Apr
17

Arrington Vineyards

While everyone thought we were in Nashville Honky-Tonkin, Laura & I were with my buddy Jack in “Nashville’s Wine Country” – Arrington Vineyards, which is located just 20-30 miles outside of Nash and owned by country music artist, Kix Brooks.

After delivering a much anticipated vegan smoked cheesecake to the Bluegrass Tour Bus, Jack offered to take us downtown Franklin, TN for lunch and shopping then surprised us with an impulsive trip to the winery! Nice guy, right? He sure does play the role of a “tour guide” exceedingly.

Arrington Vineyards

Arrington Vineyards

As much wine as I drink, you’d think that I’d have visited more than two wineries in my lifetime… but I haven’t. The first winery I ever visited was in Hawaii, unfortunately I don’t remember much of the experience.

At Arrington, I learned that there is a lot I could learn about different wines and wine-making and I was definitely inspired to visit more wineries, more often.

Arrington Vineyards

Arrington Vineyards

A BEAUTIFUL Saturday afternoon spent outdoors with a bottle of red wine and relaxation was MUCH needed (we were exhausted from Friday night activities). We literally sat outside for an hour or two meditatively taking advantage of the fresh, crisp air – it was so good.

My only regret is that we were not prepared with a blanket to lay on and a cute little picnic lunch. Next time, for sure.

Arrington Vineyards

Arrington Vineyards

We got to do a wine tasting with Josh (he was a gem!) – there were several bottles of wine I would have purchased had I not been traveling. I DID, however, purchase a bottle of Blackberry Dessert wine (YUM!). I haven’t cracked it open yet, I would like to use it as an ingredient in a dessert…. I just haven’t figured out what that dessert is yet. I think Jack mentioned that he uses a few of the wines in his smoked cheesecakes. Regardless, I’m waiting for a “special” day or event. 

Arrington Vineyards

Arrington Vineyards

Jack’s favorite band was playing at the winery the afternoon we were there. I regret not remembering the name of the band. We would have probably stayed at the winery all day long had we not been anxious to take a nap and get back to the Honky Tonks…..

Love

Crista


Apr
15

Nashville

Last Friday in Nashville was a big day for Laura & myself.

We shopped East Nashville, toured the Grand Ole Opry, shopped Two Old Hippies, had dinner at Whiskey Kitchen (my favorite!), Honky Tonked, and still made time for Bloody Mary’s from Mad Donna’s and Vegan Ice Cream from the Pied Piper Creamery!

Nashville

This little boutique, Moss has become one of my favorite boutiques to shop in (East) Nashville. The clothing & jewelry sold there are sooo cute.

Nashville

Nashville

Nashville

I can’t remember for the life of me what flavor of vegan ice cream I ate that day, alls I know is that it was goooood. Maybe it was a chocolate coconut… 

Nashville

Nashville

Nashville

These photos come to you from inside the Gaylord Opryland Resort. It was fun to tour, but I don’t think I ever need to go there again….. we were probably he youngest people in the building…..

Nashville

Nashville

Nashville

Dinner consisted of Fried Green Tomatoes & Whiskey: true southern style.

Nashville

I LOVE LOVE Nashville. (have I mentioned that before??) 

Every time we go, we find new restaurants and neighborhoods to shop. 
Last weekend was all about East Nash & Opryland, next time we go (in the fall) will be all about the Hillsboro area… and of course we do Two Old Hippies in the Gulch EVERY time we’re in Nash.

Love

Crista


Apr
14

cheesecake, vegan

I met my buddy Jack at a food truck festival in Nashville last Sept. We both got to the festival just moments before it was scheduled to close. Jack was next to me in line for the Wrappers Delight food truck. I had been chasing the Wrappers Delight for quite some time, they had a vegan wrap I so badly wanted to try. By the time Jack & I reached the window, the vegan wrap was the only wrap available. I had to encourage Jack to get that wrap even though it didn’t contain any meat. (those southern meat-eating boys…) I think he liked it….

While we stood in line that evening, Jack told me about these cheesecakes that he makes on his smoker. A “smoked cheesecake” I couldn’t believe it – I had never heard of anything like that! I probably told him to quit his day job and make smoked cheesecakes for a living. Haha! 

I never did get to try the smoked cheesecake on that trip but Jack rocked my world by preparing a Vegan Smoked Cheesecake for me this past weekend – he even delivered it to me! 

