Monthly Archives: July 2012

Gino’s Bistro

Gino’s Bistro – Maple Valley (Their first Gino’s is located in Federal Way WA)

23917 Southeast Kent Kangley Road Maple Valley, WA 98038 (425) 433-6220

Monday – Thursday
11:30 AM to 9:30 PM
11:00 AM to 10:00 PM
1:00 PM to 10:00 PM
4:00 PM to 9:30 PM

I am always up for some good Italian food and so when I got a tip about Gino’s I made the trip to check it out and was not disappointed.

I must first say that they have done a great job transforming this old Shakey’s Pizza Parlor into a pleasant Italian bistro. The only reason I knew it use to be a Shakey’s is because I had eaten there before when it was Shakey’s, otherwise there is no resemblance and I would have not had a clue of its past inhabitants.

On inspection, the dining room was clean and looking into the kitchen it appeared clean as well. The temperature in the building was kept a bit on the cool side though as was commented from my table and as I over heard it commented from the table behind us as well.

As we sat down we were greeted with a freshly poured plate of light olive oil and balsamic vinegar by the wait staff and a basket of warm herbed focaccia bread.   The focaccia is freshly baked everyday and as a matter of fact, they bake all their breads fresh everyday around 2pm and you can buy the loafs to take home, it was fabulous. (The pic below is of their Italian bread, the focaccia distracted me and made me forget about taking pictures and before I knew it it was all gone.)


The staff were very pleasant, attentive and willing to work with my requests as a vegan. We were able to modify and create as we pleased which is important when working with a traditionally cheese and meat heavy menu.

I ordered a create my own pizza (not on the menu). The pizza was ordered with a red marinara sauce, mushrooms, fresh basil, roasted whole garlic, black olive, and drizzled with fresh pesto. The waitress told me that we would have to forgo the black olives because they had run out. I thought it was odd to run out of black olives at a Italian restaurant which was echoed by the waitress.

We also ordered a basic spaghetti in a marinara sauce which turned out to be a spaghettini and not spaghetti. , it came with soup or side salad. We opted for the salad with balsamic vinaigrette that was so flavorful I could have eaten it with a spoon. The pasta sauce which is the most important part of any pasta dish was old world, very simple and had the “cooked all day” taste and consistency. It was highlighted by whole garlic cloves, both the pasta and the garlic cloves were al dente (to the tooth) meaning soft but not mushy or crunchy, perfect! The sauce was perfect to dip our remaining bread into which pushed me over the line from full to stuffed.

Over all it was a good dining experience.

The Best Vegan Chocolate Chip Cookie Ever, Seriously.

One food I really like and have missed since becoming a vegan is the good old chocolate chip cookie.

I have tried other recipes but they all just did not make the grade until I found this recipe.

So far this is the closest I have found to those homemade chocolate chip cookies my mom use to make when I was a kid.

If you have a favorite vegan chocolate chip cookie recipe you like please share it with me, I am always willing to try new recipes, who knows it may become my favorite!

Again, I must leave you with a disclaimer. I seem to be doing that a lot lately, Hummm

Contrary to popular belief chocolate chip cookies are not health food but there are times when you want a treat, need to satisfy a sweet tooth or need something to serve guests.

I found this recipe on a website called “Super Vegan” and it was created by Rudy Relic who writes for Super Vegan.

Click the link below to go to the recipe.

The Best Vegan Chocolate Chip Cookie Ever, Seriously.


The Vegan Zombie

You might be saying to yourself what in the world is “The Vegan Zombie”?

Well let me tell you. He produces, I think, the most entertaining vegan cooking videos on You Tube. He currently has 10,059 subscribers on You Tube. (He also does some other related videos like vegan restaurant & product reviews)

On the Vegan Zombie About page it says this:

“How did this site come to be? Veganism is second nature to me. It’s been part of my life for over 18 years now. I also have a love for the horror genre and film. After much thought of how I could create something fun and interesting that appeals to me and hopefully others, I came up with ‘The Vegan Zombie’. TVZ is a project in the making that will attempt to put a vegan twist in the horror genre.

We make ‘How to’ videos on vegan cooking, which is set in a post apocalyptic zombie invasion. Our host gives our audience tips and tricks on vegan cooking and staying safe from zombies. But what would happen if he were to become a zombie? Stay tuned…

This is the beginning of a unique group of vegans ready to fend off the flesh eating mainstream…

The zombie apocalypse is coming and we will be ready. Infection will originate from within the meat (flesh) the people (zombies) consume.

Vegans will be one step ahead…”

Once you watch a few, you will be hooked, I know I was and now I follow the continuing saga.

