Dinner at Crossroads Kitchen:
Alicia Silverstone & 'The Kind Mama'
Last night, Alex and I drove out to LA for a a 4-course tasting menu at Crossroads Kitchen in LA, celebrating the release of 'The Kind Diet' author Alicia Silverstone's new book, 'The Kind Mama'. Yup, Alicia Silverstone -queen of 90's girl movies- is a powerhouse mom blogger who fights for animal rights, healthy kids, and living an eco-friendly, low-impact lifestyle in an attainable, enjoyable way. She ROCKS. If you don't follow her blog over at The Kind Life, you're missing out. She offers info & blog posts for expectant or already-mommies, but she also posts recipes, beauty info, and DIY chemical-free home cleaners. Meeting her last night was a pleasure. She's as friendly in person as you could hope, and made a personal effort to chat with every single person that came to the event. She was even sweet enough to let Alex snap a quick picture and personally address a book to us, but also sign a SECOND copy that we'll be giving away right here! WOO! Told you she rocks.
Sorry for the crappy yellow photography. It was lovely, low lighting for enjoying dinner but god awful for photos. Alas. On the plus side, the food was AMAZING. We were served a four course tasting menu as follows:
1st Course: Artichoke & Mushroom Crostini with Pesto, served with lightly dressed Watercress & Beet Salad.
2nd Course: Garlicky Fat Fried Udon Noodles with Corn, Green Onion, and Cabbage.
3rd Course: Pan Fried Tempeh slathered in Teriyaki Glaze over Bok Choy.
4th Course: Peanut Butter Mousse Pie with Chocolate Crust & Chocolate Ganache.
All of the recipes, cooked up by legendary vegan Chef Tal Ronnen, are based on recipes in Alicia's book. And they were seriously delicious. The first course was light, a meal you could any time of day or night but was perfect on a hot fall evening. I loved the lightly dressed sunflower sprouts on top. This course was my favorite.
The 2nd course of Fat Fried Noodles was by far the most flavorful and a dish I think you could convince any meat eater to enjoy. It was full of garlic, Asian-inspired flavors, and was Alex's favorite course.
The 3rd course (and by far the worst looking of the photographs- my apologies!) was a few large pieces of Teriyaki Tempeh served over steamed bok choy. I really loved the bok choy as a side, and thought it complimented the tempeh nicely. That being said, I'm not the BIGGEST tempeh fan, so I wouldn't normally order it, but I loved the plating & presentation.
The last and final course was rich, decadent, and a sweet surprise. We loved getting our own pieces, but could easily have shared. This tiny slice o' pie was one of the richest, sweetest (in a GOOD way!) PB/Chocolate combos I've ever eaten. I'll have to recreate in our own kitchen! (On second thought, THIS was Alex's favorite.)
After our final course, we finally got to meet & greet with the lovely Alicia, who was more than sweet and gracious about signing our books and taking photos- the kind of celebrity EVERY celebrity should be. We chatted about my blog (yep, THIS BLOG!!) and she was supportive and encouraging, even doling out hugs since we vegans all just love each other (I mean, we do kind of rock). As you probably saw in the first paragraph, she even offered to sign our 2nd copy so we could include YOU guys in all the fun! Yup, we're giving away one FREE, SIGNED copy of 'The Kind Mama'! This book is amazing. Filled with recipes, family photos, and notes from Alicia's diary the first few days after welcoming her son into the world, this book takes you from pre-pregnancy through raining a happy, healthy baby- and everything in between. From doulas to breastfeeding, potty training to creating meals your kids will love, Alicia's got you covered. And the best part? She's so sweet and down-to-earth, her stories and advice are relatable and never feel forced. Any mom- or dad, grandma, uncle, babysitter- would benefit from this amazing book.
So how do you enter? EASY! Just enter using the widget below. Enter as often as you want...until the 30th that is, when we're picking our winner! International entries welcome, but please note it may take a little longer to get to you. And don't forget to keep up with Alicia on The Kind Life and stay updated on Crossroads Kitchen's future events here. Good luck!
We picked a winner! Congratulations AMY BASHAM! We can't wait to send you your signed copy of The Kind Mama. We know you're gonna love it! Thanks to all who entered!!
As luck would have it, we are not only blessed with one delicious Babycakes over here on the west coast, but TWO! And in reasonable proximity to one another, in case you feel like hitting both in one afternoon. In fact, both are located in Los Angeles. Lucky us! We visited the Downtown location for some treats on a recent wholesale trip to American Apparel for Alex's newest adventure, FLOW Clothing Co: apparel for hockey and lacrosse players.
Immediately facing the door was this wall, where we were promptly informed that everything was gluten free, vegan, kosher, soy free, and casein free; at least we knew we were in the right place!
