Many years go when I was a student living in Boston I would go to California Pizza Kitchen on a semi-regular basis. Back in those days I was vegetarian so eating at CPK was super easy for me. Back in those days my go-to menu items were the Tuscan Hummus, Margherita Pizza and Chinese Chicken Salad (obviously hold the chicken).
Once I moved out of Boston I don’t think I visited a CPK again until this Fall when I was kindly invited to visit the Bridgeport Village CPK. One of the reasons that I never visited again was because my diet changed from vegetarian to plant-based and I had it in my head that there just weren’t enough options but I was oh so WRONG. The team at the Bridgeport CPK was super nice and they hooked us up with so many amazing plant-based options so let’s get started.
To start I went with a mojito mocktail however if I could have indulged in alcohol I would have gone for one of their many tasty sounding sangrias.
We started with the Tuscan Hummus which if you remember is one of my old go-to menu items and it’s seriously amazing. I would go to CPK just to get this and only this because it’s that good.
Next us is the White Corn Guacamole & Chips another really tasty starter. I loved the addition of jicama, white corn and black beans and both my littles gobbled up most of this guacamole and chips.
Next up another really delicious starter that could easily be an entree – the Lettuce Wraps done vegan. These were so delicious and was one of Neil’s favorite dishes we tried.
If that wasn’t enough food we also got two different salads – the Roasted Veggie and the Thai Crunch with Avocado (no chicken). I will put a disclaimer here that we eat honey and both of the dressings for these salads contain honey. If you do not partake in honey most of the salads can be made vegan by taking off the dairy and meat and they can do an oil and vinegar for salad dressing.
As for these salads I was really into the roasted veggie salad and Neil was all about the Thai crunch. The roasted veggies were just so delicious and exactly what I was in the mood for at the time. The Thai crunch had amazing flavor, a nice crunchy topping and the avocado was the perfect addition.
We were stuffed at this point but we powered through and tried a few bites of the Asparagus & Spinach pasta. Now this pasta was probably my least favorite dish because without the salty parm that normally would be on it it was lacking a bit of flavor. I would personally recommend asking for a few lemon wedges to squeeze over the pasta to brighten it up and give it just a bit more flavor and then it would be practically perfect.
We also tried a few bites of the California Veggie pizza (no cheese) before packing it up and finishing it off the next day at home. This pizza was really delicious. I loved the crust and the veggies were super fresh. A great option.
Before I wrap this up let’s not forget about the kids! At this point the kids were feeling pretty full as well but Edith was thrilled when her fusilli with tomato sauce came out and she ate about half of this huge portion. CPK can also do a simple fusilli with olive oil for kids as well if you little one isn’t into tomato sauce.
As for Alder he went with a super simple kids mushroom pizza (no cheese) and he thought it was pretty great. I love that there are some simple and tasty kids options available.
Overall we had a great dining experience, we really enjoyed the food and we will be back. Again we would like to thank the Bridgeport CPK for having us in and we are already making plans go come back for more of that Tuscan Hummus.
*Disclaimer: CPK invited us in to dine on them. As always all opinions are my own.
We are headed to Portland,ME (not Oregon) for the weekend to run a 5K and I decided to do a little lot of research of dining options. Here is my guide to Portland, ME Vegan Friendly Dining (FYI this gives you an idea of what you can eat at these restaurants it is not a review of the restaurant because frankly I haven’t been to all of them- I will do a review of the ones we do visit upon our return):
1 –> 3 or less vegan options 2 –> 4-5 vegan options (at least one entree) 3 –> 6-7 vegan options (at least one entree) 4 –> 8-9 vegan options (at least two entrees) 5 –> 10+ vegan options (at least two entrees)
Green Elephant: 608 Congress St, Portland ME Rating: 5 (vegetarian, mostly vegan)
The staff will let you know for sure which options are vegan there are a few I am not sure about- the skewers are though and they are good! So just double check; below are the vegetarian options which are most likely vegan or can be made that way.
House fried peanuts seasoned with Thai herbs
Fried taro sticks seasoned with sea salt. Served with spicy chili sauce
Steamed assorted vegetables with “Nahm-Prik” (eggplant relish)
Tofu skewer rubbed with teriyaki sauce
Shiitake skewer with teriyaki seasoning sauce
Portabella mushroom skewer rubbed with sesame oil & mushroom sauce
Thai sticky rice with soy sauce, pepper, scallion, and garlic
Stir-fried wide rice noodles with onion, tomato, pepper, bamboo shoot,Chinese broccoli, Thai basil, and tofu
Organic tofu, bamboo shoots, red and green pepper, squash, baby carrot, green beans, Thai eggplant and Thai basil in homemade green curry
Personal Experience: LOVED this place. (same owners as Green Elephant) Sebago Brewing Company: 211 Fore Street Portland ME
Pub Pretzels: they are ok-but without the dipping sauce.
