Plant-based in Puerto Rico

I started writing this from our hotel room in wonderfully warm
and sunny San Juan, Puerto Rico on our visit in January. Sorry for the delay on getting it out to you, but I was a little thrown by the weather we have had since returning. But let’s focus on the positive, shall we?

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Aaahhhhhhhhhhh!!!!!

We have been doing this trip for about the last 10 years and I wouldn’t know how to make it through a winter without it. It happily breaks up the monotony of cold and gives you hope that warmer weather will follow. I believe this is the best attended ASME meeting…and no one wonders why.

Being as this was my first time being plant-based in PR, I tried to
do a little research ahead. I didn’t find much that was very near
by. There are a few restaurants deep into Old San Juan or Condado
but I had very little control over where we ate each night. We
stayed at the Caribe Hilton, located about 1.5 miles from Old San
Juan and 1/2 mile from Condado. I know that there are grocery stores
in either direction but we didn’t rent a car while there, so…. My
friend, Bethany, reminded me that you are allowed up to 750ml of
liquid in your checked bag so I brought along 3 small cartons of
PureAlmond milk along with oats, raisins, dried mango, pumpkin
seeds, and chia seeds. I figured that covered breakfast. I was afraid lunch and
dinner were going to be a bit more of a challenge; however, I was very
pleasantly surprised by the options right there at the Caribe.

Lemongrass is a wonderful sushi- Puerto Rican fusion restaurant located right on site.
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photo taken from website

The first night there our waiter, Jose, said he was vegetarian so he knew how to help me. They have a Thai Chicken Salad that can be served without the
chicken as an appetizer. They have the obligatory veggie sushi roll
(which was wonderful) and three of the four side dishes are vegan
without any modifications. We ended up, by chance, eating there for
the first 3 nights and I got a chance to try it all…and I loved
every dish. The atmosphere at the restaurant is wonderful, too,
surrounded by palm trees, coqui frogs, ducks, swans, and peacocks
that hang out by the koi pond.

Also located at the Caribe is the Piña Colada Club. Just so happens I was checking out the menu and low and behold there were 2 dishes specifically listed as
VEGAN! I had the Black Bean Burrito the first day and it was
delicious! The next day I tried the Black Bean Falafel appetizer
with the mixed green salad with watermelon vinaigrette. Yum! I made
sure to let the chef know I appreciated him listing vegan items on
the menu…I think this is a good habit to get into. We have to let
them know we are out there!

Silk (scroll down to see picture and menu) was chosen for us on Wednesday night. I felt comfortable that I could modify something
to my liking. Turns out that I didn’t have to do much! First of
all, the waiter was wonderful and told me not to worry. He then
suggested a couple of things already on the menu that would fit the
bill. I had a grilled vegetable appetizer and a Black Mushroom and
Tofu dish that was listed as vegetarian…I just asked that the
fried rice that came with it to not have egg. Although I did not
have it, their miso soup does not use chicken broth so that would have also been an option. I believe I saw at least one other dish that would have
worked, too.

Our last dinner was at Budatai (no website but you can google location). I was surprised to find nothing specifically listed as vegetarian, much less vegan. I explained myself to the waiter and he seemed a bit perplex but then said that most of the side dishes would work for me. I was immediately drawn to the Brussels Sprout Kimchi. I also had the Miso Carrots, edamame and sticky rice. I’m not going to swear it was all vegan…I forgot to ask if the kimchi had fish sauce in it. While the food was very good and my dinner companions enjoyed their meals greatly, I hope that they improve their selection in the future.

All in all, I found Puerto Rico, while not known for their vegan cuisine, to be accommodating. I hope this helps others visiting the island. Remember that the sun is vegan and gets us our Vit D, do wear a hat and long sleeves!

Happy New Year!

Hoppin John with cornbread.

Winter Wonderland

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Something told us Minx should come out of the water this week. Too bad the yard was too busy to work us in! Huge flakes but it will probably gone tomorrow.

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Butternut Cardamom Quinoa, with added chickpeas, topped with Hurried Hemp Cheesy Sauce. Perfect on this snowy day.

Crazy here

Preparations have started for family and friends to visit over the holidays. I am exhausted and think I might be getting a sore throat. No fun.

But I did get my copy of Isa Does It by Isa Chandra Moskowitz a couple of days ago. I was inspired to make a “bowl” which, according to Isa, is “a large bowl of grains, veggies, a little protein, and a killer sauce.” I used buckwheat groats, carrots, chickpeas and banana peppers. The sauce was Miso-Tahini Dressing from her wonderful book. Check it out!

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More yummy food!

The last few days have been mostly throwing together things I have in my fridge and not really following recipes as much.

For instance, I needed to use some CSA greens but wasn’t in the mood for a cold salad so I put them in a breakfast green smoothie. I added carrots, radishes, Asian pear, banana and celery (nearly the kitchen sink). It was my after-run smoothie, too.
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I also threw together some butternut squash cubes, a can of black beans, onion, garlic, and salsa to make a chili of sorts. That was also very good!
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And this morning, again looking for butternut squash uses and wanting something different for breakfast, I came across this recipe. It was really good and I think it could be tweaked to make a great side dish/dessert for Tday.
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Hope your month is going well.

Quick dinner

After having a larger, heavier lunch, I didn’t know if I would be hungry for dinner. At the last minute I threw together a diced sweet potato, canned black beans (drained and rinsed), garlic, and salsa into a pan and sautéed/steamed it. Topped with hot sauce. Yum!
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November is World Vegan Month

And I thought I would celebrate this new plant-based lifestyle by sharing some of what I’ve been eating. I should have started a few days ago, I know, but don’t fear! I have pictures and links!

Nov 1st: the recipe I want to share was actually dinner on the 31st but I had the leftovers for breakfast on the 1st.
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This is Cheesy Broccoli and Potato Soup from The Cheesy Vegan by John Schlimm. Excellent soup! Yes, soup for breakfast…wha?

Nov 2nd: What is better on a lazy Saturday morning than French Toast?
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This uses The Vegg which is a plant-based egg yolk replacement. The French Toast was delicious!

Nov 3rd: when all my meals are plant-based and tasty ( if I do say so myself) then it can be hard to pick just one to highlight. But I’m sure you are thankful that I only pick one a day, huh? Anyway, lunch on Sunday was Mushroom-Coconut Soup.
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Though it was commented upon that my carrots were a bit large and abundant, this soup got a thumbs up. Good thing Jay likes mushrooms! I used joi choi from Priapi’s CSA for the greens. I’m really enjoying this CSA!

Nov 4th: no linky for this one. This comes from years of making shrimp or chicken Thai curries. I just sautéed veggies (sugar snap, asparagus, onion and carrots) and added Thai green curry paste and lite coconut milk. Served it over brown Basmati.
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Today: another random inspiration recipe. I was wondering what to do with the partial butternut squash I had and, scanning the fridge, lentils, etc. I thought of Shepherds Pie. Sautéed onion, garlic, carrots and lentils. Then steamed in tatsoi (a Chinese spinach of sorts). Then mixed in a hemp seed cheese sauce I am crazy about. Put in 9×11 and topped with mashed roasted butternut squash (blended with almond milk kefir). Yum!
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On the sailing front, it’s getting chilly out there. We have been out for a few weekend overnighters but stayed in the last weekend. The tides did not cooperate.
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Knitting? Why, yes, I am. I can’t talk about much due to the surprise nature of the items. I did finish Cornhusk Pullover for myself and LOVE it!
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