Eating Vegan in Charlotte, NC: Luna’s Living Kitchen

We went to North Carolina in September and I’ve been meaning to post this review ever since.

We flew into Charlotte and our first priority was lunch. I googled “eating vegan in Charlotte” and Luna’s Living Kitchen came right up. Only 15 minutes from the airport, we headed over and enjoyed a fantastic lunch.   

The restaurant has a great open atmosphere. It has a sort of industrial space vibe, with high ceilings, brick walls, and big windows.

For an appetizer, we took this chia seed pudding out of the to-go refrigerator because we were starving. It was creamy and delicious and very cinnamon-y which would normally bother me but I actually liked it. It came with a little raspberry sauce on the side.

IMG_5504We couldn’t order everything on the menu (I wish!) but we tried several amazing dishes.

First, this arugula salad which came with with avocado, pears, candied walnuts and cranberries and a scoop of homemade cashew-basil cheese.

IMG_5505Then we tried the Lunasagna, layers of mushrooms and zucchini with sun dried tomato sauce and the cashew-basil cheese. It was good but I have to say that I am over raw lasagna. Remind me not to order it anywhere again. It is too filling.

IMG_5506

And check out this quinoa-kamut veggie burger on multigrain bread! This one was called Fire and Brimstone because it was spiced with chipotle sunflower hummus, onions, cucumber, salsa verde and house hot sauce. Phenomenal.

IMG_5507

I also had to try the zucchini bolognese which was made with walnuts. Loved this version of “noodles” and sauce. Very tasty.

IMG_5508And on the side, this gorgeous beet and carrot salad. Light and refreshing. We also got a great broccoli Waldorf salad but sadly I didn’t get a shot of it. It had walnuts and cranberries. Or maybe raisins.

IMG_5509

The little side salad on the Lunasagna plate was tossed with this amazing dressing which I am so going to make myself.

IMG_5510

And of course, dessert. A raw chocolate cake. Yum!

IMG_5511

For the road, we grabbed a couple of bottles: Luna’s almond milk which was made with coconut nectar, almonds, water, vanilla, and salt and the Pura Vida juice which was carrot, apple, orange and lemon.

We left totally full and totally satisfied, but wanting more! Luckily, we went back for brunch on our way home a few days later.

We all ordered this psychotic “Biblical Breakfast” which was 3 warm slices of freshly baked cranberry-walnut bread topped with organic peanut butter, almond butter, and coconut butter. Then they added a layer of fig preserves. Then they topped it with bananas, maple syrup and a sprinkle of white chia seeds. Holy heaven!

IMG_5656

We also got the El Luchador smoothie which was made with hemp milk, banana, peanuts, raw cacao and agave. Delicious!

IMG_5654

If you are in Charlotte, you have to go to Luna’s!

Eating Vegan on Long Island: Tula Kitchen in Bayshore

This summer we found a new restaurant on Long Island that serves fantastic vegan dishes. Tula Kitchen is in Bayshore, on the south shore, near the ferries to Fire Island. If you are on your way out east, this is the perfect stop for you. Lots of vegan options, a great atmosphere, and friendly staff. If you go after 6pm, you might need a reservation. We have stopped in several times since and we have been happy with our meal every time.

This bean salad comes to the table complementary. And it is so good we like to order more. It is made with black beans and chickpeas, peppers and carrots, red wine vinegar, and seasoned crispy pita triangles.

IMG_5449

We love the edamame appetizer bowl. It is sprinkled with lots of sea salt. IMG_5451This was the falafel special one night. My son was thrilled for the extra pita.

IMG_5452

IMG_5458

IMG_5463

This is the Tula lentil burger. It is fantastic. We love the sweet potato fries and caramelized onions. Plus, it comes with a side of hummus.

IMG_5465

This is the sesame crusted tofu with sautéed broccoli rabe over coconut basmati rice. Very flavorful but way too much broccoli rabe!

IMG_5464And the finale. A vegan cupcake with a crazy creamy center.

IMG_5467

If you are near Tula, go!!

Eating Vegan in Nyack, NY: Art Cafe

On our way down from our annual visit to the Catskill Animal Sanctuary for the big Shindig party celebrating compassionate living, we stopped at this cute little cafe in Nyack called Art Cafe. I googled “vegan eating” as we were driving and this place came up. I checked the menu and the reason why we stopped there was because many of the dishes were list as vegan. The actual word “vegan” was printed on the menu and this makes me happy when eating out. To me that means the restaurant thought about it, understands it, and I can be free and happy while eating there!

Art Cafe has a cool organic coffee shop vibe.

IMG_5773

My husband ordered this St. Peter’s organic ale. Love the bottle!

IMG_5776

We started with hummus. Very traditional Israeli style with lots of za’atar and super thick pita bread.

IMG_5843And check out this malawach which is thin Israeli dough that is crispy on the outside and soft on the inside. Loved it!

IMG_5845Then we ordered these little rice bowls. I got the Kahlo Bowl which was like a salad of chickpeas, cucumbers, red onion, and fresh herbs with sweet tahini dressing over rice and my husband got the Specialty Bowl with organic tofu slices and a flavorful pistachio and almond mix served over hot basmati rice made with israeli spices.

IMG_5846 IMG_5848Easy, fun vegan lunch at a cute local joint. If you find yourself around Nyack, go there!

Eating Vegan in Asheville, N.C.

