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Soul Food Vegan, for the Culture

I had been waiting for this day for over a year y’all! The first vegan soul food place in Houston, Texas, and what better place to put it than in 3rd ward on Emancipation Ave.? The grand opening was at 12, but was pushed to 12:30. I was the fourth person in line. As I was about to place my order, I saw the line go around the building and down the street. When I say the community showed up, we showed up.

I ordered the Soul Food Vegan Platter (cauliflower steak, greens, mac n cheese, and dirty rice), strawberry watermelon sea moss lemonade and a brownie. When I say it did not disappoint. The flavors were rich. Honestly, all that was missing was some cornbread.

The restaurant itself is quaint and not really a place to gather with a large group, however, Emancipation Park is directly across the street, so you can get your food to go and eat in the park. Service was friendly and fast. The place was clean and there was ample parking. For me, besides the food and service, parking is always my biggest thing. If there isn’t convenient parking, I’m less likely to return. I got there early so I was able to park in front of the door.

This restaurant is something that is needed, especially in the community that it’s located. I love that so many of us showed up and wanted to eat vegan food. Just because it’s vegan, doesn’t mean it doesn’t taste good. I’m hoping that people left there and wanted to change their lifestyles. If I wasn’t already vegan, I believe they would’ve converted me because that food tastes like the food I grew up on.

If you live in Houston and the surrounding areas, or you’re visiting, stop by 2901 Emancipation Ave and get you some vegan soul food.

recipes

California Kale Bowls

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Here’s my take on the California Kale Bowl.

ingredients:

1 c long grain brown rice

1/3 c almonds

1 pkg broccoli florets

4 c kale, destemmed and chopped

1/2 onion, chopped

2 tbsp grape seed oil

1 can white beans

1 can kidney beans

1/3 c citrus vinaigrette

directions:

cook brown rice per usual.

in a separate skillet, sauté broccoli and onions.

stir in beans and kale. Cook until kale is wilted.

im a bowl, mix brown rice and veggie mixture. Toss with the citrus vinaigrette and top with sliced almonds.

 

 

Health + Wellness, recipes

#FOTD: Chickpea Lime and Coconut Soup

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Hands down the best soup I’ve ever tasted. My mom sent me a link on FB and I had all of the ingredients except for the sweet potatoes and coconut milk (I always choose the coconut milk with the fat). This is not my own recipe but I did alter it by leaving out the red chilies (didn’t want any heat). Click here for the recipe.

recipes

Healthy Diet #FOTD: Vegan Juevos Rancheros

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As a breastfeeding mother, I am adamant about breakfast. Actually, as a person period. Breakfast is my favorite meal of the day and it’s also when I’m the most creative. I start my day with a large protein smoothie. Then I have oatmeal by itself, with toast, or like in the photo, a breakfast platter.

I loved omelettes before I was vegan and I was happy to learn I can still have them, minus the cholesterol, abuse, and consumption of another animal. For the omelette, I used 1/4 c garbanzo bean flour, 1/3 c water, mushrooms, Field Roast tomato cayenne chao cheese, pink salt, nutritional yeast, and fresh basil. I mix all of those together in a bowl and then poured it into a skillet with hot grape seed oil (oil is important or it will stick). I then topped it with avocado, salsa, and vegan ranch (I use the Hampton Creek Just brand). For a full meal, I added power greens, Sweet Earth hickory and sage bacon, and oatmeal (great for breastfeeding so I have it every morning).

So, there you have it. What’s your breakfast go to?

All Black Everything, Health + Wellness, Vegan Mommy Things

Eating Healthy is for POC Too

Podcast: Black Girl in Om

Grocery Haul:

Avocados

Blackberries

Blueberries

Strawberries

Potatoes

Tomatoes

Pumpkin seeds

Pecans

Raisins

Kale

Nutritional Yeast

Bolthouse Farms Non-Dairy Milk

Product Reviews

Ruffles Green

Before I tell you about my experience here, let me just say that the best part of eating out as a vegan at a non vegan restaurant, is that your food comes out fast and is prepared fresh.

Now this restaurant is located in The Woodlands and if anyone knows the area, you know its bourgeoisie (that’s the correct way to spell the word, it’s not boujee or any other spelling), like for real for real. Walking up you see the outside area, and with the weather like it is in Texas, ain’t nobody sitting outside unless it’s night time, and even then, mosquitoes won’t let you be great and eat. 