This was the next thing we saw, and by far my favorite part...the goodies! There was a reasonable selection when we arrived: donuts, cookies, cupcakes, wonder buns, and loaves of banana bread. The prices might seem expensive in comparison to your regular ol' cupcakery, but I like the guarantee that what I'm eating is 100% vegan...and all of the other awesome things listed on that first sign. I simply feel better about eating good, healthy 'junk food'.
Alex and I each chose two treats. He picked a blueberry donut and cinnamon sugar donut; I picked a coconut donut and a 'wonder bun', which is basically a cinnamon bun. The flavors of the donuts was incredible. They were soft and not too crumbly, with a delicate hint of vanilla in the batter of each. The blueberry was topped with a blueberry glaze and had real blueberries floating around inside. The cinnamon sugar was a basic, really well done vegan donut. I don't think anyone could not like this donut. The coconut donut was frosted and covered with a thin layer of pink colored shredded coconut. The coconut taste wasn't overwhelming and really complimented the whole thing nicely. The wonder bun didn't quite measure up to the donuts, sadly. It was harder than I expected, and almost flavorless. The frosting seemed more for decoration than flavor, so it seemed like we were just eating empty calories, which made me feel sort of guilty. Overall, I understand why they're famous for their baked goods, because the donuts are awesome. I have heard rave reviews about the cupcakes and cookies as well, so maybe it was just an off day in wonder bun world.
This adorable corner is filled with sugar, syrup, utensils, and love letters. Seriously, people LOVE this place! And they should. The store was well kept, the employees friendly and helpful, the decorations adorable. Plus, where else did such a bakery exist before Babycakes? Thousands of vegan and gluten free Angelenos were ready for a place like this. In the ten minutes we were inside the small bakery, another ten people must have come and gone. The corner above is filled with letters of thanks, appreciation, articles...and a signed copy of a J. Lo headshot. When you have Jennifer Lopez endorsing your products, you know you're got something good. (For the record, the J. Lo picture got cut off. Top left hand corner for the signature, though.)
Babycakes will definitely be seeing our cute little vegan faces again! Ordering goodies and not having to stress over wether they were both prepared and baked using vegan ingredients was a nice reprieve. Plus, those donuts! Also, if the prices are keeping you away, they have a 'day old' section where everything is half priced (but equally delicious I am sure)!
We tried a new restaurant recently that we have been hoping to try for a while now. The first 100 percent vegan pizzeria in Los Angeles, Cruzer Pizza is perfect for the vegan who just can't seem to give up those cheesy, garlic-infused italian recipes. Cruzer Pizza has something for everybody: specialty pizzas, calzones, sandwiches, salads, pasta dishes, and dessert! We took Amber's mom and sister with us (who are both not vegan) and ordered quite the spread. A gourmet Pesto Pizza, a BBQ Chick*n Pizza and a Quarry Girl Pizza, along with Pesto Pasta, and an order of cheesy bread sticks). While we waiting for our food we talked with some of the guys working there and they were all super nice. Just because of how nice they were, I would go back again! The place has the vibe of your basic pizza spot, but EVERYTHING is vegan. They use Daiya cheese products and imitation meets, but after that, they're a pizza place. The phone was ringing, people were placing orders, the delivery guys were coming and going, and this was at 4 pm on a monday (impressive!). After a short wait we collected our food and went to a park down the street to enjoy our order.
Some of the menu... Making a final decision was so hard!
As soon as we jumped in the car, we broke into the cheese bread sticks which anyone, vegan or non-vegan, would be more than happy with. My main focus was the Pesto Pizza, a simple combination of pesto sauce, spinach, artichoke, garlic, and Daiya mozzarella cheese, and it was seriously good, I loved it. The BBQ chicken pizza was also great, covered in BBQ sauce, faux chicken, red onion, cilantro, and Daiya mozzarella cheese. The quarrygirl pizza and the pesto pasta went to Amber's mom and sister, the non-vegans, and they were huge hits and I even saw the pasta leftovers make an appearance for breakfast the following morning. For someone like me who is relatively new to the vegan lifestyle, this was perfect to curb those cravings that I've been having that I'm sure a lot of you are familiar with.
The best part? They have dessert. And it is good dessert. We were lucky enough to catch them on a day where they had carrot cake and chocolate chip 'cheesecake'. Let's put it this way: the carrot cake was gone before I even got a bite. As for the cheesecake, I did some damage to make up for my lack of carrot cake and was definitely not disappointed.
Vegan or omnivore, check this place out. For non-vegans it's great because there aren't a lot of unfamiliar vegan terms that may seem scary or daunting. For vegans, it's all of the pleasures of italian food without the animal products, while staying cruelty-free. Just take a look at their menu, you'll be hooked. Oh, and if you live close by, don't forget that they deliver! To see all the scrumptious choices on their menu, visit their website here.