In Switzerland, you can rent a guinea pig! In a good way!
Holy cute-balls, Batman, Switzerland rules! Apparently they have a LAW saying that, because guinea pigs are social creatures, you are full-on NOT ALLOWED to keep one alone. NO LONELY GUINEA PIGS.
But what if your penultimate guinea pigs dies, g-d forbid? Suddenly you’re a law-breaking scumbag, and the only solution is to acquire a new guinea pig you may or may not want. Woe!
But wait! Priska Küng to the rescue! This lady has 80 little guinea-critters of her own, and for the low fee of around $55, she’ll let you borrow one for as long as you want! Then you can give it back to her and she’ll give you back half your money! No longer are the poor Swiss citizens locked in an endless cycle of guinea pig adoption!
"It’s important that none of the rental guinea pigs just keep getting passed on," Küng told der Spiegel. “If an animal has been hired out once, it either stays with me for the rest of its life or it moves somewhere else for good.”
More vegan ways to blow your paycheck: Compassion Couture!
I know I’m a little late reporting but I just have to put in a good word for this online shop, Compassion Couture. It’s adorbs. It was started by two sisters who I’m guessing are adorbs too. They don’t have a ton of stuff but it’s well curated so what they do have is dope. I’m into these Olsen Haus shoes. I couldn’t wear them because I get cranky if the heels are over two inches. But if you wear them, I’ll totally hit on you.
Of course we all know Olsen Haus but they also have some brands I’ve never seen, especially in the purse department. Have you guys heard of Dialog? Well I hadn’t. Kind of wacky but I’m into it. They also have those Reveal iPad cases that I want! Why does no one think I’m important enough to have an iPad? Damn it! I need one! Angry Birds is so tiny on my iPhone!
HOLY CRAP, THEY’RE HERE! We’re (obviously) very excited to announce that we’re selling our first ever Vegansaurus shirts! I’ll copy and paste the info from our shirts! page below, but we’re selling a limited quantity and only through Friday, Oct. 14 (that’s only TWO WEEKS!) so you should probably get up on this as soon as you get paid. Arg! I cannot tell you how excited/proud we are that you’ll hopefully be sensually sporting these all over town.
Here’s how it’ll work:
1) You choose your favorite size and style of shirt(s). There’s either mens/unisex (s-xxxl) or fitted lady (s-xl). 2) You let us know your shirt style selection when you pay. There are two ways to do that! Either via the Amazon button on the shirts page. So easy, the future! Or, you can use PayPal—just send $25 to laura AT vegansaurus DOT com! 3) Once we shut down ordering, we’ll get to printing (silk-screened right here in San Francisco by vegan artists The Lords of Print)! Then we’ll get to shipping! So it’ll take about a month to get your shirt but then you will be so sexy!
From the shirts! page: The official Vegansaurus t-shirt has landed from planet Great Stuff! It’s the pink dino (designed by Jonas Madden-Connor) in sexy silhouette. So sexy, so you. Limited time, limited quantity, fully awesome.
The shirt is printed on non-sweatshoppy shirts right here in San Francisco by vegan artists, The Lords of Print. It’s $25, which includes shipping (!!!) in the United States (email us if you live somewhere exotic and fresh and we’ll work it out), and 30 percent of the profits from each sale goes to the wonderful Harvest Home Sanctuary. The rest of the money will be reinvested into future Vegansaurus artistic endeavors (we’ve got big plans!). And maybe we’ll buy some cupcakes or illegal fireworks or something else really great.
About the actual shirts: They’re Alternative Apparel basic tee in asphalt grey in either mens/unisex (s-xxxl) or fitted lady (s-xl) so you know they’re 1) hella cute and 2) not sewn from children’s tears and/or Dov Charney’s penis’ ego.
Order before Friday, Oct. 14 and give pink dino shirts to everyone you know for the holidays. Hell, if your family is used to getting copies of Meet Your Meat, this gift is a step toward re-kindling relationships!
Finally, I like to pretend the above animated .gif is of the same person, first slouching and then, BAM: boobs a-popping. Fun!
Gather round, ye hippies and bleeding hearts, it’s time for the World Vegetarian Fest! Actually, it’s also for people who like to gorge themselves on deliciousness, because there will be samples galore, including OCD’s Caramel ‘Not’ Corn, the official treat selection of the Academy Awards. Yes, you too can dine on the same thing that George Clooney will be stuffing into his gorgeous maw. And you can do it months and months before that asshole. You’re the real winner! Also, we LOVE OCD Sweets and with one taste, you will, too. AND we have a very exciting announcement that may or may not involve one of us (me) attending an enormous awards show (the motherfucking oscars) with the lovely Melodi of OCD Sweets as her bodyguard/vegan press. I will interview and make love on so many famous people, I’ll probably be arrested. So excited!
Now, please stare at some of OCD’s Caramel ‘Not’ Corn (MADE WITH MARSHMALLOWS AND INDIA PALE ALE) and imagine how much of it you’ll be stuffing down your gullet this weekend:
OMG is right. Our dear reader Tim alerted me to this like 80 months ago and I’m like, Tim! You can’t tell me about things 80 months in advance! Because I forget! But! I actually remembered. Hopefully there are still tickets left. “Tickets for what?” you ask? A vegan pizza bus tour!
Apparently, October is pizza month. Scott’s Pizza Tours is celebrating in style every Saturday! And first up is this vegan pizza tour:
October 1 - Learning to Love Your Vegan
Visit pizzerias that will satisfy both vegans and the omnivores alike. Just leave the leather jacket at home. Purchase Tickets
Where they are going, I do not know. I’m guessing they are going places that have vegan pizza. That’s what I would do.
Tim adds: “if I had to guess, I would say it’s probably going to be the dopemobile. I took a spin on the Scott’s Pizza tour bus (a while back in pre-vegan days) and it’s probably the best pizza-centric experience I’ve had since I was 8 and I learned you can even make pizza AT HOME!” He also says Scott is super nice. So, in the words of Spike Lee, get on the bus!
The entire mega-meal is vegan, or you can add stupid meat for extra money. It makes me happy that the vegan selection is cheaper than the meat meaty death one. That’s how that shit should be, and so often isn’t. So kudos to Soul Cocina and for doing it up right. And kudos to Roger for posing for and publishing that crazy-ass picture.
