Sometimes, we get tired from the usual viand and rice, or tortilla and veggie platter (will post about this), so I think something up which is based from meat dishes I see on one of the several food and cooking shows I watch. :)
This one’s really easy and is really a treat!
Green Bell Peppers (nice if you could get your hands on medium to large-sized ones)
Lemon or Calamansi
Cut the Bell Peppers in half, take the seeds out, clean the halves and set them aside. You can decide to cut it horizontally or vertically. The advantage of cutting the top half from the bottom is that the halves can sit on the pan without any problems, instead of the other way wherein the halves will look like boats (like the ones I have on the photo) but I prefer the bell pepper cups shallow and I had really small ones to work with at that time so to make them look bigger, I cut them that way.
Prepare the rest of the veggies. Dice the eggplant, almost pea-sized. Cut the tomatoes almost the same size as the eggplant. Mince the onions and the garlic.
Fry the quail eggs, sunny-side-up (I like them over-easy) and set them aside.
In the leftover oil, saute the onions and garlic.
Add all the other veggies, ground pepper, and add soy sauce. Optional, try adding BBQ sauce also if you’re a fan of sweet and salty.
Once all the veggies are cooked, remove them from the pan and put them inside your bell pepper halves.
Put them in your pan (make sure there’s no oil in it) and cover (or bake if you want). This is the same technique we used in the no-bake-stove-top pizza recipe I shared years back.
After 5 minutes or so (depending on how crunchy or roasted you want your bell peppers), add slices of quick melt cheese on top, or your preferred cheese and cover the pan again.
Wait for the cheese to melt and drape the bell pepper and take the halves out.
Put the quail egg on top and serve with either lemon or calamansi.
Best served hot and with rice.
Note: You can do this with meat by replacing eggplant with ground beef. But honestly, you won’t need to. This recipe easily fooled Mario who asked me twice if there really isn’t any meat in the dish because eggplant can mimic the texture of ground beef and the soy sauce and ground black pepper can give it the taste it needs to pull-off the act.
This dish is VERY flexible. I can imagine many different combinations of vegetables.
One of the keys in making people like the dish is making the dish look yummy. So whether you’re serving this dish to another person, or to yourself, pay attention to plating and once you start eating, pay attention to the layers of flavors you have successfully whisked up in your own kitchen. Make your kitchen a great adventure land, and you, the master.
It was lunch time and although we grabbed apples for our late breakfast (breakfast-on-the-go) on the way to SM Megamall, we knew we had to eat even though we were not starving. We parked in Building B, and we went to the basement to walk all the way to Building A where the food court was when we saw, KKK – a Filipino Restaurant.
Note: to all vegetarians out there, if you’re looking for places to eat, you can go to a Filipino Restaurant and you’re sure to find dishes that are meatless, or dishes you can easily request to have the meat taken out. Just be conscious that a lot of Filipino dishes have Bagoong (Shrimp Paste), so you can either let that slide, or be strict and have that taken out as well.
We’ve eaten in KKK (Mall of Asia) before and we didn’t blog about it because we just had an ok experience or a few notches below ok. Food was, ummm, ok, place was, ummm, ok… Price was, ummm, higher than most for the serving size. That was many years back when we were still eating everything! Now, I think it’s time to document a new experience. But, mostly because there’s very few options for vegetarians it’s not practical to pass up on opportunities to blog about them.
About the Restaurant
The restaurant was spacious and every nook and cranny was optimized to incorporate Filipino decoration, almost to the point of having too much. Very good still, a lot of opportunities to take photos for Instagram or your daily (hourly) Facebook shoutouts. They also hid (or tried to hide) their counter by designing a jeep in front of it. A full-sized 1-side jeepney with more decors on top of it.
I’m sorry, dear readers. I don’t have a photo of the menu but their website has everything and here’s the link to the vegetables part (gulay) but the price is not updated. That’s also one of the reasons why we decided to eat here. They have a part of the menu dedicated to vegetable dishes. We always look for that. I meant to take a photo of it after we were done eating, but I forgot since we were in a hurry to go somewhere else.
