Help Put an End to Cosmetic Testing on Animals! This is BIG!

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This is a screenshot from The Humane Society of the United States… we are getting closer and closer to eliminating animal testing in the cosmetics industry! Please click the link below to call/email your legislator and to send out a prewritten letter to help this cause (Click on the ACT NOW option with the bunnies!). I sent emails to 3 state reps, and even the White House! Every little bit helps! This is a dream, and it is almost coming true! Please help!

Humane Society

The Green Cat Juice Bar and Market

Location:

3801 Pacific Ave.

Virginia Beach, Virginia 23451

website

Atmosphere: Go put on a pair of (vegan) Birkenstocks, download The Doors Greatest Hits from iTunes, and roll up a fat… lettuce wrap on your way to the oceanfront.  This small restaurant/shop channels the hungry souls of Hendrix and Joplin, all while serving you a $9 smoothie.  The front end of the store sells vegan leather bags, jewelry, stationary, and other souvenirs. The restaurant’s menu is all vegan and organic, making ordering a simple task… or so I thought.  With a multitude of smoothies, smoothie bowls, salads, oatmeal options, and soups to choose from, I appreciated the friendly suggestions from the counter girl.  This place has windows throughout, so there’s  no shortage of sunshine… which adds to the overall relaxing and cheerful vibes.  There is patio section, with even more sunlight, and a small green house (What exactly are you growing in there, huh?)

Food:

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After deliberating  for quite some time, I decided on the “Sippin’ on Zen” smoothie, for $9.00 (no, that is not a typo), and the “No Chicken” Salad for $12.00. The smoothie was thick, flavorful, and an absolute treat.   Bananas, strawberries, almond milk, and agave made it sweet and fresh, while almond butter gave it a rich, smooth texture and taste.

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The salad was interesting. It was everything that you would find in a traditional chicken salad… like onion, tomato, celery, pepper, carrots, broccoli, and it even had raisins… only with no chicken. I was expecting a meat alternative to be in it, and I have to admit, I’m not the biggest fan of throwing sweet fruit into mixtures of savory ingredients. However,  the mix of the sweet raisins and savory vegetables in a creamy cashew dill dressing was actually pretty pleasant.  It was crunchy, tangy, and sweet… not at all what I expected, but shockingly good.

DIG IT OR DITCH IT?

For the hippy vibes, the fresh all vegan menu, and the overall groovy atmosphere of this place, I’ll say that there is vegan treasure here! I DIG IT! While this place is expensive, it wouldn’t be a daily (or even weekly) stop on my list… but for a fun, healthy spot to hit up while vacationing or hanging on the beach, this place is perfect.  Dab on some patchouli, dig out that tie dye t-shirt you made in 4th grade summer camp, and get your little hippie butt to The Green Cat and let me know what you liked best!

Guads Mexican Restaurant 

Location:

200 21st Street #106

Virginia Beach, Virginia 23451

(757) 961-4011

Atmosphere: This oceanfront location is Super casual, laid back, and gives off come here and party vibes.  There’s pleny of indoor and outdoor seating, just steps away from the water. Gigantic margarita bowls, frozen daiquiris and piña coladas make it easy to stay here awhile after a nice day on the beach.

Food: Upon arrival, we were served free chips and salsa, pictured above. The tortilla chips didn’t appear to be made in-house… but hey, they were crunchy, salty,and held up the salsa, so job well-done Chips!  The mild salsa was fresh, had chunky pieces of tomato and onion, and a great cilantro flavor.  Check out the poncho on the Corona!


I ordered the “Fresh Guacamole” for $8.00, pictured above. At first taste, I got a mouthful of lime flavor, then onion, and last avocado. I describe this as more of a salad than a traditional creamy guacamolé, because the avocado, onion, green pepper, and cilantro were not blended together whatsoever. The ingredients were extremely fresh, and I did noticed a subtle spice, but didn’t find any jalapeño peppers in the mixture.


 Next, I tried the Vegetarian Fajitas ($12) and specifically asked for no sour cream or cheese. The tortillas were warm and chewy.  The rice was perfectly cooked and had a mild flavor.  The tomatoes, lettuce, cilantro, and onions were fresh and offered cooling relief when wrapped up with the fajita vegetables. The only descernable flavor that the mixture of cauliflower, zucchini, onion, carrots, and green peppers offered was a strong smokey grilled flavor. All together,  the flavors blended nicely. (I did not eat the refried beans… They are sometimes made with dairy, and since things are often lost in translation, I just skipped them over.)

