First, the good news: Mark your calendars, since yesterday is the first time ever that a nation in the Americas took action against gestation crates. Canada announced it’s moving to end gestation crate use. Pretty cool, eh?
Alas, some worse news: Idaho’s dairy industry succeeded in passing an ag-gag bill in its state that makes it a crime to take a video of farm animal abuse. Think they have something to hide?
Now, some wake-up call news: New research shows that eating a lot of meat and dairy can be as bad for your health as smoking.
And finally, some promising news: Forbes reports that “The Future of Meat Is Meatless, Just As Tasty, And About to Change the World.”
Recipe review: Vegan Hollandaise from the Comforting Vegan!
I am living in a place where I don’t think vegan brunches are served; probably not the vegan-friendly ones I’m accustomed to. I don’t think granola and a fruit plate is much fun, but I do get a kick out of making food at home! Breakfast is served!*
I love breakfast food, it is my favorite kind of meal! It has always felt special to me to go out to breakfast with friends or prepare an elegant one at home (move over, fancy dinners, breakfast is back). I have come to really enjoy going out to brunch because that’s when restaurants make the most splendid of morning food! The array of beverages is fantastic: juices, coffee and sometimes bubbly! I, however, am my father’s child in that I’ll do anything to avoid a crowd, and sadly, weekend brunches on the town are no exception. That’s okay though, because thanks to both The Vegg, and a new-to-me hollandaise sauce from The Comforting Vegan, breakfast at home is now both chill and exciting! Friends, we’re doing brunch at my place this weekend!
The hollandaise sauce calls for The Vegg, which we’ve discussed here before, but I hadn’t tried myself until very recently. I’m super stoked by it. I had forgotten how much I loved the taste of “yolks” and ketchup together! The Vegg atop fried tofu is delicious, but I was feeling adventurous in the kitchen. I’ve been curious about vegan hollandaise, yet unsure about how it could be pulled off. This in turn lead to concerns about complete and utter disappointment as home cooking experiments failing to meet personal expectations can be so frustrating! Now, I’m going to admit to you that I was at first resistant to this recipe, possibly because I initially judge recipes by the amount of ingredients they call for. I was hesitant about the Vegenaise factor, yet something kept bringing me back. It was the comments section! How could I not give it a shot when everyone had great things to say and I, for once, had everything on hand?
The result? HOT DANG! My parents used to make hollandaise sauce once a year, on Christmas day for the family, and this recipe brought me right back there! I don’t think Amy could’ve picked a better name for her blog.
I can’t wait to make more of The Comforting Vegan’s recipes. She knows her flavors and textures! Plus she sells vegan Toaster’s Strudels on Etsy. Basically, she’s my new internet hero.
*Pro-tip: Hollandaise and Daiya together is a bit much, so you can totally nix the vegan cheese! I think vegan bacon (in whatever form: bits, seitan, coconut) and sautéed spinach go together splendidly; believe me when I say that it is an absolute dream pairing with this recipe!
Meat, eggs, and dairy could be as harmful to your health as smoking, new study suggests
"People need to switch to a diet where only around nine or ten percent of their calories come from protein, and the ideal sources are plant-based."
-Valter Longo, director of the Longevity Institute at the University of Southern California. (via the Guardian)
A study published in Cell Metabolism (my new favorite scholarly journal) is making waves today!* After studying 6,000+ people, their data suggests that (at least for people under 65), a diet high in animal-derived protein can be as harmful as smoking, in terms of mortality. I’m sure you can see why that statement would make waves! People do not like when you speak ill of their precious meat and dairy. And we could say comparing it to smoking is a ploy for attention. But, we could alternatively say that the comparison makes the data easily digestible for people (ew, pun!). Plus, it totally deserves attention, so ploy away!
Check out these two “highlights” from the study abstract:
High protein intake is linked to increased cancer, diabetes, and overall mortality
Plant-derived proteins are associated with lower mortality than animal-derived proteins
Some critics are saying it’s harmful to compare smoking to dairy and meat because it will make smoking seem less detrimental than it is. I say those people are completely unclear on just how detrimental meat and dairy are.
My favorite thing about this study coming out is that hopefully it’ll shake up the blind faith in protein. I mean, we already knew meat and dairy are bad for you (“we” as in us vegans), there are plenty of studies that have suggested that long ago. But this is a hard attack on the ever-venerated animal protein! The next time you see an omni, you should totally be like: "Where do YOU get your protein?" Booyah!
*Warning! Besides the data they have from studying people, they use data from studies done on mice as well. We don’t have to condone it to learn from it though.
I’ve seen Kittee Berns post multiple photos of her delicious-looking king cakes, so I knew it was time for me to get in my kitchen and try making one myself. She has recipes for both gluten-full and gluten-free versions, so I opted to make the XGXFX Peanut Butter Cup King Cake (because there’s nothing better than the magical combination of peanut butter and chocolate [Ed. note: I think that’s widely acknowledged as a fact now]). She even has a King Cake Primer for us folks who have no clue where this delectable treat originated from, along with very clear instructions on how to assemble and decorate one. So, what are you waiting for? Get to baking (and eating)! And happy Mardi Gras!
First attempt at baking a King Cake (gluten-free, nonetheless) was a (somewhat messy) success! And delicious!
Isn’t weird when you are a tourist in a city you spent so much time living your day-to-day life in? Do you know what I’m talking about here? You move away, you come back to visit friends and go to some show or something, and you plan everything out according to where you’ll be all day and where you are staying! The thing I get all up in arms about when I’m visiting a locale I used to live is the food! I want to go to all my favorite places, even if it overrides everything else on the trip (fun for everyone hanging out with me, I can assure you). I’ve been thinking about my fave haunts in the Bay Area; specifically the places I would be most disappointed if I didn’t get to hit up while visiting. Okay, I told myself I couldn’t over think this, so top-of-my-head, 15 seconds to write-it-out-list includes:
Their Lusty Lover’s tacos, with cornflakes, seitan and mac’n cheese, are what my dreams are made of! I haven’t met a menu item I’m not enamored by, including their chicken and waffles brunch sandwich and the beet burger on a donut bun! You can find where Sylvee and Tiff are set-up for the day on their Twitter, Facebook and Instagram accounts (@hellaveganeats).
Flaco’s in Berkeley is so flavorful, fresh and affordable! My favorite menu item is the soyrizo soft tacos! Word of warning, they are not playing with their hot sauce! I can take my spice, but I went into a semi-panic halfway through my first meal there. Now I play it safe and go with mild because I am terrified. Also, Flaco’s is closed on Mondays, which I forgot on my last visit which left me sad.
Timeless in Oakland has an array of both savory and sweet treats, including cheesecake, danishes, bacon and cheddar scones, and “chicken” pot pies!
The bakers at Timeless are so incredibly talented. Coming from someone in the same trade, every time I go in I’m both inspired and I want to just throw in the towel! Timeless has raised the bar tremendously when it comes to vegan pastries and desserts; if you’ve been there before you know what I’m talking about! Their blueberry cheesecake is now the only cheesecake that exists to me, and worth two trips on my last visit!
Donut Farm in Oakland, baby! Lay your pretty eyes upon the most glorious of feasts, including cold-pressed coffee, mushroom gravy smothered biscuits, tempeh bacon and sautéed southern greens!
