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Vegan Venezuelan food in Playa Del Carmen

Eating vegan in Playa Del Carmen, Part 2

Once you get outside of a resort, the vegan options in Playa Del Carmen improve immensely. I’ll round up the rest of the options in a future post, but this one restaurant deserves a post to itself.

Kaxapa Factory is a short walk from the center of town. It is a small space with an outdoor patio owned by a Venezuelan family that makes fresh, authentic Venezuelan food, including vegan Venezuelan food. Lots of vegan options. It was so good that we went pretty much every day.

Naicel and her father are usually handling the front of the house. Both are a joy, but if you are vegan, Naicel will probably help you because her English is better. They are also not afraid to stray from the menu and make substitutions, so you can totally build your own meal. Now, let’s get on to the food porn.

The first thing I tried was a Patacon. It’s like a sandwich with fried green plantain discs as bread. I think this one was filled with tofu, avocado and black beans. Yeah.

vegan patacon at kaxapa factory

And these were some tostones with tofu. This was just my taste. It was a bigger appetizer that was shared.

tostones

And here’s a look back at Kaxapa Factory. That’s Naicel in the doorway and her father in the back with the cap. Her mom does the cooking.

kaxapa factory interior

Next visit, Kevin and I both had the soursop drink. Our first visit, Naicel’s dad gave us samples of all their house made drinks.

soursop drink

And this time, I got their namesake, a Kaxapa. It’s a pancake made by pounding a special corn into a batter. Mine was full of stir fried vegetables and tofu.

vegan kaxapa

Oh hey, look, we’re back again, chowing on fried.

tostones appetizer

And this time, the Venezuelan lemonade to drink.

Venezuelan lemonade

And finally, time to have an arepa! This one is filled with black beans, avocado, tofu and sweet plantains.

vegan arepa

And, we’re back again. This time I’m getting up on another Kaxapa.

vegan kaxapa

Naicel felt really bad that they didn’t have any vegan desserts. So she set about making one for us at home. On our previous visit, we saw her randomly head out to the street and hop in a cab. She came back about 15 minutes later. She said she had a vegan dessert for us at home but forgot to bring it. She took a cab home to get it and then didn’t have her key with her. OMG! Seriously, this is how nice these people are.

So this night, she had the chocolate mousse she had made. It was a lovely sweet touch to the end of the meal. But she wasn’t done with dessert experiments.

vegan chocolate mousse

Oh yeah, back again! Can you blame us? This time I had the hibiscus drink.

hibiscus drink

And this is the appetizer we got when Kevin said “surprise us”, mini Kaxapa with toppings. I didn’t take a pic of my main this time, so it must have been a repeat.

mini kaxapa

When brainstorming vegan dessert ideas with Naicel, we decided she should try filling their empanadas with fruit. Both are things they already had on hand. So this last meal at Kaxapa, we had mango (I think) filled empanadas that were absolutely perfect.

vegan fruit filled empanadas

 

 

 

Another Herbivorous Friendship Society vegan supper club

It’s about time to torture you with another flood of photos of fancy vegan food from a Herbivorous Friendship Society vegan supper club. I introduced the concept back towards the beginning of VeganMofo, so for this post I’m just letting the photos speak for themselves. Sadly, I don’t have descriptions. When each dish comes out, Chef Billy Cole tells us all about it, but it falls out of your brain while you enjoy the deliciousness and good company. And yes, there are four desserts this time.vegan appetizer

vegan appetizer

Herbivorous Friendship Society vegan dinner

Herbivorous Friendship Society vegan dinner

vegan peppers

vegan onion

Herbivorous Friendship Society vegan dinner

vegan bread

Herbivorous Friendship Society vegan dinner

Herbivorous Friendship Society vegan dinner

Herbivorous Friendship Society vegan dinner

Herbivorous Friendship Society vegan dinner

Herbivorous Friendship Society vegan dinner

Herbivorous Friendship Society vegan dinner

Herbivorous Friendship Society vegan dinner

Herbivorous Friendship Society vegan dinner

Herbivorous Friendship Society vegan dinner

 

Eating vegan in Playa Del Carmen, Part 1

As I mentioned in a previous post, Kevin’s company does this reward trip, usually every June, and we get to go. Free trip, woohoo! This year’s trip was to Playa Del Carmen. Mexico. His company chose an all-inclusive resort as they are wont to do, Royal Hideaway Playacar. This one is also adult only, which was a nice bonus. Also, we got to go with our friends Ken &  Leigh again.

Before I talk about food, here are a few photos from around the resort.

Our room:

royal hideaway playacar room

Kevin playing beach volleyball

beach volleyball

A couple of bird friends at the beach

seagulls on the beach

These little guys, agouti, were everywhere. We called the scrabbits because they were like half squirrel and half rabbit.

agouti

Now, on to food at the resort. I emailed ahead and was assured there would be plenty of vegan options for us. The reality when we got there was a little different though.