There's a vegan taco tricycle in the Mission? Alright!
This is big-ish news for the vegan fatties of San Francisco. Via Tablehopper, which I will copy and paste below:
There’s also a cart from Portland that has now made its way to the 415, the ~TREATMACHINE~, which the owner tells me is “a made-from-scratch vegan taco moped food cart (it’s a trike).” Look for $2 vegan tacos, featuring handmade tortillas, avocado, mango, yam, plantain, homemade sauces, and black beans. Follow its whereabouts in the Mission on Twitter.
Sounds good! I’ll happily play Sloppy Seconds to Portland for a delicious vegan taco. It looks like TREATMachine is mainly selling it on the corner of 19th and Valencia streets, and you can find out their exact schedule via Twitter. And, uh, if you show up and they’re not there, you can get vegan tacos in about 15 places within a block, so no skin off your back. TACOS TACOS TACOS.
Here’s what the thing looks like, in case you’re wondering (or wandering the streets looking for it. I don’t know, ignore me.):
Ginger hatred spreads to rest of animal kingdom, confuses me
Why all the ginger hate? Growing up, I had crushes on the ruddy-haired boys in my grade. I used to dream of being a redhead myself, even going so far as to dye my hair red in high school (bad choice) and again in college (even redder, even worse choice). Thus I cannot understand why even seals cannot tolerate this hue: A pod shunned its own pup because he was born with reddish-brown fur and blue eyes.
Look at those peepers! And they can’t see you because he’s mostly blind! Poor guy’s got 99 problems but a bitch ain’t one! Anyway, he was adopted by a human much nicer than those jerkface seals who spawned him. It’s unlikely he’ll have as much success being reintegrated with his family as the featherless penguin, but at least he’ll have someone who loves him! And a Twitter account, which *ahem* is following moi. Seriously, though, what’s up with ginger hate? Anyone?? [Photo credit: Caters News Agency]
This is how I’ve felt for the past week. I pretty much had the plague, yo, but today I finally left the house after about a week in seclusion and had no excuse not to write another edition of Ask a Vegansaur.
Lenore asks: My vet told me that unlike dogs, cats are obligate carnivores and cannot survive or be healthy on a vegan diet. Do you know if this is true? Do most vegans who have cats feed them a vegan diet? Thank you.
Thank YOU, Lenore, for being so polite! This is a controversial subject. For my part, I feed my cat a very fishy diet because that’s precisely what our veterinarian said. Every vegan I know who provides for a cat does the same. According to some sources, a vegetarian or vegan diet fails to provide the nutrients cats need while the makers of vegan cat foods tend to disagree. Interests on the food companies’ side are obvious, and only anecdotal evidence supports the hypothesis that cats can be healthy on veg diets. I suggest following your vet’s instructions to keep your kitty healthy. Although the process of making carnivorous cat food is no better than that of harvesting meat for human consumption, once you sign on to take care of another animal, he or she should be your priority above the other animals in the world. Not to say that anyone should ignore them, but I think you get the point. On the other hand, dogs can be vegetarian, and rabbits, guinea pigs, and the like are veg by nature. If you’re considering adopting a furbaby but don’t want to feed him or her meat, consider these choices.
Nicole asks: I recently transitioned from vegetarian to vegan. I am having trouble finding products other than food that are vegan (i.e., makeup, chapstick, body/face washes) and was wondering if you could lend me a hand? Thanks!
Amanda asks: I think I accidentally ate meat at a restaurant outside of the U.S. Am I still a vegetarian?
Only if you want to be! Seriously, people should not be punished for true accidents — that is, incidents that result from no fault of their own. You’re away from home, and you’re starving. You do your best to ask what’s in your food, but the local language might not be your native one. You take a bite, you’re not sure, you eat it anyway because it’s food and it’s there. I can’t hate on you for that. Even the purest, most perfect vegans make mistakes. How you recover from them is most important.
Want to Ask a Vegansaur a question? Email me, and try not to be a jerk!
"This year, VT staffers spent many an afternoon sipping, slurping, and nibbling our way down the aisles, sampling foods and ingredients old and new. We then nominated 114 products in 26 categories for our annual Foodie Awards, and asked you, our readers, to choose your favorites."
Nice gig, right? (Full disclosure: I actually do work for the same company that owns the mag, but I ain’t getting awesome food at work.)
Bottom line: VT has a big ol’ list of fancy food for you to blow your savings on. The only bummer, besides the ridiculousness of some of the categories, is that a lot of the choices aren’t vegan. Sigh.
Finishing Salts (wtf?): Himalania Himalayan Pink Salt ”Mineral-rich salt that’s almost too pretty to eat.” No seriously though - why?
Rooibos Teas (why just rooibos? Because it’s snobbier and fancier?): The Republic of Tea Natural Organic Raw Green Bush Tea ”Minimally processed to preserve antioxidants and impart delicate, grassy flavor.” Mmm, grass.
Soft cheeses: Galaxy’s new vegan cream cheese and Tofutti cream cheese are 2 runners up, go vegans!
Stocks & Broths (because that’s an actually useful category): Pacific Organic Mushroom Broth “Earthy flavor booster for risottos, soups, and stews.”
Peruse at your leisure, then make a spendy shopping list. Prize goes to anyone who makes/imagines a meal using all the (vegan) winners!
The September installment of SF vegan drinks has been announced! You will be there on the 29, right? Cause Sarah M. Smart and I like to go to each table and introduce ourselves/make friends with everyone there. Actually, she is much better at it than me. I went back to our table after meeting about three people. It’s just so strenuous!
As usual, it’s at Martuni’s (corner of Market and Valencia). The veg drink special will be Pirate Punch — what it contains I cannot tell you, but there is not a doubt in my mind that it will be delicious. AND STRONG. Now you know why I keep going back. See you there!
Doughbot brings crazy-flavored vegan doughnuts (donuts?) to Sacramento!