Best brunch and donuts in the Bay, hands DOWN. I never went there for the weekday lunch menu because I was in the city, doing city things (you know how it goes when you live in San Francisco). I also only ever ordered the biscuits and gravy because vegan biscuits and gravy are so special! I love Donut Farm so much. I love the feeling I get when I walk inside, I love how friendly everyone is, how happy the customers are and I also REALLY SUPER DUPER ENJOY that even when it’s very busy, I never feel stressed out there. There was something about going to brunch in the city, and everyone’s energy being insane with every thing so crowded. Did I mention I work in restaurants? I notice the craziest things when I go out to eat! Anyway, I WILL LOVE DONUT FARM UNTIL THE END OF TIME! (They have a choice of soy or coconut creamer for your coffee; it’s the little things that count!)
Thai Idea’s Firecracker Balls sans mayo, crispy spring rolls and Volcanic “beef” entree!
I’ve lived a life that has included devouring Thai Idea’sFirecracker Balls, and now I don’t want to be without! I know this joint may seem like the wild-card here, but I just loved going to eat at Thai Idea. Everyone in my parties always enjoyed their food, the staff didn’t get cranky about large groups and they offer vegan shrimp. Plus there is that BYOB policy, which is everywhere in Chicago but I never see in California! I think the food is creative and flavorful, and the plating is beautiful! Recently their health score fell pretty low, so I hope they can get that back up because I would hate for them to close down! The score doesn’t faze me too much because I’ve worked in a lot of kitchens and some places get caught while others, for some reason, do not.
So that’s my list. I generally like comfort foods that are easy on the budget and casual, yet innovative, satisfying and tasty. Tell me your Bay Area faves so that when people google where to eat when visiting, they’ll see all of our ideas! Did you know you can upload photos in Disqus? Do it! I want to see a plates of your most highly-regarded vegan restaurant meals! I also want to give a shout-out to Weird Fish, Mission burritos, the chocolate Heaven Dogs I used to make at Source, Benders, the oyster mushrooms at Millennium and From the Garden Greenhouse brunches!
I’m gonna let you in on a little secret: while LA is undoubtedly the vegan Mecca in Southern California, Orange County isn’t far behind. Orange County is located between Los Angeles and San Diego, roughly an hour from each, and has amassed quite a collection of excellent vegan restaurants that are definitely worth the visit.
Since it would probably take at least a few dozen paragraphs to tell you about all the vegan options in Orange County, I’ve decided to spare you a wall of text and instead recommend restaurants based on meal-times throughout the day, from brunch to a late night snack [Ed. note: can we organize everything like this always?]. A lot of people will be coming to town this upcoming weekend to attend the Natural Products Expo, not to mention those who visit for the beaches or Disneyland on a regular basis, so now is the perfect time to recommend the best vegan options for those on a tight schedule or for those that may only be visiting Orange County for a day or two. I’ve only included restaurants that are unique to Orange County so you can maximize your time and try new things!
Pictured above: The vegan Huevos Rancheros at Seabirds Kitchen
Brunch: Seabirds Kitchen in Costa Mesa, CA
There used to be limited options for breakfast or brunch for vegans in Orange County, but no more! Though there are several options for vegan brunch, my number one go-to is Seabirds Kitchen. Seabirds started off as a vegan food truck in Orange County (you probably saw them on Food Network’s The Great Food Truck Race), but recently opened a brick and mortar location in Costa Mesa. I am a big fan of all their menu items at any time of the day, but you can usually find me there for their weekend brunches, which feature seasonal mouth-watering creations like huevos rancheros, waffles, breakfast quesadillas, breakfast bowls and the best Bloody Mary I’ve ever tasted (bonus points: it is served with fried pickles as garnish!). If you have room, make sure to try their chaffle, a decadent half waffle, half churro creation topped with coconut sorbet [Ed. note: HOLD THE PHONE! I NEED A CHAFFLE STAT!]. Brunch is served on Saturdays and Sundays from 10 am to 1 pm.
Pictured above: The vegan torta with Soyrizo at Tacos Cancun
Lunch: Tacos Cancun in Costa Mesa, CA
Tacos Cancun is a tiny hole-in-the-wall Mexican restaurant that has a whole separate vegan menu. Not only that, but they also have a separate grill for preparing vegan food. They actually get it, guys!! They have all sorts of vegan dishes you can order with soy “beef”, Soyrizo or even vegan “chicken.” My favorite is the torta, which I order with Soyrizo, and is kinda like a Sloppy Joe (dare I say Sloppy José?). I’m also a fan of the vegan nachos, which are HUGE, and topped with vegan cheese, vegan sour cream, beans, and all sorts of other goodies. You also HAVE to get the vegan horchata, which is served in a fancy wine goblet so you feel all fancy. If you happen to be there on a Mondays, also ask them about their vegan special, which in the past has included homemade tamales or chile rellenos. Don’t forget to order their vegan fried ice cream, too! A quick tip: you need to specifically ask for the vegan option when ordering since they aren’t a strictly all-vegan restaurant.
Pictured above: A snack of vegan chili cheese fries and vegan corn dog from Vegan Pizza
Mid-Afternoon Snack: Vegan Pizza in Garden Grove, CA
The perfect place to grab a mid-afternoon snack to tide you over until dinner is located in Garden Grove, about 10 minutes away from Disneyland. And the perfect snack? Vegan corn dogs! Though the restaurant name is Vegan Pizza (and their pizzas are delectably delicious), my favorite item on the menu is the corn dog, made with a veggie dog that’s dipped in some kind of magical batter that gets deep fried to glorious perfection!
Pictured above: Au Lac’s spring rolls served with peanut sauce
Dinner: Au Lac in Fountain Valley, CA
If you are looking for a memorable dinner, look no further than Au Lac in Fountain Valley (just outside of Huntington Beach). It may not look like much from the outside since it is situated in a strip mall, but once you step inside you are transported to an opulent dining room with deep red walls. The menu is all vegan and offers an array of Asian-inspired cooked vegan dishes as well as a full raw menu. While there are many Asian-inspired vegan restaurants in Orange County, Au Lac’s flavorful and elegant dishes make them stand out big time.
Pictured above: A variety of vegan donuts from The Donuttery
Late Night Snack: The Donuttery in Huntington Beach, CA
Have a hankering for vegan donuts at 3 AM? The Donuttery in Huntington Beach has you covered! They are open 24-hours and though they aren’t an exclusively vegan eatery, they have quite a selection of vegan donuts that keeps growing and growing! Their newest vegan flavor is blueberry, but they have plain, glazed, chocolate, maple, lemon and so many more. This is the perfect pit-stop after a late night on the town, an early morning treat or anytime you want vegan donuts (which is pretty much any and all the time for me!).
I hope to see you at one of these fine vegan or vegan-friendly establishments soon!
Sarah Jahier is The Spooky Vegan, an Orange County-based blogger who wanders the night in search of vegan options. She writes about the vegan lifestyle and her other two obsessions, Halloween and horror, on her site, The Spooky Vegan. You can follow her daily esoteric ramblings on Twitter.
Chipotle announced fantastic news this week, stating that its popular Sofritas option will be going nationwide. CEO Steve Ells commented, “Many of our customers, we’ve realized, are vegetarian or vegan, or generally meat-reducers or concerned about their diet and questioning about how the animals are raised and how much meat they should be eating.”
