Blue Nile Ethiopian Cuisine, Harrisonburg, VA

by Danielle Bussone

Blue Nile is an Ethiopian restaurant/music club located on Main Street in Harrisonburg, VA. When I called to find out when they were open the noise blaring in the background made it nearly impossible to hear the answers to my questions. Since I was never able to get concrete information, I will do the best I can to enlighten you by sharing my experience and observations. It’s quite possible I’m just making this stuff up. There are two floors to the Blue Nile. The downstairs has a full bar and a dance floor with live music every night and dance parties on Friday and Saturday from 7pm – 2am daily. I don’t know if the phone was answered from this floor when I called or if the music was so loud it overwhelmed the second floor as well. The waitress wasn’t very helpful in answering my questions, though it was quiet when we dined there.

We stopped in for an early dinner and it was relatively empty at that time. The noise level was normal, no blaring bands in the background but the downstairs was not yet opened for business. We ordered traditional Ethiopian food which is comprised of Injera, a spongy Ethiopian sour pancake made from an African grain called Teff. On the top are little piles of food which you can order as an individual dish, each vegetarian entree is $9 or as a combination platter. We ordered the combination vegetable platter for two. ($30) This comes with two pieces of extra injera and a sample of most of their entrees. (more…)

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Jade’s Market Has Changed Hands!



Jade’s Market (see post under Thai Cuisine) has changed owners. For now the menu will continue to be Thai and will carry the identical menu items as when owned by Tara. In time, the name will be changed to Angkor Food and will serve Cambodian and Thai Cuisine with a significant vegan and vegetarian menu as well as their non-vegetarian fare.

The new owner is Phally (pronounced Pauly) Mein and her brother, Phalla (Paul) Nop is her manager. This lovely Cambodian team promises to bring something new and exciting to the experience of Johnson City diners. They also have agreed to allow us to video them preparing one of their Cambodian dishes as soon as their new menu is solidified.

Angkor Food will no longer carry market items for sale like sushi or summer roll wrappers or any of the Asian items Jade’s had for sale. It will be strictly a restaurant. Sorry folks. You can still find your Asian supplies at The Stock Pot in Johnson City near Sam’s Club.

We wish all the best to Tara, former owner of Jade’s Market. Her twins are keeping her busy. She and her husband still own and operate Lola’s in Johnson City.

Stay tuned!

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Phoenix Garden Vegetarian Restaurant, Richmond, VA

by Danielle Bussone

We discovered a real treasure in Richmond, Virginia. Phoenix Garden Vegetarian Restaurant offers Vietnamese cuisine and is the only completely vegan and completely organic restaurant in the city. The food was as gorgeous to look at as it was delicious. We were traveling late at night en-route to Washington, D.C. and only had time to review one restaurant during this mad dash through Richmond. We used a particularly ingenious and sophisticated method to determine which restaurant we would review. One of our monsters is a beautiful dog named Phoenix so we decided to grace Phoenix Garden Vegetarian Restaurant with our first review of the area’s cuisine. As it turns out, it was meant to be!

Phoenix is chef and co-owner with her husband, Vi Trinh. Phoenix became a vegan three years ago. She wanted to experience the foods she enjoyed as a child in Vietnam so she began preparing vegan Vietnamese food. They opened their Phoenix Garden Vegetarian Restaurant a year ago. The food is so flavorful it is no wonder it attracts visitors from as far away as Boston and Miami. It is a perfect stop when traveling I-95, accessible easily from the interstate. (more…)

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Abingdon Olive Oil Company, Abingdon, VA

by Danielle Bussone

After reading the book, Extra Virginity: The Sublime and Scandalous World of Olive Oil, which exposes the seedy underbelly of the olive oil industry, I sought out Veronica Foods in California to learn where I can buy their products. This company was specifically mentioned in the book as a reputable purveyor of excellent quality olive oil. To my complete surprise they have a retailer three blocks from my house in Abingdon, VA!

Since my first visit to Abingdon Olive Oil I have visited numerous retailers and have found the experience at all the others lagging far behind what you will experience here. You will be met at the door by the owner, K.C. St. Louis or her culinary expert, Penny Arrington, or by Ashley Johnson or Lori Price, two of Abingdon Olive Oil’s full-time knowledgeable sales persons. You will be received like a special guest invited into a lovely home.

In the front parlor you will be introduced to the newest oils from California, Spain and Portugal. These regional oils will change over the months as Veronica Foods brings in the freshest oils from around the world and as the picking season varies from region to region. These oils are currently $17.99 for a 375 ml bottle.  You will be educated on the region, the amount of polyphenols in each of the oils and the type of olives used. You are free to sample anything in the store. The specialty and gourmet oils are also found in this area, the decadent truffle oil ($33) , the richest and most flavorful sesame seed oil I’ve ever tasted ($23), and the sensuous walnut oil, ($23). (more…)

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Everlasting Life Restaurant & Lounge, Capital Heights, MD

by Danielle Bussone

Everlasting Life Restaurant & Lounge is not just a restaurant, it is a movement. Located in a strip mall surrounded by fast food restaurants, Everlasting Life stands out as a beacon of hope to a sick and obese community drowning in a sea of poor dietary habits. Everlasting Life is a cafeteria-style restaurant offering fresh salads, whole plant-based entrees and side dishes, vegan desserts, juices and smoothies.

The first time we visited Everlasting Life, we had a little trouble finding it. We stopped and asked some guys in the neighborhood and they all exclaimed in unison, “Oh, that’s a great place to eat!”  We tried it and had to agree. The mac and cheese was the best vegan mac and cheese I’ve eaten to date. The portions are huge! I had sweet potatoes with brown sugar, collard greens and mac and cheese as my entree. I will admit, I also slipped in a piece of vegan zucchini cake and I would not let Rich have more than one bite. It was that good!  Southern soul food made healthy is my best description for it. Every day the menu changes. The hot bar offers one entree and two sides for $11.00 or one entree and one side for $8.75. You may choose to have only the vegetable sides or only entrees, the price is dependent on how many you choose. The cold bar offers a huge assortment of salads. A plate of two salad dishes is $7.00, three is $10.05 and four is $11.75. You may also purchase personal pizzas, sandwiches, breakfast rolls and much more. (more…)

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