vegansaurus!

02/03/2014

Bright Star in Rancho Cucamonga: Go there!  »

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It’s my last week as a resident in the Bay Area, and while I am reminiscing about my life as a NorCal girl, I am very excited to begin new adventures in the city of angels! I was the last Vegansaurus contributor left in the bay, where this blog started, and now I’m leaving! Oh well, things change, right? At this very moment my life is in boxes in my parents’ garage, so yeah, I’d say things change.  
Before I make it to LA however, there will be a month-long pitt-stop in Temecula, where members of my family are starting to relocate. I am trying to convince my mom that we would have a blast visiting the Temecula wineries, as neither of us has gone wine-tasting before. Since she only enjoys white zin, I’m sure you can imagine that my convincing, begging and pleading, is not going very smoothly. If you have any tips for me about how to go about vineyard crawling, or want to join me in sampling all the vino Temecula has to offer, it would be greatly appreciated. We’ll discuss in Disqus below.
Alright, on to the point of this post! In June of 2012, my sister picked me up from Ontario airport and gave me a list of vegan restaurants in the area we could stop at on the way to her place. After closely examining a few menus I chose Bright Star in Rancho Cucamonga! I’ve been promising my little sis I’d do a recap of our meal, as we both loved it, and as a lady of my word, almost two years later, it’s here! Another note about our trip: I sang Rancho Cucamonga to the tune of La Cucaracha over and over again. She laughed every time. She was also about six months pregnant, so I’m guessing her maternal instinct must have set in big time because normally she has no patience for my shenanigans (I don’t blame her).
All of the details of my family life aside, I am grieving moving away from my beloved Bay Area, but am very excited to eat my way through southern California! Okay fine, I’m excited about much more than that, like, somewhat affordable rent for a studio apartment, warm beaches, celebrity sightings and Temecula wine tours. Alright, alright, alright, without further ado, I present you with one of the restaurants I am most looking forward to revisiting when I get down south: Bright Star Thai Vegan restaurant! 

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They have miso soup! I love miso soup and I hardly ever get to order
it when I go out! 

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Tempura vegetables with vegan shrimp! I was SO STOKED!

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I got the orange chicken dinner special, which came with salad, a spring roll, fried brown rice and the miso soup pictured above. All this for $8.95! I am not the biggest fan of rice, so I gave it to my sister and I think I must’ve been able to eat most of the tempura veggies in return. We are the perfect dinner companions! 

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My sister got the Bright Star Pad Thai with soy chicken. She is not vegan, and possibly what you would refer to as a picky eater. However, she is a fan of soy chicken and kept exclaiming “I can’t even tell this is vegan!” with a huge smile on her face. 

We were so happy with our visit to Bright Star! I was delighted about my sister being into vegan food, I tried to see how far I could push this thing. We tested another one of my favorites, Food For Lovers queso and she liked it! She took me to my first Fresh and Easy, where I found Gardein chicken and overly-packaged vegetables, so we had vegan taco night at her house, with her hubs and cutie-pie sister-in-law! 

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The Gardein chicken tacos were a hit and I have also been just looking for any excuse in the last year and half to show this picture off. 

Bright Star is located in Rancho Cucamonga along with Viva la Vegan’s original store! You can make a whole vegan afternoon of it all! Side note: I get really tired of Thai food because it feels like that’s all everyone wants, all the time, but I thought Bright Star really rose above what I am used to. We also went to Earth Bistro while I was in Temecula, but I only like to spend my time writing about things I enjoyed. I’m thinking they might be worth another shot since I’ll be in town for a month, but my sister and I were not pleased. 

You can find Bright Star Thai Vegan Cuisine at 9819 Foothill Boulevard, Unit F, in Rancho Cucamonga. You can reach them by phone at 909 980 9797.

