Universo Vegano in Florence

Hubby found Universo Vegano for our first night in Florence. It has good reviews, so we were excited.

It’s a cute little place with an English version of their menu.

The menu is giant, we were both overwhelmed. And there is also a case at the front of the restaurant.

We finally decided. I got a lentil burger called the Multiprotein and the Beach salad. Hubby got the Grand Sombrero and a Chop Salad. The Grand Sombrero is a full meal, so he didn’t need the extra salad. It all sounded yummers!

The food was okay. Tasty, but not mind blowing. A simple fast-food approach to vegan food.

If I was in the neighborhood and hungry, I would eat here again. The amazing competition they face would have me eating elsewhere more frequently. Universo Vegano gets three out of five vegan cupcakes. The food was fresh, if not especially flavorful, and the place cute.

Across the street is a gelato place with clearly labeled non-dairy options. Yummers!


Buddha Bodai in Chinatown, NYC

We recently explored Chinatown more and of course had to sample the food too. Buddha Bodai happily offered a warm and full dining room.

Everyone was stuffing their faces with Dim Sum. We decided to try:

  • Sweet sticky rice dumplings
  • Veg meat rice roll
  • Steamed vegetable bun
  • Steamed dumpling, because I adore dumplings
  • Lotus root pan cake
  • Sushi rolls of sweet potato and vegetable, because the friend with us really wanted sushi

I have almost no idea which was which of the different dishes and it was very fun to try so many things. However, I probably needed help ordering as I was not super impressed. The sushi tasted strange to me, but that’s what we get for ordering non-Chinese food in Chinatown.

Buddha Bodai gets three out of five vegan cupcakes. Everything tasted fresh and it was fun, but if I go back I will take an expert to help me order.

Blackbird Pizzeria in Philly

This unassuming restaurant front contains some of the best vegan pizza I have had the pleasure of tasting.

On my second trip to Philadelphia I finally made it to this pizzeria. I had been hearing about its yummies for some time, so I was thrilled to try it.

There is a menu, but the slices readily available were the best part. My slice focused on mushrooms and hubby had lots of arugula to enjoy.

Again, yummers. Hubby also got the Philly Stake Sandwich, since, you know, we were in Philly. He’s also originally from Pennsylvania, so he’s often keen on things familiar.

He loved it. I was less enthusiastic, but I’m happy to share his scarfing.

I also got a Cesar salad.

Meh is a great description. Stick with the pizza at this place. My salad took the longest of our order to be ready. It must not be frequently ordered.

They also have dessert, but we skipped trying anything.

Blackbird gets three out of five vegan cupcakes. Great pizza and always get that. The staff was super nice and the place clean. I will absolutely return on my next visit.

Cafe Frida in Upper West Side NYC

Cafe Frida recently added a vegan menu to their traditional Mexican options. So of course I had to check it out.

The place was completely packed and very noisy. We were told 15 to 20 minutes for a table for two, but waited 45 minutes. Oops.

There are three entrees to choose from and several appetizers. We decided to try multiple appetizers.

We started with excellent guacamole. Some of the best guacamole since moving to NYC. But the chips are super salty. Then we enjoyed some elote, which is corn on the cob covered in yummies, and soy chorizo quesadillas. 

We also tried the chilies toreados, but they are way too spicy for us.

Overall it was fun to try some new things. I had tasted a couple entrees and salads through Grub Hub ordering. The salads are good, but the entrees would benefit from more vegetables. The platanos are delicious. There are currently no vegan desserts, but I was told they are working on one and I should come back in a couple weeks.

Cafe Frida gets three out of five vegan cupcakes. There are some yummy things and I am glad they are trying, but there is room for improvement. I hope that happens and I can update when it does.

Sacred Chow in West Village NYC

Hubby and I decided to try a new place for brunch today. Our top three rotation places are Blossom on Columbus, PeaceFood, and Candle Cafe West. It’s hard to break habbit, but we were up for a challenge! I jumped online to look up top vegan brunch places in NYC. This site recommended several places we have not tried for brunch and Sacred Chow was on the way to our ultimate destination for the day. Score!

It’s a small and cute space. Bonus, our server was super nice. We began with coffe for hubby and I got fresh ginger tea. Hubby liked the coffee, but my tea was weak.

In an effort to try multiple fun things, we ordered three plates:

  1. Belgian Waffle
  2. Soy Buttermilk Biscuit Po ‘Boy
  3. Huevos Rancheros

We actually got the French Toast, but everything was yummy.

Everything was fresh with a nice combination of flavors. Hubby felt things were a bit bland.

