Showing posts with label restaurants. Show all posts
Showing posts with label restaurants. Show all posts

Sunday, January 19, 2014

my kitch'n :: paris restaurant review

My Kitch'n vegan restaurant in Paris
Jennifer Eric, owner of and head chef at My Kitch'n in Paris

When I was in Paris for Paris Vegan Day, my friend Aurelia told me about her friend's wondrous little vegan restaurant, My Kitch'n, located in the market in the up-and-coming Batignolles neighborhood. Jennifer Eric is the brainchild behind this plantalicious gem, emblazoned with her signature "sexy mouth eating raspberry" logo and decorated with a mish-mash of funky flea-market treasures, harlequin dishes, and bright hand-painted signs.

My Kitch'n vegan restaurant in Paris
My Kitch'n – homey, like your kitch'n

Not every vista is cheerful, though; ironically in the covered Batignolles Market where the restaurant is located, Jennifer faces a butcher and shares her space with vendors who sell myriad animal products to the meat-loving French. In fact, the City of Paris was hesitant to grant her a lease because they doubted the financial feasibility of a plant-based restaurant in Paris [The covered markets are actually run by the city.]

Jennifer, prepping take out for hungry customers.

But happily, Jennifer has developed a loyal following, silencing the naysayers. When my friend Elisabeth and I stopped by to see her, a steady stream of customers rolled by. Some sat in the charmingly kitschy dining area and quietly devoured their meals. Others came to the counter and ordered plats à emporter [take out].

creamy veggie curry Paris
Creamy veggie curry

When I stopped by, it was unseasonably chilly and damp in Paris for October, so the curry with brown rice spoke to me. It warmed me to my soul – so creamy and comforting, perfectly seasoned and dotted with a rainbow of nutritious veggies. Jennifer only uses fresh, organic ingredients and whole foods. Born in Sweden, she cut her teeth at restaurants in Europe and in Dubai and also earned an MBA – helpful when launching a business.

My Kitch'n mobile
What about advertising? Word of mouth helps, but Jennifer has also emblazoned her tiny smart car with her signature, sexy lips logo. She's been know to park it strategically in front of burger joints and butcher shops.

green juice, my Kitch'n Paris
Green juice
Elisabeth ordered a tall green juice, which was fresh and delicious.

Jennifer gave us a taste of her hearty quinoa pilaf, punctuated with veggies and creamy avocado dressing.

Raw fig tart

The grand finale? Elisabeth and I split the raw fig tart – so gooey and caramelly.....

raw fig tart My Kitch'n Paris

...We washed it down with strong coffee. It did not last long.

Sweet aside: During lunch, Elisabeth also gave me a chocolate bar laced with intense black licorice. The flavor was so unusual – sort of like a sweet umami tidal wave in each bite. I loved it!

If you're in Paris, be sure to stop at My Kitch'n for lunch, a smoothie or a light dinner. You'll feel like you are supping in a friend's kitchen – or more aptly, kitch'n.


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Thursday, November 08, 2012

food porn from vedge

Braciole: One of my very favorites. Cauliflower, Italian salsa verde and cured olives wrapped with a silky sliver of smoked eggplant 
On Monday night, my longtime blogosphere "penpal" Dolly and her her husband, Paul, were in town. So F-stop and I supped with them at Vedge, along with their friends, Monica and Chris and their lovely, adorably precocious daughter, Jia. I'll let the pictures do the talking. Unfortunately, I didn't get pictures of everything [including drinks. Get the Cide-Car!], but as you will see, there was a lot of food to keep up with!

Portabello Carpaccio: my favorite dish of the night. Thinly sliced raw, marinated portabello mushroom slices with picked cabbage, horseradish cream and cornichons. So luxurious! Melted in my mouth.

F-stop ordered a few things from the Dirt List, a daily-changing menu of seasonal produce. This is the Shaved and Grilled Brussels Sprouts with Mustard. I tried this before when JL and I ate at Vedge.

 Broccoli Rabe with tomatoes

I love what chef Rich Landau does with seitan, and Vedge changes it up every few months. So of course, I had to try the Grilled Seitan with Creamy Parsnips, English Peas and Truffle Steak Sauce, one of the heartier dishes on the menu.

