Sunday, September 26, 2010

Ranchos Cocina in San Diego, CA

Kyle and I recently made a trip down to San Diego, CA to visit with some of our best friends and my sister and her new family.  While there, we were taken to what our friends called "The place to go when vegans are in town", Ranchos Cocina.  This traditional mexican and (non- traditional) vegetarian restaurant was delightful, located in the neighborhood of downtown North Park.  The atmosphere is very festive with a rustic design, and perfect for families and large groups.  Although the service was a bit lacking, the food was excellent and the selection was incredible for omnivores, vegetarians, and vegans alike.  They are also members of the California Green Restaurant Association and strive to use as many organic ingredients as possible in their food and drink.

Drinking Kombucha 2000

 Veggie Enchilada Trio Plate - Blue Corn Avocado, Ranchero Tempeh, and Veggie Mole,                                               Black Beans, Brown Rice, Spicy Housemade Salsa, and Chips.
Nuestros Amigos
Mi amor y nuestro amigo Kiko
Claudia, Sarah, y los niños

Monday, September 20, 2010

Evening in Park City - Avett Brothers & Deer Valley Amphitheater

the Avett Brothers

A couple Friday nights ago, Kyle, Grace, Laura, and I packed up the coolers and headed east to Park City, where the Avett Brothers performed live at the Deer Valley Amphitheater.  The setting was insane.  Along the bottom of greened over ski slopes, clear blue skies, crisp fall air, and warmth of the setting sun, we were charmed by this talented indie folk band from North Carolina.  Kyle introduced me to the Avett Brothers last year and I quickly agreed they were both lyrically and melodically legit.  But watching the Avett Brothers preform live was something different.  They delighted and beckoned us with their pure talent and exhilarating energy.  It’s only when in their presence that you can get what they are all about. I fell a little bit in love with them that evening....  Here are some photos and a short, fun video from the concert.

As far as food goes, my advice would be to pack your picnic baskets and coolers before you go.  The Deer Valley Amphitheater has no restrictions on what you can bring.  I heard from some friends who sat in front of a lady who brought a portable blender to another show there.  Blended margaritas for her and her friends.  Awesome.

the Amphitheater 


Monday, September 13, 2010

Garden Party at the Costellos

Retro outdoor table we picked up at Now and Again

The other night we invited some new friends over for a little outdoor dinner.  We love entertaining guests, I love cooking, and late summertime in Salt Lake City provides the perfect weather for an outdoor meal.  On the menu was spinach salad, polenta lasagna (and a side of chicken for the omnivores), chocolate pudding, and some lovely red wine to enjoy. Here are some pictures from the evening and a recipe below.

Spinach salad with cranberries, hazelnuts, feta, and local raspberry vinaigrette

the Chef

Garlic and basil I used from the garden

Mushroom, kale, and polenta lasagna (recipe below)

Chocolate pudding with hemp milk, strawberries, and toasted hazelnuts 

MKP Lasagna (modified from recipe at
1 18-ounce package prepared polenta cut into 18 slices
1/2 large onion, chopped
1 large portabella mushroom, cut into 1/4-inch pieces (about 2 cups, chopped)
4 cloves garlic, minced 
1/2 bunch kale (about 8 ounces after trimming), chopped into bite-sized pieces and center rib removed (may substitute spinach or other greens)
1 tablespoon fresh basil
salt and pepper to taste
1 1/2 cups marinara sauce 
1/4 cup pitted kalamata olives, chopped
vegan parmesan (nutritional yeast, garlic, and salt)

"Cheese" sauce:
1/2 cup tempeh

1/2 cup unsweetened rice milk
1/2 cup vegetable broth
2 tbsp. tahini
1 tsp. onion powder
1 1/2 tbsp. nutritional yeast
1/2 tsp. salt 
1/8 tsp. pepper
2 tsp. potato starch

Preheat oven to 250° F.  Place the cheese sauce ingredients into a blender or food processor and puree until completely smooth.  Set aside.  Sauté the onions and portabellas in a non-stick skillet until the mushrooms begin to exude their juices.  Add the garlic and sauté for one more minute.  Add the kale, basil, and 1/4 cup water.  Sauté until the kale is wilted and tender and the water has evaporated.  Check seasoning and add salt and pepper if needed.  Remove from the heat.  Cut the polenta into 1/4-inch thick slices.  Line the bottom of the baking dish with half of the slices.  Spread 3/4 cup of the marinara sauce over the polenta, and then spread the kale mixture over the sauce.  Sprinkle the chopped olives over the kale and top with the remaining polenta.  Spread the remaining marinara sauce over the top and sprinkle with vegan parmesan.  Bake for 60 minutes and enjoy!

Friday, September 3, 2010

Road Trip to Portland

This month we traveled to Oregon for 10 days, first stopping in Grants Pass to visit with the Weiseths. We kayaked the Rouge River and shared some amazing Bergstrom wine together (Salud Bonnie!).  Then off to Portland, where we had a blast with too many friends and family to mention.  There was running on the waterfront, walking and talking at Laurelhurst park, eating and drinking at dozens of new and old favorites, shopping on 23rd and Hawthorne, watching weird movies and dozens of episodes of Modern family, having a guy sing "lets get this party started" in my face at the Alberta Street Fair, celebrating a friend's birthday, rooming at the Jupiter and Edgefield and the Sandoval's and the Hendrix's, "hiking",  and wondering if the normal looking jeep bumping the "Ice Cream Truck Song" was in fact, an ice cream truck.  Lots of good times, and needless to say, a fair share of tears on the way home.  

We also received the best homecoming from our new community here in SLC, and I was especially aware of how thankful I was for this amazing group of friends that evening.  

Here are a few pictures from the front end of our vacation and the food we love in Oregon (There would be more, but I tend to forget my camera when I'm having too much fun).
Side road coffee shop on the way to PDX

Fresh pita at Nicholas Restaurant on SE Grand

Vegan Mezza Plate at Nicholas 

Vegetarian Biscuits and Shiitake Mushroom Gravy with Collard Greens from Pine State Biscuits

Cute friends eating Pine State with us at Laurelhurst Park


My hubs and the Reggie

Friend Magic at Voodoo Donuts

Top Shelf Vegan Donuts at Voodoo

Other favorite vegan eats during this trip to PDX:
Warm Marionberry Pie @ Bipartisan Cafe
Chai Blueberry Pancakes @ Jam on Hawthorne
Mom's Tomato Soup @ Doug Fir
Pesto Soylent Green Bowl @ Laughing Planet
Cuban Black Beans, Brown Rice, and Ripe Sweet and Fried Plantains @ Pambiche
Gabanzo bean soup and fresh fruit pockets @ No Fish! Go Fish!
The Original Ice Milk Bubble Tea @ Fat Straw
Cornmeal Scone and Housemade Champagne Kombucha @ Dovetail Bakery
Tofu Salad Rolls, Pumpkin Tempura, and Pad Prik King (spicy green beans) @ Thai Noon
Veganized Bowl @ The Whole Bowl

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