded lettuce. Request no cheese and no sour cream.

The veggies in one taco had zucchini, squash and onions; the other had mostly onions and horror of horrors, bell peppers (I’m not fond of bell peppers). I’m not sure if it’s possible but if I ever eat this again, I’m going to try to request less of those bell peppers. Other than that, it’s not bad. The rice is nicely spiced and flavorful and everything seemed fresh.

It’s served cafeteria style and the service is fast moving once you get to the front of the line. I had to say “no sour cream” quickly as I saw the plater reaching automatically for the sour cream spoon. Everything is open so you can talk to the order-taker and the plater.

Vegan Dining At Disneyland Revisited

Tried the veggie burger with fries at the Village Haus in Fantasyland, $7.99 (pictured above). It was just ok. The patty tasted like a brand that I had before but I can’t quite put my finger on it. I didn’t confirmed that it was vegan. I thought I read somewhere that the veggie burgers are vegan but maybe I’m getting it confused with Walt Disney World (which apparently has better and more vegan food).

Vegan Dining At Disneyland Revisited

Over at Disney’s California Adventure, it was lunch at the Lucky Fortune Cookery in the Pacific Wharf area. They have fast food Asian Rice Bowls with tofu and one of four sauces over seared Asian vegetables and steamed rice for $9.49. I asked if any of the sauces were vegan and was told none of them were at first.

Then the super nice chef came out to talk to me and showed me the labels for the sauces. All of them except the Thai Coconut Curry is vegan. I went with the chef’s recommendation of the Teriyaki sauce (pictured above).

I thought it was good. I especially liked the soft tofu. The only thing is, it comes in a rather tall to-go container, making it hard to eat as the rice is all at the bottom and most of the sauce ends up there too.

Also had dinner at Blue Bayou in New Orleans Square again this year. Yes, they still have the Portobello Mushroom and Couscous Maque Choux, it’s still vegan and it’s still $27.99. I didn’t really think the price would go down but glad it didn’t go up. Although I only got a stack of two portobellos, last time I got three. Comes with a salad, but be sure to ask for it to be made vegan.

Didn’t get around to the veggie gumbo or veggie po’boy on this trip, but there’s always next time.

Related Post
Vegan Dining At Disneyland – write-up from last year (August 2009)

Gardein Trio

Gardein Trio

Gardein has been cranking out the new products like there’s no tomorrow. What a difference a year makes, I’ve reviewed their product back when they only had a few items and were called It’s All Good. Flash forward today, and one of their latest of many offerings is the Trio Fresh Meals.

Gardein Trio

Found in the refrigerated section at some Whole Foods, they’re very quick and easy to heat up in a microwave. You can be eating in 3 minutes.

Pictured above is the first one I tried, Burgundy Trio – beefless tips with veggies (carrots, onions and mushrooms in a burgundy sauce) and white basmati rice.

The flavor is okay, the chunks meaty. It’s enough to fill me up without a ton of calories, there’s 230 in one serving. The sodium is kinda high as it always is with packaged food. I attempt to mitigate the overall sodium intake for the meal by adding a side of vegetables cooked with little or no salt.

Gardein Trio

I also tried the Thai Trio – veggie stuffed chick’n with a thai flavored sauce. Of the two, I liked the Thai one better. Taking it out of the package, the one chick’n piece seems to be on the puny side. But with the basmati rice and sauce, it’s 250 calories.

Gardein Trio

When it first comes out of the microwave, the sauce seem kinda runny but let it sit for a few minutes and it’ll thicken up to just the right consistency.

The last flavor is the Sicilian Trio which I haven’t tried yet, it wasn’t on the store shelf when I bought the other two. Overall, I thought they were a easy, quick meal if you’re short on time or traveling. Made better with an addition of a side vegetable or salad.

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