Well you guys know me as Marti or Martina depending on when in life you met me. Martina for PD or Pre-Dave or Marti for AD as in After Dave.

I am a bit odd, have a wickedly strange sense of humor (this illustrates me perfectly!)


and I am a woman who prides herself in being a contradiction in terms.

Since having my beautiful daughter Ellie on 6/25/13 my life could not be more different. I’ve always been into tattoos, piercings and rock music so a vegan lifestyle wasn’t much farther to stretch as many of those who are vegans are already tattooed rockers! (And I think that’s all awesome!!) But I also first and foremost love Jesus. I am totally and ridiculously in love with Jesus. He is pretty much the awesome-est ness of my life. I am nothing without His love. So for many “religious” people I don’t look like a typical Jesus freak per se but I guess I am not anything typical.

The Jesus I know, love and follow is a lover. He is a lover of this planet and ALL of it’s people. Fundamentally speaking I believe in Jesus, His death and resurrection as well as the Father and the Holy Spirit who lives and breathes in all believers. I believe in miracles, in passionate love for our fellow man and in life abundant. My church and family are the most amazing people I know they’ve loved me into wholeness without allowing me to keep the dysfunctions that held me back.

So Jesus is #1. These two are my number 2:


That’s my totally handsome and wickedly funny best friend and hubby Dave and my beautiful girl Ellie

As I said my life totally changed when she was born. No, I take it back, before she was born it totally changed. When I got pregnant I became this green and crunchy hippy that I never knew existed. I did a home water birth without any drugs and breastfed exclusively for the first year. Now we eat loads of yummie organic foods together and she still breastfeeds up to 6 times a day if she needs me. I also went from a drug toting gal to being all homeopathic and we use EO’s and homeopathic medicines instead of “drugs.” So I don’t take Advil, Aleve, Tylenol even. They, being everyone, told me “oh you can take Tylenol while you’re pregnant” I said nah…I’ll pass.

So crunchy green mama me emerged.

I also finished a back piece since becoming a mom, re-pierced my nose and am planning my eyebrow to be done as well as a large arm (upper) piece to represent my daughter.

I have struggled in my walk thinking that God doesn’t hear me or love me. But then look back on my dreams, and His promises fulfilled: I got my VW Tiguan with the exact colors and features I wanted (thank you Lord!) and I got to be a full time stay at home mom. So I know that despite the struggles, God is good and He loves me.

I have become even closer to some friends, I LOVE you Stacey, Amy, Lauren & Sarah, and drifted away from those who I thought would support me in my transition to motherhood.

I have moved from the house we birthed Ellie in, to a townhouse in a true family neighborhood.

And I’ve become even more in love with veganism, and vegetables to be specific. Briefly off topic, Ellie loves beets, yellow beets to be exact, and I have found myself really liking them as well!! There are no veggies I don’t like. At least not off hand. I don’t like ANY melons. I also don’t like pears. Ellie, however, devours about a pear each day. She eats kale, spinach, garlic, hummus, spicy foods, beans, taters, and every fruit we have ever given her.

So I am a contradiction in terms of sorts. A tattooed, pierced, rocker mama who loves the “spirit of the south” in that I love the kindness and ease that is associated with it but I hate heat and humidity. I am drawn to Portland. The land of veganism, crunchy non-vax parents and hippies. That’s where this power packed Jesus worshipper wants to land! Oh and did I mention that my dream is to be a worship leader for Jesus?! So you can find me shouting His praises listening to Bethel Music with Ellie. And the same day, rocking out to Godsmack on the Elliptical machine.

Just because I “look” a certain way doesn’t mean I’m not a kind, compassionate, loving hippy on the inside. I love to read James Patterson, Bill Johnson, Danny Silk (who writes THE best books on parenting & relationships,) Banning Liebshcher, Kris Vallotton and more. I also love me some killer rock music: old stuff like Tool & AC/DC, Metallica, Def Leppard, Bon Jovi, Whitesnake, and newer rock like Three Days Grace, The Pretty Reckless, Godsmack, Rob Zombie, Linkin Park…

Then you’ll also catch me blaring Keith Urban, Rascall Flats, The Zac Brown Band, Tim McGraw, Taylor Swift, The Band Perry, Lady Antebellum and more. And on occasion I’ll rock out some pop…mostly dance or techno since it’s good to blast driving alone or at the gym on the elliptical.

