ecoRDN’s Plant-Based Cheese Tasting

ecoRDN’s Plant-Based Cheese Tasting

We threw a party! A vegan cheese party, and it went over pretty damned well.

What led to this? Well quite simply, if you lined up all the vegetarians and some omnivores and asked them “why not vegan” most would likely respond, “cheese”. Cheese is the reason why many will not consider a dairy-free diet. So we wanted to illuminate the diverse, multifaceted and oh-so flavorful aspects within the current dairy-free plant-based cheese world, which has come a long way!

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Apteka

Apteka

“A good appetite needs no sauce” – Old Polish Proverb

It took us a little while to finally dine at Apteka. Not for lack of wanting, the idea of vegan pierogi and Polish fare sounded amazing, but the time had to be right!

Cue the Autumn/Winter season. As light begins to wane and darkness becomes the day, the season of early sunset sets upon us. Chilly air and foggy breath make for ruddy cheeks and hearty appetites, a fitting climate to open this treasure trove of earthy, pungent, and rustic charm.

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All for Spak, Spak for All

All for Spak, Spak for All

Before ecoRDN returned to Pittsburgh from NYC living we made a list of all the many vegan-friendly food hubs to visit upon return to our glorious city and Spak Brothers topped the list. Spak forged a path not many dared back when they first opened their doors. Sure Pittsburgh has seen a vegan-friendly boom over the last five years, but before that boom the vegan scene was practically crickets. There was the dope East End staple Quiet Storm, the Southside Zenith with their epic brunch and all-vegan dessert, however pizza and wings were not yet on the menu. Thus enter the Spak!

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Loving Hut Pittsburgh!

Loving Hut Pittsburgh!

Update: Loving Hut sadly is no more. As of Summer 2017 Loving Hut closed their doors. Buffet, no more. (sigh)

“Loving Hut is created with a vision that all beings can live in peace, love and harmony with each other and the planet. Loving Hut chain restaurants are newly opening around the world. It is an invitation to gourmet cuisine made with wholesome, vegan ingredients, and it offers an accessible starting point for those making the noble transition to a plant-based diet.”

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The Great Aroma® Rice Cooker #CakeHack (with Recipe)

The Great Aroma® Rice Cooker #CakeHack (with Recipe)

Being plant-based in a carnivorous world is heavy. Have you ever looked at a rental property, opened the oven and wished you hadn’t? Who knows what was cooked in there to cause such a blackened lavarock mess at the bottom? No thanks! One instance in particular was our last rental, a studio in the Yorkville neighborhood of Manhattan directly south of Spanish Harlem, the kitchen was not much bigger than a broom closet with no counter space. The biggest concern was the set up: the oven was butted-up directly against the outside wall, that seemed like a huge safety issue (fire hazard!!!). And the studio by stovetop alone got ridiculously hot in the summer. For people who like to cook and eat (especially cake) that was a real bummer, so we had to make-do and improvise.

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Onion Maiden, Aces High!

Onion Maiden, Aces High!

(During this article’s genesis, Onion Maiden had yet to open their first brick-and-mortar and had primarily shared their amazing wares via pop-ups and the like. However, now they have their very own shop located at 635 E Warrington Ave, Pittsburgh, PA 15210!!! More reviews to follow…)

It’s not often ecoRDN dines out, we are thrifty and enjoy cooking so much that most of our food consumption happens within the comforts of our hobbity domicile. We practice mindful eating so are in-the-zone for most meals in regards to the balance of protein to carb and vegetable ratio. Thus when ecoRDN does decide to check out a new eatery we don’t feel bad about eating comfort foods with a little extra in the way of heavy and/or unbalanced offerings. Sometimes it’s perfectly acceptable, and on the occasion in mention, our intro to the amazing world of Onion Maiden, we downed dawgs and tots with carnivalesque gusto to a backdrop of blazing metal and classic punk.

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Randita’s Organic Vegan Cafe (Aspinwall)

Randita’s Organic Vegan Cafe (Aspinwall)

ecoRDN loves to take walks that end in plant-based foods being shoved in our gobs. One of our favorite walks has always been from the city of Pittsburgh, crossing the Highland Park bridge to get to the quaint little town of Aspinwall. Before 2012, living in Pittsburgh, the walk would take us to the Waterworks Mall. There we often read or drew in Barnes & Noble while getting jacked on coffee with no vegan fare around but a lowly protein bar or snack from Marshall’s or TJ Maxx. My how times have changed! Aspinwall now has an amazing all vegan restaurant, Randita’s, offering lunches Monday through Saturday and weekend dinners Friday and Saturday. They also have a food truck located at Aspinall Riverfront Park.

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