Monday, November 29, 2010

Well, I guess this is vegan, right?

So I know I was supposed to do an article about my Vegan experimentation, but I realized there is something amazing (and fall themed) here in our very own Lawrenceville that I couldn’t neglect to alert you to. Arsenal Cider House & Wine Cellar is a tiny venue that brews its own… you guessed it… cider and wine. The proprietors live right above the shop, make the beverages themselves, and aren’t shy with the samples. Plus, last time I was there I heard tell of them hosting a live music event soon. Check them out on Facebook for the latest happenings, or better yet, in person. I highly recommend the dry sherry.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

The quiet and controversial storm

Inspired by a nasty dose of cheese poisoning, I’ve launched full-steam into a grand weeklong VEGAN EXPERIMENT. An accidentally well timed experiment, since November is World Vegan Month. As if my life isn’t complex enough, I just had to add a ban on animal products. I never could leave well enough alone.
I’ve started snooping to find what the glorious ‘burgh has to offer by way of cruelty-free dining goodness, and already I’ve turned up some dirt in the way of the Quiet Storm (no, not that movie). The Quiet Storm is a cafĂ©-and-music-venue turned full-scale vegan and vegetarian restaurant on Penn Avenue. Since I was planning on dragging my friend E along with me on this culinary adventure I read a few reviews online to make sure I wasn’t leading him to a terrible meal that would turn him off of vegan dining forever. What I found was disconcerting. The reviews varied from five-star raves to zero-star slams- the Quiet Storm was broadly accused of being a hipster haven with cold food, terrible service, and a snotty attitude by some and the best vegan niche in Pittsburgh by others. Well, I could never resist a good debate, so here it is!
The Quiet Storm is kind of a parody of a hippyish vegan restaurant. The staff is laid-back, friendly, and exceedingly hands-off. Our groovy waitress didn’t know what day it was, but she handed us a hand-written specials menu that featured some of the tastiest vegan food I’ve had outside of my own kitchen. The selections are creative, delicious, and they steer well clear of the cardinal sin of vegan cooking- trying to make everything a soy-based imitation of meat and cheese. It’s odd to look at a menu and have no conception of what anything was supposed to be (the descriptions aren’t that good and the names of the dishes are more cryptic than guiding) but take a leap of faith and I promise, your meal will not disappoint. And yes, the food is hot.

Friday, November 26, 2010

A cure for cheese poisoning

Hello all,
Yes, it’s me- returned from hibernating in obscurity. What can I say- I’m sorry, ever so sorry, blogland, for my extended absence! I’ll make it up to you, I swear I will. Please take me back!
All right, enough of that. The actual point of this entry is to address a very real problem amongst vegetarians who have been socially obligated to eat a Thanksgiving meal prepared by our more omnivorous cousins (or grandparents, or friend’s grandparents). What happens is we get a hearty dose of whatever non-meat dishes around, which invariably are salad with bleu cheese dressing, broccoli and cheese, fried string beans with cheese, cheese-topped cornbread, and spinach and cheese quiche…. After basting our innards with gooey cow goodness galore, we end up with a nasty case of what I’ve not-so-fondly come to term ‘cheese poisoning’. For me, cheese poisoning results in an immediate onset sodium-drenched migraine, blotchy skin, bloated tummy, and week-long disgust of anything even in the same room as a block of Parmesian. As a measure of recovery, I usually temporarily turn to a diet rich in the veggies and whole grains I’m craving- Veganism. And since I figure there’s at least a few of you who are probably feeling the same way, I thought I would pass along a gem of a site that I’ve been relying on for the past few weeks. Yeah, you read right. I’m not a vegan, but the recipes on this blog are so quick, easy, versatile, creative, and healthy (adjective overload!) that they’ve become indispensible to me. Check it out- I hope you get just as inspired as I did.