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.
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.
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
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.
My friend Brittany has a passion for vegan food. I love trying new foods and looking at her pictures of her vegan meals that she likes to post got me intrigued to have lunch with her. She took me to 24 Carrots, a natural cafe and juice bar in Chandler. They use fresh, organic, natural products from the local farming community. It’s a neat little place with some fun decorations. Brittany got the Harvest Veggie Quesadilla and I got the Stuffed Zucchini. Wow… I was impressed with my meal and I’m sold on incorporating more vegan dishes in my diet. Afterwards, we got some yummy desserts. They bake their desserts without any artificial sweeteners, preservatives, colorings and excess fats. I got the cherry & almond cake with fresh blueberry syrup. Seriously.. amazing!
Pita Jungle has been serving up healthy and fresh food since it’s first location opened in 1994. Their wood-fired pizzas and pita sandwiches contain some of their popular selections. I’ve been eating here since my days at ASU going to the Apache location for lunch. The Mediterranean Roasted Chicken (Shawarma) and Beef Gyro are probably my 2 favorite items along with some hummus and their amazing iced tea. I had a fun night here with my friend Sarah at the Phoenix location in the arts district.