Ichicoro – delectable Korean food in Tampa

Today I had the pleasure of enjoying my third visit to Ichicoro – a fairly new Korean restaurant in an up-and-coming neighborhood in Tampa: Seminole Heights.

It’s quite small inside – there’s maybe only 30 or 40 seats – but it’s intimate, modern and hip.

The menu is quite simple: I think there’s only 8 items on the menu (at least for lunch), of which only 1 is suitable for a vegan, but I’ve been happy to have the same dish all 3 times that I’ve been there. I could quite easily eat it once a week, week after week.

The dish I have is the Veggie Miso Bowl which consists of a miso and tomato broth, corn, seasonal vegetables, shiitake mushrooms, scallions and sesame seeds. I also add nori and their spicy sauce for a little extra. It has such a fresh, unique, delicious flavour that I’ve never experienced anywhere else, which makes me eager to keep returning for more.

I’ll happily keep coming back for the delicious food, cosy atmosphere and nice people.

Getting out of my food rut with a spicy Buddha bowl

Marti and I tend to get into ruts every once in a while where we end up eating the same things night upon night, completely uninspired. Taking advantage of a few days off of work and a little extra time on our hands, we branched out and tried something new: a Spicy Buddha Bowl.

I was absolutely blown away by it, like I so rarely am and truly, it wasn’t all that hard or time-consuming to make. Packed with flavour and nutrients, it was an easy choice to do again, so just two days after our first one, we made another tonight, except that we doubled up on the sauce for the beans and we used cannellini beans instead of chickpeas.

I’ll be coming back to this again and again, not least because a little change here or there and you’ve got a completely new dish. Gives me fond memories of going to Prasad 3 or 4 times for lunch on our 10-day trip to Portland a few years ago.

Another memorable Christmas

It’s been a pleasant and enjoyable Christmas this year. Ellie had her moments where the excitement got the better of her and her behaviour wasn’t up to scratch, but other than that, it’s been really nice spending some time with family, keeping it moderately low-key and playing some games.

Jack’s first Christmas

Ellie’s 3rd Christmas

We spent yesterday making a trip to Ikea getting a new bed frame to go with the new mattress that I got Marti for Christmas which was a lot of fun. While we ate lunch at the cafe (they have a lot of good vegan options!), we got this adorable picture of Jack:

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We ended the day by going to Hofbrauhaus in St Pete – a new German restaurant, which is a lot of fun. They have live music, vegan food (surprisingly good) and a lot of singing and dancing. Great end to the day.

Cider Press Cafe – high end vegan food in St Pete

The Cider Press Cafe is a little pricey, but it’s perhaps the first high-end vegan restaurant in St Pete and they’re doing well at it.

After speaking at WordCamp Tampa, Marti said that we should celebrate by going to a new restaurant that we had heard about in St Pete called the Cider Press Cafe.

I knew nothing about it, except that they had options for vegans. As it turns out, the restaurant is fully vegan and raw, and caters to the higher-end of cuisine. Perfect for bringing along your 2-year old and 5-month old who hadn’t napped for most of the day (just kidding – they were, miraculously, well-behaved). Continue reading “Cider Press Cafe – high end vegan food in St Pete”

Thug Kitchen Cookbook

The Thug Kitchen Cookbook is a refreshing and humourous approach to plant-strong cooking suitable for beginner and veteran vegans alike

If you’re not familiar with Thug Kitchen, I first wrote about them about 18 months ago.

They’re a pro-vegan blog that doesn’t take any bullshit. They don’t mince their words and their vulgar and tough-guy approach to telling it how it is resonates with a huge swathe of people that think that eating vegan is for hippies.

We’ve been laughing along and cooking along with them ever since we heard about them and when they said they were writing a cookbook, we were quite excited. Continue reading “Thug Kitchen Cookbook”

Convenience vegan

A convenience vegan is someone who chooses to eat vegan when it’s possible and sensible to do so, which for me is 99% of the time. The rest of the time, they eat vegetarian.

I’m coining a new term to describe my attitude towards vegetarianism and veganism: convenience vegan.

I agree that eating a vegan diet, rich in whole foods is one of the best and most sensible things you can do for your health. I started my journey towards being a vegan when my wife became vegan 4 or 5 years ago. Since she was eating vegan, I was pretty much going to have to start eating vegan, at least for home-cooked meals.

Once we started cooking vegan, it became apparent that it wasn’t as boring or burdensome as one might expect, especially when there are such great transition products as Gardein.