Hummus & Tzatiki (without tzatiki)
Greek Falafel (no feta): This salad is fine but with a different
dressing-the dressing it is listed with contains feta. The falafel is pan
seared with oil.
Dressings that are ok:
Hefeweizen Ving? (contains honey)
Panzanella Salad (no chicken): without the cheese. suggest adding the falafel to this
Vegetable Stir Fry: this dish is fine w/o rice could sub pasta
Linguine-prepped with margarine
Falafel burger w/o bun or tzatiki – sub wheat wrap
Veggie quesadilla without any cheese
FYI: the onion rings (not vegan anyways), chips french fries & sweet potato fries are deep fried in the same oil as fish
Fruit Gelatos (Sorbettos) that are completely milk free, egg free and fat free. Our fruit flavors are made using exclusively fresh fruit, water and different kinds of natural sugars. Usually, we produce :
ZoomaZoom Wrap (vegan) Falafel with spicy vegan spread, spinach, lettuce, tomato, onion and black olives
Tempeh Thru The Tulips Wrap (vegan) Spinach, tomato, fried tempeh and sauteed veggies du jour in creamy basil sauce
Garden of Eatin’ Appetizer (vegan) Silly made hummus served with carrots, broccoli, green& red peppers, falafel and crunchy flour tortilla chips, -made fresh daily-ask for it without the cuke dill
Vegan Decadence Appetizer (vegan) Creamy vegan basil sauce spread atop grilled bread topped with Greek olives, roasted red peppers, fresh tomatoes & garlic then toasted to perfection
Sweet Plantains Appetizer – Fried- (vegan) Can be gluten free if you tell us….
Rings of Fire Appetizer (vegetarian) Breaded & fried jalapeno rings with a side of sour cream **(vegan)-sub spicy vegan dip
French Fries Appetizer (vegan)- Handcut Can be gluten free if you tell us…
Hobo Pie Dinner (vegan) Flour tortilla chips topped with sweet potato millet blackbean vegan chili, salsa, tomatoes & scallions –Must ask for soy mozz substitute and no sour cream.
Tofu in a Dinghy Dinner -(vegan) – Thai ginger peanut sauce, rice noodles, fried tofu, vegan mozzarella cheese, mushrooms and scallions wrapped in a flour tortilla and deep fried in a chimi style.
Gone Bonzo Dinner-(vegan) – A panfried bonzo cake (chickpea flour spiced pancake with flax seeds) topped with sauteed veggies in a creamy spicy Thai peanut coconut sauce and garnished with julienne carrot.
Tempeh of Doom Dinner – (vegan) – Layered rice, red beans, fried tempeh, vegan bbq sauce, fried onions, hot sauce, vegan cheddar cheese and jalapenos.
Quote from the restaurant “We do have a few salads on the menu for vegans, however, if you want to come to the restaurant, the chef prefers to cook strictly for you. to be honest there are very few things actually on the menu that are vegan, but we are happy to customize the menu for you. if you would like further information please call us at 207-761-0555. again, the chef takes all dietary restrictions/allergies very seriously and would be happy to accomodate you.”
1 –> 3 or less vegan options 2 –> 4-5 vegan options (at least one entree) 3 –> 6-7 vegan options (at least one entree) 4 –> 8-9 vegan options (at least two entrees) 5 –> 10+ vegan options (at least two entrees)
Neil and I have been so crazy busy this week that we just haven’t had a lot of quality time for each other so last night Neil proposed that we find a patio to go have dinner on. So I did my nails and put a cute dress on and we headed downtown to find an outdoor dining spot.
Apparently everyone else had the same idea, to head downtown and eat al fresco. So we finally settled on Italian and waited a bit for a table. When we finally got a table we ordered a small chicken of Chardonnay to share and decided on salads and flatbread.
Neil's Arugula and Apple salad with candied walnuts and maple-sherry dressing
My Arugula, Apple and Strawberry Salad with candied walnuts and raspberry dressing.
Our flatbread with leeks, lemon, shiitake mushrooms and micro greens.
How we felt about the flatbread and the service.
Overall we had a nice night together but the service was awful! The waitress got our flatbread order wrong and then she disappeared for most of the time and it was just not ideal. The salads were good but Neil’s was way better. The flatbread was blah not great, really dry and boring.
