July 2, 2011 § Leave a comment
This company was established in Taiwan last year and currently has three locations listed below. It utilizes matcha (Japanese green tea) in several forms through desserts and drinks. This brand is significantly more expensive than the average price of tea (~NT 30-50), but it’s worth splurging.
I was browsing a food court (located at the basement of every department store) and TSUJIRI immediately drew my attention. A lot of people were waiting in line at a place that seemed to only sell one item, matcha. I was curious. There were a couple of tea shops within a few feet; why were people waiting in this line?
I got the TSUJIRI float with blended macha on the bottom, macha froyo and a scoop of red bean. I know this may not be everyone’s ideal dessert, but it was just what I needed. I understood why people were waiting in line and willing to pay 4x the price of a regular tea. It was delicious, full of flavor without being overly sweet. I can’t wait to go back! 🙂
Interesting facts about matcha (taken from matcha’s wiki page)
- Pound-for-pound, matcha contains more antioxidants than blueberries, gojiberries, pomegranates, orange juice, and spinach.
- It can take up to one hour to grind 30 grams of matcha.
- The flavour of matcha is dominated by its amino acids. The highest grades of matcha have more intense sweetness and deeper flavour than the standard or coarser grades of tea harvested later in the year.
- The most famous matcha-producing regions are Uji in Kyoto, Nishio in Aichi, Shizuoka, and northern Kyūshū.
June 30, 2011 § Leave a comment
This restaurant is more commonly known as Lian Xiang Zhai (连香斋) Vegetarian buffet, a Taipei specialty. Changchun Road, No. 353; 011-886-2-2547-4788.
They serve lunch, afternoon tea and dinner. I suggest going for lunch (NT 660 (roughly $23 USD).
If you are vegan, most foods in Taiwanese vegetarian restaurants are vegan including this one.
When my family first told me about LXZ I couldn’t believe it. It’s a vegetarian foodie’s dream; an all veg buffet featuring foods from around the world. What?!
I didn’t want to get my hopes up. I’ve been disappointed by many veg restaurants in my life. Would this be another Whole Foods heat lamp style weigh-your-food type place?
When I walked into LXZ it was a true experience like a condensed Vegas style buffet. It’s a welcoming place- bright lights, delicious foods and more variety than your stomach can handle.
Blue (2,3,5,10,11)- desserts and sweets
Light Blue (6)- cold foods
Yellow (1,7,9)- drinks
Red (4,8,12,13,15,16,17)- hot foods
White (14)- kitchen
My Map of LXZ
Brief Description of Each Section (1-17)
1- coffee and tea station (fresh ground coffee and asian style tea)
2- Haagan-Dazs ice cream (8 flavors) and 5-6 platters of fresh fruit
3- traditional Chinese hot desserts (e.g. fresh almond puree)
4- noodle and wonton stand (made to order)
5- Japanese style handrolls (made to order)
6- salad bar
7- mixed drinks (cocktail type drinks)
8- 15+ dishes of Chinese food (standard restaurant dishes)
9- bar with variety of American liquor (minimal fee req’d)
10- chocolate fondue fountain, 10+ varieties of cakes (1/2 were vegan)
11- puddings, cream puffs and jellies (vegan available)
12- fresh veggies (sautéed to order) and 3 rice cookers full of rice (rarely touched due to the plethora of food)
13- 15-20+ items of dim sum (all made fresh), 15+ items of standard restaurant food (fried rice etc.)
14- open kitchen
15- Italian style foods (pizza, made to order pasta); Japanese foods (sushi, ramen, miso soup, sashimi); 4 types of drinking vinegars
16- western soup stand (2 freshly made soups)
17- asian soup row ( 5-6 types of stews and soups)
Though I didn’t see all the veg foods from around the world like my mom advertised, it exceeded my expectations. All the foods were fresh and delicious.
It’s an amazing place! Every time I’m in Taiwan I make sure to come here at least once. It’s too good not to. There is no other place in the world that showcases and delivers this amount of variety, taste and quality that LXZ does.
If you are ever in Taiwan, it’s definitely a must!
June 8, 2011 § Leave a comment
I spent Memorial weekend in Fort Collins, Colorado. After my friend picked me up, we were both hungry. I only had an energy bar and some over priced rice crackers from the airport. I needed a good meal. As a lifelong vegetarian, I didn’t know what to expect from Fort Collins. I was excited to find out.
Tasty Harmony is not a pretentious organic vegetarian restaurant that it would be if it was in Los Angeles. It’s inviting and not over the top friendly, which I find creepy. They’re there to serve good food. The menu is diverse and provides a large drink menu, from teas, smoothies to local beers.
I ordered the Kentucky Fried Freedom, $13 “Battered and pan fried mock chicken, mashed potatoes and gravy, black eye peas and garlicky greens.” It was delicious! The prices are higher than I expected, but their portions are big enough for two.
My friend ordered the Nachos de Ynez, $10.50 “Layers of our homemade cashew cheese, black beans, guacamole, vegan sour cream and salsa piled on top of corn chips.” They tasted just like nachos, not vegan nachos, which is great!
Then, we proceeded to dessert. My friend and the waiter boasted about their desserts so I was excited to try them.
I ordered the raw strawberry cheesecake, $7.50. It had a strange grainy texture that I expected from a vegan cheesecake. So, I was disappointed after having an amazing non-vegan tasting meal.
My friend ordered the Peanut Butter Chocolate Pie, $6.95. I still dream about this pie. It was smooth and creamy with the right amount of everything. I was so close to licking the plate. If you don’t come here for the food, you should come here for this!
May 29, 2011 § Leave a comment
2495 E Washington Blvd
Pasadena, CA 91104
Carmela Review Summary:
Taste: Delicious! The hand crafted ice cream is made in small batches with herbs, spices, fruits and flowers. It’s smooth, creamy and definitely worth my 20 mile drive.
Cost: Scoops $3.50 for 1/$4.50 for 2/$5.50 for 3 & various take out container sizes
Recommendation: Must try! This is the best ice cream I’ve had in Los Angeles. My favorites are Mint Cacao Nib and Salted Caramel.
Brown Sugar Vanilla Bean
Dark Chocolate Cacao Nib
Mint Cacao Nib
Lemon Basil Sorbet
Spiced Strawberry Sorbet
May 15, 2011 § 2 Comments
After hearing all the hype, I finally tasted Umami’s Earth Burger. Many good things have been written about this mushroom & edamame patty that it was hard not to have high expectations. Would this burger finally change the way I view veggie burgers? Would I actually enjoy it?
When I received my $11 Earth Burger, I was a bit surprised. I read on several reviews that it had a meaty color. Being a lifelong veg and seeing all kinds of veggie meats, it still managed to fool me.
I took my first bite and waited for that umami sensation to take over my body.
from Umami Info Center
Sadly, it didn’t.
The only taste was salty. Maybe I just had an extremely over salted patty? Or maybe my salt tolerance is extremely low.
All the effort put into making the veggie burger made me want to love it. They didn’t just give me the usual freezer dried Gardenburgers or Bocas; they actually made something for me. I might give it another shot, but not anytime soon.
Truffled Beet Salad
What I definitely would go back for is the Truffled Beet Salad ($7). It’s amazing! It’s served with ricotta cheese, smoked almonds, wild baby arugula and truffle dressing.
Nothing was overwhelming besides the truffle, but that’s a good thing.