YYYYY= I have died and gone to heaven YYYY = AMAZING! YYY = Can I have another? YY = Very yummy Y = Ehh

7.12.2009

TASTE TEST: Candle 79 fruit crumble

Candle 79 Summer Fruit Crumble

RATING:

Candle 79 has a seasonal menu, so this fruit crumble was the perfect summer treat. It consisted of fresh strawberries & blueberries in a shortcake crumble over a strawberry sauce topped with one scoop of lemon chamomile ice cream. The shortbread was ridiculous, it tasted so buttery! I need to find out if they make those cookies in house or not. I would like a pack of them. So so good. The strawberry sauce was sweet and brought out the flavors of the fruit. Every bite was even more delicious than the last. I honestly wouldn't have known that the ice cream was lemon chamomile flavored besides that I read it on the menu. I tasted some lemon but it was very faint. Overall, it was a really delicious dish, though pretty expensive ($12) but definitely worth it considering all the ingredients are organic, homemade and fresh.

TASTE TEST: Uncle Eddie's Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies

Uncle Eddie's Vegan Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookie
RATING:

I tried out the Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip cookies by Uncle Eddie's Vegan Cookies and I do have to say the flavor was spot on. The chocolate chips were really sweet and creamy and the peanut butter flavor was strong and present. However, I wasn't a fan of the consistency. I feel like I've tried better cookies, such as those by Alternative Baking company. These cookies were really dry. At times I felt like I was eating chewing on flavored sand. I think that at this point, vegan cookies can do better than that. So was a little disappointed since these cookies had so much potential in terms of flavor and taste. I paid $5.89 for a 12 oz. bag, ordered off of Vegan Essentials.

TASTE TEST: Boneshakers Rocky Road Cookie

Boneshakers vegan rocky road cookie

RATING:

Wow Boneshakers is a really cute sandwich shop/cafe/bakery.It's decorated with the theme of a biker bar but for bicyclists rather than motorcyclists. The only issue was that I didn't ride my bike there, and this shop is housed in a questionable part of bushwick/greenpoint, Brooklyn. I made it there & back alive though with great praises of the vegan rocky road cookie!

The baked goods at Boneshakers are done in-house and fresh daily. When I went I saw muffins, cookies & cupcakes. I chose the rocky road cookie because it looked delicious and was something I've never seen before.

I was very pleased by this cookie. It was huge, soft, chewy and very chocolately. The abundance of "marshmallows" made the cookie even more chewy and pulled away from the cookie with each bite in perfect gooey fashion. There was just the right amount of nuts to add in a kick to the consistency and taste. I really enjoyed devouring this cookie. When I was done, I wish I had purchased more than just one. If I get up the nerve, or am accompanied by strong badass people, I will surely venture back there for more treats!!

7.02.2009

Missionary Chocolates


The fine people at Missionary Chocolates were nice enough to send me a box full of their truffles, all hand-crafted in Portland, Oregon. As soon as I opened the box, my eyes widened and mouth watered. Each one is as huge and delicious looking as the one I sampled a few months back!

The box had quite a range of truffle flavors: coconut silk, sweet raspberry heart, dark chocolate delight, smooth espresso square, peanut butter passion, meyer lemon explosion, glorious ginger and spicy cinnamon chipotle. I tried each one over the course of a week, having friends & family sample and seeking their opinion. Overall, the response was great.

The chocolate and truffle filling is of high quality and one can tell right away. Each bite is creamy, smooth and decadent, no matter what flavor one tries. I was surprised, however, that none of these chocolates have a cream or jelly filling. Each truffle has a strong, distinct flavor which I love. Of course, my favorites were the coconut, dark chocolate, espresso and peanut butter. All of these had intense, accurate flavors. You can tell that the chocolates were made from natural, fresh ingredients. The ginger was also very good, but after a few bites I had to put it down because the ginger was too overwhelming for my senses. In addition, my palate is also not cut out to enjoy the spicy cinnamon chipotle. I know many of my friends love this flavor combination, but I do not. Since the flavor is so strong, I couldn't take more than one small bite. The biggest and most pleasant surprise for me was the lemon. I didn't expect to like this one, as most lemon flavored candies often remind me of cleaning solutions. However, it was really refreshing and packed a strong yet delightful taste.

These truffles are definitely a treat and can serve as a great gift for a friend or reward to self. They can be ordered online, but I first discovered these truffles at Stogo in the East Village. A little bit on the pricey side ($3.75 each), but you're paying for the organic/local (to portland, or) ingredients, rich, high-quality chocolate and bold flavor.

6.29.2009

Tofutti Cutie Ice Cream Sandwiches

Tofutti Cuties Vanilla Snack Size Sandwiches (tofutti.com)

Tofutti Cuties are classic. Little two bite ice cream sandwiches wrapped up in individual wrappers, served in a box containing eight. It's the perfect summer snack, though you can't have just one. The ice cream consistency isn't the best I've ever had, though it's pretty good, and the flavors aren't anything out of the ordinary, but there's just something delicious in the bite-sized portion creaminess of it all. It almost always melts while being consumed and the sandwich wafers almost always stick to the wrapper and break off a little. I don't know why I obsess over these little guys -- maybe it's because they are cuties!

Flavors available are: Vanilla, Cookies n Cream, Totally Vanilla, Chocolate, Peanut Butter, Mint Chocolate chip, Coffee Break, Wild Berry and Key Lime.