The ag-gag battles continued this week, with the Idaho legislature sending a dairy industry-backed bill to the governor that, if signed, would make it a crime to take a video of animal abuse on a factory farm. Some Idaho newspapers are editorializing against the bill and even yogurt brand Chobani is urging a veto. The governor’s office indicates that it’s received well over 11,000 phone calls in opposition, and very few in support. You can take action here.
In Arizona, the PR battle on ag-gag continued, with op-eds and more.
Finally, wondering why vegetarians live longer? TIME offers seven reasons this week.
Vegan Drinks NYC Recap: Chickpea & Olive serves the yum!
Chickpea & Olive was the food vender for February’s Vegan Drinks last night and boy did they have their act together! The menu was pretty fun because they had polenta bowls and you got to pick from a bunch of toppings. I got slow roasted chickpeas and roasted Brussels. I also got a half of a beet parmesan hero—delish!
And I got one of the cannolis! I’ve never had a cannoli, which everyone thought was absurd, but I just never had one ok! But according to Deb, Vegan Drinks founder, this cannoli was good but a little different as the “shell” (thanks Abby Bean! It’s not called a “cookie thing” guys!) was thicker than it usually is I guess. And the cream had amaretto flavor the girls said—which I thought was just almond extract and very yum as I love almond extract. The chocolate chips were a nice touch too! And I thought cannolis were stuffed with whipped cream but it’s more like custard and I like that much better.
As you can see, there was a nice turnout! And this was an early pic. And yes that is Deb on the lower left. And yes that is Party Girl on the screen. And yes that movie RULES. So does Deb. And thanks to Jess Davis for organizing and bringing Wild Bird Fund in! I hope they sold some shirts and got some new volunteers. If you want to volunteer (you actually get to handle the birds! Like, for their own good! OMG!), check out their site. You can donate there as well.
Wednesday, after spending a year on select menus throughout the country to gauge public interest, Chipotle is officially adding the mother-effing delicious vegan and GMO-free Sofritas to their menu in all 44 states where Chipotle is available.
I’m sure you are all feeling exactly how I am right now: OMG coworkers are THE WORST! But forget about that for a moment because Hodo Soy is coming to a Chipotle near you starting March 3rd!
This Sunday all your vegan chili eating dreams could come true at Tony’s Darts Away in Burbank, CA! It’s time for their annual chili cook-off! $10 gets you FIVE 3-ounce tastes of chili and one voting ballot for the Peoples’ Choice Award!! FIVE TYPES OF CHILI!
Amazing local chefs participating are: Chef Erick Simmons (Tony’s Darts Away/ Mohawk Bend) Randy Clemens (author of @The Veggie-Lover’s Sriracha Cookbook) Greg Daniels (Haven Collective) Zel and Reuben Allen (VegParadise.com) Alec Loguercio (Chili John’s)
Guest Judges: Chef Tal Ronnen (Crossroads Executive Chef, author of The Conscious Cook) Cathy Chaplin (Gastronomyblog.com, author of Food Lover’s Guide to Los Angeles) Caroline Pardilla (CarolineOnCrack.com)
Watch this KTLA video to see Zel and Rueben Allen (perhaps THE cutest vegan couple EVER) demoing how to make vegan chili! They run Vegetarians in Paradise, and have been vegan for 25 years. Vegans on local tv!! I LOVE L.A.! (Yes, I know, this is technically in Burbank.) Also, local news reporters crack me up! (More exclamation points!!)
At this point in time, February 2014, I have been vegan for almost SEVEN years. Six and half years ago, I never could have imagined I would make it this long. I went vegan straight from being an omni, and that first year definitely had its ups and downs. My boyfriend at the time was vegan and we were working as bakers at The Chicago Diner, so it made sense to try veganism out. Obviously it stuck, and I am loving this lifestyle more and more with each passing year!
A lot of times I talk about things I miss, because there are a lot of treats from my omni days that I sometimes wish I could still eat. Yes, physically I could still eat them, but it’s not worth it to me. I try to keep things positive and only talk about the foods I miss when I find vegan versions that remind me of the originals! It’s so exciting when that happens, like with So Delicious Coconut Milk Minis filling the spot in my heart that had been missing Eskimo Pies! I didn’t even know that void was there until I bit into the delectable treat!
One of my very favorite breakfast foods, beside blueberry Toaster’s Strudels, used be cheese danishes. If they had berries in them, I’d probably eat two. Maybe the berry danish sugar coursing through my body, ready to be burned off, was why I always loved PE, even though I was scared of the alphas and scared of the ball.
2013 was a big year for me and the berry danishes. I had THREE! THREE BERRY DANISHES! I know that number doesn’t sound like much, but before those three, the number was zero.
My very favorite one was from Sweet Pea Baking Company in Portland, Oregon. The reason it was my favorite was because it had not only berries in it, but CHEESE! It had a sweet vegan cream cheese in there, and I was so happy. Actually, I think ECSTATIC is the better word here. Do any other vegan bakeries make them like this? I must know!
Sweet Pea Baking Company amongst the other stores at the vegan mini-mall in PDX.
The danish I loved and still think of fondly. Is that an apple slice I spy? Were there apple slices as well? I don’t know, all I can remember is that there were cheese and berries!
Though this particular danish didn’t have cheese in it, the flaky pastry layers and fresh blueberry filling more than made up for it!
Unfortunately I do not have a picture of my danish from Timeless Coffee in Oakland! Sometimes I just gotta eat my food and not worry about snapping a photo, feel me? Timeless is one of my favorite Bay Area eateries, definitely in my top 5! In fact, even though I moved down to Southern California last week, I’m coming to SF for a comedy show, because a Jen Kirkman live podcast taping is a show NOT to be missed! Of course the first thing I’m going to do after landing in Oakland is hit up Timeless with my partner-in-crime, Britney! We need fuel (and probably some liquid courage) before we ask our favorite comedienne to sign everything on our person and possibly for a photo we can post all over social media.
Since it would be blasphemous to leave you with no pictures of Timeless treats, I present you with the best breakfast beverage of all time (iced coffee) and my second favorite breakfast pastry, the scone! Timeless makes vegan, savory, cheddar, bacon scones and they are phenomenal!
Yay San Jose! You get your own vegan bakesale to benefit the doggies! My new favorite blog Vegan Dollhouse is behind the event. They make CUTE VEGAN FOOD! Those are my three favorite words and they’re all in a row!
So make sure you go, rain or shine, and bring your puppies or kiddos if you have them! They are still looking for bakers so email email@example.com if you can help out.
Let's Help Souley Vegan start a "Grab and Go" Line!
First of all, I want to start off by saying that if you’ve never been to Souley Vegan in Oakland, CA, well, that’s just silly (GO THERE RIGHT NOW).
WAIT, before you go, clickity click here and donate to their fundraising campaign for a Souley Vegan Grab and Go soul food line. Donate big money so it can spread from the San Francisco Bay Area to LA (where yours truly can eat said soul food all the days and nights she damn well pleases. Kthx.). Just in case I wasn’t clear, I DREAM OF THEIR FRIED TOFU.
Tamearra Dyson (who is a totally radiant, amazing woman, as demonstrated in the video above), started Souley Vegan restaurant without any sort of outside funding, and is kicking some serious ass. Now she needs our help to take things to this next level (read: MORE AMAZING VEGAN SOUL FOOD FOR US). There are even incentives for donating (how’d she know we love presents?!)!
