I don't claim to create recepies, I just experiment with what I like. Whether it's out of a cookbook or adapting my own, so long as I'm in the kitchen, I'm having fun. Outside of that,
I'm adventurous and curious--some say I'm a restaurant snob (not because of price) because prefer independent or new places/cultures. From groceries to gadgets, I want to share my favorites. Call me a 'foodie,' because I'm not unique in my interests, but I find that's the best part of a community. Follow my take as I share, make, taste, & spend my way thru my non-existent willpower...

July 16, 2009

[ i'm obsessed ]

[photo] Window image courtesey of Google Search / Vegan banana cake -- don't be fooled by the two forks. Eva only took one bite. Still, I couldn't finish it.

Always an easy statement to make when it comes to food, but Karyn's Cooked deserves that from me. Night three of Chicago.
Polar opposite dinner intentions that night. We originally headed toward Mr. Beef on Orleans (was highly recommended, Italian food, greasy spoon) but due to their odd Saturday hours, it got us wandering toward an L stop where we stumbled upon this hip, indie looking vegan restaurant with the phrase "concious cooking" under it's name. Perked. Sliding thru the street seating 'patio' to check out the menu by the door, I was initially confused on if it was a vegan restaurant or a raw restaurant (another I'd love to try someday) because of the website address listed [http://www.karynraw.com/]. Items like 'tofu jerk' and 'sloppy joe' caught my eye, but upon taking our first step in the door, I knew I'd like this place. Warm colors yet trendy feeling, the deep narrowness of the restaurant opened at the front with a bakery-like display case of assorted goodies, a 'take one' sample cake stand on top, and wrapping to the left of the case was *tada*...a selection of grand-sized, simple frosted cakes and pies, all missing just a few slices. Dessert? Yes, please.
Ok, I love dessert, but honestly, that impressive display wasn't the driving reason to try Karyn's. From minimal past experieces, I remembered that vegan dishes, and especially desserts, always struck a place in my stomach. Yummy. Without reservations, we were seated in the window 'well' facing Wells Street...awesome bar table for two, actually.
The drink list tempted me with its Sangria and beet juice, but I had a vision of dessert I had to splurge on. Eva ordered it though, and not only was it a beautiful ruby red, it tasted of sweet juice with a hint of the organic red wine.
Couldn't settle on one entree, at which point I wished that this restaurant was in Boulder--oh, how it would fit the demographic AND I could try everything on the menu...and more. Had to go with the Tofu Jerk Sandwich, and Eva had the special, Coconut Curry. I never had such flavorful, grill kissed tofu where the jerk slowly creeped to spicy by the end of the meal. With a side of finely shredded cole slaw and two wedge potatoes, once again, I was blown away by 'vegan food.' (Although, I don't hold that stereotypical stigma against 'vegan food' as I've only had delicous experiences.) Eva's curry was tasty too, and although she didn't care for it, I liked the brown rice intermixed.
Ah, the long awaited dessert. Tempted by the assortment and weary of not finishing such a large piece of cake, I still had to go with the banana cake despite the over half gone carrot recommended by our charming waiter. No regrets except that I couldn't eat it all. Extremely moist, light yet creamy frosting on top, the middle frosting speckled with nuts, and a layer of mushy bananas on the bottom. Heaven. Best part of it all? Yes, I overate a bit (what meal in Chicago did I NOT?) but I do agree with my cousin's comment about feeling 'light' despite the amount of food I ate. Eva and I then had a discussion about vegetarians/vegans and that 'light' feeling mainly due to the lack of grease/oil/animal fats, but oh no, that wasn't about to covert me. I enjoy a balance of foods--well, maybe need to work on the balance of proportion lately, but you know what I mean. Oh yeah, and we sampled the blueberry cheesecake--wowie for a vegan cheesecake--and the tiramasu cake--comme ci comme ca on that one.
Until next time, Chicago. See, that's why I can't live in a big city. Too many choices, too many good eats I feel overwhelmed by not knowing/covering them all.

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