Now mind you that not all the recipes he cooks are the healthiest but they will help anyone trying to transition to a healthier diet. Besides that, he is so entertaining to watch.

Here is the link to his You Tube site:

Here is the link to his web page:

Enjoy, and watch out for those zombies!!!!

Apple Salad Dressing

This is a great very simple alternative to real coleslaw salad dressing and it goes well with any salad.

1/3 cup Almond, Hemp or Soy milk (I use almond)

1 apple, peeled and sliced

1/2 cup of raw cashews or 1/4 cup raw cashew butter (I use cashew butter)

1 tablespoon Rice Wine Vinegar

1 tablespoon of dried currents

1 tablespoon Sesame Seeds, toasted

In a high powered blender blend together Vegan milk, apple, cashews or cashew butter and vinegar until smooth and creamy then toss in salad.

Grilla Bites Restaurant

Grilla Bites – Snohomish WA

1020 1st Street, Suite 104
Snohomish, Washington 98290
(360) 568-7333 


Monday: 10am – 5pm
Tuesday – Saturday: 10am – 7pm
Sunday: 10am – 5pm (Breakfast served until 1pm)

I just love little towns don’t you? They are so quaint and full of fun shops and restaurants.

Well the city of Snohomish is no exception.

I had heard about this restaurant named “Grilla Bites” that serves up their famous Grilla sandwiches and burgers, along with organic soups and salad, while featuring local specials and flavors. They also serve local produce and products as much as possible and the water is always filtered I am told. So I had to give them a try.

Their Mission statement says this:

“Supporting our environment and community while maintaining a healthy responsibility to our customers through the food we serve”

The atmosphere is a mix of trendy and a bit of granola. The seating area seemed a bit crowded with tables and chairs, in my opinion they could have surplussed a table and four chairs which would have relieved the cramped feeling a bit. It was clean and well kept. The employees were pleasant but seemed a bit discombobulated at times.

Grilla Bites is not a vegan or even a vegetarian restaurant but does have plenty of vegan and vegetarian fare on their menu not to mention the huge organic salad bar. They have 19 vegetarian items and 3 Vegan items on the menu but you can veganize almost any item on the menu. They told me that they use Vegenaise in all their sauces that are “Mayo type” based sauces & dressings. You can also ask for vegan soy cheese & vegan bacon as a substitute on any menu item. They also have pesto, BBQ or curry tofu sandwiches.

I ordered their “Portobello Burger” $9.75 which is chopped portobello mushrooms marinated in shiitake vinaigrette and topped with grilled red onions, tomato, spinach and blue cheese spread. I asked them to hold the blue cheese spread and asked for garlic aioli made with Vegenaise. It came with your choice either fresh vegetables and garlic hummus or organic blue corn chips and garlic hummus. For desert I had their vegan and gluten free brownie.

The mushrooms had good flavor, and where packed between what looked like a sprouted bun. The bun was soft and yummy. (technical foodie terms) a slight vinaigrette flavor wispered that the mushrooms had been marinated and the garlic aioli had a punch with a strong garlic flavor.

The hummus was very tasty with also a strong garlic flavor. The combination one two punch of the garlic aioli and garlic hummus left me swimming in the vapors of the garlic gulch I called my mouth into the next morning.

The vegan and gluten free brownie was really moist, may be a bit too moist but the flavor was fudgie (another foodie term) it had a thin layer of chocolate frosting on top and had a bit of an orange flavor to it.

Over all, my experience was good.

The prices I felt were a bit on the high side. (but organic & healthy does cost more)

The food was fresh and flavorful.

Variety was great and flexibility with substitutions was great.

I would eat there again but I would not do the double punch of garlic, like a big “Grilla” I wrestled with it all night.

Mandarin Orange Vinaigrette Salad Dressing

Are you having a hard time finding a healthy salad dressing? Why not make your own?

Here is a very simple salad dressing that I make at home all the time. You can make many variations of it by just changing or adding a few ingredients.

1 11oz can                                     Whole peeled Mandarin orange segments

1 Tbls + 1 teaspoon                    Rice wine vinagar

1 Tbls + 1 teaspoon                    Canola oil (or oil of your choice)

Drain any juice or syrup from orange segments.

In a blender combine oranges, vinegar and oil and blend until smooth.

Note: You can vary the amounts to your taste. You can also add a touch of soy sauce, miso or sesame seeds, get creative!

Insightful Article by Dr. Joel Fuhrman

In the light of the latest news on health care reform I have found an insightful article that I thought you would find interesting.

Please click the link below and it will take you to the article.

We may be required to buy medical insurance, but what we really need is health insurance.

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