Fourth, the New Jersey legislature is again working to ban gestation crates, and our bill to do just that unanimously passed out of committee yesterday.
Fifth, Kathy Freston’s petition asking McDonald’s to add a veggie burger is making headlines, including in the Wall Street Journal.
Finally, Fox News did a great story on the future of animal product alternatives. In fact, meat reduction efforts in Sweden are so effective that desperate meat industry reps have taken to passing out free burgers to kids outside of schools!
Could the cheesesteak capitol adopt Meatless Monday?! I say YES! I mean, my dad has been doing Meatless Mondays for a few years and he’s as red-meat-and-potatoes as they get. But he also cares about the environment! And he loves the Meatless Monday Unicorn, so he was happy to get on the Meatless Monday train. If he can do it, I’m sure a bunch of cool kids can do it! And everyone knows all kids from Philadelphia are cool. It’s a science fact.
I got an email from my new pal Lou, one of the people behind the effort, and she provided a little background for us:
The Humane League needs your help in getting the School District of Philadelphia to adopt Meatless Mondays! Many school districts across the country, including Los Angeles Unified School District, Detroit Public Schools, and San Diego Unified School District, already participate in the program. Philadelphia’s school district is the eighth largest in the U.S., so their participation would mean a LOT less meat being served. Unfortunately they keep pushing us off, saying they’re in the middle of contract negotiations, so we’re garnering support from Philadelphia residents, teachers, parents, and students to help get them on board. If you fall into one (or more) of those categories, please visit www.PhillyMeatlessMonday.com to learn more and sign the petition—then help spread the word!
So if you fall into one of the categories mentioned and want to help, all you have to do is go to their homepage and sign the petition! Easier than getting shwasted on the citywide special at Bob and Barbara’s.
If you need more convincing, here’s a little vid about it too:
Source, one of our favorite restaurants in San Francisco, has opened up a mini version of their eatery in Berkeley! Obviously it’s incredibly delicious and you should eat there immediately.
It’s at 1511 Shattuck Ave (between Cedar St & Vine St) and according to Yelp, it has no hours. JK, it has hours, they’re just not up on Yelp and we have no clue what they are. Probably best to just assume it’s open normal-ish hours or call ahead at (510) 849-0000 to find out! Go go go! And report back!
You heard it here last! NYC Vegan Drinks is tonight. Myself and my pal Grand Format will be spinning the best in adult contemporary all night long. There will also be yummy food and the proceeds from the night will go to Sea Shepherd! So you best come.
It’s the time of year again, my friends. Time to hang out in a parking lot in LA (classy times), drink beer and eat all the vegan food you can possibly fit into the stomach that you’ve been training all year for this event. (Wait, am I the only one that does that?)
The big day is May 17th and If you live in LA, there’s NO EXCUSE for you not to come. If you don’t live in LA (first off, I’m sorry), this is the reason you’ve always needed to visit! Internet meet-ups galore! You can finally meet those people you’ve been “liking” on Instagram and “favoriting” on Twitter. Don’t be creepy and anti-social, just DO IT!
You know Quarry Girl? Ever heard of the infamous LA night club, The Roxy (owned by Nic Adler)? Drank or chowed down at Tony’s Darts Away in Burbank? These are the glorious sponsors of this even more glorious event.
Still need a reason to buy a ticket!?!? (Geez, you’re needy.)
Last year I put in a lot of eating time at the Kind Kreme tent (I blame the fact that I was in black denim in 90 degree heat), got some crazy good chocolate croissants from LA Vegan Crepe, jackfruit tacos from the Seabird’s truck…I could go on, but I might embarrass myself by being a heavyweight champion in eating. People, I don’t even drink beer and I had a helluva good time.
In all seriousness, I met some of the raddest people at last year’s event, who I now consider to be great friends. I can partially blame them for my moving to LA (btw, can you chip in retroactively for my moving fund? kthx). One of my favorite things about being vegan is our community, so come out and be part of it!
Magic Curry Pastes, by Magic Curry Kart, are vegan and naturally gluten-free Thai pastes available in the San Francisco Bay Area. They recently asked me if I wanted to review their pastes, which I very much did, and I was impressed! The pastes, when mixed with coconut milk, are comparable to a curry sauce from your favorite Thai restaurant! This is fantastic news; now we can get delicious restaurant-style food for a fraction of the cost and no delivery fees! You, know the important things in life.
I made three different entrees, each featuring a different paste, which I will now show off to you.
First I made a vegetable stir-fry with fried tofu, using the Mellow Yellow curry paste. It was delicious! I followed the instructions on the jar for making the sauce, and used a 14 ounce can of coconut milk mixed with two tablespoons of paste. I did find myself adding a little salt and pepper, though it’s nice that the pre-made sauce does not come too salty for those sensitive to sodium. The description does not lie, the yellow paste was definitely the mellowest of the three! My favorite aspect of this paste was the fresh ginger taste. If stir-fry isn’t your thing, the Magic Pumpkin Curry soup recipe on their website looks phenom!
Next up I used the spicy red curry paste and tried to get all Zante’s by making a pizza with it! I was pleased with the results, but in the future, if i’m going to try and make a gluten-free pizza, I’m nixing the idea of making a crust from scratch and going with my tried-and-true Vicolo’s pre-made crust. (Gluten-free or regular, it’s the best pre-made pizza crust around!) I liked the spiciness of this particular paste; it had a bit of a kick, so if spicy curry is your thing I definitely recommend the Fresh Red Thai paste. Again, to make the sauce I mixed a 14 ounce can of coconut milk with two tablespoons of paste.
The third dish I made, using the Fresh Green Thai paste, was a stir-fry featuring vegan “shrimp”. This was my favorite paste for a variety of reasons! First, I nixed the instructions and made the curry sauce with 3/4 of a can of coconut milk and 3/4 of a jar of paste. (You can use the remainder of the coconut milk to make ganache. No waste around here!) Vegan shrimp is also one of the loves of my life, so I’m sure that had something to do with this particular paste being my favorite. I am a fan of spicy and tangy foods, and so the green curry had it all for me.