So in essence I love Jesus, Dave, Ellie, my friends, my kitties, pitbulls (which I intend to adopt some oldies sooner rather than later), tattoos, rock and country and all things beautiful. Peonies, pink, tulle and being a girl. Cold weather days and snuggles under a warm blanket nights, sweater (or in my case hoodie) weather, gloves, boots and jeans that fit just right. I love a Florida spring day and the feeling of falling asleep in the August sun. I love Portland and rain showers, Hunter boots and puddles. I love the teachings of my amazing Pastor Terri Dieter, Bill Johnson, Kris Vallotton, Steve Hale, Scott Thompson and Todd White. I love Bethel Church and Music and what they’ve done to advance God’s kingdom. I love rock and country and dancing. I love Jenn Johnson, the way she worships and her powerful voice. I love my British husband and family, my dual citizen Ellie Grace. I love my baby’s smiles and giggles and how she lights up every room she enters. Because her name means “beautiful woman, bringer of light” and she does bring light wherever she goes. I love that I’m not like anyone I know but I can relate to a lot of people. I love that I am weird and unique and a wife, mother, daughter and friend. I love being vegan and not doing harm to animals in living the lifestyle I have chosen. I love that Ellie will be raised this way. There is way too much to feel blessed about than not. I am one heck of a lucky woman and am blessed to have a beautiful healthy family and a relationship with God. I. Am. Truly. Blessed.

Okay folks…so before we got on the healthy-ful kick we’re currently on, we decided to indulge.  My favorite vegan blogger Annie Shannon over at Meet the Shannons provides us with constant yum.  We found this wonderful Breakfast Bake recipe and it enticed us to eat this on New Years day.  And boy did it NOT disappoint.  Now we substituted out some things, like we used actual hash browns instead of grating out a potato (less work,) and we never use the liquid smoke because it changes the flavor so much and it’s not our go to ingredient.  Instead of green pepper, we had several mini peppers in red, yellow and orange to eat, and I prefer them as they are actually a bit sweeter.  And we definitely used more nutritional yeast…and then my go to ingredient, is ALWAYS Louisiana Hot Sauce on top of everything.  Gosh do I love that stuff.

I am not going to put the recipe below, as I linked it above, and it is quite long.  It’s worth the prep and well worth the wait.  It’s satisfying, not too calorie dense and loaded with protein and flavor!  Eat up people, it’s the perfect Sunday morning treat, or a great Christmas morning or Boxing Day, or New Years Day treat.  It will not disappoint.  Photos below for your drooling pleasure!

I have had the delight of eating Lettuce Eat Healthy’s special sausage biscuits and gravy with a tofu scramble for a vegan meetup back in September, but I had not yet ventured out to the food cart, as I am not much of a downtown Friday night gal.  I had heard and read of the rave reviews of the sausage and Philly cheesesteak that Jim does.  So, for a special occasion, we went out on First Friday for December 2011.  We ended up walking back via the direction that the Witch and the Ale is located, so we dropped in and saw that Jim was there with his cart.

I was thrilled to finally get the chance to try this cheesesteak!  My husband and I shared it, and neither of us were actually so impressed that we couldn’t believe it.  It did taste ‘meaty’ but it was lathered in onions and peppers and I didn’t get much of a taste for the cheese, or the actual flavor of the meat.  Since we were still hungry, and feeling pretty disappointed, we got a hot dog to share as well.  We absolutely loved the hot dog.  It is probably one of the best vegan dogs I have had, and it hit the spot.  I’ve been pretty disappointed by Lettuce Eat Healthy on a whole though, with their spotty downtown hours (we’ve gone 3 times on lunch breaks and they haven’t been there once,) and them running out of food when we’ve actually made it, then with the food quality not quite living up to the word of mouth I had heard.

Jim is a great guy and super personable and kind.  The breakfast that he did at the meetup was absolutely one of a kind and I have never had such amazing sausage biscuits and gravy as I had that morning.  But as for the cart as a whole…I’d rather buy some Field Roast Italian Sausage from Whole Foods and cook that up.  It’s cheaper, guaranteed to be in my freezer when I want it, and I can add my own ingredients to top.  I’m glad I finally tried it, but I won’t be back.

