Today I decided to surprise Christie by taking her to Syracuse to try a new (to us) vegan cafe that had been recommended a few weeks ago by friends of mine. After taking care of a few errands we hopped in the car and drove... and drove... and drove a little more until we arrived in Syracuse. Needless to say, Christie wasn't sure what we were doing there, but when we pulled up to Strong Hearts she remembered me mentioning it and... well, we went in!
Our sides arrived first: mine was Chipotle potato salad (vegan and yummy)... and Christie's was vegan pasta salad wtih a variety of veggies (pictured a little further below).
We both ordered sandwiches (being lunch and all) and we were NOT disappointed. I ordered the T.L.T. (tofu, lettuce and tomato) and it was absolutely delicious. The tofu was marinated and baked, and it was served with walnut pesto and sprouts, as well as a little Daiya "cheese" -- perfect!
Christie had a seitan sandwich made with sun dried tomato seitan that was out of this world! The sandwiches were also HUGE so were more than stuffed when we finished!
Close up of the delicious pasta salad...
After we finished we knew we had to try one of the "milk"shakes because there were so many and, well, they all had cool names (named after the workers' heroes). We decided to try the Roberto Clemente which was a Peanut Butter Oreo smoothie. There are no words for how decadent and yummy it was -- hands down the best milkshake we've ever had (and we had a delicious one in Boulder, CO that we thought topped them all). The milkshake was gone before we knew it... so, no photo.
My friends (who recommended the cafe) told me that Strong Hearts is the best vegan restaurant in WNY. I don't know if I can call it "the best" (my heart is loyal to Natural Oasis here in Rochester) but it was definitely one of the best. We will definitely be back, and it was totally worth every mile of the 3-hour round-trip. That being said, we should get a new bumper sticker that reads:
WILL TRAVEL FOR DELICIOUS VEGGIE FOOD. :)
After our return to Rochester I figured I should have some sort of dinner (we stopped at a winery on the way back, so we had a chance to burn off a little of our lunch). We had a HUGE butternut squash in the fridge (a week old) that I had to do something with, so I started in on cutting it up (with images of last year's marathon butternut squash soup marathon playing in my head). It was actually quite therapeutic, but after chopping... and more chopping... my curiosity got the best of me and I wondered, "Just how big is this squash?!" I found the label in the trash and it was 4.10 POUNDS!!
So, I chopped up 3/4 of it and decided to bake about 1/8 of it, along with some delicious brussel sprouts.
They got along quite nicely in the oven...
And their colors made me want to snap snap snap away...
By the way, I think it is incredibly AWESOME how our tastes (food- and other-wise) evolve as we grow older. Sadly, Brussel sprouts get such a bad rap and, because of that, I often shunned them. However, now that I'm older I have given them a try and absolutely LOVE them. Just like anything (*ahem* tofu... which also, unfortunately, gets a horrible rap), they can be done incorrectly, but simply roasting them in the oven with a little olive oil can yield delicious results!
The squash, almost finished...
Finally ready! A nutritious, tasty, and Fall-y dinner. :)
Enjoy the last few weeks of Fall, and happy eating!