We decided to order just 1 viand (ulam) and share it since when we asked what the serving size of their viands were, they said everything is for sharing. And we were also gearing up for a special dinner with friends that same day.
Chicharon / FREE (starters)
We didn’t order this. As you know, we’ve started to be vegetarians and we had no idea we were going to be served this while waiting. But since it’s served, I tasted it just to let you know how it tasted – plus it’s bad to waste food. Honestly, the chicharon tasted a little bit overcooked (burnt almost) and wasn’t something we’d probably have a refill on even if we weren’t vegetarians. BUT, the vinegar (sinamak) it was served with was SUPERB! Almost made me want to ask where to buy one but decided not to because we used to make sinamak at home and I’d like to share how we make ours here someday.
Laing sa Gata / P220 (for sharing)
It was served in a round sizzling plate (smaller than the ones used in sizzling plate in Korean restaurants), with an uncut piece of chili. The description from the menu reads “DAHON NG GABI NA MATYAGANG NILUTO SA GATA AT SILI”. Well, the gabi leaves were certainly cooked, umm, but were probably a little overcooked. I’m not sure if the whole theme was “do it well – well done”. It tasted bitter and salty, but I’d take salty any time of the day. I love salty food. Was it enough for sharing? Yes, it was. Because it was in the salty side, we had some left over. I also noticed that towards the end of the meal, the sizzling plate was sooooo oily you can fry an egg in there (and saute some onions before that). It probably was the oil from the coconut milk. The taste wasn’t something we’d rave about, but if you’re a vegetarian, eating with someone, looking to share a meal, and really hungry, this is ok.
I wouldn’t say it was a bad experience, but I also wouldn’t say it was awesome. There were a lot of great things and mostly they were about the place. It was spacious, clean, and interesting. There are a lot of things to look at and to take pictures of. But it ultimately is about the food. The food was ok, not bad, and not rave worthy. I’d love to try their other “gulay” dishes next time.
I hope this experience doesn’t turn people off from wanting to be a vegetarian or thinking about taking that first step. Just like being a omnivorous foodie, you’ll have good days and bad days in trying out restaurants. It is an adventure!
Without any doubt, if you are trying to avoid meat, then sandwich restaurants, or sandwich bars (whatever we call them) are the best way to go when dining out. They are sure to have meatless options and one of our “go to” sandwhich restaurants is Subway.
About the Restaurant
I don’t know if this is a strategy but Subway manages to find the smallest nooks in malls and decide to build their restaurant there and have nothing but a few sets of tables and chairs. The area where you get to line up for your turn and see your sandwiches assembled is really too small and gets cramped up when 2 or 3 customers line up and order at the same time. Honestly, during that bit of the processed (the ordering), unless you have the store to yourself, is not comfortable. During the rush service (breakfast, lunch, and dinner hours), sandwiches will be sitting on the chopping board while you wait for your turn to pay at the counter. Assembly is pretty fast but when one customer order for 2 or more subs, then it creates a bottle neck in assembly and the cashier. Other Subway branches have tables outside the restaurant, but still not enough to seat most people who come to buy during service hours. I guess it’s ok since you can really eat the subs while standing up, walking around, or even just take them back to the office, or wherever. We like to dine in, but if we don’t have a choice, we take our subs to the food court. :) Plus side to all the Subway branches we’ve visited so far, they’re all clean.
About their Menu
We’ve always been fans of subway and with fast food prices going higher, Subway’s P99 subs are looking like cheap deals. Every once in a while they also have P69 promo (6 inches) and this month’s promo is Ham. Yep, so no use for vegetarians, but very cheap for those who want to eat subs made with freshly baked bread and crisp fresh veggies.
By the way, I asked if I can order the promo Ham (for PHP 69) and then just request to not have any ham on my sub and just have veggies, instead of ordering Veggie Delite for PHP 99, they said no. Because those are two different subs, and that’s why they have Veggie Delite as an option. Tsk… I’ll try again next time.
