Cooking Smart: Brussels Sprouts + Greens

brussels sprouts green kale

One thing you can do to significantly reduce your bill = cook smart. Whether your stove is gas or electric, or if you’re in a tent in the woods with only one match: here’s how you do it.

Object Lesson A: Brussel sprouts and greens
Let’s say you have brussels sprouts and some greens that have wilted slightly and/or would taste much more satisfying cooked. You have a pot to cook in with a lid, and a knife of some sort.

Trim brussels sprouts of any soiled leaves. If you have a knife, chop off the base of the sprouts (which can tend to be dirty).

Boil sprouts in enough water to cover them. Cover with lid to bring water to a boil more quickly. Once the water begins to boil, lift the lid and add a few shakes of salt if you have it. This will help tenderize the sprouts and reduce overall cooking time. Boil covered for 6-12 minutes. If you like them a bit softer, err on the side of 12.

Turn off heat and remove sprouts with a spoon or strainer, leaving the vegetable water in the pot. Immediately throw your greens into the pot. Cover with lid, allowing the heat from the water/vapor to cook the greens. The salt in the water will also tenderize the greens, allowing them to cook quickly and serve while the brussels sprouts are still warm. Serve with the broth/leftover water to warm your insides and to maximize nutrient intake. The brussels sprouts and broth taste taste delicious as is, but also when lightly seasoned with lemon juice and black pepper.

brussels sprouts greens brussels sprouts and kale brussels sprouts and greens

More Cooking Smart recipes to follow…

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5 Salad Dressing Recipes ≤ 5 ingredients

perfect salad
I’ve traveled a lot, in many situations where access to a blender was nil. Whether it was a motel room with a mini fridge, or a hospedaje with bars on the widows; a hostel dorm with a shared kitchen, a tent, or my car, I’ve managed to make every salad dressing on this list with as little as a pocket knife and a mason jar. That’s not to say they’re simplistic. These recipes can transform something as basic as shredded cabbage into a flavorful and satisfying meal.
Continue reading

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Vegan Backpacker’s Guide, part 2

Or, how to cook your own food

meal guate 2

So, you’re not keen on making sandwiches with avocado, onion, and tomato on white bread. You know how said bread is made and what ingredients go into it. You know it contains chemical leavening agents in place of eggs, and that it’s dairy free (and therefore vegan). You might also have an awareness of the mutual exclusivity between white bread and paleo.

Whether you’re staying in a hostel or have rented an apartment, or you’re a PeaceCorps volunteer and made arrangements other than a homestay in order to avoid the awkwardness that would ensue when you pass on the soup because it’s cooked with chicken bones; or the breakfast, when it contains eggs bought with the host-family’s hard-earned money or laid by their family hen…

Scenario B

The money you have to live on consists of either a meager stipend or nothing at all. After searching far and wide to secure an apartment or a room in a hostel or hospedaje with a kitchen—with a dependable landlord and rent within your budget, you finally find it and obviously can’t live on your stipend or lack thereof when you spend most of it on rent. Your coworkers, peers, or most people in your age range go out to bars and clubs every night and dine at restaurants that cost 45 Q for an entree.

Your apartment, or the hostel or hospedaje you are staying in, has a stove. The town you are staying in has a market that caters to locals. You can either trek to the market every day to buy the fresh produce you need, or you can supplement it with a few dry goods. Namely, havas aka fava beans. These have 20g protein per serving and are reasonably priced. If they don’t taste delicious at first, you will eventually begin to crave them. When purchased fresh they cook a lot faster, but it’s a good idea to keep a stash of the dried variety at home (or in your backpack when between hostels, apartments, campsites, etc).  You can also buy purple corn, a popular “superfood” among the raw foodist community.  Like dried havas, it’s sold by the pound inside most local markets. When dried, it looks a bit like animal feed—especially when stored in large burlap sacks as it often is. That shouldn’t wig anyone out, however, since most cows are fed corn—as are most dogs and cats that eat commercial food.