Chocolate, Mint Chocolate chip and Coffee Break are my faves.

A pack of 8 will set you back between $5 - $6 dollars.

TASTE TEST: Soy "I Can't Believe it's Tofu" Pudding

Soy "I can't believe it's tofu" chocolate pudding

RATING:


There's this restaurant in the Lower East Side called SOY. It's kind of cute and really cheap, however not 100% vegan, though there are some tofu-heavy vegan options. Their vegan dessert options consisted of 4 flavors of "I can't believe it's not tofu" soy pudding - red bean, green tea, vanilla and chocolate. I went with the chocolate, of course. It was $4, which I found to be kind of pricey for the amount of pudding I was served. I also wasn't too happy with this pudding. It tasted like chalk. The chocolate flavor was too bitter and lacked the sweet. The consistency was kind of strange too, reminded me of that Kozy Shack pudding I tested previously. It had a weird layer of film on top. I mean it was ok, I ate most of it, but I'd rather eat zensoy chocolate pudding.

TASTE TEST: Rice Dream Vanilla Ice Cream Bar with Chocolate Coating

Rice Dream Vanilla Ice Cream Bar (credit: tastethedream.com)

RATING:

NOOOOO. My reaction as half of this ice cream bar fell to the floor. Pretty consistent with my experience with rice dream in general: it melts too fast! What a mess. I was way too much of a spaz for this ice cream bar and didn't get to enjoy it. The part that I did get to eat lacked the creamy consistency I have been spoiled with lately at the great vegan ice cream shops around NYC. If you're craving a bar like this, I would go with something from Klein's instead.

6.28.2009

TASTE TEST: Ciao for Now Double Chocolate Espresso Cookie

Ciao for Now Double Chocolate Espresso Cookie
RATING:

Oh manna. When I used to live in the East Village, I actually lived next door to this cafe called Ciao for Now. They only have a few vegan offerings but their Double Chocolate Espresso Cookie is by far my favorite. This was my daily breakfast throughout my junior year of college (and the other vegan who lived in the building next to me, we often spotted each other with said cookie on the L train). This cookie is ridiculously good. But since it is baked fresh daily, it's best in the morning. I would not advise getting it at night because it gets hard/stale. In the morning though, its super soft and chewy and quite an overload of chocolate. It's not super sweet because of the espresso. It has more of a dark chocolate/bitter flavor which I love. And for $2.00 it's a fairly large cookie!

TASTE TEST: Cookies... for me? Brownies


Cookies... for me vegan brownie (credit: Cookiesforme.com)

RATING:

I love brownies. I often find vegan brownies a little disappointing though. This one from Cookies... for me was really great! I bought them at my local health food store in the refrigerated section. I didn't really get why it needed to be refrigerated, so, I shoved it in my bag for a few hours. When it was time to eat it was a little on the melting side. I liked it like that though because I usually microwave brownies. The brownie was really fudge-y but not overly sweet or rich. This was the kind of brownie you want to wash down with a glass of soymilk or ricemilk. It was so moist and chewy and no weird taste/after-taste. I will definitely pick this up again, even though it was a little pricey ($2.99). Never tried or seen anything from this brand before, definitely fun to try something new!

6.18.2009

TASTE TEST: Sweet & Sara Rocky Road Bark.

Sweet & Sara Rocky Road Bark

RATING:

This Rocky Road Bark from Sweet & Sara was seriously good. I'm a chocolate person, so I notice when I am biting into quality chocolate and let me tell you, this was that sweet dark chocolate that I look forward to devouring. The package indicates that it was belgian dark chocolate. Smart choice. Makes all the difference. The chocolate "bark" was filled with just the right amount of crunchy almonds and chewy sweet & sara marshmallows. I really enjoyed this snack.

You can order it off of Cosmos for $3.50. I bought mine at Lula's Sweet Apothecary for the same price.

Have you tried the Sweet & Sara Rocky Road Bark? Have you had any other vegan rocky road flavored products? Post in the comments!

6.15.2009

TASTE TEST: Nasyoa Silken Creations

Chocolate Banana "tofu"-milkshake using Dark Chocolate Nasoya Silken Creations

RATING:

Nasoya typically makes all walks of tofu, noodles, wonton wrappers etc. They are my favorite tofu brand because of the variations available - firm, light, pre-cubed, silken etc. When I was looking at their display at the supermarket I noticed an entirely NEW product from this company - "Nasoya Silken Creations". They are available in three flavors: Dark Chocolate, Vanilla and Strawberry. All three are vegan. I decided to try out the dark chocolate (of course!).

So I went home and was like, um, what do I do with this silken creation? I'm no rocket-scientist in the kitchen and I needed an easy recipe to follow. Luckily I found that Nasoya lists a ton of recipes on their website. So I followed this one for a Chocolate Banana Smoothie:

  1. Put the package of the Dark Chocolate Silken Creations, 2 ripe bananas and 2/3 cup water in a blender (I also added 6 ice cubes)
  2. Blend
  3. my twist was that after this step I put the cup in the freezer for 45 minutes
  4. Serve!
What resulted was an awesomely sweet frozen chocolate banana shake. Damn that was easy & cheap. The drink wasn't too thick, which I was worried about since it was tofu and not soymilk or soy ice cream in the mixture. It was very creamy and frothy. I loved the taste, the bananas were really strong in the drink.

