Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Restau-Rant: Field of Greens

Field of Greens Healthy Cuisine
2320 W. Alabama
Houston, Tx 77098


Field of Greens and I have had an on-again/off-again relationship for a long while now. When they first opened, I was an instant regular. The food was decently priced ($6.95-$7.50 for a sandy and fries), ta-a-asty, and of course, vegan. The atmosphere--which feels exactly like what it is: a sparsely decorated space in a strip shopping center--left a little something to be desired, but I figured that they were just getting started. Chef Carl, formerly of A Moveable Feast fame, which was formerly of the space-that-now-houses-Ziggy's-Healthy-Grill fame, would take leave of the FoG kitchen to come circulate amongst the customers, asking how we like
d our food. We would nod our heads and make "Mmmm" noises at him as we chewed. The staff was friendly and accommodating, and I got to know their names.

And then.

Not so long ago--maybe 2 years back?--there was a shift. I can't authoritatively say what happened, but word on the street has it that there was some enmity
amongst the owners, the upshot of which was a changing of control of the restaurant. Suddenly, every time I visited Field of Greens, there were different people manning the counter. Chef Carl was nowhere to be seen. The food got increasingly blander (is that a word?). And the prices started to go up. Finally, one night, a few months ago, hungry from a day of overlording, I went in and ordered the Wild Field Pockets. When the now-more-expensive-than-ever sandwich came, it was notably smaller. There were fewer pieces of tofu. The pita had suffered shrinkage. I left, still hungry, and vowed not to return.

So, of course, I went back the other day with my sidekick, Dr. Cox. You know. To give them one more chance. Would they wrong the Vegan Overlord once more? The answer is: meh. It was okay. The portions were very generous. We ordered
the Tofu Quiche Salad,

ch was especially tasty, and the Village Tofu Burger, which looked lovely, but had a disappointingly bland flavor. Billowy mounds of quac, basil-crusted layers of soy somethingerother, and veggies bursting out of a big, fluffy burger bun... And yet: meh. They've got the presentation and the texture down. But where'd the flavor go at? Same with the fries: perfect-looking, crispy as a mother, but kinda flavor-free. That said, we left full-ish and satisfied-ish. I suppose I'll maybe go back in another couple of months. Maybe.

Final score: The Little Burger that Could

(Ganked that pic from the FoG website, btw.)

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Recipe: 5-Minute Fried "Egg" and Avocado Sandwich

2 slices of bread (the Vegan Overlord likes Ezekiel bread)
Tiny bit of cooking oil or spray-on oil
Firm or extra firm tofu
Salt and pepper
1/4-1/2 of an avocado
Condiment of your choice (the VO likes Vegenaise)

In a pan, pour just enough cooking oil to coat. Better yet, use spray oil (tofu gets crispier quicker in less oil). Turn your temp to low-medium-ish. Let oil heat while you cut 4 slices, 1/4 inch-or-so thick, from the end of your block of tofu. Add the tofu slices to pan and season them with salt and pepper to taste. Turn slices as needed until both sides are golden. Put condiment of choice on one slice of bread, and spread avocado on the other slice. Add cooked tofu. Close sandwich. Devour.

(The Vegan Overlord gives props aplenty to Dr. Cox for parts of this recipe.)

Friday, July 24, 2009

Cheap Product Review: Amy's Tofu Scramble in a Pocket Sandwich

Mornings are the laziest time of day for me. I don't really like to speak, be spoken to, move, or be exposed to artificial light for about the first 3 hours of the day. So when I woke up starving yesterday with no food in the house, I was in a predicament: let my stomach eat itself or make the trip to the loud, peopled, fluorescent-ly lit grocery store. My hunger won out and I schlepped to the Kroger, armed with iced coffee and my shades. My laziness guided me to the freezer section where I found this little beauty.