But seriously, purple corn is good for you. Just ask Blythe. She loves it. You can also buy quinoa, which I personally don’t love for reasons similar to my general aversion to rice.  However, if you like grain—quinoa is most likely your best bet. Unless you’re gluten intolerant, wheat berries provide a nutritious alternative to rice. Another food considered a “superfood” in the states are cacao beans—also sold in markets in Guatemala with an astronomically lower price tag. Cacao tastes great in a trail mix with cashew nuts—another “superfood” that is sold in the states for $10 a pound. In the local markets of Guatemala, the price per pound is 4 or 5Q (under $1). You can also buy goji berries—another “superfood” in the states, known in other countries as “wolf berries”, for mere pennies when compared to the $20 a pound they sell for in the states.

cooked meal vegan guatemala

Cooking your own food is often possible at your average hostel. However, when traveling though Guatemala for the fourth time, the girl I was traveling with seemed a bit more hardcore than me. I thought I’d seen it all, but she suggested we stay at an hospedaje that looked straight out of a horror film. The room cost about 10Q for both of us, and we slept on a cot in our sleeping bags only to wake up to noises of 10 cockroaches scurrying on the floor. The shower was a definite no-go, since neither of us had “shower shoes” or flip flops, and all of the toilets were clogged. We peed in empty water bottles. The next night, we went to the hostel across the street for 100Q. At this hostel, unlike the previous, we had kitchen access and wifi. In the kitchen, we cooked the havas I’d purchased from a market months ago in a town I can’t recall the name of. I’d nearly forgotten about them, but the fact that I had them eliminated the need for us to trek 10 more miles into the next town to eat. Lesson learned: dried goods are good to have on hand in case of a crisis or otherwise.

havas purple corn

Good things to travel with, in case you stay somewhere with a stove, include:

1.) A metal measuring cup, to double as a drinking glass—from which you can drink a hot beverage or broth without the threat of melted plastic, and use for cooking. Don’t travel with glass, since your backpack will most likely end up strapped atop a bus with questionably-secure rope. Glass can easily break in situations such as this (thereby ruining many important belongings i.e. your laptop). This didn’t actually happen to me, unless you consider nightmares in a parallel universe an alt-reality, if you believe in the existence of alternative universes or dimensions and consider dreams a gateway into them.

2.) A small metal pot with a lid, that you can buy at most markets in Guatemala. The metal is thin, of a similar thickness/texture as the metal measuring cup. You can also buy one in your home country before you leave, but if saving $ is the goal—wait.

3.) A tupperware plate, such as these. If you’re traveling with a partner or a group—one person should carry them because they’re feather-light and stack in a very convenient way. In other words, it’s as easy for one person to carry 4 of them as it would be for 4 people to carry one each in their own individual packs.

4.) A knife, purchased when you land at your first destination. If you take a bus to Mexico en route to central america from the states, you might not need to worry about it being confiscated. I’m not sure. However, if you take something like a Leatherman Juice (which I loved, and nearly fought the security officer at customs to keep) or a swiss army knife, you need to check your bag. It’s ironic, since the first rule of backpacking is to pack less than what would necessitate a checked bag. So, either check your pocket knife or mini multi-tool device in your bag, and deal with baggage claim, or wait until you hit Guatemalan soil and purchase one at the market in the next town.

5.) A fork and spoon, or a spork (one that won’t be taken from you at customs) carved from bamboo, like this one sold by Bambu. Yes, it’s very hippie and was very hyped in 2009 at co-ops in Northern California and Southern Oregon—but it’s also very functional. I can’t hate on it; it was a gift from my former roommate in college. It fits in your pocket and you could even drill a hole in the middle and wear it as a necklace for convenient use. Otherwise, buy a metal fork and spoon at the market when you arrive at the town you plan to stay in. The fork can even double as a tool for self-defense, should you ever need it.

6.) Pepper spray or mace. If Belize is on your backpacking itinerary, a store in Belize City sells it. On a keyring. On my first trip to Mexico for work back in 2009, my then-boyfriend’s close friend gave me her pepper spray keychain as a gesture to keep me safe. Like the Leatherman in 2011, this was also taken from me at customs. When I found a near-identical one filled with bear mace in Belize, I bought it. There was a time, in fact, that I actually needed to use it.

What you don’t need, but might want:

1.) A bowl, made of plastic or metal. I recommend metal, since in most cases you’ll want to eat soup from it. If you really want to minimize—trust me, this is a good idea; less is more when it comes to backpacking—use the metal measuring cup instead. It’s totally versatile, and when you consider the odd shape of a bowl (and curse it each time you attempt to pack your bag) you will later rejoice in the versatility of the metal measuring cup. You will leave your plastic bowl at the hostel or give it to the homeless man on the sidewalk. You will not miss it.