Last night I took the night off from cooking, from my cleanse and from all other household duties to take advantage of Vermont Restaurant Week. A month ago before I decided to work on a new cleanse I had made reservations for the Hubz and I at The Bearded Frog for restaurant week and since proceeds go to a good cause and the restaurant isn’t in our normal price range we decided to take advantage of their three course tasting menu. Here are the details on Vermont Restaurant Week from their site:
Q. What is Vermont Restaurant Week?
A. From April 29-May 5, participating restaurants will offer special, prix-fixe menus showcasing their chefs’ greatest dishes. Those menus will feature discounted, three-course “tasting-style” dinners (e.g. appetizer, entreé and dessert) priced at $15, $25 or $35 per person. The week also includes a special calendar of special, food-themed events.
Q. How does Vermont Foodbank benefit?
A. 10% of the proceeds from event admissions, sponsorships and restaurant participation fees will be donated to Vermont Foodbank. Restaurant-goers can donate $10 via text messageor make a web donation in our Virtual Food Drive will be launched on this website to allow diners to donate to the Foodbank.
Originally we were going to try a few different restaurants but then decided due to the cleanse and the fact that the other restaurants that interested us are ones we visit often that it would be best to choose just one. After perusing the veggie friendly menus on the Vermont Restaurant Week site we settled on The Bearded Frog, the only menu that actually said they had a vegan option. We had heard great things about the restaurant but had never visited it due to the fact that it isn’t close to our home and that there is one vegan option that goes for $19 a plate.
We arrived at the restaurant and were promptly seated out our reserved table in the corner, which I really loved because it up’d the romance factor along with the dim lighting and warm colors. We placed a drink order, prosecco for me and beer for him, and then we got down to business and ordered from the tasting menu (the only vegan options in each category).
Appetizer Course: The salad was very simple yet fresh and the lemon-herb vinaigrette was truly delicious. We paired it with some fresh bread with oil and vinegar instead of the butter and the blue cheese crostini that was to go with the salad.
Appetizer: Baby Mixed Greens With lemon-herb vinaigrette
Bread with olive oil and balsamic
Entree Course: For our entree we enjoyed the vegan version of Spicy Corn and Black Bean Pudding With blue-corn tortilla, dirty rice, avocado compound butter, tofu tomato purée. Instead of the avocado compound butter we received a guacamole. The dish was really delicious however if that is what you get for $19 on the regular menu I’d rather stay home and re-create it for $5.
Entree: Spicy Corn and Black Bean Pudding With blue-corn tortilla, dirty rice, guacamole, tofu tomato purée.
Dessert Course: I would have to say the dessert was probably my favorite thing on the menu and something that I would definitely spend the money to come back and have again. The vegan dessert option was a trio of sorbets which included avocado lime, strawberry & 30 year old aged balsamic and mango violet. All three were really amazing but the show stopper was the avocado lime. It was super creamy and tasted just like ice cream, the Hubz and I both just couldn’t stop raving about it all night….honestly I still can’t stop raving about it.
Dessert Course: trio of sorbets which included avocado lime, strawberry & 30 year old aged balsamic and mango violet
Overall: We had a really wonderful time at The Bearded Frog and the food was really delicious. I am not sure that I would go back for dinner due to the high price of the vegan option but I would go back every day just for the sorbet. On another note I saw a number of really beautiful plates of food coming out of the kitchen and if you are vegetarian try the (unfortunately note vegan) crispy tofu cakes because they probably taste as good as they looked.
The Hubz and I love to travel however one of the biggest challenges when traveling is eating. Here are my tips for eating well on vacation:
The Hubz & I in DC- November 2010
Planes, Trains & Buses
Plan where you/what are going to en route
Avoid fast foods
Bring a picnic with you; pack sandwiches, fruit and a vegetables.
Pack healthy snacks
Who food energy bars, whole grain crackers with nut butter, homemade trail mix, hummus and veggies
Avoid becoming dehydrated on flights by avoiding soda, alcohol, juice and coffee; instead sip club soda or water.
Healthy Eats at Jet Blue Terminal at JFK Airport
Pack a cooler with healthy foods
Vegetables & Hummus
Nuts & Seeds
Whole Grain Bread & Crackers
Fruit Spreads & Nut Butters
Stop at markets along the way and restock your cooler with healthy foods
If your only option is fast food look for the healthiest options
Order off the kids menu
Look for places with salad bars, vegetable sides, wraps or sandwiches.
Healthier Fast Food Options:
Panera- try the great selection of salads, soups and sandwiches
Au Bon Pain- try their great selection of vegan soups and salads
Chipotle- stick to the veggie burrito bowls or salads, however avoid the dairy, chips and tortillas.
Boloco- they offer brown rice, whole wheat wraps, organic tofu and a great selection of veggies, however avoid sugar and high calorie sauces, instead top yours with a fresh salsa and tons of veggies.
Scope out grocery store and health food stores prepared foods and salad bars.