Cream Cheese Brownie PieBy now you all know that www.meettheshannons.com is one of the best vegan resources out there.  I was looking for a fun and different dessert to try, while having a massive chocolate craving…and stumbled upon the recipe for the Cream Cheese Brownie pie.  When I saw what it looked like I wanted to jump into the website and devour it!  So, again, I followed AJ’s careful directions and ended up with one sweet brownie pie.  We ended up taking this to my Aunt’s home to share for my cousin Alexa’s going away party.  There ended up being one piece left…It’s truly just THAT good people.  The brownie was moist and light and the cream cheese layer on top was absolutely sinful.

It’s truly one of the easiest desserts to make, since most vegan baking experiments take me the better part of an afternoon and this was about 30-45 mins prep time and 45-50 for baking.

I was the only true vegan eating this brownie pie, and the audience of meat eaters received it and devoured it well.  So head on over, once again…to http://www.meettheshannons.net/2010/06/betty-crocker-project-cream-cheese.html and get baking people!  I loved this pie and so will you!  There sure is nothing about it that TASTES LIKE VEGAN at all J

I finally made it over to Rawk Star Café in my old hometown of Palm Harbor!  And though it shows a small locale, next to a vitamin shop and Domino’s Pizza on the side of US19N and Tampa Road, it is a little patch of sunshine.  It’s very modern and clean and minimal inside, an absolute delight to look at.

I was of course greeted by Karen’s friendly smile and sweet demeanor.  I have visited twice, and both times were alike in that you are always greeted with a smile and with great energy!  Adam greeted me the second time J  The first time there I ordered the pizza with rawghetti and a slice of the Macha Crème pie to go with a Hibiscus tea.  The pizza was awesome, loaded with veggies, and loaded with flavor.  I told Karen that I didn’t like olives, and she said there were sundried olives on the pizza.  Though, I usually like olives on pizza I was even more interested when she said that they were sundried.  So I told her to pile them on.  They were really tasty.  Even more so than regular black olives on pizza.  The flavor and richness of the pizza hit the spot.  The rawghetti was also flavorful with plenty of cashew cheese on top for loads of cheesy flavor.  Though the pizza and rawghetti were nice, I would be a liar if I didn’t admit to the Macha Crème pie being some of the most amazing dessert I have had.  It was rich, creamy, and absolutely tasty.  Not overly sweet, but I got just enough of a dose of sweetness to satisfy my sweet tooth.

The other pleasant surprise about the pie was that I took my entire first meal to go, as I was on my way to visit my grandmother at a nursing home on Tampa Road.  She happened to be complaining about the tasteless food there, and I offered her some of the pie as she wanted something sweet.  Now, before I tell you what she said, let me preface it by saying that my grandfather was a Master Pastry Chef and Master Baker who also taught at Johnson & Wales Culinary Arts Institute in Rhode Island for many years.  So in essence, my family knows good food, especially good desserts.  My grandmother took a bite and said ‘mmmmmm… that’s really good, what is it?’  Knowing her propensity for full fat, fully dead food, I told her it was a crème pie dessert I picked up.  She was none the wiser, and got a taste of raw food goodness!

For my second visit to Rawk Star, I enjoyed the DLT with Avocado.  It was a wrap, with avocado, tomato and the lettuce I can’t recall the type, but it started with a D if that helps J  The wrap was a collard green and it came with veggie chips.  Boy oh boy was it filling and delicious.  The heartiness of the collard green and all of the veggies made it one hefty wrap.  And it was delish!  Then I had to share a slice of the Macha Crème pie again, as I was there with my mom.  And she enjoyed it a lot as well.  Adam even hooked us up with a few scoops of the chocolate ice cream on top.  I can’t say enough good stuff about Rawk Star.  The staff is friendly, everything is super fresh and I haven’t had a bad meal there yet! (nor do I ever believe I will!)  So if you’re in the neighborhood, I absolutely insist you stop by and grab a smoothie, a sit down meal, or just an order to go.  You won’t be disappointed!