My verdict is that these pastes are awesome! They are so easy to use, and you can experiment with the flavor of the sauces to your unique palate by adjusting the coconut to paste ratio. As of right now they are only available in the Bay Area (I always see them at Whole Foods, four ounces for about $6.00, or you can get them wholesale through BFF) and must be refrigerated. May I suggest you pick some up today so you can continue to quantity-watch your favorite Netflix series, with restaurant-style curry sans delivery fee at home? I am a fan of that luxurious life! Don’t forget to check out the Magic Curry Kart website for creative recipes, updates, and backstory!
Wouldn't it be cool if some vegans got married at the Grammys last night? Hey wait, these two did!
Are you crying yet? Christine (left) kissing her new wife, Patricia. Lady in the foreground wearing fur, is clearly unaware of how uncool that is. (Photo from Getty Images)
For those of you who didn’t watch the Grammys last night, SPOILER ALERT: there was a pretty epic, mass marriage ceremony officiated by Queen Latifah during Macklemoore’s, “Same Love.” It’s no shocker that I cried through it; In fact, I cried while I wrote this article. As Eve Ensler says, “I’m an emotional creature!!”
What’s this got to do with vegans, you ask? GREAT question!
While perusing Grammy pics on Instagram, I stumbled across a picture of Christine and Patricia Garcia. Not only did this beautiful couple get married in the Grammy wedding, they are also vegan! I used my best lurking skills and asked them for an interview. They happily agreed! So I spoke with the couple and got all the details for you:
Christine’s sister Stacey is friends with the casting director of the show, so she is responsible for their incredible opportunity (sister of the year award!!). Apparently, despite them asking about it ahead of time, there was NOTHING vegan on the buffet between the rehearsal and the actual show (WTH, Hollywood!?), so someone brought them avo/cucumber rolls from Katsuya. Sweet! And thankfully, there were some tasty vegan options at the after party! Woot!
Christine and Patricia have been together for almost 6 years, and went vegan 2 1/2 years ago (it’s like the old saying goes, “the couple who goes vegan together, gets married by rap legends on the Grammys” *). A talk by Hilda Gonzalez Burdugo and reading Skinny Bitch prompted their decision. Patricia went first and it only took Christine one day to follow suit. They didn’t know any other vegans, so they figured things out on their own before connecting with the community. Now they’re active members of Expand Animal Rights Now, where they foster animals, do outreach to middle schoolers in low-income areas, and are helping to develop vegan recipes designed to feed a family of four for $20 or less. In addition to all this, Patricia is in remission for cancer, something they walked through together. These two women are awesome in so many ways!!!
They haven’t planned a honeymoon yet, but I made sure to suggest staying at the Wynn in Las Vegas (someone please take me there, and pay for room service!).
Major congratulations to you, Christine and Patricia!!!! May your marriage be filled with many a vegan cupcake and animal rights protests!
Maimonides Of Brooklyn serves the vegan deliciousness
I went to Maimonides of Brooklyn for brunch yesterday with my fave vegan couple. It was the second time I’d been there and reminded me I never posted about the first time I went! With the same couple, but for dinner. M.O.B.’s, as they call it, is pretty freaking awesome. It’s a vegan spot on Atlantic right by Barclays. I haven’t had the signature dish, some sort of pizza/flatbread shaped like the Brooklyn bridge, but everything I have had has been delicious. Above you can see the eggplant biscuit sandwich I had yesterday. The eggplant was smoked and didn’t taste very eggplant-y, which scores points in my book! It kind of tasted like bacon without the death. And I love the aioli on this! Oh and the biscuit itself—oh the biscuit itself! In a modified word, the biscuit sandwich is super-terrific.
Now, here are the pics from my dinner there many moons ago! I don’t remember a ton of specifics but I remember I liked everything. And dang, these pics came out well! If I do say so myself.
Yummy nugget things (the mustard that comes with these does have honey, so ask for mustard without honey—they are happy to oblige):
Tri-color cauliflower! So good and so pretty! The aioli on this was the jam:
The veggie burger gets an A++!:
Below is the mac and cheese with artichokes. I remember I liked it but it was slightly odd. I prefer the veggie burger. But who am I kidding, I’d totally get this again!
And for dessert, chocolate hazelnut torte! Very rich and creamy:
The place is not big and you do have to sit at communal tables but I’ve never had to talk to strangers (heaven forbid!); It was still like I was just there with the people I came with. Maybe because the tables are so roomy. Honestly I’m not one for communal seating but it doesn’t bother me here.
For some weird reason this place doesn’t seem to be well-known. I have no idea why—it’s great! The food is delicious and the atmosphere is fun and positive. I love it.
Coincidentally, my cousin, the famous philosophy expert, just released a podcast on Maimonides, the philosopher for which the restaurant is named. Time for some learning!
The first Sunday of January, I had the honor of being invited to and attending a Greenhouse Brunch in Berkeley, hosted by Kyle and Ashley Knies of From the Garden. It was incredible! The food was divine, the atmosphere was lovely, the company was fun, and the presentation of everything, from the table settings to the food to the greenhouse itself was just spectacular. Believe me when I say I could go on and on and on, so let’s just cut to the chase and get to the visual part of the presentation. Thank goodness for the phenomenal natural lighting (photography is not my forte); everything tasted even more delectable than it looks!
The brunches take place in Ashley and Kyle’s beautiful greenhouse in Berkeley. Every detail is catered to—just look at this gorgeous table setting! Coffee and tea are available before the courses are served, as well as throughout the meal.
Greenhouse Mary with sake and a breakfast biscuit sandwich! Non-alcoholic cocktails are available upon pre-arranged request.
The very first course was a Greenhouse Mary, made with sake, fresh celery juice, parsley, black pepper and sage. Ashley explained that the intent (besides being super tasty) of serving it first was to wake up our palates! I DO NOT LIKE Bloody Mary’s, and before you tell me I just haven’t had the right one, please rest assured that I’ve had them all. I’m team Mimosa over here and I couldn’t be happier about it. However, there’s a new brunch drink in town, so thank you Ashely and Kyle, my Sunday breakfast beverage preference isn’t quite so cut and dry anymore.
The next course was a biscuit breakfast sandwich, featuring a flaky roasted garlic biscuit (best I’ve ever had), yuba “bacon”, grilled onions and fuerte avocado. Brunch was off to a fantastic start!
Grilled jerk tofu over a variety of greens, baby carrots and beets and a blood orange mimosa.
