Jungle Jim’s Visit

After a crazy few weeks at work, I was looking to get out of town. After having visited Jungle Jim’s nearly two years ago with my friend, Erin, we decided to make our way there so that my husband could experience it for himself.

Now, we’re really lucky in that my hometown of Louisville, for a city its size, has a ton of international markets spread throughout the city. And if I wanted to, I could probably find all of the ingredients I purchased in various markets around town. But to find them all under one roof? Well, that’s the beauty of Jungle Jim’s, which is based outside of Cincinnati. Sure, you can do your regular grocery shopping there, but its international section is a sight to behold. Oh, and not to mention that the store itself looks like a combination of a Chuck E. Cheese and a water park. It’s just bizarre.

If you decide to make your way there, I recommend wearing comfortable shoes and eating a good meal before you head into the market. You’re going to be there for a while (we spent nearly three hours there and were even rushing towards the end) and there’s nothing worse than being hungry while shopping for food. We opted to fill up at a Chipotle next door, which does offer vegan items (avoid the pinto beans as they are cooked with bacon).

So, what did we bring back from our trip?

  • jackfruit in brine
  • black salt
  • rice vinegar
  • shichimi tōgarashi (Japanese Seven Spice)
  • chocolate extract
  • coffee extract
  • Düsseldorf-style German mustard
  • Chinese mustard
  • black sesame seeds
  • panang curry paste
  • habanero and orange peel hot sauce

When we got to the counter, I was afraid so see the total, but we only spent $66 in all, and that also included two six packs of beer, a bag of okra and a bag of raw almonds. And most of the ingredients we purchased will last a while.

My only complaints about the place are that its natural food section, while fairly large, is really, really pricey. Also, the carts: I really wish they would offer smaller, pushable carts. The place gets really packed and with everyone pushing large carts, aisles can get quite jammed.

Still, if you’re anywhere near Fairfield, Ohio, a trip to Jungle Jim’s is a must. And if you aren’t completely worn out from browsing international foods all day, there is an IKEA about 15 minutes away (we managed a quick trip there, too).

Hope you all are well! I’ll have some food posts up soon.

VegNews Features My Hometown

I just picked up a copy of the latest VegNews magazine and I was so excited to see my hometown of Louisville, Kentucky, featured in the VegEscape section. The piece was written by Sam Hartman, who writes at The Nail That Sticks Up, a very cool site that discusses veganism, activism, sustainability and more. And I have to say, he did us proud.

The Louisville vegan scene has really come a long way in the past year or so, with the addition of Morels, Heart and Soy, Roots and DakShin, among other eateries. And I feel like it’s only going to get better.

New Cookbooks: Sweet Vegan and Vegan Diner

While strolling around the neighborhood with my mom last weekend, we stopped into a local bookstore, Carmichael’s, to browse. As usual, my husband and I made our way over to the cookbook section where we grabbed “Sweet Vegan” by Emily Mainquist and “Vegan Diner” by Julie Hasson. We kept oohing and aahing over the delicious sweets and diner goodies. My mom came over and, in a friendly altercation of deciding who was going to buy the books, declared them to be an early birthday present and kindly bought them for me.

Anyway, I am so excited over both of these cookbooks. The pictures and recipes in “Sweet Vegan” speak for themselves, but I can’t wait to try the Peach Biscuits, Monkey Bread, Cinnamon Rolls and Raspberry Buttercream Cake to name a few.

Vegan Diner” feeds on my own dream of buying the Twig & Leaf, a local diner that’s kind of lost its luster lately, and resurrecting it as a vegan diner, complete with plate specials, homemade pies, an old-fashioned soda fountain and weekly viewings of “Twin Peaks,” complete with coffee and cherry pie. Of course, I’d keep the name, because how perfect is “Twig & Leaf” for a vegan restaurant? Sadly, it’s not for sale and, even if it was, who has that kind of money? But a girl can dream, can’t she?

But, I digress. “Vegan Diner” has tons of recipes that I can’t wait to try, including Quinoa Burgers, Crispy Chickpea Onion Rings, Not Your Mama’s Pot Roast with Roast Vegetables and lots more.

I’m excited to be trying completely new recipes. Don’t get me wrong, I think Isa Chandra Moskowitz is the queen of vegan food, and I love “Vegan Yum Yum,” but it’s nice to branch out and try some new flavors and techniques.

Hope all is well!