Walking inside, they have a very sleek look. Lots of neural colors and white. It was pretty empty, guessing I beat the lunch hour rush, so there was no line. The lady who took my order was really nice and very patient.

I ordered as my appetizer the hummus with pita bread, which both are made in house, and as my meal I had the Veggie Nut Burger, 86 the cheese.

Both dishes were phenomenal. I would highly suggest them. The burger literally will melt in your mouth. The pita bread and hummus were the best I’ve had thus far.

What I also liked was it’s a self serve restaurant. You order and pay at the same time and then you get your own drink, silverware and napkins. You also can get your own to-go containers which is a plus because I feel waiters take entirely too long to bring the check and to-go containers. 

The only negative I have is that my appetizer and meal came at the same time. I would’ve preferred to get my appetizer before my meal. Not sure if that is something I should’ve requested, however, that’s the only negative I have. So, if you are ever in the Houston area, give them a try.

recipes

Baba Yega

My friend Jazzie told me about this place months ago and I’m not sure why I am just now getting around to it and I could kick myself for it. It’s located off Montrose and it’s a nice little restaurant. It kind of has seating for everyone. They have the inside area that looks more upscale that I assume may be for if you want a classy date or something. They have another inside area that looks like it was added on to the building and seems for something more casual. Then they have the outside area. I sat in the casual area.

What made this experience so amazing was my waiter, Gareth. He was so nice, personable, attentive and knowledgeable of their vegan items. He asked if I wanted the artichoke dip as an appetizer, and upon asking him if it was vegan, he recommended the spinach dip, which was vegan. I was blown away at the taste. It was unreal that it was vegan. It came with some fresh tortilla chips.


As my meal, I ordered the Veggie Black Bean burger. When Gareth brought it out, he said that the chipotle mayo that came on the burger was not vegan, so he had them just put their regular vegan mayo on it. Talk about going to bat for a customer. I would’ve never known that the mayo wasn’t vegan. It came with a side of fries and a pickle spear. The fries were really good, and I could tell they weren’t the fake ones that come frozen that you get from most fast food places and restaurants.


It was a great experience and I have Gareth to thank for that, and the chef for making such amazing vegan food.

Health + Wellness, My Life, Product Reviews

Nourish Juice Bar


Located off W Gray, this juice bar is so amazing and I love the atmosphere. I had been there once before. I ordered the Pink Starbust juice and a Buddha bowl. Both were absolutely amazing. The juice really tasted like candy and the kick from the ginger was perfect. 


The Buddha bowl was a curry style bowl with kale, quinoa, carrots, chickpeas and so much more earthy goodness. The curry dressing added so much flavor. I definitely want to try to recreate something like this.

My Life, Product Reviews

Vegan Tamales and Cupcakes @ Dan Electro’s

I don’t typically go into Houston that often because I hate the traffic and it’s a helluva commute but when I saw this event was in The Heights, and that’s fairly close to me, I was down. 


It’s located off 24th street and it’s a fairly small venue with a backyard patio. I actually only came for the tamales but Sara the Cupcake Girl was there and I bought a dozen and a half cupcakes. 


I was rather disappointed that the tamales were not already heated and the guy brought a crockpot to heat them in and he showed up later than expected. The line was long, I got ate up by mosquitos, badly and ended up with room temperature tamales.


The tamales were good, however, they would’ve been better hot. I felt like he was ill prepared. At the end of the event, those who placed orders, he no longer could fill them, not sure the reasoning but Sara and her family are making them and I’m sure they’ll be awesome as her cupcakes are. 


I got to meet the president of the Houston Black Vegan Social, Snoddy, and I have been added to the team. I also met another one of the members, Kirby.


The venue was great, it’s just the mosquitos were relentless and it could be because my blood is sweet from all the fruit I’ve been, but I will be using my all natural big spray by my girl Jazzzie by Nature. 


There is another event this coming weekend at the same place and Sara and her family are making cupcakes and enchiladas, all vegan of course. I can’t wait.

