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Anneke Jans

We love Anneke Jans but haven't been since last year. We live in MA and make the trip a few times a year. Thanks for the reminder!

Mar 02, 2014
owen_meany in Northern New England

Going vegan

I'm intrigued by the idea of a pressure cooker. I keep looking at them on Amazon and shying away. You've re-inspired me!

Feb 14, 2014
owen_meany in Vegetarian & Vegan

Going vegan

I've leaned toward vegetarian eating from a young age but had never considered eating a vegan diet until last year. Normally a person who can maintain a reasonable weight through moderation (eat one cookie and the package can sit there for a week, etc.) in the middle of last year I found that I was having trouble containing my food impulses. I decided to "go vegan" for one month thinking that if I limited my food choices, it may help me get back on a more healthy path.

I thought that it was going to be extremely difficult but in fact it was easier than a thought. After the month I took a break from striving for 100% vegan eating and at the start of this year started up again. I'm not successful 100% of the time but eating vegan has become my goal.

I'm still feeling my way around finding sources of recipes and ideas. I know there are TONS of blogs, cookbooks, etc, but a lot of their ideas don't resonate with me or don't fit in with my desire for lower effort cooking. I have no desire to replicate "meat" because I wasn't interested in meat to begin with. I am not really interested in high effort recipes. I like legume and grain based soups, stews, casseroles but with the added requirement that they be low fat. Anyway, I'm still working this out. The good news is that I don't mind eating the "same" thing for a few days in a row - in fact I prefer it - so making a big pot of something and having leftovers works well.

I do feel much better while eating vegan and I don't know if it's all in my mind but I find my body reacting in a not-great-way when I consume dairy now. I haven't been supplementing with vitamins on a regular basis but think I'm going to get better about this. I know there's much discussion around whether or not this is necessary.

The hardest part for me is eating "out" whether it's at a restaurant or at someone's home. My husband and child are not vegetarian nor vegan and while they are sensitive to my needs, we don't seek out restaurants that cater to vegan diets. It's a real challenge to find something to eat in those cases. I'm hoping that within the near future a "vegan" option or five will be mainstream as vegetarian ones are now.

Traveling and eating with others in work situations is a lesson in frustration. I don't want to make a "fuss" to get something that meets my needs and so I tend to be very lowkey about my requests. I'm disheartened, too, about the reactions I've received from many (not all) people who do hear about my vegan intentions. One "friend" asked if I was "getting all freaky" and I've been intensely questioned by others as to my motives. Yikes! Let's talk about the meat industry folks...I want to say next time.

An enormous benefit to striving for a vegan diet has been that it has solidified my vegetarian diet. So, while I eat vegan 85% of the time (while striving for 100%), I'm eating vegetarian 100% of the time. That feels great.

My 7 year old daughter asked me the other day "What kind of chocolate is ok for you to eat for Valentine's day?" I assured her that dark chocolate was fine. Then she said,"I guess there's no meat in chocolate so we don't have to worry about that!" and then we saw the "Bacon/Chocolate" bar at our local truffle store. ;-)

Feb 14, 2014
owen_meany in Vegetarian & Vegan

Dinner in/near Burlington - help for a NY 'hound!

Thanks Opinionatedchef. I interpreted "vegetarian" to mean "no meat, chicken or fish" which is how I hold it for myself. That takes many of the items (which I'm sure are delicious) off your list and leaves:

Potato Tortilla
Kale Empanaditas
Spinach croquetas
Roasted peppers (this is on the bread, right?)

And possibly:

Stuffed eggs (we did not see these on the menu so I can't guarantee these are veggie)

Daily specials - there were no veggie ones when we went

I have no beef (ha - see what I did there?) with this lovely restaurant. I just didn't want the OP to think there are a wealth of veggie options on the menu because IMHO there aren't. Not saying the kitchen wouldn't accommodate - I did not test that during our visit.

Feb 11, 2014
owen_meany in Greater Boston Area

Dinner in/near Burlington - help for a NY 'hound!

Just in case the OP is considering...we ate at and enjoyed Pintxo Pincho this weekend but there's not much to choose from for a vegetarian. If said vegetarian has a small appetite or doesn't mind ordering multiples of the same dish s/he'll be OK but otherwise...not so much.

That being said, we had a fine time (I fit the above criteria), will likely go back and the owners were lovely.

Feb 10, 2014
owen_meany in Greater Boston Area

Need a pie dough expert's opinion...flour to water..