05/24/2012

Vegan Roadtrip: Vegas, take two!  »

In under one year I’ve been to Vegas twice! And I don’t even gamble (unless we’re talking about the guys I date, but we’ll save that for another time). I went with another femme fatale you may have heard of—Sarah M. Smart, anyone? Sarah was in Vegas for work, plus it was her birthday weekend, so this whirlwind vacay was taken with our friends Brent and Britney. Party time! Sarah and I often get asked how we have solidified such a strong, vegan friendship and we’re like, “Trips to Vegas, Katy Perry, and a mutual affection for cake vodka!” That’s how it’s done.

imageUnfortunately, I was a little under the weather for this trip, which meant more poolside lounging and eating, as opposed to a little something I like to call “elegant debauchery.” Poor me, right? Poor, hot-tub soaking me.

I like to stay at the Hooters Hotel and Casino, which boasts three pools and two hot tubs! Don’t forget, they have a sandwich that can be made vegan and eaten poolside, the Sassy San Franciscan!

Now, let’s get to the food! In terms of eating, Vegas has got it going on, if only for a little (entirely vegan) place called Pura Vida. Pura Vida is located in downtown Vegas, which is few miles off the strip. It’s like a part of Vegas only the locals know! And now ME!

imageThe brunch I had at Pura Vida was one of the best vegan meals I have ever had. Chef Mayra is creative, brilliant, and quite the spitfire! It may sound as though I’m exaggerating with my whole “It was the BEST,” but I sent my vegan friend and co-worker, Nate, there a few weeks later when he went to Vegas and guess what: He said the same thing, and also that chef Mayra remembered me! How sweet. Next time you go to Vegas, make Pura Vida your first priority! (Maybe go to Vegas just to eat there?) And make sure you talk to the chef, she will brighten your day!

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Brent ordered the empandas for an appetizers and they were delicious! I especially liked that they were very light and not greasy. I can’t find them on the online menu, and also cannot remember what they were filled with! Oops. However, everyone at the table agreed they were tasty and that the chutney they came with was superb! Look how vibrant the colors are!

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I am going to Vegas again, hopefully in the very near future, to chow down on this baby: the Latin’tude breakfast burrito. It changed my life. Look at all those colors! So fresh! So beautiful! I might go back to Vegas and ask it marry me; I mean, when in Sin City, right? Another note on chef Mayra’s food—it’s organic, and she has many gluten-free options available. Now go!

Sarah, Britney, Brent, and I also hit up the Cheesecake Factory in Caesar’s Palace. (Please don’t tell anyone I made them go to Kardashian Khaos in the Mirage afterward, okay? Like, for an unsatisfying dessert.) I’m okay with eating at the Cheesecake Factory, because they have this cocktail called the Asian Pear Martini that I just adore! Plus, they have this new Skinnylicious menu, with many vegan or easy-to-veganize options.
I like to get the beets with goat cheese salad, minus the goat cheese. It is still very satisfying, with beets, arugula, pecans, apples and a vinaigrette dressing!
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I also like to get the mushroom lettuce wraps! They come with shitake mushrooms, ginger, garlic, water chestnuts and green onions, all sauteed in a light soy dressing. They are very refreshing, especially wrapped in the crisp, lettuce leaves.

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Lettuce taco, coming atcha!

Another place the four of us went that is worth mentioning is Red 8 in the Wynn hotel. It is an Asian Fusion bistro, with many vegan options, including vegan dim sum! How exciting!

We ordered dim sum, which I sadly do not have a picture of. I also cannot find their dim sum menu online, but I will say that the jade dumplings feature another love of my life, spinach!

Britney and I split the Gardein cashew Chick’n, celery, mushroom, and ginger entree, as well as the tofu and shiitake. So delicious! Now that I’ve broken the bank at both of the vegan restaurants I wanted to at the Wynn, I don’t feel the need to go back in the near future—unless of course my future sugar daddy is paying.
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Chick’n, cashew, celery, mushrooms, and ginger plate!

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Tofu and shiitake plate!

I know there are tons of places I didn’t get to in this last trip, but I will eventually. I can’t wait to get back to Vegas! It is my vegan haven!

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