Anna's Brooklyn Supermarket Adventures: Golden Farm, Kensington
Golden Farm! This peach of a store is in Kensington, at 329 Church Ave. off the Church Avenue stop on the F train. It’s always open! ALWAYS. It’s a royal mishmash of ethnicities and cultures—an Eastern European supermarket in an Indian neighborhood, with Latina and Asian girls at the registers, each moistening her fingers on a halved cucumber à la Old Russia.
Produce Deals You can find many good bargains on fresh produce, if you’re willing to poke around a bit and not be intimidated by the $6 carton of out-of-season strawberries. Beside the things listed below, root vegetables and cabbage are also incredibly cheap. Jars of pickled tomatoes and sauerkraut are tucked underneath the potatoes—just the right height for little old Polish ladies.
Produce deals Asparagus, $1 per bunch Pears (bartlett, Bosc, etc.) $0.79/lb Apples (granny smith, fuji) $1/lb Lettuce (romaine, red, etc) $1.50/head Cabbage (savoy) $0.59/lb Mushrooms (portobello) $3 for a package of two Avocados (Hass) $1 each Peppers (sweet and yellow; tiny, but in good shape) $1.49/lb
Bulk deals There’s also a reasonably priced bulk fruit/nut section, in old jars with wooden covers. The apricots are dirt cheap ($3.49/lb), gigantic, and unbelievably moist. Pistachios are $6/lb. Other bulk deals: a 2-pound package of buckwheat costs about $1, in the bean/rice section.
I must advise you, though, to get your butts out to this store if only for the “golden prune,” an umeboshi lookalike that’s out of this world. I’ve never seen this fruit anywhere else, and it tastes remarkably like an actual plum—tart, sweet, golden. It’s dried fruit that actually tastes like it used to be fruit—like it once hung on a tree with wind and rain and everything. It’s $6/lb as well, in the jar next to the apricots. Watch out for the pits.
Weird Cool Things: Oh, there are so many oddities; just go to the jelly section—it’s intense. There are fruits that are a little rare, like quince and damson, but there’s also totally wacko stuff like watermelon preserves and rose jelly. I almost skimmed right over the jars with sweetened chunks of eggplant and pumpkin. You can buy black poppy seeds in bulk at this store, rose hips, dried camomile, four different kinds of horseradish. Basically, just slow down and keep your eyes peeled.
Summing Up: In addition to being a treasure trove of cheap produce, bulk dried fruit and nuts, and various oddities, this store is just REASONABLY PRICED, all around. In spite of stocking organic produce and things like agave and Amy’s, the store is pretty darn cheap, and somehow manages to feel old and homey. It’s a good place to drift and daydream.
If you don’t already get groupon, here’s another reason to do it to it: $50 worth of groceries you actually need for $25 (just click on “side deal of the day”…that’s the organic groceries one!! And they’re DELIVERED TO YOUR HOUSE! Lazy vegans UNITE! And we WOULD! If we ever left the HOUSE!
Spud! Organics sells all sorts of veggie meat, tofu, tempeh, soy milk, almond milk, soy yogurt, produce, grains, beans, etc etc etc! It’s one per person, but multiple credit-card holders can buy from the same address. Living in sin WIN! Their delivery coverage is all over the bay area (put your zip in here to see if you qualify) so GET THE EFF ON IT NOW.
Vegansaurus just brought you the dirt on crazy-pants Whole Foods CEO John Mackey. Well, here’s another capitalist ideologue who shuns meat: In this current, typically shitty article from Reuters, Hank Greenberg, the 84-year-old former chief executive of a little company called AIG, attributes his great health to his veggie/near-vegan diet and his exercise regimen.
In other words: the dude who ran one of the companies that is most majorly responsible for the U.S.’s current fucked-up-i-tude and, most likely, your current lack of a job, gets his energy for evil from a plant-based diet.
At first thought, it seems kind ridiculous–-like the Joker nom-noming on lentil loaf in the last Batman, or something. But hey, if the most wretched capitalists become vegetarians, it could open up whole new segments of the population to the anti-meat movement—next thing you know, Alan Greenspan will be going “greens,” Jim DeMint will start a recipe exchange with Dennis Kuchinich, and the Tea Baggers feature vegan scones at their next tea party! [Ed. But highly unlikely because as we all know, deep down, true conservatives love the hunt (and their meat!)]
[Editorial Foot Note (is there such a thing? Well, I’m doing it anyway! -Laura) I’d also like to point out that John Rollino, that amazing vegan body builder who lifted mac trucks with his teeth and lived to be 104 years-old and the only thing that could kill him was being hit by a dumb-ass minivan (probably driven by a dumb-ass meat eater) was vegan. So really, all is right in the world again.]
Gothamist asks, "Is Vegetarianism Dead?" a three-paragraph article based on a trend piece called "Flesh Mob" published in the New York Post, and gets—at last count—nearly 90 comments. Someone more cynical might call that the textual equivalent of taking your top off, but who’s cynical? Not us! We love our omnivorous friends. All of you are really great, seriously. Yes, even you with the “vegans are so malnourished” jokes, and you with the “isn’t a fat vegan an oxymoron” jokes, and all of you who despise “vegan food” without ever having tasted anything explicity labeled as such. Really, you’re the best.
See, it’s 2010, and we’re over your bullshit trend stories that cite like two biased sources based on one restaurant’s menu change. We’re extra-over your attempts to piggyback on those sad trend stories by writing what amounts to a self-promotional link dump, in which 10 of the 14 links are to your own site. What do you want, a gold star for having predicted a trend that doesn’t actually exist? We’d offer you a cookie, but it’s vegan and you probably wouldn’t eat it.
One formerly vegan restaurant in New York City started serving meat this year, and we’re sorry to have lost it. Does that mean that the entire veg world has abandoned its lifestyle practices? Nope. How many veg restaurants opened last year? Taking a local example, Babycakes published a cookbook, and expanded to Los Angeles; it looks like the last time you reported on them, Gothamist, was in April. Are you sure that this “conscientious carnivorism” that Scott Gold (a Vegansaurus Person Who Needs to Shut Up) is so crazy about actually exists, or that New York Times article on people eating raw meat as a “lifestyle choice” (which, SHUT UP) get you too excited to write articles based in reality?
Vegans, chill; we know we are in the right; nonsense like this doesn’t deserve anything more than an eye-roll. Keep on supporting your local veg businesses, and ignore the bullshit. There are too many good meals to have, too many good causes to support, too many good articles to read to waste your time with stuff like this.
They also have a list of blogs and organizations to follow to stay on top of the situation there. And before anyone comments about, “damn vegans, think of the people!” We are. We’re just thinking about both people and animals. It’s possible, widen your circle of compassion, buddy.
So there are a lot of blog in SF, most of them useless AND SHUT YOUR MOUTH ABOUT VEGANSAURUS. However, Eve of the highly useful SF Appeal, recently brought Pawesome to my attention. Pawesome is really great. It brings you the news on everything pets in SF; is heavily skewed towards rescue animals (yay!); and is very funny and highly readable. Plus, they post interesting stuff that I give a shit about and you will too if you have a companion critter in SF. On top of that, they are running a contest right now to get a custom portrait of your pet done. If you have a pet, you will understand what a big fucking deal this. We love to worship the pet on a level that can only be compared to my junior high crush on Adam Sandler. Which is to say: INTENSE.
Not only that, they’re connected to the awesome folks who make cute novelty animal t-shirts that aren’t something Cathy would wear. Maybe they could use that…like, “This Ain’t (Your?) Cathy’s Novelty Animal T-Shirt,” or “Cathy Wouldn’t Be Caught Dead In Novelty Animal T-shirts.” Or something better. Or just ignore me. From I heart Tripods to Check Meowt!, you’ll want them all! Seriously, I already have the tri-pod one and get between 1 and 200 compliments PER WEARING.
FINALLY, they feature adorable pets on the site and that splayed wanton hussy up there (damn lady! leave something to the imagination!) is Q-tip. Yes, like from a Tribe Called Quest. Click through to read about how gangsta she is and see her dressed as a Noble Frog. DO IT.
Dream of opening a vegan restaurant in SF? NOW IS THE TIME, SLACKERS!
According to SF Gate, in 1987, San Francisco banned new restaurants on Noe Valley’s 24th Street because residents felt they were losing local shops to eateries that drove up rents and caused traffic jams. Well bitches, that shit done happened anyway and yet, about 15 storefronts sit vacant (or basically decrepit and filled with extreme right-wing INSANITY) and the babies of Noe Valley demand eateries! NOW HERE’S THE MILLION DOLLAR IDEA. Wait for it.