Monch,

I can't really comment on your recipe or questions but can say that piecrust was also my nemesis until I started using the CI "vodka" pie crust recipe. That, combined with a Tupperware plastic pie guide (a plastic mat that shows you how big your roll out needs to be) has essentially rendered my pie crusts perfect. Some find the CI recipe results in a sticky dough but I've had no problems adding in flour during the roll out process - enough to make it roll out just fine.

Feb 03, 2014
owen_meany in Home Cooking
1

Falafel in Reading/Wakefield area

Yay! Thanks everyone!

Jan 11, 2014
owen_meany in Greater Boston Area

Falafel in Reading/Wakefield area

I'm craving falafel but have yet to find a source in my neck of the woods. Suggestions?

TIA, Sara

Jan 10, 2014
owen_meany in Greater Boston Area

Do you have a go-to vegan cookbook for "everyday" cooking?

Thanks again, everyone...I will definitely follow-up as I try these suggestions.

I pulled out my copy of Dean Ornish's "Everyday Cooking with..." (not strictly vegan) and made an old favorite "Hearty Barley and Lentil Soup" and it reminded me of so much of what I want in a recipe/meal. It's not rocket science but it's a great combo that comes together easily and is so delicious and healthy. I've got another pot of it cooking right now!

I also got Robin Robertson's book "One-Dish Vegan" out of the library today and was grabbed by the first recipe (Chickpeas and Noodle Soup but I will actually probably leave out the noodles). I've got the chickpeas soaking now to cook tomorrow. Again, many of the recipes are my usual "style" so I excited to try many of them. The reviews on Amazon are largely positive and the things that people complained about (no photos, same ingredients used over again) don't bother me at all.

Jan 04, 2014
owen_meany in Vegetarian & Vegan

A butcher, a baker, a candlestick maker--new to Wakefield

Regarding Indian places, we like Rang Bistro in Stoneham.

Jan 04, 2014
owen_meany in Greater Boston Area

Do you have a go-to vegan cookbook for "everyday" cooking?

Thanks for the responses, everyone. I really appreciate the ideas even though I get it's difficult to make recommendations without knowing more details!

I'm fine with both tofu and nutritional yeast :-) . What I look for in a cookbook is good "bang for one's buck". I like to results:effort ratio to be very high - a combo of quick things that come together easily and are tasty and things that can take longer or be more complicated but that last, taste good over the longer haul, are easily frozen, etc. I don't want a lot of fussy recipes as that's not how I generally cook.

Thanks, again, and I welcome any more suggestions. I'm putting them on reserve at the library so I can try things out!

Sara

Dec 30, 2013
owen_meany in Vegetarian & Vegan

Do you have a go-to vegan cookbook for "everyday" cooking?

I'm looking for ideas for a vegan cookbook for everyday (as in, not gourmet or fancy or with too many unusual ingredients) use. I'm generally very slow to commit to buying a cookbook - preferring to take them out of the library - but I would love to find something for general everyday use.

TIA, Sara

Dec 26, 2013
owen_meany in Vegetarian & Vegan

I need a fantastic lemon cake recipe.

Old thread, I know, but I made this cake for Thanksgiving and wanted to report back. I think it came out pretty well but my husband adores it and can't seem to stop eating it. A few comments from me: a) the 35 minutes for the cake layers was too long in my not-particularly-hot-oven. Next time I'll check sooner. b) The cake tastes best when you get cake + frosting + filling in one bite so I might try to put a think layer of frosting between the layers next time.

I also absolutely adore Ina's pound cake (not the yogurt one) so that's what I'll make at Christmas.

Nov 30, 2013
owen_meany in Home Cooking

Best Pecan Pie Recipe?

I realize this is an old thread but I made this pecan pie for Thanksgiving and it was so easy and so, so delicious. I did use a food processor for the crust but other than that followed the recipe exactly. I would make again in a heartbeat. The finely ground pecans made a nice touch.

Nov 30, 2013
owen_meany in Home Cooking

Pamplemousse now open in Reading

I haven't been to the one in Salem but I have stopped by the one in Reading. I was in the midst of a power walk :-) so I only gave it the once over but it looks like a nice shop to spend $$. They stock a bunch of kitchen items, large and small - definitely a place to grab a hostess gift or stocking stuffers for the cooks in your family.

They have cheese and a small amount of prepared food, a bunch of gourmet items (cookies, pasta, chocolates, etc.), wine and mostly high end beer. I didn't really check out the wine selection (and within a stones throw there are three other places in Reading to get wine, if not more, but perhaps the selection here is better? No idea at the moment). I saw some beers dh would enjoy (as would I) and they have the "make your own 6-pack" philosophy. I would have asked about the $ of that but the woman behind the counter seemed harried and not in the mood for idle questions which was weird because a) I seriously doubt that's the vibe they want to give off and b) the store was not particularly busy.