Next up we had a bergamot-lavender soda, which I unfortunately did not take a get a picture of. It was nice to have refreshment course between meal courses, to talk and digest a little bit. Truth be told, I did scurry off to Santa Cruz on a whim the night before, and then walked about a trillion steps before 11:30 am, so I mostly just listened and digested. We were then served a flavorful second course salad with radicchio baby roots, carrots, beets and spicy grilled jerk tofu. The spiciness of the tofu paired excellently with the bitterness radicchio and sweetness of the baby carrots and beets. Kyle and Ashley brought out an additional habanero sauce, but I did not find myself needing to take part in that kind of additional spice. The third refreshment course consisted of a blood orange and tangerine mimosa! I’ve already told you how I feel about mimosas, and this one was no exception (PHENOMENAL) so without further ado, let’s move on to the main course and dessert!
This is everything.
The final savory course consisted of mac’n cheez, steamed purple kale and smokey, black-eyed peas topped with celery root. I love to scarf down my food as quickly as possible (a very attractive trait), but I ate painstakingly slow as to savor every single bite. Somehow I still managed to finished before everyone else. I overheard Ashely telling a brunch companion that the mac’n cheese recipe could be found on their blog, so I pulled that baby up as soon as I got home. After the brunch, Kyle told me that he made black-eyed peas for this occasion to bring good luck to the new year, which was another detail of the meal I very much admired!
The final frontier.
By the time dessert came out, I was stuffed. However, there’s always room for dessert, isn’t there? We were served a peanut butter pie with banana ice cream, peanut butter brittle and chocolate ganache. Kyle and Ashley are flavor and texture geniuses. There are no words, my mind was blown.
Now that we’ve gone over the January 5th brunch, I’m sure you’re wondering how you can get in on this action. Kyle and Ashley present their Greenhouse Brunch (I heard in summer they have dinners!) once a month, and you have to RSVP by email for a space and payment information (they ask for a $40 donation). You can follow their blog, Facebook, and Twitter for up-to-date information about these gatherings, and also know that they are available for catering and personal chef needs within the San Francisco Bay Area! Kyle and Ashley are so talented, and such incredible people, I just cannot wait to see where From the Garden takes them. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: keep your eye on this powerhouse couple!
It’s Paul Shapiro’s Animal News You Can Use! Yay, Paul! Yay, animals!
What does the most populous bird on the planet have in common with the extinct dodo bird? Check out my latest piece.
I was also honored to be a guest on the Kojo Nnamdi Show (DC NPR station) this week discussing the treatment of farm animals. Nothing I said on there compares, though, to Jon Stewart’s incredible demolition of the pork industry on The Daily Show.
Perhaps it’s coverage like this that’s leading so many people to cut back on meat consumption. In fact, BBC News has a great piece this week entitled, “The rise of the part-time vegans.”
In the same vein, the San Diego Union Tribune has a major feature on the success of the school district’s Meatless Monday program. And speaking of Meatless Monday, teen celeb Laura Marano is the latest to join HSUS’s campaign!
Paul Shapiro Vice President, Farm Animal Protection The Humane Society of the United States
P.S. Video of the week: It’s not only pigs who love mud—check this pit bull out!
Field Roast vegan sausages and burgers on the menu at the SuperBowl!
You heard me! MetLife stadium is selling Field Roast sausages and burgers at the SuperBowl this year! Wait, they have burgers?! I didn’t know! But according to their FB, their burgers are on limited release at a few stadiums. I’m pretty happy with the sausages though so I’m not even mad. But that’s so awesome! Way better than some dinky vegan hot dog people will laugh at. Even omnivores like Field Roast when they try it! So it will be a good vegan food rep. Those apple sage sausages, right?!
The company is from Seattle so obvi they are repping hardcore for the Sea Hawks, as you can see above. They also did a bunch of Superbowl-inspired recipes you can check out on their site.
Vegan Florida in the house!: Ozona Pizza has an extensive vegan menu!
We got a tip about this pizza place Ozona in Florida and it sounds too exciting not to post! I’ve never been, but should I find myself in Florida, I know I will be here. Vegan ranch dressing forever!
From tipster Amanda S:
Ozona pizza in Florida has so many vegan pizza options using daiya cheeses, beyond meat chicken, beyond meat beef crumbles, organic tempeh, and homemade vegan ranch dressing, and awesome vegan garlic knots and gluten-free vegan options.
I want to get on that train! Here’s a snippet from their vegan menu:
It’s been awhile since I posted to my how-to series and I’m back, baby! One of the things I’ve been intimidated to do over the years is roast my peppers. Now, I know some of you are like, “I started roasting my vegetables right after I turned on an oven for the first time”, but one of things I like about this blog is that there is a little something here for everyone, from beginners to the most advanced lifestyle vegans! So let’s get this show on the road, because the Super Bowl is coming up and that means SNACKS GALORE! You can add roasted bell peppers to hummus, or even to liven up a marinara sauce. With spicy peppers, you’ve got chile rellenos or a salsa—done and done! Yeah, I totally snack like it’s Super Bowl Sunday every day of the year.
Ingredients: Pepper(s) to roast Cooking spray or vegetable oil
Instructions: Preheat oven to 425F*. Wash and dry off whole peppers, leaving stems intact. Grease a baking dish, or cookie sheet (one preferably with edges that come up) add peppers, and lightly coat with spray or oil. Stick them in the oven, and wait for them to char! Seriously — this is the part that always makes me think I’m doing the whole roasting thing wrong because I am intentionally burning my food. And then because my fire alarm is ultra sensitive, I always need a pillow handy to wave the smoke away, so you may want to grab one as well.
For me, the roasting process usually takes about 45 - 60 minutes. I check on my peppers a lot, and I turn the peppers in the dish (with tongs or a fork) about every 15 minutes, so that each side gets blackened. Be careful because as the peppers release water, it can spatter with the oil in the oven and onto your arm.
The first 15 minute turnover of my lone red bell pepper.
Once all the sides of your pepper are nicely charred, pull your peppers out of the oven and let them cool. I like to remove them from the baking dish as soon as they come out of the oven and onto a plate, but it’s not completely necessary.
Finished and cooling down!
Wait for them to cool down enough to handle, remove skin and stem and seeds. Sometimes people will cover their peppers to allow them to steam, which makes the skins easier to remove. I don’t bother. My friend Andrea wears gloves when she deseeds spicy peppers—it is a great tip because if you touch your face or your eyes without scrubbing your hands down, it will be tear inducing.
