Thursday, December 2, 2010

I got to have dinner tonight with my vegan idol: Tal Ronnen!

You might have an idol who is an actor, politician, artist or musician, but I have an idol who is a chef. I know, how many people idolize chefs? I absolutely adore Tal Ronnen. He is a chef, has a cookbook called The Conscious Cook, which was on the New York Times Bestsellers list, he's been instrumental in product development for Gardein, he's been on the Oprah show and he has been a great advocate for a vegan lifestyle.

I am just so inspired by his accomplishments. The most recent of which was his involvement in the launch of 25 new vegetarian and vegan options at The Yardhouse restaurant, which utilize Gardein. I got a text from my friend Roger asking me if I would want to go to dinner with him and his vegan chef friend Tal Ronnen, who was in town for work. I wrote him back and said that I was a big fan of Tal's and would be honored to join them for dinner. So, we made dinner reservations for 7:30 tonight at the Scottsdale Fashion Square Yardhouse. I didn't see the exact vegan option on the Yardhouse menu online, but I apparently didn't click on the right link for AZ printable menu, which shows all the available Gardein options. As I was looking over the menu, I was so impressed with the variety of menu items available-from appetizers, to salads, to burgers and entrees. Tal suggested that we order a few items, so that we could sample a variety of plates. We ordered a chopped salad, onion rings, veggie beef sliders, veggie BBQ chicken pizza (for our non-vegan friends), veggie chicken rice bowl and veggie orange peel chicken. If you are vegan and you order the veggie beef sliders, just make sure you order them dry.

Everything I tried was super delicious and flavorful. I know that I will be back 10,000 times in the future because it is a place I can go with my non-vegan friends and not sacrifice on my vegan options.

I found out tonight that chef for the Yardhouse in LA took over 6 months to find the perfect pickle to accompany the veggie beef sliders...guess a good pickle is hard to come by!

If you have an opportunity to eat at The Yardhouse, please support their vegetarian and vegan options. I can honestly say you will love them!

Here are some photos from my dinner tonight:

Veggie orange peel chicken

Veggie BBQ chicken pizza

 John posing with the veggie chicken rice bowl

Veggie beef sliders (ordered dry) with french fries and a pickle

 Me, Tal and Roger

Me and Tal

Our group: L: Me, Tal, Roger R: Stephanie, John and Kellen

John and Kellen sharing a manly bite of veggie orange chicken

Tal and Roger

My friend Stephanie

Roger and the onion rings

The cover of The Conscious Cook

Tal signed my cool!
Here are your menu options available nationwide at The Yardhouse:

                                                              SUB VEGETARIAN 

Veggie Items Made With gardeinTM gardeinTM is a chicken or beef substitute made from soy, wheat, pea proteins, vegetables and ancient grains 

Veggie Boneless Wings buffalo | firecracker | jerk 10.55 

Veggie Fried Chicken Strips fries, maple dijon & ranch 9.65 

Veggie Beef Sliders classic or béarnaise served with fries & pickle 10.45 (vegetarian off the menu, could ask for no sauce or cheese to make vegan)

Veggie Thai Chicken Noodle Salad egg noodles, grilled chicken, spicy peanut vinaigrette & broccoli-carrot-sprout-cabbage-cilantro slaw 13.85 (vegetarian-could modify to vegan possibly)

Veggie BBQ Chicken Salad avocado, pasilla, corn, jack, tortilla strips, tomato, pinto beans, citrus bbq, fried onions, cilantro & chipotle ranch 13.95 (vegetarian-could modify to vegan without cheese)

Veggie Chicken Caesar Salad grilled, breaded or blackened, hearts of romaine, parmesan crisps, croutons & egg free caesar dressing 12.85 (vegetarian-could modify to vegan without parmesan crisps)

Veggie Spicy Thai Chicken Pizza firecracker sauce, mozzarella, macadamia nuts, carrots, green onion & cilantro 12.75 (vegetarian-could modify to vegan without cheese)

Veggie BBQ Chicken Pizza mozzarella, cilantro, red onion, smoked gouda & bbq sauce 12.75 (vegetarian-could modify to vegan without cheese)

Veggie Chicken & Avocado Sandwich swiss, lettuce, tomato & mayo on poppy seed onion bun 11.65 (vegetarian)

Veggie Spicy Chicken Sandwich grilled with blackening spices, cheddar, jack, cabbage & cajun aïoli on cheese flat bread 10.95 (vegetarian-could modify to vegan without cheese)

Veggie Chicken Rice Bowl bok choy, baby corn, snap peas, carrots, shiitake, celery, peppers, broccoli & jasmine or brown rice 12.85 

Veggie Penne with Chicken crimini mushrooms, asparagus & sun-dried tomatoes tossed in marsala cream sauce, dusted with parmesan 15.95 (vegetarian-could modify to vegan without the cream sauce)

Veggie Chicken Enchilada Stack pasilla peppers, garlic cream, jack cheese, corn tortillas, pinto beans, tomatillo, red chili sauce & sour cream 15.85  (vegetarian-could modify to vegan without the cream or cheese)

Veggie Orange Peel Chicken crispy chicken breast pieces, baby corn & bok choy in spicy sweet orange glaze with jasmine or brown rice 16.85 

Veggie (Mac + Cheese)2 chicken breast, applewood bacon, wild mushrooms, cheddar, parmesan, campanelle pasta & truffle oil 16.25 (vegetarian...probably not easily veganized. I wish they had Teese or Diaya cheese!)

Veggie Burger gardeinTM substitute available on all burgers

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