Sublime Restaurant was just TOO good not to revisit while we were in Fort Lauderdale.  And there was also the $40 special (I am pretty sure it was $39.99) for an appetizer, entrée and dessert (with a glass of house wine included.)  That is a really good price no matter where you go to eat at this level of establishment.  You could have the usual S.A.D. food for probably half that price at Applebee’s or the like, but if you want food that is actually good for you and our planet, then you usually pay a bit higher.  Sublime could definitely increase their prices for what you get there, but hey!  Why would I complain!  So we again sat at the bar and met Spencer yet again.  Since we enjoyed talking to him, as well as his drink recommendations, we decided to just sit at the bar and enjoy our dinner there.  So we ordered the Eggplant Rollatini and the Frito Miso as appetizers.  I wasn’t too sure about the Frito Miso, even though we’d been told by EVERYONE (wait staff, Spencer, Nanci herself, and the other customers) that it was THE BEST appetizer I just usually don’t do ‘sweet chili sauce’ because it’s not my thing.  And then it was deep fried, and it seemed more like a heavy Asian food.  I don’t normally like anything that is fried anymore either.  But I took one bite of Frito Miso, and entered food heaven.  I don’t know how it topped the Gardein ‘cheeseburger’ sliders, but heck I ate my half of the Frito Miso as slow as possible to savor each bite.  The black and white sesame seeds really accented the taste and just sent my tastebuds into overdrive.  Man oh MAN was that amazing!  (And you too can make it yourself if you’ve got the frier available, and a cookbook from Sublime *which you can purchase at the hostess stand for just $20)

Next Dave & I switched and he was ooo-ing and aahh-ing at the Eggplant Rollatini so I was really excited to try that.  Now, I was always a cheese person when I ate the S.A.D. but there hasn’t been anything that I’ve had that was like a ricotta.  Oh boy oh boy was that Eggplant Rollatini good.  So cheesy and flavorful.  It was almost like having stuffed manicotti.  But better for me and OH so delightful!!

Onto the dinner: I ordered Mushroom Ravioli and Dave ordered the Quiche Lorraine.  I have to say that I was horribly skeptical of the Quiche.  My Mom always made killer Quiche Lorraine, and when I became vegan, she made it vegan for me and it was still awesome.  *We had it for our housewarming party and no one knew it was vegan!*  So out came the main dishes and both looked amazing.  I absolutely fell for the mushroom ravioli.  Again, what a treat with the creamy taste and the mushrooms what a delight.  And it wasn’t heavy at all.  I just really liked it.  I didn’t really want to swap with Dave except that it seemed he had entered food heaven and didn’t want to swap with me.  So that peaked my curiosity.  We swapped and then I again entered food heaven.  The quiche was the best I have ever had.  (I’m sorry Mom!!  But you raised me to tell the truth!)  My Mom definitely gets best ‘local’ quiche from me, but holy moly, Sublime blew it out of the park.  It was SO rich, SO cheesy and SO tasteful.  At this point I had determined that I wanted to move into Sublime, I would sleep on the floor of the kitchen just to get a meal from Sublime once a day.

Last, but certainly not least, we got our desserts.  Dave got the ice cream Sundae and I ordered the infamous Coconut Cake.  The Sundae was by far the best ice-cream I have had since becoming vegan.  But we were FAR too full to have the coconut cake.

We boxed that up and took it back to the hotel for a midnight snack or breakfast.  Well, since we’d had dinner fairly early, about 9 or so we were both wanting to have something sweet.  That coconut cake was ecstasy.  Now I am known to have a bit of a sweet tooth and for me, that coconut cake was by far utter baked perfection.  I have always been a great cook and an even better baker.  It’s in my blood, as my grandfather taught cake making as well as pastry courses at Johnson & Wales Culinary School in Rhode Island.  But since I went vegan I haven’t exactly done well with baking.  Vegan Heartland (who you can find both on Facebook and Twitter) had a recipe for ‘Vegan Screw Up Cake’ which I screwed up further by not having ingredients and having to swap and the first time it was awesome.  But Nanci Alexander must have had me in mind by putting the recipe for the Coconut Cake in her cookbook.  I could have kissed her for the taste of this cake!  So, I urge you, take the time to go to Sublime.  Your tastebuds deserve it.  And you will not regret it!

For my Mom’s birthday we decided to make Pecan Crusted Seitan from the Kind Life cookbook.  Since we also intended to try to make Seitan from the Sarah Kramer cookbook ‘La Dolce Vegan!: Vegan Livin’ Made Easy,’ and we had some time I dug in and determined to do it ourselves!  Seitan is a great meat alternative, and we like to use it to replace chicken in a lot of dishes.  Don’t get me wrong, the West Soy ‘Chicken Flavored’ seitan is absolutely awesome, but it’s also pricey, and it comes in small pieces and odd shaped pieces.  For this particular recipe, we thought it would be better to have small ‘cutlet’ shaped or filet type pieces of seitan versus the odd shaped ones we get in the premade seitan.  So we pulled out the recipe and got to it.  The recipe is essentially just wheat gluten and water.  You can boil it in a mixture of water and spices or flavors that you choose in order to season it more.  We chose not to add some of the spices recommended and just boiled it in nutritional yeast, water and soy sauce.  After that we baked it for about 15 minutes to get it a bit more solid.