Remember that time you said you wanted to be more generous?!? Now’s the time to (literally) put your money where your mouth is (how does that saying make sense?). And once more, for good measure, DONATE HERE. (But, seriously, it’s in my Top 5 fave places to eat in the Bay Area. Souley Vegan is legit!)
The Olympics are over, right? Thank goodness. I find the Olympics terribly annoying; I never watch sports but all of a sudden the Olympics come around and I’m supposed to watch and talk about sports 24/7! Why? Because of nationalism? You got the wrong lady.
But, I did mean to write about the two Olympians that keep to a vegan diet. According to Ecorazzi, Russian gold medalist Alexey Voyevoda and Canadian silver medalist Meagan Duhamel both follow a plant-based diet. Some sites are saying they are both vegan, but I can’t tell if it’s just diet or not. As we’ve seen, it’s usually just diet. But hey, I’m all for people eating less animal products! It’s not like they’re going to wear more leather because they stopped eating animals, so there is less suffering in the end. Of course I’d like everyone to be full-fledged vegan but you got to start somewhere. And it seems the deal breaker for many people is the diet—or rather, usually just cheese. Can people just freaking shut up about cheese already? Who cares if you think it tastes good, it causes immense cruelty! Get a grip! But I digress.
So, yes, congrats to the plant-based Olympians, who demonstrate just how strong and healthy a vegan can be.
The LA vegan mac truck fundraising campaign has moved internet locations!
Recently we posted on Chef Ayinde Howell’s efforts to raise money to open a vegan and gluten-free MAC’N CHEESE TRUCK in LA. Well, the campaign has moved from Kickstarter over to Indiegogo, and I want to help get the word out because I am incredibly selfless. I also want it available for my consumption upon arriving in LA; it looks scrumptious! Anyway, you know how Kickstarter works; if you don’t make all the money you tried to raise, you don’t see any of it! That’s bananas, right? Or not, whatever, but it seems nutty to me. If you were thinking about, or did contribute to the original fundraiser, go ahead, take a look at the new internet location. Let’s not only help make Chef Ayinde’s dream a reality, but also my dream of eating a plate of Mac and Yease a few times a week!
Yesterday, the New York Times ran this column by Nicholas Kristof entitled, “Is That Sausage Worth This?”, which kicked off by pointing out that, “Modern factory farms have so much wrong with them, but a starting point is the practice of turning pigs into cannibals”
The article marked the release of HSUS’s latest undercover investigation, this time at a Kentucky gestation crate confinement facility aptly named Iron Maiden Hog Farms. And the practices there do seem more out of the dark ages when iron maidens were used as torture devices than they do from the 21st century.
In addition to confining pigs in gestation crates, this facility, and apparently many others throughout the pork industry, was caught feeding baby pigs’ ground-up intestines back to their mothers; in some cases piglets’ diarrhea is fed directly to their mothers. That’s why NPR entitled its coverage of the investigation, “Piglet Smoothie Fed to Sows.”
As well, the fight over Prop 2’s upcoming implementation in California continues. The LA Times editorialized on the issue this week, slamming Missouri’s attorney general for trying to invalidate California’s law.
I’ve been on a kick of putting young Thai coconuts in smoothies, but HOW IN THE WORLD DO YOU GET THE DAMN THING OPEN!?!?! A friend tipped me off to the Coco Jack after I posted an exasperated rant on Facebook saying I needed a machete (which in all honesty sounded like a fun idea). I immediately knew I needed one of these AMAZING gadgets for my kitchen arsenal (sorry, roommate, I know it’s getting crowded up in there). Thanks for sending me one so quickly, team Coco Jack!*
Coco Jack, Coco Mallet, Coco Scoop, and Coco Sack (yes, I just laughed while typing this).
I watched all the videos on their website, and was SO excited to try it! This how-to video made it look really easy, and I followed it step-by-step ("ooh baby, gonna get to you giiiiiiiirl…"). Seriously, it’s a game-changer! I can open up one of those bad boys in NO time flat! AND they sent me the Coco Scoop, which makes scraping out the coconut meat as easy as opening it. I can’t sing their praises enough!! I’ll be opening coconuts galore!!! Get a Coco Jack right now!
Breaking: Humane Society finds cannibalism, cruelty, and disease at Kentucky pig factory
HSUS released a new undercover video today from the Iron Maiden pig factory in Kentucky. Besides awful gestation crates, they discovered that the factory takes piglets who die from “Porcine Epidemic Diarrhea Virus” and feed them to mother pigs. It’s done in an effort to immunize the pigs. Freaking disgusting. Vegansaurus friend Paul Shapiro said of the factory, “The entire atmosphere at this facility is awful for animals, many of whom are perpetually immobilized and suffering from body sores, diarrhea attacks and prolapsed uteruses.” And it’s all for bacon? Our society is unbelievable.
I’m wondering, am I the only one who immediately feels claustrophobic when I see the pigs in the gestation crates? A NYT article describes gestation crates pretty chillingly:
They live out their adult lives without exercise or meaningful social interaction; it’s like a life sentence of solitary confinement in a coffin, punctuated by artificial insemination and birth.
Awful. As the article title asks, “Is That Sausage Worth This?”
You can read more about the exposé on the Humane Society’s site, including a description of the video if you don’t want to watch. They also have a link to a petition but other than that, I’m not sure what we can do besides raise awareness and be vegan. If anyone knows about other ways to help, please share in the comments.
NYC: Young's next pop-up dinner is almost here! Let's get down with American vegan food!
Young’s, a cool NYC vegan catering company, is now hosting a pop-up series! And the next one is happening March 6th and 7th. That’s soon!
I had the pleasure of meeting Jessica Young, a founder and the chef behind Young’s. I’m not going to say I’m in love, because you know my heart is made of ice cold stone, but it’s something close to that.
Sticking to our roots, we will be offering vegetable based menus with an emphasis on American foods. All dishes consist of both a food component and a beer or cocktail component (or neither, if you’re not a drinker).
The beverages complete the dishes - foods are chosen with drinks in mind, and drinks are chosen with foods in mind. We are working with some of the best vegetable-minded chefs and mixologists in the city to create this truly unique experience.
You can get tickets here! It’s only $45 ($65 with cocktail or beer pairing), which is the cheapest pop-up price I’ve seen in this city. So basically, my dreams have come true.
Also, let’s have a party and hire them to cater! They have an ENTIRE MENU of CANAPÉS for passed hors d’oeuvres. Why do I ever eat food that’s not canapés? I don’t know what I’ve been doing with my life.
San Francisco eats: Holy Gelato in the Inner Sunset!
Until about two weeks ago, I had been a four-year resident of the Haight Ashbury neighborhood in San Francisco and I have to say, one of my fave features of that district is its proximity to the Inner Sunset! 9th and Irving has a plethora of vegan-friendly haunts, without the intense hustle and bustle of, let’s say, anywhere else in the city. Quite frankly, I’m shocked we here at Vegansaurus have never covered the corner of 9th and Judah’s delicious little treasure, Holy Gelato! They have so many soy and coconut milk-based gelatos. Plus, every time I’ve been there (twice), all in a tizzy because I couldn’t figure out which flavor to get, I was given free samples without even having to ask! I hate asking! Every single flavor I tried was scrumptious, but me being me, I had to go with the flavor laced with whiskey. YES YOU READ THAT RIGHT, THEY OFFER GELATO WITH WHISKEY!
