For awhile now, I’ve been hearing about Ike’s Place this and Ike’s Place that. Basically, how wonderful it is, from the delicious sandwiches to the super nice employees. I’ve always wanted to eat there but never seem to find the time to make it into San Francisco. Little did I know there was an Ike’s location right around the corner from me.
It’s literally located in a business park office building in Redwood Shores. If you drove by, you would never know such culinary delights existed within. There’s no sign on the outside, just a plain, ordinary office placard outside the hallway door.
But step inside and you’re greeted with a menu divided by meat, vegetarian and vegan. That’s a whole section devoted to just vegan sandwiches!
(At this location, they now only take phone orders, no more walk-ins due to fire and safety codes. That’s actually better, no more waiting around in the hallway.)
After much study, I went with the Meatless Mike – vegan meatballs, marinara, and soy mozzarella on freshly baked sourdough bread (pictured at the top). It’s served hot and with dirty sauce – Ike’s own garlic aioli sauce with herbs and spices that’s baked right into the bread.
It’s so incredibly good. And so flavorful, everything blends together so well. The bread is deliciously crisp without ripping apart the roof of my mouth. They actually finish baking the bread when you order the sandwich.
I’ve also tried the Vegan Backstabber – vegan turkey, marinated artichoke hearts, garlic and herb sauce and soy cheese. Also very good but I liked the meatball sandwich better.
Normally I’m not a big sandwich eater but I could go for an Ike’s sandwich anytime. With such an extensive and creative menu, I could eat a different one every day for three weeks and still not eat the same sandwich twice.
The Get Healthy, Go Vegan Cookbook Giveaway
Don’t forget tomorrow is the last day to enter the giveaway.
After pigging out on donuts, I’m getting back on track with The Get Healthy, Go Vegan Cookbook by Dr. Neal Barnard and Robyn Webb. It’s the latest cookbook I’ve received for review from the publisher.
The first part of the book covers how a plant-based diet can improve your health and the science behind it. There’s also a section of inspiring stories of people reaping the many benefits of a vegan diet including weight loss, reversing diabetes and lowering cholesterol and high blood pressure.
The second part is a collection of simple, low-fat recipes and menu ideas using easy to find ingredients at the local run-of-the-mill supermarket.
I really like breakfast potatoes. So imagine my delight to see a recipe for Sweet Potato Hash with Peppers. But since I have a deep aversion to bell peppers, I replaced them with fresh shiitake mushrooms.
I also threw in fresh chopped parsley at the last minute. Quite tasty and so colorful, it’s a nice change from regular white potatoes (nutritional information is also provided with all of the recipes).
To get you started on healthier eating or back on track, whatever the case may be, I’m giving away a copy of The Get Healthy, Go Vegan Cookbook.
To enter, complete the following:
1. Subscribe to chowvegan.com via RSS reader or email.
2. Leave a comment in this post with your favorite breakfast food. It doesn’t have to be something healthy. Comment must be made by midnight PST on Tuesday, July 27th; one entry per person. Giveaway is open to US mailing addresses only.
One winner will be randomly selected from the comments received and announced on Wednesday, July 28th.
Disclosure: This post contains Amazon links, I get a few coins tossed my way if you click on any of the links and make a purchase of anything.
The cookbook I’m giving away is the copy I received from the publisher. I did not get any food on it.
I never knew Whole Foods had vegan donuts. I spotted them the other day in the display case over at the baked goods section. I haven’t had a donut in years.
I debated whether or not I should get one. I went to the gym earlier in the morning, so I could have one. Or two. Right?
Posh Bakery supplies the donuts to Whole Foods in the Bay Area. All-natural, they’re the cake kind with icing on top. There’s quite a few flavors to select from, I went nostalgic and got the Maple and Chocolate ones.
They’re actually pretty good, taste is just like a regular donut, slightly greasy and all. They seem fresh and they’re the right size, about three inches in diameter. Not too big and not too small.
Seeing as I won’t be making my own anything soon, it’s a totally affordable treat at .99 each.
I got rid of a few pounds of fat, easily and painlessly, and without breaking a sweat. It didn’t even cost me a dime. I just searched the kitchen cupboards for any unwanted fat and traded it in for less fatty foods.
While there, I also tried a sample of the Galaxy Granola, it’s baked with fruit instead of oil. It’s good and has less fat than other granolas, but only the Not Sweet Vanilla is vegan. All their other flavors have honey in them.
The next fat swap is this Saturday, July 10th at the Cupertino Whole Foods. But you don’t live in the Bay Area?
You can still participate, just pack up your fatty food and mail in the box. They’ll send you back an equal weight of healthy alternatives, ie, send in a bottle of oil and get apple sauce back to use in baking.
Seems like a great deal to me if you got any high fat food lying around. For some reason, I didn’t have that much (probably because I ate it already). Check out their website for the all details, rules and deadline.
Another recipe spotted on dreaminitvegan.blogspot.com that I absolutely had to try – raw strawberry cheesecake. Perfect for a 4th of July celebration, it’s a cool, easy, no-bake dessert.