You can find Amy's Kitchen stuff at most major grocery stores and Target (Super Targets have a huge selection of Amy's, Boca, and Morningstar stuff for like, 1/2 the price of the grocery. I go there and load up a cart every couple of weeks.) And I don't mind saying that the Amy's Kitchen Co. is da bomb: Their meals are reasonably priced, microwavable, and as their website says, they have "...no additives, no preservatives, no GMOs." They are also organic, and entirely vegetarian and vegan. And their packaging is recyclable. And they help old ladies cross the street and save babies from burning buildings like every day.

The Tofu Scramble in a Pocket did not disappoint: It cost a couple of bucks, took about 4 minutes in the nuker, and was totally delicious. For those of you concerned with nutrition, it's also low-cal, low-fat, and has 11 whopping grams of protein. What what?! No, it's true. My only complaint was that it left a hard core flavor in my mouth. Long after the thrill of eating was gone. Whatever spices they use stick with you. After I brushed my teeth, flossed, and rinsed, I could still taste it. That said, it was entirely worth it. The Amy's Tofu Scramble in a Pocket gets the Vegan Overlord's hearty grunt of approval. Raaawr.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Reader Question: Mega Shark v Giant Octopus

Greetings underlings!

I recently received this letter from reader ShellyD (see full letter in comments):

"dear vegan overlord -

some friends of mine will soon be watching Mega Shark v. Giant Octopus, and when we watch movies, we always theme the food to the film. We've got a vegan among us, too. I've already planned on making Tofu Shark Bites (essentially deep fried tofu cut in the shape of a shark and served with tartar sauce), but am curious if you have any suggestions for vegan fare that would satisfy the octopus side of the equation.

Anything round and fried (a la calamari) or something more tentacly, perhaps? I've considered onion rings, but haven't settled on them. any suggestions are welcome..."

To paraphrase a good friend of mine, if I had a nickel for every time someone asked me that, I'd be dead. After thinking about what vegan food goes with sharks and octopi viewing for the 5 minutes that my attention span would allow me, I came up with a couple of solutions to your situation. First, if there is a Hong Kong Food Market, or reasonable facsimile thereof, near you, check them out: HKFM has a whole freezer section of fake meats, many of which are vegan, and some of which are "seafood". They've got "shrimp", "fish cutlets"... the whole nine. As for the calamari/tentacle issue, I suggest fried mushroom caps with baby corn arms. Hope that helps!


P.S. The Vegan Overlord is all about Web 2.0 and wants to hear from you. Send your vegan product reviews, food pics, resource links, and yadda yadda to veganoverlord@gmail.com.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Maiden post!

Hello, my poor and somewhat lazy vegan underlings!

Excuse me while I stand at this closet and change my shoes and cardigan for a sec... There. Much better. So! Welcome to the PaSLV. I am the Vegan Overlord, here to proffer advice on how to be a poor, somewhat lazy vegan just like me. "But what does that mean, Vegan Overlord?" you might ask. Well, it means that you don't have a lot of cash and that you don't really like to cook, but that you are, or aspire to be, a person who doesn't consume or wear animal products of any kind--no meat, eggs, or dairy products, and no leather or fur (nothing that had a mother or came from something that had a mother.) If that describes you, then you've come to the right place! When this puppy is up and running, it will be chock full o' cheap, x-tremely easy-to-make vegan recipes, restaurant reviews, advice, and whatever else I, your Vegan Overlord, deem worthy of PaSLV-dom.

Just a couple of disclaimers: I am in no way affiliated with any of the goods or services that I will be reviewing, discussing, and/or providing links to on this blog. Also, for you hardliners, when I say "somewhat lazy vegan" I mean it: I don't necessarily avoid foods with white sugar or honey, and though I try to be vegantastic when I go out to eat, I haven't interrogated each and every restaurant mentioned on this site about their ingredients. So, remember that I'm pretty lazy, and do your own research if you're persnickety.

On that note, I'll be on my way for now. Lots to procrastinate about doing today, you know. Please do send in comments about things you'd like to see on this blog, questions you have about veganism, and complaints about the rise of reality television.

I hope your Wednesday is not wack!

PS, Happy 30th bday to my bro! You made it!