The array of vegan flavors! Can you even believe your eyes?
As if you needed anymore convincing to get yourself out to the Inner Sunset for a vegan ice cream party, let me just throw out a few ideas. We’ll plan a night of it! The Inner Sunset boasts such restaurants as Social Kitchen and Brewery (Brussels sprouts chips! Chili! Beer!), Loving Hut (Everything on the menu!) and Patxi’s pizza (Vegan Chicago-style deep-dish pizza!). Feeling a little bit more romantic? Inner Fog is a cute little wine bar with dim lighting and a couple of vegan small bites available (think fancy hummus and fancy salad). There are also plenty of Chinese, Japanese, Mediterranean and Indian joints about; seriously the Inner Sunset is a vegan dream!
Irish Morning gelato, with a coconut-milk base, fudge, coffee, cookies and whiskey! Shout-out to Caroline for asking me out for ice cream in the first place, and therefore introducing me to Holy Gelato!
The six course dinner is taking place a week from today, aka February 25th, aka MY BIRTHDAY. Get your tickets here. Tickets are 100 bones…I know, but it’s a fundraiser and the food is sure to be hella fancy. There will also be a silent auction so you can spend more money. ALSO RAFFLES OMG MY FAVORITE. So go! Eat! Drink! Be merry!
Dessert from the tasting Meave and I went to! Totes pretty.
David Lynch Teaches You to Make Quinoa Because What Better Way to Learn?
Bizarre quinoa instructions time! This is not new but I hadn’t seen it and what a tragedy it would be if you guys missed it. Part 1 is above. He needed two parts I guess. Here’s part 2:
Viewership seems to have fallen off at Part 2 but it’s pretty amazing. I guess he’s just talking in the dark for the time the quinoa needs to cook? That’s nice, right? A cooking show that actually lasts the length of time it takes to cook the dish. None of that cooking show hocus-I’ve-got-one-fresh-out-of-the-oven-pocus! Also, just to be clear, my research indicates quinoa is actually a seed. And my research is hella smart.
It was a big week on the ag-gag front, with anti-whistleblower bills being heard in Arizona and Idaho. Arizona’s largest paper slammed the state’s pending ag-gag bill, and there’s been much coverage of the issue in Idaho too, including HSUS’s TV commercials showing Idahoans what the state’s dairy industry is trying to cover up with this bill.
California’s landmark Prop 2 is set to take effect in 11 months, but egg producers have done little to start converting to come into compliance. You can read more about this at our new site, www.CageFreeCalifornia.com.
Food Lion and other major chains owned by grocery giant Delhaize announced this week that they’ll be ending gestation crate use in their pork supply chains.
I’m honored to be singled out by the Animal Agriculture Alliance this week as someone who they need to combat. In another piece by the same author, she noted, “The gestation crate issue [is] just one example of the tenacity of animal rights activists. They are, excuse the pun, like a dog with a bone.”
Attention Los Angeles vegans! The Vegan Cannibal is putting on another Church of Seitan event at the Verdugo Bar this Sunday, February 16th. There will be food, pop-up vendors and BINGO….WITH VEGAN PRIZES!!! Best part (I know, I know, what could be better than prizes??)is you yell, “VEGAN,” instead of “bingo.” Hella cute!
This event’s vendors are Plant Food for People (who sponsored last month’s TACO EATING CONTEST), Vegan Chica (empanadas!), The Shugah Mama (cookies!), and Piece of Cake (cake-duh!). Even if you don’t like bingo, this line up is a killer reason to show up! [Ed. note: what kind of masochist doesn’t like bingo?!]
Campy Crush will be selling gifty stuff, if you need to do some late V-Day shopping (or just cuz). Plus, they had this video from 90210 on their website, which makes me love them already!
Three Letters serves delicious French-inspired vegan eats in Brooklyn!
That’s Meave seated at the bar. She was dressed like a librarian, i.e. I had the hottest date in the place.
Three Letters is a casual French-American spot in Clinton Hill, BK. They are not a vegan restaurant and maybe that’s why they were a bit off our radar, but it turns out they have SO MANY vegan options! And we are not talking a thawed Garden Burger here; Three Letters has some serious vegan food. The chef, Pip, invited Meave and me to come by for a free tasting, which of course we did because we are so selfless in our journey to provide you with all the important veggie news.
We loved the place as soon as we walked in because it’s freaking adorable. It’s like a real brasserie! Pip came over and introduced himself, and now he is my new favorite person. He’s not vegan (anymore), but he knows a lot of vegans and wanted to make sure the menu had good veg options. But there is no half-stepping for Pip! The vegan items on the menu are unique, elaborate, fun and, most importantly, delicious! He said he made it a point to make the vegetarian options (almost) all vegan, too, because vegetarians are usually happy to eat vegan and cheese is apparently boring to cook with. Pro tip: It also comes out of a cow’s boob! Ick!
It was total mood lighting so the pics didn’t come out that well, but trust these things look nicer in real life. We started with fried pickled veggies and chickpea creppettes.
The pickled veggies were good but I’m not super into pickled stuff. The creppettes were my jam, though! And Meave loved the chimichurri sauce they came with, too, which was bright and herbaceous and perfect.
Above is a collard green chiffonade salad with mustard vinaigrette. Yummy! Even I liked it and I think salad is for squares. Raw collards are way better chiffonaded than used as a “gluten-free” wrap at a raw place.
OK, oK, here we have a bowl of their mushroom soup—or as we will now call it, a bowl of magic! I like mushrooms but I don’t think I’d ever order a whole mushroom soup. WHAT AN IDIOT IT’S THE BEST THING EVER. This soup, a mushroom broth with sautéed mushrooms, chive oil, kale chips, and tofu, was my absolute favorite thing we had. And it was hella cold yesterday so this was basically perfect.
The above is the tempeh bon mise. It was super good. If you like beefy flavor, this is your new best friend. The bread was great, too!
We also had the seitan au ragout which was awesome but didn’t photograph well. It came with the crispiest brussels! Plus the walnut oil mashed potatoes tasted both walnutty and potatoey, and the texture was perf under the crispy, meaty seitan and crunchy sprouts.
Finally, we had this adorable apple cobbler. Meave loved it so much and basically ate the whole thing. JK! But I did let her have a bite or two. The crust on top was really nice—thick but not too dense.
Oh and we also had some of their wonderful wine that’s ON TAP! Wine on tap! Hilar! It was great. And I had an apple ginger hot toddy which definitely hit the spot on the cold night. You could totally just go there for drinks, too, but because you always want a snack when drinking, you should 100 percent order the crepettes. You’ll feel so fancy and be so happy.
All in all, we love this place. The atmosphere is great, and there are so many different yummy vegan things to try! And like I said, this is not a vegan place. They serve all kinds of meat. I think that combo makes it special in NYC, where it’s hard to find a place that satisfies your omni fam but also has some awesome vegan options for you. It’s a tall order! Usually we just go to the omni place and get the salad sans chèvre. BORING. But now we can go to Three Letters! Huzzah!
SPECIAL HEADS UP! Three Letters is having a super fun Valentine’s Day event. They are having a prix fixe menu for you paired-off lovebirds, with vegan options complete with flourless chocolate and hazelnut cake (!!!) that Pip says is amazing. But they are also having a PALentine’s Day menu, too! Groups of three or more can get their own prix fixe menu full of vegan options. The Palentine’s special is $30 each and instead of a wine pairing, it includes a pitcher of beer! How cute? Hint: SO CUTE! Pals can also get the vegan flourless chocolate and hazelnut cake (!!!). Which is all I really care about. Well, the cake and the beer. Cake and beer are my best pals!