Typical me, I made a few tweaks to the recipe. Mixed berries instead of just strawberries – with the bounty of berries available at the farmers market nowadays, I just had to use them all.
For the crust, I replaced the pecans called for in the recipe with almonds since I already had almonds. Besides I’m too lazy to go to the store for a single item. The recipe makes enough crust (sides and bottom) for two 4″ mini pans.
I like my crust to be on the thick side. If thinner, there’s probably enough for three pans or more if the crust was only on the bottom. I used quiche style pans since I didn’t have mini springform ones.
I made half of the original filling recipe and I still had some left over. I used the rest to make a crust-less cheesecake. The filling came out really purple. I ended up using more of the blackberries as they got a little smashed on the way home from the market.
Mini Raw Mixed Berries Cheesecake
Makes 2-3 mini cheesecakes
Adapted from dreaminitvegan.blogspot.com
1/2 cup raw almonds
2 Medjool dates, pitted and chopped
1/4 cup shredded coconut
Pinch of salt
Place almonds in a food processor and pulse until crumbly. Add the dates, coconut and salt, continue to pulse the mixture into fine crumbs.
Coat the pans with raw coconut oil. Press the mixture into two 4-inch diameter mini pans, going up the sides and bottom, packing it well into the pans. Set aside.
1/2 cup raw cashews, soaked overnight
1 cup mixed berries, any combination of blackberries, blueberries and/or strawberries
2 tablespoons agave nectar
1/2 tablespoon freshly-squeezed lemon juice
Pinch of salt
1 tablespoon raw coconut oil, melted
Pulse the cashews in a food processor until crumbly. Add the rest of the ingredients except the coconut oil and pulse until smooth.
While pulsing the food processor, slowly add the coconut oil until blended in. Spoon the filling into the prepared crusts.
Place in the freezer until firm. To serve, defrost in the refrigerator for about an hour. Top with additional berries.
Dreamy Nut Bars
Chinese steamed egg, a beloved childhood dish that I thought I would never enjoy again. I had loved it so much as a kid and so did my siblings.
But then, I found a vegan recipe for it on one of my favorite blogs, The Modern Vegetarian. A homey kind of a dish, it’s like a savory egg custard with a silky, smooth texture.
The vegan version uses silken tofu in place of the eggs and a little bit of turmeric for color. Mom sometimes added a pork filling. In my version, I replaced it with tempeh and mushrooms.
Vegan Chinese Vegan Steamed “Egg” with Tempeh
Adapted from The Modern Vegetarian
2 dried Chinese mushrooms, soaked and chopped
1/4 cup cooked tempeh (see recipe below)
12 ounces fresh silken tofu
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon sugar
1 teaspoon Shaoxing rice wine
1/4 teaspoon turmeric powder
2 teaspoons egg replacer, mixed with 4 tablespoons water
1/2 teaspoon sesame oil
1 teaspoon soy sauce
1/2 green onion, white and green parts, chopped
In a food processor, combine the tofu, salt, sugar, rice wine, turmeric, egg replacer and blend until smooth and creamy.
Place the mushrooms and tempeh in a heatproof bowl or shallow pan, pour the tofu mixture on top of it. Use a bowl large enough (so that it doesn’t fill all the way to the top) to allow room for the tofu to expand.
Set up a steamer. When the water boils, place the bowl in and steam over medium heat for about 10 minutes. For a firmer texture, let stand 15-30 minutes before serving. It sets up even more overnight.
If using, mix the oil and soy sauce together and drizzle over the top, add the green onions. Serve with rice.
8 ounce package of tempeh, crumbled
1/2 small onion, chopped
1 teaspoon oil
3/4 cup water
2 tablespoons soy sauce
Heat the wok until hot. Add the oil and swirl in the wok to coat. Add the onions and saute over medium heat until translucent. Add the tempeh, water and soy sauce and bring to a boil. Cover and turn down the heat to medium low and simmer until the water is mostly absorbed about 4-5 minutes.
Oh sure, back when I actually lived in Palo Alto, there wasn’t one vegan restaurant in sight. Now there’s two. Garden Fresh Vegan Cuisine opened earlier this year and I finally got around to eating there. Like their other, older location in Mountain View, they serve Chinese vegan cuisine.
On the menu, there’s plenty of imitation meat dishes (but if you’re not into that, there’s also tofu and just veggie dishes). Pictured above is Veggie Ribs – pressed shiitake mushrooms sautéed with onions and green peppers in a black bean sauce. It’s hard to believe it’s made out of mushrooms; they have such a nice, meaty texture.
Veggie Chicken Chow Mein – Soy chicken with cabbage, carrots, onions and bean sprouts. I love the fat wheat noodles and the fact that it’s not drowning in sauce.
Hunan Veggie Chicken – Shredded soy chicken with celery, carrots and bamboo shoots sautéed in a special hunan sauce. While this dish tasted good, it seemed a lot like the chow mein only without the noodles.
Next time, I’ll have to do a better job of ordering. All-vegan restaurants are so few and far between that I get a little overwhelm when I’m presented with an entire menu of dining options. But that’s a good thing.