Their subs are divided into 3 price ranges (6 inches) — the P99s, the P120s, the P150s.
The 99s are:
Ham (currently sells for P69 – promo)
B.L.T. (Bacon, Lettuce, Tomato)
Veggie Delite (yep, that’s how they spell it)
The 120s are:
Italian B.M.T. (What BMT stands for or what it could stand for is explained here)
Sliced Chicken and Ham
The 150s are:
Steak and Cheese
If you want to make them 12 inches (foot long), you just have to pay an additional of 95PHP instead of the full price of another 6″ sub. I think that’s a sweet deal. So if you’re ordering for 2 people and you are getting the same sub, just order a foot long, and request to have them cut the sub in half. They’ll wrap them separately, and you can choose different sauces for each 6″.
Before anything else, you’ll have to choose from 4 bread options (Honey Oat, Italian, Parmesan Oregano, and Wheat). We always order Honey Oat but incase they run out of it (or if it isn’t ready yet), the rest are ok. Honey Oat bread has a crunchy sweat exterior, coated by oats and honey (of course), and a soft interior. We, always order Veggie Delite footlong (so that’s 99PHP + 95 = 204PHP) and just ask them to cut the sub in half. Most of the times, if you order Veggie Delite, they’ll ask you if you want cheese in your sub or not. This is incase you are Vegan. We like cheese in ours, then we request to have the sub toasted before they add the veggies. They’ll then ask you if you want all the veggies in. We want all veggies, and request them to be generous with pickles and bell peppers. Our sauce of choice is Sweet Onion, but sometimes I switch it up to Chipotle Southwest (spicy) or a combination of Oil and Red Wine Vinegar.
Veggie Delite tastes yummy! A big factor is the that the bread is freshly baked, the bread’s crust is crunchy, and the veggies are fresh and crisp. You hear and feel the crunch in your mouth and have a full load of all the ingredients in each bite since they make sure to spread the veggies evenly.
We order 2 12″ subs and have them both sliced into 6″ subs and then have the 2 subs to go (take out) on separate bags. For Mario and for me, our lunch. It’s hard to come by vegetarian meals under 100PHP. Scrap that! It’s hard to come by vegetarian meals when we’re dining out, and Subway branches are few, so we stock up for lunch and dinner even. ^_^
We’ve always enjoyed going to Subway and we tend to overlook the long line during certain times, and the lack of tables and chairs. I find that the price has become much more affordable and don’t remember that they have changed price the past few years. I just wish there are a lot more Subway branches.
1. You can request to go easy on certain veggies, and be generous with some. Take note that if you listen to other people’s orders, they request to leave out certain veggies (that you like) and even to leave out cheese! So don’t be shy, the veggies you are adding to your sub, are veggies other people opted not to have. Subway isn’t losing money on that.
2. You can have more than 1 sauce to your sub. Mix and match and see which ones you like. You don’t have to just choose one. I haven’t tried 3 sauces but I don’t know how 3 would taste. ^_^; I’m curious but not that curious. Let me know if you tried mixing 3.
3. Go to their branch outside the service rush hours (12-1PM, 6-7PM), otherwise, make sure you pack extra patience in your bag.
I realized that when I started going meatless 3 months ago, I called my self – “…someone who is not eating meat anymore”. Yep! I wasn’t calling myself vegetarian (although I thought I was), just because I wasn’t too keen on labels and I was self-conscious. I didn’t want to use the term incorrectly and shame everyone else who are “more aware” and “more experienced” in that area. Maybe I was just insecure but I had a feeling that to become a vegetarian you had to register or really make a huge change in your life like buying a new fridge just for all the veggies or something. I don’t know if someone can relate to that but that’s how I felt. Then I started reading about it, and now I’m sure I’m a vegetarian — a lacto-ovo vegetarian to be specific.
