by Lisa Harris
The Taste of Tandoor located at 13836 Smoketown Road, in Woodbridge, Virginia is a wonderfully pleasant and relaxing place to dine for lunch or dinner. Although not a completely vegan restaurant the owner Dave has worked very hard to meet the needs of his vegan patrons by having nine main vegan dishes permanently on the menu such as Chana Masala, Aloo Masala, and Aloo Ghobi Masala.
They also have two appetizers and several vegan breads. The appetizer vegetable samosa is a delicious vegetable turnover stuffed with potatoes, green peas, cumin seeds and spices. It come with two types of dipping sauces but a word of advice, the green dip is not vegan so be sure to avoid it. Besides your everyday salads Taste of Tandoor serves kachumbar which is a delicious cucumber and onion salad with lemon herbs. (more…)
The new year offers a clean slate and opportunities to create a healthier new beginning. Super Middleweight Boxing Champion, Omowale Adewale has created a vegan challenge to help us do just that. He is challenging 100 people to go vegan for a year, in an effort he calls GoVeg 2014. He offers himself as a guide through the labyrinth of choices we can expect in so dramatically changing one’s diet, as well as fitness guidance to get us living as healthy and energetic a lifestyle as possible. The challenge begins on New Year’s Day. Omowale is generously offering his expertise as an athlete and a vegan for free for the year, 2014, according to the needs of the participants.
About Omowale Adewale
Omowale Adewale, or Wale for short, was given his name from a friend, Moyosore who passed away in 2007 after his first African trip to Nigeria. The name Omowale means “The son has come back home,” and Adewale means, “The crown has returned.”
Wale became vegetarian when he was 15 before becoming involved in competitive sports. Omowale began sports competition in high school and was a collegiate 2-gold champion. He also taught himself Jeet Kune Do, a form of martial arts. Omowale was a NABBA finalist (National Association of Body Building of America) in 1997. In 2012, he became Super Middleweight Champion in the Brooklyn Brawl. He became vegetarian for health reasons, wanting to become as fit and strong as possible. It wasn’t until early last year that Wale took the plunge and cut out animal products entirely.
“I became vegan because it makes no sense to slaughter animals for consumption or to wear as clothing. I sense that is a better way of life,” says Wale. “There are a lot of vegetarian people out there who realize they are not in need of eggs or milk products from animals. I prepare my own foods utilizing substitutes for dairy and eggs.”
It is not surprising given the amount of scientific data now available which links milk and egg consumption to cancers, allergies, heart disease and numerous other ailments that Wale found himself naturally moving away from these items to include healthier whole foods with plenty of fiber and nutrition in his diet.
Omowale has three children who are vegetarian. Their mom is pescatarian, she eats fish, and the children are vegetarian. They will also be taking the vegan challenge. Family, friends new friends, anybody.
Why a Vegan Challenge?
“When I first became vegetarian, I pretty much ate the same things all the time because I didn’t have anyone to teach me, I didn’t have a guide to teach me what to eat, how to cook and that sort of thing. My participants will also want to know what to do in terms of fitness. They will have general questions like, what are the best times to eat certain types of meals or what foods have a sufficient amount of protein or iron. People worry about getting adequate protein on a vegan diet.
I want to get people talking about their experiences. We are looking at evaluating our participants after the first month. What are the main questions coming up? A month gives people a sense that they can actually do this, that they are able to make these meals. They are really easy for the most part. I want to see people still on it after a month and I want to monitor people from week to week and they can contact me as often as they need to. They may have to wait 24-48 hours for a reply depending on the final number of people who sign on, but I will get back to them as soon as possible.
If you are lucky enough to find yourself in South Florida this time of year then you must not miss out on Udipi Café where, upon first bite, you are transported to the Southern region of India known for exotic vegetarian cuisine. Udipi Café is located 11 minutes northwest of Fort Lauderdale via I-95 and Hwy 518 or just 8 minutes south of Coral Springs via University Drive. It is the only certified Kosher Indian restaurant in Florida and just about everything can be made vegan!
For my running partner and I, we often delight in such spicy Indian fare as a reward for enduring our scheduled long runs in the grueling heat. More heat, you ask? Why of course, it’s what we crave!!! The hotter the better! We sweat when we train and likewise there’s nothing like breaking out in a cold sweat and grabbing your jacket during a meal! For those spices contain anti-inflammatory properties not to mention they taste so darn good!!! If you don’t fancy your meals burning hot, chef/owner Santhosh Shetty is more than happy to accommodate your preferences without compromising flavor.
Mr. Shetty was happy to start our dinner off with his famous Chinese style Manchurian Cauliflower ($10.95)! While it isn’t exactly low calorie, if you work out like we do, we would rather indulge in this rich starter than any ordinary fried finger food. Or dessert, for that matter! An absolute must for us for every Indian meal is Dosai. At Udipi, the delicate rice crepe the size of a cornucopia, filled with potatoes, onions and an array of spices known as Madhuri Masala Dosai ($7.50) never disappoints. It is very light, airy and savory, like an elevated version of the classic deli-style potato knish! We always say we will never finish it but not even a crumb can ever be found.
Our meals included Yellow Dal ($9.95), made up of protein-rich lentils (to heal those tired muscles) with a savory stew-like consistency, along with Diwani Handi (Tawa Ghotala) ($11.95) made up of fresh, juicy (and healthy) mushroom shreds combined with mixed veggies and Indian spices…so creamy without the cream! How do they do that?
Each entrée is accompanied by fragrant white basmati rice for a hearty meal but should you feel guilty about white carbs after the cauliflower and the dosai, the dishes hold up on their own. Of course, if your plan is to run or work out even harder the next day, then by all means, load up on those carbs! It might just be what you need as a binder to offset the potential for a little delayed gastro action!
Dessert is not really our style with our overabundance of saltier taste buds (lost from sweat) so as a rule, we avoid the sweets. However, Mr. Shetty delighted us with his mango puree smoothies (Mango Lassi $3.50) to accompany our meal. I believe they contain yogurt. My running partner isn’t vegan and was happy to drink both as he knows I prefer to eat, rather than drink my calories anyway!
Offering authentic Indian cuisine in the same location for 11 years, Udipi Café is here to stay!
Well, I gotta run! Until next time…
Andrea “VeGAL” Medalie
You can feel fairly confident that a restaurant is worth visiting when it keeps popping up on vegan meet-up group websites. We first learned of Bombay Bazar from the consistent posts of the Charleston Veggie Meetup group. They seem to like it so well we had to make it part of our tour of restaurants when we visited Charleston, SC.
We love eating at Indian restaurants. Because of the long tradition of vegetarianism in the Indian culture, the food is a natural fit for vegan diners. There are many dishes to choose from, some vegan, some vegetarian, so you do have to pay attention if you are strictly vegan. Bombay Bazar and Restaurant was our first stop on this tour of Charleston’s eclectic cuisines.
We are happy to report Bombay Bazar did not disappoint. Rich and I arrived in the late afternoon when we practically had the place to ourselves. As you walk in you’ll see the entrance to the restaurant on the left and the entrance to the Bazar, or market, on the right. (We’ll address the market in a separate post.)
The restaurant is divided into three rooms. The first section has booths hugging the wall with a divider and more booths on the opposite wall. The second room is where you’ll find tables bedecked with white tablecloths, napkins and place settings.
Rich ordered the Vegetable Jalfrezi, a mix of vegetables and herbs in a delightful curry sauce. The vegetables consisted of tomatoes, green beans, potatoes, onions, green peppers and cilantro.($9.95).