Foodie Finds

Featured Restaurant: Americana Diner

Americana diner is a hidden gem found in the heart of East Winsdor, NJ. For the past 25 years, the classic chic retro restaurant has been serving Jersey with freshly prepared breakfast, lunch, dinner, and high quality European inspired desserts. Neon signs above an elongated bar area with sayings like burgers and shakes, freshly baked goods, and cappuccinos gives it a homey vibe. Bite right into a NY style brick oven bread and a palette of butter with flakes of sea salt. No wonder why Thrillist refers to Americana as “The Best Diners In New Jersey.”


Whether you’re craving, breakfast, lunch, dinner, or dessert, each specific menu will fulfill any and every mood. Made without all that nasty stuff, forget the high-fructose corn syrup, artificially sweetened syrup, overly sugary drinks, processed foods and bring on the hand selected veggies, cage-free eggs,  organic teas, Vermont maple syrup, fresh squeezed organic juices and European desserts with a few simple ingredients. Now, go make your heart happy.


Hold the guac. Nope, you will most likely want extra guacamole.  Start off with orange juice inspired mimosas, which pairs perfectly with guac and chips; using tomatoes, cilantro, red onions, olive oil with a hint of apple cider vinegar. Americana diner and bar, hence the name, has a full bar service, you can quench your thirst with beers, wines, seasonal cocktails, or create your own beverage.

Get comfy in your leather booth and order a life altering lunch. Preferably a grilled veggie panini on toasted sour dough bread with zucchini, mushroom, roasted red pepper, and mozzarella (opt out the mozz for a vegan-friendly dish); the fries are light with a crisp or you can easily substitute them for a house salad. Well deserved.


The restaurant had a delightful ambiance with a separate trendy lounge area. The service is quick and each waiter is attentive, cleaning the table right away in between meals and replacing utensils for the utmost importance. Americana Diner and Bar serves your stomach between the hours of Mon-Sat 7am – 11pm; Sun 7-10pm. Save room for dessert. 

Featured Cafe: Nature's Plate

Nature's Plate is a vegan cafe with juice and smoothies, salads, desserts, and absolutely mouth watering sandwiches. It's a hidden gem located in Keyport, NJ off Main Street with a laid back atmosphere and nautical decor. Sit back and relax. Chef and Owner Mark previously worked at the vegan restaurant Seed To Sprout and now brings us a well kept secret to a small quintessential town. Grab a seat by the window or outside and enjoy the plant based cafe. You can over indulge and feel good!


We recommend the Vegan Nachos and Tropical Bliss smoothie to start with. The nachos have a slight creaminess that compliments the crunch & the acidity of the tomato pairs perfectly with the avocado and spiciness of the chili. Keep crunching until they're all gone. As for the smoothies, you can choose what type of milk: almond, coconut, coconut water, soy milk, or water. Coconut Milk gives it a thicker consistency to bring out the flavor from the mango, strawberries, and pineapples.


Now to the hard decision, which sandwich should you try? They're all on our foodie finds list. Our favorite is the Black Bean Burger on a pretzel bun. Besides, who doesn't like pretzels? The saltiness of the bun complements the spiciness of the chipotle mayo and the semi-sweetness of the caramelized onions, melted with cashew cheese. It's beautifully layered and totally a creamy bite into deliciousness.

The marinated tempeh on ciabatta bread with a smoke BBQ flavor and the tofu herb sandwich are great summer sandwiches. Pick up a brownie, a cold brewed iced coffee, or even better both before you leave. You won't be disappointed!


Deliciousness Scale: 5/5


Address:

15 Main St

Keyport, New Jersey


Hours:

Open Daily  10AM - 7PM


Insta: @naturesplatenj

Featured Restaurant: Deluca's Italian Restaurant

Walk into Staten Island, NY on a beautiful night with defined embellishment chandeliers and a warm presence. You'll get to eat with the family at Deluca's Italian Restaurant, the wall is decorated with classic black and white family photos from the 1800's to the 1900's. It's simply a "homey environment." 


Owner Robert Deluca politely introduced himself, he is thoroughly knowledgeable about the entire menu and even mentioned the vegetarian food options. The recipes are passed down from the great grandmother and he says, "you have to try the meatballs."  


There is also an open outside area with a covering. Each table has a candle lit setting with old school classic Italian music favorites. 


