Tonight’s VegBoone pot-luck meet-up celebrating Earth Week was held at Watauga County Public Library in Boone, NC. It was a smashing success! Jasmine ShoShanna gave an inspiring talk on how we can heal our planet while healing ourselves. She talked about the importance of composting, conserving electricity and little things one can do routinely which will make a huge impact on preserving our planet. Around 40 people attended with lots of great food and lively conversation. We were pleased to see so many new young faces among the crowd. Jeanne and Larry Kaiser’s hard work in publicizing VegBoone is paying off in spades. Check out the photos!
There has been some interesting new research on the link between Alzheimer’s disease and diet. Dr. Neal Barnard, a nutritional researcher, talks about this on this video clip which is an excerpt from one of his lectures. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MJta5XRR_nc
The name of his new book on the subject is:
Power Foods for the Brain: An Effective 3-Step Plan to Protect Your Mind and Strengthen Your Memory by Neal Barnard (Feb 19, 2013)
En-route to visit Issei Noodle restaurant in Carlisle, PA, we ran across Appalachian Whole Foods Market, right across the side street from Issei Noodles. The market opens onto a corner and you are immediately greeted by its owner, Sandy Zell. The store is larger than it appears from the outside. It is quaint and rustic and a pleasure to peruse.
What is unique about Appalachian Whole Foods Market is that it is entirely vegetarian, though not necessarily vegan. We noted quite a selection of bulk bin items, Sandy says there are over 200 bins of organic dried beans, nuts, grains, flours and spices. There wasn’t a lot in the way of fresh produce, at least at this time of the year. When spring produce is ready to be harvested these items will no doubt appear in greater numbers. I noticed fresh eggs, a large supply of organic onions, some greens and herbs. There was also a wall of refrigerated items. We did note fresh breads, plenty of supplements, body products, essential oils, incense, candles and organic grocery items, including gluten free products. She also carries a selection of books on health, specialized diets and vegetarian cooking. (more…)
Indian-American Cafe is one of the loveliest surprises we’ve found in our search for good vegan cuisine. It is located on a corner at a red light on 91 N Main St. in Harrisonburg, VA, (off Interstate 81). From its pedestrian exterior one would never expect to find such good food and such a lovely couple creating it. John and Rameshori Shrestha are the genuine article. I observed John, his face radiant as he greeted each of his customers by their first names, a sturdy hand reaching out in a welcoming grasp. He knows them all and they know him. John’s wife, Rameshori, makes you feel as if you are a member of the family. “You’re welcome anytime,” she says warmly, making you feel as if this is where you belong.
The name Indian American is a bit confusing. What is served is actually the cuisine of Nepal. The food is similar to Indian cuisine with numerous vegan offerings. They do carry a few American lunch items but none of it is vegan. What you will find is some of the most flavorful Indian fare at the best prices we’ve found anywhere. The owners have been at this location for 21 years now and have a loyal clientele. While we were waiting for our food, we asked several customers how they enjoyed their meal and how often they come to eat at Indian American Cafe. To a man, they love this food and have eaten here at least twice a week for years.
American Indian Cafe has a thriving carry-out business as well. One gentleman was introduced to the place by a nearby hairstylist eight years ago. I believe the hairstylist has moved on but this gentleman has not. He has been coming to Indian American Cafe twice a week ever since and has introduced many of his co-workers to the restaurant. Often, he and his co-workers will order from the restaurant en mass for carry-out.
John and Rameshori Shrestha, are from Kathmandu, Nepal, which is bordered in the north by China and by India in the south, east and west. Much of the Nepalese cuisine attests to its Indian influence in the similarity of spices and vegetable combinations though there are some differences. One obvious difference is the spiciness of the cuisine which is kicked up a couple of notches in Nepalese cooking. If you order level two in spiciness, prepare to drink a lot of water. Order mild and that is what you’ll get. Even if you like it spicy, I would still stay on the lower level of the menu’s heat indicator until you know what level you can handle. The Nepalese take their spices seriously.
Another difference is the reduced amount of oil in their dishes. I really appreciate this fact as many, if not most, restaurants seem to equate fat with flavor. The dishes have a clean fresh taste which sits lightly on the stomach while continuing to please the palate. Nor are they inundated with salt, another ubiquitous restaurant habit.
So, what did we eat there? Nearly everything! It was all so yummy! We arrived in time for a late lunch ordering from the lunch menu. I had Alu Saag, ($6.50), a potato and spinach curry which was divine and Rich had the Vegetable Brianni ($7.50) a curried rice with raisins, almonds and cashews. We tried most of the vegan dishes, taking stacks of boxes home with us. All but the rice dishes were served with a generous portion of rice as a side. They were all spectacular!
We had the mixed vegetables with herbs and spices ($6.50), The Dall Saag ($6.50), which are yellow lentils and spinach in a curry with herbs and spices. OMG!! This was wonderful!! The Shmi Alu (6.50) are potatoes and green peas with Indian herbs and spices and Alu Miatar, ($6.50) are potatoes, green beans and green peppers in a curry blend. There is also a vegetable fried rice ($6.50). The Cobi Alu ($6.95) is made of cauliflower cooked down into a almost creamy texture with chunks of potato, peas, onions, and tomatoes with Indian spices. Each dish was better than the last and nothing fell short of just plain good eating!
We tried a couple of the breads, many of which are vegan. I had the Naan ($1.75), which is addictive, while Rich ordered the Chappati ($1.75). Try the tomato chutney. It is a new experience and was recommended to me by one of the customers. We loved it. Also good is the mango chutney. Coffee was served in individual carafes, enough for two cups.
The dinner menu ranges from $8.95 to $10.95. The dinner portions are much larger portions, though the lunch entrees were very substantial. I can’t imagine finishing a dinner meal.
One thing to note about Indian American Café is they do not accept credit cards. Cash and check only helps them to keep their prices low and keep them operational. It is definitely worth this small inconvenience. This is a restaurant we hope to visit often when our travels take us up and down I-81.
Issei Noodle restaurant is a unique merging of cultures, authentic Japanese udon and ramen noodles side by side with Vietnamese Pho. The restaurant comes by it honestly as owners Robert Pham, is Vietnamese and his spouse and partner, Naomi Pham, is Japanese. Their two daughters, Chané and Tash create a perfect fusion of the two. This is a first generation family owned business.
Rich and I ate at Issei Noodle about a year ago when passing through Carlisle, Pennsylvania and have not forgotten the experience. It was reminiscent of our years in Japan where we often took a train to Tokyo just to slurp down a hot bowl of ramen noodles or udon with fresh vegetables. Imagine our delight to find an authentic Asian noodle restaurant right in the heart of Carlisle! This year as we made our annual trip to Central NY to visit family we made it a point to revisit Carlisle and to visit Issei Noodle. It did not disappoint. We even witnessed a young Asian man holding his bowl to his mouth and drinking the broth directly from the bowl in true Japanese fashion and other Asian customers sucking down noodles from heavily laden chopsticks making slurping noises which would have made our parents grimace. It was truly an authentically Asian experience though the restaurant was filled to capacity with western diners as well. Not all dishes are vegan, there are plenty of options for your carnivorous friends as well. (more…)