While we would have been perfectly happy going back to Harrison Street Coffee Shop for lunch Sunday, we decided to continue the standard food tour every vegan does when they visit a different city. So we went to Ipanema Cafe instead, which was right around the corner from Harrison Street.
Ipanema Cafe is in the basement of a building. Lots of exposed brick and definitely on the dark side. I can see it being a favorite of people with hangovers and vampires. The place was full when we got there, but the bar was empty so we decided to go ahead and sit there to eat. They were serving the brunch menu but while we were sitting there we could see the dinner menu posted on the wall and spent some time drooling over those options and wishing we could come back for dinner.
I ordered The Rubi (Tempeh Benedict) – smoky grilled tempeh resting on homemade english muffin, sautéed spinach, mushrooms, onions and marinated tomato. Topped with a vegan citrus béarnaise sauce. The tempeh was packed with flavor and sliced thin. Baked, I think. Everything else complemented it well. It was definitely a winner. It also came with sweet potato hash and fresh fruit. Here is a blurry picture thanks to the fact that my camera only focuses when it feels like it. I’m sure someone on some blog will make a snarky post about crappy food porn pics. That person can bite it.
Kevin got the French Toast with Warm Apple Compote – Billy Bread dipped in sweet apple sauce batter and griddled. It was good, but apparently didn’t come close to touching the french toast at Pick Me Up Cafe in Chicago.
The girl at Harrison Street said we HAD to get a piece of pie at Ipanema. Just as we were getting ready to ask about that, the bartender came out with a free piece of blueberry pie for us since we were from out of town. How cool was that? It had a shortbread crust with a tasty, crunchy streusel on top. It was really good, but the baker in me is always thinking of things I’d do differently. Can’t help it. 🙂
I don’t know what we’re going to do about food today. Harrison Street and Panda Veg are both closed. Time to hit up Happy Cow!
Back in November, I tried making the Pumpkin Cinnamon Rolls from Don’t Eat Off the Sidewalk #2 and while they tasted great, they didn’t rise properly. So I gave them another shot. And they came out perfectly. I was even 1/4 cup short of pumpkin, but just added a splash more of soy milk when the dough seemed too dry. I think last time I used a packet of yeast. This time I just used the bread machine yeast I keep in the fridge. Also, to make sure it indeed had a warm place to rise, I turned on the oven for a minute to 200 degrees F, then turned it back off and put the dough in there. I left the door open until it felt to be a good warm rather than hot temperature and left it in there to do it’s thing. So one of those things, or both, resulted in kick ass cinnamon rolls.
What’s better than baking a batch of muffins? Baking two! For the first batch, I modified the Zucchini Muffin recipe from Yellow Rose Recipes to make it carrot and zucchini. Not much of a modification…just reduced the zucchini and added grated carrot. I also skipped the raisins and opted to toast the pecans in a pan before chopping and adding. We’ll call these the healthy muffins. They have a really small amount of oil and are light on the sugar but they’re still sweat enough and don’t at all taste like hippie food. Plus I got to break in the whole nutmeg I picked up at the Indian market. Wow, does that make a difference! I even cut back the amount a bit so it wouldn’t overpower.
And these Hearty Spiced Cocoa Muffins we’ll refer to as pure evil. This might be my first try at a recipe from The Joy of Vegan Baking. The heavy reliance on Ener-G Egg Replacer in the book made me a bit nervous as I don’t like it in everything. In this case I had nothing to worry about. They came out perfect and kick much ass. The cinnamon, cloves and cayenne pepper go so well with the chocolate and the higher than usual amount of salt really makes the chocolate flavor pop. I just stuck with the chocolate chips and did not add any nuts.
I think it’s kind of funny that I chose to photograph the “evil” muffins against black and the “good” ones against white. Hmmm… Oh, and my helpful tip of the day, well, and probably of the year because I don’t really hand them out, now do I? How often does a muffin recipe make exactly 12 muffins? Not often, right? I have these little muffin cup sized ceramic ramekins that I use for mise en place, salsa, etc. They’re also perfect for overflow muffin batter. See above. No wasted batter!
Okay, yeah, it’s been almost a week since the vegan brunch I had at my house, but finally here are some pictures. Below we have Chocolate Chip Brownie Waffles from Veganomicon, biscuits & yeast gravy, fruit, Indian spiced greens in the crock pot, and sweet rolls. Here the coffee cake on the far side comes into view. And a better look at those sweet rolls, some “sausages” and hiding in the back, Beer Battered Seitan from Yellow Rose Recipes, Punk Rock Chickpea Gravy from Vegan with a Vengeance and whole grain waffles. Oh, and this wasn’t all. We also had sweet potato hash browns, a fruit salad, some potatoes maybe and probably more stuff I’m forgetting. Let’s put it this way, this was the only meal I ate this day. So much yummy food! And since the “chicken” ‘n waffles didn’t really show up well on the table, here it is as blurry leftovers:
Yay! Another place to get a yummy vegan brunch! Kevin and I checked out Saba‘s brunch Sunday. They have a bunch of vegan options and BONUS they serve brunch until 3pm. It was the first time I’d had their brunch, so we got the Tofu Scramble plate and the Vegan French Toast and shared. The tofu came with lots of broccoli and bell peppers, the potatoes were seasoned with rosemary and the soysage patties were like Lightlife patties but a bit bigger around and much crispier. Oh and the biscuit was so good it didn’t need anything on it. The French Toast was wonderful…made from ciabatta bread I think, all full of holes that held the syrup like a sponge. Yum, yum, yum. And sorry there are clearly bites already gone from the food. At least I remembered to take a pic while it was still mostly whole. Oh yeah, this restaurant also serves meaty dishes so it’s great for mixed veg/non-veg company.