There’s a new dougnut (donut?) shop in Sacramento. It’s called Doughbot and they have many vegan varieties! Woohoo! They specialize in crazy flavors that people lose their shit for. Like, you know how regular ice cream tastes delicious and everyone is like, “Ice cream, woo!” and then Humphrey Slocombe and Bi-Rite Creamery opened up and started putting shit like old batteries and blood pudding in ice cream and everyone was all, “ICE CREAM GIVE IT TO ME I WILL WAIT IN LINE FOR SEVEN DAYS FOR A SCOOP OF VANILLA ICE CREAM WITH CORN FLAKES AND HOBO URINE IT’S SO PRECIOUS AND UNIQUE.”
Remember that!? Doughbot is bringing the nutso flavors and lucky for us vegans, we can eat lots of them. Since I’m a spoiled American who is tired of stupid old vanilla and chocolate and must have all sorts of shit stuffed into everything I eat, I’ll probably indulge in the bood orange glazed and Mounds of Joy varieties because they sound fucking delicioso. Anyone been? Can you confirm or deny?
Other than that, check out their super cute splash page and logo:
I’m really sorry you’re not me right now, because I’m eating this amazing bread AS I TYPE and you just get to look at a photo of it. And then make your own.
I’ve been on a bread-baking kick lately because I’m both cheap and domestic. It makes the house smell so good! And everyone is so impressed with you! Your friends and family will love you more and maybe not kick you out.
For today’s bread, I adapted a super-non-vegan recipe and you know what, fuck those guys, the vegan version rocks. It’s chewy, a little sweet, has a great texture, and in the hour since it’s cooled I’ve eaten half a loaf.
I am blessed with a KitchenAid mixer that I let do all the hard work for me, but you could make this without one, you’d just have to feel a bit more like a kitchen wench.
Oatmeal “honey” bread makes 2ish loaves
Ingredients 5 to 6 1/2 cups flour (I used bread flour, but all-purpose would be fine) 1 cup quick-cooking oats 2 tsp. salt 2 (1/4 oz.) packages active dry yeast 1 1/2 cups water 1/2 cup honey substitute (I used Bee Free Honee made from apples, review of that product coming eventually but let me say it worked great in this bread) 1/2 cup Earth Balance replacement for 2 eggs (I used 1 Tbsp. Ener-G egg replacer mixed with 4 Tbsp. warm water; flax seeds and water would probably work great too) 1 Tbsp. soymilk oat meal
Instructions Mix 5 cups flour, oats, salt, and yeast in a bowl. In a small saucepan, combine water, honey-alternative, and Earth Balance. Heat to 120°F to 130°F (right when it starts getting steamy). Slowly add warm liquids to flour mixture, mixing for about 1 minute on speed 2 of your mixer, or until blended if you’re a sucker mixing by hand. Add egg substitute; mix an additional 1 minute.
Add more flour, 1/2 cup at a time, until dough clings to hook (spoon) and cleans sides of bowl, about 3 minutes. I only needed a little more flour for this. Knead for 7 to 10 minutes or until dough is smooth and elastic.
Place dough in greased bowl, turning to grease top. Cover; let rise in warm place, until doubled, about 1 hour.
Punch dough down. Divide dough in half. Shape each half into a loaf by rolling it out flat on a cutting board with a rolling pin, then rolling it up into a cylinder like a jelly roll. Place each loaf into a greased bread pan (8.5” x 4.5” x 2.5”, or whatever you have really). Cover; let rise in warm place till doubled, about an hour.
Preheat oven to 375°F. Brush tops of loaves with soymilk. Sprinkle with oat meal. Bake 40 minutes, until browned and hollow-sounding when you rap on them.
Remove from pans and cool on wire racks. THEN EAT UNTIL YOU PUKE, OM NOM NOM NOM NOM.
Cara from hipsterfood (we love them!) started a community vegan online magazine called Chickpea (GOOD NAME) and their first issue just released yesterday. It’s really pretty, with some great looking food photos and recipes, which is not surprising because hipsterfood is so fucking cute and delicious! It’s also free, so no skin off your back to check it out, Scrooge McDuck. There’s more than recipes, too. We’re so lucky! Fall product guides, vegan journey stories, how to pack your own vegan lunch, and other really fantastic stuff that will cause you to read it instead of doing stupid work.
So, that makes two vegan online mags that I know of, this and T.O.F.U., right? Are there more? If so, let me know so I can read them all immediately. Well, right after I watch Community and Parks & Rec and the entire second season of Breaking Bad again. Also, I gotta clean the kitchen and do some Kettle Bell exercises (SEXY) but RIGHT AFTER THAT. And in conclusion, make me this from Chickpea’s first issue:
First, I LOVE ANIMATED GIFS. Second, we’re all totally going to this party, right? I mean, I am for sure. There’s a Cinnaholic cinnamon bun bar. A BAR of CINNAMON BUNS. Did I stutter!? I am gonna lay down and have them literally bury me in cinnamon buns and then eat my way out while you all watch in horror/admiration. I will be your new queen! Imagine the possibilities!
Oh yeah, the party is for Spork-Fed, the Spork Sister’s first book! I’ve heard that it’s ridiculously adorable and filled with tons of delicious recipes. Plus, everyone who meets those girls falls immediately in love and wants to be/marry them, so right away we have a lot in common. Except they have a book deal and a cinnamon bun bar. How have I failed so badly when I’ve had every advantage!? Damn my crippling laziness and intellectual handicaps.
Anyway, buy your tickets ($35 and includes a copy of the book!) so we can relax on VegNews’s gorgeous rooftop in the mission, drink hella champagne, eat all the food, and be the best together!
The Oakland planning proposal to deregulate animal slaughter and officially sanction backyard “husbandry” is the focus of James McWilliams’ blistering critique in the Atlantic. It turns out that reconstructing the city’s yards and vacant lots as “sustainable” animal farms and urban “homesteads” is a bit problematic. (Warning: some descriptions are graphic.)
Judging from the comments, the proposal is just as contentious outside the East Bay. And to absolutely no one’s surprise, vegan perspectives expressed online are greeted with frenzied blathering and digital tantrums.
The article, on the other hand, is great!
Framing the local issue for a wider audience, McWilliams makes an important point early on:
As matters now stand, Oakland could very well alter its urban agriculture code in order to allow virtually any urban homesteader not only to raise goats, chickens, rabbits, and ducks, but to slaughter them on site. And what happens in Oakland — a test case of sorts — is bound to be replicated elsewhere.