2.) Glassware. If you stay in a place long enough i.e. if you work or volunteer there, you may want a glass or two. Ever wonder about that vintage pyrex your great-grandmother donated to Goodwill in the early ‘90s? It’s in Guatemala. Vendedoras use it to serve their Tang and arroz con chocolate. And as a side note, please: sit down and drink your beverage from pyrex as opposed to accepting a to-go styrofoam glass that will undoubtedly later manifest in the lake or the ocean, or on the streets of Guatemala City.

Vintage pyrex glassware is useful, novel, and more fun than drinking from a metal or plastic cup. Buy one in the market or from a used-appliance store. Can’t find one? Walk past the tourist-ridden main street and venture into the real part of town.

The point is, to cook havas or purple corn (or black beans, pinto beans, red beans, etc., if you so choose) you need only a cheap metal pot of a small size, in which you can pack clothing as well as your metal measuring cup/drinking vessel when en route to your next destination. Don’t buy glass unless it’s cheap and you don’t mind leaving it behind (since it’s likely to break, and could ruin the rest of your luggage i.e. your clothes). A knife is useful, but if bringing one from the states and your mode of transport is by plane—don’t be surprised when the customs officer pulls you aside and asks you to spread the contents of your bag across the surveillance belt.

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Vegan Backpacker’s Guide to Guatemala

backpacker guide guate

Whether you’re just passing through or plan to stay awhile, you want your $ to last as long as possible. Maybe you plan to volunteer or work as an unpaid intern, or you’re conducting research on cultural attitudes regarding a particular subject. Maybe you’re alone, or perhaps someone else tagged along.

Let’s say you found an apartment living among the locals and a few counter-culture expats such as a family from France. Perhaps one day you realize that expat American journalist who lives next to you is the author of the book the person who lives with you is reading.

It’s a small world, after all. Coincidences happen. Maybe you or backpackers like you have or one day will run into people you met while volunteering on a farm in South America years back, and you decide to travel together. Maybe they’re also vegan. Maybe a friend of yours comes to visit and he or she isn’t vegan but is adventurous enough to explore the vegan culinary bounty that Guatemala can provide with a bit of finesse and persuasion.

*based on a true story

Whatever your predicament: if you’re on a budget or want to travel until the $ runs out, you can’t afford to eat at the restaurants that cater to gringos. Let me pose a hypothetical situation, based on my experience:

You walk past the tourists and ex-pats from affluent western nations such as your own, listening to them gush about how their dinner cost only $5, and drinks only cost $3. You skeptically peruse the comodores and lunch stalls at locals market, silently calculating USD to quetzals; wondering if a plate of cooked vegetables with a side of beans and slice of avocado for 10 Q (approximately 1 USD 30 cents) is really worth it, considering you don’t really want the rice or the Tang, and won’t eat more than one of the tortillas. With a bit of negotiating and mastery of the language and its local dialect, you can sometimes negotiate the price down a few Q—or convince the cook to substitute extra vegetables for meat.

FYI: Unless your stomach has already been strengthened by a case of food poisoning, or if you’ve never had a problem and feel invincible enough to risk it—I don’t recommend the raw lettuce or tomato salad that sometimes comes with a meal from a lunch stall.

That said, the risk is worth it (within reason). The closest thing to a raw salad from street vendors, comedores, and market stall lunch vendors that doesn’t run the risk of food poisoning, or that doesn’t taste of clorox (a common method of sanitizing lettuce when served to gringos), is:

Ensalada de remolacha
pickled beet slaw
Street vendors often serve this as a topping for tostadas or fried potato dumplings. The beets and onions (and sometimes carrots) used in ensalada de remolacha are cooked to a temperature high enough to significantly lower the risk of food poisoning. To score a helping of ensalada de remolacha, minus the tostada or fried potato dumpling, or other toppings i.e. crumbled cheese—a sprinkling of which seems to manifest on everything from a street vendor before you can articulate the words no queso…befriend the vendedora. How? Master the language of street food lingo. If you’ve been backpacking for long, you’ve most likely picked up some basic phrases regarding food. If not, go to an internet cafe and print out the words/phrases you need. You could buy a phrasebook (if you aren’t carting one around in your backpack already), but why add the extra weight? Yeah, the pictures and illustrations of tourists talking to locals might look cool and give the allure of making learning ‘more fun’—but take it from someone who learned the hard way: you will end up doing everything from tearing out pages you don’t need to burning the remains in a ceremonial fire. Just kidding; I didn’t burn any books. I left them at a hostel for someone else to use (and later curse the burden of). Additional benefits to internet-cafe research as opposed to carting around a phrasebook or god forbid Lonely Planet’s Central America on a Shoestring aka the Bible. I can’t deny its credibility as the authoritative text for backpackers traveling in Central America, but it’s redundant, the text is difficult to read without a magnifying glass, and its pages are equally fragile. If you must buy this book, use it for research before leaving your home country. DO NOT bring it with you. Instead, download country guides pertaining only to the regions you plan to travel through to your lightweight laptop or wifi-enabled unlocked smartphone.

In a subsequent article I will provide info based on my experience with tech in Guatemala i.e. jailbreaking your phone, pre-paid cell service aka “go-phone” SIM cards, getting a local number, which service providers to use…as well as how to get around and stay safe without a cell phone…how to turn tour smartphone into an iPad or tablet, and other tech tips.

…But for now, let’s talk about food.

Scenario A

You’re about to embark upon a 4-hour ride on a chicken bus with your travel partner i.e. friend, colleague, life-partner, whatever. I have experience with all of the above.*

*Ask me questions; I’d be happy to answer them. But this is about you, the potential or current backpacker. So,

You’re adamant about keeping costs as low as possible, and want to gain perspective regarding the local culture. You brought along a granola bar or two you picked up in Mexico or brought from the states for emergencies, but want to wait to open it until a truly dire situation presents itself. The bus stops in a small town right before the border, and you spot a tienda with an open door. Despite how early it is even for a panaderia to welcome customers, you try your luck. The owner/clerk begrudgingly sells you an avocado, a tomato, an onion, and a lime. As you walk back to the bus (since your backpack is tied to the top of it, it’s pertinent you return before it leaves) you notice an open panaderia. You yell at your travel partner to hustle back to the bus and to email you from an internet cafe if you should miss the bus; you will catch the next bus and the two of you will meet in the next town.

You buy a loaf of bread even through you don’t normally eat bread, and catch up to the bus just before it leaves. As the bus takes off you lurch forward and nearly face-plant into a family of four with a bag full of live chickens, but your travel partner grabs you by the waist and pulls you into the seat. You are safe. Or maybe you’re alone, and you hold onto the railing above you head until the next stop, when a seat opens up and you elbow your way onto an open seat next to a single mother about your age with a crying toddler on her lap. Either way—with 8 hours to go, you have semi-healthy provisions—thereby avoiding the need to purchase a bag of potato chips featuring a dancing tiger from the next 10-year-old traveling salesman who boards the bus.


No, you’re not hallucinating. That is bread. The times I’ve eaten bread have fallen into categories involving: a) necessity, i.e. I just hiked 10 miles and this is all we have; b) peer pressure in my weaker moments, after accusations of hyper-radicalism (don’t give in to this one; you are you and don’t let anyone sway you otherwise); c) bread cravings I’ve honestly never had bread cravings—but I’ve been hungry enough to eat it in times like this, and felt justified in doing so. Think about it: a lot of people who follow a raw vegan diet will indulge in wine, and a number of those who adhere to a paleo diet also drink alcoholic beverages (all of which contain sugar, unfortunately) yet refuse to eat bread. If you need to refuel on the immediate, and a panaderia next to the bus stop is open—it might actually be wise to eat some refined carbs, especially if you don’t know exactly what your next destination will be.

In a scenario such as this, you will need: 

A knife, or the willingness to use your hands and/or teeth.

If you have a pocket knife, or even a plastic knife, you can cut into both without hassle. You might get some tomato juice on your pants, but if you think that’s a big deal—you shouldn’t be backpacking.

Avocados, when ripe, are easy to eat without a knife. Squeeze it gently to separate the skin from the fruit; when you find the softest (ripest) part, puncture it. Squeeze out the avocado onto the bread, or spoon, or whatever you plan to eat it with. This method also works with ripe mangos.

