Monday, 31 March 2014

Meatless Monday: Veg Out

Whether you partake in Meatless Monday or you're meatless every day, Veg Out is a lovely little shop-type restaurant located in UWI, St. Augustine that has something for everyone. It's a special place because there are very few vegetarian and/or vegan restaurants in Trinidad. It's also the only one of its kind on the campus. The pastries are some of the best I've tried from many bakeries in Trinidad; buttery and flaky, even when it cools. They also now serve seasonal salads and have a variety of lunches every day of the week. The lunches are always pretty good so they sell out fast! Besides the boxed lunches, they have a small vegetarian sandwich selection (ready-made) if you're on the go or in a hurry. Recently, they've updated their tea and coffee selection. If you're a tea/coffee fan, definitely check them out. I must say however, my absolute favourite part of Veg Out is the service. It's like a big family whenever you enter; it's a warm and inviting environment that really makes you feel at home. They are always smiling and friendly and making conversation, making you feel like you've known them forever. Even if you're not a student and just in the area, stop by and say hi, try something... you won't regret it!

I forgot to mention that they sell local corn soup (one of my favourites!) on Fridays at lunch. These are probably some of the fastest selling items they have.
My camera battery died just after I took the first picture so it is all I got. However, I will try to remember to take a few more the next time I visit.

Tuesday, 25 March 2014

Golden Birthday (A Non-Food Related Post)

I celebrated my Golden Birthday last Sunday. Rather, my golden birthday was last Sunday. I didn't celebrate much at all. However, I did enjoy my weekend, simply hanging with friends. It was a relaxed birthday; nothing like what I had thought it would be a few years ago. For the past week or two as my birthday approached, I did quite a lot of thinking: where I am in life, what I have accomplished or what I have not accomplished, my health, my dreams, my friends and family...
I have thought at least once before about my golden birthday. I thought it would be brilliant; a huge luau with all my acquaintances, elaborate décor with hula skirts and tiki torches, lots of food and booze, even a pig in the pit maybe! It wasn't like that. I'm out of acquaintances but I've got a tiny group of lovely friends. We watched movies, cooked pasta, baked scones and drank wine. As I type, it sounds a lot more grown up that I even thought. A luau seemed like a nice idea, I still love the idea of luau, but a simple gathering like we had is pretty great as well. My interests while still similar, have been a bit refined as well. I absolutely adore brunch and afternoon tea. Who'd have thought? Sometimes sitting and existing with friends can be far more entertaining than you'd imagine. While all that is part of the good life, I really have put living the way I want to, and wanted to, on a hold. I have not made much of an effort to really do the things I want to do and live in a way I'll always be proud of, whether I depart young or old. While my passion for cuisine if a fairly new discovery, travelling is something I have always loved. It's something baffling to think of how different people can be. Some people are content or happy being exactly where they are for all of their life, and they feel no desire to discover somewhere new. Others want to see the world, or at least as much of it as they can. I'm one of the others. Even before I was 10 years old, I remember telling my teacher that I wanted to be a flight attendant so I could travel the world. I no longer want to be a flight attendant. I'm sure they spend the majority of their time looking at the inside of a plane.
I had a lot more to say but after taking a little break, I realized I was babbling a lot. The point of it all is that I have neglected to do a lot of things that I think could(would) make my life more fulfilling and rewarding. My feelings of demotivation have not been a secret, I'm sure I have mentioned it in a post or two before. But I have yet to do anything about it. Waiting for the right time is not really a good option because there really never is a "right time". We don't know where we will be in our lives tomorrow, or even if we'll be here at all. Why aren't we making the best of it now? It's not too late to start, even though too many times I feel like it is. Having regrets is a waste of time because it really just holds us back from doing something about it! I hope I can remember this way I feel and continue living my life to the fullest, and so should you! (If anyone actually reads this, of course.)

I really like the version that combines the movie "The Bucket List". Brilliant movie, you should watch it.

Sunday, 16 March 2014

Product Review: Frank's Hot Sauce

Some years ago, my parents brought back a bottle of Frank's hot sauce after a visit to New York. It was instant love: the mild spice from the cayenne and the wonderful tang from the vinegar... and who doesn't want to eat food that's so vibrantly orange?
This hot sauce is obviously nothing like our local hot sauce. It's far more similar to Tabasco than our regular scotch bonnet or habanero type very hot pepper sauce. While I've always been a fan of our local pepper sauce - it compliments a lot of our dishes very well - I also adore the orange, vinegary type of hot sauce as well. If you like a little tang, you'll love Frank's. Frank's is the gold star in buffalo sauces; most buffalo recipes that call for hot sauce, call for Frank's in particular. It's a very versatile sauce, and though I am yet to try all the varieties, I do really like the ones I have tried. Like I mentioned in my last post, you can put Frank's on anything and it'll taste great! Buffalo everything!
Frank's themselves have a lot of recipes on their website, but you can find a lot of delicious recipes using Frank's everywhere on the Internet.

Here's a few great recipes using this product:

Monday, 10 March 2014

Meatless Monday: Buffalo Chickpeas

It's been a while since I've been here. I have missed it but I'm still learning to not let my demotivating emotions get the better of me. Frank's (which is going to be the focus of my next post), is a wonderful vinegary cayenne hot sauce that's extremely popular for making buffalo wings. But I think you can put Frank's on anything and make it delicious! Recently, chickpeas has become more and more popular as a healthy snack alternative. In Trinidad, we make a lot of spiced roasted chickpeas as snacks, but not like these. Buffalo chickpeas is as good of an idea as it sounds. Why not buffalo everything? I've heard buffalo cauliflower is brilliant!

Buffalo Chickpeas

Simply combine all ingredients and bake at 375ºF for 20-30 minutes or until crispy.

These can be served in a number of ways or just eaten as a snack and it's still great. They can be used for filling for lettuce wraps with a little bleu cheese dressing or a little crumbled gorgonzola and some sour cream. Or maybe as a filling for a soft taco or a quesadilla? Or as a crunchy topping for salad? There are a lot of possibilities for these yummy little guys. I knew roasted chickpeas might be good, but I was thrilled with the results of making it buffalo! And the hot sauce is already so flavourful on its own, minimal ingredients and effort is required. I'm definitely making some buffalo cauliflower soon too!