This point is important for a number of reasons. For better and for worse, the locavores of the Bay (and the East Bay, in particular) have positioned themselves as the leading voices and public representatives of Urban Homesteading and Sustainability (TM). They and those deeply influenced by their thinking would like to see this proposal put into practice, and replicated elsewhere.
But it’s most definitely for worse: interwoven with this vision, and sometimes eclipsing the original goals, there’s a creepy fixation on the necessity of killing animals, despite such killing being less necessary now than at any time in recorded history. What’s more, the killing is meant to be somehow virtuous and right, a matter of social justice and cultural reclamation. Even if the amateur butchers themselves are not always particularly skillful and humane at the killing part; even if it means more inputs and less land to grow food on; even it means expensive animal products rather than the fruits and vegetables basically everyone agrees need to be made cheaper and much more accessible; and even if the push for deregulated animal slaughter is coming less from those most screwed over by the broken food system than from best-selling authors, upper-middle class hobbyists, and, bizarrely, young, usually white progressives and radicals.
The backyard slaughtering vision is wrong on multiple levels. It aspires to be an alternative to factory farming but really only offers an addition to it. And alongside the egregious and predictably “excessive” violence against animals, there’s also a crucial insight that’s been hijacked: Our food system really is in bad shape. We really could be feeding ourselves in ways that make much more sense, while also not destroying the world. Addressing food security and access were the original, stated reasons for initiating the food policy discussion in Oakland in the first place, prior to the sudden emphasis on killing animals.
A key point of McWilliams’ piece is its first paragraph, which has gone totally unremarked in 201 comments and counting (as of the time of this writing):
Over the past ten years the United States has undergone a revolution in the way we eat. Communities throughout the country have localized food systems, placed power back in the hands of local farmers, and shortened the distance between farm and fork. The benefits of this trend have been considerable. Consumers have become more critical of overly processed food, better aware of the connection between diet and health, and more appreciative of eating seasonally. I’ve been critical of this movement from the start, but I admit it has been a cultural achievement of historical significance.
This is absolutely true, and something to be recognized and appreciated.
But what we strive to put in place of the broken and ultimately self-destructive food system shouldn’t replicate its cruelties, desensitization, and inherent inequalities of access. There is at least a bit of common ground to meet on – specifically, how we need to grow hella food as much as we can – and we should take advantage of those points of agreement.
Locavores certainly need to stop being so fixated on the virtues of “honest slaughter,” for starters, not to mention on fictitious “closed systems” that ignore the existence of the rest of the world, to all of our detriment.
And vegans need to engage with these policy debates, because they’re happening with or without us. In our absence, we should probably expect a bunch more proposals like Oakland’s.
Rick Kelley is a recent transplant to the Bay, having fled the brutal Minnesota winters for warmer climes. He spends his days at a Oakland workers’ rights nonprofit and his evenings probably playing moderately accurate renditions of Propagandhi songs with his awesome partner and their rescued pup, Bandit. He’s also currently active in organizing against Oakland’s “Let’s All Kill Some Chickens in Our Yards For Fun” proposal. He used to blog, and might do so again someday. The adorable chickens above were rescued by Animal Place and they’re not for eating, they’re for feeding grapes to! And hugging maybe if you’re lucky.
So I’m totally sick and tripping balls on NyQuil Walgreen’s Multi-Symptom Nighttime Cold & Flu Relief over here, but I can’t pass out till I tell you about this actual UK thing called “Wool Week.” Visitors to this highly anticipated annual event (which occurred last week so I’m a little behind JEEZ CUT ME SOME SLACK OKAY) got to view “art,” including “woolen ‘eggs’” (WTF is that supposed to be?) and a goddamned red carpet, made of wool, natch.
I don’t know about you guys, but I sure am glad Wool Week is “baa…ck.” Apparently, mulesing needed its own week of validation in addition to the millions of wool-producing sheep who endure this extremely painful procedure each year. Well, there you go, mulesing—and nasty-ass breeding practices, for good measure. Is all this suffering really worth the sweaters it produces? #synthetics4all
You guys, I was really lonely last weekend. Allen was out of town so I had no one to torment, my parents were out of town so I has no one to fight with, and I was too tired to do anything but sit around at home with the lights on and wait vigilantly for the ghosts to show up and eat me. I am happy to report that none did, although, honestly, I could have used the excitement. On Friday night I tried to latch-hook the Super Mario rug I was making, but threw it across the rom in a fit of pique when the yarn unraveled for the fifteenth hundred time.
You can see how lonely I was. So I decided to adopt a hamster. Look how smart they are. So smart they have to wear glasses. That’s the animal for me!
The first thing I did was text Allen to let him know that I was going to track down a hamster and name hear Jeanine (because that is a name I have always liked). Ten minutes later he texted back in his usual unsupportive style, advising me not to make any rash decisions because he was going to be home in two days. “Also,” Allen wrote, “everything will smell like hamster pee.” He was right. I have had many hamsters before and while I loved them all very much and cleaned their cages like it was my job I could not shake the feeling that I always smelled like a hamster cage full of urine. My brother and I got into a fight about it once, actually, when he was giving me a ride to work. “Bitch,” he said, “you smell like you’ve been fucking a hamster farm. Get a boyfriend.” We did not speak for a month after that and I had to take the bus everywhere. Recalling these fond memories made me realize that perhaps I was not ready to invite a hamster into my home just yet and would have to think long and hard before I went out and made such a commitment. Allen, probably sensing my despair, sent me another text message. “I have an idea,” he wrote, “why not just look at hamster videos on YouTube?” Allen can be so callous sometimes (this is a sign of psychopathy, by the way. I have been reading The Psychopath Test and am pretty sure Allen’s responses indicate that he is a psychopath fairly clearly), but I decided to look at animal videos anyway. Except I was doing it for a different reason. I wanted to convince myself that I could live without a companion animal at this point in my life. The first video I looked at completely convinced me. Or at least it convinced me that I do not want to mess with turtles. especially because, as a male, I am possessed of a pair of testicles, which apparently turtles have been known to bite the shit straight off. Can you even comprehend the pain of this poor dog? He just nudged a turtle away from him for whatever reason, and that evil monster decides to go straight for the nuts. I immediately felt a pit in my stomach, even though I generally wear clothes and have never had the desire or opportunity to let a turtle crawl around me while naked (I am about to fifteen comments extolling the joys of having a turtle crawl around one’s naked body, aren’t I?) I could not help but feel a certain kinship with the dog in this video and have decided that turtles are not for me. At least penguins are nice, right?
