We discovered Moonshadows Restaurant quite by accident as we strolled around Historic Downtown Luray, VA. (If you visit Luray Caverns, then treat yourself to spending some time exploring the quaint shops and delightful park along Main Street in Luray). Moonshadows has been lovingly restored, and has been awarded the Travelers’ Choice 2020 Best of the Best Award for good reason. Everything from the decor to the artwork, the staff and their unique menu says “quality upscale yet casual dining.” It was a sunny fall day, so because our little dog accompanied us, we couldn’t resist the tables available on Moonshadows’ inviting front porch. Arriving just ahead of the lunch crowd, we didn’t need a reservation, but soon after we were seated the place quickly filled up, and disappointed diners without reservations were being turned away. So, please make reservations ahead of your visit to be guaranteed a seat.
As soon as our order was placed we were pleasantly surprised when our tea appeared with complimentary blueberry scones. And, I must mention that I just love those placemats! Don’t you?
Moonshadows’ distinctive menu offers fresh locally grown recipes with options for every dietary preference. I ordered the Parsnip Black Bean Rosti (you have your choice of one or two) which is a pan-fried potato cake with black bean, parsnip risoto filling accented with herbs and spices along with seasonal vegetables and golden beet puree. My husband chose the Spanish Frittata Pie with a side Caesar Salad. Both dishes were delicious and came with a small fruit appetizer.
For dessert we shared the gluten-free flourless chocolate cake. I am sorry there is no photo, but trust me — it was delicious and large enough for two to share. You must save room for that treat!
Moonshadows is one restaurant that will stay on our list of places to visit when we’re in VA. Everything about our experience there was perfect, and unlike some meals you settle for when traveling, we felt we had eaten real, healthy, gourmet food. Prices are reasonable, servers pleasant and informative, setting casual and friendly. Don’t forget too call ahead for reservations!
We visited The Greenhouse Cafe in Wyomissing, PA last weekend. What an enjoyable experience! It isn’t often you find a restaurant where all the food is plant-based, so we were in breakfast heaven when we saw their menu. The friendly staff will greet you with a warm welcome and offer to answer any questions you may have. Have any special dietary requirements? Eating gluten-free? They will try to accommodate your request.
We both chose the Tofu Scramble, which came with a side of breakfast potatoes, because we were so hungry. (I apologize for digging in before taking the photo, a very bad habit of mine). This hearty Tofu Scramble will fill you up with no cholesterol to sabotage your diet.
Hot or iced, a non-dairy Matcha Tea Latte is my favorite breakfast drink, because it’s a delicious way to start the day with healthy greens. This matcha latte did not disappoint, and the guilt-free caffeine kick was just what I needed to face the long drive home that morning.
The Greenhouse Cafe offers a casual, relaxed atmosphere. You may choose to dine inside in airconditioned comfort, or outside on the sunny patio (pet friendly). They are open for breakfast and lunch 8 AM – 3 PM most days, close at 6 PM on Wednesday and Friday (closed Monday). You will notice and appreciate the effort that has been put into making sure this cafe truly is green in every way. Food is healthy and prices are reasonable.
While traveling in Atlanta, we had the pleasure of visiting a refreshingly different kind of restaurant. True Food Kitchen is dedicated to not only serving delicious and unique recipes, but their menu closely adheres to the principles of Dr. Andrew Weil’s anti-inflammatory diet. True Food Kitchen is based on the idea that food should make you feel better — not worse — and that you shouldn’t have to sacrifice taste to live a healthier lifestyle. The menu includes a variety of gluten-free, organic, vegetarian and vegan options influenced by Mediterranean, Asian, and California cuisine. The restaurant uses locally seasonal and organic whole foods whenever possible. It was nice to see a menu that is light on meat. (The meats available are “clean,” if you must have it.) Hot and cold teas, smoothies and natural juice blends are offered along with an extensive wine list, seasonal cocktails using fresh-pressed fruit and vegetable juices paired with organic spirits, plus local beers and cider.