It was more spongy than chewy, but it was still very very good.  And a lot cheaper to make than to purchase!  It’s $4.99 for a pound at Whole Foods, versus probably $1 or less to make.

I am going to post the recipe as found in Sarah Kramer’s La Dolce Vegan! But we adjusted the water and flavor recipes to our liking, I suggest you do the same J

Basic Instant Gluten:

½ cup instant vital wheat gluten flour
½ cup water

*it is suggested that it makes 2 large or 4 small servings

Faux Chicken:

2 cups water
¼ cup nutritional yeast
2 tbsp tamari (soy sauce)
1 tsp onion powder
1 tsp dried sage
½ tsp dried thyme
½ tsp salt
¼ tsp celery seed

*you are to bring this to a boil and slice the gluten into steaks or slices and drop it into the broth.  Then you simmer for 50-60 minutes and either use it immediately or feeze for use up to 6 months; via fridge it suggests its good for 6 days.

**we did use the onion powder, and I always replace salt with garlic salt, as I am a garlic fanatic; and I did not use the sage or thyme or celery seed.  I hate celery for some reason so we left that totally out.  And we at least doubled the nutritional yeast.  It was quite tasty!

Sunday July the 10th my hubby totally surprised me with a trip to Gourmet Pizza Company in Hyde Park.  First of all I LOVE Hyde Park!  It’s so cute and quaint and beautiful!  We had just come from a double feature at the movies, and saw Horrible Bosses (which is absolutely hysterical) last.  For some reason, watching that movie made me really hungry for pizza and beer.  And ironically, that was my husband’s plan all along.  I was really excited to see that they had a pretty good selection of vegan pizza.  The primary reason I was super excited to be there was because we’d purchased a Groupon ages ago, or what seemed like it, since they were the only local pizzeria that offered Daiya cheese.  Why more places do not is beyond me, however, I was thrilled to be there.

The décor upon walking in was really simple, so simple that they ripped up what appeared to be crappy tile and ventured for the concrete floor look.  They had really expensive local art for sale on the walls, and did not offer wait staff.  I thought that was a brilliant move, for being a small place, you simply find a table, go to the register to place your order and they have someone run the food out to the table.  Great cost saving strategy for a small place and with the top shelf level of service that we got anyway, I would say it was the right decision.  After taking in the really cool atmosphere, which by the way, any vegan establishment I have ever been to with really amazing and cool décor always ends up having killer food.

I was pretty much starving, since my hubby didn’t tell me it would be nearly 7pm before we ate dinner.  I was eyeing up all the yummy food on the menu and decided that we HAD to try the Vegan Pizza Breadsticks with Daiya cheese.  The description read “Topped with garlic infused olive oil, then sprinkled with our own herb mixture. served with a side of our homemade marinara sauce for dipping.” That sounded to die for.  We also decided on the Mediterranean Vegan Pizza without olives, since I am not a fan, and with Daiya cheese of course!  The breadsticks came out fairly quickly, and since I really wanted a beer I chose from their pretty good selection of beers and got an Amstel Light to start off.  Boy were those breadsticks awesome.  Now I am a fan of Papa John’s doughy breadsticks, as I feel like if you’re going to do a carb coma night, you might as well go all the way!  But I have never ever found a marinara dipping sauce that I liked.  Gourmet Pizza Co. offers simply THE best home made marinara dip.  First off, it is not thick and goopy like most marinara sauces, it was really light, fresh and I could taste the fresh tomato and garlic in it.  Oh man was it incredible.  My taste buds were soaring and loving the garlicy cheesiness!  I originally wanted to save half of the garlic breadsticks, but my hubby and I were in heaven so we splurged and ate them all.

