Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Vegan Treats Doughnuts at Atlas Café

Atlas Café at 73 2nd Avenue 2nd Ave in Manhattan is now carrying Vegan Treats doughnuts! So we went down there with our buddies Isa and Eppy and ate some. You can eat some too by going to Atlas on a Tuesday night. That's the day that they're delivered and, from what we understand, they're gone by Wednesday!

Boston Cream
Boston Cream was always my favorite doughnut! With sweet chocolate, tangy custard and fried dough, how can you go wrong? Well, I was nervous that the vegan version might not be the same, but my fears were unfounded. It was awesome and very authentic! They got everything just right, even the custard which seems like it would be tricky to do vegan. -Jim

Rainbow Sprinkled
Mmmmmm. Donuts. This was the simplest and my favorite of the bunch. Good enough to fool Homer Simpson. A classic, undeniably donutty flavor and texture, lightly glazed and topped with colorful sprinkles. I loved it! It even smelled like heaven. (This, of course, is based on my assumption that heaven smells like dessert.) -Ev

Coconut Cream
Ok so imagine this, you take the Boston Cream doughnuts I described above, but instead of chocolate, you put sugary sweet glaze and toasted coconut on top. The end result: an even better doughnut for a coconut lover like myself. Coconut is one of my favorite dessert flavors (as evidenced by the ChoCofCo, my brilliant contribution (ok, not so much a contribution as a suggestion) to Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World), so this doughnut was like heaven to me. The same awesome custard in the same awesome doughnut, but coconutty! Yes! -Jim

Oreo Cream
This donut was ridiculous, and that could be a good thing or a bad thing depending on your stomach (I know the folks at Supervegan rated this one as their favorite). As far as the donut itself, the texture was much thicker/denser than the standard donut. Also, inside was the familiar Vegan Treats frosting that tops many of their delicious cakes, only this time oreos were blended into it. It was almost like an inside out cake that was compressed into donut size and covered with cookie crumbs. Now don't get me wrong, donuts by their very nature are delicious, but this one was a bit too much for me. It was really dense and I personally don't love frosting in donuts. So that's my take-- delicious but not my favorite kind of delicious. If it sounds like your kind of delicious, tear this shizzle up! -Ev

The Bottom Line
True Story: Years ago, the second or third time I ever got Vegan Treats cake at Atlas, I said to the guy behind the counter, "You guys should sell vegan doughnuts. That would be awesome." And now my wish has come true! Doughnuts have always been one of my favorite desserts and now Vegan Treats has brought them to my city, vegan and delicious. Thanks so much, Vegan Treats! You rule! -Jim
Word. These were really good. I can't wait to try the other kinds. I would also like to add my thanks to Vegan Treats and their unflappable commitment to making me die happily of a sugar overdose. Well folks, now we have one vegan donut maker down and one to go. That's right, Mighty O! You heard me. Get your sugary holes over here! -Ev

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Buddha Bodai

We tried Buddha Bodai for the first time yesterday. Buddha Bodai is a mostly-vegan, all-vegetarian Chinese restaurant located at 5 Mott st in Chinatown, Manhattan.

Wonton Soup
This soup was very light and mellow. The wontons themselves seemed to be filled solely with spinach, though Evelyn said she detected some mushroom in there. The broth was hearty but not too strong or salty. This was a very simple soup but I enjoyed it. It actually had me expecting a light, simple meal, but it turned out that the soup was very different from the rich, heavy dishes that would follow. -Jim

BBQ Veg Meat
This was a whopping plate of wheat gluten in a sweet barbeque sauce. The strips were soft and chewy, without being gummy. For gluten enthusiasts this was a cross between the super chewy fare at House of Vegetarian, and the compact chew of seitan at Lan Café. This had a really good balance of texture and flavor. Just don't let your eyes be bigger than your stomach! -Ev
Yeah this was good but there was so much food! I'd say this appetizer would be appropriate for at least four people. Any less than that and you'll probably need to take some home for leftovers. The good news is it makes a great snack when re-heated! -Jim

Pan Fried Noodles w/ Beef and Chicken in Black Bean Sauce
This was on the “House Special” menu so I don’t know if they offer it all the time, but if they do, I would recommend it. The base of this dish was a heaping pile of crunchy fried noodles. On top of those noodles were sauteed peppers, bean sprouts, mock chicken and mock beef. The mock chicken was tasty and had good texture The beef had a softer texture and a much more savory taste. I think I preferred the chicken, but the beef was OK. All these ingredients were united by a delicious black bean sauce that was salty and a little bit sweet. Overall, I really enjoyed this dish, and then I enjoyed it again for lunch today, and I’ll enjoy it yet again for lunch tomorrow. In other words, this was a LOT of food. And I think it only cost $10, so that’s a pretty good value! -Jim

Mixed Vegetables in Taro Bowl
When you’ve had dim sum in the past, have you ever wished that you could form the dim sum into a crispy bowl and fill it with mock meat and veggies? Well, if you were wacky enough to wish such a thing your wish has come true! Like a delicious Asian cousin of the taco salad, this meal was a culinary party in a hearty, edible bowl. Where to start? There were snow peas, mushrooms, carrots, pine nuts, mock ham, mock shrimp, mock fish, mock chicken, all crammed in a delicious crunchy-on-the-outside/soft-on-the-inside taro bowl. Surrounding said bowl was steamed broccoli in a light and salty ginger sauce. The standouts in this dish were the broccoli, the bowl and the mock chicken, which was thick, savory, and delightfully peppery. This was incredibly filling and could easily be shared by 2 or 3 people. -Ev

Vegan Cheesecake
If you had told me that I could still have cheesecake back when I first went vegan, I would have thought you were lying. But here I am reviewing yet another vegan cheesecake. And this one, like all the rest I’ve had, was pretty good. It was a bit creamier and tangier than others, which actually made it more reminiscent of real cheesecake. I have a feeling that the syrup was just watered-down strawberry preserves, which turned me off just a little. But overall I think this was a good dessert. Not the best vegan cheesecake I’ve ever had, but still good. -Jim
Well I thought it was great! In fact, I think Pukk has competition for best cheesecake. I liked the tang, and it had a great crust. -Ev

The Bottom Line
I’m happy that we finally got to try Buddha Bodai. The menu was a little intimidating with so many dishes. (Oof. I’m writing this 3 ½ hours after dinner and I’m still ridiculously full.) There was a ton of food and it was all really good. Our doggie bag weighed as much as a neopolitan mastiff. I think next time I’ll try to pick out some lighter fare, but regardless, this meal was great! -Ev
Everything we got (with the exception of the soup) was super-rich, super-filling and came in super-large portion sizes. Is that true of everything at Buddha Bodai? It’s hard to say because, as Ev mentioned, there are tons of choices on the menu and we only tried a few things. I would say our first experience there was a positive one. -Jim