It’s almost Valentine’s Day (didn’t you see the decorations for sale at drug stores during Christmas?!?), and regardless of your feelings about it (insert diatribe about eternal loneliness here), we can all agree that we love special menus at our favorite vegan spots in LA!
Get fancy at Crossroads with all their vegan Valentine’s glory! They’ll be serving a five-course meal, which will include Italian wedding soup, artichoke ravioli, and RED VELVET CAKE (RED VELVET CAKE!!!)! There will be gluten-free options and the set price includes a glass of champagne. $75 per guest. Reservations: http://crossroadskitchen.com/
Real Food Daily will be keeping the Italian spirit of the holiday with a mostly gluten-free menu. How will you choose between the Calabrese Stuffed Pepper or Lasagna Napoletana as your entree?? Or the Tiramisu Bombe versus the Creme Brulee?? (My advice? ORDER EVERYTHING.) $68 per person. Reservations: http://www.realfood.com/
One of my fave little spots, Flore, will have beet borscht (is that redundant?), a spinach fettucini (isn’t that what "Mouth" was ordering in Goonies!?!), and their classic chocolate/vanilla strawberry cake for $24 per person. No reservation necessary.
Healthy Junk in Anaheim will have TWO types of lasagna (white wine sauce vs marinara), GRILLED ARTICHOKES with aioli, and chocolate cake. $25 per person. Call to make a reservation: (714) 772-JUNK.
Just want to indulge your sweet tooth (um, why wouldn’t you?)? Stop by Babycakes (and get some cakes for your baby?), or order from the new online Bramble Bakeshop, which just looks AMAZING!
Cookbook Review: Comfortably Yum by Allison Rivers Samson
I recently had to opportunity to test a few recipes from Allison Rivers Samson —she of VegNews' amazing “Veganize It!” column and owner of the delectable online confectionary Allison’s Gourmet! — new e-cookbook, Comfortably Yum, and trust me when I say: Lady knows how to create a recipe. From an INSANE mac and cheese to a mind-blowing Clam Chowder, I ate it all and then I ate it again. I also took some pretty horrible photos, because WHAT I AM NOT A PHOTOGRAPHER I AM AN EATER, but voila. Allison’s clam chowder via Allison herself:
A lot of love and care went into this cookbook. The recipes were tested numerous times and as Allison says, she’s done the culling for you. This is not a cookbook where you’ll make two recipes and then put it on your shelf and never use it again. This is a cookbook where you’ll make every recipe and add your favorites to your current rotation. They’re a delight for long time vegans and newbies to the art form. (And trust me, when you see how she spins a magic ingredient into mac and cheese, you will acknowledge that this is, indeed, an art form!) I’ve been cooking out of it all week, and I don’t intend to stop anytime soon. Maybe when I’m dead. MAYBE. I’ll probably come back as a ghost to devour all your Chocolate Salted-Caramel Pudding Parfaits. Some shit is worth haunting for.
So yeah, if you’re looking to reinvent your mac and cheese or try your hand at making a simple yet tasty MELTABLE (!!!) vegan cheese, this is the e-cookbook for you! And, um, invite me over? (Please note: You might* have to pay for my plane ticket to your house but just know, I’m mediocre company and I don’t do the dishes!) (First class only.)
Oh, and $3 from each copy will be donated to the fabulous rescued farm animal sanctuary Animal Place, so you can feel good about stuffing your face with deliciousness.
As someone who doesn’t drink booze, I take my non-alcoholic beverages VERY seriously. I was excited to try Victoria’s Kitchen almond water (aka “almondade”) and, you guys, it did not disappoint! As a wise man once said, “It tastes so good when it hits your lips!”
Have no fear, lovers of cocktails, these exquisite elixirs would make PERFECT mixers. In fact, there are recipes on their website!
How cute is it that David, the founder of Victoria’s Kitchen, was inspired by his grandmother’s traditional and artisanal recipe (guess what her name was???) in the south of France. Ooh la la! This ain’t your granny’s sweet tea (well, unless, perhaps, your granny is from the south of France).
As a huge fan of vanilla, I LOVED the “original” flavor, which is vanilla and rose. I had to resist my urge to chug the whole bottle in one fell swoop!
The “mint & licorice” had a subtle hint of both (not mouthwash-y at all). I’ll DEFINITELY being trying their recipe for the mocktail, Virgin Mojito.
Lastly, and MOST DELICIOUSLY (IMHO), was the “coconut” flavor (which got me singing this song—try not to get it stuck in your head now #sorrynotsorry).
I was wondering where I’d be able to stock up, and noticed they sell it a half-mile from my house at Locali (which deserves its own post). Their website says it’s available in over 1000 locations, mostly on the West Coast (hello, do you need any more reasons to come to sunny CA?!). Almondade is my new fave!
There is something very wrong with the entire national system if, in 2014, a country’s lower-income citizens can only afford McDonald’s burgers, and never vegetables. In the same way that clean water and education are basic rights, so should daily access to healthy, fresh food be a top priority of governments. Children in particular deserve no less.
But this would require a revamp of the entire food production system, including re-allotments of the subsidies that make it possible for a burger to sell for $1. We take that price tag for granted, and yet one pound of beef requires far more infrastructure, maintenance, feed, and water to produce than one pound of potatoes. This cheap, meat-centric, fast food diet is enabled by what meat and corn industry lobbyists are allowed to accomplish.
Exclusive Interview: Meet the Dads of Esther the Wonder Pig!
Thanks to her dads Steve Jenkins and Derek Walter, tens of thousands of fans (us included!) get to peek into the surprising and always adorable daily doings of Esther The Wonder Pig, the clever, undeniably photogenic 400-pound pig! It’s truly a delight each day to browse Steve and Derek’s witty status updates and glamorous pics of Esther living her genius, safe, and cozy life in Toronto with her loving dads and dog siblings!
Vegansaurus’ Sarah E. Brown interviewed Esther’s loving dads about life with Esther, how she came into their lives, and their future plans to continue spreading awareness about pigs as pets, not food.
Vegansaurus: What surprised you most about adopting Esther when she was a “mini-pig”?
Steve & Derek: How much attention she needed. It was like having a child running around the house. We couldn’t let her out of our sight or she would get into everything!
V: How did you two meet? How long have you been together? How long into your relationship did Esther come into the picture?
S&D: We’ve been together for over 13 years now. Steve is a realtor, Derek is a professional magician. We met as teenagers working at a restaurant. Esther didn’t come along until about 12 years in.
V: On social media, we all get to see the amazing images of Esther in her full glory—we also get to see her sassy personality. How did you decide to start documenting her presence in your life through social media and your website? And who posts most of the updates?
S&D: We really only wanted somewhere to share her with family and friends. We had no idea she would become so popular, so quickly. This has been a really unexpected and sometimes overwhelming experience. We had no idea she would touch so many people in such a deep and profound way. It’s amazing. Steve mostly does the updates, but Derek adds in his fair share of input.
V: How did you decide to name her Esther?
S&D: We just wanted a fun and “comfortable” name. For whatever reason, Esther seemed like a very traditional, human name and it just clicked. There wasn’t really any sort if inspiration in particular, it just worked.