We visited True Food Kitchen for an early afternoon brunch. From the list of teas and refreshers I chose one called “Medicine Man.” It was an iced triple-brewed black tea with cranberry, pomegranate, honey, and sea buckthorn. Very refreshing. From the extensive list of tantalizing main dishes I ordered the vegan Ancient Grains Bowl with tofu. Not really a bowl, this was more like a platter (no complaints here) and came with miso glazed sweet potato, turmeric, charred onion, snow peas, grilled Portobello, avocado and hemp seed. The portions were more than generous, and I was the last one at our table to finish eating because I did devour every delicious morsel.The prices at True Food Kitchen are moderate for upscale casual dining.
I was impressed with the cuisine and also the attention to environmentally friendly architectural detail, lighting, and décor. This truly is a green restaurant in every sense of the word. To learn more, check out their website: http://www.truefoodkitchen.com.
At the present time there are 16 True Food Kitchen’s scattered across the US, with 7 more coming soon. For my friends in the northeast, look for a new True Food Kitchen in King of Prussia, PA scheduled to open in Summer ’17, and in the Mid-Atlantic region Bethesda, MD in Spring ’17. Definitely try to find one near you… you won’t be disappointed!
Healthy Thymes Market may have been there for 25 years, but I just discovered it on Saturday. What a treasure trove of health foods, supplements, and expert health advice all tucked away in the little town of Vernon in the Highlands of northern New Jersey! It may look small from the outside, but Healthy Thymes Market has managed to fill every inch with things you can’t find in your local grocery or drugstore, including refrigerated and frozen items. When we were there a Kombucha Demonstration was also going on, so we had a chance to sample Aqua ViTea elderberry kombucha… crisp and fizzy!
Besides all that, there is also a snackbar, The Kitchen, where you can order breakfast until noon Monday thru Friday and lunch/dinner all day any day. We decided to get our lunch at The Kitchen the day we stopped in. All items on the menu are vegetarian and can be made vegan if desired. I chose the Sweet Potato Quesadilla which consisted of a whole wheat wrap (gluten-free is available) stuffed with organic mashed sweet potato, saluted onions, spinach, and vegan mozzarella cheese (dairy cheese is an option). This was an unusual combination for a quesadilla, but I was pleasantly surprised that it was very delicious, and the cheese melted perfectly. The price, only $6.99! My husband ordered the Falafel Wrap, also $6.99: organic store-made vegan chickpea patties served with romaine lettuce, onion, tomato and tahini dressing served on a whole wheat wrap (gluten-free available). He said that it was good, but he would have liked more dressing on his. We both got cold bottled drinks with no high fructose corn syrup from the refrigerator case; strawberry lemonade for him and watermelon lemonade for me. The one downside, there is no place to sit and eat once you have purchased your meal at The Kitchen. Fortunately there were some benches by a pond across the street, and the weather was lovely for eating outdoors, so we enjoyed our healthy lunch in the sunshine.
We will certainly go back to Healthy Thymes despite the fact that it is a bit of a drive for us. I hope they add seating for The Kitchen soon. Even so, for health food shopping or a yummy and healthy takeout meal, it’s worth the trip.
Hours are: M-F 8 am – 7 pm; Sat.-Sun. 9:30 am – 5 pm
It’s been some time since I’ve posted a restaurant review, but while vacationing in Florida we came upon a new restaurant that simply must be recognized. If you try to eat vegan, or even just healthfully, then you know how difficult it is to find a restaurant that meets your needs. Even vegetarian restaurants bury their entrées in cheese. Eating a vegan meal when out on the town can stretch your creativity to the limit.
Today we were fortunate enough to stumble upon Beauty of Sprouts, 1474 Fruitville Rd. Sarasota, FL; 941-350-8449. ChefRano has worked at Rockefeller Center and is an award winning chef in her native Russia. Her menu features all vegan, mostly raw, dishes that are lovingly prepared and artfully presented at reasonable prices. Fresh healthy sprouts are the highlight of each dish.