Medical Daily has a really good article that explains the difference between being a vegetarian (full-time and part-time, or lacto and ovo) and being a vegan. Really quickly, Vegetarians generally don’t eat meat. Semi-vegetarians don’t eat red meat, lacto vegeterians don’t eat meat and poulty (but eat food with dairy), ovo vegetarians don’t eat meat and food with dairy (but eat poultry), a lacto-ovo vegetarian eats fruits, vegetables, poultry, and dairy. Vegans on the other hand, just eat plant-based food (fruits and vegetables). I made a quick infographic (my first attempt) that hopefully helps visually explain all of that.
Well, that’s it. So if you’re thinking of being a vegetarian (or vegan), you can start deciding if you’re going to include or exclude dairy and poultry in your diet, or just be semi-vegetarian and just avoid red meat (beef, pork, lamb, etc). You can also choose to be vegetarian a few days a week at first if you think that it will be difficult for you to transition to being a full-time vegetarian all days of the week.
We are now vegetarians (my husband and I). I don’t know if this is good news to those who follow my blog, or those who have tried going back to it looking for new updates on restaurants. Or those who just happen to stumble upon my blog because of the previous “meaty” escapades posted. I’ve decided to revive The Wandering Boots and reflect the changes we’ve made in our diet, document my experience and post options for people who have decided or are thinking about going Vegetarian full-time, or part-time.
First off, this requires a bit of explaining. Is it by choice, or is it something that was dictated to us? Is it because of belief, or is it because of diet? It’s a combination of being a choice (of course everything is by choice – technically), and something that we needed to do because of my husband’s alarming progressing liver issues. Don’t worry, that can be a point of discussion for another post. I personally love veggies, and can live on them alone, but my husband, well, it’s something that he is learning to love, and he seriously is loving it now. We did not decide to do this just to shed off some pounds although I’ve been told, and I’ve read, it can help in that area as well. We didn’t do it because we believe that animals shouldn’t be eaten, although we both love animals in all shapes, sizes, and from different habitats – alive, we have nothing against people enjoying animals as food (especially food animals who have a sustainable population in the wild).
The decision to go meatless was drastic. I was thinking about it for quite some time now, but Mario got his idea to join me when he got his latest medical tests. Was the switch from meat-full to meat-less difficult? Well, not during the first few days. I knew I had to cook for us and maybe take some home cooking to work, so it wasn’t a struggle of will. We knew we were going to put in extra effort into looking for restaurants that offer meatless options. We knew we would be paying full price on items even if we request all meat be removed – and we were prepared for the funny stares and the puzzled looks restaurant crews were going to give us. So if someone would ask me if it was difficult, I’d say no. It wasn’t. Because we were mentally prepared (or psyched ourselves with the worst scenario), and during execution, it wasn’t that bad at all.
The First Few Days
We’re 3 months into being meatless, so we’re no experts. That being said, it also means that the memory, the feelings, and the thoughts we had when we first started 3 months ago, are still somewhat fresh. First few days were “fun”. There as a lot of “kasi vegetarian na kami” (“because we’re vegetarians now”) whenever we’d decline offers of all meat pizza, or really creamy and spicy kaldereta, perhaps my favorite sinigang (regardless of which protein). It was really fun the first few days. It’s the feeling that you now belong to a special group of people where membership is few. There’s also the puzzled look on people’s faces after we let them know we’re vegetarian. Somehow I get a feeling that they were expecting vegetarians to be slimmer (a lot slimmer) than the two pretenders in front of them. Luckily, we’ve gotten over that with stronger resolve and a lot of getting used to. :)
It’s been 3 months so far and we’ve gone on a 3-day out of town trip with friends (Baler), been dining in office canteens, mall food courts, and at home – all while being vegetarians. Well, it’s been fun, but not without its challenges, but, it’s been fun. ^_^ And I’ll write more about it.
The wandering boots will still retain its previous post, but all future posts will be on vegetarian options in restaurants that we normally would never have tried ordering, which can be enjoyed by vegetarians and meat-lovers alike. I’ll be sharing some recipes and tips that can help those who are thinking about making the switch.