My Amstel Light paired well with the food thus far, but I decided that I had to go for my girl and get a Stella Artois, my absolute favorite beer, with the pizza.  When the pizza came out first thing I noticed was WOW the pizza was totally NOT greasy.  Now any good old family pizzeria I had ever been to really did a killer job with the pizza but always ended up with a nice layer of grease that would lie atop of the pie.  Not so for this pizza.  Instead, the top of the pie had spinach, basil, fresh diced tomatoes, and banana peppers and no grease to be seen!  The pizza is described in the menu as “garlic oil based pizza topped with fresh tomatoes, fresh basil, capers, fresh leaf spinach, our house cheese blend, banana peppers, black olives and feta cheese, finished with diced tomatoes.”  Now of course the pizza did not have feta cheese on it, as it was vegan, but it was loaded up with Daiya Mozzarella. My first bite was as close to pizza heaven as I have ever experienced.  Now, besides this vegan pizza my favorite is Amy’s Frozen Roasted Vegetable Pizza, without cheese, but we usually add Daiya.  The Mediterranean pizza was crispy with a nice thick crust.  The first thing that impressed my socks off was the fact that the diced tomatoes were abundantly flavorful.  Now I had just been food shopping yesterday, Saturday the 9th, and was barely able to find edible tomatoes.  So having really flavorful tomatoes on my pizza made me really really happy.  The next thing that made my mouth continue to water was the garlic oil base over the dough, man did those little bits of fresh garlic hit the palate right!  I am a huge garlic lover, so I couldn’t get enough!  Then every couple of bites you’d get surprised by a hidden caper beneath a layer of veggies and Daiya.  My second favorite thing about pizza is the crust.  And I am a bit of a fiend for a good crust.  Theirs was crunchy without being dry, the perfect crust, cooked ideally.  Oh man was this pizza amazing.  I truly can’t say enough good about Gourmet Pizza Company.  The staff was friendly, the food arrived fairly quickly, it was fresh, flavorful and super super good, and it was a great environment!  If reading this and seeing those photos of the food doesn’t make you want to go and get your pizza on, then I don’t know what else will.  I highly recommend it to any vegan in the Tampa Bay Area looking for a great pizza with fresh flavor.  They also served vegan cookies, but after the breadsticks and pizza I couldn’t fit anything else in!  I left happily carb coma’d out!  Thank you Gourmet Pizza Company for an awesome meal and a great experience.  You can BET I will be back as this is my new favorite pizza joint!


My husband and I have a date night every Sunday.  This particular Sunday, we decided we did not want to cook, and would rather enjoy some tasty new vegan food.  I parlayed my handy VegOut app for the iPhone and looked for some recommended eats nearby.  I couldn’t help but notice the rating for Nitally’s Thai-Mex Cuisine.  It was shown as a Thai-Mexican Fusion restaurant on my app.  Now I am a huge Thai food fan, and a HUGE Mexican food fan.  So we decided, especially after seeing several reviews saying they know how to cater to vegans and vegetarians, that we would head there.

First impression was what an awesome décor on the interior!  It was very loud and bright with colors, I absolutely love the black and white plastic awnings that adorn the walls, as well as the chalk board for the ‘Inferno Soup hall of Shame,’ and the drink board.  It’s very welcoming and very small.  It is unfortunately also VERY hot in the summer.  (This is my ONLY complaint though, so don’t stop reading!)  I would suggest getting food to go, unless you are okay to brave through the heat to have your meal there.

The menu is extensive, offering over 70 dishes with a full Thai menu, a full Mexican menu and then the Fusion menu.  There is also a healthy offering of beverages, including more teas than I have seen in any restaurant, and some authentic beverages called (I hope I don’t botch this too badly…) Boboas, beer and wine.  When we sat down we were greeted by a sweet young waiter and he let us know that food was taking about 20 minutes to come out and asked if we’d like to look at appetizers first.  We wanted to save our appetite for our main meal so we said we’d be fine with the wait.  I had a Hoegaarden beer, my favorite, and when I asked for a second they had run out.  The waiter asked if I wanted to try something new or was there another beer I would like instead, I asked him to recommend something, told him my preferences and he suggested a Polish beer.  I stupidly should have written the name down, but by the time that we were on beer #2 we had our food and I was totally distracted!  However, the beer he recommended was nice and went down well with the food.

My husband is a bit timid with new food/places, so he ordered Pad Thai from the Thai portion of the menu, and he got chicken with it, as he does not eat a full vegan diet like I do.  (Shame, I know, but at least he does at home which is 99% of the time!)  I wanted to try something new and ordered a Chipotle Mexican Stir Fry, which was on the fusion menu, and I can’t get onto the website to give the specific name so my apologies.  I got it with Tofu and asked it be made vegan.  The waiter was also kind enough to let us know that Nitally’s mild for spicy is what most people consider medium, and their medium is closer to hot.  Since I love spicy, but also love to eat my food, I ordered mild.