Sacred Chow gets three out of five vegan cupcakes. I would return, especially when By Chloe down the street is packed, but the food has a lot of competition in that neighborhood. It was fun to try a new place. Also, I now don’t trust that site of the supposed best brunch places. Our regular haunts are tastier.

But, as always, check it out for yourself. And then let me know what you think. Yummers!

Zabby in Burlington

I recently Zipcar-ed myself through the changing leaves to Burlington, Vermont. Dear friends live there that I had not seen in too long. It was a stunning drive and I was famished upon arrival. We walked to Zabby’s for some warm comfort food, vegan style.

The place is not fully vegan, but I got the soup of the day and a club sandwich, both clearly marked as vegan. Hubby got a vegan Ruben and we were both full for the night.

The space is warm and comfortable, if a bit crowded.

The food was perfect for the moment. Worth eating and enjoyable, but not the best vegan food we’ve had. The sandwiches were a bit plain. 

Zabby gets three out of five vegan cupcakes. It works, especially when traveling, but there is yummier vegan food in Burlington. More posts to come!

Daylight Mind

Walking around to find dinner one night on the Waikoloa coast, west side of Big Island, I was happy to find Daylight Mind.

An appetizer that I verified was vegan friendly and kombucha was a great way to start the meal.

Hummus, baba ganoush, and bruschetta with a lavash greeted us. The hummus was spicy in a way we were not fond of, but the rest was wonderful.

I ordered the Vegetarian Ribbons with added tofu, a plate of yummy veggies and a big block of marinated tofu, and hubby selected the Starving Artist Pasta with tofu.

A much desired meal and our server was so nice. A cute place full non-vegan pastries. Daylight Mind gets three out of five vegan cupcakes. It provided a nice meal, but I had to ask a lot of questions and there were no vegan desserts. And the hummus appetizer was not good.

Evolution Bakery Cafe in Historic Kailua

Starving and wanting some comfort food I beelined for Evolution Bakery Cafe and GetSum Pizza in Historic Kailua Kona. This is on the west side of Big Island.

I had missed the breakfast/brunch that ends at 11:30 am, but that is when the pizza is available and we got a veggie vegan pizza.

Hubby also got a peanut butter and chocolate shake while I enjoyed some delicious kombucha. I was totally spoiled by the tasty kombucha on Big Island.

The place is not fully vegan, but the vegan options are clearly marked.

The pizza was not great, but I live in NYC. It’s hard to compare. But I enjoyed eating comfort food. I also decided to pick up a couple desserts for later. A peanut butter cookie and a chocolate coconut bar. The bar was wonderful.

Evolutions Bakery Cafe and GetSum Pizza get three out of five vegan cupcakes. I was thankful for the vegan options, and I would go back. But I found other tastier options not too far away.

Vegetarian Paradise 2 in Greenwich Village

I have never had dim sum. Can you believe it? Finding myself in Greenwich Village and hungry, I pulled out my trusty Happy Cow app and searched for what was close. This place has decent reviews and I could try dim sum. Score!

Hubby and I ordered the Collard Green Rolls and Scallion Pancakes to start and Tofu Rolls under the dim sum section of the menu. The Tofu Rolls were intended as one of the entrees, but I didn’t know what they were anyway. All an adventure! So these three things came out together. No problem, we were hungry. All the dishes were yummers. Although I will probably not get the pancakes again, too much bread.

For an entree, we also ordered Moo Shu Delight. Hubby had never had Moo Shu, so I had to order. We both loved it. But, I got to make the burritos for hubby. He says I do a better job.

We also ordered Death By Chocolate Cake, but I forgot to get a photo. It didn’t last long.

The food was good, but it’s not all vegan, so make sure to talk with the excellent waiter. Everyone seemed to know him, so he must be there a lot. The place is a hole in the wall. Hubby said, “why do all these kinds of restaurants have to feel dirty.” There is an A rating in the window and the kitchen looked clean from what I could see. But the bathrooms could use a good scrub.

Vegetarian Paradise gets three out of four vegan cupcakes. I will go back because it’s good people and good food. Enjoy for yourself!

Ritual Cafe in Des Moines


Desperately trying to find breakfast before hitting the road, Happy Cow to the rescue when the place I planned to visit didn’t have anything. The best part is that Ritual Cafe is next to a fabulous park for my dog.

Ordered granola and a green smoothie. The smoothie is very sweet and the granola with chia oatmeal and hemp seeds is delicious.

Three out of five vegan cupcakes. Would totally come back, but few vegan choices.