As an appetizer, we ordered guacamole with spicy dehydrated crackers. The portion was generous enough for two hungry people to nosh on while we waited for our entrées, and we devoured it all. My husband also ordered the mildly seasoned, sprouted hot mung bean soup, because he eats likes to eat soup whenever he can get it. As an entrée he had the vegan burrito, which was wrapped in a chard leaf instead of a flour tortilla. He liked the filling of fresh veggies and side of salsa, but left the chard leaf on the plate — just his personal preference. I had the raw vegan Pad Thai. It was scrumptious! A mountain of thinly sliced cabbage and carrots, kelp noodles and cashews all served in a tangy sauce. I loved it! Several beverage options are on the menu, including some unique teas and homemade Kombucha, but as we were feeling dehydrated after a day of vacation fun we chose the restaurant’s own purified, ionized, alkalinized water to drink. We topped off our meal with a lovely raw lavender crème brulee for dessert. The serving was deceivingly small but filling, and you don’t want to miss this sweet taste of heaven!
If you like chatting with the friendly chef, clean bright surroundings, and nutritious food, then you will surely enjoy Beauty of Sprouts. This was definitely the healthiest meal of our entire vacation. We like to eat nutritionally dense food and also to get the most nutrition for our dollar. Beauty of Sprouts meets both criteria. If you ever want a delicious, guilt-free meal in Sarasota, then this is the place for you!
Chen Vegetarian House is an all vegetarian Asian restaurant with a full menu of vegetarian dishes to choose from…just what the health-minded people of Berks County have been waiting for! Tonight was our first visit there and I was impressed. We will be going back! Although this is a small establishment, probably more geared to take-out than dining-in, our experience was entirely enjoyable.
We entered the newly remodeled restaurant (next to Haute Chocolat) and were promptly seated at one of the two tables by the window. Several other tables were available near the take-out counter. Our server answered all our questions and explained the menu (Yes, EVERYTHING on the menu is vegetarian — even the chicken, the beef, the pork, and the seafood). They do not use MSG in any of their food. We talked and drank green tea until our dinners arrived. The spring rolls were piping hot and very fresh (not frozen and reheated). My Pad Thai was delicious, seasoned perfectly with not too much “chicken” and lots of crunchy bean sprouts. My husband ordered General Tso’s “Chicken” (his favorite) and we were both impressed by the quantity and presentation. Our meals were delicious and the service was efficient and courteous.
Chen Vegetarian House also features something other Asian restaurants don’t offer — fresh vegetable and fruit juices (3.99) and fruit smoothies (4.29). Hallelujah!
The menu states that lunches including white or brown rice, hot & sour soup or spring roll, and entrée are only $5.99. To save time you can pre-order online and pick up at the counter. Business hours are Mon. – Thurs.: 11 am – 10 pm, Fri. and Sat.: 11 am – 10:30 pm, and Sun.: 12 pm – 9:30 pm. Visa, Mastercard, and Discover are accepted. Now until 1/31/2014 is their Grand Opening and you get 10% off a minimum $20 order!
If you want a healthy and delicious meal for not a lot of money, then I would highly recommend Chen Vegetarian House.
Mikura is a new Pan-Asian restaurant at the site of the former China King in Wyomissing. China King was one of our favorite take-out restaurants, but I must admit the dining area was tiny and decor minimal, so we didn’t eat there often. Since Mikura has taken over this location the changes have been dramatic: The restaurant has doubled in size, and they have done major remodeling. It is now decorated in a sophisticated modern Asian theme, dark wood, colorful dimmed pendant lighting, and “stone” wall. Everything is new, clean and inviting, and the staff goes out of their way to satisfy every request.
I am happy to say the food is still delicious, and the menu has expanded to include many new dishes! The sushi bar is brand new, and they also offer party trays for office and home catering. They have kept their famous, very reasonably priced ($5.99/person or $5.45 for senior citizens) lunch buffet, although there is not much on the buffet for vegetarians. We have found that ordering from the menu is a better option for those wanting non-meat dishes. If you see something you’d like on the regular menu they will do their best to make it vegetarian for you. The menu also includes many vegetarian entrees ( I counted 17, but as stated, they will make any substitutions for meat if you ask). Some items on the menu are listed as gluten-free and brown rice is available on request if you prefer that to white (yes!).