Health + Wellness

Top Staple Foods For Vegan Newbies

When I became vegan, I did not know what I was doing and I wish I had this list for when I went vegan. So I am making this to help my fellow vegan newbies. These are foods that I have in my house at all times. 
Grains:

Rice, quinoa, amaranth, millet, oats

Proteins:

Beans (preferably dry, canned goods aren’t good for you), lentils

Seeds:

Chia seeds, flax seeds, pumpkin seeds (aka pepitas), sunflower seeds, hemp seeds

Nuts:

Walnuts, pecans, Brazil nuts, cashews, pine nuts, hazel nuts, macadamia nuts 

Spices:

Oregano, basil, thyme, sage, cinnamon, allspice, pink Himalayan sea salt, black pepper, cayenne pepper, paprika

Sweeteners:

Pure maple syrup, raw agave nectar, turbinado sugar, dates

Miscellaneous:

Nutritional yeast, vegetable broth, braggs liquid amino acids, 

These are things that I keep in my pantry and on my spice rack and they go great with any recipe. This list will be updated often as I come into more things that I always keep in my pantry. Having these things on hand will make sure that you always have something to eat and make. 

Product Reviews

Snooze A.M. Eatery

I am apart of a group called Awkward Black Ladies on Facebook and one of the ladies, Ashley, posted about going to brunch. I’ve never gone to brunch before because there aren’t any places I know of that serve a vegan brunch, or vegan breakfast period, in Houston. So I responded anyway because 1). I want to make more friends, and 2). I wanted to venture out and see if indeed I have just not been looking hard enough. Sure enough, we agreed on going to Snooze, which I have never been, but a vegan friend of mine swears by it.


I arrived first and immediately was not happy with parking, however, because I’m familiar with that area, I wasn’t surprised. I parked on the street not too far away so it wasn’t that bad. I walk to the restaurant and I see a ton of people standing at the door. They were all waiting to be seated. The wait was an hour so that wasn’t too bad. Anything longer, we would have decided to go somewhere else.

Once Ashley arrived, we talked and chatted. She’s new to Texas and has only been here about three months. With all the people standing at the door and it opening and closing, it was very hot. We finally got seated and it wasn’t a complete hour that we waited. We opted to sit outside since that was first available and we were very hungry.


I forgot to take more pictures, but when I go back, and yes, I will go back, I will update this post. I ordered an iced spicy chai tea latte with almond milk to drink. Looking at the menu I was pleasantly surprised to see vegan options that weren’t salads. I can’t tell you how many places I go and their idea of satisfying a vegan is to put a salad on the menu, which is quite insulting if you think about it.

I ordered the quinoa porridge (quinoa, oats, berries, cinnamon, and maple syrup, cooked in almond milk), soyrizo and hash browns. Each dish was superb and I will definitely be recreating the quinoa porridge and making a video, so stay tuned for that.

Over all, I loved the restaurant. Food was great and so was the service. There wasn’t a long wait time for our food to come and it came piping hot. If you live in Houston or are ever visiting, please make it a mission to hit up Snooze.

Product Reviews

Tout Suite HTX

I stumbled upon this place on Instagram from someone I followed. They were listed as a suggestion. I saw all the pictures on their page and knew I had to check them out. Once I got here, I could tell it was it by the white and black building and their symbol on the doors. It’s a very cozy place and also a great place to work, which is where I am writing this post. It’s somewhat noisy but as I began to write, the noise cancelled out. The lights are dim, the furniture is all wood. It reminds me of a type of lounge, that also happens to serve food. 


When you walk in, you are just above street level. They have a lower level that is at street level. They have to areas to order food so the line doesn’t get long and they have an area to order just a drink, which I find very convenient if you just want a coffee or latte. The staff is very friendly and upbeat. The woman who took my order was very accommodating. I order their toast options and I did the combination, but had them switch out the salmon toast for another mushroom. She made sure to put my order in all caps that I was vegan so they would not use butter or add cheese to it. I was very impressed with how nice she was in making sure that my order was completely vegan, even going back and talking to the chef and asking the manager if it was okay to substitute the salmon. 


The one thing that I didn’t like was the restroom is co-ed. Yes you read that right. There are I believe 6 or 8 stalls, half on each side and they are divided by the sinks. I was confused going in because a man was coming out and I thought I had not listened correctly when told where the restrooms were, behind the sliding barn door. That was my only negative about the place.