WRONG! Penguins will fuck your shit up! You think a penguin won’t come at you, bro? No, a penguin will bring it the fuck on. And he will bring it so hard that you will try to run backwards and fall and the penguin will waddle towards you as you are laying on your back, frozen in fear and covered in snow. That penguin will come right up to you and kick you straight in the crotch while maintaining unblinking eye contact. And then he will call his friend the ice turtle (may not be a real creature) and they will take turns kicking you in the crotch and biting your withered and frozen genitalia. Penguins, much like Honey Badgers, don’t give a shit. And they give even less of a shit when it’s some Russian douche trying to come at them. Why is it always the Russians, by the way? As a Russian I am concerned that whenever I see a video of an animal being all “Come at me, bro” the person coming at it is some Russian teenager/twenty-something. Get jobs, you guys! You’re making us look bad on the internet!
Dogs get in on the act, too. No longer content to just chill out, sleep and take walks, they’re demanding to be dressed up in eighties fashions and jump rope to set a world record. Sure, you could blame the lady who is having them jump around and dress up like they’re Tiffany on a coke bender, but i like to imagine her as a poor helpless person ganged up on by dogs who just want to have fun (like a young Helen hunt!); dogs that just live to jump rope to the pulsating beats and alluring vocals of Yaz and Men Without Hats. Dogs that can’t be stopped. Dogs that are “teen wolves” and “teen witches” who go to “private school” and are “pretty smart.” and one of them is in a gang called “Foxes” and “she’s out of control.” Top that!
That’s all for me this week. Send me links for next week and for god’s sakes if your name is Carol Ann, stay away from lights this Wednesday!
What comes to mind when you hear about Texas? Greedy republicans, oil industries, and humidity infused gigantic hair, probably. But my town is a bit different. Ahh, Austin. It’s a quirky wonderland of twenty-something hipsters with something (and nothing) to prove, baby boomer hippies who could recall Woodstock as if it were yesterday (and are happy to do so up request), and vegan hotspots that send you into a deep state of food coma-dom (speaking from past experience).
I’ve picked out the top 10 best vegan restaurants and cafes in the city. Big on flavor and even bigger in heart; these are “musts” for any visiting or resident vegan.
10. Vegan Yacht: How appropriate to start off with a food truck! Nestled in a food trailer park on the uber hip Eastside, Vegan Yacht is a great choice for vegans and omnivores alike. What to try: ‘Freeto’ burrito! Omg so good.
9. Sugar Tooth Bakery: Because even vegans have sugar cravings. What to try: Russian Caravan (almond cake).
8. The Parlor: Admittedly, on of the hardest parts about going vegan was giving up most all pizza. But the Parlor has brought my once favorite dish back to me! What to try: Build your own vegan pizza!
7. Wheatsville Food Coop: Okay, so this is actually a grocery store. But, I feel it absolutely must be on the list for it’s super awesome and relaxed community feel, and it’s top-notch deli in the back with really great vegan options. What to try: Vegan Saffron Pasta salad, Popcorn tofu. [Ed.: Speaking of THE AMAZING popcorn tofu, did you know that you don’t have to go all the way to Texas to get it?? That’s right, the recipe is available in this great vegan recipe zine that I just bought and that you can buy, too. Aren’t we all so lucky!? I wrote a little about it in my SF Weekly Week in Vegan column and now I will cut and paste that here because I’m the laziest. Since the entire state of Texas is on fire, that means the animals residents of Sunny Day Farms animal sanctuary in Le Coste, Texas are suffering. In response, awesome blogger Lazy Vegan Smurf and friends put together a great zine of delicious vegan recipes, with all proceeds going to Sunny Day Farms. I’ve been eating almost exclusively out of it for the past week and have gotten three compliments on my sweater today. Coincidence? Don’t answer that? Buy it so I don’t have to place a curse on your first-born.]
6. Beets Café: Self proclaimed “upscale raw-food dining experience”, without the pretension. What to try: ELT (eggplant, lettuce and tomato) sandwich
5. Gueros: Rumor has it that this taco bar is where Quentin Tarantino likes to dine when he’s in Austin, so obvi it needs to be on the list. And I suppose another reason is that they have a totally kick ass vegan menu. What to try: Soy Chorizo on a Corn Tortilla Chiquita.
4. Mr. Natural’s: A restaurant, bakery, juice bar and health food store all rolled into one. Here’s to efficiency! What to try: Tofu and Sunflower Seed Tamales
3. Mother’s Café & Garden: Just as the name suggests, the Mother’s experience basically feels like a gigantic hug from beginning to end. Comfort vegan food. Never leave hungry. Mmmm. What to try: Bueno Burger
2. G’Raj Mahal: A truly enchanting trailer park dining experience (yes, it IS possible), G’Rah Mahal is a charming Indian cuisine trailer that offers outstanding vegan options. What to try: Coconut Curry, Baingam Bartha. PS: It’s also BYOB if you’re feeling frisky.
1. Counter Culture: Yep, another food trailer. But it’d be unwise to underestimate the beauty in simplistic dining. This place is small but mighty, and bonus points for their creative vegan offerings. What to try: Philly Seitan Sandwich
Stephanie Nahas lives in Austin, TX (obviously), works in the social media industry by day, and writes for her blog/sews for her etsy biz by night! She also spends her time fighting for animal rights, vegan/vegetarian education, and googling REALLY important, high brow things like “were dinosaurs bored during the day?” She blogs at Veggie Stephie and tweets as @veggiestephie. This is her first post for Vegansaurus. Thanks, Stephanie! Popcorn tofu po’ boy photo from Yelp.
Book about holistic health for ladies wants to hear your story!
