Posts Tagged ‘Reviews’

The Post East

April 10th, 2016

 

So many new places to get lunch are popping up each day in the Nashville area. It can be overwhelming at times to keep up with them all. So much so that one can be overlooked that has been around for awhile.

This weekend we went for a quick lunch at The Post East in East Nashville. A look at the website gave us an idea of the vegan offerings so we knew we would have a few choices.

The Post East is situated on the corner of Fatherland and South 17th so depending on when you choose to visit parking may be a chore. They do have a small lot with about 6 spaces. Upon entering we were met with what I thought to be cats dying in a brawl while their tails were lit aflame. After discovering it was a just a bluegrass band I looked to see what outdoor seating was available only to find those 2 tables were already occupied, likely with people hoping to distance themselves from the barrage of bad banjo.

I shut the band out of my mind and we stepped to the counter to take a look at the menu. A tall bearded man greeted us in a gruff, hurried manner and we told him we would like a few minutes with the menu. We compared then brunch menu and the regular menu and decided on our lunch. I decided on the Tofu Italiano, Chickpea Salad Sandwich and the kid wanted the vegan Belgian Waffle. We were told they were out of tofu, so back the menu for a second I went and came up with the BLT with tempeh. I was interested to see how they prepared their tempeh and if they served it with a tempeh bacon like most vegan BLTs.

Finding a seat wasn’t too difficult. I think the fighting cats (read: bad bluegrass band) had driven off many or discouraged a few from dropping in. We found our table and waited. About 15 minutes passed and the kid’s waffle was brought to the table followed by, nothing. After a couple minutes of her staring at her food waiting for her parents to be served theirs before eating we told her to please eat. A kid needs her lunch regardless and manners have no place when hunger is in play. After reading every menu on the wall and discussing the coffee selection (The Post East only upcharges 25 cents for soy, almond or coconut milks in your latte) after 20 more minutes of waiting our sandwiches were brought to the table. Now, 20 minutes I could understand if perhaps the restaurant was so crowded it was standing room only or the sandwiches were some wild, fancy affair with a plethora of specially- prepared ingredients but before was was placed a chickpea salad sandwich consisting of a couple tablespoons of chickpea mixture with a slice of wilted lettuce on untoasted white bread served with blue corn tortilla chips. The BLT I was served caught my eye immediately. “that’s some fancy tempeh bacon.” I thought to myself only to realize that it was indeed pork bacon. I inspected the sandwich to find the aforementioned bacon resting on the stem tops of tomatoes, something that should never be served especially in a restaurant setting, between two pieces of toasted bread and served with the same blue corn tortilla chips.  After confirming that I had indeed requested the vegan BLT I told the server and she apologized and took it back. Less than one minute I saw her returning with my vegan BLT.  I thought this unusually quick considering it took over half an hour to prepare these sandwiches to begin. The sandwich I got back didn’t look much different. The bread seemed to be untoasted now as though the had rushed out a new sandwich and didn’t toast the bread to save time. I was OK with that. However on checking the kitchen had only replaced the top piece of toasted bread with untoasted. The pork bacon was now three thick slices of tempeh but the stem tops of the tomatoes were still there and the bottom slice of bread was the original toasted piece. Clearly they just pulled off the pork bacon, added the tempeh and put a fresh slice of bread on top. I won’t get into how many flavors of wrong this is.

Chickpea Salad Sandwich - The Post East - Nashville Vegan Nashveggie

The Chickpea Salad Sandwich was tiny and uninspired at $9.

I took a bite of the tempeh and found there was absolutely no marinating done. It was a cold piece of tempeh that had been on a grill for a few seconds at some point in its sad existence only to add some black marks to the exterior. Trying the chickpea salad sandwich gave no more happiness. Trying to come up with another word to describe bland is just bland. This sandwich could have used some type of spice or seasoning. It seemed it was just chickpeas tossed in a mayonnaise with celery, onion, raisins and little to nothing else. I set my eyes on trying the kid’s waffle which at this point was nearly gone with the time that had passed. Taking a bite I found it to be very good. Surprisingly so since I had set my bar quite low after the sandwiches. The waffle was done right and I only wish the sandwiches were as well.

