Saturday, November 27, 2010

Turning Stone, Strong Hearts Cafe, Peach Blossom, China Road

So it was my birthday on November 13'th (late posting but it still counts).  My awesome girlfriend planned an overnight trip to Turning Stone for a little fun.  We also stopped at my favoritest place to eat, Strong Hearts Cafe (you go now!!!) to pick up a vegan birthday cake and some food.

First up, lunch.  I got a vegan grilled cheese with cajun seitan and tomato.

They use two types of daiya vegan cheese.  It's heaven on a plate.

Yeah boiieee.  =)

Next up was a reuben.  Look, one sandwich just isn't enough ... and I love the reuben!  I was always a fan of thousand island dressing prior to going vegan, so any recreation is grade A in my book.  They use thousand island, some daiya cheese and thinly sliced seitan.  In a word, flawless.  The picture isn't the best but trust me, it's worth it.

I also got a chocolate cherry milkshake and my significant other got a pumpkin spice latte if I recall correctly.  All in all, an amazing set of consumables.  Of course, we left with the birthday cake as well:

Awwww.  <3

Next up we headed over to Turning Stone Casino, about a half an hour drive from Strong Hearts.  We stayed in the tower which was pretty amazing as well, corner jr suite with windows pretty much everywhere.  When we arrived at the hotel, they asked if we were planning on eating there and if we wanted reservations.  Awesome!  We had scouted out Peach Blossom, an Asian restaurant in the hotel so we were all about them making reservations for us.  They had asked if we had any dietary needs and we said that we were vegan, so they informed the restaurant ahead of time.  When we got there, they knew we were vegan and catered everything exactly to our needs.  This was great!  Pretty much the best service we've ever gotten from a ... non vegan-only restaurant.

Now .. the food.  :)  We started with an appetizer, fried tofu sticks.

My lady got a Tom Yum'ish soup (called Tom Yum but they used coconut milk which is usually called Tom Kar soup .. anyway, it was good), which I didn't get a pic of.  It was, in my opinion, the better appetizer.  The tofu sticks were plain tofu, fried in what appeared to be a tempura like batter.  It was ok, but I wouldn't spend $4 on it again.

We got the vegetarian chicken.  This is a bunch of veggie chicken patties fried with vegetables in a garlic sauce.  It was gooood.  This is the same veggie chicken you can find in veg chicken drumsticks, in Asian markets or if you're in NY City at May Wah or Red Bamboo.  (side note, must go to NYC again and take blog pictures at Red Bamboo).

Second entree was General Tso tofu, of course!

While not as tasty as the vegetarian chicken, it was still a good dish.  I think the sauce kind of made it, because as with the tofu sticks, the tofu itself was rather plain.  No marinating, no freeze/thawing .. just seemed like the cut up some sticks, floured and fried them.  Not that there's anything wrong with that but when you're spending $15, $20! an entree, you'd hope for more.

All in all, Peach Blossom gets an A+ for service, and a B- for food.

No trip is complete to/through Syracuse NY without a stop to China Road.  This place has a huge vegetarian menu, veggie chicken, beef, etc.  So we stopped here, and got some clear vegetarian soup for an appetizer (no pics).  Then I had to have my General Tso veggie chicken, of course!  This is the best veg General Tso I've ever had.  It's just like the real thing, which .. may turn some of you off, but I grew up with that stuff.  I know that the difference now that is no animals perished/were tortured/exploited for my lunch!!  =)

Doesn't it look yum?  Yeah thought so.  Hey here's a pic of that veggie chicken I was talking about.  Same stuff at China Road.  I wish I could find it in chunk form ...

Ahh well.  I'm getting hungry just posting this stuff.  Damn you blogging!  Stay tuned for some pictures of my own attempts at General Tso bean curd skin (yuba)...

Saturday, November 13, 2010

General Tso Tofu - China Chef

I don't know about you but one of my favorite things to get at Chinese places was that good standby - General Tso Chicken.  Well, now that I've been educated about how the world works, I clearly can't support that anymore.  So what's left?

Get ready kids, I'm on the hunt for the best General Tso tofu (or seitan) in Rochester!

Today's entry comes from the venerable (ish) China Chef in Webster NY (link).  When you think of Chinese take-out, this place comes to mind.  Very small on the inside, only a few tables and chairs, loud workers shouting at each other in some non-english asian language .. it's perfect!

The downside, a tad pricey, 7.25 for lunch, no special.  Also, the tofu itself is pretty straightforward, deep fried I believe, then stir fried in the sauce.  The upside, the sauce is really good!  The tofu is pretty good as well, no complaints .... just nothing spectacular, ya know?  It has a nice crispy outside and light inside.  It's good stuff.

Don't panic, this General Tso tofu is good.  :)

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Mock Duck Tacos for Dinner

Yesterday night was one of those awesome dinner nights.  You know, when you're done with it you just feel totally satisfied?  Everything was perfect?  Yeah that's awesome.

Anyway, we decided to try out the street style mock duck tacos that were posted on one of my favorite blogs, Chow Vegan.  Head on over to see the recipe.  We followed it exactly only we didn't have yuba and didn't feel like running to the asian market but we did have a can of mock chicken and a can of mock abalone pictured here:

The result was probably just as awesome had we used yuba.  The mango salsa was really good with the right amount of kick from the jalapeno, and the hoisin sauce added perfect balance.  I couldn't have asked for anything more.  :)

Tuesday, October 19, 2010


Yeah, my first blog post!  It's about time.  I know I'm a little bit late and you've probably read tons of these "hi this is my first post" entries but .. there's no way around it, it has to be done.

Or, you never read those entries because really, do those ever show up on any big time search radars?  Nahhh.

Anyway, stay tuned, hopefully a few of you will find my interests ... interesting.