F-stop got the Roasted Maitake Mushroom with Celery Root Fritter and Smoked Leek Remoulade. So pretty and earthy.

While we were choosing desserts, Dolly looked at the menu and said, "I wish I could have one of everything." Well, her wish came true! Rich and Kate [who are also good friends with Monica and Chris] brought out one of every dessert on the menu, plus a lovely glass of dessert wine! How nice was that? The only dessert not pictured here is Jia's ice cream. Above, Sweet Potato Turnovers with Sweet Kraut and Cream....

Chocolate Uber Chunk: Creamy malt custard with a pretzel-peanut crust and stout ice cream

Sticky Toffee Pudding...

 "Honey" Crisp with Smoked Maple Ice Cream and Walnut Streusel

Black Mission Fig Cheesecake with Port Wine Reduction and Pistachios.

If you're ever in Philly, you must try Vedge. Make sure you reserve in advance, though.

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Wednesday, August 22, 2012

hip city veg ::
friend to philly's kitchenless

Kitchenless in Philly? HipCityVeg to the rescue!

I'm still in the throes of my kitchen remodeling. After 3 weeks without a functioning stove or dishwasher, the novelty and excitement of living in a construction zone has worn off. I don't have many possessions. But I live in an open-floor plan loft, and everything I own is either shoved in corners, on display on the dining room table, or squirreled into my precious few nooks and crannies of shelf space. Maneuvering around my place these days is challenging. I've stubbed more toes and have earned more black and blue marks from bumping into things than I ever thought possible. I feel like I living on the set of "Hoarders."I'm all for living in the present, but I could do with the past tense here.

[Gratitude break: What a bourgeois problem to have, right? I am fortunate to be able to remodel my kitchen.]

Crispy HipCity Ranch Sandwich: Look out Mickey D's

Of course, it goes without saying that I am sick to death of microwave meals and salads for dinner. The idea of a yet-another nuked Tofurky Sausage and microwaved asparagus just wasn't doing it for me tonight. HipCityVeg all-vegan delivery to the rescue! Over the past 3 weeks, I must have consumed about 40 pounds worth of salad, so tonight I felt like sinning a little. I ordered the Crispy HipCity Ranch Sandwich: fried and battered vegan "chicken," lettuce, tomato, red onions, pickles and peppercorn ranch on a bun. Messy but so satisfying.

Vegan Vanilla Bean Cupcake

Dessert: a vanilla bean cupcake. It was respectable, but not great – tasted like a vegan cupcake that your niece's-hipster-roommate-PhD candidate-from-Brooklyn might have made. HipCity's strength is definitely its savory dishes: salads, sandwiches, and the Groothie: a green smoothie made with kale and bananas.

Let's return to the construction zone...
The end is in sight. The plumber is coming next week to rejigger some things, and after that it should go rather quickly. I picked out my granite countertop and tile. What can I say? It's a linear process, and the only way out is through.

Although I an weary of living in a labyrinth of half-assembled cupboards, rogue, unhooked-up appliances and cardboard boxes, the kitties think it's the coolest thing since Meowie Wowie Catnip.

Pablo likes playing with his toy mouse on the cardboard, behind the "Iron Curtain" while a dignified Bossa Nova looks on...

 Buttons likes snoozing on this particular cardboard box...
While Bossa Nova supervises from this vista.

All that playing and supervising sure does make you sleepy. Zzzzzzzz.....

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Tuesday, July 17, 2012

random visions of vegan restaurant yumminess

Over the past year, I've been intently focused on developing and sharing new vegan recipes. But I'm still a greedy and enthusiastic consumer of other people's chow. I eat out often – with F-stop, my girlfriends, and even solo. [Inexplicably, I used to hate eating alone, but now, I kind of like it]. Here's a quickie recap of some recent vegan restaurant meals I enjoyed here in Philadelphia and in New York.

Philly's Lemon Hill takes the humble olive appetizer to a new level. The citrus marinade is such a bright contrast to the olive's inherent bitterness. Lemon Hill doesn't skimp on quality, either. They use only the best olives punctuated by ginormous caper berries. Lemon Hill is known for its cocktails. I had the Double Cross. Doubly lethal!