Courtney Pool and Sarah E. Brown are writing a book on holistic health for lesbian and bisexual women (and their fans!). We are fully supportive of this awesome endeavor and thought maybe some of our readers might be into helping make the book even more amazing! Because you’re all beautiful and special and the best and lesbians or friends to lesbians. If you’re not, get the fuck off this blog!
Now, I’ll let Sarah E. Brown take it away with the details:
One of the purposes of the book is to shed light on connections between sexuality and our relationship with food and health. Our book, which we are currently in the process of writing, will discuss how coming out being a woman who loves women (or other non-normative sexual orientation) relates to body image, gender identity, emotional eating, veganism, our relationship with eating in general, and other aspects of health, including spiritual health and relationships. Our goals are to help women empower themselves through awareness, self-inquiry, and learning self-acceptance. We also will highlight how plant-based diets can help promote self-kindness as well as kindness for animals and the planet.
We want to include stories, anecdotes, and insights from other women who love women on these topics. Below is a list of various subjects women have written about in relation to being a non-heterosexual woman:
Body image, eating disorders, emotional eating, eating issues around coming out, self-acceptance, etc.
Veganism and Sexual Orientation
Animal rights and LGBT rights and human rights
Sexual Orientation and Spiritual Health
Benefits since switching to a plant-based diet
Being vegan in a relationship (where just one of you are, or where both are)
These are just some ideas, but mostly anything along the lines of eating and sexuality as well as all levels of health (physical, emotional, mental, spiritual) and sexuality are within the scope of our work. We’re looking to keep each contribution under 300 words. We’d be happy to print your first name in the book, or, if you’d prefer, you can be completely anonymous. Thank you so much for your contributions! We hope to help a lot of people with our stories. Please email sarahbrown70 [at] gmail [dot] com to submit!
Guess what: Your brain loves animals! Duh, right, you read this blog. Or maybe you read this blog because you hate plants with such a vengeance you want to spend all your food-time destroying them. Even YOUR brain loves animals, because scientists recently discovered that everyone’s brains have a thing for them. At least this one specific part of everyone’s brains.
Turns out your right amygdala (which is an almond-shaped bundle of nerves deep in your brain that helps with processing emotions and survival-y stuff) is full-on hypersensitive to animals. Cute animals, scary animals, doesn’t matter: Show those neurons a picture of a house or landscape or whatever, and they’re like, “Yawn;” Show them a picture of your mom, or your best friend, or even the hottest person EVER, and they’re still like, “Uh-huh;” but show them a turtle or a llama or a newt? ZING! They respond 20 percent faster and more often.
The researchers who discovered this give credit to a little theory they like to call “evolution.” Ars Technica breaks it down like this: “Sometime during the evolutionary history of humans, animals became important enough to receive expedited processing in this region of the brain.”
Moral of the story: Pay attention to animals. Your amygdala is begging you to.
On Aug. 31, I participated in a Patxi’s pizza, beer, and wine pairing. Let me tell you, I love pizza and beer! I love pizza and wine! I especially love those things for free.
The whole event was what I imagined being on an episode of Check, Please! must feel like—as in, the intense conversations about food and beverages at restaurants. When I was broke, lonely and up too late, living in Chicago, I watched that show all the time. Then, the first time I went to Patxi’s, what do they happen to be filming? Check, Please! Bay Area! You can see my cameo on my favorite show here, at the 1:21 mark. Yes, I am stuffing my face—but with a fork! I don’t know what possessed me to pick up a fork to eat pizza; that never happens, even if it is the instant mess known as Chicago-style. On that fateful night in July, I had a Daiya cheese, spinach, and mushroom-stuffed pizza with Sierra Nevadas. Fullness and contentment to the max!
The second time I went to Patxi’s, it was to take part in these pairings. Also in attendance were Raj Irukulla and Meredith Arthur of Chow, Amy Sherman of Cooking with Amy, Personal Sommelier Courtney Chochran and Laiko Bahrs of Patxi’s Pizza and coordinator of the night. I went in all, “I like pizza and beer, yum,” and very quickly felt like a college freshman in a class with seniors. However, I faced my intimidation and ate, drank, even offered some insight (very much to the tune of “pizza, wine, beer, YUM!”).
First vegan pizza! Thin crust with Daiya and tomatoes.
Second vegan pizza! Chicago-style deep dish with Daiya, olives, artichoke hearts, spinach, red bell peppers, mushrooms, garlic, and red onions.
The wines we drank included zinfandel, cabernet sauvingnon, pinot noir, and sauvignon blanc. The beers included Widmer hefeweizen, Sweetgrass APA, New Dogtown pale ale, and Bud Light.
I concluded that:
Pinot noir doesn’t go with pizza or me
Zinfandel and cabernet are so very tasty, but too strong for pizza
Sauvignon blanc pairs incredibly with spinach salad
Sweetgrass APA tastes very similar to Sierra Nevada, is therefore delicious and now my new favorite beer. That means it goes with all foods, all occasions
Hefenweizen and pale ales are not my thing and do not go with anything, ever, not even lemons (Sierra Nevada doesn’t count, as it’s darker than a typical Pale Ale)
And, now, I know you are going to think I’m crazy, but Bud Light goes really well with Chicago-style pizza. The entire table agreed! (We also had sampled all of the libations and eaten a lot at the point that the Bud Light was served). Its lightness compliments the flavors of the pizza and doesn’t weigh one down as much as a fuller-bodied/calorie-dense beer.
I learned that I like light beer with pizza. Plus I can totally pack more pizza in my stomach that way. Although, if someone else is buying, I’ll drink whatever is in front of me and it will be just fine!
Laiko emailed the group’s (vegan-relevant) conclusions:
Zinfandel was great with the extra-thin-crust pizzas
Sauvignon blanc was a nice pairing with cheese or Daiya extra-thin-crust pizzas, light on toppings
Cabernets and pinots competed with the tomato sauce and deep-dish flavors
Beer paired well with spicier pizza
Turns out Bud Light is great with deep-dish with lots of toppings
What do you guys think? What are your favorite adult beverages to pair with pizza?
Perfection! Pizza, wine, and a loose crayon. My pizza fell face flat on my plate as it was being served, but I was all “No problem here!”
Look what I made! It’s oyster mushrooms, growing out of a box, and heading straight for my belly!