I can see myself going there if I have to buy a gift or if I have some money burning a hole in my pocket. Seems like a classy addition to town!

Sara

Nov 19, 2013
owen_meany in Greater Boston Area

My two new favorite pizzas North of Boston.. and they both happen to be $5..

You can still order a full pie at Otto in Lynnfield. Just not much seating and no beer!

Nov 15, 2013
owen_meany in Greater Boston Area

My two new favorite pizzas North of Boston.. and they both happen to be $5..

We've done take out at Portland Pie (2x) and Otto (just last night for the first time).

The first time we got Portland Pie it was a big disappointment. We had heard it was supposedly GREAT but the dough was spongy and thick and not very tasty. The bill was $$$ - $40 I think for 2 individual sized pizzas and a kid's pizza/meal.

The next time we went (we had a gift card - we would not have gone otherwise) the pizza was better but still, honestly, felt like a rip-off when you look at what you've got in front of you and what you just paid. Also, both times the order was somehow screwed up and the person running the take-out counter was completely flummoxed.

It's so convenient for us that I really want to like this place but I just don't.

As for Otto, my big disappointment is that it's not a full-service location like the one in Brookline. We went last night not knowing that and ended up just getting slices (6) for take-out. Bill was ~ $21. Slices were flavorful and crispy and delicious even with the 10 minute drive home. We'll get pizza from there again for sure but DH will have to go because parking already seems like a nightmare at the mall and I'm sure that will get worse over the holidays.

Nice to hear about the Yard House. We are looking forward to trying it out.

Sara

Nov 15, 2013
owen_meany in Greater Boston Area

Anyone had success minimizing (environmental) allergies with diet?

I think I've sneezed at least 300 times today thanks to some decaying leaves and who knows what else. I take a generic zyrtec every day but some days there's some breakthrough. I'm wondering if anyone has had success with diet/supplements to reduce this sort of allergy. Perhaps a mitigating factor (or not?) is I eat a vegetarian diet with a recent commitment to a vegan one.

TIA, Sara

Oct 30, 2013
owen_meany in Special Diets

Close to Brattle, early quick bite

In a case like this we would generally end up at Cambridge One on Church street. We also like Russell Tavern though at times the service is anything but "fast".

Oct 22, 2013
owen_meany in Greater Boston Area

Davio's, Lynnfield

There's a new shopping center there:

http://www.marketstreetlynnfield.com/

Oct 19, 2013
owen_meany in Greater Boston Area

A few recent eats (visiting from Boston w/our 7YO)

We recently spent a terrific long weekend in NYC, staying at our usual spot, the Affinia Dumont. I had used the board searching capabilities to pick out some spots to eat so I thought I would report back.

Sat night - Trattoria Alba - This was our first dinner and we left feeling a little disappointed (though perhaps we were just tired). Husband had the Osso Buco special (which he ate all of), I had Papardelle alla Boscaiola and 7YO had a plate of spaghetti with sauce. The pasta in my dish was fresh and delicious but the rest of the dish seemed overwrought. Daughter's pasta was great and she (later) said it was her favorite meal of the trip. Perhaps simpler is better? I feel like the bill was high for what we ate (including 2 glasses of wine and a milk) but now looking at the menu online the prices don't seem crazy in the least. Maybe the special was $$$? I didn't look. Anyway, I don't think we'd go back but I also have the feeling we missed something.

Sunday lunch - Juliana's - We were lucky enough to have tickets for the Statue of Liberty and the wonderful state of NY made the decision to open it despite the shutdown so we had a terrific visit to the Statue. Our plan was to go to Grimaldi's at husband's request but the line was long (as expected) and a wee bit shorter at Juliana's so that's where we ended up. I find it hard to believe we got the short end of the stick. The pizza was absolutely terrific - we got a cheese one and a sausage (and onion? that was for hubby) and it was a terrific amount of deliciousness. The hostess was super friendly and our waiter was just great. I overheard him talking to the neighboring table with such earnestness and passion for the pizza (and offering heartfelt recommendations) that I doubled his tip. This felt like a reasonably priced meal and we will happily return.

Sunday night - CK14 The Crooked Knife at 14th - we did the High Line in the late afternoon and had reservations at CK14. When we walked into the very bar like atmosphere (front room) my husband said "Um, where did you find this place?" (answer: Open Table) but we walked through the bar and a quieter room and into an "outdoor" space (it didn't really feel like outdoors - maybe just a tent?). Our waitress was kind but a little slow but the food completely hit the spot. Daughter had "pigs in a blanket", I had the chicken and brie sandwich without the chicken :-) and dh had the chicken pot pie. Everything was very fresh and very tasty and even with 3 beers (half price?) and a milk for our daughter the bill pre-tip was something like $50. If we are in the area again I will remind dh how great the food was and how happy we were there but I suspect his first impression (that maybe it wasn't the right place to bring a 7YO) will be the thing he remembers.

