Green Pepper restaurant in Lisbon, Portugal

While on vacation in September, I broke my foot in three places. I spent two days in Lisbon before flying back to the States, and it was a sad affair. Instead of the planned sightseeing and city tours, I was laid up in the hotel for most of that time. Learning to use crutches is difficult, but using crutches on sidewalks with centuries-old cobblestones is even more of a challenge. I stayed in our hotel’s lounge while my cousin went out to see the city sights. On the first day she came back and reported that there was one restaurant close to the hotel, and she thought it was near enough that I could make it on crutches. “I don’t know what kind of restaurant it is and whether they have anything for you though,” she said. I was so excited to leave the hotel and experience something (anything!) of Lisbon, I was willing to try. Even in non-veg-friendly restaurants, you can usually at least order a salad, right?

We decided to try it. After a herculean effort on my part maneuvering over the uneven sidewalk stones, we made it to the restaurant door. What kind of restaurant was it?

Green Pepper restaurant in Lisbon, Portugal

I laughed out loud. And enjoyed a heaping plate from the buffet:

buffet plate from Green Pepper in Lisbon, Portugal

When in Lisbon, check out Green Pepper at 14 Avenida José Malhoa. The food is fresh and inventive, and they also have a wide selection of yummy drinks. The servers are friendly and attentive. They made my day.

delicious dairy-free milks

Dairy-free milks have come a long way in recent years. Many restaurants and coffee shops offer soymilk or rice milk (and unlike years past, the servers usually know what you’re referring to if you ask for it). And I think that every major grocery chain now offers soymilk and almond milk in the dairy cases. But even more options are available.

Although I was accustomed to the “beany” taste of soymilk, I can’t say I ever really got off on it. About a year ago, my friend Jill recommended coconut milk, and I haven’t gone back to soy since. I love the creamy texture of the coconut milk in my coffee, soups, and baked treats. I buy the organic So Delicious brand, which can be found in the refrigerated section. Aseptic packaging on the shelf is also available, so I keep a few extras in the pantry. Try it in broccoli rice soup.

I love the taste of almond milk. Although some brands lack the thick, creamy texture that I prefer for coffee, it’s a great choice for cereal and also in baked cranberry walnut oatmeal. It also adds a terrific nutty flavor to smoothies.

Hazelnut milk is similar to almond milk. Look for it in aseptic packages on the shelf.

Like soymilk, rice milk is available in unsweetened versions as well as flavors like vanilla and chocolate. Although I don’t cook or bake with it, I do use it in smoothies. And the mini packages are nice to take along on trips and camping excursions – no refrigeration required.

One dairy-free milk that I haven’t tried yet is hemp milk. It’s on my next shopping list. Let us know if you’ve tried it.

So Delicious coconut milk

Our favorite all-purpose “milk”

a new favorite: Chimayo chile powder

We adore heirloom foods and ethnic ingredients, so we cheered the tale of the Chimayo Chile Project and the efforts of the Native Hispanic Institute in Santa Fe to preserve this 400-year-old chile. We purchased some back in November and promised to test it and let you know the results.

Well, we LOVE this chile powder. We tried it in veggie chili, south of the border soup, burritos, and breakfast potatoes. It adds a delightful, subtle smoky heat that we are now addicted to. And look at this amazing color:

Chimayo chile powder

Is this a fabulous color or what?

Chimayo chile powder

I will reserve a spot for Chimayo Red in my spice drawer.

a visit to the all-vegan Vegetarian House in Portland

I recently traveled to Portland on business and had some time to kill before the big evening event. Of course I visited Powell’s books (it took all of my willpower to leave the cookbook aisle without an armload of new acquisitions), and then I headed back to my hotel a few miles away on foot. It was a cold, damp, windy, dreary day, and just as I was starting to think how wonderful a hot drink and a bite to eat would be, I saw this:

The all-vegan Vegetarian House restaurant in Portland

The all-vegan Vegetarian House restaurant in Portland

The waitperson was friendly, the tea was hot, and the tasty all-vegan lunch buffet was $7. Enough said. When in Portland, pay this little establishment a visit.