The service is impeccable and the staff can easily list the Diciotto 18 ingredient salad off the top of their heads. To start with, my boyfriend and I had a lightly sweetened Peach Sangria, which is a great drink for the summer time and the perfect way to start the weekend. The vegetarian dishes included the Melanzane Timballo, aka eggplant Parmigiano Tower. It had a light breaded batter with hints of garlic, basil, and sauce to bring out the flavoring of the ricotta & semi-sweet sauce.  


Another vegetarian option is the Toscana Pizza with a light thin crust pizza, beautifully vibrant colors, a semi sweet sauce hints of garlic and basil, and leaves you with a refreshing taste. Don't feel bad about all the carbs you're eating since the veggies balance it out.

I ate the whole crust, and usually I leave them hanging. (Surprisingly)


What vegetarian doesn't like salad? If you don't then go redefine yourself..now! The Pera Insalata is a pear salad with a slightly sweetened honey flavored walnuts to add a crunch. The cream from the Gorgonzola cheese adds to the finishing touch of the "homemade apple pie" flavor with the pears and cinnamon to add to the finishing touch.
 

Once the main course came out, the lights were dimmed to create a romantic setting, and just what we both needed after a long week at work.

 
I had the Gnocchi Tartufo Nero, or in other words gnocchi in a black truffle cream sauce. It simply melts in your mouth with a light creamy richness. The truffles add a crunch and good balance between the softness and cheesiness. Feel the warmth and comfort in every bite with a light pepper taste & a basil leaf garnish.


Highlights:


My omnivore boyfriend sampled the  Famous Mamma’s Meatballs and  Agnello con Pistachio (Lamb chops encrusted with pistachio), which were good as well. A customer at the next table said, "if they aren't good the bill is on me."


P.S. I'd highly recommend Billy as your waiter!   

Featured Restaurant: Talula's

Jersey Shore pizza redefined! 


Talula’s has a collection of wooden benches, vintage inspired canisters filled with straws, a bar with blueberry beer and queen B cocktails, and not to mention handcrafted sandwiches on sourdough bread and focaccia bread (house baked). Of course, my favorite item was the margie pie with vegan cashew cheese and you would have never guessed it was dairy-free cheese. The thick consistency and creaminess pairs perfectly with the fresh basil.You can decide whether to sit inside or outside this retro charm, but I sat on a cozy bench where I could see my pie baking to perfection. The laid back vibe and quick service makes it  the top pick for foodie lovers.

  • Margie pie with vegan cashew cheese
  • Pesto and pickle on sourdough bread hold the cheese & mayo; made with basil pumpkin seed pesto, bread and butter pickles, lettuce

I cannot stop dreaming about how soft the bread was, the flavor combinations, and the incredible drinks which had just enough sweetness. I totally got to feel like Beyonce for a second with my Queen B cocktail with rooibos lemon rose vodka, honey syrup, and a spot of lemon juice.


I give Talula’s 4/4 stars!

Featured Restaurant: Kaya's Kitchen

Kaya’s Kitchen is located in the heart of the Jersey shore and every order is freshly prepared with a lot of love. With a full smoothie bar, culturally blended dishes, and desserts for your sweet tooth, it’s a veggie knockout. Warning: you’ll feel good afterwards. It’s both vegetarian and vegan friendly with non-dairy ranch dressings, cheeses, and tempeh, tofu, and seitan protein options.


Start off your day right with an order of Tempeh Buffalo Wings with a side of cucumber ranch. It’s a tad bit spicy, but you can dip it in the cucumber ranch to cool off. You can swap the tempeh wings for tofu or even go for the seitan ribs, if you’re feeling the homestyle BBQ flavor.

Get your protein with a Lentil Veggie Burger stuffed with carrots, kale, broccoli, zucchini, and walnuts served on a whole grain roll. Add any additional toppings including vegan mayo, vegan cheese, or tempeh bacon. Extra guac is never a question; plus, the crispy roll and slightly burnt lentil burger gives your entree an extra crunch. 


If you’re digging an internationally inspired dish, then go for the Lion of Judah a blend of sauteed veggies like broccoli, sweet onions, peppers, garbanzo beans, and black beans in a sweet sauce. Served over brown rice. Don’t forget to take a bit into the cube size lentil loaves. The portion size will send you home with leftovers. You won’t hate it!

P.S. You should always save room for dessert...until next time.
 