Alright, let’s do this—I want a chile relleno casserole or enchiladas stuffed with fresh roasted jalapeños for dinner! Please, can you bring it over? THANKS!
*I keep my oven temperature lowish for roasting because my oven gets very smokey and I feel like there is more leeway for me when it comes to the difference between gently charring my peppers and burning them to an unidentifiable crisp. You can definitely go up experiment here and go up to 450, even 475 degrees, just keep a closer eye on your peppers. There are a few different methods out there, including grilling, broiling and roasting peppers over the flame of a gas stove, but for me the baking method has proven tried and true, even if it takes a little bit longer. Plus, isn’t the broiler for storing pots and pans? I kid, I kid (nope, I’m not).
You guys, I must admit that I was pretty nervous about how this might go. (Angry vegans scare me, and we’re on the same team!) I was SO pleasantly surprised by how it all went down.
We don’t know the exact number of vegans there are in the US, but it’s between 1-3%. We do know (according to research that Matt quoted) that 75% of vegetarians go back to eating meat (and are vegetarian for an average of 5 years). HOLY VEGAN MOLE, THAT’S A LOT!
Matt & Sayward were interested in exploring this topic because they feel it’s important to the vegan community to know why people stop being vegan. “Those people” (insert “anti-dentite" reference here) try being vegan, then go out into the world and talk about their experience, and why they aren’t anymore (jerks! j/k). Not the best PR for our community.
There was so much said, I hope I don’t leave anything out!
Sayward explained how she almost became an ex-vegan due to serious health issues, including lack of protein (*gasp* vegan faux pas!), and low cholesterol. She was really sick for several years, yet persevered and didn’t take the easy way out by eating the eggs in her backyard (from the rescued hens she had). This process might have deterred less passionate (or as she described herself, “stubborn”) vegans. She finally found a naturopath and got better.
Matt posed the question,”Do you know how bad cars are for the environment? Knowing that information, why did you drive here today?” He had actually ridden his bike to Pasadena from LA (show off), so it really put things in perspective. Sometimes when people have all the information about being vegan, they still make choices in opposition to it because it’s easier! And sometimes we forget that the changes we had to make at first, and all the things we think are second nature today, were challenging. I was vegetarian for 16 years before I could give up “my beloved cheese” (GRODYTOWN). Now that seems like such a corny excuse when I hear people say it (hello, I’m a hypocrite!).
Matt’s a registered dietician (yay science!) and pointed out that many of the facts he sees/hears vegans use in favor of veganism are not in context, which might not be helping the larger cause. Also, what works for you, might not work for other people. We should step outside of our experience and see where other people are coming from.
Here are some points & questions that came up:
The vegan community seems to focus on “turning” people vegan, but not as much on how to successfully stay vegan for the long-term
When we give people unrealistic expectations, they’re going to fail
Do vegans need training in activism?
Going against the norms of what most people do is hard
A lot of people don’t think about food (WTF, I so don’t get this!)
How do we promote veganism that gives reasonable expectations?
How do we keep people engaged?
Community is important, but perhaps too much community might be overkill (Are you sick of me, yet? Can we hang out all the time in our vegan t-shirts and talk about vegan stuff!?)
Activists can get burnt out
It’s important to take yourself seriously, but not too seriously
Strong animal advocacy will guide people through challenges
Vegan-policing within the community (UM, is annoying- IMHO) isn’t beneficial. Matt’s response to people that start nitpicking him about things is, “Do you think this helps animals, overall?”
Maybe veganism attracts extreme personality types
Maybe extremism isn’t conducive to activism
No one is perfect (my personal favorite)
Instead of looking down on vegetarians, we could educate them and be inclusive
Can everybody be a healthy vegan? We don’t know the answer to that question, but most people probably can.
Sayward’s closing remark was that the vegan message needs to be a tapestry containing many things, looking at the bigger picture (aka the awesomest picture EVER).
Matt left us with two adjectives to consider that personally resonate with me when I talk to people about veganism, “Can you be tactful and reasonable?” (ARE FACEBOOK ARGUMENTS TACTFUL AND REASONABLE?!?! Whoops, sorry about that capslock.)
This was an explorative discussion, so no conclusions were drawn. Let’s hear your comments below (be sure to police the shit out of each other and start a good ole fashioned comments war! Sike!).
Things also continue to get worse for the meat industry, with economists predicting further declines in consumption in the EU. The same trends are occurring in the US, in part due to the meat reduction policies HSUS is helping implement at schools like Hidden Valley Elementary.
Things got better, though, for the brave undercover investigator who filmed animal abuse and was subsequently charged with a crime: her charge is now dropped.
Hopefully things will get better for chickens soon. My friend Leah Garces has a compelling new piece about the poultry industry’s genetic manipulation of birds, noting that “virtually all chickens today suffer simply because they exist.”
And finally, Parade did a nice feature entitled, “10 Ways Farm Animals are Like Your Cat.”
P.S. Video of the week: Speaking of cats, if you’ve never seen a sloth petting and cuddling with one, you can now thank me. :- )
P.P.S. In case you needed it, more proof that Dr. Bronner’s is an awesome soap company!
Oh. Em. Gee. I mean I knew I’d see the day because eventually everything will be veganized but I didn’t know it would be so soon! VeganEssentials is selling vegan sour cream and onion flavor kettle chips! Sour cream and onion chips were my jam when I was younger. I haven’t tried these yet but be damn sure I ordered a bag already. Anyone had them yet? I’m so excited! And I just can’t, etc!
Muchas Gracias! Gracias Madre is opening in West Hollywood this Friday!
Thanks, LA Times, for this photo.
When I saw this article posted on FaceBook yesterday, I thought, “THANK MAUDE, THIS IS FINALLY HAPPENING!” This Friday, January 18, all your vegan Mexican dreams come true in West Hollywood.* Rumors about their opening date have been flying for awhile now, so this confirmation comes as a great relief!
Being new to LA has its definite perks (remember when I ate fried green tomatoes at Crossroads?!), but there were a few things I was sad to leave behind in San Francisco. Gracias Madre was at the top of that list! (So was Rainbow Grocery, but then I found Viva la Vegan here.)
