Friday, July 30, 2010

Seasonal Delights at The Rolling Pin Cafe

Recently, my mom and I lunched at Westwood, New Jersey's quaint Rolling Pin Cafe. Typically, this place is packed to capacity, leaving it too noisy for us most times. Many must of have been at the beach or elsewhere the steaming July day when we visited.

Quaint tables are inside. We adore sitting outside at one of their two tables, but it was just too hot.

Rolling pins!

Raspberry lemonade, $2. My lemonade consumption goes up exponentially in the summer. I love all varieties.

Half a grilled zucchini and beefsteak tomato sandwich with roasted garlic and onion jam, and their weekly salad special with peaches, strawberries and candied cashews, with a side of sweet potato salad, $8.25. I held the cheese on both. I love adding seasonal fruits to salad. What's more seasonal than zucchini and tomatoes?

In season: peach blueberry crisp. This one looked mouth-watering. Crisps are easy to veganize at home with the help of Earth Balance or other non-dairy substitutes.

They do have soy milk available for coffee or tea (hard to believe so many places don't carry it). Do try the toasted coconut coffee.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

The Loving Hut, Revisited

Seeking flight from cramped cubicles, computer screens, and interruptions, I dined with a friend for lunch at New York City's vegan eatery Loving Hut.

Several pro veg messages adorn its walls. Learn about the effects of factory farming on the environment from Farm Sanctuary.

As do photos of famous vegetarians and vegans.

Did you know that Princess Diana shunned fur, refused to participate in hunting expeditions with the royal family and was responsible for a 17-course meatless dinner served by the British Embassy during her first visit to the United States in her honor? This according to European Vegetarian Union News.

My friend's udon noodles with tofu and veggies, $7.50. I sampled this, and liked it better than what I had.

My mushroom, corn, and pea quesadilla with Daiya vegan cheese, guacamole and a side salad, $7.50.

In a Seinfeld episode, Jerry compares black and white cookies to a metaphor for racial harmony and that people should "Look to the cookie!"

I looked to this cruelty free, and tasty, version, $1.75. Veganize it at home.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Channel Your Inner Flapper or Gent at the Jazz Age Lawn Party

Who wants to go to a Jazz Age Lawn Party on New York City's Governors Island? My hand is high up in the air.

Let's go. She looks like she just stepped out of her time machine.

Listen to music of an era gone by but not forgotten by Michael Arenella and His Dreamland Orchestra.

Grab a sweetie and cut up the rug. My heart's desire doesn't dance I'm afraid.

Admire Zelda, which calls itself, "The Magazine of the Vintage Nouveau."

Peruse the vintage clothing from Odd Twin. Wonder why hats ever went out of fashion.

Admire the style of the bathing beauties, including the stylish lady on the right. Reflect on how sultry a bit of modesty can be.

Take part in a vintage photo shoot.

Check out classic cars. Wonder if any cars today will be considered a classic in the future. I know mine won't be. The one word I think of when pondering the clothes, music and fashion of the 1920s era: style.

Enjoy St-Germain Elderflower Liqueur mixed with soda water and a twist of lemon, $5. I could get used to sipping on these on a hot July day on a picnic blanket with some great reading. All that's missing are tunes from The Big Broadcast.

My thrifted copy of The Great Gatspy, just 50 cents from This n That in Hillsdale, New Jersey. The classic Fitzgerald novel, set on Long Island's North Shore and in New York City during the summer of 1922, seems like a fitting summer read.

While vegetarian fare is usually the minority on the menu, here it ruled. Three of the four items listed on the flier were veg: caramelized onion and spinach tarte with cheddar cheese; roasted zucchini, squash and red pepper sandwiches with maple mustard glaze; and pesto farfalle pasta salad with sun dried tomatoes. Sound delicious? Others thought so too - they were all gone by the time I arrived (as was the homemade lemonade and baked goods).

Luckily, my boyfriend and I arrived with our own picnic of sandwiches, carrot raisin salad, peaches and lemonade.

Miss this weekend? The Lawn Party resumes for the weekend on August 28th and 29th. Admission is $10 at the door, $7 in advance.

While there, take a walk (or rent a bike) and go around the island. Admire sweeping views of the Statue of Liberty. The ferry ride to Governor's Island? Free.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

It's Bastille Day!

A little history on why we're breaking out the baguettes and Edith Piaf records today.

