Who moved my wok?

Two best friends, one kitchen, endless possibilities.

Archive for the tag “tofu”

The best veggie burger you’ve had yet.

I am picky about my veggie burgers.  Growing up as an omnivore, burgers were a family favorite of ours, and we outdid ourselves on burger nights.  They were big, beefy, cheesey and quite often dripping with toppings.  If you wanted a real burger, you came to my house.  That being said, I’m picky about my veggie burgers.  I’m warming up to mushrooms, but I still don’t love them and my least favorite are the big meaty ones used in place of a burger patty.  I do like boca burgers, but they don’t have a ton of flavor and they don’t compare to the traditional hamburger we usually think of.  And most other burgers are too mushy.  They just don’t hold up to my standards.  That is, until now.

This spinach-tofu burger was still a little on the mushy side, but the taste MORE than made up for that.  I can’t even describe it.  I didn’t have high hopes when I heard it was composed of spinach and tofu.  I love spinach as much as the next greens-loving girl, but in a burger instead of on top?  Color me skeptical.  However, Elizabeth and I were excited to try something new because I had been craving a burger for a while but I didn’t like any of the options available in Beijing.  So together, we set out to have a yummy burger night, complete with homemade rosemary-dill fries, a big green salad and all the accoutrements that come with this tasty American classic.

Satisfied is an understatement.  Pleased, pleasantly surprised; all understatements.  These were incredible.  Browning them gave them a nice grilled taste and they packed enough flavor that we didn’t need anything on it aside from the heap of veggies we stuffed between our of sesame buns.  I really can’t say enough about these.  Please, stop reading and go try them.  Now.  I’m about to go for seconds.  Nom nom nom.

Also, we have to give credit where is due, and this recipe is not our own.  It is a Marcus Samuelsson recipe that we found via Joanne at Eats well with others.  Check out both of those sites for the recipe and more photos.  We mostly went by the recipe, but we left out the panko and the sesame oil; we just used plain ole breadcrumbs that were available to us.  We also are currently without the luxury of a food processor, so ours were crafted by hand and fork, which could be why they were a bit on the mushy side.  In any case, go eat these.  You’re welcome in advance.  🙂

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New Orleans in Beijing.

It was dark, but you can still see how cute it is!

While we love to cook here at Who moved my wok, we also thoroughly enjoy a nice meal out every now and then.  Last Thursday, Elizabeth and I tried to go to a Christmas tree lighting at a nearby Westin, but we ended up missing it.  Silly Beijing traffic.  So, instead we decided to try a new restaurant that we had heard very good things about.

NOLA is a little slice of southern goodness right in the middle of Beijing.  Located near the new foreign embassies and the twin towers of this capital city, NOLA is tucked away and shrouded in seldom-seen greenery and quiet.  Just approaching the restaurant feels like you’ve left the city, which can be a nice change of pace every now and then.

The smoked tofu sandwich with heaping green salad. Mmm.

This Thursday evening there were just a few other patrons, so we chose a window seat upstairs.  The friendly waitress told us about the evening’s specials: there were happy hour drink specials, with many wines and beers being buy one, get one and all NOLA bowls were 20% off.  We happily chose a wine and then buried our heads in the menus trying to decide what to eat!

We ended up going with the shrimp & grits NOLA bowl and the smoked tofu sandwich.  I know, I know, the shrimp and grits is definitely not vegan, but it didn’t use any sort of pork and the gravy on top was a mushroom gravy, so I felt slightly less guilty about indulging.  The smoked tofu sandwich was indeed vegan and was served with a delicious green salad.  Both were perfect portions to fill us up with out making us miserable.

Shrimp & grits with mushroom gravy, yum.

Personally, I love shrimp & grits.  Growing up  in the South, it was a favorite treat of mine (before I went vegan, of course).  This rendition was pretty tasty.  It was a bit spicier than I imagined and actually more so than I prefer, but I appreciated that it didn’t use so many meat products as they usually do in the States.  It was also the perfect texture and creaminess — these were definitely not instant grits!  The smoked tofu sandwich was a pleasantly surprising menu option, considering I don’t think I’ve ever seen something similar in the South myself.  When I visited New Orleans, it was before I went vegan, and I definitely consumed lots and lots of meat that week.  Anyway, the sandwich was tasty, fresh and satisfying.  The smoked tofu was flavorful and plenty of veggies were stuffed between the slices of hearty bread.  I definitely think I’ll get it again next time.

Since our meals were such perfect portions, we decided to splurge and get dessert, too.  There’s nothing I love more than any sort of fried or caramelized banana, so we chose the bananas foster dessert.  Perfect choice.  They brought the bananas out with a portable grill and fired them in front of us.  Unfortunately, the flames weren’t documented, but they were intense.  It was then served atop a scrumptious pecan shortcake.  Perfection.

This restaurant was definitely a winner in my book.  It offers the quiet elegance of the American South right in the middle of Beijing, and all at very affordable prices compared to restaurants of a similar caliber.  All in all, we loved NOLA and will definitely be back again!

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