Going completely vegan has always been hard for me though if for no other reason than that as a result of my job, I am often in some fairly remote places where it is not easy to come by a vegan meal, so in such situations I’ll “allow” myself to have a vegetarian meal because there’s no other sensible alternative. I’m not opposed to this because, whereas my wife and children are “ethical vegans”, I am more of a “dietary vegan” and so giving me the leeway to have a 99% vegan diet is still a huge win for me, for the animals and for the environment.

And this is what a “convenience vegan” means to me. Where it’s possible and not overly burdensome to do so, I will eat vegan. Where getting a vegan meal either means driving 20 miles to the nearest Taco Bell for a plain bean burrito or finding the nearest field and grazing, I will give myself a break and go for the much-more-available vegetarian option.

Reflecting back on the last 30 years (I’m 30)

Today I turn 30, so it’s a great time to reflect on what I’ve done, how far I’ve come and what I want to do moving forward

30 years ago today, aside from the first ever episode of the most popular British soap Eastenders airing, I was born.

I absolutely couldn’t care less that I’m 30. I haven’t been dreading this day, nor do I attribute any sort of aging to it, any more so than any other day. However, a “n0” birthday is a milestone that only comes along once a decade so it seems like a perfect time for some reflection.

The last 10 years

Since February 2010 (the last 5 years), quite a number of things have changed in my life. I became a professional engineer, I became a father, I have another child on the way, I started my own business which is now thriving and I moved house 3 times.

In the last 10 years, even more has changed. In February 2005, I was in my second year at university, was single, living with my Mum in the UK and I was working for the NHS. Over the next 5 years, I would meet and fall in love with Marti, graduate from university, become a Christian, move to the States to be with her, get married 60 days later, battle 8 months of being unable to work before getting my green card, a job, my driver’s license, a car and our first apartment in the space of about 4 weeks.

Reflection on who I am

Me in December 2005 - the first time I ever visited Marti
Me in a decidedly emo pose in December 2005 – the first time I ever visited Marti

As I think about the man I am today, where I’ve come from and the boy I used to be, I’ve noticed quite a few specific observations about how I’ve changed in particular and more general observations about how we as humans mature (or don’t).

The first thing is that nothing is given. Not only is nothing guaranteed but you’ll change in ways and do things that you would have never believed, conceived or thought possible. Continue reading “Reflecting back on the last 30 years (I’m 30)”

Making the jump to going completely vegetarian and mostly vegan

Marti has been vegan for about 3 and a half years now, and while I was initially reluctant, within a couple of months, we had gone completely vegan at home. While Marti is more of an ethical vegan (that is, one who chooses not to consume animal products because of how animals are treated, and thus, doesn’t use leather or any other animal-derived material, whether food or not), after doing more research into the matter, I started to become more convinced of the health benefits of a “plant-strong” diet (dietary vegan) and tried to limit my intake of meat as much as possible.

As an engineer, who is sometimes working in fairly remote places, it can be hard to even find vegan food options, so I stopped short of becoming fully vegan for that reason. However, I became lax and would often “splurge” at lunch by eating meat, even though vegetarian and vegan options might be available to me. Continue reading “Making the jump to going completely vegetarian and mostly vegan”

Staples for a vegan diet full of flavour, protein and happiness

While trying to put a meal together recently, I was looking for some inspiration, and I came up with the idea of putting together a list of staple ingredients that we try to maintain in our house and I was surprised at just how much variety there really was.

Seeing it in this form makes it easy to scan the list and come up with some ideas for meals, so I thought it would be useful to share.

What would you add to the list? What ingredients can’t you live without? Continue reading “Staples for a vegan diet full of flavour, protein and happiness”

Thug Kitchen – my new favourite food blog

Thug Kitchen is a very honest look at some awesome recipes, why they rock so hard and why you ever thought that was veganism was for pansies.

Most food blogs are very much the same: just putting up your nice recipes that you just mastered and sharing them with the world. Thug Kitchen is nothing like that. Which is why I love it so much.

You only need about three seconds on the site to see what makes it so different, so I’m going to give you those three seconds to check it out now, before I spill the beans. Check out Thug Kitchen.

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Thug Kitchen is a vegan food blog, that doesn’t pull any punches. The site’s tagline just about sums it up: “Eat like you give a fuck”. Continue reading “Thug Kitchen – my new favourite food blog”