Let's visit New York City's annual Bastille Day Fair and have a picnic: gazpacho with a piece of baguette, $5, and an Orangina, $2.

Fruit jellies, everything from cassis to apricot to mango (made with pectin) from Burdick Chocolate, 2 for $1 or 12 for $5.

Mon Dieu - vegan cookies at the Bastille Day festival?!? This is almost as exciting as David Lebovitz's post on vegan strawberry ice cream.

I had a coconut macaroon, $2, from Vegan Divas. They also had vegan brownies and oatmeal raisin cookies - not very French, but a great sign of progress how vegan food is showing up all over the place.

Veganize Nutella, a favorite spread for bananas, crepes and crusty bread everywhere. I haven't tried the recipe, and the real thing is a major weakness of mine.

"A girl should be 2 things, classy and fabulous," Coco Chanel declares on this cute reusable tote from Girls' Guide to Paris.

French women are famous for their scarves, and even this adorable chien got into the act. Flashback to Gillian Young's advice on how to tie a scarf like a Frenchie.

Cheerful books for the youngest francophiles.

Buttons from FIAF (French Institute Alliance Française).

Music from Les Sans Culottes.

Learn about the symbolism of the French flag.

Flashback to last year's festivities.

Carol from Paris Breakfasts also covered the fun.

Friday, July 9, 2010

I'd Rather Be....

Not feeling like being on the computer lately, especially when I'm on one at work all day and the lazy days of summer are here.

I'd rather be....

Enjoying a Field Roast Grain Meat Co.'s smoked apple sage vegan sausage off of the grill with some cold summer salads.

Or feasting on a BLT made with vegan Smart Bacon, followed by a dip in the pool.

Watching the Macy's fireworks in Weehawken.

Having some petit dejeuner at my favorite French cafe, Macaron. A baguette with strawberry jam, $2.50, and fresh squeezed orange juice, $3.50 (they squeeze it on the spot).

Going to the Bastille Day celebration.

Catching up on my French. I won a French in 3 Months cd and accompanying book in my community school French class.

Reading a good book. The Jane Austen classic? Just 25 cents at Our Thrift Shop in Westwood. Thrift shops are a treasure trove of books for your beach outing, summer getaway, or just respite indoors on a steamy day.

Sipping on a raspberry margarita on the outdoor patio at Pancho's, $8...

while enjoying a California tostado, $7.25. Check out the tofu sour cream!

Eating a piece of my co-worker Kathy's chocolate zucchini cake at a weekly tea break. The zucchini - straight from her garden. It's not vegan, but in communal situations like this, I don't fret too much about a small piece of cake.

Eating a veggie burger. Check out Everyday with Rachael Ray's Taste Test: The Best Veggie Burgers. Not everything is vegan (burgers included), but they give you creative ideas for dressing up your burger. Substitute dairy with products like Tofutti Sour Supreme, Vegenaise or your favorite non-dairy cheese, or just omit those ingredients.

Hope you are savoring the days of summer.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Summer Harvest: From the Farm

A weekend highlight for me is visiting local farms. I'll take this over stifling, over-sized mega supermarkets any day. Summertime means an abundance of local delights.

At Old Hood Farm in Emerson: New Jersey sugar plums and raspberries. Both are like nature's candy.

Blueberries. Love seasonal berries over granola and either almond milk or soy yogurt as a simple summer breakfast.

Jersey beans. My mom sautés these in Earth Balance (or use olive oil), garlic and parsley. Mine never come out as good as hers. I think even peanut butter and jelly tastes better when your mom makes it.

At Abram Demaree Homestead on Old Hook Road in Closter, some new items were offered from last week's visit.

Bruschetta, the perfect recipe to make with summer tomatoes and basil. I topped it on a crusty bread I picked up at nearby Old Hook Farm. Served with their chopped salad (assorted greens with diced celery) and you've got a light summer meal.

Charbroiled zucchini, topped with marinara sauce and mozzarella cheese. Veganize at home: just leave off the cheese.

Salsa bites: tomato, garlic, onion and chipotle in a pastry crust.

I eat a little something sweet every day. No apologies. Burnt sugar cookies.

Home grown flowers.

Wishing you were here...

I left thinking of 10,000 Maniacs delightful ode to the infectious pleasures of summer, "Stockton Gala Days," and its declaration:

"That summer fields grow high.
We had wildflower fever.
We had to lay down where they grow."

Catch wildflower fever, and delight in all the season's bounty.