Jack wasn’t all that impressed with his first vegan smoked cheesecake, in fact he wouldn’t even take a picture of it because it wasn’t “perfect”. Although it didn’t look perfect, it is delicious. Unlike anything I’ve ever tasted before. 

Jack used tofutti and made a flax egg for the cheesecake, but he’s still looking for different (dairy) alternatives that will craft the “perfect” vegan smoked cheesecake. I’ll be on the lookout for alternatives as well. 

If you are near Nashville and are interested in a smoked cheesecake, Jack can probably hook you up. His company name is Si’s Scrumptious Delights (named after his Siamese cat, Si) – you can find him on Facebook.  

cheesecake, vegan

Love

Crista


Apr
13

Shortly after our arrival in to Nashville last weekend, we set out for Mas Tacos Por Favor, which was recommended to us by Whitney & Johnny, the Bluegrass Tour Bus owners. We were feeling slightly vulnerable in those first moments on the bus so we weren’t quite sure how to feel about their recommendation (an old ass tour bus parked in the ghetto can be slightly overwhelming) but we took the recommendation anyway. 

Mas Tacos Por Favor

 The building is a little sketchy on the outside but we felt instant relief upon entering. Immediately, we spotted a photo of Guy Fieri painted on the wall which led us to the assumption that Mas Tacos Por Favor has been featured on Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives. (we were right, by the way)

Mas Tacos Por Favor

Mas Tacos

I was pretty satisfied with the meal I had at Mas Tacos, considering they had two AMAZING vegetarian taco options: Fried Avocado & Quinoa + Sweet Potato. I certainly wasn’t mad about the Plantains, the Black Bean Soup, or the Horchata either. Oh, and Laura obsessed over the Pineapple Cilantro fruit drink. I am mad at myself for not trying it…. (but the Horchata was soooo good) 

Mas Tacos

Mas Tacos

It was so nice to start our trip off with an amazing meal. We had plans of visiting Mas Tacos a few more times during our weekend in Nashville but we never did make it back. Next time, for sure. 

Love

Crista


Apr
11

Bluegrass Tour Bus

I tend to do things that I know will gain attention. Life is more fun that way. When Laura & I were planning our trip to Nashville, we planned on staying at the Downtown Hostel again because it is inexpensive and in a perfect location – just one block off Broadway. The last time we stayed at the hostel, we were asked several times if it is a “whore house” (naive country boys….) Anyway, we loved it!

Well, of course the NCAA championships were going on in Nash the weekend we were there so the hostel was booked. Didn’t bother us one bit because we knew we could rely on airbnb to find a cool place – We about DIED when we found this Bluegrass Tour Bus available.  

Bluegrass Tour Bus

Bluegrass Tour Bus

The bus (#BGB), is parked in front of a Bluegrass-playing couples home and they actually still use the bus for touring. We had a BLAST on the bus despite a lack of heat on chilly nights, a lack of electricity part of the stay, and being forced to shower with cold hose water. AND we definitely got the attention we were looking for. “You’re staying WHERE?” everyone would ask….. “you heard us right, a Bluegrass Tour Bus….”

Bluegrass Tour Bus

Bluegrass Tour Bus

Bluegrass Tour Bus

We didn’t actually get to drive the bus… but can you imagine how cool it would have been if we did??? 

Bluegrass Tour Bus

Bluegrass Tour Bus

Bluegrass Tour Bus

This beat up couch was perfect for afternoon naps – during our afternoon naps, we listened to the band practicing from the front porch of their home….. SO GOOD.

Bluegrass Tour Bus

Bluegrass Tour Bus

FRIEND BOOTS!!!

Bluegrass Tour Bus

Bluegrass Tour Bus

KIT-TEN.

Bluegrass Tour Bus

Although there were moments that we had to ask ourselves: “are we REALLY doing this??” …I think I’d do it all over again….

Bluegrass Tour Bus

Bluegrass Tour Bus

Bluegrass Tour Bus

Bluegrass Tour Bus

Bluegrass Tour Bus

If not now, my friends…. then when? …know what I’m saying? 

Love

Crista


Apr
03

Old Town Omaha

There are some cities that are vegetarian-friendly and some that just aren’t. I would have never guessed Omaha to have an abundance of vegetarian options but I’ve been pleasantly surprised in my recent 3-4 trips there. Actually, I’ve never had a bad meal in Omaha, food is GOOD there. I’ve actually told a few of my friends I want to take them to Omaha just to check out a few of the awesome restaurants there. They look at me like I’m crazy.

Read on for some of my faves.