To be continued…

Next post: cooking your own food, on the cheap

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A Vegan Abroad or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Local Food

johnny cake 2In drafting this post I already feel a bit reluctant to publish it. If you’re reading this now—it’s confirmed. I posted it. My wariness stems from the idea that my readers (you) might judge me for eating a little gluten—chased with a Caribbean soft drink called Ting that contains sugar (real sugar, not stevia). When traveling or living in the Caribbean, Latin America, Mexico, or other places I might very possibly move to in the future—I occasionally make compromises. Before trying something that looks vegan I make sure to learn the local language in order to verify the ingredients used in the dishes I consider sampling. Actually, the term “sample” does not apply here—because the times I’ve eaten at food carts or went for almuerzo from a food vendor, nine times out of ten I ran up to the vendedora out of desperation, with just enough breath and brainpower left to verbally articulate something like “frijoles y ensalada por favor, con un vaso de Tang o una bolsa de agua potable” aka “beans and salad please, with a glass of Tang or a bag of drinking water”.

Whenever necessary, I avoid gluten. My nut allergy also limits my ability to eat “whatever the locals eat”—not to mention my diehard adherence to a vegan lifestyle (which prevents me from eating abroad without asking questions). Gluten, however…since I don’t have a near-lethal allergy to it…I occasionally throw caution to the wind and order something like the sandwich in the above photo.

My advice to anyone in a similar boat…

Awareness of the local language will guarantee you an advantage over non-Spanish-speaking (or non-[other foreign Language] speaking) vegans or other individuals with dietary requirements. Gluten, even when translated to the local language, doesn’t often compute (and for good reason). When you live or travel among a poverty-stricken population, explanations of your gluten allergy or dislike of rice could be met with expressions of humor or sarcasm from the vendor—and if you don’t speak the language your predicament could easily manifest as something along the lines of standing at a loss for words in front of the food cart until the local (or the Dutch anthropologist) in line behind you attempts to explain that your speechless ignorance has begun to hinder his dinner order.

As a last word, I think experiences such as this (in the photos, displayed below) merit my occasional indulgence in a bit of bread and sugar. “When in Rome”, right?procession (1)procession (3)blue and green iguana

Honestly, the impromptu processions and random iguanas seem to justify occasional consumption of gluten. Or quetzalteca:

Guatemala 2009 (Photo: Erik Törner)

(responsibly, in moderation).

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A Critical Analysis of the Gringo Trail

gringo-trail-cnn*Photo: Mathew Bennet/CNN

When traveling and living abroad I prefer to eat where locals do–even if it requires negotiation with the servers to obtain something vegan. The outcome is never difficult, as most restaurants have lettuce, tomato, cucumber, onion, and olives if it doubles as a bar. I once made a meal of bloody mary garnishes and iceberg lettuce. It may seem hardcore, and I feel that way at times–but it’s always empowering on some level. I get the opportunity to fine-tune my Spanish speaking and listening skills while welcoming the challenge to collaborate with the server on a spur-of-the-moment dish that could potentially inspire a recipe on this blog.

I suppose this is why I decided not to dine at Saint Germain Bistro and Cafe. With its black bean hummus and coffee cocktail called the “Pharmaceutical Stimulant” (I kid you not) it seemed too akin to the gringo-catering restaurants I spent years learning not to take seriously. From chichi vegan bistros run by expat yuppies in Guatemala to hookah bar strip club pizza joints in Ecuador, I’ve experienced a lot of the same things that inspired me to leave the USA in the first place. In the past eight years I’ve lived in Mexico and Guatemala and backpacked through the majority of both countries. In between and after those experiences after returning to Oregon to graduate from college, I volunteered in Ecuador and lived/worked on a permaculture-inspired farm that I remember fondly and often regret leaving. I’ve traveled by chicken bus through at least half the countries in Latin America, and despite sitting next to a goat with someone else’s toddler on my boyfriend’s lap and a drunken man twice the age of my father impaling my left shoulder upon every sharp turn made by the bus driver who was engaged in a speed race with the bus driver only several yard behind us–I actually really miss it.