The box, as you may or may not be able to tell from my crappy, grainy photo (sorry) is a kit from Back to the Roots. The kit is pretty rad and makes growing fungus on top of your refrigerator a miraculous joy instead of just a gross accident, like it normally would be.
The whole thing started right at U.C. Berkeley in 2009, when a pair of students figured out they could become rich and famous by selling people kits to grow mushrooms on coffee grounds.
I first encountered these kits in an earlier iteration for sale at Berkeley Hort in mid-2010. I bought one for my man for his birthday, but you had to collect your own coffee grounds and we only drink a little coffee, so that took forever. By the time we had enough, the mushroom spore/coffee mixture had molded; it was a messy disaster.
Fast-forward to this year’s VegFest Colorado in Boulder, which I will remind you is 1,250 miles from Berkeley. Lo and behold, there was a Back to the Roots booth! This stuff had gone global (or at least regional)! I told the lady at the table about my sad, gloppy failure, and she was totally puzzled. See, now the kits come pre-loaded with coffee grounds (they come from Peet’s), and is much fancier and easier. She gave me a free one so I could try again and write this review.
Well, VegFest lady, it took me forever but I have tried, and I have conquered, and I say to the pink dinosaur-loving masses, go grow thee some mushrooms!
Step 1 involves slitting open the bag of mushroom spores (white) and coffee grounds (black) and soaking them in water for 24 hours. The water turned all dark like coffee; it was kind of gross, but not really that bad.
Next, you put the bag back in the box, put the box in a spot with indirect light, and keep the whole thing moist by misting it twice a day. For nearly a week, it looked like NOTHING was happening. Then BAM, it was like super-speed.
See all those little shroomies poking out on the right of the opening? I’d leave for a few hours, and when I came back, they would be noticeably bigger. Every time! It was like The Peanut Butter Solution. SO COOL!
I harvested a batch and they were tasty. I’m going to see if more grow, then I’m going to flip the kit over and open the other side and do it again. I’ll update if there’s more news. Home-grown mushrooms. Love ‘em.
NYC may get a vegan grocery store! Help make it a reality!
As you may have heard, New York City is mighty close to having its very own vegan convenience store. The brainchild of Eric Hopf, Vegan Bodega is currently in its early stages of development, with an IndieGoGo page up for community fundraising and awareness. Vegan Bodega plans to carry everything a vegan could need—healthy food items, vegan junk food, household products, vegan condoms, baby food, beer—imagine not having to read a label! Finally, a real one-stop-shopping experience right here in the Big Apple.
I talked to Eric about the project and how we can help bring it to life!
Vegansaurus: Tell us about Vegan Bodega. What inspired the idea? Eric Hopf: Like many other vegans, I traveled to the Pacific Northwest with my partner Gita and we saw Food Fight Grocery and Sidecar For Pigs Peace. I remember thinking, “This is fantastic, we should have something like this in NYC.” Once I returned home, I went back to working in photography and didn’t think about it again until a year ago. The arrival of my daughter was close at hand and I was well overdue for a visit to Orlando, Fla., to see my family; I went down for a long weekend, and that was where the idea came from, that this all-vegan convenience store could be something real. There is a small shop near downtown Orlando that I happened upon [called] Artichoke Red, it’s all-vegan and it’s succeeding. The owner was nice enough to talk with me and answer some of my questions. Again I asked myself: Why doesn’t New York City have something like this? Once I arrived home I started thinking about an all-vegan grocery store and shared my idea with Gita. It was going to be a huge undertaking and very expensive. We scaled back the concept. The name came naturally, as there is nowhere in NYC I can think of without a corner store or “bodega,” as we have all become used to calling them. So the inspiration came partially from other business and from my family who support this dream.
How long have you been vegan? Is your family vegan as well? Actually I don’t keep track of the length of time, but I know I have been vegan for at least six years now, and both Gita and our daughter are vegan.
Tell us about your IndieGoGo project. After seeing a few vegan projects make their goals on IndieGoGo and Kickstarter, we thought that it would be an excellent way to raise a portion of the funds we need for opening the business. Crowd-sourcing would also get the vegan community involved with launching a store that so many have told us they have been wishing for. Our goal is to raise $15,000, but we are less than a week and a half from the deadline and are only around 23 percent of the way there. Any contribution is helpful and we are very thankful for anything we get. There are a variety of incentives for donations of $5 and up. The money will be used to secure the location, buy used shelves, a commercial freezer and fridge, the computer setup for handling sales/inventory, and some stock for the soft opening. The store will have a slicer and deli display, but we may need to introduce those after the opening.
Where do you think Vegan Bodega will be located? We are going to open in Manhattan, most likely on the Lower East Side, as we really like the feel there, [and it’s] close to other vegan spots and lots of public transportation. We are willing to reconsider the location if we find a fantastic space.
What products and/or services will you offer at Vegan Bodega? Will you deliver? What about online ordering? The plan for Vegan Bodega is to carry a broad spectrum of products, from healthy items to vegan junk food. [We want] to support other local vegan businesses by offering them a space to sell their goods, a focused vegan and vegetarian customer base, and a chance to connect with customers by doing in-store samplings. We are also contacting Community-Supported Agriculture farmers about being a drop-off point. Delivery is something we are looking into and how best we can offer it. Online ordering may be offered in the future, but it is dependent on the demand for it.
What is your planned opening date, and are you organizing an event for the big day? We do not have one set yet. Currently our focus is on securing a space and locking down all the funding we need. In the meantime, you may soon find us at a weekend food market, as a prelude to what will be available in the store, but that has yet to be finalized. We intend to do a soft opening and get settled in, then have a grand opening party that will also double as a fundraiser for a to-be-determined animal welfare group. Vegan Bodega would also like to support different nonprofits by allocating a portion of the sales once a month.
We’re pretty excited about this project! If you want to help Vegan Bodega reach their fundraising goal, you only have FOUR MORE DAYS to pitch in at their IndieGoGo page. If you don’t have cash to spare, spread the word and show your love by contacting the Vegan Bodega family. The anticipation is killing us!
SF Bay Area: Protest horse racing, because it's disgusting!