I also ordered a piña colada (small-$5) which was flavorful, had bits of pineapple,  and (most importantly) contained a good amount of rum. The large was $10… (Darn, maybe next time). ¡Salud!

DIG IT or DITCH IT?

The Get-Your-Party-On-Friendly-Beach Vibes, fresh ingredients, fair prices, and fast service makes this a definite “DIG IT!“. So put on your best pair of flip flops and get your butt over there after a beach day!  Have yourself a great time and a drink for me!

¡Buen provecho!

My Vegan Sweet Tooth

Location:

3916 Virginia Beach Boulevard

Virginia Beach, Virginia 23452

(757) 339-2794

Website

Atmosphere:

Holy Irony, Batman! I’ve been wanting to try this place for quite some time now, and decided to give it a go on the same day that I had a harrowing trip to the dental office (Get it? My Vegan Sweet Tooth)!

This super cute bakery/coffee house, located in a strip mall, sends out vibes that invite you to stay a while.  The bakery case contained various vegan treats like chocolate chip cookies, gluten-free cupcakes, banana walnut bread, and more. You know how when you walk into a traditional bakery, you see rows upon rows of baked goods that seemed to be made mindlessly by a robot? Not this place. Each item was displayed proudly, obviously made with pride and care.  As I spoke with the extremely polite and friendly owner (whom, by the way, did not seem to mind my minor slurring… I wasn’t joking when I said I had a dental procedure done earlier in the day) this sentiment was proven to be true.  Although I did not try the coffee (Gasp! Is my addiction over?), I saw plenty of non-dairy creamers that could be used.

Food:

I ordered the Espresso Cupcake ($3.50), Chocolate Chip Cookie ($1)  and a Brownie Bite ($1), which where all packaged up for me to go.

  
The Chocolate Chip Cookie made all of my vegan sweet teeth (Yes, I happen to have many in this mouth of mine), scream for joy. It is exactly what I look for… a good amount of chocolate chips, chewy texture, and not the least bit overdone.

The Brownie Bite, oh my…the Brownie Bite. So chocolately, and light, I’m in love!  Sometimes vegan brownies can be so dense and heavy that they’re kind of off-putting and unpleasant to eat. Not this one. With a chocolate drizzle on top, and chocolate chips throughout, let’s just say I could easily put away about 10 of these with no problem whatsoever.

  
Now, the finale! The Espresso Cupcake. I am admittedly a coffee addict. The only thing that I might like more than the actual thing is coffee in cake form. I saw it, and I new it had to be mine. The little chocolate covered espresso bean on top, along with the chocolate drizzle, was quite impressive paired up with the light and airy coffee flavored frosting. Although there was absolutely no skimping on coffee flavor, it was smooth and not at all overwhelming. The cake itself was chocolate and had an abundance of chocolate chips (Cheers for texture!). It was a perfectly baked, moist platform for the awesome toppings listed above.

DIG IT OR DITCH IT?

DIG IT! Ladies and Gentlebeans, we have struck vegan gold here! Every item I tried was evidently baked with expertise and care.  I will be returning with a fistful of cash to try all that My Vegan Sweet Tooth has to offer (without the consent of my dentist). Give it a try and let me know what your favorite item is!

Hell’s Kitchen

Location:

124 Granby Street

Norfolk, VA 23510

Hknorfolk.com
Atmosphere:

Did you grow up in the 90’s or early ’00’s? If so, this place is totally your grungy little cup of tea.  Blasting Red Hot Chili Peppers, Weezer, and Bush… This place is a definite throwback. Dimly lit, red walls, and black and white furniture really drives home the theme and motif of Hell’s Kitchen. I mean, they even had this Donnie Darko painting in the wall!

Food:

Ok, now on to the important stuff.  This place had their own vegan section on the menu… Always a good sign.  You can check it out on the website linked above, but this is what these Hell’s Kitchen cooks had to offer:


Told you it was dimly lit! I ordered the Ficken Quesadilla and Buffalo Ficken Wrap, for $10 a pop.

The Ficken Quesadilla pictured below was exactly what I wanted. Hot, with melted cheese (I suspect it was Daiya), with a good amount of grilled “Ficken”, red and green peppers and onions, all grilled up in a fresh, chewy yet crispy wrap. Each ingredient played well with each other… The medium spice salsa paired wonderfully with the cool tomatoes and creamy Daiya. The Ficken added substance and flavor, for a wonderfully well-rounded, kick ass quesadilla.