OPEN A VEGAN RESTAURANT (or 15!) in this health skinny conscious neighborhood! These fools will fall over backwards for delicious, nutritious vegan food (WITH A KID’S MENU THIS IS KEY) that will satiate their entire family plus maids (if they’re a Benevolent Ruler). And since these fools are all richie riches, you can hike the prices up and perhaps even survive in this hostile environment.
I’ll be real withchu, as a vegan who lived in Noe Valley Of The Dolls, it was HARD TIME for eatin’. There are very few vegan friendly establishments on the street and hardly anywhere tasty period. If you get something good in there, you could attract the locals and perhaps even all the scroungy vegans in the mission who need a classy date spot. Seriously, we’ll love it. Now is the time to get in there and give the babies what they want! You can do it! Please do it! FOR THE LOVE OF BABIES!
Yes, you read that right, drug companies are buying squalene, an oil extracted from the livers of sharks, for use in flu vaccines. And the more threatened the shark species, the better. Deepwater sharks are the best squalene producers, but they also have the lowest reproductive rates. To catch them, deep-sea fishers use bottom trawling, a horribly destructive method that’s like running a bulldozer along the ocean floor, destroying everything in its path.
The purpose of squalene is to extend vaccine supplies. Squalene can be made into what’s called an adjuvant, which boosts the body’s immune system response. This allows vaccines to do their job more effectively, which means you can use less of the vaccine and stretch the supply you have.
The “good” news is that squalene has not been approved by the FDA for use in the U.S., but it’s currently on the market in Canada and Europe. However, our Department of Health and Human Services reserves the right to start using it in case of an emergency flu epidemic, like if H1N1 were to suddenly get all crazy-go-nuts. So it’s like a cloud with a silver lining, except the silver lining is made of dead shark livers instead of attractive, shiny silver.
Sharks can be real dicks, but they don’t deserve this. Especially when there are other ways to get squalene, like from high-quality plant oils. Some drug companies, to their credit, are working on replacements, but without strong legal protections for sea life, there’s not much incentive for them to try very hard as long as it’s profitable. But if killing sharks magically became illegal tomorrow, I’d bet my liver they’d have a replacement by the end of the week.
So…I know I’m kind of late to the game but I LOVE ALMOND MILK! I guess I’m relatively green as a vegan—I’ve got about three or four years under my belt—and I’m still discovering new vegan joys, almond milk is the latest addition.
I spend a lot of time at the corner store here in San Francisco. I often don’t get home from school until 11 p.m. or so and that’s when I realize, “hmm, I bet I’ll want breakfast tomorrow.” So I head over to the corner store to see what I can dig up. Goddamn, the corner stores you have in San Francisco, it’s crazy! I am not used to anything but 7-11 so just that they have soy milk was amazing to me. But now my beloved corner haunt has Blue Diamond almond milk! I had JUST been talking to a friend, an omnivore actually, about how he eats his cereal with almond milk every morning and if he likes it, I knew I had to try it. And then wham bang boom! My corner store starts selling the stuff. The rest, my friends, is history.
But wait! There’s more! I consulted my super-secret source and got a little background history on almond milk:
In the Middle Ages, almond milk was known in both the Islamic world and Christendom, where its vegetable composition—being a nut that is the seed of a fruit of a plant—made it suitable for consumption during Lent. Almond milk was also a staple of medieval kitchens because cow’s milk would not keep for long without spoiling, and would usually be turned into butter or cheese immediately.
Historically, almond milk was also called amygdalate. It was consumed over a region stretching from the Iberian Peninsula to East Asia.
The Viandier, a 14th-century recipe collection, contains a recipe for almond milk and recommends its use as a substitute for animal milk during fast days.
So what about you guys, what’s your favorite milk substitute? Dish!
The New Yorker profile of John Mackey aka CRAZY PANTS is a must-read. Not because Vegansaurus wants you to stop shopping at Whole Foods. Nah, we know that shit is complicated and we realize that people think vegans are crazy enough without us calling for boycotts of places that bring vegan options to the people just because their CEO is a right-wing nutjob fooling himself into thinking he’s a free-thinking lady’s man. We just want you to read it for the entertainment value!
For reals. Check it: Mackey brings up his own sex life without the interviewer even asking him about it, then says that he won’t say anything about it. He alludes to his college experimentation with drugs, only to say, “I’ll not name those. We can’t be candid about everything in our society. You can’t kick the door down.” Oh Mr. Mackey, you tease! Why won’t you share with us? We all want to hear about how, perhaps, on some insane peyote-mixed-with-ether binge, God, who appeared to you as a goat dressed like Snow White, revealed to you that free-market no-holds-barred capitalism was the way to go! I mean, for instance.
Mackey also talks about how he moved to a vegetarian co-op house in Austin just to get some hot vegetarian ass: “I had no interest in a vegetarian life style,” he said. “But what I was interested in was alternative life styles. And I thought, honestly, that I’d meet a lot of interesting women. And I did.”
Speaking of women, Mackey used to use a fake name to log onto internet forums about Whole Foods and post flattering comments about how cute he was. It’s that kind of sexxxy self-confidence that led him to make this aside, after telling the interviewer he was reading Pride and Prejudice: “I’ve gotten old enough so that my masculinity is not in question.” Wow, he’s so comfortable with his masculinity that he will even read classic works of literature written by a white, straight woman of European heritage who suggests only mild alterations to the patriarchic paradigm—homeboy’s schlong must be totally ginormous!
On the political side, Mackey is just as much of a hoot. I’m sure you remember his op-ed against health care reform last year. This interview makes it clear that that wasn’t the opinion of just a free-thinking eccentric, but rather a right-wing ideologue of the most committed variety. Besides dissing the liberal, practical economist John Maynard Keynes, and citing Ayn Rand and Milton Friedman as having influenced his thinking, he offers an appraisal of unions worthy of right-wing talk radio: “The union is like having herpes. It doesn’t kill you, but it’s unpleasant and inconvenient, and it stops a lot of people from becoming your lover.” A cock-warrior like Mackey would know!
He reveals that he is not only skeptical about climate change, but thinks that “hysteria about global warming” could cause us “to raise taxes and increase regulation, and in turn lower our standard of living and lead to an increase in poverty.”’ Cause everyone knows that raising taxes is basically like the moral equivalent of child snuff films!
Help Haiti: Bakesales forming in NY, LA, SF, Portland. Join in!
Yesterday morning a 7.0 earthquake devastated Port-au-Prince, the capital city of Haiti—it was the area’s worst earthquake in 200 years. It literally pulled everything to pieces. Here’s the New York Times' coverage.
OR, you could also help organize a vegan bake sale!
If you’re in San Francisco, a bakesale is being organized for Saturday, Jan. 23 in Patricia’s Green (on Hayes Street at Octavia Street), from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. If you’re interested in participating, please email Jen ASAP! Let’s DO THIS, SF VEGANS!!!
RAINY DAY ALERT FOR SAN FRANCISCO: If it rains the day of the sale, head down the street to Mercury Cafe at on Octavia and Page st. We’ll be inside with our delicious goods!
Other cities that are making it happen: @IsaChandra is organizing the Portland one; the user @miharu is taking on the Los Angeles one; @DaynaR in New York is looking for other people.
Un-Cookbook review: The Raw Healing Patch! Veganize your rawness!
In my last post on Vegansaurus, I offered a few strategies for making raw organic foods more accessible and affordable, especially for young people and lower-income folks living in the Bay Area. Wherever you fall on the raw-to-cooked spectrum, it’s indisputable that the raw food movement is helping to bring more folks into the vegan fold, which is something all vegans can be happy about. It seems to me that if we find creative ways to motivate raw foodists to go full-on vegan (e.g., rain down on them with mad knowledge, advice, free vegan food and love), we can help them discover that, through raw veganism, they can make a huge difference not only for their own health, but also for the health of the planet. A couple good places to start are local nonprofit People’s Grocery and Lauren Ornelas’ fabulous food justice/human rights/environmental advocacy group the Food Empowerment Project, which work to source ethical products and make organic produce accessible to everyone.