French Dip at Lemon Hill. Earthy exotic mushrooms, sautéed in olive oil, served on French bread with a finer-than-diner dipping sauce. Skip the cheese and it's vegan.
Carb fest! Spreads-n-breads at Birra in Philly. White bean ragu [my fave], cured olive pesto and roasted garlic pesto

My new favorite: Vegan Buffalo Chicken Sandwich at Terri in New York. The buffalo sauce is the best I've ever had.

Chocolate cupcake at Terri. I was not impressed by the the look of the icing, to be honest, but eating this cupcake ended up being a transcending experience: a moist, light and a fluffy-creamy vanilla experience.
I was tickled to run across Simply Rawnchy, a raw vegan food cart in New York. After noshing at Terri, I was too stuffed to try anything. But the menu looks fab, especially the juices. [Anyone been here?]

 Vegetable terrine sandwich at Prohibition, in my 'hood in Philly. Prohibition now offers many more vegan items, including a dessert or two! The terrine, crafted from shredded veggies and oats, was substantial and served with pickled vegetables, Vietnamese hoagie style. My only criticism is that the bread was too thick and obliterated the hearty taste of the terrine. 
Chickpea sandwich enjoyed on the roof deck of the Standard Tap, a Philadelphia institution. Simple, satisfying chickpea filling served on a grainy bread. My only "beef" was that we had to pay $3 to replace the fries with this rather meager salad and sub-par dressing.

What was your favorite recent vegan meal out?

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Thursday, November 17, 2011

veni, vidi, vedge!

Vedge's "Cide" Car, made with cider, apple jack, brandy and the usual suspects – unusually addictive

Philadelphia vegans, vegetarians and omnivores alike have been waiting with baited breath for the opening of Vedge, Kate Jacoby and Rich Landau's new vegan restaurant. Like everyone, I was sad to see their firstborn, Horizons, close. But I knew that the dynamic duo were marinating a brilliant concept – a vegan restaurant that would actually focus on – gasp! – vegetables, an idea stunning in its simplicity. Veggie eateries tend to feature protein-centric menus overflowing with tofu, tempeh, and beans, so it's refreshing to see vegetables used as the centerpiece of a culinary point of view. As someone who likes to try a little of this and that, I also like the fact that Vedge's menu will focus on small plates.

Korean Tacos with Seitan and Kimchee Mayo
If anyone can show off the inherent splendor of a vegetable, it's Rich. He is, without a doubt, one of the most talented chefs in the country, vegan or otherwise [and you know I am not one to throw away a culinary compliment]. Mere mortal that I am, I feel haughty when I successfully pair just one or two foodstuffs. But Rich's dishes habitually contain at least three, and sometimes even four or five complex elements, all paired with the easiness of a match made in heaven. Case in point, this Korean Taco appetizer: crispy shell with spicy seitan, cooling daikon, refreshing cilantro, creamy avocado and a kick-ass kimchee mayo.

Got protein? Don't worry, Vedge features tofu and seitan, too. 
The Gochuchang Tofu was my favorite. Gochuchang is a spicy Korean pepper paste which featured prominently in the marinade. It was tender-chewy, as it should be, grilled to perfection with Rich's signature crosshatches.

This ain't your Nonna's braciole.
The Smoked Eggplant Braciole was sublime: silky slivers of eggplant wrapped around tender cauliflower, resting in a emerald puddle of onion pea verde. This dish was F-Stop's favorite – and he hates eggplant. Enough said, right?

Handmade bitters? Sweet!
Vedge's bar is well stocked and 100% vegan. They even make their own bitters from citrus rinds. Now that's going above and beyond!

Clockwise from the fork, Figgy Cheesecake, Coconut Macaroon, Chocolate-Filled Beignets (Not the official Vedge names!)

The powdered beignets were filled with a surprise: a creamy chocolate center. The cookies were all delicious, including the macaroons. Kate is famous for her creamy, omni-fooling cheesecakes, and her fig-topped wonder [shown on the fork] did not disappoint. I can't wait to order a large slice – or an entire cake.  In fact, I can't wait to go back to Vedge. They open on Monday, November 21.