If you’ve never had the mole from Gracias Madre, well, I pity the fool. There are countless ways I could count what’s great about this place (cashew cheese on errthang), and it sounds like they’re kicking it up a notch with this new location. Executive chef, Chandra Gilbert, has some tasty ideas up her chef’s coat sleeve. And the beverage director, Jason Eisner, seems to as well. They posted a few photos on their Instagram showing the process of how the organic tequilas and mezcal they’ll be serving are made. Since I don’t drink, I expect all my lush friends to pick up the slack. I’ll make up for it by eating ALL THE VEGAN FLAN.
The only info on their website is a link for people interested in working there (please get a job there and give me free food!). I expect they’ll update it soon with the full menu and any upcoming events.
Spoiler alert: both Gracias Madre locations are part of the same family as Cafe Gratitude (which VS has done several pieces on in the past). I’m pleading the 5th and staying out of that discussion (whilst stuffing my face with controversial, yet delicious, Mexican vittles).
Los Angeles, “GRACIAS” for giving me another reason to love living here!!!! (Sorry, not sorry for that.)
*Unless you have some crazy dream of being a vegan luchador, Sorry, I can’t help you on that one.
It’s Paul Shapiro’s Animal News You Can Use! Yay, Paul! Yay, animals!
What a week! First, Smithfield Foods announced it’s incentivizing its contract suppliers to stop using gestation crates. Then, Tyson Foods declared that it’s moving in that direction, too. Has it ever been clearer that this inhumane and archaic confinement practice has no future?
While some pig producers are ceasing their defense of gestation crates, many dairy producers seem oddly addicted to the practice of cutting their cows’ tails off. We took aim at this problem in Wisconsin this week.
Speaking of addictions, the meat industry’s desperate to keep the federal dollars it enjoys. Read this new Washington Monthly feature on the problem, including how HSUS is working to help limit this nonsense.
And on the topic of nonsense, it didn’t take long into the New Year before the meat industry introduced the first ag-gag bill of 2014. Indiana’s agribusiness lobby is trying to felonize whistleblowing at factory farms. Three Indiana newspapers so far have editorialized against the bill, including the Fort Wayne Journal Gazette.
Still not sure what your New Year’s resolution should be? I’m glad to have an op-ed in the Houston Chronicle this week about why cutting meat consumption is a great idea.
Hey raw chocolate lovers and all the other kinds of chocolate lovers! Fine & Raw is a Williamsburg, Brooklyn-based raw chocolate company that makes yummy organic, vegan chocolates! They sent me some free bars to try and now I will tell you all about them!
Their mission “is to save the world through silliness and chocolate!” They use low-heat techniques and you’ll also be glad to know they make every effort to be environmentally friendly. Plus, reading their site is positively delightful! They are funny. And there’s some good info about chocolate on there like this!:
Cacao has been report to have these benefits:
#1 food source of antioxidants
#1 food source of magnesium
Phenylethylamine (PEA) - the compound which scientists believe is released when you’re in love
Anandamide - the ‘bliss chemical’
Tryptophan – the precursor to serotonin.
MAO Inhibitors – allows more serotonin to flow in your body. read: more fun
Appetite suppresant & aphrodisiac
None of the above statements have been evaluated by the FDA, although they told us they really love chocolate.
Yay chocolate! Don’t mind if I do!
Above is one of the truffle bars. Creamy and good! I had the peeps at work try all the chocolate of course because I am so nice to them and this was very popular. It’s not sweet but it’s not too bitter. A good balance.
Now, my friends, THIS IS WHAT I’M TALKING ABOUT! As I’ve said a million times, I love salty chocolate so this epic dark chocolate sea salt bar was music to my taste buds. And just look at that bar, they are not messing around! It’s a solid bar of chocolate. On the bitter side, so this is a grown-up kind of bar. And you can break it into sticks!
With a mission to educate participating school communities—students, teachers, parents and administrators—about ways in which they can consume more nutritious foods (i.e., more plants, fewer animals), we’re all about backing them. And what better way to do so than by picking up a few foodstuffs we were bound to buy anyway? You know you want to.
Funds raised will specifically benefit the coalition’s work with the New York City Department of Education Office of SchoolFood, a partnership promoting plant-based protein options and salad bars. Food UnEarthed, interactive curriculum developed by NYCHSF and currently taught to over 500 students a week in NYC, will also reap the rewards of your (hopefully gluttonous) trip to the Market. (By the way, we want in on this Food UnEarthed thing; kids get to act as detectives, using critical thinking skills to, as its title implies, uncover the truth about food. Then, following a rigorous investigation, they get to sit back, relax and enjoy a yummy—and healthy!—vegan snack. Sign us up!)
If you’d like to learn more about the org or just say hey to the brains behind this genius means of feeding kids greens, NYCHSF representatives will be tabling at all seven stores in the city from 11 AM to 7 PM. From 11 AM to 3:30 PM, meet Executive Director Amie Hamlin at the Bowery location and from 11 AM to 1:30 PM, meet board chair Lisa Suriano at the Midtown East location.
Or, you know, just go get some noms, preferably free of flesh, dairy and eggs!
Nell Alk is a writer and editor based in New York City. If something #vegan is happening in the world, she is on it. Twitter with her here.
This Saturday, January 11th, at the Animal Advocacy Museum in Pasadena, CA, Matt Ruscigno, MPH, RD, and Sayward Rebhal, vegan lifestyle coach, and author of Vegan Pregnancy Survival Guide, will give a short presentation with an open discussion exploring this issue.
Some questions they will explore:
Why do people stop being vegan?
Are there valid health reasons to go back to eating animal products?
Are the health claims about the benefits of veganism unrealistic?
What can our community do better to improve vegan retention?
I will probably be sitting in the back row, quietly observing and weeping (since confrontations make me anxious…which I should probably explore in therapy) and will write a post-event recap. Hopefully there won’t be anyone throwing down the vegan gauntlet (how often can I use that idiom?).
The Vegan Cuts Beauty Box: A monthly box of pretty, cruelty-free surprises!
Vegan Cuts sent me a free Beauty Box to try! Now I will tell you all about it!
So you subscribe to the Beauty Box and you will get a package every month with 4-7 sample size vegan beauty products. And they are mostly all organic or natural. The box is curated by the one and only vegan beauty maven Melisser Elliott! I had the pleasure of meeting Melisser a month or so ago and she’s awesome and has an adorable tiny dog who I love very much. Whom I love very much? I’m never going to get that straight.