In the spirit of accessibility, I recently got my hands on a copy of The Healing Patch
Cookbook produced by the down-to-earth, super-ecologically conscious, queer veg couple Julie Cara Hoffenberg and Sarah Woodward, who together make up the raw food team known as The Healing Patch. The cookbook, which they were kind enough to also make available in an eco-friendly e-book format, is utterly unpretentious, and a great way to usher rawies into the ethical vegan eating path. Hoffenberg and Woodward make clear throughout the witty cookbook that their way of eating and (un)cooking is just that—their way—and that they would never wish to impose them on anyone else; yet they are very clear that raw veganism has remarkably improved their lives. Healing Patch’s primary goal is to offer gentle coaxing to adopt a raw vegan lifestyle, basing their recipes and advice on what helped Woodward heal after her battle with ovarian cancer. Thankfully, they do this without laying on the sorts of guilt-trips or strict guidelines usually found in these .
Healing Patch’s recipes are really easy to make, require no esoteric ingredients, and have cute little factoids, including nutritional profiles. They also offer useful tips on economical home sprouting, gardening, selecting the best produce for each season, and how to substitute recipe ingredients for whatever is local and fresh whenever possible. They succeed at providing ample tricks for being a raw vegan while healing yourself and the planet at the lowest possible expense.
The one issue I take with this otherwise charming volume is that some of the recipes include dairy, ostensibly in order to help folks to “transition more gently” to raw veganism. This is disappointing, especially since the authors clearly believe in the tenets of raw veganism and oppose cruelty and oppression. It seems to me like the duo hasn’t quite made the connection that the dairy industry is horribly cruel and directly supports the meat industry. Maybe they should pick up feminist masterpiece The Sexual Politics of Meat by my personal hero Carol J. Adams—which, by the way, has just been released in a newly updated 20th anniversary edition!
Once Healing Patch gets educated in the ways of vegan feminism by Adams, I’m sure they’ll be willing to make all of their recipes totally vegan. Feel free to comment to them about this on their website—it will be good practice for the raw foodists you’ll be converting to raw veganism in the near future! Anyway, hopefully the next edition of The Healing Patch (which I do hope they eventually write!) will address this concern.
This is the second post written by Sarah E. Brown. Thanks, Sarah!
I don’t mean to be the resident pessimist here, but Valentine’s Day is just one of those holidays that has the tendency to be a total bummer. And I’m not just talking about the hopelessly in-love couples with the cliched, sickening, we-met-at-Dolores-Park-because-I-was-wearing-my-new-ultra-gaudy-neon-American-Apparel-leggings-and-matching-scrunchie-when-he-rode-by-on-his-fixie-and-it-was-love-at-first-sight story who make the rest of us feel like shit for being alone. I mean, that’s just one aspect of it. But then take, say, the pounds and pounds of pink-and-red-foil-wrapped, heart-shaped chocolate on display at your local grocery store. Yeah, can’t eat it. And that’s just for starters.
So for those of you looking for something to do that weekend, well, why not a Valentine’s Day DANCE?! Yeah, sure, it’s totally kitschy and might stir up some long-repressed and entirely unwanted memories of adolescent dances and all the awkwardness that accompanied them, but seriously, what else are you going to do (aside from camping out on the couch and watching Meg Ryan/Tom Hanks movies while pigging out on Oreos and vegan ice cream and feeling sorry for yourself)??!!!?! BESIDES, IT’S FOR A GOOD CAUSE.
Included in the price of your ticket are all sorts of vegan treats—there will be hors d’oeuvres and desserts—including baked goods from Vegansaurus friends Sugar Beat Sweets and Fat Bottom Bakery!!—and raffle tickets and goody bags. Plus, two single vegans will be auctioned off for dates, and they’re pretty cute (check out the website for pictures and details, and please direct all comments on how cute the cat in the picture with Brian is to me because he’s MINE [the cat, not Brian]). Plus, there’s dancing, and music, and if you haven’t seen me dance, you’re missing out because I pretty much own you all on the dance floor. OH, AND DID I MENTION?! OPEN BAR. That’s right. And if you’re not yet 21, no worries, because you can just give all your free alcohol to me. PROBLEM SOLVED.
So here comes the rough part—it’s a $50 price tag for this event. BUT, proceeds from the event will benefit Vegan Outreach so if it turns out to be a total bust, at least you can feel good about yourself for being altruistic or something.
And lucky for you, Vegan Outreach is giving away a pair of tickets to this dance for you and a guest of your choosing, be it your significant other, a hot date, a blind date, your best friend, your little sister, your dog/cat/hamster, or me (HEY GUYS, I’M SINGLE SLASH AWESOME). All you have to do is share the best surprise you’ve given or received on Valentine’s Day or some other special momentous day, and if your story is picked, you get in free. You can do that on the Facebook page for the event.
And just a tip: If your life is full of completely boring, unromantic moments like mine, just lie, because seriously, no one will know the difference.
Bakers needed for next SF Vegan Bakesale! LET US DO THIS!
If you’re man enough to wield a spatula in the name of delicousness/cute animals, please email me! Everyone from professional bakers to 50-year-old dudes living in their mom’s basements are encouraged to bake! As long as you have the skills (or a good recipe), we want to pick up what you’re putting down. And put it into our mouths so please be sanitary. Last year we raised over $10,000 for charity with these bakesales so let’s totally pass that number x 10 this year. That’s a cool million folks. Further, I’m bad at math. BUT THE POINT IS: we need you!!
This bakesale will benefit Harvest Home Sanctuary, a new(ish) farm animal, cat, bunny, and dog sanctuary with all sorts of special and magical animals who need their vet bills covered, and Cycles of Change—hard to explain what they do in a few words but basically it’s about helping disadvantaged adults and youth to learn about and use bikes. They’re pretty much the greatest, read more about them here! These are two more-than-deserving causes so we hope you’ll bake your little buttocks off for them!
Actually important details Saturday, Feb. 13 (the day before Valentines Day! Sweets for your sweet/Eat these sweets and you won’t die alone! We gotta work the couples and the singles!), 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. in front of Ike’s Place. FINALLY AGAIN, email firstname.lastname@example.org if you want to bake!
AWESOME ANNOUNCEMENT: We're co-hosting SF Vegan Drinks with VegNews! Ow!
SO YOU GUYS. We’re very extremely excited to be co-hosting SF Vegan Drinks with the awesome people at VegNews. THIS LITTLE DINO IS MOVIN ON UP! To a place with more alcohol! Dreams do come true!
This month’s installment of SF Vegan Drinks is Thursday, Jan. 28 from 6 to 8 p.m. at Martuni’s (YES! LOVE THAT PLACE AND YOU KNOW YOU DO TOO, YOU OLD QUEEN!)! In addition to drink specials and schmoozing with other sexy vegans, we’ll be holding a raffle to win a dozen cinnamon rolls from Cinnaholic (um, their shit is OFF THE HOOK) and all of the proceeds will go to LGBT Compassion. Oh also, there is a drink special and it’s a VEGAN PINA COLADA! These are a rare breed and VERY delicious. We’ll be in the corner downing a few dozen.
I’m gonna break it down for you. This event involves alcohol, a piano bar, cinnamon rolls, and being awesome. There might even be a stripper. Ask me about this when I’m like eight drinks in. Code phrase? “It’s cookie time.” BA NUH NUH NUH NUH! Also, I might just leave to buy cookies! It’s a most delicious game of Russian roulette!
Two of our great loves, together at last! This is gonna be HOT! Also, this would be a good thing to tell your parents and older family members to watch/TiVo/(il)legally download because they totally love Ellen and think that even though she’s GAY (gasp!) and VEGAN (gasp!) she’s still so very lovely and funny and approachable and doesn’t shove it in your face (my favorite thing secret bigots say) and they’ll listen to her. Honestly, this could make up for the years you’ve been preaching at them, you self-righteous vegan brat.
Liguria bakery in North Beach is one of those places in San Francisco that not a whole lot of San Franciscans seem to know about. Maybe it’s that so many San Franciscans sort of shun North Beach, leaving it to the tourists and the peep-show perverts; maybe it’s that it’s just out of the way. Whatever the reason, vegans in San Francisco would do well to remember its name, because Liguria makes the BEST focaccia bread ever, and it is awesome.
Before you hit up this mythical North Beach bread paradise, however, you should be aware of a couple things: 1) Liguria does pretty much ONE THING AND ONE THING ONLY (though it does it in about nine flavors), and that thing is big-ass pieces of focaccia bread. You can get a slice that’s about the size of a piece of standard copier paper for between four and five bucks depending on the kind you want. It will feed you for a day if all you want to eat is bread (and believe me, you DO). 2) They open early (8 a.m. on weekdays and 7 a.m. on weekends), and they close when they sell out. This also tends to be early, so get there before 11 a.m. if you don’t want your trip to be for nothing! 3) The ladies who work here are mean as fuck. I’m sure they’re really nice in real life when they’re not serving the hordes of North Beach frat boy tourists or tourists looking for “The Real San Francisco,” but even if you’re really nice and say “could I please have a piece of the olive focaccia please” with about 80 extra “pleases” thrown in, they will look you up and down with a look of pure hatred and only reluctantly get you your order (which is totally fine with me—I like when service people are able to express their hatred of customers—but if you’re easily offended, you’d best steel yourself). 4) They only take cash, so don’t be that jerk who can’t read the sign and then creates a bunch of hassle for everyone!