Vegan Belgian Waffle at The Post East - Nashville Vegan Nashveggie

The kid’s vegan Belgian Waffle. An oatmeal waffle with maple syrup and a large sliced strawberry (extra charge). This was the one good item from our order.

Uninspiring and bland vegan food will win no meat-eater over. This is exactly what they expect. Vegans won’t return to eat the bland food. This is the worst thing I can think of to encounter in a restaurant serving a vegan menu because it plays right into the hand of the myth that vegan food is bad and has no flavor. The Post East is doing vegan food no favors with their vegan offerings. I will check back and hope things change at The Post East.

The Post East
1701 Fatherland Street
Nashville, Tennessee 37206
(615) 457-2920
Hours: 7AM – 6PM everyday

 

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Upton’s Naturals Jackfruit

September 28th, 2015

Upton's Naturals Chili Lime Jackfruit and BBQ Jackfruit - Nashveggie - Vegan and Vegetarian in Nashville

 

Anyone who knows me knows my love for barbecue. As a vegan I still love barbecue. You don’t have to use pork, beef or chicken to get the smoky goodness of barbecue. As a matter of fact, for me it is all about the sauce. I just need a form of transport for the sauce and sometimes that’s a simple as a spoon. However, being the barbecue lover as I am I was excited to try Upton’s Naturals Jackfruit. I had tried a barbecue jackfruit sandwich once before at Native Foods and we seriously underwhelmed but I believe it had more to do with the fact I had paid $10 for a sandwich that had 2 small pieces of jackfruit and was nearly flavorless.

Jackfruit has recently elevated itself as the new vegan meat replacement of choice among the vegans who like meat replacements. It has a chewy texture and a stringy form when unripe that much resembles pulled pork or beef. Add that to barbecue sauce and you have what could be a nice sandwich for some.

Upton’s Naturals is a Chicago based natural food producer. Their products consist of seitan and now they have added jackfruit to their line. The jackfruit from Upton’s Naturals is available in Bar-B-Que and Chili Lime Carnitas. I tried both.

I prepared the Bar-B-Que jackfruit on stovetop. I heated it slowly in a pan, covered and served it on a freshly baked bun with sweet pickles. On the first bite I felt something was off. The flavor was very vinegary. There was no smokiness or sweetness to the sauce. The flavor of the jackfruit was there in a fruity way but the sweetness of the barbecue sauce which should always be noticeable in a good barbecue sauce was completely missing. I trudged through the rest of the sandwich but was left very underwhelmed. I think this product could benefit from a reworking of the sauce that it is served with.

 

Upton's Naturals BBQ Jackfruit sandwich - Nashveggie - Vegan and Vegetarian in Nashville

Upton’s Naturals BBQ Jackfruit sandwich. Served with sweet pickles on a fresh baked bun.

 

The Chili Lime Carnitas Jackfruit is similar in form to the Bar-B-Que Jackfruit. I prepared it the same as the Bar-B-Que and serve it with black beans and rice. Upon the first bite I noticed the same acidity present in the Bar-B-Que Jackfruit. There was no lime flavor at all. There was no spice or flavoring to the sauce or jackfruit other than the acidic sauce. There was a distinct fruit flavor to the jackfruit that was entirely out of place as though the jackfruit had been overripe. I had beans and rice for dinner this night and the jackfruit went uneaten.

 

Upton's Naturals Chili Lime Jackfruit - Nashveggie - Vegan and Vegetarian in Nashville

Upton’s Naturals Chili Lime Carnitas Jackfruit served over rice.