Road Trips Snacks - Girls Weekend 2010
Room Service & Restaurants
Enjoy a soup or salad with and appetizer or share an entree- this will help in controlling portions; you can still enjoy delicious food but you will be saving your wallet and waistline.
Avoid the mini bar; Stock your hotel room with healthy snacks so you won’t be tempted to eat the high calorie (and high priced) snacks that the hotel stocks in your room.
Do research; if you take nothing else away from this post it should be this. Take the time to research restaurants, cafes, coffee shops, natural food stores and markets before you travel. You will be able to make more conscious choices if you already know your options. You will also be able to scope out the best places to eat so you can enjoy your experience to it’s fullest.
Hotel Room Breakfast- Oats w/nut butter & figs
Stick to your regular eating schedule; I know I already said this above and it applies to any vacations but while cruising (and visiting all inclusive resorts) this is when it is most important to stick to your schedule. You will have food available to you 24 hours a day and for many this means over indulging. Additionally remember to only eat when you’re hungry!
Load up on fresh fruits, vegetables and whole grains.
Limit your desserts
Avoid too may sugary drinks, stick to light beers, wine and clear drinks. If you want something fruity try seltzer with your choice of clear alcohol and a splash of fruit juice. Also don’t forget to make sure you stay hydrated! Drink your water!
Hubz and I crusing- i kept dried fruit snacks in my bag (you can see them popping out if you look hard)
Top Healthy Eating Travel Tips:
Stick to your regular eating schedule
Stock up on healthy snacks
Make conscious decisions when choosing to enjoy a poolside drink or that special indulgence dessert
Do you research! Find restaurants and health food markets at your destination that have healthy options.
The hubz and I took off on our anniversary trip to Portland Maine on Friday afternoon and were lucky enough to beat the traffic. Once we finally arrived in Portland we were hungry and decided to find a place to eat and spend the evening enjoying Old Port. After our 10 minute ride in a urine scented cab we finally made it to our destination, Boda, a Thai restaurant that is the sister restaurant to Green Elephant.
The menu isn’t super vegan friendly but the options that they do have (and we tried) were delicious! We started out with a shiitake skewer with teriyaki seasoning sauce and a portobello skewer rubbed with sesame oil and mushroom sauce.
After we polished these yummy skewers off we moved on to the Larp het salad with was Grilled assorted mushroom mixed with chili, shallots, soy sauce, lime juice, mint, long-leaf coriander, and roasted rice powder. Served with romaine.
Our last yummy dish was Tofu Shrimp with glass noodles: Traditionally cooked in a rustic earthenware pot with pork bellytempeh bacon, ginger, celery, scallion, cilantro, and soy sauce. Served with jasmine steamed rice. This is a silken dish, simple yet very pleasing. It is one of the few occasions when noodles may be eaten with rice. Available vegetarian with organic tofu, shiitake and tempeh bacon.
After our wonderful meal which included a shot of 11 Tigers (Thai spiced bourbon) that we sipped on and a Rogue Buckwheat ale we headed out to Novare Res Bier Cafe where we had a few beers-I had an Unibroue and an Allagash. Following these two drinks we decided to get a cab back to the hotel…however our minds changed when we spotted Sebago Brewing Company and it’s $3 beers after 10pm; so we stopped in for a hefeweizen.
Keep on the lookout for parts 2 and 3 of our anniversary weekend.
Hubby was running late at work tonight and since we were starving we decided to go to On The Rise in Richmond VT (finally). We have wanted to try it forever but have never seemed to be able to make it there. The menu is so vegan friendly there is even a vegan pizza! We ordered a small vegan pizza, a deluxe salad with marinated tofu, and a chocolate macaroon. The food was delicious, fresh and amazing.
Now onto the giveaway: Earthlust sent me one of their stainless steel water bottles and guess what the sent me an extra one just for one of you lucky readers. EarthLust bottles are hand made from high quality #304 (18/8) food grade stainless steel, which is naturally safe unlined. They use non-toxic paints and BPA-free safe polypropylene #5 caps. I received one of the 13oz bottles and it is the perfect size to take every where with me. I am thinking about investing in a 1L bottle for trips and such but the smaller bottle is great for everyday use. I also love that they are unlined, unlike Sigg bottles which have a weird lining and make your water taste funny. Additionally, their bottles have some really great designs. So now it’s your chance to win this bottle (see below) isn’t it so cute?
Disclaimer: Earthlust provided me with a free sample of this product to review, and I was under no obligation to review it if I so chose. Nor was I under any obligation to write a positive review or sponsor a product giveaway in return for the free product.
How to Enter: Please leave individual comments for each entry. Entries will be accepted until April 17th at 8am.
Visit the Earthlust website and tell which bottle is your favorite. (Leave me a comment)
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