When I was there, I had a piece of the olive focaccia and the garlic focaccia, and both were completely insane. I’d been told to try the pizza variety, but I panicked and couldn’t remember if it had cheese on it or not (and didn’t want to ask), so I missed out, but for future reference, I can assure you that the pizza focaccia IS VEGAN—it’s basically tomato sauce on bread. Anyway, the bread is fluffy and soft, but not so soft it falls apart. The edges are a little crunchy in the best possible way, and the toppings are flavorful and generously applied.
There’s not a whole lot else I can say except that it’s definitely worth the trip up to North Beach (grab some xox truffles while you’re at it) and the fat ass. Go get it, vegans!
Interview: Daniel Clary of Alkemie Dairy-Free Ice Cream!
Daniel Clary is the 28-year-old mastermind behind the raw, delicious and dairy-free Alkemie Ice Cream. His story of how the ice cream begin as an idea a few years back and evolved into something tasty, edible and accessible is not only interesting, but totally inspiring.
How long have you been vegan? Full-on about seven years now; mostly veggie all my life. My dad went to farmers market every weekend. It was always [a] local and sustainable mindset from a very young age. My mom fed us tofu very young. Carob was my first “chocolate.” I naturally gravitated toward the veggie foods early on.
Are you vegan for health, environmental, animal rights reasons, or a combination? As much as the environmental aspect and animal rights movement are very important to me, my main reason is health. That’s my mission…to do my part in changing the health of the world. Once I went full vegan, my health improved dramatically. Not that I was ever sick or “unhealthy,” but when the full switch came, it was like my internal lightbulb went on. Huge difference. And now I try to maintain high raw foods, which only created a new level of health and clarity in my life.
How much of your diet is raw? I would say about 65 to 70 percent on any given day; some days it’s 100 percent. I’m vegan before I’m raw for sure. But raw foods really changed my life.
What is your favorite animal? Dogs! Just got a puppy! He’s 12 weeks old now. A springer spaniel named Winston. [Vegansaurus PSA (per usual, we always be judging you): Always rescue a dog! Even if it’s a purebred! All purebreds have rescues, including the ADORABLE springer spaniel!]
Favorite vegan food to make? As a chef, my favorite foods/flavors to work with would have to be Thai. I spent two months last year in Southeast Asia—mostly in Thailand—and I fell in love with the food. My heritage is half-Latin, [and] my mom’s side is from Central America, so Latin/Spanish flavors would be second. Fusing the two together excites me as well.
And as a chef? I was a personal vegan chef for four years before taking this project on full-time. I worked for families throughout the peninsula, weekly service, catering events, private dinner parties…
Favorite vegan dish at a restaurant/favorite vegan restaurant? Favorite restaurant would be Millennium in SF, and Pure Food in NYC. Favorite dish—hmmm, so many! I would say a killer Thai curry, or my vegan paella.
How long ago did the idea for Alkemie begin, and what are its origins? It all started when I began absorbing myself in raw foods, about 2006-07. I worked at a small raw vegan cafe part-time to really dive into the art of preparing it (versus spending an ungodly amount of money to go to a raw school). I was blown away by what I was creating: the textures, flavors, specifically the desserts. I have a HUGE sweet tooth, and these desserts were blowing my mind—better than any standard cooked vegan desserts. Initially my mission was to create a business model around that. I wanted to open my own raw vegan bakery. But the costs, overhead, labor, etc. just didn’t pan out to be a viable business.
Then I thought of just doing one thing, and doing that one thing well. I literally one day was eating some Coconut Bliss, and thought: ICE CREAM! Why not ice cream? Who doesn’t like ice cream? And at that point I had NEVER experimented or created a raw ice cream, but I have never been satisfied with ANY of the vegan ice creams out there. They just didn’t embody what classic dairy ice cream does, and I knew that with the raw foods, I could potentially come up with something stellar, so I started experimenting.
How long was it between the time you perfected the recipe to the time you were packaging and selling the product? The formula was perfected in spring ‘08. Then I decided to take some time off, travel, do some soul searching, research…I came back from Thailand and then went straight into selling at farmers market in fall ‘08, and was doing that about a year. The response was amazing. People were floored by the ice cream. So without knowing exactly where to go next, I just kept on selling every week, until things started happening last summer.
I met my investor/business partner. I met the VP of Whole Foods. I was networking and meeting amazing connections. We then took this idea [and] started researching on how to take it to the next level. Found Boulder Ice Cream. Fell in love with the staff, did our tasting for NorCal, and got the green light a week later.
Honestly, it’s surreal. I’ve worked so hard my entire life, to finally have my dreams manifested—it’s, well, words can’t describe.
How did the name come about? It all started in Thailand. I went there also to get inspired with a name for the company. I knew it was a beautiful land and people and surely I would come up with something. Halfway through the trip, after meeting so many people and telling them my story, vision, et cetera, I was coming up with nothing. When I was in Chiang Mai, I met a fellow traveler from London. We were talking one day about traveling, books, following your signs, et cetera. She said if I really wanted to read a book that will change [my] life, I should read The Alchemist.
So I bought the book when I was in Bangkok, [and] brought it down to the islands with me. One day, I had nothing to do; decided to pull the book out, head to the beach in the morning and start reading. I didn’t put the book down.
The message had such an impact on me. It was very simplistic in what it was saying: follow your dreams; trust your heart; follow the signs. But it was like that “a-ha!” moment for me.
So, after putting the book down, the name stuck in my head. I knew what alchemy meant literally: a transmutation of metal into gold. But I wanted to know more. So I went straight to the computer and looked the word up. The very first definition I found was: “any seemingly magical process of transforming ordinary ingredients into something of true merit.” The name of the company was born.
Do you see yourself dedicating yourself 100 percent to this, or do you still eventually want to open that bakery? Good question! I do eventually want to venture out, and take on other projects, whether its the bakery, a small restaurant, an actual ice cream shop…still not sure yet. Once this business takes off and I can focus on other things, then I’ll decide.
Anything else you wanted to add or share? We will be coming out with new flavors soon. Also, a little insider info: one of the flavors had a small error in production—the dark chocolate. The end product had too much free water added, which made it less creamy and more icy than the other two stellar flavors. It’s still good, just not perfect. It has since been corrected on the most recent production run and should be in the stock as the others are sold and rotated out. Just one of the inevitable growing pains small businesses go through.
If you want to stay in the loop about this product (because, let’s face it, ice cream is the best food ever), you can become a fan on Facebook, download the iPhone application, and even follow Alkemie on Twitter. Also, be sure to check out the blog for dates and information on in-store appearances.
Natalye just started graduate school studying creative writing, which means that she no longer has a social life, and her drinking has increased exponentially. She has a shiny but relatively useless college degree in journalism and music, and does freelance work, sometimes writing about indie music in Oakland. When she has down time, she’s usually sleeping, but rides her road bike when she can and makes both a killer vegan pizza and the most amazing mixtapes ever. Her updates are private, but you can follow her on Twitter and she’ll probably accept your request if you’re cute enough.
Anna's Brooklyn Supermarket Adventures: Sheepshead Bay, Q Train
Ladies and germs! Jelly-jars and pickled calves’ brains! Lucid fellows and damselflies! Hello, one and all. I invite you, implore you, invoke you to follow me on my MAGICAL ADVENTURES!!
This is the first of a series of posts chronicling Awesome Supermarkets in Brooklyn (and maybe other places). Vast places, rich with eggplant and pineapple and odd varieties of jam! Strange places, with languages that you cannot read! Sometimes even grisly places with strange squiggly meat-parts! But mostly… CHEAP PLACES.
Stay close, bold vegans, under my Whisking Cloak, as I transport you first to Sheepshead Bay. It’s one of the last stops on the Q train, and the population seems to be mostly Russian and Chinese. Lots of little old ladies in fur coats. But don’t get mad at them, they’re little and old and Russian.
(The lady pictured is neither little, old, nor me. I don’t know if she’s Russian or not.)
