Ramen Hood

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As a frequent out of town guest of Grand Central Market, I try to find a new spot to eat every time I visit. Top Chef’s Ilan Hall’s vegan ramen joint was the perfect spot for me this trip. The site of several patrons sitting at the counter hunched over a large bowl of curled noodles in a delicious steamy broth with chopsticks in hand drew me in. Ramen Hood usually has a decent sized line that moves somewhat quickly. You basically order your bowl and do your best to find a seat at the counter or one of the surrounding tables in the market. Menu choices are various ramen bowls, some sides and some add-on’s for your ramen (vegan egg, bean sprouts, oysters, mushrooms, etc). They also have a combo special that includes ramen, a side and a drink.

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I eat anything spicy and went for the Spicy Ramen. They have a variety of small plates to choose from for a side and I chose the avocado toast (a new thing I’m really into) for mine. The Spicy Ramen isn’t super spicy but they have plenty of ingredients on the counter that you can add more spice to it. The broth is very rich and milky because it’s made from sunflower seeds that are roasted and pressure cooked to obtain its natural oils. They also simmer kelp, white miso, onions and mushrooms in the broth. My Ramen bowl was fantastic and full of all types of flavor. The egg that is added in is vegan. The avocado toast was a pleasant surprise. It was one of the best avocado toast I have ever had (and I made my own creations at home). I’m not vegan and was really surprised how flavorful and filling everything was. I also enjoyed sitting at a counter and watching the kitchen staff work their magic. This was a really nice visit to the Market and Ramen Hood. I’m looking forward to a future visit.

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Avocado Toast

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Spicy Ramen

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Ramen Hood Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

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Ike’s Love & Sandwiches

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Ike’s Love & Sandwiches is a sandwich shop that started in San Francisco’s Castro District in 2007 and made its way all through the Bay area. Now we have them here in Arizona. Ike Shehadeh (whose cartoon face is plastered on every restaurant) opened his first restaurant after being nearly homeless. Ike’s are known for their variety of sandwiches that are named after well-known celebrities. They use a bread popular in the Bay area called Dutch Crunch bread (or Tiger bread). The sandwiches are unique because of “Ike’s Dirty Secret Sauce” – a creamy, garlic aioli that is baked into the bread and smeared onto the sandwiches. So far I have tried the Manage a Trois and the Meatless Mike (Vegan meatballs). The sandwiches are pretty large and the bread is very soft and moist. I have had great experiences both times I visited them. They have many vegetarian options and very order comes with a free caramel-green apple lollipop for dessert.

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Menage a Trois

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Meatless Mike

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Ike’s in Tempe with a take out window

Ike's Place Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Sweet Potato Squash Kale Hash

 

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This is a dish I made that was inspired by an Instagram post I saw the other day. I’ve been eating pretty healthy these past few months and have been trying new ways to make vegetarian meals taste super good. Roasting vegetables has definitely changed my approach to them. This sweet potato hash is perfect for the upcoming Fall season.

Bake cubed small sweet potato and squash at 400 for ~30 minutes. Set aside. Heat extra virgin olive oil in a skillet over medium heat. Add 1/2 diced bell pepper and 1/4 cup diced onion for 5 minutes until onion turns clear. Add in the sweet potato and smash cubes, 1 handful chopped kale, 1/2 tsp Dijon mustard, paprika, 1/4 cup water or veggie broth to keep it moot. Heat until kale wilts and serve immediately with red pepper flakes and sriracha.

  • – I modified the recipe with what I had in my refrigerator

Homemade Black Bean Burgers

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Ingredients:
1 (15-ounce) can no-salt-added black beans, rinsed and drained
1 egg
1/2 yellow onion, chopped
1 cup whole wheat bread crumbs
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon dried basil
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder or granules
1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
1/2 teaspoon hot sauce
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive or canola oil
6 whole wheat hamburger buns
6 green leaf lettuce leaves
2 tomatoes, sliced
1/2 small red onion, thinly sliced
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper

Method:
Put beans in a large bowl and mash well with a fork. Add egg, yellow onion, bread crumbs, oregano, basil, garlic powder, salt, pepper and hot sauce. Mix well to combine then shape into 6 patties.

Heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Arrange patties in a single layer (working in batches, if needed) and cook, flipping once, until golden brown on both sides and cooked through, about 10 minutes total. Transfer to buns, top with lettuce, tomatoes and red onions and serve.

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Pomegranate Cafe

I was first introduced to this place from a vegan friend of mine. Even though I’m a meat eater, I’m enjoying some of these health-conscious restaurants that are popping up. This cute popular little place is located in Ahwatukee. Pomegranate Cafe was started by a mother and daughter (Cassie and Marlene Tolman). On their website it says they wanted to create an earth-conscious environment with great flavors. I will admit I was really surprised how good the food is here. They do a great job of coming up with some great tasting dishes made of fresh organic fruits and vegetables. This time around my friend and I ordered the POM Strawberry Salad and the Green Bandito Burrito. They were both wonderful. But of course we came here for the amazing desserts. We got the Raspberry Pineapple Cheesecake and the Vanilla Chai Cake. Seriously… who comes up with these yummy creations? My only issue is that many of these places have a tendency to be a little pricey. But we had a great time and look forward to stopping in for lunch again.

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Green Bandito Burrito

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POM Strawberry Salad

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Vanilla Chai Cake

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Raspberry Pineapple Cheesecake

Pomegranate Cafe Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Baked Stuffed Peppers

3 bell peppers
1/2 can dark red kidney beans
1/2 cup cooked rice
1/2 cup salsa
1/4 cup plus 3 tablespoons shredded reduced-fat Cheddar cheese

Preheat oven to 375 degrees and bring a large pot of water to a boil. Cut peppers in half through the stem; remove and discard seeds and membrane. Boil peppers 6 minutes. Meanwhile, rinse and drain beans. Combine beans in a bowl with cooked rice, salsa and 1/4 cup cheese; mix well. Drain peppers and place in a greased baking dish. Spoon rice mixture into peppers and cover pan with foil. Bake 10 minutes. Top with remaining cheese and bake 5 more minutes.

* – from azcentral.com