Above you can see the contents of the December box. I was totally down to try the box because I love samples. They are the best, right? Hint: right! I was already excited but then the samples were even better than I expected! I pretty much love them all. And I was not expecting the super cute little purse. The standout products were the Ferro mineral eyeshadow, the Soapbox Soap and the super pretty Color Club polishes. This is the Apollo Star polish!:
It’s pretty awesome. And I love the other colors too—one is just a dark grey! Super-fashion!
The Ferro mineral eyeshadow color I got is a pretty rose color. It went on smooth and didn’t fall all over below my eye when I applied. It’s very very pretty! It gives an understated warm shimmer.
The Soapbox Soap is cool because every bottle of soap sold funds a year of vitamins for a child in need! Totally rad! I love shiz like that.
I also liked the LA Fresh facial wipes. Dang I did not realize my face was so dirty! For shame!
The box is $19.95, which isn’t super-cheap, but it includes U.S. shipping and plus I just love surprises so I think it’s worth it. Boy do I love surprises! And I love vegan beauty products and trying new stuff. So the Beauty Box is pretty much my jam. I know we have some readers in other countries—you’ll be glad to hear they ship world-wide, but there is a shipping cost.
Another highlight, I love this answer in the FAQ:
Q: How do you make sure everyone gets products that match their skin tone?
A: We understand that our subscribers all have different skin tones and types. To ensure that no one gets a product they can’t use because it doesn’t match their skin tone, we don’t include foundation or other skin tone specific products in the Beauty Box. Not to worry, we don’t shy away from including makeup in the box! We simply try to keep it as inclusive as possible with eye shadows and blushes that everyone can use.
Dope. Love it.
The January Beauty Box ships on the 20th so you still have a few days to order in time. Go forth, vegan beauty lovers!
Did you know that New Mexico was part of the United States before you watched Breaking Bad? (It’s okay. I grew up there and sometimes even I got confused. It’s not really new, it’s not really Mexico. What to think…)
Breaking Bad didn’t lie on two accounts: 1) New Mexico really is full of meth; and 2) there is nothing like the New Mexico sky.
I grew up in a teepee on a bunch of land in asscrack nowhere New Mexico (you guys, I swear I’m not lying. A teepee!!). I had no running water, no electricity and no plumbing for the first part of my life. I was a teenager when we got our first TV and it was (I kid you not) a black and white 10 inch (dear god, why would I make this shit up).
We had an outhouse until I was ready to graduate high school and I grew up without ever eating meat (to this day I have not tried the stuff).
Actually, that’s not entirely true. When I was six, my Godfather bribed me to eat a bite of turkey on Thanksgiving for $5. At six years old, $5 is like $500 so I totally did it. I also tried Chicken McNuggets once in high school. I gagged a little, kept the sweet and sour sauce and trashed the nuggets.
My unusual and socially awkward upbringing was the root of some of my disgruntled teenage years but as soon as I decided that being mad wasn’t a cool trend anymore I got over it. When I got a little older and discovered how (some) people of privilege operate, I had a whole new appreciation for the way I was raised.
It may not have been fancy but it was full of love, honesty, humbleness, grace and compassion.
Last year, I wanted to share a piece of my upbringing with my girlfriend, Luanne so we quit our jobs and headed South from the Bay Area to asscrack nowhere land. We were on a mission to write a follow-up to our first cookbook, Bold Vegan - Food of South East Asia.
Luanne is from Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia (kind of like New York but in South East Asia) so naturally, she was excited to go to New Mexico to see the aliens.
We were in New Mexico for seven months.
We wrote a cookbook, saw no aliens, tried no meth, saw countless jaw dropping sunsets and sunrises (see pics), soaked our bodies in natural hot springs, played in the snow and drank beer in the sun. We also ate lots of green chili (another one of New Mexico’s little secrets).
I created the recipes, Luanne tasted them, Luanne styled the photographs and I took the pictures. We had an awesome fucking time. I highly recommend quitting your job and doing something bat-shit crazy that makes no sense at all at some point in your life (but don’t go to New Mexico in winter. That shiz is cold. We’re talking high desert @ 6,000 feet, people. Bur).
Here are two recipes from our new cookbook, Bold Vegan, Food for the Body and Soul. There is a discount for Vegansaurus readers! The promo code is: vegansaurus and it will allow your guys to buy the instant download version of our new book for $10 (usually $14.99). [Ed.: YES!!!]
It is filled with 90 Western and Asian classic comfort food dishes. From Vietnamese Pho to Pot Pie and Creamy Alfredo Pasta to Green Onion Pancakes.
Brought to you from New Mexico, with love.
But first, some sample recipes:
Fiery Garlic Tofu
(gluten free if using gluten free soy sauce / nut free)
1 14 oz. box (397g) firm tofu tofu, cut into 1 inch squares
6 tablespoons organic cornstarch (45g)
1/4 cup grapeseed oil plus 3 tablespoons, divided (105ml)
1/2 teaspoon salt, divided (3g)
20 turns fresh black pepper
10 large garlic cloves, minced
3 - 5 dried red chilies, cut in half (add more if you like more spice)
1 heaping tablespoon peeled and minced ginger (12g)
1 tablespoon soy sauce (15ml)
6 tablespoons water (90ml)
1 red onion, sliced into rounds (140g)
1/2 teaspoon sesame oil (2.5ml)
Sugar Glaze (1 tablespoon (15g) brown sugar mixed with 1 tablespoon (15ml) water)
1 green onion, cut into 2 inch strips for garnish
Evenly spread out cornstarch on a plate.
Cut tofu and dredge evenly in cornstarch. Set aside.
Heat 1/4 cup (60ml) of the grapeseed oil in a nonstick pan.
Place 1/2 of the tofu in oil. Add 1/4 teaspoon salt and 10 turns of black pepper.
Cook for 9-10 minutes, turning so that all sides get brown.
Take out of pan and place on a brown paper bag (placed on a plate) to soak up the oil.
Place 3 more tablespoons (45ml) of oil in the pan and add the remaining tofu.
Add another 1/4 teaspoon salt and 10 turns black pepper and cook for 9-10 minutes.
Take out and place on paper bag.
Use the same oil and pan and add the garlic, chili and ginger.
Cook for 1 minute and then add 1 tablespoon soy sauce and 6 tablespoons water.
Add red onions and sesame oil and cook for 3 minutes.