V: You’ve recently gotten a lot of press, and over 76,000 followers on Facebook (congrats!). In your recent Mercy For Animals (MFA) interview, you talked about how people have reached out to you. What’s the coolest connection you’ve made so far since adopting Esther and telling your story?
S&D: That’s really hard to answer. We’ve heard from some incredible people. Some that still make our heads spin to be honest. We got to do an interview with Sam Simon, and we’ve been on Ellen’s good news blog. Friends at Mercy for animals and PETA have shared about us. There have been some amazing people that run blogs of their own, and have become good friends already. We even have some celebrity followers on Twitter. It’s really crazy.
V: Besides apples, what are Esther’s favorite foods?
S&D: She loves pretty much any fruit or candy. They’re just like humans so if it’s a treat for us, it’s a treat to her.
V: Do you recommend adopting a pig? What is your advice to someone thinking of adopting a pig in an urban setting?
S&D: Be super careful. They are a ton of work and will require some major life adjustments. We had to pig proof our house, learn how to manage and train her and it’s way different than a dog. Pigs are so smart! Esther can open doors, cupboards, and even our fridge. We had to re-evaluate where we keep everything! It was a huge learning curve. We wouldn’t really advise it only because if the work it took. She’s awesome now but caused many a soul searching conversations. It was tough. We wouldn’t trade her for the world but it definitely wasn’t easy. Our advice is do plenty of research and make sure you’re up for the challenge. If you do decide you’re up for it, know it is the most incredible and rewarding experience of our lives. She really opened our eyes and as far as we’re concerned, made us better people. We love her like you wouldn’t believe.
V: Are there any resources that helped you when you first went vegan or first adopted Esther (i.e. pig care tips, etc.) that you’d like to share?
S&D: We found it really hard to get information and hope to change that. We learned on our own as we went along, taking the odd note from websites or our vet. That was the hardest part: How the hell do you teach a pig?
V: Do you have any future plans you’d like to share with our readers?
S&D: We do want to start a sanctuary and will start fundraising very soon. We’ll be opening the Esther store on our website
Thanks so much, Esther’s Dads, Derek and Steve! And thanks to Esther for being so, well, wonderful!
Some pork industry leaders are calling the move away from gestation crates “a race to the bottom.” My admittedly blunt response is on Huffington Post. Just this week, in fact, Wendy’s announced more progress against gestation crates…
I was honored this past week to be on CNN Headline News discussing the slaughter plant shutdown caused by HSUS’s latest investigation.
The attorney general of Missouri is trying to curry favor with big agribusiness by filing a lawsuit against California for its law requiring that eggs sold in the state come from birds who could spread their wings. The Kansas City Star slammed him in a lead editorial yesterday. And speaking of that law, our friends at Bon Appetit Management Co. have a good new piece urging egg producers to come into cage-free compliance.
Politico ran a profile on Bill Gates this week, noting that the billionaire “has sharply criticized the powerful livestock industry as he talks up his vision for solving world hunger by promoting vegetarian diets.”
Gates would probably be psyched to know that HSUS is teaming up with teen celeb Laura Marano to promote Meatless Mondays to students, including doing an event with us for kids in LA this week!
As you’ve probably heard, the city of Sochi is doing a mass cull of its stray dog population in order to “clean up” for the Olympics. They’ve hired a private company to kill “as many dogs as possible,” according the ABC News. This dog-killing company has quite the charming owner, telling ABC News, “Let’s call things by their real name. These dogs are biological trash.” How do you say, “screw you, d-bag” in Russian?
It’s not like these dogs are homeless because they can’t make the student loan payments from their poetry MFA. They live on the streets because of human negligence and irresponsibility. It’s not their fault, and killing them is just solving a wrong with another wrong.
Thankfully, I’m not the only one who feels this way. Dogs of the world have taken to social media with the hashtag #sochidogs to tell Sochi that dogs are not biological trash! Check out the wonderful meme they’ve created in protest, as modeled by my lovely co-worker Nicole’s dog Charlie (#sircharleswaggybottom).
So I want everyone to take a pic like this with their dog! You can upload them to FB with the #sochidogs hashtag but also, please please please post the pics in the comments on this post! I want to see them! Vegansaur dogs unite!
Breaking news: animal testing may soon be required by law in the US!
Last night, Tashina Combs posted a devastating piece on Logical Harmony about the possible state of animal testing on beauty products in the United States. The thought of more unnecessary animal testing, of it being required by law on all personal care products, is heartbreaking. The eloquent breakdown of the difficult-to-decipher wording that Logical Harmony provides of The Safe Cosmetics and Personal Care Products Act is extraordinary; again, please check out the blog post here. Tashina also provides tips for what we can do to make our voices heard on this very important issue. She points out that not only will animals be harmed, but also the small vegan businesses that strive so hard to bring us cruelty-free beauty and body products!
No animal testing or ingredients on this counter! Wait, is Tom’s of Maine iffy? Do we use Tom’s of Maine?
Please, please, please check out Logical Harmony’s post on the subject. There is no way I could do her article justice by trying to summarize it, so I’m not going to. However, let’s read it, share it, and make ourselves heard! NO to increasing animal testing in the United States! No no no!
Beef-Free Crumble “beefy” flavor. “Without the Bull” GET IT?!?
Bonus that they are both GLUTEN FREE and SOY FREE, thanks to the power of pea protein!
I was lucky enough to go to the Beyond Meat headquarters for their holiday party in December, where Chef Dave Anderson, owner of the late Madeline Bistro, showcased the Beefy Crumble in a Shepherd’s pie. Holy beefless-roni, it was good!
Don’t feel like seasoning these little love crumbles yourself, no problemo!! Beyond Meat’s got you covered for a lazy taco night with the Beef-Free Crumble “Feisty” flavor.
Beef-Free Crumble “Feisty” flavor: killing it in tacos without killing anyone.
I don’t think there are enough exclamation points to truly show how excited I feel about this. (See what I did there???)
Bare Bones Beauty Are the Skin Products for Sensitive Vegans
Um, so that’s all of us, right? Damn sensitive vegans.
Bare Bones Beauty is a line of skin products developed by vegans for people with sensitive skin. There’s cleanser, toner, moisturizer, and lip balms, and they’re all made of very few ingredients you can pronounce and feel amazing on your skin.
Since using them, I haven’t had any itchy red skin or breakouts. I don’t know if it’s coincidence, but it just is. If you’re looking for something super simple to clean, tone, and moisturize your skin, you’ve found it. Also, the logo is an adorable skull and crossbones with bubbles on its head. The whole thing is just so (vegan) quiche, I can’t stand it.
Full disclosure: I received these for free, but I will definitely pay for them in the future.
Bramble Bakeshop Is Los Angeles' Newest (and Most Delicious?) Vegan Bakery
Bramble Bakeshop is an online vegan bakery specializing in custom cakes and small sweets in Echo Park, Los Angeles. It’s also delicious and wonderful and gorgeous and you should order from them immediately. Seriously. Immediately.
Here’s the details about the new bakery, in their own words:
We provide a sustainable yet delicious option with an emphasis on unorthodox flavor combinations and a unique interpretation of the classics. Our treats are made with certified organic flour and sugar and we utilize local produce and spices whenever possible. Everything is made from scratch and devoid of highly processed ingredients. We strive to provide every birthday with a cake, every holiday with a treat, every wedding with a centerpiece, and everyone with a scrumptious, guilt-free option.