When you get off the train, a plum of a supermarket is hiding next to the CVS, at 1414 Sheepsheadbay Rd. It is camouflaged, like a secret beehive. Draw closer, dear vegan, and enter the Outer Chamber of Mostly Overpriced Produce. There are baskets hanging from the ceiling, and fake vines! Press onward!
The actual store, Global Wholesale Market, is open seven days a week, from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m.
CHEAP/AWESOME: tea, bread, beer, chocolate, pickled things in jars
Russian supermarkets are good for the winter, or bunkers, or hunkering down. They’re good wartime food. They’re rations, like chocolate and nuts and pickles and jam. The produce isn’t always great, but dollars to doughnuts the bread/tea/chocolate selection is ace.
This Russian supermarket, like some others, induces glee solely through the cheeriness of its displays. A wall of Finn crispbread! A sale on Borscht! Chocolate boxes as big as your torso!
If you poke around a bit, you will find not just huge candy-boxes, but an aisle full of chocolate bars. And many are vegan! And hella cheap! (There are often English translations on the back.)
This chocolate bar is as long as my forearm. Its title is “airated rum chocolate”. Yes, it is flavored like rum. It is vegan, and about $2.
Most tea is under three dollars, and comes in surprising incarnations.
That’s nearly it for pictures, except this weird beer! Just ignore the freeze-dried fish in baskets near the floor.
Oh man, I wish I could show you all the rows upon rows of bread! Squishy whole-wheat with seeds, round nutty loaves, so many kinds of pumpernickel, gigantic round bagels, baguettes, bread so dark and dense it was positively dangerous.
But they cottoned on to my camera and asked me to stop taking photos! And rather than sneaking around, I felt bad, and obeyed. Which is too bad, because the bread and the Things in Jars were completely awesome to behold.
More supermarkets, photos, and neighborhoods to come
On Friday, Jan. 15, a Sacramento trailer park will be razed, destroying the ersatz home of
20 to 30 cats—most of whom have been abandoned and are not feral, according to the Agee Memorial Wildlife Fund. The AMWF has taken charge of rescuing these cats, and needs donations, and foster and permanent homes for them.
No, Sacramento isn’t in the Bay Area, but we know Vegansaurus readers don’t limit themselves to local activism! Visit the AMWF site for further information and trailer park rescue-specific updates. Send them a few bucks, help a kitty out!
Weekend events, miracle stories, bacon-hate, breast injections, a passel of crazies and more in this week's massive post-holiday link-o-rama!!!
Opening tonight at the Roxie: Mine, a documentary about New Orleans residents searching for their lost pets after Hurricane Katrina. Tickets are still available for tonight’s shows at 7 and 9, and it plays through Thursday, Jan. 14. The Roxie is at 3117 16th St., between Valencia and Guerrero Streets.
The long-awaited first-ever East Bay Vegan Bakesale is happening tomorrow, Saturday Jan. 9 from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. at Issues, at 20 Glen Ave. at Piedmont Avenue in Oakland!! This will be super-exciting, don’t be a jerk and miss out!!
After Saturday’s bakesale, head over to the Rocket Dog Rescue and Muttville fundraiser beer bust at Mix Bar, at 4086 18th St. at Castro Street. There’ll be snacks, entertainment, and a raffle; the fun is scheduled for 3 to 7 p.m.
On Sunday, Jan. 10 from 3 to 7 p.m. is the Food Not BombsVegan Chili Showdown! It’s at 3030B 16th St. at Mission Street, across from the 16th Street BART station. The entry fee is $7, and FNB will provide music and cornbread. MUSIC AND CORNBREAD ALL RIGHT.
In other weekend happenings, SFist reports that Mission Minis opens today. They have vegan options and it’s but two blocks from Vegansaurus HQ. You do the math.
Have you heard of Green Coriander? It’s a new take-out-only Indian place in San Francisco that’s offering a 20 percent discount to anyone who mentions they read about it on Mission Mission (you could say you were directed to them through MM via Vegansaurus, too, if you wanted). This week’s menu is nearly all vegan, too!
A (borrrrrrring) Q & A with Food, Inc. director Robert Kenner, in which he says he is “not setting out to be a vegetarian,” which, duh and shut up, although he does say something about “chang[ing] the argument” of a libertarian, so that’s not so bad.
YES YES YES times 1 billion: the first page of the first chapter of Nicolette Hahn Niman’s new book, Righteous Porkchop: Finding a Life and Good Food Beyond Factory Farms is available online now!!! Hypocrisy has a new handbook, AWESOME!
Even Foster Farms is grossed out by the “water, salt, lemon juice solids, natural lemon flavor, cane juice, corn syrup and other natural flavorings” injected into chickens post-slaughter to make them more appetizing to consumers.
Did you catch the Bob Barker interview about the Sea Shepherd on Rachel Maddow’s show on Tuesday night? It was great, as is nearly everything to do with the great Bob Barker.
Marion Nestle predicts that the meat industry will “push back hard” this year after the beatings it took in 2009. As do we!
Finally, Grub Street proves that we are not the only ones totally grossed out by bacon on goddamn everything.
"This guy is really afraid of cats and his friend is trying to help him with his fears! That is so helpful and nice." We really, really love The Awl.
We really, really do not love crazy people who get their cats tattooed. Also, who the fuck tattooed the cat? All of you are insane assholes.
FREE STUFF: Say the secret word—as of press time, it’s “twitter”—at Gracias Madre and get a free Eel River IPA. Tip via SFoodie.
Francis Lam rebuts that ultra-obnoxious “plants have feelings, so get off your high (figurative) horses, vegetarians” New York Times op-ed; unfortunately, he ends with precious little “just say grace for everything you’re eating” attempt to absolve the eater of culpability for everything on his/her plate, including animal products, and in doing so resolves nothing. Nice going, smarty.
The Huffington Post thinks it’s clever: a fake meat slideshow! Look, without Tofurky deli slices, Soyrizo, or shrimp crafted from root vegetables, it is incomplete to me.
Nothing says bad-ass quite like a faux leather jacket. LADIES, AM I RIGHT? Now that the winter is here in full swing, I recommend picking up one of these babies if you want to be hotter than Danny Zuko and the Fonz combined (except better, because you’re vegan.). [Ed. And worse because you’ve never been on Arrested Development. AH LIFE.]
My absolute favorite faux leather jacket comes from Silence & Noise. They have a great collection of styles that can be easily found at Urban Outfitters. If you’re the hipster or brass knuckles type, I recommend the Silence & Noise Studded Faux Moto jacket ($148). It’s durable, stylish and looks great on top of a slinky dress. [Ed: DEAR GOD THAT IS A SHORT DRESS. Lady, I’ll See You Next Tuesday.]
And if a large chunk of money happened to fall out of the sky and into your pocket, then you might be interested in purchasing the crazy-expensive yet fabulously cute Stella McCartney Coated Boucle Motorcycle Jacket, now only $987 at Bergdorf Goodman’s! [Ed: This is great because I’m totally swimming in money TOO BAD FOR THE REST OF YOU SEE YOU NEXT TUESDAYS!]
Of course, you can always check out my favorite veg shoe and jacket staple, Mooshoes, which currently has a black unisex bomber jacket ($165).
Other rad sites with more awesome jackets are veganessentials.com and alternativeoutfitters. Please check them out and report back if there is any cuteness because I’ve got to go eat a sandwich. Cheers!
[Images courtesy of: lulus.com, urbanoutfitters.com, bergdorfgoodmans.com, and mooshoes.com]
UPDATE: Obama reverses pledge to stop funding factory farming!?
OK, we promised more investigating, and here it is. Let’s get some things out of the way first, though. The USDA rule in question isn’t just about subsidizing factory farms, it’s about corporate farms in general. So, large corporate farms like soybeans, corn, wheat, and so on, and yes, livestock and dairy.
Now, if I were dictator, instead of closing the loophole, I’d just eliminate the farm subsidy program completely. Farm subsidies are a weird throwback to a horse-and-buggy era, and they’re bad news no matter who gets them. Think about all the water, fuel and land that goes to waste to grow food that no one needs. Stupid, right? And if the experience of New Zealand is any guide, ditching farm subsidies would actually save family farms, not hurt them.
But unfortunately I’m not dictator (though MAYBE SOMEDAY and I’ll tell you what, my first act as vegan dictator would be a hell of lot more dictatorial than free brownies, not that I don’t love a good brownie) and it’s pretty obvious that, at the very least, the loophole needs to be closed. So when I heard the change didn’t go through, it triggered my WTF-dar.
