On Thursday I went to another vegan meetup at El Papagayo in Sacramento and it was a great way to continue celebrating good friends and good food after Christmas. I have never been to this gem of a restaurant before, but will be going back soon! It’s not an all vegan restaurant, but they have a lovely vegan and vegetarian menu.
They also have a large dining area and versatile menu for large groups of people with reasonable prices. Good thing since about 30 of us showed up for this vegan meetup and outgrew the group of tables set up for us! I went with a combo plate choosing the vegan tamale and tofu tostada with vegan re-fried beans and rice.
Just look at this huge plate of food, wow! Impressive that they even used vegan cheese on the re-fried beans and nicely textured and seasoned tofu in the tostada.
It was such a huge plate that I ended up taking a lot home to hubby which he didn’t mind. The tamale was a real treat because I haven’t had one of those in ages. The tostada was also great with a nice spice level and crunchy texture.
The company was amazing, I had so much fun chatting with new friends from previous meetups and meeting even more vegans from the area. I also learned a lot more about vegan offerings from local restaurants for future dining out. Again, I was amazed at how many people showed up for this event and that it was so easy chatting with them and having a good time. A lot of the local meetups are arranged through Facebook group Power to the Veg!, so hurry up and join if you’re a vegan and haven’t already!
I’ve also been enjoying the extra couple of days off work I took after Christmas to tackle some house projects, relax, sleep in as long as the dogs will allow, and catch up on gym time after lots of holiday eating. Leela has been enjoying one of her Christmas presents – her spiffy new pink Thundershirt.
Leela is a sweet little dog. But as far as I know, her life was a living hell before we rescued her, she was abused and I suspect by one or more guys since she has issues trusting or liking any guys. And it takes her a long time to bond with and trust anyone new which breaks my heart. I worked with her a lot and researched how to help her through the issues, but she still has an anxiety issue around new people and crowded areas. We decided to try a Thundershirt for her to see if it helps her relax more and been more trusting.
When I first put it on, she just stood there refusing to move while trying to figure out what she was wearing. Now she seems to like to more, moves around fine, and likes the extra warmth in the winter weather. Hopefully it helps her feel better around new people and environments.
Miko has had no problems relaxing and shoving his new toys in our laps for play time.
And I’ve had no problem finding time in the kitchen for recipe creation. I’m trying to make up from all the holiday eating with comforting, veggie-loaded dishes to get a good start to the new year and some gorgeous purple asparagus I found at Whole Foods inspired this dish since mustard works so well with asparagus for me.
Dijon Asparagus and Quinoa
- 1 bunch asparagus, chopped
- 1/2 cup quinoa, rinsed
- 2 medium tomatoes, chopped
- 1 onion, chopped
- 1/4 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
- 2 tbsp. lemon juice
- 1 1/2 tbsp. Dijon mustard
- 3/4 tsp. salt
- 1/4 tsp. pepper
- 2 cups veggie broth or water
Place broth, quinoa, and onions into a large pot and bring to boil over high heat. Reduce heat to a simmer and stir in asparagus, tomatoes, cilantro, lemon juice, Dijon mustard, salt, and pepper. Cover and simmer for about 25 minutes stirring occasionally. Serve and enjoy. Makes 4 servings.
This is a great nutrient dense one pot meal that’s quick, simple, and flavorful, perfect after all the indulgent holiday recipes and eating!
It’s also very filling and satisfying with so many veggies. And pretty! The tangy spice from the Dijon pairs nicely with the quinoa and asparagus.
The veggies, which aren’t overcooked mush, add a fresh and crunchy texture to the flavor party.