I loved how easy this was to make. There are also some other super easy recipes on their site that I would like to test out. For example - the chocolate mint sorbet recipe says that all you need to do is add some peppermint extract and the silken creation, combine in a bowl then freeze. That sounds way too easy.

Have you tried Nasoya Silken Creations? Lover or a hater? What other products do you use to make soy milkshakes? Post in the comments!

6.11.2009

YUMMIEST: Place to Get Vegan Ice Cream in New York City: Final Installment


Klein's Butter Pecan Soy Milk Ice Cream

KLEIN'S RATING:
KYOTOFU RATING:

I have came, seen and conquered Vegan Ice Cream in New York City. I finally made it to the mysterious and much talked about Klein’s. I went to Kyotofu on a day other than on Monday, when they are closed. I have experienced great happiness upon tasting and great sadness when the cone/serving cup is empty. AND now, I present to you the final installment of the YUMMIEST place to get Vegan Ice Cream in New York City.

Klein’s is a kosher ice cream shop located in Borough Park, Brooklyn which has a heavy population of Orthodox and Hasidic Jews. Those who are kosher do not mix meat and dairy and do not eat dairy up to 6 hours after meat has been consumed. Therefore, Kosher companies often make products that are dairy-free. These products are not always vegan, but those companies that are smart make it a point to have it certified vegan so that their available consumer market can increase. This is why one will see that many vegan products & restaurants are kosher as well.

Anyway this shop rules. The place is small and doesn’t have seating but this is because the walls are lined with freezers that are packed to the brim with ice cream products, many of which are vegan. You can browse through the non-dairy section of their site to get a taste of what’s available. Two things that really stuck out was vegan bon-bons and a vegan version of chocolate éclairs ice cream bars (much like the ones from the good humor truck!).

The case in the front was full of ice cream, one section of dairy and one of non-dairy. They had some interesting vegan flavors such as cherry vanilla, coffee royale and butter pecan. The friendly server let us try as much as we wanted to. They also had vegan soft-serve – chocolate vanilla twist and soft-serve sorbet. I ended up going for the butter pecan because I have not seen that flavor anywhere. What really made my mouth drop was that a single scoop cone was, get this, $2.75. I riddle you not. The cone was packed with ice cream. This was quite a hefty single scoop. This ice cream was great. It tasted so good. I was really pleasantly surprised with how creamy the consistency was and the flavor was spot on. The pecans inside were fresh and crunchy.

Then I took those chocolate éclair bars home. This provided joy for the rest of the week. According to my memory, they tasted almost exactly what the good humor bars tasted like. The crunchy cookies over a hard chocolate shell outside, the creamy vanilla layered on top of a chocolate center inside. Soooo good.

Kyotofu Soft-Serve

I really liked the ambience of Kyotofu. This place was really cute inside and the server was very accommodating and friendly. This place mostly serves fancy drinks, Japanese dinner plates and non-vegan bakery goods all with a focus on their namesake, tofu. However, they have finally pleased vegans by offering 2 vegan soymilk soft-serve ice cream flavors that rotate weekly. Some examples of flavors are white sesame, matcha green tea, hazelnut and Kyoto miso. When I went the flavors available was Kinako (Soybean flour) and Chocolate. There were no cones (boo!) but we did get one free topping (yay!). I ended up getting the a twist of the Kinako and the Chocolate with a berry compote topping in a large serving bowl (which was very large) for $6.34. My non-vegan friend said that she wouldn’t have known that this soft-serve was vegan. She thinks its as close as you can get to the real thing. I thought it was very smooth and creamy. Really thick unlike most soymilk ice cream that is kind of icey or watery. The kinako tasted like a sour peanut butter and the chocolate was sweeter than I expected. The mix of the two with the berry compote was very good. I really enjoyed.

So where is the yummiest place to get Vegan Ice Cream in New York City?! It’s a tie! Klein’s definitely has the biggest bang for your buck including plenty of frozen treats to take home. However, Lula’s takes the gold for most inventive offerings, flavors and cutest shop ever. It is a must that you go to both of these places this summer, several times.

Please leave your vegan ice cream experiences & comments!


CHECK OUT: veganbaking.net

This is like the facebook of vegans who likes to eat sweets. I spent a good chunk of my day so far on this site. The site has posts on how to make vegan desserts easy AND awesome (Perfect for lazy vegans like me!). This site is so well done and well organized. You can browse recipes by type (ie: breads, cakes, candies, cookies), read the blog, post in the forums etc.

What I love about this site is that it thrives on user submitted content. It creates a great community of other vegans who love to bake and eat treats. It’s always great to have somewhere to go when you want to perfect that chocolate chip banana bread recipe!

In addition they are working on a world wide vegan bakery directory. Seems as if they are currently stocked up in on the coasts so it is your job to fill in the bakeries you know and love!