Mikura is a classy, moderately priced restaurant for lunch, dinner, business, or pleasure. Service is excellent, food is delicious, decor lovely. Highly recommend!
Today the Reading Eagle did a nice piece on Van’s Cafe, the new Vietnamese restaurant in West Reading, so we had to go there for lunch to try it for the first time. For those who are familiar with West Reading, Van’s is occupying the same space as the former Fire and Ice Cafe. The place is casual, the decor minimal, but clean.
I hope I can give it a fair review because my main thought about Van’s is that they won’t win any prizes for speed. We went on our lunch hour, which was a mistake — don’t go there unless you are under no time constraints. After sitting at the table for about 15 minutes we went to the counter to order. I still don’t know if that is how you are supposed to do things there; some people did have a waiter come to take their order, but we and others went to the counter. No one greeted us, seated us, or told us what to do (a simple sign “Please place your order at the counter” would have been helpful).
The food was very good and fresh. They had a few vegetarian options. We both ordered the Vegetarian Spring Rolls and Vegetarian Rice Noodle Soup (huge bowls) called Pho. I don’t think the soup broth was vegetarian, however. Service was very slow and disorganized. (I could see my husband’s blood pressure rising by the minute). Our appetizer came out after the noodle bowls, and I don’t think we would have gotten it at all if we didn’t remind the server. We were missing a set of silverware and had to hunt one down ourselves. No one came to freshen our ice teas or offer water. As we ate we saw people leaving and more coming in and standing waiting to be seated. Tables weren’t cleared as new orders were coming out and there was nowhere to put them or to seat the people who were waiting for a clean table — Did I mention that the service was SLOW?
Prices at Van’s are all under $10.00, and the food is good. Convenient parking is available in the rear. I am hoping that this was not a typical lunchtime at Van’s, and that they were just having an off day. I would love to go back to sample their bubble tea, but I know my husband won’t be going next time. With some people you don’t get a second chance.
Franchia is another healthy restaurant in the heart of Manhattan. They specialize in vegan Korean and Thai cuisine. Bibimbap is a popular traditional Korean health staple consisting of rice (your choice white or brown) with various toppings including vegetarian “chicken” or “duck.” A variety of Asian noodles and toppings are also available along with vegetarian sushi (all chicken, shrimp, crab meat, and tuna are vegetarian versions based on soy gluten and seaweed).
At Franchia I counted no fewer than 50 different hot and iced tea flavors. They’re sure to have your favorite or a new favorite you haven’t tried yet! You can linger over the Royal Tea Tray (26.95) or Prix Fixe lunch (26.95) or dinner (29.95) which includes everything from appetizers to dessert, or choose from one of the many lunch specials (12.95). The decor at Franchia is tranquil, modern, and upscale — a quiet haven in the middle of the bustling city. You will love it! The website is: http://www.franchia.com.
Having just returned from a delightful couple of days in New York City, I thought I’d share some great vegetarian restaurants we tried while there. I know it’s always a challenge to eat healthy when traveling, so I appreciate it when someone can point me in the direction of a good vegetarian restaurant when I’m away from home. Madras Mahal in Midtown Manhattan is one I can highly recommend. The restaurant specializes several diverse Indian cuisines with options we don’t often have the opportunity to try in traditional Indian restaurants. They offer dishes from both southern and northern India (yes, there is a difference), and the restaurant is strictly kosher. Actually, if you love Indian food this block of Lexington Ave has many establishments from which to choose if you’re feeling adventurous. We found the food to be delicious, prices moderate for the city, staff attentive and courteous — everything clean and efficient. Judging by the number of happy patrons at Madras Mahal we weren’t the only ones who felt this way. To learn more you can visit their website: http://www.madrasmahal.com.