Local activists are protesting Golden Gate Fields in Berkeley/Albany this Saturday, Sept. 17, from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. and you should be there because horses are fresh. Seriously, they have TAILS and MANES. They just want to munch on grass, be sweet and serene, run in packs, and sometimes talk! So amazing!
One of the organizers says:
They’ve been around since 1941. Official stats from the state regulatory board show that 176 horses have died at Golden Gate Fields from exhaustion and injury over the past 3 years alone. They recently brought in Off the Grid food trucks on Saturdays in an effort to draw in more people who otherwise might not come to a horse race.
RSVP on Facebook and go educate the horse-race-attending public! In lots of cases, they just don’t know what happens to the horses. No, seriously. Going to these kinds of events isn’t the worst, and is a good way to practice speaking up for the animals. There is strength in numbers, and afterwards you can go to Cinnaholic and eat cinnamon rolls and feel very accomplished and fat. Which, trust me, are the best two things a person could feel.
When Emily of PureFit sent me free samples of some of their nutrition bars, OF COURSE I ate them all. I love food, doy! But although the bars are nutritious and taste all right, I don’t know if they qualify as food. Every flavor I received has the word “crunch” in the title—Granola Crunch, Peanut Butter Crunch, Almond Crunch, and Berry Almond Crunch—but I was disappointed to learn that they were not, in fact, that crunchy. They reminded me of PowerBar's old formula, which had gone out of style by the time I was in high school.
Although I was bored by the blandness and disturbing, flesh-colored appearance of the Almond and Peanut Butter, I very much enjoyed the other two flavors. I love finding dried berries in things, so Berry Almond Crunch had added sweetness and texture. The winner, however, was Granola Crunch.
I realize this review is starting to sound like a late-20th-century flashback, but this bar tasted like Quaker Chewy Granola Bars, upon which I have fond memories of chowing down after a heartbreakinglazy grueling game of Little League Soccer.
Regarding nutrition, the main advantage PureFit bars have over my personal favorite, Clif Builders, is gluten-freedom. Also, while Larabar and the like might taste a bit more similar to food, PureFit offers a heck of a lot more protein. So, celiacs and PowerBar-lovers who want to bulk up, look out for these!
Seriously, do it! A bunch of brave souls/fitness freaks are riding their bikes for the animals and all the money raised to sponsor them goes to the three amazing animal sanctuaries they’re riding through. It’s a nifty idea, and I like it! Since bike-riding terrifies both my face (my beautiful face!) and my laziness, I will not be there in person, but I will be there in pocketbook! That is, as soon as I get paid. When that happens, I am donating a large percentage of my paycheck to the ride. When you see how much I’ve given, you will once and for all understand exactly how fucking poor I am and then maybe, just maybe, you will buy me these FOR THE LOVE OF GOD DON’T MAKE PEOPLE STARE AT MY FEET IN FLIP FLOPS ANY LONGER. Honestly, it’s another form of animal abuse if you choose to ignore me.
Now, I will let the good people of Ride to the Light properly explain how to get involved as that’s what I do these days. Trust me, it’s better than hearing my explanation which would most likely be: CHICKENS! BIKES! PIGS! MONEY! HELPING! TOGETHER! COWS!
We’re doing the route in reverse this year—leaving from Lighthouse Farm Sanctuary in Scio and riding to Out to Pasture in Estacada, then on to Portland for a cookout at Josh and Michelle Hooten’s house [Ed.: !!!!!!]. It’s gonna be great!
Come along for the ride or make a donation and help us reach (or even better, exceed) our goal of $15,000 for these three very worthy causes.
You guys, Allen is going out of town this week which means that I have to sleep in our apartment all by myself. We’ve lived here for over a year and we both love it, but I cannot help my irrational fear that ghosts will find and eat me as I am sleeping. Anyone else have this kind of anxiety? I end up leaving all the lights on because for some reason I believe that ghosts only eat people in the dark, but then Allen comes home and lectures me about the light bill and power consumption and poor children who do not have the luxury of keeping lights on in order to remain undigested by malevolent spirits.
This brings me to another point about scary things. Last week I posted a clip of a horse doing a Dorothy Hamill and got soundly talked-to in the comments (I read all the comments!). Generally, I do not respond well to these types of things but in this case I really had no idea that it was not only unhealthy but sometimes fatal for horses to do aerial acrobatics, and that isn’t cool. However, once I saw the horse I wanted to see other animals performing amazing feats of grace and flexibility, so I looked for videos in which the animals did not look like they were getting hurt. That’s when I found this cat. Oh my god, what is that? It is climbing up the wall! Then it is just hanging there like it’s no big deal. Who does that? And I am certain the cat is fine, because cats climb shit all the time (trees, scratching posts, your back). I just haven’t seen a cat climb a wall before. To be honest, I would also do anything for a laser pointer. Remember how cool those were in eighth grade? Man, I still regret not purchasing one for grad school and then pointing at random stuff on the screen and looking super-professional. I want a do-over. Not the papers and the classes, just the opportunity to point at stuff and act professorial!
We move on now to an animal that I do not believe I have ever featured here on WTF Wednesday: the amazing Epic Frog! Observe as the frog jumps, jumps, and jumps again. Thrill as the frog falls, and pulls back up! Watch the frog escape vicious predators! Gasp as it performs death-defying feats of froggery! I bet ghosts wouldn’t even try to eat this frog; they’d be too fucking awestruck by its powers!
You know what else would stop ghosts from eating you? A giant inflatable fish that swims through the air to the delight of children and Mark! I can’t even get over how cool these things are. I was never into RC cars or planes when I was a kid, but a radio-controlled flying shark that I can send down hallways and sic on Allen while he is in the bathroom? Priceless! And just think, here I am in the dark, pretzeled into a protective symbol, trying to get to sleep when the ghosts show up. “Aaaaauuuughhhhhhhooo, Mark! we are here to eeeeaaat yooouuu!” they cry, because I imagine ghosts are lacking in both tact and subtlety. “Not a chance, evil spirits!” I cry. Then I hastily release my air shark from its hiding place and it chases the ghosts back to the living room, leaving me both protected and entertained by its antics. Then I get a good night’s sleep!
That’s all for this week! Send me links for next week and have a ghost-free Wednesday!