Definitely sign up and find me on there – VeganSweetTooth

6.08.2009

DIY: PPK Peanut Butter Pillows

Peanut Butter Pillows
RATING:

I like easy, quick recipes. This is why I often bake cupcakes. Baking cookies never seems to work for me and I hate when the recipe calls for egg replacer. That stuff never turns out the way I want it to. I’m a spaz and probably not meant to be in the kitchen but I love baking. Anyway. Isa Chandra Moskowitz of
Vegan Omnicon, Vegan with Avengance, Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World and the newly released Vegan Brunch posted a recipe for Chocolate Peanut Butter Pillows (cookies) on her blog the Post-Punk Kitchen. They looked soo easy so I decided to go for it, and make it a fun girls hang out. The ingredient list was fairly simple, no egg replacer. The one thing we couldn’t get at the super market was soy creamer, so we just got almond milk and winged it. The recipe didn’t require any food processor which was rad. All we needed to do for both the filling and dough was combine ingredients and mix. It took 10 minutes to prepare. The only issue was that the peanut butter filling was really watery. I think it may had to do with the lack of soy creamer? Not sure. So we added a ton of confectioner’s sugar to make up for it and it still wasn't rolling the way it said it would in the recipe. The filling did not work at all. It tasted awesome, but we kind of knew we weren't going to get those pillows. We did our best and put it in the oven.

The end result – a really mushy soft chocolate cookie with a super sweet peanut butter filling. It wasn’t a pillow but, works for me! I love cookies. We ate the majority of these in like 10 minutes. So the whole process of baking & eating was 30 minutes total. These cookies were super rich and chocolate-y so I definitely needed water to wash them down and I think we all would have been more satisfied if they were fluffier but the flavors were still there.

We went out drinking later that night and I put the leftover cookies in my bag. It was a pretty awesome 2am snack as well. My friends had some great suggestions on how we can work out this recipe to our liking (ie: baking for longer – they were definitely undercooked, fixing the Peanut Butter filling’s consistency) so I have a feeling we will be making these more. It’s just so easy and tasty that it’s hard not to!

6.02.2009

TASTE TEST: Alternative Baking Company Cookies


Alternative Baking Company Luscious Lemon Poppy Seed Cookie

RATING: YYYY(4 out of 5 hearts!)

Alternative Baking Company cookies are amazing. The flavors are deep, rich and not overly sugary. The consistency is perfect – soft and chewy. It is near impossible to find packaged vegan cookies of this nature. In addition, many that I have tried have a weird taste or leave a strange aftertaste but these do not. I have tried the luscious lemon poppy seed – had little seeds in it! Full lemon flavor, the explosive espresso chip – heaven and the phenomenal pumpkin spice – great pumpkin taste with little cinnamon spice sprinkled in. Though most of the cookies are not wheat free they do offer two of this nature that are made with barley flour – Snickerdoole and Mac the Chip.

I see these cookies at gourmet stores in the city as well as health food stores. They can also be ordered directly off their site.

What are you favorite packaged vegan cookies? Have you tried Alternative Baking Company cookies? What do you think? Post in the comments!

5.25.2009

YUMMIEST: Vegan Ice Cream Shop in NYC: Installment 2

Stogo Chocolate Hazelnut Chipwich made with Babycakes Cookies

STOGO RATING: YYYY(4 out of 5 hearts!)
BONOBO'S RATING: YY(2 out of 5 hearts!)

I went to two very different places for ice cream the recently, with two very different ideas of what vegan ice cream is/should be. It was kind of fun to experience two opposite sides of the vegan ice cream spectrum!

Stogo is a newly opened venture in the east village, founded by Kyra Sedgwick’s brother Rob Sedgwick. All of the ice cream is made in house and are not exclusively one formula. Some of the flavors are coconut based, some are soy based and some are hemp based, which is a great option for those with nut/soy allergies.. All of the flavors were very enticing and the server allowed us to try as many as we wanted. I loved how they were displayed; it reminded me of a gelateria in Rome! They also offer soft-serve but I think the only flavors available are vanilla & chocolate which is kinda boring considering all the great flavors that were not soft-serve. Some of my faves were the Toasted Almond Joy (with coconut shavings on top!), Mexican Spiced Chocolate (spicy!), Pomegranate Chocolate Chip and Coffee. I decided upon the Chocolate Hazelnut (with pieces of hazelnut on top!) because Chocolate & Hazelnut are possibly my two favorite flavors ever and combining them sounded like bliss.

I was so stoked when I realized that not only would I be able to enjoy this ice cream in a cup or a cone, but there also was an option of putting it between two cookies from babycakes and enjoying a chipwich! Aw man. Of course that’s what I went for. It was super messy but so good! The ice cream was terrific, kind of melty but very smooth & creamy. The flavor was amazing and spot-on. My non-vegan friends were very impressed, they didn’t think they would be able to tell it was vegan if they didn’t know beforehand.

The place itself was kind of small and had little seating so we opted to eat outside. Its definitely more of a place to get ice cream and go, which kind of sucks because the ice cream does melt fast and get messy. However, its so good you’ll probably finish it pretty quick!

Stogo also offers babycakes cupcakes & a variety of vegan chocolate & chocolate truffles which is a great alternative for those who aren’t in the mood for ice cream.

So on to Bonobos. While I might be able to compare Stogo’s ice cream to gelato, Bonobo’s ice cream is more like sorbet. I’m not quite sure why they call it “ice cream” anyway when it lacks that creaminess, but fine, went for it anyway. This place touts itself for it’s healthy food, which consists mostly of salads and raw veggie patties. It’s probably a great place for lunch because they have quite a selection. As for the ice cream, they seem to have 4 flavors every day which vary. All of the flavors are really fun and different and the server let’s you try as many as you’d like as well! When I visited the flavors available that I tried were Durian (GROSS but so cool that they have this!!), Banana Pudding (really on point and had a subtle cinnamon flavor) and Mango Banana Pineapple (very sweet and yummy). All their “ice creams” contain no table salt nor added sugar, no soy or dairy. In other words, its pretty much like a really healthy sorbet or frozen pudding. I decided to have the Mango Banana Pineapple which was definitely icey but also pretty tasty and cold. You’re not going to find indulgent flavors like chocolate hazelnut here but it’s great as a refreshing treat on a hot summer day. The only bummer is that there is only one size cup option and no cones. I like having options!

