This week has been truly perfect. Much needed after last week’s sh!t storm of crazy. Friday couldn’t have been a more amazing end to the week either.
Kyle has Fridays off, so we both got to sleep in. Brilliant start already. Then we found out his waffle company made it to the finals – open to the public (on May 26th) if you want to attend. Winner gets investors and money and a bunch of press, so this is HUGE.
While Kyle had a quick conference call I went on a short run (showered); and then we were off!
We both got soy lattes.
They were delicious.
This is a semi-random thought, but why do places still charge extra for soy milk? There’s no way it costs more than regular milk. It’s just silly. Maybe at one time soy milk wasn’t as common and restaurants/cafes had to pay more for it, but that can’t be the case now. It’s an antiquated rule. Dear coffee shops of the world, please stop charging extra for soy milk, it’s discriminatory, and you are
punishing price gauging people who are unable to tolerate dairy (and/or those who like vanilla deliciousness).
But back to Caffe Luxxe.
After polishing off our cafe, we went for a stroll…down to the beach, up towards Malibu, back down to the Santa Monica Pier, to the Promenade for
shopping bathrooms, and then back home for lunch.
Confession: We live across the street from a vegan cafe and we have NEVER been.
I feel like a failure admitting that, but I’m glad I got it off my chest. Anyway, we finally hit up Golden Mean vegan cafe. What took us so long? I really don’t know. Maybe I was afraid I’d love it and I’d never cook myself a vegan meal again? Maybe it’s because Huckleberry is a block away (and that’s Kyle’s fave restaurant). Who knows. I have no good excuse.
But now we are both big fans.
Kyle got the vegan “Chicken” Parmigiana with breaded (soy) chicken served with ancient grain penne pasta in tomato sauce, topped with Daiya soy-free cheese, and served with mixed green salad. He finished the whole thing so clearly he enjoyed it. And he said it kept him full until dinner.
I chose the Golden Ratio salad with mixed greens, marinated tempeh, kale, quinoa, red bell peppers, butternut squash, and candied walnuts with a Dijon vinaigrette dressing.
MEGA yum. I seem to like tempeh ONLY when it’s prepared by others. I really can’t figure out why, but whenever I attempt to make tempeh, it’s just not pleasing to my palate. Whatever. It just means I order it at almost every opportunity I get and therefore enjoy it immensely. [Side note: Kyle likes my preparation of tempeh, so I think it’s just me]
The tempeh in this salad was perfect. Flavorful, crunchy, nutty, and not at all bitter. Also, the butternut squash and candied walnuts made texture variation in each bite. It was so good.
I had a (thick) slice of my home-made bread with hummus on the side.
As requested I will do a step-by-step post about the breadmaking process next time I make a loaf.
After lunchy, we did some errands (Costco, what whaaat) and then my home-girl picked me up for a girls night at her casa.
We started with wine and bruschetta.
Almost everything was from TJs, including the fresh bread, except for the Garlic Gold EVOO. We chose to omit fresh garlic because the oil is already infused with garlic goodness.
Drizzle bread with EVOO and toast in the oven for 15-20 minutes on 425.
Chop and mix tomato, basil, EVOO, salt and pepper.
Once bread is crisp and golden, add a few drops of balsamic and then top with bruschetta.
I’ll be honest here, I didn’t have my hands in much of the appetizer prep. Instead, I watched Ethel do most of the work while sipping my wine. :) It was good to just chat and catch up with my girls.
For dinner we made mini-pizzas with various toppings, including:
- Follow Your Heart vegan cheese
- fresh mozzarella
- bell peppers
- whole wheat naan
Rather than use flatbread we chose the whole wheat naan because it looked so soft and fluffy. In the end, it was a perfectly doughy base for the naan-pizzas.
Hummus and cheese options.
I brought over the above vegan cheese for the lactose-intolerant foodies. Follow Your Heart makes a few different vegan gourmet cheeses, but I figured the “nacho” flavor would be the best for pizzas.
I’m somewhat suspicious of faux products that try to imitate their non-vegan versions. So I went into the “cheese” tasting as a skeptic (my girlfriends were similarly cautious).
Appearance? Not great. Flavor? Pretty good, actually! Meltability? Fail.
As I was slicing the vegan cheese we all tasted it and decided it had a distinct pimiento flavor. Alene likened it to an olive loaf, but I’m not sure what that is. Here’s the thing. It’s been over a decade since I’ve had real cheese, so I don’t have much of a flavor memory to go on. That said, the agar-like consistency was very un-cheese-like. If you forget that it’s supposed to replace cheese and just enjoy it as it’s own product, it’s pretty good.
Mine is the middle one, with hummus, nacho “cheese,” bell peppers, tomatoes, and mushrooms.
Pretty yummy looking, huh?
We made two trays of three with six pizzas total.
Things to note in the above photo:
(a) very utilized wine opener (yeah buddy)
(b) how pasty Ethel makes Alene look (lucky Filipina)
(c) Alene’s compost bin (love!)
After they were all dressed up and ready for the party, we popped them in the oven for ~15 minutes.
While they cooked, the difference between the fake and real cheese became very obvious.
Alene showed off her Krav muscles as she removed the pizzas from the oven.
See how the cheeses differ in meltability?
I really wasn’t too concerned. As fun as stringy melted cheese is, the havoc it wreaks on my GI tract is not worth it. Don’t get me wrong though, it’s not like eating Follow Your Heart’s cheese is some sacrifice. It was yummy and I enjoyed every last bite.
I snapped a photo of the first plate of pizzas (plus another piece of bruschetta), but no more pictures after that.
It goes without saying, but I’ll say it anyway, I had such a fun night. It was the ultimate Friday.