 

If you are a jackfruit fan these two products may be for you. I am not certain of whether these are not good products or I’m just not a fan of jackfruit but I honestly think the issue lies in the sauce and spices used with the jackfruit.

If you’re up for trying your own and forming an opinion for yourself both varieties of jackfruit as well as seitan from Upton’s Naturals is available from Vegan Essentials and other locations. At the time of this article, Whole Foods in the Nashville area does not stock the jackfruit.

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EZ Tofu Press

September 26th, 2013

Some like to use books. The heavy cookbooks are best. The larger the better and don’t stack them too high because they will topple. Some like large cans of various vegetable from the kitchen cabinets. Those fat 28 ounce cans of tomatoes are great but I don’t recommend stacking those over two high. The cans will crash to the kitchen floor or roll off onto the counter and knock over your spice rack leaving a mess to clean up.  My mother used two 10 pound hex-shaped dumbbells. This worked well and they would not roll off or topple but, like the books and cans, they still left you with a lopsided block of tofu a few minutes later.

I’ve tried all of those methods to press a block of tofu. I’ve tried others that I would rather not mention. I’ve just recently been able to try the EZ Tofu Press after being sent one to test drive. I’ve seen other presses available and considered purchasing but never thought those to be worth the price. After all, I’m simply pressing a block of tofu. I’m not doing such a task everyday, maybe once a week. Some of those presses just look complicated. Parts to lose. Springs to break or wear out. I just don’t see the need for the extra hassle. It should be a simple tool and not one that looks to be a piece of over-thought MIT engineering. The EZ Tofu Press is the simple tool.

The EZ Tofu Press i a vice. Two plastic boards with two screws on each end press your tofu somewhat evenly (more on that later) and leave it ready to marinade. One of the best things is it can be done in as little as 10 minutes if you are in a hurry.

All it takes to press is to place the block of tofu between the two plastic boards and screw each plastic nut down evenly until the tofu block is lightly pressed. After a couple minutes tighten each nut evenly to press more liquid and repeat until you have pressed the block to about half its starting thickness.

The only fault I can find with the EZ Tofu Press is the thickness of the plastic boards. They are not exactly thin at 1/4″ each but they do tend to bow slightly enough in the middle to not distribute pressure evenly across the block and thereby pressing the ends of the block more than the middle. increasing the thickness of the boards by 1/8″ or adding a 1/8″ -1/4″ piece of plastic on top of each board, opposite the pressing surfaces, between the screws should give a more even press.  Still, I am very happy with the results.

If tofu is in your kitchen there’s no reason you shouldn’t have the EZ Tofu Press. You can have one in your kitchen thanks to Ben, the inventor of EZ Tofu Press. To win an EZ Tofu Press all you need to do is leave a comment below and tell me your favorite way to enjoy tofu.  For an extra entry, follow me on Twitter and tweet a link to this post. Be sure to mention me (@nashveggie) so I can count your second entry. I’ll pick a random winner on October 11.

 

EZ Tofu Press at Amazon.com

 

EZ Tofu Press

EZ Tofu Press

EZ Tofu Press

EZ Tofu Press

EZ Tofu Press

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Cori’s DogHouse

June 3rd, 2013

Cori's DogHouse - Jersey Italian Vegan

 

We all have those times when we just want a greasy treat and you want that treat topped with mustard, ketchup, relish and maybe a heap of sauerkraut. If you’re vegan or vegetarian and that hunger hits you should find yourself at Cori’s DogHouse.

You can have your dog served up anyway you like and the menu is fairly extensive. For the vegans and vegetarians you can choose from a Lightlife dog or a Tofurky Italian Sausage or Kielbasa. After that small decision it’s up to you on which direction to travel. I personally go for a New Jersey Italian with deli mustard, fried potatoes and grilled onions and peppers or a Chicago with tomatoes, onions, dill pickle, hot peppers, mustard, celery salt and add sauerkraut. Our first visit we were inquisitive about the buns, which are just sliced thick bread, and the “butter” for the buns which is just a vegetable oil. We were assured both were actually vegan and were shown the packaging to view ingredients.