Next up was the Buffalo Ficken Wrap. Now let me preface this by saying my spice detecting tastebuds are hyperactive… Meaning that when faced with spice, I’m a wuss. But hey, I was at a place called Hell’s Kitchen, so I had to try it.

The wrap came in the same tortilla as the quesadilla, which was fine with me since it was a great chewy texture and strong enough to hold the wrap together.  The Ficken itself was covered in Buffalo sauce… A medium slow burning spice that set my tongue and lips up in flames (get it? Flames? Hell’s Kitchen?). The wrap had a decent amount of Ficken, along with tomato, lettuce, and onions but the veggies did very little to cool things down. I’m going to be honest, I only ate half of this in the actual restaurant (my mouth couldn’t take it). I would have loved some vegan bleu cheese or ranch dressing with this.. It would bring it from an “B” to an “A+”.



The “cut fries” stole the show… I mean look at those beauties! Light, crispy, and full of flavor… I’d come back for these!!

DIG IT or DITCH IT?

Dig it!!! There’s definitely some grunge rock treasure here! The dim lights, throwback alt rock, and flavorful, fresh, food makes this place perfect for just hanging out. I’ll be back with some vegan bleu cheese dressing!

China Moon

Location:

China Moon
2346 Virginia Beach Blvd #7A
Virginia Beach, Virginia 23454
(757) 463-3671

Atmosphere: Well, I have to be honest, I’ve never eaten in this place. It’s in a shopping plaza, and is relatively small. Some day, I’ll have to actually eat there. I have, however, ordered delivery from them about 30 times (or more), so this is more of a love letter to China Moon than a review. Ok? Good.

The first thing I love about China Moon is the exceptionally fast and friendly delivery. It always arrives in less than 25 minutes, and is always handed to me by the most friendly delivery man I’ve ever encountered. Love it.

Food:

Words will never truly express how much I adore the food. Where I’m from, there was no such thing as General Tso’s tofu. I was familiar with the chicken, but not this magical tofu dish. Of all the times I have ordered, I have gotten this. It was love at first bite. Meant to be.

Fried until slightly crispy, this firm tofu is covered in a thick, sweet brown sauce sent from the Gods themselves. It has very, very subtle hint of pepper that perfectly compliments the sweetness.  I pair this with vegetable fried rice, and it’s a match made in heaven… The romance of the century… Food’s power couple!

I have also tried the vegetable spring rolls, which are fried, crunchy, and flavorful.  The vegetable lo mein is on point, with perfectly cooked noodles and veggies in a signature sauce.

DIG IT or DITCH IT?

I think you guessed already, but DIG IT! I love their food so much, I usually order it every week. Outstanding quality and flavors, paired with quick and friendly delivery??? Sign me up! So give them a call and put on some Netflix. Fabulous food will be there in no time!

***If you haven’t already, please sign the petition to help put a stop to YuLin Dog Meat  Festival, located in my last post. Speak  up for those that can’t speak up for themselves!

Whiskey Kitchen

Location:

2149 General Booth Blvd.

Virginia Beach, VIrginia 23454

Thewhiskeykitchen.com
Atmosphere:

Loud, busy, fun.  If you’re from the area, you know most places are pretty crowded on Friday and Saturday nights, especially this time of year.  I like seeing people out having a grand old time, eating, laughing, and drinking the week’s stress away.  I mean, why not???

Food:

This place was typical in appearance; tables booths, and dimly lit. The menu included; salads, burgers, sandwiches, pizzas, and other  standards. Not many vegan options jumped out at me except for the Buffalo Cauliflower Bites ($9). The waitress assured me that they were fried in oil, not butter, and went back to ask the cook if they were vegan (Thanks, buddy!).

I’ve always wanted to try cauliflower “wings”.  Back in the day, I loved spicy wings, so how come I haven’t made these for myself?? Anywayyyy, I ordered them and couldn’t wait!! I also ordered the Hummus Wrap ($8).


Look at these things!!! LOOK AT THEM! Huge pieces of cauliflower, fried until hot and crispy and showered with spicy (but not too spicy) buffalo sauce. Holy Mother, these were fabulous. Obviously, I didn’t eat them with the ranch dip or cheese (those were for my boyfriend), I ate them as-is, but hot damn these were amazing! I never wanted them to stop!