Add the tofu back to the pan, stir to combine and cook for 2 minutes.
Add the glaze and cook for an additional minute.
Garnish with green onions.
Do not serve the red chilies, they are added for flavor, not to eat directly.
If you don’t like spicy then leave the red chilies whole.
Cheesy Scalloped Potatoes
(gluten free / nut free / soy free if using soy free Earth Balance buttery spread)
First, the Cheese Sauce
1 russet potato, peeled and cut into bite-sized pieces (1 1/2 cups / 240g)
1 cup carrot, cut into 1/2 inch rounds (130g)
1/4 yellow onion, diced (1/2 cup / 65g)
2 cups water (475 ml)
1/2 cup Earth Balance buttery spread (70g)
1/2 cup nutritional yeast (40g)
1/2 teaspoon turmeric
1 teaspoon salt (6g)
3 tablespoons coconut milk (45 ml)
3 turns fresh black pepper
Place potato, carrot and onion in a pan with 2 cups of water and simmer for 20 minutes with the lid on.
After 20 minutes, turn off heat and add Earth Balance, nutritional yeast, turmeric and salt. Stir to combine.
Pour mixture into a blender and blend until creamy, about one minute on medium. You may need to scrape the sides down from the blender a couple of times for everything to get incorporated.
Add coconut milk to the blender and continue to blend until mixture is creamy throughout.
Heat Earth Balance in a skillet and add the onions, garlic and parsley.
Saute for 5 minutes on medium heat.
Add the flour and salt and stir for 30 seconds.
Slowly pour in the creamer and stir until mixture thickens, 1-2 minutes.
Turn off heat and set aside.
Evenly spread 1/4 cup (60g) of cheese sauce on the bottom of a 8x11 baking dish.
Place a third of the potatoes over the sauce, covering the bottom of the pan.
Place half of the chard over the potatoes.
Place a third of cheese sauce over the chard (about 1 cup / 230g).
Repeat (another third of potatoes, the rest of the chard, another third of the cheese sauce).
Add the last layer of potatoes and then pour over the remaining cheese sauce.
With a spoon, evenly dollop the onion/garlic mixture on top of the cheese sauce and sprinkle with paprika.
Place in the oven and baked uncovered for 1 hour.
You can use any leafy green in place of the chard.
(I’m writing my bio in first person because I think writing about myself in third person is creepy)
If I’m not in my kitchen you will find me behind my camera, in front of my computer, on my meditation pillow, in a yoga class or watching Parks and Rec (I promise I’m not snobby – I’m not even good at yoga. It has been my lifelong dream to touch even my fingers to the mat in a forward bend. It still boggles me that I can’t do it given that my arms are disproportionately long).
I have helped open restaurants in New Mexico, California, Texas and Arizona (including Nature’s Express in Berkeley, CA). Before I wrote cookbooks and opened restaurants I was a personal chef.
Lucky 13 Lacquer is a lovely line of exciting vegan nail polish colors. I say exciting because they are sparkly and spotty and more! They also have THE BEST NAMES. The creator of Lucky 13 Lacquer sent me a few colors to try.
Above is Jinkies! OVER a regular red polish by another brand. I love it. We did have some problems with this drying, it just took a little while. But once dry, it was totes pretty. Without the red underneath, it would just be like a clear polish with red sparkly flakes. Very nice but over the red, it’s like ruby slippers!
This is my favorite. It’s Ruh-Roh! It’s like leopard print! Without having to do anything special! This dried fine. And it looks like leopard print!!!
Above is the Teal Me No Lies with Warrior Woman over top. That’s just one coat of the sparkly one so if you want more sparkles, you’ll have to do a few more coats. This is my friend Cait modeling and the blue was her favorite of all the colors. I like the leopard print!
So if you are looking for some unique polish colors, this is for you! Colors come and go quickly so if you see one you like, get it. If you don’t, there will be new colors soon!
Moving from San Francisco to Los Angeles meant giving up shopping at Rainbow Grocery, which was almost a tragic enough reason not to make the move (sorry friends, you mean something to me, too, I swear!). BUT when I found out about Viva la Vegan’s new(ish), Grocery Express in Santa Monica, I knew I wouldn’t be forced to forage the streets of Los Angeles for mock meats and vegan provisions. This place, to put it simply, RULES. I’m not certain, but I’m pretty sure they carry every vegan item that exists.* It certainly feels that way. Plus, as an avoider of gluten (I know, I know, Hail Seitan), there is a bounty of options. There are also a million glutinous options for those of you who aren’t thwarted with belly aches after consuming its deliciousness.
Amongst some of the exciting things I bought were: VEGAN LOX (aka Smoked Salmon by Sophie’s Kitchen) AND GLUTEN FREE BAGELS (by Culver City’s Rising Hearts Bakery, owned by Follow Your Heart). They also carry every Follow Your Heart salad dressing, flavored mayonnaise and sauce (who knew they had like, a zillion!?!). And, drumroll please! BEYOND MEAT’S NEW “BEEF” CRUMBLE (which isn’t available anywhere else in retail yet)!!! It’s sold in 5lb bags in the freezer section, in case you rush over to buy some (which you should)).
So if you live within, like, 100 miles of LA, you should visit this store! Unless you live 100 east of LA, then you should go to their main location is Rancho Cucamonga, which has to be the most fun to pronounce word, and means “sandy place” in English.
Happy vegan shopping!
*This statement not supported by any actual facts.
Product Review: Vegan Rise Bars Deliver Ethical Energy
The nutritional bars market is undeniably hella glutted these days—many stores even dedicate entire aisles just for them—so when my friend Heidi told me to check out new vegan Rise Bar flavors, I was slightly skeptical; I was all like, how would these be more delightful than any of the other bajillion bars out there for us non-omnivores?
Turns out my skepticism was bunk—these are some of the best nutrition bars ever! Probably my favorite next to Vega bars and those gluten-free NuGo organic bars they sell at the airport and Raw Energy, the impossibly cute little juice bar off Shattuck in Berkeley (go there if you haven’t already!)
Rise Bars now top my list of energy bars, I think, because they’re sweet but not terribly so. They’re definitely packed with energy, and are pretty much the ideal food to bring with you on a road trip or while hiking, but they really are nicely flavor-balanced. Sometimes you just want a handful of organic nuts and fruit squished together for you by someone else and squeezed into a wrapper for your convenience.