Monday night - Byblos - our last dinner was here and frankly we were all a little tired after a weekend of walking miles and miles each day! What a treat, then, to come into this beautiful restaurant and eat such fresh and delicious food. We order far too much - falafel (dh prefers our local falafel and he's probably right but I thought they were still good), cheese pie, spinach pie, hummus (so, so good), vegetarian grape leaves, a side of fries and the grilled shish taouk for husband and daughter to share. The service was very friendly, especially towards our daughter. I ate the leftover pies and grape leaves on the train the next day. Bill was ~ $100 including two alcoholic drinks and a milk. We could have spent less and have been satisfied. I also loved that we could make a reservation.

Lunch on Monday was at Katz's - I can't add much to the conversation here as I don't eat meat and always end up just getting a bagel there but dh was very happy with his sandwich. It was crazy crowded (we usually go for breakfast before getting on the train but mixed it up this trip) but it all worked and the server who handled my confusion over how/where to order was so nice and terrific.

We usually visit a few times a year and are looking forward to returning soon!

Sara

Oct 18, 2013
owen_meany in Manhattan

Highland Kitchen-like but North of Boston?

We haven't. Thanks for the suggestion!

Oct 03, 2013
owen_meany in Greater Boston Area

Highland Kitchen-like but North of Boston?

Interesting! Thanks for the suggestion. Your mention of the mall reminded me that soon (?) we'll have Otto pizza in our neck of the woods, too.

Oct 02, 2013
owen_meany in Greater Boston Area

Highland Kitchen-like but North of Boston?

We find ourselves at HK again and again even though we don't live particularly close. We love that we can get very good food and very good beer at a reasonable price point (all MHO) and bring our 7YO to boot. When she's with us we show up very early - when she's not, more on the later side.

Anyway, we live in Reading and I'm curious if folks have suggestions on similar places in our neck of the woods. I saw the thread ~ why can't more places be like HK? ~ but the responses were largely focused in Cambridge and Boston.

We will still frequent HK on a regular basis - just wondering about spots closer or for when we can't reliably show up soon after they open (to avoid the wait) or to just branch out a bit.

TIA, Sara

Oct 02, 2013
owen_meany in Greater Boston Area

Peanut-butter-filled Pretzel Nuggets?

I just saw these at the CVS in Reading center in a bin near the check out.

Sep 01, 2013
owen_meany in Greater Boston Area

Thoughts on ZuZu's Cafe in Wakefield?

Nice to see my old thread pop up!

We went to Zuzu's 3 or 4 times, I think. I thought it was good for the most part - tasty, fresh food with what I agree were occasional construction issues. I thought the food was mostly fairly priced and I liked the larger selection. My husband was not as enchanted, however, so we stopped going.

Our go-to place that now fills the Zuzu spot in the "take out Thursday" rotation is Green Tomatoes in Reading. Sort of a similar style of food and a wee bit closer to home.

Jul 11, 2013
owen_meany in Greater Boston Area

What are your favorite sources for vegan recipes?

Thank you so much, everyone - definitely lots to look at and cook from.

Sara

Jul 10, 2013
owen_meany in Vegetarian & Vegan

What are your favorite sources for vegan recipes?

I'm new to the lifestyle and am looking for low-fat and quick/uncomplicated recipes. Would love to hear about cookbooks, blogs, etc. I am not good at the "look in the fridge and come up with your own recipe" approach.

TIA, Sara

Jul 08, 2013
owen_meany in Vegetarian & Vegan

Portland Pie now open in Reading

We had take-out from here the other night and found it so-so and kind of expensive. 2 10" pizzas and 1 7" kids pizza came to $31. I can't remember what pizza my husband got (it was primarily pepperoni). I had "old speck" which is vegan - just veggies. The crust was definitely pan style and a little soggy but that could have been the effect of take-out. None of us were blown away though my husband did say that the pepperoni was really high quality.

We live very close so I think we will eat-in at some point to give it another chance but I doubt it will be a destination for us too often. We'll just have to wait for Otto to open up in Lynnfield. :-)

Jun 22, 2013
owen_meany in Greater Boston Area

May 2013 Openings and Closings

Just walked by (I work across the street) and the "Now Open" sign is prominently displayed.

May 15, 2013
owen_meany in Greater Boston Area