When our food arrived I was shocked at the amount of food we both got.  It was definitely worth the price, and the wait!  Fresh, FRESH, FRESH veggies hot food and the flavor was out of this world.  I think that the Chipotle stir-fry ranks among my absolute favorite foods EVER.  The flavor of the sauce was a bit like a Mexican red sauce with a smoky mesquite flavor.  The tofu just sopped it up and was absolutely amazing.  And I am a picky tofu eater, I absolutely HATE when a restaurant just fries or boils it and it’s chewy and has no taste.  Nitally’s definitely knew how to cook it and it just enhanced all the flavors on the dish.  I wouldn’t change a thing about the dish, but I can imagine that with some pineapple added in (not sure if this is Thai or Mexican themed though…) that I might have fainted due to all the amazing flavors!  I was just about to that point as it was since the food was so incredible.

My husband is originally from England, and they have some pretty fantastic Thai cuisine there so he is a huge critic, especially of his favorite Thai dish, Pad Thai.  He took one bite and said simply ‘This is THE best Pad Thai I have EVER had.’  He said the food tasted incredibly fresh, and that he would definitely be coming back to Nitally’s again.

The portions were so generous that we had no room for dessert because we couldn’t stop eating our fabulous dinners!  So if you’re a fan of desserts, eat half your dinner and take the rest home so you can enjoy more of Nitally’s cuisine.

If you like Mexican food, and if you like Thai food, you HAVE GOT to try Nitally’s.  It might be a little bit hot and uncomfortable in the restaurant, but the food is SO worth it.  I think they just may be having some AC troubles, and in saying that I am SURE they want it fixed as badly as the customers.  This is my new favorite dinner spot because there is so much food to try and they are incredibly vegan friendly, the food is amazing and the service was great!  I don’t just recommend it, I endorse it!  I order you all to get your butt down there and try out Nitally’s NOW!

Being a vegan there haven’t been all too many dining options in the St. Petersburg/Tampa Bay Area.  I recently downloaded the VegOut app for my iphone, which came recommended by a great vegan blogger I follow on Twitter quarrygirl.  The app is nothing short of awesome.  We found a few new places and decided for the mood we were in to try Vida De Café, on St. Pete Beach.  First, a disclaimer, their website leaves much to be desired, and I believe does no justice to the food and atmosphere of Vida De Café.

Raw Vegan Sushi from Vida De CafeWhen we arrived, it was a Sunday evening and a quiet night down on the beach.  We were the only two people that were in the café, and arrived about 5pm, for an early dinner.  The atmosphere is simple, beachy and calm.  The décor is mostly from Ikea, modern, simple and comfortable.  There were several items on the menu that I was interested in, but finally settled on the Sushi with Ginger Pate, and my husband got the Spicy Pad Thai.  (I want to note, that the food is fully vegan and also all raw.)  The flavor of my sushi was outstanding.  It was fresh, flavorful and I absolutely love when I can taste a multitude of flavors all at once.  The avocado was rich and creamy against the crunch of the spinach and carrots.  The nori it was wrapped in was raw, and I have never had raw nori, it was awesome!  The flavor of that just added to the great taste of the rolls.  I felt that the plate was a fairly large serving and priced well for what I received.

Raw Pad Thai from Vida De CafeMy husband’s Spicy Pad Thai did not disappoint either.  It was very very tasty with again, loads of flavor.  The Zucchini noodles were absolutely fabulous.  Everything was again, extremely fresh and flavorful.  The only negative on that dish was that neither of us felt it was spicy, nor did it taste anything like any Pad Thai dish we had ever had.  But we’d both get this dish again, knowing how great the flavor was and how nice and fresh all of the produce was.

We both had water to drink, and I ordered a green tea.  I was a bit disappointed that they did not offer Agave Nectar or raw sugar to add to the tea, and it was rather unflavorful as far as any green tea I have tasted.  So I cannot recommend the green tea but the water is water, and the food is amazing.

The only disappointment on my part was that they were totally out of the Fudge Brownie and ChocoChip Ice Kream.  MAN did that look amazing on the website and the description made my mouth water!  So I was disappointed on that, but it is just one more reason to head back there!

Our service was good, and we would definitely recommend Vida De Café to anyone wanting to try some freshly made food in a great small restaurant on beautiful St. Pete Beach.  It’s a hidden gem that should definitely have more attention.