Old Town Omaha

At M’s Pub, they serve a Carrot Dog in the same fashion that you would see a Bratwurst served. Instead of the brat, you get a marinated carrot topped with sauerkraut, mustard, and relish (all homemade by the way). I’ve gone to M’s Pub several times to get this same Carrot Dog – it really is unique and tasty. I’d like to make it at home but I don’t think I can make the sauerkraut and relish quite like M’s can make it.

M’s Pub is located in the Old Market area and it sits right next to a women’s clothing boutique that I love to shop in. If the weather is nice, you can sit outside on the patio and people watch – it’s great.

Dixie Quicks

 I’ve been to DIXIE QUICKS several times, and I’ve even blogged about it. It is not located in Omaha, it’s actually in Council Bluffs, IA which is just 10-15 minutes from Omaha – it’s totally worth making the trip out to visit Dixie Quicks. The place is rad and the food is good. I love their cornbread, brussels sprouts, black bean quesadilla, and house salad (the salad dressing is amazing).

Kitchen Table

Check out this meal I ordered at Kitchen Table: a mug of White Beans, Nicoise Olives, & Roasted Tomatoes, a fresh Salad with Red Wine Vinaigrette, AND a Cauliflower Jam Sandwich. Ok, check out the ingredients on that sandwich: a cauliflower steak, mozzarella, sprouted chickpea pesto, and roasted red pepper jam. SO GOOD. Every single bite was SO GOOD.

Kitchen Table is located in Old Market and they offer “slow food fast”. Their menu rocks they have enough vegan/vegetarian options to choose from – eel, it satisfied my needs. I notice they have two vegan soups on their menu of the day today: “Cream” of Beet Soup with Vegan Cream Fraiche & Aloo Gobi Soup. I wish I were there to try them….

On another note, I like how Kitchen table serves their meals with a side of seasoned popcorn and a turmeric pickled cauliflower.

Wilson & Washburn 
By far, the best meal I’ve had in Omaha was at Wilson & Washburn. To start, I ordered not one, not two, but THREE orders of the Beet Chips which are flash fried and doused with malt vinegar and kosher salt. (uhm, YUM) I ate so many of those damn chips that I was peeing pink. I managed to get the recipe for them from the bartender – I’m definitely going to make an attempt at making them.

Then , that burger – it is also made with beets. That Beet Burger is paired with house smoked peanut butter and pickled jalapeños. Hands down, it was the BEST burger I have EVER had. I had to eat it slow because it packed so much flavor. Yum.

Wilson & Washburn

Two Birds Bakery

Friends of mine from Omaha gifted me with these vegan treats from Two Birds Bakery which is located in Elkhorn, NE. I’ve not actually been to the bakery but I have a feeling it sits in the outskirts of Omaha. All of the baked goods were really really good but one muffin I had was outstanding – it was made with curry and coconut. Two Birds doesn’t produce “typical” baked goods- as far as I can see, everything I had was spiced and unique in flavor.

————————-

A few other restaurants that I’ve been to and really enjoyed in Omaha are SALT 88 and Indian Oven - both restaurants were recommended by different friends.

SALT 88 sits in a strip mall but is very impressive on the inside – doesn’t look like a “strip mall” restaurant on the inside, it’s very modern. I remember eating an AMAZING arugula salad there. AND I remember being served cotton candy at the end of my meal. I LOVE cotton candy!

Indian Oven is located in the Old Market, their food is actually really good, it’s hard to find good Indian food. I was there with a group of people so I sampled many of the dishes – my favorite was the Maah Dhal.

————————- 

I hear Amsterdam Falafel & Kabob & Jade Garden are also good restaurants to visit, I haven’t been to either of them YET. 

Also, I hear Isa Chandra is opening up a vegan eatery in Omaha soon, Modern Love. I hope I can get there next time I visit Omaha. 

Foodies, are you planning a “vacation” to Omaha now? Ha! 

Love

Crista


Apr
02

garlicky kale pasta

Not long ago, I found myself in the kitchen of a single bachelor vegan dude who doesn’t know how to cook and for some reason I took it upon myself to make an attempt at teaching him how to cook a meal. It was a little nerve-racking to decide what meal to make because I had no idea what he had in his pantry/refrigerator at the time.

We ended up making a this super simple (well, I think it’s super simple – he didn’t) pasta + kale dish. You should have seen him in the kitchen (GUYS!)…. unsure of what to do with the linguine noodles after they were finished cooking – it was hilarious. Anyway, we had a lot of fun making this tasty one-dish meal.