You can also get your dog with a heaping side of hot crispy fries. I recommend it. I mean, if you’re going to indulge in the dog why not go all the way. You can always run a few extra miles or sweat them off with another hour of hot yoga or something like that.

After you devour that dog be sure to go back for a second and try something new. It’s worth it. I always do.

 

Cori's DogHouse - Jersey Italian Vegan

The Jersey Italian with a vegan Tofurky Italian sausage.

 

Cori's DogHouse - Chicago Vegan

Cori’s DogHouse – Chicago Vegan

 

Cori's DogHouse -  Vegan Dogs

If you’re really hungry just order a group and pig out.

 

Cori’s Doghouse has two locations, Nashville’s West End and Mt. Juliet in Providence Marketplace.

Cori’s DogHouse
106 29th Avenue North
Nashville, Tennessee 37203
(615) 329-9444

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Cori’s DogHouse
401 South Mount Juliet Road
Mount Juliet, Tennessee 37122
(615) 758-6960

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My Veggie Chef

March 30th, 2012

 

Things I love: cooking, spending time in the kitchen, planning a great vegan meal and creating recipes. Just because I love those things doesn’t mean everyone does. For those that really don’t like meal planning and cooking there’s My Veggie Chef. Being one who loves all of those things and loves to put a dinner together form scratch I had to put myself in a different mode for this. I’m not accustomed to having a ready-to-cook meal supplied to me. I decided to go through this review with a mindset of someone who needs that ready to go meal waiting. I’ll put away my make it my way ideas and be the kitchen amateur for this. Well, a little bit at least. I did take a few liberties here and there. I couldn’t resist.

My Veggie Chef is a food preparation and delivery service in the Nashville area operated by Kristen Agee. No, Ms. Agee will not come to your home and take over your kitchen like to some high-priced celebrity personal chef in the Bentley-driven hills of Bel Air. Instead she will prepare your completely vegan meals in her kitchen and deliver them to your home. Individual ingredients are pre-measured and supplied in containers with easily followed instructions. All you add is a small amount of time and maybe water where needed. It’s very simple to have a healthy, vegan meal without all the pre-planning required and trips to the grocery store.

 

My Veggie Chef

My Veggie Chef meals are supplied frozen. Just thaw and follow the on-package directions.

 

The week of meals from My Veggie Chef that I was supplied were Veggie Burgers, Tuscan White Bean Soup, Roasted Corn Chowder, Pasta with Caramelized Cauliflower and Parsley Pesto and Tofu with Veggies over Tomato Couscous. All five meals were individually packaged in Ziploc bags with smaller bags inside for each ingredient. On the outside of the main bag is a sticker with preparation instructions. Everything is typed out neatly but the only thing I would consider adding to the instructions is prep time. Some people like to know exactly how long it will take from the time they start to pour the first ingredient in the pan to the time they’ll be taking their hot vegan din-din from the oven. For parents who pick up kids at school or whatever practice and have a short time at home before dinner must be served that knowledge is helpful. If I have five meals waiting at home for me to choose form ranging in 30 minutes prep to 2 hours and I know Wednesday night I’ll have only 45 minutes when I arrive home to get dinner made before the kid has to go to bed but Friday night I’ll have all afternoon to get dinner planned. I’ll be saving that 30 minute meal for Wednesday night and the 2 hour dinner will likely be made Friday. It’s better to know at a glance.