My favorite part about backpacking through the other Americas–once with my former co-worker & friend from Eastern Europe and later with my ex, is the spontaneity. I was raised to think ahead and not live in the moment, with good intentions I imagine, though clearly I failed at fulfilling that dream of my parents after fleeing college partway through and spending my life discovering what actually goes on in Latin America–returning with the capability to more or less skip a grade having developed an understanding of contemporary religious, medicinal, and spiritual practices in the region. I’ve been the bystander at many a quinceañera, wedding reception, shamanistic ceremony, and funeral–in locations ranging from graveyards to personal homes complete with candles of the Virgen de Guadalupe and life-size incarnations of Mayan saints resembling My Size Barbie™ but with more engaging facial features and outfits. And cigars. No class I took in college could have prepared me more adequately to write my capstone, which I now hear is called a thesis at some schools even in cases of bachelor’s degrees.

Occasionally I reflect upon my choice to attend and graduate from a smaller institution that is less prestigious than an ivy league or lesser known than other schools in the pacific northwest. Southern Oregon University might not hold the same prestige as the University of Oregon, but my experience there was worth it and if given the choice i wouldn’t change a thing. I don’t think it matters where you attend school. It matter what opportunities you have, the professors/mentors you work with, and the people you surround yourself with if you even have time for friends with a job on top of school. Transitioning away from that life can be confusing, if not completely paradigm-shifting. This too is material for a subsequent article, so moving on.

Living in a country less affluent than the United states was the antidote to existential angst. I would say the cliche “live in the moment” but that’s far from the truth of my experience. Ask anyone who knows me well: I can’t meditate but yoga seems to work because it doesn’t require sitting still. When engaged in yoga poses, I can focus. It’s my answer to meditation, I suppose.

I often wonder if my inability to meditate stems from certain experiences, such as but not limited to hours spent alone sitting on a bench in Esquintla, the drug trafficking hub of Guatemala where the federal prison is also located, where a bald man approximately my age and covered in prison tats and wearing a wife-beater scared the sh*t out of me until he nudged me and offered me his piece of licorice. I hate licorice, but assumed that if I were to accept it I could distract the potential felon, divert my Esquintla paranoia, and run for it. No such luck. In fact, on the bus the guy was so high that he fell asleep on my shoulder despite my reluctance to talk to him and completely disregarding the unregistered semiautomatic pistol in his pants.

Reverting back to Saint Germain Bistro and Cafe, I don’t know whether or not to write a yelp review or to try out their black bean hummus. The ambience seems nice but reminds me of an establishment in which my driver’s license was stolen by an underage girl in Mexico. Hanging out with eighteen-year-olds on club drugs and Tequila would make me feel like Matthew McConaughey’s character in Dazed and Confused.

I will try Saint Germain at some point. Just not today.

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Vegan In-Flight Dining Guide

Inflight DiningMany airlines offer special meals to accommodate passengers of varying lifestyles and dietary preferences. American Airlines, Virgin Atlantic, British Airways, and Continental Airlines, to name a few, provide a number of alternative meal types on long-distance flights including Western vegetarian/vegan, vegetarian Jain (pure vegetarian/vegan meal adhering to the principles of the Jain belief system), and raw vegetable and/or fruit plates. These alternative meals must be confirmed in advance at the time of ticket purchase or at least 72 hours prior to check-in. These options might vary according to seasonal availability and changes in budget.

Choosing a Vegan In-Flight Meal

When booking your flight, keep an eye out for a “special dietary preferences” checkbox or button. This will take you to a new page or menu where the following options should be listed: Continue reading

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Dinner at Gomier’s in Punta Gorda, Belize

While in Punta Gorda, Belize (referred to locally as “PG”), I was introduced to Gomier’s Restaurant. I went for dinner with my mom while we were staying at Hickatee Cottages (Ian and Kate, who own and run Hickatee, recommended that we try it). We were very impressed with the curried tofu vegetable and barbecue tofu plates we ordered (we ended up sharing because they were both equally delicious). We ended up chatting with Gomier (owner & chef) about the origin of the restaurant and philosophy behind it, and learned about the tofu-making lessons he offers to community members and tourists. I was excited to learn more and write a piece for, so we set up an interview for later in the week.

I will post the full review & article soon! In the meantime, here’s a preview: Tofu cheesecake garnished with dragonfruit and soursop ice cream…

Tofu Cheesecake with Soursop Ice Cream

…because when it comes to delicious vegan treats made from scratch, with all ingredients sourced from within a 5 mile radius (if not from the adjacent garden or nearby fruit trees), “dessert first” is a no-brainer.

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