So here’s what I set out to answer: (1) Did the rule require an act of Congress to change, or was it fully within the executive branch’s power? In other words, did Obama make a promise that needed new law passed by Congress, or was it in his administration’s power to change? (2) Are there any signs that his USDA plans to tackle it later, or does this reflect a genuine change in priorities for the rest of his first term?
To answer this I called the USDA (and in the process learned that if you want to find out what your government is doing, don’t call your representative, call the bored mid-level civil servant in D.C.) and found the final rules. The original proposed rules were published and made available for public comment on Feb. 9, 2009, with the final rules that sparked blogger outrage published Thursday, Jan. 7. Warning, both links are very dry PDFs.
And I saved you the trouble of reading them. At issue is the definition of “actively engaged in farming.” As defined by Congress in the 2008 Farm Bill, a person who might be “actively engaged in farming” is vague enough to include spouses of farmers (which is fine) to farm management (loophole alert!).
So when the USDA published the new rules for the comment period, they got flooded with comments asking them to tighten up this definition of “actively engaged in farming”. Read on and see how they chose to respond to one of these comments, then I’ll unpack what they’re saying:
Sec. 1400.203 Joint Operations
A more rigorous definition or measurable standard for active personal management is needed; too many people per entity are qualifying for payment eligibility based on only active personal management. However, the comments did not represent a consensus on what that standard should be. Use a 1000 hour eligibility (test) for an active contribution of management and labor combined. Require each actively engaged partner to work at least 1000 hours in proving labor or management, or engage in labor or management for hours equal to at least half those required by the share of the operation.
Define active management to include marketing, securing financing, supervising employees, and scheduling field activities.
Close the potential loopholes and end unlimited payments to the nation’s largest farms. Require a person to either work half time on a farm or provide half the labor or management to qualify as an active farmer. The ‘‘actively engaged’’ issue is the biggest potential loophole of all. Megafarms with investor partners use this potential loophole to collect unlimited payments.
The excess payments gained from the actively engaged potential loopholes allow megafarms to outbid smaller farmers and beginning farmers for land, leading to the demise of family farming. This potential loophole is strangling the economic future of rural communities and choking off farm entry for the next generation.
As indicated previously, the definition of what constitutes a significant contribution is provided by regulation, not by statute and, therefore, could be changed. We recognize the difficulty in determining the significance of a management contribution under the current definition and the appeal of a measurable, quantifiable standard. However, unlike labor, the significance of a management contribution is not appropriately measured by the amount of time a person spends doing the claimed contribution. The current regulatory definition of a significant contribution of active personal management has been in effect for over 20 years; Congress has not mandated a more restrictive definition during that time, including in the 2008 Farm Bill. However, we are currently exploring whether the current definition could be amended in a manner that would be fair, equitable, and enhance program integrity. Therefore, no changes were made at this time as the result of this comment and other related comments.
Got all that? Here’s what they’re saying in their response:
As indicated previously, the definition of what constitutes a significant contribution is provided by regulation, not by statute and, therefore, could be changed. We recognize the difficulty in determining the significance of a management contribution under the current definition and the appeal of a measurable, quantifiable standard.
So the USDA has the power to change the loophole and doesn’t need an act of Congress. That answers that. They seem to agree that the loophole should be changed (“the appeal of a measurable, quantifiable standard”).
However, unlike labor, the significance of a management contribution is not appropriately measured by the amount of time a person spends doing the claimed contribution. The current regulatory definition of a significant contribution of active personal management has been in effect for over 20 years.
Here they’re saying it’s a hard problem to solve without causing other problems. In the rest of the document, they talk a lot about how spouses of farmers might be affected by an “actively engaged in farming” rule-change, and it’s not clear how much wiggle room they have.
Congress has not mandated a more restrictive definition during that time, including in the 2008 Farm Bill.
Now they’re punting the question to Congress, even though it’s within the USDA’s power to make some kind of change, so this line is a bit of a cop-out. But then again, maybe Congress should just take it up and make the rule change permanent instead of leaving it up to each new presidential administration to fiddle around with things. (Hint hint, more activism and lobbying from vegans kthx.)
However, we are currently exploring whether the current definition could be amended in a manner that would be fair, equitable, and enhance program integrity.
Here’s the crux of it. Do you believe that they’re working on the loophole to try and close it for the next round of rule changes, or do you believe it’s a brush off? And do you believe the loophole should be closed by the USDA, or by Congress? Questions, questions.
From what I can see, there are a lot of issues going on. Has the USDA sold out to corporate farms, or are they honestly trying to grapple with a complex issue without creating unintended consequences for family members of farmers? And are they trying to avoid a separation of powers problem by defining something further than the Farm Bill allows, or are they just being a bunch of lame-brains?
I don’t really have any conclusions here, just more questions, so…I report, you decide!
In an article in SF Gate is to be believed (and we’re currently looking for more backup on this), Obama’s campaign platform vowed to “close the loopholes that allow mega farms to get around (payment limits) by subdividing their operations into multiple paper corporations. Obama will take immediate action to close the loophole by proposing regulations to limit payments to active farmers who work the land, plus landlords who rent to active farmers.” This was one of the reasons many of us were stoked to vote for him. Well, that and he wasn’t John McCain. Super unfortunately, tomorrow the USDA is publishing final regulations that will preserve the giant loophope that allows big commodity farms (including factory farms) to remain eligible for subsidies.
If this is true, it’s the biggest bunch of bullshit. We’re doing some more investigating but honestly, Obama has to be careful, he’s gonna lose his base with shit like this. It’s extremely upsetting and NOW THURSDAY IS RUINED THANKS OBAMA.
Thanks to Food Fight for bringing this to our attention! Buy all your groceries from them!
Yes! I have Frederick Douglass’ chili recipe! How? BECAUSE I’M LYING! No, no, it’s because my dad’s name is actually Frederick Douglass. Hilarious! When my dad made his chili the other night, he made it vegan this time just for me! And boy was it good! So if you are thinking of entering the Food Not Bombs Chili Showdown but don’t know where to start…here’s where!
Directions, courtesy of my pop Ingredients 2+ Tbs. olive oil 1 to 2 onions, finely chopped peppers, assorted, diced 1 to 2 cloves of garlic, finely chopped 2 tsp. chili powder 1 tsp. salt 1/2 tsp. cumin seed 1/8 tsp. pepper 1 (15 oz) can tomato sauce 1 (15 oz) can diced tomatoes 2 (15 oz) cans beans (black, kidney) 1 (15 oz) can corn
In a Dutch oven* with cover, saute onions, garlic and peppers in olive oil until onions and garlic are tender (five minutes or so); Add tomato sauce and diced tomatoes, plus 1/4 cup water, then the spices. Simmer covered for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally; Add beans and corn, simmer for additional 15 minutes. Serve straight up or over rice.
Notes 1) We use assorted peppers grown in our West Philly garden—fresh in the summer, blanched and frozen in the winter. Bell peppers are fine, but it’s fun to try different kinds, mild or spicy according to preference. 2) I prefer black beans, but kidney or pinto beans or other beans of your choice will work fine. 3) Mama Rascal thinks the beans and corn should go in with the spices, to simmer longer and absorb more flavor. Next time, I’ll try that.
There you have it folks! My pop’s chili. Now go forth, showdown and fundraise!
SF Food Wars: Artisan Bread Bakedown & Craft Beer Tastiness!
Those delightful scamps at SF Food Wars have issued a call for competitors for their Yeast Affliction! All-Out Artisan Bread Bakedown & Craft Beer Tastiness. ARE YOU MAN ENOUGH TO DON AN APRON AND CHAMPION THE VEGAN CAUSE? If you make an artisan yeasted bread (rye, sourdough, walnut, multigrain, etc.) that is TO DIE FOR and want to compete, please send an email to email@example.com with the following info: Name, phone number, email, dish name, and dish description. Timeliness and enthusiasm are key because they will select our 20 competitors within just a few days, SO GET ON IT. AND BE ENTHUSIASTIC.
If you just want to attend (lazy), you’ll have to wait until tickets go on sale on Wednesday, Jan. 13 at noon! And you best hurry because this shiz sells out fast and this is probably the first SF Food Wars where vegans will have lots of tasty options. Tickets cost $14, and include one free beer. To purchase, click the “Get Tickets” button, which will appear on the site when they go on sale. Got questions? Check out the FAQ.
Vegansaurus predictions FOR THE DECADE AND BEYOND.
Well, not really and beyond but you know, we talk big. And we back that talk up with fists so don’t even play. Now that that’s out of the way.