Making this meal taught me a big lesson: when you are teaching a man to cook, you have got to keep it simple. 

Garlicky Pasta with Kale, Tomato, & Thyme
Author: 
 
Ingredients
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • ½ pound linguine noodles, cooked al dente
  • 2-3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 1½ cups cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 4-5 cups kale, de-stemmed
  • 1½ teaspoons fresh thyme leaves
  • 2 tablespoons Earth Balance vegan butter
  • sea salt & pepper
  • 2 tablespoons nutritional yeast
  • 2-3 tablespoons Rawmesan (vegan parmesan substitute)
Instructions
  1. First, begin cooking the linguine noodles in a large pot.
  2. While the linguine noodles cook, heat the olive oil in a large, deep pan.
  3. Add the garlic and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds.
  4. Add the kale leaves and toss them with the garlic and oil.
  5. Toss the kale every 20-30 seconds for about 5 minutes and then add the fresh thyme and cherry tomatoes.
  6. Continue tossing the ingredients until the tomatoes are heated through, about 4-5 minutes.
  7. Season the mixture with salt, pepper, and nutritional yeast to taste.
  8. Before combining the kale mixture with the pasta, toss the past with the Earth Balance vegan butter.
  9. Serve warm, top with Rawmesan if you choose.
Notes
You can make this recipe gluten-free by using gluten-free noodles.

If you are adding Rawmesan to this recipe, you can use less salt.

 rawmesan

Love

Crista


Mar
19

During conversation with a few friends lately, I’ve discovered a common challenge for people in general is coming up “with what’s for dinner”. I share that challenge as well, especially as a single person cooking just for myself. I tend to only make 2-3 meals a week and I make sure I have enough for leftovers. Below, you will find 25 vegetarian/vegan recipes, most of which are fairly easy to make. I have already tried several of these dishes, and I will definitely be making the ones I haven’t tried yet.

spaghetti squash spaghetti

1. Spaghetti Squash Spaghetti (peace. love. quinoa)
2. Quick Homemade Ramen (Pinch Of Yum)
3. Red Beans and Rice Salad (Ezra Pound Cake)
4. Crisp Kale + Brussels Sprout Tacos with Avocado and Crema (what’s cooking good looking)
5.  Sweet Potato Alfredo (Love & Lemons)

chickpea salad sandwich

6. Chickpea Salad Sandwich (peace. love. quinoa) 
7. Indian-Spiced Butternut Squash with Toasted Coconut (Free People)
8. Whole Wheat Couscous with Cherries and Arugula (theKitchn)
9. Snobby Joes (Post Punk Kitchen)
10. Coconut Vegetable Curry (Simply Delicious)

red quinoa sweet potato chili

11. Red Quinoa Sweet Potato Chili (peace. love. quinoa) 
12. Big Vegan Bowl (oh she glows)
13. Mexican Spinach Salad (With Style & Grace)
14. Braised Baby Purple Artichokes (Family Spice)
15. Smokey Roasted Cauliflower Soup with Herbed Chickpea Dumplings (An Edible Mosaic) 

Mini Pizzas

16. Mini Pizzas (peace. love. quinoa)
17. Cauliflower Steaks with Olive Pistou (Tasting Table)
18. Vegetable Lentil Shepherd’s Pie (Yummy Mummy Kitchen)
19. Coqui Chik’n (One Happy Table)
20.  Quinoa & Black Beans (Tablespoon)

garlicky ginger fried rice

 21. Garlicky Ginger Fried Rice (peace. love. quinoa.)
22. Kale with Tomato, Garlic, and Thyme (Martha Stewart)
23. Lentil Soup with Lemon Yogurt Cream (So Le’s Hang Out)
24. Black Quinoa Chopped Salad (Camille Styles)
25. Golden Beet Soup with Roasted Garlic Cashew Cream (With Food + Love)

Love

Crista


Mar
18

Deer Creek Canyon

Deer Creek Canyon

Deer Creek Canyon

Deer Creek Canyon

Deer Creek Canyon

Deer Creek Canyon

Deer Creek Canyon

Deer Creek Canyon

Early last week, I took a hike through the Deer Creek Canyons which is just about 25 miles southwest of my apartment. I LOVE living in Colorado, especially with all of the access I have to the amazing outdoors. 

The weather has been amazing here in Denver, today is was in the 70′s…..
I will never regret moving here. 

Love

Crista