Anyway, next installation coming soon, any suggestions of where I should go? Have you been to Stogo/Bonobos? What’s your take? Post in the comments!

TASTE TEST: LifeThyme Bakery Funny Bones



LifeThyme Bakery Funny Bone cake

RATING:YYYY(4 out of 5 hearts!)

LifeThyme is a supermarket/health food store located in the west village in New York City. They have a buffet with many vegan & raw options as well as a bakery with many tasty vegan selections such as peanut butter banana cookies and vegan funny bones!

Funny Bones is a snack cake put out by drake's which consists of a peanut butter cream filled devil's food cake with a hard chocolate outer shell.

I've never seen this done vegan so I was really excited to try. Oh manna, this thing was huge! I couldn't finish it in one sitting. The outer shell was amazing. It reminded me of the chocolate shell on Hagen Daaz ice cream bars from my pre-vegan days. It was very sugary and I loved the peanut halves incorporated into this crust. The peanut butter cream blew my mind. It was also very sweet and oh so smooth and creamy. The only thing that kind of put me off was that the devil's food cake was a little dry. I found myself eating all the peanut butter cream and the outer shell then I was left with a bunch of dry devil's food cake. Oops, my bad.

Overall, this is definitely something I would get a BFF if she called me up crying. It's quite an indulgent treat, but a tasty one at that.

TASTE TEST: Terra Nostra Rice Milk Chocolate Bar with Almonds


Terra Nostra Rice Milk Chocolate Bar with Almonds

RATING:YYYY(4 out of 5 hearts!)

Most vegan chocolate bars are dark chocolate. Which is awesome, but tends to be bitter, heavy and just a completely different experience from what milk chocolate is like. Terra Nostra has a line of Rice Milk chocolate bars that attempt to create that.

And how, I really enjoyed this bar. SO much better than hershey's! haha. It was very creamy, light and sweet. I loved the crunch of the almonds. I like how it is divided up so that you can break off little pieces to munch on. A really great find.

I picked this up at Family Health Foods on Staten Island. You can also order it off of vegan essentials.

5.18.2009

TASTE TEST: Enjoy Life Soft-Baked Snickerdoodle

Enjoy Life Snickerdoole Cookies/Credit: Enjoy Life

RATING:
YYYY(4 out of 5 hearts!)

I was kind of weary to buy this. Most vegan cookies are gross. They tend to have a grainy consistency and a weird taste/aftertaste. On top of that, these are gluten-free which is an added challenge to tasting good. But, imagine if these were good.. soft-baked Snickerdoodles. I just had to take that risk.

And what a rewarding risk! This Snickerdoodle cookie by Enjoy Life was really great. They were smaller than I expected, pretty much the size of the cookies pictured on the box. These cookies were very soft and chewy. Not grainy in any way shape or form! They were a little dense, but it wasn't overly filling. The taste was spot-on, perfect amount of cinnamon and no weird taste or aftertaste! I only wanted to try one, but it was just so easy to snack on these. So yummy!

I picked these cookies up at Stop & Shop, though I've seen them at Whole Foods as well.

Have you had any products by Enjoy Life? Any vegan cookies you love? Post in the comments!

5.17.2009

TASTE TEST: Nutrilicious Carob Iced Donut




Nutrilicious Carob Iced Donut

RATING:YYY(3 out of 5 hearts!)

This carob iced donut from Nutrilicious was very cakey and crumbly. The carob frosting was very good, sweet and chocolately. The frosting flaked off a little which I liked for some weird reason. They were a little dense, but overall pretty tasty. I wouldn't purchase these with a fresh-baked donut in mind because they scream store-bought. Definitely brought back memories of Entemann's frosted donuts.

TASTE TEST: Go Max Go Vegan Candy Bars



Go Max Go Vegan Candy Bars/Credit: Go Max Go

RATING:YYYYY(5 out of 5 hearts!)

Mmmmm. Candy Bars. I excitedly pre-ordered these Go Max Go vegan candy bars from cosmos vegan shoppe since I don't think I have seen any vegan candy bars around. Sure I've seen dark chocolate bars. But rice milk chocolate shell with peanuts, coconut shavings, caramel, nougat fillings? Nope.

I grew up on Milky Ways and Snickers so I opted to try Twilight and Jokerz. As you would expect, Twlight is a rice milk chocolate shell filled with chocolate nougat and caramel. First bite was amazing. The outer chocolate is great and soft. The nougat is fluffy and sweet. The caramel was a little on the thick side and didn't have the consistency that I remember but it was still really delightful. Now if I were to honestly match this to a milky way, I would say that it would need a little more nougat. However, if I were to just eat this without thinking about a milky way I would be very pleased with the taste.

Jokerz also has a rice milk chocolate shell and is filled with roasted peanuts, chocolate nougat and caramel. Also, amazing! The peanuts added that perfect crunch. Once again, if I were to compare to snickers I would say it could use more peanuts but honestly this bar is perfect as is. I am absolutely happy with my purchase and kind of sad that I can't just stop in any corner store and pick it up. Then again, maybe it's a good thing because I would eat them way too much!