While not all Rise Bars are vegan, the flavors they do make that are gluten-free, non-GMO and are indeed vegan include: Coconut acai, sunflower cinnamon, lemon cashew, blueberry coconut and raspberry pomegranate.
My favorite flavor of the vegan Rise Bars is by far the semi-sweet and perfectly chewy lemon cashew bar. It’s sweet with just the right amount of density. The protein base is pea protein, which is one of my faves. Some of the non-vegan bars have dairy-containing whey (insert yuck chorus), so just steer clear of those! We can all practice a little label-reading discretion and avoid animal secretions, and get our vegan Rise Bars eating game faces on like champs. Use Rise Bar’s handy store locator to find them near you!
As I mentioned on FB the other day, we got a Foursquare account! Because we are very on-trend and with-it. We now have an NYC list, a BK list, and a Philly list, complete with tips and a lot of pics. So check them out and save them or whatever and follow us so I feel like my work was worthwhile!
SF and LA lists are coming, as soon as I get those lazy west-coasters on that.
It’s Paul Shapiro’s Animal News You Can Use! Yay, Paul! Yay, animals!
Happy New Year!
You might decide you need a more ambitious new year’s resolution after reading Good Morning America’s coverage of this vegan couple—in their 60s!—who ran a marthon (26.2 miles) every day of 2013.
If that’s not up your alley, you could just take my advice on new year’s resolutions…
Looking back on the past year, NPR declared 2013 to be “The Year Bills To Criminalize Animal Cruelty Videos Failed.” Here’s to making 2014 the same!
And of course, we’ll be doing even more this year to show Americans what ag-gag bills are trying to hide. Check out HSUS’s latest billboard campaign in North Carolina (second biggest pork production state.)
Finally, Archbishop Desmond Tutu wrote a new piece on animals in which he had quite a lot to say, including that “it is a kind of theological folly to suppose that God has made the entire world just for human beings, or to suppose that God is interested in only one of the millions of species that inhabit God’s good earth.”
Before some joker says it, yes, they could just directly donate the money without people having to play a game BUT doing something like this brings so much more awareness to the cause! And makes helping animals more fun. So play! Share! Play again! Share again! And so on and so forth etc.
Oh, there’s also a steak at some points. But it’s a cartoon steak. But I’m sorry anyway.
Sharks have never been on-trend, shall we say, but this is downright irresponsible. Only now getting on twitter? Get it together, sharks! You guys are apex predators! You should be early adopters, leading the way for society!
Some are critical of the program because they think that if there is no Tweet, people will interpret that as no threat, even though not all sharks are tagged. Personally, it seems like another measure to help people avoid sharks, that works with other measures. It could even help sharks with their current, longstanding PR problem just by increased visibility when they aren’t killing people and are just being sharks. I’m curious to see what happens.
Happy new year, everyone! In honor of the passing of the 2013 calendar year, we here at Vegansaurus have compiled a list of our favorite vegan finds of the last 12 months. Keep in mind some of the products were not necessarily new to the market, just new to us! What better way to celebrate the new year by discussing what we loved in 2013? Okay fine, pizza, champagne and friends is pretty good way too.
I’ll start with myself because I, Jenny, am very excited about this list! I would like to be a gentlewoman, but I’m going first. In no particular order, my very favorite vegan finds of 2013 are as follows:
Green New American Vegetarian A super restaurant in Phoenix, Arizona! My pal Britney and I stayed in Phoenix two nights, on a trip to see the Grand Canyon. We ate at Green three times. I need to make it back in 2014 for their Big Wac burger and “cream cheese crab” puffs. Nami bakery, another vegan spot, is located right next door and they are so much fun to follow on Instagram (@namivegansweets).
Artisanal vegan cheeses Last but certainly not least. My two faves this year were the smoked Punk Rawk Labs cashew cheese and Kite Hill’s White Alder. I’d pick some up for my NYE party, but I don’t like sharing them!
Best vegan cheesesteak Spak Brothers in Pittsburg. The seitan was perfectly sliced thin and fried crisp, with just the right amount of mayo and daiya cheese, and a perfect bun. Worth the road trip!
Earth Balance’s new cheese puffs and popcorn Probably the most addictive new food products to hit store shelves…ever? [JB note: Thanks, Rachel! Just picked some up because now I can’t get them out of my head!]
Defiant Daughters Defiant Daughters: 21 Women on Art, Activism, Animals and the Sexual Politics of Meat. [Our Sarah was one of the contributors!] I was thrilled to put to paper some of the many ways that Carol J. Adams’ work has impacted my life and activism career, and to share how my relationship with my brother Asher grew due to our mutual love of Carol’s book The Sexual Politics of Meat and shared commitment to veganism!
“I am Healthy" juice From Cafe Gratitude, at Larchmont in LA . It’s pretty standard with kale, celery, cucumber and lemon juice but you can’t beat it.
The tofu “egg” salad on gluten-free bread from Flore. This is the sandwich of the century!
Stuff I Eat restaurant In Inglewood, CA. Definitely in my top five fave vegan restaurants ever. They have a variety of comfort foods, and raw fare. It’s reasonably priced and the staff is SO nice and welcoming.
Stuff I Eat restaurant It’s vegan soul food! I’ve never had such hospitality at a restaurant before. They told us everything about the food and were genuinely interested in how long we had all been vegan. One of the cooks even came out and sat down at our table!
The Bad Ass breakfast sandwich from Locali Not that I found it 2013, but I moved to LA this last year and it was my go-to during my move. I’ve taken all of my guests there, out-of-towners especially. [JB note: it’s true, he took me to Locali to get one before he, Caroline and I hiked to the Hollywood sign a few weeks ago! It’s scrumptious!]
My new vegan friends Jess and James The dynamic duo, are just the coolest most best and show me lots of great vegan food and terrible, terrible 90s music. [JB note: there is such a thing as terrible 90s music?]
Stuff I Eat restaurant made it on the list twice! Something tells me Andrew and Caroline went there together (probably because I saw the pictures on Instagram). If they love it, I’m sure it’s fantastic! What a fun list, and seeing it, I now know I have a whole bunch of new stuff to try out in 2014 (soft pretzels delivered to me and faux down??? YES PLEASE, THANK YOU). What were your favorites? Any of ours? Let us know what you discovered and loved in 2013! Happy new year, peeps!