 

My Veggie Chef Veggie Burgers

Veggie burger ingredients

 

I’m a veggie burger lover and since the complete prep for a veggie burger is there (including buns!) I made that the first meal to try. A bag of TVP mixed with spices, corn starch and brown rice flour was supplied as well and a smaller bag of ketchup and vegan Worcestershire sauce. The instructions stated to boil a cup of water and pour it over the TVP mixture then empty the ketchup bag into that and stir to combine. Once mixed well I was to let the mixture sit for 15 minutes. OK, here’s where I had time to reflect on making veggie burgers and how I like them. I skewed just a little but not in the basic directions. A hot pan was ready and into it I put a sliced onion to caramelize while I waited for the burger mixture. Once the mixture was ready I made four patties and put them into my hot skillet. The directions stated to cook for 5 minutes on each side. Now, I’m sure that sufficient to heat the burgers through but my crazy cook mentality took over. I wanted to see if these things could hold up to the onions and that meant a nice crispy outside and that meant AT LEAST 30 minutes in the pan if not longer.

 

My Veggie Chef Veggie Burgers

My Veggie Chef veggie burgers frying up. I added some onions because that just how it should be done. Don't be afraid to fry these longer than indicated.

 

The moment you know if you have a homemade veggie burger patty that’s going to work is when you make that first flip with your spatula. I was unsure and honestly had little hope of flipping a burger and it coming down in one piece. No problem, a perfect flip. I covered the pan, a step not stated in directions but a staple in my own veggie burger cooking as it lets the heat cook the burger more evenly and provides a moister burger, and flipped them every few minutes. After about 45 minutes on medium-low the My Veggie Chef veggie burgers were ready. Next step in my veggie burger prep that was not in the directions: a toasted bun! Really, who wants a burger on a cold, clammy bun?I put the buns in the pan with the patties and toasted them well so they were nice and brown on the outside yet warm and steamy moist inside. Time to give these veggie burgers a taste, a patty on a toasted bun spread with some Earth Balance mayonnaise and topped with those delicious caramelized onions. I’m thinking these ingredients are too simple and likely I’m going to have a bland burger screaming for flavor. No, actually a very tasty burger! onions. The burgers were spiced well and the texture was excellent. Actually better that some veggie burgers I’ve had in local restaurants. Is it the most complex flavor with perfect fresh ingredients? Well, no but you’re looking for a ready to go meal and that’s what you get. Still, much better than the over-processed frozen patties you’ll find in the grocery freezer.

 

My Veggie Chef Veggie Burgers

My Veggie Chef veggie burgers ready to munch.

 

The next meal I tried was Tuscan White Bean soup. The contents were in two bags. One bag contained onions and a very important ingredient that was not listed on the ingredient list: garlic. Most wouldn’t think anything of this but if you’re allergic to garlic then this is a big issue. Mrs. Nashveggie is allergic to garlic so luckily I caught it which wasn’t hard since I have a nose in the middle of my face. The second bag contained a white bean tomato sauce mix. The cooking instructions for this one was simple. Saute the onion mixture for five minutes then add 3 cups of water and the contents of the bean bag. Cooking this for 45 minutes you should have a ready to eat soup. Unfortunately, this wasn’t the case. After the stated 45 minutes at a boil the beans were still hard and inedible. It took a full 3 hours before the beans were soft enough to eat.  For me this soup needed a signature addition to make it Tuscan White Bean soup: Kale. About 15 minutes before the soup was to be served I added 2 cups of shredded kale and it made the dish.

 

My Veggie Chef Tuscan White Bean Soup

Tuscan White Bean Soup ingredients

 

 

My Veggie Chef Tuscan White Bean Soup

My Veggie Chef Tuscan White Bean Soup. I added some kale and a little pasta for a one bowl meal.

 

Next up, Roasted Corn Chowder. Another two bag meal this one was stated to be ready in about 15 minutes with the combined cooking times of each stage. Instructions were similar to the Tuscan White Bean soup. One bag contained onions and peppers to be sauteed for five minutes. The next bag contained spices and corn to be added along with one cup of water. The next step left a bit of confusion. ‘Add soymilk’. How much soymilk? A guess? To taste? Being a seasoned cook I had a general idea but for the person likely preparing these meals it could be a loss. I added 1 1/2 cups of unsweetened soymilk and cooked for the stated time but the flavors just didn’t seem to mesh. I simmered another 30 minutes and this one was just flat. If I added too much soymilk causing the flavor to become bland then there would be very little soup between 2 people by adding any amount less. It definitely needs more in the flavor department.