Have you got to try any of the new candy bars by go max go? Had other vegan candy bars? Post in the comments!

5.12.2009

Worst day to get vegan sweets in NYC: Monday



Mondays suck. Back to the work week for those who have M – F/9am – 5pm jobs, end of the weekend for all and the next weekend is 5 long, wretched days away. One thing that can really brighten up a case of the Mondays are some sweets! At least, that was the consensus that my friend Mary and I came to this past Monday. So we decided upon tasting the vegan soft-serve ice cream at Kyotofu. We trek our way up there, and bam… it’s closed. Decide to make our way over to Lula’s for a brownie sundae, and bam.. it’s closed on Mondays as well! Since we were already in the East Village, we decided to go to Atlas Café, which is a vegan staple in this neighborhood. They carry one of the largest, if not the largest selection of Vegan Treats in the New York City area. Though it is open on Mondays, the Vegan Treats shipment (the bakery is in Bethelem, PA) for all NYC establishments is on Tuesday! Foiled again. Cake Shop, Atlas, Little Atlas, Teany, Pennylicks, Red Bamboo, Curly’s Vegetarian Lunch and many other vegan friendly restaurants in NYC have Vegan Treats cakes as their only dessert option. Therefore, my recommendation is: let Monday suck, go home and eat the vegan sweets in your cupboard and save your dessert out-ing for Tuesday.

5.11.2009

TASTE TEST: Vegan Treats Turtle Brownie & Vegan Treats Tiramisu


Vegan Treats Turtle Brownie and Tiramisu

TURTLE BROWNIE RATING:YYYY(4 out of 5 hearts!)
TIRAMISU RATING:YYY(3 out of 5 hearts!)

This vegan brownie was awesome. My friend (who wanted a brownie) asked which of the vegan treats selection she should get (this was at atlas café) and she recommended the “turtle”. I prefer a dense fudgey brownie and this was just that. It was super chocolately and the pecans and caramel on top were amazing. After my friend finished, she wished there were more, as did I. I haven’t had as good of a vegan brownie from any other bakery.

I don’t see vegan tiramisu around too often, so I was really stoked to try this one from Vegan Treats. The espresso flavor was strong and the “mascarpone” was super creamy and awesome. However, the cake itself lacked a little. I always thought tiramisu had lady fingers on the bottom but it seemed like I was just eating sponge cake. It was definitely enjoyable and since I’ve only had vegan tiramisu once or twice, I’m glad it’s around. I can imagine that tiramisu is kind of tough to make – it’s not just a “replace this here and replace that there” type of thing. However, I think it would have been more impressed if I tasted lady fingers in the consistency.

Have you had vegan tiramisu? Made it yourself? How about vegan treats brownies? Where's your favorite place to get a brownie? Post in the comments!

TASTE TEST: Dolce Vegan Twinkies


Dolce Vegan Twinkies

RATING:YYYY(4 out of 5 hearts!)
Dolce Vegan Bakery is a bakery in Atlanta, GA that makes organic baked goods such as brownie bites, cinnamon buns and TWINKIES! Though they don't have a shop (plans for one to open this summer), their goods are available at a handful of stores in Atlanta and can be ordered online from Cosmos Vegan Shoppe. I ordered mine and it arrived within two days of shipping, though there was a warning about how it should be enjoyed quickly while its still fresh.

So, naturally, I opened them right away. I was really suprised at how much they resembled twinkies! To be honest, I don't really remember what twinkies taste like so I don't know if I can do an honest comparison here. However, it was seriously tasty. The texture was moist and fluffy. The cream filling was great, though I would have liked there to be a little more of it. The cake itself had a great vanilla flavor. I really loved this. The package came with two twinkies and though I only expected to taste one, I immediately ate the second! It was that good.

Have you had twinkies from Dolce Vegan? Or any other products for that matter? Have you had vegan twinkies from another bakery? Post in the comments!

5.06.2009

TASTE TEST: Missionary Smooth Espresso Square Chocolate Truffle


Smooth Espresso Square Truffle from Missionary Chocolates (Credit: Missionary Chocolates)

RATING:YYYYY(5 out of 5 hearts!)
Missionary Chocolates makes vegan truffles out of Portland, Oregon. I picked up their Smooth Espresso Square Truffle at Stogo in NYC. Oh manna. This truffle is ridiculous. I love espresso/coffee so of course if I were to try one truffle by this brand it would be the espresso one. The filling is so creamy and smooth. I hate when I buy a truffle and the inside is hard and sticks to my teeth. This was perfect. The outside was a perfect thin shell of dark chocolate. And the top had ground cacao nips which added a little crunch. So delicious. Oh and hello, how many times must I say this - turns out the center is so creamy because it is made with coconut milk, seriously coconut milk is where it's at!

I really have to say I am very impressed with their ability to skip over the whole "this is good for a vegan chocolate" level to the "this is a really good truffle" level. Simply amazing.

Some other truffles they have are spicy cinnamon chipotle, glorious ginger, peanut butter passion and peppermint perfection. Yum, must try them all.

5.05.2009

TASTE TEST: Foodswings 'Funfetti cake" and Bella Vegan Shake


"Funfetti Cake" at Food Swings

"FUNFETTI" CAKE RATING:YY (2 out of 5 hearts!)