Seriously. It’s all amazing. I am enthusiastic about their treats, and the second you try them, you will be too. So go ahead! Order! For yourself! For your friends! For your daddy’s twin cousin! Just do it!
Now, SOME BRAMBLE BAKESHOP VEGAN FOOD PORN (for more, follow their Instagram because damn it is very delicious):
Dear L.A. Vegans and lovers of delicious food: IT’S SHOW TIME, SYNERGY!
And by that I mean, it’s time to put down your hard earned money on this Kickstarter. It’s for the love of Mac and Cheese and you know there is no greater love in the world except for the love of lasagna.
To motivate you to donate to this most worthwhile cause that will benefit us as a nation, check out this most delicious picture of Chef Ayinde’s famous and crazy delicious Mac and Yease:
You could be eating all of that. You will be eating all of that. Let’s do this.
Product Review: Red Apple Lipstick keeps the toxins out of your makeup!
Someone asked about hypoallergenic makeup on our FB page and Red Apple Lipstick immediately came to mind! I had tested a few of their products they sent me for free and now I’m finally writing about them. They are special products—not just lipstick, fyi—because they are gluten-free, among many other things. I didn’t know gluten-free makeup was a thing but I do know I like vegan makeup! And most of their products are vegan. But check ingredients because several of the lipsticks have beeswax, and a few other things. But besides being gluten-free, they are very conscientious about toxins and that sort of thing. They have this chart of all the terrible stuff that you can find in makeup, but not in their products:
The lipstick I tried which is beeswax-free was Rebel! You can see below:
Very smooth application and nice and moisturizing! Obviously I liked it because the name has an exclamation point in it. However the color was not as bold a red as I was expecting. But it’s a nice color all the same. The other lip product I tried was their Rallye balm. It’s a “unique Vitamin E suspended in a very special Castor seed oil” and I love the stuff! It’s hyper-moisturizing and I use it all the time. It’s in my purse as we speak. And apparently you can use it in a bunch of ways:
-Nail beds and cuticles. -Under your eyes - It reduces puffiness! -The heels of your feet. -Your elbows -Dry spots on your face or scalp. -Under eye shadows for slippery, easy smoky eyes. -On wrinkles. -As a lipstick base. -Heal a pimple.
I haven’t tried those but I’m about to rub the stuff on my cuticles as soon as I’m done typing.
The last things I tried were these two eyeshadows:
Very sheer with some shimmer. I applied the Graphite Glam all over my lid and then the Violet Vixen in the crease, heavy on the outer corner. The Violet Vixen and Graphite Glam are their “dynamic duo" but you can also put together a palette on your own, which is fun.
So if you have sensitive skin and are looking for a new makeup, Red Apple is definitely worth a try. And check out the Rallye balm!
It’s my last week as a resident in the Bay Area, and while I am reminiscing about my life as a NorCal girl, I am very excited to begin new adventures in the city of angels! I was the last Vegansaurus contributor left in the bay, where this blog started, and now I’m leaving! Oh well, things change, right? At this very moment my life is in boxes in my parents’ garage, so yeah, I’d say things change. Before I make it to LA however, there will be a month-long pitt-stop in Temecula, where members of my family are starting to relocate. I am trying to convince my mom that we would have a blast visiting the Temecula wineries, as neither of us has gone wine-tasting before. Since she only enjoys white zin, I’m sure you can imagine that my convincing, begging and pleading, is not going very smoothly. If you have any tips for me about how to go about vineyard crawling, or want to join me in sampling all the vino Temecula has to offer, it would be greatly appreciated. We’ll discuss in Disqus below. Alright, on to the point of this post! In June of 2012, my sister picked me up from Ontario airport and gave me a list of vegan restaurants in the area we could stop at on the way to her place. After closely examining a few menus I chose Bright Star in Rancho Cucamonga! I’ve been promising my little sis I’d do a recap of our meal, as we both loved it, and as a lady of my word, almost two years later, it’s here! Another note about our trip: I sang Rancho Cucamonga to the tune of La Cucaracha over and over again. She laughed every time. She was also about six months pregnant, so I’m guessing her maternal instinct must have set in big time because normally she has no patience for my shenanigans (I don’t blame her). All of the details of my family life aside, I am grieving moving away from my beloved Bay Area, but am very excited to eat my way through southern California! Okay fine, I’m excited about much more than that, like, somewhat affordable rent for a studio apartment, warm beaches, celebrity sightings and Temecula wine tours. Alright, alright, alright, without further ado, I present you with one of the restaurants I am most looking forward to revisiting when I get down south: Bright Star Thai Vegan restaurant!
They have miso soup! I love miso soup and I hardly ever get to order it when I go out!
I got the orange chicken dinner special, which came with salad, a spring roll, fried brown rice and the miso soup pictured above. All this for $8.95! I am not the biggest fan of rice, so I gave it to my sister and I think I must’ve been able to eat most of the tempura veggies in return. We are the perfect dinner companions!
My sister got the Bright Star Pad Thai with soy chicken. She is not vegan, and possibly what you would refer to as a picky eater. However, she is a fan of soy chicken and kept exclaiming “I can’t even tell this is vegan!” with a huge smile on her face.
We were so happy with our visit to Bright Star! I was delighted about my sister being into vegan food, I tried to see how far I could push this thing. We tested another one of my favorites, Food For Lovers queso and she liked it! She took me to my first Fresh and Easy, where I found Gardein chicken and overly-packaged vegetables, so we had vegan taco night at her house, with her hubs and cutie-pie sister-in-law!
The Gardein chicken tacos were a hit and I have also been just looking for any excuse in the last year and half to show this picture off.
Bright Star is located in Rancho Cucamonga along with Viva la Vegan’s original store! You can make a whole vegan afternoon of it all! Side note: I get really tired of Thai food because it feels like that’s all everyone wants, all the time, but I thought Bright Star really rose above what I am used to. We also went to Earth Bistro while I was in Temecula, but I only like to spend my time writing about things I enjoyed. I’m thinking they might be worth another shot since I’ll be in town for a month, but my sister and I were not pleased.
Let me be real with you: I am not a fan of metal. Or jazz. Or any combination of the two (with the exception of Diamanda Galas. Shriek shriek shriek). I also don’t like new things. But I like Ani Kyd, and here’s why.
Kyd’s new EP Entangle is gorgeous. Kyd’s voice is strong and commanding, the soundscapes are lush (as in forest, not as in me on a Friday night), and the songs are memorable without being too catchy (this is a thing) or too cloying. I probably won’t be singing “it’s like a viruuusss” out loud at the grocery store (like that one time I sang Call me Maybe at Andronico’s because I thought it was on the radio but it was only on in the radio of my mind) but I am pleased when it comes into my head, reminding me to give the album another listen. I am also autopsied by how accessible the music is, especially considering how complex the sounds are and Kyd’s history of recording metal and jazz.
Aside from creating an awesome EP (and Kyd has a pretty impressive body of work, otherwise. Check out Evil Needs Candy Too on iTunes), Kyd also hosts a vegan video series where she and her non-vegan (the horror!) co-host travel the country by motorcycle looking for the best vegan products. Yes! Let’s do this!
You can find the EP on iTunes. You can find Ani Kyd all over the world on a motorcycle!