It was lunch time when we arrived. So we settled in then headed to one of the cafés. There was an arugula quinoa salad on the menu that came with hummus and pita. Well that sounded reasonable! Except it was very, very small. A side, not a meal. So we ended up eating a bunch of fries and chips & guacamole until we were full.

quinoa arugula salad

Dinner was with the company and all arranged ahead of time. It was a buffet for everyone else, and then we were brought separate plates. On the buffet, there were a few appetizers we could get into:

chips guacamole jicama salad

No such thing as too much guac, I suppose. That jicama salad was a nice surprise. And this was our dinner: a bunch of veggies and a portobello mushroom cap. I’m glad there were appetizers.

vegetables and portobello mushroom

The next company dinner, they took us over to the buffet to show us our dish, all covered in cheese. Yay. So they put something together in the kitchen that was basically the same as what you see above presented slightly differently.

more vegetables

Some beans would’ve been cool, but it just wasn’t meant to be I suppose. The staff also seemed pretty confused about the whole vegan thing, despite the assurances I had via email. They clearly had it confused with gluten free. *sigh*

Now breakfast, breakfast was pretty awesome. The hot foods were pretty much off limits, but they had vegan cereals, soy milk, fruits and a make your own smoothie bar. Grab a bowl, throw a bunch of stuff in it, including peanut butter, and the dude will mix it up for you. Or they had a smoothie of the day. Right on.

smoothie

I’ll admit, it was pretty awesome to chill under a cabana while a regular supply of cold adult beverages were brought right to me. But it was in no way worth what it costs to stay in a place like this.

margarita

Don’t worry, there’s plenty of delicious vegan food in Playa Del Carmen. It just wasn’t at this resort. But we were only here four days. So look for future posts full of tasty bits that we ate when we finally got out of the resort.

How to make brown sugar

One of the cool things about Vegan Mofo is that while you’re cruising around checking out other people’s posts, you get ideas for new posts of your own.

This happened to me yesterday as I read Bianca’s post about vegan sugars. It’s true, it can be hard to find vegan brown sugar and powdered sugar in certain places. And sometimes even when you find it, it’s really expensive.

A while back, our supplier for the bakery was out of vegan brown sugar. For a few weeks. Our supply was completely cached and we had to figure something out. Buying retail bags would be way too expensive. Since brown sugar is just sugar and molasses, you can just add sugar to molasses! Der. I just googled how to make brown sugar to get the ingredient ratio. After this, we just kept making it instead of buying it. It’s cheaper and easy to do.

At home this is especially handy when you don’t bake often and would rather not have an extra bag of stuff you rarely use taking up space in your cabinet. So here’s how to make brown sugar:

vegan brown sugar

Brown Sugar Recipe

Ingredients

1 cup vegan sugar
1 tablespoon molasses for light brown sugar, 2 tablespoons for dark brown sugar

Mix together with a hand mixer or stand mixer. Use immediately or store in an air tight container.

Eating vegan at non-vegan restaurants in Atlanta

While Atlanta does have a few all-vegan restaurants, we don’t have enough to keep me from getting bored. It’s a good thing we have lots of non-vegan restaurants with vegan options. Here are just a few examples:

So Kong Dong Tofu House

so kong dong tofu house

First, the Kimchi at So Kong Dong Tofu House isn’t vegan. So don’t eat that. But, there are a few vegan options on the menu. Get the Vegetable Tofu Dumpling Soup. If you ask for spicy, you will get spicy. They don’t mess around. You can get vegan Bibimbap. And this is the Bibim Gook Soo, a cold noodle dish that is amazing. Also, DONG.

bibim gook soo

Lee’s Bakery

At Lee’s Bakery, you can get vegan banh mi (ask them to leave off the mayo), tofu spring rolls and pho. Can’t decide? They have a half sandwich/pho combo so you don’t have to. Also, it’s super cheap!

vegan banh mi

vegan spring rolls

vegan pho

Chai Pani

Chai Pani serves Indian food snacks in Decatur. This is either the Bhel Puri or Green Mango Chaat. I’ve had and enjoyed both and both are filled with crunchy things so it’s hard to tell.

chai pani

This, this is a samosa. It’s fairly large and filling. The best thing to do here is go with some people, get a few things and then everybody eat all the things. Must haves: the Kale Pakoras and the Matchstick Okra Fries. If you don’t like okra because of the slime, try these. Slime free!

samosa at chai pani

Fuego Mundo

Fuego Mundo is a South American wood-fire grill in Sandy Springs. It’s kosher and they have vegan and gluten free options. Seriously, if you have a diverse group, this is a great place. I typically go with the tofu steak, grilled and seasoned. They have a bunch of vegan side options. Sometimes I’m good and I do quinoa. And then sometimes what you see below happens. Hey, at least I got a salad.

tofu steak at fuego mundo

Ammazza

Ammazza makes a vegan pizza with a house made cashew cheese sauce. We’ve actually only been once to have it and found it meh. But since everyone else raves about it, I figure we could be the problem here. I’m willing to give it another shot some time.

ammazza vegan pizza

El Myriachi

El Myriachi is kind of like El Myr except it’s filled with families instead of smoke. If you aren’t into screeching children, avoid during peak hours.

The food is similar to El Myr but not the same. They have a taco salad in a fried tortilla bowl, so that’s pretty awesome. The first time we went, the guacamole was diluted with stuff. It was just wrong. El Myr has the best guacamole ever, avocado lightly seasoned. That’s all you need. But El Myriachi’s guac has moved towards El Myr’s style in subsequent visits so I think it’s all good now.

el myriachi guacamole

My standard at El Myr is the tofu taco. It’s pretty much the same here except they don’t do the BBQ tofu.

el myriachi tofu taco

Kevin got a chimichanga because of the frying. It came with proper unadulterated guacamole on the side. Looked pretty good.

el myriachi chimichanga

Queen of Sheba

I’ve actually been going to Queen of Sheba since 1998, my very first night in Georgia. The food has been consistently delicious all these years. The veggie combo is where it’s at. Tofu tibs are great. And a few years ago they added a larger veggie combo with even more delicious things on it for when you have the monster munchies. This is the bigger veggie combo plus an order of tofu tibs. The far plate is the regular veggie combo.

veggie combo and tofu tibs at queen of sheba

This is by no means an exhaustive list. There are many more options, but these happen to be the pics I had on hand. Do you have any favorite vegan eats at unexpected places?

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