BELLA VEGAN SHAKE RATING:YYY (3 out of 5 hearts!)

Foodswings is a cute “fast-food” style vegan joint in Williamsburg BK. It used to be owned by fellow Staten-Islanders Freedom & Lee Poerio-Tripodi but a few months back he sold it to the owners of the metal/grind-core bar Lucky 13 (which has vegan White Russians!). I haven’t been in since but I figured I should check it out to see if the dessert options have changed. With the previous owners they had an amazing selection of shakes, a nice vegan candy/ice cream selection and whoopee pies/brownies/cakes supplied by Vegan Treats . I would mainly go for their shakes which were always out of this world. The Bella Vegan was my favorite – vanilla ice cream, cookies and peanut butter.

When I walked in I noticed it from a mile away.... a vegan funfetti cake? WHAT YES! Totally my favorite cake ever and I've never seen it vegan. Man when I was 15 I would bake one funfetti cake a week. Haven't had that in forever!! It looked amazing in the case.

But alas, it wasn't good. Very dry and boring. No flavor what-so-ever. The frosting was pretty rad, sweet and well-whipped. Disappointing altogether though.

Anyway, despite the management change the laundry list of awesome shakes is still available so I had the bella vegan and it was terrific. Lots of peanut butter, super thick and yummy. I would not be opposed to going there only for shakes all the time.

So overall, shake good, cake not so much but I'm hoping that it's because it was stale and old. Which still, shouldn't be sold to customers in that fashion but whatever. I'll try it on a different day of the week and report back.

What do you think of the new FoodSwings? Have you been? What's your favorite shake?

5.01.2009

YUMMIEST: Vegan Ice Cream Shop in NYC: Installment 1


Lula's Sweet Apothecary Cake Batter Soft-Serve

LULA'S SWEET APOTHECARY RATING:YYYYY(5 out of 5 hearts!)

PENNYLICKS RATING:Y(1 out of 5 hearts!)

My favorite warm weather treat is most certainly ice cream. And with the warm weather slowly creeping in to New York city, I decided I must locate my favorite spots to get ice cream and divulge to you all. This past weekend I was able to stop by two different places… Lula’s Sweet Apothecary (I know, I know, I already wrote about them) and PennyLicks in Williamsburg, Brooklyn.

Though both of these places have an “old-school-soda-shop” feel, they are very distinctly different. Lula’s makes their own mostly-nut based ice cream and offers a variety of vegan brownies, sweets and candies that are not widely distributed throughout the city. Pennylick’s serves temptation ice cream from Chicago soy dairy and cakes/cookies/cupcakes etc from Vegan Treats bakery, which is available all throughout nyc. Lula’s is also 100% vegan while Pennylicks has a selection of non-vegan ice creams and baked goods. They also might serve to you in a non-vegan cone if you don’t ask.

So let me get into my two experiences, first I went to Lulas to try their Cake Batter Soft-serve. This was my first time having vegan soft-serve ice cream ever or any soft-serve ice cream In 4 years. I mean, ok, I have had atlas soft-serve but that crap is gross! (I still ate it weekly last summer anyway but let’s not get into that). This actually held it’s ground! My two non-vegan friends couldn’t believe it was vegan… it didn’t melt like crazy. It actually hung out on my cone and looked gorgeous. AND the taste! You know I love cake batter. It was amazing, smooth and creamy. I think getting their soft serve will have to be a weekly ritual. They rotate their flavors but when I was there they had cake batter and chocolate soft-serve. My friends and I sat at the counter and enjoyed our meal while good music played and the other customers ranted and raved about how much they loved their ice cream too (I think they were all non-vegan). Before we ordered we sampled everything, it's almost mandatory to try all the new flavors and the owner welcomes it. As soon as someone walks in, she pulls out the taster spoons! So cute.

The next day, I went to Penny Licks. I love temptation ice cream so I couldn’t wait to get my hands on some. I really wanted the coffee flavor, which I had at the shop when I went last summer. The list of vegan flavors are displayed on the ice cream case which is where you order. There was a couple ordering and blocking the case so I couldn’t see the flavors. I was kind of set on coffee anyway. When I finally got to see and was asked to order, coffee was not listed… I thought maybe it just wasn’t noted so I asked the server just to make sure. She was very rude to me and when I chose a flavor she didn’t even ask me cone or cup or type of cone. She just grabbed a cone and started scooping! I was slightly appalled. When I went to go pay there was a huge sign about how it is rude to be on your cell phone while paying for your ice cream. Meanwhile, I look over and my bitchy server is now chatting on her cell phone while serving a dad and his two little kids! Aw man, it ruined the whole ice cream experience. The ice cream was awesome! I have to say strawberry temptation is pretty amazing and creamy! However, I’m pretty sure I won’t go back there again. I’ll just have to buy temptation and make my own ice cream cones.

Have you been to Lula's or Penny Licks? What were your experiences? Where else should I go to find the yummiest vegan ice cream shop in NYC? Post in the comments!!

4.24.2009

SPOTLIGHT ON: Whole Foods Bakery


Whole Foods in Union Square, NYC

RATING:YYY(3 out of 5 hearts!)

Whole Foods Bakery oftentimes stocks a variety of vegan baked goods. It's a great option for picking up something quick to serve to bring to a party or serve to a group of friends. It's also an easy place to go to get a freshly baked cookie or cake rather than something packaged and shipped from afar. However, I do Here's what I would and wouldn't recommend.

