Friday, August 31, 2012

Restaurant Review - Gypsy Den, Downtown Anaheim

Recently we tried out the very new Gypsy Den in Downtown Anaheim, Ca. We've been enjoying the Gypsy Den in Santa Ana for a decade or more. It is one of our favorite places to eat in the OC. It has a wonderful hippie vibe, with saris used as window treatments, cool art and books, and groovy vintage colored-glass globe lamps. So we were happy to hear of a new Gypsy Den opening in Downtown Anaheim, which is just a little closer to my mother's house.

I was pleased to see a large selections of vegan options. My son ordered this Vegan Bacon-Burger and sweet potato salad (not sure if it was vegan though)
My Mother ordered a Pesto-Portobello Burger (not vegan, but veggie) with some kind of citrus-wheat berry salad.
This is my order of a Chipotle-Avocado-Chicken Wrap (vegan), and a Mediterranean Orzo Salad. The first few bites of the wrap were delightful, I was digging the chipotle taste. As I ate it though, I just kept thinking this "chicken" was too real (don't worry it wasn't!) But it seemed so real to me, I even re asked the waiter that this truly was Vegan! It was! I guess I've never had "chicken" salad before, I usually have my fake chicken in nugget or burger form, and hot. It was good though. My salad was a little boring, I don't know if there was any dressing on that thing at all. Of the three varieties I tried, I enjoyed my mom's citrus wheat berry the best (at least I think that's what it was called)

So the new Gypsy Den was good, and it's good to have some more vegetarian food in the dull droms of the cultureless part of OC, but I have to say that I like the Santa Ana version better... It's bigger, and just decorated better. Plus, they have our favorite Gypsy Rice salad, which is lacking in Anaheim. The waiter was extra nice though.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Grandma Turns 90!

I am pretty lucky to have not one, but both of my Grandmas turn 90 this year!

So my mom's mother just had her 90th birthday this weekend. This woman has everything she could possibly need, so I have to say she may be the hardest woman to find a present for. So my mother suggested I do a rendering of this famous photo. My Grandma has always loved this, as many from her generation I'm sure have. It always reminds her of her husband (who died in a car accident when my mom was only 18 months old... very traumatic). Raymond was also a sailor in WWII.

Anyway, there ya have it.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Extraordinary Bug Photography.... If I do say so myself

I love the challenge of photographing insects. I'm a little behind in posting on my blog, but here are some of my recent shots.

First, here is my favorite from the past year. I took this photo of a June Bug from last summer.

This is quite a cute little bugger!!

Have you ever tried to take a picture of a Dragonfly in flight? Well, it's no easy task! I have tried many times, and I was lucky to catch this shot last summer while lounging on Mirror Lake in Yosemite.
This happened to be the large BumbleBee I believe that I have ever seen! It's enjoying the nectar of the Wild Mountain Sweet Pea, taken this summer, 2012.

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Restaurant Review - Loving Hut, Upland, CA

Crap! Where has the time gone???!

I recently had the pleasure to dine at The Loving Hut in Upland, California. It was a scrum-didley-umptious experience! Better yet, all VEGAN!

This place is a bit of a "chain" restaurant, with a little bit of variations at each one. I have also ate at a Loving Hut in Phoenix, which was also very enjoyable.

First order of business was the drinks

Thai Iced Tea. All vegan, with a choice of soy milk, or coconut milk. Dad chose the coconut.
I decided on the Rose Lemonade. Very refreshing, and rose flavor is very delightful and fresh! And the confetti of rose petal flecks add to the festivity of the drink.
Our salad was the first food to arrive. I'm sorry I forget the name, but it was pretty basic with a mustard-honey-like dressing. (although it's suppose to be vegan, so not sure what it actually was!)
A different dish that we don't usually get, at least not at the Asian varieties, is this order of Sweet Potato Fries. A favorite to my Father, seems to me!
Always a favorite to us is the fried rice. This kind had ham (fake of course!!... the best kind!)
Another favorite is the Broccoli Beef... always has some yummy sauce!
This is a new dish for us. It is Lemongrass Chicken. It's a salty flavorful concoction with a little more salad.
Finally, the dessert! Actually I do believe this is my Dad's favorite part! Since he's a vegan, he gets quite a thrill of any kind of delicious sweet stuff that is vegan. From left to right, Chocolate-Coconut Cream Pie, Chocolate Mousse (my order), Lemon Cheesecake. They were all very decadent. I did enjoy the Chocolate Mousse, but I have to say this is not for the weak! I only recommend it to those who truly have a great love of decadent, very rich chocolate. The lemon cheesecake was more light, and I really did like it, and I don't care a lot for cheesecake. The coconut was the least favorite to my dad and myself, although my son probably liked it more than he liked my rich and thick delicacy!

There are a variety of over 120 The Loving Hut Restaurants nationwide, and I highly recommend for the vegan or meat eater who is not afraid of trying vegan food. So good!! This one that I went to in Upland, seems to have smaller portion sizes than the other one I went to in Phoenix, but the price per order is a little cheaper also. Next time I think we should get one more dish, and maybe lay off the dessert. (this was a meal for 3 people, one of which is a teenage boy, yes we are hearty eaters).... I do think my Dad though, will probably still get the dessert!

Be Veg, Go Green, Save The Planet