They also have what is called The Annex, which is a coworking space where people can come to work, collaborate, hold meetings or if you need an office space outside of the house, you can get a private room. I’m actually considering getting one because I do work from home, but sometimes I get lazy and comfortable and don’t really get anything done. They also have a kitchenette where you can store or heat up your food. So it’s like an office except you are working for yourself. I had actually been looking for a coworking space, and here one fell into my lap. 


Overall I had a great experience and I will definitely be coming back.

Product Reviews

Review: Sambuca 

This was a really nice restaurant with a warming, intimate atmosphere. They have live music, friendly staff and a beautiful outside seating area. 


The main thing I didn’t like was their lack of vegan options. I could only eat the sides because most everything is premade, though I don’t want to eat anything premade that’s been sitting out all day, then just warmed up when ordered. 


Even the sides I had to veganize by asking them to not cook the veggies in butter (I don’t know why people think veggies have to be cooked in butter), the brussel sprouts came with bacon though I’m not sure why but I asked for them sans bacon, and the maple bourbon sweet potatoes, I asked to be cooked without butter. 

I have to say, those sweet potatoes were orgasmic. I will definitely have to try to recreate them because I can’t even describe how amazing they tasted. 

Overall, it’s a great restaurant but vegans like upscale too. Would get more service with more vegan options.

Product Reviews

Restaurant Review: Verts Mediterranean Grill 5*

I am a huge sucker for Mediterranean food. I love falafel, baklava and hummus. I have always been in love with ethnic food and more willing to try it since I am a POC (person of color). I will try anything as long as it’s vegan.

Verts is located off I45 and Louetta, located in the North Houston area. It happens to share a wall with two restaurants I love dearly – Chipotle and Salata. I had been going to that Chipotle for a while and then one night I decided to walk in. It has the feels and décor of Freebirds and Chipotle. The prices, menu and create-your-own-meal line, is similar as well.

What attracted me more than anything to this restaurant, again, was it had falafel. Another way that they are similar to Chipotle and Freebirds is that they are stingy with they rice. Like, you have this big bowl and you’re only going to give me two spoonful’s of rice? I’m not a big girl but I have a big girl appetite. I had the guy pile on more rice and ignored his questioning look when I asked for more.

He asked what kind if meat and I told him falafel. Those are made to order which I love, meaning they aren’t just sitting out on warmers like the meat is. I then had him add the chickpeas, carrot slaw, cucumbers and tomatoes as well as hummus. I want the tzaziki but it wasn’t vegan. It was made with greek yogurt. I’ve had tzaziki before, but only the vegan version.

The staff is actually really friendly and attentive like Chipotle and Freebirds. The establishment was very clean, not crowded, they get your food prepared fast, all with a smile. I have definitely found my new favorite restaurant and lucky for me, I don’t have to drive into Houston to get Mediterranean food.

Product Reviews

4* for Adair Kitchen and Black Vegans of Houston MeetUp

One of the things I want to be better about this year is joining Meetup groups and actually going to the Meetups. I have been apart of the Black Vegans of Houston for two years now, since the last Vegfest in Houston. I hade never been to any of the events and I could kick myself for not going.

We met at a restaurant called Adair Kitchen. It is located near the Galleria on San Felipe. The first thing that threw me was that there was a huge pig on the sign. I was very confused as to why we were meeting here but it wasn’t at all that bad.

The atmosphere is very friendly. The staff was also very attentive and knowledgeable about items on the menu that could be made vegan. I ordered the super food bowl w/ a black bean patty. It was literally like an orgasm in my mouth. My taste buds were jumping up and down from joy. The flavors of the black bean patty mixed with the kale, almonds, cucumbers, tomatoes, brown rice, pecans and everything else in it, were just wonderful.

As it gets later they dim the lights and it becomes more intimate and personal. I will definitely be going back. Now one of the other members of the group, got the same bowl as me but hers had bacon in it and I found that odd. They knew we were a vegan group, and the dish didn’t have bacon in it. So I am not sure how they got bacon in it.

Now the company was amazing and we had great conversations. It was nice to be able to meet other Black vegans/wannabe vegans since I only know of two that live here in Houston. I will definitely be going to more Meetups in the future.

I gave the restaurant 4* because of the bacon mishap. Even though it did not happen to me, the fact that it happened and could happen again in the future, kind of makes me more conscious about when I go back. If you are in the Houston area or are going to visit, I recommend the restaurant, vegan and non.