Then. I was served the hummus wrap. A typical wheat wrap, with typical hummus, and typical vegetables. Compared to what I just ate, this just might have been the dullest, least exciting thing I’ve ever had.

DIG IT or DITCH IT?

Dig it!! We’ve found treasure here!! The Buffalo Cauliflower Bites are worth the trip alone. The friendly and accommodating wait staff and fun atmosphere makes this a great place to be. There are several other items on the menu that are vegan or could be made vegan, so check them out! I’ll be back for sure for the cauliflower (maybe with a bottle of vegan blue cheese in my bag!).

Fruitive

Location:

1624 Laskin Rd

Virginia Beach, Virginia

Fruitive.com
Atmosphere:

Located in a strip mall, this little spot is really cute! Wooden everything, fancy chandeliers, books cases, and even a reading nook… What an awesome place to come chill!


There’s a very relaxed vibe here with friendly and fast service.

Food:

I ordered the Southwest Salad and the Coconut Colada Smoothie. The salad is not on their website’s menu, but I promise I ordered one!

Let me start out by stating the obvious. There are different types of vegans. There are those that enjoy the grassy taste of green juices and things like that, and then there are those that eat Oreos, and pizza, and fried tofu (cough, cough).

The food here caters to the more health conscious vegan. The ingredients are fresh and go through very few alterations, leaving the flavors as natural as possible. It’s light, refreshing, and tastes healthy.

The salad included; romaine, corn, black beans, red peppers, a small amount of avocado, cucumber, tomato, vegan ranch dressing and a large portion of spicy hummus. Again this salad tasted fresh, natural, and healthy. The ranch dressing went pretty much undetected, but the hummus offered a lot in the flavor department (pepper, cilantro). The salad was very dry, and I think they really skimped on the dressing. (Whyyyyyyyyyyyyyy???????!!!!!)


The smoothie tasted primarily of bananas. In fact, it tasted exactly like a banana smoothie I made awhile back. I sensed a very light coconut flavor, but damn it, when I order a Piña Colada, I want the full, coconuts-are-kicking-you-in-the-mouth-flavor-go-put-on-a-hula-skirt, type of taste…. You know what I mean???

DIG IT or DITCH IT?

This is a cute place with simple, natural, and healthy food. It is pricey (this meal cost about $20). I was disappointed that they did not have the dessert items, like the raspberry cheesecake, that were shown on their website. The flavors were a little lackluster to me, but again, for raw food, it was pretty decent. I’ll say DIG IT for now, since I’d like to try another smoothie, but there are definitely many cheaper smoothie places to go to instead.

Yorgo’s Bageldashery

Location:

2123 Colonial Ave.

Norfolk, Virginia

Yorgosbageldashery.com

Atmosphere:

Laid-back, super casual, college-y vibes set the tone of this bagel shop.  With a constant steady flow of people in and out, you might guess that this place was the only source of food for miles. What could be so good about this place?!?

Then, I saw it.

I stared at the menu in absolute shock and awe. More than one or two vegan options?! Is this real life?

I’m talking vegan egg, sausage, and cheese on freshly made bagels, philly cheese steaks, BLTs, Italian hoagies, BBQ chiken, breakfast wraps, and more!

(Side note: Check out this mural on the wall!)


Food:

I managed to snap out of my menu induced trance, and ordered the egg, sausage and cheese on an everything bagel ($5.25), pictured below.


The bagel was absolutely perfect. Soft and chewy with a nice onion flavor. The house-made sausage had a spot-on texture with pleasant understated spiciness. The tofu eggs added substance to the sandwich, and the flavor and texture were true-to-the-real thing. The cheese was cheddar Daiya, and its creaminess and sharp flavor paired nicely with the spicy sausage.

Did I stop there? Nope. I ordered a breakfast wrap called “The Peterson” to take home.  It had hashbrowns, tofu scramble, onions, sausage, and cheese wrapped up in a wheat tortilla. ($6.75)


This wrap was outstanding. Substantial, flavorful, and fresh, pair this with a strong cup of coffee and its the perfect breakfast.

DIG IT or DITCH IT?!

DIG IT! There is vegan treasure here!!! So many vegan options, it’s absolutely a place you could visit often and never get bored.  Great prices, fresh ingredients, and quick, friendly service makes this place hard to beat.  They even have vegan cream cheeses and other treats for sale.  I will be visiting this place many, many more times to try all that Yorgo’s has to offer. I’m hungry already!