Saturday, March 10, 2012

local vegan finds and spinach dip

I don't often get to go to a completely vegan restaurant and it's fun when it happens. But I also think it's important to go into a place and ask what the vegan options are (or call ahead).  Sometimes I am disappointed but usually I'm pretty impressed.
This entry is about where you can find delicious food anywhere. When we travel we will record the places we discover, and invite you to write in about places you find along your way.
So, I thought I'd start with where I live, Orlando! And I'll start with our own place, Stardust.  I am working to add as many vegan options as I can. We have always been pretty veg friendly,  the first place I know of in town to serve a tempeh philly.  We also have chili, nachos, hummus, tofu and tempeh sandwiches and tacos, pizza, several salads where tempeh is an option for a topping, if you like. We have vegan breads, granola, bagels w/v cream cheese, spinach & artichoke dip, and I cook on Tuesdays a vegan special. Most of the time you'll find a few vegan desserts, like coconut ice ceam with fruit or espresso. I'm also working on two new salads for the menu which I am really excited about. We also have almond, rice, soy and coconut milks for your coffee and tea.

Some other places around here : 
Dandelion Communitea Cafe - vegetarian, lots of vegan options, great teas, sweet place.
Ethos - which is totally vegan.
Infusion Tea- vegetarian, lots of vegan options, organic teas. - I have not yet tried.
Rhapsodic Bakery - vegan bakery, incredible. We get a cupcake for B to take when she is going to a birthday party.
Red Artichoke - a small vegan neighborhood grocery store that I love going into, so nice not to have to check ingredients!
Cafe 118 - I have only tried this place twice for lunch. They have great juices and smoothies but honestly I was disappointed in the food. I found it pretty lack luster and way over priced.
Stardust - a coffee house, bar, restaurant, dvd & used book store and a place to just hang out.
Chipolte - my usual is a good bowl of brown rice, black beans, peppers & onions, salsa and guacamole.
Menchies - one of the many 'top it yourself' yogurt places that always has one vegan option.

So here's a recipe for delicious spinach & artichoke dip:

1 can artichokes, drained well
10 oz frozen spinach, thawed and drained well
1/3 c nutritional yeast
1/2 heaping c veganaise
1 t salt
1/4 pepper
1/8 t cayenne (optional)

Put everything in a cuisinart and pulse until combined to your liking.  The one in the photo is on the chunkier side, I usually process it a bit more for the girls to like it.
Pour into a 16 ounce ramekin (or two 8 ounce ones and freeze one. Honestly I do this because I have a hard time not eating the whole thing.)
Bake at 375 for about 20 minutes until the top is just starting to brown. This is great with corn chips, crostini, pita chips. If it's coming from the freezer, defrost overnight or microwave for about 1 minute before putting into the oven.

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