Last month we made a trip to Asheville, NC. We stayed at Inn at the Biltmore, a beautiful hotel on the grounds of the Biltmore, one of the Vanderbilt estates. What a gorgeous place especially the gardens and butterflies!

IMG_5597 IMG_5611IMG_5550

Luckily there lots of vegan eats everywhere!

First stop was The Laughing Seed and we dug right in! I had the special entree because I love trying different variations of cashew cream, this one was a cashew alfredo. The dish was cavatappi with artichoke hearts, red peppers, capers, arugula and savory tempeh crumbles tossed with the alfredo. The dish was so beautiful topped with microgreens and a beet puree. Look at that color!

IMG_5526

This here is your basic vegan meal. Brown rice, avocado, and perfect and super delicous locally made tempeh.

IMG_5524

I am a big fan of good french fries and these are gooood! Check out those fried jalapeños in there. Surprise!

IMG_5525

For lunch on our second day, we visited the local Whole Foods which was originally Greenlife Grocery. Whole Foods bought it at some point but the place kept its original charm. These carrot cashew croquettes were an original Greenlife recipe and they were phenomenal. I plan on recreating them in my kitchen soon. The sauce was ridiculously good too. They said it was made with coconut milk, cashews and cayenne. I plan on working that up too! The quinoa sweet potato cakes were a little dry but luckily I had that great sauce. And just look at the pretty stuffed tomato.

IMG_5578 IMG_5580 IMG_5581

After our Whole Foods lunch, we stopped at The Hop Ice Cream Cafe. They make all of their own ice cream in house and they always have several vegan options! Lucky for us. The shop was totally cute and old fashioned, especially the formica tabletops.

The ice cream was divine. We had vanilla cookies and soy creme in a cone and chocolate banana creme in a cup with homemade coconut whip.

IMG_5583 IMG_5584

Our last meal was at Plant. It has been named one of the top vegan restaurants in the country. No wonder. It is a gorgeous restaurant with super creative dishes. It’s only open for dinner so I made sure we scheduled for it.

My son started with the house lemonade. His most favorite drink ever.

IMG_5639

I love when a restaurant serves an amuse-bouche. This one was carrots in a little acid.

IMG_5640

Next we ordered the cheese plate. I have to applaud a vegan restaurant with a cheese plate, homemade too! This is aged cashew, a farmer’s involtini (which is a small bite of food consisting of some sort of outer layer wrapped around a filling in this case vegan cheese wrapped in a slice of zucchini), rosemary peaches, pickled peppers, black garlic oil, and homemade focaccia.

IMG_5641

My son got a plate of gherkins. Very gourmet!

IMG_5644

We also had the smoked hummus plate. If you like smoked, this is your hummus. I prefer not smoked but it was still great. The roasted garlic bulb on the side was brilliant (I will be duplicating this at home) and the toasted bread was excellent.

IMG_5642Next we had the red curry tofu. What a great sauce! It was served with jasmine rice, kaffir lime cakes, and teriyaki green beans with thai basil.

 IMG_5646

Finally, dessert. The black out pie was excellent. It had a chocolate peanut butter fudge center with a cookie crust. And a creamsicle ice cream which was good but it had too much ginger in it for my taste.

  IMG_5649

IMG_5648

Overall, the entire weekend was food filled and delicious. Go to Asheville just to eat!

Eating Vegan in Palm Beach: Christopher’s Kitchen

We arrived in Palm Beach yesterday and of course the first thing I did was search for vegan restaurants in the area. Christopher’s Kitchen in Palm Beach Gardens came up with great reviews. We set the navigation and headed there for a late post-swim lunch today.

photo

The lunch menu is all raw with tons of nut-based ideas and dehydrated stuff. I have not yet ventured into the dehydrated arena myself so it is a treat to find such creative offerings. I am definitely going to try to make some of their dishes and the next time we visit Palm Beach, we are definitely going back for dinner, when they cook.

For appetizers, we ordered guacamole and homemade red pepper corn chips and this fantastic why-didn’t-I-think-of-it-myself caprese salad. This will be on our table this summer when the tomatoes are ripe.

photo 2

For our entrees, I ordered the “walnut tuna salad” with capers, tomato, cucumber, apple, and lots of sprouts on toasted 7 grain bread. The bread was fantastic, we ordered extra on the side.

photo 4

My husband had the famous CK Tacos. Two handmade vegetable tortillas, sweet & spicy walnut taco mix, guacamole, pico de gallo, lettuce, cabbage, cashew cheese, and lime. He ate them up so fast I only had one bite. The walnut taco mix was sweet and tangy, I’m thinking maple syrup and tamari. I don’t know what the dipping sauce was, but there was none left!

photo 3

For dessert, we spied the case of fantastic chocolate offerings including salted caramel bark, almond butter balls, chocolate mint patties and more. It was hard to decide what to get.

photo 1

We chose a salted caramel pecan bark and this unbelievable ice cream sundae with chocolate and vanilla ice cream, bananas, chocolate macaroons, caramel sauce, chocolate sauce, and crushed walnuts. I ate almost the whole thing myself since my husband and son ran off to explore the green pennies in the fountain. Lucky me!

photo 5

Overall, this restaurant is fantastic! The service is friendly, professional, and knowledgeable. The food is creative, delicious, and gorgeous. The atmosphere is chic but totally relaxed. Next time you are in town, or if you live here already, make plans to visit Christopher’s Kitchen. And tell everyone you know!