We’ve compiled a list of things we think will most likely happen in the ten-teens (um, what are these years called exactly? besides depression 2.0?) and now we will share them with you because we’re all generous and good looking and stuff. TA-DA!
WILL MOST LIKELY HAPPEN King Oprah brings a lot more veggie guests/products/etc. onto her show. He is a benevolent god. We also expect to see many more celebrities “come out” as vegan, as well as lots more veg news from Ellen and Martha. Ladies, we loves you.
Fast food restaurants and national chains are required to offer vegan options on their menu. Let’s say all pizza places are required to have Daiya on hand. A GIRL CAN DREAM I MEAN THIS IS MOST LIKELY TO HAPPEN. Actually, we do think it’s likely that the majority of pizza places will be carrying vegan cheese by 2020.
Lab-grown meat replaces all (or most) ground beef and filler meat sold in the USA. (Please see: Chicken McNuggets, hambugers, etc). This will probably happen when it becomes cheaper because all these fuckers care about is money DON’T MATTER THOUGH BECAUSE IT’S A WIN FOR THE ANIMALS!
A standard “vegan” mark appears on food labels, as ubiquitous as the kosher parve mark. We’re already seeing this at Trader Joe’s; luckily it’s turning up on their most delicious products, like Candy Cane Joe Joe’s! Thank you, god!
A public advertising campaign against vegans and vegetarians, like “Got Milk?” but on the “fuck communist grass-grazers” side. It’s OK; this just means we’re really pissing them off. Good.
Cheese Whiz becomes vegan. Not sure if this is a win? Whatevs, we’ll take it!
MIGHT COULD HAPPEN Oprah comes out as vegetarian! We immediately start going down on her. Actually, the latter is a MOST LIKELY WILL HAPPEN if the former occurs.
We’d love to see KFC go out of business. With it’s focus on fried foods and MSG, this is a serious possibility. We’d love to see colonel effigies burning in the streets across the United States. Or is that too creepy? Whatever.
Factory farms going out of business! Seriously, there is some MAJOR backlash starting and this shit is just gonna keep moving forward. Laws are being passed and people are noticing. This cannot stand. Hasta la pasta, assholes.
Michael Pollan resolves the omnivore’s dilemma by going vegan. This would really help him seem less crazy.
A Rosetta Stone of different animal languages is developed, allowing us to have conversations with dolphins and other species using a special device. OH MAN SO FUCKING AWESOME.
SUPER UNLIKELY BUT IT’S FUN TO DREAM Oprah comes out as vegan and turns her show into Vegan Oprah and everyone follows suit because we are all sheep for the big O. That is why I am currently wearing jeans that Michael Jordan’s wife made and reading Angela’s Ashes. WHATEVER YOU SAY OH MIGHTY ONE.
Cats and dogs granted status as legal dependents and covered under health insurance. Cat ladies the world over weep, push for legal marriage.
Dr. Dean Ornish is named Surgeon General by President Al Franken in 2017 (or whatever veggie/vegan health person we’re liking this month). Of course, the Kuch has a place in the cabinet; he paved the way after all.
What are your predictions? What did we miss? Are we dead on? Or way crazy? Don’t answer that last one.
Movie review: Au hasard Balthazar (it's about a French donkey, you're gonna love it!)
It may sound strange, but despite being a vegan, I’ve never been much of an animal person. Other than perhaps an ex-girlfriend’s cats, I’ve never felt much of a connection to any particular animal. This is probably because we never had pets growing up; my father would always count myself and my four brothers and sisters and then contend that we already had enough pets.
As a result, I fit in with the most recent wave of herbivores, those in the past decade who didn’t find their way to a veggie diet due to animal rights concerns necessarily, but rather more from a health and environmental perspective. Along with my vegan brother yammering on about the ridiculously terrible effects of animal products on the human body, the U.N. report on global warming from November 2006 probably had a bigger impact on my decision to take the vegan plunge than any notion of animal compassion. This is not to say that I went around punching puppies; I’m just saying I hadn’t thought a whole lot about animal rights.
With this background I watched Au hasard Balthazar by famed French New Wave director Robert Bresson. Known in movie nerd circles as “the existential donkey movie,” it’s the story of a French donkey named Balthazar. Yup, that’s right, the film stars an actual, non-anthropomorphized donkey. Whom I grew to love. During the movie, all manner of humans wander in and out of Balthazar’s life, and they all share one overriding characteristic: they suck. Hard. I’m oversimplifying a bit, but no human in the film has a serious character flawed (or at least what was considered flawed in the ’60s), be it thievery, alcoholism, prostitution, emotionless capitalism, or the rampant use of religion as a means to exploitative personal gain. And they all treat the quiet Balthazar, he of lovable eyes and calm demeanor, like shit. The movie ends with a striking, saintly and tear-inducing finale for our donkey protagonist.*
While it’s hard not to consider Balthazar a representation of Jesus, as no doubt did the devoutly Catholic Bresson, I was more interested in the movie’s message about the relationship between animals and humans than religion. Au hasard Balthazar reminded me a lot of Pythagoras’ quote about the importance of all living creatures to the quest for peace. “As long as men massacre animals, they will kill each other. Indeed, he who sows the seeds of murder and pain cannot reap the joy of love.” Despite my initial disinterest in animals, this thought always resonated with me. How can we as a society expect to develop compassion for the entire human race when we exploit, abuse and snuff out some of the most defenseless lives among us just to eat dinner? Suffering is suffering. It may not have been a cause of my becoming vegan, but the desire to cause the least amount of suffering that I can in this world ensures that I’m gonna take veganism to the grave.
I really enjoyed the film’s refusal to beat you over the head with any particular message. I quickly tire of films, particularly those with an activist message, that manipulate my emotions, even if I agree with that message. I’ve read that Bresson would do like 50 takes of each scene, until the actors delivered the lines completely emotionlessly. To be sure, this is a slow and ponderous film, and probably not for everyone. Regardless, Au hasard Balthazar challenged me to consider the delicate balance between humans and all other living creatures. No, it doesn’t deliver the same punch in the gut as a PETA slaughterhouse movie, thus it’s probably not going to capture the hearts and minds of omnivores. That said, I found myself, someone who previously paid little attention to the animal side of veganism, accepting moral advice from a lowly donkey, and it’s hard not to respect the life of something you consider a moral beacon.
Yes, I know the issue of the actual donkey’s treatment in the name of making this movie is somewhat controversial, but I’d like to reserve the discussion of the treatment of animals in art for a later film review. Entering that discussion here would miss the point that Au hasard Balthazar is simply one of the most compassionate movies about the life of an animal that I have ever seen. I’ve never wanted to hug a donkey so much in my entire life.
*As much as I want to discuss the ending in more detail, I don’t want to spoil it for anyone. I also don’t want my tears to short out my laptop. Shut up! He’s a damn cute donkey! Here, see? Cute donkey.
Zach Cincotta is a vegan movie obsessive who, along with his vegan brother, discusses his thoughts on every movie he watches at Le Souvenir d’un avenir. When he’s not slowly burning out his projector bulb, Zach is an entertainment and business attorney representing awesome bands, record labels, and other small businesses. His first movie review for Vegansaurus can be found here, you can contact him here, and follow him on Twitter here. Phew.
San Francisco Food Not Bombs Chili Showdown & Fundraiser!
A vegan chili showdown, bitches! Get down there, show your superior chili-making skillz, and win a prize! Is there a prize? Probably not. BUT THERE IS the prize(-ish) of knowing you fed a lot of hungry homeless people/freeloading vegans. Ow!
IMPORTANT DETAILS: $7 to enter (!?) but it looks like eating is free (!?); it’s happening on Sunday, Jan. 10 from 3 to 7 p.m. Head to the the 16th Street BART and follow the smell/the people who look like they smell (that’s me!) until you find it.
Here I am, still on my East Coast holiday. I went up to New York to visit my big brother and while I was there my sister, my sister-in-law, my sister-in-law’s sister (what do you call your sister-in-law’s sister? She’s my brother’s sister-in-law but I don’t think she’s mine. There’s no word for it! Wacky English language!) and I went to Pure Food and Wine in Manhattan. It’s a pretty swank raw vegan (some items have honey but they’re marked) restaurant in Union Square. OMG the last time my sister-in-law was at Pure Food and Wine, Gisele was there! The model! OMG! You starfucker.