WOULD
Cookies - Their cookies are always amazing. They are soft and chewy, large and a little bit on the greasy side but I love love love them. Plain 'ol chocolate chip cookies are my fave.
Cupcakes - The packaged cupcakes from the bakery are spongy, moist and last a long time post-purchase. The frosting is kind of boring but it's a good cupcake overall.

WOULD NOT
Chocolate Cake - you'd have to order this behind the counter and I think it takes some time to make. The cake is pretty dry and the frosting is not exciting. I mean, it serves as your basic sheet cake. I was never a fan of sheet cake, so vegan sheet cake doesn't do it for me either. It's good if you need to pick up a birthday cake and have no where else to go... but I wouldn't recommend purchsing it for fun.
Chocolate Chip Vegan Scone - It's kind of boring. Just not worth it.

That's all I've tried here.. I believe they have muffins too, but have I left anything else off? What do you think of Whole Foods bakery? Post in the comments!

4.23.2009

TASTE TEST: Sweet & Sara Peanut Butter 'Smores


Sweet & Sara Peanut Butter 'Smores (Credit: Sweet & Sara)


RATING:YYY(3 out of 5 hearts!)

I was walking to the train yesterday from work and I stopped in the supermarket Jubilee. This is where I picked up the Sweet & Sara marshmallows for the vegan “peeps” I made a few weeks back so I wanted to see what other goodies they had. I saw a few vegan cookies and other goodies but I was once again drawn to Sweet & Sara. I picked up the Peanut Butter ‘Smores, which looked to me like a huge mallomar. Since it was so big I decided to check the calorie count & serving size (Yes I do do this every once in a while) and DAMN, not listed?! That seemed kind of strange to me and off-putting. I can’t find nutritional info on their site either. Isn’t that illegal?

Anyway, the Smore rocked. I may be 10 pounds heavier, but very tasty. It’s topped with a dark chocolate covered shell, the peanut butter marshmallow is in the middle and there’s a graham cracker crusted bottom. The consistency is just perfect, each bite has the soft sponginess of the marshmallow along with the crunch of the chocolate shell and the cracker. The chocolate/cinnamon/peanut butter flavor was awesome. Very rich. I loved this, I tried to only eat half but I ended up eating the whole thing. I will probably find myself getting these from time to time. I know there’s a non-peanut butter ‘Smore as well for those who aren’t as big of a peanut butter fan as I am.

SPOTLIGHT: Etsy Vegan BakeShops


Cream Bakery Cupcake Cookies (Credit: Cream Bakery)

I discovered Etsy around the holidays last year when I was looking to purchase gifts for friends. Most of the items are handmade and one-of-a-kind so I thought it would be really rad to purchase gifts solely from these shops. My friends loved the gifts and the originality of it. Some vegan companies got the idea to sell their wares on Etsy too. I noticed that several shops specialize in vegan cupcakes, cakes, TWINKIES, cookies and all sorts of goodies. I am just starting to realize how amazing the possibilities are, it’s the world’s vegan bakery right at your finger-tips. Here are some of the shops I’m loving…

  • Cream Bakery
  • Sweet Fritsy
  • The Cupcake Mint
  • Tanlayens
  • Vegan Propamanda
  • KT's Kitchen
  • Clover & Clutch
  • A Vegan Bakery
  • Sugarplum Vegan

    Some of these mail out and some will even deliver to your home as long as you are within their radius (up to 25 miles!) My only issue here is that I don’t really have a reason to order a dozen twinkies besides the fact that I want to eat them all… I’m going to space out my ordering and try all these shops for you guys!

    Do you have an Etsy Bakeshop and I left you out? Did you order from any of these shops in the past? Post in the comments!!



  • 4.20.2009

    Babycakes cookbook: It's coming!


    WATCH!

    BabyCakes, the Book of Recipes: It's Here (Almost)! from BabyCakes NYC on Vimeo.

    How cute is this? This video makes me want to work at Babycakes and dance with them. I can't wait for this cookbook to come out so I can make my own banana bread MMM

    Babycakes: Frosted Chocolate Chip Banana Bread and Lemon Blueberry Cupcake



    Babycakes cupcake party!


    RATING:YYYY(4 out of 5 hearts!)
    As the spring begins to bloom in New York City, I am more apt to take lunch breaks. Recently on a bright, sunny day, my co-worker and I took a walk over to Babycakes for lunch. I picked up the frosted chocolate chip banana bread and the lemon blueberry cupcake. I’ve never seen either of these products there before so I was glad to go. I love that Babycakes always has some mainstays but otherwise will often have new things popping up on the menu.

    The frosted chocolate chip banana bread was quite delicious – very moist, with chunks of banana and sweet chocolate chips dispersed. The creamy vanilla frosting on top was the same frosting that is typically used on the cupcakes (that people buy shots of for $1.50 – yes it is that good). I probably could have eaten a whole loaf of this. The lemon blueberry cupcake was interesting, I don’t know how I feel about it. The lemon frosting on top of the cupcake was amazing! But the blueberries on top of the frosting were kind of weird. I love blueberries but I just don’t know if I enjoyed the consistency of these raw on top. I’m sure that it’s somebody’s cup-of-tea because it was executed well, just not mine so much.

    I hope I spend more spring & summer lunch breaks at Babycakes, it's the best pick-me-up that could be!