 

My Veggie Chef Roasted Corn Chowder

My Veggie Chef Roasted Corn Chowder ingredients

 

My Veggie Chef Roasted Corn Chowder

Roasted Corn Chowder cooking directions where in step 4 it does not state the amount of soymilk to be added to the soup.

 

Pasta with Caramelized Cauliflower and Parsley Pesto I made for a quick dinner one night after getting home late.  I think “caramelized cauliflower” is a misnomer. It should be “roasted cauliflower” as you’re doing no more than roasting the cauliflower in the oven for a short time until it’s lightly brown. The cauliflower did roast nicely with a little salt and pepper and pasta is simple enough to prepare. The pesto, however, was a bit bland. It could have used some salt and was missing the key nuttiness I find a staple in pesto. I typically use walnuts or cashews in my pesto and I’m not a fan of the traditional pesto ingredient of pinenuts but any of the three would have been a welcome addition.

 

My Veggie Chef Pasta with Caramelized Cauliflower and Parsley Pesto

My Veggie Chef Pasta with Caramelized Cauliflower and Parsley Pesto ingredients

 

My Veggie Chef Pasta with Caramelized Cauliflower and Parsley Pesto

My Veggie Chef Pasta with Caramelized Cauliflower and Parsley Pesto

 

The final meal in the pack to be prepared was Tofu with Veggie over Tomato Couscous. This one took a bit more prep time than some of the others. Frying tofu then frying veggies as well as the plan ahead if following the package direction, which I did, meant knowing 24 hours ahead you’d be eating this meal.  The first step is to fry the tofu in a little oil. I did just that but quickly noticed that the tofu was just plain tofu, unseasoned. I did not waiver from the instructions by adding any seasoning but any vegan knows what unseasoned tofu tastes like, nothing at all.  Tofu prepared I sat it aside and went in on the veggies by frying them in the same manner. Nice chunks of artichoke with carrots and small slivers of peppers went into the pan and I quickly noticed this dish was heavy on the cumin as the scent quickly filled the house. Water and tomatoes boiled and couscous was ready. All together and ready to eat this one turned out fairly well except for the tasteless tofu. I would recommend some seasoning added to the tofu beforehand. It would make this dish stand out and give it the flavor where it was lacking. The veggies tasted very good with the couscous, however.

 

My Veggie Chef Tofu with Veggie over Tomato Couscous

My Veggie Chef Tofu with Veggie over Tomato Couscous ingredients

 

 

My Veggie Chef Tofu with Veggies over Tomato Couscous

My Veggie Chef Tofu with Veggies over Tomato Couscous

 

These meals when following directions needed a nudge here and there. If you’re comfortable enough in the kitchen then these will give you enough of a start to where you can add your own touches to make then a little better than out of the bag. As I stated a few places, some extra seasoning, and extra directions, would come in handy.

You can sign up for emails from My Veggie Chef as well. Doing so will get the weekly menu sent to you so you can decide if you’re feeling that weeks flavors. You can then go to the website and order your meals.

The meals I reviewed were enough for 2-3 people but My Veggie Chef has an option for meals for 4-6 people. Meals for 2-3 cost $80 for five meals and the 4-6 serving 5 meal plan is $160. Despite the shortcomings with some of the meals I tried this is an excellent service for local vegans, or vegetarians and even those who just want to eat a little healthier, and those who are in a time crunch to prepare dinner My Veggie Chef can help you out. My Veggie Chef only delivers within a 20 mile radius of downtown Nashville but outside of that delivery area pick-up is available.

 

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