The food was pretty damn good. Raw isn’t always my favorite because while I’m not a meat-and-potatoes kind of girl, I am a bread-and-potatoes kind of girl. There’s not much of that at a raw place. But the menu here was pretty impressive; it was hard to decide what to order. For starters, my sis-in-law got a papaya salad that she loved. I got a super-delicious frisee salad that had some tasty pears and stuff in it, and I’m not that into salads. I’m a picky eater! Don’t you hate when you don’t want to eat something and people are like, “but it’s vegan…” like you’ll eat anything that’s meat- and dairy-free! Jeez louise. I guess this is kind of an aside. Back to our regularly scheduled program!
For the entree I had this pretty crazy pickled-beet ravioli thing pictured above, officially titled “Sweet Pickled Beet and Rosemary Cashew Chèvre Ravioli.” It was good. I wasn’t in love with it…but it was good. The chèvre was very tasty but I wasn’t that into the pickled beets. My sister got this enchilada thing that was just some mush but SO GOOD. She’s not vegan at all but she was totally into it.
With dinner, I had a sake mohito and it was the sheezy. All their co
cktails were sake-based. Does anyone know what that’s about? I didn’t ask our waiter. He had a ponytail. Those are unrelated thoughts.
The desserts were really good. There was a lot of ice cream and sorbet, as well as a few cake-like items. My sis-in-law got the assorted sorbet dessert. It was very pretty and very yummy and we all shared it with her (AND got our own desserts. You know how we do!). That’d be a good dessert to share if you didn’t all want to get your own thing. I got the mint chocolate sundae. It was AWESOME. It had three kinds of ice cream, all very delicious. My sister got that too and she liked it a lot.
All in all, banging! If you couldn’t guess, it was very expensive. If you can afford it, it’s definitely worth checking out. It would be a great date place, it’s got kind of a romantic atmosphere—reds, dark woods, romantical lighting—but still relaxed.
Two vegansaurs hit up Los Angeles this holiday season and lived to tell the tale, which is definitely your gain! Here, for your enjoyment, are our field notes, guaranteed to make you hungry.
I have a secret. You guys would probably never have guessed it, and I probably shouldn’t even be telling you this, but did you know that there are vegans in L.A.? Yeah. I know. It turns out they have about 80 billion vegan/vegan-friendly restaurants even! I was lucky enough to get to try a couple of these strange and new establishments this month on a whirlwind trip, and I’m here to share my findings with the good people of San Francisco.
First stop was a place called Pure Luck. PL is the kind of place that San Francisco is sadly lacking in (GET ON IT, VEGANS) - cheap, all-vegan food, and great all-vegan beer in a casual atmosphere served up by cute and highly capable servers. Pure Luck is famous for their jackfruit “carnitas” tacos, so that’s what I had. For the uninitiated, jackfruit is a tropical fruit that, when young, is largely tasteless and has a weird, fibrous-yet-tender texture, which makes it a perfect candidate to replace the gross-ass stringy meat that gets stewed down into carnitas or pulled pork or whatever. Pure Luck does jackfruit up right - the texture is perfect, and the flavor is satisfying and perfect with the corn tortillas, cilantro, onion, and salsa verde that make up the rest of the taco. Get a couple of these with some caesar salad (bomb-diggity!) for under $10. Add any of the hand-picked Belgiany-skewing beers that happen to be on the rotating beer menu, and you’ve got yourself a first-class A-1 meal.
If you’re lucky enough to spend the night in LA (or get there in the morning or early afternoon), then you are lucky indeed because you can avail yourself of the fine brunch options available to vegans in LA. Not to bash SF or anything, because I love the hells out of this city, but there’s a SERIOUS lack of fully-vegan brunch options here. Yes, we have some pretty great tofu scrambles at Boogaloos and St. Francis Fountain, but they don’t have vegan home fries, and that, that is a serious problem. So, if you’re one of the lucky jetsetters who gets to have brunch in LA, do it up right - go all out, and HAVE HOME FRIES. The place to do this that I recommend is Flore. Granted, it’s the only place I’ve had brunch in LA, but it’s cheap, the portions are huge, and they have great potatoes, so I don’t know what more you could possibly want. I had the tofu benedict, which was 3 big pieces of lovely bread with broiled (I think) tofu, tomato, kale, and a lake of hollandaise sauce. The benedict was so big they had to give me my potatoes in a bowl on the side. Also, the coffee was great, and I drank about 90 cups, so I suppose you should watch out for that, but there are worse things than spending the afternoon jittering running to pee every 20 minutes, right? Greatness comes at a price! Anyway, the service is a tad slow, but it’s brunch, so don’t go if you are in a hurry. Brunch is for layabouts, and don’t you forget it!
Finally, on my way out of town, I got to check out VegiSoul, LA’s vegetarian soul food place. I haven’t had a lot of soul food in my day (I’m from Canada, where neither soul nor food exists - kidding! But no, we don’t have soul food up there and certainly not vegan soul food), but I’ve had enough to know that I fucking LOVE IT. If I could eat only one meal for the rest of my life, it would probably be all the deep-fried-smothered-in-barbecue-sauce stuff with greens from Chicago’s SoulVeg, and I wouldn’t be unhappy at all. VegiSoul isn’t quite as mind-blowingly pants-wetting awesome as SoulVeg, but it delivers a very solid meal and has super nice people working there. I had the Fibs (fake ribs!), greens, and mac ‘n cheese. The mac was a bit different than the super creamy stuff I’m used to getting (and loving) from Souley Vegan in the East Bay. VegiSoul’s mac had tiny diced-up bits of green and red pepper in it, which lent a nice flavor to things, and instead of a super creamy sauce, their mac fell more into the greasy awesomeness camp. It had nice flavor and went really well with the fibs, which were meaty (kind of oddly so - not that I suspect they had actual meat in them, of course; they were just a different texture than I’ve encountered before, which is good!) and smothered with a tangy, not-too-overpowering barbecue sauce. The star of my meal was the greens, which were perfectly cooked and salted just right, which just serves as a double reminder that I can’t cook those kinds of greens at home for shit. Ah well.
Within the past few months, Native Foods has really been undergoing a lot of changes. Their Westwood location (by UCLA) opened up a to-go side of the restaurant, offering take-out orders for people on the go. They also changed their name to Native Foods Cafe and switched their logo. And they’ve also created a rewards card - rewards cards are awesome until you think about the big-brotherness of it all, how you’re acting as some guinea-pig for marketing purposes and then the company turns around and acts like they’re doing you a favor. But at the end of the day, Native Foods’ Scorpion Burger, in my opinion, makes it all worth it. They have an expansive menu full of burgers and bowls and salads and tacos, a dish to please any palette.
Whenever I make a trip back home to LA, I always manage to go to M Cafe at least once. Sure, they serve fish; I’m sad that it’s not an all-vegan establishment—though luckily its sister restaurant Seed in Venice is!!!—but the vegan stuff it does pull off, it really pulls off. I went to the 7119 Melrose Ave. at La Brea Ave. location. Parking there is reasonable, especially considering the area (curse you, West LA!!). Sadly, a previous visit to M Cafe got me a delicious $10 sandwich and a not-so-delicious $50 parking ticket.
The cafe is really casual. You order up front and you get your food delivered to your table a la a number card. Just so you know, your table does get bussed for you (just to ease any confusion… I always manage to forget this each time I go there!). One night, my friend and I had a lovely dinner there. Our appetizer? Mint chocolate cupcake. Fuck yes, we eat our dessert before dinner. Get over it. The texture was impeccable, the frosting perfectly piped. But the flavor was just not there. When I think “mint chocolate,” I think mint! I wanted so badly to have that punch, but it was sorely missed. The other flavors they had available were strawberry and chocolate—I wish we had gotten the chocolate :(.
For my main course, I got a teriyaki tempura bowl with tofu. I could have gotten the vegetables steamed or sauteed, but the tempura seemed just so tempting! I couldn’t finish the fried veggies though; the oil was just too much for my stomach. Luckily, my dining companion was more than happy to eat up my leftovers. The flavors and textures in this dish were incredible. The tofu even had adorable grill marks that added some much-appreciated char flavor. The bed of brown rice at the bottom completed my meal. It was so rich and satisfying, I could eat it any day of the week (except maybe next time with sauteed veggies instead of deep-fried).
My dining companion got a burger called the Big Macro. I had a bite and it totally hit the spot. As far as veggie burgers go, though, it was pretty standard. It scores some healthy points for being macrobiotic, but I think that overall it was exactly as it should be. If you’re in a veggie-burger-mood, this will totally fill you right up!! It also came with a yummy side of kale with spicy peanut sauce. I almost ate all of his kale, I swear. It was the most delicious, yummy part of the meal, in my opinion. I was half-tempted to get a side of it to take home it was so good! If you’re a kale-lover, you must get that deli item!