Featured Restaurant: Roberta's

Roberta's is located on 45th street and Vanderbuilt inside foodie central aka Urbanspace where you can find Greek, Italian, Mexican, and every type of food imaginable. With over 20 food vendors including Mimi's Hummus, Bang Kok Bar, Amali Mou, and, Good Stock, you won't go home hungry. Plus, there are plenty of vegetarian and vegan friendly options.  


Roberta's is home to the wood fired pizza with traditional, marghertia, and other pie clever titles like Lil' Stinker, Cheesus Christ, and White Guy. The Traditional and Bee Sting (minus the sorpresa) pies had a light crust and the bottom was slightly burnt for an extra crisp. The sauce was semisweet and the Bee Sting pie was a tad bit sweeter from the added honey. You know the mozz is good when it's stringy. And it was extra stringy.   


The sauce wasn't overly salty or flavorful to a point where you know the chef is hiding the real ingredients. It's a simple yet authentic traditional Italian dish. Keep the dough rolling and take a bite into a steamy thin crust pizza slice.


If you're in Brooklyn, check out their original location.

Featured Restaraunt: LuAnne's Wild Ginger Pan-Asia

If you're looking for authentic Asian inspired vegan food, then look no further, LuAnne's Wild Ginger Pan-Asia is an underrated Brooklyn hot spot. Plus, they don't add all that extra salt. You can order your favorite guilt-free dishes totally vegan style. With culturally driven dishes from Japan, China, Korea, Vietnam, Thailand, and South Asia influences, you can taste every part of the world.


The laid-back atmosphere consists of cozy booths and lanterns, paintings, and a homey vibe. You can choose from salads, soups, and veggie dishes. Leave the dairy and meat behind. The service is impeccable and you'll get your food in no time. Warm up your soul.


What to order:

  • Pineapple fried rice with broccoli, tofu, and Thai seasoning.
  • Big Miso Udon Noodle Soup with spinach, tofu, and mushrooms.

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Featured Restaraunt: Fusion D'Lite

Chef Yao is the chef and creator of Fusion D’Lite dishes, which blends homemade asian dishes into a beautifully homemade ready to eat masterpieces. As a previous worker in the fashion industry, he knows how to “infuse” any dish and bring his impeccable detail from the kitchen to the table. The restaurant's atmosphere is low key with small tables scattered to create a family-like vibe. You’ll feel like you’re right at home. The ceilings have culturally inspired décor with white paper hanging lanterns, triangular lanterns, and a sign of their daily specials. Plus, the chef is both knowledgeable and friendly. If you want a vegan or vegetarian dish, then you’ve come to the right place. Come hungry and leave full, (and fully inspired).


Fusion D’ Lite offers an assortment of speciality custom made dishes. On Tuesdays, they have Taco Tuesday, and offer holiday specials including infused Thanksgiving inspired sushi rolls. You can’t forget Sushi Sundays and Why Not Wednesdays. For vegetarians, you can bite into a variety of rolls: cucumber, avocado, oshinko roll (pickle), and sweet potato tempura roll. If you’re feeling like changing it up, try a veggie bowl served with mixed veggies and a side of brown (if you’re feeling health conscious) or white rice, pan-fried noodles, fried rice with mixed veggies,  or tofu teriyaki. Start with a vegetarian appetizer, whether it’s an avocado egg roll, edamame with sprinkled sea salt, cripsy tofu with tempura sauce, veggie spring rolls, or my personal favorite bean curd aka inari.


So what makes this place a foodie favorite? You can change or create any dish to your own personal preference whether you want to swap out avocado for crispy fried tofu. The music is chill with a blend of EDM and indie alternative sounds. Everything is homemade with all natural ingredients.


MUST TRYS


Drinks

Iced tea lightly sweetened w limes on top in shape of flower Taiwan influenced


Appetizers

Vegetarian pizza on a thin crispy scallion pancake with a layer of rice, avocado, tomatoes , jalapenos (not too spicy), apples, and mangos
Avocado salad with iceberg lettuce, carrots, onions, cherry tomatoes, and avocado spicy mayo house dressing. Served with a crispy rice ball.

Assorted veggie spring rolls featuring the Veggie Roll (Seaweed, Oshinko- Japanese Pickles, Cucumber, and Avocado), NY Roll with peanut butter and apple wrapped in soy wrap, Bean Curd (Inari) tofu skin with rice inside.


Main Dishes

Massaman Curry Puk a hot served dish with slightly seasoned tofu in a teriyaki sauce with mixed veggies onions, and celery